Cake! (And solar eclipses, and the pursuit of happiness..)

Rose ombre 5 layer cake

Did you have a lovely weekend? I hope so… it was Mothers Day here in the UK so I was woken around dawn by a breathless Harry, bursting with excitement and clutching a pot of daffodils he had secretly grown at school, a carefully drawn portrait of me (dressed in black, curiously, with forked hands rather like Satan – but then I’m sure that some of Lucian Freud’s subjects were equally touchy about how they were portrayed), and ready to recite a poem called ‘My Mummy’ about the wonderful things that mothers do.

And yes, I cried. (‘I know you were crying’ said Harry, at the end of the poem ‘Because I could see the drips’.)

To treat ourselves, we made cake; a rather splendid layer cake in the brightest colours we could find.  I got to choose, so I chose pink…

Rose ombre cake

We used a basic sponge cake recipe and a set of  layer cake pans which produce small but perfectly formed sponge layers (try these or this link if you’re in North America – both have recipe links too), and simply divided the cake batter into five pudding bowls and stirred in tiny amounts of pink food colouring, adding more with each bowl…

Ombre cake mixture in bowls

Ombre cake mixture! To get equal amounts of cake batter, by the way, you need a spot of elementary maths (great for mini-chef assistants!); weigh your mixing bowl before you begin and again when the batter is mixed; deduct the original bowl weight and then divide the remaining weight by five; that’s the amount you need to spoon out each time. When the cakes are baked, they look interesting and somewhat planetary; Ombre sponge cakes Once cooled, we stacked and layered ours with vanilla buttercream and then covered the cake with (whisper it) Betty Crocker Strawberry Frosting.  Because if you can’t take a culinary shortcut on Mothers Day, when can you? It was delicious; both the first slice and the second.. Rose ombre layer cake
This was our second attempt at layer-cake-making; we made a neon rainbow cake for Harry’s wonderful Godparents a couple of weeks ago using the same principles but a rather more lairy set of colours, chosen entirely by Harry, who made a cute rainbow decoration to adorn the top;

Rainbow cake!

See what I mean about the colours? ;-)  It had the same effect on our teeth that those old-fashioned disclosing tablets used to do… but it was worth it.

Vibrant rainbow cake

Enough about cake, particularly for those who are trying to exercise restraint in such matters as the thought of summer and swimwear starts to focus the mind, and the appearance of beguiling layer cake photos is far from helpful.  Instead, let’s talk about..

The solar eclipse which will occur across Scandinavia and the UK on Friday and which is already causing feverish excitement in our household.  We need to make a pinhole camera to view it, which requires us to eat a whole can of Pringles before then in order to use the tube for our camera.  It’s a tough job but I’m making good progress (on the crisps that is; I haven’t started the camera).  Will you be watching, are you ready?  If you won’t be able to see it from where you are, you can follow it here instead.  Fingers crossed for clear skies.

And finally have you seen this documentary?  I’m sure that I’m  late to the party on this one but I loved it; a feel-good analysis of what makes us happy – a great antidote for those Sunday-evening blues as we transition from the weekend back to work.  It’s up there with Finding Vivian Maier on my list of great word-of-mouth Netflix discoveries; if you have any more recommendations of things you’ve watched and loved do please share in the comments below – I need to build up a little store of things I can look forward to watching!

Have a great week ahead – oh and thank you for all the lovely comments on our bathroom; they really made me smile.

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The Mysteries of Small Boys

The Mysteries of Childrens Pockets

Until very recently, if you had asked me about the mythology of what small boys keep in their pockets, I would have been inclined to dismiss it as literary cliché and nostalgia.  What modern boy, after all,  covets marbles and decrees that random kerbside junk is somehow Treasure?

This one, it seems.

Harry discovered the true magic of pockets – with their seeming infinite capacity for holding Important Things – when he was given a fleece jacket with roomy, zipped pockets on each side.  When I pulled it out of the laundry basket last week ready to wash it, it weighed a startling amount.  Careful emptying of a single pocket revealed the list of treasures above, dictated by Harry as being;

An old fruit gum: “For my snack, if I need energy”

Pebbles: “For my collection”

A golf ball, found in undergrowth the previous weekend and carried around for 5 days: “For Grandma”

Marbles, source unknown: “For a game I am planning about lions”

A single, small Lego piece: ‘I always like to have Lego in my pocket”

Stray feather: “For you, because I know you like feathers and I always collect them when I find them”

Random rubber objects with sequins attached to them: ‘Just in case I need them for something.  And because you like sparkly things”.

Squashed pine cone: “In our game it was the school bell and I was ringing it to mean the end of playtime”

I was struck not only by the sheer magnitude of stuff which he’d collected (and you can imagine the shower of dust, soil and fluff which fell out with it all…), but also the considered evaluation and justification of each item.  They’re currently carefully collated in a shoebox, waiting for the fleece to be dry so that they can be restored to their rightful place.  Or discreetly thrown away.


Boys… a wonderful, awesome mystery.

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(p.s. What’s the strangest thing you’ve found in a pocket?  And to mothers of daughters; are girls the same?  )

Simple DIY Envelopes (and a cool photo version too…)

DIY Photo Envelopes with template

I wanted to make some little envelopes out of leftover gift wrap last week, big enough for a love letter, or a gift card, or a pocketful of treasures.  I drew a simple template in Powerpoint and then printed it onto a sheet of cardstock, to make a template I could draw around on all my scraps of paper and gift wrap.  It worked a treat…

DIY gift wrap envelopes

The template is free to download as a PDF at the bottom of the post, and it looks like this:

Envelope template

…you could also trace it onto a sheet of vellum or thin plastic and use that as your master template, so that you can see the paper underneath when you are cutting it out; this is very useful if you’re looking to position a particular pattern or image and want to know where it will fall on the final constructed envelope.  When you’ve cut out your envelope shape, just fold along the dotted lines and glue where they overlap, before folding and glueing the bottom flap.  As simple as that.  Any glue will do; I use this one, because it dries strong and fast but writes like a pen, making it ideal for careful work like this where you don’t want blobs of adhesive squidging out when you press your flaps together.

Map envelope front Map envelope back

If you want to get even more clever and sophisticated, and you have Powerpoint installed on your computer, open the .ppt file at the bottom and you can play with making photo envelopes like these, which I created using some of my old photos (you might recognise them!)

How to make photo envelopes

Once you’ve opened the file, select the shape and use the drop-down menu to click on ‘Format / Shape / Fill / Picture or Texture / Choose Picture’, then select a picture from your files.  Try using different ones and seeing the effect they create; some will work better than others.  You can also play with the transparency to soften the pictures, as I did here..

Shoreline Photo Card DIY

And the screen-shot below shows an unmade-up envelope with a photo of the map on which I stitched our California road trip last Autumn; it now holds all the business cards from restaurants and favourite bars and venues we discovered along the route.

Screen Shot 2015-02-16 at 20.03.50

I used one of my botanical photos from last Spring to make a seed packet for the peas I’ll sow later this year…

DIY Seed Packets

So, a very simple design (have a go at drawing one yourself, if you have a few basic Powerpoint skills), and then a range of possibilities for making fun, personalised envelopes.  You can print these to any size of course, depending on your printer; mine are palm-sized, but there’s nothing to stop you making something on a far grander scale.

Simple DIY Photo Envelopes

As ever, shout if you have any questions or get stuck, and I hope you have enjoy playing with these….let me know how you get on!

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PDF file of the simple template, to print and use:

Simple Envelope Template PDF from Katescreativespace

And here’s the file to use if you want to have a go at creating photo envelopes:

Download of ppt Envelope Template

Love Letter Cookies!

Love Letter Cookie for Valentines

February has begun so I think we’re now entitled to think romantic thoughts. Happily, this means that January – official month of gloomy abstinence and calorie-counting – is now finished, so what better way to celebrate these two things than with deliciously more-ish love letter cookies for Valentine’s day?

Love Letter Monogram Cookies from Kates Creative Space

These have the advantage of looking quite accomplished, as if you have spent many hours slavishly finessing them as a sign of the depth and breadth of your passion, but in fact they’re very easy to whip up.  Bonus.  Love should not always be hard work, after all.

I made a batch of basic cookie dough (I use Nigella’s recipe ) and then cut out rectangle shapes using a matchbox as a guide.  Whilst these baked and cooled, I rolled out ready-made fondant icing and cut same-size shapes to go on top. Spread a little apricot jam (or edible glue) on top of the cookie to secure the fondant in place, and then simply mark a cross on top of each one to look like the flaps of an envelope.

I made fondant monogram seals by rolling little balls of red fondant and pressing gently with a wax seal (remember the tutorial below from last year?  Find it here).

Edible monogram seals for cakes

Monogram cupcake

I let the monograms dry out a little to firm up, before adding them to the centre of each cookie with another dab of jam, and slipping each cookie into a cellophane envelope, sealed with a faux rose petal and little peg..

Love Letter Cookies for the one you love!

You could choose to make a batch of these and then distribute them widely; spread-betting, one could say, to impress a range of potential suitors with your domestic skills and mastery of baking.  Or you could box them up as I’ve done, so that the object of your affections can have one each day, if they can manage to restrain themselves…

DIY Box of Love Letter Cookies

Happy baking… and forgive the absence of a step-by-step photo guide on this one; I’ve been midnight baking again, which doesn’t result in good pics.  Leave me a comment if you have any questions about how to make these sinful little treats!

Life is moving at a particularly frenzied pace these days, and the time to sit quietly with a cup of tea composing posts is harder to find. I’ll still be here once a week or so, fulfilling my creative urges and sharing thoughts and projects, but as an experiment I will also start to use my Facebook page for smaller, more frequent pics and posts, so do sign up there if you’d like a bit more of the in-between bits as well.

Have a wonderful week, wherever you are and whatever you’re doing!

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Celebration (or: How to Pimp a Store-Bought Cake, and Things to do when you’ve Finished the Champagne).

DIY Birthday Cake Bags

How are you, are you braving the cold?  We’ve been a plague-house this past week, falling one after the other into the chasm of ‘flu and cold  …but surfacing now, at last.  Amidst it all life has bustled busily on, brightened by a couple of big highlights like my father’s seventieth birthday last weekend.  At his request it was just a small family dinner – everyone he loved the most, together around a table – but a mighty fine dinner it was. I brought a cake, because a birthday without cake is unthinkable, however old you are.  The cake itself was a beauty from the local patisserie which had caught my eye, sitting siren-like in the window and demanding to be taken home.  I wanted to make it a little more personal though, so I made a simple paper wrapper to go around it.  Dad loves to paint, so I spread out all of my brushes onto a sheet and photographed them, then printed, trimmed and taped them together for a simple but beautiful accent which speaks to one of his greatest passions.. Art materials DIY Cake Wrapper I secured the wrapper in place around the cake, and ta-da!; a treat fit for a remarkable man. My Dad. Birthday cake for the artist
I knew that we wouldn’t manage much of the cake after dinner, so I found an old photograph of my father as a child and used it to make take-home bags for the end of the meal.  I love this picture; mostly I think because of his beaming, proud mother ducking almost-but-not-quite out of shot.  Mothers and sons – it gets me every time..

Birthday portraits

Personalised party gift bags

All the celebrating over Christmas, New Year and the flurry of birthdays has left us with a small pile of champagne corks, so I’ve also had a chance to play around making champagne-top armchairs; have you ever tried this?

Champagne top armchair

By far the most sensible way of shaping these chairs is when sober, with good light and a pair of pliers, but I always seem to end up doing it with my  bare hands whilst tipsy and then waking up to find that I may have the wire equivalent of a three piece suite, but I also have no nails left at all and swollen, scratched hands.  I’ll post a quick tutorial if you’re interested, with the caveat that health and safety are treated fairly recklessly in my approach..

DIY Champagne top chairs

As for this weekend, we’re setting a quieter pace and planning on doing some serious nesting; rumour has it that we may still be in our pyjamas at noon, albeit with thick woolly jumpers and socks to keep the arctic chill at bay.  Heavy frosts are forecast and Harry and I are unusually excited; we’ve been playing outside with pots and pans of water and making soon-to-be-frozen ice sculptures to hang from the trees; I’ll let you know next time if it has worked!

Have a great weekend, wherever you are and whatever you’re doing.

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Here’s a PDF tutorial as promised for how I made my champagne cage chairs.  If you find videos easier to follow, look on You Tube and there are a variety there.  Once you’ve mastered the basics, have a look here for inspiration and further champagne cork-n-cage artistry! Good luck!

How to Make Champagne Cage Armchairs

DIY Printable Desk Calendar!

DIY Desk Calendar

Have you seen this super-cute printable desk calendar from Mr Printables?  It caught my eye last weekend and I immediately downloaded the printable and have been playing with it and putting it together after work this week.. Although I have a proper wall calendar where we try in vain to keep track of our various commitments and appointments, my desk is in another room, and I’m always trying to work out what the second-Saturday-in-May is, or what day of the week a certain date falls on… so this is perfect for me.

Free printable desktop calendar 2015

Printable Calendar

You can print out and put together the calendar exactly as it is, or you can do what I did and play around with leftover scraps of Christmas gift wrap and washi tape and embellish some of the months (who doesn’t love a sparkly December?!).  For a really personal touch you could even trim photos and glue them to fit the triangles for each month; a labour of love, but one which would surely bring a smile whenever it caught your eye.

Printable desktop calendar sheets

simple desktop calendar

Printable desktop calendar for 2015

I printed mine onto heavyweight watercolour paper so that it won’t buckle over the months to come, and then printed off a couple of sets to send to friends too; it makes a lovely small gift to go with the ‘thank you’ cards and letters we’re sending out after Christmas.

Mail this printable desk calendar to friends

So, a quick find to share with you for some fun on these gloomy January evenings; all you need is a printer, scissors and glue and you can feel you’ve created something lovely with very little effort (that just about sums up my perfect evening…).

Thank you for sharing your wonderful ideas and projects for recycling Christmas cards and paper last week; some fantastic inspirations for next year.  I hope that this week has not been too much of a shock as the reality of work and school and winter return!

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Recycling Christmas!

Gift tags from Christmas Cards

Possibly the simplest DIY you’ll ever see here – but a timely one!

Do you recycle old Christmas cards by using them to make other things?  it’s a thrifty tradition I remember from early childhood, though the memory of curled and yellowing card trimmed with pinking shears put me off it for a long time.  This year we received some beautiful and fun cards; whilst adults are gradually paring back on card-giving (a combination of saving-the-trees and a lack of organisation, in my house), Harry and his classmates traded cards daily, keen to show off budding penmanship skills and thrilled by the constant flurry of envelopes to open.

Yesterday we took some of them down and had fun making these over-sized gift tags for next year; a way of preserving the beauty of the cards but also of creating tags which are big enough for Harry to write on himself (because no 5yr old can be easily constrained to a tiny square of card), and also a way of refining scissor-skills; Harry busily chopped and snipped his way through a pile whilst I attempted a more measured and symmetrical clipping …

Christmas Card Recycling

I used bits of string and ribbon we’d saved during the frenzy of unwrapping on Christmas Day, and a hole-puncher and eyelets to thread the string through.  We chose the strongest cards as well as the prettiest; they’ll spend a year in the loft and then a few weeks under a tree next Christmas so we wanted to make tags that could last that long.  Also, check that your cards only have writing on the inside ‘back’ of the card and not the back of the image; if they do, you’ll need to just stick them onto another piece of thin card so you cover this up.   A few other tips;

Use ribbon or cord which picks out a colour of the main tag and it really makes them pop!

Colour pop gift tags

Cutting around interesting images on the card cane make some fun shaped-tags, like this pear tree from a larger, square Christmas card…



Partridge gift tag

Polar Bear Gift Tag

Mounting your cut-outs onto other backgrounds can  make them even more special; I glued this Christmas goose image onto a narrow strip of gold glitter card and then trimmed the corners to make a large swing tag;

Festive Goose Tag

And sometimes cards are so striking that all you need to do is snip off the back and simply make a hole for the ribbon, like this gorgeous graphic print;

Stag Gift Tag

Once we’d finished, leaving a sea of tiny snips of card, drifts of glue and wisps of ribbon fibre, we put all our tags into a leftover gift box and I’ve labelled them ready for next year – a satisfying way to recycle and have fun making things in the process!  Do you recycle your cards? Any other creative ideas for things to do with them? I’d love to hear…

Boxed Christmas Gift Tags

Have a wonderful evening tonight if you’re out celebrating, or simply taking quiet stock in the warmth of home. May I wish you a very Happy New Year for 2015!

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Alternative Christmas Cake

This handful of days between Christmas and New Year is one of my favourite times of the year; time seems to slow down and it’s easy to forget what day of the week it is.  The rush and intensity of Christmas is over, but the abstinence of January is not yet upon us; the fires are lit, the cake tin is full, the corks are still gently popping, and there’s nowhere else we need to be – it’s blissful.

My family arrived on 23rd, so I added a few final festive touches to their rooms, including laying out our nativity set atop the butcher’s block in the guest room;


Three old temple bells also now hang from a pole in the bay window; junk shop finds which are now a permanent feature of the room but do look especially good at Christmas..

Temple bells

We travelled to the magical Royal Chapel of St Georges in Windsor for their carol service; a mixture of carols sung by choir and by congregation, interspersed with readings by members of the royal household staff and clergy.  The music was magnificent, and the combination of celebration, contemplation, prayer and song was the perfect start to Christmas ‘proper’…

St Georges bright

St. Georges Chapel and Choir, ℅ College of St. George

On Christmas Eve there was great excitement when we discovered a telegram from Father Christmas in the hearth of the fireplace in Harry’s bedroom, containing new pyjamas and promise of a visit later that night (and thank you to those who received a telegram from me in November’s competition and wrote to tell me of the reaction it caused; wonderful to hear!)

North Pole Telegram


As darkness fell we scattered our reindeer food on the lawn and even managed a momentary glimpse of Santa’s sleigh which lit up the sky briefly with blinking points of light to the west. Harry shrieked in awe.  A greater cynic than I might have mistaken it for a plane stuck in a holding pattern over the airport, but Harry is adamant and who am I to disagree?

And at bedtime,  Harry diligently laid out a platter for Santa with milk, mince pie and a VERY large carrot (‘it has to feed all the reindeer, not just Rudolph!’ he pointed out, helpfully…

A little treat for Santa

I have to tell you, several large bites of raw carrot are not the best thing to eat late on Christmas Eve night after a large meal and plenty of wine, but these things have to be done..

Santa came!

Christmas Day dawned bright and clear so we interspersed the eating, drinking and gift-opening with time outdoors; walking in the park enjoying the rare winter sunshine.  I was given some wonderful presents, like these books I’ve had on my must-read list for a while, and a lovely simple wooden tissue box holder that just makes me smile…

Tissue box wooden houses

And a poignant and lovely gift; one of the poppies from the installation that ceramic artist Paul Cummins created at the Tower of London to commemorate the centenary of the start of the First World War (you can read more here).  Definitely a contender for best-present-ever-that-I’d-never-have-thought-to-ask-for.

Paul Cummins Poppy

And now we’re back to just the three of us, and are gradually returning the house to its usual state; the tree will stay up with its twinkling lights for a good few days more, but the bonfire is going now, fuelled by bags of gift wrap and empty boxes, agitated by an excitable small boy with a long poking stick.  Later we’ll be recycling some of our favourite Christmas cards, cutting out the pictures and making things for next year.

And everywhere now, touches of green as the New Year approaches.  Bulbs on the sills, promising a heady burst of scent within days, and warding off the gloom that the end of the holidays can bring.


I hope that you had a lovely, lovely break, even if today signals a return to work and the world at large… I’ll be back again very soon.

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All Is Calm, All Is Bright

All is bright

I’ve been out this morning gathering armfuls of ivy to decorate our table this Christmas.  As the season of sparkle and excess reaches its climax, I find I’m already craving simplicity, freshness and green.  Hellebores, slim white tapers and old clay bells are the only other adornment to the kitchen as we focus now on just being together, and on welcoming Christmas.

In the meantime, all is calm, all is bright.

I wish you and yours a truly wonderful Christmas!

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Happy Christmas

Last-minute gifts from the kitchen

Christmas Cookies in a jar

Thanks for all of your lovely comments on the last couple of posts as we’ve prepared the house for the holidays. We’ve had a lovely weekend getting into the swing of Christmas with visiting family; the meringue wreath was mercifully able to be resurrected, the turkey was wrestled successfully into the oven without any limbs needing to be sawn off, and Harry was initiated into the tradition of family games.  Sardines saw 9  grown adults wedged variously into a bunk bed, a small airing cupboard and under an occasional table, and Twister swiftly revealed just who had been conscientious in their yoga practice this year.  I write to you from the sofa, in a happy haze of leftover Prosecco, with several joints iced-up and immobilised.

Anyway, to business, and to a last-minute gift that I promise you can knock up in the time it takes to run a bath, and which will wow with its homespun thoughtfulness.  Trust me.

Every year, I make spiced oatmeal and raisin cookies for Christmas and every year, I end up scribbling the recipe down for friends who are already planning how to secure some more, even before the last crumbs are brushed away.  They require very little skill and are actually supposed to look uneven and bumpy, and that to me qualifies them as being just about the perfect cookie to make.

christmas cookies

This year I’ve distilled the recipe into a jar, adding the dry ingredients in layers and attaching baking instructions listing the steps needed and additional ingredients (an egg and butter, very easy).  I’ve uploaded some printables below, so that once you’ve raided the cupboards and filled your jars, you can just print out the swing tags and you’re ready to go.

An important caveat for chefs and gourmands; combining all the dry ingredients in this way is not quite as good as taking a conventional step-wise approach and mixing butter and sugars before adding flour, and raisins last etc; if you are gifting to a cookie connoisseur with a refined  palate, this may matter.  For the rest of us – they’re yummy.

To fill your jars (I used 1 litre jars; try Kilner or the Korken range at IKEA) you’ll need: (if you’re in North America and work in cup measurements, try this recipe which helpfully is designed for a jar too and is similar):

  •  130g Caster sugar
  • 130g soft brown sugar
  • 60g rolled oats
  • 180g plain flour, mixed with 1/2 tsp of bicarb of soda, 1 tsp cinnamon and 1tsp ginger
  • 120g raisins
  • 200g icing sugar.

Pour all of the ingredients into the jar in layers, in the order described, tapping the jar gently to level each layer out before adding the next.  Try spooning them in if you find it easier.  For the icing sugar, put this into a separate small bag and add last before sealing the jar; this is for the icing so will be used when the cookies are baked.

Spiced Christmas cookies in a jar

Recipients of your gift can just pour the contents of the jar into a bowl, stir well and then add a beaten egg and 150g of softened butter, and the cookies are ready to roll into balls and bake.  Once cooled, they can be drizzled with icing.  I added a little jar of white chocolate stars and a wooden spoon with each gift this year; you could also accessorise with any pretty sprinkles or with chopped nuts, for example.

If you click on the links below you’ll find these labels; just cut out and glue front to back before tying on with ribbon.

Christmas Cookies Front


Christmas Cookies Back


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Christmas Cookie Printable FRONT

Christmas Cookie Printable BACK

Christmas at Home

Dogs bearing baubles

Today is apparently the busiest day for holiday traffic as everyone heads for home and family in a grand  exodus.  Even though we’re not travelling, the dawn of the weekend does seem to signify the proper start of Christmas and the time when relaxation can begin.  We have family arriving tomorrow to celebrate, so here’s a quick glimpse of how we’ve decorated the house.  Firstly, the friendly stone dogs who stand to attention at our door have abandoned their usual froideur and now bear baubles and festive ribbon, illuminated by the bay trees which are now strung with lights and oversized bells..

Dogs with baubles!

The fir lady has been visited by a flock of robins who peck at her skirts (collective noun for robins, anyone?)..

The fir lady with robins

But aside from the fir lady, I’ve opted for a low-key, calm kitchen with just an oversized paper star to catch the eye from the hallway and distract from the frenetic preparations and clutter on every surface..

Christmas kitchen

In the hallway lies my new addition to our Christmas decor; this year we are honoured to host the North Pole Sorting Office, where every letter sent to Santa from around the world blows in steadily, falling in flurries around Santa’s desk and filling his mailbags to overflowing;

North Pole Sorting Office in Hallway

Santa's mailbag

Santa's mailsack

As fast as the letters arrive, Santa diligently replies to each one. He’s currently busy writing back to Harry;

Santa's Mail Room

His typewriter perches on a ladder, which also holds his reading glasses, special wax seals, bundles of letters and maps and a compass so he can work out where each child around the world is writing from;

North Pole Post Office Detail

(To make this, I printed addresses onto some regular envelopes using different fonts and soaked them in a tray of watery tea before drying on the radiator for an old, worn appearance.  The letters blowing in from above are wired together using lightweight florist wire and hung from a removable adhesive hook on the ceiling. For the letterhead paper, I used this lovely printable and simply added my text to it.)

North Pole Letters

Further down the hallway I’ve arranged a similar tableau to last year (below), with the addition of a basket of magic reindeer food to give to all Believers who cross the threshold and may need a little help to summon the reindeer on Christmas Eve…

Holiday tableau

Magic reindeer food

I’ve hung Christmas cards simply from lengths of ribbon and clips, wired to the base of the bannister poles..

Christmas cards hanging in the hallway

And of course, most importantly all of all, mistletoe to greet all those who arrive…

Mistletoe in the porch


We have a real Christmas tree in the Snug, which I’ll share next time along with a few other festive accents.  Now, though, I must sign off as I’ve set myself the challenge tonight of mastering spun sugar to decorate an over-ambitious meringue wreath for dessert at lunch tomorrow.  The wreath has already collapsed after I accidentally turned the oven on again, forgetting it was quietly cooling down inside.  Plan B is to use whipped cream liberally as a distraction…

Have a wonderful weekend!
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