Thursday, 31 December 2009

*Happy New Year*

Happy New Year graphic by Torie Jayne
"Wishing you and your loved ones a Happy New Year".

Thank you to all of you for your wonderful love and support this year! I have loved getting to know you.

Have a sweet year!

Wednesday, 30 December 2009

Christmas baking

Pretty baking
Christmas tree cookie cutters
Christmas cake tin
Flavoured sugar
Christmas tea towels
Ever since I was little it has been a Christmas tradition of mine to cook with my Mum. When I was much younger I would make the candies, from chocolate truffles to filling dates with marzipan. As I got older I would make the snowball pudding, covering it in whipped cream. Then later I was allowed to decorate the Christmas cake.

This year was no exception. Several weeks ago my Mum and me made our Christmas cakes together, and we also made over 100 mince pies one night last week!

Hope you had fun baking for the holidays!

Tuesday, 29 December 2009

Hand made sugary Christmas tree decorations

Handmade Christmas cookie decorations
Handmade Christmas cookie decorations
Handmade Christmas cookie decorations
Handmade Christmas cookie decorations
Fimo cookie stars
To go with my bought Christmas tree decorations I made some Fimo cookie shaped ones using cookie cutters. I baked them, varnished them and added a sprinkling of white glitter!

Have a sweet day!

Apartment Therapy "Homies" blog contest

Homie Awards at Apartment Therapy
Apartment Therapy is having a top "Homies" blog contest and the voting ends today (until noon EST).

"There are awards for all sorts of blogs, but no one ever pays enough attention to the shelter blogs, so we started The Homies. It's our way of surveying the blogosphere each year for the best new home design blogs and sharing what we find. It's not so much a competition as a celebration of the richness and awesomeness of shelter bloggers around the world. Join us, share your favorites and check out the ones you don't know." from Apartment Therapy.

The sweet Cristina at Fabulous finds Gal nominated me in the "Home Cooking" section. Thank you!

You can cast your votes here! (Click link to go to website). Enjoy the list of wonderful blogs!

Have a sweet day!

Monday, 28 December 2009

Christmas candy jars

Candy Christmas tree jar
Christmas candy jar
Glass Christmas tree
Candy Christmas tree
As a regular reader of my blog you will know I love Candy jars! Christmas is no exception and I now have four glass Christmas jars to fill. I bought my first one in 2006 from House of Fraser, the two smaller ones are from Crate & Barrel from 2007/2008, and my newest one is the very large one at the top from Busy Bee. I filled the two smaller ones with M&M's, the oldest one with foil wrapped chocolates and for my newest one I took a trip to Mrs Kibbles.

Candy shopping
I looked all over the internet for Christmas tree glass jars to add to my collection and could not find any! Then just moments ago I found these.

Milkhouse Creamery Set of 2 Festive Tree Shaped Candles from QVC
Milkhouse Creamery Set of 2 Festive Tree Shaped Candles

Have a sweet day!

Sunday, 27 December 2009

Flickr Faves 2009

My Favourite Flickr faves
For the last Flickr Faves Sunday of the year I wanted to share with you some of my favourite mosaics that I have featured this year.

Some beautiful shots from my Flickr favourites (each row across from left to right):
Have a sweet day!

Wednesday, 23 December 2009

Christmas cakes

Village Christmas cake
My Christmas cake
Christmas cake close up
Star Christmas cake
Close up of Star cake
This Christmas I made two gluten free Christmas cakes: the top one for my family and me and the second as a gift for a very dear friend of mine.

I loved the print on my Cath Kidston Christmas cards of a snowy pastel coloured village and used it as inspiration for my cake. I made the houses out of coloured roll-on icing using square and triangle cutters. The tree was made using star cutters.

Happy Holidays!

My Christmas wrapping

Christmas ribbon
This year I am wrapping my presents in paper to match my decorations.

Christmas wrapping paper
Above pic from left to right:
Torie Jayne-designed paper for small gifts
Red/white spot paper from M&S
Blue/white spotty paper from Tesco
Shooting star paper from Cath Kidston
Christmas print paper from Cath Kidston

Have a sweet day!

Tuesday, 22 December 2009

Handmade Christmas pastel chocolates

Handmade pastel chocolates
Handmade chocolate gingerbread man
The chocolate skulls I made at Halloween seemed to go down well with my family, and with one of my sisters in particular. For Christmas I wanted to make her some suitably themed chocolates.

I was in Selfridges looking at the silicone chocolate moulds, which were rather expensive, when I saw they had silicone ice cube trays at a third of the price! I could see no real difference between them so went for the cheaper ice cube trays. I love how they turned out! Now to sort out some pretty packaging...

To make these chocolates, I tempered the chocolate, coloured it using natural pink and green food colouring, poured the mix into the trays, and left them to set in the fridge.

Christmas ice cube tray by Torie Jayne
Gingerbread man ice cube tray

Have a sweet day!

Handmade reindeer head

Handmade reindeer
This is my handmade reindeer, using the pattern and instructions from Sew Pretty Christmas Homestyle by Tone Finnanger. I hand painted the nose and eyes using a black fabric pen. I have another three that I would finish if only I could find where I put their antlers! Made from Tilda fabric and ribbon.

Have a sweet day!

Monday, 21 December 2009

Hand painted wooden Christmas trees

Hand painted wooden Christmas trees
Hand painted wooden Christmas tree
Hand painted wooden Christmas tree
Hand painted wooden Christmas tree
It has been a busy few weeks at work and I am now on Holiday, which will give me a chance to finish all my Christmas projects in time for Christmas Eve. I'm hoping to share with you, my lovely readers, as many as I can.

Wooden Christmas tree by Torie Jayne
When I saw these small wooden Christmas trees in Hobby Craft I thought they would look cute painted white with coloured pots to sit on my Christmas table.

I decided to paint the pots in colours to match my Christmas theme. I went to the DIY store and found tester pots in the following colours: Bubblegum pink, Marina blue (Homebase matt emulsion), and Pea pod green (Crown matchpot).

I painted each tree in a water-based white wood primer; a couple of coats were needed.
I then painted the pots in the three different colours.

Have a sweet day!

Sunday, 20 December 2009

Gingerbread Houses

Gingerbread houses
This week on Flickr Faves Sunday, I bring you the prettiest Gingerbread houses with these gorgeous pics. Check back soon for some more of the most inspirational photographers on Flickr.

Some beautiful shots from my Flickr favourites (clockwise from top left):

Have a sweet day!

Saturday, 19 December 2009

Hand printed bags of handmade honeycomb

Hand printed bags of handmade honeycomb
Hand printed bags of handmade honeycomb
Hand printed bags of handmade honeycomb
Hand printed bags of handmade honeycomb
I made some honeycomb a while ago and it went down a treat with my friends, so I thought it would make a great little treat for Christmas. Originally, I was going to put it in some star-and-stripe printed candy cones like the ones I did for Halloween but I ended up running out of time! Instead, I came up with a quick way of making some pretty Christmas candy packaging for my honeycomb.

I had ordered some white paper candy bags for Halloween but ended up using the striped ones instead. So, after trying out my snowflake stamps in pink, green, pale blue and red (my holiday colour scheme) on my paper bags, I came to the conclusion that only red would look the best. I quickly got to randomly stamping 4 different styles of snowflakes all over the front of the bags then filled them with the honeycomb and used some of my striped masking tape to seal the backs of the bags. Ready to go!

I popped into Paperchase to pick up some stamps and reindeer candles and saw some boxes of mini clothing pegs with little red felt deer on the front. I thought they would be a cute addition to the bags of candy, with the added bonus that they could also be used to attach the Christmas cards to the back of the bags!

Honeycomb (makes about 10 bags)

600g caster sugar
2 tbsp liquid glucose
100ml water
100ml liquid honey
1 1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
500g dark chocolate

Cooking instructions
  1. Place the sugar, honey, water and liquid glucose in a heavy based jug. Using a candy thermometer, heat until the temperature reaches 160deg C
  2. Remove from heat quickly
  3. Add the bicarbonate of soda and whisk immediately
  4. Pour onto a greased baking sheet and leave to cool down
  5. Break into small chunks
  6. Temper dark chocolate (click for details)
  7. Pour chocolate over the chunks of honeycomb
  8. Place on a sheet of baking paper and leave in fridge to set

Candy bag details
Snowflake stamps
Snowflake stamps
Reindeer pegs
White sweet bags
Snowflake stamps
Colorbox ink pad - cranberry
Reindeer clips
Striped masking tape

Have a sweet day!

Thursday, 17 December 2009

Gingerbread bird house

Gingerbread bird house
Gingerbread bird house
Gingerbread bird house
Gingerbread bird house
Gingerbread bird house back
Gingerbread bird house
Gingerbread bird house
This year for the "Secret Santa" group I was in, we had to hand make our gift. I decided to make a gingerbread bird house as the lady whose name I picked out of a hat loves bird houses and gingerbread! It took hours to decorate but I enjoyed every second of it and love the result! I will be sad to see it go today but she is a wonderful lady and I hope she loves it as much as I do.

I used the Gingerbread House Cookie Cutter set from Cox & Cox but cut the roof and the sides of the house in half and used a small circular cutter at the front.

The bird cutters are part of a "12 days of Christmas" cookie cutter set that was given to me and my sisters when we were young children from a dear family friend who lives in Oregon.

Gingerbread bird house & Birds

250g unsalted butter
200g dark muscovado sugar
600g plain flour
7 tbsp golden syrup
2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
4 tsp ground ginger

Cooking instructions
  1. Heat oven to 180 deg C
  2. Melt the butter, sugar and golden syrup in a pan.
  3. Mix the flour, ground ginger and bicarbonate of soda in a bowl.
  4. Slowly add the melted butter mix to the flour mix to form a dough.
  5. Roll dough out to about 8mm thick on to baking paper.
  6. Cut out front, then cut small circle out of front.
  7. Cut out back.
  8. Cut out one roof and then cut in half with a sharp knife.
  9. Cut out two sides, cutting in half where the door starts, reuse the halves with doors.
  10. Cut out two birds.
  11. Slide cut pieces still on the baking paper on to baking trays.
  12. Bake in the oven for 12 minutes or until firm to the touch.
  13. Leave to cool for a few minutes, then re-cut round edges to neaten.
  14. Leave to completely cool.

Decorating the Bird House

Roll on icing
Icing sugar (powdered sugar)
Royal icing
M&M's in pale pink, red & brown
Food colouring

To decorate
  1. Dust icing sugar onto a hard clean surface and roll out icing to 3mm thick.
  2. Cut out house components in icing.
  3. Brush water onto back of cut out icing component and place on top of corresponding gingerbread piece. Repeat until all gingerbread pieces are iced.
  4. Make up royal icing as per instructions on packet, and spoon into piping bag with a small nozzle at the end.
  5. To build the base, hold the front and one of the sides of the house upright together in one hand to form a corner and with the other hand pipe icing down the inside of the corner and hold together till icing starts to set. Repeat until you have formed a box. Leave to set.
  6. On the back of one iced roof, pipe icing in a small line round the outside edge. Place on top of gingerbread iced box and hold until icing starts to set. Repeat with second roof piece. Leave to dry.
  7. For the chimney, build in the same way as the base of the house. Once it is dry, ice the bottom and place in position on top of roof. Leave to dry.
  8. Place house onto a cake board and using a star nozzle on the end of your piping bag, pipe small star shapes around the bottom of the house between the cake board and the house.
  9. Lightly push green M&M's into the center of the icing all the way round.
  10. Continue piping star shapes along all of the outside joins of the house, leaving the top of the roof until last so you can push M&M's into the icing along the top.
  11. Place a small dob of icing on the back of an M&M and place on the roof, pressing lightly down. Repeat until desired pattern is achieved. Continue for chimney.
  12. Using liquid food colouring, hand paint the iced birds and leave to dry.
  13. Pipe a generous amount of icing on back of birds and place on house in desired position, holding bird in place or propping it up until icing is nearly set. Fill chimney with brown M&M's.

Cake board
I covered an old cake board in a circle of polka dot paper using double sided tape to secure. I then covered the paper in a circular layer of cellophane, placing the double sided tape in the centre and along the outside edges where it would not be seen. I then stuck the ribbon in place using double sided tape, folding the top edge onto the top of the cake board.

Polka dot wrapping paper from Tesco
Cellophane from Paperchase

Have a sweet day!