glasgow's cutest* tearoom and craft gallery

Wednesday, 28 March 2012

Easter Bird's Nest Cupcakes

I'm all confused! I thought Easter was this weekend? It's not. Still a week to go before I can eat my body weight in chocolate...
I didn't want to start too early making Easter treats but it now seems that I have. These little Easter bird nest cupcakes have been going down a treat with the kiddies this week.
These easy peasy cupcakes are put together using a chocolate batter for the cake and butter cream piped on in a circle to make the little bird's nest. A few Cadbury's mini eggs and a wee tweety bird and you've got a pretty good Easter treat. I got these little tweety bird decorations from Tesco for 97p so go get some if you want them.

100g butter
100g caster sugar
2 eggs free rage of course!
10g cocoa powder
90g self raising flour
2 tbsp milk
Chocolate egg and birdie decorations

Oven set to 180 degrees and arrange about six, maybe seven muffin cases on muffin tray.

Cream butter and sugar together till pale. Beat in eggs one at a time until then sieve the cocoa powder and SR flour together and gently fold into mix to make a nice smooth batter. Add the milk, gently mix. Get the batter into the cases quickly and be careful not to overfill, you don't want an overflowing cupcake.

Bake for about 20 minutes. A skewer inserted should come out clean when baked.

Leave to cool and make butter cream...
100g real butter, unsalted, don't use margerine or spreads. They've too much water in them to be able to hold a piped shape when piping your icing.
200g icing sugar
Few drops of vanilla and a drop of milk

Real butter is often hard especially if you take it straight from the fridge. Recently I've been measuring my butter into a glass bowl then melting it for a few seconds (less than 10) in the microwave* to soften. This makes beating the sugar in MUCH easier. With a wooden spoon, really beat the sugar and butter, vanilla and a dash of milk if you need it together to get a nice pale icing. Make sure there are no bits of butter not completely mixed. By the time the cakes have cooled, the butter cream should be ready to pipe.

Using a piping bag and a big star nozzle, pipe a circle of buttercream then place the eggs and chick in the centre. Voila.

*if you forget about the butter in the microwave and if completely melts, don't panic and don't waste the butter. It is expensive. Leave it to start firming up again and continue as normal. If you can't wait and you put the sugar into the butter. Give it a good beating until it is really smooth. I can can look separated for ages before it properly starts to bind.

Monday, 19 March 2012

Still sewing....

Right, I think it can now be called an obsession. All I can think about is sewing, my sewing patterns and fabric. The fabric obsession is nothing new but as I mentioned in my last entry I've been learning to make my own clothes. I had a day off today and spent the entire day sewing skirts!
The skirt on the left used a fabric called Cindy which I bought from M is for Make, the yellow skirt on the left was a yellow dot poplin fabric and centre, Hopscotch again from M is for Make.
The pattern as I mentioned before was Colette Patterns and the skirt was called Ginger. I can't get enough of making them.

Once I'd finished my skirt sewing for the day. I still didn't feel satisfied. So I used some leftover remnants of fabric to make this peter pan collar which you could pop over your cardi or t shirt and look super cute. I haven't finished mine yet as I didn't have any ribbon to hand to make the ties. I'll tie up those loose ends tomorrow when I'm back in the tearoom ;-)
I adapted the free pattern from Colette which I found when I was obsessively reading every page of her site. Her version makes a faux fur collar with pom pom ties.

I just made a flat one and will add satin or velvet black ribbon to make the ties.
You can download the free pattern here. I printed the simple pattern and placed it on a lovely cream remnant I had (a curtain actucally) and cut out. I also cut out the same in iron on interfacing and adhered to my curtain remnant fabric. For the underside, I used a bit I had leftover from my spotty skirt. Right sides facing, I sewed all the way round leaving a gap at the back of the neck so that you can turn the collar the right way round then stitch the opening closed. How I am to attach the ties I have not yet decided... I'm afraid I battered on as I usually do with a project even if I'm ill equipped... it keeps me amused...
Last thing for now are the fabric birds I added to my Easter tree in the tearoom.
I made them using fabric remnants and a pattern found online. I won't say too much about them just now because they'll feature again in a future post in more detail...

Wednesday, 14 March 2012

Spring in the air

Spring IS in the air! I'm not wearing a cardigan today. Which is rare. I'm also wearing TROUSERS which is a rare sight. I only have one pair of chino type things and a pair of black "skinny" jeans which I feel odd in, coz I'm not skinny.

Anyway new obsession this fortnight is clothes making. Every night I've been trawling the internet for lovely fabric to make my creations.
This is the fabric I used for my skirt.
I've fallen for this woman who designs the patterns I've been using. Colette Patterns. I've already made the Ginger skirt with success.
I was dubious about the Beginners claim on the pattern but with a wee bit of guidance from some clothes making chums, I now have a fully pret a porter garment. I do sew. I sew soft furnishings but the world of pattern reading and clothes making until now seemed to me unachievable. I'd recommend it to anyone who fancied trying their hand at sewing clothes. It has just occurred to me that I have no photo of the a fore mentioned hand made skirt. I'll get that sorted for the next time.

Onto tearoom news, well, I now have a colleague. Alex MacKenzie, a regular to the tearoom with her two girls and faithful Crafternooner. She started just over a week ago and it is going great. She totally gets what I'm trying to do with the tearoom and has tonnes of ideas and stuff for how I can develop. Alex will be here with me on Thursdays and Saturdays so if you can, pop in and say hello.

Crafternoons are here to stay! Folk had requested a regular Crafternoon so we're going to be crafting on the last Sunday of each month.

As before each Crafternoon will have a different theme, suitable for all abilities and you'll have something beautiful to take away with you. The March Crafternoon is a Spring inspired one using fabric to sew some birds and creating a lovely Spring/Easter mobile for your home.
Email tea(at) if you want to come along.

Onto Easter decorating. I've had fun decorating my Easter tree for the tearoom. The images here don't show it very gloriously but I assure you, it is rather cute.
I got my biggest vase, added a big pink bow and soaked some Florist's Oasis and pushed it all inside the vase. The Oasis anchored the lovely twigs (that I got from my friend Allie the florist but in previous years have pilfered from my local park or green space) which I then decorated simply with ribbons, fabric scraps and some painted eggs. Very simply but people seem to like it.

That's all for now. Better go and bake some cakes like my new fav lemon and blueberry loaf.