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Monday, April 30, 2012

Asymmetric beaded necklace...

Lets talk beads.

As I have mentioned previously, beads were my first craft love. They often get neglected these days in my bid to become a master passable sewer. I personally think that there are very few techniques with beads that are actually complex, okay some are time consuming but most can be easily picked up. I have so many beads just waiting to be transformed into lovely bits of jewellery that I'm going to make an effort to get back into it.

This necklace is so easy, quick...and versatile. The same necklace could have a completely different look depending on whether you go for pearls, glass or wooden beads. I had a mix of glass beads just waiting for this necklace.

So lets go:

1) Cut the length of stringing wire for the beads. The length is up to you but make sure you allow extra for finishing it off (at least 3" to keep things from getting too fiddly). I'm a fan of Beadalon wire. I used Tigertail for a long time but Beadalon doesn't seem to kink as easily as Tigertail.

2) Create a loop on one end of the wire using a crimp bead.

*in case you're new to crimp beads* Thread a crimp bead through one end. Feed the end of the wire back through the bead to create a loop. Holding the wire in place squash the bead with a pair of flat nosed pliers. You can either finish it by cutting the wire as close to the bead as possible with the wire cutters...or take the easy option and just thread both ends through the decorative beads (no-one will even know!)

3) Thread your decorative beads onto the wire and finish with another loop.

4) Take your chain. If, like me, you're upcycling an old chain, split it into two with one chain longer than the other. Use two jump rings to connect the beads to the chain.

5) I have been waiting for an opportunity to use these gorgeous flowers I had found at a bead fair. So I opened the chain on one side and connected the flower with jump rings.

6) If you are using chain from scratch then now's the time to add your clasp and jump ring to the end of the chain so you can show off your gorgeous new necklace :)

Happy Monday!

Friday, April 27, 2012

Happy Friday...

I hope you've all had a wonderful week. I've got a jam packed weekend of training at work and seeing friends, so not much time for crafting in this little corner of the universe over the next couple of days.

I thought I'd share some ideas that I'm itching to try...perhaps it will be some inspiration for your crafting needs this weekend while sheltering from all the forecasted rain!

How to imprint a lace pattern on a lampshade by
All I can say is that I'm finding myself some inkodye ASAP...I have the perfect lampshade for this pretty makeover.

Inspiration for a fun paint project by Cozamia

Paint dipped baby jars by Oh happy day

Carrying on the lace theme with a pretty lace notebook DIY by A beautiful mess

I love this painted bracelet project by Between the lines

And finally some paper craft with these cute origami bows by How about orange

Have a wonderful weekend!

Monday, April 16, 2012

Yummy Monday...

Now everybody knows that an amazing dessert is an essential for getting through Monday. In fact it may the only reason I get out of my warm snuggly bed at some-what-feels-like-unearthly hour in the morning. Okay, so I may be exaggerating (or not?) but I think we all deserve a gorgeous dessert to celebrate kick-starting the week off...welcome raspberry cheesecake brownie.

Cheesecake? I love. Brownie? I love. Combined? I adore. Then throw in Raspberry cream and suddenly the whole thing just became incredible (and a teeny bit more healthy...but let's not even try to kid ourselves this food is about feeling healthy).

This is the perfect pudding for when friends are round as it can be made the night before. A delicious alternative to the raspberry cream is raspberry coulĂ©e and/or a white chocolate sauce.

Raspberry cheesecake brownie (original recipe from The Hummingbird Bakery cookbook)

200g dark chocolate
200g unsalted butter
250g icing sugar, sifted
3 eggs
110g plain flour, sifted

400g cream cheese
150g icing sugar, sifted
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 eggs

Raspberry cream
300ml whipping cream
100g icing sugar, sifted
150g raspberries


Firstly line a 33 x 23cm tray with greaseproof paper and preheat the oven to 170 degrees Celsius (150 for fan assisted ovens)
1) Break the chocolate up and melt either in the microwave or in a heatproof bowl over a pan of simmering water.

2) Beat the butter and sugar together in a bowl until well incorporated .

3) Gradually add the eggs, mixing well after each addition.

4) Gradually beat in the flour. Stir the mixture on high speed until smooth.

5) Slowly pour in the chocolate and mix well. Pour the mixture into the prepared baking tray and spread evenly.

6) Mix the cream cheese, sugar and vanilla extract together until smooth and thick.

7) Gradually add the eggs. The mixture will become very smooth and creamy.

8) Pour over the brownie mixture.

9) Bake in the preheated oven for about 30 minutes, until the cheesecake is light golden around the edges but still pale (but firm to touch) in the middle.

10) Leave to cool and then refrigerate for at least 2 hours.

Raspberry cream
11) Whisk the cream, sugar, raspberries until firm.

12) Spread evenly over the cheesecake brownie.

Happy Monday!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Beautiful cakes...

So I've ended up having an accidental break from blogging...not intentionally but I've decided to embrace it and use it as a chance to get my home organised. I will be back but it's important for me that the blog doesn't take over my life/time...I want it always to be something I look forward to and not 'just another thing to cram into this ridiculously busy day' kind of experience :)

But I just had to share these gorgeous cakes created by my lovely and uber-talented sister. I aspire to her levels of creativity :) Give me sugar paste and it most definitely wouldn't turn out like this. But give it my sister and this is what she creates (on only her second sugar paste experience ever!)

The colours are stunning and I have no idea how she made the roses turn out so beautifully (I feel a beg for a guest post coming!) It feels so perfectly vintage.
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