Wednesday, 29 February 2012

{ A Snapshot } Pinterest

~ Pinterest ~

I've been pretty consumed with Pinterest this week. It's just so much fun to have all the images which catch your eye and inspire you in one place! If you don't have an account, I'd definitely recommend it!

Happy leap year day to you also!

Love and lacery,

Tuesday, 28 February 2012

{ Craft Corner } Sugar Craft

~ Sugar Craft ~

Beautifully decorated biscuits have always been of interest to me. They're just so pretty and very tasty and can really add a theme to your spread if you wish to! However, I've never really known how to make them so I've been on a bit of a sugar craft tutorial hunt and this is what I've found......

decorated autumn cookies

Basically, decorating cookies with royal icing uses two steps - outlining and flooding. Outlining means tracing around the shape of your chosen cookie, or tracing the shape of your chosen theme onto your cookies. Flooding is filling in this shape with runny royal icing. However, knowing this still isn't enough to go out and give it a try which is where the following links come in!

Bake at 350 is a wonderfully sweet (in all meanings of the word!) blog and often features fantastic tutorials and ideas. Having scouted around I found a couple of tutorials for "flooding" the cookies with icing, to create that smooth finish, including a Youtube video to explain how to make syrupy royal icing. The links are here and here

Sweetopia is another pretty and inspiring blog which hosts a few tutorials on icing. I found a video posted by them which clearly demonstrates how to outline and flood cookies. This page has a few extra links to sugar crafting forums and books and things but the original instructions on the page are fantastic. It even includes simple steps such as filling the piping bag and storing the cookies once decorated; along with more in-depth decorating tips. Here is another page which gives more straight forward details on cookie decorating and a recipe for royal icing can be found here.

Another step-by-step I found was over on Brown Eyed Baker. The instructions are very clear and in-depth including lots of pictures. Here's the link!

Living in England, I wasn't completely sure if we can find the same royal icing recipe ingredients as suggested in the above link. After doing a bit more research, it seems that glycerine and egg whites are commonly used in England. Recipes can be found here and here

These are only links that I've found interesting and inciteful, you can find a whole lot more out there on the interweb! Try searching "decorating sugar cookies" or "icing biscuits" and there are looooooooads more links and images available. 

What are your thoughts on decorative icing? Do you know of any good tutorials out there?

Love and lacery,

Monday, 27 February 2012

{ Over the Weekend }

We had absolutely no plans this weekend and as a result, it was filled with nothing much.

- Mixing cereals! It reminds me so much of spending the weekend at my nanna and grandad's house when I was little. Nanna used to mix her bran flakes with cornflakes. I've gone for Sugar Puffs and Special K. Tasty!
- Wearing my new detachable collar (from Scallop edges are fantastic. Also wearing lots of layers (dress from New Look quite some time ago and skirt from a little boutiquey shop in Leicester).
- Looking through the magazines that get sent to me through my Beatrix Potter Club membership and painting my nails.
- Having flowers in my hair.
- Singing along to Moulin Rouge.
- Admiring Brindle... as always.
- Enjoying the pretty sunsets. It's another benefit of Spring approaching.

Did you have any plans this weekend? Or just lazing about the place like we were?

Love and lacery,

Thursday, 23 February 2012

{ Interior Inspiration } Millionaire's Shortcake

~ Millionaire's Shortcake ~

After pancake day, Dave and I had a few ingredients left over and so I decided to try out a new recipe - one that used a few of these cupboard fillers and that would be a lovely dessert or accompaniment to tea-breaks for a little while. It's extremely easy and lasts for quite some time in the fridge.

- 150g butter 
- 75g caster sugar
- 225g plain flour
- 397g tin of Carnation Caramel
- 100g to 300g bar of milk or dark chocolate

1 - Cream the caster sugar and butter together until it's pale and creamy. Sift in the flour and mix until combined. The mixture will look very 'crumby' but don't be worried!
2 - Tip the mixture into a silicon or loose-bottom baking dish (I used a 9" circumference) and push down with a spoon until it's nicely compacted. Then prick the surface with a fork. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes at 180OC (fan assisted oven). Be sure to check back after around 20 minutes as you don't want a burnt base. Remove from the oven and allow to cool fully in the baking tin.
3 - Open the tin of Carnation caramel and pour the contents onto the cooled base.  Smooth the layer with a knife. Transfer the baking tin to a fridge to allow the caramel to become stiffer. This will help you with the next layer.
4 - Break the chocolate bar into squares and put into a microwave safe container (I used a glass measuring jug). Place this into a microwave and heat for 40 seconds on full power. Check the chocolate and then repeat in 30 second increments until it is completely melted. Now pour onto the caramel layer of your shortcake and spread with the base of a spoon to form a smooth surface.
5 - Put the shortcake back into the fridge to allow the chocolate to cool completely. 
6 - Enjoy your tasty Millionaire's Shortcake! To keep, cut up and place in an air tight container in the fridge).

Happy eating!

Love and lacery,

Base recipe from  although I did change it slightly.

Wednesday, 22 February 2012

{ A Snapshot } Pancakes

~ Pancakes ~

As expected, this week's snapshot features pancakes!

Dave and I had a whale of a time trying out differing toppings on the pancakes. Our favourites were nutella with banana slices and caramel with raspberries. Mmmmmm. I hope you all had fun with your pancakes too!

Love and lacery,

Tuesday, 21 February 2012

{ Craft Corner } Hexagons

~ Hexagons ~

This week is a small update on the hexagon blanket I've been crocheting. I've done a few more colour combinations since I first introduced the pattern a few weeks back.

These are the three combinations I speculated about and I'm rather pleased with the way they've come out.

The first is all greens - bright, dark and forest tones. The second uses that beautiful summer yellow which I've had in the wool basket for quite some time. It's combined with a golden ochre and a dark grey. Lastly, is a combination of purple, navy and a light grey. Grey seems to be in quite a few of the hexagons, which I hope will help to pull the pieces together. I'm yet to put the creamy white final layer on them but that's always the tedious bit for me. I'm hoping it'll feel a bit quicker as I can get it all done at the same time. Next will be to have another rummage through the wool balls to come up with some more colours!

Have you been working on any projects recently? Or trying to work out some colour combinations?

Love and lacery,

Monday, 20 February 2012

{ Over the Weekend }

This weekend was full of lots of fun things!

- Spending time with Brindle. She recently suffered from "Old Dog's" or Vestibular Syndrome but has thankfully recovered fantastically with a bout of steroids and blood thinners. She's a grand old age of 13 now though so spends most of her time sleeping!
- Enjoying the snowdrops and other springtime flowers. They're just so pretty and really get you in the Easter mood.
- Watching 'The Emperor's New Groove'. It has so many funny phrases in it that Dave and I simply can't help but laugh....a lot. Disney really is wonderful though.
- Snacking on iced doughnuts, mmmmmm, and various other teatime snacks along with a few hundred cups of tea (ok, maybe a small exaggeration). The mug with the pumpkin on is my all time favourite drinking vessel and known as "Leah's cup" at my parent's house. It's by Portmeirion Studio under the design name 'Halloween' but we've never been able to find any other pieces.
- Partaking in a few wordsearches. 'Tis a great way to fill the time.
- Burning fresh smelling candles.
- Road trips through the English countryside.
- Finding new additions to our crockery collection. The Portmeirion plates and bowls; and the green cake stand (seen under the decorative plate) were all bought from TKMaxx. The little vintage crinoline lady plate is from Mummy - I really do love the guilded swirls and garden image on these pieces!

I've also been thinking about my new quilting venture after managing to find some great fabrics whilst in Leicester last week, but I'm sure there'll be more about that at a later date. I hope you've all had a wonderful weekend also! 

Love and lacery,

Thursday, 16 February 2012

{ Interior Inspiration } Dried Flora

~ Dried Flora ~

Flora has always been of interest to me and thus I find it a necessity in the house! However, fresh flowers are not always an option and so I've come up with a couple of other ideas which include blooms and leaves.

When you have a beautiful fresh bouquet of flowers in your favourite vase it can be sad when the stems start to dry out and the flowers droop. But, this doesn't have to be the end of your blooms! Dried flowers (be it just the petals or the whole head) can be just as pretty put into a little bowl or used as permanent additions to jars. If you have your flowers in a dry and warm space, they will dry out slowly which helps keep them from browning. It's best done with roses or small blooms such as gypsophila or paper like flowers. Here are a couple of pictures of how I've used my dry flowers to be vintage inspired decorations.

Additionally, you could also used dried leaves! Autumnal colours are fantastic but you could use any leaf which takes your fancy. You'll need to press these to make sure they don't curl - this can be done by taking two sheets of A4 paper and slipping the leaves between them. Then, put the pages underneath a large stack of heavy books and leave for a week or so. Alternatively, you can find flower presses which are best left in an airing cupboard or warm, dry place. A third option is to put the leaves into a photo frame whilst they're still fresh. This way they'll dry out but in their laid out position.

Leaving seed pods to dry will also have a similar effect. I like to use poppy seed heads and rose-hips.

I hope this little tutorial will help you be more imaginative with your floral touches!

Love and lacery,

Wednesday, 15 February 2012

{ A Snapshot } Valentine Baking

~ Valentine Baking ~

This week we have been trying lots of new and exciting recipes, including some for the special occasion. Therefore, I saw it fitting to be the week's snapshot. Have you been experimenting with tastes recently? Or cooked up something special?

Love and lacery,

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

{ Craft Corner } Valentine's Special

Happy Valentine's Day! 

To mark the occasion I thought I'd share a couple of quick crafty DIYs which can be adapted for any special day.

The first is a quick and simple way to wrap presents when you've been less than inspired by the range in the shops. It's also very cost effective! You'll need a roll of brown paper (can usually be found in the Post Office or stationary shops) and a selection of coloured pens / pencils / crayons. Now all you have to do is wrap up your presents in the brown paper, as you would usually, and then using your chosen drawing implement, start doodling! 

I've gone for a Valentine's theme to wrap up Dave's presents but you could easily draw or write anything you wanted - Easter eggs or butterflies or ribbons or Christmas trees etc.

This second DIY is a bit more time consuming and requires a bit more preparation but after your first attempt you'll have the things you need to keep on going as and when you have an idea. It requires some empty glass vases / jars, glass paints / nail varnish / glass glue and ribbons / lace / trimmings. I've used glass glue (which you can get in craft stores) and ribbons. Alike the wrapping paper, you can tailor your designs to whichever occasion you're celebrating or whichever theme you're thinking of.

The steps are simple enough:
1. Clean your jars thoroughly with soapy water. I like the shape of these ones so it's nice to have a use for them! You don't need the jar lids in this DIY.
2. Paint on your designs. You could use templates put in the jars and cellotaped to the side if you don't fancy free-handing them. Alternatively, if using glass glue, you could paint the designs on a sheet of acetate and then apply to the jar, although this may require a lot of patience if you decide upon an intricate design.
3. Allow the paint to dry. The glass glue dries within 15 minutes or so and can be peeled off the glass if you decide to change the design. 
4. Tie on your ribbon. 

I've given a few examples of how to use these jars but the possibilities are endless really. I'll have some more love-themed items coming up tomorrow and Thursday. 

I hope you enjoy this day of love, however you decide to fill the hours! 

Love and lacery,

Monday, 13 February 2012

{ Over the Weekend }

This weekend involved another shopping spree, mostly for Valentine's themed items, but in a place which is further afield. The snow made for some beautiful photos also (unfortunately I didn't get any of the beautiful snowy landscape).

This week I'll be posting a few Valentine's related DIYs and projects so please do come back to check them out!

Love and lacery,

Wednesday, 8 February 2012

{ A Snapshot } Books

~ Books ~

This week's snapshot is all about books. 

I'm one of those people who reads a few books at one time and that has been accelerated this week with the introduction of poetry and craft books. I've just finished We Were The Mulvaneys (a very good read, definitely gets you thinking) and still in the middle of Great Expectations on Kindle. Are you in the middle of something or about to start a new read?

Love and lacery,

Monday, 6 February 2012

{ Over the Weekend }

Hello there! This weekend was a very relaxed and fun time. There were no plans so it was full of impromptu adventures ...which turned out to be a blessing in disguise as it was so snowy! 

Our adventures were:
- Chomping on Valentine's themed treats. Fondant fancies are my favourite!
- Playing in the snow! Finding tracks and making snowmen. My little red car covered in snow also.
- Buying excellent finds from thrift and, one of my favourite shops, TKMaxx - it's just full of such random and beautiful things and at really good prices, even the famous brand names! I've been watching that glass cake stand with lid for weeks and it's now a new addition to our little house! The little vase really reminds me of Carnival glass but was only £1! Bargain!
- Wearing my new dress. It's by Wild (exclusively at Dorothy Perkins) and it's perfect with star print, three quarter sleeves and peter pan collar. I'd definitely advise you to take a look at their range - it's all beautiful!

I also discovered Pinterest. It really has inspired me to scout through the internet and find things which inspire and delight me as well as opening up a whole new source for beautiful images and insights. Do you have a Pinterest account? It's really worth checking out, if not! You can find my page here.

How was your weekend? Did you go out and have lots of fun in the snow? 

Love and lacery,

Thursday, 2 February 2012

{ Interior Inspiration } Unintended Uses

~ Unintended Uses ~

I've a habit of using items throughout the house in ways which their original manufacturer didn't intend when designing them. However, I find that this allows me to fully appreciate them as they're always on display or serving some extra function. Here are four of my favourite unintended uses for items.

(1) Cupcake Stands
These adorable little stands are so cute and colourful that they just have to be admired, rather than stashed away into cupboards until such occasions as they're required. I have a small collection of milk jugs and a vintage handkerchief vase upon the kitchen windowsill and thought that these little stands would serve as a suitable display unit to give some dimension. 

You really could display any little treasure upon them or use as a way to enforce a colour scheme. You could even use them to show off your knitted / crocheted cakes at craft shows or online. I was lucky enough to find these little stands in the John Lewis sale for a mere £1.50 each! However, any good baking-ware shops and Etsy also sell variations of the little cuties.

(2) Sea Debris
During a traditional family holiday in Cornwall, I picked up a print of a handpainted scene of St Agnes and knew it should be an adornment in the room. I also took the chance to collect a few pieces of driftwood and other flotsam along our regular beach in Hayle to create a rectangle in which to house the artwork. The knotted rope was a real find! 

If you're thinking "oh, I don't have enough creativity or time to make something like this" then you're wrong! It only takes one or two items, say a leaf or a bead that took your attention, in your required theme to add to a wooden or glass frame - a way of making you smile as you recall the associated memory every time you glance the photo / frame on the wall or standing on a sideboard.

(3) Headbands
Floral headbands really are extremely pretty but I never seem to find the time to wear them. However, used as a decorative item to add that little something to items. My example is a plain satin lampshade.

This headband was another sale bargain at only £1 from Dorothy Perkins. The flowers are so beautiful that I simply had to have them visible all of the time! However, you could use any embellished headband or ribbon upon lampshades or vases or doorhandles or anything you fancy! The same can be said for hairclips, especially floral ones, which I clip to handbags and curtain rails and blinds and all sorts.

(4) Decorative Coat Hangers and Trinkets
The original intention of this wire 'coathanger' was to support a fluffy rabbit doll by the ears, which was simply too mean in my eyes, so bunny was taken off and now lives in my parent's kitchen. I then, on a whim, took to pegging trinkets to the hanger using those little wooden pegs designed for scrapbooking. 

If you're not one for trinkets then you could use a decorative coat hanger to show off your favourite bookmarks or to hang photos from - the possibilities are endless!

I hope these little insights into how to make the most of your treasured items are useful and inspire you to have a play. Please do let me know what you discover!

Love and lacery,

Wednesday, 1 February 2012

{ A Snapshot } Micro Eggs

~ Micro Eggs ~

I'd like to introduce another of my new features - A Snapshot. These posts will include a photo, or two, or something that has caught my attention, inspired me or simply sums up what we've been up to. With that in mind... here is this week's post.

Easter is well and truly in the supermarkets and with that comes their usual plethora of chocolatey treats. We like to indulge in a few Micro Eggs and, as they're only around for a short space of time, we fully take advantage of their availability. I've a few plans to use them for Eastery baking too so keep your eyes peeled!   

Love and lacery,