Wednesday, 23 December 2009

Can we fix it? Ummmmm, no.

So, yesterday we embarked on Operation Gingerbread House. We had our walls and roof pieces. We had half a ton of sweets. We had two little builders with clean hands. The one thing we didn't have was royal icing cement. Hmmmm. I nearly made real royal icing from scratch with eggwhites but I have to confess raw eggs still make me irrationally nervous so we decided to try extra thick glace icing instead.

At first it was all looking peachy - walls stood up, sweets stayed on, we made a little garden.

But hang on a minute, is that a sign of subsidence?

Not to worry, the roof may have slid gracefully down but the walls are still up and Bob the gingerbread builder reckons he can have it fixed in a jiffy. Assuming we don't eat it first.

The one advantage is that we just started to scoff it straight away rather than admiring it for a few days and starting to eat when it had already gone stale. Yum.

Right, I'm going to sign off and wish you all a hugely Happy and safe Christmas, but before I do, a few more things to tell you:

Laptops don't like being dropped, but it's amazing what a bit of Araldite and a handy husband can achieve.

Please make sure the memory card on your camera is working - we found out this week that ours has packed up, and while I'm very glad we realised before Christmas Day, I am peeved that we've lost all the photos from last weekend's snowy trip to the Teddy Train. It could be worse.

PLEASE be careful on the roads - around 9 last night we heard a huge crash and rushed outside to find a car had spun off on black ice and hit the telegraph pole 15 feet from our front door (and about 7 feet from our car). There were three terrified children inside, and a very shocked driver. Fortunately no-one was hurt, they had friends in the next village who came to fetch them, and the AA came to take the car away promptly. The reaction of all the neighbours was exactly what you'd hope to see - hot sweet tea was made, phones were provided, torches were waved and approaching traffic slowed down and turned away (I think I frightened one pair of lads as I approached them in my pyjamas and overcoat), the children were taken into warm houses and the car was moved off the road. The police said the corner was very dangerous and they gritted it - but why exactly did it have to take an accident and the police to do that rather than the council? OK, I'll stop ranting.

So, take care, keep warm, and see you on the other side!

Saturday, 19 December 2009

Just-in-time quilting

(Geekery) When I was working we ended up doing a lot of just-in-time design - coding what was needed to complete a task there and then and not worry so much about future requirements. It's a pretty scary concept but was underpinned by a lot of very carefully designed code so most of the time it worked out OK. (/Geekery)

Anyway, it seems I've carried this into my crafting life too - we had 3 inches of snow by yesterday morning and fortunately I had managed to finish stitching the binding onto our two new Christmas lap quilts earlier in the week - because when they came in from this my little snowbabies certainly needed them:

The green one is a simple nine-patch with a couple of maverick stars and a couple of sawtooth stars thrown in:

And the blue one is based on this pattern and features my first attempts at fussy cutting. I do love silly Christmas prints!

Keep warm!

Tuesday, 8 December 2009


I don't generally have the storage space (or indeed the finances) to run to special Christmas crockery - a couple of very cheap plates for mince pies and otherwise it's down to candles decorations and homemade napkins for festive cheer. This year I did spot an idea here for etching glasses with snowflakes which really appealed to me. Only I couldn't get hold of etching cream in Cambridge so instead these are made using Pebeo glass frosting medium and some stickers from the local craft shop, applied inside a circle masked off with book covering film. The glasses are some very cheap Value ones (4 for 79p!) as I wasn't sure this would work so didn't want to wreck decent ones just in case. I applied a good thick coat of the medium and left it for the recommended 24 hours before peeling off the stickers. It dried gratifyingly matt and not too streaky, though I did need to neaten the edges slightly where the medium had leaked under my masking circle. Pebeo claim the frosting is dishwasher safe after drying and baking but I think I'll handwash these anyway!