This is the year penguins will fly.

Posts tagged “festive

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Christmas Tradition – Stirring the Christmas Pudding

Christmas Tradition - Stirring the Christmas Pudding

Every year, at my mothers house, we make a christmas pudding or cake, as do our neighbours. We’ve always had a tradition of stirring the pudding 3 times and then making a wish before putting it in the oven. Of course, like all magical wishes, you can’t tell anyone what you’re wishing for or else it wont come true!

I used to always look forward to the knock on our front door asking me if I wanted to go and stir next doors pudding. I’d always shout ‘Yes!’ with glee and run to get my shoes. It was definitely one of my favourite christmas traditions which I hope to carry on even though I now live so far away, despite not even really liking christmas puddings.

Have you any fond memories of your families Christmas traditions?

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Nutty Christmas Stuffing

One of my housemates is going home to his parents house soon for the Christmas period and so we decided to have a little christmas meal of our own. I was in charge of food and decided to make it a real feast. We decided to go for turkey with all the trimmings and also bought a joint of Pork for Ash who isn’t that keen on Turkey. Our other housemate, Jack, is vegetarian and so had his own little ‘meat’ roast to put in. Jack also ended up roasting all the vegetables and making mashed potatoes and swede. Yum! I made the Yorkshire puddings, Gravy and decided to make some stuffing from scratch too!

I’ve made stuffing before, a traditional sausage, sage and onion, but needed to cater for Jack and so looked around for a vegetarian stuffing recipe. Unfortunately I couldn’t find one that I really fancied and so decided to create my own concoction to bring some festive cheer to our meal! I ended up with a delicious (and yes it really was tasty!) mushroom, walnut, cranberry and apple stuffing and thought it was so tasty that I just HAD to share my recipe.

And yes it was given the thumbs up by Jack.

So here’s how you can make your own, Vegetarian approved, stuffing this Christmas:

You will need…

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For the seasoning I just used Sage, but you can obviously season to your tastes. I also used chestnut mushrooms to add a nutty, mushroomy flavour and walnuts to add a creamy, nutty flavour. Apples are there to add a hint a sweetness and I also thought they would go quite well with Ashleys pork. I bought a loaf of Tiger Bread because it is delicious, but any bread will do. Slightly stale bread would be best as you are just using it to make breadcrumbs. Cranberries are christmassy and I felt that it wouldn’t be a christmas stuffing without!

I’ve not given you many measurements because I don’t really measure, i prefer to just do what I think looks right for me,  you can add the amounts to suit your tastes too.

First off you need to grab a blender, or a ‘whizzy stick’ as I have, to make bread crumbs. Just throw the bread in there and blend away.

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Next chop up your celery and half an apple into chunks. Do what you want with the other half apple. I ate mine, It was delicious. 😉

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Throw the breadcrumbs, celery, apple and cranberries into a bowl and put to the side for later. I only put half of my packet of cranberries and it seemed to be enough.

Top tip : If you can’t find fresh cranberries (as I couldn’t), by some dried ones and pop them in a bowl of water so that they will be nice and juicy!

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Next off its time to chop up the mushrooms (i used half my punnet) and onion. I also chopped 2 cloves of garlic. Throw all these into a frying pan.

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Grab a knob of butter and soften them all before adding 100ml of water.

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Add this mixture to the breadcrumbs etc. in the bowl and mix together. Then add the nuts and seasoning and stir again.

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Put the mixture in a baking tin and throw in the oven on 180 degrees for around 15-20 minutes until golden brown on the top.

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And there you have it! A yummy, nutty, vegetarian stuffing. The perfect festive accompaniment to your Christmas Meal!

Just for fun, here’s the spread we ended up cooking (served in pots and pans because we don’t have enough serving things)

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And yes, i did manage to finish that gigantic plate of food. I may or may not have had to lie down for about an hour afterwards 😉

Please let me know if you try this recipe and what you think of it, or even share your own take on this festive stuffing!

I hope you all have a very merry Christmas!!


Red Accents – What I Wore

Yesterday I decided to wear this lovely grey, woollen dress from Zara. It’s very plain, but very versatile which I LOVE.

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I felt like making my outfit a bit more festive by adding these cute winter tights i probably bought from Primark (lets face it, most of my clothes come from there). I just love the adorable snowflake and heart pattern! I find these adorable ‘pixie’ boots from new look go perfectly with most outfits, I haven’t wore them in a while and so I had to show them a little bit of love 😉

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I also added this sparkly belt to add a bit of festive glitz to the outfit. I’m pretty sure that this is, again, from Primark.

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To finish it off I continued with the festive theme by adding a festive colour! I  went with my bright red Zatchel and red beaded bracelet. I just love this bag, it’s so well made and big enough to carry everything I need.

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Over the top I wore the cape that I made myself which again adds a bit of wintery sparkles. I’ve actually been thinking about ways I can improve this cape design and hope to be making many more in the near future! Although I know there are a lot of improvements to be made with this cape I still love it dearly and love to show it off at any possible moment.

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For my make up  I went for some subtle, but striking, eyes. I used white and silver/grey eye shadow before lining with black eyeliner and then a sparkly eyeliner on top (again adding to the glitz!)

I decided i wanted bold lips and what better than bright red to match my bag! I very rarely wear lipstick but definitely think I should do it more often.

I just left my hair in it’s natural, wavy state (i’m far to lazy to actually do any serious styling) and just pinned back the front to keep it out of my eyes. Despite being so simple my boyfriend kept saying it looked really nice! Sometimes I guess simple is the way forward. 🙂

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Do you like to wear bold colours?


Festive Penguin Stocking!

Picasso is getting all excited for Christmas and already has his stocking out! Although he’s having a lot more fun inside it rather than hanging it up 😉

Have you got your stocking out yet?

If you haven’t even got a stocking yet you can get your very own Penguin stocking just like Picasso’s in my Etsy Shop! (Click the image to follow the link!)


Getting into the Festive Spirit!

I’ve finally listed my first christmas Item on Etsy! This lovely festive stocking

It is fully lined and the outer fabric is made of a green, and a red and gold cotton. The perfect edition to your fireplace!

I even included my own hand-stitched logo on the back!

My mum has already asked if I can do this in blue and gold (the colours she decorates the house in at christmas) for her. If anyone else would like one of these in different colours, or even a different design, please don’t hesitate to ask!

Hopefully I will be creating some more festive Items soon! Maybe another stocking or two 🙂

For now though I’m going to start an exciting project which will create some fabulous gifts for small children!

I will definitely be listing more and more items soon though as I create more stock for the festive season, I’ve also been applying for lots of christmas craft fairs! Fingers crossed at least one of them wants me! 🙂

‘Till next time!


Wonky Festive Tie

I’ve been making this tie for a while now, I started it before I went to the wedding in lincoln but have been so busy with work, or just been too tired, that I haven’t managed to finish it.

Finally I’ve had time to get round to finishing it and, quite honestly, i’m disappointed.

As you can tell from these photographs, the thick end is a little…wonky. I promise that it doesn’t look nearly as bad when actually worn but it’s still enough to annoy me and to make me wonder if I can really put it up for sale.

Obviously I don’t want to get bad reviews by selling a bad product so I was thinking of maybe selling it at a reduced price and mentioning it in the listing, but then would it really sell?

I  am tempted just to hide it away at the bottom of my material box, but then it seems like such a shame and a waste of time and effort making it. Plus I don’t really have money to be wasting material, as it is i wont be even buying more material when i run out (luckily I have a lot of stock for the moment).

I guess all crafters must have something they’ve made that they aren’t completely happy with, especially in the learning stages.

So what would you do/have you done in this situation? 

For now though it’s on to the next project I guess…


Adorable Accessories to Match The Penguin Theory!

When I got home from work today I decided to check on my Etsy.

I saw this brooch come up in my Activity feed and immediately squeeled! It’s just so adorable! I feel like I should buy this and wear it at a Christmas craft fair.

I also found matching stud earrings which were just as cute!

My mum said that I should try and make it myself but to be honest, as much as I do enjoy polymer clay, I think I want to concentrate on my sewing for now. However, I will keep it in mind for the future. 🙂


Getting Ready for the Festive Season.

I’ve finally added a new Item to my shop!

I know I said in my last post that I was working on an apron but I found out that I don’t have the right coloured thread for the top stitching so I decided to make something else instead.

Proof i did start the apron…

I was looking through all my materials and found some with a Christmas theme left over from gifts i’d made the family last christmas. Etsy has just had a big push on ‘Christmas in July’ and there was lots of advice telling shop owners to get festive items in their shops nice and early, so I figured I may as well get some in my own shop in preparation.

As there wasn’t a lot of material left I decided to make a tie. I made ties for all the men in my family last christmas and they seemed to be a big hit! My grandpa actually got the tie made from the same material as this one and seemed so proud to have it! It made me really happy to see him so excited to wear something i’d made!

I really like this material, it’s festive but sophisticated at the same time. I think it makes a tie that’s perfect for adding a bit of fun, festive cheer and can be worn to any kind of event, whether serious or more relaxed.

I also incorporated the penguin I spoke about in my last post. I’ve sewn it onto the back of the large end and think it works really well!

I’m very proud of this Item and think it is the best tie i’ve made so far (quite likely with the help of my new snazzy machine!) . It’s now for sale in my shop right here. So if you’re wanting to do a bit of early christmas shopping please stop by!

I’m sure i’ll be making more festive Items in the future, the only problem is i’m not sure what kind of items to make, other than Ties and Aprons. I had also thought of making a stocking or two, or some kind of festive gift bag. What do you think I should make with my material? What would you want to buy this Christmas? Please leave suggestions in the comments below or fill in the poll on my facebook page  🙂 It would be very useful.


Festive Makings and a Job search

Ok, so it’s quite late but i have been rather busy.

Just before christmas I decided to buy all this christmassy fabric in the hopes of making my family some gifts.

Make-Shift Stencils

Cue me being really unorganised and failing to get anything done.

This lead to me working like a crazy woman, my boyfriend even started calling me his ‘little chinese worker’, to get them finished on time.

Trying not to stab my fingers

I had made a couple of Aprons before, but this time I decided to go all out, giving them all a nice lining (even in the pockets). The ties also have a nice lining on them (unfortunately I forgot to take a picture of the finished products before everyone left)

Christmas itself was probably one of my favourite christmases we’ve had, even my mum has been saying the same.

My boyfriend, Ash, had decided to spend it with us instead of his own family (long story) so I was especially happy.

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We started the day as normal, opening stocking presents (I’d bought some for Ash so that he didn’t feel left out). I got a cookbook, lots of chocolate, some amazingly pretty beads (i’m just itching to use) along with the usual socks and knickers.

We then took our usual trip to see some extended family members, had a few glasses of alcohol, exchanged a few gifts, before coming back to sort out food and such. I also then disappeared upstairs to carry on making some bags for my aunts to put their presents in (a selection of mustard and soaps). Yes I was so badly organised I was even working on christmas day itself.

Measuring

Eventually the whole family arrived. Aunts, Uncle, Cousins, Grandparents all descended on us. There were 14 of us in total (3 being littles) and so it was very busy. We had to drag the kitchen table into our living room (good job it’s a big room!) and get all the emergency chairs out, including piano stools.

My grandpa waved his new tie happily when he arrived exclaiming how he was sorry he was no longer wearing it, he was just too warm. Made me very happy to see how much everyone was enjoying the things i’d made for them.

Concentrating very hard apparently.

We thought it was going to be far to hectic and noisy for the grandparents, and there would be too many people all getting in the way, but thankfully my xbox kept the children amused upstairs whilst the food was being prepared and everything seemed to run smoothly!

I got some brilliant presents, David Attenborough’s Autobiography (i’ve always been obsessed), A years subscription to a jewellery magazine, a new suitcase (the wheels on mine look like they’ve exploded), clothing and books.

Final Iron

All together, a very successful christmas.

Ash text me the other day saying how his work mates picked on his tie (to be fair it is bright red with reindeers on it…) and then when he mentioned i’d made it they were all shocked and refused to believe him until they saw it didn’t have any tags. (That reminds me…I must get some tags made.) Again it made me so happy to hear how impressed people were with my work! Definitely going to keep this sewing malarky up. Hopefully I will be moving onto clothing soon…or at least some more complicated aprons and lots more ties.

My sister and her Apron next to the Christmas tree.

In other news. I will be changing the name of my business. Claire’s Crafty Creations is just too boring and over done. My mum doesn’t agree, but then I doubt she hasn’t searched it in google. Far too many shops pop up. I need something exciting and different, that means something to me. I was thinking of ‘The Penguin Theory’, which you will recognise if you’ve read my earlier posts, I even have permission from the co-founder of the penguin theory. (I say co-founder, but she was the one who really first mentioned it). I would also have a mascot of a penguin called ‘Gru-gru’ named after one of my penguins from the origins of this theory.

Back View

When I told my mother all this she didn’t seem to think it was a good idea as it didn’t say what my items were, even mentioning that a lot high street shops don’t tend to either didn’t seem to sway her, I mean ‘Monsoon’ doesn’t shout clothing to me, just lots and lots of rain.

Anyone got any advice or ideas?

In other news, I’VE MOVED! (hence the long silence)

I no longer live in the north but am based down in Essex. I wanted to be closer to London and the Boyfriend needed help with rent so it just seemed like a good idea. Since i’ve got here I’ve sorted out our room about 3 times, applied for every job I could find, handed out as many CVs as possible and sketched more designs for when I bring all my crafty stuff down. (I’m actually going to get the rest of my stuff tomorrow).

I just got news today that I have got myself an interview in a Weatherspoons about 40minutes away (my car is ridiculously economical so petrol shouldn’t be too expensive). It’s for a part time job which is perfect as then I still have plenty of time to sew and go to auditions!

Better start picking out a smart outfit and practice answering questions!

Till next time, stay happy!

Sexy Pose for a sexy lining.