A little robot advent

It’s coming round to that time of year wherein I look at the calendar and panic. I’ve not even started to think about Christmas presents for friends and family, let alone creating an advent calendar. And this year is particularly difficult as I’m trying to do it all whilst sleep deprived and often with a Munchkin who won’t let me put her down. So this year, I’m remaking some of the advents I created last year and thought you might want to do so too.

So here’s a slightly revised Little Mr Robot advent blog post:

A friend of mine dropped into conversation that she thought that I sketch I’d done years ago would look rather cute as an advent calendar. So I spent a little time this week playing with it to see if I could get it to work. Et voilà!! Here is the result!

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A cheesy NYE

NYE

 
How was your New Years? Our was rather quiet as seems to be the norm in Switzerland. There are no big fireworks displays or outdoor festivals in Switzerland to celebrate the arrival of a new year.

Most years we’ve been in Switzerland we’ve had a quiet night in and have opened a bottle of champagne to toast the new year in. But we decided to do something a little different this year. We had a few of our friends around for dinner and games. Read more

Gluten free gingerbread

I hope you’ve had a wonderful Christmas? Mine was fabulous and included a decadent seafood lunch at La Brasserie du Grand Chêne, more champagne and dessert with gorgeous friends, followed by an early night. All that eating and socialising is exhausting! Our planned morning Skype call with our family in Australia was postponed by a day due to a boomerang accident on the beach that resulted in a brief hospital visit (seriously… can you get any more stereotypically Australian?!). Note: both the boomerang and the person it hit are ok.

Whilst we were a little sad not to be spending this Christmas in Australia surrounded by family, it’s been lovely to spend some time at home and we’re feeling wonderfully relaxed. We head back to Australia every two years for Christmas and have commenced counting down to next years!

I was spoiled unbelievably by Santa aka DM who gifted me with a new Celine wallet and a medium Wacom Intuos 5 tablet. I played Santa to DM and provided him with a new dressing gown as well as a Google Nexus 7 tablet and a matching Hard Graft Tab iPad Mini Case (it also fits the Nexus 7). So it was rather a luxurious and gadgety Christmas! Was Santa nice to you?

 

Gluten free gingerbread cookies

 
In the days leading up to Christmas I had an insatiable desire to make the house smell Christmassy and decided we needed Gingerbread! But I’d never made gluten free gingerbread before. Sasha (aka Liberty London Girl) had posted her recipe for Gingerbread tree decorations and I decided to adapt it so it was gluten free and used ingredients I had on hand and am able to get a hold of in Switzerland. I also increased the quantity so it made 150% of the original recipe. This would give you enough dough to make a good sized Gingerbread house if you wanted to make one (I ran out of time to make one this time).

The cookies came out fabulously, just the right combination of crunchy and a little soft in the middle. With the result that the batch I made is diminishing rapidly. Here’s my adjusted recipe.
 

Gluten free gingerbread cookies

 

Ingredients
  • 115g Muscovado sugar (brown sugar being near impossible to get hold of in Switzerland)
  • 3 tablespoons of golden syrup (with copious thanks to Meriel who provided me some from her stash)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons of honey (I didn’t have access to molasses or treacle)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon water
  • 145 grams of butter cubed
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons of cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons of ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon of ground cloves
  • 1 teaspoon of freshly grated nutmeg
  • grated rind from 1 lemon
  • 3/4 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
  • 335 grams of sifted gluten free flour of your choice
  • 3 grams of guar gum

 

Method

Pre-heat your oven to 180 degrees celsius.

In a large saucepan combine the sugar, zest, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, nutmeg, water, honey and golden syrup. Over a medium / high heat, bring the mixture to the boil.

When boiling remove from the heat and add the bicarbonate of soda and cubed butter, stirring until well combined.

Add the combined flour and guar gum in 4 batches, stirring well after each addition. It should come together into a dough at this point, but it will still be very soft.

Wrap it in cling wrap and refrigerate the mixture for at least an hour.

Roll out the dough on baking paper using a lightly floured rolling pin to about 5 mm thick. And using your cutters, cut into desired shapes. Place onto a baking paper lined baking sheet. Cook for 8 to 10 minutes or until lightly browned.

Allow to cool on a baking rack.

 

Free Christmas Printable Gift Tags

It’s that most wonderful time of the year…. The time when you feel like you’re running late (and you are) for about 3 weeks straight. You’re prepping for guests or for travel, hiding Christmas presents from loved ones (and trying to remember where you hid them later), making fruit cake and trying not to consume the alcohol for the cake… before it gets into the cake. And in amongst the chaos that is the festive season, you need to wrap presents!

And if most of the people I’ve discussed this with are anything to go by, you get to the night before the big day in question and the stash of wrap you grabbed as you raced out of the store but didn’t really look at properly taunts you. And you make do. Or you get to the gift wrap section and anything that is half decent is gone. All that’s left is the paper covered in gaudy glitter. The wrapping paper equivalent of a Christmas sweater featuring Rudolph with blinking nose. The one that doesn’t fall into the so bad it’s good category. It’s just bad.

So I’m here to help. I’ve come across so many gorgeous printables that you can use quickly and easily and I want to share them with you. They’ll enable you to present perfectly polished presents! So go grab a roll of brown paper, some bakers twine and your tape. Print and cut these out and you’ll be set!
 

These are some of my favourite this year! By Kelli Murray Art and Design.
Click on the images to link through to the respective printable post.

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A little festive flair

In only 11 sleeps Christmas is here! My husband and I are staying in Switzerland this year and so I’ve been able to let myself go a little crazy in the decoration department. In part because we’re not going to be spending it with our family and we still want it to feel special!

I didn’t want to spend a lot of money but wanted a big statement piece over the dining table, I had decided to hang a series of small Christmas tree’s upside down over the table (we’ve 5 quite hefty hooks in the ceiling for just such decorating purposes). But DM pooh-poohed the idea. Read more

Christmas Packaging- Milk Cartons

 
I’ve been busy creating items for Christmas this week. I’ve been struggling to pin down what I wanted to do for our Christmas cards. I love what I’ve made but there’s just a few things that I’m not 100% happy with. So I put the card project aside to come back to and started creating packaging for the Dulce de Leche I made the other day.

I thought that as I’m basically giving away cooked milk I’d put them into little milk cartons.

This is the result! What do you think?

I think they’d also make lovely boxes for small gifts or for biscuits or little Christmas cakes.
 

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Seriously Simple Embroidered Christmas Decorations

I stumbled across these fabulous miniature embroidery frames by Laura of The Creative Munster a few weeks ago and promptly purchased each of her designs.

They’re fabulous!

Laser cut out of bamboo, they’re very simple to use. I used a little white linen and added some colourful star themed embroidery to these small embroidery hoop frames.

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A Robot Advent – Pre-printed & Cut

Love the template and tutorial on the previous post but don’t have a lot of time to do all the cutting and scoring?

I’ve a few extra sets of this Little Mr Robot Advent calendar for sale. You receive 24 numbered bodies and 24 heads, pre cut and pre-scored!

All you have to do is fold them, apply glue or double sided tape and add the presents.

I’m selling them for 40 chf (43 US$) inclusive of postage! If you’d like a set just click here add your payment and shipping information and I’ll have them shipped off to you within 2 – 3 working days. Read more