Wednesday, 31 October 2007

happy hallowe'en!

Whatever you're doing... have a great night!

Tuesday, 30 October 2007

stampy goodness

How's this for a first time attempt at creating a rubber stamp? My niece designed and carved it. I'm so proud of her! Isn't it great?! I think she's a natural.

A couple of people have asked how you go about making a rubber stamp. It's similar to making a lino print really. I've got a block of speedystamp that I use or you can use a normal eraser. Then using lino cutting tools or a craft knife you carve your design remembering that you carve away the bits you don't want to print and that your design will print as a mirror image. We used a Brilliance pigment ink pad from the local craft shop to make the print.

Monday, 29 October 2007


I picked some beads out that I thought my niece would like and made her some earrings. She wears lots of bright colours so I thought these would suit her. Not my usual style but I really enjoyed making them.

Thursday, 25 October 2007

crafty fun with salt dough

I've been having lots of fun with my niece over the last few days. Yesterday we made a big bowlful of salt dough and spent a few hours using it all up. We created wall hangings, mobiles and ornaments with the sun streaming through the window and the radio playing in the background. It was a lovely morning.

The recipe we used was:
2 mugs of flour
1 mug of salt
approx 12 fl oz lukewarm water

You mix the ingredients together adding just enough of the water to make a supple but not too sticky dough. Then you knead the mixture for 10 minutes.

To stick bits together we made a 'slip' with a bit of dough and some water.

We used skewers to make holes through which wire could be passed. We also used bits of wire with the ends curled into little loops and pushed into the dough to make hangers, and pieces of scrunched up tinfoil as armatures.

Then the whole lot goes into the oven at 150 degrees c for a few hours until it makes a ringing sound like pottery when tapped. When it's cool you can paint it (preferably with acrylic paint) and with a couple of coats of varnish it can last for many, many years.

**Edit** Nà , You can find a couple of photos of salt dough christmas decos I made here and here and here.

Thursday, 18 October 2007

vapour trails...

in the sky this morning. A crisp start to the day.

Wednesday, 17 October 2007

cornish dream

Can you see the little window behind the bed? The owner of this thatched cottage put it there to enable you to see the SECRET ROOM(!!!!) where centuries ago they would have hidden contraband and sometimes people. Downstairs there was a beautiful inglenook fireplace and on one side of it there was a hatch leading up to the room. I loved it! The whole place was beautiful. In Cadgwith Cove there is a fish cellar where we bought fresh brill and turbot and everyone is very friendly. The roads are very steep and narrow, most of the cottages are thatched. Fishermen still drag their boats down the shingle beach to fish for crab, mackerel, shark, mullet and lobster. There's folk music in the pub every Tuesday and on Friday's the fishermen sing songs. Such a lovely place. I'd like to go back in January to see the daffodil crops growing on the cliff tops.

Tuesday, 16 October 2007

a wedding to plan

Did I tell you I was getting married? Heehee! There's sooo much still to organise and there's about 8 months to go. I've been dress shopping about 3 times now and still haven't found 'the one' so my aim this month is to find my dream dress and also the bridesmaid's dresses.

The best part for me about planning the wedding is putting my mark on all the little details like the stationery and trying to add personal touches here and there. So I've been designing and carving little rubber stamps and trying to brush up on my calligraphy skills. We did a little bit of calligraphy at uni and I wish that I had appreciated it more at the time.

I was cleaning my work room yesterday and found some old tapes. Now I'm listening to hothouse flowers and prince's lovesexy and reminiscing about being 18. It's so good!

Friday, 12 October 2007

seasonal shades

Thought I'd share these earrings with you that I made for a friend's birthday. I couldn't help myself and made some for myself too. They're my favourites so far. I adore those beads, they have a lovely antique quality.

Wednesday, 10 October 2007

feeling autumnal

I just want to start by saying thanks to everyone for leaving supportive comments and emails after my last two posts. It helped me greatly and meant a lot so thank you!

Autumn is in full swing here now. Nà wrote a fantastic list a while ago and it was so inspiring I've been thinking about my own. Apologies if I repeat any (I'm purposefully not looking at it!)

Things I love about Autumn and why it's my second favourite season (after Spring):
  • leaves changing to beautiful shades of colours
  • warm, low sunlight casting long shadows
  • glowing reds, oranges, browns, golds, yellows and pinks
  • seeing our resident squirrel gracefully leap around, burying conkers in the garden, patting the grass and leaves down with it's tiny paws
  • wearing a jacket again
  • woodsmoke
  • comfort food
  • scarves
  • halloween
  • seeing birds back on the feeders and hearing them chattering away to each other (goldfinches, nuthatches, blackbirds, sparrows, robin, chaffinches, dunnocks, collared doves, blue tits, great tits, wrens and a woodpecker so far)
  • the feeling of wanting to buy new pens, pencils, notepads
  • bramley apples from my mum & dad's garden and the apple pie that will be made
  • latest series of 24 out on dvd (been glued to this for the last week!)
  • snuggling up on the sofa
  • trying to catch leaves as they flutter down to the ground (it's supposed to be good luck!)
  • misty mornings and seeing things in a whole new perspective
  • bonfires and fireworks on November 5th
  • butternut squash soup
  • the earthy woodland smell of leaves decaying
  • mushroom hunting
  • carving pumpkins
  • watching P run down the garden with a water sprayer after the squirrel when it tries to steal the bird food
  • the anticipation of the siskins arriving (I know, I'm a bird nerd!)
  • crisp mornings and warm afternoons
  • seeing your breath in the cool air
  • berries in the hedgerows
  • the feeling of change

Thursday, 4 October 2007

Gluten-free and lactose free baking mission

I was so excited when I opened the door of the oven after 20 minutes to see that my gluten-free banana muffins had risen that I actually said out loud to myself, 'Oh my god!! They've risen!!' Not only that but they don't taste any different to the ones I made a few months back with the wheat based flour. I was so pleased that I immediately took loads of photos. Well, after eating one that is.

So, it is my pleasure to give any other poor afflicted souls the recipe:


Makes 10
9 oz (250g) gluten free flour (I used Doves Farm)
1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 tsp zanthan gum (this replaces the gluten)
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
3 ripe bananas
1 egg
2&1/2 oz (70g) soft brown sugar
2 fl oz (50ml) vegetable oil
1 oz (30g) raisins

1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F / 190 degree C / Gas 5. Line 10 deep muffin tins with paper cases.

2. Mash the bananas with a fork.

3. Beat in the eggs, sugar and oil.

4. Sift in the flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, zanthan gum, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg. Mix until blended then stir in the raisins.

5. Fill the cases about 3/4 full.

6. Bake until risen(!) and golden. 20 - 25 minutes should do it. Transfer to a rack to cool if you can bear not to try one first!

I'm finding the challenge to be fun now and the dread of asking about gluten and lactose free food in restaurants was completely unfounded. The couple of times we've eaten out I've been treated like a VIP.

At Couch's Restaurant in Polperro (yep, we've been to Cornwall again) Richard the chef made me something completely different that wasn't on the menu. He'd got some monkfish in and he made a lovely herby sauce to go with it especially for me! P was very jealous!!