Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Tuesday Treat - Banana & Walnut Bread

It has been such a delight having wall to wall sunshine over the past few days that I have been taking every opportunity to get outside and enjoy it. What better way to soak up a few rays than to sit in the garden with a good book, a cup of Rosie Lee and a slice of cake. This Tuesday treat isn't too sweet and can be enjoyed mid-morning, late afternoon or any time really!!
What you'll need...

225g self-raising flour
100g butter, softened
175g clear honey
2 ripe bananas
2 beaten eggs
1/2 tsp mixed spice
100g roughly chopped walnuts

Pre-heat your oven to 180*c (less for a fan assisted oven) gas 4, and line a loaf tin with greaseproof paper.

This is such an easy, throw everything in recipe that it won't be long between measuring out your ingredients to scoffing the lot! Pop the butter, eggs, honey and chopped banana into a bowl and beat together. Mix in your flour and ground spice until you have a smooth batter. Next throw in the walnuts and fold until just combined.

Pour into your tin and bake for 35-40 mins, it will be ready when golden and a skewer comes out clean. Allow to cool in the tin for 10 mins and then transfer to a wire rack.
The loaf can be eaten on it's own or spread with a little butter (or if you're feeling really naughty, some peanut butter!!!!)

Enjoy xx

Saturday, 24 March 2012

Vintage Storage

I know vintage is a slightly over used term now, but I still love it. I have always enjoyed snooping around flea markets and antique stores, so when I needed to find some storage for my obscene amount of shoes and bags where better to look than the giant collectors fair at Shepton Mallet. There are huge markets at the Bath & West Showground quite regularly, and it's a great day out for vintage lovers like myself. When I was there I managed to pick up a couple of 1930's luggage trunks for £20, just the thing for some under bed storage.
All they needed was a good clean, although I had to be careful not to ruin the original rail travel labels on them. Then I lined them with some pretty wallpaper scraps that I was trying to find a use for.

This is a great way to add a bit of style to the everyday problem of storage, so go out hunting and see what bargains you can pick up.

I did say it was an obscene amount!

Friday, 23 March 2012

Making Rings & Things

Such a beautiful day! Spring is definitely in the air and when you see bumble bees in the garden you know that those long days of British summertime are around the corner.

outside of my workshop today

I have been working on making some stacking rings today as part of my "I Want a Fairy Tale" series and I love them. The alchemy of working with silver and gold never fails to fascinate me, it is so magical how a piece of blackened and beaten wire can be formed, cleaned and polished in to a precious piece of jewellery. A piece of jewellery that can mean so much to it's wearer.
Yep, days like today make me think it wasn't so bad to quit my job and have a go at making jewellery full time. I know it isn't going to be easy, but if you don't try you'll never know, right?
Well here are a few of the stacking rings for you to have a look at, I think I want to work on the detailing a little, but I do quite like the simplicity of these for now.

"We're all mad here" said the Cheshire cat
"He kissed her & she awoke"

Thursday, 22 March 2012

Today is going to be good...

Well, last night I finally went to see The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel and I wasn't disappointed. It was a really beautiful film and I came out of the cinema feeling completely chilled and good about life (also a lot poorer, so expensive!).
Today I have woken up feeling like it's going to be a good day. There is that hazy low cloud in the air which has the promise to burn off to make a lovely early spring day. So, when I'm making stock in the shed it's going to be with a happy heart.
I'm tackling some rings today, and will hopefully get them posted on here later for your scrutiny xx

Wednesday, 21 March 2012

Homespun Fabric Silhouette

Just like Granny would do!

Here is a nice little project that is good if you're not great at sewing like me, but want to have a play at it. I have chosen to do this one of Summer, my friend Claires' little girl as it's her birthday coming up soon.
You will need... a photo showing the person in profile, calico fabric, fabric scraps (nothing too fine), black felt, contrasting threads, tracing paper, an embroidery frame, buttons, scissors, pen, needle and pins.

Start by choosing the photo you want to use.
Place the tracing paper over your photo and
trace the area you are going to cut out in fabric.

Now carefully cut your template from the paper and pin to the felt and fabrics you are going to use. Once you've done this you can cut out your fabric. Next, clip your calico securely into the embroidery frame and pin your fabric pieces in the place you want to sew them.

Using a contrasting thread sew the fabric cutouts to the calico with a basic running stitch, don't worry if it's not perfect, that's the beauty of the homespun look.
Add any other details you want to, I used vintage buttons, thread and biro to create a floral design and detail. Finally, trim any excess calico from the edges and pop on a shelf or on the wall.

Have Fun xx

Tuesday, 20 March 2012

Quick & Easy Shortbread Biscuits

So, here is a little Tuesday treat. Everyone should have one as let's face it, Tuesdays are a little bit boring.

This is a really quick and easy shortbread biscuit that makes a perfect partner to a cuppa whilst watching a bit of evening telly. All you'll need is 200g plain flour, 50g caster sugar, 125g unsalted butter & any flavouring you want to add (or not, simple is good too). I have chosen to flavour mine with rose water essence this time to give a delicate floral note.
First off, preheat your oven to 170*c (a little less with a fan) 325*f or gas 3. Then mix your flour and sugar together in a bowl and rub in the butter with your fingers until you get a rough breadcrumb consistency.

Next add your flavouring, you could try lemon, lavender or of course the classic vanilla, but as I said before I have gone for a delicate rose water. Just add a few drops into your mixture.

Ok, now form your mixture into a ball and roll out onto some greaseproof paper on a baking tray to a 1cm thickness. Try not to work the dough too much, as the less you work it, the shorter it will be. Cut into any shape you like, or leave it as one big one!!! Sprinkle with some more caster sugar and pop in the oven for 20-30 mins (or until golden).

Once baked and cooled, decorate how you like. I sometimes ice them or dip in chocolate, but this time I just sprinkled with a little edible glitter and dried flowers.
These make lovely gifts wrapped in greaseproof paper & string or just enjoyed selfishly with a fresh brew. Some of this batch did end up with a lady I met on the bus who was having a bad day (sorry to my friend Hayley who they were meant for!!!). 


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