Monday, March 25, 2013

March Craft Challenge: Link-up YOUR projects and Vote

Can you believe that there is only ONE more week of March left? I think life has hit fast-forward; has it for you? I am excited to round-up this month's craft challenge and invite you to link-up your crafts to wear. Don't have anything to link up?  Then check out our featured projects and vote on your favourite. Want a reminder of what they were?
There are my super easy Clay Bake Earrings:
PJ's awesome Apron:
 And last, but not least, Anja's Statement Collar Necklace
 So which is your favourite? We'd love it if you'd vote below!

Now it's time to see what you lovely folks have been up to. Please remember that you should only link up crafts that you can wear, that you have made in the month of March 2013 as part of the Craft Challenge project. Other projects will be deleted, no matter how fabulous or yummy they might actually be.
If you're new to the Craft Challenge then feel free to join in for whatever month you want. Anja, PJ and I each PIN our favourite project to our Craft Challenge Pinterest board which is also a great one- stop shop to catch up on all of our past projects.

In April our challenge is to spend less than $10 on some budget décor for the house. By current exchange rates, I place that at £6.57 and 7 Euros and 70 Cents. You can find all of the monthly themes on our Pinterest board.

Happy Monday before Easter folks!
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Thursday, March 21, 2013

How to Create An Alternative Greetings Card Using Stop Motion

Living in a different country to your loved ones can be difficult, particularly when there is a significant birthday to celebrate. For Andi's birthday this year I decided to ditch the normal card and make him a Stop Motion video. Watch a snippet of it here:

To make the video I took nearly 400 photographs as I drew and moved objects to create an animation. The key is to make very small changes so that the video is as smooth as possible.
I used brown parcel paper and drew out my animation on a stretch of it. I did it in light pencil. If you're a great artist you could chance doing it straight away in pen. Use a thick pen to draw the picture so you can see it. Go little bit by bit and take photos in between. Follow the pattern: draw, photograph, draw, photograph, until finished!
To get the train to move, I had a second copy which I mounted onto card. I covered the drawing on the parcel paper with more parcel paper before re-drawing the station, this time including some details on the station. I used the same principles for a signal, owl and balloon.
I uploaded the photographs into Movie Maker and then decreased the speed between the photos until it was less than a second. I added in a soundtrack and then finalised it.
I had so much fun creating the video and it beat my dodgy homemade card attempts!
If you want to watch some more 'professional' Stop Motion, check out this video AND this one.
What alternatives do you have for greetings cards?

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Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Irish Cream Pannacotta with an Irish Coffee Chocolate Ganache and Nut Sprinkles - Spiked Challenge

I love the Spiked Challenge organised by Carrie and Julie. It's such a great opportunity to buy alcohol....create in the kitchen. My first entry was appreciated by family, friends and the judges. I can't believe I came first with my Champagne Cheesecake recipe!
The recipe today, I have to confess came about after a disaster with my original dish. I had wanted to make a sweet ravioli, but after 3 hours of trying, and getting nothing better than a tasty filling with some leathery chocolate pasta, I stopped! An expensive experiment, but none-the-less, my prior intrigue about it has now been satisfied, or unsatisfied depending on which way you look at it.

It was a case of looking through my cupboards to see what I had left for this one and I couldn't be more happy with the results. Dessert fate! Don't you just love it!

Irish Cream Pannacotta (Makes 4)
80g caster sugar
220ml cream (preferably double - I had single)
100ml milk
75ml of Irish Cream
4 sheets of gelatin (or the vege stuff)

1. Soak gelatin for 5 minutes in cold water.
2. Put cream, milk, Irish Cream and sugar into a pan and heat on a low heat. Do not boil.
3. When very hot, add the gelatin until dissolved.
4. Lightly grease your mould and then pour in the mixture. Leave to set, overnight if possible, and for at least 4 hours.

On top of the pannacotta, I have a dark rich ganache which will bring an Irish coffee flavour to the dish.

Irish Coffee and Chocolate Ganache (A rich, dense, chocolate mixture that sets into smooth deliciousness!)
150g dark chocolate
100ml of pouring cream
60ml Irish Cream
A spoon of instant coffee

1. Gently heat the cream and then mix in the coffee until dissolved.
2. Add the broken chocolate into a bowl and pour in the cream, gently whisk until the chocolate is melted. You might need to place it over a pan of hot water to help it along. Just avoid getting water in the mixture.
3. When totally melted, take it off the heat and stir in the Irish Cream.
4. Chill the mixture until it is thick enough to spoon.

Nut Crunch Topping (important for texture):
Nuts of your choice!
Sugar ( I measure by eye!)

1. Toast the nuts lightly in a dry pan or in the oven. Make sure they do not burn!
2. Pour sugar into a pan. On a low heat melt the sugar until a clear caramel is formed.
3. Add the toasted nuts and coat in the sugar.
4. Pour onto baking paper. Leave to cool.
5. Bash up and sprinkle over finished dessert. Store in an airtight jar if you want to keep the topping for further desserts of if you are like me, watch your teeth as you eat the rest.
I have to say, after a day of marking, this dessert was a decadent compensation for having to work pretty hard on a Sunday! It is not something you can drive or exercise after though and I am quite sure that it is anti-every diet out there....but what dessert worth eating isn't?
I hope you like my entry this time and get a chance to try out the recipe!
A belated Happy St Patrick's Day and a big thank you to Carrie and Julie for letting me experiment with my cooking again.
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Monday, March 18, 2013

Craftbotic Craft Challenge, March 'Wear It': A Cute Collar from Cocalores

  Hi again my lovely crafters and fashionistas! That's right it's week three of the Wear it! Challenge and Anja from Cocalores is ready to take the bloggy stage today. Click on the links to see my oven bake earrings and PJ's Jean Apron. Don't forget that next week it is YOUR turn to link up YOUR projects. You can also vote for which of our projects you like the best. Once again it's a closely run race!

Here's Anja, with her totally Cocalores Project
For this collar necklace you just raid your craft stash and hopefully find the following:
  • felt
  • sequins
  • beads
  • ribbon
  • fabric glue
  • needle and thread
  • newspaper (for the pattern)
Step 1:
Start by drawing the pattern onto newspaper. When you have cut it out, put it around your neck and see if that's the shape you want your collar to have. Then trace it onto the felt twice (front and back of the collar).
Step 2:
Decorate your collar with the sequins. It's definitely easier if you find ribbons with sequin appliqé. If not, you have to sew them on by hand.

Step 3:
I threaded beads (different colours) on a string. After finishing the thread, I appliqued it onto the collar.
Step 4:
Sew your satin ribbon onto the corners of your collar. Then apply fabric glue on the back of the felt and glue the second felt collar onto it. Cut off any protruding felt.
  And that's what it looks like worn by someone who doesn't care for being photographed (... uhem, me).Despite the poor quality of the photos, I still hope you enjoyed this post! I can't wait to see all the fantastic projects you'll kick my butt with at the link-up next Monday.
Well, I for one am hoping for a cute collar like this. I can imagine it complimenting all of those spring pastels really nicely.
As we appear to be waving goodbye to Google Reader, we would all love it if you wanted to keep up to date with the Craft Challenge via Pinterest or by following ME, Anja, and PJ on Blog Lovin'. If you are already a Google Follower - just follow the easy steps on Blog Lovin' to transfer your readership.
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