Thursday, 12 May 2016

Pipsqueaks Blog Book Tour - Book Review and Mini Challenge

I am very excited to be a part of a world-wide blog tour for Sally Dixon's new book Pipsqueaks ~itsy-bitsy felt creations to stitch and love.

I am also excited to be able to have a digital copy of the book to give away! Details at the end of this post.

Sally lives in South Australia, and originally trained as an early childhood teacher. As well as having created this book full of tiny patterns, she also makes them to sell in her online Etsy and Madeit stores ~ Sally Dixon Creations.

Some of the adorable little things you can make

Sally set me a challenge to go along with my review (how can you review something without trying it yourself?!) The challenge was to make three items from her book, one from each chapter; Somewhat Pipsqueak, Perfectly Pipsqueak and Utterly Pipsqueak.

Challenge accomplished; Sew cute!!

I actually had fun making these three little fellas. You'll note I said 'actually', as I was concerned that my sewing skills would not be up to the task, however it turns out, they were! If I can make them, it bodes well for anyone to give it a go.

The ice-cream was my favourite!

For this review, I was provided with a digital review copy of the book Pipsqueaks, from C&T Publishing.

The Good

Sally's introduction provides a comprehensive list of all the techniques and items you'll need to make all 30 + of these tiny creations.

Each project is set out step by step with images as well as written instructions. This makes it very easy to follow and complete.

I think there is something for every skill level here, and I'm pretty sure my 10-year-old self would have adored this book during the school holidays!

Little Bunny (actually the bigger little bunny)

The Not So Good

I like a book I can physically get my hands on, especially when it comes to crafting. Getting around an e-book is still a bit New World for me! I did compromise and print out the pages for the ones I made.

(Sally has a hardcopy of the book too, if you prefer physical to digital)

In progress

Things That Would Have Helped Me

Perhaps some alternative suggestions for embellishments when you don't have beads or other bits like mini pom poms on hand. There are a few general ideas in the introduction, however a few gentle reminders or suggestions for each project would have been amazing.

A #hashtag for sharing images of completed creations. I'd love to see what other people have made and how they interpreted the patterns.

Loved working with felt

All Up

Quick to make and super cute! There are lots of things in this book to love. I also feel that it would make a great gift for a crafty youngster (don't forget to throw in some pieces of felt!)

Sally's Elephants, perhaps when I'm a little more
confident with my pipsqueaks!

You can go on tour along with the book too, check out the other blogs that are on the trail;

11th May 2016: C&T Publishing - (Concord, California, U.S.A.)

11th May 2016: We Bloom Here - Margaret Bloom (San Francisco Bay, California, U.S.A.)

12th May 2016: My Handmade Adventure - Karen Wasson (Melbourne, Australia) - You are here!

13th May 2016: 60 Degrees of Inspiration - Joanna Riley (Shetland Isles, Scotland, UK)

14th May 2016: Buttonsy - Anna Day (London, England, UK)

15th May 2016: Madeit - (Lennox Head, Australia)

16th May 2016 Sally Dixon Creations - Sally Dixon (Adelaide, Australia)

Now with thanks to Sally and C&T Publishing, you too can be lost in an itty bitty Pipsqueak world. All you have to do to be in the running to win a digital copy of Pipsqueaks, is leave a comment on this blog post.

Competition closes on Monday 23rd of May 2016 when a winner will be drawn at random.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, 4 May 2016

Hot Air Balloon Cake

Balloon! I loved this cake

This cake I made for Arthur's first birthday (2 and a half years ago) has been quite popular from my previous post. So I thought I'd give it a bit more attention by adding a little 'how to'. It is a very easy cake to make. 

You can make whatever flavoured cake you choose. For this one, I made one of my favourites, an apricot chocolate chip cake. Yum, it's a good one.

Some hot air balloon cakes use a square basket (cake), I found the round one to be just as simple and perhaps a little more appealing. 

To decorate the basket I used a simple chocolate buttercream icing then placed the raspberry milk chocolate coated bullets as shown to get the basket weave effect. You can use liquorice, again it all depends on the flavours you like. 

I dug a small hole out of the top of the cake and filled it with smarties and the candle. 

Under the paper straws, I placed bamboo skewers. I was able to dig these into the cake to keep them in place. 

At the top is a paper lantern. You can get these in every colour under the sun and I think it has a nicer effect (and is reusable and better for the environment) than a rubber balloon. Also, when you light the candle underneath, you're not going to have melty poppy balloon issues!

I think it's my most favourite kids cake that I've made to date. Quite possibly the easiest too.

Have you ever made an easy, yet effective kids cake?!