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Monday, 16 October 2017

Tea Light Ghosts - Halloween DIY

Tea-Light-Ghosts-Halloween-DIY

Halloween will be here in just under two weeks time, and while I'm struggling a little to accept that fact, I am still very excited! Our collection of Halloween decorations is something we like to add to each year. Just as we do with Christmas, we like to pick up a couple of really nice bits each time the seasons roll around and we've built up a pretty good selection so far, but there's always room for more.

A couple of years ago now, I made these Christmas gift tags with air drying clay. They were really simple to do, and I had planned to make more but as things got tidied away and moved around over time, I forgot all about the left over clay. I came across it again a couple of weeks ago, and after being shocked that it hadn't dried out, I started to think of what I could use it for. Paul and I talked about it for a while, we considered making more gift tags (which I might still do), but then Paul thought ghosts! Ghosts are white, they clay is white -perfect!

These are honestly the easiest decoration you can make, but they are so effective and look as good as any you've bought when they're lit up at night. Also a fantastic one for you to make with kids, the longest and most boring part is having to wait days for them to dry. I haven't tried using these with normal tea lights, but to be honest I wouldn't risk it. If you are going to make them, please be safe and use the battery operated ones.

You will need:
Air drying clay
Rolling pin
Cling film
Non stick mat
Piping nozzle/straw -anything to make eye holes
Things to shape you ghosts over

Tea-Light-Ghosts-Halloween-DIY
Tea-Light-Ghosts-Halloween-DIY
Tea-Light-Ghosts-Halloween-DIY

- Choose the items you want to shape your ghosts over. Eggs in egg cups, novelty salt and pepper shakers, glasses, ornaments, small bottles or condiments -anything you like. Once you have them, wrap them in cling film, this protects what your using and makes the ghosts easier to remove when they're dry.

- Take some of the clay, around a golf ball sized amount or more and knead it in your hands a little to warm it up. Place it on your mat and roll out into a circular shape, but you don't have to be perfect with this.

- Take the circle of clay and place it over your chosen item, moving it around until your happy with the shape. When you are, all you need to do it give it little face. I used a piping nozzle for the larger ghosts, and simply made holes with a knife on the smaller ones.

- When you have made, shaped and given features to as many little ghosts as you like, you just have to leave them to dry. It will depend on the clay you're using -mine was 4-5 days, but I'd add an extra day to be safe.

And that's all you have to do, your little ghosts will be ready to light up any room on Halloween. You could of course paint them, add glitter or give them any extra features but I think there is something lovely about them just the way they are, marks, lines and all.

Tea-Light-Ghosts-Halloween-DIY


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Friday, 13 October 2017

Made Me Happy This Week

made-me-happy-this-week

We're just under two weeks into October, and while I feel we've been quite reserved with our Halloween buying so far, it's getting harder to be. We've picked up a few bits from Homesence and Tkmaxx, but now the supermarkets are stepping things up and I'm having to not look in the seasonal isle because I want everything! Especially in Sainsburys. How we left with only milk and onions is beyond me. One thing we still don't have however are pumpkins. Our new french doors got delivered this week and they aren't being fitted until Sunday, meaning the extension is kind of out of use -so no pumpkin carving quite yet. Oh...and how could I forget, it's Friday the 13th! Have you had anything spooky happen to you yet?

1. Woodland walks on late Autumn afternoons, the light is honestly one of my favourites things.

2. Constant photo updates of what my mum is planning for her Christmas decorations this year. She's forgoing the standard green tree and going for one of those bare twiggy ones. I think I'll look lovely.

3. A new cushion I found in TKmaxx that is all things I love. It's teal, velvet and has pom poms!

4. Plum and oat cake, a new favourite of mine that I might give a try at home. It tastes sort of like flapjacks.

5. Balloons arriving for Paul's birthday. I've been buying little bits and hiding them for the last few weeks. His birthday isn't until December, but I like to be organised.

6. Cookie Butter Oreos! Yes. I haven't opened them yet so I can't comment on how they taste but I'm bloody excited to try them.

7. Getting the heavy Winter quilt out. I feel like we're doing it a little earlier than usual but we've had a few cold nights lately.

8. Pumpkin vanilla hand cream, a gift from Paul's mum. It's leaving my hands smelling gorgeous and feeling nice and soft.
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Monday, 9 October 2017

Individual Caramel Apple Pies

Individual-Caramel-Apple-Pies
Individual-Caramel-Apple-Pies

Pumpkin is everywhere at this time of year, it's the flavour that first comes to mind when you think of Autumn or Halloween. And not just flavours, it's everywhere from home fragrance to decorations (not that I mind at all). But another flavour I always associate with this time of year is apple. It goes so well with cinnamon, and makes lots of very tasty puddings and desserts that are perfect for the colder weather. And, who doesn't love toffee/chocolate apples or apple bobbing towards the end of the month?!

A few weeks ago I made my apple crumble cupcakes, and I promised another recipe using the left over apple sauce from them, so here we are. These sorts of recipes are the reason I like to keep this tasty apple sauce or jam, if you prefer in the freezer. These are very quick, very easy and go so well with the ridiculously easy vanilla ice-cream I'll tell you about later.

Individual-Caramel-Apple-Pies
Individual-Caramel-Apple-Pies

Ingredients:
Apple sauce -(recipe here)
Carnation tinned caramel
Puff pastry sheet x2
1 egg -beaten
1 teaspoon brown sugar

Individual-Caramel-Apple-Pies
Individual-Caramel-Apple-Pies

- Pre-heat your oven to 190°C, and line a baking tray with grease proof paper. Roll out you sheets of ready rolled puff pastry and cut your shapes of choice.

(I used large 4 inch circle cutters and got 3 pies per sheet of puff pastry. The size and shape you want to use will determine how many little pies you end up with.)

-Lay half of the shapes on the baking tray, add a teaspoon of caramel to the centre and spread out but leave at least a 1cm gap around the edge. If you are making mini pies, maybe use half a teaspoon instead.

- After that, add a teaspoon of your apple sauce and again, spread it out until it covers the caramel. With the beaten egg, give the uncovered edges of the pasty egg wash to help seal them.

- With the other half of your shapes, lay them on top carefully and press the edges with a fork so they are sealed all the way round.

- Egg wash the tops, add a sprinkle of brown sugar, and make two small slits in the top -being careful not the cut the base. Bake for 15 minutes until puffed and golden brown.

Individual-Caramel-Apple-Pies
Individual-Caramel-Apple-Pies

I like to serve these with my "cheats" ice-cream. I always prefer cream over ice cream with warm puddings, something which everyone around me finds odd. But this stuff is the perfect compromise! It's basically sweetened frozen cream, but please try it, it tastes so much better than that description sounds.

Whip 600ml of double cream until it starts to thicken, but is still far too runny to hold any shape. Add in a 397g tin of condensed milk, add a teaspoon of vanilla extract, and mix until everything is well combined. Freeze overnight, and that's it!

It's become something we always have to have in the freezer, so much so that our friend now asks what flavours we have, instead of is we have any.

Individual-Caramel-Apple-Pies

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