Thursday, November 12, 2009

Christmas Card Contest

I love trying out new things so when I came across a Christmas Card Contest hotsed by Sarah Crafts I decided to give it a go. I paid my $2.00 fee to cover costs for postage and supllies and a couple of days later I recieved a little pack including a white card, 2 pieces of patterned paper, 2 scallop shaped cut outs and two circle cutouts.

The rules were that I had to use the white card and one of each of the cut out shapes, so I got my brain cells moving and came up with the following. In addition to the items recieved in the pack I used a piece of fun holiday ribbon and a rubber stamp of a decoration that I added some bling to using tiny crystals.
Its a fun way to go about making cards.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Latest Cake Creation

Following on from my previous ditto about my cake making I have now completed my first official cake order and I'm so pleased with the results!

The cake was for a friend of a friend who was turning 50 and in his youth had played football for Leeds United in the UK. I used this info to create a cake and also to test my skills and learn a few new skills along the way!

I started by baking off two 9x13 oblong cakes using a vanilla cake mix with some white chocolate pieces thrown in for good measure! Once cooled I leveled the two cake off and filled them with delicious strawberry jam!

I cut down the cake to make a football shirt with short sleeves and then buttercreamed the whole thing before covering it with rolled fondant in white. Now the shirt began to come to life and not look like a lump of cake!

I carefully iced the name and a big 50 on the front of the cake and added a fondant collar and Leeds Utd club badge which I made of fondant and then painted using food color! genius!

To add some color I iced the cake board with green 'grass' and then made a couple of footballs using the left over fondant and a pair of little football boots too!

The cake was delivered on Tuesday and the guy loved it, everyone was very impressed with my handy work and they said it tasted great too.

Now, what to do for my next cake???

Monday, October 26, 2009

Cake, Cake and more Cake!

I'm just loving making cakes at the moment. I think this new hobby may cause me and everyone around me to gain 10lbs, but who cares!

Since my beginners cake decorating class back in September I've been cooking up a storm in the kitchen and having fun trying out new flavours and decorating techniques.

A real crowd pleaser has been my carrot and pineapple cake (Care of the great Ina Garton) which tastes even more delicious when I use almond pie filling to fill between the layers of moist carrot cake. Its yummy, you have to go try it.

I made an early birthday cake for my Mum while she was here visiting and this time I made cheated and used a packet vanilla cake mix, but to change it up a little I added a pack of banana cream pie pudding mix to the batter and presto you have banana flavour cake!! Now what goes great with banana's?....CHOCOLATE! I used Nutella chocolate spread between the layers of sponge, OMG, I'm in heaven!

Now for this cake I had a go at using the rolled fondant and it was easier than I thought it would be. I covered the whole cake in white fondant and then coloured the remaining fondant a nice pink color and cut it into strips, and also some bows. I then used my butter icing and piped out 12 lovely roses. My Mum loved the cake and we all enjoyed eating it too!

Just so my husband didn't feel left out I made him a birthday cake too and as he's such a big golf nut I made him a golf course (well one hole of one!). For this cake I made a red velvet sponge and filled it with buttercream, then iced it using piped buttercream. It was fun icing in the water hazard and sand bunkers as well as the little green.

I'm excited as I've been asked to make a 50th birthday cake for a friends work colleague so I'll post some pics of that when I make it next month. I'm already thinking of ideas for other friends birthdays cakes, so looking forward to making them too.
Happy baking!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Trains, Planes, and Automobiles across Canada

On the 1st october I took a trip up to Canada with my Mum. She has always wanted to see the Rocky Mountains and so this year she realised her dream and I was there to share it with her.

We had booked a trip on the Rocky Mountaineer Train from Banff to Vancouver and our journey began when we arrived in Calgary. We were collected from our hotel in Calgary and set off towards Lake Louise. On the way we stopped off to take a helicopter ride over the mountains which was fabulous. We then headed into Lake Louise and arrived at the beautiful Chateau Lake Louise hotel in falling snow.

When we woke the following day the lake and surrounding mountains were coated with beautiful white snow which made it look like a winter wonderland. If you have never seen Lake Louise then you should definately go as it is just breath taking.

We boarded our coach again heading towards Banff with another stop to take another helicopter tour which was equally impressive as the day before. Our day ended upon arrival at the Rimrock Resort in Banff where we spent the evening wandering through the town on the hunt for souveniers.

On Sunday our trip on the train began and we boarded the Rocky Mountaineer at Banff train station and took our seats in the Gold Leaf glass domed cabins. The views from our seats were amazing and you could see everywhere. To match the amazing scenery was the amazing food that we were served which added to the whole experience. The first day on the train was a very long one until we reached the town of Kamloops where we would spend the night.

Monday morning we reboarded the train for the final leg into Vancouver and saw the scenery change from heavily wooded to almost desert like and then more green as we approached Vancouver. The second part of our trip began when we arrived in Vancouver and checked into the historic Hotel Vancouver where we would spend three nights.

I now know why Vancouver has been voted the 4th best place in the world to live. It has everything you could ever need from mountains to ski on, sea and rivers to boat & Kayak on, beautiful parks to run and bike in and shops to spend till your wallet was empty!

We took the hop on hop off bus tour to get around the city and enjoyed a couple of fun packed days sightseeing. One of the highlights was the Granville Island Public Market, I could have easily spent all day in here as it was amazing. I wish all markets looked like that as it would make grocery shopping the highlight of my week!

Alas the end of our trip came around too quickly and before we knew it we were heading back home. The trip may be over but we have our memories and about 1000 photos between us to help us reminise our trip to the beautiful Rockies.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Wilton Cake Decorating Class

I'm always looking to try out new craft projects and I love to bake so what better than to take a Wilton cake decorating class at my local Michaels store. The class was held over 4 weeks, every Monday evening and during the class we decorated two 8 inch round cakes and a dozen cupcakes.

It was great fun and I felt like a kid again, playing with the icing and colors and creating my own unique designs on the cakes. they all tasted really good too. My favourite was this Mondays cake which I baked a delicious carrot and pineapple cake and filed it with a yummy almond pie filling and then covered the whole cake in white buttercream icing. At the class we were shown how to make the beautiful piped roses out of the buttercream icing and off we went.

I'm looking forward to the next class in which we get to work with the rolled fondant and learn to make flowers out of that.

Here are afew photos of the three cakes I decorated in the class.
First Lesson Second lesson

Last Lesson

Monday, August 31, 2009

Wedding Card Cake Box

I'm always trying out new things and so when I was asked to make a wedding cake card box for an upcoming wedding I jumped at the chance.

After studying similar items on the web I set to work and used three sturdy boxes for my project. I had fun in the fabric store looking for the ideal fabric to cover the boxes and found some beautiful brown velvet fabric and a luxury satin burgundy fabric that matched the wedding theme perfectly.

I enjoy wrapping presents so this was kind of similar although the floaty fabric was a bit harder to handle than paper but with an extra pair of hands I managed to get the job done. I finished the boxes off with some decorative ribbon around the lids and the whole thing is hekd together with a bright gold ribbon. It will have a big bow on top which I have to make yet!

I wonder what project will be next?

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Special Cards for Special People

Since getting back from our trip to the UK I've made quite afew card orders for people wanting to send an extra special card to frineds big birthdays and anniversarys. Its been fun making up new cards using the individuals tastes to decorate them.

Two of the cards I've made are for ladies turning 40 and who both have a thing about shopping, as most women do!
I've also made a 25th wedding anniversary card and a wedding card.

I love making cards for children too so I got to make a cute robot card for a special little boy who's just turned 2 and a cookery themed one for his mum!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Back in the US with a new visa!

Our trip back to the UK last month was great and we got to see alot of friends and family while we were there as well as most importantly getting our new 3 year visa issued! Its taken a long time to get finished but we are so glad to have it and be able to relax for a few years before we have to go through the process again.

Now we are back home in the US its been busy with the Ropes Challenge Course business and also tackling new DIY projects in the house. I've made some cards since I got back but mostly for private orders and family birthdays so I really need to get back in my studio and make some new cards for my Etsy store.

The next couple of months are going to be busy with lots of visitors coming to stay and its so much fun having friends and family come to stay. I am really looking forward to after they have all been as that is when Clive & I get to go on vacation and we are so looking forward to going to Mexico to a beautiful all inclusive resort by Secrets.

Well I better finish here and go and finish up my painting project upstairs in the living room. Its looking good and I'll post some photos soon.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Finally we are UK bound

Its been a long old process but finally we are headed back to the UK to sort out our visa's and get to see family and friends too.

The whole process of getting our new visa's has taken up the best part of 2 years with 3 cancelled appointments and lots of frustration. Now we have our new appointment on the 14th July we are busy getting things ready to fly to England on Wednesday. Lots to do and not much time to do it in.

I'm so looking forward to seeing everyone back home as its been over 2 years since I was home last. It will be great to catch up with everyone and also to indulge in a few UK favourites that we don't get out here which include fish and chips and a curry!

Hopefully the heat wave that the UK has been having will continue but just slightly cooler as with no air conditioning its pretty brutal as we've been spoiled with the AC over here.

Going to do some sight seeing in London while we're there so will post some photos on our return. I wonder if the Queen is free for a cup of tea?

Monday, June 22, 2009

Its a Baby Boom, baby Announcements

So far this week I've heard from three of my friends who are all pregnant and are all due in December and January....spooky. With all this baby talk going on I thought it perfect timing to get creative and make up some baby announcements.

I've made up two sets so far, one for baby boys, one for baby girls and have listed them on my Etsy store. I'm planning on making up a couple other sets and also some Baby Shower invitations and thank you card sets.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Scrapbook Embellishments

I like to make embellishments for my handmade cards and so I thought I would package some of them up to sell on my Etsy site for other fellow scrapbookers to use on their album and other crafts.

They are made from assorted cardstock and paper using 4 different sized flower paper punches. It was fun coming up with the different color combintations.

I'm hoping to make other items too so check out the store at

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Jelly and his friends

Yesterday I was down at my friend Sandra's house as I was helping her to get packed up for a move to Germany in the summer. When I got to her house I always take my dog Jelly along as he is good friends with Sandra's little pack of three Border Collies and they have a great time together.

While Sandra & I were busy getting things packed up all of the dogs were busy wearing each other out playing. There were five dogs in all as a nieghbors dog was being looked after too so it was a real house full. They are all such lovely dogs and I'm really going to miss them when they move to Germany and I know that Jelly will too.

When it came time to leave I opened up the trunk of my car for Jelly to hop into and all of the other dogs decided to hop in too. It was such a funny site and I happened to have my camera on me and captured some photos of the motely crew in the back of my car.
Unfortunately the others had to stay at Sandra's and I brought home a very tired looking Jelly on his own.
It took a couple of shots to get them all looking the same dircetion!

Meet the crew - Taran, Darcy, Jelly, Tess and Mardie

Monday, June 15, 2009

Flowers from my garden

I love being outside and I love gardening. I get my green fingers from my Mum who also loves to garden and has a beautiful garden back in England. When we moved into our house in 2004 there wasn't much of a garden or 'yard' as its known on this side of the pond.

Once the house had been renovated it was time to get the garden sorted and I've enjoyed designing and developing it over the years and still enjoy changing it and adding new items. I've created wide flowing flower borders and filled them with all my favourite plants like hostas, lillies, daisys, cone flowers, heucheras and lots more.

I'm just making up some containers for the front porch to brighten it up and I'm looking forward to the giant lillies finally opening as they are so beautiful and spectacular.
When my Mum came over for a visit this spring we spent lots of time in the garden and added a new flower bed in the front lawn...just an excuse to go and buy some more plants really!!

In my back garden I have my vegetable garden where I have tomatoes, cucumbers, squash, brocolli, corn, radish, lettuce, beets, onions, beans, peas, spinach, strawberrys, raspberries and blue berries. I'm just about to add some sweet potatoes, water melon and summer squash so I should have a plentiful harvest theoughout the summer of fresh fruit & veg.
Each day there is something new to look at and of course more than one weed to pull out so I can spend a lot of time just 'pottering' in my garden taking in its beauty and seeing the new flowers or plants.

Friday, June 12, 2009

My Jelly Boy

This is my dog Jelly who is almost three years old now. We got him from an animal rescue in February 2007 and we love him so much. He is a Border Collie and Springer Spaniel cross and certainly has the nutty parts of both breeds in him.

As he has beautiful long hair he just gets so hot in the summer and so its off to the petsmart groomers to have a full doggy pampering and have his hair shaved. He's in there longer than I am in the hair salon and comes out looking all lovely and smelling divine.

The first time I had him shaved it was quite a suprise to see him afterwards and rather amusing too, I must admit as he did look funny.

At least now he'll stay cooler and be easier to keep clean during the summer months, and there will be less hair around the house too which is good too.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Cards for those little boys in our lives

I love making cards for children as they are so much fun. I've made some new birthday cards for those special little boys which I think are so cute.

Whether they like aeroplanes, trains or cars, these cards will bring a smile to their little faces. I made three special cards for a lady who has triplet boys and personalized each card with their name to make them extra special.

Check them out along with other cards at

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Away with the Flower Fairies!

I love trying out new crafting techniques and today I tried decopaging! It takes a while but I soon got the hang of it and I'm really pleased with the results.

These beautiful flower fairies really come to life when you transform them into a 3D image with the help of a very sharp craft knife, a very steady hand and some foam tape!

I'm now looking at what else I can use this technique with, maybe try it out with some photographs next.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Custom Wedding Invitations

I'm just finishing up some beautiful wedding invitations for a wedding in September. These were 100% custom to the Bride & Groom and I worked with them to create the exact and unique invitation that they wanted.

They knew what colors they wanted included and the bride wanted to make sure it had some bling so I set to work coming up with samples of different styles and we came down to the chosen design. I then set to work making 70 of these beauties!

Made of a gorgeous deep maroon cardstock that I cut into a petal style card. The insert is a pearl paper printed with chocolate text and highlighted with a tiny crystal on the monogram. This is mounted on a dark chocolate card and attached to the petal card. The invitation is carefully folded and held in place with a custom ribbon made made of stunning woven ribbon in gold, maroon and black and a large oval crystal adorns the center.

The invitation is complemented by a lovely gold envelope. I also wrote the guest names on the invitation and envelopes in beautiful calligraphy.

The Bride and Groom were over the moon with the invitations and I'm looking forward to working with them on the wedding programs and other related items for their special day.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Review from a very happy customer

Its always nice to hear how happy someone is with their purchase of one of my handmade cards and today I got an awesome review I wanted to share with you.

Check out Maureen's review of the three custom cards I made for her triplet boys birthdays

Sunday, May 31, 2009

A first timers recollections of a Triathlon!

Today before the sun got up, I was up and ready for my first Triathlon race. Not having had a very good nights sleep due to pre race nerves, I got up at 4am, fuelled up with a bowl of cereal and a cup of tea before setting off for the drive down to Reston, Virginia.

The heavens had opened as soon as we got on the road and we drove through a thunderstorm wondering if the race would still go ahead due to the weather. We arrived at the race site very early at 5.30am and got our timing chips and numbers written onto our arms, then went and set up our bikes and gear in the transition area.

The race was still going ahead as planned as the weather was due to clear before the start of the race. After setting up our bikes and running shoes to alllow for a speedy change after the swim and bike it was time to chill out.

The start of the race was at 7am with the elite racers heading off first! These racers certainly knew how to move through water and were off on thier bikes within 5 minutes of the start. My start time was 7.57am, so at my alloted time I set off on my 400m swim. I'm not the best of swimmers and with the added nerves I found the first 2 laps tough just trying to get my breathing right. By the 6th lap I got into the swing of things and was just looking for the end.

Out of the pool and a quick run into the transition area to get on my shoes, helmet and grab my bike ready for the next part. The bike course was three 4 mile loops around the surrounding area which included a couple of big hills! The first loop I got my legs in gear and sussed out the course, the 2nd loop was better although the big hill seemed bigger, and by the 3rd loop I think the adrenalin kicked in and I was thinking about the run already.

Now running after biking 12 miles was tough, it took a while for my legs to start to move as I wanted them and the running course was also 'rolling' and saved the biggest up hill for the last 1/2 mile. I managed to summon the last strand of energy to speed up for the last part and through the finish line, and the cheering supporters really helped! I finished in under 2 hours which was my goal, even though the winner finished in 55mins 4 secs, (before I even got in the pool!)

Its amazing that after passing that finish line how all the aches & tiredness just disappear and you're left feeling lifted and so full of pride....'I've just finished a sprint triathlon!!'

We got our gear together and headed over for a much needed Starbucks before heading home. Feeling good so far although I suspect by about 5pm tonight I'll be fast asleep, and wondering what challenge I'll do next......skydiving is on my bucket list so you never know!

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Triathlons and Weddings!

One day to go until my triathlon and I've been down to the race site to collect my race pack up and check out the course too. I'm now not so nervous having seen the layout and I'm excited about it now.

In between getting ready for the race I've been creating some new wedding cards which I'm really pleased with if I say so myself. I've just uploaded them onto Etsy and hope to make some more next week too.

Well I'll finish here and go fix a big pasta meal for dinner and have a chilled out evening as its an early start in touch after the race to let you know how its gone.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Stock up and save!

Save on shipping, in fact get your purchase shipped for FREE! Simply choose one of the three offers available at my store

There is a pack of 3 cards for $10.00, a pack of 6 cards for $20.00 and a bumper pack of 20 cards which includes pretty much every card you would need throughout the year for $55.00.

All of my cards are carefully made by my afair hands and I take great pride in my work as I want to ensure that you are 110% satisfied with the end result.