Monday, 30 November 2009

First Steps Into the World of Digital Scrapbooking

As much as I love papercrafting, scrapbooking with two little children underfoot can be a bit tricky so I thought I'd have a go at digital scrapping.
Ut has never really inspired me before but the other day in a cardmaking magazine I read an article about a digital scrapping site called NitWits and I instantly fell in love with the designs.

Here are my first attempts. Some are pre-made pages (I just added the photos) while others are my attempt at creating my own layouts.
I've sent these off to be printed and plan on adding some 3D elements when they arrive, so technically it will be hybrid scrapbooking.

Sunday, 22 November 2009

The quest for the perfect chocolate chip cookie

It happens so often - I see a recipe with a picture of what appears to be my idea of the perfect chocolate chuck cookie: crispy on the outside yet moist on the inside, chocolate chunks peeping out from the crispy crust...and it has to be chocolate chunks, not those ridiculously tasteless chips - and every time I am disappointed when I make the recipe in question.

Last week I made a recipe that used no eggs but did involve condensed milk. Nice cookies but they definitely were Condensed Milk Cookies - not chocolate chunk cookies.

Earlier this week, I tried a recipe that promised to be the perfect 'bakery-style' cookie. I tried it only to discover the result was a small, soft sponge cake - nice if you're hoping for a sponge cake, but most definitely not my idea of cookie heaven. I could tell from the minute I beat the sugars and butter until light and fluffy that the resulting cookies would be cakey: the procedure was exactly like making a sponge cake.

Yesterday, on my internet travels I came across an intriguing recipe and thought I'd try it. It's intriguing because although it doesn't fuss about egg size and flour type like I would expect a cookie recipe to (especially nowdays when cookie nirvana seems to be a worldwide quest) it does mix and match practices from overly fussy cookie recipes such as melting the butter and chilling the dough.
This time from the moment I combined the butters and sugars I knew I would be pretty close to cookie heaven by the end of the baking session - the mixture already had the right creamy-yet-not-fluffy consistency. Here's the dough complete with the remaining ingredients: again creamy with a creamy - not doughy taste:

I chilled the dough as per instructions and then baked the cookies.

As an experiment, I baked some in the oven and some in my Remoska. What's a Remoska? This site will explain it better than I can:

Here are the results!!!
The cookie on the right was baked in the Remoska, the one on the left in the oven:

The ones from the Remoska were very good but in terms of appearance the ones from the oven are the winners. Having said that, I cooked them for exactly the same time and I wonder if they baked a little faster in the Remoska (I had preheated it first). The cookies seemed to spread out a little more in the oven too.

In terms of taste and texture? You know what? I think I can lay my quest to rest for a little while....these cookies and divine! They have a crispy outside and a chewy inside that isn't sickly like some cookies that are in fact not baked long enough. My only issue is that they do not look like the ones on this blog. But then again, I didn't and am not prepared to brown the butter in a saucepan until golden etc, etc....not for now anyway.


Thursday, 19 November 2009

Octagonal Exploding Box

I've been having a go at making exploding boxes. This one is my second one and oddly I find them challenging to decorate - maybe it's bc it's an unfamiliar format as it were. The other thing that held me back is thaat I can't think of anyone to give these to. I wish I hadn't thought of that as it kinda killed my mojo.

A non-crafty friend came round today and saw one of the boxes I made. I asked her if she wanted to make one too and her face lit up and we spent the next 2hrs making one each. She did a beautiful job - she's not at all non-crafty after all!

I came across this idea on a beautiful blog: Country Heart And Home.
I wish I had half the talent this lady has!