Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Handmade Christmas update

Christmas with my family doesn't happen until New years day, but I thought I would share my progress with my handmade gifts for the nieces and nephews.

For the two pre-teens and one five year old niece I made Organza flowers following this tutorial on Reesedixon.com I am so pleased with how they came out. The best part is that I had all of the components on hand. The organza came from my fabric stash, and the seed beads from an old bracelet that I had taken apart years ago.
Then, I glued them to some inexpensive satin headbands that I purchased. And here is the final result:

I adore them! I hope my nieces love them as much as I do.

Next, for my nephew and 13 year old niece (who would never wear a flowery headband!), I made these duct tape wallets. I had one of these (that I bought! How silly) when I was younger, and I remember how cool I thought I was, so I thought that they would like them.
Even the bug detail is tape. I used a scrapbooking punch to make the cutouts, and used to voids along the bottom. I'm thrilled with how they turned out!

So, I have one gift left to complete. 2 year old PJ's crochet hat. Yes, I'm crocheting again! after a two year hiatus, it only took me a few minutes to get back into the rhythm, and I've already completed one scarf and most of his little hat.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Peanut Butter Balls (Buckeyes)

(Far Right in photo)

These have been on my Christmas rotation since I was kid. Easy and delicious!

2 Cups powdered sugar
1 cup peanut butter
1 (12 oz) package chocolate chips
1/2 cup butter, softened (but not runny)
3/4 cup graham cracker crumbs

Combine all ingredients except for chocolate. Mix until well blended. Roll into small balls. Stick toothpicks in balls, then refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
Melt chocolate chips on double broiler. Dip peanut butter balls in chocolate. remove toothpicks and store in a cool place.

(refrigerating the balls with the toothpick inside is a little tip to make dipping easier. the toothpicks stay in much better!)

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Spritz Cookies

I've always been fascinated by Spritz cookies, I didn't know that they were made from a press until a few years ago. I thought it was some cookie mould that would be very time consuming...

Anyways, the Wilton press was on sale at JoAnn's last week, and I couldn't resist. I love these cookies! I can't wait to try out new variations (I saw one where a spritz was pressed on top of a round cookie-so cute!)

Basic Spritz Cookies
1 1/2 cups butter
1 cup granulated sugar
1 egg
2 tbs milk
1 teas vanilla
1/2 teas almond extract
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teas baking powder
Also, the cookies pictured are my "seconds". I'd already packaged up the "firsts" to give to friends and coworkers. The cookie press is definitely worth the $6 I paid for it! :)

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Russian Tea Cookies (Snowballs)

I've had these every Christmas as far back as I can remember. This recipe comes from my Grandmother, and it could not be easier (or more delicious). Now, I use margarine for these, because that's what her recipe says. Don't hate the margarine cookies, they really are awesome!

Sift together 2 cups flour, 1/4 cup sugar and 1/2 teas salt. Then add 1 cup soft margarine (not runny!) and 2 teas vanilla. Blend with pastry cutter. add in 1 cup finely chopped pecans. Roll into balls. Bake at 325 for 25 minutes.

Remove and cool for 5 minutes, then roll in powdered sugar. They keep really well if you store them in an airtight container with powdered sugar.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

20 Minute tree skirt

Last week, in a rush to find something to hide the ugly base of my fake Christmas tree, I bought this "drape" from the dollar store. It was okay, but just looked like fabric wrapped around the base of my falsey.
But yesterday I saw this tree skirt on the blog Shanty2Chic. How Cute is that?! I love it.
So, after my movie was over last night it was still to early to go to bed, so I decided to use my dollar store drape to make a ruffle tree skirt.
The result: (click to enlarge)
Not bad! It only took 20 minutes, and I didn't use a pattern (not like I had invested a ton of money into it!)
Also, at first I was jealous of the ruffle foot on Shanty2Chic's sewing machine, but as I was sewing in a very loose top stitch on the ruffle (to pull to make the ruffle) somehow my machine began pulling it and created the ruffle! I was probably way more excited about that than I should be. And, by some twist of fate, the ruffle was the perfect size.
This will probably be a one year tree skirt, as next year we're hosting Christmas for my family, so I plan on getting a giant real tree, which will need a bigger better skirt. This was great practice though, and I'm really happy with it!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Dead Air

I know it's been a little quiet around here. I haven't been spending much time in my kitchen but I'm sure I'll be back in there soon, especially with my annual candy making day coming up this weekend!
I promise to have new and exciting posts up soon.