so i wanted to do a little post about some of the books that have been inspiring my craftiness of late. starting with the craftiest craftster of them all, Martha Stewart and her Encyclopedia of Crafts. i was given this massive tome by my great friend helen for my last birthday and i have spent many, many hours flicking through the beautiful pages wondering what to do. actually the leaf printing i did for the lavender bags was inspired by one chapter. then my lovely friend jo came round one day and couldn’t resist a quick ogle…when she got to the page with the pompom creatures she squealed with delight and i knew right then and there i’d be making a pompom caterpillar. this one i made for jo is nowhere near as cute as martha’s but it is very soft and squeezable (thanks hilary for the wool, another birthday pressie) and fun (if fiddly) to make. you gotta love pompoms.
i’d love to thank whoever bought me Gifts from the Kitchen but i can’t remember who it is. this is what happens when you spend lots of time working out how to make links work on blog posts. your brain squeezes out the really important stuff. anyway, i thank you mystery bestower of beautiful book. this is a perfect present for me and anyone who, like me, likes to bake gifts. i started with a batch of chocolate coated candied almonds. i had a late christmas present and two january birthdays to sort out so made a double batch of scrummy goodness.
you start by toasting almonds in sugar and cinnamon
melt your favourite chocolate and coat the cooled candied almonds
then allow chocolate to set and dust with cocoa. i actually left half of them just candied, because i ate quite a lot of the chocolate. also i think in january people might worry about being given a big jar of chocolates, but if half of them are just candied nuts its almost like they’ve started the diet just by looking at them. if you’d like the recipe in full let me know.
i’ve just realised there’s a little black fleck on all of the above photos. as if bad light and using a cameraphone (phonecamera?)isn’t bad enough now i’ve got dirt in the lens. sorry.right, so onto the third and final book in this not so little post…and the winner is…Vintage Ladybird Make and Do Box. particularly the Things to Make book which has my youngest, scout, enthralled (much thanks, aunty hattie). i love it too. originally published in 1963 the inside notes read “Here is a book which provides 24 safe and fascinating answers to the question children ask on occasions – “Mummy what can I do?” It suggests how children can be kept happily and rewardingly occupied for many hours, using simple, inexpensive and readily available materials. Even a convalescent child in bed will be able to make some of the objects.” love it.
so saturday was the sort of day we just hung around the house. yes, it’s 4pm and we’re still in our pyjamas. but c’mon, the kids are painting their dad’s shoes! it doesn’t get much better than that for a four year old. she did it all by herself apart from the windows and door which i helped with. can you tell?!
its a dream home for any number of small characters, and you wouldn’t believe how many small homeless characters we have. other projects in the book include ‘a colourful mobile’ made from eggshells and lots of uses for syrup tins and cheese triangle boxes. and the ‘dainty fairy tree’ has our name written all over it…