I’m fully in the swing of it now! It’s definitely Christmas time and I am off work for what will be my longest festive vacation in 6 years. So of course I mostly want to do crafts – while everyone else is still slogging their guts out in the office I want to be making chocolates and sticking wash tape to anything that stays still long enough.
We adopted a cat by accident the other night. He followed Lucy to our door when she came home but she sensibly encouraged him to stay outside and told him to trot off to his own home. When I came home from my office party at 1am, not exactly stone-cold sober, he followed me too. And I was couldn’t resist ushering the fuzzy little guy in :) So we kept Fluffy Knickers for the night, like having a pretend cat family of our own, and it was great! But now the flat feels still and boring with just us and the hedgehog, who is a terrible, angry, smelly pet. I hope Fluffy has hung out with lots of our neighbours, just popping in for a cuddle and a bit of festive cheer.
But when I’ve not been stealing other people’s cats this weekend I have been busy in the kitchen, making gingerbread chocolate truffles. I’ve tried this recipe before and it is super lovely, with black treacle and crystallised ginger for that sweet, baked flavour in the filling. This time I tried the lego mould, which is more of two-bite chocolate but they looked super cute and only a couple of the little nodule bits didn’t make it. I don’t think my tempering went very well though, these don’t look as shiny as I’d like. I did have a thermometer this time, but it was nowhere near sensitive enough! It must be for making caramels and things because the temperatures are way too high. I will have more chocolate making days later in the week though, planning to try Tia Maria truffles for my nan (and myself) and chocolate covered peppermint creams. Also want to make some boozy jellies in the little robot moulds too.
I was in China the week before last, visiting factories for work and generally making nice with my colleagues in the Shanghai production office, and I’d chosen to use the long flight time home to make my secret santa present. The pattern cutting department decided that we would make our presents this year and I’d gone for a little pincushion pig. I’d seen some guys like this on instagram, but with no instructions of pattern so I kinda made that bit up myself. I’d pre-cut my pieces and put together a little kit for stitching on the plane, which I dutifully set to doing under the heavy scrutiny of the two elderly Chinese women next to me. They were literally craning over each other to see what I was doing, and then whispering to one-another (perhaps they were concerned I speak Chinese – I do not), it was just so awkward! And this continued for TWELVE HOURS. They literally watched me like hawks as I sewed this pig, then knitted some mitten, then sewed up the sleeves of Lucy’s jumper. And they nattered continuously. And the plane was plunged into darkness for 8 hours, despite it being daytime at both our departure and destination countries. But I persevered! I finished the little pig guy, and my secret santa recipient was delighted :) I’ve even cut out pieces for another one, if I get round to putting it together I can inflict it on someone else at Christmas.
I got some more beeswax and finished off my candle, plus I poured these two for my friends’ housewarming gift. But to be honest I’m not too impressed with the stuff. It burns terribly badly, only creating a small pool of molten wax which doesn’t make it halfway down the jar before putting the wick out. I suspect this stuff is more for use in cosmetics and furniture polish and all the other stuff it listed, and I should probably just get paraffin wax in future! Or maybe I’ll give soy wax a go. But these were pretty at least, in the meantime.
I finished the advent calendar for my mum in plenty of time. Was not too fancy, just little sweet shop bags with various candies inside, pegged to a string. She seems to like it though.
And now we’ve decorated our own place for Christmas! No tree this year, can’t really afford to give up that much space in our shoe-box, but the garland is lovely and plenty festive for me. And most of my presents are wrapped, sticking to the pink/red/white ye olde sweet shoppe feeling that I’m obsessed with this year. So Christmas is properly on! And I’ve got all week to do my embroidery homework, make my sweeties and crack that Christmas jumper which I started for Lu in March and still isn’t finished…