Making Marzipan

My daughter, Alice, was given a lovely baking set and set of recipe cards for her birthday and we have been looking longingly at all the lovely things we could make. So with the weather being so miserable this weekend, we got everything out and decided to have a go at making almond hearts. Now we could have done this very easily and just bought some almond paste / marzipan, but we thought we’d do it properly and use the whole recipe. Having quickly looked in the baking cupboard I thought we had everything we needed, so it was with great dismay I discovered we had no ground almonds at all!

This meant a much lengthier than planned walk round the neighbourhood shops looking for ground almonds. Eventually after 4 local shops and over an hour of walking we found some and head back home for a cup of tea and to get making.

The recipe is very simple but involved quite a lot of kneading. We split the paste in half and coloured one half with red food colouring. Then left it in the fridge for a while to harden up a bit and make it easier to roll out.

We were both quite impatient to make the hearts, so I did the rolling out and Alice cut out the shapes.  We did think about making some stars too, but the hearts looked so lovely in the different colours we thought we’d stick with them.  They’ve really got us in the mood for Valentine’s Day too, although I don’t think they will last that long to give out to all her friends!!

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This is definitely a recipe we will try again.  It’s fairly simple although it has left me with most of a tin of condensed milk.  I shall have to get my thinking cap on and see what I can make with the rest of it, it’s far too good an ingredient to waste.

Happy crafting
x

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My daughter’s Birthday!

With Alice’s birthday being so close to Christmas and New Year, it’s always difficult to organise anything. In the past we’ve had a family meal out and then taken her and a couple of friends to a local soft play centre to let off some steam before going back to school. She’s growing up though now and soft play centres are staring to look a bit young for her, so we decided to have a proper party for her and few friends a couple of weeks after her birthday, so that we could arrange invitations.

We decided on a ten pin bowling party and the bowling alley provided all of the invitations, so there was no need for me to make any. I was a bit disappointed, but I threw myself into making the party bags instead. I must have been feeling a bit mental to take on this task as I was thinking about making the bags, decorating them and then sourcing everything to go inside them as well. It doesn’t sound like much when you say it quickly, but it was taking ages! I had a couple of practices at making the bags / boxes, but nothing was quite right, so I ended up on a shopping trip for gifts and found a selection of gift bags in blue and red that I thought would do the trick.

I set about making rosettes for each child and a personalised gift tag for each bag. My daughter chose the papers she wanted me to use – Papermania cupcakes! The rosettes are made using a template from Papermania and uses very little glue, but a lot of cutting. I enjoy making them, but making ten did take a while. I might have to keep my eyes open for a die to cut them out in future. I don’t mind all the folding and sticking together though, it’s quite therapeutic. Fortunately I do have a gift tag die which worked well with the papers and for the size of the bags.

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I really wanted to make them a bit different to what we normally get in a party bag, so instead of loads of sweets, cheap plastic toys and other such tat, I had a great afternoon browsing the sales. Each bag had a piece of cake and a couple of sweets in, but the girls bags included hair chalk, lip balm and hair bands, while the boys had shower gel, a flannel and a snake. Alice was quite upset that I hadn’t made one for her, but she did enjoy putting all the things in the bags and tying on the tags.

I’m pleased to say they all seemed to go down well with the parents as well as the children.

The party was a success too and Alice ended up with plenty of presents. So we thought it would be a nice touch to make some thank you notes too. I used up some scrap bits of papers for each little ‘envelope’ and used a scalloped circle die to make the flap. I printed out the notelet from the computer and we stuck each one inside each little envelope. Alice signed each note and wrote the name on the front.

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I think they look quite cute and she loved giving them out. All in all I think it was a success.

Happy crafting
x

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