Friday, 29 November 2013

Our Handmade Christmas

*written in association with Hobbycraft

I saw a call-out recently for writers to do a piece about making things handmade for Christmas, unfortunately I couldn't apply, as it had to be literally everything handmade, so I thought I'd share some thoughts on what my family and I do to put our own handmade stamp on the festive season.

Festive Baking

For as long as I can remember we've had the delicious smells of baking wafting through the kitchen. Mum makes her own mincemeat from a tried and tested recipe, and makes a few jars too - mince pies never last very long in our house. Mum also makes our Christmas Cake, though has never yet let me loose on the decoration, telling me off when I offer up too many ideas. This year I may get lucky, and already have some Doctor Oetker Gold Shimmer Spray and some marzipan stashed away.

I tend to stay out of the kitchen nearer the time, too many people and a bit too much stress. I stick to
the washing up, laying the table, helping with the cold buffet, or making things like place cards, and table presents. If I get a chance I like to try out a festive baking recipe though, and had a go at making Gingerbread Cupcakes from the Best Craft and Cookery Special. Actually made a nice change to be doing a recipe with a few more processes in it, and they looked yummy on the page.

The recipe was quite easy to follow, although I may have been guilty of over whisking, and the recipe really needed pre-melted butter and less liquid. So I'm not sure if I got the texture right, and the mix produced a few random shaped cake tops. They were fun to make though, and tasted yummy.

The recipe was taken from 'Cupcakes' a book by Peggy Porschen.

Festive Crafting

Xmas is my absolute favourite time to craft - there's just so much variety of activities and craft products about, it's hard to resist going shopping, or hunting through my treasure trove of festive stash. My favourites are winter scenes featuring animals, and I love to matt and layer with cute or shimmery papers. This year I have some gorgeous festive card inserts from Hunkydory ( my favourite craft brand) to make cards with, and I've also been lucky to secure some cute festive postcard size toppers from Katy Sue Designs.


Some of my festive makes
 
I've not done much with those yet, but I have been shopping and fed my addiction for decorating things. I'm not an expert on techniques, but I also get a bit bored if you just take something out the packet, put it on something else, and then its done. So decorating is ideal for me. I think decopatch is great for something different and unusual (who says everything has to be traditional!) and I've also had fun making something from fimo, for the first time in years for my Christmas tree. It's so relaxing to sit and experiment with craft stuff, and as far as xmas stuff goes anyway, no disasters!

How will you put your own stamp on xmas? have you made any gifts this year? any top tips or recipes we should look out for. The Christmas countdown has begun, so don't be shy, come and share!

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