Merry Christmas 2016

Merry Christmas everybody! I hope you have an absolutely excellent day today. I’m looking forward to seeing the family (Jason’s side) and a special shout out to my sister in South Australia.  There will be a good feed to be had today I’m sure! There’s cheesecake …. so I’m there 😉

For Christmas this year I was focusing on quick and easy cookies but that still made an impact. The Santa bellies from yesterday and these stylised Christmas tree wiggles with their 100’s and 1000’s that look like baubles and lights. You should have seen the first couple I did, went a little heavy on the sprinkles and you can’t even see the tree beneath. I just didn’t realise they would stick so much.

I also made some personalised cookies for my nieces and and nephew. Their names look so pretty in cookie form! I know they all like my cookies, so I hope they love these ones especially as they are just for them 🙂

And packaged.

That’s it for this Christmas, so however you celebrate, or even if you don’t, I hope you have a fabulous day.

Until next time, have fun!

Santa Bellies

We are almost there. At least here in Australia, it’s already Christmas Eve. I have chickens roasting in the oven to be ready for Christmas lunch with the extended family tomorrow. Unfortunately, I have a little oven and I bought big chickens so despite my best intentions, I have to roast them one at a time. Alas, poor little hot house!

I finished off the cookies yesterday, and feeling a little cookied out, so it’ll be nice to have a few days off. I might whip up some fun ones for New Year’s Eve though.

This year, Santa has had a bit too many cookies himself I think, and he’s popped right out of his clothes. (Credit to Funky Cookie Studio for the inspiration again).

Jason says Santa’s tum needs to get some sun as he’s a little pale. I say, he’s much too busy to go sunbake.  Let’s just eat them so we won’t have to worry about it.

Until TOMORROW, for our final Christmas post, have fun!

Gingerbread

I adore gingerbread. I know a lot of people don’t like it, but I am a big fan personally. Mmmm spice in cookies, just delicious!

I used another recipe by Peggy Porschen for my gingerbread, which I hadn’t used before. For some reason I tend to find a great gingerbread recipe and then promptly lose it. This one from Peggy is heavy on the spice (no complaints from me) and feels really wet when you make it but it turns out pretty damn good. Due to the moistness of the dough, it requires a lot of fridge time, before you roll it and then after you cut your shapes out, before baking. Chilling the shapes before baking means they won’t spread very much.

I always make gingerbread men, but I found a fancy little trick on Pinterest where you can turn your shape upside down, and make some fun reindeer faces as well! Gosh, you creative people out there, I would never have thought of that.

The gingerbread and reindeer were fun to make, but my main inspiration for this year were Slovak gingerbread cookies. I encourage you to Google (or your choice of web search) Slovak gingerbread cookies, and prepare to ‘Ooh’ and ‘Aah’ over them. They are seriously one of the prettiest type of design I’ve seen.

And so, I tried. I need more practice with my itty bitty piping tips and to figure out how to not get them clogged but for the most part they behaved themselves.

These three were my first go.

Then, for what seemed to take forever, I piped the cross hatching on this cookie, and filled in the dots. It’s meant to look like a snowflake but that failed miserably. Just to make you understand how small this gets…..that cookie is about 5 cm across.

Needing a break from the detail and precision of the last cookie, I decided to play with dots and flowers.

And perhaps, these last cookies are my favourite. The beauty of simplicity and the cleanness of the white against the gingerbread brown. I think I deserved a cup of tea after that. Oh, and a gingerbread cookie of course!

Until next time, have fun!

Christmas Characters

Just a quick update today with some quirky Christmas characters. I’ve got to get back into the kitchen and bake up some cookies for Christmas Day with the family!

I’m loving these because all you need is a circle cookie cutter.  I flooded the cookies completely with blue, then when dry, added the characters on top of it. It does mean you eat more sugar…but it’s Christmas!

My favourite is the reindeer, as it looks like he’s peeking over the edge of the cookie at you.

This was a Pinterest inspiration, but unfortunately I can’t read the notes as they are in a different language so I’m unsure where this has come from.  Thanks for the idea whoever you are.

Until next time, have fun!

Patrick the Monkey

Meet Patrick the Monkey – a gift for fan Lona’s little boy. Randomly one day during late November or early December I asked her what her boy likes and she said trains or monkeys. I was investigating my sewing room and came across one of the books I had bought, but of course, not yet done anything from.

Who was on the front, but a monkey! Apparently his name is Patrick.

While I’ve had experience sewing toys before, I must admit this was very easy to follow, which is what the book promised. It has instructions and pictures to help you along, with all the patterns at the back of the book. I just used some freezer paper to copy the patterns and pinned onto my pre-washed fabrics.

This was my first foray into appliquĂ© as well, which is sewing or sticking pieces of fabric on to (a garment or larger piece of fabric) to form pictures or patterns. While there’s no picture, it’s still the appliquĂ© technique. The inner ears, eyes, nostrils, tummy and belly button are all attached in this manner.

Unfortunately, I did not read my pattern quite so well and forgot to get some fusible webbing, which makes appliqué a breeze, by sticking the fabrics together so you can stitch them in place without fear of them slipping. To get around, I tacked them in place with a few large hand stitches, then either hand-sewed the black felt or popped onto the sewing machine to narrowly zigzag the beige pieces on. Pretty good for my first time!

Here’s Patrick just chilling out on the couch and picking up lots of cat hair. I’m not sure why he ended up wrinkly around his edges though, I stuffed him pretty firmly with hobbyfill but it just couldn’t seem to smooth him out like the book.  I’m wondering if the fabric was a bit too firm, maybe if I got a cotton blend next time it might have a little bit of stretch and provide smoother edges. Still, I’m certain Oliver isn’t going to notice that at all and it just adds to Patrick’s quirks – his slightly titled head, one hip that juts out more than the other side, his tail not quite centred, his ridiculously large head (that one’s the pattern, not me!).

I had to make one change to the pattern, and hand sew in the arms, The arms and legs were placed in holes left when the body was sewn (inside-out), but after placing the legs in, there was just no room to add the arms. I had to turn the body right side out and stitch in the arms. Luckily, I’m a pro hand-sewer so it wasn’t an issue, it just takes a lot longer.

The tail was also sewn on by hand, which was a bit fiddly because you are trying to keep a stuffed tail attached to a stuffed body and stitch it on.

I enjoyed this pattern, and plan to make some of the other toys, there’s one planned for my new nephew Ethan (yay!) but it’s a secret what it is 😉 and there’s a cute cat that would make an awesome door stop that I want for myself.

Why don’t have you have one final photo of Patrick? Cheeky monkey, already hanging about!

Until next time, have fun!