Saturday, 22 December 2012

Merry Christmas

I had so much planned to blog about this December, but I haven't achieved much blogging at all this month!

I have had a good excuse though - I have been planning a Casino Night (for last weekend), which was a nice party with a few close friends and family to celebrate my 40th birthday!

My birthday itself, was actually on Thursday just gone- I spent the day chilled and relaxing and reading on my new Kindle Touch (thank you, Mr Jones), and then drank too much champagne for a weekday night!

I have some guests for Christmas, so I am unlikely to blog now until the New year, so have a great Christmas !

Love
Mrs Jones x
 

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Mince pie

Christmas wouldn't be the same without the delicious mince pie. This year, my first batch was made with a really lovely pastry from a french apple tart recipe, which is much sweeter than ordinary shortcrust:

Ingredients:
140g plain flour
Pinch of salt
70g butter
1 tbsp caster sugar
2 tsp ground almonds
1 egg yolk
A little cold water
 
Method:
1. Sift flour and salt into a mixing bowl and add butter. Rub together until like breadcrumbs.
2. Add the sugar and almonds
3. Stir in the egg yolk and a splash of cold water.
4. Knead
5. Flour the surface and a rolling pin and roll the pastry.
 
Note: Save yourself some work and do it in a food processor! If your pastry is breaking up a bit on rolling, pop it in a sandwich bag and into the fridge for 15 minutes or so.
 
Obviously this is just the pastry part. Just cut into circles and pop in a bun tray, add a spoon of mincemeat and top with more pastry. Cook at 180C for around 20 minutes.
 
Love Mrs Jones x
 

Tuesday, 11 December 2012

O Christmas Tree...

We bought and put up our tree this weekend. We always try to get one that doesn't drop needles, this year we have a Fraser fir, because when you have boisterous boys and adventurous cats you know you need something robust. And you certainly don't want it to be bare by Christmas. Our cat has already prised some baubles from the tree.
The smell of the tree is just wonderful - something you just don't get with a fake.

Along with the baubles, I try to buy a new decoration every year, and this year I have bought a sweet wooden reindeer (it looks more like a moose actually):

So, when are you putting yours up, and do you go real or fake?

Love Mrs Jones x

Saturday, 8 December 2012

Yule Log 2012

I decided to go one step further with the yule log that is fast becoming the December birthday cake of choice in our family, by making sweet mushrooms and chocolate leaves too. You can see last year's here. It took me a grand total time of 2 1/2 hours to make it this year as each component is quite time consuming. The basic yule log/buche de noel recipe is from Nigella's Christmas book

I made up the meringue mushrooms with one egg white and 50g caster sugar and piped stalks and caps onto some baking parchment. When they had cooked in a low oven for 15 minutes or so I spooned some melted dark chocolate on the underside of the mushroom to look like gills and probed the stalk into the cap. A little sprinkling of cocoa powder finishes the mushrooms off nicely.
The chocolate leaves were not so successful as I ended up with two out of five that were okay to use. I took some non-toxic leaves, washed them and painted melted chocolate onto the underside of the leaves where the veins are most prominent.
Love Mrs Jones x



Monday, 3 December 2012

Holly Hair Comb Tutorial

I came up with this festive idea one Saturday in November - one of those times when you have an idea and you just have to make it there and then!

What you need:
A hair comb or two
Ribbon (I found that organza was best)
Green felt
Red beads, buttons or felt
Fabric glue

Instructions

1. Take your ribbon and weave it up over the top of the comb and through the teeth. Try to weave in the overhang ribbon from the start as you go. Cut the ribbon off so you have a few centimetres left and glue or use a glue dot  to stick this to the woven ribbon. Don't worry if it isn't perfect, this will be covered at the end.
2. Cut two holly leaves from the green felt and either using your sewing machine or by hand run some stitches down the centre.
3. Hand stitch one leaf at the right end to the ribbon so that it is secure and then add the next leaf at the same point, positioning them as you go. Add your beads or buttons or if you have neither you can cut berries from some red felt. Stitch securely at the same point that you stitched your leaves.

4. Dab some fabric glue along the ribbon under the nearest holly leaf and press the holly to the ribbon. Leave to dry.
5. You can see how the holly is now covering the ribbon at the front entirely.

Any questions, please do leave a comment and I will get back to you.

Love Mrs Jones x

Sunday, 2 December 2012

Advent

Oh my goodness, I haven't blogged much in the last part of November, but what I have been doing is writing Christmas cards, doing craft fairs, buying Christmas presents, organising muself a 40th birthday party and so on. I really just wanted to get ahead on all the Christmas things that I could do ahead of time so that December isn't the ridiculous rush that it usually is!

However, I have lots of posts planned for December including a Yule log upgrade from last year, and tomorrow I have a great tutorial on a Holly hair comb.

But to get you in the Christmas mood and for those who haven't got an advent calendar yet, I thought I would share this great blank advent calendar tutorial from The Small Object, for you to customise.

Love
Mrs Jones x

Book Review: Mollie Makes Christmas

Mollie Makes Christmas from the popular craft magazine Mollie Makes is full of craft projects for Christmas. These are Christmas projects for you to do - none are really suitable for children. I really love the retro look to this book and at the begining of each project is an image of what looks like vintage Christmas wrapping paper.

If you like mixing your crafts ie, you are happy to crochet a reindeer or sew a string of paper stars, then this is ideal for you. I seem to chop and change my crafts so I can see this being something I will dip into year after year. However, you may find it a little limiting if you only favour one craft.

I really like the mix of projects and inspiration, and if you have a tight budget for decorations, there are some great ideas here.

The book retails at £9.99, but is slightly less in Amazon, but it is a steal at £3.99 at The Book People!

Love Mrs Jones x

Monday, 19 November 2012

Christmas Fabrics

I haven't bought any specifically Christmas fabric this year (yet!) mainly because I have fallen in love with so many that I can't choose! This are all deer or even reindeer related:

Momo Oh Deer Nordic Holiday Alpine Wonderland Stof Christmas Scene Santa Snowglobe Blitzen 
 
Click on the images to go straight to the relevant fabric in the relevant shop. I could easily buy all of these yummy fabrics.
 
Love Mrs Jones x 

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

Ipad Case

I am really hoping that this is going to be a new line in my shop. I am sure there is a call for ipad cases that are feminine, and many of the cases in the shops are expensive and frankly unexciting. This is a zipped case so there is no danger of the ipad falling out.

So, this will be the first in my shop and I will be busy making more over the next few days.

Love Mrs Jones x

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Autumn Carrot and Lentil Soup

Faced with the prospect of no heating, due to a boiler service tomorrow when I am working from home, I just had to make a warming soup to hold the cold at bay. The one soup I return to over and over again is Carrot & Lentil Soup. I discovered this recipe when I was about 14 and had just become a vegetarian. It was in a little recipe book sold by Boots the Chemist back in the days when they had a cookshop. Another great thing about this soup is that with a tiny change in ingredients it becomes a wonderful moroccan soup.
The soup is not very photogenic, so you can have Autumn leaves instead!

Ingredients
1 onion, chopped
3 medium carrots, chopped
Butter
Flour, a dessert spoon
100g red lentils (wash them first in a sieve)
1.2 litres of vegetable stock
Bay leaf

Method
1. Melt the butter in a large pan. I use the bottom of my steamer as it is really deep.

2. Add in your chopped carrots and onion and cook gently until the onion is soft - around 3-5 minutes.

3. Add in a dessert spoon of flour and the washed red lentils.

4. After a minute or so of stirring the mixture, add the vegetable stock and a bay leaf.

5. Bring to the boil, and then let simmer for around 30 minutes.

6. Allow to cool a little, then liquidise. You can either do this in a food processor which gives a chunkier soup, or a liquidiser or a hand blender which both give smoother results. Add salt and pepper to taste and a little lemon juice.

To make the Moroccan soup:
Add a couple of cloves of garlic to the carrots and onions (stage 2)

Add a teaspoon of ground cumin, chilli powder and ground coriander at stage 3

Optional: add some fresh chopped coriander to the finished soup.

The credit for the Moroccan addition comes from the Sainsburys Magazine.

Love Mrs Jones x

Monday, 12 November 2012

Retro Teatowels

I found this beautiful retro fabric {Happy Home Fiesta by Robert Kaufman} in the sale section of Fabric Rehab, and knew it would make perfect tea towels. I have a little leftover in this fabric and I just can't decide what to do with it. Any ideas?

You can also get this fabric in a Purple/Green colourway.

Love Mrs Jones x

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Christmas banner

I have spent a lot of my day off fiddling around with a Christmas banner for my Folksy shop. It is still not perfect as it needs to be elongated, but at least I am happy with the contents of it. It is so difficult to get that Christmassy feel to an image, but I think I have achieved it!


I have been listing items like crazy on Folksy in order to get my shop full again. I also have a couple of Christmas fairs coming up.

Love Mrs Jones x

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

My Crafting Life: Cards with a Difference

It is with great pleasure that I am hosting my first guest blog post on my blog. I thought it would be a great idea to hear from other crafters, and today I have a post from Tanya Miller whose business is Cards with a Difference.

I am 40 something and been married for 14 years and live in Chorley, Lancashire.

My love for crafting started from an early age, so my mum tells me, where I used to spend many hours cutting up catalogues and making scrapbooks of things.  I was always happy if I had a pair of safety scissors in my hand!!  

I have tried many crafts over the years including cross stitch and knitting but card making has always been in the background and has always piqued my interest. 

My life changed quite dramatically five years ago after being ill for a while, when I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia.  I had always been really active - worked full time, taught aerobics, ran half marathons, did ballroom and latin dancing - but that had to stop once a diagnosis had been made as the stress on my body was too much.  My life may have changed but it has not ended and I am a positive person and try not to let my condition get the better of me even though I have pain and tiredness.


Card making and other crafts then took over my life and after making cards for family and friends it was mentioned to me that I should try and sell them so I made some stock and then did a few local craft fairs, some of which were successful and others which weren't. After a while I started selling online on a handmade/craft website before finally deciding to go it alone and open my own website in October 2011.

The orders came in steadily and also I had interest from a few shops in Lancashire and beyond who were interested in stocking my cards. 

I love making cards and hope that my love of an attention to detail shows within all my creations.  I like stamping and colouring images with Promarkers and Spectrum Noirs and I also love decoupage too.  I take orders for bespoke creations too and a gallery of my recent creations can be seen on my website and also on my Facebook page.

I recently started making wedding stationery after receiving a request for some samples and these can be seen on my website too.

I have many different kinds of cards and also bookmarks for sale on my website, some featuring my own artwork including Zentangle and Encaustic Wax paintings and also in the New Year I am hoping to have a gift section on my website with handknitted items and wooden items which will be handpainted and embellished, to name a couple, which will make my website a one-stop shop for a gift and a card.

I do have an Etsy shop open which is full of my handmade cards. 
Part of Tanya's craft room

I work full time and every bit of my spare time, housework permitting, is spent in my lovely craft room which is painted a delicious shade of pink and has at the heart of it a beautiful desk with a perspex top and sliding storage which houses the majority of my crafting items.  I like to work in an organised room and sometimes have many projects on the go at the same time to organisation is the key and so I have plenty of baskets on my desk with all the projects organised in them. 

For now I am working on lots of Christmas card orders and also a special order I am doing in collaboration with a friend who is soon to open a handmade jewellery website.  

Things are looking really good for the future in the world of Cards With A Difference.  

I have added in lots of links so you can browse the Cards with a Difference website or follow them on Facebook. Thank you Tanya.

Love Mrs Jones x 

If you make handmade products and would like to be featured in My Crafting Life series, please email me at mrsjonesjewellery@btinternet.com. 

Monday, 5 November 2012

Christmas stockings

Just a quickie today with photos of some more of my stockings and also to introduce you to my new series My Crafting Life, the first of which begins tomorrow with a guest post from Cards with a Difference. I am planning to do this monthly and if you are interested in being part of this, drop me a line at mrsjonesjewellery@btinternet.com.

Christmas is really not that far away and I am buying/making presents and have even started writing my Christmas cards! So, on to two more of my stockings which are now for sale in my shop:

Love Mrs Jones x

Saturday, 3 November 2012

London Oct 2012

I have spent the past couple of days in London with my family. It is becoming a bit of a tradition to do London in the autumn half term - there is just so much to see and visit in London. We are always trying to finetune exactly what we are going to visit and when so that we don't waste too much time travelling.

When we arrived, I took my boys straight to Chinatown, which they were a little unimpressed with. I think it looks much better at night with the chinese lanterns lit. Then we wandered through Leicester Square, where the swiss clock was chiming. Does anyone remember the Swiss Centre that was in Leicester Square? It is now M&M world which is a big pity. From there we walked through to Covent Garden. They were so pleased to find Battersea Pie on the lower level of the apple market (what is it with boys and pies!); they have a good range of pies (and of course mash)!. I spotted the Moomin shop which we popped into and popped out of straight after I looked at the prices. I would have loved to have bought something for my husband as he loved the Moomins as a child. I told my boys that their Dad was raised on Moomins, and Fred said "are Grandma and Grandad moomins?".

We met with my husband in the evening and all went to Davenports Magic Shop in Charing Cross underground as we had tickets for Tea with a Magician. The theatre itself only seated 20-30 people and the magic show was excellent and involved many of the audience. I don't want to spoil it for anyone, but the magician's sleight of hand was fantastic. I would definitely revisit. 
My children nestled between the paws of a Trafalgar Square lion.

The following morning we walked from Southwark to the Imperial War Museum in Lambeth. They are undergoing renovations so the exhibits are reduced, but our primary aim was to look at my husband's Grandfathers documents that are in the archive. The box held photographs and some personal diaries which were absolutely fascinating. Again, this is something that we will go back and have a longer look at. Next year, the IWM is closed for approximately six months, so now is the time to visit.
Imperial War Museum, Lambeth

We also squeezed in a quick visit to the Wellcome Museum in Euston Square which is a medical museum with some very unusual artefacts.

Such a great couple of days. I have added lots of links for the curious!

Love Mrs Jones x

We stayed at the Premier Inn, Southwark - very convienient for Tate Modern and the whole South Bank and just two or three tube stops from Trafalgar square.

Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Pumpkin Gallery

Unfortunately, I am away for Halloween this year, and there is little point in carving a pumpkin if we are not around to see it lit. But I am leaving you with a gallery of pumpkins that I have discovered on the web, and via Pinterest.

So, Happy Halloween!



Martha Stewart Better Homes and Gardens Zedomax Chrissie Morris Mr Trigg via BBC Andrew and Nancy Peel via BBC 
 
 
Love Mrs Jones x