Snowflake patterned mini bowls

I was bought these little bowls for my birthday- I think they might be dipping bowls for oils and vinegar and I decided they needed a Christmas makeover. I’d seen a few posts on other blogs about decorating ceramics with permanent pen and thought I’d give it a try. The pen I used came from a set I bought from WH Smith that were half price in a sale, they were meant to be fine nib but seem more like thick to me!

Snowflake Mini Bowls

I decided to draw some simple snowflake designs, even though the pens are permanent they rubbed off fairly easily when I made mistakes! To make them properly permanent I saw a tip about drying them in a low oven, so I might try that. At the moment they make perfect bowls for Christmas bits and bobs!

Christmas Snowflake Cross Stitch

This year, I turned my hand to a bit of cross stitch to make a little Christmas decoration. It came about after I finally found some embroidery hoops that I knew I had but couldn’t remember where! They turned up when I was doing a huge clearout of the bedroom cupboard. Anyway, I had a little kit that had been given to me to make a cross stitch card, unfortunately the design for the card wasn’t really my thing so I instead used the Aida from that to make my snowflake.

Christmas Snowflake Cross Stitch Materials

I decided to do a freestyle pattern as snowflakes are symmetrical and so lend themselves to making it up! I had spotted in one of my Christmas magazines the decoration in the picture above and roughly followed this to start off with. However, the snowflake was far to small to stop at that so I kept adding extra until it filled out the hoop. I just have it resting on the mantelpiece for now, maybe next year I shall cross stitch some more to make a proper display!

Christmas Snowflake Cross Stitch

Cranberry, orange and almond loaf

I picked up the free Real Food magazine from Tesco last week and one of the recipes that caught my eye was for this cranberry loaf. I love cranberries and am always trying to find recipes to use them in. As a child the only time we had them was my Mum’s homemade cranberry sauce with the Christmas dinner, to me they will always taste of Christmas. Most years I will buy a packet when they appear in the supermarket to use in some kind of cake/ pudding as the tartness works really well with sugary batter.

Ingredients for cranberry, orange and almond loaf

This recipe also has another favourite ingredient- marzipan. I know a lot of people aren’t a fan but I find the grainy smooth texture and strong taste of almonds really pleasing. The loaf proved easy to make: cream together butter and sugar,whiz in some eggs, then fold in self raising flour and ground almonds, finally adding cranberries, cubed marzipan, orange zest and almond essence. Into a lined loaf tin then into the oven. As usual, the cooking time had to be extended for our gas oven. At the recommended 50 mins the mixture was still liquid in the middle! Another half hour later and it was just perfect!

Cranberry Orange and Almond Loaf

Advent Countdown Ideas

Advent Calendar Envelopes

I know it’s probably a bit late to be posting ideas for advent calendars although I think a couple of days adrift will make no difference! There’s any number of advent calendars out there to buy (chocolate or otherwise) but I particularly love these cute little cards that I bought for my nephews and niece. I started buying them a couple of years ago after seeing them in the window of a shop in Beverley called ‘Something Different’ on Butcher Row. There’s always a really good selection of cards at very reasonable prices. If only I could take a peak at some of the pictures behind the doors before sending them…..

Advent Cards

My crafty idea for an advent calendar started as something I’d seen in a magazine. That was for small, paper advent bags to put gifts in. I thought about making little bags but decided that I wouldn’t have the time (or the patience) to manage 25! I also wasn’t sure how to display them. Instead, I had seen these money envelopes in Wilkinson’s and had been turning over in my mind whether they could be used in a craft. Of course they could- advent envelopes!

Typewriter and Christmas Rubber Stamps

I bought the set of typewriter stamps from Amazon Marketplace (The Pea’s Knees Ltd, £7.99), I already owned the Christmas themed stamps from last year. It turned out pretty quick and easy to stamp up 25 envelopes and then fill them with little treats. My husband is more savoury than sweet(!) which explains the nuts and cheese. Hopefully, some of the chocolates might come my way!

Advent Envelopes and Treats

The noticeboard I used to display the envelopes was from a craft I posted about here. Of course there is any manner of ways to display them- in a Christmas bowl perhaps, or pegged onto a garland.

Advent Calendar Envelopes