Wednesday, 7 December 2011

A little more felting ...

I've been busy felting since my last post!  I decided that my first little robin needed a little friend and here he is ... 

Needle felt robin

This time I thought that he deserved a pair of legs which are made from black wire (I will get round to giving the first one a pair of legs as well ... just in case you were thinking of reporting me to the RSPB!). 

Here are the little birds are waiting to be hung on my Christmas tree which goes up this weekend!

Hmm, something makes me think that we might actually have a family of robins by the time Christmas arrives as I just can't stop making them. 

I've also been busy felting Christmas stockings for the girls to hang out for Santa and here are the finished results ...

Finally ... I made a little felted bag which was supposed to be my 'Work in Progress' bag for my current projects ... like my sock knitting.  The only trouble is that before I could claim it as mine Mia decided that she likes it so much she would like me to give it to her for Christmas!  Amy then decided that she should have one as well and has placed an order for another one in a different colour.

I think I might be busy for a while!

Tuesday, 6 December 2011

Handmade Christmas decorations ...

handmade decorations

Did you all watch Kirsties Handmade Britain recently?  Just when I thought I could not squeeze anymore crafting into my life there she is tempting me with another Craft that I just MUST have a go at in order to make my life complete!

I was so inspired by the lady on the show who created the felt Robin that I wanted to get my needle felting out immediately and this is the result ...

needle felted robin

I wanted to create something that I could hang on my tree rather than a solid bird so instead of felting 2 pieces and then sewing together as Kirstie did on the show, my bird is a solid piece of needle felting without any sewing or stuffing. 

One problem was that I could not find any beads suitable for the eyes.  I knew that I wanted the eyes to still look 'glassy' when finished but just could not find them anywhere.  Then I had my Eureka moment...  I took some self adhesive amber gemstones (which had been in my shop all along) stuck them to the robin with a strong glue and coloured the amber part with a black permanent marker.  The result is a black glassy eye but with an undertone of bronzey/gold.  Just what I wanted all along!!

handmade decorations
If you are planning on making some handmade decorations to adorn your tree this year then here are a couple of other ideas which we made during a Christmas class here at the workshop when we had a day of nothing but Christmas crafting (and one or two mince pies!!). 

Friday, 2 December 2011

Seasons Greetings ...

How did we get to the 2nd of December already? 

I have always found that getting into Christmas as a family has always been a little last minute for us as I start Christmas in July at the shop and get so caught up with Christmas workshops that quite often I do not have any time and energy left to decorate the house and plan family celebrations in the way that I would like. 

This year I am trying to make a big effort and create a handmade Christmas as far as I can.  I was even going to make the crackers for Christmas lunch (I think that idea has been surpassed by the fact that the local supermarket had a Christmas cracker deal that I could not resist and so I bought them!  never mind - hopefully this will mean that I have more time to prepare elsewhere!).

Yesterday the Advent calender went up!

The girls thought it was wonderful as each day holds a little paper bag containing a pressie!  I was quite pleased with the final result which is good as it took such a long time to make it.  I had planned to create a little calico sack to attach to the back of each house but I ran out of time, hence the paper bag.  I will try to get the sacks done in the new year before I put the calendar away.

Let's just say that this is definitely one calendar that had better be used for a good few years yet! 

Hope you are enjoying the start of the festivities.  I' ve got some more projects to share with you so I'll be back again soon!

Happy crafting

Friday, 23 September 2011

Steam train painting ...

Today I was organising some files on my computer and came across this painting which I did last year.  I sold the painting earlier this year to a friend who needed a present for a special birthday for her brother and who loves trains.  Thought I would share it with you and I hope that you like it!

I seem so short on time at the moment with the girls' school work as well as my own designing.  There never seems to be a minute to sit down and create a card to post but I will try and be back with a little crafting inspiration soon!

Bye xx

Friday, 2 September 2011

Happy Birthday Mr P.

To the most wonderful man that a girl could ever wish for. 

Have a super Birthday! 

Love always, T xxxx

Tuesday, 16 August 2011

Gift bags

Today I wanted to share a folded gift bag with you that does not require any cutting making it a really quick and easy project to have a go at.   

Once created the bag would make a super place name for a special meal with a little table gift inside and the recipients name on the outside.  It would also make a great party bag, a favour bag for a wedding, a trick or treat bag, an advent calender (if you make 24 of them - but they are quick to make - honestly!) or just a simple little gift bag of course to add a little homemade style for your Christmas pressies this year. 

Here are the basic folds for the bag which you can then decorate as you wish;

Take a piece of thick 12 x 12 double sided paper.  Fold the sheet of paper in half - REMEMBER TO CUT OFF THE TITLE HEADER IF YOU HAVE ONE ON YOUR PIECE OF PAPER. 

Open the paper out and score 2 lines approximately 1" (2.5cm) either side of the middle crease. 

Once you have the 3 score lines - push the middle score line up to create a 'v' shape (sometimes called a mountain fold) - SEE THE PICTURE ABOVE AND BELOW

Keeping the folded edges close to you - Lay the folded paper on the table and bring the 2 outside edges so that they meet in the middle - SEE PICTURE ABOVE AND BELOW. Give the folded lines a good press down to make sure that they are as crisp as you can get them.

Open out the sheet of paper.  You will notice that parallel to 2 of the sides are 2 creases which change direction along the line (these are the 2 creases that you have just created).  Fold these so that the crease now runs the same way all the way along the crease line SEE PICTURE BELOW.

Open the paper out again and this time turn it over.  In every corner of the sheet of paper is a long crease and a short crease that meet each other if you follow the lines.  Pinch these lines and bring them together as shown below.  This will start to shape the bag.

Once you have pinched the long and short edge and brought them together (keeping the edges of the bag neat and together) fold the loop that forms on the back of the join (inside the bag) flat. SEE BELOW.

Repeat this for all 4 corners and you will have something that looks like the picture below.

Taking one corner at a time.  Place double sided tape on the small triangle area. Join the sides of the bag together as before so that the corner is now stuck.


Repeat for all 4 corners.  This will leave you with 4 flaps inside the bag as can be seen in the picture below.  Take double sided tape and stick these so that they are flat to the longest sides of the bag.

Finally flatten the bag to create the 'v' shape that you would find on the sides of a shop bought bag.

And there you have your bag ready to decorate however you want to.

I hope that you have found this little tutorial interesting - have fun and let me know if you need any more help!

Tuesday, 9 August 2011

Homespun Good Life ...

As a family we love to live as much of the 'good life' as possible and even the girls get involved.  We're always dreaming up little 'homespun' projects for the future like soap, cheese or ginger beer making and we all love cooking in the kitchen as a family.

This weekend after visiting our local poultry farm and reserving 2 new little rare breed chickens to join little 'Summer' later in the year we had a huge cooking adventure in the kitchen which included 32 jars of jam, 3 fish pies, cookies, stuffed veggies, homemade pasta, pavlova and a cake.  This week I thought I would share a couple of our favourite recipes.

Mr P. loves to make bread and every morning we sit down at breakfast to the wonderful aroma of bread wafting around the kitchen.  We 3 girls are so lucky that this is his hobby and his way of relaxing as we do get spoilt with all sorts of lovely goodies from the kitchen.

He follows the same plan of action every day and the photograph above is a picture of just one of the lovely loaves that he produces for breakfast each morning. 

Delicious seed loaf - Just in time for Breakfast:


500g Extra Strong White Bread flour (we use Waitrose organic flour)
6g salt (usually recipes say 9g for this size loaf - so you could use more if you think it needs it!)
15g demerara sugar
30g olive oil
6g yeast
1tbsp malt extract
315ml water
handful sesame, sunflower, linseed & pumpkin seeds (anything that you fancy really!)

Method (using a bread maker to prove & an oven to cook the bread)

If you have a dough setting for the bread maker then use this.  Our bread maker is quite old and does not have a dough setting for bread, only pizza and so this is how Mr P. creates the bread.

Put the ingredients into the bread maker just before you go to bed the night before (try not to let the yeast touch the wet ingredients or the proving process will start and you don't want that at this stage.

Set the timer on the bread maker to start the process early morning (about 5.30am for us - but you will need to play with your own machine - Our machine takes about 1.30 hours to mix & prove the dough before it starts to cook it). 

Set the oven timer to come on about 6.30am at 200 degrees Celsius to make sure that it has warmed up in time to cook the loaf when you are ready.  At about 7am when the dough is nice and large inside the bread maker take the dough and shape it (with a little flour) before placing it on a floured baking sheet.  Sprinkle a little flour over the top and make a deep cut in the top with a large knife.

Cook in the oven for about 25 - 35 minutes (until it sounds hollow when you tap it on the bottom). 
25 minutes will give you a softer crust and 35 minutes will produce a super loaf with a chewy crust.

I know that this might sound like a lot of work but really it isn't and cooking the loaf in the oven instead of the bread maker produces a really tasty loaf which will rival anything that you could buy in an artisan bakery.

(Of course it would be even easier if your bread maker can automatically stop after the proving stage but if not you just need to remove the dough before the cooking in the bread maker starts just as we do!)

Hope you enjoy!

Tuesday, 19 July 2011

I'm back ...

Just got back to the shop today after a lovely week off!  I am not back up to speed yet and am still ploughing through e-mails and dealing with orders that came in whilst I was away.

I do have a minute though to introduce you to the newest member of the Philpott family...


We actually had 6 hatching eggs under our broody and very stroppy hen Mildred, all of which were supposed to hatch last Tuesday.  She was a super Mum and did everything she was supposed to but unfortunately only one out of the six eggs hatched.  The chick is a 'Well Summer Bantum' and is called Summer.  Fortunately we think she is a girl rather than a boy which means we will at least get a few eggs in a few months time. 

Thought you might like to see a couple of piccies of her and Mum...

Mildred continues to be a very good Mum.  We have now moved them to their new barn (actually a shed - but we like the chickens to feel important so we call it a 'Barn' when they are in earshot!! ).  Mildred looks after her little one very well and charged at me with intent when I went to freshen their water and food yesterday - GOOD THING WE ARE BREEDING CHICKENS AND NOT ELEPHANTS!!

Friday, 8 July 2011

Signing off for a few days ...

A while ago I promised that I would show you the E-Type Jaguar that I painted for my Dad for Father's Day.  I have finally managed to get a photograph of it and here it is.  I used watercolour and pastels to create the final effect.  I took the registration plate number from an old mini that Mum and Dad had when they were younger.  A lovely, nippy, brown little mini called Margaret (after my Nan) which I learned to drive in. I thought that it would make a nice little touch to my Dad's favourite car!

Today the girls break up for the Summer Holidays at 12 noon and so next week I am having a few days off to spend with them and {hopefully} our new chickens that will be hatching on Tuesday.  If all goes well I will post some photographs of them when I get back into the workshop.

We have got lots of other lovely things planned for next week, including the Befordshire County Show on Sunday (if the weather is nice), so I might see some of you there!

Here is a little project before I leave today ...

This card was created using Tim Holtz Distress inks and some nature stamps from Artemio.  The panel on the right hand side is actually a book mark which can be used after the card is finished with.  I think that the little 'just because' stamp is from Woodware, but I am not sure of this as it has been in my craft box but out of its packet for quite a while!  The text paper is from My Minds Eye and is part of the Lost and Found Range.

I will be back in the workshop a week on Tuesday. 

I am here tomorrow (Saturday 9th July) for the Kit Club if you need anything before I go.  Also for those of you booked onto the Torn Paper Cards on Thursday (1-3pm) this is running as well. 

Please can you note the opening times for the shop over the Summer.

Tues, Weds and Thursday 9.30 - 5pm plus any other booked workshops. 

I appreciate that this is not ideal for anyone who likes to visit on a Monday, Friday or Saturday but only having to entertain children here 3 days a week instead of 6 does keep my stress levels to a minimum!!

Have a lovely week and I will be back with lots of inspiration soon!

Monday, 4 July 2011

Happy 4th July ...

Happy 4th July to all of our visitors from America!  The celebrations had reached the UK over the weekend as we saw lots of Fireworks displays Saturday night to celebrate the special day.

I came across this super pie recipe which looks absolutely amazing.  I wonder if it would be so easy to create a Union Jack - Hmmm!!

Back soon with some more inspiration!

Tuesday, 7 June 2011

Meet the Doodles ...

Life for us is one big Doodle ... Well, 1 large and 1 small, both scruffy, both stinky, usually wet and both always ready to sit on you or lick you into submission!

All of our favourite days as a family are spent with the dogs.  Mr P. took these lovely photographs of our 2 Labradoodles, Barney (cream) and Archie (black) when we went to Devon a couple of weekends ago.  We were supposed to be going to the Devon County Show - and we did for about 2 hours but we had completely underestimated how hard it would be trying to hold onto 2 children and 2 strong dogs when all they can smell is excitement and want to get into every enclosure to say 'hello' to every cow, bird, horse, person etc... That's the dogs of course and not the children!!  In the end we gave up with the show and went to the beach!

Anyway, I thought it was time you met them so here they are ...

Barney's dad was a Standard Poodle and his mum was a yellow Labrador.  He is a big, strong dog who looks a lot more like a golden retriever than a labradoodle... never let anyone tell you that Labradoodles do not shed their fur because it is not true.  This year we have spent a lot of time grooming Barney with a special comb outside in the garden.  When we had finished each day it looked as if we had sheared a sheep.    This year we have been placing it in strategic places in the garden and the birds have been taking it to build their nests.  Snugly little birds as the fur is as soft as cotton wool!  Barney's favourite past time is to swim in the sea or play fetch with his ball all day long!  In this photo he is waiting patiently for his Dad to throw his stick!

Archie's dad was a toy poodle and his Mum was a black Labrador.  He is built like a tank with a leg in each corner.  he is the size of a small Labrador but still thinks that he is a lap dog like his dad!   Archies favourite past time is either using Barney's back leg as a big bone to gnaw on or emptying the bin in the kitchen every time we go out just to see if there is anything nice at the bottom!!  Oh and he particularly likes to hunt and pounce on Barney when out on a walk and then run off laughing!

Anyway enough about my lovely boys... here are a couple of cards that I would like to share with you today... hope you like them.

Both cards were made with scraps of papers from my craft box and a couple of butterfly punches (Martha Stewart punch used for both).

Happy Crafting

Tuesday, 31 May 2011

Crafting with the Kids this Half Term ...

Today I thought I would share another use for the painted pegs that I showed you yesterday...

Here is a fridge magnet that my girls made recently.  They used a template to cut out the shape of the body and covered it with pretty paper.  They added a face and punched a hole to add a little ribbon for a tail and finally drew some hooves on the bottom of the pegs with a permanent marker.  We added some magnetic tape to the back of the pegs so that we could attach it to the fridge and hey presto!

Alternatively why not use the templates to create place settings for Sunday Lunch...  The girls spent all afternoon making these for a recent family lunch.  They made 9 in total.  After the lunch we put magnetic tape of the back of each and the guests took them home to stick onto the fridge.


Hope you have lots of fun with these !
Happy Crafting

Monday, 30 May 2011

Hanging out the washing ...

Good Morning!

I really wanted to say 'and what a lovely morning it is' ... but I am afraid that it looks like rain today - not great as I have already hung the washing out this morning before coming into the shop! 

I love this time of the year when it is light early and I can finally get the washing off the radiators and onto the washing line where it belongs.  Each morning Mr P takes the dogs out for a walk at 7am so I take the washing from the machine and go outside to hang it out before making breakfast.  It is a lovely time as I usually talk to the chickens and they talk back as they come to see what I am doing, always in the hope that I have brought them something nice to eat!!  This is my time before the rush of breakfast, spelling tests, lunch making and nagging the girls to make sure that they have done everything before we have to leave for school.

My time only lasts for 5 minutes but that's just enough fresh air and catching up with the gossip from the hen house to set me up for the rest of the day... Oh and yes, I usually give in and fetch the Chickens an apple or a few oats before feeding the rest of us - just to make sure that they put all of their efforts into making us some nice eggs for breakfast the next day!

This year I thought I would make myself some nice little pegs to not only hang out the washing at home but also to peg up work in progress or other little bits around the shop ...

I purchased some cheap wooden pegs and painted them with Farrow and Ball emulsion tester pots.  They take 2-3 coats to get a good even coverage of paint.  Once dry I took a paint brush, dipped the end into some white paint and used the tip of the brush to 'dab' the spots onto the pegs in a random pattern.  Once completely dry I varnished the pegs just to make sure that they were shower proof if it rained whilst they were outside.

The Dolly pegs were created in exactly the same way but to make sure that I got a straight line on the bottom I used some masking tape to create a neat edge which I pulled off once the pegs were dry.

They do take a bit of time to make but very therapeutic if you like painting and I think the result looks great!

Hope you like them!
Happy Crafting

Thursday, 3 February 2011

Valentines Day No.3

In our house we all tend to celebrate Valentines Day, even the girls.  Any excuse for them to find their way into my craft box and use some of the special bits and pieces that they usually don't get to use!

We have never really been big on buying chocolates and flowers and all of the usual things that you would associate with Valentines day. Instead we tend to come up with original ideas for special little gifts for everyone, even Mia and Amy.   Mr P. (who is the baker in the family) might make a special cake for all of us and the girls usually draw a picture.  Once we all created a canvas stamped with our hands on it in different colours of acrylic paint.  The result was lovely.  At that time Amy was very little and her hand is tiny next to her Daddy's.  It now hangs in our hallway and we will treasure it always.

Last year we created little hearts filled with various herbs.  We drew some heart templates from paper and then cut around these from scraps of fabric. 

This is the heart that I made for Mr P.  I filled this with Cinnamon sticks and Cloves that I had crushed first.  It smells wonderfully spicy and perfect for him as it is not too flowery.  You can still smell the spices a year later!

Amy created this simple version of the heart.  She stitched the heart on the outside.  We filled the heart with a little toy stuffing and dried lavender.  The stuffing ensured that we did not loose the lavender through the edges as the stitching was a simple running stitch.

We have all kept these little hearts long after the chocolates and flowers would be gone! 

Mind you I should probably admit that Mr P.  has just bought me a new handbag for Valentines Day this year - and he doesn't even know it yet!! 

Wednesday, 26 January 2011

Peanut Butter Oaty Bars ...

'Have you brought a snack Mummy?' ... These are the first words that come out of my little girl's mouths (after saying hello and giving me a kiss of course) when I collect them from school each day.  I always feel so lucky that my working day is finished by 3pm and I can go home with them after school.  We all sit around the kitchen table and they start their homework whilst I prepare them a snack and a drink. 

One snack that they can't get enough of is these peanut butter oaty bars which are the quickest and easiest cakey type biscuit to make. The girls love it when we cook these as firstly they can help to mix in the oats and secondly they get to lick the spoon and the bowl and even dip their little mits into the raw mixture whilst we are trying to flatten it in the baking tin! 

You really don't have to measure anything out, just use your eye until the mixture looks right.  As a guide you will need approx:

250g of butter or margarine (this will make approx 20 bars)
2-3 tablespoons of peanut butter
2-3 desert spoons of Honey or Golden Syrup - honey works really well with the peanut butter.
Enough oats to bring the mixture to a stiff paste (see below)


Melt the butter, honey and peanut butter in a saucepan over a low heat.  Add enough oats to bring the mixture to a paste stiff enough to hold itself together (the more oats you add the more biscuit like your finished bar will be).

Grease a deep baking tray and press the mixture into the tray with your hand.  Then cook at approx 160-170 degrees for approx 20 minutes.  Cut into bars in the tin and then leave to cool.  Once cool take out with a fish slice and put into an air tight tin. In theory they will keep for about a week but ours never ever last that long!


Chopped Banana with the peanut butter;
Jam with the peanut butter - this is my husbands favourite as he loves Raspberry jam and peanut butter sandwiches!

and if you are not keen on peanut butter, try ...

Chunks of dark Green and Blacks Chocolate;
Chopped Apricots and honey;
Maple Syrup.

Great for lunch boxes and quick healthy snacks.  We have even been known to have one for breakfast if we are in a rush and they really do keep you going for quite a while.

Thank you for stopping by.
Happy Crafting