Brush Embroidery – Not Just For Cakes! A Gorilla Glue Project.

DISCLAIMER: This is a sponsored post – Gorilla Glue provided the glue (and pen), but the idea is my own.

 

A few months ago I did a craft project for Gorilla Glue, where I turned plain objects into pretty ones with a crackle effect. (See HERE for that project). As I said in that post, I like decorating things to transform them into something more beautiful. Another thing I enjoy doing is cake making and decorating, although I only do them for friends and family. There is a gorgeously elegant technique which is used to decorate cakes and cookies, called brush embroidery. It involves piping a royal icing design on to the cake, and then using a small brush to gently pull the edge of the icing in to the design so it looks like delicate stitching on fabric. I wondered if it would be possible to achieve a similar result using glue. Obviously this is not intended for anything edible!!!

After a bit of experimenting I discovered that Gorilla Glue Wood Glue mixed with a bit of powder paint works best for this. I tried it with acrylic paint but it doesn’t have the correct consistency. It needs to be like whipped cream or thick yoghurt, and the only way I could achieve that was by mixing powder paint with the glue. You can use any colour powder paint you want, but I personally love the effect with white.

Brush embroidery is a wonderful way of transforming any plain surface into a thing of beauty. This is how to do it yourself.

For this project you will need:

  • Gorilla Glue Wood Glue
  • powder paint in the colour of your choice
  • some stiff-bristled thin paintbrushes for the details, and a bigger one for the main painting
  • acrylic paint in the colour of your choice (this will be the main colour of your object)
  • your object to transform (I used a plain box with a drawer, and a Kraft notebook)
  • a disposable piping bag
  • a piece of kitchen roll
  • 3 small pots – one for your acrlylic paint, one for the glue mixture, one for clean water
  • a pair of scissors
  • pearlescent craft mica powder (optional – it adds a slightly pearlescent finish to the design)

You can buy plain wooden boxes in lots of different shapes from Amazon, Hobbycraft, etc. If you want to decorate a notebook cover, it is best to buy Kraft notebooks. They have plain brown covers so perfect for jazzing up.

Paint your chosen object using the acrylic paint in the colour of your choice. If you are painting a notebook cover, do it with the cover open to prevent paint getting on to any pages.

Leave to dry completely for around 3-4 hours.

Mix together some glue with the powder paint. You don’t need much.

It needs to be the consistency of thick yoghurt, about 4 parts glue to 1 part paint. If it is too thick, just mix in a bit more glue until you get the correct consistency. If you would like a slightly pearlescent effect to your design, add a pinch of craft mica dust to the mixture too.

When you lift your brush (or whatever you use to mix it) it should leave a ribbony trail on the surface of the mixture. Spoon the mixture into the end of a disposable piping bag, then snip the tip off making a small hole at the bottom. Pipe a basic outline of your choice design on to the now dry painted object. The most common design used on cakes is of flowers, so I stuck with that for my box and notebook, but feel free to try different ones.

Dip a thin stiff brush into the clean water and dab the excess off on the piece of kitchen roll. It needs to be damp but not too wet. Place the brush on to the inside edge of the piping and stroke it towards the middle of the shape, so it thins and fades.

You must make sure you keep the outside edge complete though or the effect will be lost. Dampen your brush every few strokes, as if it is too dry it will just stick and pull too much of the line away. When you have finished the shape you piped, pipe another and repeat the process. Build up layers of petals by piping another set inside the set you have just completed. You can add leaves around them, and pipe centre lines after you have done the brush embroidery.

You can fill in spaces in between the flowers by piping small dots, 5 or 6 around a central one to represent flowers. You can place your damp brush on to the edge of the dot nearest the centre one and drag it towards the middle, making little petal shapes. You can see these on the box I decorated. I left some as dots and dragged some to make petals. If you are leaving some as just dots, the mixture will probable form little peaks as you pipe it. Just use the damp brush to gently press the peaks down.

Leave to dry.

 

As you can see it is a very effective way to make pretty designs on plain items. No matter how many times you do it, you will never get the exact result again, meaning every item will be perfectly unique.

These are perfect to give as gifts for Mother’s Day, or any other special occasion. You can literally do this on any plain object. How about trying it on a photo frame? I will be doing it on an indoor plant pot for a gift for a friend soon. The possibilities are endless!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rocky Road Brownies – July’s BakedIn Baking Club Box

July’s BakedIn Baking Club box was a HUUUUUUUUUUUGE hit in my house! Everyone’s faces lit up when they saw the recipe card. Rocky Road… love. Brownies… love. Put them both together and you get what can only be described as heaven. Beautiful chocolate brownies baked until they are still soft and a bit gooey inside but with a delicious crunchy top, with a rocky road style topping. What’s not to love???

As always, BakedIn sent all the dry ingredients needed to make this scrummilicious treat already weighed out, plus baking paper, a testing skewer, butter guide, and the wonderful recipe card.

The only extra ingredients I needed to use were butter, eggs and double cream. Although I didn’t have to buy them as I always have those in anyway. The dry ingredients which BakedIn provide are top quality ingredients. No cheap or inferior products in their boxes! For example, the flour comes from the Great Taste Award winning flour millers at WESSEX MILL, and they only use the best chocolate and cocoa powder. You can taste the quality!

For the rocky road topping we had to make caramel. I love making caramel. There’s something slightly therapeutic about watching the sugar melt and turn into a lovely amber colour. This recipe made plenty, and BakedIn wrote a tip on the recipe card to use any leftover caramel poured over ice cream. We did that and it was beautiful. I love how these boxes include some more technical steps, such as making caramel, from time to time. It is a great way for anyone to learn some new techniques which they might have previously been daunted about trying.

This brings me on to another wonderful thing about being a BakedIn Baking Club subscriber. A few months ago they set up a Facebook group which is just for subscribers. The support and encouragement that the members give to each other is a joy to see. There are members who have hardly ever baked before, along with ones who have baked lots, but you’d never know. I have been in baking groups on Facebook before and some can get very catty to say the least, with people thinking they are better than anyone else. The BakedIn Baking Club group is a million miles away from those types of groups thankfully. It genuinely is a friendly supportive group and the people are amazing. I feel proud to be in such a lovely group. If you join the Baking Club you’ll see what I mean. As well as the people in the group, it is also good to join because you get access to great deals and discounts on some of BakedIn’s other kits.

Back to the recipe. The brownies came out exactly as I like them. I could very easily have eaten them just as they were with a scoop of ice cream. The smell of chocolate filling the house as they came out of the oven made me drool! I added the caramel, marshmallows and chocolate malt balls (like Maltesers) and was so excited to cut it into pieces to enjoy! The recipe card said to cut into 9 to 12 pieces. As you can see from the main photo though, greedy pig me cut it into 9. The bigger the better. I was contemplating cutting it into less pieces so that they would be even bigger it looked so tempting! (The only reason I didn’t was because of Michel Roux. He works with BakedIn to create these wonderful recipes and I thought just in case he ever happens to look at the pictures of subscribers bakes, I didn’t want him thinking bad of me 🙂 You never know!) Needless to say they didn’t last long in my house! And it is yet another recipe to make again and again. Good job the recipe cards tell you how much of each of the dry ingredients you need!

BakedIn Baking Club costs just £8 a month with free delivery. It costs even less if you sign up to 3 or 6 months at a time. You can also buy gift subscriptions for other people. Perfect for any occasion but I’d say ideal as a house-warming present. You can’t beat the smell of baking to give any house an extra homely feel to it.

If you would like to find out more or to join, just click HERE to go to their website. I’ll look forward to seeing you and your bakes in the Facebook group!

 

 

 

How to Make Beautiful Coasters from Tiles and Paper Napkins

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A good friend of mine organises a Craft Fayre every Christmas and makes a lot of gorgeous items herself for it. A few years ago she started making these coasters and I was knocked out by how easy it was to get such a lovely result! She used any pretty napkins but I absolutely love designers such as Emma Bridgewater and Cath Kidston, so I decided to only use designer napkins. I became a bit addicted to making them and lots of people asked to buy them. I gave sets of 4 to people as gifts, and love going to their houses and seeing them on tables and tops of cabinets, still in use and looking like new.

They really are simple to make, and with Mother’s Day coming up soon, why not surprise your own Mother with a practical gift made with love by you? Chocolates get eaten within a few days, flowers fade and die, so how about this year making and giving a gift that will last? I’ll include photos of every step of the process so you know you’re doing it correctly, but I’m sure you’ll have no problems anyway.

To make a set of 4 coasters you will need 4 plain white tiles measuring 100mm x 100mm. You can buy a box of basic tiles from large DIY stores such as Homebase or B&Q. (I buy mine from B&Q at £5.50 for a box of 25). You will need 1 paper napkin of your choice measuring around 30cm. All the ones I ever use are 33cm square, and 3 ply (made from 3 layers of paper).

Here’s how to make them:

YOU WILL NEED

4 ceramic tiles measuring 100mm x 100mm (10cm x 10cm)

1 paper napkin (see note above)

Felt material of a co-ordinating colour to the napkin design (20cm x 20cm)

Polyurethane Gloss Varnish (I use DecoArt Duraclear Gloss Varnish from Hobbycraft)

PVA glue

Double sided sticky tape

A co-ordinating ribbon for presentation

A paintbrush (art/craft type, not house decorating sized!)

Scissors

A pot for the glue

INSTRUCTIONS

  • Mix PVA glue with an equal amount of water in a small pot. This will be used to stick the napkin on to the tile.
  • Open out your paper napkin and cut along the fold lines so you have 4 equal squares.

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  • Very carefully, peel away the top layer of paper from each square. This is the piece you need for the coaster as it has the design on it. If you stick all 3 layers on, you will get bubbles and it won’t look as pretty. Keep the other layers to use later on.

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  • Take one tile and completely cover it with the PVA mixture using the paintbrush. Make sure you cover the edges too.

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  • Take one of the top layer squares you gently saved, and position it on top of the tile so you have the best part of the design on display. Make sure there is enough around the edges to fold underneath in the next step.

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  • Scrunch some of the plain layers of napkin (the bottom layers) into a loose ball and very gently dab the napkin on to the tile. You will get creases, but that adds to the overall look so please don’t try and straighten them out. If you try and move the napkin at this point, it will rip. When the napkin is in place, carefully pick the tile up and turn it over. Brush more PVA glue on the bottom of the tile and fold the edges of the napkin on to the glue. You can either dab the edges down with the scrunched up layers, or use your paintbrush to smooth them down. I use my brush for this stage. Make sure there are no air bubbles on the sides of the coaster. If there are, very gently smooth them down with your brush.

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  • Leave on a plastic bag or similar covering to dry. When the top is dry, turn it over so the bottom completely dries too. Repeat all the above steps for the other 3 coasters.
  • When they are completely dry, coat the top and sides with the varnish. It brushes on easily, has no nasty odour, and is non-yellowing, which makes it the best for your coasters. I brush on 3 coats, allowing each to dry in between coats. You can brush on as many as you want to get the sheen you want.
  • Leave the coasters to dry overnight.

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  • Cut the felt into 4 squares, just slightly smaller than your tiles.
  • Place strips of double sided tape on the backs of the coasters.

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  • Peel the backing off the tape and position one square of felt on each. Press down firmly. And that is the coasters complete!

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  • To present them as a gift, stack the 4 coasters on top of each other and tie a ribbon around them.

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And there you have a wonderful gift to give for any occasion. My son has given his past teachers a set at the end of the school year as a thank you gift. I’ve given sets as housewarming presents and as a gift for my Mother-in-Law for Mother’s Day. I have a lovely friend who adores Emma Bridgewater designs, so I made a set for her just for being such a wonderful friend!

The felt on the back protects your surfaces from scratches from the roughness of the underside of the tiles. You can use cork sheets if you prefer but I like the way you can use matching colours of felt. The polyurethane varnish will protect the coaster from drips, and is easy to clean with a damp cloth.

I hope you enjoy making these. I’d love to hear how you get on and who you give them to! Happy Crafting!

A Triveting Crafty Creatives August Box

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The August Crafty Creatives box was a visual treat of beautiful bright colours. The box contained everything needed to make a stunning rolled wool trivet: different coloured recycled wool strips, a long straight needle, a curved needle, extremely strong thread, and a page of easy to follow instructions. The kit was created by Rag Art Studios exclusively for Crafty Creatives.

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I have to confess, when I opened the box it arrived in, I had a quick look and thought it would be a very easy, very fast kit to complete. I was wrong on the time part. It took me quite a few hours to make! The idea was easy enough: place different coloured strips on top of each other, roll them up tightly and sew in to place (that’s the basic idea). Obviously though you need to make sure no stitches are visible on the top, but it needs to be sewn well so that it holds together with no chance of unrolling or falling apart when you pick it up. I thought the curved needle would be brilliant for hidden stitching, but I found it quite tricky to use, so completed my trivet using just the straight needle.

I would definitely make more of these. Maybe make some colour co-ordinated ones to match the decor of my friends’ kitchens. As well as being used to protect surfaces from hot pans, they would also be great to stand vases on to protect tables from scratches, or to protect them from the hot bases of candle holders. The versatility of it means it would be a beautiful gift for anyone to receive. With Christmas coming up (sorry for dropping the C word) these would be great made in traditional festive colours to use in place of table mats. I want to also try making some using different materials for different effects. The possibilities are endless! I loved making something that was pleasing to the eye with it’s pretty swirls, but also practical. It will be well used in my house!

I had never seen trivets like this before, only metal mass produced ones. This is one of the things I love so much about craft… the fact that no to items will ever be the same. Every piece is unique. This kit would have been sent to countless other Crafty Creatives subscribers, but every single trivet made would be slightly different, and each made with love.

Crafty Creatives sends out a kit for a different craft every month. You never know what you will get, it’s all a wonderful surprise. To have a look at past kits they have sent, have a look at some others I wrote about…

 

https://confarreocreates.wordpress.com/2016/08/08/crafty-creatives-feeling-the-mosaic-love/

https://confarreocreates.wordpress.com/2016/05/27/crafty-creatives-may-subscription-box-hama-time/

https://confarreocreates.wordpress.com/2016/05/11/crafty-creatives-surprise-craft-subscription-boxes/

 

(EDIT 12/09/2018: Unfortunately Crafty Creatives has just closed their subscription box)

 

DISCLAIMER: I pay for my subscription and get no reward for writing about it, other than the happiness of being able to recommend something I love. All views/ideas/opinions are my own and I only write honest reviews. 

 

 

Chocolate Cream Truffles

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Happy New Year!!!!!! I’m typing this up at the start of January knowing a lot of people will have made a New Year’s Resolution to eat healthier. These truffles are far from healthy so why am I trying to tempt you into making them? Well I know a lot of people who have also made a Resolution to make more gifts themselves to really add that loving personal touch for the lucky recipient. These are perfect for gifts. They are wickedly indulgent and very rich, and they are easy enough for children to make with you.

I made these at Christmas, just like I do every year. This tradition started when I was a teenager. I didn’t come from a rich family. As those of you who know me will know, my Mum died when I was 12 and my Dad had a lifetime of illness which meant he was unable to work. This meant money was extremely tight in our household. I had wanted to give my favourite teachers Christmas presents but there wasn’t enough money for me to buy them anything nice. I decided to try and make some beautiful confectionary instead and found a recipe for chocolate cream truffles. The recipe I found didn’t quite work so I came up with my own. Happily, the teachers were delighted with their little boxes of truffles, and my Dad loved them so much I made them for him every year until his health problems decided he could only eat the blandest of food. I make them now each Christmas to remind me of him, and every time I do I remember how happy he was eating them 🙂

Anyway enough of all that, here is the recipe:

CHOCOLATE CREAM TRUFFLES

115 g plain chocolate, broken into pieces

115 ml double cream

2 tsp vanilla extract

450 g icing sugar, sifted

Chocolate vermicelli

  • Put the chocolate into a heatproof bowl over a pan of barely simmering water, making sure the bottom of the bowl does not touch the water. Leave until the chocolate has melted, stirring occasionally.
  • Add the vanilla and the cream and mix well. Gradually stir in the icing sugar.
  • Mix well until all completely combined. The mixture will be very stiff. Use your hands to knead it all together. The heat from your hands will help to soften the mixture. Press it all together until smooth.
  • Using slightly wet hands, roll portions of the mixture into balls , and then roll around in the chocolate vermicelli until completely covered. Place into sweet cases and leave to set.

I have made these using orange flavoured chocolate as well as just plain and they are equally yummy. You could also use flavoured icing sugars to make many different types of truffle. If you haven’t come across these before, I can highly recommend Sugar and Crumbs who make so many flavours you’ll be spoilt for choice!

Let me know if you try any different flavours. I’d love to hear which are the most delicious. And if your resolutions fall by the wayside, make these to cheer yourself up. Happy New Year everyone ❤