We blog, we bake.
We craft, we create.

Wednesday, 24 December 2014

Podgy Bakes Christmas

Hello there, it's Podgy the baking Panda here with you today. For those of you who have been sleeping the month away, let me tell you it's Christmas Eve today. For those who didn't know that...... PANIC!!!!!!

We're all prepared and just waiting for the fat guy in the red suit here at The House of Bears. I thought I may as well indulge in some festive baking. Do you all like shortbread? We love it here. I consulted my trusty cookbooks for a recipe and found the ideal one in The Great British Book of Baking (first series)

For those who don't have the book, here's the recipe

150g unsalted butter (very soft)
40g icing sugar
200g plain flour
50g corn flour
Caster sugar for sprinkling.

I whizzed up the icing sugar with the cubed butter in the Kenwood, until it was soft and creamy looking. I then sifted the flours on top and whizzed until the mix came together as a firm dough.

Then came the hard work, rolling out the dough, pheweee, I'll have huge muscles after this.

I wanted shaped biscuits, so pressed some out, in my own inimitable style

I re rolled my dough, whilst gathering flour on my fur!!

Then pressed more festive shapes. I think I'll need a thorough licking down after all this!

I baked my biscuits at 180c / gas 4, for 18 minutes, left them on the tray to firm up for a few minutes, then decanted them to the cooling tray.

Goodness, there's enough here for a hug of hungry bears.

I think I'll start with this one.

Wishing you all a safe, happy Christmas. We hope it's all you would wish for, and for those facing troubles, we wish you peace and better times to come.

With love from the bears

Saturday, 20 December 2014

Impatience is My Virtue

Hullo there. Did you know it's 5 days until Chritstmas? As requested by one of our dear followers, we took a festive photo by the tree. I hope you like it.

Anyhoo, I decided to write a post mainly to show my finished page from the WOYWW post. I left you watching paint ( or rather, distress stains) drying. My page was all to do with my frustration waiting for our pawly fridge freezer to be fixed. I hate waiting, and I get stressed when things go wrong and are beyond my control. We waited 17 days from the fridge/ freezer breaking to being fixed, and it seemed a very long 17 days indeed. As usual, I journalled my emotions.

On top of distress stains I layered texture paste through a harlequin stencil, then once this was dry I added more distress stains, some alcohol inks, more distress stains, even more distress stains........

I then added my image, which was stamped on tissue paper, which disappears once glued onto the page with Mod Podgy. I stamped my sentiment in the same way. I had some very gluey paws after that feat, let me tell you!!

The end page was quite pleasing though, a play on words to suit my pawsonality. I think it says it all.

The fridge freezer is working now, humming along nicely and full of delicious cheeses and party foods, ready for a feast fit for a bear on Christmas Day. In case we don't post again, we wish all our followers a Very Merry Christmas, a safe and Happy New Year and peace and happiness to all.

See you in the New Year for more bear antics.

With love from the bears

Wednesday, 17 December 2014

WOYWW - Merry Artmess

Hello there. Wednesday again? Wow, isn't December steaming on? I've been busy wrapping Christmas presents for my love, Clarissa. I hope she likes what's inside, I made her a paw made book.

I've not really indulged in any Christmas themed crafts this year. I didn't even make all of the Christmas cards, but resorted to buying charity cards instead. Podgy has baked a few Christmassy treats, but with the fridge freezer being out of action the last two weeks, even that's been difficult. Still, it's being fixed today so hopefully he'll fill it with mince pies and other delights.

Now, the real reason I'm blogging is the wonderful world of WOYWW. If you're confused by the acronym, click on the link and see what it's all about. Join in and share your desky delights with the world, like me.

Here's my Wednesday mess for this week, the bright beginnings of an art journal page, plus a smaller art journal that I added texture paste to whilst I was decorating the larger journal. Sometimes it's easier to work on two pages at once, especially for the stuff that takes ages to dry.

Anyway, my page is all to do with the fridge freezer breaking ( see about two posts below for the boring story) and how I hate to wait for people to come to the house; you spend the day constantly looking out the window, wondering if every little noise is a van drawing up, dashing to the bathroom and imagining you hear a van pull away at that moment.... I guess I am just an impatient little bear at heart, and this page will reflect that.

As you can see it's a bright page, I used my much maligned distress stains, first adding Gesso to my page, then smearing the distress stains randomly over the page. I added a spritz of water and let the colours run into each other a little, leaving to dry thoroughly before adding more colour. I then went mad adding drops of alcohol ink in complementary colours. Texture paste scraped on through a stencil added some depth. I'll glue the image on once everything is properly dry. I've stamped it on tissue paper, and if I add enough Mod Podgy to the page,the tissue paper will magically disappear, leaving the image behind.

As you can see, I'm still at the watching paint dry stage right now, always such an interesting pastime, I think!!

While I'm waiting, I'll go and peruse some other WOWYW desks. TTFN for now, I hope no one is too stressed with Christmas preparations. Merry Christmas to all who celebrate the occassion. Xxx

With love from the bears

Saturday, 13 December 2014

Sew Sew

Hello there dear friends. It's Horace here yet again with another sewing project to show you. You know when you first start to sew, and you buy every single scrap of fabric you see, just because it's pretty, and you're sure you can find some use for it? Well, that was me when I first got my sewing machine. I didn't even have any idea if I could actually make anything, never mind an idea of what to make. At cub school, I had been bottom of the class at anything arty, and my sewing skills were certainly lacking. I couldn't follow a pattern for the life of me, and following written instructions left me scratching my furry head in confusion. I am a visual learner, so I turned to Youtube in the hunt for easy to follow tutorials that did not have 55 million stages for one simple make.

I found so many great tutorials, including several for making zipped bags ( or purses, as they insist on calling them in America). As you only need some squares of fabric and some wadding, I thought this would be a great project for my veritable stash of fabric

I didn't have any matching pieces of fabric, so went for contrasting colours for the outside of my bag.

I adhered my fabric to the wadding with temporary sticky spray.

I then cut around the wadding,

I find when I try to sew in a zip with my zipper foot, the fabric starts travelling to the left of the machine as I sew. Is it just me? Does my fabric try to escape my furry clutches? Anyway, eventually I managed to sew the zipper to both the outer and inner fabric.

I decided to add some stitching to the outer fabric, for a more quilted look,
Don't look too closely, or you may see my wonky workmanship!

It gets worse, oh well. These are only for my use. I don't think my quilty stitch is suitable for present making just yet.

The bags will come in handy for various bear needs; a small smackeral perhaps, or some arty bits and pieces, or both?

With love from the bears

Wednesday, 10 December 2014

WOYWW - I'm a Bit Biased

Well hullo there again. I think I have the right day this week, last week I posted my
WOYWW desk on Thursday, I was totally convinced it was Wednesday! I also forgot to add a link to Julia's blog, where you can find out all you need to know about this fun phenomenon. This week I'm on the right day, and have the link up too. Go me!

So, what is on my desk this week? Well, I'm making bias binding from sheets bought from Asda. I need a veritable amount, and bias binding is not the cheapest thing to buy, so I thought, how hard can it be to make my own? Not very, is the answer.

As you can see above. I bought a 2 1/2" quilting ruler to aid with the cutting. My bias binding needs to be 2 1/2" wide and I am hopeless at cutting a straight line, so decided this would be a good purchase. There are lots of youtube videos on how to make bias binding, so I won't attempt a convoluted explanation. It's all to do with folding your fabric so it is cut on the bias ( means it is stretchy, I think).

Once I'd cut 3 million strips, I needed to sew them together, to create one continuous strip of fabric. I kept sewing the strips together until I was left with this, below.

I'm almost buried in bias binding!!! I think that should be enough to edge my quilt!!

Now, before I start on that task, I shall visit some old friends at their desks. See you all soon.

With love from the bears

Saturday, 6 December 2014

Baby it's (not) Cold in There

Hello there everyone, isn't December zooming by? Do you have your decorations up yet? We put our tree up on December the first.

For some reason, our tree always looks blue on photos. There is nothing blue on it at all! How odd, it's a green tree with fake snow ( of course, even in The House of Bears, it doesn't snow indoors. The decorations are all gold or brown and the lights are all white.

It was a mixed day for us, lovely and relaxing whilst decorating, then rather stressful when I went to the fridge for a small snack, only to find it was warm inside, and everything in the freezer was either partially or completely defrosted. Not knowing how long it had been faulty for, we couldn't take the chance on using anything, and had to chuck away about a months worth of food, including all the Christmas party food, I could have cried.

Looking on the bright side though, on checking the guarantee, we found it ran out the very next day. I was on the phone right away to report the fault. Unfortunately, an engineer can't come out until next Tuesday, so we are fridge and freezer-less until then. That's of course, if it's an easy fix.

I didn't realise just how much stuff goes in the fridge, from spreads and cheeses, cold meats and drinks, to the opened jars and all the little bits you pop in there, just to be on the safe side.

I hated throwing out so much food, it really goes against my belief that we should try not to waste anything, and having a completely empty fridge and freezer is very alien to us. We usually stock anything that can be stockpiled 'just in case'.

The irony is, we had just made a large donation to the local foodbank, the second that week, we'd donated lots of tinned goods and pasta etc! Isn't that typical?

We are very lucky though, we have been able to afford to shop daily, and of course, having the fridge freezer one day from guarantee was unbelievably lucky. One day later and we would have been worried about how to afford to either fix or replace it. We can't wait to have it up and running again though. Hopefully in time for Christmas.

With love from the bears

Thursday, 4 December 2014

WOYWW? Artymess

Hello there. I haven't posted for WOYWW in ages. I've been in more of a sewing than arty mood of late, it goes in phases. Yesterday I watched a Youtube art tutorial though and felt inspired to create again. I copied the background idea directly from the original, using Gelatos spread from a baby wipe to my page to create the background. I then added some distress inks through stencils, and sorted through my pre cut embellishments to see what Would go well on the page.

Nothing is stuck down as yet, I'm in the contemplation stage of creating, which is the most fun part in my opinion. Believe it or not, the above photo was taken less than an hour ago, in daylight, it's very dreary here.

As you can see from the photo below, the art journal spread spans several pages, I cut a little from the middle page and then adhered it to the front to make a three page spread. Now I just have to decide on a focus for the pages. The original used some lovely flower stamps, maybe I'll do the same.

Now I think I'll go and visit some old friends in WOYWW land.


With love from Horace.