Monday, July 20, 2009

This Weekend

This weekend I started working on one the the little boxes in the book "Little Bead Boxes" by Julia S Pretl (one of the books I posted on Thursday). I decided to do the "Flower" one and give it to Stewart's Nan for Christmas. According to the book the difficulty in shapes (from easiest) is triangle, hexagon, pentagon and square. I decided to jump in at almost the deep end (ha, ha - how unlike me!!) and try one of the penatgon ones. It really wasn't difficult at all, once I read the instructions on how to interpret the word maps (there's no way I'd manage it using the graphical charts).

Anyway, this is what I have done so far (quite a few hours).

I also ordered some Hot Copper glitter powders for polymer clay from EJR Beads

Not had a chance to try this out yet, but hope to in the next week or so.

Off to Manchester at the weekend. Staying at the MacDonald Manchester and going for dinner at Michael Caines restaurant on the Saturday night. Going to try and book Chaophraya for the Sunday night as well.

Murder mystery night went really well on Saturday (although I screwed up the main course a bit). Cooked the chicken to too long and it sort of disintegrated (no wonder I hate doing chicken). Everyone really joined in and only one person (my sis) guessed correctly.

Thanks for looking.

Thursday, July 16, 2009


I've always been a bit of a bookworm, as well as a recently reborn bead addict, so today I treated myself to a couple of new books: I really like these little boxes, and although they'll probably take ages, I thought they would make lovely presents for people. I seem to know so many people who are lucky enough not to really "need" anything and find it difficult sometimes choosing presents, so hopefully these will go down well. Should be easy enough to incorporate different patterns into the shapes as well.
I have a fascination for beaded beads, and hope to make some of the Moroccan-style ones from Diane Fitgerald's book soon - just need to get some of those (pricey) galvanised delicas. This book on beaded beads gets pretty good reviews over on Amazon (the main one seeming to be don't pick a book by it's cover, as the ones on the front are pretty ugly).

Everything seems to be in order for my murder party on Saturday.
I am playing a french lady (my vocabulary may become a bit repetitive, as I don't have many French phrases in my head!!)Have decided on meze type starters, followed by djaje belimoune (chicken with orange and saffron) from my Medina Kitchen book. This is actually the only recipe I have made from this book - must make more.

Will do the New York cheesecake from how to be a Domestic Goddess for sweet again, as it was a great success the last time (and can make it tomorrow night, leaving less work to do on Saturday - always a bonus if you can grab a siesta before having visitors).

Seems I'll have a fiar bit on my hands over the next couple of days, but I am sure it won't be that bad.

Monday, July 13, 2009

ChocoMint Cupcakes

I made these cupcakes for a friend's birthday. As it was my own recipe (butchered and added to from a few others), I'll post it here. I think these would work with any other chocolate cake, but as I'm not keen on chocolate cake I made mine with cocoa instead of real chocolate. Measurements seem a bit higgledy piggledy, but I try to use cups & spoons instead of weights where possible as it is much quicker (don't know why we don't use them more in the UK).

ChocoMint Cupcakes (makes 16)

Chocolate Cupcake
1.5 cups plain flour
1 cup cocoa powder (not hot choc mix)
2 cups caster sugar
1.25 tsps baking powder
1.25 tsps bicarb of soda
1 tsp salt
0.75 cup hot water
0.75 cup milk
2 large eggs
0.5 cup veg oil
1.5 tsps vanilla extract

ChocoMint Frosting
1 x 150g bar white chocolate
half a small tub of soft cheese (I used light, but full fat or extra light would prob work too)
4 x tbsps butter (unsalted)
Icing sugar (approx 3 cups)
1.5 tsps peppermint extract
Green food colouring (I used a tiny bit of holly green paste)

Make the Cakes
Sieve the flour, sugar, cocoa, salt, baking powder and bicarb into food processor/mixer bowl.
Turn on and whilst processing add water, milk eggs, oil and vanilla. Mix until mixture is smooth (it will be runny).
Half fill paper cases in muffin tray and bake at 165 degrees for 15-20 minutes (I use a fan oven, so times/temps may have to be slightly increased).
Leave to cool once done.

Make the Frosting
Melt the chocolate in the microwave until just melted then stir until smooth. Allow to cool slightly.
Mix the butter and cheese together (I use a food processer). Once combined add the chocolate and peppermint essence and mix again.
Add the icing sugar (I do this half a cup at a time until almost the right consistency, then quarter of a cup at a time until it is just right).
Once the frosting is the right consistency add the food colouring and mix well.
Spoon a generous desertspoonful onto each cake and use the back of the spoon to swirl.

Store and serve from the fridge - adds to the mint choc chip icecream taste if they are cold.

Another Polymer Clay Necklace

Went to the polymer clay class again on Sat, and made this necklace. We were shown the big bead as a pendant and the smaller beads strung with other beads, and I thought neither of them were really my style, but once I made them and put them together in the one necklace I was really pleased with the result.

I used 2 colours of brownish clay, a Sculpey texture sheet in Sticks and Stones. and black acrylic paint, which was brushed on then wiped off. I also used ceramic spaces and Tibental silver beads.

Thanks for looking.

Monday, July 06, 2009

Another First from Me

I went to my first ever polymer clay bead class on Saturday and it was absolutely fab. Such a friendly group and so welcoming - I went home feeling like I had known everyone for years. It was great value for money as well. This is what we made.
We used white, turquoise and green clay, varioys pokey-things and some acrylic paints. I'm really happy with the finished product (although there are a few imperfections) and wore it to work today - go a couple of compliments on it.

Thanks for looking