Tuesday, 17 February 2015

Ice dancers

Thank you so much for all the lovely comments about my mug hugs: I'm so glad you liked them. One of you mentioned it would be a good project for children and I have something for you today that is quick and easy for all ages.

A few weeks ago whilst waiting for an appointment, I was passing time by browsing through magazines in a shop. As I leafed through Landscape (Jan/Feb 2015 issue), I came across this lovely idea: seeds, leaves, petals and fruit suspended in ice. So beautiful: a perfect snapshot of winter. Of course, I couldn't resist having a go.

To make them you put a thin layer of water in a shallow container - yogurt pots, paper bowls - anything which won't crack when frozen. Arrange your plant material: here I've used Gerbera petals. Put in the freezer. When it's frozen, add just enough water to cover the decoration. Or you can put in all the water at the beginning - either way works as well.

When that's frozen, you need to make a hole for the string. The instructions in the magazine suggest pouring a thin stream of hot water through the ice. I didn't fancy that as my ice catchers were quite small and I didn't want hot water anywhere near my hands! Instead, I heated up a metal skewer over a candle and used that to bore a hole. The ice catcher then went back in the freezer for a little while to firm up as they do melt quite quickly. There's probably a way to create a ready made hole. How about sticking a piece of blu tack on the base of the container and letting the water freeze around it? Worth a go.

Anyway, I made a few versions using what I had to hand.

The flower petal ice catcher was so pretty. The scalloped edge was a complete but lucky fluke. I used a paper bowl (Sainsburys Basics range) and the fluted sides made this lovely pattern.

The second design used slices of lemon.

Next, a square ice catcher with rose buds. 

And lastly, a couple with small flower buds.

I haven't left them outside to melt yet. I think I'll wait until we get a really frosty day so that they'll last a while before they disappear. So simple but so effective.

Magazines can vary so much in the quality of what they contain. This issue of Landscape was a particularly good one as there was lots I wanted to read and try. Here's the start of another project from the same issue using my new toy, a pom-pom maker! I've always used the cardboard ring method before but this is so much easier. Will reveal all when I've made a few more :-)

Then, on Sunday morning, we also tried one of the recipes: oatmeal pancakes. They're more substantial than the usual light and fluffy pancakes but leave you feeling full for longer. I thought they were yummy, particularly with some homemade plum compote.

Tonight we've been enjoying pancakes again for Pancake Day. I managed two: one with maple syrup and the other with traditional sugar and lemon - my favourite. Have you been eating pancakes too? What's your favourite topping?

It's been a glorious sunny day and I'm hoping it will continue for the rest of the week. Enjoy your week whatever the weather brings. x


  1. I'm loving this sunshine too - your pancakes sound great. I like mine with a fried egg on top. :-)

  2. Oh, I love your works of art made with ice!
    I have a pom pom maker from one of the craft magazines that I got when I was in England! Maybe one day I will be able to figure it out! :-)

  3. Your arty ice works are so pretty! I really like the square with the rose buds. Great way to make the hole. I saw on a friends blog last year I think that she makes something similar and she freezes a loop of string for hanging into the ice - sort of make a loop and drape the end of it into the ice. Just in case you are thinking of making some more and didn't want to have to make the hole. Hope that doesn't sound like interfering or that I don't like yours or think that what you did is great because I really do like them!! xx

  4. Your ice dancers are fabulous. Hailing from Norway we often make these. Sometimes with bird seed inside too to aid the birds. Another idea is to make candle holders. Freeze water between two bowls with various foliage. To suspend the smaller bowl we usuauy use duct tape to keep it on top if the water and not just sit in the bottom bowl. Not sure I am being clear enough here. Hope you get the gist. Lovely post x

  5. Your ice dancers are beautiful. Lliving in Australia I will never have the opportunity to make these, I'm a little jealous..

  6. The Ice dancers look beautiful Julie....
    Amanda xx

  7. Lovely ice dancers! So pretty aren't they? I've wondered about those Pompom makers, if they are easier to use than circles of cardboard. I look forward to seeing what you make with them xx