Thursday, 31 December 2009

Day 28: Sleep

One of my favourite things about the Christmas break is being able to turn off the alarm clock :-) I'm so much more of a night owl than a morning lark! Which are you?



This was a good opportunity to use up a few scraps of paper, crocheted lace and pearl gems; the title is die-cut from pearlised card with rub-ons to complete. A flash card went well with the theme, and of course there had to be an Elle's Studio number! What you can't really see is that I stamped clock images in Versamark all over the background. It works though that it doesn't show up - just reinforces the idea that time fades into the background, alarm clocks are switched off, and I lose track of what day it is even!!


Day 26: Family games

We usually have a quiet Boxing Day. Sometimes we have visitors, sometimes it's just us, but it's an opportunity to read our new books and play our new games, eat more nice food, and just spend time together.

The Children were given the Lego game Minotaurus this Christmas. It's great!! We've had several rounds already. Part of its attraction is that the situation can change so quickly - a player can be in the lead and then the rest of The Family can cruelly and unjustifiably gang up on them and set the Minotaur on them and move the walls to block them off and they can lose after all..... Ahem. If your family members are grown up enough to cope with such sudden changes in fortunes, it is a great game to play :-)



Dotty red Bazzill and various offcuts from Shimelle's kit, Sonburn Design alpha stickers, Elle's Studio number, and the Family bingo card from Jess.


Wednesday, 30 December 2009

Day 25: The Day!

Woo hoo, the day arrived at last! :-)



(The page isn't really crooked lol - there's a bulky embellishment on the reverse side so it doesn't sit flat for photography!)



I used up some chipboard letters; the rest is all from Shimelle's kit - the green shaped cardstock is the packaging from the unmounted stamp, I really liked the shape and colour!!

I also documented the special food we ate by making a menu page and taking lots of pics of the different dishes.



Shimelle's template gave me the lovely shape, and I used a nice script font; cardstock, flowers and bling from Shimelle's kit again.



(The Doctor really likes this page. He says he expects a menu like this to be presented to him for dinner each and every day. I say Dream on, my darling.)



Those good old divided page protectors again :-) From left to right: pain au chocolat, sparkling wine, smoked salmon appetiser, turkey, pigs in blankets, roast potatoes.



Sausagemeat stuffing, roast butternut squash and carrot and boiled peas, sage and onion stuffing and apple and herb stuffing, sprouts (only for The Boy), gravy, PaperArtsy stamp.



Chocolate pudding, coffee and mincemeat truffle, Christmas pudding, embossed and inked holly, sticky toffee pudding, embossed and inked Merry Christmas. (We all like different kinds of pudding....)

We were quite full! I didn't take photos of the buffet tea, though I've included the details on the menu, but I didn't eat much of it....!

Tuesday, 29 December 2009

Day 24 (continued): For Santa

Another Christmas Eve tradition is to leave out a mince pie and a little drink for Father Christmas, and a carrot and bowl of water for his reindeer. Thish year Shanta had Ginger Wine whisch he enjoyed muchly (hic!)




Another badly-photographed page, sorry! Gosh, anyone would think I'd been at the ginger wine myself! ;-) *edited to say - updated now with a better photo!

The background is the back of the Crate Paper, with a large (in focus!) photo attached, an offcut of stripy patterned paper edged with my threading water punch, and Me & My Big Ideas alpha stickers for the title.


Monday, 28 December 2009

Day 24: Stockings

The Children always hang up stockings on Christmas Eve, though the stockings themselves have varied. The rule is that they can open their stocking presents QUIETLY whenever they wake up, but they don't disturb me and The Doctor till they can hear the radio in our room (usually about 7.30am). Now they can tell the time this is easier. Unfortunately I'm such a kid about Christmas that it has been known for me to wake up at 6am and have to lie there for ages till it's OK to wake The Doctor! Yep, that happened this year too!



For this badly-photographed page I used Crate Paper for the background, photographed The Children's stockings and cut round each, then attached with foam pads with a little peg at the top of each. The Elle's Studio number had the wording on it, how perfect was that? :-)


Sunday, 27 December 2009

Day 23: Christmas lights

We have a tradition, which we began a couple of years ago, that just before Christmas we'll go for a little family walk around the area admiring all the lights people have put up outside their houses. We've come to learn which roads will give the best displays, where we'll see the most tasteful and where the most.... tacky? The Children love being out after dark, staying up a bit later than usual and having hot chocolate when we get home.

This year we had our Christmas lights walk on 23rd December. We enjoyed the added element of danger aka the treacherously icy pavements! And we saw some beautiful lights :-)



The cardstock is the reverse side of yesterday's page; I added Me & My Big Ideas alpha stickers and some chipboard letters which I'd covered in Icicle Stickles (to remind me of the sparkly lights and the icy conditions!) - three little gemstones ditto, and an Elle's Studio number.



By the way, I'm making good use of autoposting over these few days so I can spend lots of time with my family. I plan to catch up on visiting all your blogs soon, please don't think I've forgotten you!

Saturday, 26 December 2009

Day 22: Still to do (all done!)

The to do list? I did it :-)



I had so many ideas for how I was going to do this page but in the end I just threw it together in a hurry lol! Crate paper background, printed Things to Do list from Shimelle filled in by me and then stamped with a date stamp as I completed each item, Elle's Studio number and Sonburn Design chipboard button to finish. It may not be how I planned it, but I rather like it anyway :-)


Friday, 25 December 2009

A Christmas Greeting



Have a good one :-)

Thursday, 24 December 2009

Mincemeat truffles

By popular request... ;-)



The recipe is here - enjoy :-)

Day 18: Mincemeat

We ran out of mincemeat on the 17th!! And I still had mincemeat truffles and mincemeat slices and mincemeat cake and maybe some more mince pies to make... So I whipped up another batch :-)



I folded a piece of double sided cardstock to form a pocket (I plan to stitch the edges some time but for now they're just stuck together) and punched a semi-circle from the top front edge. I'll tuck a card with the recipe on it inside the pocket at some point. The letter stickers are Sonburn Design and the colours don't really go, but I'm quoting Kate on that one ;-) Photo of the jars of mincemeat and an Elle's Studio number, then I punched holes in the left hand side so this can go straight into my album.


Wednesday, 23 December 2009

Day 20: Sing glory

Every year my church holds a special carol service at which a choir performs several pieces, there are readings, a short talk, and carols for everyone. We moved to this area in December a few years ago, I went to the service and loved it, and have been a part of the choir ever year since. There are 6-7 weekly rehearsals in the run-up to the service, and we tackle some wonderful pieces of music :-) This year we did Jesus Child by John Rutter (at only a fraction below full speed!) and Glory To God from Handel's Messiah, along with several other lovely songs.




For this, I went for a double layout of 6x6 pages. The background is My Mind's Eye paper and I ran a strip of Sonburn Designs ribbon right across both pages. The title (Doodlebug Design alphas) also spans both pages. On the left hand side I tucked a photo of the John Rutter music under the ribbon and added an Elle's Studio number; on the right, I've included the CD the choir members are provided with so we can practise at home. It has the full version of each piece and then the individual parts. I trimmed some Love Elsie paper to cover the CD and added the titles of the pieces of music with peel-off letters. I used a little CD mount I salvaged from a broken case and used that to attach the disc to the page - it's still removable and playable, should I wish to play it!



I may add a little something to that empty space in the middle of the double page, but I'm holding back and considering that a bit first. Ideas and suggestions welcomed :-)

Tuesday, 22 December 2009

Still to do before bedtime on Christmas Eve...

  • Collect turkey
  • Shop for fresh food and any last minute items
  • Wrap last few gifts
  • Make jelly layer of trifle
  • Make custard layer of trifle
  • Decorate Yule log
  • Get car checked over
  • Get The Girl's hair cut
  • Get The Boy's hair cut
  • Take The Boy to the dentist
  • Catch up with Christmas journal
  • Make lentil plait
  • Check stock of mince pies
  • Make more mince pies if necessary
  • Make mincemeat truffles
  • Tidy up
  • Vacuum
  • Dust
  • Prepare veg
  • Prepare stuffing
  • Defrost pigs in blankets
  • Attend Christmas Eve children's carol service
  • Go on annual Christmas lights walk
  • Set V+ for Christmas TV
  • Get more cold meds
  • Leave sherry, mince pie, carrot, water for Father Christmas and reindeer
  • Hang stockings
  • Sneak into The Children's rooms to quietly fill stockings
  • Creep downstairs carrying all the presents* and put them under the tree (*note to self: maybe not carrying ALL the presents at once. Several trips may be necessary...)
  • Relax with a nice drink :-)
Are you ready yet?

Day 19: Snow!

The catching up will not necessarily be in order ;-)




My Mind's Eye paper, Sonburn Designs ribbon, Elle's Studio number and snowflakes all from Shimelle's kit. Alpha stickers from Doodlebug Design.



Pics aren't great, sorry (no natural light today!) - main pic now updated with a better version; and I'm not sure how much I like the page, but in an 'I quote Kate' moment I'm moving on ;-)

Monday, 21 December 2009

Today...

...I finally put all our Christmas cards up. How do you display yours? We've experimented with different ways over the years, but as I don't want to use drawing pins or blu-tak on our walls since we had the living room decorated for the last couple of years I've displayed them on our bookcases:



It's a bit fiddly, but I lift up a few books at a time, slide the back half of the card underneath, and allow the front half to hang down in front of the shelf below. Odd-sized or odd-shaped cards go on the top shelves or the mantel-piece.



I like the effect, but it is fiddly! And whenever I think I've caught up with the task, along comes postie with another batch of cards....




Now, I tried photographing this page in what little daylight we had, but it just looked blue. So I put the light on and now it's yellow-tinged instead. Ho hum. This is the better version, so we'll go with it! The background paper is My Mind's Eye; I stamped the title with Studio G alphas in co-ordinating inks and added the Elle's Studio number with a little silver peg recycled from one of last year's Christmas cards.



Quick and simple, 'cos I have a bit of catching up to do! And while I'm not obsessing about keeping up to date, I also know that if I get too far behind I won't finish at all... So today I've managed to do several 6x6 layouts (which I'll share over the next couple of days) and if I get the chance later to do my page for the 18th I'll have caught up again. Until tomorrow, anyway. It's a bit relentless, this December!

Oh, and I realise that I never got back to you regarding those Secret Santa gifts! I don't quite know if I dare own up... You see, some of us find the loveliest item they can that only costs £1. And some of us think silly. I *love* the sparkly reindeer, but sadly I neither gave nor received it; I put in the tongue cleaner. Sorry. Luckily the recipient shares my sense of humour and thought it was great! The Doctor gave the pineapple, which was also well-received. I got the diary (very handy).

So, well done Jennifer Rose! You got it! Stacey, yes - flannel can mean the fabric, but generally when we talk about 'a flannel' here we mean a washcloth :-) I'm quite happy with the suggestions of the sparkly reindeer though because if I'd seen it I would definitely have got it. And then probably kept it for myself ;-)

Mincemeat cake

Sarah took part in a Christmas recipe meme and kindly thought of me :-) Hers is here (and is quite unusual!) Here are the rules of the game:
  1. Link to the person who ‘tagged’ you.
  2. Post the rules on your blog.
  3. Post your favourite Christmas recipe – something traditionally festive or something that has become a tradition in your house.
  4. Tag four people at the end of your post.
  5. Let each person know they have been tagged by commenting on their blog.
  6. Let the tagger know the entry is posted on your blog.
  7. Post your own Christmas recipe within a week of being tagged to keep this on the move.
Well, I'm not sure that I have a single favourite Christmas recipe, but there are several things that I make every year and I'm going to tell you about one of them.

I'm not a fan of traditional fruitcake. I've always found it too rich and heavy and slightly bitter. Also, I can't eat marzipan because of my nut allergy (*sob!* I miss marzipan!) That pretty much counts out Christmas cake then.... Luckily, a few years ago I came across a recipe for mincemeat cake which is lighter than traditional fruitcake and which doesn't include nuts (though I guess you could cover it with marzipan and icing if you want!)


I haven't made this year's cake yet. (Though I plan to do so today, heavy cold permitting!) This pic was taken last year, of 2008's cake. I've learnt a bit about photography since then. This year's pic will be better. I hope.

Mincemeat Cake

Makes: 8 slices
Takes: 10 minutes + 50 minutes baking time

Ingredients:

200g plain flour
120g caster sugar
120g light muscovado sugar
140ml sunflower or vegetable oil
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 egg
200ml full cream milk
4 lightly heaped tbsp mincemeat (about 230g)

Method:
  • Preheat the oven to 170oC/Gas Mark 3 and line the base of a round, deep, 20cm cake tin with non-stick baking parchment.
  • Sift the flour into a mixing bowl and add the sugars then pour in the oil.
  • In a second, smaller bowl, mix the sifted baking powder and bicarbonate of soda with the beaten egg and the milk.
  • Tip the milk mixture into the flour mixture and stir gently till there are no more streaks of flour.
  • Gently fold in the mincemeat.
  • Pour into the cake tin and bake for about 50 minutes, until a skewer comes out clean.
  • Cool in the tin for 15 minutes then turn out onto a wire rack.
Freezes well - great as it is, or with cream, mmmm!!

And now I'm going to 'tag': Amy, Sharyn, Deb and Sian - can't wait to try their recipes :-)

Sunday, 20 December 2009

Christmas reads

I've already enthused about this book:



I explained in the original post that I read The Christmas Mystery every year, trying hard to stick to a chapter a day, but that I usually get drawn in by the story partway through the month and end up finishing the whole thing! At the time of writing I'm still managing to stick to a chapter a day, which I'm very proud of - perhaps this will be the first year I make it last till December 24th?

Anyway, the reason I'm telling you about the book again is that Abi had the idea that a few of us should share some favourite Christmas reads with you all. And this is mine :-) As well as Abi, the others of us are Lizzie, Jo, Amy, Kate and Sian; I can't wait to see their recommendations!

First, here's a little more about The Christmas Mystery, by Jostein Gaarder. Here are some reviews as printed on the blurb:

'A young boy finds a faded, home-made Advent calendar in a bookshop. A piece of paper falls out of the first window on which is written the first part of an extraordinary story about a small girl who travels back in time to Bethlehem and the birth of Christ... Meanwhile, the intertwining story of the present unfolds, and the boy finds out about the strange man who made the calendar and about a girl who disappeared on Christmas Eve 40 years ago... compelling reading' (Daily Telegraph)

'The Christmas Mystery is a skilful and lasting achievement, with all the elements of a perfect Christmas tale' (The Times)

'Anyone who enjoyed Jostein Gaarder's philosophical bestseller Sophie's World... will relish The Christmas Mystery' (Sunday Times)

Tempted? Want a little extract? Shall I spoil you with two?
"There are two ways of becoming wise. One is to travel out into the world and see as much as possible of God's creation. The other is to put down roots in one spot and to study everything that happens there in as much detail as you can. The trouble is that it's impossible to do both at the same time."

"Christmas is the world's biggest birthday party, for everybody in the world is invited to join in. That's why the party has lasted for so many years."

Basically though, all I can say is, I really enjoy this book. I wouldn't read it every year otherwise! So I recommend it to you, too :-)

Now let's go over to see Jo and find out what she's reading, shall we?

Day 17: Grateful

I'm really pleased with this page :-)



I typed up the journaling from this post in an 8x8 document, varying the fonts and colours. In the centre I placed the word 'grateful' using stencil font in outline, and I left a space at the bottom right for the number. I printed the document onto a piece of cardstock from Crate Paper. I handcut the letters of 'grateful' from the page then mounted it onto the back of Day 16 - the double-sided My Mind's Eye cardstock I used for that page shows through the gap. I added the Elle's Studio number on foam pads with a scrap of crocheted lace stapled underneath.



Saturday, 19 December 2009

Day 16: Secret Santa

Each year we have a Christmas get-together with our house group; we eat Chinese food, talk and laugh together and have a Secret Santa 'lucky dip'. We each bring along a gift that cost no more than £1, put them in a sack, and then later we pick out a gift each to take home.



This year the gifts included a flannel, a mug, a diary, a cocktail shaker, a sparkly reindeer, some tissues, chocolate coins, a puzzle, a box of chocolates, a tongue cleaner and a pineapple! I received the diary - any guesses which gift I gave? ;-)



Christmas tree paper from My Mind's Eye, edged with threading water punch, with strips of dotty Bazzill at top and bottom. Letters die-cut from vellum (I wanted them to be a little bit camouflaged, especially the word 'secret', to fit the theme). Elle's Studio number and a piece of coordinating paper as a photo mat.