Let’s Be Pen Pals

Well hello lovely friends, it’s so wonderful to be back. I needed to take a few weeks off blogging to give myself a little creative breathing space. I enjoyed slowing down and even managed to do a few recipe shoots, so keep an eye out in the New Year for some delicious Summery baked treats.

During my time off, I was approached by Esther, the Editor of Confetti Fair magazine, asking if I would like to contribute to the latest Christmas mini magazine. Umm yes!

All year I had wanted to drag this delicious dresser out into some Christmas tree farm to do a photo shoot, and now I had my chance to bake up cinnamon scented goodies to photograph. While I conceded that my chances of finding pine trees in our sub tropical surrounds were slim, my hopes of roping dear hubby into loading this hardwood timber dresser into the trailer for me to take photos of cakes were even slimmer. God bless him, he is awesome, but following his wife around the countryside lugging heavy furniture is not his favourite thing to do. He does do it though, being the dear heart that he is.

Isn’t it fabulous though?! With the vintage looking hot air balloons painted on the front in rich, Christmasey colours, I knew at once that I had found my inspiration for the Christmas shoot. Plus, it actually looks pretty gorgeous up against the sunshine yellow walls of our sunroom. (Who needs a Christmas tree farm anyway.)

Because the dresser is so busy and the wall so bright, I needed to keep the backdrop simple. I didn’t want it to interfere with the complexity of the display. Two old windows I found at the tip shop were perfect, as they allowed the yellow to peek through while still adding interest and height to the table. Tying three cookies around one of the windows prevented it from looking too plain.

The more I looked at the colours on the dresser, the more inspired I became to create a tasteful Australian themed dessert table. I could see native bush flowers, gum nuts, kangaroo paws and a celebration of the green and gold that symbolises our heritage. Over the years I have often wondered how we could ‘Australianise’ Christmas when we are swamped by so much Winter wonderland from the Northern Hemishphere. I cringe every time I see Santa on a surfborad or, heaven help us, in board shorts! Surely there is a better way to reclaim Christmas for the land Down Under.

And so I set about to fill my display with beautiful native flowers and sweet daisies that might be found freshly picked from a wild paddock. Raiding my vintage prop collection I used rusty tins and tool boxes, old scales and checked thermoses, to create a Christmasey feel.

There are of course, some elements of a traditional Christmas that we all love. To me, Christmas simply isn’t Christmas without gingerbread cookies, tartan checks and reindeer. As the display is quite busy looking, I wanted to keep the sweet treats fairly plain. Rustic cookies adorned the top of a naked cake, surrounded by fresh rosemary and star anise, creating a whimsical woodland feel. Tying tartan ribbon around gingerbread cookies dressed them up a bit and brought cohesion to the colour scheme.

Perhaps the star of the show was the red velvet feature cake decorated with dried orange slices. The vibrant colour spoke to me of sunshine and seemed fitting for the theme.

Finally, a dessert table is not complete without cupcakes. I confess I ‘m a sucker for gingerbread flavoured treats, especially at Christmas time and tend to incorporate them into pretty much everything. For this display I made spicy gingerbread cupcakes with honey Swiss meringue buttercream. Oh yes, they were as delicious as they sound. Topped with cute gingerbread star cookies tied with string and set in a gorgeous vintage holder, they certainly looked the part sitting there all proud of themselves!

This dessert table was quite easy to set up and could easily be adapted to your own style using whatever you have in your home. All I baked were cookies, cupcakes and two cakes. You could even use store bought treats and tie a bit of ribbon around them to dress them up. I hope I can inspire you to set up a little table of goodies for your family to enjoy this Christmas. The kids will love it!

As for this Mama Bear, Christmas is upon us in three more sleeps! How exciting. I absolutely adore everything about Christmas and cannot wait to have all of my chickies home in the nest to love on them and share in the festive joy.

Thanks again to all of you who have popped in to see what I’m up to here in Mama Bear’s Kitchen. I have had a wonderful year creating content for my little blog and hope you will stay around to see what I get up to in the New Year. For now, I hope you enjoy some down time with your dear ones and remember all the blessings God has bestowed on us all this Christmas season. xx

1 comment

  • Judy sellwood

    Hi Anna, I have just found this post through issuu, I followed the trail and found your website. I absolutely adore this take you have on Australianising Christmas. Stunning photos, gorgeous styling. Love, love , love it. I have started an online , sometimes pop up Christmas store from Melbourne. I am excited to find someone that wants to eembrace an Australian style minus the Santa in boardshorts.

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