Dismantle and reassemble

Empty out your jewellery drawer. Put to one side all the bits you don’t like / wear. Get some necklace (/fishing) wire from John Lewis or similar. Also some necklace fastenings. Dismantle. Take a trip to some local charity shops or car boot sales if you need some extra beads. Reassemble in  different combinations / lengths. And / or give to your kids to do to keep them busy. Assuming they’re not of unintentional-bead-swallowing age. These are my efforts from last week.

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beads

Tuiles aux amandes effilées

Well, not crafts, but another little ‘thing to do on a rainy day’. These are simple, effective, and completely moreish. I’m not in the habit of posting recipes on my site (basically ‘cos I’m not the most accomplished cook) but I like the idea of taking a little package of these to a dinner party along with wine (they can be served with ice-cream / dessert or coffee), or just making them for any old time.

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tuiles 3tuiles

Makes 40 small or 25 large
(NB: the raw dough will keep for up to 3 days in the fridge, and the tuiles can be stored for 2 days in an airtight box)

125g flaked almonds
125g caster sugaar
2 drops of vanilla extract
Drop of almond extract
2 egg whites
25g unsalted butter
20g plain white flour

Using a spatula, mix together the flaked almonds, sugar, vanilla extract, almond extract and egg whites in a shallow bowl.

Melt the butter in a pan over a medium heat. While it is still hot, pour it onto the egg white mixture. Mix thoroughly. Cover with cling film and chill overnight.

The next day, preheat the oven to 150′c / fan 130′c / gas mark 2. Sift the flour into the bowl with the mixture and mix well. Place teaspoonfuls of dough on 2 baking trays lined with baking paper, spaced well apart.

Flatten each biscuit with the back of a tablespoon dipped in cold water and bake for 15-18mins. The tuiles should be an even golden colour with no white in the centre. Leave the tuiles to cool on the trays, then carefully peel off.

Birdies

I have happy memories of making these when I was little and quite fancy making ‘grown up’ ones now, perhaps more intricate and embellished and being more creative with materials. Pictures to follow once I get down to that (it’s a tough old life this being a blogger) but in the meantime, here’s the basic instuctions – one to keep offspring / small relatives busy on a rainy / schools-closed-cos-it’s-a-tiny-bit-snowy day:
* Cut out bird shape from card (use your imagination)
* Decorate both sides, either just by colouring in or sticking things on (foil, feathers, coloured paper, sequins, glitter etc)
* Take a piece of tissue paper, fold to make wings
* Make a cut in body, push through
* Fan wings together and stick
* Attach string and hang

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bird greenbird pinkbirdies

Gathering

Collect things! Cones, conkers, shells, leaves, shells, sea glass, pebbles. You might not yet know how or when you’re going to use them, and they might sit in your home for years before coming into their own, but in the meantime you can always keep them in a bowl on your coffee table.

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Guest soaps

Buy some squared off shape soaps. I got mine from good old Marks and Spencers – the Magnolia and Lily of the Valley ones smell delicious. Assemble some pretty gift wrap and ribbon. Wrap, and leave in a bowl to brighten up your guest room or put on top of folded guest towels on the bed for next time someone stays. I do realise that it’s utterly ridiculous to wrap up pieces of soap but hey, everyone likes a little surprise!

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Photo collage

Remember way back when you used to put multiple photos in a frame on your wall? Guess what? – it’s back in, as decreed by the Nomad Thief’s Mum, who did this one the other day, having decided she was fed up with having individual frames displaying all of us everywhere. The key as I understand it is not to be too OCD about it (not easy if you’re a fusspot fanny like me, I would probably make it into an endless project) – just sort your hard copy photos into eras or groups of people, and literally hack them up and stick them down and frame. We get a bit precious about which photos we display in our homes these days I think, and this somehow, made of reject photos that didn’t make it into the photo albums back then, has real soul.

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Lavender bags

Assemble some net, some ribbon and some lavender. Cut net into circles, gather lavender in centre and tie up with ribbon. Voila! Apparently they deter moths. And even if they don’t, they look and smell nice – just pop a few in your drawers.

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