A couple of weeks ago I went on a WI ‘Christmas Dabble Day’, they’re like a craft taster day, there’s usually a choice of three or four crafts and you choose two to do in the morning and one in the afternoon, I decided to do beaded decorations and a Christmas Cake sugarcraft topper.
The beaded decorations are really pretty and pretty easy to make; like a lot of beading, it’s a counting game. I managed to make two during the morning session. They are set using an old fashioned floor polish which apparently isn’t available anymore, it dries like a thin, clear varnish. I’ve hung them on my white and gold tree in the conservatory. This is a contorted hazel I have in a pot in the garden for the rest of the year. I put white lights on it and lots of glass, silver and gold decorations, it looks really pretty, it’s an idea I got from visiting Chatsworth House last year at Christmas.
After lunch it was time to make the Christmas cake topper. It’s made from sugarpaste with a little bit of powder added to make it more like modelling paste, it’s a bit more pliable.We made a Santa sitting on a snowball, I love all the detail on him, like his buckle and his face. We put spaghetti up inside to give him a bit of strength, so his arms, legs and head hopefully won’t fall off! I had traveled to Alma House in Ripon on the bus (two bus trips away to be precise!) and I realized fairly early on that there was no way I was going to get Santa home in one piece on the bus. I decided to leave him to dry and organised for someone to bring him to the next WI event. He was still in need of a bit of TLC when I got him home, but at least he was rescue-able. I iced him a new beard, a pompom for his hat and secured his head at the same time.
Yesterday I made a big batch of royal icing so I could make the gingerbread houses and ice my Christmas cake. The cake is a bit bigger than what I usually make, it’s actually a leftover from the celebration cakes I made for friends in the summer. I just wasn’t happy with this one and having marzipanned it, I made a second one and this one was saved for Christmas. I did a pretty quick royal icing, just one coat, I smoothed the sides as best I could and then spiked the top so it curled over the sides a bit. A wide red ribbon covered any imperfections on the sides. Santa sat in the middle looking pretty relaxed!
Gingerbread houses have become a bit of a tradition in our house. I started with the Ikea flatpacked ones when the kids were little, I used to make about 15 each year and sell them at work, it helped pay for Christmas. These days I just usually make one for us and I’ve moved on to the kits from Morrisons as the gingerbread tastes so much nicer. As Helen has just started at uni I offered to make one for her to take down. She wanted a sweetie one, so it has Smarties, jelly babies and cake decorations on it. I like the plain white icing effect so that’s what we’ve got for home. They make the room smell lovely, that cosy gingerbread scent!