This weekend I finally got round to decorating a pair of gingerbread houses – one for us and one for my son – daughter wants to decorate her own 🙂 I don’t make the gingerbread, these are kits from the local supermarket. I used to get the Ikea ones,but these taste nicer and it saves a trip across to the other side of Leeds to buy one. I used to make about 15 or 20 and sell them at work, now it’s just for us.
I like them without any sweets, concentrating on the icing instead. I add a few cake decorations though, the usual silver draghees, I also bought some pretty silver stars and some white and sparkly grey snowflakes…
I feel these houses don’t actually have to be that neat or perfectly iced (luckily!) I follow the imprints for doors and windows, making the front windows a little taller…
…and covering the back door with a Christmas tree. I infill with squiggles and swirls and spots of icing.
The designs change each year but my favourite bit is usually the roof! The tile pattern is imprinted, so I just need to follow the lines.I then added the shell piping, dots and snowflakes….
,,,and I always have icing loops hanging under the eaves.
In contrast James wanted sweets and he wanted to buy his own, so rather than getting ones which are vaguely to scale, he bought M&M’s and Haribos!
I did my best!!!
I also decorated two Christmas cakes, one for us and one for James – Helen didn’t want one. The traditional Christmas cakes here are rich fruit cakes, ideally made about 6 weeks in advance so they have chance to mature. They’re covered in marzipan first, I then used a thin layer of fondant icing to cover the cake.
To decorated ours I made a round imprint with a pastry cutter and used it as a guide to place 12 gold candles with silver balls in between. At first I just sprinkled some tiny gold stars over the cake and tied a bow round the sides but it didn’t look quite enugh. I then cut out some stars in icing and arranged those round the candles. Much better!
James cake used a circle of silver candles. I tried imprinting snowflake stamps but it didn’t quite show up enough and with the sparkly grey and white snowflakes it still looked a bit naff! I cut out some snowflakes instead, two different sizes, and arranged them around the cake, adding silver and grey ones more randomly. It looked much better. A twinkly ribbon finished it off.
In case you’re wondering how my experiment went with the oasis free advent ring went – not good! In less than a week it looked pretty dead! I thought about removing the very dead bits and replacing with artificial – something I usually do with the oasis one in the last week. However I was worried that the dry hay of the base was not a good mix with candles and matches!! I was thinking I would have to buy an oasis after all when I started getting all the Christmas decorations out.
I found an artificial swag of folliage and lights. I decided to have a play. I wound it a couple of times round my candelabra. It looked a bit thin, so I started poking other artificial and dried natural decorations in, such as pinecones, poppy heads. They’re not particularly fastened in, just arranged – if I turned it upside down they would all fall out! I just kept going until it looked OK.
I think it looks really pretty, whilst I like having the natural wreath, this does save using oasis which is totally non biodegradeable. Whilst a lot of it is artificial, most of it is five to ten years old, having been used every Christmas. Hopefully it will now get used for many more Christmases.