Ralfie and Jemima

Ralfie and Jemima

Thursday, 24 November 2016

Caramel Cottage

Remember how Julie and Hester didn't want to do "too much" decorating in A Home for Fudge, just "a little" so that Fudge would feel more comfortable inside his new house? Weeeell...
Let's see how that turned out...


I guess they might have gone a teensy little bit overboard...

The autumn wreath on the left is the one Hester made during our crafting session. Giving Fudge the little red book about gnomes was Julie's idea, as well as the telephone you can see on the right and the bag of orange sweets. The grumpy looking plant on the table is a potted mandrake called Crabbie Carlie who was another donation of Hester's, as well as the red candle, vase, twigs and autumn leaves. The jack-o'-lantern cut-out on the window is a gift from the Peachblossoms. Finally, I made Fudge a special little welcome gift, too. I wove him a green and orange felt carpet, because I didn't want him to get cold paws when sitting in his armchair.

On the morning after Fudge's arrival he hadn't even seen his living room and kitchen yet, because he had been sooo tired that Julie and Hester had tucked him into bed immediately. So imagine his surprise when he got up in the morning, went downstairs and saw all this.

"Pickles! Oh Pickles!" he exclaimed. He couldn't say much at first, because he was so overwhelmed at the sight. Then he went towards Hester's wreath to look at the little hedgehog figurine. 

"Pickles, do you remember the story of "A Little Princess"?  Where Sara and Becky wake up one morning and their cold and empty attic room has been turned into a room of luxury? Doesn't this feel similar?" whispered Fudge as he caressed Pickles' ear.

"Look here, Pickles! There are even some Halloween candies stuck between these branches. And it's not even Halloween yet!!" 

Pickles' mouth started to water in anticipation.

"This is the second time since our arrival in Riverside, that I have to rub my eyes because I can't believe what I'm seeing..." Fudge managed to say before choking up. Pickles the dragon sniffled in agreement.

Oh dear... How were these two going react when they saw the kitchen with all the delicious foods?? 
As Hester imagined Fudge to be quite a gourmet, she had bought him imported asparagus and mushrooms at the market. Other Sylvanians had donated cocoa powder, canned peaches, chocolate bars, bread, cheese and flower, coffee, butter and condensated milk. Also, there was a large pumpkin standing on the stove and a freshly baked chocolate toffee cake...

To my relief the two did not break out in a concert of tears. Instead, Fudge did a little happy dance and Pickles jumped onto the cupboard next to the cake and let out a contented sigh. "We are going to have cake now," he thought.

"I think we should call our new home Caramel Cottage! Wouldn't you agree, Pickles? Because it's just as sweet and delightful as caramel!" Pickles nodded and pointed toward the cake. "We have some?" he whispered.

Then Fudge saw the pumpkin. "Looook! Our own pumpkin! We can make pumpkin soup from this! And pumpkin pie! And maybe even pumpkin toffee!" Now Pickles was done waiting. He picked up the knife and started to cut the cake. 
"Pickles!" Fudge exclaimed and the little dragon froze. " I just remembered, I don't know how to cook... Oh dear... no pumpkin toffee for us... Unless... We could ask Hester and Julie for some cooking instructions and some recipes!"

Then Fudge remembered something else. "Wasn't there something lying at the foot of the bed this morning? Let's check that out!" 
Pickles sighed. He knew then that the cake would have to wait. As well as his poor empty dragon tummy.

Back upstairs Pickles saw that Fudge was right. There really was something at the foot of the bed. And this something was wrapped in a red ribbon. "It's a present, Pickles! Another one!" 
Pickles' tail whipped to and fro in nervous anticipation. Maybe this something was filled with chocolate brownies or caramel truffles or Halloween cupcakes!

What do you think is inside the package?

Thursday, 17 November 2016

Blog Giveaway at Orangine's

Here it is, finally, the post about my giveaway! Orangine Peachblossom was so friendly to host it at her house. As you can imagine, Teresa Babblebrook and her have become good friends since the workshop on All Hallows' Eve, so she came along, too.
Back in October Orangine had made some colourful truffles. It was a "Halloween Special Limited Edition" and sold out as quickly as you can say "yum!". Luckily for us, so many Sylvanians asked her for more that she decided to make another batch  and promised to donate some for the giveaway!

Paul is a fan of his mom's chocolates, too... 

"Mother, mother! Please, can I have another packet too, PLEASE??" he said, jumping up and down in front of her. 

"Paul, you silly little cub! You haven't even eaten the packet I gave you on Halloween yet," Orangine answered and smiled.

As you can see, Paul's Halloween truffles were lovingly displayed in the living room cabinet, still waiting to be eaten.

While I'm at it, why don't I show you some more photos of the Peachblossoms' living room?

Here is Paul a few days before, relaxing on one of the settees. Behind him is the Peachblossoms' Christmas tree. They have gotten it early this year, but haven't decorated it yet.

And here is what the living room usually looks like, when Mother isn't wrapping up handmade chocolates. Little Ralfie Hazelnut came for a visit that day. Isn't it adorable that he's smaller than Aster, the Peachblossoms' cat? 

Finally, here  is Portia and Paul's crafting table next to the living room cabinet. Ever since the workshop, Orangine has been using it to display her apple potion, certificate, healing moss and magical broom proudly for everyone to see.

Now back to our giveaway. When Orangine had finished wrapping all the chocolates, she and Teresa cleared away the worktable and somebody knocked on the door. It was Teresa's younger sister Tanya Babblebrook! (I've never mentioned it, but Teresa has MANY brothers and sisters...)

Tanya has been working as a trainee at SCMCB (Santa Claus's Magical Christmas Bakery, duh!) in Finland for the past year and has now come back to Riverside to look for a job elsewhere. She brought along a small tree, three large sparkly snowflakes, a tray of fresh homemade cinnamon cookies and a Christmas cake made of chocolate and cream. 

Suddenly they heard loud chewing noises and something small and green scurried into the living room. Crunch, crunch, crunch, swallow.
"Oh, I almost forgot him!" giggled Tanya. "Santa asked me to take little Munchie with me. He hopes he will learn better manners and discipline wherever we are going next."

Munchie jumped on the table, smacked his lips and swallowed another piece of his cookie. 
"Want a bite?" he asked Tanya rather gloomily. "No, thank you," she said. This made him smile again, since he had only asked her, because Santa had told him to always be generous to others.

So, in case you haven't realised until now: Tanya in her red woollen dress with the dotted bow and all her Christmas goodies are actually part of the giveaway. :) Munchie, the gluttonous Christmas elf is coming along, too. Sorry, about that, but it's Santa's orders, I can't do anything about it!! :/

Here is a picture of the entire giveaway. You will get everything you see on this photo and the only thing you have to do is:

1. be a regular comment writer on my blog,
2. leave a comment telling me you would like to take part and
3. post this photo on your main blog page, linking to the giveaway. 

The winner will be drawn on December 15th. 

Tanya's beautiful dress was made by the talented Jill.

The Christmas biscuits, cake and Munchie the elf were made by me. 

The Halloween truffles with their golden packaging were also made by me and they have a special feature included, but unfortunately my camera did not cooperate, so I can't show it to you. The special feature is that the white chocolate is made from glow-in-the-dark fimo, so if you hold a torch to them for a moment and then turn off the lights, they will actually glow. :)



Saturday, 5 November 2016

Midnight, Moonlight and Magic (Pt 2)

It was a month before Halloween and high time for Hester Hogwart to find a venue for her magical workshop. She still hadn't found the right place and time was ticking. She had to send out the invitations next week or surely none of the women would be free to participate!

She was walking through a remote part of the woods and just starting to question her endeavour when she arrived at a magnificent clearing. 

"This is it!" she rejoiced. She loved the place. It was surrounded by two large black trees and several pumpkin patches. The soil underneath her feet felt soft as it was covered by a thick layer of moss. Hester felt intensely happy now. She had found the perfect spot!

Now maybe you might be wondering why Hester is interested in teaching a seminar on a night as special as Halloween when she could go trick-or-treating with her children, or taking a trip on her broom along with her magical sisters. Well, I guess you could say Hester is on a mission. 

She feels that even nowadays witches are being stigmatised in certain parts of sylvanian society as being evil, troublemakers, or simply quirky to an extreme. Her wish is to bring magic closer to the average sylvanian woman, and thus dispel all kinds of prejudice concerning the wizarding world. And what better timing for such an event than All Hallows' Eve when magic is all around?

On the evening of the 31st Hester and Hamish arrived at around 8 pm to prepare. They brought a worktable and chairs and had to organise all the utensils, candles and jars and bowls containing ingredients. 

Hester's basket was filled with moss and paper scrolls. One of them stuck out. They were certificates she had made for the participants which they would receive after the completion of the course.

"And I believe we're done, Hester," said Hamish after placing the last item on the table. It was nearly nine o'clock.

"Thank you Ham," Hester said and gave her husband a kiss on the snout. 

"Good luck dear and have a lovely time," said Hamish as he left.

Hester was nervous. She started to talk to her broom and warm him up a little, but she didn't get very far as the participants arrived early.

"Ladies...!" she exclaimed and the rest of her greeting got stuck inside her throat because she was so touched that they had followed her instructions and had bought warm clothing and a broom!  

The participants were Julie Periwinkle (Jemima's mom) in a grey dress, Orangine Peachblossom (confectioner and mother of Portia and Paul) in a pink dress and Julie's best friend Teresa Babblebrook (kindergarten teacher and mother of five) in a  dark blue one.

Then followed lots of friendly kissing on cheeks...

...and a whole lot of oohing and aahing over the sparkly woollen dresses.

Hester knew they would be working to a very tight schedule, so they got right to it. 

First of all Hester explained to them what it meant to be part of the wizarding world and that there were rules all witches and wizards were expected to follow.

During the second lesson she showed them how to collect and distinguish different kinds of healing moss. Teresa enjoyed this lesson a lot and listened intently. She felt it was a very practical thing for her to know since she dealt with little children that tend to fell down and scrape open their knees during playtime.

Next was a lesson in crystal ball gazing. 
Each mom got a chance to practice.

The moon shone down upon the ladies as Hester started to talk about potion ingredients. On the table in front of her lay a dead frog, a dead mouse and a magic mushroom. The women were surprised and happy to hear that Hester only used ingredients of animals that had died of old age; she never actually killed animals for her potions. "Most people aren't aware of this," she explained, "but you can be a witch and an animal lover."

After chopping up the dead frog they had a Herbology class during which they ate Hester's homemade bat cookies and drank some witchy juice. (I'm not sure what it was made of, but Julie downed two glasses.)

The ladies were starting to realise that a witch needed to be well educated in so many different subjects.

Next on the list was a lesson in fortune telling using ancient tarot cards and candles.

Then followed a little seance using Hester's ouija board and planchette. For those of you who don't know, a seance is a session to make contact with the spirit realm. The front of a ouija board contains all the letters of the alphabet. During a seance all participants touch the little wooden pointer called a planchette and this enables the spirit to talk to them through the board. 
Excuse my bluntness, but Teresa, Julie and Orangine were so giddy and fearful during the session, they almost peed their pants

Hester allowed Herbie the rat to witness the seance from the table. He looked up from his cheese now and then in a casual manner. He didn't give a hoot about contacting the dead.

Finally it was time to grab their brooms. Hester told them how important it is to have a good realtionship with your broom. It must be talked to and used regularly or else it will get bored and suffer from depression. You may caress its bristles, polish its handle and never ever leave it outside in the rain, or it might get mouldy.

Then there was a Q&A session during which Orangine pointed to the bristles of her broom and said, "Part of broomie's bristles seem to be cut off. I only realised this after I had bought it. Is it a bad thing? Would you go back to the store and exchange it?" 

Hester shook her head. "Oh no, I wouldn't consider this a flaw at all. On the contrary, it gives him personality. He should be able to perform just as well as the others." 

Orangine was relieved.

After the Q&A Hester showed the ladies how to mount their brooms. This was a rather wobbly business and they felt quite awkward. Since their brooms were actual magic brooms, they started to hover as soon as they put their legs around the handle. It's like learning to ride a bike or roller skating for the first time. You have to develop a feel for it and learn to keep your balance.

"Now, I won't teach you girls to fly around tonight, because it would be irresponsible of me after just one lesson in mounting and with no further training." Julie, Orangine and Teresa were first disappointed and then relieved. What a blessing to have a friend and tutor that was safety-conscious. None of them was keen to return home with a swollen ankle. 

The highlight of the evening came with Hester's flying performance. She sat on her broom so serenely and controlled it so well. She looked like a fish swimming in water. It was magical and very, very beautiful and the ladies had to wipe away a tear or two.

Last but not least they were asked to each cook a potion or brew they could take home. They were allowed to flip through Hester's recipe books. 

Hester decided to make it a competition. The winner would receive another flying lesson

Julie, Orangine and Teresa were keen to make use of what they had learnt during that evening. Julie decided to cook tentacle soup, as it had always fascinated her, ever since she had been to Hester's house and seen it simmer on her stove. Teresa made some slime punch. She wanted to cook something she considered particulary exotic in order to impress her children. Orangine was making something that contained apples. What was she doing??

While the three of them were leaning over their cauldrons Hester was cooking bone soup. It steamed and hissed. 

It wasn't hard to choose a winner when the ladies had finished their brews. While Teresa and Julie had worked very conscientiously, the clear winner was Orangine who had actually managed to come up with a recipe of her own. 

She had merged a recipe for poison apples with another one containing antidotes for all kinds of venoms to create a healing apple brew! This way you could eat an apple and heal yourself from a snake or a spider bite!

Hester was ecstatic to have such a creative mind in her group. And Julie and Teresa couldn't wait to  congratulate her.

"Well done, my dear! Well done!!" said Hester. Orangine beamed with pleasure.

"Thank you. Thank you so much! You know, at first I wasn't sure whether I should attend the workshop. I thought I would make a fool of myself. But now I am so happy! I've truly enjoyed myself tonight, gotten a thrilling insight into something totally new and also made new friends!"

It was the best compliment Hester could have wished for.

They collected all the cauldrons and utensils and hid them underneath a large bush for the night because they were too tired to carry everything back to Hesters'. It was very very late at night, or should I say very early in the morning??

They had a group hug and promised to keep in touch.

Finally the ladies walked home. They  felt very tired and very fulfilled. They were all holding their certificates, except Hester who was carrying Herbie and his beloved loaf of cheese.

*** THE END ***

I hope you have all enjoyed this story.  

Please note that I will soon be posting a giveaway
so if you enjoy my blog posts and featured items  

stay tuned!! :)

A special thank you to Jill for the gorgeous woollen dresses 

and to Heike for the four magnificent witchy cauldrons!