making | baking | creating

Celebration Tassel Garland

The 2013 countdown begins...

Experiments with Air Drying Clay

Hello! Just a quick post to show you the clay embellishments I attempted for my Christmas cards and Christmas table place names this year...

Chestnut Chocolate Pots

I made these last year from my favourite Christmas picture Cookbook - Nigella.  Join me in full-fat yumminess - you wont regret it.

Cinnamon and Nut Pastries

My final baking attempt before Christmas and the kitchen is overwhlemed by Mulled wine, Snowballs and mince pies!

Meringue Kisses

...don't worry, no peppermint candy topping on these

Christmas Candy Cane Marshmallow

...if you have a sweet tooth - this is the post for you!

Christmas Wrapped Up

I wish...I've only bought two presents.

Hanging Hearts

The last craft project before...well, before it all gets a bit mad.

Crackers

Not as crazy [or difficult] as you might think!

Iced Christmas Shortbread Biscuits

I love shortbread, love, love, love it and it's simple to make and quick to bake - perfect for Wintery late night bake sessions.

Sequin & Bead Bow Decoration Hangings

P.S - When did decorations stop being sold with string / tree hangers?

Decorating the Baubles

The return of the Glitter Glue Pens.

Christmas Lyrics Glitter Garland

...and may all your Christmas's be White...
[a How To make, not How To spell]

Monogram Stocking Bag

Simple Personalised Stocking [with plenty of room for lots of little presents]

Monogram Present Bag

Pink + artificial lighting = fluorescent pink glow post.
Pink, Pink, Pink Present Bag - the everlasting wrapping paper!

Christmas Pudding Teacakes

Any excuse.  Any.



Hello and welcome to this season's teacake post ;) - Christmas Puddings.  So easy, but quite cute.
Here's a really quick and simple How To.
If you are as much of a fan of the teacake as me, do go and see Gillian Kyle's teacake [and caramel wafer] creations! My Christmas wishlist is filling up with items from this range: 

What You Need:
White Chocolate
Red / Green Writing Icing

Melt your white chocolate and using a small teaspoon, start at the top of the teacake and allow the chocolate to cover the top.  To get the icing effect, take the side of the spoon and drag the chocolate down the sides, continuing in sections around the teacake:

Allow the chocolate to set [pop in the fridge if you are short of time] before decorating:
With a green icing pen, draw holly leaves on the top [have a practice on parchment paper or on a chopping board if you are a little unsure of the pen or nervous!]:
...and finish with a red icing pen to create the holly berries:
Leave to set and then enjoy!
Not enough Christmas Teacake crazy for you?  Step right up.
Want more Christmas treat ideas, including Pudding marshmallow pops, meringues, candy cane bark and more?  Come this way.

Dried Fruit Wreath - Part 2

What should have been yesterdays post, today!

Christmas Pudding Marshmallows

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas

Last Minute Stocking Advent Calendar

No time for your handmade, hand-sewn stocking creation?  Don't worry - here's a quick alternative!

Dried Fruit Wreath - Part 1

Its cold, no?  I love getting home after work to a warm house and something that adds even more warmth and welcome for me is the smell of Christmas, so I've tried to recreate it with some fruit and spice for a wreath that will keep the house smelling of the season - this is part 1: Drying the fruit.

What I Used:
Grapefruits
Oranges / Satsumas
Apples
Lemons
Limes
Ground Cinnamon

Hello, how are you? We are here, in the week before December.  You can't avoid it  [though like me, I hope you don't want to] - Christmas is starting and slowly making its way to taking over all the shops.  This weekend, my decorations come down from the loft and I am going to the Dorchester for Christmas Afternoon Tea with friends [and a Christmas choir - so excited!]  Over the weekend and this week, I have been preparing for something I hope to make soon - a Christmas dried fruit wreaths and hanging.  I dried some sliced oranges last year [that truth be told, were sliced too thinly] and used them to decorate, but not just for the look - they smell of Christmas and last for the whole season, so this year I am adding some more fruits to the mix and adding a bit of spice.

Oranges, satsumas, lemons, limes, grapefruits and apples:
The key thing you need is a sharp knife.  Last year, this is where it all fell apart for me and I had hacked slices, rather than nice, clean ones - so I've learnt my lesson and I've also cut everything to a thickness of around 1/2cm to try and prevent any tearing / breaking later down the line.

I cut slices from a bag of oranges [4 in total] and a large bag of apples [6], 1 lemon and 1 lime and lastly, 1 white grapefruit and 1 pink grapefruit:
To add a little variation, I also used satsumas [4 in total], which I have cut in to at quarters, but not completely all the way through, so that the fruit still holds in shape.  Start your cut around 1 cm from the top, cut through the fruit and finish your cut around 1 cm from the bottom.
I then did the same to 1 lime and 1 lemon:

Once cut, blot each slice with kitchen paper to help dry them out and lay flat on a tray lined with baking paper to help stop the fruit sticking when drying.
To some of the orange slices, I added a light sprinkle of ground cinnamon:

Next, I decided to pop my slices and start the drying process off a little quicker into the oven at a low heat.  The length of time you need in the oven will depend on the oven you have and how dry you blot your slices to be before baking.  I baked my fruit at 90 degrees C and kept them in the oven for 4 hours.  Turn your slices half way through or each time you check on them.  Once they looked and felt dry and spongey, I took them out to move to the airing cupboard.  By this point, they will smell AMAZING.

[Popping your fruit straight in to the airing cupboard or on top of the radiator for the week after slicing and blotting will work just as well, but take a little longer than helping the process along in the oven].

...and this is what they look like now - ready to be threaded and hung - I hope to have some time to do this later in the week and will share the results with you.  They smell fantastic and look pretty good too.
I can't wait to get started.  Are you doing the same?  I'd love to see them.
And of course, these are not just for Christmas, these are hopefully going to be hanging around the house until they need replacing [which judging by last years slices, will be well in to a year].

Updated: Part 2 can now be found here.


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How to Make a Pom Pom Garland

I had to do something with all those pom poms!

Hello! Happy Tuesday - how are you? I have succumbed to the cold I have been fighting for the last few weeks, so getting to my computer is difficult, but I hope I wont be too absent this week, mainly because I wanted to start all my Christmas prep - 5 weeks people, 5 weeks!

Today I post a very, very simple decoration idea using last weeks woollen pom poms to add a bit of cosy to your home. 
 I made a variety of pom poms in muted colours so that when we decorate at Christmas, they can still hang about without clashing or looking out of place.  All you need is a needle and thread/wool the length of the garland that you want to make:
 Simply thread through the centre of each pom pom and place on the thread/wool in the position 
you want it to sit [as the tie made when securing the pom pom was so tight, you wont need to knot 
the pom pom and it will stay in place easily] :
 Continue threading all your pom poms until you have them spaced and in the sequence you want along the length of thread/wool chosen:
...and then hang!  I chose to make small garlands of 7 pom poms to hang on the back of the chairs 
in our dining room - I usually tie bows on the chair backs, but decided on the pom poms this year 
and will add a few Christmas details to them nearer the time.   I made loops either end of the wool 
and fixed to each chair corner, so they can be taken off easily if we want.
These would also be perfect for hanging on the mantle, or longer garlands to wrap around the tree, or with pegs to hold cards nearer Christmas - I think I could find spaces all over the house to start hanging these - perhaps a woollen pom pom bannister garland will use them all up!?
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