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

Tuesday, 25 January 2011

Running before I can Walk! ...

Until recently I have never really been bothered about yarns and threads even though all of the other ladies in my family are passionate about making things this way.  My passion has always been paper and watercolour painting ... that was until now ...

Over the past few weeks we have been taking delivery of our new yarns into the shop and of course I can't stay away from all of the lovely colours and textures.  I have huge expectations as to what I might be able to create one day and am already looking at patterns thinking I could change this and change that to put my own mark on a project.  The words 'running before I can walk' come to mind!

I just can't help it! I think that this is why I have never knitted large projects before.  I cannot follow a pattern, I have to do my own thing or I loose interest.  The paints and paper allow me to let my creativity flow but if I want to be able to knit as well as Mum I will have to learn to follow someone else's instructions and designs (for a while at least!).  I will keep you posted as to how the 'running' is going in future posts. I am quite sure that I will have 'tripped up' more than once. 

Here is a lovely cardigan that Mum knit for Mia.  The feel of the final project is so soft and perfect for a warm snuggly sweater or a pair of socks.  Of course I did have to add my own little bit of input and ask if we could add some mis-matched buttons to give the cardigan a more modern and crafty feel!

I gave Mum the yarn at the weekend and within a couple of days she had phoned me to tell me that it was finished.  I cannot believe the speed that she can knit.  By the time she had finished this I had just about cast on my stitches and knit a couple of inches up the back of my attempt at a cardigan!    I will keep practicing and in the meantime look forward to all of the new yarns arriving every week to inspire me and our lovely visitors.

Sirdar pattern 2292

Thanks for taking a look!
Happy Crafting

Friday, 14 January 2011

Wire Butterflies ...

Good morning,  I Hope your day is going well!  I am busy here creating new workshops but I just have time to have a cup of coffee and share this project that I made using some wired pearls to create a butterfly ...

The scalloped edge of the card was created by punching some circles and positioning under a white strip of card.  This was stuck into place on the left hand side of the card and another strip of green paper (slightly thinner than the white card) was positioned over the border so that you can see the stitched effect.

I punched a large scallop circle into the right hand side of the card and held the card closed so that I could add a running stitch effect with my black pen around the outside and the inside of the aperture.  This creates a border for the butterfly image that will go on the inside of the card and which will be seen through the aperture.

I created the wire butterfly using the instructions below.  It is fairly simple once you know how.  You wind the wire around 2 or 3 fingers so that you have 2 loops on each side. Then remove the loops from your fingers and then twist in the middle to create the body of the butterfly.  If you like this effect you can create dragonflies by winding the excess wire into a longer body and you can create simple 5 petal flowers by winding the wire so that you have 3 loops on one side and 2 on the other.

The green spotty wings are created from a fabric flower from petaloo.  I trimmed out a couple of the petals to make it look more wing shaped.  These two bits were then held over a trimmed piece of butterfly Lace cardstock from KI Memories and held together with a brad.

Butterfly instructions:

Wired Pearls: Oasis (you can usually find this in wedding stationary shops or here at Fidgeons Crafts)
Lace Cardstock: KI Memories
Patterned Paper: Making Memories
Fabric Flower: Petaloo
Brads: Stemma

Thanks for taking a peek!

Thursday, 13 January 2011

Cupcakes & Ice cream - the perfect birthday party! ...

A couple of girlie birthday cards for you today ... 

I drew a template for the cupcake and the ice cream (below).  I have asked my lovely hubby to explain to me how I load a pdf into these posts so that I can provide you with a template sheet where needed.  I will keep nagging at him until I know how to do it.  In the meantime if you would like a copy of the templates then e-mail me and I will be happy to e-mail you the pdf sheet instead.

I cut the base of the cupcake from a thick watercolour paper and roughly painted in the base with watercolour paint.  When this had dried I stuck on the top of the cupcake and the cherry which were cut from patterned paper.  I backed the whole cake onto some white card and cut around leaving a little white edge. 

I used some pale blue paper to cover the square card (my card was 145mm x 145mm) and then some patterned paper to create the border on the left hand side.  I stuck the cake and number 8 into place (which was also cut from a template). I added some detail to the cake and the number 8 with my black pen. Finally I added some more doodling around the card, added the black sticker letters and hand wrote 'today' along the edge of the number 8.

The ice cream was created in exactly the same way except that I cut the top of the cone from watercolour paper as well and added a little bit of pink watercolour paint around one side.

Spotty paper: Fancy Pants
Blue background paper, Cosmo Cricket
The rest of the paper is Sassafras ( I think!) -  not sure as they were bits and pieces in my craft box and don't have the name of the manufacturer on any more. 
stickers: Kaiser Kraft

Friday, 7 January 2011

Flower Pot ...

I don't know about you but I never seem to have a plant pot around when I need one.  Over Christmas I treated myself to these hyacinth bulbs and as usual did not have a plant pot that I could use straight away ... so I thought I would knit a cover for the plastic pot that the bulbs came in.

Now I am not the worlds best knitter by any stretch of the imagination.  I remember my Mum and Nan patiently teaching me and my sister to knit when I was about 6 or 7 years old.  They were always knitting and produced some amazing jumpers for the whole family.  Projects that I could only ever dream of creating.  I remember every year as a child when we went to Nan's house from November onwards she would be knitting my male cousins a new jumper with either Thomas the Tank Engine or Postman Pat on Whilst Grandad was busy making his mince pies (always with a star on the top!).

I can just about manage to click 2 pins together to create something. Quite often I do get into trouble or drop a stitch so luckily Mum will sort it out for me!  So ... you will have to trust me when I tell you that this pot is really easy to create!

All I did was cast enough stitches on until the number of stitches on my pins reached from the bottom to the top of the pot plus a bit more so that I could turn the top of the pot over.  It really does not have to be exact as if your final pot is too wide just turn over the top to make a lip.

I roughly measured around the pot so that I had some idea how many rows I needed to knit.  Then I knit every row in a moss stitch (knit one, pearl one) until I had the correct length.

Finally I positioned the finished rectangle around the pot to make sure that it fit and stitched the back with the same colour yarn.  I did overlap the bottom part of the rectangle slightly more than the top when I stitched together to create the tapered effect. 

There is not a bottom to the pot so the pot just slips into to the cover.  You will still need to put the pot onto a saucer to catch any water when you are watering your plant!

Tuesday, 4 January 2011

Thank you cards ...

Today is the last day of the girls Christmas holiday and so we wanted to make sure that the Thank you notes for all of the lovely Christmas presents were finished, written and posted.

We chose a really simple design (because they are only 8 and 5 years old).  I showed them how to cut and stamp the first card and then they were off.  I have to say that I was so impressed at how they made sure that everything was lined up and positioned neatly. 

Mia did the stamping and Amy stuck the pieces to the card.  The blue strip of paper actually folds around the back of the card as well and Amy took so much time to make sure that she did this correctly.

I even showed them how to line an envelope and Mia lined all of the envelopes for the cards.  {if you would like to know more about lining envelopes then leave me a comment and I will create a tutorial for this}

Finally she wrote 'handmade by Mia and Amy' on the back.  They made 8 cards in total and as I am writing this blog entry she is now busy writing all of the cards and Amy will add her name to the bottom of each.

If you are wondering whether I did get the second sock monkey finished for Amy last night as promised, yes I did.  I didn't get to start him until 7pm and she desperately wanted to stay up until he was finished.  In the end Daddy persuaded her to go to bed and promised that we would tuck him into bed with her when he was finished so that she would wake up with him.  I did finally get him finished at 11pm and here he is ...

No name as yet as Amy is not sure whether he is a boy or a girl!

Monday, 3 January 2011

Happy New Year

Happy New Year to you all!  I am really looking forward to sharing projects and ideas with you this year and already have an ever growing list of projects that I would like to make in my 'spare' moments.

I have really enjoyed all of the snow this Christmas and the extra bank holidays because it gave us an excuse to stay inside make soup, play lots of board games around the kitchen table and watch lots of DVD's.  It has also meant that I have been able to do lots of crafting...

One project that I have wanted to complete for a while is a Sock Monkey.  Making stuffed toys from old socks is suggested to date back to Victorian times but it was in the first half of the 20th Century that the Sock Monkey came about.  There are lots of patterns around for Sock Monkeys and once you have the basic pattern you can make them completely unique.  I found my pattern here.

I made this one in about 2 hours but that was hand sewing rather than machine sewing.  My girls loved him so much that they were arguing over who was going to get him before he was even made.  My eldest, Mia won 'eenie meenie miney moe' and so she was the lucky recipient.  I have promised not to go to bed tonight until I have made one for my younger daughter, Amy.

The sewing involved is really basic and I think that anyone could have a go, hope you enjoy making yours.