Day 12 – Twelve Days of Christmas Challenge

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OK I know that this is definitely cheating and were it not the last day of the Challenge I wouldn’t have done it. But with Day 11 sitting drying on the kitchen table I was all out of ideas. And anyway, in the toss up between 12 drummers drumming and 12 freshly baked iced buns, which would you rather have!

Destructa Dog has been eying these up ever since they came out of the oven, in fact Mr Cat caught him in mid manoeuvre so the family will be lucky to have any for themselves unless they are particularly quick. I made them in a bit of a hurry so, in the words of the infamous Mr Hollywood, they are a little over proved, but delicious nevertheless.

Cat x

Day 11 – Twelve Days of Christmas Challenge

Nearly there!

As Kitty pointed out to me about 10 days ago, it seems a pity that as the deadline approaches on this particular challenge, the more things I actually have to make. Not only is there the pressure of coming up with the idea in the first place but I then have so much more to do.

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It would have been rude to revert to the decoupage so soon, therefore I have used some very plain wooden decorations, and in the words of my favourite Aunt ‘tarted them up a bit’. Some of them are sporting little ribbon bows I made using a handy little trick with a fork I learned from the fabulous Handimania site. If you haven’t come across this one yet can I suggest you go and hunt them out.

Cat x

Day 10 – Twelve Days of Christmas Challenge

Until Kid and KC came along I always used to make my own Christmas cards. It was a bit of Christmas one upmanship (came back to bite me on the bum didn’t it!) and also because I really am not a fan of the wholesale commercialisation of Christmas. Cards really are incredibly easy to create as some of my efforts over the years will prove.

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You are going to have to take my word for it that there are 10 of these cards. I know that I painted 10 because I cut 10 out and I’m pretty sure that I stuck 10 on, but who’s counting! I’ve taken advantage of the good old die cutter only this time I used sparkly silver paper. I then spent a very therapeutic hour or two doing some old fashioned colouring in. I heard on the radio this morning about occasional ironing being good relaxation, well stuff that, there is nothing nicer than getting out the marker pens or paintbox to create something beautiful.

I’m going to get some gold envelopes to go with these and next year, who knows, they could be brightening up someone’s letterbox or mantelpiece.

Cat x

Day 9 – Twelve Days of Christmas Challenge

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There’s nothing I like more than a new crafty skill, not least because I can add some more stuff to the children’s ‘art and craft’ cupboard. Even better is when it’s a craft that really doesn’t require masses of practice and trial and error to achieve a great result.

So it is with decoupage. It doesn’t matter how random your approach to this particular craft, providing you have a small amount of patience and the right tools for the job i.e. glue and paper you can achieve some pretty great results.

I bought myself some cotton baubles (mainly because they didn’t have the size I wanted in polystyrene or cardboard) glued in some ribbon I found in my stash and then got on with the sticking. Because these baubles were pretty small I found it easier to do all of them on one side first then go back and do the other. This meant that I always had one dry side to leave on the newspaper.

Cat x

Day 8 – Twelve Days of Christmas Challenge

On the eighth day of Christmas someone’s true love sent them eight maids a milking. One presumes therefore that they must have brought their own cows with them to make it a truly spectacular present. Today’s homes are a little too bijou for such a grand gesture (thank goodness) and heaven only knows where you would store all that milk, or the dung for that matter.

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My offering is ultimately more manageable. I’ve made eight felt poinsettias out of green and red glitter felt. Some time go I purchased a die cutter – which Mr Cat claims he has never seen before every time I get it out! This handy little gadget makes short work of cutting out complex shapes but the big downside of it is that the dies which go with it are not at all cheap so I don’t have a vast collection.

Fortunately however, one of the dies I do have looks pretty much like a poinsettia to me and has been used on numerous other occasions for Christmas purposes. I cut eight shapes from each type of felt, arranged them in a slightly offset manner and then joined them together using some tiny silver seed beads. These may find themselves on a wreath or table decoration next year, I’m yet to decide what.

Cat x

Day 7 – Twelve Days of Christmas Challenge

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As the numbers increase I’ve resorted to cooking again!

Until I discovered The Biscuiteers my previous efforts were rarely more than a simple shape with a bit of water icing splodged on top. I can’t remember at what point I upped my game but I made the classic mistake of doing it in front of the children which means that now they have very high expectations whenever I mention making biscuits (as opposed to cookies which are a whole different ball game).

The two things which I now do differently to ensure a complete batch of consistently good looking biscuits are: 1) to roll the dough out between two sheets of baking parchment using a couple of placemats to guarantee it is the same thickness; 2) to put the iced biscuits back into the oven to harden off. Both of these steps do mean that they take longer to make, can’t say the same about the length of time they take to get eaten.

Cat x

Day 6 – Twelve Days of Christmas Challenge

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When I first thought up this challenge I spent ages looking for a book I knew I had in my possession called A Christmas Story by Anni Downs of hatchedandpatched.com.au. It didn’t matter which ‘pile’ I looked in (there are many) I couldn’t find it so consequently this challenge has been a little more complex than it probably could have been.

Well guess what. I only went and found it didn’t i? And in the first place I looked for goodness sake. I can’t exactly go back and do the Twelve Days of Christmas stitchery which was my original plan so I’ll just have to leave that for next year. However I have used some of the little stitchery patterns from the book to create these little gift tags all ready for next year. Oh it is nice to be prepared.

Cat x

Day 5 – Twelve Days of Christmas Challenge

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Tempting though it was I have not used my ‘five vegetables at Christmas dinner’ as the items for today’s challenge. I do have a sewing project all set up for this particular day, but despite being tempted I didn’t get my machine out on Christmas Day so this still isn’t finished. That will have to be my Christmas Challenge Day5 Part 2.

As with the previous 40 days challenge I have relaxed the rules to include anything creative so here are 5 miniature Christmas biscuits. You’ll have to ignore the dodgy photography I’m afraid, this was a rush job as I was trying to get them on camera before the five children at our house yesterday could scoff the lot!

Cat x

Day 4 – Twelve Days of Christmas challenge

I’m sorry to report that the Christmas cards remain unwritten. There are many and multiple reasons, all directly related to an ability to ‘get on with it’. There is an upside of this however. It means that I won’t have to buy very many next year. Again…

Santa’s chief elf is happy to report that all sello has been taped, all paper wrapped and all packaging recycled, so barring any unforeseen circumstances I AM READY! So there are no more excuses for not getting on with the challenge (unless you count the fact that Mrs Cat snr has arrived and my lackadaisical approach to family mealtimes has to be abandoned).

Today I present to you Four Floral Fancies in the guise of four little toiletry bags. Lined with satin and sporting some very pretty ribbon they are an unusually girly addition to my usual range but I’m pretty fond of these. We’ve been trying to work out how much stuff you can actually get in one and the answer is ‘quite a lot’!

Cat x

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Day 3 – Twelve Days of Christmas Challenge

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Thank goodness I set the parameters of the challenge so wide or I would be very stressed right now! Given my determinedly relaxed approach to Christmas this would be very problematic.

So, let me introduce you to Day 3 and my very smart reindeer friends Fred, Bob and Bert. These are the ‘reserves’ just in case Dasher and co. can’t do their stuff on the night. They are a design by Lucy Blair who writes a great blog called eastcamphome.com. Even Mr Cat thought they were pretty cool.

Cat x