Friday, December 4, 2009

Fourth of Advent

Homemade mince pies (and that's homemade from the filling to the pastry, people! If a job's worth doing...) and stuffing with sage, onion, pine-nuts and lemon done and ready for the freezer. Red cabbage is braising in the oven, because, although I had to switch off when St Delia started to give instructions on how to stir (!) she did mention that it freezes well and it's good to have a nice, colourful veg ready to go on the big day. Also, I'd been feeling every time I opened the fridge and that cabbage was looking at me, all its friends from the last organic box gone away...
This preparation for Christmas has been quite enjoyable, although hard work in the tiny kitchen. Tomorrow I'm after another tiny kitchen (of the toy kind) which means tackling a certain huge Swedish furniture outlet on what's predicted to be the maddest shopping day before Christmas. Oh dear.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Third of Advent

Although I know you can't put a value on bringing up your child, but when Christmas is coming up, it's tough not bringing any actual money into the household kitty. It's therefore been a surprise and a delight that following my shop being featured on the front page of Folksy (along with other tea and Britishness themed items), I sold three items- two teapots with cosies and an extra tea cosy! Typical that the labels I ordered a few weeks ago only just turned up in time to go on the last cosy I shipped, but so exciting to have earned money and nice feedback for my handiwork. Only problem is, now my shop only has one lonely teapot in it- yet more knitting to do then.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Second of Advent

As I'm hosting my first at-home Christmas with guests this year(it was just us three last year and before that always with family) I've decided I need to get ahead with as much as I can, not least because we have a teeny-weeny kitchen so the traditional turkey and trimmings job is going to be a challenge. This afternoon then it was radio on, boy playing round my feet (mainly with a carrot which entertained him for at least half an hour) and I filled the kitchen with wonderful seasonal smells: orange and lemon zest, port, cinnamon, cloves, sage and chestnuts among others. I've read somewhere that the smell of oranges is meant to be a pick-me-up and I'm sure it's true. The alchemy of jewel-like cranberries melting into sauce and the luxurious thickening of dried fruit into mince-pie filling when simmered in sugary, boozey syrup does a pretty good job of cheering the heart as well, not to mention the satisfaction of having a seriously well stocked freezer.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

First of Advent

Wow, it's been a crazy week, hence no posts. Think I'm getting on top of stuff again now, and trying to plan ahead to maintain calm. However, we're allowing a little excitement in with that calm, as Christmas is definitely on the way. It's lovely to discover the special things that our new community does at different times of year- in September we enjoyed the Lantern Festival in Ulverston and on Sunday we found out that our own little town has a big tree lighting parade to mark the start of Advent. The tree in the town square is lit, then Father Christmas and characters from the Nativity story parade along the main street. As we have a zoo up the road this parade includes real camels and donkeys! Everyone processes up the hill for carols and more lights going on. All the local businesses and people living along the main street make a real effort to dress up their windows and at the church near where the procession finishes they have a tree festival, where local charities and organisations each dress a tree. We're going to check that out later this week.