Monday, 31 December 2007


amathyst and silver bracelet

garnet and liquid silver beaded bracelet

garnet and silver bracelet

shell and silver bracelet

labradorite and silver bracelet

A few of the things I have been working on since Christmas Day with the beads I got from M. Except for the shell one, which I bought from a charity shop for .50p with an overstretched elastic so I took it apart to salvage the beads and am happy with the result. My favourites are the amethyst, only because I have a weakness for purple and the labradorite although the picture doesn't capture the true depth of iridescence of the beads . I also made a peridot and silver bracelet that my mother and law has borrowed as it matched the peridot green jumper she was wearing on boxing day.

in other news H is recovering from Santa's gift of chickenpox, M has a cold and I have a poorly throat. I guess there is always next year.

Sunday, 30 December 2007

Rose Quartz Pendant

This neclace was a Christmas gift to Frizbe. I was quite happy with the finished result and I hope she was too.

Wednesday, 26 December 2007

Merry Christmas to all and to All a spotted night

Had a lovely Christmas day for the most part till H complained of a headache last night and this morning he colourfully sicked up all over the sofa, upon changing his shirt I found a myriad of spots all over him. You guessed it we have been visited by the spirit of chickenpox.

Friday, 21 December 2007

Brownie Mix in a Jar

brownie mix in a jar
For this recipe you will need:
a jar that holds 1 quart or 1.1 litres. (If the jar is airtight add the ingredients directly, otherwise you will need to place them into an airtight ziplock bag. )
Ribbon for decoration
a tag to write the instructions on
1 1/4 cups white sugar
1 cup light brown sugar
3/4 cup cocoa
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt

Mix together flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside. Layer ingredients into the jar. Press each layer firmly in place before adding the next layer.

Important: wipe out the inside of the jar with a dry paper towel after adding the cocoa powder for a cleaner. Neater finish.
Tag Instructions: Empty jar of brownie mix into a large bowl.
Add 3/4 cup butter (softened) and 4 eggs
Mix until completely blended.
Spread batter into a sprayed 9 x 13 inch baking pan.
Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 30 minutes.
Cool completely in pan. Cut into square and serve
cooks notes: well I haven't actually cooked it just made the jar up, I have had the idea stored up in my brain from a cookie mix jar I saw many years ago and thought it was a clever idea. I looked over a few different recipes on the Internet and then scrawled out my own recipe version, I think it looks quite effective and hopefully the gift is enjoyed by those it is intended for.

Thursday, 20 December 2007


Smokey Quartz and Silver Bracelet

Amethyst and Silver bracelet

Black Onyx and White Onyx Bracelet

Rose Quartz and Silver Bracelet

I've been a rather busy bee making bracelets, when I should have been wrapping presents and baking treats for Christmas. The smokey quartz bracelet is my favourite, its scavenged together from an old elasticated bracelet that broke about 5 years ago and I kept the beads hidden away in my jewelry box until now. The rest of the beads I bought from the lovely Clair's Beautiful Beads on Monday. They were supposed to be my Christmas present but.. well as you can see that didn't go so well, so instead I have place an order for more beads from on behalf of M who hates shopping for anything other than gadgets.

What am I going to do with all these beads you wonder, and me too. To be honest I don't really know, I want to make a few things for myself and some things for my friends, if they want. M says I should have a market stall and sell them, I don't know about that, I have been beading for all of one week so its a bit premature, but it does encompass two things that I love, being creative/crafty and jewelry. I would have to see if anyone would really want to buy them from me.. i guess there is always etsy or something, but i'm sure there are allready hundreds of jewelry designers on there. Let me know what you think.

Monday, 17 December 2007

Knit Flower Brooch

I knit this little flower brooch yesterday, and attached the backing today, admittedly not very well, I must remember to borrow a proper camera off M as this is the best my phone could do. It looks much better than the image suggests. Honest.

beady beady beady

I'm sorry for the bad quality of the images, as they truelly are crap, and not at all aided by beign set on some kitchen towel but I jsut made these two bracelts today. The top one is Rose Quartz and silver, birthday gift for a friend. and the bottom one is New Jade, not really sure what that means I always thought jade was jade but apparently not. I'm so pleased with how they turned out. Technically the beads and jewlry making stuff was to be a christmas present for me, so I realyl should have given it to M to hide away and wrap, but I'm not terribly pacient, and seeing as it was in my possession I just coulden't help to mess around with it all. And especially becuse the beads are semi-precious stones, I just love that sort of thing, I have several large stone and silver pendants that I wear all the time and when I saw all the pretty pretty stone beads how could I say no?

Friday, 14 December 2007

Amber Necklace

Today Frizbe and I went into Belper in the morning, and while she had a beauty treatment I wandered around the High Street looking for a box of Christmas cards for M for the studio. In my aimless wandering between visits to Fresh Basil for life sustaining hot coffee I stumbled upon Clare's Beautiful Beads ( the ebay shop) and I thought I would have a look around with the thought that I have an amber necklace that needs restringing. My dad bought me the necklace of amber beads and H broke it last year tugging on it and I have ignored it's existence ever since. The broken necklace has been lurking in the bottom of my jewelry box and I hadn't really thought of it for ages. I was asked if I wanted it restrung for the price of £5 and thought I would rather try and do it myself. I was helped to find all the various bits I needed and while Frizbe waited patiently for me to choose a few beads for a knitted brooch.

I settled down to have a go at jewelry making while H tucked into his fish fingers, chips and peas ( his choice as he was feeling a bit under the weather today.) It was a bit fiddly doing the end of the necklace but I managed it and as it was quite a long necklace before I shortened it and had enough amber left to make a bracelet too. I think it could be quite additive, it was fun. I want more! I think I must have crafting ADD.

Wednesday, 12 December 2007

Reindeer Food

Reindeer Food (AKA Maple Cinnamon Granola)


2 1/2 cups porridge oats
½ cup flaked almonds
1/2 cup desiccated coconut
1 teaspoons cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup maple syrup
3 tablespoons melted butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 tablespoons light brown sugar
¼ cup raisins
¼ cup dried cranberries (sweetened)

Pre-heat the oven to 300
Combine all the ingredients in a large bowl, mix thoroughly and place in a single layer on a non-stick baking try ( if you don’t have non-stick then you will need to grease the baking tray with butter or oil). Place in the oven for 25 minutes or until golden brown. Every 5 minutes you will need to open the oven door and stir the granola mixture. Cool and add the raisins and dried cranberries.

The granola can be eaten on its own, or with milk for breakfast, sprinkled over yogurt or ice-cream, and of course left out on a dish for Santa’s reindeer on Christmas Eve.
A little help for those who don't use cups as measurments. Oh and for the record I just use normal everyday teaspoon and tablespoons for measurments, less hassel than attemting to locate the measuring ones. Which I think have migrated to H's toy box.
U.S. to Metric Conversion Table

1/5 teaspoon = 1 ml
1 teaspoon = 5 ml
1 tablespoon = 15 ml
1 fluid oz. = 30 ml
1/5 cup = 50 ml
1/4 cup = 60 ml
1/2 cup = 120 ml
1 cup = 240 ml
2 cups (1 pint) = 470 ml
4 cups (1 quart) = .95 liter
4 quarts (1 gal.) = 3.8 liters

I hope that its of some help.

Cooks Notes: The recipe is mine based on several granola recipes that I found on the Internet and was quite disgusted by the amount of salt, and veg table oil used in them. In the end I ignored the recipes I had found and experimented with what I thought of as Christmas-y tastes: dried cranberries, cinnamon and brown sugar. It smelled Devine and tasted great, I kept nibbling on it as i added the dried fruit and baked the second half of the batch. I gave the jar to Frizbe as her DD1 helped make it with H. They had fun mixing it and especially that it was edible and reindeer food at the same. A lot better than the kind made with glitter.

Sunday, 9 December 2007

Dried Oranges

Drying Orange Slices

Choose fruit that is in good condition and not too ripe. Slice the oranges as thin as you possibly can, and as straight, if you cant cut straight, and I can't, then jsut do the best you can and tell everyone you were going for a more rustic and organic look.

Place the sliced oranges between towels and remove as much moisture as possible by patting gently.

Place the orange slices in a single layer, I placed them on the oven rack but I would suggest using baking racks on a cookie sheet.

Dry in a 150 degree oven for approximately 3 or 4 hours. Check every 1/2 hour.

If the fruit appears to be turning brown the oven is too hot. Shut off for 15 minutes and start again. Turn fruit over if the edges begin to curl. When dry the fruit slices should be pliable.

I threaded ribbon through the orange slices and added a bundle of cinnamon sticks to create tree decorations with H. He almost made one before wandering off to do something more entertaining than making Christmas decorations with me. The dried oranges can be added to potpourri, wreaths, garland, ornaments, and gift tags.

Saturday, 8 December 2007

Lincoln Christmas Market

Lincoln Christmas Market is one of the largest Christmas markets in Europe, and as such it is very impressive, Especially if you get the weather right. Last night was crisp and cold but thankfully there was no rain to spoil the festivities. We found parking, imbibed coffee, and clambered up Steep Hill to the Cathedral Quarter and wandered around stall after stall of Mulled wine, hot spiced cider, fudge, glazed nuts, and German biscuits. If you haven't been its definitely worth a trip, H thought it was wondrous, especially the big wheel, bumper cars, cotton candy, and hot chocolate.

I'm not so sure about the sea chantey singers though H was quite impressed. There are some lovely shops in Lincoln besides the Market, and we had a nice if rather brief wander through a few brightly lit shops filled with pretty baubles. From a little deli shop we bought Marmite bread, and Linconshire Imp Cheese. I annoyed everyone by looking at all the jewelry and craft stalls, A girl can dream can't she?


Wednesday, 5 December 2007

Brown Sugar and Chocolate Cookies

Brown Sugar cookies with Chocolate chunks

2 ½ cups self raising flour
1 cup butter
½ cup white sugar
1 cup light brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 eggs
1 ½ bars of dark chocolate (milk chocolate if you prefer) roughly chopped
1 cup pecans or almonds. (optional)

Pre-heat the oven to 375° F
In a small bowl mix the four and cinnamon, if you don’t have self -raising flour then use plain flour and add to it 1 tsp baking powder and half a teaspoon of salt.

In a large bowl beat the butter, vanilla extract, and sugars together until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time. Add the cinnamon and flour slowly until well blended.

By hand stir in the roughly chopped chocolate and nuts.

Drop the dough by teaspoon onto un-greased cookie sheet. For larger cookies drop by the tablespoon.

Bake for 10 minutes, until the centre is puffed up and the edges begin to brown.

Remove from the oven, let them cool for a minute on the baking tray before placing on a wire rack to cool.

Enjoy with a glass of milk!

cooks notes: these cookies were meant to be cinnamon oatmeal cookies, but M and H whined and whimpered that they wanted chocolate chip cookies. I said they weren't going to touch my Toll House Chocolate Chips as I lugged them all the way back from Idaho for Christmas not any other time. As M is a complete chocoholic and H is one in training there is never much chocolate in the house except for the bits of dark chocolate I hide away for myself and baking purposes. They don't really like it, or at least not the extremely high percentages I must resort to in order to have a little bit to myself. In a huff I riffled through the cupboards until I found a bar and a half of 72 percent dark chocolate and chopped it up and added it to the bowl of brown sugar and cinnamon cookie mix. The cookies turned out great, there is that lovely mix of the spicy cinnamon, the dark smooth bitterness of the dark chocolate and the heavy sweetness of the brown sugar that mingle and compliment each other. Gorgeous

p.s. I'm sure Santa would love these!

Sunday, 2 December 2007

Double Chocolate Brownies


1 cup butter
2 cups sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
4 eggs
3/4 cup cocoa
1 cup self raising flour
1 cup chocolate chips
1 cup chopped pecans (optional)

Preheat the oven to 350 F.

Grease a 13x9 baking pan or a large round cake tin and set aside.

Microwave the butter in a large bowl for 2 minutes, or until the butter is melted. Stir in the sugar and vanilla. Beat in the eggs one at a time.

Add the cocoa and beat until well blended. Add the flour and beat well. By hand stir in the chocolate chips (and pecans if you desire). Pour the batter into the pan smoothing it out into the corners. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, the brownie should begin to pull away from the sides of the pan. Cool at room temperature. Cut into squares or wedges depending on the pan used. Serve with fresh whipped cream or drizzle with a little pouring cream. For an added Christmassy touch dust with a little icing sugar.

cooks notes: As everyone should know brownie batter is about the best substance known to man, M would probably kill for the bowl, and due to that I highly recommend making brownies when the house is empty, therefore there is no need to share the mixing bowl! I often under-cook brownies so that its very gooey in the centre and makes for a happy family all around. If over cooked brownie basically becomes chocolate cake, and is still edible just say you made chocolate cake and omit that it was ever brownies. The above recipe is a simple one there are hundreds of brownie variations out there, and I tend to experiment based on whats in the house. I may try a cream cheese or a peanut butter variation next time.

Saturday, 1 December 2007

Painted Trees

I admit the images are pretty bad quality but I did manage to get a little bit of painting done last night, very small canvases but I'm relatively happy with the end product. In truth I did four, but the third didn't picture well at all because the light is not so good this morning. I'm hopefully going to catalogue all of my spare paintings lying about on shelves and hidden under stairs and collate them all together. And beg M to bring home a proper camera so I can get some proper true to life images instead of blurry ones. Obviously the paintings are of the trees I have been mildly obsessed with drawing for the last few months. Hopefully I will have a chance to drag some paints out again later tonight and attempt something a bit more festive possibly, I'll see what happens, because we still haven't got the Christmas boxed out of the attic and they need sorting too! oh and I have to babysit tonight as well, hmm perhaps I'll just do a bit of knitting.