Friday, November 27, 2015

Planning for Christmas baking ...

From a vintage cookbooklet in my collection
Yes, I've begun making a few plans for my Christmas baking.  No baking list as yet, 
~ last year's baking list ~
but hopefully I can get to that soon.  However, I've made two important purchases that are going to make my Christmas baking go more smoothly.

1) I purchased two large bags of the wonderful 1-to-1 gluten-free baking flour from Bob's Red Mill.

This works beautifully in Christmas cookies.  The xanthan gum is already added and it's formulated to work in your regular recipes.  It does not work in breads, but works very well in cookies.  Last year was the first year I'd heard of this flour, and I was so pleased with how it performs.  If you live in New England, I recommend purchasing this in a Market Basket supermarket.  The price is far more reasonable than other sources I've looked at.

2) I bought a new nut chopper!
Photo from King Arthur Flour
I can't even tell you how many years I have needed a new one.  One year, in the midst of Christmas baking, the jar to my old nut chopper broke.  I was in the middle of a recipe and my hubby was in the kitchen at the time.  He suggested using the clean, empty jar from some maraschino cherries I had just used in a recipe to temporarily fill in for the missing jar.  It worked, but it never worked well (one had to hold the chopping mechanism in place on top of the cherry jar).  Still, somehow, I have gone on for years with this makeshift arrangement.  The other day, it toppled out of a cabinet and, of course, came apart.  I decided then and there I had had enough, and I threw both pieces away.  By day's end, I had found a new one on Amazon.  It's the same one in the picture, but is out of stock at King Arthur.  It arrived Tuesday and has already been washed and dried, ready to use!

And I almost forgot this one:
3) Bought two rolls of parchment paper at the Dollar Tree.  I will often make multiple batches and varieties of cookies on a typical day of Christmas baking, so it's really helpful to use parchment paper and not have to wash the cookie sheets until I am all finished for the day.  It was a happy day for me when I discovered parchment paper at Dollar Tree!

Are you thinking about Christmas baking yet?  Have you made any plans?

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

58 days???

Adorable image from The Graphics Fairy

This morning I got an email from Dayspring Cards reminding me that since there are only 58 days until Christmas, I needed to remember to purchase Christmas cards.  I was pretty sure a Christian company like Dayspring wouldn't lie to me, so I did some quick calendar math and found they were right:

 4 days left in October
30 days in November
24 days in December (before Christmas)
58 days

Thankfully, I have already purchased Christmas cards.  (And I bought two boxes of them from Dayspring!)

However, that is only one thing crossed off my list.  This was a good reminder to me that I need to get moving on any handcrafted gift ideas!

Wednesday, September 09, 2015

Links to the felt campfire and s'mores patterns

This little guy looks so at home!
For those who didn't catch it on my regular blog, here are the links to the tutorials I used for the felt campfire and s'mores:

I will start with the roasting sticks and the marshmallows.  There are all kinds of ideas out there, including using dowels for the sticks (not a good idea, I thought) but this is the one I settled on:  Felt Marshmallows and Roasting Sticks.  The sticks are actually chenille stems (pipe cleaners) wrapped in felt casings.

All of the photos below are by grandson Sam, age 11:

The kids set up the campfire surrounded by stuffed animals who are toasting marshmallows.

This shows the drawback of using chenille stems -- maybe a little too much bendability.
But, on the upside, they do look like real sticks.
Just like around a real campfire, some are toasting marshmallows ...
And some are munching s'mores.  Others are just waiting their turn!
The campfire, logs, graham crackers, chocolate bars, and melted marshmallows all came from this tutorial: Felt Campfire and S’mores. As you can see, the campfire is in two pieces so it will be two-sided and three-dimensional.

The only part I had to sort of figure out on my own was the campfire ring of felt "stones".  In retrospect, I sort of wish I had attached the stones together into a ring shape, but I felt it would be more fun for the kids to "build" the fire ring for themselves.

A snail and turtle share a s'more
A Dalmatian munches a s'more
Hope you have enjoyed this look at the felt campfire and accessories.  It does make a great group gift for siblings.  For more felt ideas, check out my Fun with Felt Pinterest board!

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Felt campfire and s'mores!

Animals around the campfire!
This will be a pretty short post.  I just want to share a few pictures of the felt campfire and s'mores I made for the grandkids.  I plan to write a longer, more involved post about it, complete with links to the patterns I used, on my regular blog. 

The kids were nice enough to set up the campfire, complete with stuffed animals toasting marshmallows and enjoying s'mores.  Then Sam (11) took photos!  (Only the next two are mine.  You can easily tell the difference in photo quality!)
I took this pic of a s'more without the lid on, back when I made them.
My marshmallow/stick photo was blurry, but I wanted you to have a closer look at them.
Animals busy toasting their mallows
He looks right at home in this woodsy scene!
So cute.  This guy must be a puppet.
A turtle and snail enjoy their s'mores!
So there are just a few pictures.  For more information, stay tuned and I will soon be putting a post with links and more photos on my regular blog.  If you have grandkids who enjoy campfires and s'mores, this might make a nifty idea for them for Christmas!

Friday, July 31, 2015

One more pretty Christmas card

I just had to close out July by sharing one more pretty Christmas card from my collection.  I'm not sure just how "vintage" it technically is; I believe it's from the 1980s or possibly late 1970s.  The front of the card is all that I have, so there's nothing on the back to go by.

But I love this holly-trimmed lamp post with the flickering red candle inside.  And even more, I love the little snowy village scene in the right background of the picture.  So sweet!

And this wraps up Christmas in July here in my Christmas kitchen.  Hope you've enjoyed the daily posts!

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Christmas teacup poem

This lovely teacup image is from The Graphics Fairy -- a fabulous resource!
In 2005 our dear friends sent us a pretty Christmas card with a detachable bookmark.  The bookmark featured a lovely poem I would like to share with you today.  I have tried to find the author but cannot.  Just know it is not original with me, please.  The artwork on the Christmas card was by Sandy Lynam Clough, so it's very possible the poem is her work as well.  Here it is:

The Christmas Teacup

The pretty little 
teacup was once 
just a lump of clay,
until God's loving fingers
gently molded it one day.

Stronger and more
beautiful the teacup
soon became,
as its true purpose
was defined, no
lifeless clay remained.

So, let's sit down
and share a special
cup of Christmas tea,
and thank the Lord
for all He does to
fashion you and me
into the folks He
had in mind long
before our birth ...
the loved ones Jesus
came to save when He 
came here to earth.

I have saved the bookmark all these years.  Now it is time to share the poem with others!

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Eggnog Coffee Cake -- a great idea for Christmas breakfast

Photo from Crumbs and Chaos
This coffee cake sounds like a  fantastic idea for Christmas breakfast.  Here's the link: Eggnog Coffee Cake.  It's from Becca at Crumbs and Chaos.

This delicious-looking coffee cake contains real eggnog in the cake and in the glaze.  I personally think a good coffee cake is a wonderful addition to any special breakfast, but this one would be perfect for Christmas.  I had pinned it to my original Christmas board on Pinterest long before I had such a thing as a Christmas Breakfast board.  So now I have pinned this Eggnog Coffee Cake to that board, too.  That way I can't lose track of it!  If I find myself with time to bake on a cool summer morning (assuming we have some), I will be trying this recipe out ahead of time!