Ah, The Works. How you tempt me with your cheap products. Many an hour have I spent standing gazing at your overstuffed shelves, pondering whether to purchase 6 packs of card for £5 and if I really need more pretty paper just because it’s very cheap.
After the success and delight I got from making the paper beads recently, I decided a £1.99 circle cutter from The Works might be a good investment. It looks very much like this:
In theory, this compass design is good idea. It does work and with a bit of practise cutting perfect circles is easy. The only problem I have is that you’re left with a teeny hole in the centre. Why not use the handy ‘paper saver’ it comes with? I hear you ask. Well, I would, says I, but it doesn’t stay put. Unless you put lots of pressure on it… and then not only does it make it harder to turn in a clean circle, it leaves little grooves in the paper. Instead of a little hole.
I am still debating whether it’s not just easier to cut circles out by hand with good old reliable scissors.
With just 4 weeks to go before the trip to Florida, I thought it may be a good idea to do a little window shopping before we head to Michaels. Otherwise we might be there all day. We probably still will be there all day.
Check out these thingumys for jewellery making fun. I think this is kind of like their Steampunk. I’m going to smoosh everything together and invent Steampunk Chic.
There’s also a huuuuge cakey bakey section, with all sorts of stuff that I’m pretty sure I will need. Turn store bought cookies into candy-coated treats? Yes please!
A Topping Tornado? Are you sure that’s safe for kids? I’d better get one and test it out.I have barely touched on the awesomeness that awaits us all. I. Cannot. Wait.
I’m not talking about those rolled paper beads that everyone does, because everyone does those. Not that there’s anything wrong with them; they are simple, fun and effective, thus the basis of their appeal.
It all started with the paper bead things in my Kirstie Book; they’re made by cutting lots of circles of the same size, folding them in half and sticking them together.
I have made these two already and have lots of ideas for projects:
The arrival of a new nephew last October prompted me to attempt some proper bunting. Just over 3 months later and it’s done! I got the Kirstie’s Homemade book for Christmas, which helped a lot- I mainly followed those instructions.
Sewing machine/the patience to sew by hand
Cord or something to thread your flags on
The first thing you’ll need, of course, is material. A few years ago I bought what I thought at the time to be a lovely pair of blue and white striped trousers (£5, Mango, bargain). They went into my wardrobe and there they stayed until about two weeks ago, when I began cutting triangles from them. The bunting in the book was made from vintage fabric, with plain fabric for the backing. As I had plenty of the material I was using, I used that for everything, opting for horizontal striped one side and vertical on the other.
Now, you’re supposed to spray starch your fabric and iron beforecutting the triangles out, but I got carried away and ended up ironing each triangle separately afterwards. It was fine though!
You want the triangles to be even and matching in size; other than that, I really think it depends what you want the bunting for and ultimately how big you want it! Cut yourself a template from cardboard. Mine was roughly 18cm x 12cm. Then use it to cut triangles from your material; again, it really depends how much bunting you want. You can figure it out by the length of triangle tops and how much space you think you’ll be leaving in between.
Next job is putting a front with a back and sewing them together. If you’re going for a shabby chic look (as I usually am) then sew them with the backs together. If you like neat, you can sew them right sides together then turn them right way out- just make sure you don’t sew the short side beforehand!
So… where was I… sewing. Do up each of the long sides, meeting at the point, but stopping a good few centimetres from the top. (If you’re being neat, this is the point you’d turn it right way out). Then sew across the top of the short side, so you’ve got a gap between this and the side seams; this is where you’ll thread your cord through.
Now it’s time to string them all together! I used thin rope type stuff, that I found in my craft box. I’ve no idea where it came from, I’m afraid, but I thought it looked nice. I used a big blunt needle to thread mine through. Another way is to wrap tape round the end, so it doesn’t fray and can be pushed through easier. Just make sure they don’t all fall off the other end!
All that’s left to do then is decide how far apart you want them, the put a couple of little stitches in each to hold them in place.
EVER. Seriously. The husband and I had people round for dinner and I made a batch of 12 lemon bars; we each sampled one before the guests arrived, of course, but the other 10 we ate between the four of us quite quickly! They were just too nice, if I do say so myself; I had my proud face on all evening.
Here’s the recipe- lots of steps but simple enough and so worth it.
140g/5oz plain flour
60g/2oz granulated sugar
1/2 tsp salt
115g/4oz cold unsalted butter
1 lemon, unwaxed and scrubbed
2 large eggs, room temperature
200g/7oz granulated sugar
2 tbsp plain flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
Before you begin, grease and line a roughly 8-inch square baking pan (mine was rectangular and about 7″ x 10″!) and stick the oven on to preheat at 180 C.
First up, the pastry base. Start by stiring together the flour, sugar and salt with a whisk until evenly blended. Cut the butter into cubes and combine with the dry ingredients. I did this by hand; one of the benefits of having constantly cold hands is that I have the power to make great pastry 🙂 The consistency you’re after is mostly coarse crumbs, but still a bit chunky. Basically, I would make sure there are no huge lumps of butter and then not worry about it too much. Press this mixture evenly into your prepared baking pan.
This goes in the oven for 15-20 mins until lightly golden, giving you the perfect amount of time to prepare your filling.
Zest and juice the lemon. You’ll need 1 tsp of the zest (or more, if you like it zesty) and 2 tbsp of juice. Put these in a big bowl and add the eggs and sugar. Beat these together until well mixed (I recommend an electric whisk, if you have one) then speed things up for about 1-2 mins, until themixture is pale and foamy. Combine the flour and baking powder and then whisk into the lemon mixture.
By now your base should be ready. Pour the topping evenly over the crust and pop it back in the oven for 25-30 mins, until lightly golden on top.
Once you’ve taken it out of the oven, DO NOT get over excited and try to take it out of the pan to cool. Leave it in there. After it’s nice and cool you can turn it out, cut it up and enjoy!
The recipe suggests dusting with icing sugar, however, while it looked pretty and tasted nice, it tended to just fall off when you picked them up; which is a shame as I spent ages dusting little stars!