Beautiful things for you and your home!

Lots of homely thoughts on sewing, baking, papercrafts, gardening and all the things that go towards making your house a home

Tuesday, 17 September 2013

Sauce, Soup and Sewing

Be patient with me. This is the second time I've written this post having accidentally hit the close button before it was saved to draft...

So, where was I?

This year was a bit of an experiment when it came to growing tomatoes. At least it was supposed to be . Unfortunately, here in the Northern Hemisphere, the winter pointedly refused to exit stage left as per its script, and hung around far longer than it was welcome. This meant that the tomato plants couldn't go out when they should have and were far lankier going in the ground than was ideal. Still, in they went and after some feed and only one demise, they romped off and have been fruiting for a while. It's getting to that kind of time here when the harvesting period starts in earnest and today's chore is to pick some of these...

 
The idea this year was to try an experiment to see which varieties performed the best so that we could concentrate on them another year. Unfortunately, with the weird weather throwing a spanner in the works, this hasn't exactly gone to plan. And it seems that ones that have completely underperformed for me have been doing just fine for my Dad. So, we'll see.
 
I'll also be picking some of these...
 
 
I just wash them and freeze them whole. This enables me to grab one whenever I need one for something. They take moments to start to defrost and are easily chopped up in the early stages of this process. Actually it's far easier to do it then as they can go a bit limp if you let them defrost entirely prior to cooking.
 
I also wanted to share some new fabric with you...
 
 
 
LIBERTY!
 
Back in May, I had a letter printed in Sew Magazine and as a prize, received a £10 Sew Box voucher. I finally got around to spending this and put it towards some Liberty fabric. Being pricey, I only got a metre but I'm hoping to make a simple skirt out of it. It's cotton lawn so should hang nice and floaty. I may well do a toile version with something less precious before snipping into my lovely prize. I'll keep you posted, but just thought I'd share the joy of Liberty in the meantime!
 
In the meantime, happy sewing and harvesting! 



 

Tuesday, 3 September 2013

New Fabric for New Project

I don't know about you but the heat we've had this summer has made me not feel like doing too much of anything! I know we shouldn't complain, as it's the best summer we've had in years, and I'm not complaining - honest! :) I'm just saying it's made me feel a bit more lethargic than usual!

However, I have been doing some scrapping and the Smash book I bought at Ally Pally earlier in the year is getting nicely full with little mementos of the year. Not that we've done all that much but even small things, like going for a cup of tea and lunch at the adorable tea shop we found in Brighton is definitely something I like to record and pop in there.

I also finally got around to recording the story that surrounded a funny picture my husband had. It took me a while because I wasn't involved in the story so I needed to get it from him and him finding the time to sit down and tell me about it wasn't the easiest. But we got there eventually. I used this paper, because it was about a helicopter flight.

 
I jazzed up the heli itself with some diamond stickles and there's now a 4x6 photo in the bottom left corner with a few embellishments and a title. For the most part, the paper is covered in journaling as there was quite a long story to tell but it made the picture make sense and was really something I wanted to put in the album. I think it's important to try and include other people's days in your scrapbooks. Even if it means you have to really work at trying to get the story out of them, it's worth it in the end! :)
 
 
And sticking with the helicopter theme, I recently bought this fabric:
 
 
 
Hubby has asked me to make a cover for a mini tablet type thing and I knew about this fabric, so thought it would be fun to use. It comes in a blue colourway which was what I originally wanted, but unfortunately couldn't find any in the UK at the time, so I've gone with the cream background instead.
 
The project itself will be along the lines of the Kindle cover I made here, just slightly different in size. I'll post a picture when I'm done. It's a case of trying to find a time when he's not using the thing in order to measure it at the moment! Also, I have to admit, it's been a case of trying to finish the above layout and find my desk in order to be able to make space to sew.
 
It's going to be a bit of an adventure, because for those of you that follow this blog, you may remember that I got a new sewing machine last year. So far, I've sewn precisely two small things on it. One was a super quite felt cover for hubby's phone when he cycles and has to put it in his rucksack and the other was blind hemming a lined wool skirt from a suit my Mum had bought for herself that was longer than she wanted. That was my first project on the machine and I wish I'd kept going because my confidence has plummeted again now. I don't want to mess up this project so it'll be a case of fingers crossed!
 
Wish me luck and any tips would be much appreciated!
 



Sunday, 11 August 2013

Back After A Blogging Break - With Tomatoes!

If you follow this blog regularly, you'll have noticed I've been absent for a little while. Apologies for that. I had some craziness going on with my writing and it ended up forcing the blogs to the back burner. But I'm hoping to be able to get back to blogging more regularly so for those of you that have stuck around - thanks! And I hope you enjoy the upcoming posts!

So! We've actually had a bit of a proper Summer in the UK which after last year's washout, and the fact that Winter seemed very reluctant to exit stage left, has been a pleasant surprise. The garden has been a bit odd though, as because it stayed so cold for so long, things have taken a while to get going. I have a bunch of tomato plants which are now doing pretty well, but none of them have got a heavy crop, and I think it's because they just couldn't get going early enough.

 
This was the scene back at the start of June. They were still looking a little pathetic and sorry for themselves. One of them in fact died off a short time after this was taken so a replacement was popped in his place. As you can see, I planted them in old chimney pipes. This allows me to put them in deeper (as the bed is fairly shallow) and also helps keep them from drying out too much. They don't look the prettiest but frankly once the tomatoes take hold, you don't see too much of them.
 
I also have a few in pots and they've all done pretty well so far, considering the very late start they had coupled with several weeks of 30 degree heat! We've had a few small pickings so far, mostly from the few 'micro' varieties but on Friday I got a bit more of a decent picking of both tomatoes and chillies.
 
 

The chillies are a jalapeno variety and the tomatoes are Red Alert, and Golden Sunrise. I'm still deciding what to do with them, but I think they may end up as soup today. I often use a Delia Smith recipe which turns out well each time.
 
One thing with recipes for tomatoes - they often call for the tomatoes to be peeled, or the mixture to be sieved after blitzing. I think this is a personal thing. Two main recipes I use call for them and I don't do it with either. I have done in the past but it's fiddly and I found, unnecessary. So long as you blitz it well enough, you're not going to have bit bits of skins floating around anyway. But, as I said, it's a personal thing. If you don't want seeds and skins, then sieve away!
 
Well, that's it for this post. I'll be back with some more updates on food, gardening and crafting soon!
 
As always, I'd love to hear from you and how your crafting, gardening and cooking is going!
 
Love, Maxi x
 
 
 



Sunday, 12 May 2013

Spring At Last?

It did seem as though spring had finally arrived, although having said that, looking out of the window right now, I might disagree as the rain falls constantly from a flat, grey sky.

But we have had some nice days, and at last gardeners have had a chance to get out and do some tidying up in the garden. It's still too chilly to put certain plants out but some of the perennials have ventured to peer up out of the ground and check whether it's safe to come out yet, and I did get my sweet peas in at last!


This year we've got some 'Skywalker' and one that has 'Ripple' in the title, but the full name escapes me! I believe it's a pinky sort of colour, so I'm thinking a raspberry ripple type colour scheme. The other is 'Sunset'. As you can see, we've put grit around the base so I'm hoping that will be enough to deter the slugs and snails, but I wouldn't bet on it. I shall be keeping an eye out for the nasty blighters. Luckily, we have a very nice couple, Mr and Mrs Blackbird, and some friends of theirs who do their best to dine out in our garden as much as possible. Hopefully that will help keep the worst off.

The lawns have gone mad, so the weeds are having a field day. I'm hoping that some regular cuts will curb them a bit but there are a few biggies of the thistle variety that will need digging out. I've thought of doing the 'Feed & Weed' but as we do have such a lot of little birds hopping around foraging I don't like the use of chemicals and avoid them if at all possible. I'd rather a few weeds and birds, than no weeds but no birds.

The borders themselves were in need of a decent tidy up, but thanks to some help from my Dad, they now have a proper edge which enabled me to get them much more organised and weeded.

 
 We don't have a big garden at all, but it's amazing how much work they can take to get looking good once the weeds get a hold.

Having dug out the earth to put the sweet peas in properly this year, we've cleared a small area just to put a few herbs in. We have a small rosemary in which I've found I use a lot now I can just pop out and pick it. The herb pot from last year needs a bit of attention, as you can see. These are just what was in last year that have come back up - chives and parsley (with the basil long gone!). I'm debating about putting these in the ground and keeping the re-purposed jam pan just for some basil and perhaps oregano as they are more delicate and can be moved around if needs be. We'll see. I'm still debating as to what to put in. I want to grow what I actually use.

Still plenty more to do, even in a small garden - but that's half the joy, isn't it?


Love, Maxi

Sunday, 14 April 2013

Big Stamping & Scrapbooking Show (BSSBS), Ally Pally, London

Yesterday saw me attending the Big Stamping and Scrapbooking Show (BSSBS) at Alexandra Palace in North London.

 
I have been to this once before, many, many years ago and was amazed to find this year's one so small relatively, compared to the previous visit. It was a little hard to judge as for the last two years, the organisers have moved the show to the larger hall in the Palace which is a vast improvement as there is now more breathing space. But there did seem to be less stands, and this appears to be backed up by others' comments. I think, the way the economy is, has a lot to do with it. Having attending exhibitions as a participant, albeit in other fields, I know from experience that's it's expensive, and a lot of hard work.
 
Attendance by shoppers however does seem to have been up. I heard several comments about the fact that by ten past ten, the car parks were all full. Bearing in mind the show only opened at ten am, this is some going! I have to say though, that all credit to Alexandra Palace in that the parking in the park here continues to be free (for the moment at least!). Bearing in mind it's in London, that really is a feat to be appreciated. The NEC in Birmingham, whose extortionate parking charges literally double the charge of an admission ticket to a craft show there should take note!
 
 
 
The emphasis did definitely seem on the 'Stamping' side of things, rather than the 'Scrapbooking' which, as a scrapbooker much more than a stamper, was a little bit of a shame to me. There were hardly any papers for sale. I have heard that several companies stopped bringing papers to shows as people weren't careful when looking at them, and they ended up damaged. I can understand the logic of this. Perhaps having one sheet as a display and the others under cover or away might be an answer to that problem. Either way, the majority of stands were more geared to the stampers among the craft community, so if that's your thing, you were in Heaven, I'm sure.
 
The queues during the hour and a half I stayed were pretty enormous! Reading some comments, I've heard of people queueing for nearly half an hour on some stands. I admire their patience! So, be prepared for some standing around, and also the stamina to get into some of the stalls as although there was plenty of space between stalls, inside them was another matter altogether!
 
Because the show is now in the big hall, and isn't packed to the rafters with exhibitors, the organisers had put plenty of large round tables around the perimeter of the show, so there were plenty of places to sit down, should you need to. And, of course, you could always get your hand stamped and come out and sit in the relative calm of the Palm Court for a little breather. With the Palace being set in it's own beautiful grounds, there's plenty of room for a wander around and a walk or just a quiet sit to gaze down over London, if the weather's conducive!
 
 
 
On the whole, I'm glad I went for a look around. I did manage to come away with a few sheets of scrappy paper and my first 'actual' Smash book (I've made them previously) to have a play with. Well, it would've been rude not to get anything, wouldn't it!
 
The show returns to Alexandra Palace in September for those of you who weren't able to make this weekend (or just want to go again!), and then visits the East Midlands the following month. All the details can be found at the official website here Don't pay too much attention to the exhibitor list though. Unfortunately it's not always kept up to date, so if there's a particular company you're wondering about, it's probably best to contact them directly to ask them if they will be attending.
 
If you went, I hope you had a wonderful time, and are enjoying your new goodies!
 
Happy Scrapping!
 
 
Love, Maxi
 
 

Sunday, 7 April 2013

More Scrapbooking - Lunch in Delhi

I got a bunch of photos back from the developers this week, and despite Royal Mail's best efforts to mangle them, pretty much survived the trip.

 I currently use Snapfish, as they have been pretty good but I did think some of these had come out a bit dark. I've used Photobox once before - for the Journal Your Christmas project as I wanted some different sizes and Photobox do have a great selection on that front. I'd love to know who else people use and what results you've had?

But back to scrapbooking. Most of the photos I ordered were fairly recent ones, but I also sent off for a few from 2006 which I took on our last trip to India. There was a particular story I wanted to tell about my lunches at the hotel and I finally got around to doing it yesterday (and yes, I was actually supposed to be trying to find my desk under the pile of paper and supplies that had migrated onto it. I did tidy up - I just scrapped whilst I was doing it!)

Lunch in Delhi
 
 
This is very much a favourite memory and I am so glad I finally got around to putting it down on a page. I didn't really have the right alphabet supplies so I had to make do with what I had. The larger sticker font of 'Lunch' was a bit of a fight as the letters are now so old and rather well travelled and they had gone a bit funny - I had to wrestle with them to get them off the carrier sheet. It didn't look quite definitive enough so I went over them with some black stickles which has helped give it a little sparkle, and texture.
 
 It's probably not what I would have done if I'd had the choice of something else, but I wanted to get the page done, and finished, rather than having it sit around until I found the 'perfect' letters. In the end, that's the important thing, isn't it?
 
 
Hope you have fun in whatever crafty endeavour you are indulging in this weekend.
 
 
Love, Maxi 

Sunday, 31 March 2013

Scrapbooking Organisation

When it comes to scrapbooking, the organisation of all our lovely stash and tools is one of the hottest topics around. The web is full of images of beautiful images of beautiful scrapbook rooms, arranged to perfection and filled to the brim with goodies.



But let's face it, that's not the case for most of us. Most of us have to use the space we have carved out, and often share it with another person and/or purpose. It's tempting to pile everything into boxes and hide it away but I've found from experience that makes the actual business of scrapping, when you do get some time to sit down (or stand up) and do some, more difficult as you spend half of your precious time pulling stuff out of boxes and trying to locate things. It's hard to see what you do or don't have and consequently you can end up wasting scrapping time looking for that perfect embellishment that you think you got a while ago...

Some time ago I had a major overhaul of my scrappy stuff as I was getting into this predicament. I was wasting time in searching when I could've been scrapping. And I wasn't using stuff I had because I couldn't see it and therefore had forgotten I even had it at all. I did a lot of looking around on the Internet to get ideas, and also made use of my own design style and items I already had to find a better way for me.



It's a continually evolving process though. I have changed several things even over the relatively short time since I set up the area as I found that they weren't working for me, so did my best to find a solution that would. I then change to that, and see how that goes.

There's nothing written in stone about what scrapbooking storage should and shouldn't be. We are all individuals and what works for some, won't work for others. Some like to stuff all their die cuts into one pile and have a rummage, and some like to sort them into colours, or themes. It's the same with scraps - again, some like to mix them in one container, whilst for others this is too random and prefer to have them sorted into their respective manufacturer, theme, or colour. It's what works best for you, and your space.

Sure, get ideas and inspiration from media and the Internet but don't believe that it's that way or nothing. Don't despair that you don't have a room that looks as pretty and organised as those in the photos - they've been staged to look that good! You can bet that they don't look that way when there's any crafting going on!

Ikea was a great help in finding storage solutions for some of my items, but I also used items I had. Other stores that are worth a look are:
  •  Dunelm Mill
  •  Argos (I have a 5 drawer plastic tower drawer thing that I keep most of my tools in. It's not the prettiest but it wasn't expensive and it does the job)
  • The DIY stores
  • Don't forget to snoop around the supermarkets. They can have pretty baskets in their home departments.
  • Charity shops can also be a great source of useful items.
Of course, there are specialised companies online that make items specifically for craft so have a hunt online if you're after something particular, like photo boxes, etc.

If you're a follower of the scrappy superhero that is Glitter Girl, you may have seen her thoughts on storage video at the end of last year, but for anyone that missed it, take a look here.

In the meantime, happy scrapping, and Happy Easter!


Love, Maxi

Sunday, 17 March 2013

Using Eyelets in Scrapbooking

I recently watched a Sketch to Scrapbook Page episode which featured a banner type layout. Shimelle used eyelets to run the baker's twine through on the corners of the elements, and mentioned that she's had a few requests on ways to use eyelets. She advised that she gave most of her eyelets away to another scrapbooker several years ago so doesn't really have a big stash to use anymore.

But what if you haven't given them away, either because you do actually want to find a way of using them, or because you don't really know any other scrapbookers (outside of the US, this isn't an uncommon thing!), or a bit of both?


It got me thinking. I have a collection of eyelets which I bought several years ago now, and haven't used a tonne of them. My style has developed and changed, and they're not something I would probably buy now, but on the other hand, I don't just want to chuck them out.

Of course, there is the usual sort of thing, such as using them to reinforce tag holes, thread ribbon or twine through, use as flower centres, but I wanted to find some new ways that would use some up. Here are a few ideas I came up with:

  • Rainbows are really popular as a motif right now. Try making an 'eyelet rainbow' as an element on the page. It can either go direct on the page, or you could create it on a tag to be attached to a project. Draw a rainbow shape (either freehand or using a circle stencil), and then fill in the lines with eyelets. And don't think you have to stick to the standard rainbow colours; adapt to fit your colour theme!

  • Use a line of eyelets instead of washi tape or a border sticker. You'll still get the colour, but with added texture.

  • Outline a tag or journaling spot with eyelets, giving it a frame and drawing attention to the words.

  • If you have any metallic coloured ones, they can really add to masculine pages. Make a frame around a photo of your man, whether he's 6 or 60!


  • Mix them in with newer products in embellishment clusters. Mixing old with new always helps things look a little more up to date.

  • If you're doing a 'cowboy' page (from Hallowe'en, or a birthday party, or if that's just your thing!), I have to say they make great 'bullet holes'!

  • If you have any themed ones, then take a cue from the shape of the eyelet to create an embellishment on that theme; eg: If you have heart eyelets, draw a heart in pencil, then fill in the shape with eyelets of that shape.


I hope that's helped give you a few extra ideas with what to do with eyelets. I'd love to see the results if you try any of the ideas, so please leave a comment with a link to the photo of your project.

Happy Stash Busting!


Love, Maxi

Sunday, 3 March 2013

Scrapbooking with Scenic Paper - Part 2

On the last post, I showed what I had in mind for the piece of October Afternoon 'Gravel Road' scenic style paper I had bought on sale, as a bit of an experiment.

This is the final result:

 
Apologies for the slight reflection in the top left corner, as this was photographed once I'd put it into the page protector.
 
I'm not one for leaving off journaling but this paper makes it a bit difficult to put much writing in, without it feeling overcrowded, to me at least, but I'm sure that's a personal thing. I do have information that I'd like to include about the place - some facts and figures, as I like that sort of thing, plus our own feelings about what we thought of the place, and how it was a little different from what I was expecting. I haven't yet decided as to whether to go ahead with the divided page protector style or another 'standard' layout, possibly a double one in order to get some more of the photos on show that helps show the total abandonment of the place.
 
I chose this photo to go on the first layout because I thought it gave an idea as to how out in the middle of nowhere this place was. The background layer (that you can just see beneath the brown cardstock) is an Echo Park paper I think, from the Everyday Eclectic collection. Then the cardstock, just from stash but most of mine is DCWV stock piled from a while ago that I'm trying to gradually use up.
 
The embellishments are some I've had for quite some time; I cannot remember where I got the little camera from. It's actually a charm, and came in a pack with an old fashioned car, plane, and suitcase. I snipped off the 'hole' bit that you would thread twine or ribbon through off, and stuck it on with a couple of foam pads. The 'scenery' sticker is from a pack I bought out in the States at a little shop we visited and the metal 'California' charm is from Eyelet Outlet. Again, these are several years old so I don't know if they still do them. At the time, they did various States, so you may see some Florida ones popping up as I try and use up some of the stash I've had for far too long.
 
I hope you like the layout!
 
 
Love, Maxi


Monday, 18 February 2013

Scrapbooking with October Afternoon 'Gravel Road'

What happens when you see a piece of scrapbook paper that you really like, but aren't sure how to use? Quite often, I won't actually buy it. If I can't see a way of using it, then although it's pretty, it's not really something I can afford to spend out on.

A while ago, I saw this video and found it pretty interesting. Even though I didn't have any scenic style paper to use, it was good to see information showing how it's possible to use it. So, when I had to order a new ring binder for my layouts, I had a quick flip through the 'sale' items (it'd be rude not to!) and I came across one of the papers Shimelle used in this video, 'Gravel Road', by October Afternoon. When I saw the video originally, I thought it might be good for use with some pictures of a old gold mining ghost town we'd visited. As it was only 23p in the sale, I didn't think there was too much to lose!

I trimmed it down, similar to the video, but not so much...


I then took the grey in the design and went rummaging for a mat for the photo. I found something from a travel themed kit I've had for years. I'm not so keen on the part that shows the washing line, and river, and bearing in mind there was no river at the place we visited (or washing!) I thought that would be a good place to put the mat. So, it currently looks like this...

 

The script bit of it will most likely be covered, or at least the best part of it will. I'm thinking about using this as a sort of intro page and then putting a few more photos and some journaling in a divided page protector following it in the album. That's not something I've done before so we'll see how that goes. I've got to fish out any info I have on the place, and see what else there is to add, and find out some facts about it and note them down to add to the layout. The picture I'm thinking of using is a plaque that's on a pillar there that says about the founding, and subsequent abandonment of the town, so it might be a case of the picture serving as some of the journaling.

These sort of papers don't seem to need a lot of embellishment, but of course, that depends on your style. At present, I have a couple of little things I think I might add, but they may end up on the additional pages, rather than this one.

 
I tried to ink the middle one, and scruff it up a bit, but I don't have any staz-on type stuff in brown, so it pretty much just came off again, as did the alcohol inks I tried. I hadn't really planned for any shiny silver metal so we'll see if that makes it in.
 
 
I like these little transport charms that, again, I've had for too long. One of the pictures I know I have is of a really broken down old car/truck type thing so that might be good. I need to research a bit more and see if the railroads of the time were part of this settlement. It was really in the middle of nowhere!
 
I'll come back and post the finished layout when it's done. Hope that's given you some inspiration in the meantime!
 
 
Love, Maxi

Monday, 11 February 2013

Kiwi Muffins

The good thing about muffins, and cakes in general, is that they are great for using up any fruit that's looking like it might consider going a bit ropey in the next couple of days. And this was how this recipe came about.

 
 
Even though it's not a strong taste, they are definitely something I'd make again, should I have the need to use up some more stray kiwis. They're really easy to do - just use a standard muffin recipe, and bung in some chopped up kiwis (peeled). A couple of light stirs just to incorporate them into the mixture and you're done!
 
 
Happy baking (and eating!)

Tuesday, 5 February 2013

Journal Your Christmas 2012, continued...

Well, I'm not sure 'continued' is exactly the right term. Stalled, might be a better one. I really wanted to keep up and get it all ready prior to starting the actual month of December this year, but I had a bit of trouble getting motivated. I did think about watching the previous JYC videos on Shimelle's site but I'd seen them several times before and I wasn't doing the number tags this year anyway, so it didn't really seem as if that would give me the impetus I needed to get started.

So, I was sort of already 'behind' before I'd even started! Not a great plan. I know we're always told you can't be behind in this hobby, and for the most part, I totally agree with that. It's not supposed to be a chore or a deed you must do, but on smaller projects like this, it's nice to keep up. I did make some notes every now and then through the month and took some photos. I didn't actually end up sticking to the prompts. Some just don't apply to me and now that I've finished the journalling, it's more a mix of the JYC and just a bit of an illustrated diary of Christmas - ie: we did this, we went there. And I'm fine with that. I'm more than fine with that, actually. It's more appropriate to our Christmas this year, and something I want to remember and document.

But at the moment, the journal itself is still looking a bit like this...

 
 
Not really what I had in mind for the state of it by this point in time, but there we are. I'm really hoping I'm not the only one who's run out of steam - or perhaps never got up a good head of steam to begin with for the project this year...or am I?


I really just need to sit down and put it all together. I've got the photos back and the journalling is all done, and printed out. I suppose it's just the enthusiasm that's lacking. If anyone has any good ideas about how to give me a shot of this, I'd be grateful!

Love, Maxi x

Wednesday, 23 January 2013

Triple Chocolate Muffins

These are definitely a favourite in our house, and so easy to make. I use the same recipe, taken from the book on mentioned in this post and I've never known them not to turn out well. Having said that, I'm sure the next time I make them will prove the exception to the rule!

 
 
Really quick to make and bake, and delicious to eat!
 


Sunday, 13 January 2013

Lemon Meringue Pie

So, for the first time ever yesterday I made a lemon meringue pie. I've always loved this pud, and when hubby worked in London, from time to time he would return home with a slice of this most delectable goody from Borough Market's Konditer and Cook. Frankly, none I've eaten has ever beaten theirs.

Yesterday, we were visiting friends and I was bringing pud. Lemon meringue pie is a favourite of theirs too, so I thought I'd be brave and have a go! Not perhaps the best idea to experiment when you're taking it somewhere but there we are. I launched in regardless - and this was the result!

 
 
I didn't think it looked too bad for a first attempt. It probably could have done with a little extra cooling time but having not started it until the afternoon, and it being a bit of a fiddly dish, I didn't have time so there was a little juice running out when we cut into it, but apart from that, it was a success! Seconds were even asked for so I was over the moon.
 
The recipe I used was this one from Good Food. I was looking for an easy one and in the midst of my searching, one from the Good To Know website suggested using a pre bought base and a jar of lemon curd. Yes, I suppose that is easy, but frankly if you're buying all that, you may as well just buy the whole pie premade! Anyway, this Good Food one had a lot of good reviews and it wasn't difficult, so if you're thinking of having a go, I'd recommend the recipe.
 
And sorry there aren't any pictures of when we cut into it, but with three kids and three adults waiting on it, there wasn't much chance of that so you'll just have to take my word on it looking, and tasting really rather yum!

I was thinking of trying it again, and maybe using a lemon and lime mix instead of just lemons next time. Anyone got any other ideas or suggestions?

Thursday, 3 January 2013

Recycling For Wrapping Presents

As part of my best friend's Christmas present, we got her an 'Experience' voucher. As you probably know, you can have this sent to you in a gift box type thing, which you pay extra for or you can just have it emailed. I chose the latter, thinking that I had plenty of supplies to do something pretty with it.

I printed out the email on some heavyweight paper and then went rummaging. It was then I came across some packaging my husband had brought home for me, in case I was able to use it for something (yes, he is well trained!).

So, from a boring plastic envelope, the piece became transformed, with the help of some washi tape and flowers, and a little bling into this...

 
The flap where the flower is lifts up and the documentation, telling her about her (hopefully fun!) experience is inside. She thought it was absolutely lovely so that made my day, and it was also nice to give something that looked pretty, rather than just handing over a piece of paper. And all of it was with supplies I already had to hand, plus the base packaging which otherwise would have been tossed in the bin!
 
I hope you like the result too, and may help you look at discarded packaging in a new light. If anyone else has done anything like this, I'd love to see it :) Please leave a link in the comments.
 
Love, Maxi