28 Nov 2011

Shake it up baby now...

With this post I will teach you a few budget scrapping tips.
In England a programme keeps being advertised about Penny Pinchers and although I do not qualify for this title I do love a good bargain. I love vouchers for meals out, bogof offers and a sale.
1) The title is done with my trusty black sharpee pen and then coloured in with a green felt tip pen.
2) I couldn't find the apt embellishment for this layout and so I printed off the picture of the cow and cartoon face of a cow, then I used my diamond glaze to beef it up and give it a sheen. I stuck them on with sticky pads.
3) To avoid the paper curling I squirted my glimmer mist onto a tissue and the wiped it over the layout and the white thickers to give it a sheen and a vintage tint.

So why don't you have a go at some of these techniques?
I challenge you.
Go on...

26 Nov 2011

Six for Saturday...

Things I am loving at the moment...

1) Christmas songs such as this Nat King Cole classic and Jack Johnson's Angel. Love, love, love and have had them on repeat all week!

2) These Christmas cards I brought at Paperchase today. I have vowed to be organised and actually send cards this year - especially to our foreign family and friends.
 3) It was the boy's birthday this week and so we had a casual Nando's and cinema trip on Monday night. He also got a coupon for a third off at Yo Sushi for his birthday and so we went today and loads up on miso and sushi. We decided to splash out (well, we did have a coupon) and get some desserts. The chocolate mocho were the best things ever. They were like chocolate truffles with a rice outer layer (I know it sounds gross, but it was not!!) and filled with chocolate ganache. Delish!

4) On Wednesday I took the gothic cupcakes my Year 13's had 'ordered' for winning a quiz. My sister got me pumpkin moulds and chocolate orange chips to melt and make some pumpkins. They are Martha's choc cupcakes I have featured in previous posts and Hummingbird vanilla frosting with green dye and green edible glitter. They went down well. So well that they even made me a gothic background for the photoshoot.

5) Thanks to Gok Wan I have started wearing mainly dresses to work. I got some bargains from Next on ebay and also rediscovered some dresses I used to wear that were resigned to the back of my wardrobe. I have been getting lots of compliments and realise they are a lot better for my hour glass figure than trousers which make me look *chubby* such a funny little words.
I love this polka dot dress, but am sad as it's only available in America.

6) Babysitting for this cutie last night. She was all cute and snuggly in her sleeping suit and we snuggled together whilst watching American X-Factor till she started rubbing her eyes and making it clear it was past her bedtime and she wasn't going to be kept up just so I could play!

linked up to Paisley Jade's Things i'm loving...

25 Nov 2011

LIke warm apple pie...

A simple page.
We loved the pies in Julian. They were worth the two hour detour and overpriced nights stay.
I stamped apples round the edge and doddled dots to make a page border.
I crumbled and stapled green tissue paper.
I also added a recipe from the Julian local paper.

Isn't that big sticker cool? I got it at a little antiques market in Julian.
I also got a cool bell for a dollar which says 'Georgia' with a rainbow.
I have it on my classroom desk and ring it when the chatter gets too loud.
It started as a joke, but now its quite effective!

23 Nov 2011

Document 2011 July...

So I am slowly making my way through the year. I am still stuck on May as my little sis is being slow with sharing the pics (hint, hint Gems get out that hard drive!) I decided since I had a good variety of colourful and fun pics to make them my focus and just have some fun with the title in the middle and some captions.
Two of the photos really amuse me - the first is my colleague in his cycling lycra with two of our ex-pupils. He just strolls round our department wearing his lycra onesie in the morning and freaks us all out! The second pic is Arne doing his baywatch cycle. I don't know why we found it so amusing - we just did. I think its his facial expression and the fact he is just flying by the baywatch boat on his bike. Is it just me or is it funny?

Please excuse the reflection, as the nights draw in it is difficult to get any decent light to take pictures in.
I have some more layouts coming later. Things I have been plugging away at over the last few weeks, also some gothic style cupcakes...

22 Nov 2011

Thanksgiving Pumpkin Pie

So we were all feeling a bit sad that two out of the four sisters are spending Christmas with the in-laws so we decided to have a fake Christmas this past weekend. Since it isn't even December we decided to call it thanksgiving (plus my sister Gems is obsessed with the US of A, she is also obsessed with dessert bars so we had a pie bar!)
My contribution was mini pumpkin pies. I luckily had the mini pie tins (brought for £6 each at TKMaxx) from our Come Dine with Me. I used the recipe on the Libby's pumpkin pie tins and it worked a treat, for once I avoided the urge to over spice the pies and they were very tasty served with a dollop of vanilla infused cream. For fellow Brits I sourced the Libby's pure pumpkin at Waitrose but they only stock it around this time of year.

LIBBY'S® Famous Pumpkin Pie

This is the traditional holiday pumpkin pie. This classic recipe has been on LIBBY'S® Pumpkin labels since 1950. This pie is easy to prepare and even easier to enjoy. Just mix, pour, bake for a delicious homemade tradition.



MIX sugar, cinnamon, salt, ginger and cloves in small bowl. Beat eggs in large bowl. Stir in pumpkin and sugar-spice mixture. Gradually stir in evaporated milk.

POUR into pie shell.

BAKE in preheated 425° F oven for 15 minutes. Reduce temperature to 350° F; bake for 40 to 50 minutes or until knife inserted near center comes out clean. Cool on wire rack for 2 hours. Serve immediately or refrigerate. Top with whipped cream before serving.

To see more of the delicious pies and treats head over to my sister Gem's blog. In the meantime I will leave you with the full spread...
Happy thanksgiving to my American followers (for Thursday) and welcome to my new followers. I really do appreciate all the comments and all the hits - it gives me a buzz after a gruelling day at school!

P.S Do you like the new look? Gems pimped my blog over the weekend too!

16 Nov 2011

Iron Cupcake marshmallow smores...

Theme for November's Iron Cupcake was obviously Bonfire Night.
I tried to avoid the obvious toffee apples and parkin as I sometimes feel that if my cakes are different from the rest they will stand out more.
I went for smores flavour and ever a fan of the pun I came up with the name - gimme smore!
I used Martha Stewart's one bowl chocolate cupcakes mix for the sponge.
I will definately use this recipe again as it was moist and very tasty.
I adapted it by putting some homemade oat biscuit at the bottom of the liner, I also put a dollop of marshmallow fluff (from a jar I admit!) in the middle.
When it baked I thought it was a disaster as it exploded out - like an earthquake cake.
But then I decided it looked good and oozey and burnt like a real smore.
Here's a pic:

 Then I whipped up some super easy marshmallow frosting. I had tried the hummingbird recipe before and it was quite tricky and very, very sticky and could not be piped. I wanted mine piped as I prefer the look. So I was so lucky to find this recipe. Some of the marshmallows I had were pink so I put a bit of red food colouring in to up the colour. It looks brown in this pic but the lighting at the venue is not the best for pics.

Here is my sign - I even brought my little easel from Ikea which I usually use to snap layouts with. I came third overall and was pleased with this as I did think they were quite good.

 A close-up. I sprinkled biscuit crumbs on top.
 These cuties came second...
 These parkin cupcakes won the night. I tried them and they were very tasty - even though I am not a big fan of the stuff (not being a Yorkshire lass and all!)
 Here is Sarah modelling one of her very own cupcakes - she was a first time baker.
 Leanne helped her with the icing, but also did a bit of judging. She was voting for the other colour though!
Roll on December. Any good tips or recipes for Christmas cupcakes bloggers??

12 Nov 2011

Falling in love again...

I was stalling scrapping this picture as it is my fav from the trip.
I think cos it was quite impromtu and we both look happy.
We had just been to see LA Galaxy play and stopped off for a burger at our fav Five Guys Burger and Fries joint! Seriously we need this in England it's so good.
I have been very inspired by butterflies recently, I used my Martha Stewart punch and cut some from some old birthday paper that I kept for this purpose.

I hand stitched round the edge - not a technique I used a lot. It took a while but I liked the finished effect.
The reason for the title is that I always find with the stress of both of us teaching and lots of commitments with church we don't get to spend much quality time together so whenever we have a holiday or mini break we effectively fall in love again and rediscover the romance and enjoy one another again. Is it just me or does everyone find this??
I have been using purple recently as I was inspired by Julie's purple phase. I always loved scrapping with purple, but recently had gone off it. I enjoyed the challenge of using it with a new palette like beige, cream and green. So thanks Julie!
I have just been trawling the charity / thrift shops in my lovely little town. I always forget what a great resource they are, especially when it's a tight month! (which is every month!) I got some black skinny jeans for £3.50 you can't beat that can you? They fit like a glove!
What are you up to blogland?

10 Nov 2011

Amazed at the sea lions along Big Sur

Well I never would have thought of putting red and turquoise together.
I am too much matchy, matchy.
But it pops and that works for me.
Loving the sparkly thickers.
Do you like my new border stickers my little sis Gems gave me for my birthday?

The sea lions were fascinating to watch.
Funny to listen to.
And a bit smelly.

7 Nov 2011

Well East Coast girls are hip...

As the mist and rain descend. Dark evenings. Chilly. I wanted to hole myself in my scrap room on Saturday and relive our California memories.
I used an ancient overlay on the middle pic to make it pop. I used the colours of the American flag and lots of little journalling spots. Underneath I cut stamps from the some wrapping paper and sewed buttons in between. 

The layout below is about our soundtrack - I just loved this bracket shaped cardstock and felt the lines were perfect for filling with the lyrics of some of the songs we listened to on our road trip. I used piano key patterned tape to frame the page. I am liking this page a lot.

6 Nov 2011

Big Breakfast layout...

At first we were drooling over the extensive breakfast menus in America.
I am a big pancake fan.
 However by day 10 we were getting pretty fed up of all the stomach curdling options.
So I thought it would be good to scrap about this.
There is a hidden pic in the middle.

The journalling tag is from a jumper and I just stuck some plain cardstock on it to journal on.
I was inspired to use this black stripy baking paper from the True XoXo Girls Scrapbooking Blog. Thanks ladies!

Storytelling Sunday: The one with the ice-cream and the ketchup...

All of my family love ice cream, but my dad was always the biggest fan. My mum is more Ben and Jerry's whilst he is that worryingly orange/golden cornish vanilla which was 99p a tub from the local supermarket.
My bonding times with my dad when I was younger were sat on our grubby and old fashioned, but very comfy, cream/biege corner sofa in the playroom eating ice cream straight from the tub whilst watching telly with my dad. He would have the newspaper under a rapidly melting tub of Neopolitan ice cream and I would at first be happy with the odd spoonful, but then would head off to the kitchen to get my own spoon.
I liked mixing the vanilla and strawberry, the chocolate and vanilla, but never the strawberry and chocolate and I still don't like chocolate mixed with fruit - yuk!
The came my older sister Mara who only enjoyed her dinner when it was doused in ketchup. So we dared her to put ketchup on her vanilla ice cream. She tentatively had a few spoonfuls and then left it to melt into an unbecoming pink gloop. But dad was relentless. No food could be wasted. He made her eat it.
So in relation to this a layout celebrating the simple pleasures of ice cream, picture is taken on Coronado Island in San Diego.
(Please excuse the photo - daylight is not very forthcoming in England and I over photoshopped it I think!)

Completed for High in the Sky's storytelling Sunday and inspired by Julie Kirk's purple phase using lilac, purple and stone.
What strange foods did you enjoy as a kid?

5 Nov 2011

Banoffee whoopie pies...

So last week it was half term at school and I had some time to get my bake on.
I got the new hummingbird bakery cook book for my birthday and I had been anxious to try one of the many whoopie recipes.
I saw the banoffee pie one and this seemed appealing as it's a fav dessert of mine to bake.
It was quite easy and I was pleased with the result, although they tasted best on the day.
Also I find it difficult to make them pretty and round and equal so I cute the ones into hearts to be photographed - it did waste a bit of the pie, but it looks so much better.

I was pleased with the staging on this pic until my sis tells me that (and she is married to a picture buff) for it to be a good picture the jars should be in the shot fully. Oh well.

And here's how they're made:

for the sponge:
1 large egg
150g Caster sugar
125g Plain yogurt
25ml milk
1/4 tsp vanilla essence
75g Unsalted butter, melted
275g Plain Flour
3/4 tsp Bicarbonate of soda
1/4 tsp Baking powder
1/2 tsp Ground cinnamon
2 bananas.

For the filling: - these are hummingbirds measurements and I found I had way to much (Only needed about 1/2 to 2/3rds of this)

170g Unsalted butter, softened
280g Icing sugar
220g Vanilla marshmallow fluff (this can be hard to source and expensive in the UK, so even though I used it this time next time I will experiment with melted marshmellow or just icing)
2tbsp Tinned caramel  (dulce de leche)

Using an electric whisk, whisk the egg and sugar until pale and fluffy. Stir together the yogurt milk and vanilla in a jug, then add this gradually to the egg mixture mixing until combined. Add the melted butter and mix again.
Sift together the flour, bicarbonate of soda, baking powder and Cinnamon, then add this to the liquid ingredients in 2 batches, mixing well after each addition. Break up the bananas into small rough pieces, then stir into the batter by hand.  Put the batter in the fridge and allow to cool and set for 20-30 minutes.
Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 170 deg C and line 2 baking sheets with greaseproof paper.
Remove the batter from the fridge and spoon onto the trays in 3-5cm diameter mounds, making 16-20 in total leaving space between each for expansion. Bake in the oven for 10 - 13 mins or until golden and springy to the touch. Allow to cool on a wire rack.

While the sponges are cooking make the filling. Using the electric whisk, mix together the butter and icing sugar, add the marshmellow fluff and continue to beat on a high speed until light and fluffy. Beat in the caramel and then place in the fridge for 30 mins to firm up slightly. 
When the sponges are cold spread the flat side of one with a generous helping of filling and sandwich together with another sponge. Assemble the remaining sponges. 

(Recipe copied from this blog)  

So have a go and let me know what you think.

4 Nov 2011

Reluctant model...

I may have mentioned before that my husband hates my incessant and slight obsessive picture taking.
So I decided to make a layout about it.
I felt that his anger is brewing beneath this fake smile.
So I came up with title.
I decided that I wanted it to have layers.
It needed to have an orange colour scheme to make the yellow pop.
Then I found the cool black and white floral tape and the layout went from there.
I am happy with it.

And I am soooo happy it's Friday!
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