I love you stitched card

Sunday 30 September 2012

Ti Amo (I love you) in Italian


This card was created as a thank-you for a lovely holiday, our first as a family. Sew simple with a bit of embroidery thread, linen fabric and confidence!

I have made this design with a free flowing back stitch just to show how easy it is..it is about you and your creativity!

I basic stitches can be found through the Embroiderers Guild a step by step starter for beginners..

You Will Need  - 

Natural linen fabric 10cm square
Contrast red fabric 10cm square
Embroidery thread in blanc/white
Embroidery Needle
Embroidery scissors I always use the scissors with the orange handles from fiskars
Paper craft card and envelope in white
Bondaweb 20cm square
Try for all your haberdashery supplies -

Go Create!

  1. This card is really easy to make with the wonders of bondaweb and embroidery threads! Cut out the linen fabric to a 10cm square and fray the edges to make the design look rustic.
  2. Cut out 3small hearts and 1 large heart and arrange on the fabric until you are happy with the size and shapes.
  3. Take the bondaweb and iron on the hearts.
  4. Iron on the hearts to the linen to your size and pattern.
  5. Take your embroidery thread and take 2 strands. Embroider the words as per photo and ensure the ends of the threads are hidden.
  6. Take the double sided tape and stick the linen to the front of the card.

Apple & Spice Babysitting Cake ...

Wednesday 26 September 2012

Sometimes when someone is doing a big favour - 

like babysitting so we could go out for the first time -

 a good cake has to be made to say thank-you, thank-you, thank-you!

 Apple & Spice Babysitting Cake ...

Last week I made the Autumn Fruit At The Bottom cake and it was gorgeous - . So when we wanted a sitter so we could go out and celebrate one evening, this cake was perfect. Rich and spicy and appley as well.

You Will Need -
60g butter
60g caster sugar
60g self raising flour
1 egg
4 medium sized apples peeled and chopped
1 teaspoon all spice
Half teaspoon of baking powder
1 tablespoon of brown sugar
1 teaspoon almond essence
Handful of almond slices
100ml milk
Serves 8

Go Create!

Pre-heat the oven at 180C
  1. Cream together the butter and caster sugar until light and fluffy then add the egg and beat thoroughly. Add the almond essence.
  2. Sieve together the flour and the baking powder and fold into the sponge mixture.
  3. Take a separate microwave proof bowl and tip the chopped apples and spice and cover in cold tap water.
  4. Microwave apples for 4 minutes on full power and leave to cool. Your mixture is now stewed and soft but the apples still retain the texture.
  5. Coat the bottom of your greased sponge tin with the apple mixture and add the sponge. The apple juice will run into the sponge to give it a brown look but this will go when baked.
  6. Sprinkle the sugar and almonds on the top.
  7. Bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown.
  8. Leave to cool and then turn onto a cooling rack before storing in an air tight container.
  9. Enjoy!

Baby* Cot Bumpers

Baby Cot Bumpers (*from age of 1)

Make your own baby bumpers with just cotton fabric, wadding, ribbon and some decoration!
I was surprised by the quality of baby bumpers in the stores and on-line. So I decided to make my own for two reasons, better quality and better design.
You Will Need -
.80 metre of cotton fabric
.80 metre of wadding (I used quilters wadding)
8 metres of 5mm ribbon
.50 metre contrast fabric (I used the beige spot)
Scraps of cotton fabric for motifs (I used the red)
.50 metre Bondaweb
Sewing thread
Let's Create!
Measure the size of your cot as each one is different.
You will need to cut three pieces which will be sewn together. 
Your bumper will be twenty cm high when finished.
Cut double the height of each of the three sides plus turnings. You will be making a bag for each piece to sandwich the wadding in.
 For example my pieces were -
 60 x 40 cm plus turnings (left side)
  60 x 40 cm plus turnings (right side)
60 x 40 cm plus turnings (top side)
Cut your wadding the same size (no turnings).
Turn the pieces wrong side out and stitch across the bottom side and up one side to form a bag. Turn and press then add on the contrast trim. Mine was 5 cm at the bottom. This has stitched onto the bag before wadding.
Insert the wadding at the side and hand stitch up the side. Repeat for all three.
Stitch together by hand at each of the two corners which will form the top of the cot bumper.
Take the ribbon and divide into eight. Take a piece and pin to each bumper edge ensure each ribbon has tails to tie it to the cot. Then pin down the join or the seam to hide any hand stitching for the pieces that are joined. Hand stitch on both sides and tie at the bottom.
I decorated mine to match the theme with rabbits and leaves cut out and ironed on with bondaweb, embroidered leave stems and French knot rabbits tails.
They are easy to wash by hand and for this price you can make about four pairs for the cost of one in the store.
Happy Making,
Sam x

Autumn Fruits At The Bottom Cake

Sunday 23 September 2012

A Fruity Almond Sponge Great Warmed With Cream...

With all the autumn fruits we have, it is getting a bit crazy how much we can eat and freeze! This cake can be a pudding or sliced for elevenses or given away..Enjoy - we have!

You Will Need -
60g butter
60g caster sugar
60g self raising flour
1 egg
1 punnet of raspberries
Half teaspoon of baking powder
1 tablespoon of brown sugar
1 teaspoon almond essence
100ml milk
Handful of almond flakes to decorate
8 inch sponge tin (greased)

Serves 8

Go Create!

Set the oven to 180C or similar if a fan oven or to your instruction manual.

  1. Cream together the butter and caster sugar until light and fluffy then add the egg and beat thoroughly.
  2. Sieve together the flour and the baking powder and fold into the sponge mixture.
  3. Take a separate microwave proof bowl and tip in all raspberries except six for decoration. Wash and add brown sugar.
  4. Microwave raspberries for 2 minutes on full power and leave to cool. Your mixture is a running jam mixture.
  5. Coat the bottom of your greased sponge tin with the raspberry mixture and add the sponge. The raspberry juice will run into the sponge to give it a pink look but this will go when baked.
  6. Sprinkle the raspberries and almonds on the top.
  7. Bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown.
  8. Leave to cool and then turn onto a cooling rack before storing in an air tight container.
  9. Enjoy!

Fresh Pasta - my step by step way...

Thursday 20 September 2012

Ciao Bella! Fresh Pasta - prep in advance and cook in a minute!


Mezzelune with Aubergine & Tomato Filling

Fresh pasta is something I used to buy in the supermarket until two things changed all that. We went on holiday to Tuscany and had pasta making lessons, so I found out how easy it is. Then I watched a cookery programme saying that you are just paying for water if you buy it in from the shops and it is expensive for what it is....So I got set, we bought a pasta roller and hey off I go!
I found this technique for making these half moon pasta shapes from a Gino D'Acampo's pasta making book and fill them with my own recipe.
Serves 4 as a starter.

You Will Need -

200g Type 'OO' Flour - I use Sainbury's Own Brand
Half teaspoon of salt
2 beaten eggs
1 teaspoon of basil olive oil
For the filling -
Half aubergine
1 tablespoon of tomato puree
1 teaspoon of dried basil
Half red pepper
Half red onion

Go Create!

  1. First prepare you pasta, this can be done the day or morning before when you have 15 mins. Clean the kitchen surface and pour the flour onto the surface making a well in the middle.
  2. Sprinkle the salt over the flour.
  3. Pour 3/4 of the egg into the well and mix in.
  4. Once all the egg is mixed in then add the oil.
  5. Kneed for about 6-8 mins, I usually put the radio or a CD on and it is about 2 songs worth!
  6. Then cling film up and pop in the fridge to rest.

To prepare the filling -
  1. Dice the aubergine and sprinkle with salt and cover with boiling water.
  2. Cook fast for 5 mins, this takes the bitternes out of it.
  3. Chop up the onion finely and add to the pan.
  4. Chop the red pepper finely and add.
  5. Add the puree and seasoning and add oil if necessary to stop sticking.
  6. Once the mixture has softened and cooked through. Leave to cool.
To make the pasta & mezzelune filled pasta -

Divide the pasta dough into 3.

  1. Take a section and flatten and roll. I normally pass through the roller at a thick then thin setting.
  2. Once all three pieces are rolled out, get a pastry cutter (I use one with a 5 cm diameter) and cut out 40 pieces.
  3. Then cover in flour to stop them sticking and they are ready to fill.
  4. Lay on a floured chopping board all the circular pasta shapes and fill each one with half a teaspoon of filling.
  5. Take the last quarter of egg and paint the egg around edges to seal.
  6. Fold the pockets to create a half moon and seal with a fork to crimp the edges.
  7. These can be left in a sealed box in the fridge for a day or two until ready.

To cook -

Boil a pan of salted water then cook the pasta for one minute.
Serve with cream and grated hard cheese and black pepper as a simple for delightful starter.

Here is a step by step in pictures, very relaxing to make ahead (I make them in the evening before) and so quick to cook  -


It is all in the detail....one simple stamper

Wednesday 19 September 2012

 Take one stamp cutter and a variety of textured and printed papers, layer up and stick on and give yourself ten minutes and this is what you can create....enjoy

Run & Raisin Cake (mmmm)

Monday 17 September 2012

 Think Rum & Raisin Ice Cream in a cake ...


This deliciously light and fruity cake is great with a good cup of coffee or a big spoonful of whipped cream.

You Will Need -

125g butter
125g caster sugar
125g self raising flour
Half teaspoon of baking powder
50g raisins
2 eggs
100ml full fat milk
1 teaspoon of rum flavouring (good quality)

Makes 10 slices

Go Create!
  1. Preheat the oven to 190C (or to similar as per instructions).
  2. Cream together the butter and sugar.
  3. Add the eggs one by one and whisk thoroughly. Add the rum flavouring.
  4. Sift the flour and baking powder together and fold into the creamy mixture.
  5. Wash the raisins and towel dry and fold in with the milk.
  6. Grease two eight inch sponge trays well and pour the mixture equally in both.
  7. Cook for twenty minutes or until the golden brown and passes the knife test.
  8. Leave to cool for five minutes then turn out onto wire cooling trays.
  9. Slice each cake into five pieces and enjoy!


Vegetable Tagine

Sunday 16 September 2012


Tagines - Prep Ahead and Slow Cook

Perfect, if like me, you need to cook supper at 2pm!


Sometimes it is really hard with a little one to cook a supper when baby needs a bath,a story and you want to eat something healthy and not out the freezer. This is a really easy and tasty dish you can make when baby sleeps (after lunch time) it takes you 20 minutes but all the chopping is worth it.

You Will Need -

1 red onion
1 carrot
1 yellow pepper
6 mushrooms
Half aubergine
Can of chick peas
Tablespoon of dried apricots
Handful of spinach
Handful of fresh mint (see post about mint gardens)
2 teaspoons Moroccan spice dried mix
1 clove garlic
250ml of vegetable stock
Salt and pepper

Go Create!

 Take your tagine. I bought mine from  Lakeland. Dice the aubergine and add a sprinkling of salt and cover with water in the tagine on the hob, cook fast for a few minutes. This will take out any bitterness. Add the onion, then add the garlic and spices to the aubergine mixture. Simmer. Chop up the remaining vegetables and add to the tagine with the chick peas and apricots .Cover with the vegetable stock and this is now ready for slow cooking.
Cook on a low heat for an hour in the oven until vegetables are tender. Chop the mint and spinach and add to tagine. Cook for a further 5 minutes.
Serve with cous cous and Moroccan mint tea with roasted pine nuts.


Candy Stripe Bunting New Home Card

Friday 14 September 2012

Use your card making papers, stick-ons and punches in this oh so cute card!

If you are like me, you love to collect papers, stick ons and punches? Well, transform a simple card into one with detail and imagination!


You Will Need -

Cream Card (or pale background)
Bunting Papers (These are from Craft Seller magazine)
Silver ABC stick ons
Daisy Punch
Congratulations Peel Off
Stripe Card
Foam Heats Try accessorize
Paper Glue
Craft Knife
Craft Cutting Mat


Go Create!

First of all cut out your stripe card into a house shape leaving 3cm around the edge for the bunting and flowers. Stick on the congratulations peel off and carefully stick on the silver letters for New Home. Cut a strip of 2cm for the bottom of the card of the bunting paper and stick on.
Cut out your bunting and stick across the top of the card.
Punch out of the bunting paper the flowers and arrange so they look like a garden at the front of the house. Take the middle part of the silver letters and use as centres for the flowers. I used the silver letters to add 'Home Sweet Home' to the bottom of the card.
It is fiddley but worth it for the detail you can create. This card took less than one hour and was gratefully received!

Family Friendly Tuscan Stew

Tuesday 11 September 2012

As There Is A Chill In Air We Need Hearty Food...

There is a dew on the grass in the morning and a slight chill in the air, so I am thinking of making stews for the family in the Autumn.

This stew is beautiful with some freshly made doughy breads and oils. Can be made ahead and is waming and very filling after a long day. Baby L just loves it as it is great finger food with the pasta shapes.

You Will Need  -

1/2 Squash
1 onion
200g small pasta shapes
50 g  strong cheese
4 large mushrooms
1 stock cube to be made up to 250ml of stock
Salt and Pepper
1 tablespoon Thifty Pesto
1 yellow pepper
1 red pepper
1 tin of borotti beans
2 teaspoons dried Italian herbs
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon sugar

1 tablespoon tomato puree

Go Create!

Firstly chop and saute the onion in a large pot then add the herbs. Add the peppers and mushrooms and sweat until tender. Then add the tomato puree and stock, borotti beans and pasta. Cook for 5 minutes then add the vinegar, sugar and pesto.

In a separate pan cube the squash and sweat until soft then mash.
Once the stew has been cooking for 20 minutes, add the mashed squash and cheese then stir.
Serve straight away, serves 4 easily.

Patterned Kitty Shaped Card

Saturday 8 September 2012

Hey Kitty,Kitty,Kitty..

I just love working with unusual card shapes, this design took minutes and a craft knife to put together..

You Will Need -

Cat Card Pack. Try Craft Mania
Patterned Floral Card A5 and Messages Papercellar
Pink Bow
Double Sided Tape
Pink Button
Adhesive Pads (1cm diameter)
Paper Glue
Contrast Paper A5
Craft Knife and Cutting Board

Go Create!

Lay the floral patterned paper right side down on your craft board and then add paper glue to the front of your cat card. Stick the cat card to the patterned card and cut around the cards. Turn the card the right side up and trim off any rough edges so that the card fits the card perfectly!

Add a bow and double mount your message. Stick the message with the adhesive pads then  add the pink button.

Simple and in less than ten minutes you have a great card!

English Classic Strawberry Trifle

Friday 7 September 2012

Perfect for a Sunny Afternoon...


Strawberry trifle is just beautiful and light for an afternoon party..



I made up this trifle last weekend for a friend's first birthday party. It has no alcohol in it so babies can eat it.

You will need -

For the sponge -
2 eggs
125g self raising flour
125g butter
125g caster sugar
Half a teaspoon baking powder
100ml full fat milk

Or a packet of shop bought sponge fingers

For the trifle -
Punnet strawberries or 150g (hulled and halved)
1/4 pt whipped cream
1/4 pt custard
2 tablespoons orange juice
1 teaspoon lemon juice
2 tablespoons raspberry jam

8 glace cherries for decoration

Serves 6

Go Create!

Put on the oven at 180 c

If you are making the sponge from scratch, cream together the butter and sugar. When the mixture is light and fluffy add the eggs one by one then sift the flour and baking powder into the mixture. Fold the flour in and add the milk.

Put the mixture in a greased tin and bake for 20 minutes so that the sponge is light and golden.

Cool the sponge on the wire tray.

When the sponge has cooled, cut it up and sandwich the jam between the sponge. Arrange the jam sandwiches in the bottom of a glass dish. Then add the strawberries and juices over the sponge so it is moist. Leave for the fruit to soak into the sponge for 30 minutes.

Make the custard as per packet instructions and pour over the strawberries and leave to cool. When cool add the whipped cream and decorate with cherries.

Your very English Strawberry Trifle - delicious for a family get together! Yummy!


Baby Cot Storage Hanger

For All Those Baby Bits In One Place...


Baby storage made easy with a easy to make cot hanger...here is how..


You will need

Canvas Fabric 1.75 m x 40cm
Cream thread for stitching . always use Gutermann
Contrast Fabric - 100% cotton. We used Red. 40 x 40cm
Sewing Scissors
Bondaweb Buy from John Lewis
Greaseproof paper 40 cm square
1m green 10mm double faced satin ribbon. We used green
Embroidery Threads . We used green and white
Embroidery Needle


Go Create!

Cut out the two panels in the canvas 40cm x 75cm and four panels 40cm x 23cm. Firstly make the backing panel by sewing the panels together wrong sides together and turn the right way. Press and hand stitch the open side together.
Take two of the smaller panels, make these the same was as the backing panel. Attach these panels width ways as per the picture to make two pockets. Double stitch to form a very secure pocket.
Take your contrast fabric and take two images, we picked a rabbit and a swallow. Trace your image out a magazine or book onto your greaseproof paper. Cut out and then place and pin on the fabric and cut out. Take the fabric and on the wrong side add bondaweb as per packet instructions.
Iron on your motifs onto your hanger. To make the leaves, iron the ribbon onto bondaweb, then cut out the leaf shape and iron on.
Embroider on some personal stitching to finish it off. So cute and personal. We used satin stitches in green and a few french knots on the rabbit tales.
Add the ties on to the tops to tie onto the cot using double stitching on the sewing machine and your done!
These cot storage hangers cost about £20 in stores. Yours will be personal and oh so handy to a new Mum.
I am using mine for nappies and the occasional toy!


Speedy Spicy Mexican Lunch

Tuesday 4 September 2012

Spicy Bean Quesadillas

When you need to do a super effortless lunch, these Quesadillas are perfect ...and ready in minutes!


You will need -

  • 4 Soft Flour Tortillas
  • 150g grated strong cheese
  • 1 tin of kidney beans
  • 1 packet of soft cheese
  • Mexican spice
  • 2 tomatoes
  • 1 red onion
For a meaty version
  • 6 thin slices chorizo slices
For Salad - cucumber and tomato with a cool blue cheese dressing - this works just fine!

Go Create!
Take half the tortillas and spread with the soft cheese. Then in a frying pan, saute half the red onion add the tomatoes and spices. Simmer for a few minutes and add the kidney beans. In a clean pan, get the pan hot then add the tortilla with the cheese side up, spoon on the kidney bean mixture and a handful of grated cheese. Add the top tortilla as a lid then flip. Make sure both sides are heated through. Remove from heat and serve with the salad of red onion,cucumber and tomato.
Mexican without all the fussy pots and chopping, one plate and served in minutes! Perfect when you are also feeding a baby as well as yourself .....and your guests!

Sugar & Spice Charm Birthday Card

Monday 3 September 2012

And All Things Nice...


You Will Need -

  • Square White Card (15cm square) with Envelope
  • Craft Papers in pink,white and green. Try Docrafts
  • Craft Charms. Baby Girl for this project Martins Cards.
  • Crafting Sticky Pads (6 x 1 inch pads)
  • Paper Glue
  • Butterfly Stickers Try Papercellar
  • Silver letter stickers. Try Craft Superstore
  • Birthday Toppers. Most craft stores sell these.
  • Craft Knife
  • Crafting Cutting Board
  • Selection of pastel sequins
  • Soft Pencil
  • Ruler
  • Compass or brad punch
  • Masking Tape

Go Create!

Firstly take your stripe paper and cut 7cm square. Then punch out a hole in the centre for your charm. Take your charm and thread through, then open out the wings to secure it and tape down with masking tape.
Then on the right side write at the bottom left your word with your silver letters. We chose 'One' for a first birthday.
With your pink dotty paper, cut a square 10cm square. Stick both squares together and mount onto your card.

Then stick your message at the top right using pads. Add the butterfly stickers and a few sequins and hey - your done.
One nice cute late summer card!




Baby Name Artwork

Creating Personal Artwork - You can do it..


I have always loved to paint, from a little girl until I left university I painted a lot. For me, to get my paints out and get in the zone is something totally relaxing and rewarding. It is totally unique and created by me. It is different to a recipe or a sewing pattern as it is from my mind and I love it!

Now that I am a Mum, I really want to challenge myself and re-live my crafts. You really need the correct tools to create good art work. I always use Winsor and Newton http://www.winsornewton.com/ for my paints. You need good paints if you put the work in and you want it to last.

First of all stretch out your paper. Wet your paper then stretch it with masking tape onto a board. Then sketch out your design on good quality art paper with a F pencil. I use Faber Castell pencils http://www.faber-castell.co.uk/, Because it is a F pencil you can rub out your mistakes as the lead is so soft.

When you are happy with your design, you can then start with your colour palette. Take no more than 4 main colours as you can work with these. Be careful not to add too much paint onto your brush and use strong and defining strokes that you can then blend. I use acrylic paints that you can blend or watercolour blocks.

It took me a few hours to complete this design, once you are happy with it, leave it overnight before framing.

A beautiful, personal keepsake.


A Busy DIY Week in the Kitchen..

Sunday 2 September 2012

..But still time for creating...just..

I am pleased that after a stressful week and a half, our new kitchen floor is completed. Everything takes twice as long with a young baby! So we have had some quick dinners this week or a very slow dinner which has been left in the oven for a few hours. Next the bathroom but first we need a rest.

So this week, we have had two first birthday's, a friend moving house, wedding anniversaries and a adult birthday! Wow! All in one week. Here is the bunting we made (my daughter helped which was lovely) in twenty minutes.

It seems bunting is everywhere...

A few weeks ago, I challenged myself to use the following

 ....so I created for a start ..baby bunting.


Baby Bunting

I made this with help from my ten month old daughter. She helped with the stamping which was fun!

You will need -

To make the flowers-
2 Contrast Papers (you can use double sided papers) Try http://www.docrafts.com
A Flower Punch.Try http://www.papercellar.com

Tea and Cakes rubberised stickers from http://www.accessorize.com/
Pearl Sequins Try http://www.hobbycraft.co.uk/
Bunting Flag Card Try http://www.craftuk.net/
Ink Pad in translucent /pale green and red. www.hamptonart.com

1 metre of pale green ribbon 3mm wide
Strong adhesive for paper to fabric
Paper Glue 

Go Create!

Take your bunting triangles and lay them in front of you wrong side up. Glue the ribbon on and then turn when dry.
Take the ink pad and stamp onto the bunting squares.Then take your papers and stamp out the flowers and add to the bunting. Then cut out the name or message to adorn your square. We photocopied the letters from a book then blew them up 175% on the printer. Cut out and then cut out in a matching paper. The papers were of the same colour and theme.
Add on the sticker.
Repeat for all bunting squares.
We wrote a message on the reverse to wish happy birthday, then wrapped it up in brown paper.

A simple message to hang up in the house. Refreshingly different from a classic card.