I love a bit of gold foil, lets be honest, who doesn’t. So when I decided to design my christmas cards this year, I rummaged around in the attic and pulled out my gold foiling machine. It’s the first time I’ve had a chance to use it and quite honestly the process is addictive! I bought this First Edition one from Amazon, but there are other brands available, this seemed just the most cost effective and its really easy to use.
To use the machine make sure you have a laser printer, I didn’t have one when I first purchased the machine, which was my fault but a bit annoying. So I ordered the cheapest Mac compatible one I could find, which was this one.
This year I have designed a free printable Elf pattern, he’s just so cute. I’ve added a few stars, which give a sweet finish, also something the kids could help you with too.
Nestled amongst the pretty independent eateries and retro shops on Dartmouth Road in South-London’s Forrest Hill, the beautiful Stag and Bow haberdashery is a gem to be admired.
Inside the vintage styled store are a carefully curated collection of must have modern crafting materials and equipment: from Debbie Bliss Wool, to Tilly and The Buttons & Sew Over It dress making patterns and DMC thread to Jennie Maizels Iron Patches. Then there are pretty little bits that all us crafters adore, in delicate bowls, vintage clothes and great craft books.
When I arrived on a Wednesday morning, I was greeted by a table of ladies who were all sat centrally around a large table making their personal projects, over a cup of tea in an Art Deco cup and saucer ( of course). Some were sewing, some knitting, all gossiping. Which makes me love the heart of this store, there is a huge sense of community which brings a warm and welcoming feel.
This year has seen the rise of the Light Box, the fun little light that can make you laugh with its adjustable slogan. With so many brands producing them for around £20 its a brilliant thing to have in your home, literally marking in words your current mood, favourite saying or party names.
Here are my favourite slogans from Pinterest. You can buy your own here.
#10 REMBER WHY YOU STARTED.
With my husband working on his start-up RangeRoom.com this year and a cousin who has been there at the beginning of Uber, this really resinates in my house!
I’ll admit that I’m slightly obsessed with hot chocolate, once you learn to make your own, there will be no powdered version for you! It’s so simple all you need is milk and chocolate… and sprinkles.
Chocolate dark or milk chocolate best quality buttons or broken ( I’ve used Weiss Chocolate), 35g per 3/4 pint of milk
Ground cinnamon, pinch of
Ground ginger, pinch of
Fill your glass full of milk, then pour that milk into a saucepan.
Bring to the boil, sprinkle over the cinnamon and ginger. Remove from the hob add the broken up chocolate, stir vigorously until dissolved.
Pour the hot chocolate into the glass or mug.
Add the sqirty cream to the top and decorate with sprinkles and Oreo biscuit
These are just the sweetest little pops of fun for your party table, now all you need to do is make the food!
YOU WILL NEED
Thick wool, red and white ( I’ve used DMC wool)
Candy or lollipop sticks
Sheet of white paper or thin card
First, cut out the paper backing for the lollipops. I have drawn around a small cup, circles will need to be around xcm diameter.
Next, stick the lollipop sicks centrally to the paper.
To add the yard, cover the paper circle with glue. Pair up the white and red wool and starting from the centre stick down using a circular motion. Keep going until you get to the edge of the paper, then trim away ends. Use and extra blob of glue and secure, tucking ends underneath.
Allow to dry fully.
Write names onto gift tags and attach with bakers twine.
This wonderful dessert is perfect for a dinner party, soaked in festive spices the flavour literally sums up Christmas. It’s best to soak them for 1-2 days before serving which makes them utterly delicious. When it comes to choosing a pear, a Conference pear is a classic with its long thin shape but I have used French Mouneyrac which are shorter and fatter with more of a perfume-y flavour. Make sure to use a really good quality dark chocolate ( or milk if you don’t like dark) I have used Weiss Chocolate Galaxie Noir
Makes 6 pears
for the pears
1kg golden caster sugar
2 cinnamon sticks
4 strips of lemon zest
2 star anise
1 vanilla pod
1 2inch length of fresh ginger, peeled and sliced
6 almost ripe pears, peeled with bottoms sliced a little so they can stand
for the chocolate ganache
500ml double cream
350g dark chocolate
Using a saucepan big enough to hold all the pears, fill half way with water and bring to the boil.
Add all the dry ingredients ( except for the pears) and simmer for 15 minutes giving the syrup a stir every so often.
Drop in the pears and simmer on low for 45 minutes – 1 hour or until they feel soft.
Turn off heat and set aside until cool.
Place in large tupperware container and cover fully with syrup. Leave in the fridge until you are ready to serve. Keep for up to 4 days.
To make chocolate ganache, simply bring the cream to a boil in a saucepan. Remove from heat and vigorously stir in chocolate chips or broken up pieces until fully melted.
Serve with chopped nuts and vanilla ice cream.
There is something truly magical about finishing a doll. They really do come to life in the final touches. I’ve been making rag dolls for quite a few years now, one of my most famous ones was Mr Dandy White Rabbit from my book Everything Alice. My skills are home grown, but have been improved over the years and I always try to feature a doll in every book I write.
On Sunday 11th December I have excitingly been invited to host an all day Angel Doll making workshop at my local South-East London craft store Stag and Bow. It will be an all day event with a glass of bubbly and lunch provided.
In the class you can learn lots of lovely things about doll making and come home with your very own little Angel for your tree. The perfect heirloom craft to keep or give as a gift. Attendees should be comfortable using a sewing machine, fabric scissors and know simple hand stitching techniques, but by no means an expert sewer. All materials are included but please feel free to bring along some special keepsake textiles and trims that you might want to use.
We will be embroidering the dolls face, creating her outfit and some spectacular rainbow colour hair! Not forgetting her little wings and hairband.
For more details please see StagAndBow.com – I hope to see you there!
This was a project I designed for the Sewing Network for an issue earlier on in the year. We had great fun shooting around and about in my home town of London. Was so much fun being a tourist for the day.
Covent Garden is an historic shopping area of London, its cobbled streets are home to boutique shops, nestled amongst theatres, pubs and street performers. In its former life it was London’s largest indoor & outdoor, fruit, vegetable and flower market. Often orphans would work as Flower Girls selling posies of flowers to passers buy, as well as stalls selling blooms. But the surrounding roads became so congested the Covent Garden Flower market had to be moved, now residing a few miles away in Nine Elms.
This necklace looks so pretty in a range of colours, so you can make one for all seasons.
This is a little homage to “that skirt” worn famously by Carrie Bradshaw aka Sarah Jessica Parker in Sex and the City. This skirt looks great paired with a cashmere jumper in the winter or a cute t-shirt in the summer. It’s pretty simple to make too!
Photography: Tiffany Mumford – Make-up: Fiona Fletcher – Styling and project: Hannah Read-Baldrey
This is the third year in a row we have hosted a baby & toddler halloween get together, so I conclude this may be becoming a tradition! As a kid I do remember going trick or treating, but costumes were most defiantly hand made and not readily available in supermarkets. Sweets were most defiantly not Halloween branded, you’d be lucky to get a Quality Street. One of our neighbours used to actually give away his 1p & 2p collection in little brown bags! But this year the shops have grown their ranges massively and there are some fantastic things you can get. Needless to say, I do love Halloween and luckily so does my son!
I have a bag of props in the attic that are mainly bought from the pound shops. Much like Christmas, I buy a few new bits every year and chuck out the ones that are a bit passed it. This year I bought a giant glitter skull from Sainsbury’s and my Fred and Friends cookie cutters, which I am obsessed with ( see above and below). You can see them here on Amazon, they are amazing!