Tuesday, 26 February 2013

Quiet /Busy book For Big Boy

Finally I can share with you my quiet book or busy book I made for my big boy.  I made one for his little sister and finished it just in time for us going to Florida and after realising I had spent so much time and effort on his little sister's book Finlay thought he would like one for himself (he can't see green cheese!)  I did include some superhero figures in Eliza's which I knew he would love so I transferred these to his and got to work on ideas for an older boy's book.  He will be 9 this year so he is beyond learning to do buttons and laces etc  - he is beyond the whole idea of the book actually but I felt bad that he wanted something like Eliza's and I loved making hers and seeing her use hers so I didn't mind making another one.

The front cover I decided to go with superheroes.  Finlay is obsessed with heroes - you may remember his Superman obsession - there is something wrong when Finlay is not in some hero dress up or another and even if he doesn't have the outfit he can be found in a vest that is too small with a headband of his sister's round his neck and a coat hanger hanging down his back = Hawkeye!! Resourceful :)   So incase you don't know these badges are Captain America, Superman, Spiderman, Batman and Green Lantern

As usual I spent LOTS of time on pinterest looking for ideas for big boy quiet books but at the time I looked there weren't many - I looked again recently though and there were lots more!  I was nearly finished though so I stuck to my original plans.  

Finlay like a lot of 8 year olds loves video games of all kinds.  Since I had the felt heroes from Eliza's book I went from there.  The first page of the quiet book is "Choose Your Character" like when playing the wii... 

A little hero city scene
 I made a mini book for the characters to stay in
Each attached with a little bit of velcro so they can be removed to fit on the little Finlay 
 Mario and Captain America

                                             Batman and Iron Man

And a little zipped pocket on the inside front cover for hero accessories like masks, capes, hats and moustaches :)
I hand sewed and glued the heroes using felt - Spiderman was the most intricate with lots of sewing but he is also my favourite :) 

Next page I went with was "Choose Your Country" - again when playing video games you are often asked for your country or language so I thought Finlay could learn the European country flags - or even just their names for a start :) 

Lift the flags and you find out the name of the country - pretty dodgy handsewn country names but he can read them so they will do :) I just used felt and glue for the little flags and sewed across the top of each flag onto the page so they could be lifted up to see the name of the country.

The next page is similar - "Choose Your Continent"

Under each lift the flap is the Continent name.  I plan to add the names of the seas on here as well - possibly loose so he can place them where he thinks they should go - and also some animals/mountains etc of note for each continent.  I saw this felt map but I had the idea before searching for this - I didn't see it used in another quiet book - I'm sure someone somewhere has done this but I've not seen it. 

My next thought for the "video game" book was are you right handed or left handed but couldn't think of anything suitable that would teach Finlay anything for this so I came up with the skeleton page 

Each name is attached with velcro so he can take them off and start again labelling the skeleton - I did sew on the little pocket but it is far too small for all the labels so only a few could stay in there - there is always the zipped pocket at the front of the book though.  Again I looked for a felt skeleton to copy online and found this one which I really liked but I knew I wanted to make a skeleton before searching - I didn't copy this from another quiet book.

Next I gave up on the video game lay out because I had no more ideas :) 
I put on a multiplication table because Finlay is learning all these just now.   

I called this "Multiplication" because this is one of the songs Finlay and Grandad danced to all the time when he was a little boy =) (by Bobby Darin)

Next page I did see a pin for (and here)

X and Os.  These have little magnets to keep them on both in the little X and Os and on the page - but they are not good :( They fall off when you lift the book up - they are good for playing the game but not for transporting - so these also stay in the front zip :) 

I also looked up felt fractions and came up with these

I was fed up of sewing writing by this stage so I used a paint that is actually for candles but I really wanted this finished so I just tried it out!  I then sabotaged it by leaning in it without meaning to oops - typical me really.

These are all attached by popper buttons so they can be removed and put together.

And that's it!  I could have done more I had more ideas but I spent so long on it - these things do take months!  Even though I worked on this at least an hour or two most nights.  

Like everything I do I just like to get on with it not spend time drawing it first and measuring it out so I just sit with my computer beside me and cut out shapes free style - the continents I just had a map on my computer in front of me (not the felt map I pinned - a real map) and cut the shape as best I could.  Not geographically correct I know and I apologise if I have missed some important nook or cranny out but I was going for the idea of the continent Finlay won't know if it is exactly right or not:) 

Same with the bones and the flags etc I just cut and stick I don't measure.  I don't have a printer so I can't even print templates out - I really need to invest in one and now I have bought myself some freezer paper I might just cut out some templates next time :) 

Finlay is really happy with his book and I am happy with it too - the pages this time are all felt and I didn't use my sewing machine once!  - I have a drama everytime I try to use it!  Combination of dodgy machine dodgy user I think.  I will practice - just not on a quiet book - they are time consuming at the best of times!

So what do you think of this "educational" quiet book? :)  

<<<<<<<<<<<<<More superhero felt creations >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

Monday, 25 February 2013

Puppy Party (Party Planner No 1 2013)

My sister and I were delighted to be asked to do a desserts table for a little girl who was turning 4.  She wanted her theme to be puppy party so our first idea was a gingerbread kennel - you know how I love gingerbread houses!  

The little girl calls herself Fluffy Doggy so here is Fluffy's kennel :)   
Along with some puppy love biscuits and dog bones.

We went with a pink and white theme - nice and girly.

Alyssa banner cut out of craft paper on the Cricut
and stuck onto cricut cut circles strung on ribbon.  Mini pink and white pompoms.
Pink mini pup-cakes :) 

Puppy food in puppy bowls :) 

                Everything looks better on a stick :)

Pink and white meringues


Puppy birthday cake


Pink and white sweets

 Dog leads

     Jellies, strawberry mousse and strawberry milkshakes.
           (With a chocolate number 4 in the straws)

Mars bar krispies 

All with their own little bone label.  The party was so much fun and all the little boys and girls got their faces painted so there were lots of little puppies eating the puppy food (cereal!).   Lots of planning and preparation and it all went perfectly - the kennel was still intact at the end of the party (mum's request!) but I hear it is due for demolition soon :) 
We got a lot of inspiration from pinterest as usual

Check out last year's parties we did: 

           Hope you enjoyed seeing our newest party =)

Monday, 18 February 2013

Great British Bakeware

I would LOVE  this beautiful bakeware - I have just rearranged my cupboards because I have so much bakeware but if I had this I could be persuaded to pass on my older tins - or failing that they are so pretty they could be out on display and not taking up cupboard space :)

For a chance to win this set go to Cakeyboi's website.  Good luck.  If I don't win one of you might :)

Fingers crossed........and toes :)

Wednesday, 13 February 2013

✪ Chocolate Box ✪

I kept seeing silicone moulds for chocolates in Lakeland and really wanted them so I bought the mixed mould and started on my first box of chocolates- after the number moulds which I tried out for my Dad's birthday I really wanted some good recipes that were not just "melt chocolate and let it re-set".  .

So I looked around on the net for ideas and came up with these...

Peanut Butter Cups
 Painting my mould with melted good quality milk chocolate.  I am not a fan of dark chocolate so I went for the best quality milk.

For my first go I just guessed the amounts because I didn't want to make a lot of chocolates at one time.  This is peanut butter, icing sugar and a tiny bit of salt mixed up.

Next I squashed tiny amounts into the moulds

Then I covered them in more melted chocolate

 And popped them out once the chocolate was set

They look a bit duff but tasted great :) 

So I moved on to my next selection

Clotted cream fudge

 Sugar, syrup and clotted cream melting slowly

 Thickening nicely

And poured into molds (the ends ones I did in chocolate cups but the rest I left uncovered)

 Lovely creamy fudge
 This chocolate had a bloom this time not sure what was different :(
Loveheart fudge for your Valentine?

Next I made Maple Toffee

 This recipe asked for syrup but I used all mine in the recipe for clotted cream fudge :) So instead of going to the shop I used maple syrup hence it is now Maple Toffee :)

 Yummy caramel bubbling away

 Poured into the moulds and scraped - my Pampered Chef scraper is so handy for this!

 These came out so shiny and perfect from the moulds.

This is actually the first photo but someone thought they liked the look of these :) 

And finally I made Chocolate Maple Crunch (again no ordinary syrup so I used maple instead :) ) 

Drizzled in white chocolate

These could also be inside a chocolate cup.  What doesn't taste better wrapped in chocolate?

So here is the completed box of chocolates.  I am not sure they are worth the money - I did not work out how much this would cost but not that cheap.  Also very time consuming,  But well worth a go and I would do it again.  I found other recipes for soft-centred chocolates but the orange one I tried failed and tasted totally disgusting so they had to be binned.  (I used orange extract from Lakeland but it had a very alcoholic taste when mixed with white chocolate so I will practice those until I find a soft centre I am happy with )

My mark of approval is always "would I be happy to receive this?"  "YES!!"  I would love someone to make me a whole box of chocolates - or make me anything really!

Here are the recipes for the chocolates I made - although I did not make them to the recipe I guessed at the amounts for filling my moulds

Peanut Butter Cups
1 cup Peanut butter
1/2 cup icing sugar
1/4 tsp salt
12 oz choc

Melt choc, paint moulds, allow to harden while you mix peanut butter, icing sugar and salt.  Fill chocolate cups with peanut mixture, cover in more melted choc.  Allow to set before popping out of moulds - don't do this too soon the chocolate cracks very easily.

Clotted Cream Fudge
275g caster sugar
100g syrup
227g tub Clotted cream
1/2 tsp vanilla essence

Place all ingredients in pan and heat gently, stirring until sugar dissolves.  Bring to boil, cover for 3 minutes, uncover, continue to boil until soft ball on thermometer.  Remove from heat.  Beat until thickens and more matt - could take up to 10 minutes.  Pour into moulds.

Maple Syrup Toffee

1 cup granulated sugar
1 3/4 cup double cream
1 cup syrup (I used maple)
1 cup condensed milk
1/3 cup butter
3 oz chocolate
1 tsp vanilla

Place syrup, sugar, butter, condensed milk and cream in pan and heat slowly over low heat.  Stir constantly until sugar dissolves.  Heat to 225℃ on thermometer.  Add chopped pieces of chocolate.  Heat until soft ball Remove from heat and stir in vanilla and salt.  Pour into moulds.

Maple Chocolate Crunch

225g digestives
30ml syrup (I used maple)
30g chocolate (plus more if you want these encased in chocolate)

Crush biscuits finely.  Place butter and syrup in pan and heat slowly.  Once melted add chocolate.  Once chocolate melted add biscuits.  Mix well.  Press into moulds (or moulds painted with chocolate)
Decorate with white chocolate.

Now I am away to watch my beloved Spartacus (first series second time round so I can watch the lovely Andy Whitfield - my hero... and eat homemade chocolates :)