New Baby Cards

A few weeks ago I received a request to make a large number of new baby cards, for a church group that give out packs of essential clothes and accessories for new Mums. So I started on a few samples. As I needed to be able to make a large number of cards in a similar style, I had to look at items I had in my stash that would allow for this. So out came my stamps and inks, as well as packs of pastel papers and some small paper doilies.

These were my first three samples.

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The feedback was good for these, and I really enjoyed doing some stamping for a change. So much so I think I will be making a trip to Clark Crafts soon on the hunt for some new inkpads.

The group often don’t know the sex of the babies, so they asked for some similar in neutral colours. I was slightly surprised at this request as I assumed everyone finds out now what the sex of the baby is at their scans. I didn’t want to know, but I was a real exception amongst the people I know. I decided I wanted a surprise, so all my initial baby purchases and the nursery were cream and beige. Anyway, I had to hunt out yellows and greens for the set of cards. It was much harder than I thought it would be to find little toppers that would go with yellow and green, everything I found was blue or pink!

I managed to make up the following sets in neutral colours.

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I hope this will become a regular order, so I have ordered myself a set of new baby dies to make my own toppers from the papers in my stash. I can’t wait to get on with some more, as it has made a lovely cheerful change to all the Christmas cards I’ve been making!

Happy crafting
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Jam and Jerusalem

There has been so much on the TV recently about the centenary of the WI, I decided to take a leaf from their book and use up the remaining blackberries to make some jam! I always thought this would be a difficult process and would need loads of extra ingredients and equipment. My neighbour said it was dead easy to do and I should give it a try. So I did a bit of research on the internet – You Tube is amazing for tutorials – and thought I would have a go.

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So out came all the washed blackberries, a large bag of sugar, my largest pan, masher and pots for the finished produce. Everywhere I found on the internet called for added pectin with blackberries, but my Delia book doesn’t mention it. As this was my first go at jam making, I decided on the simple approach – fruit and sugar.

Firstly I mashed the blackberries a bit in the pan, then added the sugar, stirred with my trusty wooden spoon and then brought them to the boil.

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Here they are on the hob, nicely boiling away. I removed some of the bubbles as they boiled and kept a watch on it to check on thickening up.  It didn’t take long, and then I left it to cool, whilst boiling my pots.

I was amazed at just how much jam I made.  I finished the day with six pots ready for the fridge.  I hope they last as I don’t think we’ll get through it that quickly on toast – oooo, that’s made me think of scones, maybe I shall have to have another baking session again soon.  Watch this space!

Happing crafting
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Season of Mellow Fruitfulness

Last weekend the weather here was glorious, so we decided to head out for a family walk and forage around Holcombe Hill.  It was lovely to get out in what’s probably going to be the last of the really warm weather up here.

The hill was popular with other walkers and foragers too.  We met quite a few people filling bags with the abundance of blackberries.

P1240393I decided to see if we could collect any of the late whimberries as well – I must have been affected by the heat!

This has to have been the longest walk up Holcombe Hill ever!  It took us over 2 hours to get to the top.  Mind you we were laden down with quite a lot of fruit.  I just about managed to fill a small pot with the last of this years whimberries, but the blackberry box was ridiculously heavy!  I think it’s been a great year for blackberries.  There were loads and they were big too, not the usual little ones.

We stopped for a quick snack at Peel Tower then went back down the hill in record time – we were all starving and we hadn’t thought ahead enough to bring a picnic!

Here’s a picture of some of the fruit before it was washed and sorted out.  We had over 3kg in the end, so it was no wonder we were struggling with the boxes!!

P1240403I decided on an apple and blackberry crumble to go with Sunday dinner.  Which was delicious – a great dessert to follow our traditional roast beef and Yorkshire pudding main course.  But it left me with a very large crop of blackberries, so it was time to get the thinking cap on and decide what to do with the rest.

As I hadn’t had a practice at my shortcrust pastry for a while I thought I’d risk it and have another go!  I didn’t really have enough whimberries for a large pie and my lack of a large pie plate somewhat limited what I was going to be able to make.  So it was time for some individual fruit pies.

I remembered my Mum teaching me the ‘half fat to flour’ rule for pastry, but I still got out my Delia book as an extra support for the pastry process.  The last time I tried pastry I made jam tarts and the pastry was too think, so I tried to roll it out much thinner this time.  The first batch of pastry managed to make a dozen pie cases and 10 lids!  I rather stuffed the whimberries into 10 cases.

So I had to make another batch of pastry to cope with at least some of the blackberries left waiting in the fridge!   They all looked good in the tins and I did remember to add some caster sugar to the top of the second batch of pies!

Unfortunately I learnt the hard way not to overfill the whimberry pies, as they all burst through the lids and stuck to the sides of the tins.  But they still tasted nice with some ice cream.  The blackberry pies though were lovely and I will have to make more in the future.

P1240404As we had rather a lot of pies, we took them round to a couple of the neighbours to share, a perfect excuse to pop round for a chat!

I’ve frozen a few small bags of the blackberries to use in crumbles later in the year, and I’ve shared some with Mum too.  Now I just have to decide what to do with the rest of them…..

Happy crafting
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Pre-Christmas Craft Fair

Here’s the first details of the craft fair I will be attending in October.

It looks like a great event, lasting three days. It’s a shame I can’t attend all three days, but I have to factor in childcare and the school run, so I can’t manage Thursday and Friday as well. So I will be attending on Saturday 31st October.

It will be a unique opportunity to get hold of some handmade gifts from local craftspeople, and the library will be packed with around 50 different stalls.

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I hope you can come along to say hello and let me know what you think of my blog and makes. It would be great to see you there.

Happy crafting
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Hunkydory

Over the last few weeks I’ve been inundated with family requests for cards, so many birthdays, anniversaries and we even had a wedding this year! When you get to my age all the weddings just seem to stop, now it’s 40th and 50th birthdays of friends and we’re all waiting for the weddings of our children – which will be some time off yet!

Anyway, I invested in some of the Hunkydory ‘little books’ a little while ago, and as I have needed some quick cards recently, I decided it was time to stop looking at the images and actually use some. As I have quite a collection of Hunkydory cardstock, these little books are brilliant to put with card I have already. The images are really lovely too and there are loads to choose from in each book. I have one for men, one for birthdays and one about birds and they seem to cover every occasion. The bird images range from paintings of garden birds to more contemporary designs, these lend themselves beautifully to wedding and anniversary cards.

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I’ve also had quite a few birthdays this last few weeks and these images have been great for all ages.  This ‘hipster’ image really made me think of my brother.  I’m not really sure why as he doesn’t have a moustache or beard, neither does he ride a bike, but the overall feel of the image was just right.  It’s such a cool colour scheme, the little hints of teal work so well with the bright red and black.  I love it!

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This was the card I made for one of my daughter’s friends birthday. It comes from the birthday book and looks so lovely, I just couldn’t resist making a card with it. It really reminds me of my daughter on her bike, full of life, and the butterflies set it off perfectly.  I found this lovely cloud paper in a back-issue of Craftseller and love the dreamy feel it gives to the card.
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My next card was for my hubby, he loves a glass of red wine, so this image was perfect. I coupled this with a bottle of rioja from a local wine merchant, and made up a hamper of cheeses, biscuits, snacks, pasta and sauce. It was very well received and we all enjoyed a lovely dinner with the contents.
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Finally here’s my card for an ex-work colleague who has a small boat that he likes to sail over the summer.
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One of the things I love about making cards is being able to make something individual for the recipient, and these little books are great as there just seems to be an image to suit every occasion and age. I am sure they will come in very handy over the next few weeks and months. Time to get thinking about Christmas cards next though!

Happy crafting
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