Monday, 31 March 2008

Orange and Almond Cake

It took me such a long time to find a recipe for orange and almond cake that I thought I’d post it here.

It’s a very light sponge with not too much overpowering almond or orange, which is what I like. For a stronger orange-y taste from concentrate orange juice could work well.

In the end I improvised on a normal Victoria sponge recipe and hoped for the best!


200g unsalted butter - softened

200g granulated or caster sugar

200g self raising flour

4 eggs (I used medium)

1 tsp of vanilla extract

Zest and juice of one large orange

100g almonds – ground up – I bought flaked almonds and ground them up myself as the chopped ones were twice the price!


Heat oven to gas mark 4.

Cream together butter and sugar until soft and fluffy

Add eggs in one at a time, beating in thoroughly before the next. Add vanilla and orange zest and juice.

Then fold in the flour and the almonds until combined.

Pour into a lined and buttered cake tin and bake for 1 hour – this can also make two smaller sponges which you can then layer up with icing/cream in the middle. My oven tends to take a long time to cook cakes so keep an eye on it every 15minutes or so.

Remove from oven, rest for a few minutes before turning out onto a plate or wire rack.

This cake makes a lovely warm dessert; we had ours with ice cream, which was lovely. The top is very crispy when warm and the inside fluffy and soft. Unfortunately no pictures as we've scoffed most of it already!

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Friday, 28 March 2008


I'm pleased to be able to add some springtime photos to my blog, we have about 5 fruit trees in our garden (plum, apple, pear and damson) which makes for lovely blossom in the Spring. This is our first spring in the house so I am looking forward to more blossom on the way.

We moved in during last summer and the trees were heaving with fruit (we had lots of jam at the end of it!) so I expect lots of blossom!

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Thursday, 27 March 2008


I often think about things that I could blog and how interesting it would be and then I promptly forget as I go off to do something else.

So this is a blog to say that I am thinking of writing interesting things but I am sadly lacking in time.

Its been a busy weekend so I've not been able to list as much as I'd like but I am hoping to return this weekend with lots of lovely stock once I get a chance to sit down and do it! It can be very frustrating working full time and being a crafter - I'm a frustrated crafter!!

I have two new items in my shop though, firstly:

Gorgeous copper earrings with purple and black, I've called them Morocco because they have that kind of feel...

And taking inspiration from the new Alchemy feature on Etsy, I have created a listing that allows buyers to choose their own colour combinations for a gorgeous chunky necklace. The necklace itself is a striking piece, in any colour, as the beads are like little shiny pebbles. It is a lovely piece to wear with a little black dress!

Your Bespoke Necklace:

Bye for now!

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Monday, 17 March 2008

oxidizing silver - with eggs

So I had a go at oxidizing silver at the weekend. The total stingy person in me couldn't bear to put eggs on nice sterling silver but I tried it anyway!
I tried it with a couple of hard boiled eggs with two pairs of earrings, using this technique here

The victims:

The process:

Two hard boiled eggs, boil for about 15minutes.
Get a couple of sealable bags and put a pair in each, bash egg lightly with a wooden spoon or a small cup. Making sure the egg yolky goodness gets on to the metal. Til it looks like this:

I left mine in for about 3 hours, turning every hour or so and squishing the egg yolk closer around the earrings a bit more.
The findings - headpins and jumprings - oxidized quite quickly but the earwires were more of a pain and didn't really oxidize black.

Finished result:

Not bad for a first go, but I think I will try to source different earwires next time to get a better patina. The rest of the findings came out really well so I'm pleased with those.

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Wednesday, 12 March 2008

My Birthday Treasury

My birthday Treasury and also my first Treasury!

Etsians who share my birthday - 5th March.

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Monday, 10 March 2008

My First Earwires

I had my first try at making my own earwires today, using this tutorial from McFarland Designs.

They aren't quite as good as the ones pictured in the tutorial but I think they are quite good for a first go!

I made them using 20g sterling silver wire, half hard. I didn't have a Sharpie pen so I used a thick marker pen instead. I did try them on a narrow wooden spoon but the wire didn't spring back so I had to unravel it and start again. I think the earwires would have turned out better if I'd got the wider marker pen instead.

I'll be keeping these for myself and working on some more to sell as complete earrings once I become more proficient!

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Thursday, 6 March 2008

My Birthday!

Yesterday was my 24th birthday and I had a lovely day.

First of all, an Etsy thing...
I managed to get my first Treasury on Etsy yesterday and it features Etsians who share my birthday!

Birthday Treasury

Including this gorgeous butterfly from Ikonic Vintage

I also had a lovely day spent having lunch at the Great House in Lavenham, very nice 3 courses, absolutely stuffed afterwards. The village and the surrounding countryside was also beautiful, and it looked even better because it was such a sunny day! I wish I had taken some pictures now. I did find a picture of their Creme Brulee, which I had!

I have also discovered a really great tea related gadget, which means I shall be drinking much more loose leaf tea in the future. I am very happy about this find:

You tilt it on its side and pour the tea through the strainer part, and the little metal tray catches the drips when you put it down!
Genius! We bought at at Cafe Clare, in Clare, Suffolk - a very nice little cafe with what looked to be gorgeous cakes - we could't manage another bite though so had to miss tasting them this time!

Finally - happy birthday to all the lovely Etsians in my Treasury!

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