Saturday 15 June 2013

How to Make an Easy Summer Punch

Today's Summer Sharing post brings us a little bit of 'summer in a bowl' (name that show ;-) )

One of my favorite things about Summer is the food and drinks! Everything seems to taste so fresh and tropical. Can’t you just smell the ocean air? {sigh}

When it comes to entertaining in the Summer months, I love easy. I love to be able to toss something onto the grill or in a bowl and it’s done. That’s one reason why I love this punch so much! I came up with it on a whim, and it’s so easy to put together. You’re gonna love it! Plus, it tastes like Summer!
For this punch you will need 4 ingredients and a big bowl.

- 1 can of frozen lemonade 
- 1 can of frozen limeade 
- 1 can of frozen Bacardi Mixers Strawberry Daiquiri 
- 1 2L of 7-Up or Sprite 

Are you ready for the directions?

Pour it all in the bowl!!! Yep, that’s it!! Pour your frozen lemonade, limeade, and Daiquiri mix in the bowl and stir. You can add slices of lemon, lime, and strawberry to make it look fancy if you want to, and just serve it over ice.
I told you it was easy. Now go make you a bowlful, pour yourself a glass, and picture yourself relaxing by the beach, breathing in the ocean air, and being served by some hunkies! ;)

Casey :)

Find Casey at  CSQ Designs and on Etsy.

Mrs Crafty B
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Crafting a Daydream

Friday 14 June 2013

No Bake Cookies

Baking day on Summer Sharing with a twist, no baking! 

I love exploring creativity all around us, especially throughout the home. As we dive into summer, today my creative journey brings me over to Crafting a Daydream with Mrs. Crafty B.

Finding ways to engage our children can be a challenge. What to do when they are hot, bored, and looking for a sweet treat.
No need to turn on the oven on these hot summer days. Below is a fun recipe that you can make with your children.

Summer Snack No Bake Balls

½ C Powdered Milk
½ C Uncooked Oatmeal
¼ C Graham Crackers-crushed, about 2
1C Peanut Butter
1Tsp Vanilla
½ C Coconut
½ C Raisins
¼ C Honey Chocolate Chips
Mix all ingredients together (except chips)
Roll into balls using a teaspoon or cookie scoop, insert a chip or two in the centre of each ball. Chill.
Depending on their age, let them measure, stir, roll and count the rows of balls. You can vary this recipe according to your likings. You can use dried cranberries, sunflower seeds etc. At the last minute, I decided to throw in a handful of Rice Krispies cereal. The formula is very forgiving.
If it becomes a favourite, write the recipe down, perhaps even take a picture of your child making it, and use it as part of a Home Journal to give to your child when they are grown.

Diane Long
Crafting a Daydream

Thursday 13 June 2013

Summer Bloom Pictures

Let's get crafty outside with Vanessa of Ginger and Mora.
With the arrival of the summer we look forward to that wonderful moment when our gardens and countryside fill with fresh green leaves and bright and colourful flowers.
A lovely thing to do at this time of year is to get the kids out in the garden or for a walk encouraging them to look at the pretty fresh blooms and the beautiful new foliage which clearly show the change of season.
My little children and I love doing this and when we have chosen our favourite plant shapes and colours we carefully pick samples of the delicate treasures and take them home to press flat for a few days.
Once perfectly flat and dry they are ready to use to create a gorgeous picture or maybe a special greeting card! All you need to get started is a heavy book (unless you're already equipped with a little flower press) some paper and glue.
As it's such an easy and enjoyable activity to do together with children of all ages, it really gives them full artistic freedom to create their bloom collage!
Don't forget of course, that fabulous pictures can be made any season of the year.. Think of the lovely autumn pictures that you could do!!

Ginger & Mora Home and Garden Accessories
Crafting a Daydream

Wednesday 12 June 2013

Summer Picnics

Over to Rhia for a spot of summer picnicing on Summer Sharing.

While the lovely Annie is off on her travels and (*whispers*) the sun is finally shining I’m here to talk summer – more specifically summer food!! What better way to enjoy the summer than a picnic?

Here are my picnic rules - check for bugs scrupulously before putting the rug down and avoid jam/sticky wasp-attracting foods. Take any excuse to purchase some pretty paraphernalia or jazz up some boring plastic Tupperware (I can always find occasion to get crafty) and for me – I like something a little more adventurous than soggy sarnies (save those for a Teddy Bears’ Picnic with the little ones). If the weather does let you down – cushions off the sofa, rug down and you’ve got yourself a floor picnic – if the food’s good you’ll still be smiling by the end of it.

So here are a couple of my favourite recipes to add to your picnic basket, I hope you enjoy them. I’ve stayed savoury for this post since those of you who know me know I’m always banging on about cakes and biscuits and I thought I’d share something a bit different here. It should be noted however that you must include cakes and biscuits in your picnic (it’s the actual law!) and as long as you steer clear of anything too sticky (see above) then you’ll be safe.

Lentil and Squash Summer Salad: (serve it warm in the Autumn, cold in the summer to enjoy the yumminess all year round)
1 Medium butternut squash – peeled and diced 
2 cloves of garlic – finely chopped 
2 tins puy lentils 
1 small red onion – finely chopped 
100g spinach 
150g cherry tomatoes – chopped Handful of fresh thyme leaves 
Splash of Balsamic vinegar 
50g crumbly cheese of your choice – Cheshire / Wensleydale or even Feta 

Pre-heat oven to Gas Mark 4 or 180C. Lay the squash in a roasting tin, coat with olive oil, chopped/crushed garlic and the thyme leaves. Roast for about 40 minutes until it’s soft. Rinse and drain the lentils and put in a bowl with the chopped onion, tomatoes and spinach leaves. Toss all of this with the Balsamic vinegar and if you like, a little wholegrain mustard. Add the cooled squash and crumble over the cheese of your choice. SIMPLE!! 

Spicy Aubergine Dip: – this has a North African vibe to it. Goes really well with spicy lamb but is excellent on its own as a dip with crackers or flatbreads – even crisps!

2 medium aubergines
Juice of 1 lemon
500g plum tomatoes, chopped
5 cloves of garlic, chopped
Extra virgin olive oil
2tsp paprika
2tsp chilli powder
2tsp cumin
Handful flat leaf parsley, chopped
Handful coriander, chopped

Stab the aubergines all over and bake in over at Gas mark 9 or 240C for about 50mins. Keep your eye on them though - you want the skin to be wrinkly and the flesh to be soft but not burned. Put everything else in a pan and heat for about 20 minutes until it is mushy and a lot of the liquid has simmered away. Cool the aubergines, peel them and mash the flesh discarding any juice which comes out. Mix together, season and add more olive oil if necessary and mix everything together. Serve cold. If you prefer you can blend it to a smooth paste.
Red Pepper and Mascarpone mini tartlets with Parmesan Pastry: Use pre-made pastry for speed or make this Parmesan shortcrust which can be made ahead and frozen. You can even make the filling ahead and keep in the fridge then assemble at the last minute. These are mini-tartlets but if you don’t have a suitable tin they taste just as nice when larger.
For the pastry:
85g plain flour, sifted
40g unsalted butter, chilled
40g parmesan, finely grated

For the filing:
2tbsps Mascarpone
Olive oil
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 large red pepper, deseeded and chopped
Splash of cider vinegar or white wine vinegar
Handful fresh basil leaves, finely chopped
Marinated artichoke hearts

Put the flour, butter and parmesan into a food processor. Whizz until it resembles breadcrumbs, add a little ice cold water at a time until it starts to stick together. Turn onto a floured surface, knead together, wrap in clingfilm, chill for 1 hour. Roll out, cut out rounds with a pastry cutter, press each one into the tin and prick each case with a fork (or use baking beads) to prevent it rising too much. Bake in a preheated oven (190C/Gas 5) for approx. 12 minutes. Cool on a wire rack. Fry the garlic and pepper in olive oil on a low heat until soft. Tip into a food processor, blend until smooth. Put into a bowl with the mascarpone, vinegar and basil. Season to taste. Fill the cooled pastry cases with the paste and top with a piece of artichoke heart and a good grind of black pepper.
Jamie Oliver Pomegranate Cooler – obviously you need to remember beverages for your picnic and I’m sure we’d all love a Pimms or a nice G&T but personally daytime drinking in the sunshine quickly turns me from relaxed Rhia to sleepy Rhia and with little ones in the mix that’s not a good idea!! So it’s nice to have something a bit more interesting than lemonade or the usual soft drinks. This Jamie Oliver drink is super simple, pretty and delicious!

Ice cubes (optional depending on whether you’re going far or have a thermos)
Handful fresh mint leaves
½ lemon
1 pomegranate
1 bottle sparkling water

Half fill your chosen vessel with ice. Scrunch up the mint sprigs/leaves and pop them in. Squeeze in the juice of the lemon. Halve the pomegranite and squeeze hard over a sieve to break all the little jewels and get the juice out. Throw away what’s left in the sieve. Fill up with the sparkling water. Give it a stir. That’s it! Super simple, super tasty!

There you have it!! I’d love to hear about your favourite picnic recipes to. Don’t forget to follow my rules for a safe and happy picnic and don’t forget to obey the law and take cake. In fact, that should be the law for life in general – forget hipflasks, let’s make hip-tins so we can carry cake always, for when we fancy a crumb or two :-) (We need to come up with a better name for them though!)

Don’t forget to join me over on my site sometime  Thanks Annie for letting me chat to your readers.

TTFN, Rhia xxx
Crafting a Daydream

Tuesday 11 June 2013

Meet the Maker: Sarah Young of The Creative Physician

Here's a little mash up of Summer Sharing and Meet the Maker! 

This weeks maker fits right in with the summer theme, bringing the outdoors not only indoors but making it super portable in a unique way. Read on to find out more.
Firstly, two very important questions.

Tea or coffee?
Tea, usually black.  Occasionally with milk.  I think my favourite tea is something called Daydreamer by David’s Tea.  If you like tea and you’ve never been to their website, you should.  Just looking at all the different varieties makes me thirsty.

Biscuit or cake?

Definitely cake.  Chocolate cake with chocolate icing.  Definitely not chocolate ice cream though.

So, tell us a bit about yourself.
I’m Sarah and I currently live in Houston, Texas where I grew up.  My Etsy shop, The Creative Physician, was started last March but got put on hold due to medical school.  After starting medical school last July, some lingering medical problems resurfaced so now I’m taking some time off from school to get healthy again.  In the meantime, I get to enjoy doing lots of crafts and sharing what I create with others through my shop.

...and what about the item that you are sharing with us?
These Tiny Plant with Macrame Hanger Earrings are more than what I would call complicated, but turned out just the way I wanted.  I’ve always had a thing for miniatures, and plan to explore making miniatures into jewellery even more in the future.  I used those tiny terracotta pots you see, filled them with scenery “dirt” (like the kind used in train sets), and put a tiny little artificial plant in there.  While I considered using a real plant, I decided it wasn’t quite as practical, though I’m sure it’s possible too!  I then used macrame techniques on a small scale to create a plant pot hanger, and viola!  I think these earrings would make a perfect gift for a gardener, nature lover, or lover of tiny things like myself.

How long have you been making jewellery and how did you learn
While I’ve general crafts for as long as I remember,  I really only started making jewellery last year for a silent auction I was in charge of at the University of Texas, which benefited Baylor International Paediatric AIDS Initiative.  I taught myself through books and internet tutorials, as well as experimentation (also known as trial and failure).  I’d really like to continue learning new jewellery techniques and explore unusual materials for jewellery, like what I did with these earrings.  I’d also really love to learn how to crochet, but being left-handed makes it difficult to find left-handed instructional videos!

When did you start The Creative Physician and why?
I started The Creative Physician for the same reason I learned how to make jewellery -- to help fundraise for Baylor International Pediatric AIDS Initiative (BIPAI).  After I re-opened my shop this April, I decided to keep it true to its roots, and now donate a minimum of 50% of all profits to BIPAI.  The remaining profit is reinvested in my shop so that I can continue to share the things I love.  I think donating the majority of my profits helps inspire me to create even better pieces.

What inspires and motivates you?
Other than my desire to raise money for BIPAI, I think people in general inspire me.  Maybe that sounds weird, but any time I’m browsing Etsy or Pinterest, I’m always inspired.  Sometimes I see an item and think there’s a way I could make it, but with my own twist.  That’s what I like to share with the world, my very own perspective through jewellery and other crafts.

Any crafting heroes?
Does Martha Stewart count as a crafting hero?  That’s pretty cliche, right?  It’s not so much her as a crafter anymore, as I know she doesn’t come up with a lot of the ideas anymore.  I admire her more for her combination of craftiness and entrepreneurship.  Every time I buy one of her new tools or products, I’m always impressed by the quality and usefulness.  I love how much she pays attention to the details in everything she puts her name on.

Do you have a crafting space?
My home office, which is primarily for studying during medical school doubles as my craft room. Because I haven’t been in school lately, I’ve been able to work on making it a bit more inspiring than it was before. I finally got myself an inspiration wire, which is fun to play with, and a craft table, which I desperately needed. Now I really feel like I have room to work and leave things out sometimes when I’m still working on it. The only disadvantage is that I share my workspace with our two cats, and well, sometimes when I wake up in the morning I’m greeted by disaster.  Most of it is harmless though and overall I enjoy their company while I’m creating things.

So can we join you in your virtual world?
As a child of the digital age, you can contact me a variety of ways over the Internet:
Polyvore:  (I haven’t had too much time to play with this, but if you haven’t tried it before you should.  It’s like Pinterest with magazine collages!)
I’m dying to start a blog, but as of right now it’s totally blank so I’ll hold off on a link to the nothingness.

Finally, some quick fire questions that we are dying to know the answers to.

Favourite colour?
Aqua. Really it started out as turquoise but now it’s really just the lighter shades, like Tiffany blue.

The best season?
Definitely spring. All the color and flowers, and usually here in Texas it isn’t 100 degrees, yet.

Your favourite food?
Birthday cake probably. Not just cake, it has to be about someone’s birthday, especially if it’s my birthday! That came off selfish, but really I just love celebrating birthdays.

The best day of the week?
I’m probably with most people in saying Friday. I love the feeling you get when you finish a long week and have the whole weekend to look forward to.

What is the best word?
I have no idea. According to some website, there are over 1,000,000 English words, so it’s definitely hard to choose.

Favourite place?
If we’re limiting it stateside, I’d have to go with the city of my alma mater, Austin, Texas. If it weren’t for medical school, I probably would have never left. There’s just something about the laidback atmosphere there that I can’t get enough of.

Your biggest achievement? 
Getting into medical school, for sure. Hopefully a few years from now I can come back and say graduating from medical school. That’ll be way more exciting.

Thank you so much Sarah for the insight into your crafty world.

Mrs Crafty B

Crafting a Daydream

Monday 10 June 2013

Summer Excitement and Garden Play

Welcome to Summer Sharing! This week is all about summer and sharing tokens of our summer spirit to get us in the mood after the questionable 'spring' we have had here in the UK and keep us hopeful that last weeks weather is here to stay. 

I'm going to kick off the week by telling you all what we got up to once the sunshine started properly. Despite having had a few nice days here and there and despite playing in the garden in all weather in our house, last week brought a different mood. Baby B is often first out and a bit more outside time recently with the beautiful flowers in bloom saw him out at the start of the week in his wellies and PJ's very early to pick the flowers and search for bees. Both currently words used a lot by Baby B. 
I ventured outside with my cup of tea too. This is unheard of at 8.15am on a Sunday Normally I'm watching with encouragement from the conservatory. Here is Baby B giving Mummy a daisy <3 
The same Sunday saw Hubby B disappear to a friends very large and very beautiful cottage garden for a few hours. He returned home with lots of bulbs and perennials for our work in progress (OK Hubby B's work in progress) and this rhubarb for me. There was so much that not only have I made a weeks worth of cookies and muffins for people that I am visiting this week, (I will share recipes later on the blog) I have a stash in the freezer to make something else. 
On Monday I set up the garden with some play equipment and the boys got straight outside. Normally our outdoor play is centred around an activity but the glorious weather meant just playing outside in the sunshine with their toys was enough. Baby B loves water; swimming, bath time, watering the garden etc, so it's no surprise that after 20mins of unsuccessfully trying to throw water over me and the others, he was not deterred by the fact that only he was soaking wet. It's OK though, the sunshine got to work and dried him right back off again!
That afternoon, the boys helped me make some tortilla pizzas and we took those with some other bits and bobs and had a picnic tea. Much more laid back and no mess for me! They even enjoyed some of those crispie cakes for pudding with some strawberries!
This is how Baby B wore his sun hat pretty much all of last week. I thought it was because it was far too small but once I found a bigger one, he still wore it the same way! Can you say 'trend setter.'
For the rest of the week I worked but work was taken outside where I set up the toys and let the boys go wild! The good weather made such a difference to our week and planned activities were not required as much because there was just not enough time to play with all their toys and explore the flowers as it was. It's not only adults, you can definitely sense a change in the little ones with warmer, sunnier weather! 
We even put water in the pool with the balls for a paddle!
Little cat got into the spirit too, posing for a sunny picture!
These are just a few snippets of the change in routine and mood that the sunshine brought to our house as we make the best of things at our disposal. I hope it's got you thinking about what changes summer brings about for you and that you feel free to share them here in the comments box.

Please come back each day this week as some other bloggers are sharing their summer with you too whilst I travel about the UK.

I hope you enjoy!

Mrs Crafty B
Crafting a Daydream

Friday 7 June 2013

Summer Sharing Week

Crafting a Daydream

On Sunday, Hubby B is jetting off to Japan for the first of a few globe trotting trips in the next couple of months. For the ten days he will be away, I'll be UK trotting (much more glamorous) and visiting friends and family.

In my efforts to keep this weeks summer sun shining (regardless of what the weather might do) and in an attempt to continue to give you some reading over here on Crafting a Daydream, I'm hosting Summer Sharing. A collaboration from bloggers all over about about their summer antics. Hopefully you will be entertained, inspired, will get to know some other bloggers if you don't know them already and most importantly you will continue in the summer spirit.

Lets share summer!

Mrs Crafty B

Thursday 6 June 2013

Mr Bumble Makes Chocolate Crispie Cakes

At the beginning of the week, Baby B and I made some more chocolate crispie cakes following my doing it with my minded children last week.
That crafty Mr Bumble just had to get in on the action.
Chocolate crispie cakes are great to make with little ones aren't they. No measuring,  no baking, they (note THEY) love the mess and we all love the results.

Here's how

- Baby B broke up lots of chocolate into the bowl. We used 200g of milk chocolate less the bit he just HAD to eat. 
- Mummy B popped the chocolate into the microwave to melt and mixed in 2 teaspoons of golden syrup. 

- The syrup is optional but it helps them to stick together and makes them slightly softer to eat. This is the ideal point to add all of your other optional extras...let your creativity flow! Marshmallow? Raisins? Biscuit bits? Dried apricot? 

- Baby B mixed up the cooled chocolate, adding handfuls (or bits of handfuls) of rice cereal from the bowl Mummy B provided him with. 

- Once the mixture was completely chocolate covered, Baby B spooned it into some cases. 

Here's Mr Bumble again trying to get involved. 
- Leave to set and enjoy!

These couldn't be simpler and they make a great base for more decoration. Maybe icing pens or more sweeties?! Baby B likes to eat one with strawberries, the fruit of the moment. Mmmmm. We are going to make white chocolate ones next methinks maybe with some dried raspberries.

Happy crispie cake making. 

Mrs Crafty B