December 30, 2009

One sweet iPod

I’m finally back. I see that Penny did a nice job of filling you in while I was baking, wrapping, entertaining, cooking, laughing, enjoying and eating…way too much eating. And like she said, two days after we’re Merry Christmasing, it’s time for Happy Birthday. ahhhhh yes…the Christmastime Birthday syndrome…Ours is a cute 11 year old girl who happens to now own a green iPod.

So here’s a peek at the cake I came up with to kick off her year. Simple…really. Just a cake baked in a rectangular 9″ x 13″ pan and frosted in iPod green with white and black for the details. The little wires are red licorice left over from the Rudolphs and the ear buds are mounds of white icing with a few details piped in black. Granted everything would look sleeker in fondant, but for taste we all prefer plain old buttercream icing.

Off the subject of cake, are iPods A*M*A*Z*I*N*G or what??! I remember my black/no color Walkman…kindoflike having a stereo attached to your waist. And those
headphones?!? (I’m betting very few birthday cakes were modeled on that technology.) More confirmation that Mom and Dad truly lived with the dinosaurs.
Filed Under: baking, kids
December 28, 2009

my first Christmas

errr…hi there.
I’ve been asked to drop in and let you know that all is well. This is my first December. They told me that things would be chaotic, but I had no idea. Makes me want to hide under a bed if I wasn’t so curious. Paper and lights and people and shiny things and food…
Speaking of which, I used my big eyes and best manners to get a taste of that ham. delicious. Then somebody (one of the short ones) spilled a whole cup of chocolate milk that nobody but me noticed ;> )
And just when I thought things had mellowed out one of them had a birthday. More paper, more people, more noise, more food. Anyway, I’m here to pass on wishes for a warm, wonderful holiday season. She said she’ll be back soon (hopefully…I’m not so fond of typing.)
I need to go now and find a quiet spot for a long, cozy nap.
XXOOXX Penny
Filed Under: Uncategorized
December 20, 2009

A whimsical Christmas tree dishtowel

Using the same basic construction as outlined in my playful dishtowel tutorial, I sewed up another dishtowel especially for the season.

First, I gathered fabrics and trims. The Christmasy fabric in the bottom left hand corner was the inspiration for the other colors in my fabric palette.

After I settled on fabrics, I drew my basic design. The simple pattern shapes are meant to compliment fabrics that have a little more going on.

Laying the pattern pieces aside, both edges of the dish towel received a fancy border. I also added a red ribbon to conceal the edges of the ruffle trim. (BTW the red ribbon seen in the finished hand towel replaced the originally selected brown trim in the fabric collecting picture…and while it may have been easier to just take a new photo of what ended up being the final fabrics/trims, I thought proof of changes mid-project was comforting. Sewing is nothing to sweat about. And I can say that now that I’ve been sewing for almost a whole year. ; )

Now the fun part…the canvas of the piece. I used fusible web to attach the pattern pieces to the towel and then zigzag-stitched around the shapes.

And that’s it. This is an easy project to add a touch of Christmas whimsy to the kitchen or to make as a last minute gift….but maybe not to use to clean up after reindeer cupcakes.
December 16, 2009

Your vision is fine: That IS a lot of Rudolphs

Have you had too much sugar yet? These guys went to preschool today along with me and the preschooler herself. The first time I made Rudolph cupcakes was about 6 years ago for my oldest after I spied them in Family Fun magazine (check out the link if you need a festive snack idea in the next week.) With this latest batch, all that’s left is a crumb or two and me vowing to lay off the high calorie posts for at least a week. Yes, I will paint again…
Filed Under: baking, kids
December 13, 2009

a really fast + easy = candy recipe

I won’t lie to you. I do make a ridiculous amount of candy this time of year, some types more involved than others. The more complicated varieties come together when the elves are at school or in bed to avoid holidaycandymakingstress, a real condition. This however, is an easy recipe for delicious candy treats that even preschool elves can make by your side. Around here we call them reindeer noses. To make your own, you’ll need:

ring-shaped pretzels (can be hard to find…Meijer’s store brand has them or just use mini pretzels)
rolo candies
m&m’s

First, unwrap the rolos. Put the rolos on a baking sheet and throw them an inner tube/pretzel ringing each rolo. (If you are using a different shaped pretzel just place your rolo on top and call it a raft.) Place in a preheated 275 degrees oven for 4-5 minutes.

Remove from oven. Immediately press a m&m into the center of each melty rolo. Leave the candies on the baking sheet until they are cool and hardened.

That’s it…*really.* Place on a festive dish and enjoy!


*Linking some good advice here about embracing holiday baking shortcuts (and I’m totally with Jen on the 80% off gingerbread in the attic ; )

Filed Under: baking, kids
December 7, 2009

Tornados and gingerbread

Yesterday, with all the fixings, my three sugarplums spent the afternoon assembling and decorating the gingerbread houses left for them by St. Nick.

This has become a fun tradition that we do every year. I crank up the Christmas music and think about how (I’m sure) this will be a fond memory of their childhood.

This house had serious structural damage/crackage from the start. Perhaps St.Nick should think twice before being tempted to buy these a year in advance (you know when gingerbread house kits are 75% off and “he” reasons that no one eats the things anyway so why not save a little cash and keep them around until next year? eh hem.)

I found it quite humorous that the kits included the following note in the directions: “Do Not become DISTRESSED if your house cracks. Just repair with icing.” Same thing for roof slidage. Luckily no one became “DISTRESSED” and a very cheerful afternoon was had by all…even if this year our gingerbread village looks like it suffered some sort of unfortunate weather related event.
Filed Under: baking, kids
December 2, 2009

Secrets Revealed

The ultimate “who-done-it” was held two weeks ago and all was revealed. Cincinnati’s Secret Artworks auction (blogged back here) is a fundraising event featuring the exhibition and sale of original 5″ x 7″ works of art from local, national and international artists. The ‘secret’ behind each piece is the identity of the artist which is revealed after purchase. I contributed three secrets to the cause. So without any further chitchatting, here they are unwrapped…

My three wise, wise, wise owls.

One is just a little smarter than the one before (or at least that’s what they think.)

All flew off the boards and into the hands of some very appreciated buyers (thank you if you happen to be one of them!) Nothing worse than a ‘wise owl’ hanging around too long at the party.

And is it really December already???!

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