Thursday, 29 January 2009

Dark Chocolate Cheesecake Recipe

Dark Chocolate Cheesecake


for the base: 12(biscuits digestive, graham crackers, or chocolate cookies) (makes roughly 1½ cups crumbs)
2 tablespoons melted butter
4 tablespoons caster/white sugar

for the cheese cake:
2 pkg. (250g each) cream cheese

1 cup caster (white) sugar
3 100g bars of dark chocolate 72% cocoa*
2 tablespoons cream (optional)

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Crush the digestive biscuits and add the melted butter and sugar.

Mix well and press firmly into a 8-inch pie pan or use an assortment of ramekins (6) or glasses.

Pat down using the base of a glass for the larger dish and the back of a spoon for smaller ramekins or glasses. Place in fridge for 30mins to set.

While the base is setting mix together the cream cheese, cream, vanilla, and sugar using a wooden spoon or electric mixer.

Break the chocolate into squares and microwave, stirring every 30 seconds until the chocolate is smoothly melted.

Pour the chocolate into the cheese mixture and mix thoroughly. Spoon the cheese mixture over the base and spread evenly.

Refrigerate the cheesecake for at least a half an hour before serving.

* I used Mark’s and Spencer’s organic dark chocolate, not because I’m posh but because its some of the nicest smoothest dark chocolate you can buy. If you use a dark chocolate that has a lower cocoa percentage you can lower the amount of sugar it the recipe, its all a matter of personal taste.

cook's notes: The recipe is true to what I mixed together in my experimenting on Sunday night. The cheesecake was dark rich and smooth. I must admit that I prefer and no bake cheesecake to a baked one.. but it could just be that I'm lazy. There is one small ramekin in the fridge for M's pudding tonight which I'm sure he will like because he adores cheesecake.


edit: slight edit, the vanilla disappeared on me. have re-added it to the list of ingredients. and blogger is being wierd about spacing again.

Tuesday, 27 January 2009

movies and tv

Today I have cleaned the whole house top to bottom. Or at least hidden the mess so you can see it. Blueberry muffins are cooling on the wire rack and I have sewn two lavender and rice warm bags. I have no pictures at the moment to show you as M has taken one of the leads to Austria and I can't find the other lead to let the camera talk to the computer and so on. But there will be posts with pictures soon.. and a new recipe for dark chocolate cheesecake that I threw together Sunday night.

I served the cheesecake and some homemade pizza to some girlfriends that came over to watch a DVD. What DVD you ask, Pineapple Express, not the sort of film I would go see at the theater but it was stupid and funny, and we had a laugh watching it.

As M is away until Wed night I also rented a The Happening, and Skin Walkers. The happening was well crap in the magical M. Nighty Night Shamalan no answers, only questions and completely dissatisfying. Skin Walkers was pure cheesy horror, (BRILLIANT)a few twists on the usual werewolf legends but it was fun to watch. Loved it, guns, werewolves, and the guy that was the emo alien kid in that Roswell tv show. Though all grown up, beefy arms and guns ablazing, and not an emo alien pout to be seen, though definitly high on the angst o' meter.

I have also watched the first episode of Supernatural Series 4! Love love love that show. Its great, great music, monsters, mayhem, Sam and Dean, moody lighting, sarcasm, geekage, Dean and Sam, the Impala, pie, and coffee! Watching the second episode Thursday as forgot to sky+ it and I missed it on Sunday. p.s. don't tell M I watched it as I wasn't supposed it watch it without him. shush its a secret...

more craftiness and baking to ensue shortly... right now I need coffee and a blueberry muffin, for I have no pie.

Saturday, 24 January 2009

Paper Heart Tree

sewn paper heart tree

Remember the paper hearts I was busy sewing a few posts back? well here they are as part of the studio's window display. These photos are from the side view as I couldn't get a decent shot from the outside due to the reflections on the glass. The twig tree lights up and I bought it for the studio Christmas display three years ago and I still love it and keep thinking about taking it home.
paper confetti

I'll try to badger M into taking a proper photo of the display when he gets back from his trip to Austria to shoot a wedding in the snow. Why oh why am I not going? Because H has school and we are already taking him out for 6 days of term time in the spring to fly to Seattle and drive to my parents in Idaho from there. All I have to say is he better bring me some sort of souvenir back. But at least it give me the chance to have the girls around for crafty chatter, coffee, and cake.
If you look at the top left corner of the first photo you will see a dapper little chap with a raggedy cat, that little boy is H when he was only little. Cute wasn't he?

etsy crafteroo treasury

oh and I forgot to tell you that my Ophelia bracelet made it into the crafteroo etsy treasury the other week. Its still available in my etsy shop if you want to take a look.

off to pack M's suitcase.

Friday, 23 January 2009


I have succumbed, I started tweeting a few days ago... its much easier than blogging or trying to finish my abandoned fairy tale.

Thursday, 22 January 2009

Wolf and Apple Tree bookmark

sorry the photo is such bad quality the light has been nonexistent today, until about 30 seconds ago anyway. Its another small bookmark similar to the one I made in my mini bookmark tutorial. Its made from a small piece of the lovely Red Riding Hood fabric Selena sent me in the Fairy Tale Swap last summer, with some cotton/linen blend fabric on the back (which I forgot to take a picture of). Its cute though and currently marking a page in a craft magazine.

Now I have an Ikea storage unit to build, and wade through the horrible disaster zone that is H's closet. Wish me luck or call for help if I don't resurface for a day or two.

Owlish Love...

owlish love postcard

Don't worry its not for the Owl Swap, just and experiment with mixed media.. and because I have Owl's on the brain well here he is. I think he look really cute, except for some rather wonky stitching. I bought a packet of 20 deckle edge recycled rag cotton postcards about six months ago and it has languished in a craft box ever since. That is until a few days ago when I was messing around with sewing paper hearts and thought I would try to make an owl too.

The owl is made from a vintage book page from Alice through the Looking Glass, if you look closely you can see "Alice" and "Queen" in the writing, his feet and outline are ink pen, and the heart is a scrap of raspberry gingham from my scrap box. I have 19 postcards left so I may have another go later and see what I can come up with. If I'm very brave I might even put one up in my somewhat abandoned, slightly dilapidated (I love that word) etsy shop.. *attempts to brush cobwebs away and hide small dead bodies under carpet*.... if anyone is intrested..

Wednesday, 21 January 2009

my crafty space

I took this picture a few days ago to share with you all. Its my crafty space... a bureau from Ikea. I have finally given up on the box room to be my crafty space, M thinks we could still share a desk but in reality that would never work because I would have half finished projects dotted about the big desk and he would want to do his picture editing after a wedding and it would be a train wreck in the making.
So last week I shuffled most, but not all, of my crafty things into the bedroom to reside in and around the bureau.
a few items on the desk
a Starbuck's coffee cup (of dubious acquisition) filled with paint brushes
a cup of coffee, filled with er coffee
dinky sewing machine
toadstool painted page
basket full of inspiration (books and magazines)
sketchbook on the go
various tubes of paint and some prepped music sheets
my plush owl prototype
if you look at the very far back of the desk and squint a bit you will see a needle book and pin cushion from AnnieB, a little clothes peg doll from Hope (which I still haven't blogged about as I'm so behind on posts). It needs work and a few more cosy details but seeing as we haven't even decorated in the bedroom yet we will get round it sometime soon.
so what does your crafty space look like?

Saturday, 17 January 2009

Toadstool ricewarmer

rice and lavender warm bag

With sorting out the Owl swap I haven't had a chance to blog about any of the other things I have been making in the last week or so. I admit I haven't made a lot as I have felt seriously unmotivated to get anything done but I have dabble in a few things besides the paper hearts from a few blog posts ago. I have made these two beautiful warm bags, the top one was made with a scrap of adorable toadstool fabric that Anna sent me last summer that I have been hoarding away for the perfect project.
My sewing is improving slowly, and I am seriously considering ordering some fabric and one day accumulating a small fabric stash. For now I'm happy with my little scraps and bit of blue fabric from Laura Ashley that I bought with some specific presents in mind, the rice and orange oil warm bag below being one if them. It was a present made for my friend Lou's birthday last Friday. I dropped a few drops of orange oil onto the rice because I had run out of lavender, but the orange oil smelled lovely and I hope she gets some use out of it after her hockey games.

rice and orange oil warm/cool bag

I should be working on making owlish things for the owl swap, and though I have some ideas spinning around in my brain I haven't even cracked open my sketch book yet. At the moment H is watching another episode of Ruby Gloom which is the most fantastic little show for little gothlets in training, and for you inner goth. Its brilliant, with the cutest theme tune, you must watch it... I want to make some sort of ruby gloom crafts.

*wanders off singing ruby gloom*

Wednesday, 14 January 2009

Owl Swap Partners

and the Owl Swap Partners are as follows:

Chloe and Hannah
Sara and Cindy
Laurie L. and Jamie
AJ and Kiva
Valerie and Izabela
Hope and me

a last few swappers paired up.

Monique and Sherry
Ani and Karen
Janine and Lindsey

I hope everyone is happy with thier partner, tell me if there is anything that needs shuffling around.. if you have had the same partner on another swap. I hope everyone is paired with someone new. And I really hope I haven't forgotten anyone. but there is the possibility of that too... I'll try and get e-mails sent out today and tommorow with everyones details swapped over. But in the meantime you can do a bit of blog stalking on your partner's blog and everyone elses too!

Paper Hearts

this is what I'm working on today. I'm making some sewn paper hearts for the window display at the studio. Hopefully they will be hung on a white twig/tree that was the Christmas tree a few years ago. I have painted one of the paper hearts red and I'm waiting for it to dry while I type this up fishing for comments and opinions.
The colour is a bit off as the light is abysmal, foggy and grey, but I think they look quite pretty, I don't know what M will make of them. I'm leaving the Owl swap until this afternoon as a few emails keep landing in my in box. I hope everyone is as excited about the swap as I am.

Owl Swap Update II

roll call of Owl swappers

Miss Crafty

Laurie L. (no blog at this time)






oh and me too! that makes 38 swappers.

if I have forgotten you please tell me so!

still waiting for emails from: Ethel and Edna's tearoom, and one or two others.

I'll set up a flicker group too in the next week so when we have finished all our swaps we have somewhere besides our blogs to show off our lovely Owlish things.

Thursday, 8 January 2009

mini bookmark tutorial

gift card sized bookmark

An explanation first, in case you think I might be turning mad. I love gift cards, not necessarily to be given them, although there is nothing nicer than having a fully loaded card for a bookstore in my hot little hands. I mean I collect them, every time we go to the states, I'm sure as a family we must have boxes full of empty gift cards, I love them they make perfect bookmarks for paperbacks as you can not only mark the page but mark the sentence or paragraph you left off at. But the cards I have mean something to me, from my favourite places and shops. I have ones from the Flying Goat coffee shop in Santa Rosa, The First Starbucks in Seattle, Bloomingdale's in San Francisco(one of which I gave to Katy, as she understands), and countless Old Navy and Target cards.
I have even converted M and H. H adores having cards for all his favourite places in the states, mainly IHOP, Old Navy, and Starbucks, and M has a very special Starbucks personalized card that I had a friend order for me to give M for his birthday last year, he keeps it in his wallet all the time even though there is no money left on it. As I love the size of the cards as bookmarks I thought it would be fun to make a fabric bookmark the same size as a gift card with a few scraps of fabric I have in my little fabric scrap box, a quick project to use up any small scraps of fabric that are too good to throw away.

mini bookmark tutorial


fabric scraps
needle and thread or sewing machine
pinking shears

1. Start by cutting 2 small pieces of fabric a 1/4 inch larger than a gift/credit card.

2. Cut 2 pieces of interfacing the same size as the fabric. And following the instructions iron the interfacing to the back of both pieces of fabric.

3. Place pieces together, with the right sides facing out, and stitch about a quarter of an inch away from edge all the way around the fabric.
4. Pink along the edge of the bookmark with your pinking shears.

5. Mark your place in your book with your new bookmark.
alternatively you could add ribbon or embroidered details to your bookmark. I hope you found a little inspiration from this quick craft idea.

(don't forget to sign up for the Owl Swap if you are intrested)

Wednesday, 7 January 2009

Owl Swap

Firstly thank you everyone who has expressed an interest in an Owl swap. Its really cheered me up after a dismal few days.

I love owls, I have been obsessed with drawing, painting, and now sewing my little Owl creation. I have loved owls because they have always been associated with magic and moonlight. And how badly did I want the mechanical owl Bubo from Clash of the Titans when I was a kid?

The Owl swap is an international swap, so you must be willing to send your swap across the globe. Please budget around $10 to $20 for the swap. The swap should include at least one handmade object, one treat (to break our diets on these bleak winter days) and one bit of craft material (fabric, buttons, pens) whatever you think your partner might like. Any craft allowed, fabric arts, jewellery making, painting, card craft, bookbinding, pottery....

The swap sign up will be open for one week, until next wed the 14th of January. And parcels must be posted out by Valentine's Day the 14th of February. Please leave a comment on this post and e-mail me the following information to meridianariel @ hotmail . com





a little bit about yourself:

your crafts:

favourite treat:

that should do it but let me know if you have any questions and I will answer them as best I can. thank you!

Monday, 5 January 2009

Sugar Scrub

Orange Vanilla Sugar Scrub


1 cup demerera (raw cane) sugar

2-3 tablespoons almond oil

1 teaspoon vanilla flavouring

1 teaspoon orange (or any other flavour) essential oil

1 glass or plastic jar with a lid, the one I used came from Ikea, but any jar with a lid will do, even an old jam jar.

mix all ingredients in a glass bowl (plastic will absorb the oil) until you have a nice slightly slushy consistency and then scoop it into the jar.

Apply the scrub to hands or feet (or any area of rough skin) in the bath or shower, rinse.

cook's notes: I made the sugar scrub as a Christmas gift for Frizbe, but I used a small amount to test the scrub before giving it away. It worked really nicely on the backs of my hands and made my skin feel really smooth.

I know there are a lot of different recipes for sugar scrub out there, some with vitamin e oil, olive oil, salt, coffee (apparently), and other flavours and stabilizers but this is the one I used and tinkered with. I just kept mixing and adding a few drops of essential oil and vanilla until it smelled delicious and felt like a nice consistency. There are more recipes on recipezaar, angry chicken, or just search for it on google.

I had been wanting to make some sugar scrub for years and for one reason or another I just never got round to it, I bought all different ones from various shops (mainly boots, and I used to love one that they made at Bath and Body Works long long ago) and was never 100% happy with them. Next time I may try to do a rose or coconut scented sugar scrub, when I have more than just icing and caster (white) sugar in the house for baking. Or I must just go make some brownies now and forget all about sugar scrub.

Sunday, 4 January 2009

owl swap anyone?

OK blogger is evil I can't load any images again today so I'm calling it quits but before I log out I just wanted to mention my idea for doing an owl swap, and wanted to know if anyone would be interested in participating? if so then I will do a proper write up tomorrow while the boy is at school and M is at work and I have a lovely tidy and quite house for a short while.

and after that i have a few more ideas up my sleeve for future swaps...

Saturday, 3 January 2009

Happy New Year

Happy New year...well a few days after the start of the new year anyway. I have been busy keeping H busy, mostly with playing Star Wars Lego on the DS, and avoiding going out for a ride or walk in the cold with M. Its not that I don't want to walk, I like to walk but I don't like being forced to and all I wanted was to curl up by the fire and read my books, and take all the Christmas decorations down and shove them into the attic and shift about some furniture here and there.

Resolutions? Well I did make a few, of the lose weight, get fit, go on a diet variety.. as well as working on my writing and finishing off that Poison Apple Tree fairy tale I started but haven't had a chance or the motivation to finish yet. and the hope to continue on my crafty path and learn more crafty skills.

Aftermath? Christmas was really good despite getting a cold that seemed to never want to leave and some of the things I wanted to do never got done (mainly baking) but in the end I was happy that everything went well. All my handmade ornaments and rice warmers were received gratefully so I didn't need to worry about them as much as I did. H loved his Owl bed warmer and told M he was never going to ever use the old plaid one again. I felt all warm and fuzzy inside .

I'll post some pictures soon but blogger is hating me at the moment.