Monday, December 31, 2012

Poinsettia Cookie Platter

I first saw this idea over at The Sweet Adventures of Sugarbelle.  I like the shape of her leaves better than mine, but I was trying to work with the cookie cutters I had on hand.

I think I ended up using about 25 or 26 cookies for this platter.  I forgot the green leaves, though!  I actually decorated these cookies while trying to play games with the family on Christmas Eve.  So it's definitely not my best work!!

I used the platter as a centerpiece on one of my dinner tables.  It was beautiful!!

Friday, December 28, 2012

Canning Jar Oil Lamps

I bought this lamp recently and have enjoyed it so much!  It burns paraffin oil and had a fiberglass wick, which never burns up, so it never needs to be replaced.  

I decided to make a few as gifts.  Here's my version:


I like the shape of the jar on the one I purchased better, but this was all I could find locally at this time of year.  I spray painted the ring on mine so it would match better.  I used Rust-oleum Textured Radiant Brass.  It matched pretty close.  For the lid, I bought a vase cap, which is used in the construction of lamps or light fixtures.  I had a prettier, vented one, but I gave that lamp away before taking pictures of it.

I prefer the lid on the lamp I purchased.  The fluted design is beautiful!

I purchased the wick, glass wick holder and vase cap online and bought the jars at Wal Mart.  I used Holiday Picks that I picked up at Michael's for 60% off to fill the jar, along with cinnamon sticks and bay leaves, then added the oil.  A deeper vase cap than the one shown here works better.  The wick holder has trouble staying straight because it's sticking down into the pine cones and pine needles.  If I do any more of these, I'll hunt for a taller one.  Over all, this was a simple gift to make and everyone loved them!

After doing some research, I found that you can add a piece of bamboo in the center of the jar for the wick to hang down into.  This will prevent the glass wick holder from hitting the filler.  I'll try this next time I make these.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Decorated Letter

I saw this idea on Pinterest but didn't save it to my board!  So I did it by memory.

I'm sure the original was better.  Hopefully, I'll find it one of these days.

This is one of those cardboard letters you can pick up for a couple bucks at Hobby Lobby.  I drew the design with tacky glue, then let it dry overnight.  Next, I spray painted it silver, then used black shoe polish to glaze it (since I was too lazy to go to the store and buy black glaze!!)

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Present Cookies

First time to try Present Cookies!!  Sent some to CA to my in-laws and enjoyed some at our school party.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Red & White Christmas Ornament Cookies & Brown Sugar Spice Cookie Recipe

Here are more ornament cookies I made as gifts for a few friends.  

For these, I used the sugar cookie recipe I posted in my last post and a Brown Sugar Roll Out  recipe I found at The Sweet Adventures of Sugarbelle.  It has become a family favorite, especially at Christmas-time!

Here's the recipe:

Brown Sugar Roll-Out Cookies

3/4 c. unsalted butter
1 1/2 c. dark brown sugar
2 eggs
1 tbsp. milk, half and half, or orange juice ( I use half and half or whipping cream)
2 tsp. extract (I usually use vanilla}
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
3 c. all-purpose flour
2 tsp. cinnamon (spices optional, but I always add them!)
1 tsp. nutmeg
dash ground cloves

Cream together butter and sugar. Add eggs, extract, and other liquid. Mix until fluffy. Sift together dry ingredients.  Add to creamed mixture a cupful or so at a time until all of the dry mixture is incorporated. The dough should be soft but not sticky. If it’s sticky, add flour little by little until it's no longer sticky.   Wrap dough in plastic wrap and chill for at least 30 minutes.  Roll dough out on a lightly floured surface to 1/4 inch thick and cut into shapes (once again, I make mine a little thicker).  Place on an ungreased cookie sheet 1 1/2" apart.  (I do things a little bit different here.  After cutting out my cookies and placing on a cookie sheet, I put the cookie sheet in the freezer for a few minutes to firm the dough up before baking).  Bake 375 for 8-10 minutes or until the tops are no longer shiny.  (I bake mine at 350).  I also leave the cookies on the cookie sheet for a few minutes before removing them to a cooling rack.  Decorate as desired.


Sunday, December 16, 2012

Baby Blue & Pink Ornament Cookies & Sugar Cookie Recipe

I made these ornament cookies for my sister's family in CA this week.  Even managed to get them in the mail so they'll have them before Christmas!!  I'm quite proud of myself!!

Since she has three newly adopted little ones, I decided on a baby blue and pink color theme.

For the past couple of years, I have been using a cookie recipe I found at Cookie Crazie.  It is absolutely delicious!  And her cookies are adorable, by the way!  I found her blog when I first started making decorated cookies and was looking for someone who used glaze instead of royal icing.  I have learned so much from her blog.  This recipe is actually a little different than the one she has posted now.  I've never tried the newer version, but I fully intend to one of these days.

Here's the recipe:

Cookie Crazie Sugar Cookies

4 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon extract - I usually use almond, unless I'm doing chocolate cookies
1/2 cup sour cream


Sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt; set aside.  In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar until smooth.  Beat in the egg, vanilla and sour cream until will blended.  Stir in dry ingredients.  Wrap dough in plastic wrap and chill for a couple of hours.  (I don't always do this and they turn out fine!!  I'll tell you what I do below.)
Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  On a lightly floured surface, roll out dough 1/4" thick (I do mine a bit thicker).  Cut into desired shapes.  Place cookies 1 1/2" apart on ungreased cookie sheets.  Bake 14 - 16 minutes.  Allow cookies to cool a few minutes before removing to wire racks to cool completely.

Substitute 1/2 cup cocoa for 1/2 cup flour (I use Hershey's Special Dark)

Recipe makes approximately 25 medium sized cookies.

If I don't have time to chill the cookie dough, I go ahead and roll out and cut my cookies, then I place the cookie sheet in the freezer for 15 or 20 minutes before baking.  I've found that the cookies tend to spread more if the dough hasn't been chilled.  I actually prefer to do it this way rather than chilling the dough first.

Some of the cookies pictured in this post are a Brown Sugar Spice Recipe that I found online somewhere.  I'll post it next, but I would like to find the blog I found it on first, so I can give credit where credit is due.


Sunday, December 9, 2012

Glass Block Gift Ideas

Here are a couple of gift ideas using glass blocks.  My mom is here visiting from CA and she whipped these up in just a few minutes.

The floral pick is hot glued to the glass block along with a mesh ribbon bow.  Then a 20 light strand was inserted into the block.

That's it!

Here's another one with a square block and colored lights.

She added a little decorative drum to finish it off.  

I thought it was a cute idea and worth passing on!

Friday, December 7, 2012

Honeycomb Christmas Ornaments From Vintage Book Pages & Scrapbook Paper

This year, I've been making these beautiful Honeycomb Ornaments I found over at House Revivals.  I absolutely love them and they are fairly simple to make!  A bit time-consuming, but simple.  I've linked to her tutorial post.

I made the my first ornaments using an old book.  I just drew my patterns freehand and started cutting.  Then I decided to try it with scrapbook paper.  I had a book of the card stock type paper with a few pages left, so I finished that off.  I just love how those turned out!

These pics don't do them justice, but maybe you'll get the idea of what they actually look like.

A person could use these with ribbon to decorate a large gift, or even make several small, different shaped ones tied together with ribbon as a gift itself.

I've linked this post to:

DIY Show Off

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Red Velvet Cupcakes

I made these Red Velvet cupcakes for our Ladies' Christmas Party this year.  

I used a recipe that's been in our family for years.  It was always a favorite for birthday cakes when my siblings and I were growing up.  Back then, we called it Red Astoria Cake.

Now, it has become a Christmas tradition.

Here's the recipe:

Red Velvet (Astoria) Cake

½ c butter
2 eggs
1 ½ c granulated sugar
2 oz. red food color
2 T cocoa (I use Hershey’s Special Dark)
1 t vanilla
1 T vinegar
1 t baking soda
1 c buttermilk
2 ¼ c cake flour
¼ t baking powder
¾ t salt

Cream well butter and sugar.  Add eggs.  Beat well.  Add vanilla.  In a small bowl, mix together food color and cocoa; add to creamed mixture.  In a separate bowl, mix together flour, salt and baking powder. Add to creamed mixture alternately with buttermilk.  In a small cup or bowl, stir together baking soda and vinegar.  Immediately stir by hand into batter.  Pour batter into 2 greased 8” pans or fill cupcake baking cups 2/3 full.  For cake, bake at 350 for approximately 30 minutes.  Cupcakes are done when a toothpick inserted come out clean.

When I use the dark cocoa, I usually add an extra tablespoon or so of sugar.
Be careful not to over bake!
I usually use a cream cheese frosting since the cooked frosting that actually goes with this recipe gives me fits!!  I'll post them both at a later time and link back up with this recipe.


Sunday, December 2, 2012

Leaf Cookies

I thought I'd post some of the many leaf cookies I made this fall!

So I'm a little behind.  Who's keeping track???

Monday, October 29, 2012

Yummy Homemade Devil's Food Cake

I made this cake last week for my nephew's 21st birthday.  He's a chocolate lover, so it's a homemade Devil's Food cake, made with dark cocoa.  Talk about rich!  You need a gallon of milk per slice!!

I used a chocolate fudge frosting, also made with dark cocoa, to cover the cake, then decorated with butter cream frosting, chocolate filled rolled wafers, white and dark chocolate shavings and raspberries.

Happy Birthday, James!!

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Silver Rosette Cake

I'm still practicing on rosettes for the wedding cake I have coming up.  My grand daughter didn't care, as long as it was silver!  Of all the colors to pick from, she chooses silver!

So here it is:

Here's a close up that shows the silver better:

I used Wilton Color Mist for the silver.  It was my first time to use it.  It worked pretty good, all except for the fine layer of silver dust all over my kitchen!!

Happy Birthday, Nicole!  Can't believe your already seven!

Friday, October 19, 2012

Home Organization Week Seven - The Linen Closet

What I call my linen closet, really isn't one at all.  It has very little linen in it.  It's basically a closet we built when we moved in this home.  

When we moved in, the only closet, besides in the bedrooms, was a coat closet.  It's arrangement  divided the living room and family room and created an entry area.  We decided to take it out to open up the area.  So that left me with no closet whatsoever.  Since the family room was very large, and we were going to be using it for a dining room anyway, we took five foot off one end and divided it into two closets: one for linen/storage and the other for a walk-in closet in our son's room.  So that gave me a four and a half by five and a half foot linen/storage closet!  We put the shelves that were in the family room in this closet.  You would not believe the amount of stuff that closet holds!  

When we put together our walk-in pantry, it created a giant shuffle.  I was able to move all kinds of stuff out of my linen closet to the kitchen, leaving me with a very empty space.

Here's my closet before the shuffle:

A large portion of my space was taken up with dishes!  It's my good dishes that we use for special occasions.  And since I have a weakness for beautiful dishes, inherited from my mother and grandmother, my collection keeps growing!  I just recently added two more sets.  

Anyway, this collection took up almost half of my storage space.  As you can see in my kitchen/pantry post, I now have a space for all my dishes in a kitchen cabinet.  That definitely freed up space in this closet!

Here it is now:

We have a lot of games!!  Didn't quite realize how many until I organized these shelves.  The highchair on top is used frequently by my three smallest grandchildren.

I still have some kitchen type items in there, mostly my canning jars and vases.  And some cupcake stands and such that I will eventually make room for in my pantry.  And the fourth shelf down holds paint cans, which I like to keep in an easy to get to place for the many projects I have going.  Maybe someday, I will be finished with all my projects and can send the paint cans to the shop!

You might have noticed the floor.  Yep, that's the sub-floor showing!  That's the one thing we didn't get done before we moved in five years ago.  We are getting ready to add a fireplace to our home, and when we do, the linen/storage closet door will have to be moved to another wall.  Hopefully, when that happens, we'll get the floor covered.