Aunty Kate’s Big Bake

As I think I mentioned in my last post about making a memory bear for my nephew, his birthday was to be celebrated a week early due to his parents getting married next weekend. His party was today. The invitation contained a plea for ‘star bakers’ to get baking. Not that I consider myself a star baker (remember my recent Donnie Darko scones?), however, I do like to bake, with mixed results. So, naturally, as I like to put myself under extreme pressure, I offered to make the birthday boy’s cake ūüėĀ

He’s car mad, so it had to be car-themed. I found this photo on Pinterest which I thought I stood a chance of replicating.


I baked the two sponges Friday night. I only have one 8″ cake tin, so I had to bake them one at a time. At 1hr 15 mins baking time, it was a late night. On the plus side, I discovered a new attachment for my Magimix, a dough blade and the sponges rose better than when I’d made them previously. 

Saturday night was decorating night. I trimmed and halved each sponge, then sandwiched with buttercream and jam before coating in apricot jam to help the icing stick.


Nice buns?!

Then, the scary bit. Four packs of black ready-to-roll icing later …


Dead on my feet, I couldn’t decide whether to plough on with the decorating, or go to bed. I ploughed on until I ran out of icing sugar.


Once my little man had gone for his nap today, I was back to it. I couldn’t get the consistency of the icing right and so had to abandon the star shapes for the grass, in favour of just bunging the green icing on.


Not a patch on the Pinterest version, but not a failure like my scones! 

Lacking a big enough cake box or cover, I came up with the perfect solution – which fitted the theme perfectly. 


(My son’s car storage box.)

The birthday boy seemed happy enough, which makes it all worthwhile.



All this baking has taken me away from the memory bear. I’ve also had a rethink on the colours and the new colour scheme works much better I think. No teasers, you’ll have to wait to see the finished bear.

(The birthday boy actually turns two on Friday, so I could have a busy few evenings ahead trying to finish the bear.)

T-shirts maketh the bear

One of my nephews turns two next week and I’ve offered to make a memory bear for his birthday. I’ve never actually finished the first bear I started – unfinished project no. 3 – but, having made two memory quilts, I feel reasonably hopeful that I can do this.

My sister-in-law passed on some of my nephew’s tshirts for my little man. Seeing as he has loads already, I’ve given most back but kept a few for the bear. 

Now I’ve just got to work out how to turn these: 

Into this: 

Keep you posted! 

Hoopla hurrah

I’ve finishing framing Option 1 of my French knot embroideries in the hoop. Which I’ve discovered is called Hoopla. I found a few methods online to finish the back, and ended up combining a couple.

I drew around the inside of the inner hoop onto some leftover white felt and cut out two circles. I put one against the back of my embroidered silk noile, and then, having cut the fabric to an inch around the frame (too short I now think), i used a running stitch to gather the fabric at the back of the hoop.


Then I placed the second felt circle against the gathered fabric, and, using a whip stitch, sewed it onto the back.


All done over a crafty pub trip yesterday lunchtime.

I damped it last night, to wash away the washable fabric pen I’d used. Nice and dry this morning, I’ve added a ribbon to try and hide the screw at the top. It’s a bit bigger than I’d have liked, but it’s the only suitable ribbon I could lay my hands on. So it’ll have to do!


I also added a little label to the back.


Now all that remains is to wrap it up and post it off to my friend. It was actually her birthday yesterday, but she’ll excuse it being a little late. 

Cast your vote …

I need your help to choose between two French knot designs. But, first, Happy Easter! Here’s one I made a lot¬†earlier (circa early 1990s).

My parents are preparing to move nearer to me, and when having a sort out, they came across this and decided to pass it back to me. I can’t remember when I made this for my Dad, but I’m fairly sure it would’ve been when I was at primary school. A loooooooooong time ago!

Right, back to the task at hand. Inspired by the amazing work of Ambrosia Stitches¬†and with a friend’s birthday on the horizon, I decided to have a go at some hand embroidery. Following the Ambrosia Stitches tutorial ‘A project that will make you love French knots’, I was aiming to create something like this, but for the letter ‘L’.

Having consulted my friend on her preferred colours – keeping it vague by saying I was making something for her new home – I decided to go for blues and greens. Two blues, two greens. I ordered some silk noile online, which ended up coming from someone who lives down the road (so to speak), so I’ll save myself the postage in future. My local haberdashery had never heard of silk noile. Neither had I. Thank god for the internet!

It didn’t take me too long to master French knots before I began. That was the easy bit. I’m still not sure what the centre of the letter ‘L’ is. For my first effort, I put off working that out for so long that I ended up with this instead.


Not exactly what I was aiming for. I wasn’t happy. So decided to have another go. This time, with a smaller ‘L’. And trying to create more of an ‘explosion’ of French knots, I have this.


I’m not 100% happy with that either. So, I need your help! Please comment and let me know which you prefer, or if you have any suggestions (start again?). Pretty please! I’d really appreciate it. Let’s call them Option 1 and Option 2.


Look forward to hearing your responses!

***UPDATE*** Well, that was unanimous! Option 1 it is.