Wednesday, 23 December 2009

a little faery dust

faery, faerie, fairy.... whatever
mini jam jars (the kind that you get when you order a scone with jam and cream or found at a hotel breakfast bar)
a handful of buttons
a few scraps of fabric
twine (a hair tie or rubber band will work too)
small piece of card
alphabet stamps
1 x child

*Make sure the jam jar is clean (glitter and jam not so great actually). Fill the jam jar with glitter and put the lid on tightly (you can tape it down if you hate glitter as much as I do)

*Use scissors (or pinking shears) to cut the fabric into a circle to cover the lid of the jar. (I used a slightly larger jar as a template)

*Tie the fabric around the jar using the twine, (hair tie, rubber band).

*Cut a small piece of card into a tag shape and let your child stamp faery dust, magic dust, glitter (ignore the temper tantrum that follows when you say to said child that they have missed a letter,blurred the ink, or no they cannot have the glitter back it is it the fairy dust pot.....then sit and re-stamp another piece of card because you are fussy and anal about crafts and the letters must be perfect)

*Have a mini breakdown when said child stomps off in a rage, leaving you threatening to cancel Christmas and call Santa .....after eating all the chocolate in the advent calender.

*Thread some buttons onto a piece of thread and tie around the jar.

*Add the tag and there you go one lovely little faerie dust decoration/gift (and a way to hide the evil glitter in plain sight. because there is nothing more evil than a child with a bottle of glue and a pot of glitter)

*send annoying demonic offspring to help Daddy while you have a cup of coffee (or something stronger) and steal the chocolate meant for Christmas Day.

(alternatively you could fill them with edible glitter, but I couldn't find any round these parts)

if only it made kids be good, calm, and comatose

Saturday, 19 December 2009

Snowmen Cupcakes

who you lookin at?

2 1/2 cups self raising flour
1 ½ cup caster (white) sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 eggs
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter (softened)
1 cup milk
3 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (180 C).
Grease 12 cupcake cups or line with paper muffin liners. (recipe makes 24 cupcakes (not fairycake size, muffin tin size.)

Sift the flour, baking powder, and salt into a medium bowl and set aside.In a small bowl mix the milk and the vanilla.

In a large bowl cream butter and sugar until fluffy.

add half the flour and mix well. Add half the milk and vanilla mixture.

Add eggs, one at a time mixing well. slowly add in the remainder of the dry mixture.

Add the last of the milk and vanilla.

spoon the batter into the cups and bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until the cake springs back when touched.

Remove from oven and let cool for about 10 minutes, then turn out of pan and onto a rack to finish cooling completely.

Vanilla Cream Cheese Frosting
1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup unsalted butter (softened)
1-1/2 cups powdered (icing) sugar
1-2 teaspoons vanilla extract (or vanilla flavouring)

Place the cream cheese, butter, and vanilla in a bowl and slowly add in the powdered (icing) sugar as you mix. Blend until smooth.

1 large bag of plain m&ms
1 industrious child to separate the m&ms ( you only need the brown and orange ones so bribery is easy)
sweetened and tenderized coconut
1 bag plain chocolate chips


place the sweet coconut in a bowl.

ice a cupcake with the vanilla icing and gently dip the cupcake into the coconut.

use the brown m&ms for the eyes and the orange ones for the nose, and chocolate chip (coal) for the snowman's smile. Its a fun job that the kids can help you with, especially separating out the m&m colours, as H quite happily sat for an unheard of 10 minutes separating out all the m&ms and was quite happy to steal a few.

alternatively you could use other orange sweets for the snowman's nose or colour some marzipan orange and roll flat and cut small triangles (carrots) or roll into small carrot shapes.

cooks notes: I made two batches 48 cupcakes to sell after H's school Christmas Concert, every single cupcake sold!, M assures me they were very nice I never got one though I may have made myself just the teensiest bit sickly "tasting" the icing....and cake batter... I also made 24 Double Chocolate Brownie Cupcakes which sold too, so I was quite pleased that even if my crafts aren't selling my cakes were appreciated and raised some money for H's school.

Friday, 4 December 2009

Questions Currently Plaguing My Brain

Lego Indy meets the Doctor (taken at Hamley's Toy Store)

Amy at A Commonplace Life (a new blog I have found to stalk via Katy's blog) blogged the questions that are currently plaguing her. I thought it was an excellent stream of conciousness writinging excercize, and a brilliant way to procrastinate and not get things done that I set myself the task of doing today. So here goes....

Will I ever finish writing the Poison Apple Tree fairy tale?

Will I ever write a book?

Should I go do the dishes and the laundry now? or wait till just before M and H get home when I will look like I am a good housewife?

Will I ever be a good housewife? because really I loath dusting and hoovering more than anything.

Will I ever be able to do the things I dream of doing?

Will I ever be anything more than the dreamer I am?

Will I get booted from the crafting community because most of the presents for chrstmas are bought games, and electronic gizmos and I haven't made anything yet?

is my writing any good at all? or should I give up on that dream and get a job?

will we ever move back to the US?

If I make muffins for breakfast tommorrow will they be eaten? or will the Boy randomly decide that is the day that he wants some sort of crappy cereal?

Why do all the shows I really love, that having craking dialogue and great music get cancelled? (Dollhouse, Firefly, Veronica Mars, Moonlight, etc)

can I play just one more game of Bejewelled on facebook?

when a friend said I was a Jack of all trades was that really a compliment?

should I get a part time job so I get out of the house more than I do?

would I be able to handle a job and still cooking and cleaning as I'm not the best housewife to begin with and I really don't know how I could cope with that... this really isn't a question is it?

Will I be forever allergic to broccoli ? ( the allergy developed after having H)

Why do I love crafts but hate crafting with kids?

will I get through next week's craft night, baking for the School Christmas Fair, and helping out at said fair?

is there any dark chocolate in the house for me?

have I written enough questions or should I write more (I definitly have more you know)?

...also will you signup for my Alice in Wonderland Craft Swap?

Wednesday, 2 December 2009

Alice in Wonderland Swap

After receiving so many positive comments about my question I have done a little swap write up for those of us that wish to take a fall down the rabbit hole and go for a wander around Wonderland.

The Alice in Wonderland Swap

1. SIGN UP by leaving a comment here before 31st of December!

2. Email me at meridianariel @ with the following information:
-Mailing Address
-Website or Blog Address: (or even your flickr photos so that your partner can stalk you)*
-twitter ID:
-favourite book:
-favourite movie:
-your favourite thing about Alice in Wonderland:
Your favourite candy/chocolate/movie treat:
-A little bit about your crafts, your life, whatever you like to help your partner get to know you.

3. Save the swap icon/picture and blog about it or place it somewhere on your blog so others can find out about the swap.

*Swap partners will be chosen randomly by me, and I will email your partner’s details on Around the 1st of January 2010 eep! (if there are more than 50 or so participating I may need to rope someone in to help me sort out partners as I am useless)

4. Your parcel should contain:
*Candy (or chocolate) to eat while watching Alice in Wonderland (any version)
*Handmade crafts with the Alice in Wonderland theme.. (For example The swap can be as simple or as extravagant as you wish, just make sure that the things you send are something you would be happy to receive yourself.
*craft supplies

(Make sure you and your partner spend roughly the same amount around £20 ($30 ish))

5. Mail your package by Monday the 22nd of February! (because Tim Burton’s Alice hits cinemas the following week)

6. Take a picture of your swap parcel once you receive it. Upload your images to the 80’s Fantasy Movie Craft Swap flickr account (I‘ll start one soon). More information will be in your confirmation email once you sign up.

* please have an established blog, flickr account, as I want you and your partner to both be able to become friends, and view each others crafts, and its difficult for swaps to be fair if you haven’t got anything for us to stalk.

Saturday, 28 November 2009


Belated Happy Thanksgiving to all my American Friends and family. This blog post would have been done sooner if I hadn't have gotten so busy with the holiday, shopping, and a last minute trip to London on the weekend.

Thanksgiving turned out ok despite H being poorly with cold and needing me by his side every few minutes for cuddles, Wizard of Oz watching, and general entertainment. The entertainment being me playing Super Mario Galaxy while he ordered me about like a poorly little prince. (I friggan hate you Mario, Luigi, Bowser, and especially you Princess peach for not rescuing yourself. )

The Day before Thanksgiving I sent Matt shopping with the following items on the list.

pecans (for the pecan pie -I hate pumpkin pie)
turkey breasts or turkey crown (I never do a full turkey my oven isn't big enough)
cranberry sauce
brown sugar
stuffing mix (but not sage as I'm allergic *lame*)
sweet potatoes
Half an hour after I sent him on his merry shopping way the phone rings and the following conversation took place.
me: hello?
Matt: they have no turkey.
me: What? its a store.. they always have turkey!
Matt: They have no turkey.
me: none at all? *incredulous*
Matt: Well they have minced turkey.. we could have turkey burgers...mmmm burgers
Me: anything else?
Matt: um there are some chunks of cheap turkey with veins, and bones, and gristle.
Me: uh no there anything else?
Matt: a chicken?
Me: that will have to do...
so Turkey Day this year was replaced by chicken day, it was not the end of the world. To be truthful I'm not a huge turkey fan anyway. Poor H had about three bites of dinner then lay his head down on the table and nearly fell asleep. So I took him to his bed then settled down to watch a show and eat pecan pie.
What am I thankful for?
  • my family, even though we are very far apart I know I just need to call and my parents would do anything for us
  • for a wonderful husband who makes me laugh, even if he generates as much mess as H does.
  • an amazing son, who is funny, clever, a con artist, who never shuts up, and is a complete and utter drama king who probably needs stage school.
  • my mother in law who is just lovely and irons Matt's shirts so I won't burn them.
  • my friends both here, on the interwebs and in the States.
  • the blogsphere for being a wonderful place, full of inspiration and crafty camaraderie.
  • the few customers who have bought my little crafts and made it so I could afford to buy a few more craft supplies.
  • and thank you Word for letting my write my drabbles and only bitching about my bad spelling and terrible grammar and not telling me how bad my writing really is.

vintage postcards found on the interwebs ages ago, I don't know the source.

Monday, 23 November 2009

Alice in Wonderland Swap ?

Who would be interested in joining an Alice in Wonderland Swap? The swap wouldn't be sent out till end of January/February so there would be plenty of time to get things crafted and sent well after Christmas (with all your new crafty pretties to play with). Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland is out in theaters on March 5th 2010 so I thought it would be cool to do an Alice in Wonderland themed swap before the release date for the film.

I know its ages away but time flies and I wanted to get something written down before I forget to ask everyone to join in on the fun.

What do you think? If I get enough positive comments I'll do a write up and a questionnaire. I'm sure I have a lot of things to do, but I need a bit of inspiration to get crafting again and I thought this would be the perfect way.

Wednesday, 18 November 2009

friendship meme

best friends, H and Frankie (taken last April)

1. What does “friendship” mean to you?

I think friendship means many different things, it means love, and trust, and can be shared in many different ways. My longest friendship is with Meg who I have known since high school, we talk at random intervals, online or on the phone, but when we do its like we were never apart and can still reminisce about smuggling Chinese food into the movie theater, or the silly (and horrendously complicated) MASH games we used to play.

I think you tailor your personality to mesh with whatever friend you are with at the time. That doesn't sound quite right but I'm sure you all have a shopping friend, a tv junky friend, all these different aspects of your own personality that you share with different friends who have that same aspect in common.

I also think that friendship equals family, I grew up with just my parents, far away from any blood relatives, and as such I think that your friends become your family. I have no siblings but I think the friends you are closest to become your sisters, your brothers, and you can rely on them as you would any blood relation. And friends can walk on 4 legs as well as two. *looks at Frankie and the Boy*

2. What are the qualities you look for in a good friend?
humor, truth, having something in common to talk about, obsess over, hate, somebody to fuss over my cooking doesn't hurt either. ;o)

3. When does an acquaintance become a “friend”?

When you have laughed together. I'm mostly a dour sort of person, or at least that's how I see myself most of the time and it

4. What makes a friendship become more or less significant to you?

Trust ... I think the more trust you have in a friendship the stronger the friendship is.

5. What aspects of yourself do you share with a friend that you do not share with others?

My inner thoughts, my slightly dark sense of humour, bad moods and dark days.

6. What aspects of yourself do you usually hold back in your friendships?

I'm a cautious person, and it takes awhile for me to open up and trust people. I live in my head and it often times takes a lot of effort to share the person in my mind with the outside world. I think often that I live in two different worlds, or perhaps I appear to be two different people, the person who tiptoes through the world and the person that I am in my writing, my art, and on the Internet. I think I am far more interesting as Meri than I am as Apryl, through they are obviously both me. The more I get to know you there more I am myself, or the diffrent aspects of myself aren't so closely guarded the more trust there is.

7. What do you expect from your friends?

Honesty, respect, inspiration, truth, and sarcasm, people to eat the cakes I bake, share books, and watch terrible movies with me, to listen to my whinging while I listen to theirs.

8. How does one’s willingness to be vulnerable impact friendship development?

If you can't open your heart to your friends then how can you be friends?

9. Where are your closest friends?

that all depends on your personal definition of close...

Frizbe is closest as she lives in the same town as me and is the friend I made in England (though I still maintain she felt sorry for me having to lay down in the middle of Parentcraft Class when I was pregnant and had hyperemisis and ridiculously low blood pressure.
Meg: in California (who I have know forever and she still likes me),
Jaci:who I knew in school but lost contact until the magic of the internet and the realization that both our sons are named H.
Selena:who I admire no end for her creativity, courage, and bright spirit
Gin: who says "Oh My Gosh" more than anyone I have ever known
Marina:who glees at crappy films and swaps Paranormal Romance novels with me
Ali: who makes me laugh and is an all around kind spirit,
Katy: who loves dark chocolate, is more stylish than I will ever be, is beautiful and thin (which I obviously hate her for ;o) ...) and promises to teach me to quilt)
Flame: who adores Supernatural, and borrows all my Urban Fantasy books, loves Joss Whedon, listens to me whinge and whine, and shared the misery of depression and Hyperemisis (if you haven't had it you won't understand) ...

There are so many more friends on the interwebs that I just haven't met yet but we email, we blog, we send handmade crafts, commiserate about demonic children, messy husbands, a love of crappy movies, tv shows, books, buttons, geeks, writing, crafting, baking, mullet rock, and Joss Whedon. Friends on Facebook, on Crafteroo, Mumsnet, and twitter too. People that inspire me to be a better me. I'm not listing all of your names( because I will forget someone as my coffee hasn't kicked in yet) but I hope you know who you are and think of me as your friend too.

There might be people who don't count these as friendships but I do, I can express more in my writing than I can say aloud. My best friend, my husband met me on the internet all those many years ago, and though I didn't fall in love with him until we were friends in real life he was still my friend online and in the X-Files fandom (yes we are geeks but I recon you knew that already)

10. How have you changed as a person through your friendships with others?

I have learned so many things from my friends. I am quite an introverted person but not all my friends share this somewhat debilitating state. I have learned how to laugh at myself, to share my depressions and sorrows, the things that I guard the most behind the locked doors and brick walls I have built in my mind. I would be like the shadow I was in high school, that haunted the halls and walk through life without making an impression on the world surrounding me if it wasn't for my friends.

11. Who is your Best Friend?

M is... he puts up with the most crap from me, and I really couldn't go on day to day with out him there to make me laugh, make me smile, and annoy the hell out of me. He geeks out with me at crappy horror movies, argues with me about music (we mostly have similar tastes but he does have a thing for whiny music and I'm more of a Metal Head that him) ... if we weren't friends than I don't think we would be married as long as we have.

12. Who is your newest Friend?

Amanda, she was my partner in the 80's Fantasy Movie Swap. We haven't met in person yet but we have a lot in common, we are both a little unbalanced (in the good kind of way..I think) both Ex- Pats(though she is probably more hard core than I as she lives in Scotland and I'm just in the Midlands), we both love True Blood, and adore geeks. She is fantastically funny, is amazingly talented and she has the most awesome photoshop skills...ever.

Friday, 13 November 2009

proof of age

Skid Row- 18 and Life

I was 12 when this came out *calculates on fingers*
holy crap that means ...
I am officially old...
still an awesome song though...

Wednesday, 11 November 2009

Dear Santa,

Dear Santa,

I have been awfully good this year I would like some of the following for Christmas:

Divine Misdemeanors by Laurell K Hamilton... what can I say I love Merry Gentry.

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies by Jane Austen and Seth Grahame-Smith, I saw this last time we were in the states months before it came out here and I can't believe I didn't add it to the huge pile of books I was already buying!

Notebooks: the ones pictured are Nkuku fair trade journals, the journal that lives in my handbag is one one these and it is fabulous but earlier while drooling..I mean wandering around Etsy I saw this Make Your Own Leather Journal Kit (OMG how fab is that?)
A Kitchenaid standing mixer, in red, grey, black or cream... I have wanted one of these for about 4 years, pretty please Santa I have been especially good this year.

Ascaso Dream Espresso Machine in grey, black, red, or chrome... but OMG are they not just the most beautiful thing ever? *coffee geek*

Also I would love Amy Karol's books
fabric, the drive to get things done
I want to take a Workshop at Rothley Craft Farm
I want to learn to quilt and really need to take a class (or annoy the hell out of Katy till she teaches me)
more books (because you can never have too many books)
a sewing machine that is bigger than an iron (which is about the size of my current one)
a bookcase (a wide one not a tall one in oak please I will ignore the sofa that is falling apart)
paint to decorate our bedroom

That's about all, you know except for my list of favourites on Etsy and the lovely stuff made by all my crafty blogger and twitter friends.



Tuesday, 10 November 2009

today I...

....had a toffee nut latte at Starbucks in the Mall... I am a coffee snob ... and I don't normally go for fluffy coffees drowning in gobs of sugary syrup...something to do with overdosing on Carmel Macahiatos when I worked at Target in Santa Rosa, Ca back in my carefree youth. My poison of choice is a latte (not too hot, I cant stand scalded milk, one sugar) or an iced latte (my favourite)... but OMG the toffee nut latte, it's syrup-y goodness it tastes just the way that Target smells in autumn, which you won't understand unless you love Target, M just happens to love Target as well and he understood completely when he took a slurp of my Toffee Nut Latte, the sugar, the sweet nuttiness, the whipped cream and the sprinkles... pure bliss in a tall red cup.

red cup= happy

right I have some writing to do... a fairy tale that I keep ignoring and ignoring.. it will be done by the end of the month!

Sunday, 1 November 2009

Sugar Skull Cookies

Align CenterSugar Skull Cookies for the Dia De Los Muertos (Day of the Dead)

Makes 2 dozen
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
1 cup sugar
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1tablespoon milk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Mix together flour, salt, and baking powder in a medium bowl.

In a large bowl cream butter and sugar; add dry ingredients, and mix well

add egg, milk, and vanilla; mix well.

Separate the dough to incorporate different food colourings.

Transfer dough to a work surface. Shape into discs, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 180C (350 degrees F) Line baking sheets with greaseproof paper.

On a lightly floured work surface, roll out dough to 1/8-inch thickness and cut.

Transfer to prepared baking sheets, leaving an inch in between.

Leftover dough can be rolled and cut once more. It will need to be put back in the fridge to set if it has become too warm.

Bake for 10 minutes, until lightly golden.

Transfer to wire racks to cool. Once cooled decorate.

Cook's Notes: my cookie cutter worked! yay *runs around happily and is ignored*

Saturday, 31 October 2009

Happy Halloween

Jack Skellington Pumpkin, carved quickly in about 20 minutes with no template and being rush by a very excited Happy Zombie Boy! Happy Halloween Everyone!

Friday, 30 October 2009

blood, rice and tears

Supernatural drink tumbler (diner coffee only)

Before we had a little jaunt down to the south coast to have a mini holiday staying at a lovely little thatched cottage (pictures soon but they aren't downloaded from M's camera yet) I did a bit of crafting while packing the suitcase. The crafting was for Flamesparrow who lives in Bournemouth and who we were going to visit and get to cuddle her new little flamechick. I had bought a lovely little red and white striped outfit (as Toby as I could find) and thought I would attempt to do something crafty for her as I actually felt creative.

another view

I didn't know what to make for her at first but I seemed to have remember promising her a lavender and rice bag for minor aches and pain so I dug out the small bit of tattoo fabric and H helped me sew it into a pouch and fill it with rice and quite a bit of lavender. H said it was perfect and that Flame would love it, because we made it special with love. H then wandered off with a box of wooden beads saying he had something important and secret to make.

tattoo lavender and rice warm bag

So I finished packing the suitcase, made a cup of coffee and then I looked at the new design your own tumbler I bought from Starbucks the week before, I had bought it for myself but hadn't gotten around to doing anything with it (hectic week from hell). The tumbler stared back at me and then I remembered Flame complaining that she didn't have a Supernatural (addicted to the show) mug like me (Frizbe bought it for my birthday last year and it lives at the shop for book group) . I thought I would make a Supernatural tumbler for Flame, using a vintage dictionary page (tea stained), red food colouring for blood (*ahem* I have misplaced my box of paints), and hand stamped Supernatural (which sinks a bit on the 'A' and 'L').

tattoo warm bag for Flamesparrow

Sunday, 25 October 2009

Can you hear it?

Miss Gulch... can you hear the music yet?

The Boy... .can you hear it now?

Friday, 23 October 2009

Skellingtons, vampires and applesauce

cinnamon apple sauce

I should be doing a post for each of these creations but I just finished the Jack Skellington cake for H's birthday party later and I am terrible pleased I think I may fly about the room in a minute.. or at least fly up to wash my hair....

Jack Skellington cake

really must run as I cant find my witches hat and I need it for H's party (his actual 6th birthday isn't till Monday)

vampire cupcake


Wednesday, 21 October 2009

Halloween Meme

The wind blows bitter through the last of the autumn leaves, time to huddle by the fire a spell, clutching a cup of steaming tea (coffee or cider you choose your poison) soon all manner of ghosts and goblins will be ranging the streets in search of sickeningly sweet treats. Time for a Halloween Meme (the questions of which I compiled from a few different meme floating about the tinterwebs)....

What is your favorite work of horror fiction? hmm I love the Stand by Stephen King, though I suppose its more epic than a simple spine chiller. I used to obsess over the stories on tape when I was in elementary school, you know the beep turn the page ones, there used to be a couple of spooky stories I would listen to again and again. Like the one about the woman with the ribbon around her neck who tells her husband never to touch it and he does, and her head rolls off... and the one about Bluebeard .... I'm also quite addicted to the Anita Blake, and Sookie Stackhouse series which I suppose are technically paranormal romance/urban fantasy/gothic

What is your favorite work of science fiction/fantasy?

Who is your favorite monster? hmmm Vampires

Favourite Horror movie? ohh I love all sorts.. especially crappy ones.. nothing is more fun than being curled up in a dark room laughing your ass off at some terrible monster movie... Resident Evil, Monster Squad, Critters, Aliens, Young Frankenstein, the Nightmare Before Christmas, Ghostbusters, Beetlejuice...... I could go on and on but my brain is sluggish today.. I need coffee stat!

What horror movie gives you the most chills? Alien scared me half to death the first time I watched it as a kid.. after that its never quite the same chill....

What character from any horror film would you most like to play? Alice in the Resident evil flicks... she kicks ass and survives

Freddy or Jason? Freddy

What is your favorite Halloween treat? candy corn.. or haribo sour cherry candy

Ghosts or goblins? depends on the Goblin I suppose some can be quite cute... or can be evil like the little bastard that pops out of the toilet in Ghoulies 2

Friendly-faced jack o’lantern or scary one? friendly

What is your scariest encounter with the paranormal? nothing specific but sometimes you go into a house or place and it just feels creepy.

Do you believe in ghosts? yes.. why not? there are too many things out there that we don't know about.

Would you rather be a zombie, alien, or psycho? hmmm an alien with a fast ship methinks

Favorite Halloween costume? as a kid I liked to be a witch, a cat, or a vampire.. I don't think things have changed all that much

Best thing about Halloween? candy and crappy movies and just the whole thing.. I think I would live in Halloween Town if I could.

Person in your family who most likes Halloween (not counting yourself)? the Boy... he thinks Halloween is the best thing ever! the last 3 birthday parties have been a Halloween theme.. this year I have to make a Jack Skellington birthday cake.. I think I can pull it off.

Are you superstitious? If so, name at least one superstition of yours. not particularly .. at least nothing I can think of right now.

If you have read this consider yourself tagged leave me a comment and I will trundle over to read your meme answers and hopefully remember a few more crappy horror movies to gleefully add to my list!

Thursday, 15 October 2009

the cookie cutter caper

skull cookie cutter

So I was sitting here curled in my favourite chair thinking about Halloweeny things and this little worm of a though crept into my pestered and pestered.

Me: Halloween soon… and I need to sort out a pumpkin shaped cake for the Boy's birthday

my brain: Nah don't want to do that...

me: must look up icing recipes and find a bunt cake tin to make the cake pumpkin-y.

my brain: Boring

me: I have had a crappy week, I'm tired and I need to do something productive.

my brain: thats no fun.. I know Dia De los Muertos.

me: What?

my brain: the Mexican Day of the Dead

me: I know... what about it.

my brain: cookies!!!!

me: what?

my brain: sugar skull cookies.

me: I don't have a skull shaped cookie cutter.

my brain: the internets

me: *sigh*

my brain: that's it that’s perfect!

me: its not available.

my brain: ask our friends... tweet it

goes on twitter.....pleads for skull cookie cutters...

meridianariel *grump* trying to find a nice "skull" cookie cutter to make sugar skull cookies .. gerrrr help?

snowflakeunique @meridianariel found these ones.

meridianariel @snowflakeunique lovely but the postage ouch...any uk ones? All I have seen are sets and I only want a skull for Dia Dae los Muertos cookies

snowflakeunique @meridianariel good old lakeland ?

my brain: lets go shopping in Derby...we need clothes and coffee too.

me: I hate shopping... but it would be nice to get out of the house... coffee is good...and there are books..

my brain: yay.. and cookie cutters....
so off my brain and I trundle to Derby, in search of cookie cutters... FAIL .... the only skull cookie cutter is one in a Halloween mini set from Lakeland, as I already have Halloween cookie cutters (bat, cat, tombstone, ghost) and dont need more. In the mean time I meet up with my friend Ali and have a blubber about being homesick for the states, depressed, and despairing of the state of Halloween around these here parts, I refrain from telling her about my cookie cutter obsession. I shopped for clothes drank rather too many iced lattes.

my brain: no cookie cutters then? *is sad*

me: nope

my brain: we're clever and crafty can't we make one?

...googles on phone with free mall wi-fi while drinking iced latte. Cookie cutter tutorial

me: *snorting with laughter* sharp metal? and stuff from the hardware store.. I'm thinking not.. hmmm I wonder....

my brain: wait... what?

me: what if we got a round cookie cutter and reshaped it?

trundles off to a cook shop and purchases a large round metal cookie cutter.
meridianariel Have bought a round cookie cutter and am going to bend it into a skull shape! I will win or die trying.

--------------------------dude zombies...go see it NOW!

Then Matt met me at the mall and we went to go see Zombieland and the cookie cutter was forgotten.

Me: OMG Zombies!!! *zombie glee*

Matt: *zombie glee*

My brain: dude zombies rock! *zombie glee*
The next day I sit at my desk and get the pliers out and being to shape and bend the cookie cutter, using my hands, the desk, and the pliers.

My brain: that’s not a skull….it’s a mushroom!

Me: It’s not finished yet!

My brain: just saying like…sheesh.. trying to be helpful and all.


My brain: it’s a skull! It’s a skull… It’s ALIVE!!! *mad scientist laughter*

Me: *sighs*

My brain: cookies cookies cookies cookies…

Me: *face palm* it’s not the Day of the Dead yet…

My brain: … cookies?

Me: no

My brain: you suck…

me: whatever...

the end

what? True story it totally happened that way.

poison peach

poison peach

I really got into this swap after much dithering, fussing, crying, and whimpering over my crafting abilities. I knew I wanted to make a peach (because that's what the Goblin King gives Hoggle to give Sarah) and had 3 attempts before settling on this final peach, made with linen, a vintage doily, felt, a stick and a vintage button, and stuffed with poly-fil and dried lavender. I was terribly worried about it and dithered for a day about sending it or not, but after not looking at it for a few hours and going back to it my nerves calmed and I was very pleased with how it turned out and a part of me wanted to keep it for myself.

Sarah with book illustration

The illustration I did of Sarah reading from the Labyrinth, its not as dark as this but its the best picture I could get after a dismal day and messing about in paintshop for ages. I'm glad Amanda says she likes everything because I was so worried as she is fantastic and makes such beautiful children's clothing and sent me such a fab swap. I did think that even if she hated everything I had still bribed her with Reece's Pieces so she couldn't complain too much! ;)

terrible picture of everything sent, including: oreos, reese's pieces, knitting needle bangle, onyx and mandarin jade bracelet, illustration, needle book, and a fat quarter of fab fabric

another view of the poison peach from the Goblin King

swap candy recieved.

mine, mine, mine mine mine, not yours MINE!

Last week I received my 80's Fantasy Movie Swap parcel from Amanda, now as the weather has been so grim my photography skills have gone terribly down hill, and as I already guilted Matt into taking photos of my pumpkin shaped cornbread muffins I was on my own. But even in a bad photo you can guess how much I squealed at opening the parcel to find the Goblin King gazing at me in tote bag form!

The bag is filled with my usual supply of purse junk, (ipod, wallet, journal pens, receipts, candy, junk...not that I'm messy or anything)

What would AUGRA do? bookmark

Who is Augra you ask? well if you don't know you really need to watch the Dark Crystal because its incredibly funny on so many levels... and not just because I recorded the Dark Crystal and forced H to sit still and watch all of it with me. *evil laugh* Amanda also included two little unicorn buttons, and some cute fabric for me to play with, unfortunately the oreos were stolen by the cookie monster...aka Matt and have disappeared from the house with only a small trace of crumbs.

Monday, 12 October 2009

sweet cornbread with maple butter

Sweet Corn Bread with Maple Butter

3/4 cup cornmeal (semolina)
1 cup plain flour
1/2 cup white (caster) sugar
2 eggs
1 cup milk (any)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted

Preheat oven to 350 F (180 C).

grease muffin tin or line with paper muffin cups (I used silicon jack o' lantern shaped muffin tin from Salisbury's).

Combine cornmeal, flour, sugar. egg, milk, baking powder, salt, and melted butter: mix until until blended. *

Scoop batter into prepared muffin pans. The batter will be very liquid because of the amount of milk and melted butter this is fine no need to worry it will be absorbed by the cornmeal/semolina.

Sprinkle cheddar cheese on top of muffins before baking if desired.

Bake for 15- 20 minutes remove from oven and let stand for 5 minutes before removing from the muffin tin.

*Fresh chopped jalapeno peppers can be added at this time, as can chopped red pepper and/or tinned sweet corn(about ½ to 1 cup tinned sweet corn). I left the muffins plain so that they could be topped with maple butter.

Maple Butter
½ cup butter (slightly salted) at room temperature
2 tablespoons maple syrup

Mix the syrup and butter in a bowl with a spoon or electric mixer. The amount of syrup is to taste if you like the butter very sweet add more, or use very little for the slightest hint of maple flavour. Place in a small bowl or ramekin and refrigerate until needed.

cook's notes: I have been living in England for over ten years and it took a good 8 years to figure out semolina is cornmeal... yeah I know I should have been born a blond.

I made maple butter as I ran out of honey to make honey butter, but M says the maple butter knocks honey butter out of the ballpark... you know big sports enthusiast that he is. H was very pleased with the pumpkin shape and thinks that all muffins should be Halloween shaped!

Sunday, 11 October 2009

button sugar cookies

cookies in the jar o'

Button Sugar cookies

Makes 2 dozen
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
1 cup sugar
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1tablespoon milk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
A few drops food colouring
Mix together flour, salt, and baking powder in a medium bowl.

In a large bowl cream butter and sugar; add dry ingredients, and mix well

add egg, milk, and vanilla; mix well.

Separate the dough to incorporate different food colourings.

Transfer dough to a work surface. Shape into discs, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 180C (350 degrees F) Line baking sheets with greaseproof paper.

On a lightly floured work surface, roll out dough to 1/8-inch thickness.

To make buttons:

  • you will need to cut out circles with a 1 3/4 inch round cutter
  • lightly press with a 1 1/2 inch round cutter ( I used a glass and a round cookie cutter).

making button holes

  • Make button holes with a skewer or other sharp implement (ahem I used the steaming thermometer that leave with the espresso machine)

Transfer to prepared baking sheets, leaving an inch in between.
Leftover dough can be rolled and cut once more. It will need to be put back in the fridge to set if it has become too warm.

Bake for 10 minutes.

Transfer to wire racks to cool.

cook's notes: I saw a picture of some beautiful button shaped cookies with a recipe, somewhere on flickr, but I lost the bookmark and I prefer to try things the my own way. yes I know I'm annoying like that... they were fun to make and as I have an assortment of star shaped cookie cutters I shall definitely make star buttons next time I bake cookies. OK I lie next time I bake cookies it will be chocolate chip ones but the time after that will be sugar cookies honest. I made the cookies in green, red/pink, and some that I left uncoloured. Unfortunately I have misplaced the picture files of the red and uncoloured cookies... *bangs head against wall*

Friday, 9 October 2009

Morello Cherry Bakewell Cupcakes

Morello Cherry Bakewell cupcake

Morello Cherry Bakewell Cupcakes recipe (a work in progress)
1 1/4 cups self raising flour
1 cup ground almonds
1 ½ cup caster (white) sugar
1 ½ teaspoon baking powder
2 eggs
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter (softened)
3/4 cup milk
1 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 ½ teaspoons almond extract

1 jar morello cherry conserve (or other cherry jam)
½ cup flaked almonds
Paper muffin cases

Put the flour, ground almonds, salt, and baking powder in a small bowl. In another bowl mix the vanilla and milk together.

Beat the butter and sugar together in a large bowl.

Add half the flour mixture and beat until well blended.

Add half the milk and the vanilla and beat until well mixed.

Add the eggs one at a time mixing well between additions.

Add the remainder of the flour mixture and blend thoroughly.

Add the remainder of the milk and vanilla.

Spoon the batter into the cupcake cases, filling them ¾ full, put a spoonful of morello cherry conserve (jam) on top of the cake batter (it will sink down) and sprinkling a few almonds on top of the cherry conserve.

Bake for 15-20 minutes at 180 C until it springs back when you touch them.

Remove from oven and let cool for about 10 minutes, then turn out of pan and onto a rack to finish cooling completely. Serve with custard, cream or ice cream.

cook's notes: the recipe is a work in progress, I have been playing about with it, as my first attempt the batter was too thin and the jam sunk to the bottom of the cake, but this recipe it only nearly sunk to the bottom (as you can see in the photo) there is just enough cake to keep the bottom dry. I could have tired the easy way and baked the cakes without the jam and then cut them to add the jam to the top but that wouldn't have nearly been as much fun. I'll keep you posted on any further baking experiments...

p.s. I know I'm terribly behind on blog posts, but I will make it up to you I promise, there will be another giveaway soon, and there is also a sale on in my etsy shop if anyone is interested to have a look round before I close the shop down for awhile.

Saturday, 3 October 2009

to the winner go the pens

the winner of my pen giveaway via the magic of RANDOM.ORG is

Hells who said...

Pens - that will draw on just about anything. Sounds very 'me'!!
Love the R2D2 apron - it could only be bettered by Han Solo (mmmmmmmmmmmm) ;-)

I don't think I have your email so if you can email me your address I will pop the pens in the post sometime next week!

Friday, 2 October 2009

Banned Books Week

This week is Banned Books Week, a time to celebrate the freedom to read. There shouldn't be a need to have a Banned Books Week but unfortunately there are thousands of books that have been burned, banned and continue to get challenged by individuals, groups and governments that find them offensive.

The books we read expand our minds, and make us the people we are. Books have always been an important part of my life, I can still remember my dad reading me stories when I was small, some of the books have been challenged. Every Christmas and Birthday I would be more excited about the books I received than the toys and clothes I got. One Christmas my dad gave me a copy of A light in the Attic by Shel Silverstein, I sat in a nest of torn wrapping paper and read my brand new book of poetry from cover to cover.

Literary exploration is so important, I read a book a night to my son, stories and poetry, including some of the very same books that my father gave me, books that have been Challenged, and Banned. I fear for the future, if these books that shaped me became banned and children and young adults the world over could not read them.

Books that have been Banned or Challenged at some point are not all masterful works of literature, but that is the magic of books and the stories they tell of history and unknown worlds to explore. I have read quite a few books on the Banned list, and not all of them I loved but they did make me think and I was glad to have read them.

The following list of some of the Banned Books I have read:
currently I'm reading 1984 by George Orwell for my Book Group, I have a huge stack of books to read though but I plan on getting a more Banned Books on the Book Group Reading list.

Question Authority and Read Banned Books!

a few links:
the ILA: Books Challenged and Banned in 2008 2009 a pdf
The American Library Association has a list of Banned and Challenged books
the School Collection list of Challenged Children's Books
Amazon list of recently Banned and Challenged Books
Amazon list of 100 Banned and Challenged Books