Friday, 14 December 2012

I'll Be Home for Christmas

Hopefully, assuming we don't have a problem with our flight.  We are now all ready for Christmas - presents are wrapped, food for the hamper is made, Milly's rag doll is almost finished and the spare room has become cardboard box city from all the deliveries.  Must do something with those in the new year.  I'm thinking play shop.

This week we made biscotti (or sausage biscuits as miss likes to call them) and its a recipe from good food, so I'll just give you a link to that below.  We stuck almost to the recipe but I substituted cherry for cranberries, just because I like them.  We did, however, do a very very quick gift craft which makes a relatively low cost gift a little more personal.  Its another of those where you do most of the work, but such is life with kids and crafting.

Here Comes Santa Claus

You will need:

A vase big enough to put your entire hand inside
A sharpie (remember those from the labels?)
Paper and pens
Sticky tape of whichever brand you prefer

Cut your paper so its no larger than the height of your vase

Ask your child to draw whatever pictures you (or rather they) want.  Milly decided on Father Christmas, a snowman, a helicopter cat and a round Christmas tree. 

Cut out the pictures you want to put on to the vase (I decided on Father Christmas and the snowman, plus her name) and tape them on the inside.

Trace around with the sharpie.  You might need to do this a couple of times because the pen doesn't always draw that well.  I should imagine it would be better on a ceramic but then you have the faff of getting the picture on there in the first place.  Its one for us to do in future when Mill can be trusted to not draw a helicopter cat on something.

Remove the paper and allow to dry.  Jobs a good un.

I haven't tried to wash these so I have no idea if the picture is going to wash off the minute it touches water, but I don't think it really matters since they still have a vase at the end of it.

We've also been tagging and wrapping.  The bird seed feeders now look like this

Home made bird seed feeders
Bird Seed Feeders with a touch of Christmas Sparkle

and our Christmas hampers look like this (minus the bag of biscotti)

Small Christmas Hamper
Christmas Food Goodies

if you want a list of the recipes I've used here you go:
Spiced beetroot and orange chutney   This is lovely and can be done at last minute
Spiced plum chutney  I make this every year.  Its a bit late for it to be ready for Christmas but its still suitable for a gift with strict instructions to leave it for a few weeks.
Christmas Cake I make mine in October but there is no reason why you cant do a last minute version.

Champagne and Strawberry Jam  

This is my recipe and it makes an 8oz jar of jam .

You will need :

200g strawberries
180g jam sugar
1 large bottle of champagne (or cava)
1 lemon.
A saucer in the fridge

Chop the strawberries in to 4 and add to a pan with the sugar.  Leave for about an hour for the juices to start flowing (or don't if you're in a rush).  If you want big chunky strawberries at the end, leave overnight.

Add a squeeze of the lemon and about half a glass of champagne.  Get your saucer ready.

Heat gently to dissolve the sugar, stirring as you go, and then bring to the boil.for about 5 minutes (double check after four).  Remove from the heat and spread a little on the saucer, give it a minute and then push it about a bit.  It should be all jammy and thick and wrinkly when you push and not sloppy.  If you have slop, give it another minute or two and retest.

Allow to cool and then pour in to sterilised jam jars.

Drink the rest of the champagne to celebrate.

Christmas Biscotti / Sausage Biscuits

The biscuits are simply shortbread with 1/2 tsp of cinnamon and topped with cane sugar.

So, its been a busy old week.  There are other things I will show you in the new year but since they're gifts for people who read this blog they're staying under wraps for now.

So that just leaves me to say have a very merry Christmas and a wonderful New Year xxx

Monday, 10 December 2012

Rudolf the Red Nosed Reindeer

once gave Santa's sleigh a lift.  And when mixed in with maltesers, makes a really simple gift.

Move over Bernie Taupin, there's a new kid in town.

Reindeer Noses

You will need:

1 bag of maltesers
1 bag of either red foiled chocolate balls or a bag of mixed m&m's and a willingness to eat everything that isnt red.  yum.  If youre in the UK a rather large supermarket chain beginning with T and ending in esco sells the ones I've used.
1 cellophane bag per person

Lob 8 maltesers and 1 red chocolate of choice in to the bag.  Tie with your pre-prepared rudolf labels.  Go.  

Requires absolutely no adult help once a child is
a) able to count to 8; and
b) able to resist eating the majority of the maltesers.

So, should be fine once they hit retirement.  Maybe.

Merry Christmas, Love Milly

Frosty the Snowman

Was a jolly happy soul.  I find that hard to believe given how moody all snowmen look, especially that one on the advert that you know wanted diamonds but ends up with gloves.  The power of love aint that strong.

So, crafting.  A while back I saw the cutest little snowmen on pinterest and decided to make them as part of our craft.  Unfortunately the geek in me refuses to read anything which may appear to be an instruction and I went on the wing in theory.  It was about 30 seconds in to said winging that I realised this is not a craft to do with a 4 year old or a 30 something year old with limited patience for things that ping out of your fingers.  Here are the instructions if you really want them.  They do look cute after all.

Pin it

You will need
(per snowman)

2 small white buttons, each with two holes
4 black seed beads (plus another 10 that will end up on the floor / down your top / in your eye)
1 medium brooch fastening
Strong Glue
Two pieces of felt (colour is your choice, but I had green and red in with it being Christmas so went with the pinterest picture)
Assorted small sequins
A cocktail stick
A large stiff drink.

Down the drink.  You're going to need it.

Cut a hat and bow tie shape out of the coloured felt and place on one side.  Tell yourself that this is going to be great.

Glue the two buttons in place on top of the brooch, so one appears to be the head and one the body.  Still tell yourself this is going to be great.

Hand the brooch to your child along with some pva glue, the cocktail stick and the beads.  They have small hands so it should be good for them, right.  Wrong.  Quickly realise that there is pva glue everywhere, apart from in the place you want it to be and the snowman appears to be melting since his eye is now somewhere near his navel.  Stop lying to yourself about the great thing, throw that one away and start again.  Allocate your child the job of passing things to you.  With the cocktail stick, blob in some strong glue just inside the button holes and drop the beads somewhere near to them.  Push in place and leave to the side to dry.  Repeat for all your buttons whilst slowing losing the will to live.

Meanwhile, get your small person to stick a sequin on to the bow tie.  Put a blob of glue on to the back and stick in to place on the snowman.  Do the same with the hat.

Be thankful that the buttons only came in small packets, put something Disney on the TV and relax.

Homemade snowman button brooch
Malevolent Snowman Army