Wednesday 27 October 2010


Now technically this isn't my craft project but Mr Lemon Drizzle's - he spent a few happy hours with the kidlets making these owls. So I can't really give you a complete tutorial, sorry (I was probably busy checking out the blogosphere...) but he says they are very easy and I did catch a few pointers.

The body of the owl is made from that old trusty piece of craft equipment, a toilet roll tube - what would we do without them? Each is cut to size (these owlets are half a tube high) then carefully pinched inwards from opposing sides at the top, before taping together to create the owl's tufts. (I was going to say 'ears' but I'm sure owls ears are flat to their heads...I could be wrong!)
He used cupcake cases for the tummys (each cupcake case was cut into quarters, and then the point of each quarter trimmed away before sticking on in layers) and then cut out two circles for eyes and a triangle of orange for a beak. It's then a half-circle of brown craft paper for the wings (or two halves of a cupcake cases for a snowy owl) and 'Hooty McTooty!' - we had a barnful of owls!
Big kidlet gets very excited when she makes things, and her first question is invariably: "Will you put it on your blog?" She kindly made name tags for them all so you wouldn't get confused as to who is who. ('Floot' rhymes with 'Toot').

Tuesday 26 October 2010

HOLIDAY PROJECTS 2.Popcorn heads

 I saw this idea at Wee Wonderfuls who found it here.

 They look fab but I must admit it was one of those craft projects that I ended up doing.  The syrup mixture got quite hot and I didn't leave it long enough to cool down, so I burnt my hands.  The marshmallow glue was quite tricky to use, so I did that for them.  I think it would be more fun with older kidlets (mine are 4 and 6) but they enjoyed laying the sweets out and sticking them on. 

Actually they really enjoyed parceling them and labeling them to give to their friends.

Monday 25 October 2010


I thought I would try and post some quick and easy holiday projects for kidlets. If your mini-creatives are anything like mine they will have an insatiable appetite for projects. Sometimes I feel like I am running from one room (with a dustpan and brush) to another to keep up with them and their trail of creative destruction!
Anyway, here is project number one and, depending on the chaos the rest of the week will bring, it may yet be the last!
This is such an easy project and fairly quick so it limits the boredom and the enevitable "Mum can you finish it for me while I watch Pokemon?"  Plus, and never to be underestimated, there is glitter involved!
Send the kidlets off to search for small cheap plastic toys, hopefully that should fill a good half an hour! While they are doing that, dig out some old empty jars that still have their lids. 

Using superglue or the equivalent and glue the toy onto the lid, then leave to dry for 24 hrs. 

 Then have the kidlets sprinkle some glitter and sequins into the jar.  Fill it to the top with water.  

Run a ring of glue on the inside of the lid and screw it back on.  Leave the right way up for another 24 hrs to harden.
I found the snow globes worked best if the toy almost filled the jar.  If they were too small they became lost with the distortion when the water was in.

The kidlets also painted some of the lids with acyrlic paint and sprinkled on more glitter.  You can never have too much!

A great way to use up those annoying toys lying around!


Congratulations to Yvette who has won the first ever Amelie's House giveaway. You should be receiving your parcel soon.
Thanks to everyone who entered and if I can get myself organised I'll do another before Christmas.

Friday 22 October 2010


Well, this is the last celebration birthday post and I really knew I had to do a recipe.  I was hoping to do a couple but the kidlets have both had viruses and been off school so I'm afraid it's only one. Pumpkin muffins are on the back burner.
Anyway I decided to go for something seasonal and these gorgeous moist cupcakes would work really well as a dessert served warm.

150g butter
100g caster sugar
50g soft brown sugar
3 eggs
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
150g SR flour
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 baking apple - peeled, cored, cooked and pureed
1/2 baking apple - peeled, cored and chopped into small cubes
Pre-heat the oven to 200 or 175 fan.
Cream together the sugars and butter, then  add the eggs and vanilla. Sift over the flour and cinnamon and fold in. Fold in both the apple puree and chopped apple. Spoon the batter in a 12 portion cupcake tray and bake for 12 -15 mins. 
Roll out the pastry and cut out shapes.  I also cut a thin slice of eating apple cut a shape out of this and pressed it into the pastry before it was cooked.  Place on a baking tray brush with cream and sprinkle on sugar.  Bake for 5-15 mins depending on the size of your shape.
Serve warm with whipped cream and pastry.


Thanks again for all your lovely comments and support this week.
And a big thankyou to all my fabulous guest bloggers. 
You only  have a few days left to enter the giveaway!

Thursday 21 October 2010


A guest post by Mr Lemon Drizzle.
There was, of course, no way I could let the blog anniversary go without a post from Mr Lemon Drizzle, husband, supporter and confidant, and both my biggest fan and my chief source of irritation all rolled into one. I'm sure he won't let me down. Or will he?

"Will you write a guest post for my blog anniversary?" asks The Wife.
"You have a blog anniversary?" I say. "Are we doing that now? Is that even a thing?"
"Yes, of course it's a thing."
"It is? What are we celebrating, exactly?"
"A year of my blog. A year of posts."
"Wow, is it only a year? What with all the technical support requests, it feels like much longer..."
"Don't be mean.Will you write a post for me?"
"Do I have any choice?" I ask.
"Yes, of course," she says, and then adds after about a second of  reflection: "Well, no, not really. Not if you know what's good for you..."
I ruminate on this for a while.
"Who reads your blog?" I finally ask.
"Nice people" she says, with immediate conviction. "Nice people who like pretty things and nice design. And fine cakes."
I scratch my nose thoughtfully.
"That really doesn't sound like my kind of audience at all," I reply. "You know my readership.You know the kind of stuff I write. In no way could anything I write be considered 'nice'..."
"It's not your audience, it's my audience" she says patiently. "You are writing for them, but on my behalf."
"What on Earth have I got to say that could possibly be of interest to an international audience of ladies who like cake, though? I've been married to a woman like that for over ten years, and as you know from firsthand experience, most of the time I can't think of single thing to say to her..."
"You can give them the inside story. You can explain what it's like living with someone who does this for a living.You can tell them what it's like at the coalface. Or should that be - ha-ha!- the 'cakeface'..."
I smile dutifully, even though she has made this joke many, many times before, and I have found it progressively less funny each time.You would be surprised at how often my wife mentions cake, makes jokes about cake, or just steers the conversation around to some form of cake-related theme. I mean, you probably think you have some idea, but nonetheless I reckon that even so you would be genuinely surprised. It happens a LOT. You really have no idea how much the woman likes making cakes...
"Can I tell them all the bad things about it?" I ask.
"What bad things?" she says. "There aren't any bad things."
"Oh, there so is. Like how you never properly make me a cake any more..."
"You get given cake all the time..."
"No, I don't. I get cake shavings all the time, because you don't like to waste the offcuts. So you'll say 'Want a piece of cake?' and I'll say 'Sure, that sounds nice' and then you'll give me bowl of misshapen offcuts that you were going to throw away. And it's always in a bowl, like I'm some kind of dog..."
"Oooh, poor you, it sounds terrible..."
"And then there's the tasting. When I'm not being a dog, I'm being a guinea pig..."
"What do you mean?"
"I mean that when you do offer me a whole, unsullied cake, it's always with some kind of testing proviso, like: 'I used the wrong kind of butter in this, do you think it tastes vile?', or 'Have some of this, I'm trying this new flavour but I'm worried it's too sickly', or 'The girls just wouldn't eat this, do you want to have a try...?'"
"Wow, that sounds awful," she says, in a voice that drips sarcasm, "I never realised how much you suffered...."
"And the fridge is always full of stuff I can't touch, and then the stuff I can touch I don't want. Like the buttercream.Why do have to keep ready-made buttercream in an old Flora tub? Do you know how many slices of toast I've inadvertently ruined by spreading buttercream on them?"
"Er, yes, I think I do. Is it two?"
"Well, yes. Yes, it is."
"Yes, you were very vocal about it at the time..." 
"Well, the actual number doesn't matter, it's the principle. And the second time was much more annoying than the first..."
She shrugs. "Sure," she says. "Why not? You can tell them all of that..."
"You don't think it will put them off your blog? Hearing about the dark-side of the painted cake business?"
"No," she says decisively, "I don't think so..." And then in a smaller voice that she thinks I can't hear, she adds: "...they may well wonder why I'm married to you, though..."
There is a lengthy pause. I decide that, ahead of the impending ruin she has invited on herself (by agreeing to let me write a hard-hitting report on the secret grief that long term exposure to sugarcraft can cause in a marriage), I should say something nice.
"My blog is named after one of your cakes, though", I admit..
She gives a secret little smile."Well, fancy that..." she says.

Wednesday 20 October 2010


Another fabulous guest post today from  The Copy And Paste girls.  Today a lovely free download for you from Kirsty.  Check out her gorgeous blog for even more downloads.  

As a creative jack of . . . well, maybe not all trades, but certainly a few too many, I completely adore the fact that cake decorating isn’t one of them! As a regular visitor to Natasha’s blog, it means I can sit here, sighing and admiring, and enjoying her beautiful cakes from an entirely objective point of view. For me, it’s very much a case of guilt-free inspiration, and that’s a pretty wonderful thing.

It does mean, however, I was briefly stumped when she asked me to write a guest post. While I enjoy whipping up a batch of brownies or tray of cupcakes as much as the next once-in-a-while baker, my skills are very basic and the end results nowhere near as pretty as a Nevie-Pie cake. What I am a little more experienced at, though, is covering up my culinary disasters, or occasionally (gasp!) disguising the cheat’s option, store-bought cakes. 

Cupcake wrappers are like your favourite black dress: they hide a multitude of sins and imperfections, but the best ones tend to be a little on the expensive side. I hope, however, the set I’ve put together for Natasha’s blog party might balance things out a little, being both pretty and completely free! 

Once you’ve downloaded them, (right click on the pictures above to download the jpg or click here and here for a pdf) simply print onto plain white paper or thin card and cut them out. Use a craft knife to cut along the slit, as marked, then curve the case round. Slide the hooked end through the gap to hold it together, and drop your cupcake inside. It’s worth printing off a single sheet to check the cases fit your cakes before you go ahead and print enough to house a whole batch. You can simply re-size, making them larger or smaller in your regular editing software if needs be. To add a little extra fancy to your finished cases, you could also trim along the top edge with scalloped scissors or pinking shears.

If you do decide to try them out at your next tea party, whether with handmade or store-bought cakes (I’m not here to judge), I’d love to see how they turn out.

Thanks so much for inviting me along to celebrate Natasha, and a very happy birthday to Amelie’s House.
Thanks Kirsty I shall definately be using these!

Tuesday 19 October 2010


Some time ago I was a guest blogger for the fabulous Julie and Kirsty from The Copy and Paste Project, they are two fabulously talented designers.  So I asked if they would be interested in coming along to my own blog party and was delighted that they both said yes!  Tomorrow Kirsty has created some fabulous downloadable goodies but today it's Julie with some gorgeous eye candy.  Thanks Julie for coming along!

Hi there.
It’s lovely to be here helping Natasha celebrate her blog birthday, and not purely because I’ve been lured here by the scent of all those cakes …
No, it’s a way to say thanks to Natasha for bringing cake to the blog party we held when The Copy + Paste Project, the blog I co-host with Kirsty Neale, turned 1 earlier this year! And while I haven’t repaid the favour by bringing a bottle, I have brought some flowers …
As our blog’s name suggests, we like to take ideas from things we see and the paste them into our own creative projects … and when Natasha makes such beautiful confections I didn’t have to go very far before lighting upon some fabulously inspirational eye-candy!
So I’ve been copying Natasha’s hand-painted cakes, by photographing my collection of floral treasures which are so reminiscent of her designs. 

Copy = ‘Vintage Rose Cookies’:
Paste = A ceramic ring I found in an antiques fair, at least 15 years ago: 

Copy = ‘30th Birthday Cake’:
Paste = A Capodimonte style glazed rose found in my favourite vintage shop for £4:00!

Copy = ‘Vintage Tea cup Cake’
 Paste = More Capodimonte-esque items. A beautiful brooch from my late Nanna and some cheap-yet-pretty high-street earrings: 

Copy = ‘Painted Floral Cake’
 Paste = Vintage carved perspex handle which I found, neglected, inside a cupboard of the house we moved into! A true treasure for a vintage-loving rose-design freak like me!

And finally … 

Copy = ‘Painted 60th Birthday Cake Detail’
 Paste = An ‘up-cycled’ coat hanger, the making of which forms one of the twelve tutorial projects we’ll be delivering in the The Copy + Paste ‘12 Days’ workshop series  throughout November.

Ok then, I’ll leave it there for now. Partly because I have so many flowery items I could share that I’ll have you here all night and partly because after looking through so many of Natasha’s exquisite creations I’m pining for a sugar fix!
Enjoy the rest of the party here and, if you’re passing, you’re welcome to drop by my place sometime: Notes on Paper.
Julie J

Monday 18 October 2010


It's time to introduce another guest blogger and a very special one.
In May my Mum started blogging at The Potter's House Penketh and she has kindly agreed to do a post to help the celebrations along.  I'd like to thank her especially for including a lovely picture of the teenage me!

I'm excited and nervous! I'm going to post a blog for Amelie's House and I know it's got to be good!
As it's a foodie blog that she does, I thought that it might be quite interesting to look at our family history of
  "The Importance of being Earnest about Celebration!" 
 Let's start at the very beginning. This is my mother presiding over tea in the garden in Belfast with the Scottish silver teapot.

 This is Aunt Helen sipping tea from china cups in the garden in Belfast!

These two woman taught me all that I know about baking...well apart from the first year domestic science lessons where I learnt how to wash lettuce and stir porridge [as if I hadn't done that a lot at home!]

Of course all of this started way before she of the "Amelie's House" fame was born.
Nana Mary and Great Aunt Helen were the forerunners in the family celebration lark. Having Scottish blood, they were the creme de la creme of shortbread bakers and victoria sponges. In fact it is true that as far back as the 11th century there was a  baker mentioned in the maternal geneology. Honestly!

When I was six or seven, Mary held a prayer meeting in the drawing room at home. I was there each month without fail. What a godly child I hear you cry.....noooo........ the supper she prepared was to die for. Was I going to miss that? I think not! So I waited through it all until at the end, out came little sandwiches, meltingly good scones with Ulster butter and home made jam, fruit cake,almond slices, melting moments, gipsy creams, german biscuits, coconut haystacks, meringues and victoria sponge. I knew that ,without a doubt, all the prayers came for the same reason. The supper! It was obvious even to my young mind. I did my duty and passed the plates around the waiting women. I hope that the prayers realised what I was up to and prayed a little prayer for me!
So you see I learnt from an early age the joys of yumminess and a godly life!

The thing about food is that it's really not much fun to be on your own, so people came to our table to share in it's abundance. Maiden aunts and elderly neighbours as well as my teenage friends.
It wasn't only Mary's side of the family who were the foodie people. No, Aunt Cis, Dad's sister, produced bottled fruits and exotic chutneys and offered them in exquisite sandwiches placed on silver trays with Irish lace clothes. To be invited into the pantry to view the cupboard with the regimented rows of jars with such succulent produce, was like an invitation to the Buckingham Palace Garden Party.

I've had such fun looking through all of the old family photos to find those days of celebrations. Birthdays, weddings, Easter, Christmas, picnics, barbeques and the mad parties we had just for an excuse to feast. Not that we needed much of an excuse! 
We had Murder Mystery Parties and when my neighbour came to one of them she couldn't believe how much we were in to the whole thing, food and dressing up.We had Star Trek parties and the daughter invented wonderful Trekkie food to go with our crazy outfits. One of the best was a Cajan party with mad hats and delicious southern states food.

But I thought that you might like to see the early Amelie's House baker in action. Yes? Well here she is beating up a storm with a wooden spoon.

 Now food should be lovingly prepared and cooked, but that is not the end of the equation, not by a long chalk! Like any art it then must be presented in all it's glory. On china plates, in secret boxes,on  tables groaning under the weight of food surrounded by multicoloured cushions to rest on and enhance the whole theatrical celebration.

Tables laden with Christmas fare.

Baskets overflowing with picnic goodies.

So winter to summer and back again
In savoury and sweet
We will entertain.
With glass raised up high
A toast we will make.
To shortbread and scone
But especially to