So here she is; the Fir Lady returned in from the cold, this year with an old and much-mended sack as her elegant shawl, and a sprinkling of dried limes and pinecones to decorate her skirts. Oh, and twinkling lights of course, because everyone deserves to sparkle at Christmas. This year she’s taken up residence in the hallway, where she lights up the entrance and welcomes friends in from the cold. And also in the hall;
An oversized wire star (from here), threaded with white lights and hung against a wall of logs, catching my eye and making me smile whenever I move about the kitchen.
I decorated this simple jam sponge with thick white icing, a rosemary-sprig forest (topped with tiny pieces of gold leaf) and amaretti biscuits providing a rocky woodland path for the miniature model deer. And then I took it all off and experimented with something a little different; a felt-mouse snowball fight! I still haven’t decided which topping to go with…
Making notes, for the creatively-minded…
- The fir lady is an annual creation, made using branches of fir (from my local garden centre) wired around an old shop mannequin. I secure a length of chicken wire around her waist and then attach the branches one by one, overlapping and occasionally trimming branches which stick out at peculiar angles. After the first year, I learned to wear rubber gloves to avoid becoming a human pin cushion.
- I used a string of 750 warm white lights to wrap around the hallway star, and then taped the cable to the floor with transparent packaging tape for safety’s sake. The star is hang on a wooden baton secured between the logs, but for an ordinary wall just use a standard picture hook.
- For the cake, I wired stems of rosemary to cocktail sticks to stop them wilting, and pushed the sticks into the cake. A light sprinkling of powdered sugar simulates snow. The paper tape and ribbon wrapped around the cake are previous year’s purchases from Anthropologie and John Lewis.
- for the ‘snowball’ cake, I used felted mouse tree-decorations and snipped off the hanging cord, sticking them into place on the cake top with a dab of icing. The snowballs are made of fondant paste, and the rosemary makes a reappearance as the forest backdrop. Felted holiday ornaments are everywhere this year; try White Stuff, Anthropologie, Oka, Pottery Barn and John Lewis.
….and now the weekend is here, and school is at last finished for the year for a jubilant, exhausted Harry. I have a few more days of work to go, but before then a weekend filled with friends and family, with the making of eucalyptus garlands and stringing of ornaments and mulling of wine, and of log fires and duvets. And possibly, just possibly……snow!