Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Free Christmas cupcake wrappers at Food Art Party!

Cover those plain cupcake papers with a pretty wrapper!
Are you thinking ahead for Christmas kitchen gifts?  How about Christmas parties?  If you plan to bake some fabulous cupcakes for these occasions, you will want to take a look at these free printable cupcake wrappers from Food Art Party.  There are ten different designs, from Christmas trees to snowflakes to vintage Bingo cards.  Some of the designs are for winter, not just Christmas, so they are even more versatile and would work for New Year's or any winter occasion.

In fact, I just happened to think, these would also work great as muffin wrappers.  I do have muffins on my short list of kitchen gifts to make, though I do not have cupcakes listed (yet), so I will be printing out some of these to wrap around my muffins for gifting.

You'll find the wrappers here -- Free Printable Christmas Cupcake Wrappers -- along with directions for using them.  Have fun with these!  They will kick your kitchen gifts up a notch, for sure!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

A new Pinterest board

A "kissing ball" made from old Christmas cards
Just wanted to mention that I just started a new Pinterest board titled Crafting for Christmas.  To start, I repinned most of the crafts from my Christmas board onto this one.  I decided I needed to have a separate board for Christmas crafting in order to keep the crafts somewhat separated from other Christmas ideas like decorating, inspiration, etc.  (Some time back I also started a board called Vintage Christmas, since I noticed lots of vintage Christmas images I liked.)  To get to the board, just click the red "Follow Me on Pinterest" button in the sidebar.  From there, you can easily access the Crafting for Christmas board.

 I've been adding Christmas crafts onto this new board as I find them.  You might get some craft ideas from this new board, so be sure and check it out if you enjoy crafting for Christmas as much as I do!   

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Christmas planning ~ a short list of food gifts

I will surely make more than the items on this list at Christmas time.  There are many old favorites that are "must-haves" in our home at this blessed season.  But I have made a short list of food gifts which I am planning to give to specific people.  I thought I would post it here so I don't lose it.

*Hot Cocoa Mix
*Pride of Iowa Cookies
*Bran Muffins
*Eggnog Log Cookies
*Sacher Torte Cookies
*Whipped Shortbread Cookies
*Lemon Pistachio Fudge
*Lemon Ice Candy
*Chocolate Covered Fruit Jelly Candies

It's a great feeling to have this list made.  What about you?  Will you be giving some food gifts this year?  Is your list made yet?

Friday, October 26, 2012

Rudolph Day for October

I remember this scene from a favorite childhood Christmas book!
I didn't accomplish a lot yesterday; I'm really busy trying to make a few handcrafted birthday gifts that need to go out in tomorrow's mail at the very latest.  I'm hoping to observe Rudolph Day tomorrow with some Christmas tea and some planning and crafting.  However, today I did do a few things toward Christmas:

*  Stocked up on flour, sugar, margarine and brown sugar for holiday baking
*  Used up a few things I'd had stored in the freezer, and removed a nearly empty cookie tin, to make more room for Christmas cookies, etc.
*  Bought some plastic bangle bracelets for making some bracelet purses for little girls' Christmas gifts.

That is probably about it, but it did feel great to get those few things accomplished on October 25.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Christmas countdown printable to frame

(Photo by Life {Sweet} Life)
I'm sure we've all seen those nifty little dry-erase message boards made from printables and picture frames.  Under the glass is a menu or family to-do list.  One then uses a dry-erase marker to write in the weekly dinner menu or the necessary chores, directly on the glass.  Next week, a quick wipe erases the information and one can again use a dry-erase marker to repeat the process.  With imagination, a printer and an inexpensive or repurposed picture frame, the possibilities are truly endless.  The clever person who came up with this idea deserves a medal.

Well, thanks to Tip Junkie, I've discovered a Christmas countdown which utilizes the same concept.  Go here to check it out:  Printable Christmas Countdown .  The designer of the countdown offers it as a free printable download in either the red damask (pictured above) or a green polka dot.  What a nice idea!  It isn't quite as much fun for kids as the Advent calendars with the little doors that you open, but it's still a superb idea (especially for households without young children) and I've already downloaded the red damask version.  Maybe you would like to do the same.  Or, if you are gifted at designing, you might like to design and print your very own variation on this theme, maybe even utilizing a family photo for the background.  Have fun!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Baking, beverage, and seasoning mixes for your own pantry or for gifts

Mulled cider mixes are something I make up almost every year.  They make the best mulled cider!
For quite some time now I have had the thought to make up some seasoning mixes as gifts and package them in little homespun fabric bags.  I have done this on a smallish scale in the past, making pumpkin and apple pie spices, and have made plenty of seasoning mixes for my own use. 
These spice mixes are for pumpkin pie spice and apple pie spice.  I packaged these with a pretty pie pan and a little book of my favorite pie recipes.
However,  I haven't had time to do a lot of research into seasoning mixes.

Now I find that someone has done that research for me!  Check out this page at Tipnut:  100-plus Recipes for Homemade Mixes and Seasoning Blends.  I expect to find some great ideas there, and thought others might like to check out the link as well, whether for gifts or just to add to one's own pantry.  Have fun with this list!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Inspiration for stocking your freezer for Christmas!

It won't be long now before I will start baking a few Christmas cookies for the freezer.  This year I will be trying some gluten free recipes to see if I can adapt them to some of my favorite Christmas cookie recipes.  I always try to begin my baking with our first snowfall (usually in November, but sometimes in late October) if I can.

Today in an email from TipJunkie, I found a link to an inspiring post from Money Saving Mom.  Here's the link:  Freezer Cooking for the Holidays

There are lots of great ideas here for freezing not only baked goods, but doughs, mixes, etc. to make your holiday meals and your kitchen gifts simpler and easier.  Doing these simple things ahead (assuming one can find room in the freezer) will free one up from last minute details and give much more time for family fun and paying attention to the true meaning of Christmas.

I'll be trying some of these ideas and I hope they will be helpful to you, as well!