Thursday, 15 December 2011

My New Hobby or should I say Obsession is....


It must be nearly thirty years since I did any knitting worth speaking of, but I started knitting some party collars for my Doggy Dazzler customers to wear at Christmas and now I can't stop! The collars are on my website and my new Etsy shop, Lyncrafts.

So then I started to knit miniature clothes for the woolly celebrity Lurcher SOS dogs - yes, I lost the plot long ago! Myrtle and her brother, Merlin go on holiday with loopy people like me, to raise awareness and funds for Lurcher SOS.

After that, I thought it would be nice to make some human winter warmers, as it's turned rather chilly lately. My first need was for legwarmers, and I found luxurious, soft Alpaca wool in these heavenly colours. I love random wool.

I'm now hurrying to make presents for certain family members, which I can't put on here till after Christmas, for obvious reasons. Then, after Christmas, I want to start making nice things for my Etsy shop (see above).

Thursday, 8 December 2011

Christmas Cake - Yum!

The Christmas cake was made a week or two ago...

Unfortunately, it got a little dark around the edges! I have fed it today, but I'm worried about the burnt bits tasting bitter. I may cut the worst bits off, before I cover it.

I always make Nigel Slater's recipe, as it is the fruitiest, most delicious Chrissy cake I have ever eaten. I found it in a magazine some years ago, and not having been thrilled with any before, I instantly fell in love with this one. It is filled with all the yummy dried fruits you can ever want and whole almonds, and now I can't wait till Christmas! The only way I differ from Nigel's recipe, is that I soak the fruit overnight in the juice and brandy.

I'll make my own almond paste and royal icing, as always, then rough ice it in crunchy little peaks with robins and snowmen added for the children. My mum always did this and I like to carry on the snowscene tradition - plus I hate fondant icing and can't smooth ice to save my life!

Friday, 2 December 2011

A Doggy Christmas Story

Please read the story below - copied from Lurcher SOS.   If it makes one more person consider taking an older dog out of a rescue this winter, and giving him/her a nice warm forever home, the anonymous author will have done a great job.

Ollie - In the care of The Oldies Club
If only all wishes came true....

Toby knew what he wanted for Christmas. The same thing everyone here wanted. A ring!

Christmas was close, he could feel it. Ribbons were hung on the walls, and there were special treats with dinner. More people came by to visit, and everybody was in a good mood. Except Emmett. When Toby shared with Emmett his Christmas wish, Emmett just shook his head.

"Toby, you and I don't get rings," he said. "Look at us, a couple of losers who were given up on. It's the youngsters that get rings."

Toby looked at his reflection in his water dish. There was gray on his muzzle and along the tips of his ears. It was true he couldn't play fetch like he used to. And his legs hurt when he walked too much. But he could still race to the front door when he heard it swing open, wagging his tail like a pup, and go on a slow walk around the block, sniffing here and there. And how he loved to curl up at the foot of the bed, keeping watch during the night.

But those were the old days. Now he was here, with Emmett instead of with ...

"See, here we go again," Emmett said, as puppies up and down the long hallway yapped and barked, a sign that people had just arrived. Emmett stretched out on the concrete next to his water dish. "Wake me when it's over."

Toby peeked through the gate and saw a little boy and girl walking slowly his way. They stopped in front of almost every kennel, and sometimes they would kneel in front of one and laugh. Toby wished them closer, his tail wagging. He knew if they saw him, then maybe . . . just maybe . . .

"Don't get your hopes up," said Emmett, his eyes still closed. "You'll only be disappointed."

Toby looked down the hall. The woman in the blue shirt who brought food every day was opening one of the gates. A brown puppy bounded out and into the arms of the girl, who squealed with delight.
From her back pocket, the woman in the blue shirt brought out a ring, pale gray, just like all the rings. She slipped it over the puppy's head.

"Everyone wants cute and adorable," Emmett said as he heard the door close, knowing what surely had happened. "Years ago we were cute and adorable. No more."

But it was Christmastime, Toby thought. Things are different at Christmastime. There is happiness. There is cheer. There is hope.

Toby remembered when he had a home and a bed and a yard and a person who loved him. But one day people came and they were crying, and the next day he was here. Now all he wanted was a ring, again.

Emmett opened an eye when the barking started again but closed it as he stretched out. Toby pressed his muzzle to the gate and wished again.

"It's Christmastime," he said. "A season for miracles."

He saw the woman in the blue shirt, and she had by the elbow a man walking very slowly down the aisle. They were talking, but Toby couldn't hear them over the barking. They came closer. And closer. Almost, thought Toby. Almost. Toby squeezed his eyes shut. He wished harder than he had ever wished before.

"Hey, fella, what's your name?" Toby heard. He opened his eyes.

Toby noticed the man had gray around his muzzle and more gray around his ears. He was bent over slightly, and Toby noticed a cane holding the man up.

Toby wagged his tail and put his paw on the gate, and when he did, it opened.

The woman in the blue shirt reached behind her. There in her hand was a ring. Gray, like all the rest. But the man shook his head. Please, Toby wished. Please.

The man reached behind him and pulled out his own ring. It was red and had green and gold stones that glittered in the light. He slipped it over Toby's head. Toby was going home.

"C'mon, boy," the man said. "Cute and adorable, you are. Lots of life left in you, fella."

As Toby placed one paw outside the kennel, he stopped for just a little. Lowered his head for just a little. Glanced behind him for just a little. The man looked at Emmett, and Emmett looked at the man.

"That one, too, if it's OK," the man said. "Looks like a set I'd hate to break up. My home may be a bit small, but my heart is big enough." The woman in the blue shirt took the ring and slipped it over Emmett's head.

And that's when Toby knew Christmas miracles do happen.

Emmett wagged his tail and spun in a circle and barked. Just as if he were a puppy.


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