Saturday, 28 August 2010

It's my Mum's Birthday today

 To celebrate we are all off for a lovely meal at our local Indian Restaurant.  She didn't want much in the way of pressies, just to go out and not have to cook or clear up afterwards.  We did make her a cake and had it with some tea and the giving of cards this afternoon with our nan.
My sister and I had grand plans for the cake originally but being the naughty daughters that we are left our planning a bit too late so just winged it with some colour buttercream.  Can you spot the mistake in the photo?  Yep it's only half the cake, whilst greedily tucking into it we suddenly remembered we hadn't photographed it!
I got some yummy Stampin Up Kraft cardstock in the post yesterday which I ordered from the lovely Mandi over at Enchanted Occasions and couldn't wait to use it.
The papers are Anna Griffin punched with the Fiskars Waterfall border punch.  It kinda reminds me of sun awnings.
Recently purchased Myler templates were used for this pink and sparkly butterfly card.  I just cut out two of butterflies then scored the edge of one of them and glued them together at the edge to make a standup card. 
 In the sunlight this morning (which has now gone I might add) it really did twinkle.
Finally got round to making use of some of the goodies I won from the very kind Rose over at Victoria Rose Crafts.  The tag was part of some Tilda embellishments who I just adore.
I've mixed it with some Papermania paper trimmed with a wavy blade on my Purple Cows trimmer.
This last card is classic in design and again relies heavily on Anna Griffin papers and ribbon.  I do find myself using her stuff an awful lot. 
Now all that's left to do is beautify ourselves for this evenings feast.  I'll be wearing something comfortable though as I have been known to eat the odd thing or two when I am out!

Thanks for popping by and hope your bank holiday has some sunshine in it ;o)

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Wednesday, 25 August 2010

Homemade Blackberry Jam - My first adventure

Not far from where I live there is a large nature reserve.  In the reserve there are loads of blackberry bushes and the other week armed with our baskets we went foraging.  The blackberries have ripened early this year and there were plenty to be had.  After 2 hours we had managed to collect just under 6kg between us, defnitely worth all the wrestling with thorns and stinging nettles.
Back at the house I soaked them in lightly salted water to rid them of any nasties.  Then laid them out to air dry.  Some of them were frozen for use in winter puds, the best way to do this is lay them out on trays first in the freezer then transfer them to bags/boxes, that way you don't end up with a clump of frozen fruit.  The remainder was destined for my first adventure in jam making.  You don't need anything complicated, just the following:
  • Large heavy based stock pot or similar
  • Glass Jars
  • Jam Sugar
  • Your chosen fruit
  • 3 saucers
  • Jam funnel or similar
  • Wax paper (optional)

The recipe I used was from Nigella Lawson's 'How to be a Domestic Goddess', one of my all time faves.

Before you start, wash your jars and lids in hot soapy water and rinse, then stand them upside down on a baking tray and place in the oven at 150C to sterlise them.  You will also need to place your 3 saucers into the freezer.  Now you can start with the jam.
    Place your fruit into your pan over a low heat for 5 mins to warm it up.  Then with heat still low gradually add the jam sugar, stirring until it is all dissolved and there are no signs of crystals.  Now you are ready to turn the heat up to high and bring your jam up to a rolling boil, that is where the mixture bubbles wildly even when you stir it.  
    Keep it like this for approximately 10mins, always stirring.  If you get any scum on the top just skim it off but don't worry too much about it.  Take one of your saucers out of the freezer.  Put a teaspoon of the jam onto it, wait for a minute then push it with your finger, if the jam is ready it will wrinkle away from you, if not try again with another saucer after a couple of more minutes.  Once you are happy with it turn off the heat and stir in the knob of butter, this gets rid of any last bits of scum and makes it go all gorgeous and glossy.  You're now ready to fill your jars.  This bit can get a bit messy but that just adds to the fun in my opinion! Make sure you fill your jars while they and the jam are still hot.

    I add wax discs to the top of my jam but if you don't want to do that just ensure they are filled to the top.  Put on your lids and ensure they are tight and then leave them to cool.  The cooling process causes a vacuum seal ensuring the jam will stay fresh for anything upto 1 year (or sometimes longer) unopened.

    All that's left to do now is pretty them up with labels and some scrap fabric.  Just like the ones in those posh garden centres but for a fraction of the price.  I made 7 x 200ml jars with this recipe, there are only 3 in the picture as family members were quick to nab some!
    The tags were made using my nestibilitie dies and one of the stamps from Anna Griffin's In The Kitchen range.
    Oh and the jars I used were those cute little spice jars you get at Ikea that come in a pack of 4 for only £1.99.  I'd had loads of them for my craftroom bits but had switched to something else so these were just knocking around.


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    Tuesday, 24 August 2010

    Anna Griffin TSV on QVC tonight

    Just popping in to let all you crafters out there know that over on QVC tonight at midnight Anna Griffin is launching a TSV.  It is going to be a  Christmas crafting kit, no price as yet but normally around £20-30 in the past.  Have a couple of piccies for you.

    I had her last Christmas TSV kit a couple of years ago and it was amazing.  Such style and great quality, still have some left as couldn't bear to use it all up!  Oh and I think there are some special prices on her other stuff too as it is her anniversary show as well.

    Happy shopping ;o)
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    Thursday, 12 August 2010

    Cath Kidston Bedding - John Lewis Specials

    Yes I'm still alive and thought I'd share some bargains for all you Cath Kidston fans out there.

    Currently John Lewis have over 30% off the following bedding sets:

    Cath Kidson Classic Rose Duvet Set - Double down from £66 to just £45!  They have Kingsize £50 and Superking £55 too.  Click here for more info.

    Cath Kidston Summer Blossom Duvet Set - Double down from £66 to just £45!  They have Kingsize £50 and Superking £55 too.  Click here for more info.

    And they all come with free delivery and returns.  I just love shopping with JL.

    Other CK news is they are relocating their distribution centre to larger premises in Cambridgeshire and get this, it is going to have a factory outlet attached to it!!  I can't wait.

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