Handmade Christmas 3

It’s nice to make a few edibles for Christmas. I didn’t make a cake this year, because I don’t really like Christmas cake, if I’m honest. But I did make mince pies-these are a new recipe with a frangipane topping full of ground almonds

imageThey were delicious! This is the recipe I used

I also made my own mincemeat – it has rhubarb and vanilla in it and is very good (a tried, tested and loved Nigella Lawson recipe which I tweak by adding cherries and omitting currants)

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This went into the aforementioned mince pies!

I made my own fruit liqueur, a variation on sloe or damson gin. I made raspberry flavoured gin. It’s very easy to do, just wash and dry your fruit, put it into sterilised jars with sugar, fill the jar with gin(or vodka), pop the lid on and put in a dark place for about a month, giving the jar a shake for the first few days to dissolve the sugar. Then strain it through a sieve lined with kitchen paper(as in the second photo below and pour into sterilised bottles, seal and then enjoy at your leisure. Nice in a shot glass or diluted with lemonade or soda water!

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Homemade Christmas 1

I like to make as much as I can for Christmas – it’s fun to do, is invariably cheaper than buying and means one ends up with a unique gift or decoration.

Instead of a tree which sits in the room, this year I wanted a wall mounted one. I’ve seen pictures of trees made from wood and thought I’d attempt to make one using branches from the garden. I cut these a couple of weeks ago, cleaned them and let them dry out and finally tied them using some sisal string into a Christmas tree. Simple decorations, just some stars,warm white lights and a fairy on top – et voila! My homemade tree!

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27: Christmas cat

Not just for Christmas, but for always, a new cat in residence! Its been 6 months since my beloved Oliver died. I knew I would get another cat at some point, but I needed a little time to get used to Oliver not being here. A couple of weeks ago, a friend posted some photos on Facebook of a gorgeous little lady cat who needed a home, I was smitten and she came to live with me a week ago.

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Her name is Tara and she has made herself completely at home 🙂

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She has been an indoor cat up till now, but she is fascinated by the garden and sits for ages looking out especially when there are birds or other cats to stare at – once spring is here, I’m certain she will venture outside;even though she is timid, she’s also very inquisitive!

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Here she is giving the kitchen and the strange and wonderful gadgets in it her full examination! Tara will make an appearance on this blog from time to time of course, maybe she will show a flair for writing posts herself like Oliver did 🙂 Wait and see!

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26: Angel

A beautiful painting for Boxing Day. Angels are part of Christmas legend, and I love Pre-Raphaelite art, so for me, this painting combines these two thoughts perfectly. It is called ‘Angel playing a Flageolet” and was painted by Edward Burne-Jones.

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If you happen to be in Liverpool, you can go and see this painting at Sudley House, one of the city’s many art galleries. If you love Pre-Raphaelite art, then you should visit the Lady Lever Art Gallery on the Wirral, which is full of some wonderful examples of painting of this era.

25: Christmas Day!

Happy Christmas! I hope everyone who reads and follows this blog has a wonderful day –  it has to be a musical offering on Christmas Day, enjoy this energetic interpretation of this splendid chorus from Handel’s Messiah 🙂

18: Christmas song

 

Time for a lovely Christmas ditty, only a week to go! I know this is a bit cheesy but it makes me feel happy, so there!

13: Christmas Oratorio

Bach’s Christmas Oratorio was written in 1734 when Bach was the Cantor of the Thomasschule at Thomaskirche in Leipzig. The piece was written with 6 sections, each to be performed on the major feast days during the 12 days of Christmas. This clip is the opening chorus, which would have been performed on Christmas morning. How wonderful it must have been to be in the congregation and hear this rousing, joyful music at its first playing – truly inspirational and celebrational.