DIY Arrow wall art.

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Last weekend I gave the gallery wall going up the stairs a bit of an overhaul – blog post here, if you missed it- There are still a few little gaps that need filling, and with so many frames already up there I wanted to fill them with something different. I’ve been scouring the internet, keeping an eye out when I go shopping, but nothing has really jumped out at me yet. Until I saw a placard printed with arrows, I liked it, it goes with one of the smaller prints up there. But I thought of one better, one that would fit the slope of the stairs perfectly. An actual wooden arrow. There are quite a few ready made tutorials up on Pinterest, but I kind of already had an idea of what I wanted, I also wanted to use anything I already had around the house… so its made from two old bed pallets.

 

Here’s what else I used. 

2x leftover bed pallets planks.

glue gun

string

wood stain

copper spray paint

*obviously the last three are completely optional, you decorate it up however you want.*

 

And here’s what I did. 

First, I sketched out some triangles (for the head of the arrow) on some paper, I cut them out and had a little play around, until they fitted together nicely. I did this around three times to get the right size head, I wanted my arrow to be 70cm in length, the length of the middle had to keep in proportion with the head and the wings. It was a little fiddly, but the hardest bit.

Once I had my paper triangles, I traced round them straight onto the wooden planks. My whole plan for the arrow was to have a little rustic, so perfectly drawn lines wasn’t necessary. If you want to go for a more geometric, clean cut version, you’ll have to put a little more effort into keeping everything perfectly straight. As well as the triangles I needed a long strip which would be the body and two wings.

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Next it was time to pass over my planks to Sam. I can’t use a saw, certainly not a high powered one that could cut my fingers of in a millisecond. We did have my first lesson in building up the confidence to use it on my own though, I pressed the button to turn it on. Thats as far as I can go right now! ha.

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Now I had all of the pieces needed, It was tine to stick them together. Because i’m using such a lightweight wood, my trusty hot glue gun is fine. If it was a heavier wood something stronger would be needed.

I played around with the triangles until they fitted together nicely.

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I glued down the edges that would be joined together, quickly slotting them together before the glue had chance to dry.

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Next, I glued one end of the body to the bottom of the triangle.

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And set my half finished arrow to the side, taking out the two pieces that would make my wings. I used a chisel to chip of some of the wood down the sides, giving a  more rustic look and scored some lines at a horizontal angle down the wings.

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Then I glued them either side of the bottom of the arrow body.

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And thats the arrow made. Now its time to decorate. My arrow is going up on the gallery wall in the hallway, so I decided on a dark wood stain, paired with some touches of copper.

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Next, I added some string around the bottom of the body, I love this little bit of texture. It adds to the rustic vibe.

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I added string to the back of the arrow, so I could hang it. And my arrow is done!

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Hanging nicely in its place. Not bad considering it was a couple of pieces of scrap wood, a little effort, really can transform anything.

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Robyn,

The little woman pretends.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sweet & sticky cinnamon buns.

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It’s half term and as well as it being freezing cold outside, i’ve been struck with a cold. So the fun days out I had planned whilst the girls are off have been limited. Mischa loves to bake and not really wanting to leave the house for supplies, I had a good root around and realised I had everything stocked to make up these lovely sticky sweet buns. An activity to occupy the kids for a while and a delicious treat for us all afterwards, win-win.

Making Cinnamon buns is quick & easy, however proving time needs to be given, around an hour & a half all together not including the prep or cooking time. So if you want these as a traditional breakfast treat, you’ll need to make these up the day before. If like me, you’re not fussed when you eat them as long as its soon… well, you can make them whenever you fancy.

Here’s what you’ll need:

For the buns. 

250ml of  warm milk.

2 eggs. 

150g  butter, 75g melted, the other half left softened. 

500g  bread flour (plain will work just as well.)

100g  caster sugar

1 sachet (7.5g roughly) of quick yeast

225g  brown soft sugar (light or dark works fine)

2 1/2 tablespoons ground cinnamon

 

For the icing.

2 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
100g  icing sugar
2  1/2 tablespoons milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

 

And here’s what you’ll need to do.

 

First warm up your milk, 40 seconds in the microwave should do the trick. You dont want it bubbling hot, just warm. So if you’ve heated it up too much just leave it to cool a bit. Next, add your yeast to the warm milk, stir & set aside.

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In a mixing bowl pour in your melted butter, eggs, sugar and flour, give it a quick stir before pouring in your milk/yeast. Using a dough hook attachment give it all a good mix until it’s sticky and stretchy.

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Now its time to prove your dough. The best way to do this (I think it is anyway) is to put your oven at 90 C (gas mark 1/4) leave it for five minutes to heat up.  Whilst your waiting, pop your dough into a lightly oiled bowl, and cover with a damp tea towel. Turn the oven off  completely & put  your bowl inside closing the door quickly. Leave it for an hour, it’ll rise perfectly every time.

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Once your dough has risen, tip it onto a lightly floured surface, give it a good knead before rolling out into a rectangle (or a shape similar) it needs to be at least 1/4″ thick.

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Once you’ve rolled out your dough, its time to make the cinnamon filling. There are two ways to do this. You can either mix your sugar and cinnamon, spread your butter over the dough first and then sprinkle over the cinnamon sugar. Or you can combine the three and spread the sugar/cinamon butter straight over. I’ve gone with the latter.

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Now its time to roll. If its easier, you can pop your dough on a piece of baking paper or cling film and use that to get it rolled up nice and tight.

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Once rolled, its time to slice. I’m using a bit of lightly oiled thread (dental floss works just as well) simply hook around your dough, cross the thread ends and pull tight. This will give you perfect, un-squished slices.

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Next butter your baking tray and pop your sliced cinnamon buns into the tray, leaving a little room around each one. Cover with a tea towel or cloth and using the same method as before leave to prove again for half an hour.

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Once your second prove has finished, your buns should look like this. Lovely big fluffy cinnamon rolls ready for the oven.

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Pop them in the oven at 180 C on a high shelf for 20/25 minutes.

Whilst your buns are baking, you can whip up the icing. Combine butter, milk, icing sugar and vanilla in a bowl and give it a good mix. If you like, you can pop a bit of cream cheese in, this is how the americans do it. I prefer it this way though.

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When your Cinamon buns are baked, take them out of the oven and tip them out of the tray straight away, the longer they’re left to sit, the more likely they are to stick to your tray.

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Whilst they’re still warm, drizzle your icing all over them. Don’t be afraid to really slather them up.

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Make a cuppa’, pull off one of those delicious brunch treats and enjoy.

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Your cinnamon buns will stay fresh in the fridge for about 4/5 days (if they aren’t all eaten before then!). To reheat just pop in the microwave for 30 seconds or so.

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Enjoy!

Robyn,

The little woman pretends.

 

 

 

The gallery wall update.

There’s been lots of work going on in the hall over the past few weeks, and whilst my work has come to a standstill – i’m waiting for Sam to make a start on fitting the new stair rails-  I thought I’d get started on another project in there. Updating the gallery wall going up the stairs.

I first started gathering my collection of frames back when we lived in Germany and although there has been a few minor updates, it was five years ago and some of the frames/photo’s have become tatty and outdated.

 

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I’ve been collecting a few little bits over the past few months, mainly bookmarking specific websites that offer gorgeous free printables. Little gold pixie, Mrs Fancee, Short stop designs , Hymns and verses and my absolute favourite Oh so lovely.  just to name a few.

All I needed to do then was choose between the many designs available, download and print on some good quality photograph paper. Easy!

A couple of my favourites are this sketched letter S from Shanty 2 chic and this lovely monthly moon print from Free people. 

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Another thing to think about was frame sizes, order and theme. I decided straight away to boycott any theme – although there are some lovely pre matched printables-  I’m a person with many tastes, I know what I like and I stuck with it. I decided on what would go in which frame based on the prints ability to be shrunk down or enlarged without distortion and got to work re-filling the frames.

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When it came to which order they went in, I only re-shuffled a few frames, keeping most exactly where they were. I wanted to stretch down towards the bottom of the stairs a bit more (it was looking a little bare). Once I had decided and eleven printouts later, I hammered in those nails, gave everything a good polish and stood back to admire my quick and easy Saturday morning upgrade.

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There are lots of little spaces that still need filling, I’m going to keep an eye out for little treasures to fill those. The difference isn’t massive, but reorganising that area has been one of those little things bugging me every time I go up and down those stairs, now its another thing ticked off my house ‘to do’ list.

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To find print offs, simply search ‘free wall printables’ or something similar into Google or Pinterest. So many will come up, but i’ve linked up some of my favourite websites further up. If you decide to share a photo of your new wall art up on Facebook or instagram, don’t forget to tag the site you got it from, just ‘cos its nice to be nice, these are after all free and so much effort goes into each one.

 

Robyn,

The little woman pretends.

*I’ve been asked where a few of the prints come from already, so i’m just going to add links here.*

Arrow print

Gold paint dash. 

 

 

Hazelnut & Chocolate Shortbread sandwich.

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Its Valentines day on Sunday -just in case you forgot!- And nothing says Valentine’s day like chocolate, or these mouthwateringly good hazelnut and chocolate love heart biscuits to be more exact. Silky melted chocolate sandwiched between buttery, hazelnut shortbread biscuits, topped with..  yep, you guessed it. More chocolate. There is no lovelier present to give to someone who holds your heart.

If you fancy whipping these little bites of deliciousness up, here’s what you’ll need:

200g plain flour,

200g butter (unsalted)

75g light brown sugar,

100g hazelnuts – 80g ground, 20g chopped.

200g milk chocolate.

Cookie cutter – I’ve gone with heart shaped, you can use any shape you like.

Grease proof paper.

 

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And here’s what you’ll need to do:

First up, pour flour, butter, light brown sugar and ground hazelnuts into a bowl and combine. I like to use my freestanding mixer, but you can use a handheld, or even just your hands.

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Once combined, tip out your biscut dough onto a piece of cling film, wrap and place in the fridge for at least half an hour.

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When your dough has chilled, roll it out on a floured surface, you want it to be about 1/2 an inch thick.

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Now you can use your cookie cutter, cutting out as many biscuits as you can manage. You can re-ball, roll out and use the remaining dough as many times as you like. I’ve ended up with 14 biscuits (28 heart shapes) fifteen if you count the one that broke and accidentaly ended up in my mouth. So good!

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When you’ve cut out all of your biscuits, place on a grease proof paper lined tray and place in the oven, on a high shelf, 180 degrees (160 fan/ gas mark 4) for 10-15 minutes. Or until golden brown.

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Once cooked, pop your biscuits to the side and leave to cool. They dont take long to cool down, so whilst your waiting you can be chopping your left over hazelnuts and melting down 150g of your chocolate.

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When your biscuits are completely cooled and firm. Use teaspoon to spread melted chocolate over the back side of a biscuit. Lay it biscuit side down on a piece of baking paper, before grabbing another and doing the same again. Pop your second chocolated biscuit on top of the first (chocolate side down), pressing gently. You dont want to push all of the chocolate out from between the biscuits. Repeat this over until you’ve paired up all your biscuits.

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Now, melt down your remaining 50g of chocolate, and using either a spoon or piping bag, drizzle chocolate over the top of the biscuits.

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Finally, give a sprinkle of chopped Hazelnuts, before popping all your biscuits on a  tray and into the fridge until fully set.

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And thats it. Your melt in the mouth Valentine’s hazelnut and chocolate biscuits are done. You could pop them in a pretty box if you’re gifting, or just make a cuppa’ and enjoy as a little treat to yourself (I highly recommend the latter!).

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There are a couple of alternatives you could try with this recipe. Instead of sandwiching the biscuits, you could keep them plain, using them to simply dip in a chocolate fountain. Or you could mix it up by switching the hazelnut & milk chocolate, for macadamia nuts and white chocolate instead. Delicious.

Happy Valentines day!

Robyn Swain.

Blog-aversary.

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Happy Blog-Birthday to me! Its been an entire year since I published my first post! During the past twelve months I’ve published 82 posts. 14 Sewing tutorials, 22 delicious recipes, 11 interior projects, 8 peeks into our family life and from that tally that leaves 27 random rambles . I’m quite impressed,  I spend most of my life rambling- to myself mainly- I expected SO much more.

I can’t believe I’ve hit the year point and I’m still so buzzed by it all. Anyone who knows me, knows how quickly I fizzle out, but blogging is so much fun! Of course it helps that I’ve not pocketed myself into one certain subject. I like prettiness, making things pretty, looking at things that already pretty. When you love what you do, its not hard to just keep on going.

Of course I wouldn’t have lasted this long if it wasn’t for you lovelies that come and read, every Instagram like, Facebook comment, every hit on my blog views. Its that, which stops me from giving it up when i’m lacking in inspiration.

I’m not completely mental in thinking that its a big deal, in the entire world of internetting. My little corner is just that, little. So little it almost doesn’t exist. But that doesn’t bother me in the slightest. I could have one view a day and It would be enough to keep me going.

The thing about this blog is, its not here for me to pretend I’m this super organised, perfectly crafty person that just exists to gloat about how together my life is. My life isn’t together, I spent last week having twice daily meetings with Mischa’s teacher to discuss her disruptive behaviour. I use microwave rice, because I JUST. CANT. COOK. RICE! I haven’t worn make-up in nearly a fortnight and my anxiety has been so bad these past few months I had pretty much stopped leaving my house.

For me, the blog is here as a distraction almost. Amongst the crappiness that just has to come with life, I still always have this place, and these projects. Sewing, baking, projects for around the house, these are all things i’ve always done when I need a break. Blogging about them, just gives me a little extra something to focus on and hopefully some ideas on ways to give yourself a break should you need it too.

 

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Here’s to another DIY packed year.

Robyn,

The little woman pretends.

Home life project – February’s edition (2016)

Its that time of month again, time for the Home life project. This month I’ve chosen Sunday again. I took a ton of photo’s over the weekend, but so many just didn’t make the cut, Sunday was the only day I had time to really have a proper go. Its still cold and quite dark out (the joys of winter!) So rather than trying to get lots of light and airy photos, I thought I would embrace the dark tones. They aren’t the most exciting of photographs, it wasn’t the most exciting of days, but I thoroughly appreciate that The home life project isn’t about staged photographs, but a selection of shots from our normal family life.

Here are the ones that did make the cut:

 

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Robyn,

The little woman pretends.

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January – Photo a day.

During the last days of December, I found fellow blogger xameliax  had started up a little project for Instagram. Eager to practice my photography and interact with other bloggers I thought I’d join in during January 2016. This was the list of subjects for each day.

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I didn’t do too badly, completing 23 out of 31 days. Of course doing it all would have been better. But some days I have been incredibly hectic (My lack of Instagram activity in general will show you this) and some days I just completely forgot. But its been so much fun and something I’m looking forward to playing again when I find another one. At last checking (7pm on 31st) this  little linky has had over 4,500 entries, its such a lovely way to look back through other peoples January.

Here are mine: 

 

 

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Robyn,

The little woman pretends.