pinterest project

Christmas Snow Jars

Snow scene jars are everywhere on my Pinterest feed at the moment - and rightly so, as they look amazing! I think they look particularly pretty on mantelpieces and side tables, as well as an eye-catching centrepiece on your Christmas table.

The trick is to create a 'scene' inside them - similar to a snow globe but without the water...

DIFFICULTY RATING: EASY

ORIGINAL PIN:

Via

MY ATTEMPT:

SHOPPING LIST

  • Display jars (I found mine at a bargain price from Homesense)
  • Epsom salt
  • Christmas decorations / models to make a village scene:
    - My house bauble and mini trees are from Sass & Belle
    - My glitter animals are the ones I made to top my Christmas cake with last year (love a good recycle!)

HOW-TO

1. Your epsom salt is your snow! Add to the bottom of your jar/s first.

2. Add your mini village!

Crafternoon essentials: Tea & a chocolate flapjack!

Crafternoon essentials: Tea & a chocolate flapjack!

Glistens in the daylight...

Glistens in the daylight...

... And sparkles at night-time.

... And sparkles at night-time.

That's it!

TOP TIPS

  • Keep out the way of children and pets - mantelpieces high up work well. Jars with lids are also a good call
  • Add fairy lights around them for extra sparkle (you could hide the battery pack or cables with green garlands)
  • Mini woodland creatures and trees create a particularly effective snow 'scene'
  • I would make two in case you want to add them to a mantelpiece or side table - keeping the look balanced.

VERDICT

Easy, pretty, affordable to make: highly recommended!

If you love easy Christmas craft ideas, this might also be up your street.

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Praline Chocolate Cupcakes

Yep - another baking post! For two reasons: 1) I'm pregnant and have a very strong sweet tooth these days. 2) It's the height of Bake Off season so everyone in England is baking more, naturally! I also had to share the recipe below because it's one of the tastiest batch of cupcakes I've made (equal to my Jaffa Cake ones I'd say) - with lots of positive feedback from L and close friends.

DIFFICULTY RATING: MEDIUM

The recipe is straightforward, but as you have to make a praline and ensure the sugar doesn't burn, I've labelled it medium.

RECIPE FROM MY OLD FAITHFUL: THE HUMMINGBIRD BAKERY, HOME SWEET HOME

ORIGINAL PIN

This isn't actually a pin from Pinterest, it's a photo from my book! I couldn't locate it online - however baking generally is a Pinterest-inspired project. So many sugary treats are sprinkled across my Pinterest news feed that I immediately want to get baking. You can probably tell from my Food board consisting mostly of cakes.

MY ATTEMPT

RECIPE

1. Preheat the oven to 170°C and line the muffin tins with paper muffin cases to make the number you require.

2. First make the sponge. In a freestanding electric mixer with the paddle attachment or using a hand-held electric whisk, mix the butter, flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt together until they form a crumb-like consistency.

3. In a jug, mix together the milk and eggs by hand.

4. With the mixer or whisk on a slow speed, gradually pour half of the liquid into the crumb mixture and mix thoroughly until combined. Raise the speed to medium and mix until the batter is smooth and thick, with no lumps. Scrape down the sides of the bowl from time to time. Once all lumps are gone, turn the speed back down and gradually pour in the remaining liquid, continuing to mix until the batter is smooth and combined.

5. Spoon the batter into the prepared paper cases, filling them two-thirds full. Using a 50ml ice-cream scoop can make this process easier and will result in even cupcakes.

6. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until the sponge bounces back when lightly touched. Leave to cool slightly before removing from the tin and placing on a wire rack to cool completely before frosting.

7. Using the freestanding electric mixer with the paddle attachment or the hand-held electric whisk, gradually mix the icing sugar, cocoa powder and butter together on a low speed until combined and there are no large lumps of butter. Gradually add the milk while mixing on a slow speed. Increase the speed and beat the frosting until light and fluffy.

8. For the praline, line a baking tray with baking parchment and spread the chopped hazelnuts evenly in the tray. Place the sugar and water in a medium saucepan and bring to the boil. Allow the mixture to bubble for about 15 minutes until it forms a golden caramel. Do not stir while the mixture is boiling or the caramel will crystalise; just gently swirl the pan from time to time.

(Top Tip: Even though it says 15 mins above, mine started to go golden in about 5 mins and it turns very quickly, so keep an eye on it and go with your gut.)

9. Once the caramel is ready, carefully pour it over the chopped nuts, making sure all the nuts are covered. Allow this to cool and set completely. Once cold and set, break up the praline into small chunks, then use a food processor to chop up the praline into fine pieces. (This praline needs to be stored in an airtight container if not using straight away.)

10. Once the cupcakes are cool, spoon generous amounts of the frosting onto each cupcake, then gently smooth over with a palette knife, making a swirl at the top if you wish. Sprinkle each cupcake with a generous amount of praline.

11. ENJOY!

VERDICT

Seriously chocolatey. Seriously amazing.

If you prefer zesty to chocolatey, you might like these lemon cakes.

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Jaffa Cake Cupcakes

I know what you're thinking - another baking post. But since getting pregnant, my sugar cravings have gone through the roof! While I'm trying to maintain a balanced, healthy diet - I still find myself researching fun cupcake recipes and giving them a whirl at the weekend. Plus, since the arrival of my kMix, baking has got a lot easier (and the results much better!).

Sister S (the baker of the family), Mama B and L actually said these were the best things I've ever baked. I strongly recommend giving them a go - especially if you're partial to a jaffa cake or three...

DIFFICULTY RATING: MEDIUM

It's a pretty easy recipe, but I did have a kMix to create the cupcake mixture and frosting. Without it, I would probably have got arm ache so I'm listing this as medium.

RECIpe FROM: THE HUMMINGBIRD BAKERY, HOME SWEET HOME

This is the first recipe in the book - and for good reason. Unfortunately I can't link to the official recipe online so have typed up below. Here we go!

ORIGINAL PIN

MY ATTEMPT

RECIPe

1. Preheat the oven to 170°C and line the muffin tins with paper muffin cases to make the number you require.

2. First make the sponge. In a freestanding electric mixer with the paddle attachment or using a hand-held electric whisk, mix the butter, flour, sugar, baking powder and salt together until they form a crumb-like consistency. 

3. In a jug, mix together the milk, eggs and vanilla extract by hand.

4. With the mixer or whisk on a slow speed, gradually poor half the liquid into the flour and butter and mix thoroughly until combined. Turn up the speed and beat until the batter is smooth and thick with no lumps. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as you go along. Once any lumps are gone, turn the speed back down and gradually pour in the rest of the liquid, continuing to mix until smooth and combined.

5. Spoon the batter into the prepared paper cases, filling them two-thirds full. Using a 50ml ice-cream scoop can make this process easier and will result in even cupcakes.

6. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until the cupcakes are golden brown and the sponge bounces back when lightly touched. Leave to cool slightly before removing from the tins and placing on a wire rack to cool completely before frosting.

7. Using a freestanding electric mixer with the paddle attachment or a hand-held electric whisk, gradually mix the icing sugar, cocoa powder and butter together on a low speed until combined and there are no large lumps of butter. Gradually add the milk while mixing on a slow speed. Once incorporated, increase the speed and beat until light and fluffy.

8. Once the cupcakes are cool, use a sharp knife to make a hollow in the centre of each cupcake, approximately 2cm in diameter and about 3cm deep. Retain the cut-out piece of sponge. Spoon about 1-2 teaspoons of orange marmalade into the hollow. Replace the cut-out piece of sponge, trimming to fit and pressing down gently to ensure that the top is level with the rest of the cake.

9. Spoon a generous amount of the frosting onto each cupcake, then gently smooth over with a palette knife, making a swirl at the top if you wish. Top each cupcake with a mini Jaffa Cake (I only had normal-size ones so cut these in half).

10. ENJOY!

VERDICT

Amazing. Try it.

For more recipes like this one, you can buy the Hummingbird Bakery book here.

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Baby Gender Reveal Cakes

A popular trend at the moment is baby gender reveal parties, where parents-to-be ask the person doing their scan to write the baby's gender down and pop it into an envelope. They then give the envelope (without looking in it) to a baker, who makes a cake covered in white icing. Inside is either blue or pink icing/sponge to represent the gender of their expected arrival. Parents invite loved ones over for a party, where they cut the cake and all find out together. Just like this:

I think this is a lovely idea - but for our first, L and I wanted to keep it a bit more personal and find out on our own (together) during the scan. We do have a plan to reveal our baby's gender this week though (keep an eye on Instagram!) - but to make the run-up fun, I decided to keep with the cake theme and bake some blue and pink cakes this past weekend.

We love lemon cakes so followed this recipe. Here's how it went...

DIFFICULTY RATING: EASY

ORIGINAL PIN

 

MY ATTEMPT (WITH BLUE & PINK ICING!)

I am most definitely not one for finesse when it comes to decorating (as you can see!). But these tasted AMAZING (which is the main thing, right?).

VERDICT

Really easy recipe - and more shareable than a whole lemon drizzle cake. 

TOP TIPS

  • As per the recipe, don't over-mix before popping in the oven.
  • Also, don't overcook them - follow the recipe but keep an eye on them.
  • A 'cake tester' is not only handy for checking your cakes are cooked through, but you can use it to prick holes into your cakes to drizzle your lemon mixture into afterwards.
  • Use red food colouring sparingly to create PINK icing!
  • Bake on the day of your gender reveal! (Or the day before - still equally tasty).
  • Keep some spare for the grandparents, aunts and uncles-to-be.
  • You can also use them to announce on FaceTime to family and friends e.g. a plate with a pink and blue cake on, then the father-to-be feeds mama the appropriate colour. (Plus the mama gets cake - everyone wins.)

Discover more cake-spiration on my Pinterest Food board.

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Rainy Day Projects

It's set to be the wettest June on record - with Wimbledon and Glastonbury predicted to be a wash out. Er, summer - what are you playing at?! We're supposed to be returning from work and spending evenings in our gardens or in a beer garden, not shivering under blankets and putting candles on to brighten things up.

Does anyone remember 'wet play' at school? Rain outside = fun projects indoors, usually crafty? I've tracked down 5 of my favourite recently discovered Pinterest projects which are on my to-try list. That's right weather - I may not be able to lounge in the sunshine with a hot dog but, by heck, will I have some beautiful house projects delivered by the end of it.

1. Cork Pinboard

For some reason, I can't throw away corks that mark special occasions. This is a great use for them.

via

*Update August 2017: I tried this DIY project and it went really well! Loved the result. See the full how-to here.

2. Firework art

Does anyone remember making these in school? It wouldn't be a wet play project list without some nostalgia. Great idea for a bonfire night invite.

via

3. Cat scratchpole tower

An IKEA hack your cats will thank you for.

via

4. Watermelon Cupcakes

Cooler indoors = pop the oven on! If I can't eat a watermelon outdoors - I'm bringing them indoors. With sugar.

via

5. Christmas Planning

I know, it's super early. But when summer's not performing as it should, I can't help but think ahead to Christmas. Pinterest is my go-to place for festive decor ideas, recipes, plus some really brilliant gift wrapping suggestions. If all you want to do on a rainy day is sit on the sofa, spark up your laptop or get the Pinterest app and start planning all your Christmassy projects.

You can find my favourite pins on my Christmas board:

If you've tried any home projects recently that would be perfect for a rainy day, I'd love to hear about them! Let me know on Twitter or in the comments below.

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White Chocolate Popcorn with Sprinkles

DIFFICULTY RATING: EASY

This Pinterest project comes from one of my favourite blogs, whose food contributor Gaby shared this simple recipe for those who love fun food. (I pinned it immediately to my Food board!) Rather than traditional popcorn, simply mix it with melted white chocolate, sprinkles and some sea salt flakes, leave to cool and you have one seriously tasty movie snack.

ORIGINAL PIN

via

MY ATTEMPT

So simple to make...

VERDICT

This has to be the easiest and most successful Pinterest Project to date. It took less than 10 minutes (excluding chill time) and is a great way to add some pizzazz to your next movie night in. (If you're in a rush, pop it in the fridge to cool down quicker.) It tastes amazing.

For another fun recipe with sprinkles, try out these unicorn biscuits.

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Gummy Bear Ice Lollies

gummy-bear-ice-lollies.JPG

DIFFICULTY RATING: EASY

I love this Pinterest project as it's so quick and easy, plus it ensures you always have a stash of refreshing ice lollies in the freezer that don't cost a packet.

All you need is: 

  • Sprite
  • Gummy bears
  • Ice lolly mould

The recipe is so simple: fill moulds 3/4 full of Sprite, drop in your gummy bears, then freeze! Done! (Original recipe here.)

ORIGINAL PIN

MY ATTEMPT

TOP TIPS

  • Lakeland do the best ice lolly moulds (here) - I purchased them after accidentally buying mini ones on Amazon-!
  • If you have an old-style sweet shop near you, that's the easiest way to find the amount of gummy bears you need without having to buy packets of assorted Haribo. Or you can go online - Amazon offer big tubs. Saying that, having other Haribo sweets leftover gave me the idea to create other versions, so I had some fun creating gummy rings, fried eggs and heart versions.
  • This is a great way to use up a leftover big bottle of Sprite - if you think it's going to go flat.

For more fun food ideas, take a look at my Food board on Pinterest.

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Unicorn Biscuits

Difficulty Rating: Medium

You might have noticed, but the world has fallen in love with unicorns. From sprinkle shakers to onesies, they're everywhere. Unicorn biscuits / cookies have been popping up on my Pinterest feed for a few years now - so I decided to give them a go.

Rather than find a recipe, I decided to go with my favourite childhood biscuit recipe: iced spice biscuits - taken from a childhood cookbook that sister S and I used to cook from with Mama B in the late 80s / early 90s. I'm no baker, especially not on the same level as Pinterest bakers, so I decided to have some fun, get creative and not worry too much about it being perfect. After all, what's the point of cooking a childhood recipe if the results aren't a bit rough around the edges? 

ORIGINAL PIN

MY ATTEMPT

Recipe from our childhood cookbook.

Recipe from our childhood cookbook.

THE VERDICT

Unicorn legs / horns are VERY fiddly! I had to rebuild most of the legs, hence their slightly wonky appearance! I can see why some opt for baking only the heads.

Have fun with them - it's all about being a big kid. Find a nostalgic recipe, stock up on hundreds and thousands and off you go!

For more fun baking ideas, take a look at my Pinterest food board.

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Easter Egg Wreath

DIFFICULTY RATING: EASY (BUT MESSY!)

DIY Easter wreaths are everywhere on Pinterest at the moment - especially these crafty ones. They're really fun to make - dipping embroidery thread in a mixture of spray starch and PVA glue before wrapping around blown-up water balloons to make egg 'nests'. Once dry, you pop the balloons and you've got yourself some eggs ready to glue-gun together into a wreath. It's that simple!

ORIGINAL PIN

MY ATTEMPT

- A mini version (for those who are short on time!). 

Scroll down for my Top Tips...

Apply some olive oil to your water balloon before wrapping glue-dipped thread to make balloon removal easier once popped.

Apply some olive oil to your water balloon before wrapping glue-dipped thread to make balloon removal easier once popped.

Mix PVA glue with spray starch, then dip thread into the mixture until fully coated.

Mix PVA glue with spray starch, then dip thread into the mixture until fully coated.

Peg balloons to a makeshift washing line to dry.

Peg balloons to a makeshift washing line to dry.

Once fully dry, pop the balloons!

Once fully dry, pop the balloons!

Lay out your balloons into a wreath shape before glue-gunning together.

Lay out your balloons into a wreath shape before glue-gunning together.

This is a really messy craft so make sure to put a protective surface down (I opted for old oilcloth).

This is a really messy craft so make sure to put a protective surface down (I opted for old oilcloth).

TOP TIPS

  • This is ideally a two-person craft. Mama B and I held a prosecco crafternoon on Mother's Day, with one dipping the thread and the other wrapping it around the balloons with glue-free fingers (much easier).
  • There's lots of tutorials out there - we took inspiration from a couple but ended up adding our own twist e.g. Mama B's idea to add olive oil to the balloons before the thread was applied to make the balloons easier to remove once popped.
  • While this is really fun and looks pretty, it's also very delicate and probably won't stand the test of time or store well until next Easter.
  • It looks great on windows, mirrors and walls (why not replace a picture frame for a few weeks?).
  • Make sure you give yourself a week to gather supplies / order online: embroidery thread (pastel colours are perfect for Easter), spray starch, PVA glue, a glue gun and water balloons.
  • For weekend crafters, wrap balloons on a Saturday, allow to dry overnight, then assemble Sunday. 
  • Wrap lots of thread around each balloon, to ensure you get the egg shape. It needs a strong structure to hold its own within the wreath.
  • Cut a number of threads ready to dip in the PVA/spray starch mix, it's not easy doing this with gluey fingers!
  • Think about the ribbon or string you want to use to hang it - a big bright yellow bow, some rustic garden string or raffia will look great.
  • Once dipped, get your thread onto the balloon as quickly as possible - it dries fast.
  • While a mini version is quick and fun, a bigger one with two layers (as featured in the original pin) will help give it stronger structure (depends how much time and thread you have!).

Visit my Easter Pinterest board for more crafty ideas and recipes.

Wrapping Paper Storage

DIFFICULTY RATING: EASY

I love discovering smart decor hacks on Pinterest. I really admire anyone who can take a product and find another use for it (and in some cases, a better use for it!).

Wrapping paper storage is one of the product hacks that has really taken off in recent years. Once relegated to a dark desk drawer, rolls are now having their moment in the spotlight - with homeowners organising and displaying them in ways that make them more accessible, while adding pops of colour to a room.

I decided to use a cream enamel 'long tom' flower pot as my storage solution (I bought mine from a local garden centre but you can find a version here), as there was a perfect corner for it in my home office:

WRAPPING STATION ESSENTIALS:

  • Wrapping paper
  • Ribbons / string / raffia
  • Gift tags
  • Scissors
  • Sellotape / Scotch tape (I love this)
  • Elastic bands (to stop rolls unravelling)
  • Flat surface, clear of clutter
  • Jiffy bags / packaging tape if posting
  • Gift box of cards (mixture of occasions / blank)
  • Gift bags of varying sizes (for those awkward-shaped gifts)
  • If you have a spare wall, I'd definitely recommend investing in this.

MORE WRAPPING PAPER STORAGE IDEAS:

For more home office ideas, take a look at my Pinterest board.

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Plant Pot Makeover

decoupaged-plant-pots.JPG

DIFFICULTY RATING: MEDIUM

Flower pot makeovers have been everywhere on Pinterest in recent months. From painting to decoupage, a quick craft can turn plain terracotta pots into fun additions to your home. Bright and bold or chic and subtle - simply choose the paint or napkin you love the most and get crafting.

This pin from Place of My Taste particularly inspired me as I love the choice of napkin:

The plan during this Pinterest project was to decoupage all six flower pots, which began with painting them to give a base colour. However I loved the painted ones so much, I decided to opt for half and half. Here's how I got on:

WHAT YOU NEED:

  • Terracotta pots (I went for six of varying sizes)
  • Chalk paint
  • Paint brush
  • PVA glue
  • Scissors
  • Napkins (couple of design options)
  • FrogTape (you can use masking tape but I find FrogTape better for keeping paint out)

Painted pots

If dirty, wash your pots and let them dry out fully. (I did this a few days beforehand.)

If dirty, wash your pots and let them dry out fully. (I did this a few days beforehand.)

Chalk paint your pots (no prep required). I used FrogTape on the areas I wanted to remain terracotta.

Chalk paint your pots (no prep required). I used FrogTape on the areas I wanted to remain terracotta.

Once dry, peel away FrogTape.

Once dry, peel away FrogTape.

I love this colour combination (I used Annie Sloan chalk paint in  Louis Blue ).

I love this colour combination (I used Annie Sloan chalk paint in Louis Blue).

Final result! I couldn't wash off all the outdoor markings from the terracotta but I think this keeps them looking authentic.

Final result! I couldn't wash off all the outdoor markings from the terracotta but I think this keeps them looking authentic.

On to the decoupage...

I then rounded up a selection of napkins ready to decoupage my remaining pots.

I then rounded up a selection of napkins ready to decoupage my remaining pots.

You can decoupage the whole napkin or cut out specific designs.

You can decoupage the whole napkin or cut out specific designs.

I decoupaged onto chalk painted pots as the lighter background worked better.

I decoupaged onto chalk painted pots as the lighter background worked better.

Alternatively you can use the whole napkin design (I still cut these into smaller squares to help with application).

Alternatively you can use the whole napkin design (I still cut these into smaller squares to help with application).

The final result!

The final result!

TOP TIPS

  • I've never decoupaged before so when looking up the technique, some crafters suggested adding glue to the pot first, others advised adding to the napkin beforehand. I chose the first option as I found when applying to the napkin first, it would stick to my fingers and tear-!
  • Don't do this slippery craft over hard flooring (especially if it's slate). I almost learned this lesson the hard way.
  • Grab a couple of napkin designs in case you don't like how the first one comes out. 
  • Chalk paint makes life easier. No prep - just paint.
  • My pink rose napkins are from Amazon, the fish and smaller flowers are from Cath Kidston (I always pick up a few packs when there's a sale on).
  • Keep them inside - outdoor weather will ruin them. On that note...

IDEAS FOR INDOOR USE:

  • Indoor plants (of course!)
  • Pen pot
  • Makeup brushes
  • Essential cables and chargers
  • Bar essentials e.g. bottle opener, champagne stopper, cocktail mixing spoon
  • If you have a table or shelf by your front door, use a smaller pot for grab-and-go essentials such as wallet, keys, sunglasses, gum, etc.

The verdict

The decoupage project was quite time consuming but I was happy with the end result. I'd recommend giving it a go if you have some spare time one weekend. What I really liked discovering from this project was how much I LOVE chalk paint. It's the ideal upcycling solution for people who are limited on time. I'm also keen to try this pot project, as it looks equally quick and effective.

For more Pinterest project ideas, take a look at my home decor boards here.

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Kitchen Booth

DIFFICULTY RATING: MEDIUM

One of my favourite Pinterest finds during our refurb was the idea to add an L-shape kitchen booth to maximise seating space. We hired a carpenter to create the structure, with the seats lifting upwards to reveal extra storage (really useful for cat litter, kitchen roll, spare tins, cans, etc).

We handled the painting to save money, then hired a professional upholsterer to create the bespoke seating cushions (I would have loved to have made them myself but my skills aren't up to scratch just yet-!). I opted for neutral stripe fabric, adding colour with statement cushions.

PINTEREST BOOTH INSPIRATION:

The 'medium' rating for this project is down to the amount of stages involved. However if you organise a carpenter and upholsterer, the most time you'll personally spend will be on painting and selecting your fabric and cushions. While it's not the cheapest project, it is replacing a number of chairs so it's a similar investment. It also adds subtle storage, which chairs don't offer. We're planning to add a circular bistro table as it won't take up too much floor space (plus we have our dining room/table for larger events).

Fancy more kitchen inspiration? Find out how to get Meryl Streep's kitchen look from the movie, 'It's Complicated'.

Glitter Animals

Difficulty Rating: Easy (But Messy)

While on the hunt for some cake topper ideas for my Mary Berry Christmas cake, I stumbled across these glitzy animal toppers on Pinterest. Simply purchase a tube of these, apply PVA glue with a paint brush and sprinkle glitter over them! 

Scroll down for my top tips...

TIPS

  • Safety shout-out: While the glitter is non toxic, it's not for use by children under 3 years.
  • Beware - this is glitter we're dealing with. It goes everywhere! Make sure this DIY happens on a wipe-clean surface.
  • 3-4 will be joining these trees on top of my Christmas cake. I'll be making sure to brush any excess glitter off my icing before serving!
  • I'll be using the remaining herd as gift tag accessories and decorations on my dining room bookshelves to add some sparkle.
  • If you want to keep it more rustic, simply add glitter to specific parts of your animals e.g. antlers or hooves.
  • Toy manufacturer Safari Ltd offers many other themed animal Toobs from around the world. I went for North American wildlife as I really wanted a moose on my cake (the name of Mama & Papa B's new labrador) - as it's his first Christmas with us. Rainforest, coral reef, mythical - so many Toobs are available for different cakes and crafts! You can even get arctic animals (for an arctic roll or an icy-looking baked Alaska) - perfect for this time of year.

Keep an eye on Maison Bailey the week before Christmas to see these sparkly characters in action. For more festive cake topper ideas, check out my Christmas board on Pinterest.

 

 

In a Pickle

homemade-pickled-onions

Every Christmas, L and I pack up our bags and head to Sussex for a much needed relax and veg-out at my parents' home. Usually, we come armed with unusual beers from around the world, tubs of Twiglets and (last year's discovery) - pink port! This year, I wanted to contribute some homemade treats as an extra special thank you to Mama B.

With my Mary Berry Christmas cake sorted and steeping in brandy for the next few weeks, I turned to Pinterest for my next project. As you can imagine, there were millions of ideas on there! So I started thinking about Christmas at my parents, and what might be handy. Every Boxing Day, we put leftover turkey and ham on big sharing platters, turn leftover veg into Papa B's bubble & squeak, make some mashed potato and empty the fridge of pickles and condiments to add some zing.

With that in mind, I found this pickled onion recipe, popped on my apron and gave it a go.

(Scroll down for my top tips...)

pickling-onions
pickled-onions-jar
pickled-onions-gift-idea
drying-pickling-onions
how-to-make-pickled-onions-recipe.JPG

TOP TIPS

  • You must soak your onions in salt the night before you want to pickle them.
  • As you peel each onion, pop it into your jar so you get the right amount and don't waste any. (Make sure to sterilise your jar beforehand!)
  • Use a label maker to clearly mark what it is / when you made it. This will prove useful for your host and hostess giftees in case you don't get around to enjoying it together over Christmas. (Let's face it - so much food, so little time!)
  • Get creative and add some festive decoration to your jar via a bow and label. I love using my star punch to jazz up ordinary gift tags. Hobbycraft offer a great selection - I especially like this snowflake one for Christmas gifts. Glitter pens also add some sparkle but make sure to allow time for drying.

That's it! This Pinterest project was really easy to recreate and makes the perfect host & hostess gift at Christmas. Not only is it that extra bit of thoughtfulness and effort, but for me, pickled onions add that punch of flavour during a week-long food graze.

Will you try a homemade gift this Christmas? Join in the conversation over on Twitter.

 

Pinterest Pinboard

A DIY pinboard is one of the best ways to make your home feel like 'you'. From the cover fabric (floral, map, wildlife, pattern, colour, etc) to what you put on it - it's a shop window that represents your style, and the things you treasure.

diy-pinboard

Difficulty rating: Easy

I find the best deals for fabric and DIY essentials are online. Order in the week ready to get crafty at the weekend. 

What you need:  

Fabric, pinboard, wadding, ribbon, staple gun/staples, drawing pins

How to make one:

  1. Simply stuff wadding between your fabric and the pinboard
  2. Leave enough fabric to staple-gun to the back of the board
  3. Attach strips of ribbon via the same method
  4. Fix the meeting points of ribbons with a drawing pin (I went for white to blend in with my white ribbon. Go for long drawing pins so they go through the wadding and pin into the board)

That's it! - So simple.

What to Pin?

We chose to put our pinboard up in our living room on a wall we regularly walk past. This helps us get the most out of it - we place reminders, things that make us smile, plus things we think just look pretty and go with the room. Keep it personal to you and you can't go wrong.

pinboard-ideas

For more pinboard ideas, see what I've been pinning on Pinterest.