Thursday, 29 September 2011

Crafty presents - and it's not even my birthday!

Last Saturday, a close friend of ours got married.  And another friend (who moved back to the UK some years ago) came to stay with us for the weekend, so that she could go to the wedding too.

Of course, the wedding was beautiful, and the bride looked stunning (I should really add loving weddings to the ‘about me’ page of the blog).  And it was great to catch up with friends who I hadn’t seen for some time.  AND there were LOADS of people there who I could talk crafting with!  What an added bonus!!!  The bride was the patient lady who taught me to knit, and I managed to chat my way around three other knitters and a fellow sewer!  I think I may have even found myself a possible crochet teacher – which is very exciting! 

So, all-in-all, I had a FANTASTIC day: my first German wedding; a beautiful bride; speeches that made me shed a few tears (which is a sure sign they were good); fun with friends old and new; plenty of craft-talk; plenty of food; plenty of wine; and plenty of dancing!

BUT, the excitement didn’t stop there!  As our lovely house guest was leaving on Sunday morning, she gave me a ‘goody bag’ as a thanks-for-having-me gift.  And what a goody bag it was!  Inside, there was a copy of the ‘Hobbycraft’ magazine (which I’d never read before, but liked very much), two cards of gorgeous, gorgeous buttons (some round red ones with white spots, and some green hearts), a string of sparkly pink beads, and a HUGE bar of chocolate.  

Imagine all of those crafty and yummy treats – and it wasn’t even my birthday!?!

Thank you soooooo much Melanie!!!  You can come and stay again any time!!!  ;-)

Auf wiedersehen,



Friday, 23 September 2011

This week, I've been mostly.....

As lots of my recent blogs have been about what I got up to on my jollies, I thought I should up-date you on what I’ve been doing now I’m back in the real world.....

Well, since we got back from the UK, I’ve been mostly working on things for my online shop.  I know it’s been a long time coming (with holidays and work and other projects getting in the way), but I’m ALMOST ready to open the doors!  I could have opened my little store earlier, but I wanted to have enough things in it to make browsing worthwhile, and to show some of the different things I like to make.  I’ve never tried selling Crafted by Carly thingies online before, so I’m a bit nervous about the whole thing.  But it’s also really exciting!

My latest makes for the shop have been these gadget pouches (which are perfectly iphone-sized):

I’ve also been making tags for all of the things I’ve made for the shop so far.  It was so much fun – seriously!  Making my tags involves so many of my favourite things: buttons, pretty papers, matching up colours, cutting and sticking.....  They looked so happy and colourful sitting on my desk – I just HAD to arrange them in different patterns and take some photos:

I've been having fun between my merry making sessions, too!  While we were at my parents in the summer, I ordered six back-issues of ‘Making’ magazine.  Naughty, I know!!!  I opened the package when we got home, and I have been enjoying a good read and visual feast every evening since then:

Six ‘Making’ mags in one go!  Can you imagine what my ‘Projects to Try One Day’ list is looking like now?!?

I’ll keep you up-to-date with shop news - the ‘grand opening’ shouldn’t be too far away.....

And I’ll be sure to share any ‘Making’ projects I get around to trying!



Sunday, 18 September 2011

Celebrating National Cupcake Week

I have to confess that I am probably THE world’s worst cook!!!  Luckily for me, I have an amazing husband who’s a great cook – and who actually enjoys being in the kitchen.  

For me, the kitchen is a scary place, where dangers lurk in every drawer and cupboard!  The last time I attempted to make dinner, for example, I plugged in the blender without realising that the button was switched to ‘on’.  Ooooops!!!!!  My husband heard the blender start up at the same time as my scream of shock and came running in, thinking I’d blended myself.  Luckily, I’d only blended all the blender attachments and lid (that we keep inside the blender when we’re not using it)!

So.....  I tend to avoid the kitchen as much as possible!  But, loving all things pretty, I bought myself the ‘Bake-a-Boo Bakery Cookbook’ (by Zoe Berkeley) a few months ago.  My husband nearly died of shock when he saw what I’d picked up! 

When I realised that this week has been National Cupcake Week (check out for some mouth-watering recipes and photos), I thought I’d get out my scrumptious little book and venture back into the kitchen.  This time, thank goodness, there were no disasters!  I decided to use the basic fairy cake recipe (starting off my baking career as simply as possible), and put pink butter cream on top.  This photo from the book was my initial inspiration for icing.....  

..... but I thought I’d give the sugar craft flowers a miss and use hundreds & thousands (along with some cute cocktail sticks I found in the drawer) to decorate my cakes.

Here are all my ingredients, laid out nicely.

And here they are again, all mixed up and ready to go into the oven.  Of course, there was a tiny bit of mixture left in the bowl for me!

While the cakes were in the oven, I mixed up the butter cream.  Mmmmm!!!  I had to fight off the temptation to just stick my head into the bowl and lick away!

And.....  TADA!!!  Here are my finished cupcakes! 

I know they’re absolutely no match for the ones in the book, but they look girly and pretty – and they taste okay!  If I made them again, there are a few things I’d try to change.  The icing could have been thicker and more creamy.  And I think I left the cakes in the oven for a few minutes longer than I should have.  Next time, I might try the recipe for ‘dainty lemon cakes’, though.  They sound (and look) yummy!  But, until National Cupcake Week 2012, that’s it from the Crafted by Carly kitchen.....

Now I’m off to have another cake.....



Tuesday, 13 September 2011

Bargain Buys and Free Fripperies

In August, we visited my in-laws in Exmouth (Devon).  While we were there, I was determined to do some crafty shopping.....  and, of course, I DID!!! 

I discovered the fantastic Susie F Handmade blog a few months ago and, in reading though archived posts, I came across one about an antiques/jumble warehouse in Topsham, which is just down the road from Exmouth.  Susie had picked up some buttons and knitting needles there – so I thought I’d visit and see what I could find!

The whole place was incredible – a three-storey treasure-trove/mishmash of real antiques and total tat!  If you’re ever visiting that part of the world and have a few hours to spare, I’d definitely recommend a visit – who knows what you might find?!?

Here’s what I found:

After I got dragged out of the warehouse, we had a quick browse around Topsham’s charity shops.  And – I couldn’t help myself – I bought some buttons!  I also gathered a few extra buttons from the button tins of my mom, sister and mother-in-law during our visit to the UK over the summer (with their permission, of course).  Here’s the little collection I gathered:


The shopping/acquiring was fun, but the best bit was sorting the buttons into my beloved button jars when we got back home!  And sticking my new knitting gear in a jar too!  What a lot of goodies – and all for under £5!!!

Now I have a little confession to make.....  these weren’t my only crafty holiday buys!  There were a FEW more!!!  But I’ll save the rest to show you next time.....

Bye for now,



Wednesday, 7 September 2011

Cruising Crafts Part 2 – Flower Arranging

I have a new craft to add to my list of ‘Crafts I’ve Tried’ – flower arranging!  I can’t say I’d ever thought of having a go at it before.  But the ship’s florists were running a class one rainy afternoon, and I thought I’d give it a try.  I actually enjoyed it and (with a LITTLE help from the instructors) managed make a corsage for myself and a buttonhole for my husband:

During the class, I picked up a little tip that I thought I’d share with you.  It’s the SECRET recipe for a MAGICAL stay-fresh-for-longer-and-smell-better spray!  In a spray bottle, mix together some water, a bit of sugar and a bit of lemonade.  Add a bit of your favourite perfume.  Then spray it all over your beautiful flower arrangement.  I can’t see WHY such a concoction would work but, strangely enough, it seemed to do the trick on my corsage and buttonhole – they lasted a whole week!    
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