It's been very busy on the home front this past month, and I really was beginning to doubt whether or not the Christmas tree would make it out of the cupboard, let alone be decorated. But somehow, we all managed to be at home, at the same time as each other, and the Christmas tree was finally brought out and spruced.
As last minute as it all feels, I love being creative in one way or another around Christmas. I particularly like dreaming up and making Christmas decorations each year. These paper nativity decorations were made for my teenagers(now 15 and 18), way back when they were little.
I love to create from new ideas. This year, however, I am willing to settle for some old favourites. My daughter and I thought we'd make a gingerbread Christmas tree… well it was going to be 'A' Christmas tree, but before we knew it, the plan had grown from 1 to several for family and friends.
We started with a recipe from here, quadrupled in quantity, and some "paper star cut-outs" of various sizes, created on the PC.
We combined some scrummy ingredients including treacle and brown sugar…
… and ended up with a huge quantity of dough, from which we cut out many, many stars.
They puffed up beautifully in the oven, resulting in a crisp shell with a lovely cake-like centre. It will be interesting to see how the gingerbread ages over the next few days. These are the baked stars for the largest of our trees.
After some contemplation, we decided to mix up a very stiff version of the icing, to cement the stars together. The little star on the top was decorated before the assembly, so we could cement it, completed, to the top.
I must say, we still had a little "sliding" verging on "toppling" occuring. So I would recommend cementing a few layers at a time, allowing the icing to set a little, before adding the whole weight of gingerbread to the tree. After a worrying period of "tree stabilisiation", it all came together OK.
We bought quite a selection of "Christmas sprinkles" to decorate with, but felt simple was best and decided on drizzled white icing with silver and green cachous.
This is what the kitchen looked like once we finished… think I'll let you create your own visions of icing dribbles, wafts of flour dust and general treacly stickiness.
As the kids get older, I'm finding it more difficult to entice them into joint activities. I've been longing for when they were little, wanting to be a part of whatever I happened to be doing. So it was wonderful being able to bake together, chatting and making a mess. I did suggest Christmas carols at one stage… but that was pushing it! I may yet make them endure some Christmassy tunes on the 2 hour car trip to Christmas dinner, when I am in control of the sound system.
On the "One Day In May" front, I have completed the writing of my first 2 patterns… very exciting. They are just going through a final edit with my distributor now and will be released in January. I am very much looking forward to a very creative 2011… can't wait.
Thank you all for welcoming me back into the craft industry and "blogland". I am thorougly enjoying myself and am what you might describe as "in my element".
I wish you a wonderful Christmas day and holiday season, filled with family, joy and all the traditions that are special to you.