Sunday, December 17, 2017

3D Christmas Cookie Tree


I feel like Christmas has almost passed me by this year. Normally I do all my shopping in November if not before, and do plenty of Christmas baking. This year being pregnant has meant I'm tired a lot of the time, spending half my weekends having naps, and when I am awake I have far more important things to do like register for nurseries which have a one-year waiting list!

My beloved cat was also unwell over the past week but is much better now, and I feel a bit more awake at the moment (I hope that lasts!) so decided it was about time I did something festive. Yesterday I listened to Christmas music while wrapping gifts and actually did some baking.


I bought the Lakeland 3D Christmas cookie cutter set in their January sale last year and hadn't used it yet so this was the perfect time. You get a set of star shaped plastic cookie cutters in varying sizes and two piping bags and nozzles.


There's a recipe on the back of the box which I followed though I also added some cinnamon for a more Christmassy taste. You need to make two cookies from each cutter, though I found the recipe recommended baking the cookies for 12 minutes, which I think works for the larger ones but once you get to the very small cookies, 12 minutes is too long. I baked them in batches and reduced the oven time as the cookies got smaller.


I left them all to cool, then mixed up some icing sugar with water to make a thick paste that I could pipe. I found the nozzle provided in the kit a bit thin so just snipped off the end of the piping bag and piped an outline around the edge of each cookie star. I then added some Dr Oetker gold pearls to the tip of each star while the icing was still soft.


Next I made up some thinner icing and used it to flood the inside of the cookies, and left them all to set.

The final step is to layer the cookies starting with the largest on the bottom; as you have two of each size, rotate one so that the points on the star are sticking out between the points of the cookie underneath.

I placed the final small star standing up on the top of the 'tree' though you could also add another decoration on top if you like.


The effect is really pretty and it is a little time consuming to bake this many cookies when you can't get them all in the oven at once but otherwise it's a very easy kit to use and something you could do with children. The cookies tasted really nice too - we tucked into them after helping my mother-in-law decorate her tree.

I'm sharing this with Cook Blog Share, hosted this week by Hijacked by Twins.

Monday, December 11, 2017

Meal Planning Monday 2017 - Week 50

Friday, December 8, 2017

Forever Friends Decoupage Christmas Cards

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Review: Novotel London Excel

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Meal Planning Monday 2017 - Week 49

I seem to be blogging even less and less these days. This weekend my husband and his dad built our new cot, moved the bed to the other spare room and moved the futon that was in there into the nursery. I was re-organising and tidying as they went, which is about the only thing I achieved this weekend as I spent half of Saturday and half of Sunday asleep! I don't know why I'm so tired - I'm not anaemic and most of the friends I've spoken to didn't experience this, apart from one who told me she often had to close her office door during the day and take a nap!

I didn't post my meal plan yesterday for two reasons, I hadn't actually written it (!) and also I had a rare night out on Monday night which ended with my connecting train being cancelled and having to stand in a mini-cab queue late at night by myself in a not particularly nice area. Sigh. I haven't really arranged any other pre-Christmas get-togethers with friends which is a shame but based on last night I don't really fancy it right now anyway!

So here's this week's meal plan

Monday
Lunch ham sandwich
Dinner you know when you're out drinking and you don't actually have dinner then get a snack at the train station on the way home? (Londoners who commute will know what I mean, anyway). When you're not drinking you suddenly realise part way through the evening that you are really hungry... and then your train is there and there's no time to get food, then your connecting train is cancelled and you're left in a dodgy area where the only thing open is KFC which really doesn't look that appealing.. and by the time you get home all you can find that you can eat (as you want hot food that's quick) is a packet of micro-chips in the freezer. That.

Tuesday  morning off to visit a very cool nursery that has its own mini farm complete with miniature goats and what they claim are micropigs that are just all grown up now.. I think someone conned them into buying normal pigs as they were huge!
Lunch coronation chicken sandwich bought from the bakery on the way home
Dinner homemade chicken pie using chicken from Sunday's roast

Wednesday working from home as I have an antenatal appointment
Lunch soup possibly - homemade if time but I never seem to get time these days!
Dinner chicken curry

Thursday
Lunch bagel if they haven't gone off already as I can't remember where I bought them!
Dinner lamb/ beef grillsteak with mashed potato

Friday
Lunch maybe a sandwich
Dinner might go to yoga as it was cancelled last week and I couldn't go for a few weeks so if I do, I'll have a baked potato or microwave risotto for dinner and my husband can have a frozen pizza

Saturday
Lunch sausage sandwich if we have bread, or baked potatoes if not
Dinner caramelised minute steaks with mustard and potato wedges based on this recipe

Sunday need to eat a special diet for three days ahead of a glucose tolerance test
Breakfast 2 crumpets, fruit juice, tea with milk
Lunch tuna melt bagel (pizza bagel for him), packet of crisps, glass of milk
snack: 3 rich tea biscuits
Dinner pork chop with roast potatoes and veg - sausages and Yorkshire pudding for my husband - followed by 3 rich tea biscuits and potentially 1/3 packet sugar-free angel delight

Join in the blog hop

Sunday, December 3, 2017

Tattered Lace Ornate Reindeer Christmas Cards

When I got my Sizzix Big Shot cutter two Christmases ago, I also received a beautiful tattered lace die called 'ornate reindeer'. I cut out several reindeer from sparkly cardstock almost right away, with a view to making cards for the following Christmas, but then that Christmas (last year) I made a few cards but think I forgot about these die cuts! So when I came across them earlier this year I made a few cards that I am now able to send out this year.

I've written before about using the die cutter and tattered lace dies. This one was particularly fiddly in places so my poking tool came in handy!

What I hadn't realised initially was the size of these dies - they take up most of the size of a standard 6x4 card blank, not leaving much room for other embellishments.

 
I did try out some different things though I'm not sure which of these works best and I don't feel like I'm really doing justice to the tattered lace die cuts. If you have this die and some good ideas for how to use it, please let me know!

For these first two cards I used large gold card blanks so I wouldn't need any other background. For one card I cut a gold oval with scalloped edges using another die, and mounted the reindeer on it - the reindeer is cut from sparkly red card. I added the words 'winter joy' which are from another die - I think it's actually a die of Christmas baubles with the words in the middle.

For the card on the right, I cut the reindeer from sparkly black card and mounted it using the smallest adhesive pads I could find which I even cut in half but you can still see them behind the reindeer. The ornate shapes around the edges are offcuts from die cutting - as this was so long ago I can't remember if they were the bits that came out from the spaces in between the antlers or from another die altogether. I used a 'merry Christmas' gold outline sticker to finish the card.


Here I covered the card blank on the left with two pieces of printed paper in complementary light blue colours - you can't see too well but I think they both have a snowflake design. I cut the reindeer from sparkly gold card and stuck it on the top half of the card, and a wooden gold card topper saying 'joy' - from a pack from The Works - on the bottom.

For the second card, I turned a gold card blank sideways and put two reindeers facing each other - one made from sparkly bronze card, the other from sparkly gold, with a 'merry Christmas' outline sticker in the middle and two little gold stars in the corners.


Finally I made a CAS (clean and simple) reindeer card using a green card blank and a reindeer die cut from gold card (non-sparkly this time) and a 'merry Chrismas' out line sticker.


I found the last of these in particular quite masculine so am linking up with the Cardz 4 Guyz challenge where the theme this week is reindeer.

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Meal Planning Monday 2017 - week 48