I know, I know; I’ve done one of these posts about cookie cutters already; it would seem I’m always lusting after them. But, oh, Williams-Sonoma, yours are too wonderful not to bring to people’s attention.
The Star Wars Heroes & Villains set I have already. They are AWESOME, if a little pesky to ice. But I just discovered yet more excitement.
Star Wars Vehicles!
SPIDER MAN COMIC BOOK!!
In two months time team Craft Fantastic will be heading to Florida, where there is an actual Williams-Sonoma shop, and we CANNOT WAIT.
This is something I found in my grandma’s recipe notebook and thought it sounded interesting. The notebook is a little scrappy one, with no cover (shock horror! If Grandma Wheeler were still alive, she would have recieved a fancy new notebook for Christmas) and the contents are often equally scrappy, meaning there’s often a small amount of guess work. Here’s the recipe as it stood, word for word:
Beat 4oz marg and 5oz caster sugar together. Add 2 eggs and beat until smooth.
Sift 4oz S.R. flour and 4 oz cornflour tog. and add to ingredients with 1 tbsp milk.
Divide mixture into sections and to each add a diff. food colour, or cocoa to one mix.
Grease a 7″ baking tin and drop a little of each coloured mixture into the tin, till all mixture used up.
Bake at mark 4 for 3/4 to 1 hour.
Now, this seems quite straightforward, but if you are going to attempt this, here are some handy tips…
DOs: Use butter instead of marg if you wish, it’ll be fine. Really make sure the flour is mixed in well; there’s a lot of it! Thus, when it says ‘drop a little of each mixture’ what it should really say is ‘thwack it off the spoon’. Seriously, with all that flour it’s never going to be dropping consistancy. I made a MESS doing this.
DON’Ts: Be careful what kind of tin you use. I used a round one, which was fine, but it meant that the mixture went in lumps side by side; I think it would be much easier to use a loaf style tin, and try to layer the mixture. If you do dollop, (which does provide a nice effect still) when you’ve dolloped the mixture into your tin, don’t just leave it; I was in a rush and made the mistake of leaving mine in dollops, and ended up with a… textured surface… I think perhaps trying to level it would have been a good idea.
However, once it was cut up it did look rather pleasing.
Due to the cornflour, the taste and texture was a bit different to regular sponge cake; however, not at all stodgy or heavy, which was my worry. It was in fact rather tasty.
I made 40 cake pops, they lasted just 11 hours when shared with work colleagues and friends. Apparently once you eat one, you just can’t stop. Here is how it all happened.
It all starts with the very normal baking a cake…
Make a basic chocolate cake recipe. I made mine by mixing 250g salted butter (at room temperature) with 250g caster sugar. Slowly add 4 medium eggs, continuing to beat the mixture. Sift over 250g self-raising flour and 4 tablespoons of cocoa powder. Mix everything until combined. Pour into 2 x 8 inch cake tins, bake in a preheated oven at 160ºC for 25 mins. Test it with a skewer, it cooked the skewer comes out clean. Leave the cake to cool.
Now things start to get a bit crazy, it’s time to destroy the cake, yes, really…
I know it seems so terribly wrong, but it has to be done. Put the cake into a food processor and process until you get a crumb consistency. I do not have a food processor, so I had to go with the slower method of breaking the cake until a big bowl, and then using a fork to break it up into a crumb-like consistency. Yes, this takes quite a bit more time, but if you do it whilst sitting in front of the TV watching ‘The Big Bang Theory’ then the time passes by quickly.
In a seperate bowl mix together 140g full-fat cream cheese and 280g sifted icing sugar until smooth. Add this to your cake crumbs. Stick your hands in and combine together. You should be left with a moist mixture.
Time to make some balls…
Weigh out 30grams of the mix and roll into a ball, push in a lollipop stick, and place on a tray. Do this about 39 more times and you should have used up all your mix. Put the tray into the fridge for a few hours (if short on time you can put them in the freezer for about 10 minutes).
Now for the fun part, it is time to decorate…
Melt some chocolate or candy melts, I used Cadbury milk chocolate as it is my favourite. Dip the naked cake pop into the chocolate, ensure it is fully coated, tap the excess chocolate off. Decorate with sprinkles, glitter, sugar stars/hearts etc, whatever you fancy. Place into a stand to dry. You can buy proper cake pop stands online, but they can be a bit pricey. I used oasis (the stuff that is used for flower arranging) and found it was a very useful substitute.
And the result is…
A very pretty, cute and tasty treat, something that is almost like a chocolate truffle. Seriously, they were eaten so quickly by my work colleagues and friends that I did not even have time to eat one myself, I found myself making another batch a few days later, and I got to eat my first cake pop, and it was delicious, worth the time and effort for a special occasion/treat.
After having knitted a pair of boot cuffs as a Christmas present, it was requested that I also knit a pair of arm warmers, to match. I didn’t actually have much of the same wool left, so I knitted little glove things instead.
Here’s the pattern I use:
Cast on 40 stitches
Knit one row
Then start ribbing pattern; knit 3, purl 1
Do the opposite on the next row, i.e. knit 1, purl 3.
Keep this up until it’s the desired length, then cast off.
Then all you have to do is sew them up. I sewed about half and inch up from the top, left room for the thumb, then carried on sewing to the bottom. The buttons I added to match in with the boot cuffs:
You know sometimes you have what you think is a brilliant idea, so you look on t’internet for a bit of inspiration and find that it’s already out there?
What started it all off was something my mum was telling me about; she’d seen somewhere about making little bowls out of lace doilies (you can find a good tutorial here.) The idea is, basically, that you use an existing glass dish, cover in clingfilm, place your doily on and smother in PVA glue; so when it dries, you’ll have a cute little solid lacey bowl.
Now, I’ve been looking to do some Steampunk-inspired stuff, and have amassed a collection of various bits and pieces of old broken jewellery and watches etc. The only problem is, I’ve been at a loss where to start; I feel I need a single, solid piece to work from, as a base.
As is the way of brainwaves, I don’t know where this came from, but I had a thought: what if I took the whole lace & PVA idea, and made little solid lace shapes as a basis for my Steampunk experiments? Surely lace and cogs go? Of course they do! Check out these marvellous creations from those talented people selling on etsy: