29 December 2010

Luscious Liberty

Well, I must have been a good girl this year as Santa delivered me a rather cute package in the form of a Liberty print pin cushion sewing kit.  And being the impatient lass that I am I've already made it! 
V cute Liberty print pin cushion.
Was very simple to make and hopefully has triggered off my appetite to start making some more CBC items - so watch this space.  You can find the sewing kit on Not on the High Street for £7.99 - not bad eh?

So what did you get for Christmas?

19 December 2010

Christmas baubles & stars - Nigella eat your heart out!

In determination not to let the snow stop my fun, I've been on a bit of Christmas cook off this weekend & have another 'simple-ish' recipe to share courtesy of the Tesco magazine.

Christmas Biscuit Baubles & Stars

Christmas Biscuit Baubles & Stars
  • Makes 20ish
  • Takes 1 hour to prepare
  • 30 mins chilling
  • 12 mins cooking
  • & overnight to set
Ingredients:
  • 1 lemon, zested & juiced
  • 100g butter
  • 100g caster sugar
  • 175g plain flour, plus extra for dusting
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 500g Royal Icing sugar
  • Red food colouring - or in my case blue & yellow mixed together to make green!
  • Silver balls to decorate
Method:
  • Preheat over to 180 degrees.
  • Put the lemon zest, butter, sugar & flour in a food processor & blend to fine crumbs. 
  • Add the egg yolk & 1 tablespoon lemon juice & blend for a few seconds.
  • Gather dough into a ball and chill for 30 minutes.
  • Lightly dust a work surface with flour & roll out the dough to the thickness of a £1 coin.
  • Using a round cutter (or rim end of a glass!) and star cutter - cut out star/circle shapes & place on a oiled baking tray.
  • Bake for 10-12 minutes until just golden at the edges.  Leave for 10 minutes before removing from the tray to cool.
  • Make up the royal icing following the instructions on the pack.  Put half in a separate bowl & add a little more water to give a pouring consistency - colour as desired & put in an airtight containers until needed.
  • Put the thicker icing in a piping bag (sandwich bag works well!) & design to your heart's content adding silver balls as you go along.
  • Leave to set overnight & voila your Christmas biscuits are ready to serve.

Tia Maria Truffles

Still stuck for Christmas present ideas?  Well, this simple recipe for Tia Maria Truffles is just perfect for the ones you love, just make sure you don't eat too many on the way.

Tia Maria Truffles
Ingredients:
  • 50g butter
  • 100g cooking chocolate - I prefer to use Green & Blacks dark chocolate
  • 1 cup icing sugar
  • 1 tablespoon Tia Maria
  • 1 teaspoon cocoa - Green & Blacks
Method:
  • Add the butter and chocolate into a saucepan.
  • Heat gently, stirring until the butter and chocolate have melted.
  • Add 1/2 the icing sugar.
  • Stir until the mixture is thick enough to handle.
  • Stir in the Tia Maria and cocoa.
  • Add enough of the remaining icing sugar to a make a stiff mixture.
  • Cool for 30 minutes.
  • Using a small teaspoon or melon baller measure the mixture and shape into small balls.
  • Roll truffles in cocoa for a luxury finish.
  • Chill until firm and enjoy!
For presents why not add the truffles to a gift box lined with tissue paper - simples!

20 November 2010

It's all about the letter 'K'

Is it just me, or do all the great bands of today begin with the letter 'K'?

Kasabian (my favourite live band both at a festival & gig), Kaiser Chiefs (deffo know how to get the party started), Kings of Leon (top of my list to see next year) and now Klaxons are joing my list of kracking bands!

I was slightly dubious at what to expect from the Klaxon boys as there first album Myths of the Near Future was so immense with hit after hit I wasn't sure if I'd like the new stuff from Surfing the Void.  However, they did not disappoint and worked the crowd mixing new songs with the old classics Golden Skans, Two Receivers and It's Not Over Yet.  The songs from the new album take a bit of getting used to as it is a huge move on from the catchy airy lyrics of the first album, but after seeing them perform live I'm totally in love with them & Twin Flames and Echoes. 

So, if you like Indie bands but fancy more substance than a pop boy group turned bad in skinny jeans then check out Klaxons for electro/deep baselines/new rave mix - & girls Simon Taylor-Davis in my opinion is the eye candy of the group....with the typical messed up hair/unwashed/just been travelling look.  Klaxons are on tour now - make sure you pay them a visit http://www.klaxons.net/tour.php
Klaxons @ O2 Academy Bournemouth


07 November 2010

Star Appeal

One bonus for not having horse competitions every weekend during the winter means I can indulge in one of my other fave pastimes - baking!  Since watching the Great British Bake Off I've been eager to start baking cakes again. Last weekend I made these really cute Vanilla Stars, using a really simple recipe from 'Everyday Muffins and Bakes'.
Yummy star biscuits
 Ingredients:
  • 225g plain flour, plus extra for dusting
  • 150g butter, cut into small pieces
  • 125g caster sugar, plus extra for dusting
  • 1tsp vanilla essence
Method:
  1. Sift the flour into a large bowl.  Add the butter and rub it in with your fingertips until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs.  Stir in the caster sugar and vanilla essence and mix together to form a firm dough.
  2. Roll out the dough on a lightly floured work surface to 2.5cm/1".  Stamp out 12 stars with a star shaped cutter.  Arrange the stars on a lightly greased baking sheet.
  3. Bake in a preheated oven. 180°, for 15-20 minutes or until the stars are a light golden colour.  Transfer the stars to a wire rack to cool completely.  Dust them with a little caster sugar just before serving.
Simples!  They went down very well with my folks and work mates.

For those of you who loved the Great British Bake Off, I totally recommend following the finalists blogs:

23 October 2010

Twit Twoo....

No I haven't gone quackers just yet, but recently its come to light that I have a fascination with all things bird like.  It could be something to do with my surname being 'Wren' or that I'm 'an early bird' rather than a 'night owl' (oh the puns could go on forever!) or the fact that those darn cute birds are bang on trend!

Looking around my house birds come into play quite a bit, from my country bumpkin Laura Ashley curtains in the kitchen, blue bird print dinner mats and coasters, to a very cute jute duck door stop from Mollie and Fred.  In fashion birds have always played a part but seem to be creeping in more now from bird print play suits, jewellery, accessories, even shoes - you name it those pesky two winged mammals are making an appearance and are here to stay.

So, it only seemed right that Country Bumpkin Chic embraced the bird print into some funky shoppers.  Back in the summer I bought some cute fabric from my fave place Fabric Rehab: a playful owl print which would be great for a girl attending a birthday party and the very sophisticated khaki bird with show off plume of feathers, perfect for the girl about town.  And my next project, yep, you guest it more birds - well just one more, I couldn't resist the turquoise equivalent of the sophisticated bird print.
Sophisticated birdie shopper, Mollie & Fred Quackers door stop & Twit Twoo shopper

03 October 2010

Autumn has officially arrived!

Apologies my CBC followers for my absence in blogging and sharing my craftywears. Summer seemed to whiz by with horse competitions, although sadly not that successful as my beloved Barley (the horse!) was injured for most of it. He's now back on track after having great outting last weekend at Bricky Horse Trials and we're all set for our first 3 day event at the end of the month.
Barley jumping at Stockland Lovell in May 2010.
So, now the horse season is coming to a close and the nights are drawing in...I can get stuck back into my sewing and designing some bags for CBC - hurrah!  And here's a sneak at a few I sewed over Bank Holiday using Clarke & Clarke's Retro Floral print.
Retro floral - Oversized Shopper, Shopper and Shoulder Bag
Right, better get back to it...and stop watching Ugly Betty, which I must say in its 4th season is better than ever.

20 August 2010

Introducing the Sophie Shopper

I made this lush oversized shopper for my friend Sophie a few weeks ago, aptly named 'The Sophie Shopper'.  The Laura Ashley style fabric is from Dorchester Market - about £9.99 a metre, but the lovely stall owners gave me a very generous metre which meant I could line the inside of the bag as well in the canvas fabric.  I added some navy/gold trim ribbon to add a twist of Country Bumpkin Chic magic so Sophie can carry her yummy bread home from the Town Mill bakery in Dorchester.

03 August 2010

I Heart Pins

I just had to share these kitsch ♥ shaped pins which one of my good friends gave me for my birthday.  They're almost too cute to use!

I had a Google and you can even get flower shaped pins - check out www.nettlegreen.co.uk, they're only £1.50 - billy bargain!  They'll deffo help brighten up the tedious job of tacking, just remember not to iron over them, like I did the other day to a sphere shaped one totally messes up your iron - eek!

25 July 2010

My first commission!

I'm starting to think that its the third post that's the hardest!!

Since sharing some of my crafty designs on Facebook I've been beavering away making a few bags for some of my lovely friends.  To be honest it took me by surprise that my friends wanted to pay for my crafts.  So... here are a few I made for my old school friend Rachel.  The over the shoulder bag is made using Cath Kidston's strawberry print fabric, I managed to source some remnants on good old Ebay.  The shopper is made from Amy Butler's Love range called 'Paradise Garden Periwinkle'.  What do you think?  Do you like?

 I also managed to find time in between work and riding the horses to design a simple over the shoulder bag with some fabric I bought from fabric rehab called Winchester Folk Festival - perfect for those Boutique Festivals.

06 July 2010

Here's some I made earlier.

Making bags is my new found creative passion, and I thought it would be a good idea to share some of my crafty handiwork projects with you.  Most were made for friends birthday's, or an occasion - I always think the personal touch is much more appreciated, or at least you hope so!
I started off with a simple tote/shopper bag, following one of my fave Ikea freebie bags as a guide and then progressed to oversized shoppers and a shoulder bag following one of Cath Kidston's patterns from her book 'Sew'. Total must for all country bumpkin fanatics. I played around with a range of fabrics from So 'n' Sews in Weymouth, Hanson's in Sturminster Newton and Fabric Rehab online. 

My favourite print is the Scandinavian Rocking Horse, v kitsch.  What's yours?



03 July 2010

The first blog is the hardest...

Well, its taken me nearly 6 months from setting up my blog to actually making my first post - so here it goes and do you know what I don't think its going to be as scary as I first thought.

So, who is Country Bumpkin Chic?  That's me - Becky Wren, a born and bred twenty something year old west country lass living in the heart of the Dorset countryside.  By day I work for a well known fashion retailer in communications - so no pressure there to make this sound or look good!!  By night and in my spare time I experiment with my new found creative side making bags, ride my gorgeous horses Barley and Jonty, hang out with friends and watch bands - I must admit I have a slight Indie obsession.

And the reason for my blog, well it started with a bag... A friend gave me this fab over sized shopper made by Sophie Fodden which inspired me to give it a go and make my own creations.

Last autumn I completed a Level 1 City and Guilds Dressmaking course through Dorset Adult Ed, which gave me the fuel to buy my first sewing machine a Janome J3-24 and go on to start experimenting.  Oh and I also made my first item of clothing on the course - a cord skirt.  What do you think?
Stayed tuned to Country Bumpkin Chic for my future posts on making bags, passion for fashion, my 4 legged friends (the horses) with a hint of music...and other country bumpkin ramblings.
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