Friday, 16 December 2011

Feeling Christmas

He's on his way!
Ok, so I guess it's time for a few Christmassy photos on this here blog.  School finished today and the boys are tucked up on the sofa bed watching Polar Express, so I'm beginning to feel a little more festive!
The end of term kind of crept up on me this year, probably because of the business of shows, so I feel a bit like I'm catching up with myself!

It's funny how this time of year can get you all nostalgic and when you get to my ripe old age (!!!) you find yourself yearning for the simple treats you had as a child, or things you remember making or doing when you were tiny.  I remember there was always lots of food to be indulged in in our house - and by that I mainly mean making - of course we all loved eating too, but there was as much fun to be had in the concocting and squeezing into the same hot kitchen as everyone else trying to make their speciality dish!  Our family endeavoured to be creative in its festivities and we often had curry for Christmas - and are doing so this year.  I know that doesn't sound very Christmas like - but we have found that it gives everyone the chance to contribute (it's hard to get curry badly wrong!), you can make dishes beforehand and they actually improve with time, and its really good fun. Plus - it reminds us all of Dad - who was the best curry maker you could ever meet and gives us a chance to use some of the ingredients he left us from his shelf of tricks - jars of every variety of spice, paste and leaf you could imagine.  What a marvellous inheritance!

This year I have set my mind to making these sorts of memories with the children too.  I confess that I am usually whirling about the house at this time of year, hiding presents, ordering things, writing lists and covering myself in a mountain of half-made present projects.  I have often asked for exceeding patience from the children while I do all of this - and yes, it does all still have to be done.  BUT, this year I am going to try to find at least a few moments to share some fun with the littlies.  Last weekend, I found myself alone for the afternoon with all five, while hubby went off for a band practise and so we made a gingerbread house and gingerbread biscuits for the tree.

I have to day, I truly loved sharing baking with them. The heat of the gooey gingerbread mix when you first tumble it out of the bowl, rolling it out and teaching them how to get the most cuts out of each roll, making tiny piping bags for each of them to decorate with.  The teachers each got a bag.....

the tree is decorated.....

and the gingerbread house is due to be covered in sweets this weekend and will be the centrepiece of the children's table on Christmas day.

Sounds idyllic, doesn't it?!  Well, I can assure you, the pay off for an afternoon of baking with the children is a messy house and no uniforms ready for school the next day- and let no blogger tell you otherwise.  But, it felt good and I know they will remember it and anyway - as I've said before......
So, tonight I am doing more baking for grown up presents.  I have a lovely recipe for Florentines, scribbled on a scrap of paper years ago which I usually use - but alas, the piece of paper which usually pops up whenever I need it, is no-where to be found, so I may have to try Nigella, courtesy of this blog over here.

Whilst looking for it though, I did come across these...

A real memory from childhood.  I remember making these sweets for my family when I was a girl, marvelling at the exotic ingredients....cream of tartar....gelatin....and all types of fruit and nuts.  I remember the taste of the marzipan for the first time and shaping it into little delicacies.  I remember thinking that I was making something really special.  Something that would be appreciated by its grown up recipients.  Something that would be enjoyed.  That's a precious thing to give a child - the opportunity to bless an adult.  And, yes, now that I'm a parent, I am fully aware of what goes into the peppermint creams we are occasionally treated to; remembering how I squidged and rolled mine when I was a child!  But, I guess the important and oh, so lovely thing is that they properly feel that they have given you something they are proud of.

It seems like there isn't enough time to fit it all in - I have so many things I want to make for the children...Abney and Teal Dolls for Noah and Reuben and pencil cases for each of them.  Ah, well, I will do what I can and remember that the time is the most precious thing.  It's probably a twee thing to say, but as they are growing older and babies become little men, it's ever more precious.  And if they get some late surprise presents later in January...or February when I have time to do them,  then does it really matter?

In the meantime I'm making the house as cosy and festive as possible - tree up,

advent calender and basket of books unfolding the wonder of the Christmas story,

sweety bowls glistening in the fairy lights,

lots of snugly blankets on the sofa and Radio Times heavily circled by Eldest Child........aaaaah!

Well, I can hear The Polar Express is pulling into the station, so time to get tired boys to bed!

Enjoy your Christmas preparations!

My favourite Christmas book by Jane Ray

Wednesday, 7 December 2011


 I'm sitting here tonight, with my long awaited glass of wine and a rather lovely jar of homemade marshmallows (courtesy of the neighbouring stall at Monday night's show) and feeling very chuffed with myself.  It is the first evening in a looOOOong while that I haven't had stacks of sewing to do and stock to replenish for the next show.  BOY does it feel Goooooood!  Sorry about all the oooooing!

The monsters were inspired by my 7 year old, Ben, who is constantly drawing monsters - all friendly, of course and all with super powers.  They went down really well at all the shows and I have a growing soft spot for them.  I think there may be a new range in these....

It's been a hectic month, but one which has been most fulfilling.  There have truly been things that have meant the housework could not happen - which is a blessing in some ways, but not in others!  I am actually strangely looking forward to sorting the house out before Christmas decorations go up.   I have learnt an awful lot and I have a long list of things I want to achieve in the new year - not least of which, sorting out an on line shop and posting some tutorials here, so that I can share my love of craftiness.

So, a theme is emerging and I'd better be careful if I'm going to make selling at shows a habit - CAKES!  Saturday did not disappoint, with a beautiful selection of homemade goodies provided by Emma, from Newton's bakery.  I'm partial to carrot cake, as good friends will know and a lovely big slice kept me going through the mammoth 10 hour show!  I will admit to having a brownie mid afternoon too - but in my defence, I was on my feet for nearly 12 hours straight! Anyway, the cakes were lovely and Emma and her mum were good company too!  If you want to order Emma's  delicious cakes, you can contact her at

I was hoping to show you some very festive photos of the Christingle service we love to go to at a neighbouring church in this blog post - but without going into too many details (so as to spoil your lingering thoughts of cake!) Noah was a bit ill (let's say!) at the crucial moment and so, although the older boys were able to parade round the church with their lit Christingles, I was outside with a rather soggy 3 year old and Jonny was inside with lots of kitchen roll!  There's no delicate way to write about it, suffice to say, children choose their moments.  I choose to laugh at these moments.  We're getting quite seasoned in them now.  So, no lovely photos.

I did want to show you this lovely thing though - a charity shop find from my lovely friend Esther - who knows me so well!  I love it when people bring me things like this - or bags of random scraps of fabric, usually with the words "I'm not sure what you'll do with this!"... but, oooh - something wonderful!  This particular piece of delicate net was surely part of a little girl's dressing up box, or perhaps once adorned an tea party table.  Who knows?!  That's the delicious thing about vintage and reclaimed fabric - it had history.

I hope I will be able to bring you some pictures as the week goes on though - now that the hectic rush of shows is over and the festivities can begin in earnest in the Welch household.  There is greenery to be brought in, lights to hang and a tree to decorate, so watch this space!

For now though, I am off to do a it of Kirstie watching and Christmas present planning - more making!  (I do love it!)