Friday 25 October 2013

Frugal tea loaf recipe

"What's frugal about a tea loaf?" you might ask. Well, you know those bits of crumbly cereal you're left with at the bottom of the cereal packet? You know the ones I mean...the crumbs/dust that you end up throwing away or giving to the birds because if you have it in your cereal it turns to mush? Yep, that's exactly the stuff that makes this recipe special. I just enjoy making it because it's always satisfying using up a seemingly 'worthless' item...upcycled cereal! (kind of) :)

Also, it is egg and dairy free...and fat free! I can't remember where I got it from - I think a friend gave it to me as a money saving tip when I went to Uni.

Anyway! Here's the recipe....

Pre heat oven to gas mark 4


1. 1 mug full of the above mentioned cereal crumbs/dust ('brown' cereal works best - bran flakes or wheat biscuits are good but other bran based ones are good too)

2. 1 mug full of sultanas (or any dried fruit really - I just prefer sultanas)

3. 1 mug full of strong black tea (though it would totally work with other teas, I expect!)

4. between half to 1 mug of sugar (I used half a mug, but this really depends on how sweet you want it), plus about 1 tablespoon extra to sprinkle on top.

5. 1 mug full of self raising flour


Stir in the self raising flour.

It will look like it's not going to mix in but it will. It will be a very stiff mixture.

As you stir in the flour, it is nice to add some flavouring too. I like cinnamon but I expect orange zest might be nice too!

Spoon the mixture into a lined, greased loaf tin and sprinkle with the tablespoon or so of sugar.

Bake in the middle of the oven for about 1 hour and 20 minutes, or until a skewer comes out clean.

Take out of tin and leave to cool (take off the baking paper while loaf is hot, or it will stick).

I like to have this spread with butter and with a cup of tea. It is not a light loaf and more 'bready' than 'cakey', if you see what I mean.

I hope that this recipe is clear! It really is very easy and I hope you like it :)

Wednesday 6 March 2013

Cat puppet made from an old jumper - Tutorial

I love hand puppets. My poor husband has had to pull me away from many a hand puppet as I have stood, at length, umming and ahhing in shops, wondering how they could be used. What story could they be used to tell? What game could be played with them? What voices could they have?...such is the mind of a primary teacher - once a teacher, always a teacher - always looking for fun ways to use things in the classroom. The other thing I love about hand puppets is that they are so easy to make! This tutorial is for a cat puppet, but can be easily adapted to create other animals too.

You will need:

An old jumper (doesn't matter if fulled or not)
Sewing machine (or needle and thread for hand sewing)
Buttons for eyes and nose
Small piece of felt in contrasting colour to the jumper
Black thread
Paper to make the pattern

Ok, so first you'll need to make a pattern to cut your pieces from. I used a large mug and an egg-cup to draw around...

So, you can see that the mug outline is for the cat's head and the egg-cup outlines (x2) are the cat's arms. Just draw some straight lines to make the pattern look more puppet-like!

Your hand should be able to fit inside the lines. Here you see I have drawn around the pattern (about 1cm). This will be the seam allowance for when you turn it right side out later.

Remember to add ears too! If you want to make a bear instead, just draw curved ears. Now, cut the pattern out, around the edge of the seam allowance. Next, you want to cut out two pieces from your old jumper (just lay your paper pattern on top and cut around).

Now you need to fold over the two bottom ends of the two puppet pieces, by about 1 cm, and sew. Make sure the rough edge will be showing on the 'bad' side of the fabric (this will be inside the puppet) and not the 'good' side.

Now...tail time!

Start by cutting a rectangle from your old jumper, about the same height as the two puppet pieces you've already cut and about as wide as the base of the puppet pieces.

Fold this in half, lengthways and sew around three edges, leaving a small edge open. Fold right side out and you have a tail!

Now you need to attach the tail to one of the puppet pieces - remember to sew it onto one of the rough edges, so it will be on the inside of the puppet.

Nearly there! What would be a great idea to do now would be to sew on the buttons and do the embroidery for the face BEFORE sewing the two pieces together - I sewed the face details on at the end and found it tricky!

Place the two pieces together, with the good sides of the fabric facing IN and sew together, leaving about 1cm seam allowance. Remember to leave the base UNSEWN so you can put your hand inside the puppet!

Now turn the right side out and use a pencil to push the ears out and make them more pointy. Give your puppet a try on to see if you need to make any adjustments. I had to because my original pattern was too wide. I simply turned the puppet inside-out again and sewed the head narrower on both sides...

Next I cut two pieces of felt into triangles and sewed them onto the ears...

Added the face...

...finished! One upcycled cat puppet, ready to be wrapped up and given as a present (well, this one was anyway!).


I hope you have fun making and playing with your puppet :)

You might also like my tutorial for making a teddy bear sleeping bag.