Featured Shop: Original Minnie

June 15th, 2009 by Gilly

The first in a series of posts featuring shops that I love on Etsy and Folksy :) Today the spotlight is on my friend Helen’s shop Original Minnie. Helen is a fellow crafty Lincolnshire girl, who I met at the Grantham Christmas Fair. She’s incredibly creative and artistic, has a BA(Hons)  in Visual Arts and has now turned her hand to creating gorgeous button jewellery and handmade cards. I especially love this zingy button bracelet, it’s light and colourful, and perfect for sunny summer days.

Beady Buttons Bracelet by Original Minnie

Beady Buttons Bracelet by Original Minnie

When did you set up Original Minnie and what do you make?

I started Original Minnie in 2008, after I finished my art and design degree in the Summer.  I make textile inspired jewellery and greetings cards using buttons, ribbons, beads, and fabrics.  I prefer to use vintage, reclaimed, and recycled materials as much as possible.

What was your inspiration?

Lots of things …

I named Original Minnie after the lady in my pendant logo – my Great, Great Auntie Min – she and the things she liked are part of my inspiration, because we share similar interests – a love of collecting, clothes, accessories, and colour.

I also find inspiration visiting charity shops, junk shops and museums – seeing vintage/retro objects.  I especially love clothing, and period interior design.

I love fabrics and sewing, and generally being creative and ‘making things’.  So something which combined this with vintage, fashion, etc. it made sense to start making jewellery from buttons, beads and fabrics that I, my mum, and grandmas had collected over the years.  I still enjoy looking out for new and old materials now to use in designs.

Finally, I like quirky, unusual jewellery which has ‘personality’, and stands out from the crowd.

I think Great, Great Auntie Min represents all that Original Minnie is about – a love of vintage, fashion, and original quirky items.

Where do you sell your wares?

I have an internet shop on Folksy. I also like to attend as many arts and crafts markets as I can.  In 2009 I am attending events in Lincolnshire, Nottingham, and Norfolk.  I have an events page on my blog that I keep updated with new events. www.originalminnie.wordpress.com

Which is your favourite piece?

I love the ‘Buttons and Bows’ brooches – I’ve set one of the little gold ones aside just for me to wear.

Tell me a little bit about your art background…

I started art classes when I was 8 years old, but years before that I remember being creative – making presents for my family from bits of kitchen roll – in a ‘Blue Peter style’.  After GCSEs I followed my other interest of health/biology, but after a few years the ‘pull’ to go back to art was too strong, so I completed an Access Course for art and design to enable me to go to uni.  For my final project I designed and hand-printed wallpapers and fabrics, with a design theme of afternoon tea – one of my favourite pastimes!  I graduated in 2008 with BA (Hons) Visual Arts by Negotiated Study.  I then set up Original Minnie, and the rest as they say is history…

What are your other interests?

I’m a fan of afternoon tea, so I enjoy finding quaint little teashops.  I like going to London for the museums and exhibitions – the V&A is my all time favourite (it has stunning original rooms in the café – one was designed by William Morris!)  I also love music, and enjoy going to live music concerts whenever I can.

Where would you like Original Minnie to be in two years time?

I would like to have expanded the product range to include textile items such as bags and purses, and even clothing/household textiles printed with my own designs – incorporating some of the skills/projects I gained on my degree.

Check out Helen’s Folksy shop for more cute and unusual bead and button jewellery, including the “Buttons and Bows” brooches, plus her range of greetings cards, and visit the blog for all the latest Minnie news :)

Square Bows Necklace

Square Bows Necklace

Low Fat Raspberry Cupcakes

June 11th, 2009 by Gilly
Low Fat Raspberry Cupcakes

Low Fat Raspberry Cupcakes

A slightly healthier treat this time! Low fat sponge with a low fat cream cheese topping and fresh raspberries. I’m not very impressed with low fat sponges, but they come in handy sometimes.

For the cream cheese topping, just whisk 60g low-fat cream cheese with 20g icing sugar and spoon on top. I put the cakes back in the fridge for an hour after I’d put the raspberries on top, to set them.

Wildflower Knotted Necklace

June 10th, 2009 by Gilly
Wildflower Knotted Necklace

Wildflower Knotted Necklace

I’m just finishing off this necklace, and will be relisting it in my Etsy and Folksy shops in a jiff. I love sitting in my garden (or on the sofa today, because it’s been raining!) knotting and attaching the metal dangling beads, it’s so calming :)

Featuring a purple handmade flower, strung on two strands of cord knotted with an assortment of purple and green glass beads, this necklace has a casual look. Little olive green leaves, light pink faceted swarovski crystal beads and dark green swarovski pearls dangle from the cord.

I created the focal flower with purple glass drop beads woven together with purple metallic seed beads and a dark green swarovski pearl as the centre. The necklace is finished with a silver-plated lobster clasp and extension chain.

Rose MocaChoc Cupcakes

June 4th, 2009 by Gilly

Rose MocaChoc Cupcakes

Originally uploaded by gilly.flower

Ok, so I really need to start blogging about my jewellery, but cakes seem to be taking over my life at the moment! I should have some new jewellery to blog about tomorrow, and I have an interview with Original Minnie coming up over the weekend. But for now, back to the cupcakes!

These chocolate and coffee cupcakes are based on the choca moca cupcakes in “Cupcakes” by Susannah Blake. Yes, that book again:) I obviously can’t rest until I’ve made every single recipe in it, lol! I didn’t put any chocolate-covered coffee beans in the mixture as suggested, as I didn’t have any, so I put 40g of chocolate drops in instead. I also changed the amount of coffee (by mistake!!) – I put 2 tablespoons in rather than 2 teaspoons! But it doesn’t seem to matter, they just have a richer coffee flavour.

I’ve iced them with chocolate butter icing instead of the recipe’s coffee icing because the extra coffee I put in the sponge was enough. I finished them with handmade pink fondant roses, mainly because I’ve been dying to try making them for a while and this was a good excuse :) I thought they’d be really hard to do, but I think they’ve turned out OK. What I’d really like to try is large white chocolate roses, but I need some cocoform, and a bit more talent, for that! I’ll have a go when I’ve had a bit more practice :)

Gluten Free Lemon Cupcakes

June 2nd, 2009 by Gilly
Gluten free lemon cupcakes Gluten free lemon cupcakes

I made some gluten free lemon cupcakes yesterday, and took them round to my friend Jules’ house this afternoon, as she can’t eat gluten – I was tired when I made them last night, so I over cooked them by 3 minutes, oops! They’re a little dry but still OK. Then, after boxing them up, I dropped the box!! So they didn’t look quite so pretty by the time I got them to her house… All in all, a slightly disasterous baking session, but salvageable! The last time I made them they were yummy, so I have faith that they will be good next time :)

Cupcakes all boxed up

Cupcakes all boxed up

The recipe is from Doves Farm. I used the basic fairy cake recipe on the back of the gluten free self-raising flour packet, and adapted it to make lemon cakes.

The cakes are quite moist (if you don’t over cook them!) and taste great for gluten free – my Mum didn’t even know!

Gluten Free Lemon Cupcake Recipe

150g caster sugar

150g organic butter

3 organic eggs

Zest of 2 unwaxed lemons

2 tbsps lemon juice

3 tbsps soya milk

150g Doves Farm self-raising flour

To make the cakes

Preheat the oven to 200C / 180C fan oven / Gas mark 6

Line a 12 hole muffin tin with yellow fairy cake cases

Cream the butter and sugar using an electric hand whisk

Beat in the eggs

Beat in the lemon zest and juice, and soya milk

Sift in the flour and give the whole mixture a final whisk

Put 2 tsp into each paper case

Bake in the oven for 15 minutes

Leave to cool in tray for 5 minutes, then cool cakes on a wire rack

To make the butter icing

Beat 75g butter until creamy

Sift in 100g icing sugar and beat

Add zest of 1 lemon, 2 tbsps lemon juice and few drops of yellow food colouring

Sift in another 100g icing sugar, and beat well

Use a palate knife to spread over your cakes

Decorate with handmade icing flowers

Gluten free lemon cupcakes

GF lemon cupcakes in their box before I dropped them!

Making Carrot Oil

May 25th, 2009 by Gilly

Making Carrot Oil

Originally uploaded by gilly.flower 

I made a small amount of carrot and rosemary oil to use in the herbal hand balm tutorial, but this batch of carrot oil is just for me! It should last me all summer, for the various herbal remedies and creams I plan to make.

It’s very simple to do: you just pack a kilner jar with grated carrot (about 4 large carrots) and cover with olive oil (about 500ml). Leave in a sunny spot on the windowsill to macerate for 3 weeks, then strain through a muslin cloth and bottle. Hey presto, you have a wonderful, skin nourishing oil rich in antioxidants!

Honey Carrot & Rosemary Herbal Hand Balm

May 22nd, 2009 by Gilly

Honey Carrot & Rosemary Herbal Hand Balm
I’ve been making a homemade herbal balm this week, mainly in the evenings when I’ve had a bit of spare time. Fresh carrots and rosemary, plus a good dollop of honey, are nourishing, moisturising and strengthening, and give the balm a lovely fresh scent.
It’s fairly quick and easy to make, but it took me quite a while to finish it as I made it in stages so that I could photograph each step. It’s for a herbal tutorial for the next edition of UK Handmade magazine.
Don’t miss the summer issue, out in June!

Blueberry & Lemon Cakes

May 21st, 2009 by Gilly

Blueberry & Lemon Cakes

Originally uploaded by gilly.flower

More cupcakes today! This seems to be turning into a baking blog…. :) I tried out the blueberry and lemon cupcakes from my much favoured copy of Cupcakes by Susannah Blake this afternoon. The sponge has polenta included in it, along with lemon zest & juice and fresh blueberries. I didn’t really like the extra grittiness that the polenta gave, so next time I’d just make a lemon sponge to add the blueberries to. I used mascarpone instead of creme fraiche to make the lemon frosting, and then topped with fresh blueberries and strips of lemon peel. Will definitely give them another go later in the summer.

Spring Baking

May 20th, 2009 by Gilly

Spring Baking, originally uploaded by gilly.flower.

Just testing out Flickr’s “Blog This”. It’s so easy :) I’m not sure I like the black border around the shot though. Update: changed the border thanks to the Flickr help forum.
I made these Spring flower cakes and Easter biscuits a couple of months ago for a tutorial for UK Handmade’s Spring edition. I love an excuse to fill up my fab pink Babel cake stand! Check out the magazine here to see how to make them!

I’ve been blogged :)

May 20th, 2009 by Gilly
Make Jewellery Magazine

Make Jewellery Magazine

Yes, another post about Make Jewellery Magazine ;) I was flicking through it again this afternoon, it’s a lovely read. I like the layout and the beautiful photography – I think it has more of a fashion magazine feel compared to some of the other crafting magazines.
Being included in the “Make a Purchase” section has been great for boosting my profile, not to mention how much fun it was to walk into WHSmiths after work and buy a magazine that I was in – I couldn’t help letting out a little squeal of joy! 
Poppy Asymmetric Necklace

Poppy Asymmetric Necklace

My lovely crafty friend Helen has blogged about it over on her fabulous new blog Original Minnie and I’m chuffed to be in a post on Folksy Finds about the latest Folksy sellers to make it into the magazine.

As a newbie to blogging it’s quite exciting to find yourself on someone else’s blog :) I’ll be posting about Original Minnie later in the week – Helen makes gorgeous handmade button jewellery.