Saturday, 22 December 2012

Merry Christmas

I had so much planned to blog about this December, but I haven't achieved much blogging at all this month!

I have had a good excuse though - I have been planning a Casino Night (for last weekend), which was a nice party with a few close friends and family to celebrate my 40th birthday!

My birthday itself, was actually on Thursday just gone- I spent the day chilled and relaxing and reading on my new Kindle Touch (thank you, Mr Jones), and then drank too much champagne for a weekday night!

I have some guests for Christmas, so I am unlikely to blog now until the New year, so have a great Christmas !

Love
Mrs Jones x
 

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Mince pie

Christmas wouldn't be the same without the delicious mince pie. This year, my first batch was made with a really lovely pastry from a french apple tart recipe, which is much sweeter than ordinary shortcrust:

Ingredients:
140g plain flour
Pinch of salt
70g butter
1 tbsp caster sugar
2 tsp ground almonds
1 egg yolk
A little cold water
 
Method:
1. Sift flour and salt into a mixing bowl and add butter. Rub together until like breadcrumbs.
2. Add the sugar and almonds
3. Stir in the egg yolk and a splash of cold water.
4. Knead
5. Flour the surface and a rolling pin and roll the pastry.
 
Note: Save yourself some work and do it in a food processor! If your pastry is breaking up a bit on rolling, pop it in a sandwich bag and into the fridge for 15 minutes or so.
 
Obviously this is just the pastry part. Just cut into circles and pop in a bun tray, add a spoon of mincemeat and top with more pastry. Cook at 180C for around 20 minutes.
 
Love Mrs Jones x
 

Tuesday, 11 December 2012

O Christmas Tree...

We bought and put up our tree this weekend. We always try to get one that doesn't drop needles, this year we have a Fraser fir, because when you have boisterous boys and adventurous cats you know you need something robust. And you certainly don't want it to be bare by Christmas. Our cat has already prised some baubles from the tree.
The smell of the tree is just wonderful - something you just don't get with a fake.

Along with the baubles, I try to buy a new decoration every year, and this year I have bought a sweet wooden reindeer (it looks more like a moose actually):

So, when are you putting yours up, and do you go real or fake?

Love Mrs Jones x

Saturday, 8 December 2012

Yule Log 2012

I decided to go one step further with the yule log that is fast becoming the December birthday cake of choice in our family, by making sweet mushrooms and chocolate leaves too. You can see last year's here. It took me a grand total time of 2 1/2 hours to make it this year as each component is quite time consuming. The basic yule log/buche de noel recipe is from Nigella's Christmas book

I made up the meringue mushrooms with one egg white and 50g caster sugar and piped stalks and caps onto some baking parchment. When they had cooked in a low oven for 15 minutes or so I spooned some melted dark chocolate on the underside of the mushroom to look like gills and probed the stalk into the cap. A little sprinkling of cocoa powder finishes the mushrooms off nicely.
The chocolate leaves were not so successful as I ended up with two out of five that were okay to use. I took some non-toxic leaves, washed them and painted melted chocolate onto the underside of the leaves where the veins are most prominent.
Love Mrs Jones x



Monday, 3 December 2012

Holly Hair Comb Tutorial

I came up with this festive idea one Saturday in November - one of those times when you have an idea and you just have to make it there and then!

What you need:
A hair comb or two
Ribbon (I found that organza was best)
Green felt
Red beads, buttons or felt
Fabric glue

Instructions

1. Take your ribbon and weave it up over the top of the comb and through the teeth. Try to weave in the overhang ribbon from the start as you go. Cut the ribbon off so you have a few centimetres left and glue or use a glue dot  to stick this to the woven ribbon. Don't worry if it isn't perfect, this will be covered at the end.
2. Cut two holly leaves from the green felt and either using your sewing machine or by hand run some stitches down the centre.
3. Hand stitch one leaf at the right end to the ribbon so that it is secure and then add the next leaf at the same point, positioning them as you go. Add your beads or buttons or if you have neither you can cut berries from some red felt. Stitch securely at the same point that you stitched your leaves.

4. Dab some fabric glue along the ribbon under the nearest holly leaf and press the holly to the ribbon. Leave to dry.
5. You can see how the holly is now covering the ribbon at the front entirely.

Any questions, please do leave a comment and I will get back to you.

Love Mrs Jones x

Sunday, 2 December 2012

Advent

Oh my goodness, I haven't blogged much in the last part of November, but what I have been doing is writing Christmas cards, doing craft fairs, buying Christmas presents, organising muself a 40th birthday party and so on. I really just wanted to get ahead on all the Christmas things that I could do ahead of time so that December isn't the ridiculous rush that it usually is!

However, I have lots of posts planned for December including a Yule log upgrade from last year, and tomorrow I have a great tutorial on a Holly hair comb.

But to get you in the Christmas mood and for those who haven't got an advent calendar yet, I thought I would share this great blank advent calendar tutorial from The Small Object, for you to customise.

Love
Mrs Jones x

Book Review: Mollie Makes Christmas

Mollie Makes Christmas from the popular craft magazine Mollie Makes is full of craft projects for Christmas. These are Christmas projects for you to do - none are really suitable for children. I really love the retro look to this book and at the begining of each project is an image of what looks like vintage Christmas wrapping paper.

If you like mixing your crafts ie, you are happy to crochet a reindeer or sew a string of paper stars, then this is ideal for you. I seem to chop and change my crafts so I can see this being something I will dip into year after year. However, you may find it a little limiting if you only favour one craft.

I really like the mix of projects and inspiration, and if you have a tight budget for decorations, there are some great ideas here.

The book retails at £9.99, but is slightly less in Amazon, but it is a steal at £3.99 at The Book People!

Love Mrs Jones x