A Winter Cake

Happy 2021! We made it through 2020 and have emerged into a brand-new year.  Have you made any resolutions? My resolution for this year is to be kind to myself.  I’m a bit of a perfectionist and that leads to me being my own very harsh critic – so I’m now working on not being!  The other thing I intend to focus on is to enjoy whatever it is I’m doing, even if I can’t create a masterpiece. 

With that in mind, this week’s post is a Winter Cake.  You may have heard them called Christmas cakes but if they’re not finished until January, it’s a Winter Cake!  It’s true!! With all the food we had to be eaten by less people due to the late Tier change rules, we really didn’t need the cake.  However, we’ve now ploughed our way through the festive goodies and so it was time for the cake to make an appearance. I made the fruit cake way back in October using Nigella Lawson’s Boozy Christmas cake recipe.  I also used a cake belt for the first time.  It was genius! The cake rose evenly whilst baking and a cake with a perfectly level top emerged from the oven.  I hate marzipan so I just went straight in with some fondant icing and covered the cake.  I would normally ice the board too but I hadn’t bought enough fondant.

I went for a snowflake theme since the weather is chilly at the moment and cut out a load of snowflakes in different sizes with my handy cutters.

Using vodka as adhesive, I stuck the snowflakes onto the cake in a random fashion and added a few around the board too.  I mixed up some icing and piped dots in between the flakes and then finished with a blast of edible pearlized spray to give a glittery look. 

All that’s left now is to eat it! Mr L’s birthday is in early January so our healthy eating doesn’t begin until after that – very handy indeed!

Decorations To Remember

This week’s blog post is a little late due to that pesky Covid.  I was going to do a post on a fun decoration I’d made as gifts for a couple of friends but have been unable to deliver them due to being suddenly upgraded (or is that downgraded?!) to Tier 4, which is essentially another lockdown.  Since the recipients don’t have their gifts, I can’t post about them!  So instead, I’m focussing on Christmas tree decorations.  First though, I finally got my wreath made for the front door.

Do you have a colour theme for your tree? Ours is predominantly red and gold but not exclusively!  Wherever we are, if we spot a nice Christmas decoration, we get it to add to the collection.  I love unpacking the decs each year and having the memories of where they were bought.  I’ve got ones made from Fimo by my sister about 30 years ago, a Smurf Santa from when I was a kid and collected those Smurf figures, ones given to me by old neighbours and lots of homemade ones too. Our tree is lightly decorated this year due to the kittens.  There’s nothing breakable on there and nothing below the bottom 18”!  It still looks lovely though.

These ones are purchased decs.  Clockwise from top left: angel from Monaco, moon and star from a French supermarket, pebble cat on a heart from a local lady (Em’s Pebbles) and a metal tree from the Netherlands, accompanied by my gold ring felt ornament.

These are a selection of some handmade decs.  Clockwise from top left: sequinned pudding (on a polystyrene ball), cross-stitched Tigger mini cushion, piper piping felt ornament and a clay heart sent by our wedding venue the first Christmas after our marriage.

My latest felt decoration, again from mmmcrafts, is a Santa.  Mrs Claus is almost done but is alarmingly headless at the moment. I must try to get her finished before Christmas Day! 

mmmcrafts has just released a pattern for some elves so hopefully they’ll make an appearance next year too.

Wherever you are in the world and whomever you’re allowed to celebrate with, here’s hoping it’s a happy and healthy Christmas.

Cute Christmas Tree Decorations

Last weekend, I did my first ever 10k.  It was a charity event to raise money for a little girl called Sophie, who lives in the next village.  Sadly, Sophie has been diagnosed with a rare form of cancer and is facing many years of treatments.  Her Mum set up a Facebook group (called Sophie’s Journey, if you’re interested) and it was through this that I found out about the virtual 10k event.  You could run, walk, cycle or swim the distance – I jogged half and then walked the rest – between 4-13th December and afterwards, collect your medal from Sophie’s house, socially distanced of course!  The medals were designed by Sophie and are super cute!

When I went to collect my medal, I wanted to take a little something for Sophie and her two sisters.  I’d seen this idea from Sew Dainty on Pinterest for a Christmas tree garland and thought they’d work well as individual decorations too.  First, I drew and cut out my Christmas tree shape on paper before pinning it onto felt sandwiched between two pieces of Christmas print fabric.  You can use wadding or anything in the centre of the sandwich, it’s just to give the trees some body.  It’s a good way to use up random pieces of fabric!

Next, I added in a hanging ribbon at the top before taking my tree sandwich to the sewing machine and sewing around the outside of the template, pivoting at the corners to give nice sharp points.

After I’d finished, it looked like this.

Using pinking shears, I cut around the outside of the tree, taking care not to chop off the ribbon hanger!

Lastly, I stitched some zigzag lines up the tree.  I wanted a tree topper but I’d run out of star buttons so I hand stitched a pair of wooden hearts to the front and back of the top of the trees instead.

I love how these came out and think I’ll be making a garland of trees in the near future.