Wednesday, 18 December 2013

Last minute Christmas Pudding Recipe!!!

Hi there,
This is one of my occasional food based blog posts! I meant to write it a couple of weeks ago but was busy with my stalls at local Christmas Fairs and didn't get round to it. I always make my own Christmas pudding, following a recipe which my Mum got from a magazine about 40 years ago - it's the perfect pudding in my opinion, and it can be made up to a week before eating which is useful, so I thought I would share it with the world!
It's meant to fit a 2 1/2 - 3 pint basin, but I don't have one of them so make two smaller ones.
Oh and it's all in imperial measurements...

Sieve together:
6oz self raising flour, 1/4 tsp salt, 1 tsp mixed spice
Add and mix well :
6oz suet, 6oz semolina, 6oz brown sugar, grated rind of one orange, 8oz each of sultanas, currants, raisins.
Beat together:
2 eggs, 2 level tablespoons warmed black treacle, 2 tbsp orange juice, 3 tbsp either whisky, brandy or rum (I use whisky)
Add all together and mix thoroughly. This can take ages!
Place in greased basin and cover with a circle of greased greaseproof paper. Cover whole basin with foil.
If using one large basin, steam for 7 1/2 hours. Don't forget to keep checking water level so it doesn't boil dry.
On Christmas Day, re-steam for an hour. Or microwave for a few minutes, which is what I do!
Christmas Pudding - ready to steam!  


Sunday, 24 November 2013

Pre-Christmas sale on the website!

Hello again,
I can't believe it's the last week of November already. How is everyone's Christmas shopping going?
Since many of us around the world are in difficult economic times, I thought I would have a pre-Christmas sale on the Pirate Treasures website to make the present buying a little easier. There are around 140 designs in the sale, all with 10% the regular price. Take a look in the Sale section in the left hand column at the bottom of the shop categories. There is jewellery from all of my shop categories - steampunk jewellery, pirate charm bracelets, necklaces and earrings, contemporary beaded bag charms and charm bracelets, vintage inspired jewellery, plus some handmade cards and art. I have tried to include items across the price ranges and styles so there should be something for everyone, no matter what their taste!  
These are just a selection of the designs in the sale...
Black and silver charm bracelet
Steampunk cog earrings
Rose ring available in various colours
Green pirate charm bracelet         

Thursday, 24 October 2013

Christmas is coming! Don't Panic!

No matter how much I intend to be organised for Christmas, it never really happens! 
Having said that, I have got plenty in stock on my website and Etsy shop  but I always feel like there could be more. Or I'm busy making things to stock up the internet shops and leave the stock taking of the boxes I keep separate for local events until the last minute and then have a panicky rush to make more for them. This year I also have to have enough stock to supply the East London shop I'll be stocking too.
So why am I blogging? Well, I epoxied some cameos and cabochons into their settings this morning, so while they set I thought I'd get round to a blog post as it's been a month since the last!
Over the last few weeks I have made a bunch of simple charm necklaces (including the ones below) for my Pirate Treasures Etsy shop  which are all under £10 - ideal for little Christmas gifts!
Simple charm necklaces
 I have a few more chunky charm necklaces with a mix of vintage and new charms for my Emporium of Curiosities Etsy shop.

Layered charm necklace
Vintage charm necklace
 I have one charm necklace which I have just added to the Pirate Treasures website ( and plan on making some more similar ones when I can delegate the time to it!
Silver charm necklace
Right, I can't put it off any longer, it's time to get the big boxes out and see what I have left from the Summer fair and plan what I need to make for the Christmas ones - I have three booked so far!

Friday, 20 September 2013

In which I bake some bread...

We needed some bread, but it was so rainy and I'd already got wet once, so I decided to bake my own. I've done soda bread several times, but haven't baked regular bread people can have for toast in the morning for ages as last time it came out flat!
I used a recipe from the BBC website and it was a good excuse to put the heating on - well you have to let the yeast get to work in a nice warm environment don't you! I'm actually typing this while it's doing its thing in front of the radiator, so will now save the post as a draft and finish it off when the bread is cooked, hopefully with photographic evidence of a tasty loaf!
Lump of dough!
Look, it's rising!

 Sooo, as you can see, it was worth putting the heating on! The recipe said to just put it on a baking tray, but it looked like it would be a round and very flat loaf, so I scooped it up on its greaseproof paper and put it in a loaf tin. Now, if you have made bread in this way before, you might be saying to yourself "oh dear, she's put it on greaseproof paper" and you would be correct in thinking it was a mistake! If only I'd Googled "is greaseproof paper the same as baking parchment?", not that I have any baking parchment. Turns out the bread sticks to greaseproof paper, so once baked you have to slice off the bottom and sides of your loaf!!
Still, apart from that it tasted really nice!

Tasty bread!
Home baked bread
 Apart from the whole leaving it in a bowl to double in size, then putting it on a tray to double again, it was fairly simple to make, so I might be doing it again sometime - once I've bought some baking parchment!

Tuesday, 17 September 2013

New Etsy shop

My weekly blogging plan didn't last too long, did it?!
I did keep meaning to, but I have been fairly busy making things. I am going to have a range of products in a high street shop, but I'll tell you more about that another time, as it isn't opening yet!

As I mentioned previously, I was thinking of opening an Emporium of Curiosities shop on Etsy. I had a shop of the same name on Folksy a couple of years ago, which did okay until I closed it when I closed the Pirate Treasures shop. I then moved it to a section on my website, but really wanted to get round to opening an Etsy shop so I could still use the name and banner (!) so I finally did it a few weeks ago. Here's the link The Emporium of Curiosities 
I have been stocking it with ACEOs, cards and gift tags and then decided to add my range of vintage "assemblage" jewellery as it goes with the general vintage inspired style of the shop.
I've enjoyed putting together the collection of various vintage pieces to make interesting necklaces.
Statement charm necklace

Vintage brooch assemblage necklace
Vintage Gentleman ACEO
Alice in Wonderland gift tags
 I should probably redirect my Emporium of Curiosities blog over to this one, it's not as if I post so often I need two blogs!
My next post will hopefully feature some baking...

Wednesday, 7 August 2013

Pirate hair beads and duck watch!

Hello again!

This week I haven't been making all that much jewellery. I think I've only made a few pirate style hair beads, having sold a few recently. In fact I've mainly sold pirate jewellery lately, there must be lots of fancy dress parties going on!
These are the kind of beads I make, they have a large lobster clasp so you can attach them to a hair clip or maybe on a safety pin which can be pinned to your Jack Sparrow style pirate bandana. Or it could attach to a belt loop or bag handle - the possibilities are (nearly) endless!
Pirate hair beads

You can find them on the Pirate Treasures website here 
Set of pirate beads

There are several styles to choose from including this set of three...

I have been doing quite a bit of walking around my local area, which is on the border of London and Surrey; though we are part of Greater London we are walking distance to the North Downs so there is some lovely scenery and good walks to do. Would you like to see the ducks from the pond again? They've grown quite a bit since last week. I also managed to get some photos of the Muscovy duck and his friends who were abandoned on the pond but seem to be happy there. 

 I've also been doing lots of gardening, as I didn't do much last year, what with all the rain we had and I'm not keen on gardening in bad weather! So last year's rain and this year's nice hot summer we've had recently added up to a very overgrown garden. We also had to have a neighbouring tree removed and a new fence panel put in. I've done quite a bit of trimming and weeding but we are having a proper tree surgeon come and take several feet off the top of the laurel which has got huge, and he's also going to do some general shrub tidying to make it more manageable. I can't wait til it's looking tidy!

This week I have been making some ACEOs and gift tags. I'm a bit slow, but it's quite theraputic! I'm thinking of opening another Etsy shop to sell them in, but I'll have to build up plenty of stock first. I might even update my other blog for The Emporium of Curiosities sometime with all these new things I'm making...
That'll do from me for now!

Monday, 29 July 2013

More frequent blogging attempt!

I'm going to try and blog more often. I know I've said it all before, but let's give it a go!
I won't just blog about the jewellery I've made, I'll try and write about other things that interest me (and hopefully any readers I pick up along the way!). I'm planning on writing a more "professional" blog on my website, so this one will be more of a "face behind the product" professional/personal mix. Apparently....

So what shall I write about today?
How would you like to see the ducks from my local pond? Mrs Mallard surrounded us with her eleven ducklings!

Hmm, can I tie in a cheeky link to anything on my website? Well I haven't got anything duck-related, but I have some other wildlife, here's a couple for example:

Birdcage earrings

Bird and Bees charm bracelet

If you fancy a look at some more creatures, I have plenty more birds, butterflies, bees, owls featuring in my jewellery designs on my website  - :-)

Saturday, 20 July 2013

Summer already, how did that happen?!

I was never the best blogger in the world was I? Now it's summer, let's have a catch-up. I've had some family illness to deal with, so wasn't particularly in the mood for blogging, but things are improving so I'm in a happier frame of mind.

Anyway, what's been going on with Pirate Treasures? 
I've made some more elaborate pirate necklaces for the website having sold the last of my previous ones to a lovely customer in the States. Here are a couple of them; I also made ones in a red and gold combination, and bronze and black.

 I made some Sugar Skull beads (that seems ages ago now!) out of polymer clay and made a couple of Day of the Dead bracelets, I added them to both the website and Etsy shop.

Last month I had my usual stall at Keston Primary School Summer Fair. Luckily it was a nice sunny day with very little wind compared to the few weeks preceding it. I had, however, devised ways of keeping my displays from being blown over in the wind. I bought a recipe book stand for my large hinged display board, and used letter racks for two of my other displays. I have been wanting to move away from the black velvet look for a while, but wasn't sure how to go about it without spending too much money. In the end I decided to keep the black velvet table cover (at least for now) as it's so easy to store and doesn't crease. Instead, I painted the display boards and stands which had previously been black. I did them a cream colour, and along with the little baskets my flower rings are displayed in and my cake stand, it gave it a slightly more vintage inspired shabby chic look which brightened up the whole display. I'm not sure what I can do with the bracelet trays, I might be able to take them apart and re-cover the velvet with something else - any ideas?

I attended an event last week, run by Market for Mums where I helped children make their own coil wrap bracelets. I went primarily to advertise my children's jewellery making parties (which you can read more about at ). I've only done a few but am looking forward to more! The market was only on for two hours and I had a steady stream of girls and boys making bracelets with me. Some made carefully planned patterns and others a mishmash of coloured beads. I forgot to take some photos of them, so hope there will be another event soon!

I think that's all I have to say for now, but I'll be back in the summer holidays...

Wednesday, 20 March 2013

I forgot to mention the sale!

Yep, I blogged yesterday about the new things I've made, but forgot to mention I'm going to be discontinuing the majority of the kitsch range, so it's all 15% off until sold out. I'll still be selling this type of jewellery at local events, but not on the website.
Check out what's left in the sale on the Pirate Treasures website

This afternoon I've started to make a few new sugar skull beads for Day of the Dead jewellery. They need to bake in the oven first and then I can paint them tomorrow.


Tuesday, 19 March 2013

Filling up my Etsy shop!

Ah, it's nearly April and I haven't managed to blog this year! I have a new laptop all to myself now, so will attempt to blog more often - it should be easier now I don't have to wait my turn on the computer!
Okay, what's been going on so far this year? 
I've been building up stock in my Etsy shop and have started working on a new and exciting range of necklaces. The Vintage Statement section in my Etsy shop is for elaborate designs or "assemblage" necklaces made from vintage finds, old brooches and assorted interesting trinkets.

I love making them and hope to make lots of them. I'm collecting old bits and pieces to find which go together nicely.

I have also made a pretty full pirate necklace in silver and black, also in the Etsy shop, and have almost finished a red and gold one. I'm not neglecting my website, in fact I added some more steampunk jewellery including the ever-popular steampunk cufflinks last week. I've just been concentrating more on Etsy lately as there wasn't too much in the shop and I've been selling out of things there!

Well that will do for now, I'm off to pack a couple of orders for the Post Office (and remember to tax the car while I'm there)...