Crikey! Whilst I was looking for the photo above so that I could upload it, I came across this one which I took at the weekend at the cottage...
I took it to show you the new "Keep Calm and Carry on" mug (a very useful mantra for yours truly) and I had forgotten that it takes my recent mug acquisition total to a rounded 4! Ooops.
Thanks so much to those of you who showed an interest in my covered notebooks. I can honestly say that I am feeling thoroughly "notebooked out" and have now added quite a few to my Etsy shop, along with a couple of diaries, too. I have made some from patchworked Anna Maria Horner's Garden Party fabrics, my fave new fabric range this year, which are embellished with a bit of machine embroidery and some pretty ribbons to close...
Obviously, I couldn't leave my stash of Cath K fabrics out and have made two ranges: the "Cheerful" range which features brightly coloured fabrics with red and green tones...
...and the "Pretty" range which features gorgeous Summery pinky/bluey fabrics with largely flowery patterns. Sorry about the names, I wasn't feeling very inventive today!
I currently have A5 and A6 sizes, plus the diaries and I have some A4 books on order, too. All the notebooks are hardbacked and easily bought from WH Smiths (or similar) so that once you've filled up one notebook (with lists of all those vintage things you simply must have), you can buy yourself a new notebook and pop the cover onto that one. I'm thinking address books, recipe books, all sorts of books are possible... I am often asked for the price of items in pounds (US dollars being the only option on Etsy), please use the handy currency converter here (or one of your own choosing). Clare at the divine Vintage Home has blogged about her notebook, and has done a much finer job of the photography (with all her yummy goodies in the background) than me!
Finally, thanks a lot for all the kind comments following my blog about the Munchkin's Christmas fair, or more particularly, the cakes and goodies I baked for it. I felt like a right lemon that night, I'd not kept any goodies back for us and really fancied some! Some people have asked where my cookie cutters came from. Well, the plastic ones were from John Lewis and are handy as they leave an imprint on the cookie which rather cuts down on the amount of icing you have to do. As for the others, the snowflake set was from a cookshop in Bridport and the rest were from a variety of sources but I have bought many cutters online, do a Google search and you'll probably find loads of sites, I have used this one. Quite a number of you asked for some recipes, too, so here goes...
Christmas Pudding Cookies
For the biscuits:
150g plain flour
Pinch of salt
125g unsalted butter
90g soft light brown sugar
Few drops of vanilla extract
150g plain choc chips
For the Decoration:
250-300g white sugarpaste
Small amounts of red, green and white royal icing
To make Cookies:
1 Set oven to Gas mark 4/180 degrees C.
2 Tip flour, cocoa and salt into bowl. Add cubed butter, sugar and vanilla. Rub mixture together until it starts to bind. Add half choc chips ad work mixture into a dough.
3 Roll out dough onto floured surface and cut out 6-8 rounds (I made a double batch all at once). Place on baking sheets (they don’t spread much) and dot surface with remaining choc chips, pressing into dough.
4 Bake for 15-20 mins. Remove from oven and leave on baking sheets for 5 mins to harden. Transfer to wire racks to cool.
5 Knead white sugarpaste to soften, roll out onto a surface dusted with icing sugar and cut out the required number of rounds (one round per 2 cookies). Use a sharp knife and cut each round into 2 with a wiggly line to look like drips of sauce. “Stick” to the top of each cookie, using white royal (runnier) icing as “glue”.
6 Pipe on some holly leaves and berries with the red and green icing.
Choc Truffle Puds
For the Truffles:
200g plain choc
2 tbsps maple syrup
175g madeira cake crumbs
125g ground almonds
2 tbsps Baileys (I omit this for children and substitute double cream)
90g dried cranberries (I often use raisins because I have them to hand)
60g white choc
tube of red and tube of green writing icing
1 Melt plain choc, butter and maple syrup. Remove from heat.
2 Stir in the Maderia cake crumbs, ground almonds, Baileys and dried cranberries. Mix thoroughly and chill for 30 mins.
3 Take a teaspoonful of mixture and roll into a ball (I wear disposable gloves). Drop into a mini paper cake case and chill. The recipe says it will make 30 but I usually get about 20 (small golfball size), I must have a big mouth!
4 Melt the white choc. Spoon into a piping bag fitted with a small nozzle and pipe the choc on top of each pud to resemble sauce dripping down the pud. (I find you can daub it on with a teaspoon just as well!) Allow to harden.
5 Use the writing icing to pipe on holly leaves and berries.
Don't blame me when you step on the scales and jump straight off again!