Tuesday 31 March 2009

Jo's Crocheted Scarf

Crocheted Scarf by Jo TinleyLook at this beautiful scarf. I just love the colours. It was made for me by Jo at Daisychain Designs. How sweet is that? Jo said in the note that she sent with it that she thought I could wear it while I'm cycling about the Oxfordshire countryside. Jo - if I had any sense of direction (or sat nav for my bicycle) I would do that but I fear getting lost in the countryside so I shall just stick to the routes I know. That means the scarf will come with me to town, Grandma's, the wool shop and Tesco. Possibly Waitrose but to be honest I don't think I know how to get there. I know, I'm abysmally bad at directions. It's an affliction!

Bar Cupcake beads I have zero, like nil, zip, zilch, nada, negative, absolutely no motivation or inclination to do bead things at the moment. This is annoying me, and probably you as well. I'm trying to do stuff but it either goes wrong or I end up hating whatever I make. It's a beadfunk and there ain't no way out of it except giving it time to pass. Please bear with me, beadpeeps and I'll try and have some beads to show you soon.

Monday 30 March 2009

Dylan's Pinwheel Cupcakes

Dylan's Pinwheel CupcakesJust got in. Lots of travelling today - Cambridge, through London, to Oxford then to Southampton and then back to Oxford. I'm a bit tired. *Yawn*

So this is just a quick post to show you the cupcakes that I made for Dylan's first birthday. They're vanilla cakes filled with raspberry jam and topped with pale blue buttercream and hundreds and thousands. I decorated them with tiny gold paper pinwheels. I found some pinwheel (or windmill, call them what you will) decorations for cupcakes but to be honest I thought they were a tad big and ever-so-slightly ... well ... gaudy. So I decided to fashion my own instead. I spent far too many hours on Thursday night making these.

Tiny Paper PinwheelsThe wheel part is only about an inch wide so they were quite fiddly and yes, they actually spin. This fact amused Robyn greatly although I didn't really appreciate her blowing on the pinwheel with a mouth full of cake - I was showered with damp cake crumbs. Nice.

Sunday 29 March 2009

Time For Tea

Time For Tea Package From KathrynA few weeks back Yvonne at Adventures Of A Lady In Training organised a craft swap. I was intrigued as I've read a lot about these swaps but have never taken part in one so I decided to bite the bullet and join in! The theme of the swap was 'Time For Tea' and we had to make a teatime-themed item for the person we were partnered up with and send it along with some tea and a few items that they could make use of with regard to their chosen craft or hobby.

My partner for the swap was Kathryn at Lazy Daisy Glass. She creates fused glass art and she sent me a whole abundance of loveliness. There were pendants and cupcakey things along with some beautiful Japanese paper, some biscuits (always good with a cuppa) and many other crafty bits and pieces. Basically, Kathryn was a fab swap partner! Please click here to see details of the contents of my swap parcel.

Time For Tea Goodies For KathrynI sent Kathryn a Cupcake Cluster necklace, some Redbush tea (her favourite), some spangly knitting needles and some buttons. Big thanks to Vonnie for arranging the swap - it was fun!

I'm blogging this from Chris's flat as I'm in Cambridge. I'm off to Southampton tomorrow afternoon to see Dylan as it's his first birthday this week - can't believe he's a whole year old. Where does the time seem to be disappearing to this year? Is it just me or is 2009 just flying by?

Beads for sale later in the week ..... promise!

Friday 27 March 2009

Just a note .....

Fondant Iced Cupcake. . . . . to say have a good weekend! I'm off to Cambridge to see my other half.

I've just received my lovely package of 'Time For Tea' swap goodies from Kathryn at Lazy Daisy Glass. She's been so generous! I shall blog about that from Cambridge as I have to go and pack my bag and catch my train now.

I baked cupcakes this morning - vanilla with palest green fondant icing with sugar flowers. Simple but pretty, methinks.

Catch you all later!

'Make Jewellery' Magazine

I received issue one of Make Jewellery yesterday and I'm really impressed with it. It's glossy, colourful and modern and contains some really interesting articles about trends, business and celebrity jewellery. The projects are great too - they're beautifully presented and feature wirework, resin, seed beads, crystals and much much more.

Make Jewellery is available now at all the usual places.

Thursday 26 March 2009

A Real Fun-guy!

Lampwork Glass Mushroom BeadToadstools don't get much cuter than this - a mushroom with a kawaii-style face!

Tuesday 24 March 2009

The Boat That Rocked ... Rocked!

The Boat That Rocked PosterI've just this minute got back from London. I entered a competition on LOVEFiLM the other week and I couldn't believe it when I received an email on Friday saying that I'd won a pair of tickets to a special screening of the new (Should-Be-Sir) Richard Curtis movie The Boat That Rocked. The screening took place at BAFTA in Piccadilly and Chris and I went along to see it tonight. It was wonderful! There were drinks, posh nibbles on sticks, goody bags and then the film itself. I'm a massive Richard Curtis fan so I've been looking forward to seeing this movie for ages and it didn't disappoint. Brilliant cast, superb script and a fantastic soundtrack. I loved it!

But the fabulousness didn't end there. After the movie Bill Nighy, who plays Quentin in the movie, made an appearance for a question and answer session. He's so cool. Having seen him as Billy Mack in Love Actually about 1347 times it was strange but very amazing to see him in person.

Great evening - I have a big smile on my face!

'Jelvehesque' Focal

Lampwork Glass Focal BeadYep, this one is totally inspired by Jelveh and her beads. Jelveh gave me a large pair of mashers so I could make big focal beads as my old mashers were only 20mm square. The bead is a mix of purples with glittery goldstone stringerwork and raised multicoloured bumps.

Lampwork Glass Focal BeadI took the photographs in the sunlight. This beauty would make a marvellous pendant, don't you think? It'll be for sale in my Etsy shop shortly .....

Thanks for inspiring me, Jelveh!

Vanilla Cupcake Recipe

CupcakesA few of you have asked for the recipe that I use to make my basic vanilla cupcakes so here you go. This recipe will make about a dozen cupcakes.

Basic Vanilla Cupcake Ingredients

For the cakes
4 oz (110 g) Self raising flour
4 oz (110 g) Caster sugar
4 oz (110 g) Unsalted butter
1 tsp Baking powder
2 Large free range eggs
1 tsp Vanilla extract

For the buttercream
5 oz (140 g) Unsalted butter
10 oz (280 g) Icing sugar
Food colouring (Optional)


1. Preheat the oven to 160°C / 325°F / Gas mark 3. Don't forget that all ovens vary so you may need to adjust the temperature and cooking time accordingly.

2. Line a cake or muffin tray with your paper cake cases.

3. Mix the butter with an electric whisk until it is light in colour.

4. Add the sugar and whisk again until soft and fluffy.

5. Add the eggs and the vanilla and mix again.

6. Sieve the flour and baking powder into your bowl and mix one more time.

7. Divide the mixture between the cake cases and bake in the oven for about twenty minutes. The cakes are cooked when they are golden brown and they spring back when touched. Place the cakes on a wire rack to cool.

8. To make the buttercream whisk the soft butter and gradually add the icing sugar a bit at a time. Add some colour if you fancy it and mix well. Fill a piping bag fitted with a large star nozzle with the buttercream and pipe a swirl of it on top of each cake. Decorate as you wish!


~ Take the butter out of the fridge to soften for an hour or so before you start baking.

~ I use golden caster sugar. I prefer the flavour of it to standard caster sugar.

~ Use Lurpak unsalted butter for the buttercream. It's a nice pale colour.

~ Try cutting out a small piece of cake from each cupcake and fill the 'well' that is left with jam or lemon curd. Replace the little bit of cake you removed before icing.

~ When adding food colouring to the buttercream use a cocktail stick to transfer the colour to the buttercream. You only need a little touch as the colour goes a long way.

~ There are endless ways to decorate your cakes. Visit your local sugarcraft shop if you're lucky enough to have one nearby or check the baking aisle of your supermarket for lots of decorations and icingy things. Have a look at this wonderful website for inspiration and supplies.

~ Make sure you eat any leftover cake mix and lick any spoons and spatulas clean. (And yes, I know cake mix has got raw eggs in it but I've been eating cake mix since I was about three and it's never done me any harm!)

Monday 23 March 2009

Singapore Surprise

Gift From Lyn @ FlorspaceI always love getting post. But I love getting surprise post even more! The postie just delivered the mail and she handed me a box with a Singapore stamp on it. I turned it over and read that it was from Lyn at Florspace so I grabbed my camera because I knew that whatever was inside the parcel would be wrapped up all lovely. I wasn't wrong! Lyn always makes such an effort with presentation - she makes everything look über-pretty.

So what was inside? Only the world's cutest cupcake cups, that's what!

Gift From Lyn @ FlorspaceThey really made me smile. The next batch of cupcakes I make will be baked in these. Thanks so very much, Lyn. You're such a star! And blog readers, if you haven't done so already, make sure you go and check out Lyn's Etsy shop. It's chock-full of her beautiful handmade bags and purses.

Sunday 22 March 2009


Cupcakes With Sugar FlowersPotter (verb) : Potter about or around or away. To be busy in a pleasant but aimless way.

Yep, today I've been mostly pottering about. I did a batch of ironing and then I tried making beads but it just wasn't working so I did some baking instead. Now I have the kitchen to tidy up - I make such a mess when I cook. I'm covered in icing sugar but hey, I've got ten cupcakes to show for it so I don't mind. When I've finished scraping buttercream off the kitchen tiles and sweeping flour up off the floor I shall iron the washing that's been drying on the line and then I'll do a spot of knitting.

Gosh, how exciting am I? I tell you, my exuberant vim and vigour is making me giddy.

(I'm being sarcastic with that last sentence, of course. I typed that in a sarcastic tone of voice but I thought I'd point it out in case you didn't pick up on that and you thought that I actually did think I was having an exciting Sunday and that ironing and washing up totally light my candle. They don't.)

Friday 20 March 2009

'Down By The River' Lentils

Lampwork Glass Lentil BeadsThese colours remind me of woodland walks down by the river - earthy browns, leafy greens and watery blues.

New Additions

Jemima & MarthaI'm still here, making beads and pootling about in my glass world. I've been quieter than normal, I know, so I thought I'd poke my head out into the blogosphere and say hey.

Those two beauties up there are my new guinea pigs - Jemima and Martha. I wanted to get a friend for Brenda and Edith so I rang around several pet shops on the hunt for a female guinea pig but nowhere had any. I eventually tracked down a shop that had two six-month-old females for sale but the shop owner said they had to go as a pair. The lady she was selling them for was adamant that they shouldn't be separated as they're sisters and have always lived together. So who was I to argue? I fell in love with them both instantly.

I'll be back later with some beads .....

Thursday 12 March 2009

Key Bead

Lampwork Glass Key BeadHello Beadpeeps!

This is a quick post as I'm really tired but I just had to show you this key bead. I'll take better photos of it in the morning.

Jelveh came over on Tuesday (will elaborate more tomorrow) and she kindly gifted me (love the way Americans say that!) a special tool for making key beads. I had a play around and made this one today. The key is an antique Victorian one and the bead is pale ivory glass with turquoise stringer decoration. The bead is loose and slides up and down the key as well as spinning round and round. Great for jewellery twiddlers! I'm picturing this key on a long chain or maybe a length of silk ribbon.

So what do you think?

Tuesday 10 March 2009

Ooh La La

Cupcake NecklacesSo here's what's been keeping me busy - a big batch of cupcake necklaces! I've just this minute finished packing them up into their pretty pink recycled boxes which I've decorated with little lilac bows.

Cupcake Necklace BoxesThese are heading off to Synie's Cupcakes in Paris. How exciting is that? My little beads are travelling to France to be sold in a cupcake shop. I've never been to Paris. I've always wanted to go there ever since I did my History Of Art A-Level and I can't believe my glass gems are going to get there before me!

Lemon Meringue Loveliness

Lemon Meringue CupcakeToday Jelveh is coming over to make beads and she requested some cupcakes like the ones I made the other day. However, I went to my baking cupboard this morning and discovered I was out of icing sugar for the cream cheese frosting so I had to change my recipe plans and I ended up making lemon meringue cupcakes instead. These lemon cakes are filled with tangy lemon curd and topped with light meringue. Yummayumma!

Monday 9 March 2009

A Bit Quiet

I tend to go a bit quiet and mopey at this time of year so I do apologise if I update a tad less than usual.

Huge thanks to everyone who emailed me about sock blockers. You're a fab bunch! You all sent me so many links to wonderful websites and I did order a pair.

I've just finished the huge bead order that I mentioned the other day but seeing as the weather is as grey as grey can be the light is pretty naff for photography so I'll take a few pictures tomorrow when the light's better and post about them then.

Friday 6 March 2009

Caroline's Beads

Caroline Whlean's Lampwork BeadsCaroline Whelan came for a beadmaking lesson on Wednesday. Caroline is a good bead customer of mine and she's also a bit of an internet chum. We share the same sense of humour and have lots of things in common so Wednesday was a real laugh!

These are some of Caroline's beads. She even had a go at making heart-shaped beads. Caroline had only ever had a one day lampwork course before she came for a lesson. I think she did mighty well - look at those nice round, dimpled beads!

I am having one of those time-slipping-away days today. Some of my long-term readers may remember that the last time my Dad went away on holiday the central heating broke and I ended up freezing cold for five days. Well, I must have some kind of adverse effect on hot water when left alone with it because Dad's gone away on a cruise and the shower has broken. It works but there is no hot water. So I called the British Gas people and they sent a man out this morning who has said that he thinks it is the actual shower unit that is bust so I need to get a plumber to take a look at it. Tsk.

Cupcake PendantsI've just added these two pendants to my Etsy shop. I'm finally seeing light at the end of the Cupcake tunnel. I have one large and exciting order (will tell you all about that next week) to finish off and then it'll be back to normal beads proper and making Cupcake orders as they come in. Is that a cheer I hear?!

Must now go and pack up orders, get to Tesco, go to the bank and the Post Office, sort out the washing, do the ironing blah, blah, blah .....

Sock Blockers?

Does anyone know whereabouts in the UK I can buy some wooden sock blockers from? I've searched the interwebs high and low but to no avail.

Can any fellow knitters help?

Thursday 5 March 2009

Sock-Making : Happy Feet

Hand Knitted SocksI've just finished knitting this pair of socks. It feels like I'm paddling in a rainbow!

Tuesday 3 March 2009

Love Blobite

Love Blobite From Cute DesignsCheck out this little bambino! This sweet pink amigurumi Love Blobite was handmade by Donna at Cute Designs on Etsy. Her shop is chock-full of wonderful little treasures that she makes. Donna also blogs about her work here.

Bridget The Love BlobiteBridget (I had to name her) is settling in well. She seems very happy living next to Luke Skywalker and my lip balms on my computer desk. Bless!

Random Poetry Moment

Toast'Ode To Toast'

Toast, toast,
The snack I like the most,
I truly love you utterly.

Monday 2 March 2009


Lampwork Glass BeadsYou know how I told you that Jelveh sorted out my beads last week? Well, I was so shocked when I strung these two particular sets together. I can't believe how I could have thought that these beads weren't worthy of selling! I tell you, I was so tempted to keep the red, black and white ones for myself.

Lampwork Glass Heart BeadI took advantage of the sunshine streaming in through the kitchen window this morning and photographed these sets on sandstone. The lavender ones have come out lovely. The colour looks just like it does in real life.

Both of these sets are for sale in my Etsy shop.

Sunday 1 March 2009

I Wish

Superhero MeI know that this makes four whole posts in one day and that is just ridiculous blogging behaviour (*slaps own wrist*) but Lori over at Pretty Things just posted a link to a really cool website where you can turn yourself into a superhero so I thought I'd have a go and share the result with you.

I love the fact that The Hero Factory gives you a totally random name too. If I could be a superhero I'd want to look like this. My hair would be under control and styled all nice, I would have an incredible figure, I'd wear a purple cape and I'd wield a scarlet lightsaber. Yeah, I wish .....

What would you look like as a superhero? Click here to have a play.

Thanks for sharing this fab link, Lori.

And that's it from me today ..... promise!

Could this be any more me?

Acorn Attic Cupcake BagDo you know, I've received so many gifts this week and it's not even my birthday or owt. I know such a lot of generous, lovely people! I feel thoroughly spoilt.

This über-sweet little bag was a pressie from my great mate Tina Scott. The bag has everything I like - denim, cupcakes, buttons and red and white polka dots! Tina said she thought I could store all my ready-to-be-despatched Cupcake beads in it which is exactly what I'm going to do. I'm also going to stash the sterling silver bits that I use for Cupcake pendant making in there too. The bag is from Acorn Attic on Etsy.

Thank you so much, Tina! You're a gem.


Charm BraceletThe lovely Janine of Cherished Trinkets has just started a group on Flickr specifically for posting photographs of charm bracelets. I make next-to-no jewellery these days so I sorted through my jewellery box and fished out a couple of my old creations to clean, photograph and add to the Cherished Charm Bracelets group pool.

I made this black one about three years ago. I was going for an outer space kind of feel and it contains some lampwork glass nuggets that I made along with onyx, sterling silver stars and oodles - like gazillions - of Swarovski crystals. It's a bit weighty but it is so nice to wear and it makes the most wonderful rattly noise.