24 October 2009

{Grown up} Snickerdoodle Cookies

One of my favourite words has to be cookie. Just saying it makes me feel all snugly! It's national baking week this week, or I guess it was this week it's kind of coming to an end now but that won't bother me too much, I've still got more stuff I want to make it's just a good excuse to actually get something started!
I got a craving for something sweet and spicy and I thought the Snickerdoodle cookies seemed to be the answer so I had a go at making some. They're nothing fancy kind of like a soft melt in the mouth cookie that's rolled in cinnamon and sugar to make the outside crunchy and as I found when I made them it also makes them mega sweet! Far too sweet for my personal taste so I had another go and tweaked the recipe a bit to make them more grown up. This consisted of adding less sugar and instead of rolling them in a cinnamon sugar coating I mixed up cinnamon and ginger and rolled them in that instead. Just perfect dunked into black coffee - which I think is an essential for any cookie!

The one at the bottom was a first batch one based on the Martha Stewart recipe here. It looks tastier than my cinnamon and ginger ones above it but it was very cotton candy sweet, not what I was after. This was my tweaked recipe if you're interested:

75g butter (or low fat alternative, I like to use Burtoli)
120g caster sugar
1 egg
160g plain flour
1/2 teaspoon of baking powder
2 tablespoons of powdered cinnamon + 1 teaspoon of powdered ginger mixed

Mix the butter and sugar together until really light and fluffy and pale. Stir in the egg. Measure out the flour and add the baking powder to it then stir in a little at a time until you form a sticky dough. If it's mega a sticky just add a bit more flour or pop the mixture in the fridge to firm it up. Make the mixture into balls about an inch and a half in size then roll them in the cinnamon and ginger mixture. Put them on a baking tray leaving a good two inches between each one (they spread out) then squish the tops down with the back of a fork. Bake at 190c for around 10mins. The cookies will spread out and crack more on top so you know they're done. Cool on a wire rack for 10mins then make a coffee sit back and enjoy! :-)

I'm on a mission to make some spicy pumpkin cake next. I've read some recipes and it's basically carrot cake but with pumpkin instead so I'm hoping it tastes as good as carrot cake! Has anyone tried it and can advise?
xx Leo

19 October 2009

Autumn Decor

I've got a little Ribbon Oasis project to share today. I'm determined to enjoy autumn this year and not jump too quickly into winter and Christmas so I decided to make some pretty autumnal decor. Before I started this project I did a quick google for autumn wreaths and found lots and lots of inspiration so if you're wanting to make one for yourself that's a great place to start to pool your ideas. Most of the instructions begin with buying a ready made wreath or ring but I'm a bit of a recycler so I decided to find something I already had and found the perfect solution in a cardboard pizza base from a ready made pizza. I rescued it from the paper recycling bin and cut a hole in the center to make it into a perfect card ring base. Because it was white I covered it with brown paper first - again reusing some brown paper bags too! Next came the fun part of picking out some ribbons to use! These are the colours I went for.... I picked out the Browns and Golds organza mix, Yellow and Orange organza mix, the Browns and Golds solids mix, the mesh and chain ribbon in gold and the green leaf colour satin ribbon. I also picked out this lovely red stitched ribbon to make a bow centerpiece.
As well as ribbon I had a little look around the house for some bits to use. I found lots of lovely spices in the cupboard to use I picked out cinnamon sticks, cloves and these lovely star anise that echoed the tones in the ribbons.
Now it's time to start playing! I started by using some wired ribbon to make these rose type embellishments. I just twisted one end of the ribbon around my thumb and then took it off and bent the ribbon over to make extra petals then fixed it all together by twisting it at the ends. The buds were made the same way but without the extra petals just twist it around your thumb, pull it off then twist the ends together. It's really fun to have a go at and the wired ribbon makes it easy to 'sculpt' the ribbon into the shape you want. There are lots of wired ribbons to choose from here so you can pick out some that work with your project I went for ones in orange and gold colours.Another quick embellishment I made was to tie ribbon around the cinnamon sticks. I grouped together the green leaf colour satin ribbon and one of the brown organza ribbons and tied them in a bow around each of the cinnamon sticks.
To cover the inside of the ring I layered two more of the ribbons from the browns and golds set and tied them together in knots at regular intervals then glued it to the ring all the way around. To make extra embellishments I picked out some papers and cut out leaf shapes to layer with the ribbon embellishments.To fill more of the ring I glued another knotted length of ribbon around the ring. Then started to add more flowers.
Some of the flowers I made with more scraps of patterned paper. These are really simple to make. Just cut out a rough circle of paper and distress the edge.
Cut a spiral into the circle of paper
Then roll it up from the middle to the end, securing the end with a dab of glue.
I made a few of these up in patterned papers that worked with the colours of the ribbons.
Another quick embellishment I made was to use some of the orange organza ribbon looped over and then tying a piece of the brown organza ribbon around the middle to make a different kind of bow embellishment.
Once I'd got a good collection of embellishments made I started to build them up around the ring mixing in some other found objects like the pine cones and the little glittery balls that I found in last years Christmas decoration stash.
The gold mesh ribbon I made into little tiny flowers just by rolling small pieces of the ribbon around and gluing it at the end. They add just a touch of extra sparkle.
To finish off the ring I made a ribbon bow with the red stitched ribbon and glued it to the bottom leaving the ends long to hang down.
This was really lots of fun to make and I love the finished effect.
xx Leo

15 October 2009

October Afternoon Evening

I've been having lots of fun playing with my new October Afternoon papers I picked out papers from the Report Card and Farm Fresh lines. Love the new mini market alphabet stickers too, I picked out the red and cream ones. I've only been chopping out small pieces at the mo, the patterns are so lush I wanted to showcase them and really I guess use them as the main embellishment.
Really simple one just sketching a cowboy boot on to pattered paper then cutting it out and decorating it with some extra little bits of paper then adding the letter stickers. The tag is from the Cherry Hill die cuts sheet and the bakers twine is from my stash - actually it's in my shop if you wanted some on this page. I did want to add a machine stitched boarder but I made this in front of the TV (project runway) and ironically couldn't be bothered to get out the sewing machine so I just doodled a boarder on instead. The Farm Fresh papers gave me the idea for this one even though I only used a tiny bit of the Farm Fresh papers on it - most of them are actually the Report card ones! I wanted to make a sweet little apron and that kind of developed in to a dress with an apron. These two are note cards so they're just on pieces of 6x4 card. I'm loving making note cards and hello cards at the mo more than any other. I'm in a kraft mood too - it's the autumn it brings it out in all of us right?

I'm not sure why I thought a patterned ice cream cone would be good I guess it's just quirky? I figured if an ice cream cone would be patterned it would probably be made out of fabric so I gave it a tag and little doodled stitching. Looking back on it, it would actually make a really cute soft furnishing embellishment - ice cream cone cushions? Hmmmm....
xx Leo