At least I have my Christmas cookies ready for Santa...that should count for something.
A and I both ordered our Christmas cards from Paper Culture this year. We were very happy with how they turned out. Paper Culture used nice, thick card stock and rounded the corners of their cards (I love rounded corners). Best of all, a tree is planted with every order. A definite for next year, I just need to get my act together sooner.
I usually plant my paperwhite bulbs the weekend after Thanksgiving, but this year since we were out of town I delayed it by a week. I also used a different source for my bulbs, so the timing of the blooming just didn't work out as desired. I will still enjoy them whenever they bloom. I also tried something new with the 'ground cover'. Instead of covering the bulbs with moss like I normally do, I just tossed some pine cones over the top and in between the bulbs to cover the dirt and then added some juniper cuttings cover up the plastic edges of the liner. It turned out pretty nice and was super easy. Also a definite for next year.
Finally here is a shot of Santa's cookies before our Christmas Eve dinner. Classic Toll House chocolate chip cookies are always a big hit in our house and I am lucky there are any left to leave out for Santa. The Obedience School Cookie Plate is from Anthropologie and was a gift to myself. When I ordered it, I wasn't sure if I was going to keep it, but it turned out to be a nice large size and really sweet.
I hope you got all you needed to get done this year. Merry Christmas!
On Wednesday night I was checking out Martha's site for some last minute Christmas inspiration and noticed her Twitter Holiday Photo contest. Winners would have their pictures posted on Martha's Blog today. I decided to enter with no expectations (no one wants to be let down on Christmas). To my surprise and delight she selected two of my photos! Thanks, Martha!
Initially I made the gingerbread dough just to make ornaments, but when I tasted a broken ornament I was reminded how yummy the cookies are. I had forgotten how perfect gingerbread cookies and royal icing go together. So I saved the leftover scrap dough and made some cookies the following week. Hubby thought I was crazy decorating all the little bite-sized snowflakes, but I really found it quite relaxing--a labor of love. Some of the gingerbread snowflakes cookies even found their way on cupcake tops, which made the *Perfect Holiday Treat*!
For the best cream cheese icing follow the Georgetown Cupcake recipe via Martha.
Sources: Snowflake Cookie Cutter Set from Fox Run found on Amazon.com.
Last Christmas our Christmas tree fell...twice. It was a total disaster both times. Amazingly enough we only lost about 25% of our ornaments. The most fragile ones perished including most of the Gingerbread Ornaments I had made the prior year. This year I decided to make them again to replace some of the lost ones and to give out to friends (I finally got to use some of my nice Martha Stewart Holiday packaging). To make ornaments just follow your favorite gingerbread cookie recipe and pierce a hole in the top of the cookie using the sharp point of a skewer as soon as the cookies come out of the oven. Then after you have decorated the cookies spray them with a clear matte acrylic paint and tie with a ribbon. If you can make cookies, then you can make these. They look really nice on the tree and will hopefully last a long time.
I can't believe its mid-December already! Here is some eye candy of my favorite December items: (in no particular order) the Grinch, holiday jewelry (everyone should have a Christmas brooch), fresh wreaths and garlands, festive serveware, Martha Stewart Christmas trees, Christmas in NYC, gingerbread houses, candy canes and fuzzy blankets. I hope you have a warm and merry December!
Like many of you (or maybe its just me), I have invested in lots of cute Christmas packaging from Martha Stewart's holiday craft collection. Most of the time I buy her packaging with no real purpose in mind and only with the notion that some day I'll put it to good use. And to be honest, I just can't resist it, especially when I have a 40% coupon in hand (Exhibit A). So when it came time to package up some of the yummy Christmas sugar cookies we made over the weekend it made me cringe to reach for the plain ol' clear treat bags. I wanted to use the Martha packaging, but it would have obscured the lovely cookies and would have been 'too much'. I still wanted to give the treat bags a little festive flare, so I thought I would top them with a band of Christmas-y paper. I headed out to the craft store. After perusing the disappointing paper section I ventured over to the 'Martha' section and *sigh*...everything looked so good. Then her waxed holiday tissue paper caught my eye--it was perfect!
Back at home I cut the tissue paper into appropriate sized strips using my rotary cutter and scalloped blade. Then I fold the strips over the top of the treat bags and stapled. Viola, I was done. I actually managed to create my own Martha holiday packaging and it couldn't have been easier.
We also packaged up a bunch of the other Christmas cookies in a tin to give away as well. A nice hand-stamped card was attached with stretchy gold cording.
Sources: Tissue Paper from Martha Stewart 2010 Holiday Collection ($3.99 for 12 sheets); Snowflake tin from Joann's; Holiday Rubber stamps from Martha Stewart 2009 Holiday Collection.
Almost every year A and I attend 'Cookie Night' where a group of us get together to bake cookies. Each person comes prepared with their favorite cookie dough, baking sheets, silpats and cooling racks. Then we do some serious baking. At the end we divide up the cookies that haven't been eaten and sigh in relief knowing the next Cookie Night is one year away. Its fun, but completely exhausting. The big decision every year is whether or not to make sugar cookies. If we agree on sugar cookies then the person responsible for them bakes them the night before so only the decorating takes place on Cookie Night, which as you know is no small task. A has a standing 'Nay' vote on sugar cookies, but somehow we convinced her to do them this year. They turned out great (for the most part) and everyone agreed to do them next year. Here are some of my favorites:
And here are some of our 'oops' cookies:
This is what we learned not to do...Never use silver dragees for eyes--it looks way too creepy. Don't attempt fine detail work with squeeze bottles--the tips just aren't fine enough. Don't make too many shapes, stick to a few you know will turn out well.
P.S. For my other notes on sugar cookies please check out this post. Here are some of the other cookies from Cookie Night...