Welcome to the Beadflowers chocolate factory. Throughout January 2021, it will be my pleasure to take you on a tour. Rest assured, my factory only makes perfectly healthy chocolate, candy and other delights. So, you needn’t worry about putting on weight or breaking any New Year resolutions! This is just going to be something to bring a smile and brighten the gloom.
Inspired by Roald Dahl’s glorious story, ‘Charlie and the Chocolate Factory’, I want to bring some more fun to your life this January.
So, let’s begin day 1 with a little video, introducing the beaded chocolate factory, plus a couple of personal anecdotes about chocolate…
So, I hope you enjoyed that. As I promised, just in case you missed the information about the golden gift cards, you can find all the details at this link.
And, if there is anything you would like to see the chocolate factory produce, you can leave your suggestions in the form below. (Just type in your suggestion and press ‘submit’. You will see the form then returns to its original, blank, state, and your idea will have been submitted. You won’t receive any message, but the ideas will have reached me).
I promise to consider each suggestion. But only the best will make it into production. (Don’t forget, you can also check whether your ideas are already available, by using this link).
All suggestions will come direct to me via email and are anonymous. You can make as many suggestions as you wish!
Remember to come back here to the Beadflowers chocolate factory tomorrow to see what you can enjoy…
Beadflowers Chocolate Factory – Luxury Chocolate Department
Since we are in a chocolate factory, it seemed only fitting that I should start the tour with chocolate…
Specifically, the kind of luxury chocolates that you might find in a box. So, yes, if you’re in the race to win one of the golden gift cards, then you might want to buy a beaded chocolate pattern for this. But if you’re just looking for some fun, then I’m going to be inviting you to design your own fantasy beaded chocolates. You can actually make these as well if you wish. But that’s up to you…
So, today, I thought I would help to start you thinking. I’ve got a little collection of beaded chocolates from my own chocolate box. I’m inviting you to vote for your favourite flavour.
Now, this could be the flavour you would most want to eat (if these were real!). Or, it could be the beading style that you like best. You get to choose. Just cast your votes below…
Then, tomorrow, I’ll be inviting you to start designing. So, how about you also think about what bead colours you would use?
It’s possible to make chocolates with delicas or rounded seed beads. So, you can hunt out appropriate colours in either bead type.
I’ve made my own chocolates with delicas. My favourite colours are DB734 for dark chocolate, DB203 for white chocolate and DB709 for milk chocolate. What would you use?
So, have a think about that. Then, get ready to come back here tomorrow and start learning how to design and make your own fantasy beaded chocolates…
Today’s the big day you get to start designing! I’ve put together a special video on YouTube to take you through the design process. Use this link to watch the video.
It also includes some beading technique demonstrations in case you need a reminder of those. I’ve outlined how to bead a chocolate. So, the rest is down to you!
You’ll also see the video links to a free downloadable worksheet to help you create your designs. You can find that here.
So, I hope you have fun coming up with your own creations. Make sure to show us all what you’re doing, by sharing your designs on social media. If you tag me when you post them, I’ll be sure to try and take a look. I can’t wait to see what you make!
Well, if the design or chocolate-making process is all seeming a bit overwhelming, then I have a new pattern that will help you. I can announce that the Beadflowers chocolate factory has officially gone into production this month. Starting with a pattern that gives you instructions for making six different varieties of chocolates. They originally featured in my book. So, if you already have a copy of the book, you probably don’t need this pattern too!
But back to the pattern… I have given you two shapes: round and square. They are all made using Peyote stitch, working in the techniques you saw me demonstrating on yesterday’s video.
So, if you’re finding the design side of things a bit tricky, you might want to just grab the pattern where I’ve done all the hard work for you!
If this tour of the Beadflowers chocolate factory is making you a little hungry, I can help!
In my opening video, I mentioned that I had to stop eating chocolate for a few years. But happily, now, I can have a little bit again. It still has to be a ‘treat’, so definitely not to be eaten daily. But even a little is better than none!
So, what is it that I eat?
Basically, food allergies and intolerances have become an increasing problem in the Western world. I’m not going to debate how or why that’s happened. But the natural result has been that food manufacturers have responded with foods that leave out common allergens.
So, here in the UK, we now have a lot of manufacturers that make chocolate using raw food products. That would mean raw cacao beans, raw sugar (often coconut sugar) and usually something like coconut butter.
A little side note
I’m not posting this with the intention of getting into a debate about health foods, or any of that rather contentious area. All I want to say is: if you have food allergies, do your own research and make your own choices. Try and make choices that are informed by science, not by social media hype. (How do you know? Well, if you’re reading blogs, look to see whether the blogger cites any authorities. Who are those authorities and how reliable are they? Or indeed, does the blogger have any kind of qualification themselves?)
Yes, I know that the ‘health’ industry is a mine-field. I wish it were better regulated. But just because some of the supposed health fads have no basis in science, it doesn’t mean they are all rubbish. You simply need to try and be smart about what you choose. Then, once you’ve made your personal choices, continue to respect the choices of others.
And please bear in mind, just because a sugar is ‘raw’ or ‘unrefined’, doesn’t mean it’s ‘good’ for you. It will still raise your blood sugar levels, affect insulin, and so on. So, it is still something to enjoy only in moderation. And, if you’re already suffering from a health condition that means you can’t tolerate sugar, it may still be something to avoid completely.
But, let’s get back to that recipe…
I do sometimes eat some of the ‘raw chocolate’, but I also sometimes make my own. So, that’s the recipe I’m going to share with you today. (I didn’t invent this, by the way! I’m not sure who did.)
You can make this in large or small batches, just increase or decrease the ingredients proportionately.
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup
- 2 tablespoons raw cacao powder
- Gently melt the coconut oil in a pan, over a low heat.
- Remove the pan from the heat.
- Add in the maple syrup and mix.
- Add in the cacao powder and mix everything thoroughly.
- Pour into chocolate moulds (or small dishes if you want to create ‘bars’ to cut up later).
- Place in the fridge to allow the chocolate to solidify.
In case you don’t know, coconut oil is solid at low temperatures and will turn into a liquid if it is warmed up. So, if you want this chocolate to remain solid, you should store it in the fridge.
You can also do things like add nuts or dried fruit to the liquid chocolate to create a kind of rocky road. (Just remember, the dried fruit also has a VERY high sugar content). Then, pop it in the fridge, the chocolate will solidify and you’ve got a fruit and nut bar!
If you want, you can use the chocolate in its liquid state as a base for mousse, or other delicacies. You can also let it part-solidify, then use it for icing a cake.
So, lots of ideas there!
Today, I’m proud to announce the launch of the first Beadflowers chocolate factory patterns requested by you, our visitors.
I thought about giving you clues to guess the product, but then I realised that the photo above will give it away…
So, without further ado, let me present you with the chocolate truffle beaded beads pattern.
Hopefully, you will recognise the design inspiration for this delicacy. None other than the world’s leading luxury chocolate brand: Lindt & Spruengli. Or more specifically, the mouth-wateringly delicious Lindor truffles.
Now, I like to do a little research as I’m designing my beaded chocolates. So, I popped over to the Lindt website to find out a little more about the famous chocolate company.
I really encourage you to have a read. Their history is fascinating, and seems to be marked by one common factor. Their success isn’t only based on a winning chocolate recipe. No, I think it’s also down to the way in which they have innovated and stayed true to the era. So, you can read how they went from small beginnings, to international expansion, and, today, to production that is dedicated to sustainability. So, take a look at their story at this link.
And, if you don’t feel inclined to read all that, well, I can just tell you this… The company originated in Zurich, Switzerland, in 1845. The famous Lindor truffle first appeared in their collection back in 1967. It was originally intended to be a Christmas tree decoration, but proved so popular that it stayed on!
Now, of course, the range of flavours is huge. So, you can re-colour your chocolate truffle beaded beads to represent your favourite flavours. Have fun!
(Oh, and don’t forget about your coupon code: CHOCOLATE).
It’s time to move on from the luxury chocolates section. After a week there, I think we’ve probably indulged enough. I wouldn’t want any of you falling prey to Augustus Gloop’s misadventures in the Roald Dahl story.
But I will reveal more about that when the first golden gift card has been won. It has to be close now…
Anyway, if you would like to follow me, our journey through the corridors of the Beadflowers chocolate factory will be taking us to the sweets and candies section next.
I just want to pause, en route. We’re about to pass the chocolate bars section. We may return here later. But if you just pop your head around the door, you’ll see there’s great excitement on the factory floor today.
Why is that?
Well, this department has just come up with what could be their greatest chocolate bar yet…
Meet the ‘Choco Bar’. Eighteen miniature squares of delicious melt-in-the-mouth chocolate. But this isn’t just any chocolate. Being a beaded chocolate bar, you get to choose your flavour. So, all you need to do is think of your favourite flavour chocolate…
Then, unwrap your bar, and guess what? You will get exactly what you thought about. So, take care…remember that saying, ‘careful what you wish for’…!
This also comes with clever storage space inside the bar. So, if you’ve got secrets to hide, or treasures to store, the ‘Choco Bar’ is your answer.
And, as you’re the first to visit the factory, you can also be the first to indulge in one of these incredible chocolate bars. Just click here to get the beading pattern today.
Now, on we go…
The sweets and candies floor
Welcome to the sweets and candies section of the Beadflowers chocolate factory! As you can see, this has a large and varied range of offerings. So, rather than guide you round them all myself, I’m going to let you explore.
We’ll be spending at least a week in this section, so plenty of time to take in all the treats.
And, since it can be a little daunting to explore somewhere so large all on your own, I’ve put together a game to help you.
The photo below features just nine of the many sweets and candies on offer in the Beadflowers chocolate factory. But, as you can see, a few pieces are missing from the puzzle.
So, your job is to identify the missing pieces, then answer questions about them. If you get all seven answers correct, then on day eight, you will find yourself with a coupon code that will get you a free beading pattern from the Beadflowers website.
How to take part
So, I want you to start by using this link to download your answers sheet. That will make sure you keep track of everything accurately.
(Note: the link will open in a new tab. If you are using an ipad or smartphone, you might experience some technical difficulties. So, if that is the case, please try this on a laptop or computer. Or, you can email me and I will send you the worksheet).
Once you have that, print it out and keep it safe. Then, you’ll need to come back here to the Beadflowers chocolate factory page each day to get your questions. I will be revealing just one question every day.
Keep filling in the answers and then, on the eighth day, I’ll show you how to get your coupon code. And just a little tip… You may find some extra treats along the way here. So, keep your eyes open…
I hope you’re getting on OK with identifying the projects in the photo. Today, I’m here with question 1 for you.
One of the projects hidden behind jigsaw piece one is something that I made for a TV channel. This TV channel is often referred to by a 4-letter acronym. What is it?
Once you have identified the four letters, write them in answer to question 1.
Then, come back here tomorrow to get question 2.
Here we go with question 2…
The name of the project hidden behind jigsaw piece number 2 contains an English seaside town. Write down the first letter of that town.
So, the answer to this question will be just one letter – jot that down on your answer sheet.
I’ll be back tomorrow with question 3.
On we go… here is question 3 for you…
The earrings hidden behind jigsaw piece number 3 feature a very English candy. These sugary treats are in pretty pastel colours, and each one has a message of love stamped on it. So, back when I was young, these were a cute gift to give to a loved one. The name of these sweets is ‘Love Hearts’.
Your question today is related to this theme…
If you want to type the heart symbol into a message on your keyboard, you would need to use < followed by which number?
So, your answer to question 3 will be in number format (i.e., 10, not ten, for example).
Don’t forget to check back again tomorrow for the next question…
The sweet featured in the image behind jigsaw piece 4 is called coconut what?
Clue: your answer today will contain 3 letters.
I’ll be back tomorrow with question 5…
Today’s question is based around the project featured behind jigsaw piece five. So, here is the question…
Which country was I visiting when I came up with the idea for this project?
So, that gives you the answer to question 5. Look out for question 6 tomorrow…
How many sweets are on the bracelet that features behind jigsaw piece number six?
Your answer should be in number format (no letters involved!).
We’re nearly there, so make sure you check back tomorrow for your final question…
And finally, last question…
What size of wooden beads do you need for the project that is featured behind jigsaw piece number 7?
Your answer should just be a number, so although the project description gives you the full size, ignore the letters. E.g., if the size were 20cm, your answer would be 20.
So, you have one last chance to check all your answers. Then pop back here tomorrow and I’ll let you know how to get that coupon code. Good luck!
So, well done for getting this far. If you’ve managed to answer your seven questions correctly, then you have unlocked your coupon code. (If you haven’t started yet, it’s not too late…just pop back up to 8th January and follow the puzzle from there).
To create the code, you just need to join up your answers in order. This will give you a 16-digit code formed of letters and numbers. There will be NO spaces between any of the letters/numbers and it’s NOT case sensitive.
To use the code, just add your beading pattern(s) to your basket, then apply the code in the coupon box. If you got all the answers correct, that coupon will give you a free pattern.
So, if you have just one pattern in the basket, you will get it for free. If you have more than one pattern, you’ll get the most expensive one for free.
You’ll need to use the coupon before 23rd January 2021.
And remember, we’ve still got those golden gift cards to be won!
(I will reveal the correct answers to all the questions on 24th January, for anyone who is interested)
After all the excitement of yesterday, let me give you the chance to enjoy a few last sweets and candies. Or perhaps, claim your free pattern or try for a golden gift card.
Now, the requests for sweets and chocolates have been coming in fast. So, I’ve got another popular request to share with you… mint humbugs.
I’ve just completed a pattern for these. It gives you a necklace and also a single sweet. So, you get to choose what you want to make. This link will take you direct to the pattern.
A little trivia…
Now, for anyone who is interested, I did a little research into the origins of these sweets.
As far as I can discover, they were originally manufactured in the Everton district of Liverpool (UK). So, they are sometimes called Everton Mints.
They have a very distinctive striped look. This can be cream and brown (common in the modern version of the sweet). Or you may have seen black and white striped variations, which seems to be the colouring of the originals.
This is a boiled sweet, with a toffee centre. And, as you’ve probably gathered, it’s traditionally mint flavour.
Famously, these sweets have appeared in the Harry Potter books. There, they are a Muggle confectionary often eaten in winter to help with the relief of coughs and colds…apparently! Elizabeth Gaskell also mentioned them in her 1863 novel, ‘Sylvia’s Lovers’. In that context, they were taken as a treat for a child.
I’ve found lots of different stories about the origins of these sweets. Certainly, they seem to date back to the Nineteenth century. They originated in the UK. (Although, today, you can find them in other countries as well).
I have heard of some very old variations that were a mint flavoured toffee with an almond concealed in the middle.
It certainly seems to be the case that the sweet has a ‘surprise’ in the middle of it. This could account for its name of humbug, which originally meant ‘hoax’. So, I’m told…
Now, today, I want to share another real recipe with you. This one is for home-made salted caramels. Made the healthy way, with all-natural sugars, and super-simple to make.
It’s a recipe that I first came across in one of my favourite recipe books, ‘The Art of Eating Well’, by Jasmine and Melissa Hemsley (Hemsley + Hemsley).
Naturally, I’m not about to share something from a book that I didn’t write. So, I was really happy to discover that the girls have included this recipe in their blog: https://hemsleyandhemsley.com/hh-thanksgiving-feast/
It’s number 3, salted caramels, towards the bottom of the page. But you’ll find some other delicious ideas on there too.
Now, you’ll see their beautiful caramels are little balls, covered in chocolate. I made a batch yesterday, and being in a rush, I did it the quick way…layer of the salted caramel mix, topped with a layer of chocolate. Then, after letting it all set, I cut it up into squares. It may not look as pretty, but still tastes as good….mmmm!
Oh, and if you pop back up to 5th January, you can use that chocolate recipe here with your salted caramels too. So,enjoy!
Before we leave the sweets and candies, I’ve got another little challenge for you, if you’re up for it…
If you follow this link, you will discover a peyote sample pattern featuring liquorice allsorts.
For now, you can just download it. Then, tomorrow, I’ll share the challenge with you…
So, remember that little Peyote sampler I shared with you yesterday? Well, your challenge is to use it as a basis for a design.
How are you going to incorporate it? What will you make?
If those questions fill you with fear and dread, then I have just the answer…
I’ve just launched a brand-new online course that teaches you how to design. Obviously, ‘how to design anything’ would be pretty large for a course topic. So, in this one, we’re going to focus specifically on how to design a Peyote or loom-work bracelet pattern.
I’ll be taking you through and showing you how to turn an idea into a concrete pattern. How to size that pattern correctly so your project will work. How to choose the best materials so you end up with a great project. Then, finally, how to write your design up as a tutorial that you can sell.
So, that really will give you everything you need to do something with your little sampler. If you’re ready to get started, follow this link.
And, if all goes well, later this month I will share what I did with my sample…
Beadflowers Chocolate Factory Ice Cream Department
Well, I think it’s time to move on to the next department.
So, if you’ll just follow me… I hope you’ve got a coat because this next department is a little cooler. If not, I’m sure the helpful factory staff can find you another layer to wear so you don’t freeze.
We’re about to head into the ice cream section.
Now, my memory isn’t good enough to tell whether this was a feature in the original book. But certainly, in the 2005 film version, Mr Wonka was very proud of his unique ice cream. He had designed a special recipe that would never melt. So, you could take it on a picnic, place it full in the sun on a hot day, but still enjoy the frozen treat to cool you down.
Well, Mr Wonka isn’t the only one to have a developed an ice cream that never melts. I also have a special recipe for that. So, if you’d like to enjoy some yourself, just follow this link…
When we started this tour, I promised you a few personal anecdotes along the way.
Well, the very first beaded ice cream pattern I designed was a reflection of a childhood memory. Every year we would go to Cornwall for a holiday. My family originally comes from this part of the UK (for those of you who don’t know, it’s the county at the very south-western tip…the little strip of land that sticks out).
Obviously, I’m biased, but I think Cornwall is one of the most beautiful places in the world. For a small county, it certainly has a lot of variety and beauty in its landscape. Dramatic cliffs and beaches on the North-facing Atlantic coast, which is renowned for its surf. Gentler seaside and river estuaries on the southern side of the county. Then in-land, you’ve got rolling farmland, barren moorland and beautiful woodlands to enjoy.
If you want to get a little flavour of the glories of this part of the world, my brother has a small gallery section on his photography website. So, you can find that at this link (and I need to remind him to add more images to that…he’s got hundreds of stunning views of Cornwall and its wildlife!)
Back to ice cream…
Anyway, what has that got to do with my beading pattern or the ice cream department in the Beadflowers chocolate factory?
Basically, being a seaside destination, every beach and cliff-top parking space seemed to have an ice cream van. (Or at least, I like to think of it that way as I think back to childhood). So, as a special treat, we were allowed to have an ice cream. It would be made with local clotted cream and usually a small variety of flavours were on offer.
I have to confess, I’ve never actually been a huge lover of milk. So, ice cream, whilst being an improvement on plain milk, isn’t something I really love. So, for me, the highlight of this was actually the ’99 flake.
If you don’t live in the UK, you may have no idea what I’m talking about there. Basically, the ’99 flake is a stick of chocolate that you can poke into the ice cream to liven it up.
So, when I made this ice cream pattern, of course I had to include the ’99 flake as well!
Now, we’re almost ready to move on. But before we do, let me just congratulate the third golden gift card winner. If you want to find out more about her, just use this link. Naturally, that means there are just two more gift cards to be won. So, could you be one of those winners?
I’ll see you back here tomorrow to continue our tour.
Well, I don’t want anyone to contract hypothermia here. So, let’s move on to a warmer part of the factory. This was actually a brand-new wing, added in 2012. So, we’ve got a little way to walk to reach it.
I’m not going to give too much away here. But I will say this next department isn’t something you might expect to find in a traditional chocolate factory. But the Beadflowers chocolate factory is anything but traditional…
So, while you ponder where we might be heading, let me point out another interesting feature on the way.
All our hot chocolate is generated and stored in a massive warm river. This has a special feeding pipe, direct to the café. So, at the end of the tour, I’ll leave you in the café to perhaps try a cup.
(If you can’t wait that long, then you can click this link to get some hot chocolate right now)
But for now, just follow me down these stairs and I’ll take you into the underpass. So, if you look up, you’ll see the glass ceiling and that river of hot chocolate flowing above us…
Now, as we continue our journey onwards, let me entertain you with the answers to the candy puzzle. So, here we go…
Question 1: the TV channel for whom I made the M&Ms necklace. The answer was JMTV.
Question 2: the first letter of the seaside town. Well, the town was Brighton. So, that gives you the letter B for your answer.
Question 3: the number you need to type to make a heart symbol. It’s number 3.
Question 4: the sweet in the bracelet, was coconut ice. So, you answer should have been ICE.
Question 5: the country where I started my sweet delights design. It was USA.
Question 6: how many sweets on my liquorice allsorts bracelet? Answer: 11
Question 7: the size of wooden bead for my sweet dreams necklace. It was 10mm, giving you an answer of 10.
So, combine all of those together and your coupon code was: JMTVB3ICEUSA1110
If you didn’t get it, then I’m very sorry. But you can still enjoy the coupon VIOLET…until the next golden ticket is won. And who knows, you might be the one to win that ticket…so, make sure you’re ‘in it to win it’!