Thursday, 19 December 2013

Gifts for the teachers and the elves!

When I came back from the school carol concert, which was wonderful, I finished the teacher presents then bagged and tagged them; my amaretti, raspberry kisses and marshmallow snowballs - simple but effective. I absolutely love giving homemade things, at any time of the year, and Christmas seems just made for this pleasure! 

I should add that the snowballs are something children can make really easily. Just melt them some white chocolate, dip the mallows in it and then put desiccated coconut in a plastic pot with a lid and give each one a gentle shake. When covered they only take a little while to dry then they can be kept in an airtight box for about 10 days or bagged up as gifts.

Also, after tea this evening me and the boys made elf cookies. It was simple as you just use something like a honey nut loop, coat it in chocolate and then cover in festive sprinkles! The hoops are not so defined as they could be but the boys loved making them and are sure the elves will really like them!

These are just drying on some baking parchment before we keep them in a box until Christmas Eve!

Hope you liked my yummy treats to eat?

Catch ya later. xx

It's The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year - for a trip to Lapland!!


Well, here we are and only six days to go until the big HO HO! However our journey to visit Santa in Lapland begins on Sunday morning with an early flight from Manchester!
As a family we are really getting very excited, the spare bedroom is full of our things still to be packed, but that will be done shortly and we have a lovely family meal planned for Friday evening.

We will be getting the boys up early on Saturday morning to tire them out so they are ok to get up very early on Sunday, therefore I have Christmas muffins and hot chocolate with marshmallows planned along with a festive film for when they get up. Mmmm, may have to have some myself!

Before that I still have a few school things to do. I am off to the carol concert in a little while and very much looking forward to that. Then tomorrow is the last day of term so teacher presents will be delivered in the morning, will post pictures either later on or tomorrow.

Must dash so catch ya later! x

Sunday, 15 December 2013

Deck The Halls With Boughs Of Holly!

Hello there and a merry Christmas! I don't think I have actually wished you that yet.

I thought I would share my decorations with you as I just love this time of the year and even as close as we are I keep adding things here and there. Plus, seeing as we are going away in a week I really should stop, but what the heck!

Let's start with my favourite decorations, the mantlepiece

and the kitchen shelf.

The Peter and Pam book on the left, you may remember, is my boot fair find and along side it is a childhood book I still love to this day and enjoy reading to my boys.

This Peace peg is one of my own Christmas makes now sitting on our tree.

I think it is important to decorate as many spaces in your house as possible, hence the corner near the kettle,
and atop the microwave get the festive treatment, too! And finally the tree. Our fake, white one this year due to us going away and I LOVE it. Lots of things the boys have made, including popcorn garlands, are on it plus some of my things.
I also absolutely love the vintage filter I have added to the picture which I found on my mobile!
Ok, finally finished this post after accidentally publishing it when it was not quite ready. Hoping to get back here before we leave for Lapland, however with school Xmas plays, carol concerts, last visits from family members AND packing it may only be a quick Ho Ho Ho before I go.
Catch ya later. xx

Wednesday, 11 December 2013

Getting Into The Festive Spirit!

Sorry for the time passed since my last post! We came back from a weekend with my mother in law last Sunday morning so had to get a wiggle on with the decorations as it was already December 1!  We put the tree up with the lights on so I was ready to decorate on Monday. I decorated the kitchen and the living room mantle plus a few other festive nik naks, other jobs had to wait until after yesterday.

This is because I have been getting ready for my stand at the Saddleworth Creative Network craft fayre, plus planning our own family Christmas. I have had to shelve the idea of creating a December Daily this year - just not going to have the time as I did not get my base book finished quickly enough. I plan to create an album for our trip to Lapland. Eeeeek !!! Starting to get QUITE excited about it now! 

In the run up to the fayre I was busy making jars of DIY cookie mix, mincemeat for pies I for the fayre and to go in the hamper I made for the school fayre, plus tomato chutney. (Kicking myself as I forgot to take a picture of the hamper) I managed to bag a 6lb box of ripe, vine tomatoes from the greengrocer; the chutney recipe is one my mum gave me and it generally works rather well.  

I helped out at the school fayre on Friday night - Tombola is a frightening experience at times  -and then came home to finish most things for leaving cakes to be wrapped and labelled on Saturday evening when Jon took to boys to the cinema.

So here at last are the photos of my table at the craft event. I was really pleased now it looked and I had a good pitch just inside the main door. They were taken by a very talented local photographer and you can contact Jenny Martin on Facebook at or on her website here.



I am going to post this now because it has been so long and I will hopefully get few more in before December 22. Oh, don't forget to follow me on Twitter and see my Christmas tune choices each day!

Catch ya later!

Wednesday, 20 November 2013

Christmas crafting!

Is anybody else enjoying the TV and radio programmes about 1963 just now? I am. It is all due to the 50th anniversary of the death of JFK which is on Friday. I have to say I find it all rather glamorous, the whole Kennedy/Camelot thing and as I write I am listening to Robert Vaughn narrating JFK:The First Pop President on Radio 2's listen again facility. Great stuff!

So what have I been up to? In the last couple of days I have spent a certain amount of time sorting through my Christmas planning. I have been organising and deciding which making and baking are for my craft event at the beginning of December, plus what I will be making for us to enjoy over the festive season, basically the time we will spend together as our family unit when we return from our exciting trip to Lapland on Boxing Day!

I have been sorting through, and adding to, my papercraft items and here are some things you might have seen previously plus some additions. I like to think this gives you a really good idea of my style when it comes to Christmas.

Of course, now I go through the difficult time of deciding what to charge for my papercraft lovelies - I hate that bit of the proceedings.

Ok, it is now lunch time and I also need to check my slow cooker that is currently bubbling away with steak, red wine, onions and mushrooms for dinner this evening. Mmmm. Oh and the down side, it does seem my washing machine is not playing ball so I will have to wait for Jon to come home and take a look at it. Need to get things ready for our weekend away so better get it sorted.

Catch ya later! xx

Monday, 18 November 2013

No getting away from the C word!!!

Just before I get onto my very favourite time of the year, I thought I would share a couple of things I made for as a raffle prize for a hospital fundraiser. No time to make a hamper but this went down a treat.
So I have been mentioning it a little bit recently however, now that the autumnal calendar events along with my husband's birthday have passed, we can get on with the business of Christmas! There I said it, again! I have started some Christmas (oops, there it is again!) paper craft for the December craft event I am taking part in along with the other members of Saddleworth Creative Network.

I did not do very well with this side of things at the Winter event at the beginning of November. It was generic papercraft items not Christmas so I was a little disappointed. Therefore, I am not going crazy and concentrate on food stuffs, but once I got all my card stock, toppers etc. out I thought "I'll just do a few things". I always think that if I have left over stock that I don't sell I  am guaranteed lovely stuff to give away to people - well that is MY opinion!

So I have been finishing off the dolly peg decorations and made another hanging decoration using Tunnocks tea cake foil wrappers They are just so perfect for festive decorations. I have been buying them for my boys recently and they know now to keep the wrappers and undo they very carefully so they do not tear too much. Bless! 

Here are the two I have made so far. What do you think?

This is just a short post as I feel I have been neglecting you. However, I will be back in a couple of days as I am just getting through my Christmas(!) planning and once I know what I am doing when I am doing it everything should be fine. Hubby and I are away to the Lakes for the weekend without the children - only the second time we have done this since they were born so very excited but tinged with the old parental guilt, as usual. Hope to get back to you before Friday.

Catch ya later. xx

Tuesday, 12 November 2013

Craft Event Fun!

So, on Sunday I attended one of my craft networks events, this being the Winter one so there was a touch of Christmas about it but not mad crazy, shame!

I scaled down my table a little this time as I have not had much time but this was the kitchen prior to packing the car!

I made Barm Brack loaf bakes, mini almond pound cakes, some oh so yummy oatbran crackers, tomato chutney, a poppy seed and lemon cake to sell in slices plus plain soda bread and some loaves flavoured with sun flower seeds, sun dried tomatoes and also green olives. I was trying not to spend too much on my outlay so just used what I had in my cupboards and it worked out really well.

Set up looked like this, and I enjoyed using some of the old crockery that I pick up at boot fairs and charity shops.

I also had some of my papercraft items on my table but they did not go well. I think people do not understand just how much work goes into the journals I embellish and I fear I will finish up giving them away as Christmas presents if I do not sell them at my next event!

I sold nearly all my good items, which was great, and I was flattered when people asked if I would be there in December - more of that later!

Here is my table just before I started to clear away at the end of the day!

It was lovely to see everybody and I am looking forrward to the next one; here is what will be happening on December 8.

 I am planning on concentrating more on the food next time and I already making lists of what to do and make for it. Very exciting!

That is about all I have time for today and thanks for stopping by.

Catch ya later! xx

Tuesday, 5 November 2013

Catch up after Halloween

Ok, so my boys had their little Halloween party with a couple of chums. I was so busy chatting to the mums that I did not take as many photos as I should have done. 

If you can get a close up of the bottle on the table you might see that I printed off some labels saying witches blood. (Isn't the internet a wonderful thing?) I have been looking for bottles like this for so very long and these were in Ikea. I love them so much that I am now using one of them for milk!

This was the gang after the little treasure hunt I did with goodie bags of sweets and treats. I made clue cards in the shape of ghosts and they really enjoyed it, I think.

Even though All Hallows is now over I still love the colours of the season so I decided to buy an extra pumpkin to use as part of a flower display - and here it is.

I have begun baking for my craft event on Sunday, will remind you of the date again shortly; so excited about seeing everybody! I have begun with Barm Brack which is a lovely moist cake to go with a cup of tea. I am waiting for my new mini loaf tin. I am hoping this will be with me by tomorrow then I can crack on with my almond pound cakes which are also on my list to do for the first time. I already have my tomato chutney ready to be labelled and the lids covered which is great. Soda bread is always a part of my food items and this time I will be including some sun dried tomato flavoured loaves along with plain plus those with poppy seeds added. New items  I am also including are oatbran crackers which turn out like digestive biscuits and are fantastic with cheese and chutney - hoping to sell some with my chutney!

Better remind you of the event at the weekend before I forget! I will be there, as it says, from 10am - 4pm on Sunday.

Check out Facebook and Twitter for news from Saddleworth Creative Network.

Ok, I think that is about it now, apart from the fact that the boys are now back at school so I was very lazy yesterday. This was of course to the point at which parental guilt kicked in, as it always does, and I shot up and did a few chores around the house! Today I have made sausage casserole for the boys' tea. This was with sausages from a family member we collected half a pig from at the weekend. Suffice to say the freezer is now well and truly stocked! Jon and I are having homemade burgers a la Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives. I love this programme on Food Network as I think it gives you some fantastic ideas for home cooked comfort food and how to spice up your own favourite dishes. 

 Also today I have made some yummy orange and sultana caked as I needed to use up the two oranges that I took the zest from for the Barm Brack cake yesterday; as you can see they came out with a lovely orange tinge to them.

Ok that really is it from me now as I have to do the school run in a little while but need to get a couple of other things done, too.

Catch ya later! xx

Thursday, 31 October 2013

A card for a friend I can now share with you.

I have been dying to share this card with you. I made it for a friend in New York, she is a brit  working over there, so she appreciates good decorations and celebrations for high days and holidays.

The pumpkin and trick or treat stickers are from Tim Holtz, the paper with the small pumpkins is Night Fall / Night Light by American Crafts (which seems to have been discontinued) and the large pumpkin comes from Paper Pizazz.

I love using old music papers on any projects and being old they just seem to create a wonderful effect for Halloween. I pick up music scores really cheaply from boot fairs and charity shops.

Hope you all enjoyed the celebrations and chose to be treated instead of tricked!

Catch ya later! xx

Happy Halloween!

Looking forward to posting pictures of my two boys and their school pals having a little party here later today.

Catch ya later! xx

Monday, 28 October 2013

This and that with a bit of the other.

Just a bit of random ramblings - nothing new there. Even though the Bake Off is now finished I still am a committed baker and maker and today i found a spring form cake tin by George Wilkinson.It was 50% off in the sale at Asda so for £2.50 I thought it a steal! Always wanted one but bakeware can be so very expensive.

I have put up the Halloween decorations. I just put things out downstairs and always on the mantle piece.I still love the banner from when I made it last year and my spooky tags.

My boys will be having their little Halloween tea on Thursday so I will be busy carving my pumpkins on Wednesday daytime as we are out to our bonfire that night. Our own fireworks will be on early evening Sunday as we are having friends and family around for a love roast diner with all the trimmings. I normally put pumpkins outside but the weather is so wet at the moment I fear they would be spoilt, so the front window will have to suffice!  (These are my pumpkins from last year.)

On Wednesday I made the boys some lemon-flavoured cakes in flat-bottomed ice cream cones. I saw Anna Olsen do this at the same time as seeing her use an old-style ice cream scoop; this makes putting the mixture in the cones, and also paper cases, much easier. Here are the results.

My boys are not keen on cupcake swirls so we put icing and decorations on instead.

Well, that is about it for me for now. Busy few days coming up but still hope to share a few of my creating and baking items with you.

Catch ya later.xx

Wednesday, 23 October 2013

Quick sewing update and news of a fantastic craft event in aid of the Poppy Appeal 2013.

Morning all, I am attempting to have a house work free day today but I doubt I will manage it, guilt you see!

Love, love, love these little stamps which my sister gave me, so versatile as they work on paper but very well on fabric, too.

Anyhow, just thought I would show you that I have sewn labels onto the bags I am sewing for my baking cupboard and I am pretty pleased with them! (Apologies for my microwave sneaking in at the back - I am trying harder with my photos.)

Really keen to make a few for the Christmas craft fair as if I do not sell them all I can use them for putting presents in, perhaps for the teachers.

Let me know what you think!

Also, just a gentle reminder of the next craft event at which you can find me. Hope to see you there, and DO tell your friends!

Catch ya later! xx

Tuesday, 22 October 2013

Bargians bought at Bowlee boot fair!

I have been on the hunt, again, for some boot fair booty - love a good rummage! On Sunday we went to a huge indoor flea market and out door boot fair. I went with a few things in mind to look for and see what I came home with?!

I am constantly on the look out for small doilies with which to eventually make a string of bunting to put in the spare room. (This is another idea I have seen by Sarah Moore.) I found these three lovelies for just £1.

Then, my next treasure is an earthenware pot for £2 in which to put the loo brush in the spare room. I intend to get a wooden brush as soon as possible, now that I have found the pot -  plastic just does not fit the room at all; bit by bit I SHALL get it perfect.

I love cream jugs as I feel they make brightly coloured flowers look much better than glass ones. This was £1.50; haggled him down from £2 when he said he was selling them for that due to the current interest in shabby chic!

I remembered yesterday that I had some dessert apples in the fridge which I did not want to spoil so baking an apple and pear cobbler seemed a good idea. Turned out proper yummy, as Tom Kerridge might say, and the fruit didn't go quite as mushy as with a crumble or pie.Just lovely with plain yoghurt.

Now, talking of baking, who will be tuned into the grand finale of TGBBO tonight? I surely will. I would love to see Frances win to prove that she is not just style over substance.

Well, I am just about to go and finish cleaning the bathroom and fold some clean washing before changing our bed. Hope you enjoyed my newest rambling and hope you will drop by again soon.

Don't forget that you can always receive my rambings direct to your inbox by subscribing with your email address. Hope you will still visit, though?

Catch ya later. xx