Peej’s Minion Birthday Cake!

Weeeell… it’s been a while since I posted on you craft blog. Soz.

I guess it’s been a while since I did anything new?! I have also been a bit busy and tired, what with toddler and bump. But anyway, enough of that!

I am here to share my latest cake… which I soooooo enjoyed doing! I was gutted to not have made a cake for my husband’s last birthday (morning sickness = boo!), and so have been waiting ages for another chance to make a good FUN cake!

And here it is! The photos aren’t great I’m sorry to say. I think I have some more of the finished article on my proper camera, but I don’t know what leads I need to plug it into the mac, or where to find them, SO, you’ll have to make do with iphone photos instead!

My Mum kindly made the actual cake base for me, so that I could make other party food before the day and not have to worry about the cake. We went with banana and chic-chip cake (as we all know, minions love bananas!), and chocolate cake. It ended up as three normal cakes, and then this funny cone shaped one which I carved down slightly to make Minion’s head flatter.

Here is the crumb-coated naked minion:

This then stayed in the fridge a couple of days until I iced it on his birthday morning. I had been umming and ahhing as to whether I should do the base fondant the day before, but wasn’t sure if it would sweat. More about that later…!

I bought shop fondant, as I wasn’t about to mess around on the morning with marshmallow fondant, but obviously that would have tasted nicer! So, head of minion covered. I had a little trouble rolling the fondant out big enough to cover down to his dungarees! And as you can see, it’s a bit of an awkward shape, so some gathering occurred. It actually seems accentuated in the photo for some reason! I also made the hole for his party blower at this point so that the fondant wouldn’t rip later on.

Next, on to the dungarees. I did the back first, then the front. My only problem was the lining up on the front ones to the back, I probably should have measured a bit more accurately than I did! I added a pocket, and some stitching detail with one of these sugar-flower making tools my mum got me last year. I haven’t the foggiest what it’s called ;-)

I kind of have a lack of photos here, as I was a little too sugary and engrossed to stop and take photos each time! But basically, the blue and yellow fondant were the only ones I bought pre-coloured. For the details of the eye, goggle, hair and hands I got some white flower-making fondant. It was a little firmer and dried a bit faster than the regular fondant.

So for the eye: I cut out a disk of white with a biscuit cutter. I decided I wanted to paint the eye on, as I wanted to capture the streaky look the minions have. I mixed a little gel colour with vodka to paint with, which worked great. After painting the brown I stuck the eye on straight away with edible glue, as I didn’t want it to dry flat or it wouldn’t have fit to the curve of the minion body. I painted the pupil later when the iris was dry, again using colour and vodka.

For the goggle: For the bit that goes around the eye I rolled a piece of super thick fondant, and cut the inside with the same cutter as the eye, then the outside with a cutter one size bigger. I painted it with silver dust… usually this is used for brushing on dry, but if you mix it with vodka you get a glittery paint. Again, I stuck this straight on, whilst wet (very, very carefully!), with a little edible glue, and then painted touch ups where my fingers has smudged the silver.

For the goggle band: I cut two long strips, then painted the edges of them whilst on the work surface. I then stuck them on with edible glue, then painted the top. This meant I got the least amount of black possible on my fingers… once you start getting colours everywhere it somehow SPREADS!

I decided to paint on the black rather than mixing it into the fondant because I wanted it to be a powerful black rather than grey. At this point the base fondant was sweating a LOT, even though it wasn’t that hot in my kitchen. I was still unsure as to whether or not I should stick it in the fridge because of things I had read, but in the end after I had finished the whole thing I did pop it in the fridge (mainly because the logo I painted on his pocket started running!), and it firmed it up brilliantly. Lesson learned: put cake in fridge or your lovely logo will be ruined! Darn!

The Hair was fondant moulded into shapes with cocktail sticks stuck into them. Again I painted it black… held onto the cocktail stick and painted the bottom, then stuck them in and painted the tops. The buttons on his dungarees as just painted on as well.

His arms are just a sausage that I stuck into the gloves with cocktails sticks. The sticks kept them sturdy enough that I could just plop them next to the cake and lightly push it onto the side of the minion.

Lastly I added the little rivets to the side of his goggles, and the blower.

So there we have it! Peej’s minion cake! Things I learned through making this cake:

- Vodka is amazing. It works great for painting (Don’t use water! It will melt the sugar and ruin the look of your fondant), and also if you happen to smudge a little colour on the main part of your fondant, just stick a bit on a clean paint brush and wipe it off like you’re using a rubber.

- Put the cake in the fridge!

- I am a little too pernickety. It took me around 5 or 6 hours!

Also in the minion theme were his invitations:

And some cups!

And I have to say, the best part was the fact that he actually recognised what they were all meant to be and got excited. Yay! That is totally a result in my book!

Purim costume

So this year we are going to be having our first dressed up Purim celebration. (If you are unsure what Purim is, check out this lovely wiki definition!) Last year I made Hamantaschen and… that was about it. This year, we are having some family round, and dressing up, AND eating Hamantaschen.

We’re going pretty simple on costumes, BUT, I have made Peej’s. Basically, he is going as a cookie… a Hamantaschen! In keeping, you know. I got pretty lazy with it, as my craft desk is still BLAH, and I couldn’t be bothered to clear it to put my sewing machine on it… so we went all fabric-glue on that cookie!

I used fleece (No hemming required, thank you very much) and some of that black sequin fabric to look like the poppy seed filling. I was pretty pleased with that idea! Unfortunately my local shop had cream fleece rather than biscuit. Boo. Anyhow, here is how I did it:

1. I found something round and about the right size to trace my first circle. This is a bit vague, I know, and in hindsight I think I should have actually made it smaller, even though it wouldn’t have looked so good. More on that later.

2. Cut second circle out around first. This is infinitely easier than doing it around a raised object, so was neater, and was the one I used for the front piece. (please note legs of ‘helper’ and a dryer ball he kindly placed on my fabric. Ta.)

3. Fold the three edges of the circle in and determine how much sequin fabric you will need. Cut it! Baby helper optional. As you can see, I did the folds loosely, and cut the sequin fabric with some to spare. In hindsight, it would probably be better to cut this round.

4. Move on to a surface where the baby cannot reach! This is where you get crazy with fabric glue. First glue the sequin fabric to the circle. Now if you simple do the three folds on the circle, you will only end up with a tiny bit of ‘filling’ on display. So you want to sort of pinch the ends together so they stand up. (Hoping the picture says this better than my words!) Leave to set.

5. As I mentioned earlier, all I could get was cream fabric. So I added a little ‘browning’ with some brown eyeshadow to make the cookie a little less pale!

6. turn the second circle into a triangle. I measured it roughly against the first, then glued. Also, I didn;t worry too much with pinching the ends up, because the folded bits won’t be seen.

Now, I tried several ways to attach this to my child. I came to a conclusion… Clothes are just about tolerated, but random bits of fleece? No way mother! Simply pinning it with safety pins above his shoulders (first thought) resulted it great clutching at chest and destroying of cookie. So in the end I safety pinned it to an actual top of his. There is still a lot of clutching, but more chance of it staying on for at least five seconds.

Things I would do differently: I would make it a little smaller, in the hopes that the boy MIGHT not notice it?! Also, the fabric glue was a little hard to work with. This may or may not have been due to it being bought from the 99p store. But perhaps that iron on webbing stuff would have been easier? And less smelly. Goodness.

Boy as cookie:

Can you see just how impressed he is with the whole thing?

I will be pinning the top two corners of the Hamantaschen together to make it look a little neater. I will also be re-gluing most of it, as boy obviously doesn’t know his own strength.

Hm.

Just the food and decor to go now…

Hey everyone!

Please pop along and check out my new Folksy shop! I would appreciate it if you would favourite it, and any items you may like.

Don’t forget, if you order locally, you can pick up and not pay any postage! Bargain!

Recent Homemade gifts

So perhaps it’s a little late to be talking Christmas gifts? But then again, I couldn’t very well do the post BEFORE Christmas could I? Then everyone would have seen their gifts… and that woulda been a gift fail.

As it is, none of the gifts are particularly Christmas specific, so I hope you find something to inspire you for the year of birthdays ahead!

We had to travel to South Africa this year (‘had to’ ha! What a hardship eh?) so I needed my gifts to be both small and lightish. Surprisingly not easy when it comes to homemade gifts! Below are what I managed to come up with.

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This teacup was for my Aunt. I scour second hand shops for lovely little vintage tea cups, then simply melt down £ shop candles and pour them in! I reused the wick from the candle, and added in a little essential oil to make it smell special. If you do try this, don’t forget to use a double burner, and also to leave a little wax over after your first pour… when the wax sets it will sink a little, and you might need to top it up one or two times to get a flat surface. But overall, a very therapeutic and easy craft!

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My Uncle’s gift… The cuff for the mug I actually made out of an upcycled top. It was the elastic at the bottom. I then stitched a little teabag on it. Paul asked what the ‘T’ stood for. I said: ‘tea.’ Oh.

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I also made this ‘Spicy Meat Rub’ for my Uncle, which actually turned out well! I adapted this recipe for BBQ rub (I didn’t have all the spices it called for, so subbed a lot of them out!). We had it on pork chops whilst we were out there

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One of my cousins had found out they were mildy lactose intolerant just before we went out there. So I made her this instant hot chocolate mix using coconut milk. (I wish I could give you a recipe, but it was very much ‘bit ‘o’ this bit ‘o’ that’) I presented it in a tin covered with pretty scrapbook paper, and included these little lacto-free milk pods I found. I thought they were sweet!

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For my other cousin I made these little wine charms. I found the charms themselves on ebay and was very pleased with them! Simply slide them and your beads of choice onto what are essentially earring hoops and voila!

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Lastly, were these bath products for all three women. Chocolate truffle melting bath fizzers (which my husband wanted to eat!) and peppermint bath salts.

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A simple recipe for bath salts can be found here. The fizzing bath melts are a little harder to source, but I basically ended up mixing up the dry ingredients for an average bath bomb, then instead of spraying water in, you melt oils and butters (I used a mixture of shea butter, coconut oil and almond oil) together, wait for them to cool a little then simply mix them in. As with normal bath bombs, you want the mixture to be wet enough to mould easily (I used ice cube moulds) but not so wet that it starts fizzing! If it holds together after you squeeze it with your hand, that is about right.

Well, my child is using me as a climbing frame, which I take as a hint to get off the internet! Happy crafting, see you all soon!

Ceri

Recent Craft Stand

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First craft stall for AGES last week… I spent the week making a few more bits, so that I had an adequate spread. (My housework suffered. Let’s not even go there…)

I also showcased my baby headbands! I am pretty pleased with how they came out, although the concept was entirely alien to the people that came… I think I need to find a ‘young mother’ target group!

What do you all think? Should I try shifting them on Folksy or Etsy?! Hmmm…

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British Washing Powder!

Hi. My name is Ceri… and I am a Pinterest addict. Sigh.

K, so most of you knew that already. But seriously! Pinterest is insane! It is a smorgasbord (good word) of amazing ideas!

One that I tried a little while ago was the whole home-made laundry soap idea. Apparently loads of people do it. Well, loads of people in America anyway. They made it look so easy! I guess over there you just bounce down to Walmart or Target, or wherever it is you can shop for EVERYTHING and just pick up a few boxes of stuff, and wham-bam done!

I tried that… my first hitch was the fact that borax (no 1 ingredient in most of the recipes) is actually illegal in Europe. Um, useful. But it’s ok! I found out that DP do this Borax Substitute thing! So I ordered some off Amazon, for £3.01. I guess the penny covers postage. Whatever.

I found it a couple of weeks later in another shop for £1. Sigh. Anyhow! Here is how to make it… followed by where to find the stuff…

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Ingredients:

500g Borax (Substitute!)

500g Bicarbonate of Soda (‘Baking Soda’ in America)

500g Soda Crystals

1 Bar of Castile Soap

Essential oils in Fragrances of choice (optional)

Method:

Grate soap. Combine All! Done.

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(Add 2 Tbsp per wash, or 1 per small wash)

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Pretty easy huh?! You can find recipes out there to make liquid ones… but that totally involves melting and stirring and pouring and stuff. Way too much effort.

For anyone interested, ingredients can be obtained:

Castile Soap - 99p Shop for a pack of 4 or 5 (can’t remember!)

Soda Crystals - 99p Shop/Wilkinsons/QD/Pretty much most budget toiletry shops. I wouldn’t pay more than 99p for it, and you can get it in Wilkinson currently for 89p

Bicarb - harder to find. QD is cheapest at £1, Savers also has it for slightly more.

Borax Sub - Currently in QD also around £1! Also noticed Robert Dyas has it for around £1.50 I think.

So basically cost of one batch: £3 at most! And it lasts for AGES! I don’t know how long. I didn’t take note last time… but way longer than anything store bought. Cheap! Smells good! Kind on skin! Win!

Birthday Cake!

So you may or may not know that it was recently my GORGEOUS little boy’s FIRST BIRTHDAY!

I was pretty darn excited about this.

One thing I was especially excited about, and to be honest, have been excited at the prospect of for years, was making his birthday cake. Kids’ birthday cakes are so much fun! Of course, for the first few years they will be more for my benefit than his, but have to get started early, right?

Thing is, I wanted a cake that is one year old friendly. I didn’t really want LOADS of fat and sugar. Fondant is the usual go-to for kid’s cakes, but to be honest… it’s yucky. Who wants to eat that stuff?! (If I have to use fondant, I love to use a homemade marshmallow fondant… it’s much nicer!) Butter icing or something like, is the next most popular… and much nicer to eat, but as Pie still hasn’t had much sugar in his diet, I was a little unwilling to go the whole hog with sugary cake AND icing, and then not sleep that night because of it.

So! I lay at night as I drifted off to sleep and contemplated Pie’s cake. Because that is what you do in-between night feeds. Obviously.

Eventually it hit me one night! Why ice it? Duh. So I didn’t. Here, in fact is the cake, and then I will explain:

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I made two sponges… a 3-egg vanilla sponge that I flavoured orange, and a 4-egg chocolate sponge that I cut it half. I layered these with whipped coconut cream (which, if I had whipped then re-fridged [is that a word?], I could probably have even iced the cake with) and some baby mango puree.

For the decoration on top, I crushed digestive biscuits as the sand for the pathway, and simply pressed firmly onto the cake. I did the same with the coconut which I had coloured green. Side note: the coconut tasted VILE because of the amount of colouring I had to put in to achieve a good green colour. Blech.

The one was made out of Silver Spoon orange candy buttons, and I modelled the Tigger out of marzipan. Nom. Word of warning: when modelling with marzipan you WILL be tempted to pinch bits! His stripes were done with an icing pen. I also had to glue an ear and both his arms on with royal icing. Despite the use of kebab sticks, those darn limbs just kept falling off!

(The candle was a happy coincidence when Paul went to Co-Op to get some… love it!)

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Cut cake… stripey!

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Side view… More stripey!

I was actually very pleased with how it turned out! And Pie seemed pretty pleased with the taste! Success.

Pumpkin Pie in the UK?

So when my little boy was just a little bump, I kept up with what size he was by looking up what fruit/vegetable he was comparable to. Just before being born, the graph pretty much becomes… pumpkin. If you have a big baby? Big pumpkin.

Add to that the fact that I always call him ‘Pie’ and there was pretty much one thing he needed at his first birthday party. Pumpkin Pie.

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Yum.

However, for some reason, there aren’t any pumpkins available at the moment. Butternut squash, though, is available all year round. Bingo!

Having consulted some real America friends of mine, I decided it was worth a shot. They equipped me with the following recipe, which I have written out below, including the adjustments I made, and how to make your own pumpkin puree.

Pumpkin Puree

Use one large-ish Butternut (or pumpkin). (When choosing a butternut go for one with a thick neck, rather than bulb, otherwise what you are getting could be mainly seeds.)

Cut in half lengthways and de-seed.

Pop cut side down on a baking tray and cook at around 180/190c until tender.

Scoop flesh out and pop in a blender (or equivalent), blend until smooth!

Pumpkin Pie

3/4 Cup granulated sugar (I used slightly less)

1/2 Tsp Salt

1 Tsp Ground Cinnamon

1/2 Tsp Ground Ginger

1/4 Tsp Ground Cloves (I used nutmeg) (I also DOUBLED all the spices)

2 Large Eggs

1 Can Libby’s Pure Pumpkin (15oz Homemade butternut puree)

1 Can evaporated milk (I just used a regular tin and it seemed to work!)

1 9 Inch unbaked pie shell

Mix sugar, salt and spices together. Beat eggs in large bowl, then add spice mixture and pumpkin. Gradually stir in evaporated milk.

Pour into pie shell.

Bake at 220c for 15 minutes, then turn down to 180c and bake for further 40 or 50 minutes. I have to cover mine toward the end so that the pastry didn’t brown too much (use foil for this).

The pie WILL look wobbly when you take it out at first! I tested by inserting a knife near the center, which came out clean, but then of course you have a knife hole! (I covered this with the cream below). Don’t over bake, or the filling will start to split.

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For the coconut cream, see This Recipe Although I left out the cocoa powder. I will try it with next time! It is extremely good!

And the pie turned out GREAT! It is the third (I think) recipe I have used, and is so far the best. Enjoy!

Storage Solutions

So as most of you know, Paul and I moved recently. Ok, not so recently. Four months ago. Sigh. And still I battle on to get the house sorted and organised!

I blame looking after a baby, and lack of sleep! Well, not ‘blame.’ More ‘use as an excuse.’

Either way, I am still trying to make our lives fit into this house. Which is surprisingly hard, considering how much bigger this flat is than our last flat! What doesn’t help is that all of the walls are made of concrete and almost impossible to drill into. Seriously? Who designed this place?

And so, with shelves and the like being rather awkward to get up (although we are thinking of giving the ‘no more nails’ route a shot), we have resorted to clever and innovative storage solutions. Today I present to you: The Jewellery Solution.

So you know all the desk tidy things you get in that mesh material? I have long looked at that and thought… ha. Great for earrings! So a while ago I just went ahead and did it. I bought this little draw set and stuck my earrings in! The ones that poke out loads I put in the front, and the ones with fishhooks I stuck int he side (the draws *just* run along without snagging). I think this would work even better with something without draws, but a) at the time I hadn’t thought that through and b) now I have somewhere for my necklaces too.

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The next idea I nicked off Pinterest. Uh oh. Did I just reference Pinterest in two consecutive posts? Don’t worry. My husband has to put up with this all the time. Except that I don’t write to him in posts. Moving on… Beer-bottle-braclet holder. Yes.

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And last but not least, pretty basket for bedroom toiletries:

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I am currently working on my craft area storage… and am pretty excited about it! However, it currently looks like an explosion destroyed that part of the room, so I shall leave those pictures for a later date.

G’night all!

Strawberry Butter and Scone on the Beach

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I can’t believe it took me so long to figure out how to put a picture into a normal text post. No, really. There is a really obvious ‘upload photo’ thingy just there *points*

Ah well.

A couple of days ago Paul’s Mum showed up with a bunch of strawberries from Paul’s Aunt (I know, that is convoluted) (Hi Carol!)… they were in a plastic container, and it was a warm day, and the smell when we took the lid off was AH-mazing. Like strawberries are supposed to smell!

They also tasted amazing, but I knew we wouldn’t end up eating them quick enough, so I decided to try out this recipe I found on Pinterest a few days ago.

Ah Pinterest…

Sorry, lost myself. Where was I?

Strawberry butter. It tastes GREAT! So in order to eat it to best I decided to make some scone. Now I have a confession - I have never liked scones. *shock* Even with jam and clotted cream. Terrible hey? Then one day Paul’s Mum made scone. This is how you do it;

Take a regular scone recipe. Mix it up like a regular scone recipe. Then instead of doing the whole patting and cutting thing… just dump it right on out onto the tray and throw it in the oven. No, really! You get this big yummy mound of sconeness, slightly crispy on top, a bit gooey inside, and of course you eat it warm. With strawberry butter.

Which brings me back to yesterday… Strawberry Butter and Scone on the beach. Lovely.