Saturday, 31 December 2011

End of year review

one of my two new ornaments for this year
This year (not quite sure how) I got all I wanted done in time for Christmas eve with less stress than previous years.  I still need to be much much better organised, so I may start making next years cards as soon as I can - that was last years plan as well. I even got some peanut brittle made on evenig of the 23rd. Did not manage to find my christmas music.

next year better decoration
All the baked and  handcrafted presents were received well.  I made my gingerbread sleigh on christmas day and kind of decorated it a couple of days later. I changed the recipe that I found slightly - partly because I didn't have any ground cloves and partly because I thought the gingerbread would taste better without it.

I got given a copy of SERIF CRAFT ARTIST  for christmas, I had the compact version which was quite good but this is so much better.  It came with a manual that I am working my way through, a nice thick detailed easy to use manual.  I will be able to do so much more than I ever dreamed of.  It may sound a bit odd raving about an instruction manual above all other things but eighteen months ago my partener brought me a CRAFT ROBO (which has since changed its name) which came with information on how to turn it on and change the blades.  I had to join a forum and wait for a month before I could access their site properly before begining to get to grips with it.  Second plan - use craft robo more often and learn more about it.
 Bruce opening his present.

I really hope that everyone enjoyed their Christmas and New year as much as I did and that we all have a good 2012.

it is just tooooo much

Friday, 23 December 2011

Needs Gingerbread recipe

Just a very quick cry for help.  Having seen the wonderful gingerbread houses etc on Pinterest I thought I would have a go.  Not the carousel that really inspired me ( not for a first go anyway) I thought I would make a sledge.  I would really like a tried and tested recipe, so if anyone has a link. I am making it Boxing Day.

Happy Christmas everyone.

Saturday, 17 December 2011

Getting closer to being ready

As we are spending Christmas just us two (and Bruce) you would think the preparations would be easier - not the case.  We only decided what we would like for dinner on Christmas day today, we have two puddings because we both fancied different ones (next year I am going to make my grandmothers recipe it will be easier) and there is still all the homemade presents to make (as usual).

bacon puffs
sausage rolls
mix for spicy pork rolls
All my pastry savouries are now made and in the freezer, the christmas cakes have the marizpan on them and are to be iced tonight, I got some emergency sausage meat today just in case we run out, the chilli jelly is straining as I write as is the cranberry sauce, only a few more cards to make and write ( all the ones that needed posting are done) I still have to finish my neices bag and the lavendar sachets for my mother, and when thats all done I can get the sweets made but they are really a last minute thing to do.

spicy pork rolls ready to bake

I want to get the mince pies made and in the freezer.  I find it so much easier if everything is prepared and frozen ready to bake.  I  still really want to do the gingerbread thing, not sure how long it keeps though.

All the presents that I have brought need to be wrapped but there is still a week to go. All I need to do to be ready is to keep off PINTEREST.

Our spend the day alone Christmas has turned into a three day event - visiting my sister on Christmas eve and his sister on Boxing day.  I am looking foward to it.  And I am really looking forward to the present I know that I am getting SERIF CRAFT ARTIST  I have the compact version but cannot wait to get my mitts on the complete package.  Who knows it may make me a bit more organised with my cardmaking. 

I love making Christmas goodies, cards, presents etc and I think the people receiving them are happy to have them.  Pretty much I just love everything about Christmas - getting/making presents, wrapping presents, catching up with friends, entertaining, the spirit of Christmas, decorating the tree, EVERYTHING!  The only thing thats a little sad is that Dad no longer wants to go on the morris tour on Boxing day, I shall miss that.

Friday, 9 December 2011

Christmas deadlines - part two

And time creeps steadily on.......except as usual at this time of year its forgotten about creeping and is going by express!
I have got the bag I had to make for a friend done and given to her so that is one more item to cross off the list.  And several things that were near to completion I have finished now so they can also have a big tick next to them.
Including the Christmas fragrance sachets I was making for my mother to give to friends.  I made the pot pourri by mixing a cinnamon stick, some cloves and the dried peel of an orange together.  It is lovely - smells like Christmas. I have the Joanna Sheen THOMAS KINKADE cd set.  It has such lovely pictures and backing papers, but that is true of all her cd's there is usually at least one on my Christmas list.

The coasters for my niece's boyfriend are also finished although after this last week he may not want to be reminded of the football team he supports.

I have also made a start writting Christmas cards so I know how many more I need.
The Christmas decorations went up today so there is a festive feel all round the house.

                                                                                         Just found the link to this on Pinterest.  When I am not snowed under with Christmas make I will have to have a go.  Whats not to like about dragons.

Tuesday, 6 December 2011

Meeting Christmas deadlines

Now that December is upon us its all about deadlines - fun deadlines but deadlines just the same.  Some things cannot be done to early, like the nut brittle and others (less perishable) need to be out of the way.  There are times when I forget which way round things should go.  Like the year when I had all my presents wrapped but no cards made let alone written.  My big problem is that I like the sewing, baking, cardmaking so much that I overstretch myself.  It doesn't help when I accidentally get lost online when I should be in the real world.

Still first deadline has been met - letter to New Zealand written, photos printed, card written, present wrapped and all parcelled up and posted.

I have several projects on the go.  A couple of my laminated bags to make, the first one to be finished by thursday. Some Christmas fragrance sachets to make and fill with all things Christmassy (cloves cinnamon and orange should do the trick) I have the thinly sliced peel of an orange drying out by the fire, it should be ready to mix with the cloves and broken up cinnamon sticks tomorrow then the bags can be filled.  This is the first time I have tried to do a mixture.  I have tied little bundles of cinnamon sticks together before and used them as decoration and one year I made felt and lace Christmas trees and filled them with cloves ( they kept their fragrance for years it was lovely opening the box of decorations because of the smell).

The Christmas tree and decorations are going up at the weekend, there is the marzipan to go on the cakes, cards to write and other ideas to pin down and get done.

See sometimes hard work but such fun.

Sunday, 4 December 2011

Perfect weather again

Another day with perfect weather - perfect for crafting in front of the fire with a contented cat asleep on a chair next to me that is.

Had to do a little bit of baking before starting. Some drop scones for a quick yummy lunch, the last christmas cake (accidently used self raising flour but it seems ok and is now soaking up some sherry) and a bread pudding for my mother.  Defrosted the freezer yesterday so there is room to start filling with christmas goodies.  I like to make the sausage rolls, some bacon puffs, spicy pork rolls and mince pies (both puff and shortcrust pastry) and freeeze them uncooked so they can be baked as I need them.  I want to try some cinnamon buns and have just discovered this idea on Pinterest.                                                    
I may make a Dundee cake this year, it is ages since I made one.  Christmas is just a fantastic excuse for a massive baking frensy.  Many days of feasting ahead.

The coaster that I tried to make yesterday for my nephew were not a success so today I tried again with much better results.  I have also been putting the base coat on the box I am using to gift pack my home made jam.

I spent the morning with my sister and she showed me the jewellery she has been making fromm seaglass - not the stuff we collected together but some she got on a previous occassion.  She also showed me the shadow box she had made to display some fossils.  I can't wait for her to really start producing things - she will inspire me to different approaches and together we will have so much fun.

Saturday, 3 December 2011

Christmas cards, gingerbread, and christmas crafting

Still in major Christmas preparation mode, nearly all the cards are made now. Just in time to meet the postal deadlines for New Zealand.  It is so important for me to get non-perisables out of the way early to leave time for sweets and other goodies.
To start with I wanted to make a carousel but I feel for a first try a sleigh might be wiser, I have also seen a gingerbread AT AT.  There are some very talented people in this world.

Made some delicious mincemeat squares durring the
week and even managed to get some photos before we ate it all.  Something I haven't managed with the scone, apple snickerdoodles or banana bread.  Still there is always next time.

The recipe for mincemeat squares is so easy as its an "all in one".

125grams butter softened

125grams soft brown sugar                              250grams self raising flour
1 level teaspoon baking powder
3 eggs
400grams mincemeat

Put all the ingredients into a bowl and mix well
Put into a prepared 28" x 18" shallow cake tin
Bake at reg 3/ 160degrees for one hour or until firm.
Cool slightly, turn out and cut into fifteen squares.

I now have a two thirds done Union Jack cigar box for Etsy.  A set of  Manchester United coasters for my nephew and the mirror I was making for my niece has the modge podge drying.  The worries I had about the mirror have sorted themselves and I am pleased with how it has turned out.

Have justed listed the bronze ribbon bracelet on etsy