I love Advent, it is all about the build up. Christmas day itself can be a bit overwhelming and the magic can wane, but now the preparation and excitement is building and I can start to get out a few decs. I found this sheet of gift stamps on Etsy 1970 the year I was born so I couldn't resist a seasonal picture for the walls.
Once you are properly grown up and have your own place it is fun establishing your own traditions. I did some when we were a twosome and we added to them when Lula was born. When she was little and I was in creative baby frenzy I made these little advent stockings- they are easy to do but as there are obviously 24 I do remember them taking an age to complete. First time round she was too young for sweet treats but now on their 10th outing chocolate is king and there is a pile of chocolate money to go inside them
Lilacs and pinks were her favourite colours back then. She has 'matured' to purple. We used to go to a parent/baby craft group where I made the stockings and the fairy below. We shared a pattern, sorry I cannot find it so I can't pass the reference on. Happy times x For more advent makes visit my blog friend Mia's Christmas Calendar blog for makes every day up to 25th Dec- I have one coming up for her on 6th Dec
Couldn't resist making mince pies especially as it is so cold here. I am not a big fan of pastry so I used just enough to contain the mincemeat and added flaked almonds instead- yummy- quick recipe below, borrowed largely from Nigella Lawson
60g Margarine or butter- depends on your preference
60g Trex/vegetable shortening
240g Plain flour
Juice of Orange
Half a jar of mincemeat (200g)
Flaked almonds to top
Rub in or cut in the fats with the flour.
Place in a fridge or outside covered up if it is really cold!- Leave for 20 mins.
Now add orange juice- you need just enough to bind the pastry, if you are short add very cold water. You can do this in a processor or by hand- up to you, just go easy with your hands, minimal touching.
Divide the pastry in two, cover and chill 20 mins again.
Roll out one ball of pastry as this as you dare.
Cut out using circle cutters or a glass/cup- your circles should be a little wider than the pie pan they are going into.
Add a small amount of mincemeat to each one and top with a few flake almonds- you don't need many as they burn easily.
You can repeat with the second ball of pastry or leave it in the freezer for another time.
Cook gas mark 7 220 c for 8-10 mins depending on size. Keep an eye on them, they don't take long
In total I made 36 approx with a 2 1/4"/ 58mm cutter and this included some jam tarts too
If you are super organized, cook 18 as above and also cut out the next set of pastry circles and place the baking tray in the freezer, ready to be filled and cooked at short notice.
Yeah right- like I do this but it sounds good!