Gifts I made for my husband on our first anniversary

DIY first wedding anniversary paper gifts

As you may well have already read on my earlier post, it was my first wedding anniversary on Sunday. I often make gifts for people on birthdays and at Christmas, and this special occasion seemed like a good excuse to get crafting too.

First of all I decided to make a little book for him, a sort of collecting book for anniversaries. I drew a little picture to represent the traditional gift given on all the key anniversaries, then bound them into a little map covered book (maps being a favourite of ours and a theme at our wedding). I was rather pleased with the result, and I look forward to Adam ‘collecting’ anniversaries for a long time to come!

DIY first wedding anniversary paper gifts

DIY first wedding anniversary paper gifts

DIY first wedding anniversary paper gifts

DIY first wedding anniversary paper gifts

We’ve been having a bit of a copper obsession lately (long before it became so trendy, I might add!) and I actually tried to find some copper julep cans for Adam’s Christmas gift. I couldn’t manage to find any that were quite right at the time though, but I persisted and found a great set of quite old ones that needed a spruce up. Several hours of boiling in sea salt and vinegar, and yet more hours scrubbing them with citrus fruits later, and they’re almost perfect! I’m looking forward to tasting cocktails in them soon!

DIY papercut, wedding anniversary book, Moomin card and copper julep cans

Last of all I decided to attempt a paper cut for Adam. Because the traditional first anniversary gift is paper (I opted to go mostly with the US list as it makes more sense than the UK one!) I thought this would be a nice thing to keep, and also to frame in our new home.

I first drew a design on grid paper in pencil (using a hot hair balloon and a Winnie the Pooh quote, both of which were inspirations for our wedding), then transferred it in reverse onto the back of my heavy paper using carbon paper. Then it was a case of carefully cutting out the negative space with a scalpel (I swear by the Swann Norton handle with AA blade)….I found it best to start in the middle and work outwards so that I wasn’t pulling on any of the supporting pieces excessively. I also (despite my preference!) decided it best to cut out the really tricky and small fiddly bits first, as the larger and simpler ones required less effort.

DIY paper cut quote from Winnie the Pooh

Once I’d finished cutting, I created my backing paper by painting another sheet of heavy paper using gouache, starting with a blue at the top and fading into a green at the bottom. Then it was just a case of framing the paper cut and backing together…and I’m ever so pleased with how it turned out! In fact, Adam loved it so much we got quite emotional (perhaps also because he had an idea of how many hours I’d spent on it!).

DIY paper cut quote from Winnie the Pooh

Perhaps best of all though was Adam’s gift to me….another project to work on together! Rather fittingly, he had found and had sent from the US for me a copy of  ‘Our Adventure Book’ from the Pixar film ‘Up!’. It was made by the people who first made the album for the production team on the movie, and has our little tagline ‘An Adventure Begins’ on the spine.

First wedding anniversary gift: paper 'Our Adventure Book' from Up!

It’s full of gorgeous paper pages for us to fill with photos, notes, sketches and other bits and bobs from our wedding…..I can’t wait to fill it up together and make a real project of it! This may have to wait until after we’ve moved though, as most of our wedding stuff is still boxed up in various places!

Ems x

 

Wednesday Wants: Donkey Week!

Happy International Donkey Week!

As if we needed an excuse to admire these wonderful creatures, this week has been established by The Donkey Sanctuary to help show us how important donkeys (and mules!) are, and how very special they are too! If you follow my Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest or Instagram accounts, you may have noticed a flurry of donkey-related activity lately, and that’s because I recently began to volunteer for the charity as a fundraiser. It’s such a wonderful charity to support….they operate all over the world, rescuing donkeys in need, educating communities who rely on donkeys for their livelihoods, giving donkey-assisted-therapy to children with additional needs, and providing outreach work in the community to care homes and hospices.

Last week I helped out at the fabulous new “For the Love of….” Donkey Sanctuary cafe and charity shop in Otley, and on Saturday it was officially opened! This week I’ll be baking some treats to sell there on Saturday, as part of the charity’s first ever mass participation event, “Bake it for Donkeys“!

Perhaps most challenging of all, I’ve volunteered to co-ordinate this year’s fundraising gala, “The Pumpkin Ball“, which will take place in Leeds this October. The event promises to be a wonderful night of fun, with a yummy three course dinner, live band, DJ, auctions, raffles and some other fun besides! Do let me know if you’re interested in coming, and I can let you know more about tickets!

Later this month (Friday 22nd May in Otley, to be precise!) I’m helping host a Pamper Party to launch ticket sales of the ball, so if you’re in the area, do let me know and I can reserve some tickets for you. There’ll be wine, treatments, pamper products and give aways, as well as special access to the new shop and some of the gorgeous ball gowns donated to the shop for you to buy and wear to the ball!

Anyways, back to my weekly list of wants….. I thought that in honour of Donkey Week, I’d pick out some of my favourites from the Donkey Sanctuary shop. You can also buy all these things online, and delivery is even free in the UK!

I love the brightly coloured ‘designer ears’ range of products at the shop…they’re so fun and vibrant! These cards are great to keep in to use for any occasion, and come in a set of six.

On Saturday a friend of the new shop’s manager baked 200 donkey biscuits for the opening….and they were delicious! Make your own at home with this super cute little biscuit cutter!

And to go with your biscuits, a cup of tea from this brilliant mug! I love the ‘antics’ range, which features lots of cheeky donkeys in cleverly drawn shenanigans.

Washing up isn’t such a chore with donkeys there to cheer the proceedings….I love these two and the enormous mountain of cups (it feels like that sometimes when it comes to washing up!).

The best thing by far in the shop though is the amazing collection of hand knitted donkeys for sale. Each one is made with love by a Donkey Sanctuary supporter, and is totally unique! There are donkeys with eye lashes, donkeys with glittery silver shoes, donkeys with big pink bonnets, and lots besides. If you’re a keen knitter and would like to help out by making a donkey, you can get hold of a pattern here.….there’s also a crochet pattern if that’s more your thing!

Ems x

 

(One year on) Our Wedding: Part One

We just celebrated our first wedding anniversary! As of Sunday, we’ve been married one whole year! We started celebrations on Friday with a gin tasting, then exchanged gifts, and had a few adventures over the rest of the bank holiday weekend….we’re celebrating for a few weeks still to come with some other things planned too!

I can’t believe it’s gone by so fast….it certainly doesn’t feel like a year ago that we were in Greenwich saying our vows (not least because it was warm enough to spend much of the day outside with bare arms and legs, and now it’s rather grey and chill outside!). It’s been the most fun year ever, and I’m loving being a Mrs.

This also means it’s almost a year since I blogged a few photos from the wedding and promised to share more later….so I thought I’d take the opportunity to finally do so! I always wanted to post some of what we did, as much as to remind us in future years as to share some of our ideas in the hope of encouraging others to be bold and not worry about bucking the trends and doing things differently. So, as we celebrate over the next few weeks (whilst we were actually married on the 3rd of May, we didn’t have our reception until the 24th, so technically we get two anniversaries!) I thought I’d write about some of the things we did. Apologies if wedding chat isn’t really your thing….I’m afraid I just can’t get enough of weddings myself and am always delighted to talk about them!

We opted to have a very small, personal ceremony in Greenwich on the first May bank holiday, with just our family present (and our photographer of course!). Neither Adam nor I much liked the idea of having lots of people watching us as we said our vows, and it felt really special to do so with a more intimate audience. Having the ceremony on a separate day to our reception was vital too, as we did so much for the latter ourselves and couldn’t have done so much if we had to worry about doing it all on the same day. We chose Greenwich because I’d lived around there for many years, and we would often go there when we first started seeing each other….we also have some of our most treasured memories from times there, and it is just a stunning place. Being at the home of time also fitted well with our theme of adventure, and it felt pretty special to tie the knot there.

My Mum drove us down from Hitchin on the Friday afternoon, and we checked into our hotel, Devenport House, before meeting up with my brother for a few drinks at the pub and a lovely Italian meal. Then it was an early night to get our beauty sleep! Adam and I bucked tradition and shared a room, which meant we saw each other on the morning of the wedding (it didn’t seem to bring us any bad luck!). I awoke early to begin primping and couldn’t believe our luck with the weather….it was blue skies as far as the eye could see!

We met my brother for a full English breakfast together (Mum was too busy doing her hair!) and then after getting our glad rags on, set off in a taxi together to the registry office in The Royal Borough of Greenwich Town Hall. Adam’s family met us there and we had some photos outside and in the lobby as we actually arrived before the bride to the wedding before ours! Then, after a few formalities Adam and I walked down the aisle together and said our vows (with a little giggling and just a little crying). The whole thing only took about twenty minutes, which gave us time to chat with everyone (it was the first time Adam and I met our niece, and the first time my brother had met Adam’s family) and then have some family photos around the Royal Naval College, the Queen’s House and Greenwich Park. The glorious weather, and our amazing photographer Sharon, (not to mention my wonderful new husband!) made all this just beautiful….a perfectly happy, relaxed and special day!

We had a great pub lunch together afterwards with our families, then wandered through sunny Greenwich with ice creams before Mum drove Adam and I back to Hitchin. She’d secretly decorated her car in cahoots with my Brother, with ribbons and a little sign, so we got lots of waves and beeps from cars we passed all the way home! In the evening, Adam’s Mum put on a yummy buffet for us all, then on Sunday we all went out for a delicious Sunday roast lunch.

It really was all we’d hoped for, and more….I’m so glad we did it this way!

And so….to the photos (all courtesy of Sharon Cooper)!…..

 

Our wedding: the rings, rose gold and rosewood (via Under a Glass Sky)

We couldn’t have agreed on matching rings if we’d tried, but we still co-ordinated….I’m crazy for rose gold, so went for a simple double court band, whilst Adam had a beautiful rosewood band made for him with a copper band running through it.

Our wedding: the rings inside one of our customised match boxes (via Under a Glass Sky)

We re-decorated lots of match boxes to have at the reception, and this one worked rather well to pop the rings in!

Our wedding: my hand made pink silk teardrop birdcage veil with vintage marcasite and pearl  Lily of the Valley brooch

I hand-made my own birdcage veil to match my dress (which I also made!), using offcuts of silk and a vintage marcasite and pearl brooch….Lily of the Valley are my favourite flower so I was delighted to find this to wear on my wedding day!

Our wedding: the Groom's hand made vintage map bow tie and rosewood ring

I made Adam’s bow tie from a wonderful vintage map print fabric we bought together in London to go with our adventure theme….

Our wedding: vintage map bow tie and button hole boutonniere

….and to match, I used old maps to make his button hole!

Hand made vintage map button holes / boutonnieres

In fact, everyone got a button hole…even our photographer and our baby niece!

Hand made DIY china flower brooch bouquet

I made my own bouquet using antique fine china floral brooches….I wanted to use it at both the ceremony and reception so it had to last, plus the brooches were a nod to my Potteries roots! It was great to collect them with my Mum’s help and slowly piece it together in the run up to the wedding….although LOTS of work!

Fine china floral hair decorations for the Bride

With the smaller brooches I made lots of little hair adornments to match my bouquet

Our wedding: the Bride's shoes by Christian Louboutin

Having made my own dress, I decided to indulge myself in a pair of Christian Louboutin shoes to go with it….and going with pink meant that I can wear them again!

Our wedding: Lulu Guinness 'Don't Forget Your Lipstick' handbag

I decided on a pink and red theme for my outfit, and used a large red vintage vanity case on the day as well as this little Lulu Guinness ‘Don’t Forget Your Lipstick’ handbag which I’ve had for ages….my Brother kindly carried the vanity for most of the day though!

Our wedding: the Bride in pink with a London Bus

My DIY veil in action, as well as the red and pink theme in full swing with a London bus!

Our wedding: Bride and Groom on the checkered floor of Greenwich Town Hall

I was just crazy about the black and white checkered floor in the Town Hall lobby

Our wedding: goofing around in the lobby at Greenwich Town Hall

Goofing around in the stunning lobby as we waited!

Our wedding: Greenwich Town Hall

He calls this the ‘hero’ pose!

Our wedding: Greenwich Town Hall

Adam’s eldest brother, our sister-in-law, and our (then!) baby niece!

Exchanging rings

Exchanging rings

Checking out the rings afterwards

Checking out the rings afterwards

Our wedding: Greenwich Town Hall

The lot of us!

Our wedding: Greenwich Town Hall

Me and him

Our wedding: Greenwich Town Hall

My wonderful Mummy passing on her good luck trinkets from her own wedding

Our wedding: Greenwich Town Hall

Confetti!

Love Lane, Royal Borough of Greenwich

Love Lane, Royal Borough of Greenwich

We love this spot...the building features in lots of costume dramas we've seen together, especially lots of Dickens adaptations!

We love this spot…the building features in lots of costume dramas we’ve seen together, especially lots of Dickens adaptations!

My wonderful Mummy had her outfit made for her, based on one Kim Novak wore in 1957 film Pal Joey with Frank Sinatra

My wonderful Mummy had her outfit made for her, based on one Kim Novak wore in 1957 film Pal Joey with Frank Sinatra….it went so beautifully with all the colours on the day

A little cheeky shot of my red petticoats....who said you can't wear pink with red?!

A little cheeky shot of my red petticoats….who said you can’t wear pink with red?! I swapped into flats for a while too….a gorgeous pair of pink glimmer jazz flats from French Sole.

In the beautiful dappled sunlight

In the beautiful dappled sunlight

I still can't believe how lucky with the weather we were....it was so warm!

I still can’t believe how lucky with the weather we were….it was so warm!

One of our favourite shots...sitting in an anchor outside The National Maritime Museum (surrounded by tourists!)

One of our favourite shots…sitting in an anchor outside The National Maritime Museum (surrounded by tourists!)

Can you believe that blue sky?!

Can you believe that blue sky?!

Which way?! This vintage map is from where we took our first ever holiday together.

Which way?! This vintage map is from where we took our first ever holiday together…..far from the Royal Observatory as shown in the background!

A kiss.....

A kiss…..

That’s all for now!

Ems x

Wednesday Wants: It’s National Stationery Week!

Did you know it’s National Stationery Week?! Now I don’t need any excuse to get excited about stationery, but this seemed like a good reason to feature what is certainly one of my favourite things on this week’s ‘Wants’ list. And what better way to indulge in some of my other favourite things….robots, neons, dinosaurs, mythical creatures…..stationery does it all!

It’s glossy, it’s blue, it’s covered in robots. Oh, and you can fill it with cool pens. What’s not to like?!

How adorable is this illustrated notebook by the talented Emma Randall? I love the blue unicorn, and that cheeky octopus!

I’ve been ever so slightly obsessed with neons for over a year now. Fluorescent stuff reminds me of my childhood, especially when that stuff is stationery. It puts me in mind of staking out Woolworths in the school holidays, plotting how best to spend my pocket money. So of course, I’m crazy about these super cute bear highlighters with their sweet expressions.

Just think of the things I could neon-ify with these babies…..

Fluoro meets Egyptology. Way cool. I’d stencil hieroglyphs onto everything with this. Probably with my neon pens.

And when I have to be a little more grown up, these lush Liberty prints will help soften the blow. I love adding pretty stickers to parcels when I send out my orders, and these would make packing even more satisfying.

Dinosaurs on parcels, on envelopes, on notebooks, on little notes, on the back of my hand, and probably all over the walls if I had my way….all possible with these bad boys.

And what could be more of a productivity boost than a bright yellow notebook telling you to ‘Make if Happen’? For lists, doodlings and planning great adventures….I’m pretty sure this notebook could help me make it happen. (Also, these Panama notebooks have proven to be super practical for me….they’re a great size for carrying around, and the supple cover holds its own even at the bottom of my junk filled handbags!)

Happy National Stationery Week everyone! Go forth and treat yourself to a fancy new pen or something!

Ems x

 

Wednesday Wants: More for the garden

Whilst I was looking for garden tools for last week’s Wednesday Wants post, I came across so many other lovely gardeny things that I just had to write another post about some of the things I’ve found! As I mentioned, we’ll soon be moving to a new home, and as we’re finally buying (yippee!) we can really make it our own and invest some real effort into the garden. There’ll be lots of planting and re-arranging I’m sure, but I’d also love some pretty furniture and other things to go out there….hence this list!…..

I just adore festoon lights, and I’d love to drape them all across the garden for evenings outside.

I can’t wait to get back into composting again….and this composter has to be the cutest out there. I’d love to have bees too, so I’d have to be careful not to confuse the two!

I am *always* losing track of time in the garden, so I very much need a big clock out there to remind me!

I love to watch the birds and plan to have lots of places for them to nest and feed. I love the copper roof on this feeder, which is nice and open so I can see what they’re doing, but they also feel safe out of sight of bigger birds above!

I’ve always wanted a cast iron garden furniture set and I think it will work perfectly in our new garden (and look stunning sitting on the Yorkstone terrace!). This set features a lovely long table, perfect for barbecues and garden parties, as well as a parasol for those of us who burn easily! The chairs come complete with super comfy pads, and are even stackable!

I’m just imagining sitting there, gin in hand, with the smell of the wisteria in the air…..I cant WAIT!

Ems x

Foodie Friday: Coconut Flour Chocolate Cake Recipe

One of the big benefits of our recent move has been our proximity to Costco. I know. What a loser. But I’m totally in love with the place. I love wandering around seeing what totally random things they’re selling (a hot tub, a wooden castle, multi packs of Sharpies, TVs bigger than a car….) and honing in on the bargains on offer. Their own-brand stuff is just wonderful….the Kirkland maple syrup is some of the best I’ve ever had, and their vodka is terrific!

They also have some really great organic and whole-food offerings now too, and we’re now getting all our pasta there as well as buying organic virgin coconut oil in bulk. Whilst wandering the aisles there recently we came across a bumper pack of organic coconut flour. Noticing that it’s gluten free and you can use it as a substitute for regular flour, we thought we’d give it a whirl.

Apparently, coconut flour is one of the healthiest available…. because it’s not grain-based like most flour, it is non-inflammatory like those which contain gluten, and is also very low in carbs. The fats are of the more healthy kind (as with coconut oil they are primarily medium-chain saturated fatty acids or ‘MCTs’) and have been shown to improve metabolism, being used up for energy, not stored in fatty tissue. It is also high in fibre, which helps fill you up!

Whilst looking up what we could do with our coconut flour, we found that a little goes a long way….you can’t use it as a straight substitute for regular flour for this reason, and it also requires more liquid. There are however lots of great recipes out there, especially for cakes and breads….and why not use it to make a more-healthy-than-usual treat?!

As we were off to a friend’s birthday party around the time we bought the flour, and especially as that friend is wheat intolerant, we decided to bake her a birthday chocolate cake! We scoped out some recipes, and actually baked the cake a second time to perfect this recipe. I’m pretty pleased with it now though, and as it’s made up of ingredients we tend to always have in, I know that it will be a bit of a staple when a baking session is in order!

The texture of the cake is very even….nicely moist but also solid enough to comfortably eat a slice without necessarily needing a plate and fork. Initially it wasn’t sweet enough for me, which is why I tweaked the recipe….now though it is wonderfully velvety and chocolatey, not too sickly but also very satisfying. Especially when you consider it’s so quick and easy to make, plus low in carbs and naughty sugars!

Coconut Flour Chocolate Cake Recipe by Under A Glass Sky

Ingredients:

30g good quality cocoa
35g coconut flour (ours is made by Nutiva)
7g baking powder (gluten free if you’re gluten intolerant)
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 pinch of salt
4  free range eggs
3 tablespoons organic honey
3 tablespoons grade A maple syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
60ml melted virgin coconut oil

For the icing:

approx. 5 tablespoons softened virgin coconut oil
approx. 3 tablespoons good quality cocoa powder
approx. 2 tablespoons organic honey
approx. 2 tablespoons grade A maple syrup

Coconut Flour Chocolate Cake Recipe by Under A Glass Sky

 How to make it:

  1. Preheat your oven to 180 c and grease and line a 15cm diameter baking tin
  2. Mix together the cocoa (which you may need to sift), coconut flour, baking powder, cinnamon and salt
  3. Fold in the eggs, honey, vanilla and oil
  4. Mix well until smooth….you will find it takes on an almost mousse-like texture
  5. Bake in the middle of the oven for 40 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean
  6. Remove from the oven and cool on a wire rack whilst you make the icing
  7. Combine the oil, cocoa, honey and maple syrup using a metal spoon
  8. Depending on the temperature (coconut oil has a very high melting temperature) you may find you want to add more oil or cocoa, and you can also add more honey or syrup to taste, depending on how sweet a tooth you have
  9. You can pop the icing in the fridge to cool it down if it’s too runny, or warm it up in the microwave for a few seconds if it’s too hard….then once you have it to a nice soft fudgey consistency, cut the cake in half horizontally and sandwich together the two parts with icing
  10. Then just use the rest of the icing to coat the assembled cake (it’s so quick and easy to make that you can always make a bit more if you run out), slice and enjoy!

Coconut Flour Chocolate Cake Recipe by Under A Glass Sky

I bet this cake would work wonderfully with some raspberries and creme fraiche or yoghurt, although we very much enjoyed it on its own. The icing is pretty handy to make a nice chocolate fudge sauce for ice cream or whatever too, as you can make it all runny and gooey by heating it up.

Next I plan to try a banana bread with the coconut flour….I’ll be sure to let you know how I get on!

Ems x

Wednesday Wants: tools for my new garden

Well I think most of us enjoyed a rather nice show of sun last week. And whilst it’s not quite as exquisite as it was, the rumours of a coming heatwave and the recent memory of blue skies and warmth have me thinking of being outdoors.

There’s the added factor that with our impending house move, I’m starting to think about our lovely new garden. I got really into my gardening when we had a rather large outdoor space to tend to in Hitchin, but knowing we wouldn’t be in this house for long I’ve not really invested any time in the garden here. I can’t wait to get my hands on my very own, ‘forever’ garden though, and that’s got me thinking (as I do) about shopping for exciting things to help me make it beautiful…..

OK, so I already have a little Haws watering can (in a pretty powder blue), but I think this copper one is rather special. It is said that you can improve the quality of water by bringing it into contact with copper, so this can is sure to help my plants along. Plus it’s really shiny and pretty. Just because it’s for the garden, it doesn’t mean I have to be *completely* practical!

And because I’m aiming for some pretty impressive boarders as well as smaller pots, I’m going to need something a little heftier to help me water in bulk. This nine litre galvanised can with copper trim has a top and a back handle, to help feeble little me pick it up and dispense the water more easily.

And keeping with the copper theme….The PKS bronze (aka copper and tin) tools are made to last a lifetime. The Castor trowel has a smooth beech handle and pointed, heart-shaped blade. The sharp edge and scoop shape make it a most practical trowel for general weeding and planting. And yes, again, isn’t it pretty?!

I’ve never really gone in for more specialised tools before, but I have to say that something to help me with those tricky bits of stray grass and weeds would be a God-send. The PKS Tabit weeding tool is specifically designed for lifting perennial weeds such as creeping buttercup and small clumps of grass without disturbing the surrounding plants. The pronged point gets underneath the roots, then using the rounded underside you can lever the interloper out!

Er, yeah, so I’m really into copper right now. Anyway, I love to label pretty much anything that stands still long enough. I’m the proud owner of not one, but four label makers, and so it only seems fitting that I get to label the garden too. These copper ‘Tee’ labels by Burgon and Ball are easy to engrave using a ball point pen, plus the copper helps to repel pests such as slugs. Bonus!

I’ve always bought cheap secateurs in the past, which is a total false economy as they don’t last long at all. There’s also the issue of my feeble little hands, which really struggle with pruning, but I’ve found that a pair of ratchet pruners could help me immensely. These ones by Darlac have a slim profile, perfect for my small hands, and the squeeze/release action reduces effort by up to a third. And they’re gold. Gold.

Not all pruning requires such hard-core toolage though, and for the more delicate plants, dead-heading and flower arranging, these mini snips look great. They work like embroidery snips and come in a handy pocket size, perfect for well, keeping in your pocket!

I bought a kneeler to use in our last garden, and used it precisely once.  The problem is that you have to move it around with you, and I’m so forgetful I just ended up leaving it behind each time I moved. Plus I usually have my hands full whilst gardening, so something that’s actually attached to me sounds like a much better idea! These leather knee pads are made in Shropshire from carefully selected British leather, and feature a soft lining to cushion your knees as you work. They are attached to an elasticated velcro band to make them easy to get on and off, as well as fit anyone (even me with my chubby knees), and are built to last a lifetime.

And on the subject of forgetfulness, if I got a penny for every time I lost my tools in the garden, I’d be able to afford to pay Monty Don to come and work for me full time. Enter this tool pouch, which you wear as a belt around the waist so you always have your most-used tools with you. I’d keep my nice bronze trowel in the main back pocket and my secatuers in that handy pointed pocket at the front.

 

Whilst shopping I also came across lots of wonderful non-tool things for the garden too….so perhaps I’ll share those next week!

 

Do you have a garden? Do you have any tips or recommendations?

 

Ems x

 

 

Tuesday Tutorial: Glitter Name Bunting

Glitter Name Bunting Tutorial by Under a Glass Sky

Yes, you’re right, my last tutorial was about glitter too. But then glitter is worthy of repetition.

A trend has been emerging with my recent crafting projects….glitter. And why the heck not? After all, glitter is the quintessential crafting supply, and everything is better with a good sprinkle of the stuff.

I bought a stash of glitter card ages ago, and did the usual thing of ‘saving it for something special’. And what could be more special than my niece’s first birthday?! Having decided I wanted to make something glittery for her, I thought about what a one year old could best make use of…..she’s mostly pointing at me and laughing right now though, and doesn’t seem to be in need of anything other than whatever food is out of her reach, so I opted for for something to decorate her bedroom. And because (I think it’s fair to say) I’m pretty bunting obsessed, that’s what my first thought ran to!

You don’t need any crazy equipment or mad skills for this DIY, but it does take some precision and patience. The result is pretty rewarding though I think!

Glitter Name Bunting Tutorial by Under a Glass Sky

What you will need:

  • Glitter card
  • Wooden pennants with pre-drilled holes (enough for each letter of the name)
  • Mod Podge or PVA glue
  • Ribbon (enough to go across the width of each pennant, plus about 30cm extra)
  • A plastic spatula
  • Craft knife or scalpel
  • Metal rule
  • A pencil
  • Small scissors

How to make it:

  • Place your first pennant on the back of a piece of glitter card and trace around it with a pencil as close as you can get
  • Cut the glitter card with scalpel and ruler or scissors if you prefer, and check it up against the pennant to see that it fits
  • Now give the pennant a good generous coat of glue….it’s better to have too much on there than too little
  • Carefully place the glitter card onto the pennant, squaring it up quickly before the glue dries to ensure all the edges are aligned
  • Press firmly down on the card so that any excess glue comes out at the sides
  • Use the spatula to remove this excess by sliding the flat edge along the side of the pennant….this will also help to nicely seal the edges
  • Repeat this for all your pennants and then set them aside to dry for a couple of hours
  • Whilst you wait, cut out your letters from the glitter card…..I used the pencil to draw onto the back of the card then cut around that, but remember to draw in reverse
  • Once the newly glittered pennants are dry, arrange them in the order you’d like them and offer up each letter to check that the colours contrast well enough to see them
  • Apply glue to the back of your first letter, again using plenty as you’ll need a good coat to get in between the bumpy glittery surface
  • Carefully place the letter on the pennant, check you’re happy with the positioning, and press down firmly
  • Again, use the spatula to remove any excess, although don’t worry too much as the glue will dry clear
  • Repeat for each pennant and allow to dry well, preferably over night
  • Now you just need to thread the pennants together by cutting through the glitter card to reveal the hole in the wood with the scalpel, and posting the ribbon through each hole of each pennant, then moving on to the next
  • Finally, tie a knot in each end to stop the pennants moving about, and you’re done!

If you find it tricky to get hold of some wooden pennants (I got mine from an online craft shop who sell lots of laser cut MDF shapes) you could always cut them yourself from foamex.

I also made a single pennant with a star shape on it for a friend’s birthday, and of course you could apply any pattern to your bunting, or even just leave it plain in all its glittery glory!

Happy glittering!

Ems x

 

Something from the weekend, and my “Not Cross Bun” recipe

Did you have a lovely Easter break? I certainly did! It was just wonderful to have a four day weekend, especially with the gorgeous weather.

We spent Good Friday baking…..a coconut flour chocolate cake which I’ll share with you later in the week, and also some yummy ‘Not Cross Buns’ (my version of Hot Cross Buns!). I was rather pleased with them and thought I’d share the recipe with you, as they’re too delicious just to have around Easter!

Not Cross Buns (Hot Cross Bun) recipe by Under a Glass Sky

Ingredients:

  • 250g strong white bread flour
  • 250g plain white flour (we used gluten free)
  • 125ml warm water
  • 125ml warm organic semi-skimmed milk
  • 5g powdered dried yeast
  • 10g salt
  • 50g golden caster sugar
  • 1 medium free-range egg
  • 50g organic butter
  • 75g sultanas
  • 50g mixed peel
  • 50g dried cranberries
  • 2 tbsp orange liqueur (or orange juice for a non-alcoholic version)
  • 2 tsp ground mixed spice
  • Syrup for glazing (we used the syrup from a jar of stem ginger, but golden, maple syrup or even honey are fine too)

To Make:

  1. The night before you want to bake, pop the fruit in a shallow bowl with the orange liqueur or juice and soak overnight
  2. Ideally in a food mixer, combine the flour, water, milk, yeast, salt and sugar in the bowl and fit the dough hook. Add the egg and butter and mix to a sticky dough. You can of course do this by hand, although it will be a bit more work!
  3. Add the dried fruit and spice, then knead on low speed until well mixed. Again, you can do this by hand, but flour your hands as the mixture will be sticky!
  4. Now cover the bowl with cling film and leave to rise in a warm place for about 1 hour.
  5. Next, ‘knock back’ the risen dough and divide into 8 equal pieces. Shape into rounds and dust with flour, placing on a floured baking tray before covering again with cling film and leave to prove for about half an hour. You can now pre-heat the oven to 200°C/Gas Mark 6 so it’s ready when your buns need to go in.
  6. Once ready, bake the buns in the pre-heated oven for 15 to 20 minutes, then remove and place on a wire rack to cool. You can brush them as they cool with the syrup to create a nice golden-glazed finish.
  7. Serve them warm if you like, or split and toast before smothering in butter!

Not Cross Buns (Hot Cross Bun) recipe by Under a Glass Sky

 

On Saturday we took the short trip into Harrogate with some dear friends. We first visited Baltzersen’s cafe which is on Oxford Street. It prides itself in its offering the best Yorkshire-sourced ingredients prepared with Scandinavian inspiration. The space itself is charmingly Scandic, with simple furnishings and quirky trimmings. I ordered the Lapskaus, a Norwegian lentil and root vegetable stew, which was super. Adam went for the soup of the day, and our friends chose from the sandwich menu, all of it looking yummy.

After that we explored the wonderful Royal Pump Room Museum which exhibits the history of the spa town, as well as some other interesting bits and pieces….there’s currently a small collection of small temporary exhibitions, including ‘The Clothes We Wore’, ‘Inside the Victorian Jewellery Box’, and ‘A Town At War’. It’s well worth a visit (only £4 entry for adults) although you can sadly no longer taste the healing waters that made the town what it is, due to health and safety precautions!

Finally we made the necessary pilgrimage to Betty’s Tea Rooms for coffee and cake. Well, in my case Champagne and cake! We took a lovely table in the Montpelier Bar (which I love as it reminds me of the cafes in Vienna, and you don’t have to queue so long as for the afternoon tea rooms!) and I decided to make the most of it by ordering a Moutard Rose (one of my all time favourite Champagnes) as well as the miniature patisserie selection. It was all delicious as usual and our friends enjoyed their first visit there too!

That evening we all ordered a take out back at our place and Adam made us a few cocktails whilst we watched a Liam Neeson action/thriller film I forget the name of!

Harrogate: Betty's, The Royal Pump Room, Baltzersen's, by Under a Glass Sky

On Sunday we had a leisurely breakfast with our house guests, then went for a lovely walk up on Baildon Moor, which overlooks the village we’re moving to in the next few months. It was such a glorious day and we became even more excited about the impending move….not least on Adam’s part because there are ice cream vans stationed at the car parks there!

Baildon Moor, by Under a Glass Sky

On Monday we drove up into North Yorkshire to meet more dear friends in the pretty village of Leyburn. We had a very nice pub lunch then went on a charming five mile walk to a nearby waterfall. We couldn’t believe the weather (I had taken my big insulated coat, which got left behind in the car!) and were all very eager to get a cup of tea and some cake back in the village at the end!

Leyburn, by Under a Glass Sky

On the way home we stopped off at Brymor, which is a wonderful dairy and ice cream cafe not far from Middleham. I opted for a sugar cone filled with raspberry and pineapple ice creams, which were just divine! Adam chose the elderflower and St Clements flavours which were delicious too. The perfect way to end a splendid weekend!

Ems x

 

Wednesday Wants… Easter eggs and other gift ideas

For weeks now I’ve been ogling the supermarket shelves as they’ve filled up with rows on rows of Easter treats. There’s no worse time of the year for chocolate temptation, in my opinion….as much as Christmas tends to bring with it more than its fair share of chocolatey goodness, there are so many other treats on offer that chocolate pales in comparison. We’ve already eaten our first Cream Eggs (keenly lamenting the loss of their traditional recipe), and scoffed more than one bag of Mini Eggs, which are clearly the work of the devil due to their temptation factor.

As usual though, I’m also massively drawn to pretty packaging, and I just adore the look of some of the more ‘luxury’ type of Easter treats. None more so than Booja Booja‘s Easter Collection which looks simply divine….

Featuring hand-painted, papier-maché Easter eggs made in Kashmir, each is hand-packed in Norfolk with delicious chocolate truffles in several flavours. If you’ve not tried Booja Booja chocolates before, I highly recommend that you do. And once you have, I bet you’ll find it hard to believe that they’re vegan, and free of gluten, dairy and soya.

The truffles are seriously luxurious, rich and dreamy and melt-in-the-mouth. You can choose from Hazelnut Crunch, Around Midnight Espresso, Banoffee Toffee, Almond and Sea Salt Caramel, or Fine de Champagne. Small eggs, which include three truffles are £9.99, whilst the large eggs, which contain twelve truffles, are £24.99. Plus of course you get to keep the beautiful egg once you’ve finished off the contents, and use it to hoard treasures and trinkets!

Booja Booja Hazelnut Crunch Easter Egg, Under A Glass Sky

Booja Booja ‘Hazelnut Crunch’ Easter Egg

Booja Booja 'Around Midnight Espresso' Easter Egg, Under A Glass Sky

Booja Booja ‘Around Midnight Espresso’ Easter Egg

Booja Booja 'Banoffee Toffee ' Easter Egg, Under A Glass Sky

Booja Booja ‘Banoffee Toffee ‘ Easter Egg

If you’re trying to kerb your chocolate consumption though, perhaps try this yummy sounding lip balm from Sweet Cecily’s. The entire range is hand-made and natural, paraben and SLS free, and never tested on animals. This one even looks like a chocolate bar….but with the advantage that it won’t go straight to your hips!

If you really must ditch the chocolate entirely though, I think these adorable egg cups by Quail Ceramics are a perfect Easter treat. I’ve long since lusted after their adorable animal inspired treasures, and these three are just so perfect for a Spring breakfast spread.

And because it’s not *all* about food (well, almost), I think this super cute trinket dish would make an adorable Easter gift. Just look at that podgy little bunny, waiting to tidy up your treasures! He’d be a lovely addition to a dressing table, or would be perfect to pop next to the sink for when you need to take your rings off!

I hope you have a lovely Easter filled with whatever treats tickle your fancy!

Ems x