Tag Archives: homemade

some recent cross-stitching antics (part 1)

1 Oct

No matter how busy I am I always manage to fit in some cross-stitching- whether that’s on the DLR on my way to work or zoned out in front of the TV after a long day (guilty as charged). It’s something I can do almost without concentrating, sometimes I freak my friends out by cross-stitching during a conversation- I can sew and chat at the same time.

Over the Summer and into this lovely Autumn I have managed to complete a few projects which I really can’t wait to share with you:

1. Herb Pots- from CrossStitcher Magazine (issue 254)

I started this little project way back in the beginning of summer. The minute I saw the idea in CrossStitcher I thought of one of my best friends (ex-housemate and bridesmaid) who loves cooking with fresh herbs and knew I had to make these for her birthday. I followed the magazine instructions to the t (even buying the exact paint they suggested) and have to say I was so pleased with the results! If I’m completely honest I didn’t want to give them away! I reckon the stitching took about 3 weeks on and off (some evenings and afternoons) and the tin painting and everything else was spread over two afternoons. All in all a delightful little project!

2. Bathroom Whale- from CrossStitcher Magazine (issue 255)

This pattern came in a set of three (other two ‘Beside the Sea’ and ‘Wish You Were Here’) but I was immediately drawn to the cute little whale. I changed up the colours so instead of navy thread on white aida I went for a navy aida with a cream thread the same colour as our towels. I wanted something to tie everything in our bathroom together and cross-stitch seems to have a way of doing just that! Sometimes I feel sorry for husband… I think the whole flat may be covered in cross-stitch soon!!! (frame from IKEA)

3. ‘Love’ Cards- own design

I spotted some heart shaped painted wooden buttons on a little card making stall whilst on holiday in Tavistock, Devon, over the summer. I bought them without hesitation knowing I could do something cross-stitchy (I’m making that a word now!) with them. I kept it simple, using thread that matched the colour of the button and stitching onto 14 count cream aida before fraying the edges and using a clear craft glue to attach onto brown card. I made about 6 in one go… hoping they’ll last me a while… I love not having to buy cards!

4. School Diary- from CrossStitcher Magazine (issue 256)

This project came about from my incessant need to actually have a project on the go! I had come to the end of some big projects and wanted to keep my little cross-stitchy hands busy… I had also just been given a lovely red school diary for work. Put two together, mix in a very appropriate set of school related charts from an issue of CrossStitcher and my rather over the top decorated school diary was born. I kind of love it though!!

So that’s 4 of my recent cross stitching shenanigans covered…

Yes there really is a part 2 coming soon… told you I’d been busy!



attempting the impossible…an 8 plaited loaf!

23 Aug

venturing further into the world of bread making

Oh Great British Bake Off… why you so addictive? Two episodes in and as with every other series my passion for baking has been re-ignited. I do try and bake fairly regularly but something about that TV program means I go into a flour-y overdrive!

This weeks ‘technical challenge’ was Paul Hollywood’s 8 plaited loaf. Our cupboards are fairly bare at current but after researching the recipe I discovered I had all the ingredients needed to make one. Last night was therefore bread-making time, from the minute I got in the door from work at 6:00pm til the loaf came out the oven at 9:30pm. The plaiting technique was beyond complicated and I did get a in a bit of a muddle (I think it took me about seven attempts!) but I was pretty pleased with the final result!

I did it!

We had some friends over so the loaf was gobbled up in no time! And they all seemed to enjoy it. I feel like bread-making is something I will do more of in the future. Maybe homemade bagels will be my next challenge!

If you feel like having a go yourself the recipe can be found here. I’d recommend it if your a little bit tense or stressed… kneading bread dough is incredibly therapeutic!


every cross stitchers dream

14 Aug

I got a letter printed in CrossStitcher Magazine!! I’ve only ever written in to one other magazine (my Dr Who obsession in my teenage years produced letters in not 1, but 3 different issues of Dr Who Magazine- I was such a little Dr Who geek!) and decided to email the team at CrossStitcher on a whim with a picture of my ‘deer cousin’ card. Imagine my excitement when I got an email back asking for my address and confirming it would be published!

Looking forward to receiving my free £20 worth of threads as a prize through my door very soon and already dreaming of all the wonderful things I can make with them!

The issue (256) is out in newsstands currently and is of usual top-notch standard! £3.99 for LOADS of amazing charts, ideas and inspirations and a free pair of embroidery scissors… worth every penny.


there’s no use crying over spilt frangipane

16 Jul


sad face

So yesterday something happened.

At the time it wasn’t funny but in retrospect, and after recovering from the trauma it was pretty darn hilarious!

I decided to bake a frangipane tart, after being inspired by Lover Baker Homemaker and her many wonderful posts. I found a recipe for a raspberry frangipani tart, kind of like a bakewell tart, which looked yummy and as we had friends found for a roast yesterday afternoon I thought it would make the perfect pudding. So I went to tesco’s and bought some ground almonds and eggs. When I got home I made the pastry, pretty straight forward, and had to leave it to chill for 1 hour.

Only once this hour was up did I realise we had no aluminium foil or baking paper for me to blind bake the tart case so I had to make the 10 minute walk there and back to the co-op to buy some. After that slight delay I managed to bake the case and prepare the frangipane filling. All was well. I spread the last of our raspberry jam on the bottom of the baked case and then layered the filling with fresh raspberries before baking for 45 minutes. 2 and a half hours after starting the tart was finished. Yay! Only when I took it out of the oven it didn’t quite go as planned… The loose base of the tart tin came out and the outside rim fell onto my bare arm. As I shouted at the husband ‘its burning meeeeee’ I then panicked and dropped the whole thing from standing height.

It was like a slow camera shot from a disaster movie. We all watched (friends that had come round to eat included) as the tart smooshed in a big pile on the kitchen floor. What did I do? Run out the room into the bedroom, wrap myself in our duvet, refused to let anyone see me and cry like a baby for half an hour (I also sent a frantic text to Sophie, as a fellow baker I knew she’d understand!) Wow. I heard the clean up operation in action, the sound of the Hoover as it sucked up the tart from the floor. What a waste. Of time, of ingredients, of money.

Only all was not lost. I came out of my small break down to find my friends had saved a lot of the tart and to hear that it tasted pretty good. It was on a plate looking all mashed but still usable. We took Sophie’s advise and mashed it up with ice cream to make a Fordham Floor Frangipane Mess. It was gooooood! I’ve even got a bit of it in my lunchbox for work today (minus the ice cream obvs…)!

The recipe can be seen below (I found it in one of those supermarket magazines and can’t find an online version hence taking a photo of it!). For the ultimate Fordham experience make sure you drop it just as it comes out of the oven, then scrap off the floor and eat with ice cream. Or alternatively avoid the clumsiness and have a beautiful looking pudding fit for any dinner party. Either way, it tastes yummy!


a home-made happy birthday

13 Jul

Happy Birthday Husband!! 24 this week! I love a good birthday! I wanted to go all out for this one, his first in our marriage, so I put together a moustache themed surprise (don’t ask me why I went for moustaches.. I have no idea, but it just seemed kinda cute, manly and on-trend!). We had to celebrate at midnight (due to a ridiculously early morning) so whilst husband was out during the evening I had fun crafting and baking.

I made the ‘Dave’ bunting using some brown paper card and printing off the letters and moustaches on white paper before sticking them with good ol’ pritt stick. I hole punched the flags and then threaded them on some string. I wrapped up all his presents in blue polka dot paper and stuck on the moustache tags I made (more on those later).

Husbands favourite cake is red velvet with cream cheese icing so I couldn’t let him have a birthday without some red velvet cupcakes! I used this Hummingbird Bakery recipe for the sponge and the icing/frosting and then used a spare un-iced cake and crumbled up the sponge to sprinkle on the top.   After seeing cake bunting popping up in various places (I am Magpie was one of the first) I decided to have a go at creating my own to help the cakes match into my moustache theme. Using the same brown card as the bunting I cut out little triangles and drew the letters and mini moustaches on them with a thick black pen. I then secured these to some string (using the pritt stick again!) before sticking the string to some wooden skewers (I used BBQ skewers and cut them down to a smaller size). I love the final result, it was so cheap and simple yet really fun!

The final part of husbands moustache birthday extravaganza came in the form of some cross-stitched creations. I created my own moustache cross-stitch chart  in two different sizes  (I may post these on here very soon so keep an eye out if you want them!) which I then stitched using black thread onto plastic canvas. I made a card (see this post) with the larger one and two gift tags with the smaller ones.

I had so much fun making all this stuff and can’t wait to do it again sometime!

Happy Birthday Husband. You deserve the best of the best and I hope you enjoyed your little birthday surprise.


(p.s. If anyone wants more details/a proper tutorial on how to make any of this stuff please let me know, I’d love to help!)

how to never need to buy birthday cards again…

12 Jun

cross-stitch… that is the answer. Learn how to do it and you’ll never need to buy a card again. Ever. For some excellent tips on the basics of cross-stitching and a guide to getting started I point you now in the direction of my dear friend Sophie Brown. Her post is so perfect I don’t need to do one! Hopefully together we can inspire you to pick up a needle and thread and begin your cross-stitch journey. Just think of all the wonderful personalised cards you can make, filled with lots of love and thought and home-made-ness.

Once you’ve decided that cross-stitch is your new hobby/love/passion/obsession (it quickly will become one!) and that you want to make your loved ones cards of all varieties than your first step is to purchase some blank card and envelopes. Husband and I had loads of brown paper card left over from DIY-ing our wedding stationary (invitations and thank you cards) so I’ve used those which you can purchase here (cards above made on ‘ribbed brown’ variety). Or just try online/ebay/hobbycraft/local craft stores to find whatever coloured/patterned card you fancy.

In terms of making a cross-stitched card I have two methods- fabric based and plastic based. The four at the top of this post are what I call plastic based. For these ones I pick a particular small motif/character/design that I think will work and stitch it onto plastic canvas. I purchase this from Sew and So (an excellent online cross-stitch shop which has literally everything you need and for cheap!) and it’s £1.50 a sheet. I can get about 8-15 motifs suitable for cards from one sheet (depending on the size). Most of my inspiration comes from CrossStitcher magazine- I got a subscription too it as a birthday present and it has amazing charts and ideas which I love to use. Once I’ve finished stitching the design I have chosen I carefully cut it out leaving a small border. This is the nerve-wracking part but if you take it slow and steady all should be fine! I love using plastic canvas because it is sturdy and doesn’t fray and gives a kind of solidity to your designs. I secure my finished bits to the card using double sided sticky tabs which I purchase off ebay. I then like to annotate my card with a white gel pen but that’s personal preference!

The second method I use is to stitch on fabric (aida) instead of plastic. There’s less cutting out in this one and it enables you to cross stitch words and phrases which is primarily why I use it. These two patterns above are my own designs and I want to inspire you all to have a go at making your own too! It’s so simple. I print off graph paper from the internet and use a pencil to draft ideas. For the letters CrossStitcher magazine give you an alphabet chart each issue or you could try searching online. Get creative with designing you own little logos and emblems, practice makes perfect and you can rub out any mistakes remember! Once I’ve finished a design I then either cut away the card and fix the aida onto it (like a frame- see ‘ring on it’ design) or fray the edges of the aida and just stick that straight onto the card (see ‘thank you’ design).

So there you have it… the FamilyFordham guide to cross stitched card making. Easy, cheap, fun and full of love.


(p.s. if you need any extra help/tips/links to make your own cards just comment below and let me know!)

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