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November 2013
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January 2014

Ding, iDog, Merrily On High.....

Oh dear. Gilly is either very clever or very naughty: she operates the iPad with a swish of her tongue, whether I like it or not, and this afternoon she marked all my Bloglovin' unread posts as 'Read" and opened a new tab. While this is helpful if I am feeling lazy or too tired, it is not helpful to unread posts. So if I miss commenting on one of your posts it is because it may be lost and I am too lazy to search!!!

This year I have made a conscious effort, with the co-operation of family and friends, to be unconcerned about Christmas deadlines and I just pottered along doing what I could. Some things will be late, some things didn't get finished, but it didn't matter. People don't mind and I had a lovely Christmas.

Peri and Gilly have their Christmas card and song to share. Sing the song to Winter Wonderland:

Christmas 2013

Labradors, are you listening?
In the dark, lights are glistening.
Santa’s in sight,
We're happy tonight.
Walking in a festive wonderland.

Summer time, tails are swishing,
Peri‘s fine, Gilly’s wishing:
On Christmas Day
With toys we will play.
Walking in a Christmas wonderland.

In the front yard we can build a huge sleigh
Fill it up with gifts and kangaroos.
We’ll say: Are you ready for the season??
People passing by will all say Nos.

Christmas tree: decorated.
Oh how long we have waited.
Christmas is here,
We’re full of good cheer
Merry Christmas: it’s a Wonderland!!!!

 

This year I wished for a new camera because mine has dog hairs inside the screen and is held together with sticky tape. I have a new camera and the piece de resistance ( thank you MrsDrWho) is that it is a green camera!! How lucky I am!! This is a picture of my new camera taken with my old one.

 

New camera

 I sewed a bunting quilt for Toddler Zoe. The plisse has tiny checks and no matter what I do, it looks weird. I didn't bind it, and I think it looks a bit like a picnic rug.

Bunting quilt

I also had a go at making some vegetarian ice-cream for MrsDrWho's niece. It is frozen banana, raspberries and a ripe fresh avocado. Truly, when they are blended and frozen, they taste like a banana-y raspberry-y ice-cream. For the rest of the people at Christmas last Friday I made lemon and raspberry, chocolate and cherry brandy ice-cream.

Magic ice cream

And I baked her cauliflower steaks and a mushroom pie: both wholly vegetarian. They were actually very tasty!!

I made a very wonky gingerbread TARDIS for Auntie and Uncle Dutch. I added eggs to the gingerbread and that is why it puffed up and grew into weird shapes. I need to trust the recipe! Royal icing came to the rescue, and it looks like snow.

Tardis a wonky one

The weather has been very humid so Peri and Gilly have been in the paddle pool quite a lot.

Gilly and Peri in the cool pool

Peri must be feeling the heat more this year as she grows older. She had a great time ducking her face in the water and turning round in splashy circles.

Peri in the pool

I had a lovely Christmas Day. I talked to my mum on the phone and there was a lot of new puppy photo texting from my sister. I went to The Dutches' for breakfast and then MrsDrWho's family dinner in the afternoon. MrsDrWho's mum sent me home with Christmas cake and pudding, and potatoes and broad beans from her garden. I was very tired because I did two things in one day. This morning I walked The Labradors, fed them and we all went back to bed at 9am and slept till 1pm. Then I had Christmas pudding for breakfast!!

Boxing Day breakfast

I like Boxing Day best of all I think. It is so relaxing and you are full of good food, cheer and company. I can't believe the year is almost over.

My mum and aunt are coming to visit for the day on Saturday. We are not shopping in the sales, though I did buy one roll of wrapping paper today for half price: $2!! I am the last of the big spenders.....


Friday Food: Snowballs or Boules De Neige

If you want a gluten and dairy free recipe, then this is the one for you!! It can be egg free as well if you use one of the vegan egg substitutes. They are definitely not nut free though.

I didn't take a photo of the snowballs at the end and in searching for one I found that Margaret Fulton has at least two versions of this family heirloom and Christmas keepsake handwritten recipe. Oh the hyperbole of advertising: and when you embroider a recipe's origin, you should keep track of the embroidery advertising people!!!

I'm using the version in the December Taste.com.au Magazine.

But first, I am so excited about my gingerbread biscuits. I used my fondant plunger cutters and made these:

Gingerbread starry biscuits

I baked the biscuits and let them cool, then rolled the fondant quite thin and cut out a snowflake. I left the snowflake in the cutter, dabbed the top of the biscuits with cold water and then positioned the plunger cutter over the biscuit. I lined up the six arms and then pressed the plunger. Snowflakes away!!!

I need more of these plunger fondant cutters!!!

 

Snowflakes    makes 16  (Version 1)

  • 1/2 cup ground almonds
  • 1/2 cup ground hazelnuts
  • 1/4 cup pure icing sugar, sifted
  • 1 egg-white or egg substitute- read the instructions on the box
  • extra icing sugar for rolling

Preheat the oven to 160*C and line a baking tray.

The mixing

Combine the nuts, icing sugar and egg-white in a bowl and mix to a firm dough. If it is a little sticky add a sprinkling of nut meal.

The rolling

I weighed my dough and I could make 16 x 25g snowballs. I love my digital scales. Roll into balls and then smother with the extra sifted icing sugar. Roll them about a bit to coat them.

The baking

Place on the tray and bake for about 10 minutes. Mine took 15. They should be puffed and cracked. Cool and then store in an airtight container.

Snowballs

Photo and recipe via SBS

You can find Version 2 here.


Jingle Belles

Well, I have been busy and then tired, busy then tired: repeat ad infinitum. It's quite nice really. I walk The Labradors and then do One Thing. I nap either before or after the One Thing. I am making sure I rest and the weather has been cool, we had snow on Ben Lomond this week, so that makes everything easier for me.

I baked some gingerbread and some pfeffernusse or German spice biscuits. The recipe I used is in a book, but this is fairly close. I dipped the top in dark chocolate. I ate a few before they were dipped. They are delicious and improve with age. Not that I will find out!!!

I sewed some little pincushion/decorations for Sewing Christmas gifts and teamed each with an inordinately cute cello bag of pfeffernusse!!! I was inspired by this pincushion, and also a block from last year's Block of the Month on Craftsy. Mine are more wonky than crosses!!!

Sewing gifts 2013

And in return I received a lovely glass trinket box, a dove ornament from Macy's (so I've kept the paper!!!) a teeny tiny pen and notebook and a gorgeous little glass ornament with a tea light inside so it illuminates the little pictures. Very cute!!

Sewing gifts for me

Do you see the green reindeer material under the gifts??? I have 2 1/2 metres and today when I went to The BSODL(tm) it was on sale for $5 a metre instead of $14-99. I bought 3 metres and now I can sew a circle skirt dress. I can sew one because I have re-located the lost Centre Front pattern piece and watched the pertinent Craftsy Adjust the Bust lesson, and I can make it fit me properly.

MrsDrWho gave The Labradors Christmas Collars. Last night they tried them on, which caused much leaping and running about and confusion as no walk ensued. They are lovely and soft and very green. We did discover they were glow-in-the dark!!! I tried to take a photo of them wearing the collars, with not much success at first.

No collars showing, collar

I persevered and voila:

Christmas collars

Best I could do. I am thinking of adding some bells, for the Beautiful Labrador Girls!!

In other cooking news, I went to MrsDrWho's class and demonstrated how to construct an Ungingerbread house. The children were so patient waiting for the royal icing to set and did a fabulous job. We had a little village, and here are some.

Gb1

Gb2

Gb3

My friendly neighbours came today and used the whipper-snipper to cut a path through the jungly overgrown weeds in my garden. Gilly was very happy and ran about like a mad thing. I had tried to cut the weeds with some secateurs, but after 5 minutes it was all too much. The whipper-snipper is the way to go.

Before and after

I bought myself a little present today. I didn't know these very cute cutters even existed. They are spring-loaded and you cut out the fondant or marzipan and then press the handle and the snowflake is pushed out cleanly. I shall be able to put white snowflakes on my gingerbread snowflakes and red and green ones on my cupcakes. There are three sizes of snowflake cutters included for only $7, what a bargain.

Fondant stamp

Oh and I treated myself to some solar fairy lights. I have twined them on a line under the porch, way above head height, and the shine beautifully. I think I need more. They were only $5, and for a few more dollars I could have one hundred little fairy lights. I may need to do that!!!

Fairy lights

I am completely enamoured of this pattern right now. I am not technically doing any knitting, but I plan too. Auntie Dutch, do not click through as I am making this for you next year!!

Friends have been alerted to the fact that their Christmas presents may not quite arrive on time. I am so lucky to have considerate and kind friends, who say things like: Oh, I always enjoy a present a bit later on, it extends Christmas, or, February is a good time to give me things you've cooked.

I've cooked something gluten and dairy (and possibly egg) free for tomorrow's Friday Food. I am chuffed I am so organised, well in one area anyway. My next job is to take The Labradors' Christmas card photo and make my cards. I need to post them next week. They won't make it overseas in time.

I hope your Christmas preparations are going smoothly, you are cheery in queues and humming carols: I know I am!!!


Long Walk To Freedom

There's no Friday Food today. I have had a day of contemplation and sleep.

Nelson Mandela died today.

I have always been in awe of Nelson Mandela. I admire his great sacrifice for freedom and the end of apartheid. I can't conceive of the depth of forgiveness he showed, and the inclusiveness he wrought for the Rainbow Nation.

I remember the psychologist asked who my heroes were, and when I said Nelson Mandela, I cried. I was overcome by his greatness and humility.

I remember hearing about him when I was a little girl and then learning of the horrors of apartheid. When he was released from Robben Island it was a wonderful day for the world.

Though I am sad he has died, he will be celebrated through history and remembered with respect and love.

Vale Nelson Mandela.

Nelson mandela

 Photo from freepik.com

 


I, Yi Yi Yi Yi, I like You Berry Much.

Mission Accomplished. The Eagle Has Landed. O.V.A.H.

We each finished the blocks for our BOM 2013. Yay for us!! We even trimmed them all to 12 1/2 inches. They looks so much better when they are squared up. MrsReno is sewing hers together, not sure about MrsDrWho, but mine is being packed away till next year.

MDW BOM

MR BOM

MrsDrWho is a big fan of Christmas and I have fallen into the habit of making her an Advent calendar every year. This year's is little pocket bunting. In a roundabout way I bagged out the pockets and then pressed up the Christmas Fabric and sewed an actual pocket. I used twenty-five different fabrics. Then I ironed on some numbered calico circles and sewed them all together as one long piece of bunting. It has since been redesigned a little and is hanging up in her classroom. I think the most arduous task was wrapping the twenty-five chocolates for the pockets under the hopeful gaze of Peri and Gilly.

Advent bunting

Poor Peri and Gilly didn't get a speck of chocolate, but when I came home yesterday from delivering the bunting they had opened the inside gate and were waiting, triumphantly, to greet me at the wrought iron gate.

Gate guardians

There have been bed wars outside. First Gilly stole Peri's spot and Peri was relegated to the porch. She's looking around at me to see if I am going to do anything about the outrage.

Gilly steals Peri's bed

Peri took action and aquired the bed and ousted Gilly. Gilly is licking Peri's side where she had her operation, making herself submissive. I think there is still plenty of room for two on the bed.

Peri wins it back

I made my Strawberry dress. It is not an absolute success, but it is not a failure either. The CF pattern piece I found and rejoiced over was not the right one. It was a first draft, not the altered piece. I knew something was wrong when the dress was too tight. My other dress still fits. The centre front piece was too narrow and so I let out the side seams. It is OK. I also made a belt with a fabric flower. I like the flower: the belt is too wide and crumples up when I wear it. I shall make it narrower. I was excited to wear my matching flowery shoes. The colour of my dress and shoes is seafoam according to Pantone.

Strawberry dress

You can see the weird pulling in the side front pieces, but I am just going to suck it up (my stomach) and wear my dress. Honestly, other people are too busy worrying about what they look like to pay any attention to me!!!

Last Thursday we had a huge electrical storm, and the temperature dropped from 22*C to 12*C in five minutes. It was a very welcome relief from the humidity. Summer began yesterday and we had 26 today and we are expecting 28 tomorrow. I had a cup of tea and a nice chat with Jet's Mum today. We met Jet and his human companions and new baby niece on our walk. The Labradors were so excited to see Jet, and he them. They remembered each other instantly, even though they haven't played together since February or March. Peri, Gilly and I spent the rest of the day hiding inside. There was a cool breeze so that made things a little easier.

I found a fabulous bargain at the supermarket. Last week lemons were $2 each, and at the weekend they were only 25 cents. I bought forty lemons!!!! I am going to freeze the zest and juice and use them to make my Christmas Lemon and Raspberry Ice-cream.

40 lemons

This week I have appointments with my psychologist and exercise physiologist and our knitting group is Dining Out. I may try to fix the centre front pattern piece and make a Christmas dress.