Wednesday, 18 December 2013

Christmas Catch Up

Well, Christmas is nearly here and due to a mid week interruption (just a little birthday mind you) I've not done a huge amount of crafting. Because I was without a computer for a little while, I think I missed showing pictures of a few things that I have made lately. So, a little catch up:

A baby jacket and booties for the friend of a friend.

Santa hats, made by number 3 son.

A personalised lavender bag for friend to give as a christening gift.

Christmas decorations made by my 2 favourite cubs.

A rubbish photo I know but this is the Christmas decoration that I made for the host of Dressing Gown Day.

Now it's all gone a bit Pete Tong - I was a lucky girl and got an iPad for my birthday, and I'm finishing a draft post using IT rather than the laptop. I have no idea why the new photos are so big! Anyway, these are the lovely Christmas decorations made by sons 2 and 3.

And this.......

is the beautiful cake made for my birthday by my ever talented sister in law. Thank you Sarah!

I shall link up with Handmade Harbour today for the last time in 2013.
Merry Christmas everyone, and Best wishes to you all for the New Year!

Love Natalie

Saturday, 14 December 2013

Dressing Gown Day 2013 featuring Mini Baileys Cheesecakes

It being very nearly Christmas, this Wednesday saw the return of Dressing Gown Day, a day for an elite group of ladies to take the day off, eat, drink and be merry - whilst wearing their dressing gowns!

A fabulous day was had by all! Despite the fact that a couple of us had to make a quick nip out to accept a delivery on behalf of a friend, school calling to report a sick child, family members being admitted to hospital......we took it all in our stride (the hot chocolate helped!). And how could our spirits be dampened when a rather special person paid us an unexpected visit:

In the words of Buddy the Elf - "Santa! I know him!"

Look at their little faces!
I received a lovely pair of Christmas rubber gloves, beautifully modelled her by number 3 son:

I baked some goodies for us to nibble on during the morning - white chocolate cookies, quick and easy sausage rolls and mini Baileys cheesecakes. I only had to share the recipe about 10 times during the morning so I thought perhaps others might like to know how to make these delicious little morsels.

They're so easy!
You need a pack of shop bought shortcrust pastry, a packet of soft cream cheese, 3 tbsp icing sugar and as much baileys as you want to taste.
Using a mini muffin pan (I have a Pampered Chef one) make pastry shells. I haven't made these cheesecakes for a while so learned a valuable lesson myself: next time, I'm going to put a baking bean in each one whilst they are cooking because they do tend to rise up in the middle a bit. When the shells are cooked, leave them to cool. Meanwhile, make the filling - mix the cheese and icing sugar together, and then mix in Baileys till you have the required taste. All that is left is to pipe the filling into the shells. Unfortunately, I forgot to take a picture before they were gobbled up but I'm sure you get the idea!

I'll be linking up with Handmade Monday - the penultimate one before Christmas!

Love Natalie

Monday, 9 December 2013

A new link up!

I've linked up with Craftastic Monday hosted by Sew Can Do today so welcome to any new readers joining me from there! I love these linky parties although it can be time consuming looking at everyone's blogs!

Sunday, 8 December 2013

Handmade Christmas Wreaths

I attended a wreath making workshop a couple of weeks ago and I'm so pleased with the result!

All of the materials were provided, and the instructions of how to turn wire, moss and holly into a decoration, and great fun was had by all.

There was a lot of "ouch-ing" because of the holly, despite the fact we were all wearing gardening gloves of some sort, but the end result was worth the pain.

How are your Christmas decorations coming along? Ours are all up and we're ready to go - there is at least one very excited little boy in my house!

I'll be joining up with Handmade Monday so join me there if you can to catch up on the Christmas craft goings on.

Love Natalie

Sunday, 1 December 2013

It's been a long time!

In a fight between 2 of your children, who will come off the worse for wear do you think? I'll tell you who - the laptop! Which was unceremoniously dropped on its head. Consequently we have been without a computer for the last couple of weeks. The children have all gone without electrical entertainment of all kinds for the time it has taken to repair the laptop, which has been interesting to say the least, but finally, thanks to a very clever and helpful friend, we are back online! Most importantly, the children can do their homework again but equally important - I can blog again! And order the Tesco shopping to be delivered, but there's no need to talk about that.....

So now I need to catch up with myself. As it so happens, I have been suffering the perils of tonsillitis for almost the same amount of time as the computer has been broken so I'm ashamed to say that I feel I have done very little crafting. But it is such a hectic time of year, am I really surprised? What I may lack in crafting, I have made up for in Christmas planning so I can report that I have written all of my cards and wrapped all of the presents so that's something. I've also made it through son  number 1's 12th birthday, the celebrations for which included the most gorgeous chocolate cake I've ever tasted, courtesy of Auntie Sarah.

Since my last post, I've also finished the shawl I was making for a friends Granny. Apparently, when you reach the dizzy age of 99, you don't have to wait till Christmas to get your presents, so she is already in receipt of her gift and I'm assured that she loves the colour and is thoroughly warmed by it.

 I just knitted garter stitch, increasing 1 stitch at either end of the row until it was big enough. It was a beautiful colour yarn that has striped well. Since I am hopeless at crochet my mum very kindly crocheted around the edge to tidy it up a little.

What do you think? I realise it's not at all technical, but very effective none the less.

I'm sure I have much more to report but I think that will do for now! I will enjoy catching up with Handmade Monday - I have been reading blogs but I've been unable to comment - so join me there if you can.

Love Natalie

Sunday, 3 November 2013

A VERY Scary Pumpkin Indeed

Half term week went out with a bang this term, finishing as it did with Halloween and a fireworks display. I have managed to finish a Christmas gift during the week but cannot show it yet so just a brief post from me. I have little more to show than this......

The scariest pumpkin around! And Cruella de Ville without the gorgeous bag that someone made for her last week.

My kids also carved pumpkins for the party:

I forget every year just how much mess is made by the carving!

I managed to squeeze a batch of cakes in, to use up the pink icing I had if for no other reason (do we really need a reason to make cakes?). So as not to scare my sons too much - they don't really go for anything pink - I covered the icing in chocolate strands.

That seemed to do the trick - this lot lasted about 5 minutes.

Next week I hope to bring you photos of a couple of crafty projects that I've been working on that all seem to be being completed at the same time. For now, I'll be linking up with everyone over at Handmade Monday to see what has been crafted this week.

Love Natalie

Sunday, 27 October 2013

My First Tutorial!

Thank you for all the lovely comments last week about my gift tags. I realise that many of you have paper crafting skills that far exceed my own but Gertie asked how I had made them so here is a mini tutorial:

This is a selection of free papers that came with Craftseller magazine early this year. Each page is double sided and you get one side with greetings. I chose which greetings I wanted to use and carefully cut them out, and then chose which paper I was going to use.

I bought some plain parcel labels from Amazon and my Mum kindly gave me this sticky stuff dispenser that she uses in her card making. As you can just about see in this picture, I ran the glue around the edges of the label.

You then place the label sticky side down onto the paper that you want to use. As I said, these pages are double sided so although this pattern is lovely, I'm actually using the other side. You then carefully cut around the label.

I then put the glue along the edges of the greeting that I wanted to use.

Voila! Couldn't be simpler really although I was surprised when Mum showed me just how easy this was.

You could obviously embellish the labels further with crystals, buttons, ribbons - whatever your stash allows. And I have a stamp that I will use on the back that says "To.......... From..........". I just need to finish making the presents now, then I can wrap and label them!

In other crafty news, for Think Pink week at work, we've been wearing Pink shirts and eating pink cakes so I made a contribution.....

I intended to make some cakes with pink butter icing but I was a little heavy handed with the food colouring!

The boys didn't care though.

I also made a quick bag for a friend to go with her Halloween costume - she's going as Cruella De Ville!

It's just a quick and easy drawstring bag for her to keep her camera in. I can't wait to see her fully dressed - I managed to get myself invited to the party too and will look gorgeous in a pumpkin outfit!

It being Sunday, I'll be linking up with the other crafters at Handmade Monday ( Lets all gather around the Internet to think lovely, crafty thoughts while the storm is in full swing!

Love Natalie

Sunday, 20 October 2013

A Papercrafting Success!

A couple of weeks ago, Mum showed me how to make lovely gift tags with simple paper layering techniques, and during the week I had a go at it myself - with great results! I know that they are not at all complicated but it's a first for me and I intend to try and make a few more fancy ones. I used the free papers that you get with various magazines - I have always kept them, knowing that they would come in handy one day. So here are the results.

A couple of Christmas ones....

 And a few birthday ones....

And not a week can pass without some cake making - this week, I tried a Nigella recipe that I've not come across before. They were Banana Butterscotch Muffins ( the recipe can be found here, though I substituted the butterscotch for chocolate chips (because I had some). They were delicious, and a great way to use up bananas that are past there best.

It's such a shame that the weather has taken a turn for the worse but there is a plus side - you don't have to feel guilty about staying in and crafting if its cold and rainy outside!

Join me over at Handmade Monday to catch up on all the crafting that's been going on this week.

Love Natalie

Sunday, 13 October 2013

No rest for the wicked!

Would you all like to remind me that I was the person longing to get the kids back to school so that some normality (whatever that is) and structure could resume. Oh how I long for the holiday days, where no-one has a club/friend for tea/sleepover/late kick off footie match! I'm as prepared as the next person for the growing up of my sons but........ my brain is about to explode trying to co-ordinate who is where, when, and how. Add into the mix the odd birthday and the chance for me to do anything I might like to before I fall asleep in front of a TV programme that I REALLY wanted to watch is slim. Hence not a lot of crafting to report on.

Like all good multi-taskers, I have managed to squeeze a little bit in. I have made 2 Quilters Trugs, one for a friend's Gran's 99th birthday and 1 for BFF.

I have also been working on the shawl I've been asked to make for the aforementioned Gran, and I have started work on the ***** that I'm making for ****** for Christmas. I have a couple of other gifts to make too, and I have also bought some parcel labels which I intend to turn into fabulous gift tags having had a quick paper crafting lesson from my Mum. I hope to find the time anyway!

Finally, I'd like to share a photo of the cake number 2 son wanted for his birthday.

Buttercream and Tangfastics - what more could a 10 year old ask for?

I hope you've been having a rather less chaotic week than me. Join me over at Handmade Monday for a quiet catch up on all things crafty.

Love Natalie

Sunday, 29 September 2013

With Christmas nearly here (alright, so 84 sleeps to be exact!) I now have many Christmas present WIP's, which means that I won't be able to show much of what I'm working on for a while for fear of ruining anyones surprise! I can show you a cushion that I made for a birthday present for a friends daughter:

It is similar to one I made at the beginning of the year for another young lady, but the use of different fabrics for the flowers and ears means they are both unique.

I've been doing quite a lot of baking this weekend but everything was scoffed before I could take photos - flapjack, chocolate covered cupcakes made by Number 2 son, and the most moist Lemon Drizzle cake you could ever come across thanks to the recipe from Jo at Pickle-Lily (it's here if you want it

A brief post from me this week, but I'll be joining up with everyone at Handmade Monday to get inspiration for next week. I'd like to sign off by thanking you all for such lovely comments about the Teacup and Saucer last week. It really was such a cute thing to make.

Have a great week,
Love Natalie

Sunday, 22 September 2013

Anyone for a cuppa?

I think we all need one - it seems like the chaos will end when the kids go back to school but Oh! how we forget that getting back into the swing of school runs, homework and after school clubs is exhausting!

BFF moved at the weekend, to add to the general excitement around these parts, and so a house warming gift was called for. She has been lucky enough to have been gifted a few beautiful tea sets this year and so I thought that a cute tea cup and saucer would be just the right gift. It would be silly for me to buy something if I could make it myself....

I used the pattern in Sew Magazine issue 51 and made it with fabrics that I know she loves (I've made some coasters in these fabrics for her before). Obviously not designed for actual tea but it is a wonderful little vessel for "stuff" (BFF transferred spare change into it as soon as she unwrapped it). In this photo you can just see the top of a paperweight peeking out because it wouldn't sit straight to be photographed. I actually used a couple of little stitches to hold the cup onto the saucer because it wouldn't sit still but as soon as something is in it, it would be fine. The handle could do with some improvement I must admit, but it is one of the most gorgeous things I've ever made!

What have you ever made that you've been particularly pleased with?

Can you believe it's time for Handmade Monday again? See you there!

Love Natalie

Sunday, 15 September 2013

I seem to have lots of work in progress since the children have gone back to school but I haven't organised myself enough to put them into blog posts. I have started and finished this one project though. The daughter of a work colleague is shortly off to University and to make sure that she doesn't starve to death whilst she is away, she wanted some simple recipes to take with her. I actually think her Mum is a more than capable cook but she asked me if I had some recipes that I could share. Some things are always a pleasure, never a chore!

I realised that I could go one better than just sharing some recipes. Some time ago, Simply Homemade Magazine came with a booklet giveaway and though I thought it unlikely that I would use it, I tucked the kit away safely because - well, you never know do you? And good job I did. So after writing out a few tried and tested, quick and easy recipes, I set to work on putting the booklet together. Regular readers will know that I'm not really a papercrafter - that's my Mums job - but I'm always up for a challenge. And I'm very pleased with the result.

It's simply pieces of paper and card held together with the rings, so not at all complicated, but I did some paper layering on the front and back. I forgot to take a picture of the back but sent this not very good phone photo of it to my Mum

There are plenty of spare pages for Holly to add her own (and her Mum's!) recipes, and she can add additional pages when she is ready. I was slightly concerned that an 18 year old might think this a little old fashioned but it turns out she loves it. Now she won't starve, and hopefully she'll do fantastically well in her studies (I have a slight soft spot for her subject as like me, she is going to be studying Law).

Has anybody else been getting themselves or others ready for University? I'm a long way off having to think about that with mine!

Love Natalie

Sunday, 8 September 2013

Halloween? Already?

I subscribe to Craftseller magazine and received my new copy at the end of last week. With it came a brilliant booklet on - things to make for Halloween! It was still August! And sunny! But as soon as my 2 youngest sons saw the front of the booklet (featuring a felt ghost and Frankenstein) they were hooked.

Here is the result:

They went on to make a couple more so that they both have one of each but they were whisked off to Toyville before I had chance to get photos. I am so impressed with them! I didn't do much more than needle threading to be honest so they were rightly proud of their creations. And of course, they are appropriately scary toys for Halloween - only made scarier by the faces being pulled by the creators in this photo:

Honestly! Is it ever possible to take a photo of your children where they aren't gurning in some way or another?

The toys were made over Friday evening and Saturday morning so while I sat next them to offer advice and assistance when needed, I tackled a project from my Want To Do List. When Wendy at Handmade Harbour did a tutorial for a scissor keeper back in February I thought it was wonderful and though I don't necessarily have a place to hang one, it went onto the list. And hey presto!

I am SO pleased with it! Wendy's tutorial was so easy to follow and I enjoyed ever minute of making it. I do most of my crafting at the dining table, decanting all of my stash from a linen box and a set of drawers that are close by. I realised that I had the perfect spot to hang the scissor keeper whilst I'm crafting - the linen box sits behind my favoured chair and I usually leave the lid up whilst I'm "working" so...


And then, because I love these kinen fabrics, I decided to make a needle case  that would match my scissor keeper and Trug.

I hope everyone else is as pleased with their makes this week as I am! And relieved that the kids have finally gone back to school (we love them really!).

I'll be linking up with Handmade Monday to see what you've all been up to!

Love Natalie