Before this advent calendar we had one that was made by our elder daughter for her brownie needlework badge. It was quite a challenge, a 'simple' design of candles, the rectangular shape of each candle sewn onto the backing cloth in a variety of stitches. Each candle had a yellow fabric flame and its own chain-stitched numeral. Small plastic rings were sewn at the base of the candles where presents could be attached. What a good idea! She got her brownie badge, (more sewing involved!)
Did I curse that advent calendar, it was such a palaver tying on forty-eight little presents for two small girls. After a number of years I gave up and knocked out the calendar above. Not a bit of hand stitching to be seen on this one, but it only takes a moment to fill the pockets with sweets. The red pinwhale corduroy backing was leftover fabric from a winter party dress.
The only decorations that we put up before Christmas Eve are the calendar and four Advent candles. The tree waits in its pot in the garden and Himself wrestles it in for the girls to decorate when they arrive from differing parts of the country to spend Christmas at home. (He is also expected to go outside, whatever the weather, and climb a ladder to fix the fairy lights in the trees.)
This will be the fifth year with our current tree. It's not the most brilliant specimen around, but by the time it is covered by our motley collection of ornaments, "You can't throw that out!" "Has anybody seen my snowman?" it will look just fine. Everything that decorates our tree is full of memories. A very battered white fairy mouse perches at the tip, grubby from years of appreciative handling. A few years ago I suggested making another one, but everyone thought it was a terrible idea.
Good taste it aint. But we love it!
3. Cinnamon sticks
6. Father Christmas
11. Knitted stockings
14. Nativity. A simple card and tissue paper cut out, lit behind by a tea light.
Not all oranges are orange!
The ones that are growing
in my greenhouse would
appreciate some sunshine.
16. Pudding 17. Queen
This Christmas pudding recipe is low-fat and suitable for vegetarians. It doesn't store, so needs to be made just a few days before it is due to be eaten. It is dark and fruity but not as heavy as a traditional Christmas pudding. (And with no suet, butter or oil it is much better for you.)
450g wholemeal breadcrumbs
110g unpeeled grated apple
110g chopped bananas or apricots
110 chopped walnuts
25g chopped almonds
225 soft brown sugar
rind and juice of a lemon
3tsp mixed spice
3 beaten eggs
Mix all together well and put into a greased 2.3litre basin. Cover with greaseproof paper and steam for 3 hours. Steam for one hour before serving.
19. Snowflakes and snow