Monday, 30 April 2012

Tea Break!

I kind of just dropped out of the blogosphere for several days there...sorry about that! I should have known I was not going to get a chance to blog while we were away, but I was too busy getting ready for our break to think about it. Our family had a little holiday at the seaside for the last five days. The weather was not clement. We did not go swimming. But we had plenty of lovely moments together as a family of four. PLUS, I got to attend a lovely wedding of a lovely friend, and that was very special indeed. 

I had a lovely treat waiting for me when we arrived home. There was 118ml of rain in the rain gauge, so it's fair to say it rained quite a lot while we were gone. In our mailbox was a sodden clump of mail, most of which I had to chuck out without reading as it was just too wet. But there, in the midst of it all, was one shining little package whose contents made it through the downpour unscathed. A package full of lovely tea samples from Artful Tea.

Check out some of these tea names:
  • Chocolate Mint Rooibos - Herbal Tea
  • Summer Romance - Black Tea
  • Lemon Goji Fusion - Herbal Tea
  • Organic Jasmine Yin Cloud - Green Tea
  • Ginger Peach - Black Tea
  • Masala Chai - Black Tea
  • Green Tea Citrus - Green Tea 
  • Organic Ceylon - Black Tea

Each sample is beautiful loose leaf tea in a tea filter bag, practically packaged in a zip lock plastic bag with instructions on making the tea, with a lovely card tag attached over the front of the bag. The scents of the various teas are escaping and tempting me. It is a rather grey day here again, and I am hankering for a cup of tea. But what a dilemma to decide which one to try first!!

I made up my mind, and had the Ginger Peach. It was delicious. I have had peach tea before where the smell of peach is so overpowering that my brain gets a real trick when the black tea flavour comes through and I end up feeling disappointed. The scent of the peach in this tea was more subtle, and a better match for the actual level of peach flavour in the tea. The hint of ginger was great too - not overpowering, just right.  

If you are into tea, please do yourself a favour and check out Artful Tea's Etsy Store and Facebook Page. I'm sure you will love it too.

Saturday, 21 April 2012

Button Name Canvas Wall Art

This morning I completed another custom order for Isabel from Sprinkles etc. She is your go-to woman for all things cakes, cupcakes and CAKE POPS! What are cake pops, you ask? Little bits of awesomeness!! Think cute-shaped bits of cake on lollipop sticks, covered in yummy icing and decorated with...sprinkles etc. Isabel also runs cake pop demos so that you can learn the tricks of the trade. 

Anyway, Isabel was lovely enough to not only buy a cupcake brooch from me, but also to put in a custom order for a name artwork with buttons, similar to the one I did for Theo.The bright coloured buttons are rather reminiscent of sprinkles, so it was a rather appropriate medium to use for her business name. Being a longer name, the canvas had to be over a metre long to get the right effect with spacing, but I am pretty happy with how it turned out!

Friday, 20 April 2012

Super Girly Half Apron

I have finished the half apron that I received as a custom order from the markets. Danielle from Sophisticake ordered this apron to wear as she makes her delightful cakes. You should totally check out her Facebook page, and if in the Brisbane area, keep her in mind next time you need a cakey creation for a function of any kind!

I designed the half apron in sketch and watercolour, and had a lot of fun seeing it through to completion. I am part-way through making a tutorial for this one, so hopefully that will be up within the next week.

Features a ruffle all the way around the skirt, and the pockets have cute buttons to match the fruit print - one has strawberries, one has cherries!

I will also be making a full apron version of this one soon for a special someone's birthday :)

Tuesday, 17 April 2012

Recipe: Three Ingredient Shortbread Bikkies

I don't normally post recipes. I used to bake a lot, and it was not good for my waistline. Now I craft instead, which is not good for my back. (Right now, I am sitting on the couch trying to correct my slouchy posture with laptop on my lap, while wearing my pelvic support belt as the physio ordered due to my still unstable postnatal pelvis)...

But I digress. I think rainy weather makes me want to bake. Yesterday, I told myself I needed to use up the butter that was sitting in the fridge, as my hubby was slathering it on everything. So why not make some terribly delicious shortbread biscuits instead? Hmmmm. 

I found this recipe in the selection I copied from my Mum's favourite recipes. She had photocopied it from an old recipe collaboration book, like they used to put together for church jubilee celebrations and other such events. It is totally three ingredients - the old school way. 

  • 250g butter
  • 100g icing sugar
  • 300g plain flour

  1. Cream butter and sugar.
  2. Mix in flour thoroughly. (Mixture will be crumbly)
  3. Roll together in walnut-sized balls, and press onto a greased cookie tray (use a fork if you like, I just used fingers. And the recipe says you can press a cotton spool into the centre for a decorative imprint!)
  4. Bake in preheated 180 degrees Celcius oven until light golden, about 10 minutes.
  5. Try to eat in moderation!!! 
I thought the bikkies might turn out a bit crumbly, but they are not at all. Rather lovely consistency, in fact. 

Good luck with that last step, though, it's a tricky one! :)

Best enjoyed on a rainy day, on your best china, with a lovely cup of English Breakfast tea :)

Saturday, 14 April 2012

How To: Decoupage Jar Lids

Weddings are a perfect opportunity for going on a major a DIY spree, don't you think? No, I'm not getting married. I did that five and a half years ago. My sister has already been married for over a year now too, but it was for her bridal shower, my other sisters and I planned a vintage high tea. It was SO MUCH FUN! Anyway, I have a bazillion varieties of tea, because I LOVE it, and I bought a few more for the high tea (well, that was my excuse, anyway). But I wanted a cheap, simple and beautiful way to display the tea that would be somewhat uniform. I had the idea to use old jars, but wanted them to have a vintage feel. So I used an old book that was falling apart and not worth putting back together (I could not bring myself to destroy a good book for this project!). I decoupaged the lids with ripped up bits of the yellowing book pages. The result looked smashing, just right for the vintage high tea, and I continue to store my tea in it eighteen months later.

So here is how you can do it for yourself...

  • old jars of varying sizes - jam jars, pasta sauce, etc.
  • old falling apart book (ours was 20c from a op-shop)
  • Mod Podge, or other decoupage glue - I used one with a matte finish
  • glue stick
  • paintbrush and/or sponge for applying the glue
  • glue stick
  • damp cloth for cleaning as you go
1. Make sure the jars and their lids are clean and dry.
2. Rip pages of the old book into small pieces, roughly 2cm square - but try to keep them from looking too square. (I found that about 1.5 - 2 pages of a small pocket-sized book was enough for each lid).

3. Start gluing pieces onto the top of the lid. Start with pieces you are not-so-fond on first, ones with blank space or straight edges. I used a glue stick for this step, because I am cheap (and Mod Podge is not, at least here in Australia). And because I could. I know this, because I did a bunch of lids up with only the glue stick and never got around to Mod Podging, and they are still great eighteen months on. Anyway, it would probably work even better with Mod Podge for the whole lot, so if you have it, go for it.

4. Keep gluing, using smaller, longer pieces to go over the lip of the lid. Cover that lid so there is no spare space, and look out for pieces with cute words to show on top. [If you are doing multiple lids, get them all to this stage before moving on.]

5. Once you are happy with the overall look, crack out that Mod Podge and get a-paintin'. I used a paintbrush to apply the Mod Podge, but a sponge would work just as well (or maybe better). The paintbrush left a streaky finish, so I used a finger to smooth it over. You only need a thin layer.

6. Clean any mess as you go, with your damp cloth. Then leave the lid to dry. The Mod Podge bottle says to re-apply more coats after 15-20 mins. I applied 2 layers only.

7. That's it! Put the dry lid on the bottle, and store whatever you like in it - bits of ribbon, spools of thread, other little crafty bits and pieces. I attached a tag saying what kind of tea it is with some brown string.


What are you going to store in your jar?

Oh, and if you are looking for something to do with the cover (provided it's not falling apart too much), check out this tutorial from A Beautiful Mess Blog on how to make a sewing kit from an old book

Also, if you are looking for other jar related ideas and tutorials, check out House of Humble's  Reclaim: Glass Jars post, and also the recent DIY Lace Jars post.

Did you find this tutorial helpful? Would love your feedback below in the comments section!

Thursday, 12 April 2012

Social Media Musings

Facebook. Twitter. Pinterest. Polyvore...

Social media has been exploding for some time now, and it does not seem to be slowing down any. 

I find it rather intimidating, all in all. I have been using Facebook personally for a few years, but just recently started a page for Candykins Crafts. I am surprised at how different it is to use Facebook for a blog/craft business than it is for personal socialising. I am very much still figuring it out. It is not really going anywhere at present.

After the market flop, I decided to up my involvement in Etsy. I had been wanting to, but had just not had the time leading up to the markets. I am still seeing Candykins Crafts as a hobby that will hopefully pay for itself, rather than a business to make money out of. Even so, I enjoy connecting with other crafters around the world, and making new friends, supporting and encouraging each other. I had been engaging in the blog world for a while, engaging in the Etsy community just takes it up a step. 

I joined a few Etsy teams, and have been getting involved in discussion threads and the like. It's time-consuming, but I'm getting there. Anyway, through the Etsy team discussions, I was encouraged to join Twitter. I had been holding off joining Twitter too, as it is just another thing to do. But...I joined, and I totally feel like a child on the first day of school. It's so foreign to me, so much more to learn. I do not want to just tweet new listings and treasuries, but to encourage interaction with other crafters and creatives. But it is also time-consuming and a bit confusing. 

So...just wondering - which social networking sites do you use? How do you use the sites? Which ones do you prefer and why? Do you use them just for personal socialising, or for promoting a business or blog? 

I would love to hear your thoughts. Thanks :)

Tuesday, 3 April 2012

*Washing Day* and *Dress-up Doll* Completed Set

Remember that *washing day* set I was telling you about the other day? The one inspired by the Quiet Book? Completing it was on my list to try and get done by the markets. It was one of the few things that I did manage to complete. I chose my outfit for the day around the brooch and necklace set. It's just that kind of set! Makes a statement, that's for sure :)

I must say, I did get a lot of comments about the brooch and necklace on Saturday. I even got an order for a brooch like this one, with four changes of clothes in different colours (not on a necklace, so they don't need to match).

Just thought you might like to see the finished version. 

Monday, 2 April 2012

Market Wrap

For those who read this blog regularly, I suppose you may be wondering how my first market event came off on Saturday. 

Hmmm...let's draw out some positives, shall we? 

  1. I met some lovely people. That makes me happy.
  2. I got to hang out with beautiful friends.
  3. I was able to support the Hope Foundation, and be a part of a successful event.
  4. I saw some friends I haven't seen in a LONG time. 
  5. I got a few (three, to be exact) custom orders.
  6. I made a few (three, to be exact) sales. 
  7. I covered the stallholder fee. (JUST)
Ooooh, I found seven positives. Yay. I did not know if I would be able to find that many. 

To be honest, I feel a little disappointed. Not majorly, as my expectations were not massive. Just a little. But it is all part of the journey. I am pleased that I went, but I am not certain I will go again. I need to think about it a little more. It seems that I am currently super busy just filling custom orders for friends and friends of friends. And maybe that is how my little hobby business will grow, and I may not need to go back to markets.

It is really hard to do markets with two young children, one being under five months old. Baby T did not cope well with the whole experience. Actually, he managed really well in between feeds, and he had many people willing to care for him (one in particular - thanks so much, if you are reading this!). However, by the time he was due for each feed, he was just so overwhelmed. Sensory overload!! He screamed a lot and was quite difficult to settle. I must admit, that put a bit of a dampener on my overall experience. (Stressed baby = stressed mummy=stressed baby.  

Next time, he will be almost eight months old. I could probably leave him home with hubby by then. But it would still be a lot of effort, and I am just not sure it is worth it for me...

Well there you have it. That's a wrap.


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