Paper Doily Bakes: Lemon Layer Cake

lemoncake2

Happy Thursday all! Those of you who have been reading my blog for some time will know how much I love baking. Are you one of those bakers who has a certain speciality in the kitchen? My speciality used to be cupcakes, but nowadays I seem to get so much more excited from layer cakes (terrible for my waistline, I know!) I first tried my first slice of lemon cake last year in a local cafe. It was truly delicious and I kept going back for more. Fast forward a few months later and they stopped baking it. I thought I’d try baking it myself at home as I was hosting a small party. It was such a success and it was truly enjoyed by all. I’ve been making it ever since and it’s become a regular in this household! Would you like to know the recipe? Read on!

Firstly, I have two variations depending on how I’m feeling. Both versions are layer cakes made using the same sponge recipe but I alternate the icing technique.

One version is a lemon drizzle topping with small individual swirls of buttercream and sprinkles for decoration, alongside a few tablespoons of lemon curd and full layer of buttercream in between the sponge layers. (shown in the first photo above)

If I’m feeling like making the other version, I replace the lemon drizzle topping with a full layer of buttercream. I place a few tablespoons of lemon curd in between the sponge layers, alongside a second layer of buttercream. I finish this off with some sugarpaste flowers and sprinkles to give it a bit of colour. (shown in the first two photo’s below)

IMG_5433 2

cake1

lemoncake3

lemoncake4

Feeling inspired? Here’s the recipe…..

Ingredients

For the Cake:

Butter 250g, plus a little extra for greasing the tin

Golden Caster Sugar, sifted 250g

Self-Raising Flour, sifted 250g

Baking Powder, sifted 1 tsp

Organic Free Range Eggs 4 large

Lemons 2, zested

Semi Skimmed or Whole Milk, 1 tbsp

Choose either of the following:

For the Filling and Topping of the Lemon Drizzle/Buttercream Swirls Version:

Lemons 4 (2 for the buttercream icing, 2 for the lemon drizzle)

Caster Sugar 85g

Butter 125g

Icing Sugar, sifted 250g

Lemon Curd 4 tbsp

Cake Sprinkles

For the Filling and Topping of the Buttercream/Sugarcraft Flowers Version:

Butter 250g

Icing Sugar, sifted 500g

Lemons 3, zested and juiced

Lemon Curd 4 tbsp

Sugarcraft Flowers and/or Cake Sprinkles

Piping Bag and Star Nozzle

Method

Step 1

Heat the oven to 180C/fan 160C/gas 4. Butter, line and flour the bases of 2 x 20cm sandwich tins. Beat the butter, sugar, flour, baking powder, eggs and lemon zest together until your batter is of a smooth consistency. Add the milk slowly until the cake batter glides off of a spoon.

Step 2 

Divide the mixture between the two tins and bake for 20-25 minutes. When they’re ready, a skewer or cake tester poked in should come out clean. Cool on wire racks for 5 minutes.

Step 3

Choose either of the following:

For the Filling and Topping of the Lemon Drizzle/Buttercream Swirls Version:

Make the icing by beating the soft butter with the icing sugar, lemon zest and juice from 2 lemons until light and fluffy. Spread half of this mixture over the top of the cake. Spread the lemon curd on top of this.

Take your second layer and place this on top. Gently prick this top layer all over with a skewer or fork.

Make the lemon drizzle topping by mixing together the lemon juice of 2 remaining lemons, alongside the caster sugar. Pour the drizzle over the cake, the juice will sink into it and the sugar will form a sweet, crisp topping.

Once the lemon drizzle topping has set, insert the star nozzle into the piping bag and fill this with the remaining buttercream icing. Make a series of small buttercream swirls around the outside of the cake. Add sprinkle/s to each swirl if you wish.

For the Filling and Topping of the Buttercream/Sugarcraft Flowers Version:

Make the icing by beating the soft butter with the icing sugar, lemon zest and juice until light and fluffy.

Divide the buttercream icing into half. Spread one half of it over the bottom layer of the cake. Spread the lemon curd on top of this.

Take the other layer and place it on top of the layer you’ve just finished. Gently spread the remaining buttercream on top of this layer. Decorate with sprinkles and/or sugarcraft flowers.

Voila! Enjoy. If you’ve made this cake, do let me know as I’d love to see it and hear your feedback. You can share photographs of your creation on my Facebook page if you like. Happy baking and see you soon!

 

 

 

Behind The Scenes at Paper Doily: My New Craft Room

Hello all! First of all I would just like to apologise for the slightly longer than expected delay in updating my blog. You may have seen my earlier post about the new build house we moved into last August? Anybody who has bought a house will understand the upheaval and its possible effect on day-to-day living. In our case, we’ve had builders in pretty much every day over the course of a year, yes really! Well, that aside… whilst I’ve been trading during this time making beautiful party decorations and stationery for my Etsy and Notonthehighstreet shops, my blog has been somewhat neglected. This is now set to change as I am back in action, yay!

So, I’ve made a few changes to my workspace over the past week. I ran out of space in my original room and we are lucky enough to have a few spare rooms. I thought this post would be the perfect opportunity to give you a little tour of my new craft room, how does that sound?

craftroom1

My pegboard from Block Design has got to be my most favourite item in the entire room. It’s super handy for storing all of my craft accessories, particularly the ones I use every day. Obviously no peg board is complete without pretty things… You know those things which you don’t actually use on a daily basis but just like to admire?…. (phew, glad I’m not the only one!)

craft-room4

You can see a close up here. I’ve used blu-tack to display my favourite prints. As it takes centre stage in my room, I wanted it to look vibrant and cheerful and I think it looks just that!

craftroom8

No craft room is complete without a companion, right? For those of you who don’t know, this is our rather adorable Mabel. Mabel is our 1 year old miniature poodle and is wonderful company. She also has a nephew called Felix, who is our much loved 2 year old miniature poodle. Together they are double the trouble but we wouldn’t have it any other way.

craftroom19

Here they are together, striking a pose!

craft-room3

craft-room-2

Luckily, the craft room is big enough to house two ikea desks. The one shown above is for crafting and drawing. I love my trusty desk storage as it keeps everything nice and tidy and very easy to reach. No drawing space would be complete without pretty decorations above it and some gorgeous eye candy in the form of a jug of flowers, would it? The desk to the left of this houses my iMac, printer, scanner, camera and all other technical equipment.

craftroom11

craftroom14

craftroom15

Opposite my two work desks are a number of trusty ikea shelves which house all of my craft materials, tools and accessories, packaging, books and magazines etc. Even though this is a really functional space, it’s important to me that it remains beautiful, so I like to have lots of handmade touches scattered around that area to cheer me up.

craftroom5

craftroom6

craftroom17

craftroom20

I love listening to the radio when I’m working. We live in such a peaceful area, it’s nice to have a bit of background noise to keep me inspired. The trolley shown above houses all of my glittered and patterned papers, stationery, scissors and all sorts of other handy bits. As you can probably tell, the shelves have pretty much reached full capacity now and there are still lots of things stored on the floor! Eventually, I’d like to have another form of storage in here, but it feels perfectly workable right now. The large jars you may be able to spot are from our wedding a few years ago, they were used for tasty sweets and have now taken on the role of craft storage!

craftroom7

craftroom12.jpg

craftroom13

Both of my desks face the window and it’s really nice having some green space to look at every now and then. It’s a nice little reminder that I live in Somerset and it’s one of the most beautiful places to live in the country. In the winter I like to light tealight candles whilst I’m working (and I have been known to get the fairy lights out too!) This just makes the room feel extra cosy and perfect for working in whilst sipping a lovely hot chocolate loaded with marshmallows of course!

The memo board opposite my desk is super handy for staying organised. I usually stick floral post it notes to it.  I added my own ribbon to it which seemed a bit more unique than the standard brown twine which it came with. Not that I have anything against twine – I love it, as you can see from the other photos!

craftroom10

We have the most comfiest crocheting spot upstairs, in what we call the ‘daybed room’ which is located opposite my craft space. Whenever we have visitors, this is where they stay. I have a fair few of my handmade cushions in here and it’s just a really lovely, peaceful space to have a break in during the day. Usually you’ll find Felix and Mabel snoozing in here during the day. Felix likes to throw all of the cushions all over the floor… just to make things extra comfy I imagine! (It’s a dog’s life) I have been told by a few people that this room has reached its maximum cushion capacity…. Is there even such a thing?

DSC_3931

That’s all from me for now, although I couldn’t help but share this photo of Mabel with you, doing what she does best…. posing! I hope you’ve enjoyed having a peek into where Paper Doily Party Shop is based. Happy crafting!

Paper Doily Makes: Illustrated Wedding Cards

I’m happy to announce that I have just launched a new collection of ‘Will you be my…?’ Wedding cards, yay! I really love designing stationery. Anything floral and pastel coloured makes me very excited and since my own wedding in 2014, I’ve been very interested in wedding stationery.

 

bridesmaid2

My greetings card designs generally begin with some initial sketches. I then use my trusty lightbox and a black pen to refine my drawings ready for scanning. I then use a combination of Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator, which is where most of the fun happens. I’m lucky enough to own a professional printer which means I can print most of my cards from the comfort of my own craft room. This is really handy in terms of personalisation, as additional names and colours can easily be added! It also means that I can launch several designs at once to learn what the most popular designs are.

This is the main design, isn’t it lovely? I loved the design so much, I’ve used the same one throughout all of these three cards, but have changed the text on each one. Here’s the first one:

bridesmaid1

What are your thoughts? Did you send any bridesmaid cards for your wedding, or are you planning to? I had small wedding, so despite having some of my closest friends there along with my family, I didn’t have any bridesmaids. However, I can totally appreciate how absolutely lovely it is to have them and to treat them to special cards like these!

flowergirl3flowergirl1

Now for this version. There are some absolutely adorable images online of flower girls and there is some beautiful stationery to match also. I warn you though, once you get started on those wedding blogs, you can say goodbye to a good few hours! I can imagine this flower girl card being perfect for a lovely little girl.

maidofhonour1maidofhonour2

Last but certainly not least, is the maid of honour version. I’m an avid Instagram user and have noticed an increase in brides-to-be having maid’s of honour. Have you? I really hope these cards are a success. Even if they put a smile on one special person’s face on opening, that’s my job done! Do keep your eyes peeled as I am looking to expand my range on Etsy and Notonthehighstreet.

Paper Doily Makes: My Personalised Greetings Card Range

DSC_3662

bridesmaid12

Happy Friday all! How has your week been? I thought I’d post a little update on the greetings cards I’ve been working on this week, available in my NOTHS and Etsy shops. I’ve designed two brand new cards, featuring my favourite colours. If you can’t get creative with your favourite colours when you’re busy designing, then when can you? I’ve decided to run a trial on personalised cards to see how much my lovely customers like them. After offering non personalised greetings cards before, with some success (but admittedly not as much as I’d hoped) I am feeling positive about these ones! What do you think?

bridesmaid2

I love the idea that personalised cards can potentially be treasured as keepsakes for some time. I always feel special when I’m given a lovely card, as I really appreciate the time that lovely person has spent choosing and sending it, particularly when social media and email is so prevalent now! Imagine how special the recipient would feel to know they have had a card designed especially for them?

I figured Personalised ‘Bridesmaid Thank you Cards’ and personalised ‘Happy Birthday Cards’ were a good place to start, but I hope to roll more designs out very soon. In the mean time, I hope you have a lovely weekend wherever you are in the world. Thank you so much for reading and I hope I’ve inspired you!

Paper Doily Makes: Crocheted Gifts

DSC_3614

DSC_3627

Mother’s Day has recently passed in the UK and I felt like crocheting my Mum something special this year. Whatever the occasion, whether it be birthdays, anniversaries, small celebrations, I always like to gift handmade items of some sort. If you’ve ever read my blog post about my wedding, or my recent feature in Homemaker Mag, you’ll know how much I love handmade gestures. Over the next few months, I’m actually planning to write a lot more craft tutorials for handmade party favours and gifts, as it’s quite clear just how much I love parties!

This year, I decided to make my Mum a crocheted scarf. Some could say that it’s the wrong time of year to give somebody a scarf, but the weather here in Somerset doesn’t seem to be getting any warmer despite the changing seasons, so it felt like a lovely gesture.

This particular scarf is on the large side as my Mum does a lot of walking and I wanted it to be super snuggly and toasty. I’ve only recently taught myself the stitch I used for this scarf and I’m also making a blanket out of it for my lounge. It’s called the ‘V-stitch’ and after trying out a few online tutorials, I found Girly Bunches YouTube video to be the most helpful. The technique was very easy to follow and I adapted the instructions myself to make the scarf. I have a lot of wool in my craft room, so rather than buy new supplies, I used a mixture of pink cotton and cream aran yarn. This was the result above and I was super pleased with it, as was my Mum. Yay! It’s lovely when handmade gifts are appreciated.

DSC_3634

I gave my Mum a few other special but non handmade items, including this gorgeous keyring. Isn’t it adorable? The wrapping paper was perfect for Mother’s Day, especially with Easter on the way, don’t you agree?

I hope I’ve inspired you to make your own handmade gifts, particularly if you have a special occasion on the way. Have a lovely day wherever you are in the world!

My Craft Swap with RubyRedcrafts

I recently had the pleasure of taking part in a craft swap with the lovely RubyRedcrafts. It was the first craft swap I’ve ever participated in and it was so much fun. I’ve been following Rachel from RubyRedcrafts on Instagram for some time and after seeing all of her beautiful makes, I was able to gain a real sense of what kind of things she liked. Here’s what I made:

craft-swap-2

Anybody who knows me well, knows that I absolutely love crochet. I taught myself to crochet several years ago and have been happily ‘hooking’ ever since! I just find it so incredibly therapeutic (unless of course I’m following a very tricky pattern) and I love how easy it is to add colour. I run a local, fortnightly crochet group in a cafe, so a lot of tasty cake and warm hot chocolate was consumed whilst this was made. As Easter is coming up, I thought it would make the perfect garland. I’ve made quite a few crocheted party decorations similar to this and I always have so much fun with them.

craft-swap-3

Pastel felt flower gift tags with pink twine, need I say any more? Rachel spends a lot of time in her craft room and plans to use these as organisational tags for all of her crafty bits. The felt flowers were all cut by hand by myself. I drew a brief outline of each flower on thin paper to start with to use as templates. After choosing the felt and cutting out each shape, I used a mixture of hand sewing and hot glue gun, with some added embellishments. The brown gift tags came from my local craft store and were the perfect colour, as the pastel colours really shine through against the background colour.

craft-swap-1

Rachel and I agreed on three items, the third being these tall, patterned heart cake toppers, perfect for decorating beautiful cakes with at special parties and events.

craft-swap4

This wrapping paper I used to wrap the gifts in was perfect, as it felt so seasonal. The Spring like colours and delicate flowers stood out to me whilst choosing the wrapping paper and the pink twine was the perfect addition!

craft swap e

These fabulous handmade gifts were Rachel’s craft swap to me. How stunning are they? I love each and every one item Rachel sent and was so overwhelmed that they were created with love especially for me. I’ve now placed the gorgeous padded heart garland in my kitchen. The patchwork needle case is displayed proudly in my craft room next to my sewing machine. It will definitely be used as I’ve been thinking about teaching myself to make patchwork quilts and accessories for some time now. Rachel also included a beautiful handmade coaster for all of my lovely mugs and look at that little rosette!

craft-swap-5

Last but not least, Rachel has an adorable dog named Wilson, so I couldn’t leave him out. I have two miniature poodles named Felix and Mabel, and they both love Lily’s Kitchen bedtime biscuits. They are the perfect treat for lucky pooches!

I hope you’ve enjoyed reading and do get in touch if I’ve inspired you! Have a lovely week.

 

Makers Monday, featuring RubyRedcrafts

The first instalment of Makers Monday was a real success and I’m bursting with excitement to share the second one with you! This week, I’ve decided to introduce you to RubyRedcrafts who has the most adorable Etsy shop. Rachel Whitworth is the creative genius behind Rubyredcrafts and hand makes pretty decorative homewares, party decor and gifts, all made with plenty of love and TLC in the Oxfordshire countryside.

I first discovered Rachel through Instagram and it’s been lovely to see the ‘behind the scenes’ photographs and general snippets of her day-to-day life.

red, white, pink and blue fabric heart garland

rainbow coloured fabric heart garland

One of the things I love the most about Rachel’s work are the vibrant colours she uses. They all work so well together and have such a happy feel about them. The photography used is perfect, as the neutral background really allows the garlands to shine. If I had any one of these garlands hanging on my wall, they would certainly put a smile on my face every time I caught sight of them.

pink, yellow and green fabric heart garland

Red Polkadot and Floral Fabric Heart Garland

I can imagine these garlands making anywhere look special really, but especially for a party. These garlands would make any dessert table come to life, or would even look perfect hanging from multiple places in a wedding venue. I’ve noticed a long standing wedding trend for vintage suitcases and crates being used as wedding card holders. Any of these garlands would work incredibly well for that and would add a very special touch to your wedding day.

il_fullxfull.306195514

If you’re a dog lover like me, you’re bound to love this scottie dog garland. Again, the colours used are just lovely and the fabric choices are stunning. Just please don’t tell my miniature poodles, Felix and Mabel that I have been looking at scottie dogs, as they will not be best pleased, ssssh!

I’m not sure what the weather is like in your part of the world today, but it’s rather dismal in Somerset, so these gorgeous creations have done a pretty good job in cheering me up. I hope they have made you happy too! I look forward to sharing the next Makers Monday post with you and hope you’re feeling super inspired!

 

 

Makers Monday, featuring Shopwillynilly

I’m not really one for setting new years resolutions, I usually just set myself a series of goals relating to my personal/work life. One of my many work goals was to start a regular feature on my blog which others will hopefully love to read and will find lots of inspiration from. Some of you may already know how much I LOVE Instagram. I dedicate a lot of time to it and as a result, have been introduced to some absolutely wonderful makers. My idea for ‘Makers Monday’ revolves around me dedicating an entire blog post to an inspirational maker each week, meaning my blog will be full of not only craft tutorials (and general ramblings) but will also be a wonderful resource for staying inspired and up-to-date with current makers.

il_fullxfull.897355371_dwzw

Let me introduce to you to Shopwillynilly set up by Chelsey, who is based in Truro, England. I’ve been admiring Chelsey’s work for some time, mostly through her Instagram account. Her photographs are just wonderful and capture her products beautifully. You can clearly see her excellent attention to detail, wonderful eye for colour, pattern and texture and most importantly, her strong sense of originality.

il_fullxfull.796513308_np1b

Chelsey’s shop is the perfect place for any bride-to-be’s, looking for stylish, shabby chic wedding decor, made with lots of love and TLC. Chelsey’s shop is perfect for special gifts and wedding favours too.

il_fullxfull.763133262_738p

I bought lots of these adorable jars for my own wedding, as you may have seen on an older post here and wish I had of seen these personalised hearts back then. Homemade jam and chutney have been popular wedding favour ideas for a while now and I can definitely imagine these hearts looking fabulous if used to adorn culinary delights of that sort.

il_fullxfull.836879323_rpyt

I would be overjoyed to receive a beautiful keyring such as this one at a loved ones wedding. It’s such a special thought that your guests will be holding on to something forever from your big day. This seems so much more thoughtful (and useful) than the standard place card. The same thought which comes into my head again and again, of ‘why didn’t I see/think of this for my own wedding?’ makes me giggle! There is just far too much inspiration out there.

There is much more to see and swoon over in this beautiful shop. If you do go and take a peek, be warned that you are likely to want to buy everything in sight and may need to exercise some sort of self control!

I hope you’ve enjoyed my first ‘Makers Monday’ post, I really can’t wait to share the next one with you. If you’re planning your wedding at the moment, feel free to pin away! (Gosh, the hours I spent on Pinterest whilst planning my own wedding…)

If you’re reading this and would really like to be featured on one of my other instalments, please comment below and I’ll be in touch. I’d love to hear from you and support fellow makers!

Homemaker Magazine features Paper Doily

Screen Shot 2016-01-08 at 10.47.45

Screen Shot 2016-01-08 at 10.48.42

Today is a very special day, as I’ve been featured in the current issue of Homemaker Magazine as their Reader Maker. Issue 40 is out for sale today and is absolutely wonderful. Friday has surely got to be the most perfect day for any magazine of this kind to come out, right? An entire weekend ahead dedicated to stitching, knitting, crochet and patchwork? Yes please!

Reading the article this morning really got me thinking about how much I’ve achieved with Paper Doily since setting it up in 2014. It’s easy to get caught up in day to day living without taking the time to look back and appreciate the milestones you’ve made along the way.

I’ve received a lot questions lately about what advice I have for crafters starting out on a similar business path. I feel the above article really sums a lot of these questions up, whilst hopefully inspiring others, giving them the confidence they need to get going. Having faith in yourself and your work throughout the good times and the bad times is a fundamental quality in staying on the path to success. There will be absolutely wonderful times ahead where you feel you are on top of the world, followed by the times where life/day to day tasks just get on top of you completely. Keeping your faith, continuing to put in the hard work required and staying motivated are important qualities, and ones which will see you through well!

I thought it would be very helpful to share my top 10 tips for starting your own craft business with you, derived from my experience since starting out almost two years ago.

  1. Write a business plan and ask yourself what it is about your product/s that potential customers will want. Do you feel your products will be desirable?
  2. Who are your customers and where will you find them?
  3. Establish who your competitors are and ask yourself what your business can offer differently. Originality will set you apart from the rest.
  4. Have a marketing/advertising strategy. You can offer the most amazing products but without making a name for yourself and making others aware of your products, your business just won’t be sustainable long term.
  5. Spend a reasonable amount of time on pricing your products, it should not be an after thought. Find out what your customers are willing to pay and what other business costs to factor into your pricing model. Ensure you are not operating at a loss and avoid a ‘race to the bottom’ by lowering prices if you are struggling to sell. Instead, assess whether you are reaching the right target market and make adjustments to the product if you feel it is necessary.
  6. Identify your suppliers and try to make a good/long lasting relationship with them.
  7. What is your key asset? What is it about your business that will help you win potential customers?
  8. Stay motivated. There will be times when life just gets in the way of business (as explained above). Have some coping strategies in place. I live in the countryside and tend to take myself off on a long stroll. I’m also a serial list maker, so I tend to break down difficult tasks into small pieces if the task at hand seems too much.
  9. Stay on top of your accounts. Google drive is very handy for this. It will help you to avoid long amounts of unnecessary work when you could be doing more enjoyable tasks, such as being creative (as you do best!)
  10. Have fun! Remind yourself why you started your business in the first place and constantly come back to this at moments of struggle. It will keep you motivated and will help you to stay grounded!

 

I really hope you enjoyed reading. If you have any more questions or comments then please let me know, I’d love to hear from you. Have a lovely weekend and thank you so much for visiting my blog!

 

Paper Doily Makes: Spring Wreaths

Image-1

First of all I’d like to wish each and every one of you a Happy New Year! This post comes a little later than expected as I’ve been a little busy in my workroom creating these beauties. I like to describe them as being Spring wreaths, as the pastel colours remind me immensely of my favourite season. Do you agree?

I used foam wreath bases which are readily available from most craft stores and come in many different shapes and sizes. I find Hobbycraft generally has a good selection and that is where mine came from. I had once intended to teach myself patchwork and quilting but never got around to it (it’s still on my bucket list) and at the time, I bought a lot of fat quarters. I thought it’d be the perfect time to use some of them up, seeing as though they were looking rather lonely!

blog4blog3

I began by cutting the fabric into long strips. I then wound each piece of fabric over the base of the wreath, using a hot glue gun to secure the fabric as I went along. A hot glue gun will definitely be your best friend for this, I promise!

blog2

As you can see, I then made some beautiful felt flowers and I’ll be posting a felt flower tutorial very soon, as I have an idea up my sleeve which I’m pretty sure you’re going to love. For now, a simple ‘felt flower tutorial’ google search should point you in the right direction. The only materials you should need are felt, scissors (don’t use your best fabric ones, as felt causes scissors to become quite blunt over time) a hot glue gun and some pretty embellishments such as buttons or beads. Once you’re finished making the felt flowers, you can use your hot glue gun to secure them into place on the wreath.

I have lots of ribbon and twine in my workroom so fortunately for me, it wasn’t too much of a task to find some left overs for the hanging ribbon.

workroomshot

Here are some close up’s of my finished wreaths to give you some inspiration.

wreath3bluewreath1feltflowerwreath12383262_153352801695451_907039323_nwreath12

Voila! I hope I’ve given you the creative bug for wreath making and I promise you my felt flower tutorials will be coming soon. You can call this a little teaser. As you may know, craft tutorials are a big love of mine and I have many more here, which you may wish to check out. If you would like to see more of my finished crafts, you can find Paper Doily Party Shop on etsy.

Happy crafting!