Monday, 26 September 2011

MUFFIN MONDAY - Blueberry & Apple with Cinnamon dusting.

Those of you who follow me on Facebook will know that now and again I have a Muffin Monday...a morning where I bake up a few muffins. I LOVE baking, I miss making my celebration cakes but those, these days, are an absolute no go so little cakes, muffins and biscuits fill the void....and my house with delicious aromas to set me up for a start to the week of artwork. Sometimes it's a mega day when I've baked for a request or party, sometimes it's just a half dozen or so that are often experiments with ingredients.
Muffins, in my opinion, are just the best things to quick and as easy with the dry ingredients thrown into one bowl, the wet into another...then chucked all together to form a lumpy bumpy mess that then fills up the tins and transforms in the oven into golden delicious treats in 25mins or so. No slaving over creaming up butters and sugars, no worrying over eggs splitting the mixtures...and as long as you make sure the ingredients are measured out correctly (it is a baking science still afterall) and you do not're onto a foolproof bake...and that's my kinda baking!
This morning Clive asked if I'd mix up a batch of blueberry muffins. We've had a great crop this year off our tiny little potted blueberry bush that sits by the kitchen door and picked off some more fresh ripend berries yesterday. We don't tend to use these berries for cakes as most tend to go into breakfast museli (or my mouth depending on how slow I walk from garden to kitchen, LOL) but we had a small bowlful left over that I did intending on freezing...but muffins won.

The problem, however, was that I knew there wasn't quite enough berries to make up a batch so the initial idea was to split the ingredients in half and make the usual choc chip ones too....but then when I spied a large lonesome apple sitting in the fruit basket and an idea popped into my head....why not do a berry and apple mix!
So it was out with the chocolate bit and in with a slightly more healthy option...I'll save them for some cookies at a later date!

Anyways, I've never done this particular mix of fruit before so it was going to be a new experience. I reckoned the sweet crunch of the apple with the soft bite of the berry would go alright but the dilema I faced was whether to add spices (most apple based muffins I do I add cinnamon or sweet mixed spices). I worried the spices would overpower the blueberry so decided to try without...and just add a drop of vanilla extract instead.

Now, I tend to work off a basic plain muffin recipe and alter it depending on what additional ingredients I add...the liquid ingredients ie the milk measurement is what tends to alter. If I'm baking citrus flavoured ones I'll use the squeezed juices as part of the milk volume....if fresh juicy berries, fruits and vegetables are used (such as apples, blackberries and rhubarb) they release liquid into the batter and so the milk content is reduced....on the other hand dried fruits absorb liquids so a little more milk is added. I guess because I've been baking these for so long and am used to the particular ingredients I use I get a feel for when the batter is right. So, in this case, using apples meant the milk content was reduced slightly.

The resulting muffins (yes I have just had one as my 'elevenses') have come out light, fluffy and delicate in flavour...totally yummy and perfect as an afternoon treat with a cup of tea. The blueberry apple combination is wonderful and I'm so glad I held off from the spices...just a tiny dusting of cinnamon icing sugar over the baked and cooled muffins was just all that was needed..... here's the recipe....have fun baking....


BLUBERRY & APPLE MUFFINS (makes 10-12 standard size)

10 oz (280g) plain flour
3 teaspoons (15ml) baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
4-5 oz caster sugar
1 egg
6 floz milk
3 floz vegetable oil
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract (optional but recommended)
5 oz combination of whole blueberries and peeled, cored & chopped apple

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon icing sugar

1. Preheat oven to 190-200oC (375-400oF), Gasmark 5-6
2. In a large bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, salt and sugar
3. In another bowl (or large jug) measure out the milk & oil, gently beat in the egg and stir in the vanilla extract.
4. Pour all of the liquid mix into the dry ingredients and stir until just combined. The batter will be lumpy but should have no visable areas of dry flour.
5. Gently fold in the apple and blueberries taking care not to over mix or crush the fruit.
6. Spoon into prepared muffin cups and bake 20-25mins until lightly browned and there is a 'spring back' when gently pressed with a finger.
7. Mix together the cinnamon and icing sugar and use to lightly dust the muffin tops once baked and cooled.
8. EAT!

Tuesday, 6 September 2011



Well....I was beginning to think I wasn't going to be able to say that today as there was a bit of a hiccup this morning with all my Virgin internet, tv and phone connection down (a localised fault) which they did not anticipate fixing until much later today...So I really thought my website and blog work plans for today were all down the spout....but the guys at V have sorted it out pretty darn quick and were all now back on track...whooohooo.

So that means I can now.....

Welcome you to the first of my Tatty Tuesday posts!

I've decided to dedicate this day of the week to showing you a piece of work or craft tutorial using one of The World of Tatty Button products I have helped design with Creative Expressions . It won't be every week...but it will always be on a I hope you log in and find it of interest! Check out the listings and fast direct links to each Tatty Tuesday post in the right hand sidebar...saves you scrolling through loads of older posts if you're trying to find a specific one or revisiting a previous tutorial.
As many of you will know, The World of Tatty Button is adapted from original pencil drawings and when the range was first launched back in February I made a couple of card examples to demonstrate how you could use the rubber stamp images to re-create that original hand drawn look and it has proved to be of great interest with a number of you asking how exactly it's done.... to kick start off the first Tatty Tuesday this will be the first tutorial. You will be surprised how simple it is to do and I think it's a nice aid to those who believe that they cannot draw (although I believe EVERYONE can draw) and will help boost confidence for those who struggle to draw images from scratch as it gives a starting point outline and hints for shaded areas....and the tools needed couldn't be more simple....just paper, stamp image, ink and a pencil. With practice you'll get the hang of it and you'll be drawing and shading with ease and putting your own unique drawing style to images. Then you can start incorporating these stamped and drawn in images into your cards and craft projects.

TUTORIAL No1 - The stamp and hand drawn image.

  • Tatty Button rubber stamp image (I am using the Tatty Button stamp product TB1), plus acrylic block.
  • A pale grey coloured ink pad (I am using Tsukineko VersaColor in Chateau Grey No.83)
  • Good quality white paper/card stock
  • Soft Graphite drawing pencil, ideally a 2 or 3B. Minimum HB will do initially...but no harder....with a decent, but not too sharp point.
  • Rubber/Eraser to correct any mistakes.

There's no right or wrong type of ink to use for this project so it can be dye based, pigment ink, alcohol based etc etc. The only stipulation is that it needs to be a very light shade of grey....and one that is lighter than the pencil lead. You are using the stamped image as a guide outline only to which you draw on top of so it shouldn't be so dark that it overpowers the pencil and impeeds you in creating the shading. You also need to make sure the ink has completely dried before you apply the pencil or else the sketch lines will smudge so allow it to dry naturally, or if you have a heat tool, then heat set it.


Ideally you should be using a good quality drawing paper but it's worth experimenting with the different papers and cards that you have to see what effect and results you achieve with laying down of the graphite (ie the paper needs a good 'key' to enable the graphite to stick to it). Too textured a paper and not only will this be difficult to stamp the initial image on, but the graphite lead will lay down unevenly....and too shiny and smooth a card and you'll find the graphite will slide and not find a good key to enable shading.


Please refer to and follow the Angel policy set out by Creative Expressions, when using The World of Tatty Button craft products for cardmaking, craft purposes that you intend to sell and/or make profit from. Please note Tatty Button character and the images/characters from The World of Tatty Button, plus all photos and content included in this Blog and tutorial are copyright of the artist Ange J Lee and should not be copied or reproduced in any way unless authorised by the appropriate persons. This tutorial is meant as a guide for a stamping and drawing technique and for personal use only. It should not be used on items using the Tatty Button images for sale and profit...and must not ever be passed off as original Tatty Button/The World of Tatty Button artwork. The photocopying of stamped hand drawn in Tatty Button images is prohibited - many thanks for your understanding!

Ink up the stamp and apply to your paper. The colour should be pale enough not to overpower the pencil colour.....and don't worry if you haven't achieved a perfect stamped image either. You only need an impression to use as a guide. Any missing bits will be drawn in, in the next stages.
Taking your pencil, start off by lightly drawing over the outline, then going in darker (by applying more pressure with the pencil) to shade in selected areas. The Tatty Button stamp images have small areas of crosshatched shading which you can use as a guide (these are simplified impressions in order to create a clean non fussy stamp outline) and you can work these areas much more and then add other areas of shading should you feel it necessary. Try to keep the outlines and pencil movements sketchy and varied in order to maintain that handrawn look.
Take a look at the above photo. The cross hatch lines under the jawline of Tatty's face are the original stamp image and very light and simplified. They need reworking and emphasising with pencil.....
....and this is what it should look like when you started shading it in more. The darkness of the colour and shading depends on how much pressure you apply onto the paper. If you're using a reasonably soft lead this will not take much doing. Start off filling in the whole area very lightly and concentrate applying more pressure to create darker graphite to the areas that are more at the back or into the corners...where it would naturally be darker. Also compare the left hand side which is pencil worked and has a nice dark hand drawn the right hand side which is the original stamped ink outline and is too pale with clean manufactured lines.
Continue on drawing and shading in until you feel you have achieved the desired effect. If you feel it has been overworked or some shading is too dark, then you can rub out that area and redraw in...or even restamp the image and start from scratch. You can also smudge shading in using your finger or a paper blending stump.
The more you try this, the more experience you will gain and you'll develop your own way of drawing in. This is not meant to be Fine Art and Tatty is not a realistic realism is not what we're after....and there are no hard or fast rules to apply in creating the Tatty character so each time you do this technique, it will be slightly different and that variation all adds to the fun and character.

And that's all there is too it! I'd love to know what you think, if you try this technique and how you get on.


At the moment, mono colour, especially grey scale is quite 'en vogue' in the craft world so I decided to create a card with the Tatty Button image, playing on and extending on the greyscale of the grahite using just white, black and grey colour scheme.
The basic white cardstock is used throughout for the base, embellishment, flowers and base for the stamped drawn in image.
A plain black thin card stock was used for the frames. All shapes/frames were die cut using Spellbinders Nestabilities - Lacy Circles (S4293), Standard Circles Large (S4114) and Labels Seven (S4231).
Embossed background was created using Sizzix embossing plate and the straight embossed lines were formed using a basic scoreboard with a ball end embossing tool. The flowers were created using hand punches - EKSuccess Retro flower, and Papermania1.6cm Midi 5petal flower.
A tutorial on how to create the paper flowers will be uploaded to the Floral Fancies website in the near future (so please keep an eye out for that).

Hope you find this of interest....

Tatty Ta Ta for now!