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Welcome! Well, another year is almost done and we will soon be heading into 2013! We have seen many changes in the Crafting world this year, lots of new small businesses arriving, the closure of some that we have known for a long time. Things never stay the same do they.
Claire - Elderberry Arts Sally - The Bead Bounty Jamie - Mr X Stitch
In this final issue of 2012 we have some beautiful articles for you. Some wonderful projects, fantastic recipes and very inspiring interviews.
Silvia - SlowLane Handmade Gill - Personal Space Interiors Kirsty - The Little Floating Craft Co Clare - Thread Bare Angela - Angel Crafts
You will see regular faces and some new ones and we hope that you enjoy reading them all. For those that purchase the hard copy of this magazine the version for this one will be perfect bound rather than saddle stitch so we are looking forward to seeing how it comes out.
Polly Allen - Easyjet
CRAFTfest saw its largest event ever in November! 250 wonderful online craft stalls. The next one will be held in March 2013 so look out for the forms opening in the New Year. Which just leaves us to say a very Merry Christmas to you all and a prosperous â€˜Craftyâ€™ New Year. Thank you for all of your support throughout the last 12 months we will be back again in February. The Creative Crafting Team Organisers of
Raising the profile of the crafting community Your Creative Team
Anna - Editor Avril - Technical Editor 3
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Get in touch! We always love to hear of your crafting experiences and read your feedback for Creative Crafting. Email us at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Recipes from the Slowlane Mocha Sticks with Chocolate and Chocolate Walnut Kisses from Silvia.
A bit of sparkle to unite the generations A fun, family Christmas craft project from Kirsty at the Little Floating Craft Company.
10 Millie-Mae and Mummy makes… a Gingerbread House Millie-Mae and Tracey get building with a fabulous creation in the kitchen.
15 Create an Christmas Angel Ornament Another beautiful tutorial from Sally-Jo at The Bead Bounty.
20 The Rise and Rise of Wow Thank You Tracey shows us how the up and coming site started, how it is now and everything in between.
23 Create a Wooly Bears Santa Card
Clare Chanter from Thread Bare has a festive project for us.
26 Crystal Magic
The Crystal Lady has found some multi-gemstone creations for this issue.
27 An Interview with… ScENT Cosmetics
Husband and wife team Garreth and Carla create stunning soap in the wilds of Ireland.
31 Kitchen Capers with Gill - Christmas Lunch – Make it easy on yourself Our own ‘Nigella’ Gill shares her recipes for the perfect Christmas dinner.
38 Snow Quartz Christmas Angel Keyring Claire from Elderberry Arts shares a festive jewellery project with us.
39 An Interview with… JJ Creations
Julie Jasper tells us about her fabulous mini rocking horses and her passion for creating them.
Hand knitted Christmas Wreath Tree Decoration Angela from Angel Crafts gets her knitting needles out.
Tina in the Garden A rather wet visit with Tina in her beautiful garden, wondering if it will ever stop raining.
Mr Cross Stitch interviewsâ€Ś Erin M Riley
Best Craft Markets and Craft Shops in Europe Polly Allen tells us the best places to go in Europe.
KITCHEN CAPERS with Gill
Written By Silvia from Slowlane Handmade
Mocha Sticks with Chocolate & Slowlane Chocolate-Walnut-kisses
the m o
Christmas is around the corner and and thoughts turn to gift giving and feeding the family. The economic downturn is also taking it’s toll and perhaps you feel that you need to cut your Christmas gift giving list. But you don’t really have to!! Why not give home made, home baked gifts? And try something a little different. These little biscuits, wrapped with love will be such a hit that your loved ones will want them all year round.
Mocha Sticks with Chocolate
Line 3 baking trays with greaseproof paper.
4tbsp Espresso powder 275gr Flour 50gr ground Almonds 50gr ground Hazelnuts 75gr Sugar 10gr Vanillin Sugar 2 ½ tsp Cocoa Powder Pinch of Slat 2 Egg yolks 200gr Butter 200gr dark chocolate Cling Film Greaseproof Paper
Dissolve the espresso powder in 2 tbsps hot water. Mix flour, almonds, hazelnuts, sugar, vanillin sugar, 2tsp cocoa powder, salt, egg yolk, espresso and butter to a smooth pliable dough. I use my Food mixer with the dough hook for this. Form dough it into a thick roll, wrap in cling film and set it aside in the fridge for 1 hour. Cut your dough roll into 8 pieces. Roll out each piece into 42 cm long rolls (about 1 cm thick) cut into 7 smaller rolls. Bake for 11 – 13 minutes at Gas mark 3 or 200 degrees. Melt your dark chocolate and cover each end of the Mocha sticks.
Line your baking trays with greaseproof paper 300gr Flour 325gr Sugar (125gr for main dough the rest for the meringue) 10gr Vanillin Sugar Pinch of salt 20 gr cocoa powder 1 Egg 150gr Butter ca 120gr Walnut halves 4 Egg whites 2 tsp. Lemon juice Cling Film Greaseproof Paper
Mix flour, 125 gr sugar, vanillin sugar, sugar, salt, cocoa, egg and butter to pliable dough. I use my food mixer with the dough hook for this. Wrap in Cling film and set aside in the fridge for 45 minutes. Roll out the dough approximately 3mm thick on a floured work surface. Use a small circular biscuit cutter (4 cm) and cut out your shapes. You should get approximately 78 little circles. Mix your egg whites until they form peaks, add the lemon juice and slowly add the sugar, keep mixing all the time. Keep mixing until the ‘snow’ has a shiny look to it. Use a piping bag to add the egg snow onto your bases. Add a walnut half and bake at Gas 2 /175 degrees for 12-15 minutes. You want the snow to be firm but still white.
Sadly this will be the last of the Recipes from the SlowLane. I have enjoyed my time with Creative Crafting Magazine and I hope you have enjoyed my Recipes. 7
The hangers: Take a length of ribbon or cotton tape no more than 15cm long and two pins. Secure one end of the ribbon using one of your pins, pushing it into the polystyrene as far as it will go and then nestle the other end of the ribbon as close as you can get it and pin into position with your other pin. Use pearl headed pins or look online for florist pins which come with all kinds of tops such as pearls, diamante in different colours, even little flowers! 8
Print, pins & buttons: The largest bauble is covered with disks of paper cut from an abandoned and useless old book. The bauble has been slightly dented in the palm of my hand using a fingertip and then a pretty pearl headed pin is pushed through an old button, through the paper and into the polystyrene ball. Be sure that your ball has a wider diameter than the length of your pins to avoid any sore fingers! Cover the ball in these disks completely. I have sprayed the bauble with a little silver glitter spray to add some sparkle when itâ€™s on the tree near the lights. Glittery pink print: this small bauble is the most simple of all three, and is just covered with torn scraps of old book pages that have been covered in basic school PVA glue and arranged over the surface, being sure to overlap. I sprayed a little pale pink ink over randomly to add interest and once it was dry I used my fingers and covered the whole bauble in glitter glue. Vintage buttons and glitter: this button-ie bauble was the most complicated of the three, but only because the glue takes a little while to dry! If an adult is making this one then Iâ€™d recommend using a hot glue gun to attach the vintage buttons all over the surface of the polystyrene but if this is a family affair then a little patience and regular glue must be the way forward. Once the glue had dried a little I went over the bauble with my glitter glue, filling in the gaps and gently dabbing with my finger to smooth it around a little so we have an almost solid surface. These would look great hung on a family Christmas tree and are simple to produce. Why not encourage your kids to write their name on a glittery print bauble and attach it to their Christmas stocking to make sure that the big man gets the right one? Or make one for their Grandma or Grandad? It would look so special with a fab drawing rolled up into a scroll and the bauble attached with a thick strand of ribbon tied with a bow! If youâ€™re into gift wrapping with style then a bauble, ribbon and a sprig of greenery would look amazing, The possibilities are endless so I really hope you enjoy making your baubles!
Merry Christmas from Kirsty at The Little Floating Craft Co www.littlefloatingcraftcompany.co.uk 9
Written By Tracey from WowThankYou
Mummy Makes â€Ś I made a house of gingerbread It was so sugary sweet It took me all day long to make But, it lasted just a week. Monday I ate the ceiling. Tuesday I ate the door. Wednesday I ate the windows. Thursday I ate the floor. Friday I ate all four walls. Saturday I ate the lawn. Sunday I licked up all the crumbs. My gingerbread house is gone!
Ingredients 175g butter 175g soft dark brown sugar 3 tbsp golden syrup 700g plain flour 1½ tsp bicarbonate of soda 2 tsp ground ginger 2 tsp mixed spice 1 tsp ground cinnamon Zest and juice of 1 orange 2 medium free-range eggs For the decoration Boiled sweets for the stained glass windows (we used rhubarb and custards) 500g box royal icing sugar, made up nice and thick Long ‘straw-like’ chews for windowsills Liquorice comfits for the shutters A LOT of white chocolate buttons for the roof tiles (I bought 14 bags of Cadbury ones!) Hundreds-and-thousands for the chimney (though our chimney didn’t survive!) Jelly beans, sprinkles, other sweets for decoration
Method 1. Put the butter, brown sugar and golden syrup into a pan over a very low heat, stirring until the butter and sugar have melted. Set aside to cool.
2. Mix the flour, bicarbonate of soda, spices and orange zest in a big bowl. Crack the eggs into another bowl.
3. Add the butter mixture to the flour along with the eggs and orange juice. Mix well, then use your hands to bring together into a ball. Sprinkle a little flour over a clean work surface and knead the dough for a few minutes until smooth.
4. Preheat the oven to 180Â°C. Divide the dough into 3 pieces and roll out on to sheets of baking paper. Roll until the gingerbread is about the same thickness as a ÂŁ1 coin. Templates: I cheated and printed one from the deliciousmagazine website. Cut out the different pieces (re-rolling the trimmings), then transfer the gingerbread shapes, still on their baking paper, to 3 baking sheets. Put boiled sweets in each window hole (they will melt in the oven and create a stained-glass effect), then bake for 9 minutes.
5.Carefully slide the gingerbread (still on the baking paper) onto a cooling rack. Leave to cool, preferably overnight.
To decorate the house use royal icing to stick on the chew ‘straws’ windowsills and use the liquorice comfits for the shutters. Set aside to set.
We assembled our house on a cake board, but a chopping board will give you more garden! Use royal icing to stick the sides, front and back pieces together, and stick the pieces to the board to stabilise the house.
Decorate one roof piece: use a knife to spread icing all over the roof, then cover with white chocolate buttons. Start from the bottom adding the buttons in rows that just overlap to look like tiles.
Decorate the chimney pieces with icing and hundreds-and-thousands. Wait until the icing is completely dry – we didn’t and it collapsed … so we left it off! Brush or pipe the icing onto the sloping edges of the front and back of the house to create ‘icicles’. Attach both roof panels, using royal icing, making sure you spread some icing in the middle to glue them together. Stick the chimney pieces together, then attach to the roof with royal icing. Carefully cover the untiled side of the roof with white chocolate buttons in the same way as before. Attach the door to the house and choose a sweet for the door knob.
And here’s the finished item!
I have no idea where to store it, no idea how long it will last … but it’s one pretty cool Christmas decoration! Millie-Mae’s nana visited earlier and she thought it was amazing! It was a really fun project to do, although it did take, on and off, a whole weekend. I must leave the last words to Millie-Mae herself when she announced “that has got to be the best thing I’ve ever seen in my whole life” … Merry Christmas xxx
Written by Sally -Jo from The Bead Bounty
Christmas Angel Ornament This sweet little ornament that measures approximately 3 and a half inches from head to toe, will make a great gift, or a pretty addition to your own Christmas tree.
10g of good quality size 8 seed beads 1 x 8-10mm facetted oval crystal bead for the head 2 x 15-16mm dagger beads for the feet 2 x 6mm drop beads for the hands 2 x flower beads for the cuffs 1 x 14mm decorative bead cap for the head 21 x 6mm twisted bugle for the legs Waxed beading thread (i.e. Nymo) Bead needle Scissors Bead mat or good surface for working with small beads
Step 1. With approximately 1 metre of thread on needle pick up 2 size 8 seed beads and position them on the thread with about a 6 inch tail remaining. Step 2 & 3. Pass the needle back through the beads and position the beads alongside each other with the holes showing. Step 4 & 5. Pick up another bead and pass the needle through the previous bead and then back up through the newly added bead. Pick up another bead and add it in the same way making sure that each bead sits alongside the last with the hole showing (this is called Ladder stitch)
Step 6. Keep adding beads in the same way until you have a row of 15 beads. Step 7 & 8. Second row - Pick up a bead and pass the needle through the thread between the first two beads on the previous row and then back up through the new bead. This bead should now sit, with its hole showing, between the first two beads on row one. Step 9 & 10. Pick up another bead and pass the needle through the thread between the next two beads on row one and then back up through the newly added bead. This bead should sit alongside the first bead with its hole showing. Step 11. Continue to add beads in the same way until you have 14 beads. This is called Brick stitch. Step 12. Row 3 add 13 beads, row 4 add 12 beads, row 5 add 11 beads etc. Continue to add rows, decreasing by one bead each row until you add the last bead at row 15 and you have created a triangle. Leave the excess thread to use again later in the pattern. Repeat steps 1-8 to make a second triangle.
Step 13 - 18 Sew the two triangles together down each side by going up 2 beads at one side and down 1 at the other making sure to keep them in line with each other. Leave the bottom open.
Step 19 - 21. Attach the head by picking up the facetted bead, bead cap and a seed bead. Pass the needle back down through the bead cap and facetted bead bypassing the seed bead as this acts as the anchor for the head. Pull the thread tight so that the beads sit snugly next to the triangle and pass the needle through several beads to fasten it off. You can add some thread or thin ribbon to the seed bead at the top of the head later to hang the ornament from your tree. Step 22. For the wings, bring an anchored thread out of the middle bead on the 4th row down from the head, pick up 16 beads and secure them in a circle. Pick up another 16 beads and anchor them at the other side making a figure of eight. 18
Step 23 - 25. For the arms, bring an anchored thread from the side of the triangle where you want the arms to start, pick up 1 seed, 1 twisted bugle, 1 seed, 1 twisted bugle, 1 flower bead as a cuff and a drop bead as a hand. Pass the needle back up through all of the beads except the drop as this acts as anchor. In the same way as the head, pull the thread tight so that the beads sit snugly against the triangle. Pass the needle through several beads on the triangle so that the thread emerges at the opposite side to add the second arm and repeat for the 2nd arm. Step 26 - 27. Bringing a secure thread from the inside top of the triangle pick up 4 twisted bugle, 1 seed, 4 twisted bugle, 1 seed and 1 dagger bead. Pass the needle back up all except the dagger (this acts as the anchor) and pull the beads up tightly to the top of the triangle and secure. Pass the needle back down inside the triangle and repeat for the 2nd leg but this time add 5 twisted bugle beads instead of 4 in the first group, this makes the 2nd leg a little longer than the first. This is a very versatile little ornament. You can hang it from your tree, sit it on your mantle piece or wear it as jewellery i.e. a brooch or necklace. If you wish to purchase the bead kit at ÂŁ6.95 (which includes all the beads with needle and thread to make 1 ornament) please visit www.thebeadbounty.com. When you purchase the kit the pattern will be sent digitally via email.
et’s start by going back in time – to 2009 in fact. I was feeling particularly sorry for myself during that summer as a massive writing contract had been discontinued through no fault of my own and I was licking my wounds. Working as a freelance writer had its perks (working around the demands of my young children for one thing), but I’d had enough of working short-term assignments, not knowing if I’d find the next one. I still wanted to be my own boss, but the time had come to look to pastures new. The eureka moment occurred during autumn 2009 when, over a coffee with a friend, we jointly decided that it would be good fun to set up a competitor website to – well – the ‘other’ marketplace we all know. So we set about designing a website and deciding on terms that would make us favourable – the key to this being lower commission rates and increased advertising. We signed up a graphic designer friend to put the website together, and we thought we had it all covered … hmmm J of WowThankYou was launched in the early hours of 5 March 2010. The week leading up to the launch was so hectic – we converted our dining room into a multi-laptop office; the four of us, myself and Huw (husband), Georgena and her husband Steve, worked in shifts – loading products and looking after our four young children, and when the website finally went live, we stood outside the house and popped the cork on a bottle of champagne (that in honesty we were too tired to drink! – I can’t actually remember sleeping during that time!) It was a lot of fun though. Launch day was my mum’s 71st birthday and we spent the day at the zoo with my children, and my friend and her children. It was a nice day out – though tense, as we wondered how well the site would be received. Before that week had ended, we realised that the website was not remotely user friendly – we had to load all the products ourselves because of the complexity of the system. We persevered anyway and although we did ok, we certainly didn’t strike any kind of fear into our competition! Alas the workload became too much for my business partner, and we went our separate ways, leaving me with a website that certainly couldn’t be managed singlehandedly. So I was faced with a ‘do or die’ situation – throw everything I had into it, or walk away. Not one to shirk away from a challenge, I cashed in my savings account and took on a top notch website developer to sort the business out. I asked all the sellers on the site what they needed it to do; I told them that I needed it to be as automated as possible, so I could manage it myself …. and the upshot of that was 9 solid months of website development, starting from scratch again.
of the WowThankYou website was launched in May 2011 – much, much better! It was still early days, but the site looked good (we were mentioned on a lot of worldwide web design sites, which was promising!) There were lots of new features – the sellers managed their own stores, the site was faster, so much more professional … but I still wasn’t entirely happy. There were still features I wanted to add, but had exhausted my funds so had to sit back and hope the site carried on getting stronger and growing … it didn’t help that all this was happening during a recession (I couldn’t have timed it any better had I tried!) The first real test of the website was the Christmas period 2011. I had held funds back for a full-on advertising campaign in lots of national magazines – but even with these in print, would we get sales? The answer was yes – we did ok … but can you hear the lack of excitement in my tone?! I guess I just expected more. I was relieved that we’d had decent sales, but at the same was disappointed that we didn’t take the world by storm. I guess I’m never satisfied! By Easter 2012 I had already drawn up plans for WowThankYou Version 3! The bank offered me the money to get it all underway, but I was nervous as I’ve never taken business loans out before. In the end my father in law loaned it to me – and off we set to deliver an even better website! This was launched back in August … typically just as I was going on holiday! Because of the complexity of the new features, there were teething problems, but I’m touching wood as I type this – we ‘seem’ ok now! has totally changed the fortune of WowThankYou. Not all features have been added as yet, but as soon as the site was made live, sales that had been trickling in started to flow – and we’ve seen some surges too! I’m hopeful of a sales tidal wave at some point – but I really cannot complain about where we’re at, right now, in November 2012. I have a website that I can manage (just about) on my own; it has a fabulous SEO-friendly design; it is full of amazingly talented designer makers; and I just find it a happy and positive place to hang out these days! We now have 972 sellers listing on WowThankYou and since this new design was launched we’ve had over 10,000 products listed. We average 6500 unique visitors every single day. We have been well received in the press too, which is hugely important and something we intend to build on during 2013. Why have things turned around for us? It’s a good question, and I’d like to think that the answer lies in the phenomenal support that I’ve been shown by all the sellers who have probably hoped as much as myself that the site will ‘fly’! Without their constant support and advice, I wouldn’t have got this far. I still vow to keep commission rates to a minimum and to make the whole selling experience an affordable and enjoyable one. I also will continue to offer features and opportunities that the ‘more costly’ competitors offer their sellers … I have no overheads as such, other than this laptop that I am typing on, and by having an automated website that pretty much does everything for me, I don’t have the worry of thinking about staff and offices (and the costs associated with these). I believe that once you start thinking about employees and premises you have to change the way you think regarding your business, as you 21
are committing to pay wages, rent … To me, this is when it becomes a job – and I don’t want that! I want to work from home, have the freedom to take an afternoon off – yet work late at night or during the weekend when needed – I don’t want a 9-5 job! My children (aged 6 and 4) benefit from having mummy at home all the time and we can go away on family holidays, just as long as there’s a good Wi-Fi pick up wherever we go! I firmly believe that there’s no limit as to how far WowThankYou can go – we don’t need plush offices to prove our success! Some people see this as a lack of ambition (WowThankYou has lost out on some business awards because of this I believe) – but I see this as my way of keeping my commitment to sellers of having a low costs selling platform. You’re helping me grow the site and establish the brand – why should you then pay more for the same service just because we’ve hit the big time? It doesn’t make sense to me … there’s nothing I can’t do with perhaps some ad hoc freelance assistance – we can be as successful as the best of them, but I don’t have to sit in a posh chair in a contemporary office block to achieve it! I love being part of WowThankYou – especially now it’s doing so well J Where next? Simple – more of the same, with yet more refinements. The lesson I’ve learned since those early days back in 2010 is that there will never been an end point – a website of this nature has to keep up with technology and therefore will be constantly changing and advancing. So long as the funds are in place to make the changes, the changes will continue to be made! Without giving too much away, we have plans to perhaps launch versions of WowThankYou into new markets, we are constantly looking at possible strategic alliances that will benefit the brand as well as the sellers, and we’re not frightened to think outside the box and trial new ideas. At the end of the day, sellers are happy if they get sales, and I’m happy as I get the commission to put back into the website J I’ve recently dipped my toe into the world of Blogger and have set up a blog about me … it’s not all about WowThankYou, because there is more to me than this website you know! It’s still early days and I’ve a lot to learn with how it all works etc. – but please do take a look, all nice comments will be most welcome! http://ohwowtracey.blogspot.co.uk To end this article I’m going to tell you a secret … Earlier this year, at the time when I was putting together a business plan for bank loans, I was approached by an agent working on behalf of a large High Street organisation enquiring whether I’d be interested in selling WowThankYou. Rather thrown by the whole thing, I played it cool to find out more, and the figure they mentioned was over three times the amount that I was hoping to raise at the bank! It would have paid me back with a handsome profit, but they mentioned buying the ‘goodwill’ that I’d built with my sellers … and I didn’t like that at all. And I said NO. I have too much emotion invested into WowThankYou to see it swallowed up by a big brand, and I don’t want to see it go … so please carry on supporting me and the website, and let’s see how far we can take it together – deal? J If you are not yet a seller on WowThankYou, pop over to Creative Connections – you might just find a tempting joining promotion … Have a great Christmas – there’s still time to buy last minute stocking fillers on WowThankYou, wink wink xxx
Written by Tracey Kifford from www.wowthankyou.co.uk 22
Written by Clare Chanter from Thread Bare
wooly bears santa card
Wooly Bears Santa Bear Stamp by Kanban Annâ€™s Paper Art Pattern a391 White Pearlescent Card 6x6 White Card Holly & Snowflake Papers from Dovecraft Back to Basics Christmas 6x6 Paper Pack - Vintage Impress Ink Pad Black
Tape Paper Pricking Tool Needle Foam Mat Red, Green & Gold Embroidery Thread Promarkers : Hat -Berry Red, Poppy, Red Bear - Caramel, Cinnamon, Cocoa, Tan, Cool Grey 1 Ranger Ice Stickles â€“ Silver Ice Flowers Sentiment
Step 1. Using your Paper Pricker, transfer the pattern onto your pearlescent card. Then, using your red thread, stitch the spiral patterns. You will need to come up at hole 1, down hole 5. Up hole 6, down hole 2, etc.
Step 2. Next, using Green, stitch the inner & outer circles.
Step 3. Then lastly, stitch with the gold. Tidy up the back of your stitching. Place some strips of sellotape across to stop the ends from moving.
Step 5. To create your base card, take a 6x6 plain white card. Trim down the holly paper so a white border shows around the card. Cut the snowflake paper to 12x12cms.
Step 4. Ink up your stamp & stamp onto white paper. Colour in using Promarkers.
Step 6. Using a circle cutter, cut around your stitching, making sure you leave a 5mm border. This is to prevent the holes being cut into. Layer your pieces onto your base card.
Step 7. Carefully cut round your bear, cutting off his legs so he sits within the circle. Place him in the inner circle with his hat slightly over the edge. Add Silver Ice Stickles to his hat & pompom.
Step 8. To finish the card off use Flowers & a Sentiment, all highlighted with the Stickles.
Beautiful Handmade Gemstone Flower Necklace Featuring large flowers (each around 5-6cm) handmade with genuine violetstone and chrycosolla gemstones and wirework on Folksy www.folksy.com/shops/UniquelyGorgeous £40
Multi gemstone necklace Multi Gemstone Wire Wrapped Necklace 14k Gold Filled Amethyst Lemon Quartz Ametrine Citrine Peridot Handmade Gemstone Nugget Cluster on Etsy www.etsy.com/shop/KGeddesCreations
Heart Charm Bracelet Abeautifully detailed oriental style dragon curled around a 16mm genuine Snowflake Obsidian gemstone. Obsidian Snowflake and Hematite. on Wow Thank You
Quartz and Jasper Multi Gemstone Bracelet Can't decide what color bracelet to wear...Then this stunning multi color quartz and jasper gemstone bracelet is the right choice on Etsy
$15 Chakra Cleansing Bracelet This beautiful bracelet is crafted using , Citrine, Amethyst, Bloodstone and Clear Quartz Gemstones. Topaz, Golden Shadow and Siam Red Swarovski Crystal and galvanised gold seed beads WowThankYou www.mysticearth.co.uk
c i g a M l Crysta
£12.99 Items discovered for you by The Crystal Lady from www.mysticearth.co.uk 26
Meet the fabulous husband and wife team based in Ireland that are
Tell us about the creators behind Scent Cosmetics ScENT is a husband & wife team. Carla, is a Brazillian with a love for Ireland. She came over here as a missionary in 2004 to work in a meat factory with Portuguese speakers. Towards the end of the 7 month placement she met me and whether it was for a visa, or for the love of the Irish brogue, she decided to return a year later to marry. Her career background is in hospital management, social care & community development - but she has always had an interest in paper-craft, make-up, and crafts in general. Carla is the soap artist. She spends her days in the lab perfecting her art whilst enviously gazing out the window to see her three male counterparts bouncing about on the trampoline.
I'm Garreth, and I guess if trying to narrow my expertise into a job title, I’d say I’m a social entrepreneur. It just about covers me as a coach, facilitator, community worker, home-maker/child-carer, baker and occasional soap-maker. My background is equally varied. I used to be a television presenter, pastor, community & youth worker to name but a few. A degree in Theology has yet to have any use in soap-making but perhaps one day… Together we are parents of two boys: Eli, aged 31/2 and Tobin, 1. We live in Cloughey on the Ards peninsula of Northern Ireland. It is a beautiful, if somewhat isolated, spot on the east coast of Ireland. We live right on the beach in my father’s house where he has kindly allowed us to live rent free in order to get our little business up and running. When did you first begin creating your designs, and why? We took a decision in 2010 to move on from our previous community work positions – in part due to funding and to the feeling that we had lost the support of the very people we were trying to help. The decision left us homeless, jobless and with no real idea of what was coming next. Instead of waiting around for a job when unemployment was rising rapidly – we decided to go to Brazil for a few months to be with family. In Brazil I was struck by the entrepreneurial spirit of those who couldn’t rely on a benefit system. People with no money so to speak but able to sell home-made cleaning products, crafts, soaps, candles, patchwork, sweets etc., all in an attempt to generate some much needed income for their family. I was struck by how we in the UK have lost this knowledge. How many of us know how to make a soap or a laundry detergent? 27
I had always been an ethical shopper but something struck my inner conscious. I really resented spending money for global companies to squander on advertising. I began dreaming about how we should be able to make things, rediscover some “old-wives knowledge” in a bid to adapting them into social business. My sister-in-law found a course in soap-making in Sao Paulo just before we were due to return home and as it was in Portuguese, we decided that Carla should really be the one to sit in on the course. So my desire for learning crafts became Carla’s interest also. To be honest she is far more artistic than me. I can come up with ideas but making them become a reality was never going to be my strength, so the right person got to learn about a new craft. We got home and looked around at what other soap-makers were doing and realized that we had something unique for the UK market. Initially we needed to generate some income and began by making the normal soap bars that are typical of most soapers as a means of raising enough money to make the items which we were passionate about items that set us apart from other’s. Our fruit soaps, stone soaps and a few of our novelty soaps (Irish Sheep/Stout) are the soaps we are most passionate about promoting, in part because it demonstrates our speciality and also because it tends to reflect a Brazillian/Irish influence. We love organic and fair-trade, so whenever possible we tend to use such ingredients in our soaps. What is it that you enjoy about your work? Self-employment carries with it many mixed blessings but there is no doubt that the aspect we are most thankful for is the short commute over a few blades of grass in order to work in the lab and being able to always be together as a family for lunches, tea-time and bed-times. We also enjoy the flexibility of exercising hospitality whenever anyone drops in, as well as being able to drop everything should the need arise. There is little doubt that this last year has equipped us to grow together as a family. It is a blessing we can never take for granted. I enjoy coming up with ideas for soap - I also enjoy the networking, the on-line community and developing the vision of how this can morph into a social business in the future. Carla:
What is your biggest crafting achievement, and why? Carla: I
Other than your crafting, what else do you like to do? Garreth:
If you had to choose your favourite from your creations which one would it be? Carla:
Where does your inspiration come from? Much of our inspiration comes from our cultural identity. Occasionally we have friends come up with something indirectly which sparks our imagination and more often than not, Carla and I can be sitting reading or watching something when one of us is struck by another possible soap idea to manufacture. At the minute I think I have about 20 or so ideas still to attempt. Carla: I also get some of my inspiration from music. I have 3 creations that were inspired by music and Iâ€™m glad that my brain can associate fragrance and sound this way to create something you can see, touch and smell. 29
If you could change one thing about what you do, what would it be? Glycerin & Packaging. I know that this is actually two things but they are connected. Glycerin has a tendency to sweat in humid conditions and dry out in dry hot conditions. It means that until using the soap, it really has to remain wrapped. This means packaging is crucial in ensuring the soap can be seen, used for display purposes and leave enough space for labelling. Fulfilling the cosmetic legislation placed upon soapers is quite something. It has quite frankly been a nightmarishly arduous journey to get to the stage where we can say we are finally happy about how we present our soaps. Packaging is so costly and unless you have capital to invest – it is difficult to get it right. I’d love to have the capital to invest in packaging. Carla:
Do you have a favourite website? Carla:
Has any person helped or supported you more than any other? People really invest in this business baby-sitting, ironing and bringing some lunch in a busy week, making endless wooden work and designs. We appreciate it so much. But if we HAVE TO mention one person it would be my Aunt Jenny (AKA Jennifer Hunter). Jennifer runs a small B&B in Killinchy, Northern Ireland known as “Hunter’s Lodge”. It has been our home upon returning from Brazil, the place we launched from and continue to sell from, as well as the venue for many of our workshops. It is also through Jenny we received investment, advice and weekly visits to baby-sit. Quite frankly without her – there wouldn’t be any Scent. Tell us a random fact about yourselves!
Carla, her twin and I share the same birthday albeit I’m one year older but in keeping with the randomness theme - her brother also shares the same birthday. He is effectively my twin... It is also the same day that Carla’s grandfather celebrated his birthday! Currently in our extended family 5 people celebrate their birthdays on the same date. It made choosing our wedding date extremely easy! I can remember everyone’s birthday and our own anniversary extremely easily.
www.scentcosmetics.blogspot.com www.pinterest.com/scentcosmetics www.facebook.com/scentcosmetics www.twitter.com/scentcosmetics Also on Wanelo, WowThankYou, Etsy, Folksy, Tosouk and StumbleUpon 30
KITCHEN CAPERS ith Gil w
Being in charge of Christmas lunch can be daunting. Whether it’s your first time cooking for the family or you’re a past master, there’s always a whole lot going on and expectations, not least your own, are invariably high. I love to cook, but I know my passion isn’t shared by everyone. So to help you along, here is my guide to making Christmas lunch enjoyable to make and to eat for everyone. First things first – get organised. · Have a clear out – check your cupboards and freezer. Get organised and begin to use up what you have frozen so you’ll have room to store your festive foods. · Plan ahead –Grab a coffee, and take an hour out of your day. Work out how often you will be cooking for visitors during the Christmas week, and how many people you’re cooking for on the big day. Do this at the beginning of December, if you can before all the rushing around starts. This gives you plenty of time to plan what to make and what you can do in advance to be prepared. · Shopping lists – I love lists, perhaps a little too much, but now is the time when lists come into their own. You don’t want to have to go last minute food shopping; we all know what a nightmare that can be. Write yourself proper shopping lists well in advance and pin them up in your kitchen. You can then add to your lists as and when you need to. Stock up on sundries – make sure you have plenty of tin foil, cling film, baking parchment, plastic containers and freezer bags. Disposable foil baking trays also make life a whole lot easier. Just think of all the washing up saved. Christmas lunch top tips: · Don’t bother with a starter. Have drinks and some little savoury nibbles instead. Starters are just too much work, with far too much clearing up and besides, everyone’s just waiting for the main attraction anyway. · Serve two meats for the main course. I think turkey looks great but doesn’t have the best flavour and needs a little help. Goose is rich and benefits from something savoury to compliment. And it means your options for follow on recipes are much more varied, interesting and tasty. · Give goose a go. If you feel like pushing the boat out, give goose a go. It’s really easy to cook, tastes heavenly and you’ll get the best fat for your roast potatoes too. · If you’re making Christmas lunch just for two, have Guinea Fowl. It’s just the right size, it feels a little special and above all it’s delicious! Just follow the same prep as for the turkey and adjust the cooking time accordingly. · Don’t stuff the turkey. I think it cooks better and stays moist when it isn’t stuffed as there’s less cooking time. I find the stuffing from inside the bird isn’t good to eat anyway; it doesn’t look very appetising and it can be quite greasy so I always cook my stuffing separately. · Serve a wide variety of vegetables. That way you can make sure everyone likes at least one thing and for those who don’t eat meat there’s still plenty to eat (make sure you use vegetable oil for roasting). · Sprouts do not take 5 hours to cook. Make your sprouts sing by giving them the respect they deserve; if you don’t overcook them, they won’t smell and they’ll taste great. And if you can, buy them on the stem – kids are fascinated. · Self-service . Put the turkey and trimmings on a serving platter, the vegetables in serving dishes and let everyone help themselves while someone carves the turkey – the food will stay hotter that way and it’s 31
more fun and less work for you. Make sure all plates and serving dishes are piping hot to keep everything nice and warm. · Make lots of gravy and keep some warm in case anyone wants extra, which they invariably will! · And finally, ban everyone from the kitchen until you need them! May sound harsh, but it’s better than having people get under your feet when you’re busy. The night before - do as much of the prep as you can. You can chill out with a glass of wine, take your time and still have everything sorted in a couple of hours. It’ll save you so much time and stress the next day. And when there are visitors to see and presents to open, you don’t want to be stuck in the kitchen all day. · First, cook the ham. You can get everything else done while the ham is cooking. · Get the turkey or goose out of the fridge, remove the plastic coverings and giblets, dry with kitchen paper, cover loosely with a sheet of foil and leave somewhere cool overnight. · Make the giblet stock for the gravy. · Make the stuffing and roll into balls or place in a loaf tin ready to bake. · Prepare the pigs in blankets and place in a foil tray ready to bake. · Make the cranberry sauce, place in a serving dish, leave to cool and cover with cling film. · Peel and chop the vegetables (except the potatoes and celeriac) ready to cook, pop them into freezer bags and store in the fridge. · Remove the butter from the fridge. Room temperature butter will be much easier to deal with. · And finally, if you can, set the table ready for dinner.
Family Christmas lunch menu for 8 served with: Chestnut, bacon and mushroom stuffing; pigs in blankets and turkey gravy – roasted red onion, pepper and goats cheese tart served with: Cranberry stuffed apples; figs in blankets; Cheddar, sage and onion croquettes; and rich vegetable gravy
Roast potatoes and parsnips; sprouts with bacon and chestnuts; carrots with orange and thyme; celeriac puree; and broccoli and green beans with almonds and parsley
Preheat the oven to 190oC Prepare the turkey
Turkey/goose in the oven
Baste the turkey / drain off the goose fat
· fat · the ·
Baste the turkey / turn the goose over and drain off the Remove the foil and the bacon and pop the turkey back in oven / turn the goose over and drain off the fat Turkey / goose is ready
Turn the oven up to 200oC Make the bread sauce
Peel and parboil the potatoes
· · · ·
Potatoes and stuffing (loaf) in the oven Make the gravy and the celeriac puree Stuffing, pigs in blankets, parsnips, stuffing ( balls)/ apples, tarts, figs and croquettes in the oven Prepare and cook the rest of the vegetable side dishes
Tarts and figs out of the oven
· · · ·
Everything else out of the oven Heat the serving dishes and plates Heat the gravy and the celeriac puree Plate up, carve and serve
Recipes Mustard glazed ham
· · · · ·
Place the ham in a large deep stock pot with an onion, a stick of celery, a carrot, 2 bay leaves, some thyme sprigs and a few peppercorns. Cover with water and put on a lid. Bring to the boil and simmer until cooked through and tender (around 2 hours for a large ham joint). Remove the ham from the pan and place on a baking tray double lined with strong tin foil. Remove the skin and most of the fat from the ham. Score the fat in a diamond pattern, sprinkle with 2 tbsp mustard powder and smear with 2 tbsp black treacle. Bake in a very hot oven for 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and wrap loosely in the foil. Roast turkey
Place a long sheet of tin foil in the bottom of the roasting pan. Place another sheet of foil across from this one to form a large cross. Place a roasting rack on top. Loosen the skin from the turkey breast with your fingertips and smear the butter between the skin and the breast meat. Place a few sage leaves under the skin. Place bay leaves, sprigs of thyme and two halved lemons inside the cavity. Smear the outside of the turkey with butter and cover the breast and legs with crisscrossed streaky bacon rashers. Place the turkey on the rack. Bring the edges of foil together and fold over to form a loose fitting cover and put in the oven at 190oC. Cook as per the recommended timings depending on size. Baste the turkey every hour. Remove the foil, and take off the bacon for the last 30 mins cooking time. When ready, remove from the oven, cover loosely again with foil and leave to rest. A large turkey can happily sit for 2 hours and stay hot if properly covered. Roast goose
Place a long sheet of tin foil in the bottom of the roasting pan. Place another sheet of foil across from this one to form a large cross. Place a roasting rack on top. Prick the skin all over the goose using a skewer. Place sprigs of thyme and rosemary, and the onions and apples inside the cavity. Smear the outside of the goose with butter and cover the legs with foil. Place the goose on the rack. Bring the edges of foil together and fold over to form a loose fitting cover and put in the oven at 190oC. Cook as per the recommended timings depending on size. Turn the goose over every hour and carefully drain off and reserve the excess fat. Remove the foil for the last 30 mins cooking time. When ready, remove from the oven, cover loosely again with foil and leave to rest. A large goose can happily sit for 2 hours and stay hot if properly covered. 33
Chestnut, bacon and mushroom stuffing
· · · · · · ·
Chop the bacon, chestnuts and mushrooms and finely chop the shallots and garlic Cover the porcini mushrooms with boiling water and leave to soak for 30 minutes. Then drain and chop finely. Sauté the chopped bacon, mushrooms and shallots until golden. Add the garlic and soften for 2 minutes. Transfer to a plate to cool completely. Place the sausage meat, breadcrumbs, chopped chestnuts and thyme and sage in a large mixing bowl. Season very well with salt and pepper, and add a pinch of mace. Mix thoroughly. Add the porcini, bacon, mushrooms and shallots and mix well. Place in a foil lined loaf tin, or shape into balls and place on a foil tray / baking sheet. Bake for 30 minutes (balls), 50 minutes (loaf). Check the stuffing is piping hot throughout. Pigs in Blankets
Place the streaky bacon in a single layer between two sheets of cling film. Using rolling pin, roll the bacon lengthways to stretch the rashers. Cut the rashers in half if you are using mini chipolatas. Wrap the bacon around the sausage and place on a baking / foil tray with the bacon edge tucked under. Bake for 30 minutes. Roast potatoes and parsnips
· · · · · ·
Put the goose fat or vegetable oil on a foil / baking tray and preheat in the oven. Peel the potatoes and cut into large chunks. Peel the parsnips, cut in half lengthways and then cut each half in two. Parboil the potatoes for 5 minutes in well salted water. Drain, and give the pan a good shake to rough up the edges. Place the potatoes in the hot fat, turn to coat and bake for 15 minutes. Add the parsnips to the tray, turn everything to coat and bake for a further 30 minutes. Sprouts with Bacon and Chestnuts
· · ·
Parboil the trimmed sprouts for 5 minutes and drain. Sauté the chopped bacon and chestnuts until golden. Add the spouts with a splash of sherry, a knob of butter and some chopped parsley and cook for 2 minutes.
· · ·
Peel the celeriac and cut into 2cm cubes. Place the cubed celeriac in a saucepan and cover with warmed milk. Leave for an hour. Drain off the milk. Return the celeriac to a clean saucepan along with a bay leaf. Peel and quarter the potatoes, add to the pan and water to just cover. Bring to the boil and simmer until tender. Drain and either press through a potato ricer or whizz with a stick blender. Add 2 tbsp of crème fraiche, a knob of butter and season with freshly grated nutmeg, salt and pepper. Carrots with orange and thyme
· · ·
Steam or boil the carrots until tender. Drain and return to the saucepan. Add a knob of butter, orange juice and some fresh thyme leaves. Pop the lid on and simmer for 2 minutes. Give the pan a gentle shake to make sure all the carrots are coated in the citrus butter. Broccoli and green beans with almonds and parsley
· · ·
Toast the almonds in a dry pan until golden Steam the broccoli and beans until just tender, drain and place in a warmed serving dish Sprinkle with the toasted almonds, a squeeze of lemon juice and fresh chopped parsley Cranberry, orange and port sauce
Place all of the ingredients in a small heavy based saucepan. · Simmer gently until the cranberries begin to burst and reduce to a syrupy consistency. · Carefully taste the sauce and add extra sugar if needed, stirring gently until the sugar dissolves.
· · ·
First infuse the milk; simmer gently in a saucepan with a peeled onion studded with cloves, a bay leaf and peppercorns. Set aside to cool, then remove the onion and seasonings. Pour the infused milk into a clean saucepan and add the breadcrumbs, a pinch of mace and a pinch of freshly grated nutmeg. Simmer gently until the sauce thickens. Whisk in a knob of butter, a tbsp of crème fraiche and season well. 35
· · · · ·
Place the giblets in a large sauce pan with the vegetables, herbs and peppercorns. Cover with water, bring to the boil and simmer for at least an hour. Strain into a jug. Skim off the fat from the turkey roasting tray, leaving around 2 tbsps in the tray. Place over a medium heat and whisk in the flour and stock cube to form a paste. Whisk in the wine to loosen the paste and gradually whisk in the stock. Whisk in the redcurrant jelly and stir over the heat until the gravy thickens. Let it simmer for 5 minutes then add more stock as required. Roasted red onion, pepper and goats cheese tarts
Peel the onions, halve and slice finely. Place in a pan with a little olive oil, a knob of butter and the sugar. Cover and leave to soften over a low heat for around 10 minutes. Add the port and continue to simmer until reduced to a marmalade consistency. Leave to cool. Open out the peppers and cut out rounds using a 10cm cutter and cut the goats cheese logs into 2cm slices. Roll out the pastry to 5mm thickness .Cut into rounds using a 15cm cutter and place on a baking tray lined with baking parchment. Save the pastry scraps for the figs in blankets. Put a generous spoonful of the red onion marmalade on each pastry round and spread evenly leaving a 1cm gap around the pastry edge. Place a pepper round on top of the onion marmalade, and add a slice of goats cheese Sprinkle with some fresh thyme leaves, season with black pepper and drizzle with a little olive oil.
Bake in a 200oC oven for 15-20 minutes until the pastry is risen and golden brown
· · ·
Cranberry stuffed apples
· · ·
Place all of the ingredients except the apples in a saucepan over a medium heat. Simmer until the cranberries plump up and the liquid is almost evaporated. Core the apples and run a knife around the “equator” of the apple to split the skin. Place in a foil lined baking dish and stuff each apple with the cranberry mixture. Bake for around 30 minutes until the apples are soft. Figs in blankets
· · · · ·
Roll out the puff pastry to 5mm thickness and cut into 2cm strips Cut a deep cross into the top of each fig and squeeze the base to open up the fig. Place the opened figs on a foil lined tray and wrap a pastry strip around each fig. Put a cube of stilton and a walnut into the top of each fig and drizzle with maple syrup. Bake for 15-20 minutes until the pastry is golden.
Cheddar, sage and onion croquettes
· · · · · ·
Fry the onion in the butter until golden and place in a mixing bowl. Add the mashed potato, cheese and 1 tbsp sage. Season well and mix thoroughly. In a small bowl mix the breadcrumbs with the parmesan, olive oil and 1 tbsp sage. Shape potato mix into chunky sausages around 10cm long. Coat each sausage in seasoned flour, then beaten egg and finally the breadcrumb mix. Put the croquettes on foil lined baking tray and pop in the fridge for 30 mins to firm up. Bake for 30 mins until golden brown and crisp. Rich vegetable gravy
· · · ·
Fry the onion in the butter and oil in a covered pan until golden brown. Whizz the onion with a stick blender to a puree. Place the pan back over a medium heat and whisk in the flour to form a paste. Whisk in a splash of sherry to loosen the paste and gradually whisk in the stock. Whisk in the redcurrant jelly and stir over the heat until the gravy thickens. Let it simmer for 5 minutes then add more stock as required.
KITCHEN CAPERS with Gill
I hope you enjoy my recipes. Why not follow my blog for other festive foodie treats http://personal-space-interiors.blogspot.co.uk Image sources: Onion: http://www.thedailyspud.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/12/onionforbreadsauce.gif Pigs in blankets: http://tomwebster25.files.wordpress.com/2010/11/piggies-in-blankets.jpg Carrots: http://i.yummly.com/Pan-Braised-Carrots-with-Orange-and-Rosemary-Recipe-Leite_s-Culinaria-42351-8591.l.png Celeriac: http://www.gastronomydomine.com/uploaded_images/celeriac-751863.jpg Sprouts: http://www.rivercottage.net/var/members/member51655/roasted-brussels-sprouts-fd-lg-1.jpg Sprouts on stems: http://savethekales.files.wordpress.com/2010/12/brussels-sprouts1.jpeg Turkey: http://greenroom.asda.com/assets/attachments/12561/player/Turkey_edit.jpg Goose: http://www.bbcgoodfood.com/content/knowhow/glossary/goose/image.jpg Figs: http://heapnose.files.wordpress.com/2010/02/figs2.jpg Apples: http://theordinarycook.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2009/11/baked-apples.jpg
Written by Clare from Elderberry Arts
Snow Quartz Christmas Angel Keyring Wire cutters Round nosed Pliers
Split ring with chain key ring 2.4 cm angel wing 4.5 cm head pin 6 mm snow quartz bead 8 mm snow quartz bead
Step 1. Create the angel by placing the beads onto the head pin in the following order: 8 mm snow quartz bead, angel wings and then the 6 mm snow quartz bead.
Step 2. Bend over the head pin above the 6 mm bead and trim so there is approximately 1 cm remaining.
Step 3. Use the round nosed pliers to create a loop with the end of the head pin.
Snow Quartz Snow quartz is sometimes also known as milky quartz. It is a calming and gentle stone that is thought to enhance meditation and to ease emotional outbursts. Snow quartz is believed to help with mental stress and improve concentration. Step 4. Open the ring on the end of the key ring finding and attach the angel by the loop created in step 3. Close the loop.
These angels could also be used to make pendants. By using 6 mm and 4 mm beads a smaller angel can also be created and used to make matching earrings. 38
Get to know â€Ś.
Tell us about the lady behind JJ Creations My love for horses began at an early age, as a seven year old watching Black Beauty on the television. I managed to persuade my parents to take me to riding lessons and eventually saved enough to help buy my own pony. I spent my teenage years volunteering in racing stables and showing yards, teaching myself to draw and photograph horses capturing their characters in art. It is a passion I have carried through to my Miniature Rocking Horses.
www.jjcreations.co When did you first begin creating your designs and why? For a few years now I have been making unique miniature rocking horses for dolls' houses mainly for friends and family and I have sold a few on E-bay and Etsy. Originally I was decorating my own doll's house and was disappointed with the choice of rocking horses available, so started to experiment with my own designs. Eventually after ending up with a rocking horse in every doll's house room, including the bathroom, I realised how much I enjoyed creating miniature nursery items and decided to expand. Since November 2011, I have taken things a step further and started JJ Creations. After twenty years as head nurse in a busy veterinary practice, I decided to take the plunge, become self employed and become active in something I had spent my whole life wanting to do... create! I specialise in an exclusive range of jewellery, mohair bags, miniature rocking horses, hand sewn collectors bears and other nursery miniatures. Every gift is a unique one of a kind item, lovingly handmade by myself. 39
www.facebook.com/HandmadebyJJCreations www.handmadeshopping.co.uk/jjcreations www.etsy.com/shop/JulieJasper1
What is it that you enjoy about your work? My true passion is with dolls houses, horses and making things, so the creation of miniature rocking horses is the perfect way to combine all my hobbies! As an added bonus I can now work around school hours and help my husband run his flooring company. What is your biggest crafting achievement, and why? I was incredibly honoured to have the popular magazine Dolls House World feature my miniature rocking horses in August 2012. Thinking I was going to get maybe half a page of coverage, I was over the moon when they published a four page, full length feature about JJ Creations! I do admit to going into my local WH Smith and pre ordering three copies, just to make sure I didn't miss out! If you had to choose your favourite from your creations which one would it be? Without a doubt I would have to choose one of my miniature rocking horse unicorns. I love mystical, magical romanticism, so anything that is also horsey, is a real love of mine! I have made a pegasus rocking horse too, but I am not yet happy with the stability of the wings, so this need some further investigation! If you could change one thing about what you do, what would it be? I think in an ideal world I would like my mind to stop working on ten different projects at the same time, and just concentrate on one!! But that is never going to happen! So realistically I'd have to settle for wishing I had more space to enable me to work on those ten projects simultaneously!
Other than crafting, what else do you like to do? I love to bake! Cakes, biscuits, savouries, anything... I just love to cook! This hobby I try to fulfil by helping a friend in her successful bakery when I get the chance! I have a strong passion for animals and love to spend time walking my dogs with my young son, and taking photographs of the beautiful surroundings and wildlife. All things that so often get taken for granted. Where does your inspiration come from? Being a horse lover I have many photographic books that I indulge in browsing through. Quite often when I start to create a miniature rocking horse I don't set out for it to be a certain breed, shape or colour but just go with whatever feels right when I mix the paints, airbrush the many base coats, add the shading and then hand paint the finer detail. I am also very inspired by The Waterbug Story. Having lost good friends and family over the years, it is an emotional piece of writing that is very close to my heart. Therefore I find Dragonflies are a huge inspiration in my jewellery making. Do you have a favourite website? I love handmade shopping websites! My favourite would have to be http://www.handmadeshopping.co.uk The raw talent and immense effort that goes into making these gorgeous individual items never fails to humble me and makes me proud to call the crafters my friends and colleagues - not to mention the huge support that radiates from such a lovely group of people. Has any person helped or supported you more than any other? I have to say my husband [not just because it makes me look good! ] He stood by my decision to give up my full time job, take a risk and become self employed doing something I have always wanted to do. He has had complete faith in me and my creativity. Tell us a random fact about yourself! I am a qualified scuba diver! My husband and I once had a deal, many years ago, that if he learnt to ride a horse, I would learn to scuba dive!
Julie x 41
Written by Angela from Angel Crafts
One pair of 3.25mm double pointed needles Dark green yarn in DK Small amount of red yarn for bow.
1. Start by casting on 3 sts. 2. Knit one row (Do not turn the work). 3. Slide stitches to other side of needle. 4. Carry on in this way until the cord measures around 16 in. 5. Cut yarn and thread through tapestry needle. Thread through stitches on needle, pull to close, tighten and fasten off.
6. Fold the cord in half and twist. Bring the two ends together to form a circle and sew together, leaving a tail of thread. 7. Make a bow using the red yarn. 8. Sew or glue bow into place, then make a loop using the green yarn.
And now you have made your Xmas Wreath. I use 3.25mm needles to make these, but of course, you can choose to use different size needles.
Tina in the Garden H
i! I'm Tina, Welcome to the garden.
Do come in and make yourselves comfortable. It's a little chilly this morning, the kettle is on and the custard creams are at the ready. While we enjoy them let's have a look at some of the plants which have been appearing in the garden since your last visit at the end of August. The above photos were taken in October. Now, of course, it is the first week in November so there are the last of the summer colours to enjoy. The trees have kept their leaves for longer this year, perhaps as a result of all the rain. Some of the bedding plants were too good to take out when the time came for planting the bulbs and wallflowers, so I left them in and planted in between I can always replace them
later with some winter pansies or primroses. The patio has really been beautiful this year, and I managed to enjoy the odd cup of tea between the showers. The roses are from the garden. I must show you more of the roses. These photos were taken about mid October, as I have cut them down lower now to avoid them being caught by the winter winds which loosens the roots. They grew so amazingly tall this summer I almost needed a step ladder to cut them and some were definitely above my head. As I have mentioned before, I do plant the pieces which I cut off but not if they have carried a flower. Just put them in pot as you would any other cutting and leave them in a sheltered spot, or if you have the space, straight in the garden. Of course there is no guarantee they will root, because in gardening, as with other things, we have to have hope. But over the years I have been very lucky. You can label the cutting, noting the colour or just plant them and have a surprise when they flower. The hydrangeas are still good but have changed colour to fit into the Autumn landscape.
As you can see by the photo of the drive (on the right) we saw the full beauty of them, followed by the nerines which were a little later coming into flower this year. The drive is still very wet and although we have a 4x4, my better half had to put on some wood chippings as we were finding it difficult to get up. We have never experienced this before - just shows how much rain we have had. September
I have never known an autumn when there has been so much water in the stream. It is already full to capacity and you can actually see the water in the bog. The photo, which I like to call â€˜no barbecue todayâ€™, was taken early October but could have been any time this summer. The rain, however, has made the plants very happy and they have grown very well. The Russian vine has covered the seat and is trying to cover the fence as well. I had to cut it back just to get to the seat. Needless to say the watering can in the picture was not used this year, but it is always there if we need to use it as we take water from the stream nearby. No Barbecue today! It has not been a good year for fruit,. The blossom came out early and then it turned cold. The wind swept across the garden and killed them all except for two apple trees which were protected by formium that wonderful versatile plant which we have used all over the garden for its beauty, but it is useful too. So we did have a few apples, not to many crab apples though. We did have some lovely butterflies. The rest of the summer was so wet for the poor things but the few sunny autumn days gave them a chance.
Here is a true sign of Autumn - the Michaelmas daisies. The bees and the butterflies just love them. The Pampas is out again in all its glory, it's soft plumes waving in the breeze. It never fails to amaze me that after the rain it looks just like a bedraggled feather duster, and in no time after the rain is gone, the wind blows it out again all soft and fluffy. Seed heads have their own beauty too as you can see from the artichokes. I do not pick them for, although I do like the taste, I cannot seem to get the hang of cooking them correctly. They are always hard and stringy, so I just enjoy the spectacular show they give as plants every single year. The hawthorn is sporting lots of berries again this year but the holly trees do not seem to have many. The main holly was in a hedge which did get a little out of hand and had to be seriously cut down. Moving all the trimmings, or should I say branches, down to the copse was not an easy job. My better half said it was the best workout heâ€™d had in a long time. Although he added that maybe we should not leave it so long to cut it next time. I did take a photo as the whole of the patio was covered with foliage, but unfortunately as I took it from the conservatory there were a lot of reflections. Just goes to prove once again that I am a gardener not a photographer, so you will I am afraid have to use your imagination, which I know as crafters you have in abundance. As you all are very talented crafters I have not done a Christmas project this year. I will leave it to the professionals, and will just add a few more photos of The Garden. How about this one of the Honeysuckle at sunset? It is lovely and a little different .
Shall we just have a walk out through the Autumn garden before you leave? I am pleased that you all bought your wellies - you will need them as it is a little damp. May I just take the opportunity to thank you all for taking the time to visit again with me in the garden. It has been a pleasure as always. This time before Christmas is a very busy time for you all, with business as well as the normal preparations for Christmas, which in themselves can be stressful enough. So just take a break now and then, have a cup of tea or whatever takes your fancy, look out of your window at your garden, be it trees, flowers or grass. If you are in a flat look out at the sky or a beautiful vase of flowers; nature will give you a little peace. I am sure you will work better and it will stimulate your creative spirit. So from me, Tina and my better, half I wish you all a very successful and happy Christmas and a prosperous New Year, and look forward to seeing you all again for the first visit of the new year to the garden. Your green fingered friend, 47
In the Spotlight with
mr x stitch This issue we meet: This issue I am pleased to present Erin Riley – super weaver! Name: Erin M Riley Medium: Tapestry What’s your story? I am a Scorpio, a middle child, I’m vegan. Oh, I went to art college for fibers in Boston, Massachusetts where I learned to weave freshman year and never stopped weaving since. I went to graduate school and kept weaving tapestries and since then I have continued weaving and making new work. My technique is always changing and hopefully getting better as I grow as a weaver and artist. I have been pretty obsessed with traumatic events, drug use and the issues that surround growing up as a woman who didn’t have a father figure. My work touches on many issues, but I believe they all go together. What’s your favourite piece of work thus far? So far I would have to say my favorite is Passed Out from 2011. It’s just the right amount of sad that I love. What do you find challenging? Making work on the same theme over and over again, I think it’s somewhat necessary to touch on the same things and learn something from each new piece but I tend to want to rush through and move on to a new subject. I am working on doing more similar pieces. Any advice for newbies? Don’t give up! Be positive and try to find the resources that are out there for artists.
Best Craft Markets and Craft Shops in Europe
urope is full of inspiration for crafters, from the beautiful festive markets in November and December to the eyecatching local products that you just have to bring back home as souvenirs. Here are some of the best destinations to give you some great ideas. Christmas Markets ·
Berlin has some of the longest-running markets, typically from the end of November until New Year’s Eve, meaning there’s plenty of time to browse through glass ornaments, wood carvings and old-fashion toys on the stalls. Christmas trees are a German tradition so there’s no better place to get into the spirit than to visit the 20ft tree at the Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church market. A Christmassy visit to Prague wouldn’t be complete without seeing Wenceslas Square, where one of the bigger markets takes place. Yes, Prague was the home of the famous Good King Wenceslas from the carol, and it’s also where you’ll find the city’s iconic puppets and marionettes – one of the best craft gifts you can bring back for children. Austria is another popular choice, with Vienna and Salzburg boasting a wide array of stalls and several warming treats on offer such as mulled wine, waffles and sweet hot chestnuts. Vienna’s Schönbrunn Castle makes an incredible Baroque backdrop for bargain-hunting for tree decorations and themed presents from the end of November. Meanwhile Salzburg’s market in front of the Cathedral is open until 9pm on Fridays and Saturdays in 2012 and there will be choirs to entertain you with festive songs.
Essential Local Crafts ·
Cyprus has many traditions but its lacemaking is definitely worth witnessing in person. The village of Lefkara is where you’ll see lace being made by hand, as it has been for centuries. Needlework in general is popular on the island and you will have plenty of choice when it comes to embroidered souvenirs and linen goods. The Algarve might be more readily associated with golf than with handicrafts, but the town of Porches is a golf-free zone where pottery is king. You might notice that many of the houses in the region have blue and white tiles, or azulejos, adorning them: why not buy your own and ask the potters to customise it? Porches Pottery is just one of the outlets where you can have your purchases personalised during an Algarve holiday. Popular Portuguese designs include lemons and local scenery. The humble espadrille is something of a summer wardrobe staple, but did you know that it’s a traditional choice of footwear for people from Majorca in Spain? It’s easy to pick up a pair of espadrilles in local markets such as those at Manacor and Son Servera, or even in the smart shopping streets of Palma City. Look out for (which are made with rope) and (which have a strap and leather detail).
Craft Shops ·
Florence is one of the best places in Europe to pick up leather goods. The Santa Croce workshop certainly won’t disappoint when it comes to finding anything made of local leather. Meanwhile if you want inspiration for jewellery designs then head to the Ponte Vecchio Bridge to find decorative pieces, though they often come with a hefty price tag. On a city break to Lisbon you should make a beeline for the Baixa District, which is full of haberdasheries, bead shops and other independent shops. In the more commercial Chiado District it’s hard to avoid the draw of the Retrosaria (which means haberdashery) in the Rua do Loretto, but the shop isn’t very well advertised so keep your eyes peeled! As with the Algarve, you should also be looking out for azulejos on the buildings. Copenhagen is ideal for crafting fanatics and you can see an all-female metalworking collective if you visit the Kvindesmedien at Christiania in the city. If you’re stocking up on basic materials like ribbons, paper and card decorations then Panduro, in Nørre Farimagsgade, will be right up your street.
It really is worth looking beyond the local high street when it comes to tracking down handicrafts. Whether you’re looking to stock up on seasonal treats at European Christmas markets or you want to watch craftspeople at work, there’s something to suit everyone.
Craft heaven as new site blends business with pleasure Craftybidder.com, a new online auction site for craft makers and craft lovers, launches today, bringing the best of both worlds together under one roof. But unlike other sites, Craftybidder.com offers free listings on standard items, which means that if there’s no sale, there’s no fee. Craftybidder.com has an ever-widening range of sought after craft products for those who love to make……plus the ability to professionally showcase and sell the end results to discerning craft lovers. And with the added ability of being able to swap items and list wanted items, it’s the perfect blend of business and pleasure. For those wishing to use this online marketplace to sell their hand crafted goods, you no longer have to worry about paying upfront fees. If there’s no sale, there’s no fee, it’s as simple as that. But with over 300,000 page views in the two weeks before the site even launched, it seems clear goods will be snapped up. Managing Director, Glenn Small said, “My wife Sue is an avid crafter, and between us we came up with the idea for this site, just for crafters. It’s unique in that you can buy, sell, swap and find items with other like-minded crafters. Searching for craft products on other auction sites takes so long – here, it’s all in one place.” www.craftybidder.com
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Welcome to issue 20, our festive Christmas 2012 Issue and we have some wonderful articles and features for you. New pieces from your favouri...