Christmas Craft Kits

Now available – CLICK HERE to order

Here is everything you need to know about them


All packaging and contents are craftable or recyclable, lets help save the world – craft it, don’t trash it!


£12 each, delivery £1


Each kit includes

– Tea light decorations; perfect table centre pieces

– Christmas crackers for the Christmas dinner table

– Super cute cork reindeer tree decorations

– Glitter stick Christmas characters

– Please stop here Santa door hanger

– Plus at least 1 more amazing craft activity


Recommended for age 5 and over, the parcel does include some small parts including googly eyes and pompoms.


Your parcel may differ from the pictures shown due to some different craft activities and colours of supplies.

Please note there will be 3 dates for posting out orders

– Order by Sun 8th Nov – posted Mon 16th Nov

– Order by Sun 29th Nov – posted Mon 7th Dec

– Order by Fri 11th Dec – posted Mon 14th Dec


Payment can be made by PayPal or bank transfer

Making a lighthouse crafting fun

One of my favourite things about Hours of Fun is working with groups on craft projects.  I have done a few craft sessions with St John the Baptist Church in Meols over the last few years through working with the Festival of Firsts.  This time however, I was working with them directly as Hours of Fun and I was honoured they had asked me to get involved.

Every year they have a weekend of fun for the Youth Fellowship groups that meet at the church for children aged between 7 and 16.  I headed down to the church to join them on the Saturday and we had a few sessions booked in for crafts throughout the day.  The theme for the weekend was the ‘I AM’ statements and it had been decided we would build a big lighthouse to represent the statement ‘I AM THE LIGHT’.

Prior to the weekend I had made a lighthouse structure that could be decorated and covered by the children.  The structure was made from garden canes and wire with strips of paper wrapped around it to give the lighthouse panels something to stick to.

craft-group-project-making-a-lighthouse-21

Each child decorated a panel which was cut to shape out of cardboard.  They used paint and paper to decorate the panels, designing them individually.  Some drew lighthouses, others went for a traditional striped pattern and others went for their own unique design inspired by light and water.  The panels were then attached to the lighthouse structure and placed in the centre of the church ready for the church service the following morning, which would be run by the children themselves.

craft-group-project-making-a-lighthouse-1  craft-group-project-making-a-lighthouse-2 craft-group-project-making-a-lighthouse-3 craft-group-project-making-a-lighthouse-22

For the top of the lighthouse the children constructed a piece to go around the light using transparent sheets and tape.  The lighthouse was stood on top of a table and the table was decorated with animals made by the children.

The light house was around 6ft tall when finished and looked fantastic, the children had done an amazing job.  The light was turned on for the church service and it was lovely to see some of the children taking their parents up to the lighthouse to show them which panels and animals they had made.

We had so much fun and they are a fantastic group to work with, getting involved and excited about crafts and letting their imagination run wild.

If you want to book Hours of Fun for your group sessions get in touch.

Cupcakes for all occasions

There has been a flurry of cupcakes orders received at Hours of Fun over the last few weeks.  Cupcakes for Teachers, Olympic parties, Maternity leave, Birthdays and Hen Parties.

First up we have Olympic rings and medals topping a vanilla sponge with vanilla buttercream.  Helping to celebrate the end of the Olympics at an office party.

olympic-cupcakes-3

I love buying new cake equipment and tools and these order gave me the perfect excuse to buy a new mould.  This mould is full of super cute baby items which I used to top these Vanilla, Red Velvet and Chocolate cupcakes.

baby-mould

Maternity leave baby cupcakes

Thank you gifts for Teachers at the end of the year can be tricky; you may want to stick to a budget, try to buy them something different or leave it so late it ends up being a last minute panic.  Cupcakes are a lovely way to say thank you and come in a box with a handmade tag that the child can write themselves.  We can do any flavour and also offer a gluten free cupcakes for anyone with a gluten allergy.

Teacher cupcakes

I’ve had a few hen do cake orders however this was the first time I had been asked for rude ones!  You know what this meant – time for a new mould!!  These were a lot of fun to make and when delivered to the customer’s work place, they caused a big discussion and attracted a lot of attention!  The cake toppers were made from fondant and placed on top of chocolate and vanilla cupcakes, some of the toppers were even chocolate flavoured!!

Hen do cupcakes

Birthday cupcakes come in all shapes and sizes.  These were lemon and vanilla cupcakes with photos printed on to sheets of icing as the toppers.  Printing onto edible icing or rice paper is a fabulous way to personalise a cake.

Birthday photos

Last up with have bright and colourful daisy cupcakes.  A mixture of chocolate and vanilla cupcakes baked in cases decorated with daisies.  Two different colours were piped together to create the striking swirl with a fondant daisy placed on top.    These were ordered as a leaving gift at work.

Rainbow cupcakes

Cupcakes are £1.50 each or buy a box of 12 for £15.00 and are perfect for all occasions.

Decorating mission – new curtains

Decorating part 4

Our new colour scheme meant that most of the walls were painted with white, with teal on one wall in each room. As we had reduced the colour on the walls I was keen to get some lovely curtains to make a feature of them and to bring more colour to the rooms. As I mentioned in the last post we have unusually sized windows, so ready-made curtains always need altering to fit. I headed to the local material shops and priced up some fabric I liked, I made a note of the name of it too and when I got home I did a search on the internet to see if I could find it anywhere else for cheaper. It worked out around £10 a metre and we needed a lot! It was quickly adding up to well over £100 and this was before I even started making them and buying lining material.

Whilst I was out and about I kept an eye out for curtains and spotted some on sale in Tasker. I checked the measurements and the largest curtains would fit, they would just need taking up as they would be too long and cover the radiator. I couldn’t believe our luck as they were reduced to £20 a pair and matched our colour scheme.

Curtains before being taken up
Curtains before being taken up

 

They needed taking up about 15-20cm on both sets of windows, I even hand stitched the new hem using an invisible stitch whereas normally I would use the machine – I was feeling like I should for the best finish and I had plenty of time as I didn’t have to make them from scratch, plus my mum always says I should!

When picking out curtains it is worth checking both ready-made and material prices. Depending on what colour and material type you want, if you can find some ready-made it is always worth comparing prices.

We also needed a new pair of curtains for the middle of our rooms, as we have the option of closing the curtains in between our lounge and dining room, which then makes the lounge cosier. We needed new curtains in the right colour as I had taken the old ones down as they were red. This time it worked out cheaper to buy the material and make them as I picked up material that was perfect and was only £3 per metre and they didn’t need a lining.

Middle curtains

I did do some research into dying curtains, however with the original curtains being quite a deep red, to get them to dye teal or grey we would need to colour strip them first and then dye them. Even after that there were still warnings about colour matching and the difficulty of dying something that is already a dark colour.

 

 

National Cupcake Week

National Cupcake week

 

This week it is National Cupcake week and this gives you the perfect reason to get baking some cupcakes and have some fun.

Last year Hours of Fun were so busy during this week we didn’t get to bake any, however this year I already have an order in for some Frozen themed cupcakes.  I will be baking a few extra to celebrate the week.

The National Cupcake week website is full to the brim of ideas, pictures, competitions and lots of news from last years week.

http://www.nationalcupcakeweek.co.uk/

 

My love for cupcakes has definitely grown over the last year, however I still prefer to decorate one large cake with a design, rather than repeat it, in miniature, on lots of little cupcakes – it’s a lot of hard work!  This year I have fallen in love with cupcake decorating classes.  We have run birthday parties, hen dos and completed summer workshops at the local youth centres getting children and adults to decorate their own cupcakes using sugar paste and fondant.  We have had so much fun and had some amazing creations produced.

 

Have a go yourself at baking some cupcakes and then see how much you can have decorating them.  Click on the link below for a recipe for 10 cupcakes.

hours of fun cupcake recipe download

Hen do cake with cupcakes for the special Bride to be

I was asked to make a cake along with cupcakes for a Hen do, with the bride to be being part of a Muay Thai team.  We designed a boxing ring style cake, with the bride to be stood in the ring in her kit with a hen do sash and tiara on.

The cake and cupcakes were gluten free, although I did include silver balls in the design which do contain gluten so I made sure I let them know this when I delivered the cakes.

Hen do cake, boxing ring with Bride to be
Hen do cake, boxing ring with Bride to be

We made a few adjustments to the cake before it went off to the hen do as it was brought to my attention that they were not too keen on the blue mat.  We hadn’t planned the cake to that much detail so when making it I had googled boxing rings and a lot of them were coming up black and the picture I had been sent also had a black mat.  I was keen to not do black as I felt it would be too dark, so I went with a lighter blue – bad choice as I also found out later that the bride to be was a Liverpool Fan – so we had to get this sorted!

I spent half an hour on it during my lunch at work making a few changes to the cake, changing the mat to white and re-doing the message.  I also added some bunting in the same colours as the cupcakes to bring them together and make it a little more girly.

The changes meant I had a happy customer and I thanked her for letting me know how she felt as it was simple enough for me to make the changes required and we have to ensure the customer is happy with what they buy.

Hours Of Fun Craft Countdown To Christmas. Make your own Shortbread – 5 Days To Go!

Hours of Fun are counting down the days until Christmas by sharing a different Christmas activity each day.  Starting on the 13th December with the last post being published on Christmas Eve.

On the 8th day of Christmas my true love gave to me………A basket of homemade Shortbread!

Make your own Shortbread

My husband has recently discovered he can make amazing shortbread – another reason he makes a fab husband!!  He has been mastering the technique and can now produce a batch of evenly baked, delicious in taste, Shortbread rounds.

You can make Shortbread without rice flour, however we have found that a recipe with rice flour listed makes an improved shortbread.

Ingredients – make approx 15

150g unsalted butter cut into small pieces

100g caster sugar

180g plain flour

55g rice flour

1/4 teaspoon baking powder

pinch of salt

How to make the Shortbread

oven temperature – 170 degrees C

  1. Grease two baking sheets
  2. Cream the butter and sugar together until combined
  3. Sift the flour, baking powder and salt and add to the mixture
  4. Mix well with a spoon
  5. Using your hands bring the mixture together to form a dough
  6. Roll out the dough between two sheets of grease proof paper until approx. 7mm 

The grease proof paper helps it roll without sticking, Kev then uses a smoothing tool to finish it off.

  1. Using your round cutter, cut out circles.  Decorate them using smaller cutters, cocktail stick anything you have to hand and get creative!  Then place them on the greased tins approx. 2cm apart
  2. Bake in the oven for 20 minutes
  3. Leave to cool for a few minutes on the tray then cover them in caster sugar
  4. Eat them!

Christmas baking makes fantastic gifts for people.  We are putting together bags of goodies for people this year, last year we did Christmas cakes and mince pies.  It makes a fab little extra gift for people, it helps to keep the costs down and most importantly it is handmade with love by us for all our friends and family and nothing can beat that 🙂

Back to Mince pies for an update!

2 days ago we explored making your own mince pies and mincemeat.  Since then we have made more mince pies using different techniques and I wanted to share them with you.  Apologies it is not shortbread but its more Christmas baking to get you inspired!

Felt handmade sewing book, a perfect gift for a friend’s birthday

Since my felt addiction started last year I have made quite a few things out of felt including sewing books.  The first sewing book I made was a single sheet of decorated felt, folded in half with a felt insert for placing pins and other sewing accessories.  This is similar design to the sewing book my mum has and she has had it as long as I remember and I love it!

I then took the sewing book to a new level, making it more of a book design with a pocket on the inside along with a place to keep scissors and other marked out sections.  The first one I made went a little wrong but was still fab so I decided to keep it for myself and I use it all the time.  I often travel with a small box of craft things so I can finish off something or start a new project if I get any time and my sewing book is perfect for carrying around, I have scissors, pins, buttons, threads and needles all to hand.

 

My friend; Louise’s birthday was the first of those we had decided to hand craft something for their present.  I thought Louise would love a sewing book and then found a pair of mini scissors with a cat on them to go inside, as Louise is a big cat lover the theme was set yeay!

When I told Kev about the idea he proceeded to tell me Louise had seen my sewing book and squealed and loved it – yeay perfect present!!

I was really pleased with how the sewing book turned out and hope Louise loved her birthday present.  I really enjoyed making the present and I could get Kev to do things for me whilst I made it as part of his contribution to the gift – team work!!

       

These handmade sewing books are available in the Hours of Fun shop, they can be made to design too just contact me and let me know what you would like.

My new ribbon cutter and embossing set – it’s amazing!

For my birthday my friend Lou Lou got me a ribboner and it is amazing.  We are not sure if that is the proper name for this piece of equipment but have decided that is the name we are going for.

This amazing tool can be used to help decorate cakes by cutting out strips that can be straight or wavy and of all different widths.  It can indent and emboss designs onto icing to produce beautiful textures and patterns.    For anyone who has used a knife and ruler to cut strips out of icing, you will know this can be rather a painful process with the icing stretching mid cut resulting in a wonky stripes or finger marks on the icing from holding the ruler in place.  If you have experienced this then you need a ribboner in your life!

I have had the opportunity to use it twice last week and it was amazing!  I used it to make a wooden fence where I cut out lots of strips of brown icing then trimmed them to size and stuck them round the cake.  I also used it to do a brick wall cake by cutting out long strips of icing, cutting them down to brick size and then I stuck them all over the cake.  It produces strips of even width and took no time at all to cut all the bricks out.  This would have taken me at least double the length of time if I had done it by ruler and knife.

When I went to cake class at college, one of the first things I learnt is that cake decorating is all about the tools.  This is 100% true and this tool is up there with some of the best and I have a feeling I will be using it a lot!  Thank you Lou Lou for my amazing present.

I also got to use it on the birthday cake for Lou Lou, post coming on this cake in a few days.

Learning to make Stargazer lilies out of petal paste – not half as scary as I imagined!

Back in June 2010, during one of my cake classes at Knowsley College, our tutor came in announced it was challenge time on the flowers.  She then proceeded to show us a stargazer lily and how to make them.  The classroom was filled mostly with laughter as we attempted these flowers with little success!  I managed to produce something that resembled a stargazer lily and was extremely pleased with myself as it was tricky!  unfortunately at some point later, the stargazer lily fell to the floor and smashed into pieces and i did not, for one minute, think I would be required to make another!

Until Jo and Adam’s wedding!

The challenge started with discussions on the fact I had done one before. I dug out the photo thinking I could show Jo, however on seeing it there was no way I was going to show it Jo as it did not look anywhere near good enough to go on a gorgeous wedding cake!

My timetable of cake tasks meant I started flowers in January and I started off as i meant to continue – on schedule!  I did lots of research on the internet, printed pictures off and went to a florist to get a real flower as a model.  I set up a work station at the dinning room table and had a play around with the templates and ball tool to see what effect I could get.

I then got a system going for each stage of the flower.  First – cut out and shape the petals then leave to dry overnight, then colour the petals and again leave to dry overnight and finally put them together to make a flower.  I lost a few petals along the way, but all in all they turned out fab yeay!!  I now have 4 flowers and about 15 petals that I had spare and didn’t use.  If you get a cake off me in the next few months, it may well have a lily or two on top!!

 

If you fancy having a go at making stargazer lilies, I recommend this site . The instructions are clear and the pictures help to understand each step.  Good luck!  I would love to see your pictures of any sugar paste flowers you have made.