Life in Pictures is our weekly mini-gallery of what our Little Buttons have been up to over the past seven days.
Yesterday I went to a very crafty hen do for my lovely friend Claire. There was lots of craft, tea and a whole table of cakes. Hens were asked to bring baked goodies so I attempted a gluten-free cake (a first for me) so the bride-to-be could enjoy some too! As gluten-free baking is uncharted waters for me, I decided to stick to a professional’s recipe and plucked for Phil Vickery’s because he had me at “fudgy”.
To make the cake you will need:
- 200g unsalted butter
- 200g gluten-free dark chocolate
- 5 medium eggs, separated
- Pinch of cream of tartar
- 240g caster sugar
- 1tbsp vanilla extract
- 200g ground almonds
- 50g chickpea (gram) flour
For the syrup:
- 100g caster sugar
- 4tbsp chopped fresh mint
For the frosting:
- 500g mascarpone
- 50g honeycomb, chopped
- 100g clear honey
1. Begin by preheating your oven to 180°C and line your cake tin.
2. Place the butter and chocolate into a bowl and melt over a pan of simmering water.
3. Place the egg whites and cream of tartar in a bowl and whisk until thick and foamy, then add half the sugar, and whisk again until creamy and thick.
4. Add the rest of the sugar and whisk until very stiff, and with a creamy consistency. Stir the egg yolks, vanilla extract, almonds and chickpea flour into the warm chocolate and butter, then add half the meringue, mixing well. Finally, add the rest of the meringue and fold in.
6. Remove from the oven and cool slightly in the tin. Make several holes over the surface of the cake with a skewer.
7. Meanwhile, place the sugar, 100ml water and the mint in a small pan and boil until the sugar has dissolved, then strain. Spoon the syrup over the cake and leave to soak in and cool completely.
8. Once the cake has cooled, beat the mascarpone, honeycomb and honey together with a wooden spoon.
9. Turn out the cake. As there is no gluten in the cake, it will have quite a soft texture, so be careful. Cover the cake with the honey mascarpone.
This recipe is taken from Seriously Good! Gluten-free Cooking by Phil Vickery.
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~ Laura xx ~
In the run-up to giving birth, some people let their nesting instincts run wild by cleaning the house from top to bottom, over and over. But before the recent arrival of our son, I think I went a little craft crazy – as well as trying to finish off all my existing projects, I decided it would be an excellent time to make something really intricate and completely new to me!
Because I didn’t know what size he’d be, I aimed this pattern at a 3-month-old baby, figuring he could always grow into them.
For this project you will need:
- 2 sheets dark grey felt
- 1 sheet light grey
- Scrap of white felt
- Scrap of black felt
- Dark grey embroidery thread
- Grey cotton
- Tiny amount of toy stuffing
1. Begin by cutting out the pattern and fabric, as shown above. For one pair of booties you need to cut the following:
- Two feet pieces from the dark grey felt
- Two feet pieces from light grey felt (for the lining)
- Two foot sole pieces in light grey
- Four eye pieces in light grey
- Four ear pieces in light grey
- Four tusks in white
- Four trunk pieces in light grey
- Four larger circles in white for eyes
- Four smaller circles in black for eyes
2. Next, pin the two feet pieces to the back of the sole piece, making sure you’re in the centre of the foot piece. You want the light piece to be on the inside of the bootie.
3. Using blanket stitch, sew the foot pieces to the sole pieces.
4. Then blanket stitch the top of the feet pieces together around the edge. You also want to stitch up the front leaving enough room to fit a tiny foot in but not too much that it falls off!
- Pin and sew the grey eye pieces, tusks and ears in place using cotton thread and backstitch. You want your tusk piece to be tucked under the eye piece so pin it under before sewing. When sewing the ears, only sew along the top of the ear and down the right side so the ears can be pushed out a little and made to flap. Repeat for the other eye, tusk and ear.
6. To add a bit more detail, add small snips along the curved edge of the ear.
- Sew the two trunk pieces together using embroidery thread and blanket stitch, leaving a gap at the base of the trunk.
- Using a skewer, push a small amount of toy stuffing up the trunk so it will stand up. Backstitch the trunk onto the front of the booties. Secure the top of the trunk to the top of the bootie with a few stitches.
9. Finally, sew or glue the whites and pupils of the eyes in place.
We’ve been busy little bees over on the Hobbycraft Blog, doing lots of tutorials for things to make for Easter. So why not (bunny) hop over to Hobbycraft to see how to make these Felt Pinwheels, Easter Bunting, little Egg Animals and a painted Mache Egg table decoration, complete with video tutorial.
~ Tia & Laura xx ~
My father-in-law is a keen gardener and has an impressive array of vegetables growing in his garden. I created these peek-a-boo cupcakes for his birthday as a nod to his green fingers.
To make 12 cupcakes you will need:
For the sponge:
- 250g unsalted butter
- 250g caster sugar
- 250g self-raising flour (sifted)
- 4 eggs
- 2 teaspoons of baking powder
- Orange food colouring gel
- Cocoa powder
For the ganache:
- 450g dark chocolate
- 200g unsalted butter
For the topping:
- Grated dark chocolate
- Ready to roll green icing
1. Begin by preheating the oven to 180 degrees. Cream the butter and sugar together. Add the eggs and combine. Fold in the flour and baking powder until fully mixed.
2. Line a baking sheet. Take a quarter of the mixture and scoop into a separate bowl. Add the orange food colouring and stir until the mixture is bright orange.
3. Spoon onto the baking tray and smooth using a palette knife. Cook for approximately 8-10 minutes or until done. Leave to cool.
4. Once cooled, cut into triangles so they resemble carrots. They need to be the length of the cupcake case, and you need two per cake. Place on a lined baking tray and pop in the freezer to harden a little.
5. Add the cocoa powder to the remaining cake mixture and mix until combined. Half fill the cupcake cases. Remove the carrots from the freezer and place two back to back in the centre of the cupcake. Cover the carrots with the remaining cake mixture. Place in oven for 20 minutes or until cooked. Transfer to wire cooking rack and leave to cool.
6. Whilst the cakes are cooling make the soil and leaves. For the soil, grate dark chocolate. For the leaves, roll the icing out to 0.5cm in thickness. Using a sharp knife, cut out leaf shapes and add small details onto the top of the leaves.
7. Next, make the ganache. Melt chocolate then add butter and stir until melted. Once the ganache has cooled (but isn’t set) pour on top of the cakes.
8. Sprinkle the grated chocolate on top so it resembles soil and arrange the leaves in the centre of the cake.
These would also look great on your Easter table.
~ Laura xx ~
We’re big fans of traditional funfair-style games here at Little Button Diaries. So when Hobbycraft asked us to make a fun sewing project for kids we couldn’t wait to dip our toes in the water. This project is easy enough to get the kids crafting and to introduce them to using a sewing machine. For the full tutorial, swim on over to our post on the Hobbycraft website.
Today, my eldest Little Button turns two. Over the past year she’s blossomed from a tiny, helpless, mewling baby into a lively, boisterous, confident girl. To celebrate, we held a Peppa Pig party for her and her little friends over the weekend. She had so much fun eating far too much chocolate, running around after balloons, jumping in muddy puddles and playing pass the parcel (who knew it would take SO long to wrap the parcel up, let alone unwrap it!).
Happy Birthday Harper. Being your mum is such a delight.
~ Laura xx ~
Thanks so much to Tia for taking these snaps.
I don’t have Photoshop, so when it comes to making fancy edits of my photographs, well, I’m stuck. All I have is good old (and free) Picasa. Recently, I’ve become obsessed with looking at clever double exposures, I love how they can be beautiful, ghostly images. I really wanted to create some of my own and the other day I discovered you can create a multiple exposed image in Picasa, so I thought I’d share with you how to do it, as there don’t seem to be any good tutorials out there (that I could find anyway!).
The image above was created by layering two photographs (a silhouette of my little girl and an image of light through trees) over one another. Heres how you do it in Picasa:
1. First select your base image. You need to select one that has high contrast – so lots of heavy dark and light – like a silhouette. Now up the contrast so that this is even more so (pull the highlights & shadows bar up to the right).
2. Now select another image to go over the top of this. Sunsets, flowers or something with not a lot of detail or contrast works well here.
3. With your first image open in Picasa:
- click “create“.
- click “Picture collage“. The image will come up on a blank canvas.
- select “multiple exposures” from the drop down box.
4. To add the second image:
- click on the “Clips” tab
- select “get more” and then find the image(s) you want to layer on top from picasa’s library.
- click over the image, and then go back to the “collage” tab.
- drag the image you want on top of the base picture and it will create a double layered image.
5. To save the image click “create Collage” or to undo…. well, I haven’t quite worked this out yet. But you can click “reset” to start again (anyone?!).
Here are a couple more of the ones I created:
Hope that was useful and not too much of a boring technical post!