Not Martha

links: christmas

Meringue Snowflakes · Edible Crafts | CraftGossip.com.

Seeking Sweetness in Everyday Life – CakeSpy – Bread and Circus: Molded Gingerbread Cookies Recipe.

Design*Sponge » Blog Archive » diy project: balsa wood mini tree. Such a fabulous idea!

Simple Sugar Cookies – Traditional Christmas Cookie Recipes – Christmas Cookies – MarthaStewart.com.

Santa’s Hat Cupcakes · Edible Crafts | CraftGossip.com. Wowsers. These are simple and just perfection.

Design*Sponge » david stark at the state department + diy projects!. These decorations are a-ma-zing, and the Christmas Cracker directions are great. Clap clap clap!

How to Make a Surprisingly Simple Paper Wreath – CraftStylish. Via Maggie Mason’s advent tweets. Which I am loving.

· comments [3] · 12-23-2010 · categories:christmas · links ·

Christmas tree ornament mobile, how-to

Christmas Tree Ornament Mobile

Christmas Tree Ornament Mobile

Here is how I made my Christmas tree ornament mobile, it was easier than it looks, promise.

The Supplies

Christmas Tree Ornament Mobile

  • a 17″ steamer rack from a restaurant supply store
  • about 5 feet of lightweight jack chain
  • a small carabiner
  • 100 basic ornament hooks
  • one roll, 500 feet, monofilament jewelry string (not the stretchy sort)
  • 200 jewelry crimp beads or tubes
  • jewelry crimping tool
  • 100 lanyard hooks
  • 100 ornaments

Note: In the photo above I show earring wire instead of ornament hooks. I changed that later as I found ornament hooks made it far easier to move ornaments around after they’d been hung. Also, my supplies are based on a 4 foot tall mobile using almost 100 ornaments, you’ll need to adjust amounts if you make one larger or smaller.

Creating the Mobile Frame

Creating the frame for my ornament tree mobile turned out to be fairly simple. I used a lot of hooks to allow for easy adjustment and additions as the mobile was being assembled. I gathered materials from a restaurant supply store, a hardware store and the jewelry section of a craft store.

Christmas Tree Ornament Mobile
[Read more →]

· comments [263] · 12-21-2010 · categories:christmas · craft ·

Christmas tree ornament mobile

the views of a tree shaped ornament mobile

This year we decided to do something a little different with our tree and I created this Christmas tree mobile consisting of ornaments suspended on clear threads.

When I was shopping for ornaments to use found a lot on sale and went a little crazy. I decided it would be worth it to see how three different options would look. I did a variety of silver ornaments that came as a boxed set, green ornaments with three different textures and three sizes of clear glass ornaments that look a bit like bubbles.

the mobile hanging in our dining room window

Here is the mobile in context of our dining room (please forgive the mid-present wrapping clutter). We have room to put presents below it, and are still able to peek out the windows to see if the neighbor’s cat is visiting our front porch.

rings of green ornaments, as viewed from below

The view from below.

a detail of monofilament lines holding ornaments

The ornaments are hung on regular ornament hooks attached to jewelry monofilament secured with crimp beads. I’ll put up details of how the mobile was created tomorrow. Instructions on how I made it are right over here.

· comments [167] · 12-20-2010 · categories:christmas · craft ·

links: christmas

Cannelle et Vanille: Bonbon Oiseau and my Candy Cane Marshmallow. Both the marshmallows and the jewelry are yummy.

defective yeti — The 2010 Good Gift Games Guide. This man knows his games, trust him.

How to make 5-pointed paper snowflakes | How About Orange.

How to Make Cinnamon Dough Ornaments + Gift Embellishments at Domestifluff. What a great idea as a new use for a traditional craft.

Gift Guide: Forest Floor Ornaments from Flora Grubb Gardens – Home By Sunset.

Delicious Hot Chocolate — Joy the Baker.

Super super inexpensive ($1.00 or less) yet clever Christmas gift ideas needed! | Ask MetaFilter.

15 Cities in Gingerbread  | Mighty Girl. Love! Seattle has an annual gingerbread village display that is worth braving the shopping hordes for a viewing. (p.s. to locals: it’s open until Jan. 1 and the line is super short post-Christmas.)

Cookie Trees: Festive and Impressive! | Apartment Therapy The Kitchn.

CakeSpy – Sweetly Intoxicating: Christmas Cookie Cocktail Recipes.

· comments [5] · 12-20-2010 · categories:christmas · links ·

Holiday specs

seven types of Holiday specs

We were sent a few pairs of these Holiday Specs and I got a kick out of them. They are paper like old fashioned 3-D glasses but these create a shaped aura of light around concentrated light sources (street lamps, Christmas tree lights). I put them on and looked out a window and there was a giant reindeer face floating around the light in a lamp down the street. They are cheesy looking, yes, but I bet they would distract kids for a while. I think they would be good in a stocking or maybe tucked into a card.

They come in packs of seven shapes and individually. I found the snowflake, Santa’s face, snowman, Christmas lights, and reindeer.

· comments [17] · 12-14-2010 · categories:christmas ·

Cozy Mug Wraps, created for Real Simple

felt mug wraps decorated with red/white/green circles

I want to thank Real Simple for including me in this bunch of 14 Creative Homemade Holiday Gift Ideas. I made this easy Warm and Fuzzy Felt Mug Wraps for a little holiday cheer, instructions are over here and below are a few extra photos from the making of. Check out all the ideas, they are fantastic.

supplies - scissors, thread, felt

felt circles being cut out

layered cocoa in jars that fit into the mugs, with candy canes

· comments [31] · 12-13-2010 · categories:christmas · craft ·

links: christmas

Gift-Giving Ideas and Lists @Craftzine.com.

Borax Crystal Snowflakes – The Crafts Dept. Love!

10 DIY Advent Calendar Ideas | Skip To My Lou.

Core77 / 2010 Gift Guide / 77 Design Gifts Under $77. I love the perfectly engineered skipping stones.

shelterrific » Blog Archive » deck the halls with paper bunting.

DIY Cookie Presses (and Pleated Wrapping) · Edible Crafts | CraftGossip.com.

Frog Prince Paperie » Gingerbread House Tutorial and How-To…From a PRO!. Really great, via Edible Crafts.

mirrormirror: Its DECEMBER Already? Lundby Advent Calendar Day 1. Love this, Paola is showing us what comes inside the advent calendar for her daughter’s modern playhouse.

you are my fave: A minimalist ornament chandelier is my fave. So very simple!

DIY modern paper ornament | How About Orange.

Peppermint Icicles – Christmas Candy Recipes – MarthaStewart.com. I like these, and would love to serve these with hot chocolate. Via Edible Crafts.

Lolly Chessie’s Famous CP Christmas Trees – Crate Paper. So lovely! Via Hip Hip Hooray.

Peppermint Bark | Baked by Rachel. Made in snowflake shaped cups, such a pretty result! Via Shelterrific.

Rosemary Butter Cookies – Martha Stewart Recipes. I had a few of these from a recent cookie exchange and they were OMG amazing.

Black Sesame Lace Cookies | New Asian Cuisine. I also had some of these from the cookie exchange and wishes I’d taken the whole stack.

Flickr Finds: Yarn Wall Display | Apartment Therapy San Francisco.

Gluten-Free Girl and the Chef: gluten-free gingerbread men.

· comments [6] · 12-7-2010 · categories:christmas · links ·

Simple DIY Solar Powered LED Christmas Wreath

finished DIY solar LED wreath

I came across solar powered LED Christmas lights the other day and decided to make a lit wreath. I’m excited because the sensors in the solar panel turn the lights on when it gets dark outside and turn them off during the day, which means I won’t have to try to remember to turn the lights out every night. (The solar lights work the same as the automatic on/off LED lights used as path markers which I have previously turned into homemade sun jars.) I tucked the solar panel in the middle of the wreath and used the ornaments to disguise it, making it perfect for hanging on a door as there are no wires coming out of the wreath.

wreath, LED solar light strand, twist ties and ornaments

This project turned out to be about the same price as a regular pre-lit wreath, but less than most pre-lit solar wreaths I’ve found. The strand of 24 lights was $15 and the artificial wreath and ornaments (on sale) came to $12. I used a cluster of ornaments but a wreath ribbon would work just as well. I used long green twist ties, found in a gardening section, to attach everything. Though, I ended up trimming down the twist ties so a handful of regular length ones nabbed from a grocery store would work just as well.

showing the barest spot in my artificial wreath

First I fluffed out the branches of the wreath and found the barest spot. If you have one too make this the bottom of the wreath where we’ll be attaching the solar panel and the decorations.

loop on the back of the solar panel made using duct tape

In order to avoid having a wire coming out of the wreath I tucked the solar panel right into the wreath itself. The solar panel came with a removable spike, meant to anchor it into the ground, which we won’t need. In order to attach the solar panel to the wreath I created loops using duct tape. They aren’t pretty but they won’t be seen. Then I wired it so that it sits in the bottom of the inside of the wreath, mostly hidden behind branches.

winding the strand of LED lights, attaching it to to the wreath frame using twist ties

I attached the lights by running the cord around the wreath from behind, making sure each bulb was facing out towards the front, and securing with a bit of twist tie. For a 22″ wreath the strand of lights went around twice so I attached the lights first to the smaller and then to the larger hoop of the wreath frame.

groups of three or four ornaments threaded onto twist ties, then attached to the wreath

Next I made clusters of ornaments by simply threading them onto the twist ties. (I’ve just typed “twist ties” too many times and it’s turned into one of those meaningless phrases.) I used the same twist ties to arrange them at the bottom of the wreath to disguise the solar panel. String or regular wire would work just as well here.

solar LED wreath hanging on my door

Here it is on our (terribly boring and beige) front door. The solar panel is mostly hidden but angled upwards and still able to catch sunlight. I’ll get a picture of it lit at night as soon as I can.

· comments [16] · 12-3-2010 · categories:christmas · craft ·

links: christmas

Diamonds for Dessert: O Christmas Tree, O Christmas Tree….

Extreme Cards and Papercrafting: Sliceform Christmas Tree Tutorial.

Table’s Set: Decorate A Chocolate Martini with a Hanging Cherry « Saucy Sisters.

fredflare.com | lump of coal cachette.

Design*Sponge » diy project: kristen’s ruffly felt wreath.

Gifted Magazine – Holiday Inspiration & Gift Guide. Completely in love with this online magazine.

shelterrific » a minimal christmas tree: the filigrantrae.

shelterrific » strangely appealing: tannenboing.

Great Knitted and Sewn Gifts to Get Started on for the Holidays! – the purl bee. I like how simple and bright the advent calendar (halfway down) is!

DIY Gifts | Ask MetaFilter.

Christmas Tree Cut-Out Craft Project.

Modern & eco friendly Christmas trees | Fab Mums.

DwellWellNW | DownToEarthNW.com.

ikat bag: Paper Christmas Tree Advent Calendar.

Tuesday To-Do: Cone Advent Calendar Banner.

Elegant Gourmet, 13-inch candy cane tree. I want this, if only it wouldn’t melt so easily in the damp winters here.

8 Great DIY Wreaths Roundup | Apartment Therapy San Francisco.

Homemade Gift Ideas – iVillage. Round up of edible gift ideas created by food bloggers.

Tegu LIVE! (NOTCOT). Tegu blocks as Christmas presents? Check.

DIY Tutorial: Mod “Table Tree” Centerpiece // Hostess with the Mostess®.

DIY 5 Minute Tinsel Garland Wreath – Home – Creature Comforts and DIY Holiday Wreath Roundup.

Advent Calendar Pattern Now Available at Make it Do. Via Design Mom.

Felt Holiday Ornament Craft Pattern by Alicia Paulson. I think I’m going to buy myself this, it’s so pretty. Note the two other felt ornament patterns she offers as well.

Felt Tree Bottle Covers – Martha Stewart Crafts. Simple and lovely.

Design^Sprout | Cheap, Chic and Oh-So-Green DIY Ornaments!. So nicely easy to do.

Twig & Thistle » Blog Archive » Magnetic Holiday Advent Calendar DIY.

Diy: Icicle Chandelier : katyelliott.com.

Holiday mixtape : All & Sundry.

Molly’s Sketchbook: Felt Christmas Tree Pins – the purl bee.

Jordan Ferney | Oh Happy Day!: Felt Ball Garland. Very much like the Anthropologie one that is so well loved this year, a very easy project.

DIY: Bottles Full of Light, at Design Mom.

· comments [6] · 11-30-2010 · categories:christmas · links ·

Gifted Magazine

Gifted magazine cover

Gifted Magazine is an online holiday magazine presented by Creature Comforts and full of really wonderful holiday projects and gift ideas. I’m delighted by it, bring on Christmas.

· comments [0] · 11-8-2010 · categories:christmas · shopping ·

Merry Christmas!

vintage ornaments on my tree

Wishing you all the happiest of holidays! (Shown above are some of the favorite vintage ornaments on our tree, I especially love the teal one with white and red stripes.)

· comments [18] · 12-24-2009 · categories:christmas ·

links: christmas

Large ball christmas lights? | Ask MetaFilter.

Cinnamon chocolate marshmallows | Homesick Texan.

How to make 3D paper ornaments | How About Orange.

Sautéed Chestnuts, Onions, and Bacon Recipe | Simply Recipes.

Sparkling Cranberries Recipe – 101 Cookbooks. I must make these. A bakery near me tops a few things with these glittery cranberries and I cannot resist buying whatever they are on top of.

Craftzine.com blog : How-To: Paper Stars for Christmas Lights.

Craftzine.com blog : Holiday Cocktails at Rocker Oysterfellers. They had me at Cranberry French 75.

Stocking Stuffer for the Nut Lover: The Walnut Key | The Kitchn.

Almost Bourdain: Christmas Recipe – Chocolate Bacon “NOT Gingerbread” Cake House. Wow!

Holiday Gingerbread Boxes | Canadian House & Home. So neat, gift boxes simply made of gingerbread, via Edible Crafts.

ikea hacker: Ikea light wreath.

Chocolate-Dipped Hazelnut Marbles | Chocolate & Zucchini.

The Creative Place: Tuesday Tutorial: Paper Lantern Ornaments, via How About Orange.

raspberri cupcakes: Gingerbread Igloo – Daring Bakers Dec 2009.

Gingerbread Mansions | Food & Think, with a video showing how the pastry chef from the Four Seasons made a replica of the Smithsonian in gingerbread. They include a link to my tiny gingerbread houses, thanks.

· comments [4] · 12-23-2009 · categories:christmas · links ·

tiny gingerbread houses, a few variations

gingerbread houses meant to perch on the edge of a mug

Earlier I made gingerbread houses meant to perch on the edge of a mug, but I wanted to work on a few more things.

gingerbread houses meant to perch on the edge of a mug

First, since these are meant to be eaten I wanted to cut down on the amount of royal icing. I still used it to assemble the houses, but to get sugar decorations to stick to the roofs I decided to use simple syrup. I heated one part water and one part sugar and let it bubble for a while on the stove just so it would thicken. After it was thoroughly cooled I put a dot on the roof and spread it around using a small brush I keep to use as a mini pastry brush. Then I sprinkled sanding sugar or nonpareils. I let it dry overnight and it worked nicely. It tastes a lot better than a layer of royal icing, and I like the way it allows the gingerbread to peek through.

gingerbread houses meant to perch on the edge of a mug

Second, I added a chimney. I rolled out some gingerbread dough a bit thicker and cut out a square-ish shape, using the house template to get the correct angle.

gingerbread houses meant to perch on the edge of a mug

I think it turned out very cute, though I found that the taller chimneys looked incongruous, so I’ll stick to very short chimneys.

gingerbread houses meant to perch on the edge of a mug

Third I decided to see what whole happen if I moved the door shape, the part that fits over the mug, off to one side to allow more of the house to hang on the outside of the mug. It worked just fine but moving it over made the pieces more delicate and I broke three out of six during assembly, enough to convince me to keep the door where it is.

gingerbread houses meant to perch on the edge of a mug

Last I wanted to see if it would work out using sugar cookie dough. This was from a mix (I know, I know but I had hit my cookie dough-making wall) and spread quite a bit despite a good amount of chilling before baking. I trimmed the doors when the cookies came out of the oven and were still pliable. They still worked out nicely. Now I’m wondering if there would be a way to make one out of shortbread.

gingerbread houses meant to perch on the edge of a mug

· comments [115] · 12-22-2009 · categories:christmas ·

a tiny gingerbread house that perches on the edge of your mug

gingerbread house that sits on the edge of a mug

I made tiny gingerbread houses that are meant to be perched on the edge of a mug of hot chocolate.

gingerbread house that sits on the edge of a mug

I had been thinking about those sugar cubes that hook on the rim of a teacup earlier this month, and I was also thinking about 3-D cookies and how they fit together and figured it would be pretty neat to make cookies that hang on the edge of a mug. I thought I was being so brilliant but it only took a few seconds to discover that a flat cookie on the edge of a mug has already been done. So I started wondering what else I could do. At the time I was making a bunch of gingerbread recipes trying to find one that would hold up for my partridge in a pear tree cookie, so a gingerbread house was on my mind.

gingerbread house that sits on the edge of a mug

I made a few versions to figure out how to make one that wasn’t so top heavy that it would flip off the mug, and how small I could get away with and still fit on both large and small cups. I generally followed the size of my The Mini Gingerbread House Kit (though, those pieces don’t fit together as nicely as I’d have liked).

gingerbread house that sits on the edge of a mug

I’ve made a PDF pattern of gingerbread house pieces which you can open or download right here. My only instruction is that you should make sure that the wall pieces are to be sandwiched on the inside of the door pieces, that way the roof fits on properly. I included two door pieces you can choose from, one at 3/8ths inch wide and one at 1/2 inch wide. I found that a 3/8ths inch door, or slot, fits most mugs but the 1/2 can be used for your really big and heavy mugs. I traced the pieces onto this template page at 9:54 in the evening, please forgive the sloppiness but I’m getting tired, let’s just call the untidy lines charming.

gingerbread house that sits on the edge of a mug

I used the Gingerbread Snowflake and the Royal Icing recipes from marthastewart.com.

gingerbread house that sits on the edge of a mug

I rolled it out onto a sheet of tin foil at 1/8th inch thick. I skipped a silicone mat because I use a paring knife for the corner details and didn’t want to accidentally cut down to the layers of glass fibers, and after some trial I found that parchment paper will warp after being chilled and then stuck in an oven which can distort some shapes.

gingerbread house that sits on the edge of a mug

I used a dull sewing pattern roller (like a small pizza cutter) to go around most sides. You can do all of one side than turn the entire sheet of tin foil 90 degrees to do all of the next side, this makes the process go a bit faster. Try to fit all the pieces for each individual house in the same batch, I found my batches browned differently from each other. Lift the excess dough up from the tin foil, not moving your cut out shapes at all, this will help them keep their shape. Then slide the tin foil sheet onto a cookie sheet and put both in the freezer for about 15 minutes, you want the dough really well chilled before baking.

gingerbread house that sits on the edge of a mug

I used a (well cleaned) flat head screwdriver to get in the detail around the doors, then a paring knife to make sure the corners are cut cleanly.

Here are some tips, most of these are in the recipe but I don’t want you to overlook them:

  • After making it divide the dough into thirds (I made half a recipe) wrap in plastic wrap and chill in the fridge for at least an hour, preferably overnight. Make the royal icing while it’s chilling, you’ll need it before you make all the gingerbread you are planning on.
  • Roll the dough out to 1/8th of an inch. It seems impossibly thin but you be cutting the shapes and pulling the excess dough from around them so your pieces won’t be too disturbed. Feel free to nudge your shapes back into squares before chilling them again.
  • Preheat the oven, roll the dough out on tin foil, cut your shapes and lift off the excess dough, slide the tin foil onto your cookie sheet, now put the cookie sheet into the freezer for at least 15 minutes before baking. This will keep the gingerbread from spreading too much.
  • Make a single test house with your chosen door width. This sounds like a pita, and it will be, but it will be far less trouble than the frustration of finding none of your finished houses fit on mugs. Knowing now that you need to cut a wider door is worth it.
  • I found that dough chilled for only an hour puffed up quite a bit, but didn’t necessarily spread if the cut out shapes were chilled in the freezer. Dough that had been in the fridge overnight, or even the second day (it’ll keep for a few days) puffed up quite a bit less, perhaps because the baking powder had lost it’s mojo by this time?
  • If you suspect your intended mugs are thicker and sturdier than usual grab some cardstock or a magazine insert and cut a few different slots — 1/4, 3/8 and 1/2 inch wide, about two inches deep (or tall). The one that slides easily onto the edge of you mug and even has a little wiggle room is the width you want for your door.
  • If your gingerbread should spread and the doors look too narrow to you, you can trim them when the gingerbread is just out of the oven before it sets and cools too much. I suggest a paring knife and trimming just a bit from either side of the door.

gingerbread house that sits on the edge of a mug

I decided to only decorate the roofs for now. I might make these again next year and get more detailed with the decorations. I used a variety of sugars and sprinkles. One note, I discovered that candy cane dust will stick together so well that it will not show any piping detail beneath it. I liked the way regular sanding sugar made the roof sparkle a bit, though I couldn’t capture the cuteness in my pictures.

gingerbread house that sits on the edge of a mug

Don’t fill your mug of hot chocolate too full, you don’t want the bottom of your gingerbread house to get soggy.

gingerbread house that sits on the edge of a mug

Can you tell the crushed candy cane one was my favorite?

I would be these would be fantastic made out of sugar cookie or shortbread dough. You could certainly leave them undecorated, or perhaps press sanding sugar into the roof pieces before baking. On the other hand I’m curious to see what one would look like covered in pieces of tiny candies. I’m also planning on making house-shaped marshmallows that will fit on the edge of the mug.

gingerbread house that sits on the edge of a mug

update: I made a few variations including a chimney and a version made out of sugar cookie dough which you might be interested in.

a few variations on my tiny gingerbread houses

· comments [664] · 12-18-2009 · categories:christmas · food ·

links: christmas

Prudent Baby: Handmade Hanukkah: Fleece Pom Pom Garland. So wonderful!

Video: How to Decorate Christmas Sugar Cookies | Serious Eats.

Classic Sugar Cookies | Serious Eats : Recipes.

Cook’s Ham Tortilla Christmas Tree | Busy Mom. This is sort of ridiculous, but I still love it.

Serious Cookies: Swiss Cinnamon Crisps | Serious Eats.

shelterrific » strangely appealing: tannenboing. I love this, a flat packed, spiral christmas tree.

Gingerbread House Inspiration Roundup | Apartment Therapy San Francisco.They included my Partridge In A Pear Tree, thanks!

Cake Wrecks: Sunday Sweets: Gingerbread!. Thanks to Maggi for sending this my way.

· comments [3] · 12-14-2009 · categories:christmas · links ·