Sunday Recipe: Apple Polenta Cake

This is one of my favourite caje recipes ever! Apple polenta cake is so yummy as a cake or a dessert.

You will need:
  • 200g sultanas,
  • 200g caster sugar,
  • 1 teaspoon bicarb-soda,
  • 155g fine polenta,
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract,
  • 250g natural yoghurt,
  • 300g cooking apples,
  • 150g plain flour (all purpose),
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon,
  • 2 large eggs,
  • 125g unsalted butter
What you need to do:
  • Preheat the oven to 180C / Gas 4
  • Butter and line a 23cm tin,
  • Mix the flour, bicarbonate of soda, cinnamon and polenta together,
  • In a separate bowl or cup mix the eggs and vanilla,
  • In a large bowl, cream the butter and the sugar and then gradually add the egg and vanilla mix,
  • Add the alour mix alternatively with the yoghurt and mix until just combined,
  • Peel and wash the apples and cut into small cubes, fold into the mixture along with the sultanas,
  • Pour the mixture into the cake tin and smooth the top over,
  • Bake in the oven for approximately an hour, cover with foil if needed.
I love this cake and i hope you will too.

An alternative is to use rhubarb instead of the apples and sultanas.

Sunday, 31 October 2010 | 0 Comments

Christmas Card Giveaway

It's about time I do another giveaway from my blog for Christmas!

This one is going to be really simple, all you have to do is become a follower of the Butterfly-Crafts blog. If I reach 200 followers by the 5th December I will randomly pick one of the lovely followers to win a set of 4 cards.

Already a follower? Not to fear, I will pick one person from all of the followers but only if it reaches the magic number of 200.

The cards will be based on the design shown here.

Wednesday, 27 October 2010 | 2 Comments

Which Witch?

With Hallowe'en fast approaching I am pleased to have my Witch card included in the Which Witch collection on Artfire cutated by angeliqueart.

Get in the Hallowe'en spirit by taking a look at this great collection of handmade witchy items.

You can see the collection here

I also have another Witch card featured in this collection called Wonderful Witches

Tuesday, 26 October 2010 | 1 Comment

Sunday Recipe: Herby Potatoes

Another Sunday Recipe - Herby potatoes that will serve six

You will need:
  • 1.5kg / 3lb red potatoes,
  • 2 tablespoons of melted butter,
  • salt and pepper,
  • 3 tablespoons of olive oil,
  • 2 tablespoons of mixed fresh herbs such as parsley, rosemary and thyme
How to do it:
  • Preheat the oven to 230C / 450F / Gas8
  • Lightly oil a large baking dish and set aside,
  • Scrub the potatoes (do not peel), rinse and dry well,
  • Cut the potatoes into 3cm cubes and arrange on the baking dish,
  • Combine the olive oil, melted butter, salt and pepper in a small bowl,
  • Drizzle the oil over the potatoes and mix them around,
  • Bake in the oven for thirty minutes, stir and then bake for a further ten minutes,
  • Add the chopped herbs and stir well,
  • Continue to bake for ten to fifteen minutes until tender and brown.

Sunday, 24 October 2010 | 0 Comments

Creating a Newsletter Sign Up Widget with Mail Chimp

Many people have asked me how I created a newsletter sign up widget on my Artfire shop, blog page and other locations. Well, to save responding individually, here is how I did it.

Firstly - log into your MailChimp account.

Next, go to "Lists" and towards the left it will say Design New Sign Up Form - click here even if you already have a sign up form.

If you have not yet created your sign up form, here is where you do it. If you have already created it, you should see text saying "Link to subscribe form" and then a direct URL and the option to get embedded text. Write down what the direct URL is.

The next step is to design the widget button how you want it to look, mine is simply the word Newsletter in purple text that matches my banner etc. Save this and upload it to somewhere like Photobucket.

Now you need to open up Notepad and write the simple piece of coding. Now, I cant write it properly here as it will just click to my sign up so here is a screen shot of the text, you just need to fill in the bits that tell you what URL to put in.
The image is likely to be really small so click on it to get a bigger version.

Save your text in Notepad.

Then go into My Artfire, My Studio and then Widget. Pick where you want the widget to show up (Right side of bottom) and copy/paste the widget text. Save it and then it will hopefully show up!

If there are any questions post them here.

Monday, 18 October 2010 | 0 Comments

Sunday Recipe: Marinated Chicken

A quick recipe for today I wanted to share:

You will need:
  • Chicken breasts,
  • 3 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • Herbs
How To:
  • Mix the olive oil with the lemon juice in a bowl,
  • Put the chicken breasts in the bowl and cover with cling film, leave in the fridge for at least thirty minutes,
  • Heat up the grill or griddle and grill for approximately six minutes each side or fry for four minutes
  • Let stand and then sprinkle with herbs and added lemon juice
Really quick and really tasty!

Sunday, 17 October 2010 | 1 Comment

Europe on Artfire Collection

With being included in all of these collections I thought it was about time I created my own, so I have done just that featuring fellow artisans from the Handmade in Europe Guild. The card I chose to represent Butterfly Crafts is this handmade rocket card ideal for a child's birthday.

Also in the collection you will see jewellery, crocheted items, a coptic bound journal and a polymer clay dog along with other wonderful European creations.

You can see the Europe on Artfire collection here.

Thursday, 14 October 2010 | 0 Comments

Business Tips Round Up

I thought it about time that I return to the blogsphere and get back on track - just as my offline life gets CRAZY with craft fairs! It seems appropriate then that soon I will be blogging about time management tips as I try and learn how to productively manage my time.

Before doing that, I wanted to do a roundup/summary of the business tips series I began back in 2009 for easy access to new readers and for older ones to have a quick reference. So here goes....

In the beginning we looked at business set up and the basic necessities before thinking about finances. Creating a mission statement is an important part of any business as is establishing a brand identity.

After looking at how to set up a business we then moved on to capturing ideas (and part two) and how to go about researching new potential products. But we also addressed the risks with plagiarism.

Next up we talked about packaging and production once you have a product line established. Then was every crafters worst nightmare: pricing (and part two.)

Once you have the products you need to think heavily on marketing and promotion for which you need to have good photography. If you want to sell your craft something important is having an online presence whether that be on a site such as Artfire or your own website. Social media methods are also key with todays society and this includes having a blog.

When you set up selling your crafts as a business you quickly have to learn how to be your own publicist and a good place to start is creating a press kit. Or go a step further and hire a publicist. But no matter what you do, you need to have a marketing plan of some sort.

A method I have found great for sales is attending craft fairs (and part two), other artists find their creations are good for consignment whereas others prefer wholesale (and part two.) But the key to consignment and wholesale is knowing how to approach a shop in the first place.

Trade shows can also be good for getting your work 'out there' but also for research. Going to shows whether they be trade shows or the local craft fair, you will need to learn to be a good salesperson.

Part of being a good sales person but also running a good business is fulfilling orders to time and providing excellent customer service.

As with any business there will be ups and downs and at some point you will ponder where the sales have gone? But if you are super busy, you can end up feeling exhausted and can begin to question whether or not you have a good work and life balance.

If you find you are creating and working solidly, you may at some point end up with a creative block but other issues you may need to over come include having a baby, ans when business is booming that much you need to hire staff.

If you are successful and need to hire staff there are points to remember about being a good boss . If you are needing more staff it is also likely you will end up with home not being big enough for your production. If this happens you can be looking forward to growing your business but sometimes it doesnt all work out and you have to face reality and whether it is time to quit.

I plan to start looking at the successful side of business soon when you really need to start to manage your time well to meet your deadlines, requirements, expectations and also maintain a life outside of your creative business!

Wednesday, 13 October 2010 | 0 Comments

Iced Lemon Sugar Cookies

On my recent trip to the USA I purchased a little booklet entitled Old Fashioned Cookie Recipes and a couple of cookie cutters. I love to bake but have never tried cookies before. At work, we have a cake club rota where 14 of us each take it in turns every week to bake and then at a specified time we sit down and share cake. Well this week just gone was my rota week and I thought I would give the cookies a try. Yes I agree they are not technically cakes but they have eggs, sugar, flour and butter so will do just fine!

You will need:
  • 1 cup / 8oz sugar
  • 1/2 cup / 4oz butter softened
  • 2 eggs beaten
  • Grated rind of 1 lemon
  • 3 cups / 24oz plain (all purpose) flour
  • 2tsp baking powder
  • pinch of salt
  • Granulated sugar (if you DON'T plan to ice them
  • Icing sugar & lemon juice for the icing (optional)

And this is what you have to do.....
  1. Preheat the oven to 400F / 200C
  2. Cream the sugar and butter together then blend in the egg and grated lemon rind.
  3. In a separate bowl sift together the flour, baking powder and salt.
  4. Stir the flour mixture into the egg mixture and knead until well bound adding more flour if necessary,
  5. On a lightly floured board roll out the dough to about 1/8" thick using a rolling pin,
  6. Cut into shapes with the cookies cutter or a knife and lay on a baking tray,
  7. If you are NOT icing them, sprinkle with granulated sugar.
  8. Bake in the oven for approximately 8 minues.
  9. When the cookies have cooled if you are icing them mix together the juice of a lemon with enough icing sugar to make a thick icing paste, I used about 4tblsp of icing sugar. Coat the top of the cookies with the icing and allow to set before eating!

Unfortunately I don't have a picture of my cookies as they were eaten very quickly but people did say they were nice so I passed the cake club test!

If you bake these cookies let me know how they turned out!

Sunday, 3 October 2010 | 1 Comment