Monday, 23 December 2013

DIY: Dyed Bottle Brush Trees

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I've seen these dyed bottle brush trees all over Pinterest and a few blogs, and I've really wanted to have a go at them. I think they look so charming, and once the trees have been bleached, they can be dyed literally any colour that you want, meaning that they are quite versatile. I've seen loads of different colour combinations, but I decided to go for different shades of purple and pink, considering my walls in my room are a shade of purple. Plus it's ok to be a bit girly occasionally.
I bought these bottle brush trees off Amazon, as well as some Dylon hand dyes. The shades I used were Flamingo Pink, Powder Pink, Burlesque Red and Intense Violet. I think they came out perfectly, and all of the colours really go with each other.
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You Will Need:
Bottle Brush Trees of various sizes
Bleach
Hand Dye packets
Rubber Gloves

Method:
First, fill a large bucket or sink with a mixture of hot water and bleach, in a ratio of 2:1. Soak all of the trees in the bleach for around 20-30 minutes, or until the trees are a yellowish white colour. Rinse the trees in cold water immediately, and leave the trees to dry in a warm place overnight.
Prepare the hand dye according to the packet's instructions in smaller bowls. Divide the trees into almost equal amounts for each colour, and soak the trees in the dye for different amounts of time. Some trees I put in the dye for around 20 seconds; others I left for 5 minutes. Rinse the trees in cold water to get rid of excess dye. Again leave the trees to dry overnight.
Once the trees are dry, use a bristle brush to comb out any climbs, and to generally make them look a bit more like trees.
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I then got a bit more artistic, and used some silver and gold glitter glue on the trees. Some of the trees I made it look like there were little baubles, while on others I just spread the glitter all over the tree.
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They're so cute, right? I love how these look, and I can't wait to find a space for them in my room. I would definitely recommend you to give it a go, it's really so much fun. 
Sophie x

Thursday, 19 December 2013

Gingerbread Men

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It's not Christmas without some baked goods. Whether it's mince pies, stollen, yule log or a Christmas cake; you need to do some baking. I make a yule log every year, without fail. You can read my recipe for it here. But I also like to do some festive baking in the weeks before Christmas. This year I thought I'd make some gingerbread men; mostly because I remembered I had bought myself a man shaped cookie cutter, and I figured it was about time I used it.
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Makes approx. 35 gingerbread men
Ingredients:
350g Plain Flour
1tsp Bicarbonate of Soda
2tsp Ground Ginger
1tsp Ground Cinnamon
125g Butter
175g Light Brown Sugar
1 Egg
4tbsp Golden Syrup
Gel Icing
M&Ms or Smarties
Method:
Sift the flour, bicarbonate, ginger and cinnamon all together into a food processor. Add the butter, and blend the ingredients until the mixture forms breadcrumbs. Then stir in the sugar.
In a separate bowl, beat together the egg and golden syrup, and add this to the food processor.  Pulse the mixture to form a dough.
Knead the dough together on a floured surface until smooth, wrap in cling film, and put in the fridge for 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, preheat the oven to Gas Mark 4, and line some baking trays with greaseproof paper.
Once the dough has cooled, roll out the dough on a floured surface to a thickness of approx. 0.5cm.
Cut out the man shaped biscuits using the cookie cutter, and place onto the baking tray. Make sure the biscuits are spaced apart, as they will spread a bit.
Bake for 12-15 minutes, until the biscuits are golden brown. Leave the biscuits to cool for a few minutes on the tray, before transferring to a cooling rack.
When the biscuits are completely cool, ice faces onto the gingerbread men, and stick on the sweets using spots of icing.
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These gingerbread men came out all soft and chewy, which is just how I like them. If you prefer yours slightly more crunchy, just roll them out a bit thinner. I couldn't resist eating a few of these slightly warm, they were just so irresistible.
Sophie x

Sunday, 15 December 2013

Just an Update

I do feel like I've been extremely rubbish when it comes to this blog.
I kind of shocked myself when I looked and saw that the last time I posted something, it was over a month ago. I well and truly let things go here.
But I haven't given up!

I've never forgotten about my blog. I'm constantly making notes of things I can bake and blog about, and always in the back of my mind I think 'I need to write a post'; I've just been struggling to find the time. I'm working full time now, so working out when I can make something has become a bit difficult, but I think I'm getting the hang of it now. 

I've planned out a few posts for Christmas,  which I'm just sorting out at the moment, and I'll hopefully manage to get them out in the next couple of weeks. 
(Can we just take a moment to panic over the fact that it is just 10 days until Christmas!? Where did the time go?)

In the mean time, just keep the faith, and sing some Christmas songs.

Sophie x