Tuesday 29 December 2015

DIY Celebrations | Sparkler Place Cards

 Another quick and easy DIY for NYE in the form of decorations, place names, last-minute invitations or favours: sparkler cards.

I picked these sparklers up from Sainsburys and used left over scrap glitter tape and white card to complete this project - any card or decorative paper will work for this easy DIY.

Using either scissors or a craft knife [more preferable as it's neater and quicker (!)] create a strip to secure the sparkler in place by cutting two lines of equal length with a gap of at least 1cm:
[the top line is created by the scissors and the bottom by a craft knife, which you can see is much cleaner, but either method works!]

Add your sparkler and then the card is ready to decorate.  
I added a gold tape bottom and made the card slightly narrower:

You can add calligraphy [real or fake] decoration, personalise with your guests names or use decorative paper to do the job for you.
Although for NYE, this is a great favour for any party or occasion and can be personalised 
to suit any theme or style.

Happy 2016! x

[glitter jelly to see the New Year in? I have you covered].

DIY Celebrations | Glitter Jelly Flutes

 Did you know glitter jelly exists?  What have we been doing without it?
With NYE just around the corner, here is a quick and easy DIY treat, whether you are throwing
 a party or having a night in, to see 2016 in with a bit of sparkle.

I picked up all of the items from the supermarket, making this DIY cheap, cheerful and easy to pick up last minute.

To start, add a little decoration to your flutes.  Make a sugar water to dip the glass in and then immediately dip in to some sprinkles [I found my set from Sainsburys]:
[lightly place the glass in to the sprinkles to ensure they decorate the top - if you press in to the sprinkles, you'll end up with a pretty decoration, just lower down the glass!]

Pop in the freezer to ensure the sugar and sprinkles set for a couple of minutes.
Once set, add your fruit to the bottoms of each flute:

Now mix up your jelly:

Add enough jelly to the bottom of each flute to cover the fruit and pop this is in the fridge to set completely...
[this will prevent the fruit from floating to the top]

 ...before topping up with the remainder of the jelly and putting back in the fridge for a few hours to set:

Once completely set, they are ready to serve:

Add more fruit to the top, cream and sprinkles - or all three to decorate as you prefer.
Here's to a Happy 2016.
see you on the other side x

Wednesday 23 December 2015

Merry Christmas 2015

You know how this works:

Have a very Merry Christmas!

Monday 21 December 2015

DIY Christmas // Easy Meringue Puddings

 It's time for the annual - turn everything in to a Christmas Pudding post!

Two years, I made a slightly different version of these from scratch:
but as we are now on the home straight, you may be after something a little more last-minute [pre-made], can pull together with little time [they make great party food or gifts] or maybe use as an activity to keep kids [young and old] busy for a little while.

I used a £1 tub of Sainsburys meringues as my base and using a sieve,
sprinkled the tops with cocoa powder, to cover evenly:

Next, with some melted white chocolate, I used a small spoon to create the tops:
 Leave to set and then create holly and berry tops with red and green icing pens:

 Enjoy! Either serve straight away, or store in an air tight container.
see you tomorrow for Part 2 x

Sunday 20 December 2015

DIY Hamper Gifts // The Present Guide for Crafters

It's Sunday, 20th December. 4 days to go! 4 days to go!


Monday 14 December 2015

DIY Christmas // Winter Shortbread Snowflake Biscuits

This is my second Lakeland post [if you missed the first, it's a Gingerbread House make] and I've bought out my favourite easy shortbread biscuits recipe, but made them look amazing with a set of four snowflake cutters.  

Combine your three ingredients in a bowl and mix until breadcrumbs are formed and then fully combined.  Leave to cool a little in a bowl and pre-heat your oven to 190 degrees C.

Roll out your dough and 

Intricate cutters can present a number of problems.  You can double these if you are using a buttery dough: pastry tearing, the dough becoming difficult to work with as it gets warmer, shapes losing their, well, shape and let's not even get started on moving the cut dough to the baking tray:
[you can see the problem, mainly, of the bottom biscuit which tore and couldn't be saved.  The others have slight breakages too and all had to be re-shaped].
Buttery dough can spread, and for the first time I hoped it would do this to help mend the broken sections, but, as you can see, it didn't really.  The bake is also a little uneven - the top biscuit much more baked than the others, and the intricate patterns lost ever-so-slightly.

There are a few tips I can share that makes the whole thing easier and much less stressful:
My first tip would be to roll and cut your dough directly on to your parchment/grease-proof paper.  A lightly floured paper is even better.  This will make the horrendous task of trying to scrape the cut dough from your board to the baking tray with a knife, losing the shape in the process, something you don't have to give a second thought.
You can easily lift your paper directly to the tray. Winner.
Remove the excess dough, roll out the leftovers around it, or tear small sections of baking paper that you can layer on a baking tray like a jigsaw.

There are a couple of benefits to this.  For cutters with holes or patterns, you can cool the dough and then easily pick out these cuts with tooth pick/skewer without having to damage the dough around it or lose the will to live halfway through.
The cooled dough will also spread less whilst baking - so none of the intricate cuts will be lost or become splodges of biscuit on your tray.
[dont worry if a few pieces of dough don't come cleanly away - thin sections will crumble away easily once baked and neaten the whole thing up].

and finally - only if you remember/have the time/have the motivation - place the more intricate biscuits in the centre of the tray - they'll catch the least heat, which the biscuits on the outside will get and should therefore bake to an even colour.
[For biscuits that use cutters without patterns or holes, I recommend re-cutting the biscuits when they come out of the oven (if cooled, the biscuits will snap and break) to sharpen and neaten the shape].

Leave to cool on a rack and then it's time for the finishing touches.
These snowflakes are so pretty, all they needed was a little dusting of icing sugar:

But if you have time, they also look beautiful with piped icing [my tips here]:
...or wintery themed sprinkles
[before taking out of the oven, try sprinkling with granulated sugar for a pretty, sparkly sugar effect].

They make great presents, can be hung as tree decorations or edible tags:
...or if you think they will last, pop in an airtight container and they'll keep for a few days.

see you next time x
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