Christmas Countdown; 25 sleeps…. The stockings

Here I am, cheating again! I made stockings for my children over 3 years ago when Logan was a baby but am unabashedly proud of them so thought I would share them here….

homemade stockings

Since we took them down from the attic last weekend Lyra has cuddled hers in bed every night; she’s always an appreciative recipient of anything that I care to make. I wonder what she will think of her homemade presents?!

And that is going to be the theme of my countdown for December; homemade Christmas gifts as well as the occasional decoration. To prevent spoiling surprises I will share some pictures from last Christmas too as some people may otherwise stumble upon something for them!!

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Christmas Countdown; 27 sleeps….. Sharpie advent candles

Yes, that’s right. Advent candles can be very expensive but they are something we really like to have each year… I had a bit of a brainwave earlier and thought they would probably be very easy to make yourself. All you would need is a plain candle (mine are from Ikea & 20cm tall) Sharpies or similar permanent pens and a ruler to make sure the marks you make are evenly spaced…..

As you can see I made one slightly more traditional, with plain numbered lines and a “wreath” around the bottom. The other is a decorated Christmas tree with the numbers going up the centre (there are more decorations to the sides as the tree sticks out more at the bottom.

Though this was really quick and easy to make I would really leave it up to adults or older children as you really do need to use permanent pens or the picture will rub off very quickly. If you make a mistake you can simply scratch away the ink in that patch (try not to dig into the wax too much)

What do you think? Do let me know if you try it 🙂

Christmas countdown; 29 sleeps… Time to make the Christmas cake!

 

I am pretty much unable to fiddle with a recipe… I started with Nigella’s classic Christmas cake from “Nigella Christmas” and changed it. I added more almonds, orange juice mixed with my own homemade apple liqueur, self raising flour rather than plain and different measurements of everything. Then I made it in a different way too; steeping the dried fruit in the juice & liqueur mixed with the sugar, almond extract and treacle….. I melted the butter so it was very soft but not liquid and beat that in with the eggs before folding in the dry ingredients (she used a creaming method)

2 1/4 hours of baking and the cake was done and the house is smelling deliciously festive. have you made our Christmas cake yet? I can’t wait for a taste of mine on Christmas Eve!

Christmas Countdown; 31 sleeps…. Completed advent calendar & bunting

Ta-daaah!

yes the embroidery & stitching could be straighter but this advent calendar promises to be very special to us all; My children’s “first Christmas clothes” have been included as have pieces of the fabric that I made their stockings with….. I also made this bunting with some of it;

 

I must confess to flagrant cheating; I made the bunting about 3 years ago! I haven’t shared it here yet though…

What do you think? Do you have any special decorations that you bring out every year?

xxx

 

Christmas countdown; 32 sleeps…. pipe cleaner candy canes

 A super easy kids craft (that will be one of the crafts on the craft activity table at aour school Christmas Fayre) that just involves twisting a red and a white pipe cleaner together and bending the end over into a crook. You could tie them with ribbon to hang on your tree so that they don’t get hidden amongst the greenery 🙂

 

Zesty lemon tart

OK this is not so festive as it could be but since I am still working on the finishing touches of my advent calendar this is what I have to offer…!

I am often disappointed by lemon based recipes because they are so frequently not lemony enough! So when I call this “zesty” please take that to mean “if you don’t like a tart tart then do please add half again the amount of sugar and/or reduce the number of lemons. ” that said it is, in my humble opinion, delicious and just lemony enough with an almost cheesecake texture…

Lemon Tart

 

Ingredients
A block of shortcrust or sweetcrust pastry.
6 large eggs
300g caster sugar
zest and juice of 6 lemons
200ml double cream

You will also need a pie or tart dish of some description, mine was 25cm diameter

 

Preheat the oven to 200°C

1. roll out the pastry thinly, dust with flour and use it to line your dish. You can pretty up the edges a bit here if you like.

2. blind bake the pastry case until the bottom/ middle is just cooked. (I line the pastry with greaseproof paper and pop a 20cm cake tin inside to keep the bottom flat.)

3. meanwhile beat the eggs, sugar, lemon zest and juice together. Beat in the cream.

4. when the pastry case is ready decrease the oven temperature to 180°C

5. pour the filling into the case, leaving about 1/2cm – 1cm gap at the top. Bake in the oven for 35 minutes or until just set in the middle. Leave in the dish to cool.

6. enjoy! Delicious served with cream to tone down the tartness