Flick through the beautiful new bumper issue of UK Handmade magazine and be inspired for the forthcoming season :) The lazy summer days are the perfect chance to plan your crafty autumnal activities and read about Britain’s wonderful craft heritage – there’s a great feature piece on silk weaver Debby Kirby and a lovely article on the return of Harris Tweed. Plus there are recipes, including my spiced butternut squash cuppies on page 55, and fabulous craft tutorials. So get reading, its a great way to chill out on a summer’s afternoon :)
Ooh, my new home cupcakes have been blogged on the fabulous Cupcakes Take The Cake blog, one of the most popular cupcake blogs. Awesome, thank you Rachel :)
My wonderful and very dear friend Jules and her husband Pip are moving away to a beautiful cottage in Cornwall this weekend (sob!) so I made some cupcakes with beach, home and hobby related decorations to let them know that I’ll miss them loads but hope they’re really happy in their new house. That’s supposed to be a guitar, not a violin, by the way! The cakes were all gluten free: zesty lemon (shown in the pics) and also chocolate brownie. Love you Jules xxx
Its a good week for Gillyflower Jewellery! Folksy has picked my shop as a featured seller, so my jewellery will be on the front page at various times and my shop will be listed as featured seller on the Folksy website. Hurrah, I’m thrilled :) Think I should probably get busy and make a few new pieces, there’s a lack of red and purple in my shop at the moment… *grabs pliers*
I made some gluten free lemon sponge cakes this week for a Friday get together with a couple of good friends. I used Doves Farm gluten free flour as usual, but I felt they tasted a little bit weird this time – like potato pancakes! The flour does include some potato flour as part of the gluten free mix, but I haven’t noticed it before. I think I overcooked them a little, a mistake I often make with gluten free – gf cakes can be a little bit dry so its best to take them out a few minutes earlier than regular sponge. Anyway, they were OK and served their purpose: tea and cake with friends, lovely :)
I blogged the recipe a few years ago, click here to see how to make them. I haven’t sold them very well with all my complaining about potato and dryness, but they’re normally pretty good and most people don’t even realise they’re gluten free! Also, I highly recommend chocolate brownies made with Doves Farm flour to the recipe on the back of the flour packet. The recipe is here on my blog and is also on their website. Totally yum!
So…. what do you do if you have a glut of butternut squash? Make cupcakes, of course! Oh, and I suppose a soup might be a good idea too. That’s how it is in my kitchen: the cupcakes come first.
I’ve experimented a little bit and come up with spiced butternut squash and white chocolate cupcakes topped with cinnamon cream cheese butter icing. To add some variety I also made a mascarpone frosting with a little icing sugar, mascarpone cheese and a dash of fresh orange juice.
They’re for a tutorial for UK Handmade magazine’s Autumn issue, coming out around September. I like how they’ve turned out, as they’re a bit like a carrot cake (which I love!) although I think I prefer them with the mascarpone topping rather than the cinnamon cream cheese buttercream. I guess you could also top them with a white chocolate ganache although that might be a little bit too sweet….
On to the soup… I have a nice simple recipe for butternut squash soup from my copy of The Student Vegetarian Cookbook, but its a little bit too bland for my taste, and too rich, so now when I make it I reduce the butter (and the quantity of parmesan cheese to garnish) and add a large handful of chopped fresh sage from my herb patch, plus tinned or freshly cooked cannellini beans to pep it up. It makes a large saucepan full of soup, so its been soup for lunch every day for the last week and the rest I’ve frozen. The recipe is on the UK Handmade blog for today’s Lifestyle section.
I’m starting to expand my jewellery collection a little bit, and have been adding to the Rose Mallow set recently :) I think I may have actually exhausted my previously unlimited capacity for pink! Lol.
The pink pendant necklace was the first flower pendant I ever made, back in 2007, but when I started doing craft fairs I needed a wider variety of styles, so I started making corsage style asymmetric necklaces, and a Rose Mallow version was one of the earlier designs.
I think they sold well because they were a little bit different, but people also seemed drawn to the knotted jewellery I had in other colours, so I added a long knotted necklace to the range…. I’ve really struggled to take a nice photo of the long knotted necklace, sigh.
Last on my to-do list was a beaded necklace with a central pink flower focal, to make something wearable for people who don’t want long or fussy! Now I’ve got just one more style up my sleeve, which I’m working on at the moment – a short knotted necklace with little dangly beads (for people who do want fussy, I guess!). It should turn out to be a little bit like the Woodland Flower Knotted Necklace….
So, watch this space…. or maybe come back later – I’m pretty slow at finishing new projects ;)
Well, I’ve only just blogged about the spring issue of UK Handmade magazine, and now the summer issue is out! Isn’t the front cover by Bebe beautiful? It evokes memories of long, idyllic childhood summers when the six week school holiday seemed to last forever :)
I’m really pleased that my union jack heart cupcake shot was chosen as the background for the contents page….
The summer issue is all about celebrating the sunny season and learning new skills: there are lots of interesting tutorials from making your own fabric notice board to creating lovely handmade paper bowls, plus yummy baking recipes such as some delicious looking lemon bars by Deepa and my tutorial on making cheerful sunflower cupcakes for your summer picnics or birthday parties.
Check out my “How To” for these light lemon curd filled cakes, topped with lemon buttercream and simple fondant sunflower decorations on pg. 24 of the online magazine.
I’m having a sale in my Folksy shop to celebrate the Royal Wedding cheer!
All red, white or blue pieces of jewellery are marked down by 15%, plus there’s free shipping all weekend long!
I hand-make my unique Gillyflower Jewellery flower focals using bead weaving techniques and combine them with glass and wooden beads in bold colours – I love colour and enjoy making jewellery that’s a little bit different ;)
So…. come and have a little look around my Folksy handmade flower jewellery shop and grab yourself a bargain!
Update: the Poppy Long Chain Necklace has now sold out, but there are still plenty of other pretty pieces left! I’ll be adding new designs to my Folksy shop over the weekend, including this Black Orchid Necklace….
I watched the Royal Wedding on TV with Mum today, so I made a few cupcakes to celebrate. To keep things simple, I baked vanilla cake in red, silver and blue cases then topped them with vanilla buttercream. I already had plenty of red glittery sugarpaste hearts that I’d made up around Valentine’s Day last year (sugarpaste keeps well if you store it in an airtight container), which saved me from making any new decorations.
But….I felt the urge to make them a little bit more Red, White and Blue, without having to go to much trouble, so I quickly turned one of them into a mini Union Jack using some blue and white fondant leftover from a batch of cupcakes several months ago. Hey presto, instant “British” cupcakes :) The cakes were filled with an assortment of jams from my fridge – I only had a teensy bit left in the bottom of each jar, so some are filled with apricot jam, some strawberry, some raspberry and some lemon curd.