Pyrographed Heart Signs

2014-02-13 08.22.46This year I made lots of my own christmas presents, and these pyrographed heart signs I made were very popular! I was unsure about putting how to make them up on the blog, however I had a bit of research and you can get a pyrography tool for less than £15 on the internet, for example here or here . I am very lucky to have a creative family, I borrowed the pyrography kit from my Mum and my Dad cut the hearts out of beech faced plywood with his scrollsaw. If you don’t have access to a shed full of tools, you can buy ready cut wooden hearts on the internet, for example here or here.

You will need: a wooden heart, a pyrography tool, pretty ribbon, a rubber and a pencil.20140127_182021

First of all lightly draw your design onto the heart in pencil. I wrote a simple word in curly lettering, and then a doodly pattern around the outside, lots of small teardrops, hearts and flowers that interlock together. 20140127_184043Turn your pyrography tool on to a low heat and start to trace the pencil design. Pyrography is just like drawing, use the tool exactly how you would use a pen. 20140127_185236Make sure you go over the lettering a couple of times to make it really stand out, and go around the outlines of the shapes.20140127_190234Choose a couple of shapes and fill them in completely, and for others just go around the outlines, splitting the shape into two sections. Thread some pretty ribbon through the top, I used a polka dot red ribbon. You can write names, words, quotes, whatever you fancy that is unique to the person you are giving it to!

20131219_164423This is a larger heart I did in pine for my friend Becky for Christmas. I think these make gorgeous presents, and are totally unique, you could also do them for Valentines Day. This is a craft you can enjoy and be completely creative with, just like sketching, I think it’s really fun.

Love Mrs Gardom

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Heavenly Vegetarian Tart

20131226_194346      My hubby absolutely adores roast dinners, however we don’t eat meat so sometimes coming up with a veggie main to go with all those lovely roast potatoes and vegetables is a challenge. For boxing day tea, I invented this epic tart, filled with homemade pesto, loads of cheese, mushrooms onions and a bit more cheese. It really is comfort food, a lovely english roast dinner, no animals necessary. It does require a bit of time and effort, but it is worth it, promise!

You will need… 4oz butter/margerine, 6oz plain flour, 50g walnuts, 60g olives, a big handful fresh basil, pepper, salt, olive oil, 150g mushrooms, 1 small onion, 75g mozarella cheese, 1 slice of bread, 25g cheddar cheese, pestle and mortar, 20cm flan dish, mixing bowl, rolling pin.20131226_175214

Preheat your oven to 200 degrees. First of all make the pastry. For this you need to put your flour and a pinch of salt in a large bowl. Cut your butter into little chunks and mix these into the flour with a knife, when all the butter is covered in flour add 3 tablespoons of warm water and stir in. Form the pastry into a ball (f you need to add more water to bind it together, add it by the teaspoon), cover in cling film and pop in the fridge.20131226_170127

I wanted to add an extra texture to my tart so I created a walnut pesto, if you don’t have a pestle and mortar you could always use ready made green pesto, but the homemade version is much nicer! For this, put your walnuts into the pestle and mortar and grind down into tiny pieces, add your handful of basil and squish this as well. Then add your olives, mixed herbs, salt and pepper and a tablespoon of olive oil and grind this in a circular motion until it looks like a thick paste.

Dice the onion and fry in a tablespoon of butter, slice your mushrooms and add these to the frying pan once the onions are soft.

20131226_185722Roll out your pastry on a floured surface until it will cover the flan dish and is about 5mm thick. Put your pastry over the flan dish and press down carefully. 20131226_185822Spread your pesto over the bottom of the pastry, then layer half the mushrooms on top of this.20131226_190231

Slice your mozarella and form a layer of this on top of the mushrooms.

20131226_190308Add another layer of mushrooms and onion. Blitz the bread into breadcrumbs in a food processor or just tear it by hand and cover the dish with these. Finally grate your cheddar and sprinkle over the top.

20131226_190434Place your tart into the preheated oven and cook for 20-25 minutes until the pastry is nice and golden and the cheese is all melted. 20131226_194905

Serve with crispy roast potatoes, vegetables and cauliflower cheese (if you fancy more cheese!) or for a lighter meal serve with a lovely rocket salad. A glass of gorgeous red wine is also a must, our favourite is Marques de Carano Reserva 2009. This is one of my favourite dishes and is a really great go to recipe if you have vegetarian guests or you want to cook something a bit special.

Enjoy, Love Mrs Gardom

Christmas Chocolate Cake

20131223_191611Christmas isn’t christmas without cake, but I would much rather have chocolate instead of fruit cake. So here is my recipe for an awesome chocolatey cake, perfect for when family pops in unexpectedly and you’ve run out of mince pies! It’s a basic chocolate sponge with a chocolate ganache covering and it is marvellous! I used milk chocolate as the hubby hates dark chocolate, but if you would rather have a richer cake use dark chocolate.

20131223_174415You will need 6oz butter/margarine, 6oz sugar, 3 eggs, 5oz flour, 2oz cocoa/hot chocolate, 1 teaspoon baking powder, 100g chocolate, 100ml double cream, a big cake tin.

First of all preheat your oven to 180 degrees and grease your cake tin with some margarine or a sheet of greaseproof paper. I usually use a big cake tin, mine is 24 cm as I would rather have a larger flatter cake that can feed more! Now mix the butter and sugar together in your mixer or by hand. Add the eggs one at a time and then sieve in your flour, baking powder and cocoa slowly while still mixing.

20131223_175949Mix all this until you have a nice smooth cake mixture. Pour your cake mixture into the tin and bake for about 20 minutes. To check whether the cake is cooked poke a knife into your cake and if it comes out without any mixture on it it’s done. Leave your cake to cool down.

20131223_185323So now for your ganache, break up your chocolate into pieces in a bowl. Heat and whisk the cream in a pan on a low heat but don’t let it boil. Once the cream is hot ( mine took 4 minutes) pour over the chocolate in the bowl and whisk until it is all mixed together.20131223_183822

Let your ganache cool and turn out your chocolate cake onto a plate (or a fancy cake stand if you’re showing off). Once the ganache is cool, start spreading it over your cake, making sure it is covered evenly. For a nice finishing touch, grate some of your leftover chocolate with a cheese grater and sprinkle over your masterpiece.20131223_191406

And that’s it. This is a lovely indulgent cake, perfect with a big cup of tea on a chilly winters day.

Have a wonderful christmas! Love, Mrs Gardom

Beaded Heart Decorations

20131219_151216I made these beaded heart decorations for our christmas tree this year and used red, gold, clear and pearl beads. They would also be lovely to hang as decorations all round the year, in colours to match your room.20131219_134421You will need wire, thin enough to thread beads onto, round nose pliers, wire cutters, invisible thread and beads. Beads can be quite expensive from haberdashery shops so I would suggest buying cheap jewelery with small beads from shops like Primark and using those beads, also try stationery shops like The Works, who often sell nice sets of beads for a couple of pounds.

20131219_134724Choose a set of colours, no more than 4 to keep it simple and measure about 20cm of wire for large decorations, and 15cm for smaller decorations. Cut your wire and fold it in half, using your pliers to squeeze the middle into a neat V shape. Start threading your beads, make sure you use a variety of colours and sizes.

20131219_140741Thread the beads on one side of the heart, leaving about an inch of wire free, use the pliers to squeeze the wire, stopping the beads from slipping off. Do the same for the other side of your heart.20131219_144711Then join both ends of the wire with a twist and bend into a heart shape.

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Twist the ends of the wires tightly together and then fold the twisted wire into a loop, securing it by squeezing the loop with the pliers.

20131219_150615Tie a loop of invisible thread through the wire loop you have created and bend the heart into shape again. And thats it!

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You can try different wire shapes, like stars, but hearts are easy enough to shape and look lovely.

Enjoy, Love Mrs Gardom

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Wooly Christmas Bauble Tutorial

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Last year me and Sam were looking around John Lewis for fancy christmas baubles (don’t worry we only bought two) and saw some cute ones that looked like balls of wool, but they were expensive! I decided to make some myself this year and here’s how i did it.

You will need…a cheap plastic bauble, wool (just cheap wool from a pound shop or wilkos will do – its about the colour), double sided sticky tape and scissors.

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First of all you need to stick a strip of double sided tape on the bauble from one side to the other, peel off the backing and add another strip from the other side all the way around.

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Once you’ve done this stick the end of your wool to the tape and start wrapping. The key to this is to do full circles and make sure you keep covering your bauble evenly. Nobody likes a wonky bauble.

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When there are no gaps and you are happy with the effect, cut off your wool leaving about 4 inches. With this leftover wool tie a loop which is the same size as your bauble. Then slip the loop snuggly over your bauble, which gives a nice neat way to finish. Ta-Dah!!

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I think these are really fun and a nice cheap way to slightly alter your christmas tree colour scheme. If you want to go really crazy, use a couple of different colours, just tying them together and wrapping with three strands of wool instead of one.

20131206_143153Well there we go, first internet tutorial done!

Enjoy, Love Mrs Gardom