Tuesday, 18 November 2014

Gingerbread Menagerie

This weekend marked the official start of Toronto's Christmas - lights were switched on at Yonge-Dundas, the Santa parade was on and it even snowed. There is more to come, of course as my email inbox will get fuller of increasingly frenzied messages from various companies telling me about amazing bargains and I begin to unsubscribe from the ones that make me swear the most when I see them. That's how I handle my marketing subscriptions, when I begin to swear at more emails than I open, it's time to get unsubscribing.

I had considered bringing the Zeds along to the switching on of the lights but really, an outing into the dark and cold at their bedtime is not the wisest move. This will not stop me wondering if we should go along to the impressively named Cavalcade of Lights in two weeks time although I believe Z2 has a birthday party to attend that day.

So, none of that was particularly crafty but, as you see in the photo, we were fierce productive this weekend. I took a notion, after successful baking for the school cake sale using this fragrant recipe, which I also used last year, that I should make gingerbread with the Zeds. The recipe is very satisfying, because you stir things up in a bubbly, fragrant pot and then add baking soda which makes it go all foamy. Maybe all gingerbread recipes do this, but I had not encountered the wonder of this before and felt that the Zeds would enjoy it. With plenty of being careful and lots of not touching the hot stove, the Zeds stirred and added ingredients and it was suitably delightful and cosy. We have many, many cookie cutters and using them for something edible was so much less upsetting than the crumby mess of Play-Doh that you can't even eat.

The true triumph of the day, though, was coming home after the Santa parade and whipping up a bit of icing and some leftover sweets from Hallowe'en and letting them decorate their animals before bedtime. The owl on the bottom left is Z2's, the rest are Z1's. I particularly like her use of the sweets as suckers on the octopus's tentacles. Overall, though, she was a little too delicate in her use of icing and Z2's generous application worked a bit better. I definitely want to make more to decorate myself.

Tuesday, 11 November 2014

I am coming back, I think

As the nights draw in and the temperatures drop and the Christmas decorations begin to appear, I find myself drawn back here.  Also, Z1 asked about making an Advent calendar this year so last year's sad story may have a happy ending this year. In the meantime, things have been made in the Conquering Crafts household since my  last post in April. The highlights are below.

Like many a household across the world, there were many of these to be found in our house. And like many a parent across the world, some of them were made by me after the Zeds were in bed. And there may have been swearing at spillages and mistakes. Overall, a success, though.

Then, there was a cupcake decorating party and Z2 got in on the action too. He is more of a fan of icing than he is of cake.
Z2's icing efforts. This
photo refuses to be posted
horizontally. Grr.

Z1 got a lovely sewing kit for her birthday which we cracked open during the summer. She is keen to make mittens now, I am considering some simpler project that she might be able to wear. Possibly a very simple skirt that she could sew decorations onto if I do the skirt. Hmmm.

As Z2 is now a very big boy (as he will indignantly tell anyone who dares to say that he is a small boy), he left daycare in July. I was rather proud of the gift basket I made for the lovely staff there. I like dots. Oh yes I do.

For Z2's birthday party, making fruit kebabs was a nice way to pass the morning without constant "what time will the party be?" questions. I have seen amazing efforts on Pinterest that look like rainbows but I think ours look pretty good too. I also successfully persuaded him to ask for a cake that would fit with my "Make an ordinary chocolate cake" plans. I rather like him. (The cake, that is, not Z2. He's a spider. Clearly. Again, the cake. Z2 is human.)

 And before you know it, Hallowe'en was upon us again and we took to the pumpkins. Last year, Z2 made valiant efforts with the Dollarama tools while Z1 took the role of artistic director for her pumpkin. This year, I did buy better tools and amidst warnings about being very, very careful and frustration that it was still a tricky job,  we carved the beauties in the picture. Z1 was disappointed that hers didn't look better but it was all her own work (middle step). Z2 was artistic director for his (top step) and I was disappointed with the botched eyes on mine (bottom step).

Disappointingly, from the point of view of photos and family records, Z1 decided that she wanted to be a bat again this year and Z2 followed her lead. I did make fresh costumes but used the same tops as last year so that saved some hassle. I followed the instructions here and used a measuring tape and everything to tailor-make them. On the great day itself, it rained. Again (3rd year in a row). Z1 didn't care and declined to cover her costume. Z2 put on his fleece and didn't really get to show off the costume at all but still got a great haul of crap to enjoy for weeks to come.