Floral Summer Cupcakes

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Gwen

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Organising our First Craft Fair (what we learned)

I think it was last summer, I was sitting in a cafe garden with my Sister in law Anna, we were soaking in the sun, and our pancakes were soaking in the maple syrup, and we were saying wasn’t it a shame I couldn’t get a stall at the local fair with my cakes, and wasn’t it a shame that Anna’s job was a big pile of shit. We thought we should do our own craft fair, why not? Anna’s a crafter, I’m a caker, we both like organising things so whats to stop us? Anna’s Job was stopping her a bit, but low and behold after a few more conversations about how the shitness of that job really was starting to get on her wick, she quit. We looked at each other after that and said “about that craft fair then?”

The first step was to google a few boring legal things, but as ours was to be an indoor affair most of that side was taken care of, and then we had to book the venue- a simple matter in our case of me phoning the lady who does our church hall bookings, and since she is a person who’s true loveliness shines out of her, that was not a difficult task.

Stall holders was our next port of call, and here is where I got the willies. We wanted it to be professional looking, yet relaxed and friendly, if we got in proper jobbing crafters they would be expecting a certain standard of fair, and as it was a first time there was every chance of us cocking up. But if we just got our friends and friends of friends in for our first run the whole thing would be a hoot, but might look a bit amateur (no offence friends).

No need to worry as it turned out, my friends are not just all creative geniuses, they know how to present stalls to make them look chic and delightful, and people who mentioned they had this hobby on the side turned out to be masters of their trade.

But then there was advertising. Advertising advertising advertising. It had been rolling around my mind from the first day in the cafe. I knew it could be the be all and end all of a successful day and we had to be on top of it.

We weren’t.

Posters were made, flyers handed out, facebook advertising paid for and free networking taken advantage of. But the truth is not enough of any of it, I think people need to see adverts two or three or even four times before ‘that looks nice’ turns into ‘I’m definitely going to that’, and this is the trick we missed.

That said, when it all came together on the day (and looked spiffing) we did have a respectable trickle of people, all the stall holders saw cash in their hands and everyone seemed to be having a great time. We also learned a great deal about how we would do it better next time, and that’s exactly what we will do, November is the aim for our next, bigger, better altogether more wonderful and this time christmas themed craft fair.

candels wink's cardsAnna cards

books coasters

cupcakes 2 lemon cake Mice

 

Many thanks to My friend Winkles who went around and took some pictures for us. Stalls wise we had;cake, soy candles, secondhand books, handmade notebooks, mice paintings (coblogger Elinor’s), vintage clothes, felt animals, oil paintings, pottery, jewelry, cards, a children’s activity and a BBQ.

I made 99 cupcakes (just turned out that way) three lemon loves to sell whole, and a red velvet cake that I cut into 12 slices. I truly loved running my stall and managed to sell all but 4 cupcakes, and I think Anna will agree that on the whole organising this was a blast, and maybe if you live in Birmingham UK you might even drop in on us in November?

Gwen x

 

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Heleyna’s Extraordinary Monkey Cakes

Today Heleyna teaches us all how to make these extraordinary monkey face cakes.P1150902

 

Firstly, you must read through all the ingredients using your pointing finger so as not to lose your place.

115g butter

85g brown sugar

1tbsp honey

2 eggs

100g self raising flour

2tbsp coco powder

350g fondant icing

Chocolate spread

Brown food colouring

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P1150915Mix together the butter, sugar and honey until fluffy.

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Be sure to get butter all over the honey pot like this and make a huge mess.

What?

What?

Add the eggs, beating after each addition. Fold in the dry ingredients and bake in paper cases for 10-15 minutes at gas mark 4.

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Then take some of your icing and colour it brown. Roll it out and use round cutters to make the parts for the money faces.

Sometimes baking can be a trial.

Sometimes baking can be a trial.

Sick the decoration to the cakes with a generous helping of chocolate spread,and paint on the mouths and eyes with brown food colouring.

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And then vola! You have the most extraordinary monkey face cupcakes with which you can amaze your friends and family.

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Gwen and Heleyna

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“They’re Stealing Our Dinosaur!!!”

Last Thursday Gwen and I went to London to visit the Natural History Museum and get lost on the underground. Once you know where you’re going its fine but its finding out you end up in a bit of bother and as there is no internet underground the rail company are forced to employ a load of very nice people to stand around and wait for the lost traveller with a small map of the underground. In the end we did end up asking travel advice off 7 people. But there is proof here that humans are as much needed as technology when you travel to a strange city and I am pleased to note the natives were friendly. ;)

Aside from a glorious day out (seriously Britain hit summer last Thursday- might have rebounded a little bit now but still) its a nice place to go the architecture is fantastic and I was frequently torn between photographing the columns and looking at an exhibit. It wasn’t all that busy either given how I remember it last time. Gwen and I also developed an interesting method of taking a photo in the main hall, the big glass cases are really reflective so to take a picture of the elephant bird egg Gwen and I were doing this interesting huddle together in this really warm building, in summer we were huddling like it was freezing cold.

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But there was serious purpose for going to the museum, they are removing the dinosaur! The big dinosaur, the iconic dinosaur, the plaster of Paris replica dinosaur that hasn’t been there since the opening but flippin’ well is the most fun thing you’d ever see! Seriously how many buildings do you walk into and come face to face with large diplodocus skeleton? This is The Dinosaur, the first dinosaur I recognised in my childhood, the dinosaur that has inspired books and films – including my favourite “One of Our Dinosaurs is Missing”.

In case you couldn’t tell I am not a happy bunny about this. I therefore made a note that I would bring a protest and be photographed next to the beloved dinosaur.

A Protest of Conscience

A Protest of Conscience

Yes it was vaguely embarrassing despite waiting for a ‘quiet’ moment in the main hall. But I did it! And here is the actual protest because you can’t quite see it in the picture.

They're Stealing Our Dinosaur

They’re Stealing Our Dinosaur

au revoir

Elinor 

P.S. Yes I know the dinosaur removal was announced in February I was writing a dissertation I couldn’t upsticks and go protest immediately.

P.P.S. One is aware that one has not posted the final two doodles for the last year, one has many excuses and explanations chief of which is one had decided on the final drawing and then changed ones mind and haven’t done it yet. Its a sad drawing ok! And why I chose to talk like the queen I have no idea.

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Here, Have A Cupcake

The more critical among you may say that I have not been bloging much lately. You may say I have been lax, lazy even, as much use as a pair of laderry old tights. I could deny it,I could deny anything if I wanted, but alas it is true. But I aim to do better and here is a picture of a cupcake I made to make you think better of me:

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The aforementioned craft fair that I was organising with my sister in law has happened. I plan to tell you about it and the lessons learned as soon as I get hold of a few photos, so if that sort of thing tickles your fancy then stay tuned.

And just so you’re updated here are a few key words o my life at the moment; The West Wing, Brandon Flowers, cake cake cake cake cake, reading Master and Commander The Surgeon’s Mate, I’d really like to have a BBQ, day trip to London you say?, looking forward to holiday, cake, when shall we have that BBQ then?,cake.

And that’s about it really,

Gwen x

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Happy Murderous Birthday

Here’s the 18th birthday cake I made for a friend. She’s obsessed with Angela Lansbury and Murder She rote, naturally she is, all the 18-year-olds are raving about her.  So I attempted to to homage to both fine ladies-my friend and Ang- in this cake.

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Gwen

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Weeks…Oh Good Grief I can’t Remember… of the Doodles: Take #2

(Just a point I want to make I wrote this all yesterday but then I couldn’t get the pictures to download…grrr technology)

Yes the Friday four days after my exams have finished you’d think I’d produce at least one doodle on time having put yet another pause in it.

Well I went out drinking last night instead, now I’m not the only graduand in the house and some of my other housemates finished or had a long enough break to facilitate a drinkie or two we went out for cocktails. I had a rather lovely Lemon and Ginger Mojito, not to mention half a pint of perry in the pub earlier and then gin lemon and lime in another bar. I really thought I was going to drink more than that. But then we had McDonalds at 3am with chocolate milkshakes and that was most pleasant I assure you.

Ignoring my life as a social butterfly here are your doodles for Weeks 49 and 50. And a little sneaky peek at some gifts I’ve been doing for people on my course (I have been doing things in the last four days honest – not just watching youtube!).

Week 49 is the long awaited Anniversary doodle for the blog which I didn’t put up on the nearest Friday because it was travelling to Gwen’s abode and I thought she should be the first to see it not you lot. Unfortunately it going second class and from the first post box I could find perhaps wasn’t the best idea as I then didn’t know when it might arrive and received no confirmation. If you scroll down far enough on the blog page you’ll find the reference picture for this – right down to the skyline. Though the orange tent is in honour of the first tent we camped in.

Happy Anniversary Blog!

Happy Anniversary Blog!

Week 50 is again out of season. Hmm…nice weather for once and I draw winter pictures and rain, oops.

The thought amused me at 2 o'clock the other morning

The thought amused me at 2 o’clock the other morning

And the little sneak peek…

Shh! No telling

Shh! No telling

au revoir

Elinor

P.S. Sorry these aren’t the nest quality the scanner and I are having words, these had to be snapped on my phone.

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It lives!!!

I am officially as of 3pm on the 11th May 2015 a Graduand of the University of Lincoln!

So goodbye to Geoffrey, Matthew Paris, Petrarch and Machiavelli. Adios to Giotto, Cellini, Masaccio and Peiro della Francesco. Arrivederci to Andreas Cappelleus, William Holman Hunt & Co. and Isidore. Farewell to Paré, Vesalius, Woodall, Battista, Paracelsus, Herodotus, Thucydides, Hippocrates, Pliny, Plato and Aristotle. And as for Darwin…well lets not spoil this lovely thought.

If you’re thinking I have misspelled graduate I’m afraid you’re wrong, I haven’t graduated yet but my degree is technically over. So there is a word for that – which I really like we invented a word specifically for the 2-3 month period between finishing a course and graduating.

But I have set myself a slightly large challenge which only last night did I quite begin to realise the enormity of it. Throughout the year friends on my course have asked for mice drawings, which I am well chuffed at. I have ended up with 13 mice to draw by next Tuesday. Some of them are far more detailed than others but that is what I have decided to do. You may see some of these as the last four doodles that need to go up and I am waiting for a certain someone to tell me that another doodle has arrived safe and sound – I am beginning to worry that my brilliant plan last month has backfired monumentally. On the plus side I did celebrate the end of my degree with spicy chicken wings and nachos and two bottles of cider and then a Cadburys crunchie ice cream because it was so hot it was like an actual summers day. (Bear in mind dear reader, I live in England and May has spent its first week being rainy and cold – a summer’s day is to be noted with surprise.) I then celebrated my first day not having anything work related to do with scrambled eggs on toast and tea and a walnut whip (unfortunately I had no ginger beer so I couldn’t recreate my celebration meal after handing in my dissertation) But then I celebrated for dinner with a small bottle of cava.

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But now back in my natural habitat I better go and crack on with all these drawings I’ve decided its a good idea to do.

au revoir

Elinor

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Recent Reads

P1150766Here’s a little bundle of my recent reads just to let you know what my eyes have been feasting on.

The Star’s Tennis Balls by Stephen Fry

I picked this up while staying with Elinor in Lincoln a few months ago. I can’t resist a charming book shop and this book looked charming too. I didn’t quite realise this at first, but as I went through it became apparent that it is a modernisation of The Count of Monte Cristo, and not just a ‘took inspiration from’,but a fairly point by point retelling of Edmond, or in this case Ned’s, revenge story.

I have to say I find it hard to get my head around wanting to transplant a plot whole into a modern setting, I’m just not sure where the interest for writing that is, but it was a rather lovely read. Perhaps more violent and intense in places than the jolly japes front cover would have you believe, but a pleasurable read.

The Thirty-Nine Steps by John Bucham

I grabbed this Scottish classic in none other than Scotland and enjoyed it immensely as a thrilling romp through the countryside. It as a very easy read so would be good for a holiday.

The Winter Queen by Boris Akunin

I was given a book from this series a while ago and I thought I would go back to the beginning and find out how it all started.

Let me tell you, if you like books where the hero is put into constant peril, this is your bag. This guy gets nearly killed about forty-two times,  I never knew there were so may ways to be nearly dead, but all dastardly angles are covered here, it’s quite a ride.

What have you been reading?

Gwen

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And yet another pause in the Doodles

Hmmm…this is all getting a bit thick really isn’t it?

I’m afraid I have to put another pause in the back log of doodles that I am meant to be giving you, I am currently wading through my Renaissance exam revision and only just realised its Wednesday and if I haven’t got anything by now to give you then it ain’t gonna happen before my exam on Monday. I may only have the one exam but I take it seriously and it is my third and final year so I do rather need to do well in it.

Many apologies but I cannot do much about it except dream of the freedom I shall get after 3pm on Monday when I can draw as much as I like without the knowledge it will be impinging on anything else I have to do which will be a first in about a year and half maybe a bit longer.

au revoir

Elinor

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