Sunday, 27 November 2011

I have been busy busy busy making christmas cards this week - it has felt gloriously christmassy sitting in front of a log fire cat sitting on a chair next to me (if he doesnt have his own chair pulled out so he can enjoy the fire he steals my one as soon as I move, and sometimes before I move) and lots of paper, glitter and ribbon.  I am about halfway through now,  I have already made my favourite card for this year, I keep putting it up on the shelf so I can admire it, now to work out who to send it to.

I will have to get in touch with Wingham wildlife park to see how they got on with the christmas cards I gave them and if they would like more.  We have some fantastic pictures of the tigers now that should make nice cards.  I hope the cards sold as they are fundraising for the lions at the moment.  .

I have been having a lovely time on ETSY making a treasury lists.  What a beautiful way to get noticed - admiring the talent and work of others.  I have had a lot more views for my items since I stared doing the treasury lists, got some more admirers for my work ( no sales as yet but it is coming up to christmas) and found some things to give as presents.
  This is one of my treasury lists     Nearly half the items on one of my earlier lists have vanished I suppose they have been sold.

Today I must carry on getting the cards made and carry on making my neices bag.  And there all the ideas that are bouncing around in my head that might work on Etsy.  (note to self do not go to PINTEREST till you have completed targets)  I had a very busy start to the day - making snickerdoodles, scones and lemonade before breakfast. 

Took advantage of yet another bright sunny day and unpacked the last of the wood we were given from a piece of local woodland, unfortuantly the wood had worm in it so we are burning it first so it doesn't spread to the rest of the stored wood.  I also cleared, sorted and then refilled the log rack by the fire so we don't have to go rushing out to get wood as soon as we get home from work.

 A new bangle..... its hard to see in the picture but there is a bronze like look to this bangle that means its lightness is a shock.

I have just got some red ribbon and black lace for the next one. 

Today I brought some felt flowers which with a few beads of buttons will work really well.  There were several different sizes in the pack.

Sunday, 20 November 2011


we arrived before the otters had been fed so lots of action in both enclosures
I got 15 cards made for Wingham Wildlife Park and we took them with us today when we went to see their latest cat.  I put my blog address on them so hopefully a few more people will find me.  There are some lovely pictures of Binx the puma on their facebook page includding one of him stuggling to keep his balance on the ropes.  We spent ages watching him - he was being so playful and like all the animals at Wingham loves the attention.  This is where the animals mostly rush over to see who has come to see them, a big difference from standing by an enclosure thinking "it says theres something in here but I can't find it".  The animals still have there privacy if they want it but lets be honest you go to a zoo to see animals. 

Tigers at play

Got most of the things done yesterday that I wanted to, I am really enjoying this crafting/baking not vegetating in front of the TV or online.The mirror is ok I think that I am using the wrong sort of paper which is why I am getting a papery finish to my designs coating with mod podge does help but I am going to try using ordinary photocopy paper instead of photo paper. It was not very clear in the tutorial I watched, or Ididn't understand properly.
 Slowly rubbing off the backing paper to reveal the design. I used masking tape to centre the picture on the mirror.  At the moment I am not sure whether to leave the edges as the are or to decorate them.  I am still having a little bit of trouble with some of the picture lifting but I can sort that in the final stages.
Cards for Wingham
Today I really need to crack on with our Christmas cards, Gifts and Items for Etsy.
Cards for Wingham

Saturday, 19 November 2011

The latest item to be placed on Etsy.

A 1967 Mercury Cougar original photo tote bag.

I have just noticed how well the car fits in with its background.  I really enjoy making these bags and have a couple more in the pipeline - the design is sorted just need to print them off and make them up.  I have a stunning one of HOTRODS outside a diner.

 As I love being driven in this beautiful car I kinda sorta don't want to sell it - I will just have to make a similar one for myself.

I have been looking at recipes again and think that I will have to have another "lunch" again soon.  So many delious looking cakes, biscuits, and savouries to try.  Too few mouths in my house to put all the food into.  I made SMUNCHKINS last night.  There would have been a photo but they need to be eaten while they are hot.  The camera was in the basement and we ate all the cakes. Next time I make them I will take pictures and write the recipe out.

 I have another bangle nearly finished and one just started.  I am quite liking the fact that these bottles will not go to waste.  I think they look so pretty and when finished so hard to remember what they started from.

I have just got a bag of logs in ready to spend an evening crafting in front of the fire.  Young Bruce will make me pull out a chair for him and the two of us will have a cozy relaxing evening together.
Bruce thinks we had the stove installed for him
I have a lot I want to get done this evening :- I have a few more Christmas cards to make to give to Wingham Wildlife park ( an idea that came to me in the summer and I am doing now) as we are going there tomorrow and I wanted to give them to them.
The bracelets that are nearly done finished so they can be listed on Etsy.
Get the mirror I am making through the next stage.
Paint the inside of cigar box purse.  Make some Christmas cards for us to send.
Finish the recipe books for my neice and nephew.
And anything else I have time for.

Wednesday, 16 November 2011


This is the start of my list of other blogs that I have enjoyed, found useful or that set me off on this current addiction.  Before I started my blog I had not really looked at blogs. Even after I had begun I did not really start.  But after finally realising that there were links to the recipes on peoples blogs attached to the pictures on Pinterest I started checking.  Now I have quite a lot of blogs that I read, enjoy, and learn from.         These are in the order I found them.....

The first one that I looked at was Bakergirl for her BLUEBERRY SNICKERDOODLE recipe. A recipe I have baked 5 times now. I have tried the original, with apple and plain - all were delicous.

Also very good for recipes is
Tomorrow I am (or rather by partner) is trying mircowave coffee cake in a mug - sounds perfect for one.

I love the pictures and images that can be found on
I make sure I look at them everytime there is a new blog posted.
Very good for cardmaking ideas, tips and tutorials, and challenges.

Other blogs that I like and follow ( and am quickly adding because I need to go to bed are:-
They cover cardmaking, spinning and knitting, and feltmaking. Lastly a site I found for my mother who has been struggling with mircowave wattage and cooking times - it does conversion charts and is so easy to use.

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

Homemade lemonade - not just for summer

Back in the spring on a trip to a garden centre I purchased another cookery book ( I am not sure why I brought it because the books I use most I have had for over 25 years and they are like trusted friends) but every so often I have to buy cookery books, it is a need I have.  This one is called
its ISBN is 9780754819714

One of the recipes is for homemade lemonade,   we both   love lemonade and it can be quite expensive so I tried it.  We have spent the summer drinking fresh delicious lemonade that costs under £1.00 a litre.                                                

100 - 115Grams caster Sugar
(1/2 cup superfine sugar)

pare the skin from the lemons with a vegtable peeler.  Put the lemon rind and sugar into a bowl, add 900ml (11/2 pints, 33/4 cups) of boiling water and stir well until the sugar disolves.
 Cover and allow to cool.  Squeeze the juice from the lemons.  Add it to the flavoured water, mix well and strain into a jug.
Chill and serve with ice.

NOW that it is winter it is time to start drinking hot lemon and honey.  I remember having it as a child if I had a cold.

ONE of the tutorials I found on PINTEREST was for transfering photos to wood.  
I thought it looked fairly simple and would give it a go.  
I used a small photo I had printed for a Christmas card and a small piece of firewood ( if it went to wrong I could burn all trace.  I got a bottle of Acrylic medium from Hobbycraft.  This morning I painted the wood  and pressed the photo unto it.
bit fuzzy but its a bit of paper on wood

When I got home from work I started to soak the paper off the wood with warm water and soap.

I don't think I have it quite right yet because some of the picture has rubbed off as you can see. After the picture had dried there seems to be a thin film of paper left. Maybe that is why the mod podge is important. 

I am quite pleased with my first go and will try again.


Sunday, 13 November 2011


Today I started to make the bag my niece said she would like for Christmas.  Her requests are:- a different colour to white because it would dirty ( she is right I have been using mine since the begining of August and even if you discount the teastains it is looking a bit grubby), A4 portrait not the landscape format that I have been using, and a picture of Bruce (my cat) - to start with she wanted him awake then changed her mind to asleep.

I am not convinced that she will find the portrait format as roomy as she thinks as a bag so I decided to make panels on the sides of the bag before putting the gusset in.  For the design both choices were possible - a sleeping cat dreaming of his waking moments.  Over the weekend I caught a snippet of the craft channel where they werer talking about inkjet tape.  A special cotton tape that you could put through an injet printer.  I tried doing this with the cotton tape that I had and even with my rather sulky printer it worked.  Now having used my JAYNE NETLEY MAYHEW COLLECTION CD-ROM I have several pieces of leopard print tape to edge the panels with. This opens up a whole world of possibilities to explore see link for Joanna Sheen stockist of the cd-rom.
The bag design again I worked out using SERIF DIGITAL SCRAPBOOK.  one of my pages.

The other tip (from PINTREST) that I want to follow up is tranfering a photo or picture to wood or canvas or plastic.  I just need to get some acrilic gel medium.  Hopefully I can get this in hobbycraft tomorrow evening.  It looks easy and effective.  Watch this space for the results.  I got some of those 8x8 wooden mirrors from Ikea while we were there which would be perfect for this technique.

My sister showed me some the things she has been working on to add to my Etsy shop - really different to things I have been doing.

Thursday, 10 November 2011


 If wishes were horses beggars would ride..............some wishes and thoughts some reasonable and some completely senseless.
This is a link to Lakeland Ltd and the set of measuring cups I got for making SNICKERDOODLES. I didn't really need them but they looked pretty and came with a set of measuring spoons (that I didn't need either).

 I have been told that the link to the biscuits hasn't worked so I will try again.
There are lots of other recipes that look worth trying as well - need more hours in the day. Having said that whlie I was mooching around the internet I thought of SALTED CARAMELS I have reied the ones from Hotel Chocolate and liked them and some of the recipes use them, it would be hard to get them in England so a recipe was needed.
I haven't tried this yet as I need corn syrup. That is now on my shopping list so I can have a go.

This is HEMISPHERE the largest sailing catamaran (currently) in the world.  It looks sort of like a juggernaut in a carpark of smart cars.  I am not quite sure what I think/feel about it.  The inside is beautiful, its kitchen is bigger than the one I have in my house, I am just not sure.  Still as this is probably as close as I will get to it I dont really need to worry.  I would love to spend some time on a luxury yatch one day - some of them are really things of beauty.  

My current dreamhouse - not the most impressive from the outside but it has 9 acres of land that includes woodland, part of the cliff and foreshore, a stream and a log cabin.  Less than a mile from Lyme Regis it has nearly everything I want.  Unfortuantly it has been sold, but who knows by the time I can afford it it could be back on the market.

A leaflet for BROTHER SEWING MACHINES fell  out of a magazine this week and although I am happy with the machine I have and even if money was no object the machine I would choose would be part of the BERNINA range.  But looking through it I kept thinking like it, like it and where could I put it, especially when I got to the embroidery machines.

I am getting more interest in the items I have for sale in my ETSY shop I still need to make that first breakthrough sale, fingers crossed. . I am having fun on ETSY now I have worked out how to get Treasury lists to work and how to start my own and join other peoples circles.

I am thinking that I would like to try doing BATIK.  Now I have started to make bags I think that batik would make for interesting designs.  I have never tried it before and I do like trying new crafts.  I may ask for some starter equipment for Christmas.

They went with songs to the battle, they were young
Straight of limb, true of eyes, steady and aglow.
They were staunch to the end against odds uncounted,
They fell with their faces to the foe.
They shall not grow old, as we who are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condem.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning,
We will remember them.


Monday, 7 November 2011

Making a start - Christmas cards begun

This evening I spent a couple of happy hours in front of a log fire making the first of my Christmas cards.  I did a few last week but they weren't for me .  Back in the summer I decided that it would be a good idea to make some Christmas cards and give them to in kent to sell in their shop using pictures of their animals.  Having opened my Etsy shop it occured to me that I could use my good deed as advertising by putting my logo on the backs of the cards.  I set myself a target of two dozen A6 cards for them.

Today I was making ones for friends and famuly.  In the past I have managed to get organising Christmas a bit muddled.  I will have all my presents wrapped but no cards made let alone written.  As some have to go overseas this is not sensible.  So this year I WILL BE ORGANISED - maybe. 

It is also the time of year when the card and papercraft magazines have their big competitions, every year I mean to enter and somehow miss the deadline. I like the challenge of producing things of a high enough standard to be considered.  There are some very talented people crafting.

Sunday, 6 November 2011

Christmas cake recipe

This is my first upcycled bangle.  Chunky bangles  are so popular at the moment I thought I would have a go at doing some.  It was great fun to make.  This is a soft drink bottle with wadding wrapped around it.  Then I chose a selection of ribbons and wound them round the padded ring.  Three flowers grouped together finish it.

It took a while to get the photos for my latest bag for my Etsy shop because of the drizzle that kept coming and going throughout the day.  In the end I was getting quite worried because the light was going.  Managed to get some in the end and here is a sample.                                   

CLASSIC BEAUTY - a 1967 Mercury Cougar.  Car of the year 1969, it is a thing of beauty.  I have kept this bag fairly simple because the car speaks for itself.

This was another busy busy day.  I put my labeled the  mincemeat that I bottled yesterday and put it away.

I made a batch of mixed fruit jam - some for us and some for Christmas presents.  Picked some more of my 'Blenheim Orange' apples, these are quite late maturing so now they are about perfect.  I ment to pick them all but after picking roughly ten pounds I decided to leave the rest till next weekend while I work out what to do with them all.

They are already in the mincemeat and the mixed fruit jam.  Maybe some mint jelly and some more apple cheese.

Naked Christmas Cakes

The Christmas cakes just before the sherry is added and they are wrapped up for a few weeks.  I love using my Grandmothers recipe for the Christmas cake, it feels right to use one that has been past down through the family.

1 kilo of mixed dried fruit
250g  dark brown sugar
250g butter
4 eggs
250g plain (all purpose) flour
pinch of salt
teaspoon mixed spice

Beat butter and sugar together until soft and fluffy
Add 2 eggs and beat in well, then add the other 2 eggs and beat well
Seive flour, spice and salt together
Add flour and fruit to mix alternatly
Turn into a prepared 9" round tin
Bake for 3 hours at gas reg 1 - 140degrees celcius   - 280 degrees farenheit


Today has been quite productive. I have got three Christmas cakes made, Got seven and a half 400gram jars of mincemeat maturing nicely and finished the bag with the picture of the '67 Mercury Cougar ready to  photograph and list on Etsy in the morning. Isorta dont want this one to sell because I want it - but I have felt this way about all of them its how I know if I have got it right.

Its lovely sitting here smelling the Christmas cake, I love Christmas. The baking, cardmaking, sweetmaking, making and buying presents, wraping presents (might get a bit fancier with that this year), making mulled wine, bringing out the tree ornaments that I have been collecting for over thirty years and trying to find a few new ones to add to the collection.

Tommorrow I am making mixed fruit jam.  I am going to use the Serif craft artist to design the labels.  We have friends coming rpund in the afternoon so another excuse to make Snickerdoodles.

Poor Bruce has not been enjoying the fireworks he spent some of the evening in the basement under a table.  He didnt used to be bothered by them until a couple of years ago.  There does not seem to have been that many this year - he hasnt sat sniffing the early evening air deciding if its safe to go out


Friday, 4 November 2011


I have been giving homemade cakes, sweets and preserves to friends and family for several years now.  Up till now I have been using packaging from Lakeland Ltd for sweets and saying I need the tin as I hand over Christmas cakes.  But while I was in Wilkinsons earlier this week I saw the potential of the plain red round tins they have on sale.  At only £3.00 for two tins they would make the perfect giftwrap (and if I get them back all the better though not important)
my tins but the red ones would work so well for Christmas

Perfect fit
I then remembered some little covered cardboard chest of drawers that I had got with a view to altering and hadn't touched.  A quick check showed they are the perfect size to hold jars of jam and chutney. So all I need to do is Christmasify them a bit.


As this idea of using tins as packaging really took hold it was quite a good thing that I went to Ikea yesterday.  For just over £5.00 they had sets of seven tins in various sizes.                            

so very pretty

These will be great for my truffles or biscuits.  This year I want to try making gingerbread shapes and possibly lebkuchen (my sister really likes these so it would be great if I find a recipe that she likes)

                                                                                                                                                                  I also got some of the 8x8"square mirrors in Ikea because they are so good to personalise and a very reasonable price.  I saw a link on Pintrest about transferring images onto wood and I want to give it a go.
The instructions for doing this are on YouTube  DIY wooden picture.

I have also just been given a couple of dozen jam jars which is great - my mincemeat can now be put into jars ready to mature and I have loads for mixed fruit jar and chilli jelly.!/DREAMTIMEMAKES

Wednesday, 2 November 2011


I know I have been goning on a lot about PINTEREST and I know mostly I am spending time there that could be better spent. BUT firstly there were all the recipes that I want to try , then there all the links to wonderful blogs, there was the amazing interest in my mincemeat recipe and now I have found alsorts of crafting tips and ideas.

So now I don't feel quite as bad about my addiction. 

Tuesday, 1 November 2011

New design.

Bruce doing one of the things he does best.  I think you have to be a cat to be totally relaxed.

A new idea for a bag design kinda threw itself at me on Sunday while I was stuck underneath the cat ( he refused to get off because he didnt like the strangers who were fitting a new front door). So with laptop by my side I layered seven different photos using SERIF DAISY TRAIL scrapbooking program.  I altered the transparency to give a misty other worldy look to it and so all the layers could be seen.  It took most of the morning but I am quite pleased with the end result.  I have tweeked the pictures with a bit of flower soft, stamping, paint, metallic rub and a few cogs and watch parts.  Just waiting for the glue to dry now so I can laminate it. I am going edge this one with some black lace round the top and braid ribbons into the handles.  I think it has a twilighty feel to it so thats its title.

I got the mincemeat made today.  It needs a bit of time to mature so has really to be done at the begining of november.  

Not all of it gets used in mince pies I have a lovely recipe for a traybake called MINCEMEAT SQUARES. 

The recipe I use is from THE GOOD HOUSEKEEPING COMPLETE BOOK OF HOME PRESERVING. It was published in 1981 but I noticed the other day my most used cookery books are the oldest.


500g Currants
500g  Sultanas
500g Raisins
250g Mixed peel
250g cooking apples - peeled, cored, and grated
100g Blanched almonds - chopped
500g Soft dark brown sugar
175g Shredded suet
1 level teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 level teaspoon ground cinnamon
grated rind of 1 lemon
grated rind of 1 orange
300ml Brandy

PLACE the dried fruit, peel, apples and almonds in a large bowl. Add the sugar, suet, spices, lemon and orange rind and juice and the brandy - mix all the ingredients together thoroughly.  Cover the mincemeat and leave to stand for two days.  Stir well and put into sterile jars, cover as for jam. 

ALLOW at least two weeks to mature before using.

makes about 2.75kg

This time I changed things slightly - I always use vegtable suet because so many of my friends are Vegetarian and its easier that way, I used flaked almonds and only about 80g of peel, I used 170g of glace cherries to make the weight up.

I think it tastes nice now but it gets better and better the longer it is left.

cookery book covers before being laminated
  The other thing I did today was to print the covers for the cookery books I am making for Christmas.