Saturday, 22 December 2007

DVD Offer

We use LoveFilm, and have a 3 months free trial offer for anyone to take up in the UK.

go to:

Put in gift code: XMLF711


Merry Xmas, see you in the New Year

Friday, 21 December 2007

Fairy Toadstool Cake, Not So Easy

In my wisdom I decided to make from Debbie Brown's 50 EASY Party Cakes, the Fairy Toadstool for my 2 nieces for Xmas. With my classes I felt a bit more confident with my newly learnt skills! I should have realised that EASY is just a word to make you buy the book!!! Afterall, it was my husband who rescued the dinosaur cake, from the same book a few years ago.

Anyway, the cake board went v well. This I was pleased with.

Then I coloured my sugarpaste/ rolled fondant. This too went well. The blue is extra large, as I over coloured my small ball, and had to add more white to tone it down.

Next I made the fairy bodies, still going well

Then I rolled out all the other pieces, still ok.

Buttercreamed the cake. OKish

Covered base in white regalice, okish. Underneath cake, not smooth enough purhaps?

Did top, but Debbie says to hollow out the top, but does not show a photo, so I wasn't sure how much. I think I should have cut more out, to get the top to fit more snugly on, and therefore look better.

All the fairies stuck on, plus 100 &1000s.
I'm definely not as pleased as I had hoped. I should have made the fairies LAST, as they started to break when I moved them, as they were dried out. Better to move them when still sticky. Still more lessons learnt.
It's my son's birthday in 2 months, and I wanted to get some practice in before then.
More lessons needed!!!!
I hate to have to admit this, but, the following morning, when I looked at the cake, the roof had caved in!!! Clearly I had NOT hollowed the thing out anywhere near enough. Lesson learnt. However, why can't books give more step by step photos, or tips so you avoid the mistakes that I made? One other way round would be to put dowels in the bottom cake, put the roof on a cake board, the same size as it, so it can be properly supported.
Cake making is expensive, and it's not on that the books are not properly tested by non professional individuals.

Sunday, 16 December 2007

Sugarcraft or Cake Decorating Dictionary

Is it Sugarcraft or Cake Decorating? That is just the start of the problem!!!

I've noticed that there seems to be many names for the same product, which makes things quite confusing for a beginner like me. So I'm going to attempt in this post (and will update as I learn more) to clarify things. If you know of a product to add to this list, please post a comment or if I've made a mistake, which wouldn't be surprising, then let me know. Thanks.

The one thing I would say, is that some products contain gelatin (so if you are veggie watch out and try different makes)

Clearly, as so many of the pastes do simlar jobs, it's going to be down to a matter of personal taste which ones to use. In my class we use Regallice to cover cakes, flower paste for the sugarcraft flowers and mexican paste, when we need something to be stronger and dry rock solid.

1. Rolled Fondant/ Sugar Paste/ Regallice - all the same product. You can make your own or buy ready made - widely available in Supermarkets

2. Flower Paste/ Petal Paste/ Gum Paste - from specialist cake decorator shops

  • This rolls out very thinly to help create very realistic flowers, dries hard. Can keep for a very long time.
3. Mexican Paste - from cake decorating shops

  • Dries rock solid, used for the snowflakes I made, also plaques etc. Quite rufty-tufty! (Doesn't break too easily)
4. Modelling Paste - from cake decorating shops

  • Dries hard (can be used instead of Mexican Paste)
5. Pastillage - from cake decorating shops - I've never used it but I've read that:

  • Dries extremely hard, not affected my heat and moisture the way other pastes are.

There are recipes for all of the above pastes in various books and on the net. Some may be easier to recreate than others.

Friday, 14 December 2007

Glutney and Pirates

Yesterday I finally picked the rest of our tomatoes (still green) yes it is about 2.5 months late, but the plants were alive and well on our microclimate balcony! But with no sun, there wouldn't be any more progession for the tomatoes. So today I made green tomatoe chutney (1/2 from my M-I-L's recipe and 1/2 from Hugh Fearnly-Whittingstall's River Cottage Year. They filled 2 largish jars, and in 2 months we can start using them. Very pleased with my belated Autumn harvest!

Quick knitting update, I've not done quite as much as I would have liked, but I do a few rows every day. This is the back of the jumper btw. Luckily I have 2 years to complete this in.

Thursday, 13 December 2007

Christmas Cake

This is the cake I made at my cake decoarting class. My teacher's design, but I'm pleased with the overall effect. I chose the snowflakes on the side. The board needs a ribbon and then it is done.

Wednesday, 12 December 2007

Snowflake Sugarcraft Tutorial

Sugarcraft Snowflakes

Materials/ Equipment Needed:

1: Smooth rolling board
2. Smooth rolling pin
3. Vegetable oil
4. Mexican Paste
5. Snowflake Cutters (by patchwork cutters)
6. Edible glue (from Sugarcraft shops)
7. Edible Glitter (from Sugarcraft shops - I used Disco WhiteHologram made by Edable Art)
8. Cocktail stick

Step 1
Oil board with vegetable oil.
Roll out a small ball of mexican paste thinly.

Step 2

Choose a cutter and grease it with vegetable oil.
The set of cutters I bought came with 3 different sized snowflake cutters.

Step 3
Cut out snowflake. Press down very firmly and I gently jig it about.

Step 4
Remove cutter. You may need the cocktail stick to remove any extra bits that didn't peel away from the middle of the design. I just spear them, and they come away on the stick.

Step 5
Using the cocktail stick, gently remove the snowflake from the cutter. I do this one "leg" at a time.

Step 6
Place flatly on another board/ tray to dry. If your snowflake has curved, you can always push it down gently with our finger.
Step 7
Brush your edible glue onto all your snowflakes.
Put a small amount of the glitter onto a teaspoon, and gently spinkle over the tops of the snowflakes. Let dry overnight.

In this picture, I have also made a tree, that wil be decorated at my evening class tonight. I'll post photos of the finished product.

If I have missed anything out or you found this helpful, please post a comment. Thank you.

Saturday, 1 December 2007

winter felt garland

My son and I made this winter garland the other day. He chose the things to hang on it, I drew them, he cut them out, I recut them out (unfortunately the boy's foot was severely cut and beyond repair) and then thread them onto ribbon and hung up. (We also added fabric glitter to the snowflakes - the shops were out of the glittered felt in white).

I like this idea, simple yet v pleasing. It hangs next to the Autumn garland we made.

Saturday, 24 November 2007

Pirate Update

Here is the first photo of my pirate jumper, so far so good. Although needles do hurt my fingers, especially on the purl stitch! I'm giving myself c2 years to get it done!

Blog Book Inspiration

The other day I was looking at Soule Mama and Glittergoods and they were inspired by each other with making books for their children to draw/ write in. Daria on GG gave a fantastic step-by-step instructions, that I made some up too.

If you're British then use normal A4 card and paper (from my child's art and craft stash I have built up - so nothing too fancy) and basically cut the A4 card and paper in half, to give you A5 size, (fold this in half, A6,) and stitch it together using embroidery floss. I just used a large needle to pierce the card and paper, which worked just fine. For a neater finish (as Daria says) trim the inside paper down so it doesn't spill out when folded.
No 1 child was v happy with his new books just for him. He's only just starting to read and write. You can see how I did it below, but check out Glittergoods for the professional way to go about it!

Needle piercing the card and paper to make holes (just 3 on the spine)

Start in the middle hole going down into the book

Come back out at one of the ends, then bring the needle over to the last hole (the one so far untouched, and push back down into the book.

Bring needle back through central hole.

Tie off ends, and cut.

The inside of the book.

job done, v happy and impressed child.

Plus nice to do something in minutes for once!!!

Wednesday, 21 November 2007

From Cakes to Pirates

Cake bit:
I don't think I have mentioned this, but in October I started a cake decorating evening class. I felt it was time to improve my efforts for my children's birthday cakes. Anyway, our first project is decorating an Xmas Cake (I used the Delia Smith recipe for an 8" cake - you can't go wrong with Delia, IMO.) We are following our teacher's design, which is quite traditional. A tree, to be decorated with Xmas Roses, Holly, Ivy and Red berries. I had to make some at home, as I'm never going to get it all done in the class, I'm not that fast at doing it. But I am enjoying it very much.

Pirate Bit:
And I am going to aim to turn this:

Into this:

Yes the wool just arrived, in the end I had to cancel the Navy yarn, and find another shop who actually had it in stock, instead of pretending they did!!! Is it that hard to update your website, or advise customers of stock issues??? Never mind, it's here, and I shall get knitting tomorrow. I'm knitting a few sizes bigger than I need for my son, as I'm going to take my time!!! I've never done anything like this before, you see. Any comments/ advice very much appreciated.

Friday, 16 November 2007

yarn update

Just incase you thought I was being v lazy, only 2 of the 3 colours of yarn has been sent, so I cannot start (as it's the main colour that I'm waiting for!!) Most annoyed with the shop. I have started cutting out the pieces for the bag I'm going to make from Bend the Rules Sewing book etc!

How to Make a Doorstop

I have finally finished (well nearly) my fabric doorstop tutorial. And you can find it here. As I started it in October, that is where it has been filed!! So I thought I would write about it, plus if you look to your left, you'll see it in my left hand sidebar. Super Duper!!! I will be addingan extra photo or 2, of the template. I was trying to be clever, to give a v detailed template, and I can't convert it to a PDF (PC probs) so will just take a photo!

Saturday, 10 November 2007


where is my yarn?
why is my husband still here?

So neither project can start (jumper and bag).

Thursday, 8 November 2007

Autumn Leaves

We have been doing lots of Autumny things, picking leaves and seeds (acorns and conkers and sycamore seeds). So we have had a few make and do sessions (myself and our 4 3/4 year old) and have come up with some leaf prints and a leaf inspired felt garland (I saw a few on the web), now proudly hung in his bedroom. All we did to make it was draw out some leaf shapes with tailor's chalk onto the felt, cut it out, make 2 little parallel cuts on the leaf, using scissors, and then threaded ribbon through. V simple.

My blog name, Make and Do, is inspired by Doodle Do an arts and crafts programme on Cbeebies.

Monday, 5 November 2007


Just thought I would inform you that my birthday cake was a "slice" of chocolate cake from choccywoccydoodah. We shared it between 3 of us, and I still had to eat it in 2 stages, it was v v rich, and I can only face their cakes once a year or less!!!

Sunday, 4 November 2007

Remember, Remember

The Fifth of November,

Gunpowder, treason and plot.
I see no reason why gunpowder, treason
Should ever be forgot...

"On the 5th November 1605 Guy Fawkes was caught in the cellars of the Houses of Parliament with several dozen barrels of gunpowder. Guy Fawkes was subsequently tried as a traitor with his co-conspirators for plotting against the government. He was tried by Judge Popham who came to London specifically for the trial from his country manor Littlecote House in Hungerford, Gloucestershire. Fawkes was sentenced to death and the form of the execution was one of the most horrendous ever practised (hung ,drawn and quartered) which reflected the serious nature of the crime of treason.

The Tradition begins...The following year in 1606 it became an annual custom for the King and Parliament to commission a sermon to commemorate the event. Lancelot Andrewes delivered the first of many Gunpowder Plot Sermons. This practice, together with the nursery rhyme, ensured that this crime would never be forgotten! Hence the words " Remember , remember the 5th of November" The poem is sometimes referred to as 'Please to remember the fifth of November'. It serves as a warning to each new generation that treason will never be forgotten. In England the 5th of November is still commemorated each year with fireworks and bonfires culminating with the burning of effigies of Guy Fawkes (the guy). The 'guys' are made by children by filling old clothes with crumpled newspapers to look like a man. Tradition allows British children to display their 'guys' to passers-by and asking for " A penny for the guy".

The picture is of the 'Gunpowder Plot' conspirators. Starting with Thomas Bates, Robert Wintour, Christopher Wright, John Wright, Thomas Percy, Guy Fawkes, Robert Catesby and Thomas Wintour
In a local town to hear, Lewes, they have a load of Bonfire celebrations. The whole town is closed to cars, and they have lots of processions and burnings of the Guy and of course Fireworks.


I took my eldest son to a Firework display at a local school, last night. It was great fun. There were 2 fire performers on first. Which didn't seem to impress anyone too much, until one managed to set fire to his waistcoat! And then they did do fire blowing, which looked cool.

The fireworks were gorgeous. but v v noisy. It was really good and as always a great time of year, although v warm compared to normal!

Strictly Come Dancing/ Dancing with the Stars

I thought I would plug the Dancing with the Stars game which my husband's company Zoe Mode have made for the PS2 and the Wii. In fact our good friend was the Lead Artist on it. It's been made for the American Version of the show, but 2 of the British judges also judge the American Show (Len and Bruno). It is going to be released on the 13th Nov, so please please buy it it!!

Thursday, 1 November 2007

Crumpets, Warm Jumpers, Vests, Bonfires and Fireworks!

I'm probably not even going to touch on half the things in my title, but I was just thinking what November means to me. My birthday is on the 5th, which is Guy Fawkes Day, so I do love November. Except, for the last few years, it doesn't seem cold enough. (Global Warming - do watch the Al Gore film - An Inconvient Truth if you can).

Anyway I can't help thinking of knitting and my lovely set of knitting needles from Cath Kidston that I got a few months ago, and that I picked up a book, that I have been looking at for well over a year now, in the local library called Adorable Knits for Tiny Tots by Zoe Mellor and thinking a bit of knitting might just soothe away all my hours of sewing, as this would be for my youngest son and not for sale! Although he has only just turned 1, I will be knitting it a few sizes bigger. This is because I have never knitted anything like this before, and feel I need the time to get it done. Plus I don't want him in and out of it in 3 months! I do like the jumper on the front cover with the star, but I'm actually going for the pirate sweater, as my first project, using more than 1 colour! (My blanket I knitted was slightly different so doesn't count as knitting with many colours). I've just had a look on the web for comments on peoplemaking the pirate sweater, and now I' put off!! No I will give it a whirl. My biggest annoyance is the price of yarn (it'll cost c £26 to buy) Knitting is not cheap.
I've still got to do my doorstop tutorial and crack on with my bag too. I think I'm going to give the sewing machine a rest. My husband is away in 2 weeks time, so I'll probably get it out then. He was moaning quite a lot about it being permantly out!
Anyway, this weekend there'll be fireworks, bonfires and toffee apples all round the country, and the odd burning of a Guy (although that doesn't seem to happen as much as it used to).
I'm actually wearing a t-shirt right now, no vest or jumper in sight!!!

Tuesday, 30 October 2007

Template changes

I don't know if you have noticed but I altered my web page to a mighty 3 columns!!!! And no I am not skilled in HTML. I saw a post on How About Orange's page and thoght I'd follow Blogger's tutorial. Now I have a weeny bit more room for even more columns of info for your consumption!!!

Sunday, 28 October 2007


I now have my etsy shop up and running. I'll be loading my wares onto it over the next few days and see what happens. Maybe it'll go better than the market, over time!

Market, Smarket

Well yesterday we did the market. And it didn't go as well as any of the stall holders would have liked. We set up between 9-10am, and then the public could come in from 10am till 5pm. To say it was slow and quiet at times would be accurate, and then a wave of 10 or so people would walk through the door. But I didn't make my first sale until just past 1pm, which was a bit disappointing (it was one of my shopper bags with a tree on the front) and all in all I only sold, 1 bag, 2 silk flower brooches, 1 doorstop and 1 scented lavender heart. And not one bought my husband's photos, although he did get a lot of nice comments (we both did). I think there were a number of problems, was it the time of year, people might not begearing up for Xmas shopping quite yet (in a few weeks time, I'm sure people are more motivated to spend money, the number of people who actually came into the market hall, I thought was dismally low, compared to when I visited it 6 months ago, and lastly my products,clearly were not hitting the mark, for either people's taste or maybe they considered them too pricey?

All I can say in defence of my prices (which I din't think were crazy, was that for the time taken to make each thing, I have to pay myself a wage - which on most products was probably minimum wage or below - what a joke)

The lessons I have learned are to value homemade products accordingly, no one can compete in the UK with a sweatshop in China, Taiwan or wherever big companies get their gear made. Also be sure that the market is more established (this being a new market, that was no 3 on a quarterly basis, is not enough to establish it, although from next year it will be monthly). And I do believe the organiser has to take some heat, as my husband thought that the stalls outside, selling second hand furniture and clothing, made it look like a flea market. When all the stalls inside, were selling beautiful handmade goods (ceramincs, lampshades, cushions, leather bags etc). Plus, more advertising needs to be around for it, posters etc.

So going forward I'm not sure I'd do another market again, or I'd have to think about the time of year etc etc. I did think being quite close to Xmas, it could have been good.

However on the upside, I did meet some great people, notably Sally Elford, who did gorgeous handmade screen prints and was a lovely person to boot!

I may investigate etsy!!! As I do enjoy making things and although I can't earn a lot of money doing this, I would like to be able to carry on and do it!

Anyway, my next project, is another lovely handbag, from Bend the Rules Sewing (Although I did pack my sewng machine away last night!!) and I intend to write up a doorstop tutorial.

Wednesday, 24 October 2007


Monday, 22 October 2007


I've less than a week to the market and I'm so behind, so please don't expect much from me, blogging, this week.

See you all next week, with tales of good fortune or total disaster!!!

Thursday, 18 October 2007

Shopping Bag

I'm trying my best to be greener, although not always easy. I'm trying to eliminate plastic bags from the Supermarket shop, but would find it harder to say no to a bag if I was buying clothes.

Anyway, I've started makng shopper bags, this one will go to the market, but I'm going to be knocking up a few more. It is half from my House Proud book and half from my Bend the Rules Sewing, you could say I've blended the 2 patterns together!

Wednesday, 17 October 2007


How many bobbins does one machinist need? And do you, like me, end up with many different coloured threads on your bobbins?
Sorry about the ropey photo!

Sunday, 14 October 2007

Charming Handbag

I made this handbag from Amy Karol's "Bend the Rules Sewing" book yesterday, and I'm pleased with the result. The only thing was she did not give measurements for the straps or the casing, and the instructions could have been clearer, ie which order to place all the fabric, so it took me a while to figure it all out, but luckily it all worked out.

I have also been making scented heart shaped pouches (filled with a very pungent lavendar) for a market that I'm doing on the 27th October. I have so much still to make. This is my first time doing something like this, so I don't know how much stock I'll need. I plan on making my stall looking bright and attractive, it's certainly going to smell nice!

Wednesday, 3 October 2007

Silk Flower

I made this flower from Cynthia Treen's book, Last MInute Fabric Gifts, which is really well written and has not let me down! It can be used as a brooch or a hair clip, I just need to decide which and put the suitable backing on!

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