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Monthly Archives: March 2013
  • Posted on March 21, 2013

    So You Think You're a Hipster?

    Skinny Jeans? Check. Charity-shop Clothing? Check. Non-prescription glasses? Check. These items have become the uniform for a new breed of young people - hipsters - determined to take over cities with their 'alternative ways' whilst overloading on irony and striving to be original and creative. Here's Kara Simsek, author of 'So You Think You're a Hipster' on this growing phenomenon.

    What happened to your local area? Where did all these twenty-somethings in beanies and ripped skinny jeans come from? Why does the air hang thick with the foul stench of soya milk lattes and organic cupcakes?

    What are these strange bikes with brightly colored frames and no brakes? Why is everyone walking a pug or carrying a freshly baked rye baguette under their arm?

    How can there be twelve graphic design agencies based in one building? What the hell is a pop-up organic burrito truck? How does that girl make a living from DJing when she just plays an iPod at a dingy bar once a week? Who are these people protesting against globalization as they Instagram photos of each other messing around on skateboards?

     

    Sounds like you’ve woken up to find your neighbourhood transformed in to a hipster ghetto.

    Want to have a night out? Your option is warehouse party, warehouse party, or fanzine fundraiser… in a warehouse. Don’t need glasses? No worries, just pretend, everyone else is. Not worn that sweater since you were ten? Put it on.

    No longer can you buy a pint of Heineken at the local bar, it’s craft beers only. Say hello to Blueberry Ale and Williamsburg Hop Pilsner, and prepare your tastebuds for locally sourced tomato juice in your Saturday morning Bloody Mary. You like scotch eggs now they’ve been made by an organic artisan who trained in France.

    Try and fit in. Wear something outrageous

    when shopping for groceries (at local retailers only, big-name supermarkets are a no-no), start a blog, get a specific interest that allows you to sit comfortably and look down on everyday people that know nothing about art-house cinema from the 1970s or thrash bands from New York state, who can’t tell the difference between Flaubert and Baudelaire. Tell people you’re relocating to Scandinavia to design eco-furniture and live off the land. To fish and knit and blog and be free from the constraints of Capitalism and the big city.

    Remember, you’re better than everyone else. And you’re NOT a hipster.

    Labels are so lame. And you’re better than that.

     Extracted from 'So You Think You're A Hipster' by Kara Simsek published by CICO Books which is out now!

     



    This post was posted in Featured, Featured, News, News, UK, US, What's new, What's new and was tagged with 2013, fish, hipster, street food, knit, skateboarding, cupcakes

  • Posted on March 20, 2013

    Today is officially National Macaroon (or Macaron!) Day 2013!

    So, happy Macaroon (or Macaron!) Day to one and all!  If you fancy celebrating in true sugary sweet style then here are some delectable macaron recipes to tantalise the taste-buds, all with a flowery theme for the first day of Spring.

    Flower Power Macarons

    This is a sophisticated macaron with a subtle and delicate mixture of flavours: rose, lychee, raspberry and white chocolate. For an extra-special touch, tint the ganache in different shades of pink using food colouring paste. Make a batch of these and you’re guaranteed to want to eat them all in a single sitting!

    Raspberry ganache

    400 g raspberry purée*

    2 teaspoons icing sugar

    280 g white chocolate, chopped

    100 g butter

    Vanilla macaron shells

    240 g icing sugar

    140 g ground almonds

    1⁄2 vanilla bean

    5 egg whites

    50 g caster sugar

    finely chopped crystallized rose petals, to sprinkle

    about 7 lychees, peeled, pitted and quartered, to fill

    piping bag, fitted with a plain nozzle

    baking sheets, lined with non-stick parchment paper

    Makes about 25

    To make the raspberry ganache, start the day before you want to bake the macarons. Put the raspberry purée and sugar in a saucepan and gently bring to simmering point. Add the chocolate and butter and stir until melted. Remove from the heat and whisk with an electric whisk until smooth. Cover and refrigerate for 24 hours.

    The next day, preheat the oven to 145˚C (275˚F) Gas 1. Bring the ganache to room temperature.

    To make the vanilla macaron shells, sift the icing sugar into a food processor, add the almonds and blitz thoroughly. Split the vanilla bean lengthways and scrape the seeds out into a grease-free mixing bowl. Add the egg whites and whisk with an electric whisk until stiff peaks form. Gradually add the caster sugar, whisking until all the sugar is used up and the egg whites are glossy.

    Fold the blitzed sugar/almonds into the egg whites until well combined and smooth. Fill the piping bag with the mixture and pipe neat 4-cm rounds on the prepared baking sheets. Space the rounds 3 cm apart. Sprinkle a tiny amount of the crystallized rose petals on top of each round – not too much otherwise the macarons won’t rise.

    Allow to set for 30–60 minutes until a skin forms – you should be able to touch the surface of the macarons very gently with a wet finger without sticking to them.

    Bake in the preheated oven for about 12 minutes. Allow to cool on the baking sheet.

    Fill the piping bag with the ganache and pipe some onto the flat underside of half of the cold macarons. Add a lychee quarter and sandwich with another macaron shell.

    *To make your own raspberry purée, put 360 g raspberries and 40 g caster sugar in a food processor or blender and blitz until smooth. Strain through a sieve before using.

    Violet  Macarons with Primrose Cream

    Macarons lend themselves to any forager’s kitchen and will also tempt visitors on gluten-free diets. Use any wild blossom sugars or crystallized flowers to make the macarons, and fold puréed wild berries into the filling, or add tiny wild strawberries whole. Infuse blossoms such as linden (lime) with a little creamy milk and add it to the butter cream. Wild macarons simply rock with invention.

    Makes 8 macaron sandwiches

    What to forage and find:

    * 1 tablespoon crystallized violets (see Crystallized Flowers, page 15)

    * Generous 1¾ cup (175g) sifted confectioners’ (icing) sugar

    * 3⁄4 cup (100g) blanched almonds

    * 3 extra large (large UK) egg whites

    * 1⁄3 cup (75g) superfine (caster) sugar

    * Violet food coloring (optional)r

    * 24 violet leaves, washed and patted dry

    For the primrose cream filling:

    * 2⁄3 cup (150ml) lightly whipped heavy (double) cream

    * 1 tablespoon crushed crystallized primroses (see Crystallized Flowers, page 15)

    What to do:

    1  Preheat the oven to 325°F (160°C/gas mark 3).

    2  Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

    3  Finely blend the violets, confectioners’ (icing) sugar, and almonds in a food processor, and sift to remove impurities.

    4  Whisk the egg whites in a clean bowl until they are firm, and gradually whisk in the superfine (caster) sugar and violet food coloring, if using. Whisk until the meringue is shiny.

    5  Carefully fold in half of the ground almond, sugar and violet mixture, then fold in the remainder.

    6  Place a small blob of filling mixture under each corner of parchment paper-lined baking sheets to hold the paper in place, then either pipe or spoon 16 flat circles about 1¼–1½ inches (3–4cm) across (the macarons will spread during cooking). Place a violet leaf on top of each macaron. Tap the baking sheet three times, turn the tray, and repeat to flatten the macarons. Leave to stand at room temperature for 15 minutes before baking (to allow a skin to form).

    7  Bake for 15 minutes until the macarons are just set. Leave to cool on the baking paper, and remove when cold.

    8  Fold the crushed crystallized primroses into the whipped cream, and use 1–2 teaspoonsful of the mixture to sandwich two macarons together

    Bon appetit!

    Le Cookie by Mickael Benichou is published by Ryland Peters & Small at £9.99 and is available to purchase here.

    The Forager’s Kitchen by Fiona Bird is published by Cico Books at £16.99 and is available to purchase here.


    This post was posted in News, UK, What's new and was tagged with forage, Forager's Kitchen, raspberry, Fiona Bird

  • Posted on March 19, 2013

    Mid-Week Chat With... Craft Queen Clare Youngs

    This week we are thrilled to be joined by Clare Youngs, author of the newly published Folk Art Needlecraft.  Clare reveals her greatest craft inspirations, why she has been so influenced by Folk Art and her biggest craft disaster.  There is hope for us all!

     

     1) Let’s start by getting to know you, who are you, where are you from and when did you first stat crafting?  I am a designer/maker working mainly with paper and fabric. I have lived most of my life in London but two years ago decided to relocate to the Kent coast with my family and mini dachshund – Otis. I have made things for as long as I can remember. I come from a very creative family. My mum bought me craft books when I was little and I still use them today. I learnt to sew on an ancient sewing machine handed down from my grandmother but mostly I used to hand sew, often in miniature. I had a tiny 3cm troll that had a complete wardrobe of clothes including evening dresses and bikinis! Later when I got my first home, sewing was an essential skill. I made curtains, cushions and having a bit of an obsession with chairs from the 50’s, I taught myself a bit of upholstery as well!

    2)    Who is your greatest crafty inspiration and why?  I have a huge admiration for Julie Arkell, who is so incredibly creative and makes the most enchanting, funny and quirky little characters. She uses a combination of papier-mâché, paint, knitting and sewing in her creations. Each one is different and I never tire of looking at them.

    3)    Tell us a bit about your new book Folk Art Needlecraft, why did you decide on the folk art theme?  I really enjoyed researching and writing Scandinavian Needlecraft and knew at the time that I wanted to write a follow on book but this time taking inspiration from around the world. I am fascinated by traditional crafts made by ordinary working people who have made essential items for their homes and decorated them with carvings, painting and sewing techniques. The variety of motifs and patterns across the world are immense and although many of the symbols are similar, each country or region has its own distinctive identity. I love the way that folk art embroidery is an ancient tradition that has been passed down through the generations but is still relevant today and can be adapted to create beautiful contemporary pieces that will fit into even the most modern interior.

     4)    We know you are a multi-talented crafter, your previous title Book Art focused on paper craft, why did you decide to go with needlework for this new book?  I love working in both fabric and paper and have been lucky enough to work equally on each craft with Cico. I do love hand sewing, especially embroidery. I think it is the artist and illustrator side of me that likes ‘drawing’ with thread. The actual act of embroidering is very relaxing and you can put it in your bag and take it anywhere. You can also sew while watching the telly and not feel guilty about wasting time!

    5)  Have you ever had a crafting disaster?  Yes! I have 4 children and have had many birthday parties to organise. I decided to make a piñata for one party. It started off with papier-mâché around a balloon. Then I made a hole and placed sweets into the middle and added a few more layers of paper. It seemed to be taking ages to dry so I left it out in the sun to try and dry it out. I then painted it and hung it from a tree. It was a strange blobby looking thing. When it was time to break into it, no matter how many times or how hard it was hit, it would not break open. We had to saw it open in the end and the sweets had turned to a gooey mess!

    6) If you had to pick your favourite project from Folk Art needlecraft, what would it be and why?  I think it would have to be the Pippi Rug. I have a thing about clogs. I really like them and have used them a few times as a design motif in projects. I like the mix of colours and the way I could bring in some scraps of my own hand printed textile designs into the project.

    7)  How have your travelling experiences influenced your crafting?  Have any countries in particular had an impact?  As a child our family summer holidays were spent traveling down to the south of Spain and Italy in the car. My Dad would drive miles off the route to take us to some cathedral or castle. I was 7 years old when we first started going and although it wasn’t always fun with 4 kids in the back of a car, I think it is where my love of traveling started. I kept a journal and started doing little drawings and collecting interesting labels and tickets to stick in. I still keep an ideas journal and sketchbook with me at all times.  Traveling in the region of Rajasthan in India introduced me to wonderful textiles, quilts and hand blocking techniques in particular. The Cloth house in Berwick Street is one of my favourite places to buy fabric and they source much of their fabric from India. I have a real respect for Scandinavian design and it is a huge influence in my work. A recent trip to Stockholm in Sweden confirmed this love. One exhibition of the traditional crafts of the nomadic Sami people of northern arctic Scandinavia was particularly inspiring, with artefacts beautifully decorated with richly coloured embroideries.

    8) What new ventures do you have in the works?  I am working on a new book for Cico at the moment while working up ideas for a needlecraft book. This year I want to branch out into stationery and craft kits, so I am working on designs for this venture. I am running workshops during the Easter holidays. I am also taking part in an event for 12 designer/makers at the Pie Factory Gallery in Margate from the 22nd to the 24th of March called Brighter Days. I will be running a workshop based on the Jumping jack project in Book art. The workshop is on Saturday 23rd of March. It starts at 12.00 midday, is free and should be a lot of fun so all are welcome!

    Thank you for joining us Clare!  If you are feeling suitably inspired Folk Art Needlecraft is available here.  Check out Clare's website for more Folk Art Inspiration: www.clareyoungs.co.uk

    Folk Art Needlecraft is published by Cico Books.

     

     

     


    This post was posted in Featured, Featured, Interviews, Interviews, News, UK, US, What's new, What's new and was tagged with inspiration, needlecraft, fabric

  • Posted on March 18, 2013

    Annie Sloan on what inspired her to write her new book...

    Annie Sloan's new book Color Recipes for Painted Furniture and More has just become available so we thought it would be a good time to share a few words from her on why she wrote this book...

    Over the years I have written many books, but this one is very personal as it charts the renovation of our farmhouse in northern France.

    Above: The farmhouse, built from stones with cob (mud and straw) walls, has other outbuildings which we currently use as storage. I particularly love this old oak door, and am planning to restore and reinstate the old fence. Although we have owned the property for more than 20 years, over the past 12 months we have extended the house and redecorated throughout. This has given me a wonderful opportunity to experiment with new techniques (such as using my paint to dye fabrics) and the perfect excuse to buy more furniture from local markets and village fairs.

    We chose the house because it is easy to get to from our home in Oxford. It takes an hour to reach the port on the south coast of England, and from there we catch the “midnight” ferry. After sleeping overnight on-board, we arrive in France in the early morning, with just another hour’s drive ahead of us. The house is situated in the middle of the green and rolling Normandy countryside, an area renowned for its milk and cream, from the famous Normandy cows, and also for its apples.

    There are orchards everywhere, and cider and calvados, the delicious apple brandy, are produced in abundance.

    The house started as a retreat for the whole family, where the children could run about and do as they liked. We stayed there every summer, spending our days on the nearby beaches or in the surrounding countryside. The children played in the fields of tall maize and rode their bikes along the empty roads. They searched for glowworms, played in the tiny stream, made hideouts in the attics and sheds, and generally had a good time. We spent Christmases there, too, and even though it was very cold, we would soon warm up sitting by the big log fire and have tremendous fun.

    The house is old. One of the beams in the kitchen has the date 1776 carved into the wood, although parts of the building may actually be older than that. On the ground floor, the walls are made of stone, with mud walls above, which was the traditional way to build houses all over Britain and Europe. The previous owners had tried their hand at modernization, and we spent ages removing the hardboard and plastic they had used to cover the ancient wooden beams, as well as scraping green gloss paint from the walls.

    As the house is located in the heart of the French countryside, I chose to decorate it in a predominantly French rustic style. But, as you would imagine, I have also included other influences that continue to inspire me. When I decorate a room, I start with one large item of furniture as the pivotal piece against which everything else is measured.

    Above: The country kitchen is next to the Swedish-style room, so it was important to make certain that the styles flowed easily. I have taken a color from one room and used it in the next. Smaller pieces are then added as I find them and the rooms are constantly evolving. I dress a room until it feels right, which is why you may notice curtains hanging at a window in one photograph but in another shot of the same room there are none.

    I have divided the book into six chapters, with the first on how to use color and make up your own using my paints.

    This is followed by chapters on each of the decorating styles that are important to me: French Style, Boho Chic, Swedish Style, Country, and Modern Contemporary. I have broadly allocated a room for each of these styles but, naturally, there is some overlap, so you will find a Boho Chic painted chandelier in the Swedish room, for instance. Colors in one room will also feature in another. It is in this way that the rooms work together and always feel connected.


    Annie Sloan's book, Color Recipes for Painted Furniture and More is available now. You can order the book direct from Annie's website, our own or all good bookshops and online stockists.

     


    This post was posted in Featured, Interviews, News, US, What's new

  • Posted on March 13, 2013

    Annie Sloan on what inspired her to write her new book

    Annie Sloan's new book Colour Recipes for Painted Furniture and More has just become available so we thought it would be a good time to share a few words from her on why she wrote this book...

    Over the years I have written many books, but this one is very personal as it charts the renovation of our farmhouse in northern France.

    Above: The farmhouse, built from stones with cob (mud and straw) walls, has other outbuildings which we currently
    use as storage. I particularly love this old oak door, and am planning to restore and reinstate the old fence. Although we have owned the property for more than 20 years, over the past 12 months we have extended the house and redecorated throughout. This has given me a wonderful opportunity to experiment with new techniques (such as using my paint to dye fabrics) and the perfect excuse to buy more furniture from local markets and village fairs.

    We chose the house because it is easy to get to from our home in Oxford. It takes an hour to reach the port on the south coast of England, and from there we catch the “midnight” ferry. After sleeping overnight on-board, we arrive in France in the early morning, with just another hour’s drive ahead of us. The house is situated in the middle of the green and rolling Normandy countryside, an area renowned for its milk and cream, from the famous Normandy cows, and also for its apples.

    There are orchards everywhere, and cider and calvados, the delicious apple brandy, are produced in abundance.

    The house started as a retreat for the whole family, where the children could run about and do as they liked. We stayed there every summer, spending our days on the nearby beaches or in the surrounding countryside. The children played in the fields of tall maize and rode their bikes along the empty roads. They searched for glowworms, played in the tiny stream, made hideouts in the attics and sheds, and generally had a good time. We spent Christmases there, too, and even though it was very cold, we would soon warm up sitting by the big log fire and have tremendous fun.

    The house is old. One of the beams in the kitchen has the date 1776 carved into the wood, although parts of the building may actually be older than that. On the ground floor, the walls are made of stone, with mud walls above, which was the traditional way to build houses all over Britain and Europe. The previous owners had tried their hand at modernization, and we spent ages removing the hardboard and plastic they had used to cover the ancient wooden beams, as well as scraping green gloss paint from the walls.

    As the house is located in the heart of the French countryside, I chose to decorate it in a predominantly French rustic style. But, as you would imagine, I have also included other influences that continue to inspire me. When I decorate a room, I start with one large item of furniture as the pivotal piece against which everything else is measured.

    Above: The country kitchen is next to the Swedish-style room, so it was important to make certain that the styles flowed easily. I have taken a color from one room and used it in the next. Smaller pieces are then added as I find them and the rooms are constantly evolving. I dress a room until it feels right, which is why you may notice curtains hanging at a window in one photograph but in another shot of the same room there are none.

    I have divided the book into six chapters, with the first on how to use color and make up your own using my paints.

    This is followed by chapters on each of the decorating styles that are important to me: French Style, Boho Chic, Swedish Style, Country, and Modern Contemporary. I have broadly allocated a room for each of these styles but, naturally, there is some overlap, so you will find a Boho Chic painted chandelier in the Swedish room, for instance. Colors in one room will also feature in another. It is in this way that the rooms work together and always feel connected.


    Annie Sloan's book, Colour Recipes for Painted Furniture and More is available now. You can order the book direct from Annie's website, our own or all good bookshops and online stockists.


    This post was posted in Featured, Featured, Interviews, Interviews, News, News, UK, What's new, What's new and was tagged with interiors, annie sloan, chalk paint, country style, easter, bank holiday, decorating, french

  • Posted on March 7, 2013

    Mid-week chat with Selina Lake

     Selina Lake looking pretty in pink. And blue.

    This week we’re chatting to interiors stylist and author Selina Lake, whose fourth book Pretty Pastel Style is published any day now.

    1. Selina, in your book you demonstrate just how versatile pastels can be. Do you think this is why the trend is making a comeback?Last season we saw all the big fashion designers championing pastels on the catwalks. This spring pastels are very much on trend and the look is moving into homes & interiors. We all love the lure of yesteryear, even the high street has been in on the act in the past few years producing ‘Vintage Style’ pieces and pastels work really well with genuine vintage finds,  especially slightly faded items. I like the versatility of the Pastel colour palette, cool shades of mint and sky blues mixed with pops of neon or metallics can give a modern space an edge while peachy pinks can add a sense of glamour. The pastel trend takes inspiration from the 50’s mixing the ice cream shades often found in American dinners and Miami in the Art Deco period and has an up-to-date twist with handmade items mixed with new prints and designs. Pastels conjure up a sweet, happy, spring-like feel so how could you not become a fan of the trend?

    2. How was your bedroom decorated when you were little? When I was really little I shared a room with my older sister Aimee, we had 80’s pale pink wallpaper with little white lambs and Care Bears bedding on our beds. We also had a big collection of My Little Ponies and old bedside tables which my dad painted white – it was quite Pretty Pastel come to think of it!

    3.You travel far and wide on shoots for your work, aside from London, where else would you like to live? I’ve absolutely loved working in Norway, I have been there twice now, both in summer time and I love their timber houses and sense of style. The people I have met there have all been so welcoming and lovely and the roads are so quiet – way better than the heavy traffic in London! Although I’m not sure I’d like to have 6 months of snow in the winter months even if it does look like wonderland.

    4.If you could pick just one piece of furniture to accompany you on a desert island, what would it be? A large comfy bed with loads of floral cushions and eiderdowns. It would make a perfect sunbed by day and be cosy when the sun went down – I’d also want a mosquito net attached.

    5.You have your own blog selinalake.blogspot.com/ and are an avid user of facebook, instagram and twitter. What effect do you think social media has on the sale of books?  Yes I’m a fan of social media you can find me @selinalake on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and now Vine. It’s a great way to connect with fellow creatives and along with using as a form of self promotion, I now use it as a tool for when I’m researching a new project. I think it defiantly helps with book sales as more people get to know about me and my work. I’m really lucky fans of my books are often posting images or messages saying what they love about my books and what’s inspired them and I always re-tweet or share their sweet comments.

    6.You get to see inside so many lovely homes for your work. Is there any one home in particular you’d like to step inside? I’m fortunate to get to look around lots of interesting homes and spaces. I like to find unusual places to do my photoshoots,  so I get really excited when I stumble on a great new location.  Next week I’m shooting in an old barn and abandoned Mansion House. I’d also love to stay at the hotel Meryl Streep’s character Donna Carmichael runs in the film Mamma Mia.

    7.Who has been your main influence in life? My parents, Valerie & Ronald. They have always encouraged my creative side and have inspired me to realise my dreams. I’m so lucky to have had them support me throughout my life especially with my career.

    8.What are you planning to do next? This spring and summer I will be busy promoting my new book.  I am hosting a Pretty Pastel Style Book Launch & Fair on Friday 22nd March at Market House in the Royal Borough of Kingston which I’m really looking forward to.  I’ve handpicked a number of designer /makers who will be part of the fair, setting up their stalls and selling their handmade and vintage pieces. I also have loads of styling work booked in for various clients and some very special projects which I will be revealing on my blog soon.

    9.Bike or car? Both – I need my car for work as I’m always loading it up with flowers and props and driving across the country for my photoshoots. I also love riding my blue Victoria Pendelton Somerby bike from Halfords which I featured in Pretty Pastel Style. I ride along the River Thames into Kingston with my husband.

    Selina’s Pretty Pastel Book Launch and Fair featuring craft and vintage stalls takes place on Friday 22nd March at Market House, Market Place, Kingston Upon Thames 11am – 6pm. All are welcome. In fact the more the merrier and everyone who comes along will get the chance to enter a free prize draw to win a Halford’s Victoria Pendleton bike in the most perfect shade of pastel blue. See you there!  http://selinalake.blogspot.co.uk/

    Pretty Pastel Style by Selina Lake is published  by Ryland Peters & Small on 14th March


    This post was posted in Featured, Featured, Interviews, Interviews, News, UK, US, What's new, What's new and was tagged with interiors, vintage, Selina Lake, colour, bike

  • Posted on March 4, 2013

    How to give your Mum the perfect Mother's Day...

    It’s that time of year again!  Mothers all over the country are preparing to breathe a collective sigh of relief as they put their feet up and prepare to be spoilt with gifts, goodies and maybe even breakfast in bed.  Here are some helpful Mother’s Day suggestions to make sure your Mum gets the perfect treat this Mother’s Day.

    For the Glamorous Mum:

    If your Mum enjoys a good pampering, then why not treat her to a luxurious manicure? After a good old fashioned beauty session she will be left feeling revitalised, rejuvenated and most importantly, relaxed!

    Here’s a show stopping Mother’s Day manicure to try out:

    HALF MOON

    YOU WILL NEED

    Top and base coats

    Nail art brush

    1 Apply a base coat and when dry, paint your nails with one coat of the metallic silver polish. Allow to dry completely.

    2 Using a nail art brush dipped in the dark red polish, paint a ‘U’ shape around the base of each of your nails. Using the brush from the polish bottle, fill in the rest of all your nails with the dark red, leaving the silver half-moons at the base of each nail.

    3 Allow your nails to dry completely, then seal with a top coat.

    Tip: If you don’t have a steady hand you can try using sticky tape to create an outline of your half moon in step 2, just make sure your design has dried before removing the tape. This will leave you with a nice clean line.

    For the Crafter Mum:

    Why not take it one step further and make this beautiful little make-up bag?  It’s an essential for any Mum who really appreciates the beauty of the handmade gift!

    Make-up bag

     The design is based on traditional Hungarian embroidery but you could use any of the motifs in the book and adapt them to embellish your bag.

    Materials

    Motifs and stitch guide on page 109

    12 × 8 in. (30 × 20 cm) outer fabric

    12 × 8 in. (30 × 20 cm) lining fabric

    Tracing paper and pencil

    Dressmaker’s carbon paper

    Stranded embroidery floss (cotton)

    in a bright color

    8¾ in. (22 cm) zipper

    Sewing machine with zipper foot

    Matching sewing thread

    1 Cut the outer and lining fabric in half to make two rectangles,

    6 × 8 in. (15 × 20 cm). Enlarge the heart motif on page 109 by 135 percent and transfer it to one of the rectangles of outer fabric, using dressmaker’s carbon paper or a light box. Use the window tracing method if your fabric is pale in color (see page 121). Follow the stitch guide on page 109 to embroider the design.

    2 Place one piece of lining fabric on your work surface with right side facing up. Lay the zipper along the top of the fabric and then place the outer fabric with the embroidered side face down on top, lining up the top edges. Pin all three layers together.

    3 Using a zipper foot, machine stitch along the top edge to secure the zipper. Keep your stitching closer to the zipper teeth than the top edge but not so close that the zipper gets stuck.

    4 Fold back the front and back pieces so that the wrong sides are together—this will reveal the other side of the zipper. Press along the seam.

    5 Repeat steps 2 and 3 with the remaining pieces of lining fabric and undecorated outer fabric on this side of the zipper.

    6 Bring both sides of the lining to one side and take both pieces of outer fabric to the other side. Open the zipper halfway and pin all around the edge of the outer and lining sections. Machine stitch all around, taking a ½-in. (1-cm) seam and leaving a 2½-in. (6-cm) gap on the bottom edge of the lining section.

    7 Trim the seam allowances and cut across the corners. Turn the purse right sides out, slipstitch the gap in the lining closed, then tuck the lining into the purse. Press.

    For the oh-too-busy Mum:

     If your Mum is constantly on-the-go, then why not help her to relax with an indulgent breakfast in bed?  You could even make it a lazy Sunday morning brunch.  Either way, you can spoil her rotten!

    Porridge

    130 g jumbo rolled oats

    rice milk (or soy or nut milk)

    fresh fruit, eg. bananas, berries (fresh or frozen), apples, pears, persimmons, cherries

    dried fruit, eg. raisins, unsulphured apricots, dates, mango etc.

    spices, eg. ground ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg

    sweeteners, eg. agave syrup, pure maple syrup, rice syrup, date syrup, coconut palm sugar (remember that if you have used a fair amount of fresh and dried fruit, the porridge will be naturally sweet and may not need anything else)

    nuts and seeds, eg. almonds, cashews, pecans, macadamia nuts sunflower seeds, hemp seeds, pumpkin seeds, flaxseeds etc.

    superfoods, eg. goji berries, maca powder, lucuma powder

    Serves 2

    Put the oats in a saucepan and cover with half water and half rice milk. Cook gently over low–medium heat, stirring more and more frequently as they begin to thicken. Oats absorb a huge amount of liquid, so they become thick and gloopy very quickly. Some people love it at this consistency, but if, like me, you prefer your porridge a little more runny, then just keep adding more rice milk and water until you reach the desired consistency. Only add a little at a time though, so you don’t overdo it. When it is ready, turn it right down to the lowest heat.

    Now add whatever selection of ingredients you like the sound of. My personal favourite is banana, raisins, ground cinnamon, pumpkin seeds, goji berries and the tiniest drop of pure maple syrup. It is insanely good and brightens up even the gloomiest of Monday mornings. I also love adding frozen blueberries, which defrost in the hot porridge leaving lovely cool pockets of sweetness. You can go wild with all the possibilities and the positive effect that the warm porridge will have on your outlook for the day, waistline and (ahem) ‘regularity’ are all added bonuses!

    Guilt-free because…

    Porridge can be as healthy or as unhealthy as you like. While many of us are inclined to add milk, cream and sugar, porridge is the perfect vessel for all manner of superfood ingredients. Goji berries, for example, are a tangy red fruit harvested from the Himalayas and the only known fruit to contain all 8 essential amino acids. They are high in vitamin C and contain 15 times more iron than spinach, which ensures efficient absorption of this crucial mineral.

    Polish You Pretty is published by Ryland Peters & Small at £9.99

    Folk Art Needlecraft by Clare Youngs is published by Cico Books at £12.99

    The Guilt-Free Gourmet by Jordan &Jessica Bourke is published by Ryland Peters & Small at £16.99

     

          Wishing a happy Mother’s Day to all!

     

     

     


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