Here’s a little project that was left over from our Everything Alice book (there just wasn’t enough room!) These Stained Glass Heart Cookie Pops are the perfect treat to make for someone special on Valentines day. This recipe makes around 20 cookies depending on the size of your cookie cutter.
YOU WILL NEED
1-2 packs hard boiled sweets (simple fruit sweeties work well)
115g butter, softened
55g golden caster sugar
180g plain flour, plus extra for dusting
1 tbsp milk
2 heart shaped cookie cutters (one smaller than the other)
ribbons to decorate
Icing pens, most supermarkets sell these in little packs of 4 colours … they look like this
1. Pick out all the red and pink sweets from the packets. Place them in individual plastic bags and whack with a rolling pin till they are broken up into small pieces
2. Place the butter and sugar into a bowl and beat until pale and creamy. Sift the flour into the mixture and add milk. Use your hands to mix everything together to form a ball.
3. Preheat the oven to 180°C/fan160°C/ gas 4 and line two baking trays with greaseproof paper.
4. Place in the fridge for 20-30 minutes. Remove from fridge and roll dough out onto a floured surface till it is about 5mm thick.
5. Use the larger of the two cookie cutters and cut out a heart shape. Use a cake slice or palette knife move the cookie shape to one of the baking trays. Place a lollipop stick underneath the cookie at the tip of the heart. Then use the smaller cutter to cut a heart shape in the center of the cookie. Repeat with all the cookie dough.
6. Fill the holes with some of the crushed sweets. Try not to leave any on the cookie dough as it will burn and turn brown.
7. Bake for 15-18 minutes, until the biscuits are just golden. The sweets will melt as the cookies cook and form the glass window effect. Allow to cool and make sure the sweets have rehardened before you transfer them to a wire rack.
8. When completely cool use the icing pens to decorate, leave the icing to harden then tie a ribbon and a gift tag around the stick with a special love note written inside.
STICKERS! As I said on Tuesday the new issue of Marie Claire Runway has a sheet of free stickers inside for you to customise your cover, your phone, your stapler, a lampost, your coffee cup or the person sitting next to you. It also has interviews, all the facts you need on the new Spring trends, two quizzes, some pictures of dogs, and lots and lots of pictures of beautiful clothes. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I do making it.
Donald Robertson is a man who is an actual marvel. Once Creative Director at Conde Nast America (launching Marie Claire and redesigning Glamour). He is now the head of Creative Development at Bobbi Brown Cosmetics; a truly creative man. What I love the most about him is his instagram feed. It is a constant joy to me all day every day (he is a very prolific poster) full of his fashion illustrations, ideas from projects he is working on and his life in general.
If I write too much I will just get really gushy and soppy so I’ll let some of his pictures do the talking. (All images taken from Donalds instagram feed @donalddrawbertson (seriously, you must follow him))
He can make beautiful things from a few simple lines of marker pen and Gaffa tape.
Or paint …He has his own little creative projects, currently it’s drawing on nuts…Don’t put anything down when you are round his house as he is likely to draw on it …Or turn it in to something else …He’s funny …and to top it off, he’s got really cute dogs … and kids.
I had the fortune to collaborate with him on the new issue of Marie Claire Runway (out 6th of Feb) We spent a fun couple of days emailing back and forth to create four illustrations to depict all that is great and good about New York, London, Milan and Paris. Here’s a little sneak peak.
We also worked together on the cover and in what is quite possibly the Most Exciting Thing I’ve Done In My Career So Far … STICKERS! Yup, we have a sheet of free fashion stickers inside the magazine … I’ll show you them on Thursday.
I’ve mentioned before my love of seemingly pointless little bits of printed paper and ephemera. It’s a love that isn’t going anywhere any time soon, in fact if anything I think it might be growing.
At college I was quite organised with my scraps of serviettes, ticket stubs and foreign sweet packets and I kept them all filed in a series of photo albums. Over time these albums have been neglected and now my precious pieces of paper are stored in drawers; knicker drawers, sock drawers, knife, fork and spoon drawers. Essentially anywhere in the house that I can tidy them away quickly always promising that I Will Deal With Them One Day. Well, that day has come. Having found two lovely large box frames at a boot sale the other day I realised they would be the perfect showcase for my papery bits ‘n’ bobs.
I have made one for my bedroom and one for the lounge. I painted the backing card the colour of the walls and mounted the pieces using a mixture of spray mount, foam pads (the kind used in Decoupage to give height) and small dress making pins. I didn’t want all the pieces to be stuck down flat so using a mixture of these three sticky things I was able to keep a nice variety of heights and shapes.
Some of the pieces are personal to me; that’s my birth announcement in the bottom right. Some are holiday reminders; Finn Air towelette anyone? But all of them have a nice bit of design going on and inspire me every time I look at them.
If you want to start (or develop) your own paper addiction then always look in the small dusty boxes at car boot sales and junk shops or head over to Present and Correct for your next fix.
She is currently setting up an online fabric printing service where you can upload your design, preview it in different pattern repeats and then get it printed and sent to you without the hassle of customs or transatlantic shipping delays.
To celebrate the imminent launch of the site Janet and her team are looking for a name for the printer. Not only might you end up with 660kg of fabric printing metal magic named after you but you’ll also get a copy of my book Little Sew and Sew. Which is nice. To get inspiration on whether the printer is more of a Helga or a Doris visit Janets blog here, enter the competition here, and find out more about Printmepretty here.
I have a bit of a problem with diaries, every year I buy one, get all stressed about filling it in incase I ruin it by spelling something wrong or writing in the wrong date and then by February I give up entirely and frustrate my friends for the rest of the year by never being entirely sure what I’m doing when.
I got a bit better when I invented my month-to-view printouts that I used to design every three months typing in each date individually and then carrying the A3 printouts round folded up in my bag or clipped to a massive clipboard…
This year I thought maybe a year planner would be my best bet, something so big that I would always know where it was and could quickly see how my year was panning out. I found some really nice ones online …
Doodlelove £12.50 Love the little sayings at the beginning of each month but couldn’t quite get my head round the months going from top to bottom rather than left to right.
Lollipop designs £14 Love this but ditto the above
Present and Correct £11 how cool is the idea that you tear off the days as you go but the year seems to work backwards which made my brain hurt a little
Crispin Finn £12.50 Crispin colours everything he does in a limited palette of red, white, blue and brown paper and what’s not to like about that.
but none were quite right … so I made my own.
Granted it almost drove me insane drawing all the boxes and typing in the numbers and I did waste most of January doing it but it’s just the colours I want and now I’ve done it once it’ll be easy to update for next year. It cost me £10 to get it printed at the local print shop and hopefully, maybe I’ll be more organised from now on.
The other day my lovely friend Lady H texted me asking if I knew any good online fabric shops as she was about to embark on a mini curtain making project to hide her children’s toys at the base of a set of shelves. These were the places I came up with …
Hus and Hemhusandhem.co.uk
This shop is a treasure trove of all things Scandinavian (or as they say a Smörgåsbord). Apart from all the lovely home accessories they have a great range of printed linens and cottons.
1. Spira Jaffa Green Swedish Fabric £39 a meter
2 Spira Mello Grey Scandinavian Fabric £35 a meter
3. Kauniste Sokeri Blue Finnish Fabric £24.95 a meter
4. Almedahls Italiensk Blomsterhylla Swedish Fabric £21 a meter
M is For Makemisformake.co.uk
An array of fabrics sold as fat quarters (roughly 45 x 55 cm). If you want more than half a meter of fabric request multiple fat quarters and you’ll get a continuous length. (4 fat quarters gives you around a meter square). Also sells bundles of complementary fabrics which is great for quilting and applique.
Though Liberty only sell their fine Tana Lawn fabrics online, there’s still over 100 patterns to choose from. Every year they revisit their classic patterns and update them in new colour ways and also introduce new designs … Anyone for a Giraffe in Trainers?
The Home Makerythehomemakery.co.uk
A one stop shop for pretty craft materials; from crochet wool to paper stamps and inks, there will always be something here to inspire you. It has some big name brands with fabrics from Tanya Whelan, Tilda and Dashwood Studios.
Don’t like any of these? Then why not make your own? Spoonflower is an amazing website that allows you to upload your own design and have it printed on fabric ( a large choice including cottons, linens and silks), wallpaper or gift wrap. If you’re not a budding textile designer then you can always buy someone elses design. (Prices vary depending on fabric choice)
Granted I should have posted this a few weeks ago but hey, there’s only 341 days till Xmas 2014 so maybe we could look at this as an early gift for next year?
Liberty have launched a lovely online sewing magazine to complement their revamped Sew Liberty website. The magazine has interviews with creatives and makers – yes, I am one of them this issue, talking about how I decorate my house for Christmas (like I said, oops.) – also step by step projects, tutorials, helpful crafting hints plus the ease of buying anything you see in the magazine with just a few clicks of the mouse.
Join the Sew Liberty club to receive a monthly newsletter full of behind the scenes treats, projects and the latest Liberty fabric news. Sign up here!
So, this was a fun way to spend an afternoon, a virtual shopping spree through all the lovely homeware goodies on the Marks and Spencer website.
Why was I doing this? Well, I spotted a competition being run by Jen at lovechicliving and Jenny at thetreasurehunter asking bloggers to create a dream dining scheme for a special occasion and I just had to have a go at entering it (you never know I might win £200 of M&S vouchers!). As Christmas is well and truly over I thought I’d plan a scheme for the next big feasting occasion: an Easter breakfast (I basically love the Cow creamer so based my scheme round her). Having started the scheme with the creamer I felt that the Sketch range of china and teatowels complemented her slightly quirky feel as did the mix and matchiness of the plates and bowls. The bright pops of colour from the Andante range and the fake alliums and hydrangas give the table a nice spring feeling and the little accents of gold on the mugs and coasters add a touch of sophistication.
Here’s everything I used for my scheme.
Colour Hit Tumblers £3.00
Andante Dinner Plates £3.00
Spot Mugs £7.50
Sketch Hen Side Plate £7.50
Deco Geometric Cereal Bowl £9.50
Lombard Cereal Bowl £4
Sketch Hen Egg Cup £6
Ceramic Glaze Coasters £12.50
Maxim Cow Creamer £5
Sketch Tea Towel £7.50
16 Piece Cutlery Set £29.50
Ercol Dining Chairs £439.20
Eva Jacquard Cushion £35
Wexford Dining Table £399
Chevron Tealight Holders £7.50
Tribal Zig Zag Vase £15
Artificial Allium £7.50
Hammered Votive Tealight Holder £12
Trifle bowl £19.50
Artificial Hydrangea £7.50
Two Toned Filled Candle £15
(If you’re a blogger why not have a go at entering the competition yourself and if I win I’ll send you all a Percy Pig*)
*subject to availability*
*If I ever remember to buy some.