Wednesday, 4 December 2013

My Advent Calender At Last... :)

Sorry this post has been a long time coming everyone... the subject of this post is in fact the reason I have not been on for a while.  :)

I really enjoy the book by Rosie Boom Where Lions Roar at Night.  The short of the book is that a New Zealand family - Mum, Dad and their six children - move into a 100 year old barn as they set up their farm.  I would highly recommend the book.  It is sweet, touching, cringe-worthy and downright hilarious by turns.

While flicking through it a couple of weeks ago, I was inspired by Rosie's Advent calender patch-work quilt.  I promptly decided that I would make one too.  Why not???  :P

This proved a little more difficult than I first anticipated.  After all, it isn't easy to come up with twenty-five different motifs for the front of each pocket.  I realized that this was a bigger project than I could achieve in less than a fortnight, so I roped two of my tired, reluctant sisters into it as well and pushed their love for me to the limit by nagging then to hem for me.  (OK, I am exaggerating a bit, but I did nag... :P)

The week before it was due to be hanged - I mean, hung up ;) - I made the chocolate, because (as I told Mum later - you just can't have an Advent calender without chocolate.  That presents a small problem in our family, because we don't eat sugar.  Luckily, we have a recipe for sugar free dairy free chocolate.  I have put the recipe here in case any of you are interested...

Sugar-Free Chocolate  (From The Sweet Poison Quit Plan by David Gillespie)

80g cocoa butter (available from health food stores)
1/3 cup cocoa powder
1 cup dextrose (available from the home-brewing section of Big W.  I found that I needed a bit extra dextrose here as the chocolate came out really dark.  I like dark chocolate, but this was extreme!)
1 cup of water

To make the dextrose syrup, put the dextrose and water into a small saucepan and stir over medium heat until the dextrose has dissolved and the mixture is well combined.  Put the cocoa butter into a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of boiling water and stir until melted.  Ad the cocoa powder and 1/4 cup of the dextrose syup and stir until melted and well combined.  Pour the chocolate mixture into tablespoon-sized chocolate moulds. refrigerte for 2-3 hours or until set.  Store in an airtight container for up to two weeks.

Or, if you're like me, you will wrap each chocolate in foil and put them in pockets on the advent calender for twenty-five days... :P

I was rushing to finish the sewing in the week leading up to the first of December, but didn't quite make it.  I went up on the second and Mum and the younger kids were really very impressed by it (they hadn't known about it.)  When Rose first sawit in the dining romm under the clock, she stopped short in the kitchen staring.  "WOW!" was all she could get out at first.  I put on the innocent. 
"What is it, Rosie?"  I asked.
She kept her eyes on the dining room wall.  "It is so pretty," she explained.  :)

So that it the story of me creating an Advent Calender.  It was lots of fun.  If you have made on e ar do make one one day, I would love to see pictures if you drop me a message...  :)

Oh, the photos... I have included some of the calender as a whole and then some individuals of my favourite patches.  If they look misshapen, that's because I had already 'stuffed' them when I took the photos (a chocolate and a Christmas Bible verse on a card in each pocket).  Also, if number 19 (second row on the far right) looks like it has been sewn on crooked, that's because it was.  :P 

God bless you all in this festive season!  :)