Wednesday, 16 December 2015

More Christmas preparations

After last week's constant feeling bloated after all the food eating, I have been catching up with various things that need doing and getting back onto an even keel with meals.

The first job that needed doing, and I almost forgot it, was to put almond paste on my Christmas cake.  I am old fashioned enough that I have always made my own cake from start to finish so about a week before hand the marzipan goes on.  Like the Christmas cake the recipe is ancient from a Marguerite Patten cookbook that I bought years ago and only keep for this recipe!!

I cut out a strip of greaseproof the same height and circumference of the cake and roll the marzipan out to fit, then after covering the cake with melted jam I lift this strip and place it around the cake - on the board - and join it up, tidy the top edges and get ready to apply the top (in the above photo you can see the piece of marzipan sitting on the round of greaseproof waiting to be rolled).

Once that has been put on the cake I use a straight sided cup to smooth the sides and the rolling pin to do the top.  This will now be left for a week to dry out to ensure that no almond oil seeps into the Royal Icing.

Remember this from last year -

I made three of these in different fabrics for my three grand-daughters. This is Dalmatian dog and has come back to me for mending in the dog hospital!!

He has come apart at the seams and this is a lesson when making stuffed toys; use a good quality, high thread count fabric and strong thread to sew it.  Anyway I have spent this morning mending him which has meant rather large and ugly stitches so I decided to finish him off like this -

A little tartan coat!!
and this hides a multitude of untidiness!
As regular readers may know I look after my great-nephew Will, on a Tuesday, and we now go to Rhyme Time at the library for stories and singing.  After everyone leaves we usually read a book or two, but yesterday Will 'tidied up' the children's section at NO instigation from me!!
Yesterday was also granddaughter, Ellie's, sixth birthday and I have spent months working on this -
I have shown this smocking before but could not say what I was working on, so here are a few photos of my WIP (Work In Progress).
The blocked smocking

Nearly ready for making into this -
and the finished dress -
The buttonholes were difficult;  I tried to use the machine but after unpicking about three times I sewed all seven of them by hand in one go!!  It took me five hours but I am so pleased with the result. 

I hope she liked it - I have heard nothing which worries me a little!!

One more to make for my youngest little girl and they will each have a smocked dress.


  1. This post is amazing - A traditional Christmas cake, a cute stuffed dog and an absolutely jaw droppingly perfect smocked dress! You must be so incredibly proud of it, such a labour of love xxx

    1. can not wait to see a photo of your Grandaughter in the dress. its great