Thursday, 26 April 2012

Birthday Cakes for kids, when did they get so fancy?

Hello,

I can vaguely remember my childhood birthday cakes, mainly because I had a severe egg allergy (since grown out of) and I usually had ice-cream cakes (blocks with smartie decorations, melted chocolate). But the 80s are over.... And these days cakes have gotten complicated.
And fancy.
I blame hubbie, he's a chef so cooking to him is second nature.
This is the birthday girls cake from last year:
I told him the bar had been set tooo high.


But I didn't mind too much because I figured he'd always make the cakes.
Except this years party is on Saturday and hubbie is working until then and won't have time to make cake, ahhh!
On our previous trip to Kilkenny we walked by a cake shop (near the bookstore!) and in the window was a doll in a cake. Literally in the middle. Small girl asks can she have this for her party and I happily agree confident I won't have anything to do with it, except maybe choose a doll for the middle.
Now we have a problem. I attempted to change small girls mind but there was no budging. So the job of creating barbie in a cake has fallen on my shoulders.

I have never cooked a cake in my life, seriously, maybe in school but I can't remember. I had the egg allergy as a child which meant my eyes would swell up if I was in the same room as eggs so I don't even have a memory of how to cook. When hubbie cooks I exit the room rapidly as he always attempts to turn me into his assistant (i.e. the crap jobs like peeling potatoes or washing).

I have a plan, pile a few cakes on top of each other, cut a hole in the middle, pop Barbie in and hope the icing sticks to the outside.
Here I am, ingredients bought, cake tin purchased, tons of icing packets, lots of pink cake decorations and I need to start.... Help!!!

Time to look on youtube!!

Take care,
Maria

Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Vintage Children's Illustrations

Hello,

I loved books as a child, I was addicted! Enid Blyton, Roald Dahl, any author, it didn't matter.
When I had my own children I was determined that they too would be avid readers and not be computer game junkies. They have a large amount of books between them and we go to the library every couple of weeks. Now I don't buy books brand new always as I would have to remortgage the house to pay for the books as they can be quite expensive.
I buy a lot of them in charity/second hand shops, and I love some of the illustrations.

Here is an Enid Blyton from the 1970s. Mind you the one thing you have to watch out for with the Enid Blyton books is a lot of them were "updated" to political correctness in the last decade. I read two books from the same set recently, one was brand new and one was from the 80s, the names of the characters had even changed.
One of the first books I can remember was the Enchanted Wood or the Faraway Tree by Enid Blyton and my daughter (age 6) was just as enthralled by them so a good story never goes out of fashion!

On a recent trip to Kilkenny we popped into the wonderful bookstore (its on a side street at the side of the Superquinn shopping centre, you head out as if heading to the car park and go down the hill a few yards and you'll see it). It is a great place to buy books for children as they have brand new books for 50c, books for 1 and 2 euro upwards. You can pick up a lot for twenty euro.  Here is one I couldn't resist for its illustrations, I think I'll have to frame it:
Yes its in Irish so I'm a bit lost.

I love the dresses!

Have a great day,
Maria

Wednesday, 18 April 2012

New Pictures for Etsy

Hello,

I may have mentioned before that I have been very lucky with my dolls shop on etsy but have yet to make a sale on my home decoration shop on etsy. I have sold items outside of etsy so this has kept me motivated.
So to improve things on etsy I have decided I need to upgrade my photos as to be honest a lot of them were not very good to begin with. Outside I went and managed to take a few before the rain came down! I think they look much better than my previous shots.
Bunting for Girls

Also I am adding some new products, aprons for children. They were getting the washing machine test today to make sure no colours ran. I do wash the fabric before use but I wanted to be extra extra safe. I finally got a break in the rain so they made a very pretty picture on the clothes line.  Hopefully I will get a sale soon!


All the best,
Maria

Wednesday, 11 April 2012

Aprons and Brooches

Hello there,

Sorry have been a bit neglectful of my blog as its the school holidays so I don't get too much time
too myself. I am sure I am not the only one!
I have made some children's aprons which I had great fun making as there is such lovely fabric out
there for children.


I am in the process of putting together little brooches which are to go on the aprons at the top, to make the aprons prettier!
I cut out lots of shapes using fabric and felt. I used cookie cutters and with tracing paper patterns to make the shapes. Now the matching and sewing begins...

Hopefully I will get these finished this week, but I am not counting on it as there is a trip to the zoo in my future!

All the best,
Maria

Tuesday, 3 April 2012

Easter "Tree" - Prudent Easter Decorations

Hello,

The children are on school holidays for Easter so we've being doing a lot of craft work to keep them busy. We've made pom pom carrots and bunnies and paper plate lakes for the tiny chicks to swim in, and we've more to make yet, the Easter Bunny will be very impressed...

Here's one of our more "professional" efforts:
This is our table centre piece for Easter. We went for a walk in the garden and cut lots of branches from various trees. One side of the garden is a native hedgerow so there is plenty of options for cuttings.
I originally intended to cover the cuttings with ribbon but I decided they looked nice in their natural state. The eggs are a set of 12 polystrene eggs I bought in Hickeys for Euro3.50. Some have been painted and some have been covered in paper cuttings. I cut out some pretty floral pictures from old magazines and we glued them onto the eggs. The children are very proud of them! I threaded them using embroidery thread and a very long doll needle.


Bear in mind some are painted by small kids! We used paints we already had and old magazines so the only cost was eggs, so these are very prudent Easter decorations.

The little white one with blue writing on the bottom right hand side is one I picked up years ago in Budapest. We were on a short break and it was Easter time and so many shops had beautiful window displays for Easter. There was so many impressive Chocolate displays (reminded me of the movie Chocolat) (the kind that would make your mouth water!) and beautiful hand decorated eggs everywhere. So much work and pride had gone into the displays, they were wonderful.  Maybe someday I'll get to go back!

Am off to find a recipe for hot-cross buns.

Take care,
Maria