Monday, 31 December 2012

Super quick post!

Just to say a very Happy New Year to my followers and anybody else who I am grateful to for stopping by. Hope more followers will join next year. Hip hip hooray!!! xx

Saturday, 29 December 2012

Crimbo Limbo!!!

Well we are now in that strange time during the festive season - after Christmas but not New Year yet. 
My oldest boy just asked me if it was still Christmas Week so I said not really as we are now in the run up to New Year. He went on to ask what we do on New Year's Eve so I explained we look back at the year gone by and look forward to the things we hope to do in the next one. 

I love the feeling of New Year when you can start all over again and try new things.

This year I think I will be doing the same as a lot of people ie. trying to lose a bit of weight! But on a lighter note, excuse the pun! I am really looking forward to getting back to crafting and maybe trying new things. The sewing machine that I look at every time I am crafting needs to be made use of and I made a start at a crochet project and have a fairly good grasp of the basics but need to find time to concentrate on that, too.

I feel my paper crafting has really come on this last year so I look forward to trying new techniques with that. I received some lovely new stamps for Christmas so look forward to creating some pretty things with those.

Well, that is all just for now - thought I would catch up but I will be back in the New Year with more so, Keeeeeeep Creating and Baking!!!! xxx

Tuesday, 11 December 2012

Christmas Craft Festival Fun!!

Well, I had great fun seeing everybody at the Saddleworth Creative Network Christmas Craft Festival yesterday.

Here is my table for the day!

I had as much fun dressing the table as anything on the day!

Back to getting the house and everything ready for Christmas now, although have one journal to make by the end of next week, a couple of cakes and other foody sundries to send to my sister plus putting together teacher presents! Because I had some stock left after the festival it means I can make up gifts with those things! 

I am looking forward to making our mince pies, yummy homemade mincemeat, too, and so I have a lot to do but it is nice stuff.

The boys start with their school Christmas productions from today, which is very exciting, I have a couple of nights out this week and we have booked panto tickets in Manchester and a Christmas show at The Lowry. Phew!

So, there will be a couple of posts, maybe, before the big day but lots to do so will definitely be back in the New Year. Hope to catch up before then, though.xx 

Saturday, 8 December 2012

Quick post as sooooo busy!!

This is a very quick hi there and hello. I have been busy since about 7.15am doing what I love best, creating and baking here at craft and cook central!!! I have been making the last cakes, bites and nibbles, including marshmallow snowballs and some yummy oatmeal biscuits, plus labelling all my lemon curd. I have baskets everywhere for putting in the car in a little while - with the weather so cold they will keep very well over night!!

Will check in and let you know how tomorrow goes.xx

Friday, 7 December 2012

My guest blog post!

Just thought I would re-post my guest spot on the lovely just in case you didn't see it.xx

My Very Own Tags of Christmas

Guest blog post by Louise Houghton

Ramblings of a non-blonde blonde. Much more fun than dust busting!

I was inspired by the god of grunge himself, Tim Holtz, quite early into my crafting obsession,sorry, hobby and I love giving the old and shabby look to a lot of the things I create.

I have recently posted on my Facebook page all the journals and note books I have made for people; here you will see the range of techniques I use to give that vintage look along with other ideas of texture plus embellishments - let me know what you think by posting a comment. You can also find me on Twitter at @cardscakesbakes.

I am busy making and creating for the Christmas Craft Event in December I will be taking part in, eeeek - very excited already and here are some of My Very Own Tags of Christmas that will be on my table.

My Very Own Tags of Christmas

Tags of Christmas made from post cards and luggage tags using anything from Tunnocks teacake wrappers, Tim Holtz bingo stamp and die cuts from My Minds Eye, Echo Park and home made candy cane toppers

I am very excited to be already getting ready for the festive season. Preparations begin in earnest as soon as I get my copy of Country Living for inspiration and ideas! Some of you will have seen my Christmas Countdown banner I have made for my two boys, and December 1st cannot come quick enough for us to be able to pin it up on the mantle!

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

I'm back - just about!!

Hi!! Sorry for the absence but I have had my mum staying with me for the last few days so not much time for blogging. Whilst here she bought me a very fine new oil cloth cover for my kitchen table, retro kitsch to the max!

I am getting very excited about the coming festive season as we have got most of the boys' presents organised and we get the tree on Saturday. Eeeeek! 

I have been busy doing things in the kitchen, though. I am really getting into prep, making sure my freezer and Christmas cupboard are getting stocked with yummy things!

As you can see, the Gluhwein has already been started on, put in the mincemeat mix for my pies! The Amaretti biscuits I only bought because they are red and white and the basis of most of my Christmas decs are these colours.

Don't normally fall for stuff like this but couldn't resist the Christmas kitchen roll!
Over the last week or so I have managed to make another 10 jars of lemon curd, a pound and a bit or mincemeat ready for the mince pies, the cranberry and orange relish, two lots of savoury pastry to put in the freezer, a lovely bacon-wrapped sausage "cake" and today a very tasty pork, pistachio and cranberry pie ready for Boxing Day tea. Oh, and this is the first hamper of the season I have made and delivered.

Spiced fruit loaf, 2-cheese biscuits, fallen apple chutney, lemon curd and a mini Christmas pudding, made, fed with booze and ready for that final steam on Christmas day!
Well, hope to be back in a few days to let you know how I am getting on for the Saddleworth Creative Network Christmas Craft Festival. 

It is just a week on Saturday until the big day so her is just another reminder of the details.

  Hope to see you there on December 9.xx

Monday, 19 November 2012

Comments, hmmmm!

Comments are showing, just not any previous ones in the side bar so phew! 

Hope to see some shortly!x

Still no comments!!!

If any of you are stopping by after me being guest blogger on Teresa Crafts blog, then  I can only apologise for the comments gadget not working. 

I would love to be getting some comments from people, especially today. If you are on Twitter, then maybe you can tweet about my blog instead. I would really appreciate it sooo much!!! or visit my Facebook page at Cards, Cakes and Bakes.


Sunday, 18 November 2012

Crafting and Christmas!

Well, today I have been feeding the Christmas cakes and puddings and they are already smelling delicious! 

I have been getting a few more things started and finished ready for the Christmas Craft Festival I have previously mentioned I will be taking part in on December 9.

Here is one of my covered diaries and a small hanging decoration I just added the ribbon to.

A6 sized diary and selling for £3.50.

Apologies for the sewing machine and lamp in the background!
 That is all just for now but hope more of you will be stopping by at Creating and Baking in the future! xx

Missing comments!

Very miffed as all my comments have disappeared, just as I might be a guest blogger on somebody elses blog. Very unhappy and cannot seem to reload the gadget. Harumph!!

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

Get me, guest blogger - possibly!

I thought I would let you know something very exciting might be happening. I have put myself forward to be a guest blogger on Teresa Crafts. How exciting could that be? 

I am waiting to hear for definite if my post is to be included; they said because it is a Christmas-themed post that they could put it up quite soon!!

If I get definite confirmation they will promote my blog on places like Twitter and Facebook and if I get a good response from people reading it I may get asked again.

It is a crafting blog, obviously, so no chance of posting my baking projects but that will spur me on I guess.

Talking of baking I made my Christmas pud yesterday using Jamie Oliver's Nan's recipe and it came out just beautifully. Steamed for exactly three hours in a 1.5 litre pudding basin with a really easy recipe. I had enough mixture to make a tiny pudding so hope to put that in the hamper for the school Fayre at the end of the month. Yum! They are now packed away waiting to be fed on Sunday with a little tipple of something special along with the Christmas cakes. 

I am hoping to get a batch of lemon curd made today, mainly for the Saddleworth Creative Network Christmas Craft Festival next month as I hope to be able to put together baskets of goodies on the day for people to take away. Some will, of course, be for presents and orders people have placed plus any more I hopefully get!

I tidied out the corner cupboard in the kitchen yesterday ready to receive my homemade goodies and already it is looking very tempting!!

Catch ya later and thanks for stopping by.xx

Friday, 9 November 2012

Festive foody treats!

Are you having a Christmas get together for coffee and mince pies with friends around the festive period? 
Why not order one of my cranberry, orange and pecan loaf cakes or perhaps a spiced fruit loaf as a delicious addition to your festivities for £3.95 each? 

Along with individual seasonal cakes I am offering foody gift baskets starting at £15.00. These would include one of the delicious seasonal flavoured cakes, as before, a jar of fallen apple chutney, a jar of my luscious lemon curd and a packet of two-cheese OR water biscuits, a perfect accompaniment to the chutney.

Orders are now being taken so email me, message me on Facebook or come and see me
at Uppermill Civic Hall on December 9th for the fantastic Saddleworth Creative Network Christmas Craft Festival.

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Santa Claus is coming to town! 

Not yet, but soon!!

After I dropped the boys at school this morning I headed out to the RSPCA shop to drop off a few items that were no longer needed. Hubby has been building new shelving down to the cellar so this was a great opportunity to have a tidy out in the run up to Christmas, ooops there's that word again! I had also put out some craft materials to take to the Pre-school and Reception classes and there were library books to take back. I just had time to pick up a book to help with my new hobby of crochetting and all before my WW meeting; please don't ask!

At the weekend I made the Christmas cake and it is now languishing in the cupboard having been given its first drink of rum - yum - and I have bought all the bits to make the Christmas pudding!

We managed to fit in some fireworks last night after the boys had hot dogs and corn on the cob for tea.

The calendar on my kitchen wall is really filling up; I use the wonderful Sandra Boynton's Family Calendar. What with dates now out for parent evenings, school Christmas Fayre, class plays and carol concerts there is hardly a space. I have to say I am absolutely loving thinking about the festive season and I am only just holding back from posting Christmas images on here, but only for a little longer!

I am also getting on well with my plans, do's and makes for the fantastic Saddleworth Creative Network Christmas Craft Festival - I will not be apologising for advertising this very frequently from now on!! In fact,

there you go!

I am still working on the recipes for my baking challenge but Christmas can be soooo distracting!

Saturday, 3 November 2012

My own little Halloween Horrors - bless!

The boys have loved dressing up, Alfie makes the cutest vampire and they had their usual Halloween tea that I make for them.
Mouldy pumpkins..
and mummy face pizzas and pepper filled with pink worms!
I have loved decorating,

Very pleased with the banner I made.

However it is a bit strange that we have already been to our bonfire and firework display, good that it was done during the boys half term, though. We went on Thursday and it was just fantastic! My niece was here to stay so it was really great that she could come with us, too, as she is feeling a bit down after losing her job. The boys really cheered her up when they were playing together so everybody benefited!

Other things, Harry has a little outside activity with Beavers this Tuesday so need to make sure he is wrapped up warm for that as the weather is definitely turning wintery, and Alfie will be starting his swimming lessons in a couple of weeks, now his cast has been off for the correct time and they can fit him in - he is really looking forward to that!

So, this weekend is all about getting the boys' things ready for school as they go back on Monday and there are lots of things on the calendar in the run up to Christmas. When they are back I will be able to get on and do some more things for the Christmas Craft Event in December. 

Catch ya later!

Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Baking challenge recipes on Foody Fun

Check out my Foody Fun page for the first of my two Baking Challenge recipes. Yum yum!


Monday, 29 October 2012

Halloween and Half Term!!

Well today I made a pumpkin pie for the first time. Alfie has been busy colouring Halloween pictures today and they are both looking forward to the tradition we have of them Trick or Treating the Gramps next door and shooting them with a water soaker when they ask for a Trick - pictures will follow of this year's costumes!

They boys really wanted me to make the pie and some soup - I still have the latter to do! The pie however tastes a little like an egg custard with cinnamon but I like and hope they do, too.

Thursday, 25 October 2012

Catch up after the baking challenge!

Well, after the mad baking challenge last week I have had a bit of a rest. The weather at the moment is a bit changeable; some rain but not too cold.

I have still not managed to get to the crochet group so I think I am going to buy some felt and make blanket-stitched bags instead for Christmas gifts - it will be nice for the teacher presents at the end of term.

Whilst doing a bit of surfing and looking for generally nice things I have found this lovely blog,  Found Now Home. The treasures she finds at flea markets are wonderful and her home decor ideas are fabulous!

I am busy making my Countdown to Christmas project and really enjoying it. Can't wait to share when finished.

Must go now and do a bit more. Catch you later.xx

Saturday, 20 October 2012

Day five - hmmmm!

Well, I managed to find a no-bake recipe for yesterday so I didn't let my beloved followers down! 

Here is the evidence that I made an effort but it has to be said it isn't the best of the week by any stretch of the imagination!
These are listed in my baking bible as Auntie Ruth's Lemon Slice and they contain cornflakes, butter and sugar with a topping of condensed milk, egg yolk plus lemon juice and zest.

I don't expect to get the recipes on Foody Fun until Monday or Tuesday but rest assured they will be there soon.

I need to say that my baking challenge has now come to an end as there has been no time today to bake so far this weekend. However, I am really chuffed with what I have achieved and hope you have enjoyed seeing what I have come up with each day.

Baking aside for a moment, the potatoes I planted in time for Christmas are coming along quite nicely but I do need some more compost to keep them going.

Look see...

and another planting project has come up, regarding which I thought I had missed my window of opportunity because I was  a tad late in planting! However, here are the Brodiaea Queen Fabiola I planted at the beginning of June. (I should point out that the seed packet described them at "stunning summer bulbs"! so I think I haven't done too bad!)

 Right, I have Strictly on record so I need to go and catch up so I'll catch you later, too. xx

Friday, 19 October 2012

Yay - Day four!

Well, the plan to make day four a savoury option was put paid to by my husband requesting I make a Bakewell Tart. I have planned on making one of these but never actually got round to it so was really pleased to give it a go.

Here is the finished result.

I looked in various books for a recipe and eventually settled on one from the fabulous book Baking Made Easy by Lorraine Pascale. She really does make things simple and the pastry recipe was made with fresh vanilla and lemon zest - yummy! 

My husband said it was delicious, which is good enough for me, and  being a trained chef he tends to know what he is talking about.

I feel I should point out that I may have to play catch up tomorrow because I am out at a wedding this afternoon and don't think I will have time to do todays challenge, unless I can find a no bake option. I'll see what I can do! 

Catch you later.xx

Thursday, 18 October 2012

Asking a favour!

All you lovely people, thank you for visiting my little blog recently. 

I just wanted to ask if, when you do stop by, you could leave a comment? I have not been doing this very long and need all the support I can get. I am constantly trying to improve the look and content of my blog and your comments would be really valuable.

Thanks! See you soon.xx

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Baking challenge day three. (Was not sure I would get this far!)

Well here we are at day three. Today I have baked a lemon and poppy seed (I love poppy seeds) tray bake with a zingy lemon sugar topping.  

This contains the usual cakey ingredients but when it cooled it was so light and airy that I was so pleased with the outcome - maybe not quite so many calories in this one. 

Again, my husband was very complimentary but I have decided to go savoury for tomorrows challenge as I am getting complaints about his waistline!

I should also point out that I am going to try harder with my photos. They seem not to be as good as they could because I take them at night but I don't like to use a flash. Must work on that.

Well, see you on day four. xx

Tuesday, 16 October 2012

Baking challenge day two.

Well, I have managed  day two - phew! Never-before baked recipe for today is 
Hodge Podge.

This is a lovely cake containing dried fruit and cherries, some almonds and nutmeg. It is a tray bake and the husband has already tested and said very nice.

Next to try it on the boys. As before, I will post the full recipe on  Foody Fun by the end of the week.It is really nice to set some challenges, just to see if you can stretch yourself- however this being the day I have committed to lose 10lbs at Weight Watchers by the end of next month is probably not the best week to begin this kind of goal. Hey ho, now I have broadcast this to a certain number of people both projects will hopefully be things I can achieve!

Catch you tomorrow with day 3.xx

Monday, 15 October 2012

Baking Challenge Day One!

Today sees the beginning of National Baking Week. In celebration of this I have set myself a challenge and I am attempting to bake something every day I have not baked before.

Day One: Apple muffins.

The recipe included shredded apple and juice, brown sugar, buttermilk and honey along with wholemeal flower - I like to sprinkle some of the flour on top before I pop them in the oven. Hope to put the whole recipe and method on Foody Fun by the end of the week along with the other things I will be baking. Wish me luck.x

Catch up Monday!

Finally, I have done something about learning to crochet! I contacted - Woolyknit Crafts to find out if they do classes. Think I'll go along this Wednesday afternoon for an hour; it normally runs 2 - 5pm so will need to pick to boys up but it is a start and I'm quite excited so I'll let you know how I get on!

On my trip to the library recently, getting the boys books back, I finally had chance to have a mooch around on my own! Picked up a couple of crafty publications for some ideas for Christmas - starting to make a few lists, now I have my planner finished!

My Facebook page has been going great guns recently - more than 10 new likes over the last week or so; just wish they would ORDER something - so many people like what I do it is such a shame I cannot convert it into sales!

I currently have a sale on my Facebook page - greeting cards so why not take a look?

My Pinterest account has been attracting a lot of re-pins which is fun - see what goodies I have been looking at lately on my account.

Well, that is about it for now. xx

Tuesday, 9 October 2012

My first step-by-step guide to a thing!!


Eeeeek I have been working on this for the last couple of days and here is my step by step guide to making your own banner for Halloween. I would really appreciate your comments.

So, here it is Halloween Banner 2012.

Choose some typically coloured Halloween funky foam. Mine came from The Range.

Mark out templates according to the size you want for your banner. The bases of mine are approx. 10 cms and remember you may need a couple for spacers.

Cut our your templates and decide on the colour sequence and keep to one side.

I then used a Tim Holtz ticket and photocopied this onto craft paper and cut out, see below.

Then, I free-hand drew the letters for trick or treat onto old sheet music and cut out...

Use fairly strong glue to stick the tickets to the flags.
String together the flags with something like garden twine.

And there it is.
Hope you found this easy to follow and that you might have a go at making your own.

Back soon. xx

Wednesday, 3 October 2012

Christmas Planner

Christmas Planner Complete!!

Finally my Christmas planner is finished!

I'm really pleased with it but may add a few extra bits to it , should I find some cool papers to decorate the remaining pages.

If you remember, this is the front cover but I have modified it a little. 
Take a look at the whole thing.

Planning for Christmas 2012 here we come! 
Hope this link works as I'd really like you to see it and there are 16 photographs!

 I so love decorating for Christmas but have to get past Halloween yet!

Right leaving it at that. Back soon.x

Monday, 1 October 2012

Normal family life - as normal as it can be!

I am so glad to be back after not being around due to Alfie's leg, however the cast is off! 

Friday was the last day for me to be in school with him; the teaching staff have been so wonderful letting me hang around, being very patient with the situation and I have really enjoyed being part of the school day, helping out where I can.

He is getting around much better and was even on his trike on Saturday afternoon!
So today he is in school for his first full day!!

I am now working on getting back to my usual routine; this means looking after the house, more cooking from scratch than I have been doing of late but also, on a selfish note, having some time to myself. Hence, getting the blog back on track; a bit wordy but then I can tell you where I am at!

I am considering volunteering at school in the future, once I have got back to normal. (I know I keep going on about it but it has made things very stressful not being able to be at home to do regular jobs and I have been very tired at times.)

That time to myself does also mean doing a bit in the front garden - I have a gift voucher from my birthday to spend. But I also have a journal to complete and send to the States by the middle of October so need to get on with that ASAP! I hope to have my couple of days to work on my blog and to get into my paper crafting properly again. 
Halloween is only round the corner and I want to make a few new decorations. I know it is something more celebrated by the US but the kids really enjoy it and I love any excuse to decorate!

Halloween - just gorgeous.

Then December 8 and 9 is the next craft fair and I'm really looking forward to that - more details to follow for your diary! I have to look at what stock I already have and think of a few new ideas to hopefully make some sales. This also means looking at cakes and bakes etc, too. I have almost finished my Christmas Planner which I can't wait to show you so I need to crack on with that as well.

Right, that will do for now and I will see you later in the week.x


Saturday, 15 September 2012

Getting back to routine - almost! 

Last Saturday I visited the Autumn Fair in Uppermill being run by the wonderful Saddleworth Creative Network ,of which I am a member. I bought this lovely gift for a friend made by the very talented Susan Vickers. 


Check out her fantastic altered art and fab Steampunk items here.

 I really missed not taking part in this one but look out for our next event on December 8th and 9th to get all your Christmas goodies - details to follow soon but I will be there on the Sunday!!

Now the boys are in school again and in a bit of a routine (?) I've decided to pitch for journal orders and also for cakes and bakes. I have posted on my Cards, Cakes and Bakes Facebook page, see the link on the right, and on Twitter. I am also planning the contents of hampers to make to order like I did last year (one of my hampers was one of the first photos I posted on my blog) so will give details of that soon, too.

The weather has been a little up and down recently but here are my boys playing together  beautifully and having tea outside last Saturday amongst all the, gladly pegged out, washing like today!

Well, that is all I have time for at the moment, apart from to say my boy Harry was a big six years old on Wednesday. How gorgeous is he?

See you next week, soon will be back on track.xx

Thursday, 6 September 2012

What a privilege!

Well, I am not really catching my breath as I was just about to put! I have Fallen Apple Chutney on the cooker. Plan on putting a few jars away to put in Christmas Hampers and some in our cupboard, too, of course! That is bubbling away whilst I do this post, and publish it instead of leaving it to add to later - there's my rambling!! 

The boys returned to school on Tuesday for the Autumn Term 2012. 
How gorgeous do they look?

It is all very exciting with Harry getting to do a lot more in Year One. His book bag came home on Tuesday with instructions and explanations of what he will be expected to do in the coming months. We have a meeting with his teacher next week which we are looking forward to. I am not a pushy mother but I do actively encourage Harry in his learning, as I will with Alfie, so we have set his desk up in his bedroom and made it a good place for study and learning. I could have done better at school myself so I enjoy giving him help and encouragement.

Alfie is coping very well with his leg in class and says a lot that he likes Reception, with a big smile on his face! It is just me that is bushwhacked with having to remain in his transition sessions each day! 

However, I have to say that it is such a privilege to be able to see how the children are developing right from the start. I feel so honoured that I have that early insight to other people's children, as well as my own. I am trying to tell parents when the children do something that was a real wow moment, if I see something I am sure they would love to hear. And it was lovely to hear that one of the little girls had said to her mum "I like Alfie Houghton's mum". Bless!!!

Talking of Christmas, I did mention it earlier, I am mow advertising Christmas Journals. These are based on the other journals I have done, A5 size, sprial-bound with blank pages as these can be used for planners or planners which also include memories, keepsakes, however you like to use them and remember Christmas. 

These are images of a mock up front cover of one. As with all my journals they are one offs so no two will be the same, but you can guarantee they will all be interesting and hopefully beautiful to look at.   

Well I do not want the chutney to spoil so will leave this as it is and catch up with you again soon.xx