Thursday, January 31, 2008

Windy - well just a little

Today was very, and I mean very, windy. I didn't check the forecast yesterday - so baked as usual, well slightly less as I ran out of ingredients and couldn't be bothered to go and get some more!....The market stalls were blowing about and some didn't even bother to stay.

But us Ampthill Country Market Ladies (and one man) soldiered on....and surprisingly most was sold. I didn't actually help out - I have got a cold today and someone offered to do my stint (thanks Jim).

I did sit in the warm and make some cards and did a few with paper roses on - I have been using these for years and years and yet they are still popular. I have changed the way they look with papers etc. I sat and wrapped them all tonight and didn't take any pics. I used the embossing folder again...the other two have not arrived yet.

So I am surrounded with new toys and didn't really use anything new today apart from a bit of embossing and some dew drops. I will get back to playing at the weekend - I just needed to get some stock up.

It was the book club meeting last night and we have Nigel Slater - Toast...I started reading it last night it is lots of little stories based around food items! Anyone else read it?

I have also unearthed an old cook book that I didn't realise I had - Mcdoougalls finer baking it was printed in 1972 and I have a feeling may have been some kind of promotional thing. My gave me some old cookery books a while back from a neighbour of hers that died, and I guess it must have been one of those. Not many pics in it - but I must give a few of them ago.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Cuttlebug



I bought a Cuttlebug yesterday as I had some birthday money to sepnd! I ordered it from Craftability at Poplars Nursery near Toddington. Paul, Owen and I went to the garden centre for a light lunch, then the boys went home and I spent 2 hours playing with my new machine - using all the dies and embossing folders that Vanessa has. It was a great way to see what I did and didn't like.

I chose 3 embossing folders (2 are on order and will be in next week) and 2 sets of dies. We played with foam, chipboard, paper, card, vellum and acetate. You get some great results. Two little girls came in the shop and were absolutely fascinated in watching what we were doing...they ended up leaving the shop with punches and glitter paper bought by their Gran!

So this morning I have made some cards playing with my new toy, the bright rainbow one is for the latest challenge on the forum which is the colours of the rainbow, why don't you join in? Possibly a bit too bright, I used a variety of Cats eyes chalk pads. The stamps have been painted using my new pencils that I bought on Thursday

The baby card at the top is using some embossed card that I bought from Milton Keynes market, the little pram is embossed using the cuttlebug, and my new dew drops add the fnishing touch! These dew drops are fabby.


Finally one for the men, using good old QK dies cuts.

I did put some cards on the Ampthill Farmers Market yesterday - but only 5 went, it wasn't a really busy market this time - but January is the worst. The Town Council have some plans a foot I have been told - so watch this space.

A new Italian restaurant has opened in Ampthill this week - so I hope that maybe we can make visit soon. We also have a new gift shop - but I have not ventured in yet, so not sure what it is all about.

Banana and raisin loaf


I have not added a recipe onto my blog for a while, so thought I would show this loaf I made. For some reason we either seem to run out of bananas or we have too many that they start going black, I really don't like them when they go soft, and no-one in the house does either! So I hunted around the internet and made a combination of several recipes to suit the ingredients I had in the cupboard.

Banana & Raisin Loaf
4 oz Marg
4 oz Sugar (can add some dark) – beat together
Add:
2 eggs
Then add
3 or 4 bananas (could leave one for end so less mashed)
Sift and fold in
8oz SR Flour
½ tsp Bicarb
1 tspn Cinammon
5 oz Raisins

180 C for 45 minutes

The first time I made it I didn't taste them as I decided to put them out for sale on the market - the first time I have done that without first tasting. It was quite a stressful experience, so I have reade them and they were delicious. I like to warm up a slice in the microwave.

I am still on the look out for any fabby traybake recipes, that would be ideal to cut up and put on the Country Markets stall. By doing a variety I can hold back a few cakes for Owen's lucnhbox, rather than having one big cake to eat all week.

Friday, January 25, 2008

January



A busy week in January. I had a nice week this week - as it was my birthday Wednesday. Not that I actually went out, I baked some cakes in the morning for the market, and just pottered around in the afternoon. I did order a Cuttlebug from Craftability - at Poplars Nursery, and I am picking it up tomorrow. Vanessa also gives a 2 hour workshop as part of the price - so I am doing that for a couple of hours tomorrow afternoon. So that should be fun.

I met Clare and Sue for lunch in Letchworth, and popped into the craft shop there...I actually didn't buy much, just a couple of little chalk pads. Sue persuaded me to buy some new watercolour pencils from the Art shop - Inktense - not had much of a play with them yet - but they do seem nice and intense! I did manage to order a couple of stamps from a web site in the sale on Wednesday too.

Paul gave me some nice craft goodies along with a Papercrafts book "you go girl". Not had a chance to look through it yet - but from a quick flick it is looking interesting.

Ooh and I also ordered some Dew Drops as recommended by Joanne (Angelnorth), and they are fabby - so have loads of new stuff to make some cards. As I am generally a mean crafter this is really exciting spending all of this money - but a lot of it was using birthday and Christmas money.

I have launched a new challenge on the forum - ripping an tearing - here are a couple of cards from me:
The top one is using a stamped image from Ellen in the last swap, and also a special Fiskars ripping thingy that I got as a prize from Crafts Beautiful a while back, and the orange flower is using a bargain stamp I got from Stamp Addicts the other day. The papers were from Paul for Christmas Old World Papers DCWV.

I hope you stop by and join in with the challenges - all entries go in for a prize draw.

It is the Farmers' Market in Ampthill - not sure how busy it will be it is alwasy the worst one after Christmas, and the lack of stalls was meaning that less people were visiting, I hope that the Council will do as they have promised and give it some urgent attention......I hope to sell a few cards. I don;t bake for the stall as I work on Fridays

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Lunch again


Today I went out for lunch to the Prince of Wales in Ampthill with some of the ladies from the Country Markets, it was nice to all have a meal out as we don't often all see each other, just pass by when collecting and taking items. After a whole week of being 'good' I blew it and had a brie and bacon wrap....I really should have stuck to something lower in fat. At least I walked into town and back...and got rained on!

Yesterday I popped over to Sue's for a coffee, and had a lovely chat. I borrowed some stamps and looked at loads of her purchases from her trip to Florida. She had a nifty little Fiskars knife - but it looks as though it may not be available over here yet.

The picture at the top is pancakes with pears cooked in cinammon syrup, and some nutella sauce....it was for the challenge on TheCooksJournal...it would be lovely to see some more joining in.

I have been trying to make at least 1 card a day...to try and increase stocks...and so far have managed it - some are dead simple, but hopefully will be liked by the customers.

Two competitions have been launched over at Crafts by Carolyn today - follow the links at the side.

Back to work tomorrow - seems like ages since I last went, was fun having Tuesday off in the end even though it was unexpected.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Links


I have just found out how to add a scroll box - it was so simple, and have now added three boxes for all of the blog links. Hopefully it will save the page being too long.

If you want to share links then LMK.

I finished my CJ today and was pleased. I intended to make some cards, but somehow the day has disappeared. Owen and I sat and watched Hot Fuzz today - it was quite funny - but perhaps only described as 'good' rather than excellent iykwim

The card above was from the rubber stamped image swap. Lots of 'colouring in' on this one, possibly not something I would always want to do. But he is cute isn't he. The image was from Okey-Dokey, I hvae really enjoyed the swaps - really gives you an opportunity to see some other stamps.

I have just booked to go on a quick course at LB crafts in May - just fancied having a play with stamps elsewhere. Unfortunately she didn't have any other places sooner!

Monday, January 14, 2008

Monday


Today I had to collect Owen from school as he had an upset tummy. I decided to crack on with my CJ, as he seemed to be happy watching TV. It is really starting to take shape now, I have to do the 3rd chapter in a fairy story. So I have got Paul to do the story and I am just designing the page around it, it is looking quite good. (well it is good for me!)

I launched another challenege yesterday on the forum, using a BIG button - it has got everyone looking through their button box! Please feel free to join in.

I got a DCWV Old World Pad for Christmas from Paul just a 5 X 7 - but they go really wel with a lot of my stamps, I am really pleased with it. I did make a couple of cards at the weekend - but didn't manage the 'it's all greek to me' challenge - I must crack on with that too. So much to do and so little time!

I have managed to complete the challenge on the cooks journal and used pears, cinammon and chocolate - I have a photo that I will put on here later.

I am gathering up blog links as I have added two scroll boxes for them, so I will try and add all the people that have stopped by and left comments.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

A New Year



Well there are activities galore on the forum - everyone is really busy.

So to start with the usual weekly challenges have started again - I launched the "Birds and the Bees" and Angelnorth launched "it's all Greek to Me". One of my birds and bees is at the top - I made this in October for a work colleague, she was away for her birthday and we weren't organised enough to get her card sorted until she was back!

We have a new Scrapbook challenge launched by Sue, it is a great template aimed at all abilities. Sue has also done a fabby acetate album, and given us some step by step instructions on how to do it....you really will enjoy this.


and a variety of swaps, there is still time to join many of them, all of them are hosted, so new members can join in:

ATC

Rubber stamped images

Monthly Cards

Die cuts swap

Melissa has launched a PiF for the regular forum members. Additionally we have some great threads....show and tell us your latest projects, tell us your crafty tools and storage ideas, see what the sponsors have to offer.

The Artistic Stamper has a competition to design your very own stamp, the details are here

So as you can see there is LOADS going on...so pop along to the forum NOW!

Sticky Toffee Pud


This was a recipe that was given to me by Okey-dokey (Cookie on theCraftsJournal.co.uk) and it is fab. We had it for Christmas day and then I made another for New Year when my parents came to stay:

Ingredients
175g (6oz) dates stoned and chopped
300 ml (10fl oz) water
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
50g (2oz) unsalted butter
175g (6oz) caster sugar
2 eggs beaten
175g (6 oz) self-raising flour
1 teaspoon vanilla essence

300 ml (10 fl oz) double cream
59g (2oz) Demerara sugar
2 teaspoons black treacle


Method
Pre-heat the oven to 180oC/350oF/gas 4 and grease a 2 lb loaf tin lined) - it was also suggested in the recipe that is work on a 28 x 18cm (11 x 7 inch) baking tin.

Boil the dates in the water for about 5 mins until soft (does not take long as I use the ready to eat dates), I did these in a bowl in the microwave then add the bicarbonate of soda. Cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy, then add the eggs and beat well. Mix in the dates mixture, flour and vanilla essence then pour into the prepared tin. You don’t need to wait until the dates cool down. The mixture looks quite runny but don’t worry. Cook in a pre-heated oven for about 30-40 mins depending on size of tin, until just firm to the touch, it was more like 40 mins for me.

The actual cake will serve around 8 I reckon and the sauce 4 to 5 - as you can see we added a blob of clotted cream on ours. It freezes really well and keeps moist for a long time. I just re heat it in the microwave. It is a nice cake on its own and is low in fat! If you intend to serve 8 you will need to double the quantity of sauce.

Forum News:

On the Cooks Journal we have two challenges running for the new year check out the challenge section - we hope to do a couple a month through out the year - and it would be lovely to see everyone joining in. We are up to over 60 members now - the most recent is Tesco's - telling us about their new healthy living tracker

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Sweets Galore

Happy New Year Everyone

Well I made the sweets as I had discussed on TheCooksJournal and made far too many! I made a couple of boxes and popped a selection in them:


So to start with I soaked the cherries in Drambuie as I didn't have any brandy - but I will have to try with Brandy next time. I used Glace cherries, but do fancy a go with some different cherries. I did try and cover them with chocolate using a skewer but in he end I dropped a blob of chocolate in the case then popped the cherry on top, and then covered with chocolate which worked well.

Next I followed Hugh Fearnley-Wittingstalls recipe for Truffles which was basically heat up a pot ofdouble cream until almost boiling and add to 200g chopped up chocolate, stir and wait until set. Well this didn't actually set until I whisked it
...then it was fine. I note that some add butter and Delia added yoghurt. I did find this video - which is worth a look. I covered some with ground almonds and cocoa, and added some chopped cherries to a few.



Finally I made the Peanut Butter sweets as discussed on the forum here I did follow the directions from this Apple & Spice Blog. Well in fact Owen made the peanut butter mix and I did the coating in chocolate. I tried just covering them first, but then resorted to the cherry method!

I gave them to my Mum for Christmas and all have been tested - the cherries blew her head off and she is going to have one a day! The others were all great. I reckon I could just coat cherries in chocolate without soaking as well.

We all enjoyed Christmas - I got some cooking pressies, a timer, a new apron, and some silicon utensils

Crafty wise I got some paper, a stamp and some books.

Loads of other stuff too, I hope you all had a nice time