Summer Baking

It really wouldn’t be a holiday from school without a spot of baking, and with the disappointment of not being ale to finish my dancing hippo, we needed some cake to cheer us up a bit!

We started off with some all-in-one vanilla sponge.  Alice was given a fabulous junior baking set for her birthday, all good quality utensils, not the usual kids plastic stuff.  It’s all silicon and stainless steel, just scaled down a bit for smaller hands – ideal for me too!  So we made some vanilla sponge mix, and made it into a victoria sandwich and 6 cupcakes.  The fun was definitely in the decorating (and licking the bowl).

The kit had an icing set with three different nozzles too, so we had a practice making some rosettes.

After the cake, we moved on to some cookies.  We’ve never really done cookies before, we’ve always stuck to pretty basic butter biscuits, but we fancied a change.  I had a look around the internet and found a couple of recipes that looked simple for us to have a go at.  We started with some peanut butter cookies, which were incredibly simple to make and very tasty too.

We finished with some chocolate chip cookies. This had a few more ingredients, but again it’s pretty simple to follow. We enjoyed making it, and it was great practice for Alice with measuring out. The really great part is not having to roll out a dough and use cutters, just taking a teaspoonful of the mixture and putting it on the baking paper means less washing up and it’s a lot simpler for smaller hands.

Unfortunately I don’t have a picture of the finished cookies, but suffice it to say they tasted delicious and we had plenty to share with family and friends.

Happy baking
x

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New Christmas Traditions – Satsuma Thrifty Christmas Campaign

Last year I decided to start a new tradition for Christmas. I was fed up of buying the same cheap little chocolate advent calendars year on year, and while my daughter liked them, I could never find anywhere to put them and they just didn’t seem to be very Christmassy. So I started to crochet some little stockings and made them into a perpeptual advent calendar.

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It looked lovely up in the hall last year as a Christmas garland as well as being my daughter’s favourite part of the run up to Christmas. I filled it with individual wrapped chocolates, so it didn’t cost a fortune to fill either.

This year I’m looking round for inexpensive little gifts to fill it with again. At seven (almost eight), my daughter is becoming a little more difficult to please with sweets and chocolates. I’ve bought a couple of selection boxes and will add those to the stockings. I think it’s always nice to see something peeking out of the top of the stocking. But I also want to add something other than sugar loaded treats. The stockings aren’t very big so I can’t go mad with gifts, but I think a couple of packs of her favourite (My Little Pony) Stickers and perhaps one of the mystery bags as a treat for Christmas Eve. She also loves to draw, so I’m going to get a pack of pens and split them up putting a different one in each stocking.

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It’s great to think that this will be a tradition that we can carry on and hopefully she will enjoy the individuality of her calendar. I know I certainly enjoyed making it and have great fun thinking of things to fill it with. And it doesn’t have to cost a lot either. I’m going to stick to a budget of £10 maximum to fill it. Who knows I might even find some of the stocking fillers I put away last year and forgot about!

Now I just need to hang it up high enough that the meddlesome cats don’t attack it!

Not long to go.
x

See mine and other ideas for a savvy Christmas here

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Unexpected crafting!

I know I’m a crafter, so this title in itself is rather unexpected.  However, our Alice has been unwell really for a few weeks now, but she’s finally given in to being fully blown ill and is currently enjoying / enduring  some restful time off school.

This has meant I am now totally behind with my preparations for Halloween and Christmas, but that’s the life of a crafting Mum!  So today I decided to find something for both of us to do that would help lift Alice’s spirits and maybe go some way to starting my stash of Christmas decorations.

I’ve been thinking about making some simple, no knit hat decorations for a while and this seemed the ideal opportunity with a willing helper too!  What I wasn’t counting on was how much she loved making them.

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We had such a great crafty afternoon watching ‘Equestria Girls’ on dvd and making these hats, that she decided she wanted to make them and sell them too.  So it rather turned into me being her assistant and she’s planning on taking her little stash to her dance class at weekend and maybe even to the school Christmas Fair! I’m hoping that she will make her own gifts for her teachers this year too.

I think she may have caught the crafting bug – much better than the virus she is recovering from.

Happy crafting
x

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Summer’s Here!

Summer has arrived at last!  We have wall-to-wall sunshine just in time for the flying ants to invade the patio.  How I love the summer.

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Actually I generally really do love summer.  There’s nowhere nicer than a warm sunny day at the beach in the UK (in my humble opinion).  I think my broken foot is taking it’s toll though this year.  Having a hot swelling leg and foot is just not much fun .  Anyway, I’ve managed to escape outside for a bit and it’s very relaxing to feel the sun on my skin again.  It’s been too long.

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While I’m out basking, I’ve been able to catch up on some reading and I’m thrilled to say that the Provident tips calendar has now been published.  And it’s a great read.  There are loads of ideas for the summer, ranging from things to do with children, to stain removal, crafts and baking too.  So do pop by and have a look, you never know what might inspire you.  For me it’s back to some more reading and the pile of work-in-progress while Alice does some nature work for her next Brownie badge!

Happy summer crafting
x

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Outdoor Summer Activities

Since I was invited to write my blog for Provident, I’ve been spotting all sorts of other things to do that don’t cost a lot.  Of course, many of the activities are local to me in Bury, but there are plenty of national activities to get involved with too.

IMGP1267I was struck last week by an article I read in the latest Plantlife magazine. The new edition of the Oxford Children’s Dictionary has had several nature based words removed and replaced with modern technology speak. This doesn’t necessarily sound a travesty at first, but these are words like catkin, beech, fern, acorn, bluebell, buttercup and dandelion! Surely these are words that every child grows up with?! It really was a shock that they have been replaced by broadband, chatroom and blog. Isn’t it possible to have space for all of these words in a child’s dictionary? Plantlife are encouraging parents to spend more time outdoors with their children and this links perfectly (I think anyway) with the Woodland Trust’s campaign to get children to play outside. They have launched their ‘Tree Party’ campaign and you can send off for a free party pack to take on a picnic with your friends.

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My pack arrived the other day and it’s great. Alice can’t wait to get outside and use it. The pack comes in a box made to look like a picnic hamper and is filled with games to play, face masks, straws, stickers, party invitations and even a bag to put all your rubbish in! The idea is that you invite a tree to your party and celebrate how important they are in our lives. I’m hoping we have some sunny days over the holidays and we can go for a picnic in one of local parks.

bury_d_treasure_2_sanvito_curved_displayIf we do get out and about, regardless of the temperature I will be encouraging Alice to have a go at a local initiative ‘Bury’d Treasure’. This is another activity to encourage children to spend time outdoors, only this time’s it’s about following clues to solve a puzzle. There are several set up around the local parks in Bury and some local primary schools have signed up to encourage their pupils to take part. I hope it’s a success and we don’t find they become targets for vandals.

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All of these outdoor activities will help with the annual summer keep active campaign run by the NHS and Change4life, the ’10 minute shake-up’. This year they have teamed up with Disney again and the free pack includes a Finding Dory poster and stickers. So we shall be aiming to do at least ten minutes of physical activity every day.

I am also hoping that Alice will be a bit more independent and I will get some crafting done while she runs, climbs, discovers and solves clues!

Happy holidays
x


www.mrscraftyb.co.uk

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It’s Father’s Day

I hope all the Dads out there are being spoiled today.  That’s if they let you spoil them that is.  My Dad really doesn’t believe in Father’s Day at all, so it’s always difficult to do anything, but he still got a handmade card and a visit from me this morning.

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It’s also his birthday next week which means I can indulge him with another handmade creation, along with a new golf glove and a book.

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We’re all going up to visit as well next weekend for a buffet, which is all he really loves – food and family – simple pleasures!

Well, it’s Father’s Day here for my husband and he has been inundated with handmade gifts from Alice – cards made at school and Brownies, a mini toolbox filled with ‘Dad’ bars of chocolate and the obligatory pack of new boxer shorts. What more could any Dad want?!

I hope Father’s Day is filled with food and family, as it should be.

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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