..One of the best things about having little ones is getting them to make cards and presents on your behalf (only joking.. honest!) Not everyone will appreciate your tot’s efforts but I’ve found this sort of thing goes down very well with family as a lovely little keepsake. Here are two ideas I’ve had Vivienne’s help with this year.
Sharpie Illustrated Mugs
An internet favourite, you’ll have seen versions of this all over Pinterest and lifestyle blogs. I wrote in a mock-‘skinny’ font the name of each recipient (in this case Vivienne’s great grandparents) and asked Vivienne to draw a picture of each of them on the other side of the mug (£1 each from Asda!). Bake for half an hour on high (I used Gas Mark 8) and it’s permanent. Voila!
‘I love you Daddy’ Print
Vivienne’s started drawing fairly accurate pictures of Dav, and everytime he sees her efforts he looks like he might shed a little tear, so I wanted to create something for his study from her as a memory of one of her first drawings that we can then cherish. I prepared a document in a sort of Tiffany-blue colour with white text saying ‘I love you Daddy’ and ‘2012’ in font ‘Mossy’, then printed out using our own printer. Vivienne then drew a picture of Dav and herself in the space, and a big pink heart at her own request next to them. We then chopped it down and framed it before slipping it under the tree ready for Christmas morning.
I made my own caramelised red onion chutney this week to give it time to mature in time for Christmas. I did the same last year as I never know what to get for parents and grandparents, so made Christmas hampers with homemade pate, chutney, peppermint cremes and fudge instead.
I don’t follow recipes (as David will tell you, I must get it from my Grandma Yvonne who always comes up with weird and wonderful concoctions) but I found the following to work pretty well for my chutney:
8 average-size red onions, sliced.
A good knob of butter.
200g of brown sugar.
250ml of red wine vinegar.
I put the sliced onions and butter in the biggest pan I have, they reduce but initially my pan was full to the brim. I read somewhere that you should put onions in a cold pan with oil or butter if you want them to slow cook so they cook gradually and thoroughly, so it takes a while stirring slowly as the butter melts and covers the onions. It takes FOREVER but I put the hob only just above the lowest setting so the mix cooks really, really slowly. I stirred occasionally and let the onions sweat and slow-cook for a good hour and a half before adding the sugar and vinegar. I turned up the heat slightly and let it cook for a good half hour longer, until the mix goes thick and sticky.
I wanted jars for the mix, but refuse to pay over the odds for clean empty ones.. I went to the supermarket and bought their own brand mint sauce (about 22p a jar) then emptied them out, cleaned them, soaked off the labels and steralised them ready for the chutney.
I filled them up and then made some labels using brown paper, white sticky back address labels, a felt pen, some twine and a fineliner. You can see that V decorated her own too..
How did Christmas come around so quickly…?