Christmas House Tour 2012 Day 4

and we’re still in the big room.

I thought I’d try to get slightly better photos of some of the things that were flown past in the last post. I’m not sure that these pics are markedly better, but that’s what happens when you mix warring felines and suicidal cameras.

and just so you know: the ailing ONE MONTH OLD Nikon is covered under my insurance but the cost of claiming is more than said camera cost in the first place or the local camera place can send it away to be fixed, at roughly the cost of a new one … so … I bit the bullet, and ordered another one yesterday,which means that you should only have to put up with the lousy pics for a couple of weeks.

Anyway, mooooooving on … in the corner whatnot, near the predominantly blue Arctic Saint Nicholas, are a couple of danish yule plates that escaped from the kitchen, 018


as well as a family [ herd? Does three constitute a herd ? ] of reindeer.

Some marginally better shots of some of the nativities:

this paper one from 1950, printed in the UK051



and if this one was a bit clearer 055

you could see that due to an unpacking incident, poor Joseph has had his head glued back on, the ox has had reconstructive surgery to both ears, and the ass has fared no better.

Over the doorway through to the kitchen is a swag of fake greenery with a few silver ornaments.


The cats that you can barely see, were machine embroidered in gold thread, but gold isn’t really my thing so this year I spray painted them antique silver.

so that’s about it. I’ll leave you with a couple more of the vintage postcards,

059and the advice to rest up tonight my dears, because tomorrow we’re in the kitchen and that’s where it really gets going. 058


Five weeks ’till Christmas, and …

Normally by this stage of the year, I would have already made several dozen crochet snowflakes and will be elbow deep in the thinned down PVA mixture that I use to stiffen them. Having passed the mid-point in November, the undecorating and redecorating should be well underway too.

This year is going to be a little different.

Firstly  – of course – while I factored the surgery in August in to my forward planning, and got as far ahead on that score as I could, I didn’t really count on bringing Golden Staph home from Hospital, or the resultant month and a half spent horizontal on the couch, too exhausted to even lift a book or knitting needle. Nor did I foresee the need to spend the next month or so all strapped up in splints and wrist braces.

The secondly, to that firstly, is of course, the imminent arrival of Chris and Nadie’s little miss, still affectionately being referred to as Cookie. We are currently at due date minus 4 days and counting, so I know not what my movements over the next couple of weeks will be.

Anyway, as you may have guessed, the crochet snowflakes are running a bit behind schedule, but I have not been idle.

In the absence of block clearing, goat wrangling, spinning, reading, knitting, crochet and quilting, there was … Pinterest!

I thought Facebook was a major timesuck [ and it is ]

I thought Ravelry was a major timesuck [ and it really really is ]

but Pinterest really should carry a health warning.

Inevitably I browsed [ amongst other things ] for Christmas ideas.

I rediscovered the salt-dough cookie ornaments that we all used to make forty years  a long time ago. So David helped me to whip up a batch

The results were a little … MEH!

[ Yes, of course I have a goat cookie cutter … and you were surprised, why exactly? ]

In the face of such underwhelmingness, I tried this recipe from Woodside Kitchen, which uses a much finer textured mix of Bicarb Soda and cornflour [ cornstarch ] which is cooked in a saucepan, much like the play-dough of yore, before rolling the mix out, cutting and baking for a fairly long time in a slow oven.

The first lot I used a cheap Black & Gold brand wheaten Cornflour, and the results predictably have a slightly wheaten hue but with a silken texture that is almost porcelain like.

The next batch I used a name branded cornflour and the results are slightly lighter, though still not the glossy white of the original blog post. One of the challenges was deciding how thick [ or rather how thin ] to roll the dough. IMHO thin absolutely looks best but there’s a definite point at which the number of accidental breakages increases exponentially.

I took a Pinterest-guided leaf from here on Katy Elliott’s blog, and freehand drew swirls, curls and hearts with a red felt pen on some of them before a top coat of spray clear varnish.

The last batch of ornaments, destined for the wee kitchenalia-themed tree in … yes … the kitchen, were made with a recipe that pretty much everyone accepts originated with Martha Stewart about twenty years ago:  Cinnamon Applesauce dough. This has a bit of Elmer’s Glue in the mix, which seems to be an American brand name for a PVA glue, so that’s what I used.

They do smell wonderfully cinnamonish, but you can also smell the glue in there, so next time I may try one of the versions that are purely applesauce and cinnamon.

Of all of these that I’ve tried, I think by far my favourite is the bicarb/ cornflour version, and I hope one day to find a brand that replicates that wonderful glossy white finish of the original.