Thursday, 28 April 2011

Royal Wedding Cupcakes!

The countdown begins, tomorrow is one of the biggest celebrations our country has had for as long as I can remember! When I was 11 I had the biggest crush on Prince William, I cut his picture out of the papers and used to think that if we went to the same university then I could marry him!!!! This was all back before he became really good looking and popular!
So it was with a heavy heart that we went to seperate universities, and Gods plan was not for us to marry (He had someone far better instore for me though!!!!lol!).
I'm no royalist, but I have no issue with the royals at all, I guess I'm pretty passive about them. I'm actually a little suprised with how much I'm looking forward to the wedding. We're having a very small British tea party, with dainty sandwiches and cakes and scones. I've made red,white and blue cupcakes to really stick to the theme!!!

I started by making a standard 4-4-4-2 sponge cake mix (4oz butter,sugar,flour and 2 eggs), seperating out 1/3 of the mixture into 3 seperate bowls, and then using food colouring paste (its stronger than liquid food colouring) I coloured them.

I spooned a teaspoon of each colour into the cake cases. Plain in the centre, and red and blue on either side. You could also do it in layers (blue,plain, red etc).
20mins at 180degrees and heres how they turned out! The colours aren't as vivid as I had wanted, but its quite difficult to get strong colours into a cake.

Next was the turn of the frosting. I adapted the Hummingbird bakery recipe I saw for chocolate frosting by just removing the cocoa! So it was 300g icing sugar, 100g butter and 3 tbsp milk.
I couldn't decide whether to make it just bright white, or try to swirl through some red and blue. Eventually I decided to go the whole hog and try it! I dotted some spots of the colour paste into the white frosting before putting it in the icing bag.

I think maybe I put too much colour in, but it looks good!
I finally added some little silver balls to finish them off!
I have resisted the temptation to eat one, as I need to save them for the big day!
Enjoy your own Royal wedding celebrations!!

Sunday, 24 April 2011

He is Risen!

The Resurrection
Mark 16
 1 When the Sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices so that they might go to anoint Jesus' body.
    2 Very early on the first day of the week, just after sunrise, they were on their way to the tomb
    3 and they asked each other, Who will roll the stone away from the entrance of the tomb?
    4 But when they looked up, they saw that the stone, which was very large, had been rolled away.
    5 As they entered the tomb, they saw a young man dressed in a white robe sitting on the right side, and they were alarmed.
    6 Don't be alarmed, he said. You are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who was crucified. He has risen! He is not here. See the place where they laid him.

As a Christian Easter is one of the most significant, if not the most significant part of the year. Without Christs death on the cross there would be no forgiveness for sin. Without his resurrection there would be no hope of heaven, as death would not have been conquered. But we can be thankful that these are both true, and that for those who trust in his death and resurrection we too can have victory over sin and death.

As our little Monkey is starting to understand things a little now he's nearly two I wanted to start some fun and relevant easter traditions. I recently read on a blog about the tradition of Resurrection buns. I was totally intrigued, and so had to read about it! The recipe is very easy to do, and has lots of things you can talk about from the recipe.

This is the basic recipe:
1 can of croissant pastry (chilled section in supermarket)
100g butter - melted
100g sugar
3 tbp cinnamon
white marshmallows (normal size)

You take a marshmallow, coat it in the melted butter, then cover in a mixture of sugar and cinnamon. You then place this in the centre of the croissant triangle, and carefully fold up the edges to completely cover the marshmallows without any gaps. The creased part will be the bottom of the bun.
You then dip the top into the butter and then again into the sugar and cinnamon mix. This then goes into a muffin tin, remember to put the folded side down.
10-12 minutes in a 200 celcius oven and they should be done.

The meaning is this:
The marshmallow is Jesus - white and pure
The butter, cinnamon and sugar  are to anoint  his body
When you cut into the finished bun it is empty, the marshmallow has 'disappeared', and this is the empty tomb after Jesus was resurrected.

I have to say they were very tasty too, and something we will definately be making again as a tradition!

I hope you have all had a blessed easter, and may know the victory of Christ personally.

Saturday, 23 April 2011

Quick Easter gift!

Well my little boy goes to nursery, and he has a key worker who is his main carer (although there are about 7/8 nursery nurses in his area). I like to make her something for Christmas/easter/birthday etc and was racking my brain for something a little different. I'm always inspired by Helen over at Its all fiddle fart for making little treat bags, and I'd already made her one for her birthday with fun kiddie sweets, so I thought I'd make a nice grab bag with some chocolate truffles in. I bought a box of Asda (walmart) chocolate truffles to use, and you get about 12 in the box, so its good value at £1.
I used my nestabilities circles to cut a nice green disc for the bottom of the gift, then placed it in the centre of some wrapping plastic. I scrunched up the sides around the chocolates and used an elastic band to secure before tieing with ribbon. I made a little tag using labels 1 nestabilities in 3 consecutive sizes. I had a sheet of easter peel offs to hand, and used one as a mask while I sponged with some distress inks. I chose the one which is like an egg with a cross in it. I think this masking looked better than the metalic peel off did. I then layered it all up, punched the corner and threaded onto the ribbon. My little mans key worker was really pleased with it, and so was I. I'll definately do something similar again!

Thursday, 21 April 2011

Waltzingmouse sketch challenge #43

Good evening, I thought I'd share a little card I made yesterday. Its a real quickie, as I only had 20 minutes max between all the many things I had to do. It was my last opportunity to take part in this weeks challenge, as I'm away from my craft room for a full week.
Anyway, in keeping with this weeks sketch over at waltzingmouse I made a simple sentiment with little embellishments.

I used a little Label 4 nestability for my sentiment, then used my teeny trees stamps to create some leaves. I stamped the small raindrop shape in pale green, then used the tree trunk stamp in a darker green to create the leaf veins. This picture isn't great, but it shows them before I cut them out.
I then stamped a Banana Frog sentiment onto the nestie, and gently sponged the edge with some distress inks tea dye. The top of the 5" white card was embossed with my new favourite folder, swiss dots. A nice brown ribbon, and some glue and I was done double quick!
Hope you like it!

Sunday, 17 April 2011

Waltzingmouse Easter Blog waltz

Well I'm so please to be taking part in this months blog waltz, because Easter is an incredibly important time of year for me as a Christian, its pivotal to my faith that Christ was crucified and then rose again victorious!

So I scratched my head to figure out how I could incorporate my waltzingmouse stamps into an easter card!
My idea was to use the tree stamps from Teeny trees to create a tomb scene from when Jesus has risen and the stone has been rolled away.

Here's how I did it!

I started by stamping the large oval stamp in pale yellow and warm orange. I masked the bottom half of the oval to make it look like a tomb. I then stamped the small random tree shape in a dark brown to look like the stone was rolled away. Again I masked the bottom to create the ground. I had stamped these shapes onto post it notes and cut out so I could then use them to mask for the inside of the tomb. In black ink I stamped the same random tree shape using the mask. Once I'd done this I added some trees, and then using the main oval mask I sponged the sky using cracked sapphire distress ink, and the bottom using forest moss distress ink.

This shows the masks I cut out to help me stamp my scene.

I then used my cuttlebug and nestabilities circles to cut my scene out, and then layered it onto some sage coloured suede effect  paper, also cut out with a circle die.
I cracked open my brand new Swiss dots embossing folder which I have been wanting for months, and was very kindly bought this week by my dearest Honey! Its just as AMAZING as I had hoped!
I only embossed the top part of the card (5 1/2" white card) onto which I had already printed the phrase "He is risen!" via my computer.
Inside I have also printed 'Jesus said, "I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies;and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. " John 11v25-26'

A quick ribbon knot and some glue and that was it!
I am really pleased with the way it turned out, especially the ingenious use of the teeny trees stamps to create the scene!-even if I do say so myself!!!!!
I hope you like my card, and have a blessed easter, reflecting on Christs sacrifice for us.

Saturday, 16 April 2011

Lila Bug card with Sanderson papers

 Good morning! Today I have a card that I'm really proud of, as its outside of my comfort zone! Firstly it has a figure for an image, and secondly its not greens/naturals! (well a little green snuck in!!)
Last week my lovely friend Kirsty came over for a crafty colouring in night. She brought with her some of her new stamps for me to have a play with, and first up was Lila Bug.

I love the retro style of the bugs. My first thought was to paper piece her dress, so went through my scrap patterned paper and found this lovely green patterned Basic Grey paper. I stamped her onto the paper and just cut out the dress. I also stamped her wings on some centura pearl card which gives them a lovely sheen - you can see it better below. I had a little Promarker tutorial, as Kirsty is amazing with them, and has loads of colours which I don't, and I'm really pleased with the way her face and hair turned out. (My camera isn't great, so you possibly can't see the shading)

As we mainly focused on colouring on the night I left making this card for another time, and in retrospect would possibly have chosen my background papers first! But thankfully I had something which I thought would work. I have a few Sanderson wallpaper postcards, and also some samples of the actual wallpaper (my dad has a wallpaper company, so sometimes he gets sent this stuff) and I just love this pattern (infact I'm sure I've seen this pattern in John Lewis as a gift wrap!), its called Dandelion Clocks. The postcard is a much smaller version of the pattern, but I used a section of one of the full size wallpaper dandelions to create the lined strip behind Lila, and layered it onto some cool tight stripe orange paper.

Lastly I added some ribbon in black and orange, and then a small sentiment, with a scalloped circle in orange behind, cut on my cuttlebug. I finally just gently distressed the sentiment and scalloped circle with some distress inks.

If you like the look of Lila, here are the other bugs you can buy as digis or polymer stamps, and are available here.

Friday, 8 April 2011

Easter cards and baking night

So last night I decided (on the last minute!) that I wanted to make Easter cards for my colleagues. At Christmas we got 3 snow days for the last days of term, so I never got round to even writing Christmas cards for the people I work with! As I actually feel Easter is a more important celebration for me, so I decided that I should use the opportunity to make some cards. The end of term has kind of crept up on me, and although I am in next week doing some revision classes, I won't see the majority of people. So last night, at 8pm, I set about making 15 cards...oh and baking some easter treats too. I really am crazy sometimes!

I spent half the evening bouncing up and down the stairs from my craft room to the kitchen baking my 'best chocolate cupcakes'.

I decided to try and keep the card relatively simple, and wanted a clear Christian message, not bunnies and chicks. I chose to print off the sentiment (Forgiven) and inside verse ("Christ bore our sins in His body on the cross." 1 Peter 2 v 24) as I didn't have any suitable stamps.

I used my trusted Labels 1 die to cut the frames, and improvised with a Waltzingmouse stamp which is actually a branch from Teeny trees, to make the cross. I suppose this could have been hand drawn, but at one stage I was considering embossing it in black. I used forest moss and tea dye distress inks to add some colour, and then inked around the edges of the frame with some more forest moss.

The cupcakes I made last week for the school fair were good, but I still wasn't 100% sure about the frosting I had improvised. So yesterday whilst in Hobbycraft I was perusing the cake books and looking for inspiration. I read the Martha Stewart recipe, but it was too complicated to memorise, so I stuck with the Hummingbird bakery version, which I could easily remember! (300g icing sugar, 100g butter, 40g cocoa, 3 tbp milk)
I must say it was 10x better for piping, and really tasty. I topped them with Asda's tiny little easter eggs.

This is a picture of some of the extra ones I kept at home for Monkey and Honey.
I had some great comments today, and I really do think this may be the best chocolate cupcake recipe, and now with this new buttercream its on a new level! Even I liked it and was tempted to eat a second one (although I love baking, I'm actually a savoury person!).
Well after a busy night yesterday, I'm having a nice relax tonight. Hope you are too!

A quick birthday card

So it was my collegues birthday last week, and as it was a special one I wanted to make a card with her age on it.
After making my Aunts 60th Birthday card recently I decided to follow a similar style - hand cut numbers then embossed and sponged. I printed off the outline of the numbers on the computer and then embossed in my bug with Divine swirls. I used tea dye and cracked sapphire distress inks,  matched the colours of the papers I'd chosen. I layered it onto some nesties labels 1 that I had in my scrap box and then used some scrap patterned papers to make the background. A little ribbon finished it off, and I then layered it onto some black paper to finish!
Quite quick and easy when you've decided on the elements. I love the look of the embossed numbers, and am sure this won't be the last time I do it!

Monday, 4 April 2011

I won a blog award!

Ok, so I won a Liebster Blog award from the lovely Rachel at Prescription: Craft Often. Thank you so much Rachel for the honour!

This is a great way to share blogs that may not be getting recognized (although I picked a variety!). Here's what the Liebster award is all about:

The rules to this award are:
1. thank the giver on your blog
2. link back to the blogger who gave you the award
3. copy and paste the award on your blog
4. Give the award to 5 other blogs.
5. let them know you chose them by leaving them a comment

I'm excited to pass this on to 5 blogs that I find lots of inspiration from!
In no particular order they are:
1. - a great site for recycling inspiration
2. - I am inspired by Karins stamping
3. - I love Kellys stamping style
4. - A fellow crafty mathematician
5. - Some heartlifting scripture done beautifully

Sunday, 3 April 2011

Happy Mothers Day

Well today in the UK it is Mothers day, a day to treat your mum and let her know how special she is. I'm very blessed to be a mum myself and was treated to a lovely cooked breakfast, had my lunch cooked for me, and then dinner too - although my Honey takes credit for that, as Monkey isn't old enough to cook yet!. I also got an amazing homemade gift, which they made when I was away last weekend. I was so suprised, but its amazing!I'm going to put it up on my craft room wall, I'm so proud!
Its done with finger paint, and the pictures from left to right are:
Me and Monkey when he was 4 months old
Monkey when he was 12 months old
Monkey with my mum when he was 12 months.

Below is another picture of Monkey with my mum on the weekend of his 1st Birthday. This was taken a couple of months before she died from Cancer.
Today has been quite strange, as we would have always spent the day together on Mothers day. I also felt pretty guilty, as last year I didn't get round to making her a card, and bought one instead and she was really disappointed. I made one for her birthday a little later in the year which was really nice, but all this was before she was diagnosed. No one could have guessed she would be taken so quickly, just 2 months after being diagnosed. It really makes you think about the people you love, and making sure you let them know how loved and appreciated they are before its too late.
At least I know that we'll see each other again one day in Glory.

School Bazaar Cakes!

Well yesterday - Saturday was our school fundraising bazaar. On friday I baked cakes to sell in the staffroom to raise money from the staff. It was a veritable feast, Parnsip and Maple syrup (the handsdown favourite), Coconut sponge, Cappucino loaf, Carrot and walnut,  and Cherry and Almond cake.
 Cappuccino Cake
Coconut sponge with jam and buttercream.
A couple of friends baked too, a lemon drizzle and a chocolate cake. We sold them for £1 a slice and made £99! Not bad!
Then yesterday we had a home made cakes stall at the actual bazaar for the parents and general public. I made my 'Best chocolate cupcakes ever' 
and also some lemon meringue cupcakes - Lemon sponge, lemon curd, then meringue icing on top!.
The meringue icing is amazing, so glossy and very scrummy, if you'd like the recipe its here. It pipes really well too. I had a little left over and used it on the chocolate ones which looked nice!
Here they are in my amazing new cupcake carrier which I bought from Costco on thursday. I saw it and it was like a Eureka moment, and I knew I had to have one! It is a cupcake tin on the bottom, the the double layer for displaying, and the lid for carrying.
Here it is with the top on.
It was quite a strange experience at the actual Bazaar - bizarre bazaar!- because other people had baked cupcakes and put loads of effort into the decoration - silver balls, sprinkles, edible glitter etc - but I'm a plain and simple girl, for me its all about taste! As a result no body wanted to buy mine!!!lol!!!
It was quite humbling actually, to go from almost cult baking status in the staffroom, to being a nobody and noone wanting to buy my cakes! Anyway, when all the pretty ones had gone mine finally sold!
I haven't heard the total raised yet, but its all good! 

 Hope I've inspired you to bake today!