Wednesday, 18 December 2013

Gingerbread House 2013

(Apologies if you've already read this on my knitting blog -- but thanks for stopping by.)

I present the 2013 Gingerbread House!

It always surprises me what 5 adults and 4 mini-Coopers - given gallons of icing, a sleigh full of sweets, a few bottles of fizz, and lots of laughter - can do.

This year we decided to build a country pub  which we named the Four Loons for the four mini-Coopers (not so mini anymore - little Louis, at 11 3/4 is the only one shorter than me.  Marvellous Mads, scrumptous Suzy and gorgeous Gen all tower over me).

Mads created the bar with draught beer pumps, and the bottles of spirits on the wall behind the bar.

Suzy created the elf bartender to complete the scene.

Caroline provided a couple of picnic tables for hardy visitors who want to enjoy their beer, egg and chips outside.

Genevieve or Caroline made this jolly snowman....

...and whoever didn't make that one, made this slightly less jolly version at the side of the tavern... the see-saw created by Louis.

At the side of the pub you can see the kegs stacked up for loading into the pub cellar.

And I love Santa's feet poking out of the chimney!

Behind the pub there's a skating rink, a bench ...

....and a mysterious abandoned pair of ice skates.

Which leads to the question you've probably been asking yourself?  WHERE ARE ALL THE PEOPLE?  Why have the pints of beer and meals been abandoned?  Where are the ice skaters?  Why did they leave their skates?

And the answer can only be...  DALEKS!

This year marks the 50th anniversary of Doctor Who - a UK television institution and Louis' favourite show.  So in honour of this landmark, Daleks are attacking the pub.

Louis and Suzy created these Daleks and I have to say that despite my best efforts these photos do not do them justice.

They are true masterpieces of confectionary.

Luckily we can see that the TARDIS has just landed (for those of you uninitiated it's the blue Police Box the Doctor travels in) and I expect Doctor Who will sort out the Daleks before they can EX-TERM-I-NATE anyone.

Finally, regular gingerbread house viewers will know that Pat (the big Cooper) pretty much always takes the gingerbread house in an unexpected direction.  And this year was no different.

Pat arrived on Sunday determined to include the HS2.

For those of you not in the UK HS2 is a proposed high speed train link between London and cities in the North which is coming under a lot of criticism as it will cost a gazillion pounds, and not everyone is convinced it's justified by the benefit of taking 20 minutes off the time for a rail journey from London to Birmingham.

As you can see our version -  HS2.5 extends all the way to the North Pole.

Pat's second construction is this wind turbine.  Wind turbines are loved for being alternative energy sources, and hated by pretty much anyone who has one near their home.

And how cute is that tree with the little presents. Maybe that's what the Daleks were after.  Afterall there is NO WAY Daleks are ever making Santa's 'nice' list.

But every gingerbread house comes to an end and when my merry band of gingerbread artists leave I take stock of my kitchen.  My poor kitchen, where every surface is coated with a thin layer of icing sugar, and my sticky floor is covered in broken sweets and pretzels.

I take it all in, sigh and think how incredibly lucky I am to have this tradition and these amazing people in my life.

If you made it this far - thanks for stopping by and being part of it all.  However you are celebrating the season I wish you all peace and joy.

I'm off to Canada for Christmas and can't wait!

Thursday, 24 January 2013

It's so much fun!

Whenever I start to think that I have no room in my heart, mind or house(!) for another craft obsession one comes along.  And invariably it requires new tools, and supplies and ....  and my latest obsession is no different.

If you had asked me a couple of weeks ago if I had any interest in machine embroidery I would have pondered a second and said 'no'.  But ask me today -- and I'd tell you I can't get enough of it!

My impression of machine embroidery a couple of weeks ago was that it was sort of flowery stuff on towels - and of course it can be - but there is a whole world of designs out there.

They cover pretty much everything you can imagine - and a few things you probably couldn't!

My machine has a simple editing programme that lets me design and edit my own stuff - so I can feed my word crafting obsession in stitching!

Really the possibilities are endless.

Initially I was embroidering anything on any piece of scrap fabric I could get my hands on.  I learned a lot through that (and I'll write a post with my 'tips for beginners' soon) and decided it was time to do something 'real' so I bought a few plain white tea towels and came up with a couple of designs for my friend the Caked Crusader.

I was really pleased with how they turned out.

Learning to correctly position and line up the designs took a bit of research but I think I did pretty well for a beginner!

And today I stitched 3 'Love to'  designs - documenting in thread my obsessions.  I was delighted when I remembered a spare frame I've had hanging around for ages!

I'm considering restitching the designs in different colours (I'm not sure about the green in the Knit design) - but have it hanging in my craft area for now.