Friday, 31 December 2010

A very happy New Year to you all !

I would like to wish you all a joyfull, happy, magnificent and happy New Year and hope that all your wishes may come true.
These , by the way, are the only champagne glasses I have left of a set of six and from which I will be toasting you all tonight.Thank you for all your support and good wishes and fabulous feedback.
I thought these pretty hideous at the time- but! you can't look a gift horse in the mouth,- and it was a present-  and eventually I got used to the silly spiral climbing up the glass.
The shape is one I prefer for champagne, as I think the bubbles stay in better .
I think I will always be remembered by the father of my best friend as "the lady with the glasses" , as I broke all my champagne glasses apart from these two here above when I served champagne when my best friend, her father and my parents when they were there and all the glasses toppled over on the tray !!
O, well, shards bring happiness as they say in Holland!

A very crunchy biscuit for Christmas and the New Year

These little biscuits, which make great treats to eat at Christmas and the New Year, are  ideal as delicious little dipping biscuits as they are quite hard biscuits with large chunks of hazelnuts.They will keep forever- that is, if you don't eat them straight away!
They are meant to be dunked into a cup of coffee as a snack ( at least that is what the Italians do, and who are we to say doubt this !!).
Try them - they  are super-easy to make and will keep for a long time.
1 cup of whole hazelnuts
2 1/2 cups of flour 
1/2 cup of cocoa powder
1  1/2 cup of Baileys hazelnut liqueur 
pinch of salt
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
4 eggs
1 1/2 cup of  sugar

How to make your biscotti:
Preheat the oven to 175 degrees Centigrade.
Grease two oven trays with butter then sprinkle some flour on it and shake the surplus of the flour off.
Spread the hazelnuts on a oven tray and roast them for about 10 minutes.Take out of the oven, let cool down a bit and rub the skins from the nuts with your hands.If you have cold hands this will warm up your hands no end!
Put toasted hazelnuts aside for later.
Sift flour, cocoa, liqueur, salt, bicarbonate of soda and baking powder in one bowl.
Beat the eggs, beat sugar into the egg mixture, then stir in the flour mixture.
Split the dough you just made in half , sprinkle some flour on your worktop.Put one half of the dough on your worktop, pat it out with your hands, then roll it out with a well-floured rolling pin.( See below).
Sprinkle half of the hazelnuts on the dough , then press them in the dough. Roll the dough lenghtwise, then remove from worktop ( if necessary use spatula), and place on the pre-greased and floured oven-tray.
Repeat the procedure for the  second oven-tray.
Bake for 15 minutes,-  let the baked " loaves"  cool down and then cut  at an angle into slices then put on tray again ( see below). Keep the oven going. 
Bake the slices for 20 minutes, then cool.Make yourself a cappucino, dunk the biscuit and enjoy!
or can add this to your list of quick presents if you get a nice biscuit-tin, and some baking paper
as here below!

New Arrivals- and remembering Harris

The Modern Country Lady team is now extended by the arrival today of two very lively Jack Russell Terrier Cross sisters - Maud and Milly. They are scruffy , adorable and very affectionate and cuddly.
They are  from a lovely dogs-home near us, from which we had our fantastic dog Harris and his lovely friend Sophie, a yellow labrador, who passed away 5 years ago.

Harris went with us everywhere, he was the best dog in the world, the best company in the world  and a fantastic friend and companion in good and bad times and a great character .
He sadly died this June at the age of 15 but we will always remember him with lots of affection and laughter and also the occasional tear because he can no longer be with us.
I look foward to the adventures of Milly and Maud and will keep you in the loop.
At the moment they are having a rest as the whole thing of moving, meeting the other MCL team members and getting to know the place was quite tiring and emotional .
So here's goodnight from Milly..

And here's goodnight from Maud- see you soon.

Wednesday, 29 December 2010

These are a few of my favourite things.. a look back to this year's projects.

I can't believe how fast the time has flown, and that we are almost into the new year.
Thank you for all your support and all your comments- you make it so worthwhile to write this blog !

Here below are my favorite projects from 2010, the ones that gave me the most satisfaction .....

One of the first projects were these garden chairs( which were pretty grim to start with ) - you can read about the solution I came up with and see some "before"  pictures  here
A discarded footstool which was ready to be chucked away , was given some trimmings and made into this -how this was done,  you can read about here

A horrible looking Welsh dresser found by the roadside was transformed into storage for my ever -growing collection of vintage china, read how I did this here
 And with a year-end wrap up, would it really be fair to exclude the holidays?
I just wanted to go for a different feel so came up with a differently carved pumpkin for Halloween- which you can about here

 I think I went a bit overboard with lots of Christmas projects, but I just love Christmas, so I am really pleased to include this

 and also this

 and this
and this

Well , there you have it. Some highlights of 2010 . I’m looking forward to the new year—which includes new projects!  
What a wonderful, amazing year this was!!  It was fun going through old posts, and  I’ve enjoyed every day interacting with all of you,, and I look forward to the New Year as we continue to inspire each other.
Wishing you another amazing year in 2011 ! 

Sunday, 26 December 2010

A very relaxing Christmas.

Christmas memories of beloved pets and thoughtful cards of old friends...
Christmas presents to unwrap..
Thoughtful small tokens of affection from friends far..
and from friends near.
 And unexpected kindness..
And the best present ever..
Has made this for me the most relaxing Christmas I could wish for..
Hope your Christmas was as relaxing and lovely as mine....!

Saturday, 25 December 2010

Ready for Christmas day!

The tree is decorated and done.

The presents are wrapped and done.
And the meringue-chesnut-chocolate cream layer torte is done.
Modern Country Lady HQ is all done and ready for Christmas day !!Some rest and then - let the party begin.
The Modern Country Lady team members are pretty pleased about the progress.

 But are now overcome with fatigue and will check in after the festivities.

Happy Christmas!

Thursday, 23 December 2010

Merry Christmas!

Dearest, dearest , darling blog readers- may your Christmas be merry and bright ,  and thank you so, so much for visiting  my blog-  your encouragement and comments mean such a lot to me, - and I appreciate every single visit and every comment you make .
Christmas is only two days away, and there are still so much to do !! I can't believe time has flown so fast! There are still so many presents to wrap, decorations to hang up and dishes to make !!
This is at my home- I wish ! ( We can all dream- right ! )That tray looks inviting..heehee.
I just thought to share some inspirational images before I sign off for the weekend as my chores are sooo piling up!

Love the colour of this Anna Spiro wreath.

                                              and then these quirky eco- /paper trees from Emily Anderson.

Love all the colours of this season!!

                                And you can't go wrong with a classic set-up- to die for, darling!!!

  So smitten with this absolutely gorgeous seasonal cake from Cocina Diary- what a dream of a cake.
                   And what about sweet paul's Santa cookies - so cute- here below!
                   I’m so looking foward to the New Year and new adventures and new  projects  .
Signing off for the weekend wishing you all a very 
delicious, gorgeous, breathtakingly lovely and especially happy Christmas.

See you after the weekend!!

Wednesday, 22 December 2010

Quick and stylish gift-tags from card or recycled Christmas cards

I don't know about you, but I am still frantically wrapping presents and will be doing this for some considerable time! While I am at this, I thought to share this quick and stylish and super affordable way of making your own gift tags.
Here is how you do it :Fold an A4 sheet double, then fold that in three as below.
Cut one of these three folded strips off, and fold this lenght-wise. Cut the corners off at the top in an angle.

You now have a template you can use on white card for gift tags.
Now for the second stage, the decorating.
Look for some images in sihouette which are Christmas related-  I chose a Christmas tree- see below.You can also go for a silhouette of a reindeer, a star, a bauble or anything Christmassy that takes your fancy.
Print off your image on white paper.
Then cut it out carefully so you can use it as a template.Take some paper you like the colour of, then using the contour of the cut-out shape, run a pen or pencil  all within the contours of the shape you chose- on top of the coloured paper you want to use. You can use coloured paper like below...

Or recycle old Christmas cards  ..
Or go all stylish and monochrome with black card.
That's the option I have gone for this time.
So , are you all finished wrapping presents?
I fear I may be some time, though, as my little helper is unwrapping at the same speed as I am wrapping things up!

Sunday, 19 December 2010

Some more gorgeous present wrapping from recycyled cards

Last week I showed you some ideas for using old Christmas cards, and promised to show some more ideas what else to do, so here it is.
Starting point again, again will be a present in  a box, which this time you wrap in white plain paper as below.
Get some print-outs with shapes of snowflakes which you can find on the internet as here below.
To the left in the back of the picture above you see a white piece of paper, which was folded double, folded double again, then folded in a 45 degrees angle. If you unfold this, you get a piece of paper that will be folded in 8 symmetrical segments.
This will help you with the cutting of the template for the snowflake , so fold your paper as above, then look at the differnt symmetrical snowflake pictures and decide which you like best, then cut this from the white paper .
Unfold your template.
Get some Christmas cards with snowy and glittery or blue parts on it.

Glue this all on a piece of paper and use the template to draw your snowflake on the blue-white paper.
Cut out your snowflake.
Then take some red Christmas cards as below.

Cover front of box with red from the cards as a background.
Glue your snowflake on the front. Use some cookie cutters as templates and cut out some Christmas tree shapes from leftover bits of gold paper from Christmas cards and glue them on the top of the box as below.
Do the same with the back of the box  as what you did with the front.
Do the same with the sides of the box as you did with the top.
Get some ribbons and tie some nice bow around it.
And you're done! Have fun!!