Comic Strip Word Art

Feb 22

Comic Strip Word Art

I recently completed two pictures for two special boys Rudy and Lincoln whose mum is very good friend of mine. I used their favourite superhero comics for the letters which were laser cut and given spacers behind to enhance the feeling of depth. It was lovely to see there excited reactions when opening their gifts and for them to be hung centre stage in their bedroom.

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Garden Office – End of Year Progress Update

Dec 31

Garden Office – End of Year Progress Update

31st December 2016

Four months have passed since my previous update and with 2016 coming to an end I thought I should finally share with you the progress that we have made.

We ordered the window and patio doors from slideandfold.co.uk and once delivered my brother in law helped myself and my husband to install them. Having not installed windows before we found the process time consuming and the instructions were lacking some details and parts of the process weren’t covered. After much time, frustration, a little brute force and some crossed words we finally got both installed. I am not sure I would recommend doing this to anyone else thinking of trying it but as we needed to keep spending as low as possible we didn’t have much of a choice.

After deliberating on the options for the finished roofing and whether to get someone in to do it or not we finally decided to take the plunge and go for a EPDM roof and install it ourselves. It meant we could have the longevity that EPDM provides but keep costs down by installing it ourselves.

We went with a product called ClassicBond, they provide online tutorials showing the various components needed and how to install them. We ordered all the materials online going with the thicker 1.5mm membrane. Once delivered, we followed the process, as shown online, gluing the membrane into place and all went well. You do have to be careful to eliminate any air bubbles and whilst we have a few we were happy overall with the result.

I had decided to have my first go at tiling and set about tiling the floor of the shed. I found I got pretty messy and got frustated with myself trying to get every tile perfectly level, but actually the end result isn’t too bad at all and I am pleased with myself for doing it.

Next my husband had the challenge of preparing the outside lighting. I had decided I wanted colour changing leds installed on the outside overhang and settled on 9 separate strips. This meant 9 strips of led tape needed 4 cables soldering to each of them (R,G,B and Common). My husband was cursing me over this as it wasn’t the easiest of tasks but when we eventually got them all wired up and tested we could see it is was well worth the effort. Pictures to follow in my next post, once the electrics supply has been installed.

Next we had the rendering guys in to render the building. First they needed to install render board over areas with plywood such as the overhang, overhead structures linking the columns to the building and the perimeter edge of the roof.  Next came the base coat and primer followed by the top coat. December isn’t the ideal time of year for doing this due to the reduced amount of daylight hours and unpredictable weather but eventually it was completed the week before Christmas. This has really transformed the structure into the modern feature for our garden that I had envisioned when I designed it.

To start 2017 off we will be cladding the interior of the shed section and adding storage hooks etc for bikes, tools etc.

The plastering in the office section needs to be done and the electric supply connected.

We then plan to clad the front wall, at some point in 2017.

 

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Garden Office Update

Aug 17

Garden Office Update

17th August 2016

Since my last update my husband has been working hard in the evenings and at weekends and the structure has really moved forward.

All the walls have been built, joists installed and plywood fitted across them ready to take the finished roof covering. Thanks have to be given to family and friends for help they have given and the loan of a cement mixer.

Two columns that are going to be linked to the building via an overhead structure have also been built. This has been done using concrete blocks, reinforcing bars and concrete. The intention is that these will help provide a link between the building and garden itself,  as well as providing a support for  attaching a hanging chair.

Whilst progress has been good there is still a lot to get done before its complete and the finishing details are so important to the success of it. A tight budget however makes this more complicated.

Originally the plan was to have a metal sheeting for the finished roof surface however costs have been coming in higher than anticipated and as the roof surface won’t be visible we are currently considering having a cheaper alternative such as felt.

I have however sourced a company for the window and patio door. Having had quotes previously for aluminium to match the house we decided to get quotes for UPVC in grey, to try and keep costs down however we found there wasn’t much of a price difference.

After some further research I have found a supplier that can provide them in aluminium at a lower price and with a 2-3 week lead time. We visited their showroom last week, with the quality looking good and the window profile looking the same as the house windows, these will be ordered very soon.

That just leaves us with the roof to sort, the rendering to be done, cladding materials to be chosen, a hidden door to make and all the electrics, floors, fixtures and fittings to do.

More on these in the next update.

 

 

 

 

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Orange Custard Cream Cupcakes

May 23

Orange Custard Cream Cupcakes

Last week for my brother in laws Birthday I was given an open reign on what flavour cake to make.

I always like trying new recipes so I delved into my recipe folder to see what caught my eye.

I settled on a recipe pulled out of a Guardian supplement some time ago for Orange Custard Cream Cupcakes as I was trying to go for  something that wasn’t too sugary / chocolaty for my  1 year old niece to have.  Its an easy to follow recipe and they taste great. The only problem I had was on the custard front, having never made custard from scratch before I failed miserably as the mixture split. Instead of having another go I bought some fresh Madagascan vanilla custard from the supermarket.

I will have another attempt at custard another time !

 

RECIPE

For the cakes

175g caster sugar

50ml sunflower oil

50g unsalted butter, softened

3 medium eggs

1tsp orange extract

100ml double cream

250g plain flour

2tsp baking powder

 

For the Icing

225g icing sugar, ideally the fondant sort

Finely grated zest and juice of 1 orange

 

For the custard cream

2 egg yolks

3tsp cornflour

2tsp vanilla extract

25g caster sugar

 

Method

Line the pockets of a muffin tray with muffin papers and heat the oven to 160°C (140°C fan-assisted)

Beat the sugar, oil and butter until light in colour, then beat in the eggs one at a time until smooth. Add the orange extract and cream, beat well, then add the flour and baking powder, and beat again until smooth. Fill each muffin case about two-thirds full with the mix and bake for 20-25 minutes, until the cupcakes are neatly domed and golden. Remove and leave to cool.

To make the custard, beat together all the ingredients in a saucepan, bring to boil, whisking often, then beat until smooth. Cover and leave until cold, then pipe it with a plain 8mm nozzle deep through the top crust and into the cupcake heart; alternatively scoop out a little of the cake with a small knife, spoon in a little custard and top with just s slice from the cake plug.

Beat the icing sugar, zest and enough juice (probably 25ml) to make a thick icing and drizzle over the top of the cupcakes, thereby covering your tracks. (Alternatively omit the cream filling altogether and just ice the cupcakes as they are.)

 

My Tips

I only filled the muffin cases just over half and got 18 cakes in total out of the mix.

For the icing I had to use about 50ml orange juice as 25ml was nowhere near enough. You want the mixture to be thick but runny enough to spread itself out on top of the cake when you spoon it on.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Devilishly Good Gluten Free Chocolate Brownie

May 06

Devilishly Good Gluten Free Chocolate Brownie

For this weeks Friday bake I decided to try out a recipe from  Gluten-Free Christmas Heaven magazine ( xmas 2015). Its easy to follow recipe that doesn’t take very long to do and it smells great when you take it out of the oven.  I took it along to a BBQ with friends, one of which is a Coeliac and it went down very well. I then had some more the following day heated for 15 seconds in the microwave and served with ice cream, it is just delicious.

Recipe

  • 1 packet gluten free Orio type biscuits – I used lovemore O’Choco’s
  • 150g gluten free 50-55% dark Choclate ( I used buttons)
  • 175g butter cut into small pieces
  • 3 free range eggs , beaten
  • 15g cocoa powder
  • 1tsp gluten free baking powder
  • 150g ground almonds
  • 50g dried berries and cherries

 

Method

  1. Preheat Oven to 170ºC. Grease a 23cm square cake tin
  2. Break Chocolate into pieces and place into heatproof bowl. Add butter and stand bowl over pan of gently simmering water. Once melted, remove the bowl from the pan and stir in the sugar. Set aside to cool for 10 minutes.
  3. Gradually whisk in the eggs to make a thick and glossy mixture. Sift the cocoa and baking powder on top and add the ground almonds, berries and cherries. Break half of the biscuits into small pieces and carefully stir into the mixture.
  4. Transfer the mixtures into the tin and smooth over the top. Bake in the oven for 15 minutes, then break the remaining biscuits in half and add to the top. Return to the oven and cook for a further 15-20 minutes, until risen and slightly crusty on top – the mixture should be slightly soft underneath. Leave to cool completely in the tin. The brownies can be eaten straight away, but hold better when stored overnight in an airtight container – make sure to wrap in greaseproof paper and then in foil.

To serve cut into squares.

For an extra naughty dessert serve slightly warm with ice cream.

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