Monday, 17 December 2012

Christmas Cake 2012

Look what I've been doing this morning!

I made my Christmas cake months ago, they always improve by being stored and "fed" with a spoon of brandy every now and then. It's a traditional rich fruit cake, similar to Delia's recipe. I covered it with marzipan last week and today have rough iced it with royal icing to give a snowscape, and then used readymade fondant icing to shape three polar bears. I got the idea for the polar bears from this site but posed mine differently.

This little guy sprawled on his back is my favourite!

If you look carefully at the bear in the front above you might see I've had to skewer him through the neck! I wanted him to look as if he was about to slide down the side of the cake...and he tried to do just that! He'll stay in place once the royal icing has set firm though.

Next up - the mince pies. I always set aside the egg yolks left over from the royal icing to use in my sweet flan pastry, a favourite recipe which makes really soft and melt-in-the-mouth mince pies.

Saturday, 15 December 2012

Book Review: Knitted Toy Travels

As with my earlier book reviews,  I was given the books in return for writing reviews. It's not edited though, these are my real opinions.

Knitted Toy Travels by Laura Long is a real treat, not just for the knitting patterns but for the fun way the book is written. Each animal is discovered by Ed the Explorer as he travels around the world - there's even a pull-out world map! I plan to have a great deal of fun with this book and my grandchildren...when they arrive! Ed even has two outfits, one for cold weather and one for warmer climes.

Like me, Laura isn't a fan of sewing together small pieces so her patterns are shaped as you knit, or sometimes by a few extra stitches at the end to add definition.

Each new journey introduces a new animal with a short story, a rhyme and a little geographical information. This is definitely a book to read with a child, not just to knit from. Amongst other animals we meet Polly Parrot in Mexico, Kangaroos in Australia, a tiger in India and of course meerkats in Africa. It's quite strange for me to see meerkats knitted by someone else!

The patterns are rated for difficulty, well photographed and there are clear instructions and diagrams for the stitches and techniques you'll need. If I ever published a knitting book, this would be the style I'd love to write. Of course, that would imply I'd got around to actually writing down my patterns....

Knitted Toy Travels by Laura Long

Thursday, 13 December 2012

Even more Christmas

I was lucky enough to win a giveaway from Etsy seller ElectronicGirl, isn't it fun? The light transitions between red, green and blue in a fairly random sequence, I can see us placing bets on what colour will be next! Other variations still available, they're not just for Christmas so why not check out ElectronicGirl's shop

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

It's beginning to feel a lot like Christmas

Oh my poor neglected blog! Life has been very busy lately but I have finally started to get ready for our family Christmas.

In the previous couple of years I was frantically knitting and posting parcels right up to the last minute, but this year I decided it was more important to relax and enjoy my preparations. The world will not stop turning due to a shortage of knitted meerkats!

I'm not the best seamstress in the world, but even I can make bunting. As our current house is an unusual shape with double height ceilings and exposed balconies it seemed an ideal solution:

Now we just need to get the tree! My cake is marzipanned and ready to ice (I'm molding polar bears to go on a royal iced snowscape) and the mince pies will be made any day now. Bring it on!