Have you put your tree up yet? Maybe a wreath on the door? No, me neither. Nor have I written a single Christmas card. Not because I don't want to, but I just haven't had time yet. Christmas is entering this house quietly so far this year: baking mince pies at the weekend, making a few decorations, doing a little easy pre-Christmas crafting. It's very soothing.
I have been drying oranges. Slice them approximately 1.5 cm thick then bake for 3 hours at around 120 degrees C, turning once halfway through. You can put them on a rack or on greaseproof paper, both work. Low and slow is key though, otherwise they catch a little. The house smells amazing while they bake - like marmalade.
I will turn most of these into garlands, but I used one to make a little hanging star decoration. I can't remember where I bought the metal star, but I wanted to turn it into something a little more decorative.
I sawed off a couple of sprigs of greenery from the artificial tree in the loft, added some fake red berries from an old door wreath, then a dried orange slice and I much prefer it now.
I spent a lovely afternoon making paper stars with Bella last weekend. She doesn't usually want to do stuff like this with me anymore, so when she seemed keen I jumped at the chance. This video shows you what to do. You can use paper bags for large stars or those small money envelopes for smaller ones. You layer them on top of each other, glueing as you go, then cut the top into a point, open it out, and.....
...hey presto! Aren't they beautiful. Probably some of the easiest and most effective crafting I have ever done.
I've just made a quick crochet star garland (it's blocking at the moment) and a very easy piece of embroidery hoop art to hang in the hall temporarily. I find that Christmas always brings out an urge to get creative and do some crafting. I think it's to do with trying to carve out small moments of calm in such a busy time of year. I know that this Christmas isn't busy with the usual socialising and packed calendar, but I still feel pressured with work and my course.
We are planning to buy our tree this weekend but I have been up in the loft, bringing down little decorations like the advent calendar and nativity scene.
I bought it when Bella was a baby and we get it out every year. The children used to love playing house with it when they were small, and I'd regularly find Playmobil figures and toy cars in the manger. When I brought it down, they both really wanted to unpack and arrange it. I thought it was quite sweet.
I made more mince pies from this recipe, and will be making them every weekend between now and Christmas. The recipe gives the most biscuity, sweet pastry and, since they are baked in a muffin tin, they don't overflow everywhere when they bake so you don't have to chisel them out of the baking tray.
We lit the advent candle on Sunday night. This is another one of my favourite, quiet, pre-Christmas things to do. We always light it when we sit down for our Sunday night dinner.
Crochet socks are almost finished. I am taking so much pleasure in using up every last scrap of wool. I divide my leftovers into two, and crochet both socks simultaneously. This way I know I have enough yarn for matching socks, and I don't get bored by the thought of crocheting a second sock.
This one is suddenly obsessed with draughts and the board game Othello. We have had quite a few games on the coffee table in front of the fire. He always beats me.
The weather has taken a distinctly wintry turn this week.
The drop in temperatures seems fitting though, given how wintry the local countryside is looking at the moment.
This was taken on walk last Sunday afternoon. Happiness, apparently, is swinging on a dodgy looking rope swing out over a really large crater in the woods while your mother looks on, horrified.