As I mentioned in the previous post, I’m sewing a bunch of pears to add to this year’s Christmas tree decorations. They’re quick and simple sewing makes and can obviously dressed up for blingy trees or given the rustic cottage look or whatever is your ‘thing’.
I want a partridge to go with them but haven’t put a template together for that yet. Maybe next week.
The free pear PDF template and instructions are here:
I hope they are clear enough but it really is an easy pattern. I did all the layout and graphics in Illustrator, just for info.
Anyway, we’re in October and I have got a head start on lots of things to avoid charging round the shops like angry pants Christmas Eve (again) so a quick pat on the back to myself for some level of forward planning and organisation this year (bloaty head, ha ha).
Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas for me without a big cake. Rich, moist, flavoursome, covered with thick marzipan and royally iced. Mine was made last week and included crystallised ginger and pineapple. It had its first chug of brandy this morning. I’ll do this every week until early December when the marzipan layer goes on and by then it will be nicely mature.
I found a gorgeous book on cake decorating in a Dublin charity shop for €2. It’s brand new. Big, hardback, lots of pages sumptuously photographed designs. My *Wow* find yesterday. So, am looking ahead with cake decorating ideas with big excitement! But, hint-hint, Smithy, I’d love a Mary Berry cake book to land in my stocking this year.
I’ve made a collection of Christmas mice. So far, the ones made are pin cushions to be given as little presents which is why I haven’t shown them yet. I want to make a few more to mount on old cotton reels to hang or stand as decorations for Christmas. Am thinking a big one would make a lovely door stop. They’re not done yet but I hope I’ll have something to show you next week and share the template then.
Mr Smith loves these and we get them in every year. Until recently, I wouldn’t touch them – they look like slugs or something out of Stingray. Warty amphibious creature things. Green and knobbly trawled from stagnant ponds. Ghoulish and ghastly like Shrek snot – or worse!
If these were alive, they’d be the cause of the sink holes that are emerging all over the world. Just use your imagination as to how they would do this but I bet you don’t have to think too hard – almost obvious, isn’t it?!
Anyway, Smithy had to have a ‘couple’ (ha ha, more like half a dozen) and finally persuaded me to have a nibble. They are ruddy lovely! I’ve been missing out on these for years and years! So a few more jars of these are on the Crimbo shopping list already but if bought too early, they’ll be lucky to last until the big day.
Well, I’ve made a start. Ordered some stuff from Amazon. A few things.
Chinese Lanterns (Physalis)
I love these gorgeous plants and looked around the local garden centres for one all summer but couldn’t find one. Then, calling round to my neighbour last week I saw she had a lovely bush and told her how beautiful it was. She was a star and brought me round some seeds, a peat pot and a little lantern plucked from her bush.
The papery outer casing for the fruiting body become beautifully intricate like delicate paper cuttings as they die off and produce their seeds. There are lots and lots of little seeds like sticklepips inside the orange ‘berry’ (see pic) but I forgot to ask and she forgot to tell me what to do with them them so I Googled.
What to do with the seeds
Anyway, the long and the short of it is to cut open the orange ‘berry’ (careful – the berry is full of vitamin C and is edible BUT anything else around it is poisonous – it belongs to the Nightshade family) and winkle out the tiny sandy-coloured seeds. Rinse off the ‘flesh’ and pat them dry before storing them away in a water-proof container.
Keep the box safe until February or March then sow them in small peat pots with seedling compost.
Plant them near the surface approx. an inch apart with just a light covering of compost and keep the compost moist, but not wet, somewhere reasonably warm.
Plant in a spot that gets plenty of sun AND plenty of shade once the threat of frost is over, around May time.
Fingers crossed I remember them by then and they root happily.
I found this frame in a charity shop. It’s been washed and scrubbed with sugar soap and is ready for its first sanding in preparation for a white eggshell coating or two of paint. Unusual picture frames are hard to find – unless you pay for them in places like TK Maxx (which I do as well because there is so much to crush on in that place and it has me hooked like a crystal meth addict!) so finding this one for a couple of euro was a happy stumble.
So, lots of frames now…. Time to get on with some papercut designing and get them filled. Unfortunately, Dr Evil has nicked my Mojo and am waiting for some kind of deep space sparkle to awaken and get me going again, like a dash of magic and inspiration. At times like this it’s best to take a big break and change the pace a bit.
This afternoon, come rain or shine (weather forecast says ‘light’ rain – this means it will rain during daylight hours and stop when it gets dark) I’m off for a walk around the Curragh. Sheep graze happily over swathes of it and magic mushrooms abound. No, that’s not where I’m getting my mojo from, btw. I mention it as an item of interest. My neighbour told me yesterday.
Time to get my jammies off and put some proper-normal gear on for my trek around the Curragh. Have an easy day and enjoy yourself.