Late Summer Self Seeding Garden

Friday 31 August 2012

 Easy Self Seeding Garden

Perfect for new mums..
When I was five months pregnant with Baby L, we have a good push at sorting out our new garden. By planting seeding and plants that self seed, we have been able to enjoy a lovely country garden and yes our own micro climate.
We have planted a lot of Verbena and this attracts bumble bees and butterflies. Poppies were very easy to scatter and then after they flowered, then they just plant themselves. The trouble with poppies is that once they past flowering, the best thing to do is to dig them up, save the seeds for next year (either scatter or save in a envelope). So I plant in pots summer flowering bulbs so that once the poppies die back, simply add the bulbs from the pots. I just tip the pot upside down and empty the bulbs into my hands, tease out some of the roots and plant in the boards.
Who knows and yes an instant garden!

I Just Love Silversmithing..

Wednesday 29 August 2012


There is something special about handmade precious metal gifts...

For me, the ultimate crafting therapy is to take a class. I have been so lucky that in the early months of motherhood my husband has supported me to go and take a class, get out of the home and make something at the same time. So when Baby L was 10 weeks old I went back to college and it really was therapy for me and Daddy got to spend time with his little one.

Most design colleges and adult education colleges do jewellery courses. Some art galleries do them as well. The adult ed. colleges are the cheapest but have all the appliances and materials on tap, they may not be the most glamorous but are the best value. And most honest with your work to get the most out of your creativity!

I always go to for my silver and tools. Set yourself a budget, as once you get on line you can go on and on! Mine is £30.

These cuff links are made from domed stirling silver (925 silver) with a handmade gold ball in the middle. Once you get the hang of soldering and cutting - let your imagination go wild!

Quick Italian Supper (kitchen optional!)

Monday 27 August 2012

Ciao Cucina!?

We have very nearly finished our DIY job in the kitchen, so food prep is to a minimum. With a young baby and half the kitchen in the dining room, tonight we had a quick, wholesome dinner inspired by those Tuscan trips..

Tuscan Sauce with Fusilli

The sauce is quick as I keep Thrifty Pesto in the fridge.
You will need  -
1 tin borlotti beans
4 medium size mushrooms
1 red pepper
100g soft cheese
100g spinach
1 table spoon Thrifty Pesto
200g Fusilli Pasta
Salt & Pepper to taste


Go Create!

In a pan saute the mushrooms and add the red pepper. Then add the borlotti beans. Melt in the pesto, cream cheese and wilt the spinach.
Bring the pasta to the boil in salted water and cook as per packet instructions. Drain and stir through pepper, lemon juice and basil oil.
Serve straight away.
Serves 2 - 3
Cook time - 20 mins
Thifty Pesto 
Simple Tomato & Pepper Sauce

Vintage Floral Happy Anniversary Card

Sunday 26 August 2012

From Vintage Papers and A Few Sequins Create A Special Memory

With ten minutes, this simple but stunning vintage card was created...

You will need -

To make the flowers-
Vintage books (from car boots are great as they have old pages)
Pearlescent Card - Nude Colour
2 Contrast Papers (you can use double sided papers) Try
A Flower Punch.Try

Paper Glue
Message Papers. Again from papercellar.
Pearl Sequns Try
Pearlescent Card (cream, nude) Vintage colours Try
Ink Pad in translucent.

Go Create !

Stamp out the flowers using all three papers.
Layer the stamped flowers out from top left to bottom right. Layer on top to create depth to your design.
Cut your message out from the paper, tear around the edges to create a vintage feel,
Stick your message over the stamp flowers.
Add the sequins to the centre of the flowers.
To add more texture, brush over the card with a ink pad in translucent.

The textures really add to this card and once you start what else can you create in the same theme? Scrapbook covers, album covers and present tags. Enjoy!


Super Summer Smoothie

Go get 'em with a vitamin charge first thing..


What I love about summer apart from the weather is all the summer fruits. The thing is, it all seems to come at once! The garden goes mad when you buy it in from the supermarket ! So we are freezing raspberries, blackcurrants and blackberries for the winter but what to do with the rest?

Smoothies have been a big hit in our family for a good few years. Be creative, mix them up and taste and see where they end?

This watermelon and raspberry smoothie was blended up in minutes..

Go Create!

My usual tip is 6 tablespoons of fruit to 1 tablespoon of yoghurt. Depending on the type of fruit and how thick you want your smoothie add juice whilst a blend again.
I used watermelon, raspberries, banana, strawberry yoghurt and black cherries and a dash of orange juice.
Gorgeous and fruity and more than one of your five a day. Even Baby L had a taste!

A Stitch & Bit Here and There...

Friday 24 August 2012

.....Adds a personal touch to a keepsake..

Tonight, after a day of sorting and DIY-ing in the home, I decided to organise my boxes of craft bits. They needed a lot sorting as with little time I tend to throw them all back! Not good! So I arranged the beads from buttons and the ribbons from the clasps...I now have a more organised craft room. I have to admot that I feel more relaxed and organised. I feel better that I can lay my hands on what I need quicker.
But do we need all those little bits? A question my husband often asks. My answer is just a bit of everything! As you never know and here is why...
This picture just shows what we can do with just a little bit of fabric and a few buttons, embroidery thread and off we go!!

Give yourself half and hour with a few pieces from your craft box and see what you can create...??

A DIY week, so it's simple suppers ...

Thursday 23 August 2012

This Week is... DIY kick start week ...

With some nice weather and some time off work, Mr C.M and I are DIY-ing in the home. So dinner has been quick this week. After I have put down baby, we start the DIY so supper needs to be quick. These are my short-cuts for this week in the kitchen (as my kitchen won't we back to normal til Sunday).

Roasted Yellow Peppers and Tomatoes in Olive Oil

I make up this sauce and keep it in the fridge with Thrifty Pesto. It can be used with pasta, on pizza or on breads. It is also child and baby friendly as it has nothing spicy or highly seasoned in it. A good base to add to - spice it up or add cream or spinach for a mild creamy sauce.Very simple and sweet (as the vegetables have been slow roasted).


What you need  -

4 large yellow peppers
4 large over ripe tomatoes
1 tablespoon of tomatoes paste
4 tablespoons of olive oil
Nut oil
1 teaspoon of sugar
Salt and pepper


Go Create!

Heat the oven to 180*C.
Slice open the yellow peppers and arrange on a tray then drizzle with nut oil. Cook in the hot oven for 15 minutes then add sliced tomatoes to the tray and shake over the sugar. The sugar add sweetness to the roasted vegetables. Turn out the oven and they will cook in the heat of the oven. Leave for an hour (or until baby has gone to sleep!).
When cool, slice up the peppers into meaty slices and chop up the tomatoes into large chunks (still with the skins on). Add to a sealed jar then stir in the tomato paste and olive oil. Leave to cool. Don't cook olive oil as it burns off the goodness. Ikea jars are great for fridge storage ( . Leave your mixture in the fridge for a few days to enrich it. Then you are ready.
When I have no time in the kitchen, these made ahead jars are always in the fridge for times when we need to eat. This week we have pesto, cooked pastas in oils, chopped salad in lemon juice, couscous plus chopped fruits for pudding.
Have to go, happy creating for today...

In a Hurry Curry

Wednesday 22 August 2012

Great midweek super when you need to eat quickly!

My general timing rule for a super is the time from when you get in the door to putting the food on the table. Twenty minutes is great if you have help with baby. If you are on your own with baby considerably longer..In a Hurry Curry can be a twenty minute dinner...


Curry Spices
2 teaspoons of dried ginger
2 teaspoons of freshly chopped ginger
2 cloves of garlic
2 teaspoons of dried coriander
6 cloves
1 red dried chili (about 2 inches long)
1 tablespoon of tomato puree
2 teaspoons of lemon juice (to make the paste)
1 large white onion
6 mushrooms
Half a squash (pre-cooked in the oven)
4 handfuls of spinach
Groundnut oil for frying

Go Create!

Take all the curry spices and grind up in a pestle and mortar, add the tomato puree and lemon juice to make a paste. This paste can be stored in the 'fridge if double portions are made.
Chop the onion and squash and slice the mushrooms. Fry in oil the onions and squash until the onion is golden and add the spice paste. Then add the mushrooms as simmer for five minutes. You may need to add water if the mixture is too dry. Add the mushrooms to lightly cook. At the end before serving, add in the spinach and turn out the heat and with the lid on, steam the spinach to keep the taste.
Serve with rice and nan bread.

Fruity Iced Muffin Slices (very easy!)

Tuesday 21 August 2012

Fruity Iced Muffin Slice

Baby L and I made these muffin slices at breakfast this morning. Very quick and by the time breakfast was finished we had cake to take out to our baby group. Very easy and rewarding to think, yes I maybe on maternity leave but I can make a cake before 9 am. Yes, I am a Mummy as well and make cake!! With that thought, here is my own recipe ...

This is a really easy and I mean easy cake to put together. Perfect for parties and get togethers as the mixture makes over 24 slices.

You will need -

75g unsalted butter
200g self raising flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
75g caster sugar
200ml full fat milk
1 free range egg (medium to large)
Half teaspoon vanilla essence
50g raisins
50g dried apricots
Half teaspoon nutmeg

For the ice
4 tablespoons of icing sugar
1 teaspoon of glycerine

Go Create!

Put the oven on at 190*C (conventional oven temperature) or similar for a fan over.

This cake uses just one pan, no mixer and no extra bowls. Melt the butter on the hob and add the sugar. Turn off the heat when the mixture starts to caramelise. Then add the vanilla essence and dried fruit. Beat the egg together with the milk and slowly mix into the butter mixture. Sift the flower and baking powder into the pan and fold in. Do not stir as you need to get the air into the mixture.

Grease two 20cm sponge tins and pour in the mixture. When your oven is hot enough, bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown and the cake passes the knife test.

Let the cakes cool down for a few minutes and then turn out onto a wire rack.

Make an icing glaze with icing sugar and glycerine and drizzle on top.

Simple Mint Garden

Monday 20 August 2012

Keep these simple pots by your back door..

Pot up different varieties of mints in terracotta pots by your back door for use in the kitchen. Cut it in the summer and it will grow again and again. I freeze it and dry it out for the winter months. From experience I keep mint in pots as it spreads very quickly and takes over!

I use mint in ...

Mint Teas - pick a few leaves and make a great infusion for those days when you need a pick me up or to settle your stomach. Mint tea with sugar and roasted pine nuts is a great palette cleanser after Moroccan food. Serve in small shot glass style glasses - brew dark and strong.

Moroccan Tagine's are beautiful with a handful of mint leaves added at the end to add depth. Or chop up the leaves and add to pittas with chick peas, yogurt and falefal. Lovely for a summers evening.

New Potatoes - just wonderful with mint and fresh butter added at the end before serving.

Plus the pots are simple to maintain, keep well fed and watered not in full sun.

Pretty Summer Flower Arrangements

Sunday 19 August 2012


Perfect for a Summer Table....

I was thinking of buying flowers in the supermarket on Friday, then I thought, wait a minute why are you buying them when you have spent all that time and love and money on a beautiful garden?

As it has been such a hot weekend, we have been eating in the garden and the three floral arrangements have been quick to put together and cost nearly nothing. Plus, I have had some lovely compliments too!

I haven't used Oasis, instead arranged the flowers around the leaves to ensure they stay in place. For all three arrangements I conditioned the flowers overnight.

Herbs and Garden Flowers

I really love the scent of garden flowers and herbs which you don't get from shop bought flowers. I love to mix garden flowers simply with herbs to add a scent. Something which grows madly inmy garden is Lemon Balm or Melissa. The scent is lemony and I use it in floral arangements and cooking (want to try candle making next!) Mix it with one single variety of flower to show of the petals and the scent is wonderful!

Queen Elizabeth Roses & Country Garden Daisies

Arrange the leaves in a petal formation so that you can arrange the daisies between them.

Then arrange the daisies...

Arrange the roses still between the daisies and add a lighter green leaf between the roses...

I love it that these beautiful flowers have been created in my garden. I hope I have inspired you?

Vintage Style Baby Floral Card

Saturday 18 August 2012

Sending congratulations for a safe and happy pregnancy...

 I made this baby on board card as I was tired on searching for a card to both Mum and Dad to be! All the cards were either for the Mum (Mummy to be) or were Baby Shower type cards with lots of baby items on them. We wanted to say ' Baby on Board' in a subtle way in a natural grown up theme.

As in my earlier blog this week, I keep most bits and pieces, the flowers and leaves came from some beautiful wrap I picked up, this was layered over stamped card with plan and irridescent inks. A few little baby stamps were used but very subtle.

I have to say that I really love these stamps for using to say something that you cannot get on a topper. These cost me about £3 from a craft store and they are superb. I may need to put these away for a bit as they could be used on most of my projects!

Anyway, my lovely husband has just lit the fire outside and as it is such a warm and beautiful evening here, I am signing off my crafting to go and enjoy what is left of the summer. Now Baby L is sleeping through the night, we can spend more time together in the evening and I am not off to bank sleep in the early evening. Happy stamping!!

Summer Flowers

Friday 17 August 2012

Bring the Summer inside and appreciate all your hard work ...

During the Summer months, the more you pick your garden flowers the more flowers the plant will generally produce. More home-grown flowers means more creative floral arrangements. So you really have created the whole thing from scratch (or seed!).

I always prepare the flowers first so that they will last longer. I was recommended by a florist a few years ago Crystal flower food and it's a great conditioner.

If any of the flowers have bugs on them I soak the heads of the plant into a mild solution of Ecover washing up liquid with was recommended by a gardener! I always cut the flower stem on a 45 degree angle to get the most food up the stem.

Leave overnight to condition. Your fresh flowers will last for 2-3 days at least like this.

Keep all those little odds and ends...

because these bits and pieces ended, here and here!!

The beauty of making homemade is to make sure you have a collection of bits and pieces, odds and ends so you can make up something beautiful out of not much.

I urge you to clear out a draw and start to build up a collection so that you can draw on this to personalise. This maybe buttons or ribbons or papers. Just something to add that personal touch so say it was made by you...

The recycled fabrics and buttons on this new baby card create a handmade look...

New Home Bunting Card

Thursday 16 August 2012

Bunting Card

Keeping things very simple, this new home card was made in less than ten minutes..

What you would need -

Fluted edged card in beige
Satin pearlescent envelope in peach
Satin pearlescent paper in peach
Red ink pad
Silver metallic cord - 5mm thickness
Alphabet stamps
Fancy edged scissors
Pale yellow card
Flower Stamper
Foam pad
Paper glue (or fabric glue depending on the weight of the cord)

Go Create!
  • Cut the bunting using the fancy edge scissors, making eight triangles (one for testing!) to use for stamping. Create the bunting triangles as desired to fit the card front.
  • Test stamping the bunting with a letter to make sure the right pressure is used.
  • Stamp the N,E,W, H,O,M and E.
  • Take the metallic cord and tie a knot in each end of two strings.
  • Stick the bunting letters to the cord and attach to the card using paper glue. If this is not strong enough use fabric glue.
  • Stamp out a flower from your card and attach using a foam pad.
Very simple and cute home-made bunting card for a new home. The choice of card makes this design. Match your bunting papers to the envelope to co-ordinate.

Happy New Home!

New Baby Keepsake Card

Friday 10 August 2012

New Baby Boy!

Now I have a baby, when I hear that friends have given birth it means so much more. To have a friend who is also a Mum is great news. I made this keepsake card last week and now my cousin has had a baby boy as well. Better get busy making some more!! My friend loved it so I am sharing my project..

The keepsake has been attached to the card so you can pull it off and hang by the ribbon as a keepsake. These are really very easy to make.

Just a small peice of fabric cut into two squares, sandwiched with wadding and edged with bias. Hide the corners with buttons from your button stash and add a ribbon. Then with running stitch, stitch babies name on the front of the keepsake so that the back is plain and the threads are lost in the middle.

The card is simple, I bought the nappy pins stamp and stamping pad from Dunelm Mills.

It took me just an hour to make and worth it. You don't need to be a super stitcher to do this project, just get your fabrics, threads and stamps all matching and you are on your way!

Pizza Pizza (no box in sight!)

Wednesday 8 August 2012
One of the great treats for us when Baby L has gone to bed is to have pizza night. Pizza night now happens on a non-school night and with a hot oven and a bit of planning, we have fresh pizza, made and in the oven - start to finish in 30 mins!!

No pizza box in sight!!
White and Red Pizzas

Pizza does take time but if you start with the dough in the morning, let it rest and kneed it in the evening about an hour before you bake it, you will have a homemade Italian style pizza. Authentic and a fraction of the price of the pizza's in the boxes in the shops.

We took a holiday to Italy a few years ago and I got addicted to these freshly made pizzas and nothing comes close in the shops. They are so doughy and heavy compared to this version. I always make a red (tomato) and a bianco (creamy /cheese based) so we have a choice of flavours.

They only take 15 minutes in a hot oven and then we chop them up and they are ready to go!
It doesn't matter if the dough is not perfectly round, they look better if they are baked just the way you make them - circles, squares - whatever!!!