Thursday, 17 February 2011

Lamp Shade Makeover

I have this old lamp but hate the shade so decided to try and update it.

I removed the old shade and was left with this.

I then got some plain thick paper and some designer wallpaper of skyscrapers. I wrapped the plain paper around the lamp first and cut it out bit by bit to get the right shape, and then I used it as a template to cut out the wallpaper.

I put the plain paper on the lamp first and then the wallpaper over the top, to make it a bit thicker, and simply used cellotape to secure it.

I think it looks so much better and the wallpaper matches the room well. It was free too because the wallpaper was a sample.

Sunday, 13 February 2011

Valentines Cupcakes

The majority of my Sunday afternoon was spent making cupcakes with a friend. Well actually, the vast majority of it was spent making sure said friend hadn't got icing in her hair or let chocolate melt on the underfloor heated kitchen tiles (and failing on both accounts).

We used a simple fairy cake recipe for most of them, and then made an extra batch of chocolate ones with a gooey chocolate centre.

We decorated them with various icings and plenty of colourful toppings such as sugar balls, hearts, glitter, chocolate curls, cherries, jelly babies, hundreds and thousands and strands.

My favourites have to be the ones with a cherry sat on top.

While my friend utilised sweethearts to make them more valentines-ish.

I'm going to have to wait a while before I try one because we got too full eating cherries and licking spoons as we went along.

Sunday, 6 February 2011

Bird seed buns

I bought some bird seed the other day but didn't have a suitable bird seed feeder for it so I decided to make something with the seed that I could hang straight off the tree.
Mixed with the birdseed was a tablespoon of flour and two tablespoons of water.

The mixture was then put into silicone bun cases. Other peoples blogs have made something similar lately, and they instruct you to put a straw in the mixture to create a hole for string to thread through.

Well, after 15 minutes in the oven the straws melted: no-one had warned me of this happening! So I removed the straws and baked for another 15 minutes.

Once they had cooled I was able to thread ribbon or string through them and hang them outside.

I just hope the birds manage to get to them before our chickens do!

Culinary masterpiece and disasterpiece

I really got into Jamie Oliver's 30 minute meals a few months ago so I tried out his idea for a refreshing pomegranate drink, involving pomegranate, ice cubes, mint, lemon and sparkling water. It looked really nice but you couldn't taste the pomegranate, so I spruced it up with a dash of elderflower cordial.The masterpiece was this chocolate delight I made using various nuts, biscuits and marshmallows that set in the fridge. I like to think its similar to the Hotel Chocolat slabs you can buy.
Finally, the disasterpiece below is a piece of puff pastry topped with tomato puree, tomato, pepperoni and cheese. Even though I pricked the pastry in the middle in order to prevent it from rising it still decided to create a massive pocket of air that rose up and caused all the topping to slide to the edges, leaving one lonely piece of pepperoni in the centre. When it cooled the air bubble disappeared and I had to shuffle the topping around to make it more even, but it tasted amazing. I'm definitely going to make more of these and experiment with different toppings, and hopefully sort out the air bubble problemo.

Saturday, 5 February 2011

Teacup Candles Tutorial

Two of my favourite things in the world are teacups and candles. So when I saw a teacup candle in a Laura Ashley store I had to have one, but without the £18 pricetag. So I found a teacup and saucer set for 40p at a carboot, and one for £1.50 at a local second hand shop, and then headed to ebay where there were teacup candle kits for under a fiver with everything you need in them (wax, wick, wich holder, dye chips).

To start with you need to measure how much wax you need by weighing the teacup and then filling the teacup with water and weighing it again. Then you subtract the weight of the teacup from the weight of it with water in, and that is how much wax you need.
Melt the wax in a double boiler- where you have a bowl over a pan of hot water (or according to your wax's instructions). Now this took ages for me, seriously AGES, and I was constantly scared that it was going to explode, but eventually it all melted. I then added the pink dye chips.

Meanwhile I prepared the two teacups. The wicks have to be dipped into the wax and held in place.

The kit I bought only had one wick holder thingy so I used a peg and bit of card instead.

The wax then has to be carefully poured into the teacups. Some of the wax has to be kept to one side to be used later.

When the wax starts to cool you can see the texture of the surface changing. The colour eventually becomes much lighter too.
Now, once the wax has cooled for hours and hours you then have to top it up with the wax you set to one side because the wax dips down aroung the wick. However, I was too impatient and didn't wait long enough for it to cool completely so I ended up topping it up a few times.

Its as simple as that- two teacup candles made for under a fiver (and you should have enough wax left over to do quite a few more too).