Dec 24, 2008

the Christmas challenge - pressie #14

I thought I was done posting about my Christmas challenge gifties but there was one that nearly slipped through the cracks - the Duck Confit. Four duck marylands cooked in the traditional French method of Confit, packaged in jars with recipes, became gifts for my brother in law, father in law and best friend and her French husband. I can say without hesitation that my husband is a legend and has mastered this - my favourite dish. The recipe for Confit can be found in every French recipe book, but it's basically slow cooking meat (or anything really) in fat, in this case duck fat. While this sounds a bit unhealthy (and looks rather unattractive), you do scrape the extra fat off prior to re heating the dish, and it is a very popular way of preserving meats in Europe. The meats can remain encased in their duck fat, which solidifies once cool, for months prior to being dug out and reheated. The result is supremely tender and moist meat. Husband Guy recommends serving your duck confit with braised red cabbage and potatoes roasted in duck fat. YUM YUM YUM

christmas yummies

As part of my handmade christmas challenge I have included some yummies in the mix. First up is my Granny's Rum Balls. Granny passed away earlier this year and I will always remember making these fantastic Rum Balls with her - they are the best I have ever tasted. And even if you don't really like dried fruit or rum like me, these are still really tasty and they get better after a few days.

Ingredients: 1 tin of condensed milk, 8 weet bix/ vita brits, 2 tablespoons of cocoa powder, 2 tablespoons of rum (more or less to taste), a cup of mixed dried fruit and dessicated coconut for rolling the balls in.

Method: Crush up the weetbix, combine them with the rest of the ingredients (except the coconut), cover with clingfilm and stand in the fridge for about half an hour. Remove from fridge and roll into golf ball sized balls then coat in coconut. yum.

Another family fave is my Mum's gingerbread - hehehehe - as previously mentioned. Our neighbour who is of German extraction reckons they are the best gingerbread he has ever eaten and was extremely excited today when I presented him with a big jar full! So here is the family secret revealed.

Ingredients: 1/2 cup sugar, 3 cups of plain flour, 1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda, 2 teaspoons of ground ginger, 125 grams butter, 4 tablespoons of golden syrup, 1 egg - lightly whisked.

Method: Sift dry ingredients in a bowl, rub in butter, add sugar and mix well. Slightly warm the golden syrup and add with the egg to the other ingredients. Knead until smooth and roll out to approx 3 mm thickness and cut into shapes. (If you wish to decorate with currants - do it now) Place on greased baking tray and bake in 190C oven for 10-15 mins until golden brown. Place on wire rack to cool.

Icing: Beat an egg white with enough icing sugar to form a reasonably stiff consistency that can still be passed through a piping bag. Colour mixture with whatever colours you wish and pipe onto gingerbread. This icing will set quite firm so make sure if you want to decorate with sugar decorations that you do so straight away.

Dec 23, 2008

I won!

A huge thank you to Elissa over at Kelani Fabric who has selected me as her second place winner for her Handmade Christmas competition. This bundle of goodies is winging it's way to me - it'll be like Christmas all over again!

Thank you also to Anya of
Hills Creek Quilter who has given me her Butterfly Award. I will be awarding a few fellow bloggers this in the new year.

Dec 16, 2008

little stockings

Since packing up my sewing machine I've discovered that I've become so immersed in sewing that if I didn't do something I'd go mad. And it didn't feel right to sew something that wasn't Christmas related. So as a result I've started making little hand sewn Chrissie Decs.

I've made a couple of these little stockings, this one with my mum's name embroidered on it. And I'm working on making some gingerbread people shaped ones as well.

Dec 15, 2008

the Christmas challenge - pressie #10 (finished)

So here is the finshed bag for my mum that I showed you a sneaky peak of a couple of days ago. The fabrics are from Sanshi Japanese fabrics and the pattern is Meadow from Melly and Me.

And that is pretty much me done for Christmas pressies. I am tooling around making some little hand sewn ornaments but the sewing machine has been packed up to make way for our tree.

Dec 14, 2008

the Sunday Stash

there's not mush-room inside.... hehehehehe

That's about as funny as I get I'm afraid. Today's stash is a couple of cuties that once again I picked up at my local Spotlight on sale. They're in my 'maybe one day I'll have a little girl' pile.

Dec 13, 2008

the Christmas challenge - pressie #13

I would almost hesitate to say it but I think this is basically my last gift. I have a few more things that I want to do but if I don't get time it won't be a drama. I will show you the Duck Confit and Gingerbread when they are finished and share the recipes with you.

This gift is for my father in law. He is going to install a woodfired pizza oven in his backyard so we can have big Italian feasts so I wanted to make him a special apron. I hunted for a red and white check for that Italian feel and I'm going to hand embroider "Guy's Pizza" across the front.

the Christmas challenge - pressie #12

This next pressie is for my dad - another person for whom it was very hard to think of something to sew - a set of handmade coasters. But even though it was hard to think of something I'm actually really pleased with the idea and the way they turned out. Each coaster is double sided with different fabrics on the two sides.

the Christmas challenge - pressie #11

Pressie #11 is some more Christmas shorts for Little Guy's friends. When their mum's found out that I'd made shorts for him for Christmas they put their orders in!

Dec 10, 2008

the Christmas challenge - pressie #10 (sneak peek)

This one isn't quite finished yet but I couldn't wait to show you a peek of the bag I'm making for my mum. The fabric featured in the Sunday Stash a few weeks ago and is an exquisite Japanese cotton from Sanshi using the Melly and Me Meadow pattern.

the Christmas challenge - pressie #9

Christmas pressie #9 is a variety of tea towels with patchwork embellishment. I will admit to not making the tea towels from scratch but the patchwork is a great way to use jelly roll strips or left over fabric. The tutorial for this project can be found on Sew Mama Sew, although mine aren't half as neat as the ones in the tutorial! This project was a great excuse to use a couple of cute fabrics with kitchen themes that I've picked up recently.

Dec 7, 2008

little boys shorts

This is a little gift for my nephew Ezra, he and little Guy were born 13 days apart so they are very similar in size. I made him shorts the same as all the ones I made for little Guy and gave them to him in a patchwork bag made from offcuts from the shorts material. His mum often takes Ezra walking by the beach so the bag is perfect to carry his toys in for his walk.

the Sunday Stash

My Sunday Stash today has a green theme - a variety of green fabrics that I have collected over the last few months. They remind me of my kitchen which is painted a lime green, but I also think they'd make a cute summer bag.

Dec 2, 2008

a month of firsts

Now not only is this month special because it is Little Guy's first Christmas (groovy Christmas shorts to wear on the day), but it will also be his first birthday on the 27th as well. So not only am I scrambling to finish making all our gifts (about 4 to go I think!) but I'm also busy planning a birthday party and buying birthday gifts.

Fun Fun Fun!

the Christmas challenge - pressie #8

My brother in law and sister in law are receiving a joint gift comprising a reversible apron in this cute material.

As well as a table cloth in this lovely Indian Cotton.

My husband is also chipping in with the handmade gifts by making jars of Duck Confit, they will also receiving one of these.

the Christmas challenge - pressie #7

There are several people in our family for whom making a gift was always going to be a struggle. My 25yo brother is definately one of them. He does love to travel though so I made him a 'socks and jocks' bag to put in his suitcase - to stash his delicates in once they've been worn. The applique is just little hand drawn socks and jocks that I cut out from felt so they wouldn't fray. And I closed the bag with a button instead of a drawstring mainly as an excuse to use another one of the groovy buttons I got from the Haby Goddess.

the Christmas challenge - pressie #6

Pressie #6 is a large Santa Sack and a Stocking each for my Nephews Callum and Charlie. I already had these cute bell ornaments with their names on so I decided that by attaching them to the stockings it was a cute way to personalise them. Now we've just gotta hope that Santa fills the sacks!

Dec 1, 2008

the Sunday Stash

Today's stash is a couple of cottons I bought in a mad stash building frenzy at my local Spotlight a few weeks ago. What can I say! They were having a big sale on their quilting fabric and I went a little wild!
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