Monday, November 29, 2010

Sparkly Stars in time for Snow

...and wintery weather all around. The temperatures have really dipped around here and it's keeping us indoors. Well, the temperatures and my littlest's newest cold that is.

But instead of sitting around twiddling my thumbs with nothing to do (except of course laundry and housework and meals and....), I've just uploaded a new pdf for your winter crafting fun. 3 pages of photos and templates to create this cute little paper star. A perfect craft for kids and adults and oh so easy!

To download your template, just click on the image or right here. Or, if you're lost, just go over to the column on the right and look for the Sparkly Star Ornament link.

Have fun!

PS - if you've enjoyed these templates, I'd love to hear from you. If you have other ideas of things you'd like to see, shout it out as well!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Oh the places you will see....


.... when you don't know where you are going and you've just told your friend "don't worry, the route can't get narrower than it already is."

PS - I'm adding in a photo of our second option that my friend emailed to me this morning. (She was on the good side of the car for this photo). It was a pretty hill, but in the end, we decided to turn around given lack of Wellie boots and 4-wheel drive.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Just Listed....

... after a few trials and errors and lots of glue gone wrong, I've finally sussed out a workable pattern for your very own 3D paper star! Yes, an accomplishment to be sure. Now that the hard part is out of the way, I'll be making some more templates in various colours.

In the meantime, however, for your fun and pleasure, I've listed my very first template in my Etsy shop to you to print and make yourself. Hopefully you'll avoid the trial and error period if I've done my job correctly.

They do take a bit of patience to make, mainly gluing the points together, but they are worth it in the end I think.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Something for a friend...


...I hope she enjoys it!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Just having fun...

...on this day off. 11th November is a holiday for most in France. Unfortunatly it's very wet and rainy and windy out and so we're all home tucked in and keeping warm.

Hubby's playing in the basement with the wetvac (an indispensable piece of equipment in these parts) and I need to keep busy. So, amid creating some new little box template I'll be listing soon, I thought I would have a play around with the Robin template you can download here. I thought a couple more patterns could be even more fun.

So here are two new versions for you to play with. Have fun!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Temps des Gaufres!

Or, in English, Waffle Time!

Since we've been living in our current location, our kids have had many occasions to test and taste the various types of waffles to be found in the region and just over the border in Belgium. We have very small and thin waffles that are sandwiched together with a spread of brown sugar or vanilla cream or speculoos inside. We also have the traditional "Belgian Waffle" that you would find at any self-respecting brunch buffet in the US. But regarding this last, the name Belgian Waffle is really quite inaccurate as there are many, many types of waffles in Belgium.

What I have encounted in the US as a Belgium Waffle is really probably closest to the Gaufre de Bruxelles or Brussels Waffle. But did you know that there is also the Gaufre de Namur, the Gaufre de Verviers, de Herve, du Perron, de Tilff, d'Outre-Meuse, à l'ancienne... You're probably getting the point.

I've left one important one out of the above list, simply because it's the one we find the best. It's also probably the one you'd be best off only smelling or at best giving a small lick if you're on any sort of calorie watching diet because it's full of butter and sugar, but oh is the combination so so good. I present la Gaufre de Liège.

Yesterday, I decided to try my hand at making this waffles from scratch for the first time. We have usually in the past only made the Brussels kind, but since I have finally found the correct sugar for the Gaufre de Liège, it was time to give it a go.

The recipe is quite simple and the biggest problem you may have is finding the sucre perlé (see photo). If you can't find this where you live (I got mine in Belgium), then I'm told that breaking up sugar cubes will do the job as well.

If you're interested in trying your hand at these delicacies, I'm giving you the recipe below.

For approximately 20 waffles you will need:

750g fine flour (though I used my regular flour and they came out just fine!)
270g warm milk
70g fresh yeast
3 eggs + 2 egg yolks
pinch of salt
1 tsp of vanilla or 1/2 sachet of vanilla sugar if you have some on hand
400g butter, softened
500g sucre perlé (or chopped up sugar cubes)

Mix all ingredients together except the butter and sugar and let rest 30 minutes. Personally, I let my yeast dissolve in the warm milk before adding this to the flour.

Add softened butter, bit by bit; by kneading it into the dough. I started off by hand as if making bread dough and then when there was enough butter incorporated and my hands and countertop were too greasy to work with any longer, I moved everything back into the bowl and finished adding the butter. Then add your sugar. It won't mix into the batter but rather will stay in lumps throughout.

Divide the batter up into 100g mounds (approximately 1 heaping soupspoon full) and let rest for 15 minutes.

Cook for 3 minutes on preheated waffle iron.


Now, here's what I noticed. As I only made half the batter, this may have been my problem from the start, but when I first mixed the ingredients, the batter was very dry so I added a bit more warm milk. Also, you'll notice once you start adding in the butter that it's very, VERY, buttery! I do wonder if you could use less butter to a similar result so I think this is what I'll try next time.


But in the end, if you follow this recipe, despite the butter overload, you won't be disappointed!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Opening Today - desMerveilles!


And that title rhymes, even better!

But back to the important bits, Anne-Marie has been working on this project for quite some time and today is the big, exciting day. desMerveilles.com is officially open!

What is desMerveilles? Simply put, it's an online boutique featuring 35 artists (mostly French) specialised in the world of our lovely future... children. She's done a fabulous job of putting together a great collection of items and styles and the boutique looks incredible.

So come an have a peek and see what's happening in handmade in France!

Monday, November 1, 2010

Wintery Wonders!


It's out! The latest issue of Modern Handmade Child, Winter 2010. And this one is jam packed full of tutorials and yummy recipes to keep you and little hands busy during the winter months.

And on top of it, you can download here (over there on the right, under bits & bobs) a free pattern to make your own Winter Robin Paper Ornament.


So pour yourself a cuppa, get out your scissors and glue and come have a peek!