Saturday, January 10, 2009

Christmas 2008

Here are some fun things I made for Christmas of 2008.

I searched high and low and could not for the life of me find a pink tree skirt. So I made one. I used light and dark pink felt and, using another tree skirt as a pattern, and cut pie shapes of both. I sewed them together and then sewed lengths of black ribbon over the seams. I then cut black felt to match the perimeter and sewed it on, again, covering the seam with black ribbon. I then tied pink ribbon into bows and hot glued them over the ribbon/seams. Then I hot glued black ribbon to form closures. It turned out fabulous.

I also made my son a Christmas outfit for church.
Please oh please disregard the messy face and sweat pants.

Here are some gifts I made using pre-cut wood crafts.
The nativity came as a set, and I painted it and put it together using hot glue and wood glue. I sued burlap and satin for the head covers.

The stockings and heart wall hanging I used wire and plaid fabric, which was ripped into 1"x6" strips. I painted the wood pieces and attached them to each other with hot glue, then hung them with wire. The heart says, "The stockings were hung by the chimney with care" and I just used a paint pen to apply the words, although I think it would have been amazing with vinyl lettering.

Family blocks were painted, sanded and have vinyl applied.

The other decoration was painted and the smaller pieces attached with curled wire. I tied a ribbon to act as a hanger on the top.

Let's not forget about the candy I made for my neighbors. Yum, yum!

Mexican Wedding Cookies
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
2 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar, divided
2 teaspoons Vanilla Extract
1/2 teaspoon Nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 cups flour
2 cups finely chopped pecans (optional)
(I made mine without pecans. They were heavenly)

Preheat oven to 350°F. Beat butter in large bowl with electric mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add 1/2 cup of the sugar, vanilla, nutmeg and salt; beat until well blended. Stir in flour and pecans. Shape into 1-inch balls. Place 1 inch apart on ungreased baking sheets. Bake 15 minutes. Remove from baking sheets. Immediately roll hot cookies in remaining 2 cups sugar. Place sugared cookies on wire racks to cool. When cool, roll again in sugar.
(or "fairy poop" as my brother calls it)

3 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup light corn syrup
2/3 cup warm water
2 egg whites
1 tsp vanilla extract (or other flavor of your choice)

Prepare a cookie sheet by lining it with aluminum foil and spraying the foil with nonstick cooking spray, or lining it with wax paper. Combine the sugar, corn syrup and water in a large heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat. Cook, stirring constantly, until the sugar dissolves. Continue cooking without stirring until the mixture reaches 250 degrees, firm-ball stage. In the meantime, beat the egg whites in the bowl of a large standing mixture until stiff peaks form. Slowly pour about half of the sugar syrup into the egg whites, beating constantly. Continue to cook the remaining syrup until it reaches 270 degrees, soft-crack stage. Stream the remaining syrup mixture into the egg whites while the mixer is running. Continue to beat until the candy is thick, shiny and holds its shape. Mix in extract until fully incorporated. Drop by the teaspoonful onto cookie sheet, and let cool until full set.

Variation: Divinity can be poured into a 9-inch square pan, cooled, and cut into small squares instead of being dropped from a spoon.

1 1/2 c Milk
4 oz Unsweetened chocolate (sqs)
4 c Sugar
3 tb Light corn syrup
1/4 ts Salt
3 tb Butter or margarine
1 1/2 ts Vanilla

Combine milk and chocolate in medium-size heavy saucepan; cook over low heat until chocolate is melted. Add sugar, corn syrup and salt and cook, stirring constantly, to boiling.
Cook, without stirring to 234F on a candy thermometer. (A teaspoonful of syrup will form a soft ball when dropped into cold water.) Remove from heat at once. Add vanilla and butter or margarine, but do not stir in. Cool mixture in pan to 110F, or until lukewarm; beat with wooden spoon until mixture thickens and begins to lose its gloss. (This will take about 15 minutes.)
Spread in a buttered 8x8x2" pan. Let stand until set and cool; cut into squares.

Grandma Cannon's Carmels
2 cups sugar
2 cups Karo syrup

Stir together and continue stirring and boiling until it begins to thicken. Add 1 cup butter a little at a time while stirring and boiling. Add a few grains of salt. Very slowly pour in 2 cups whipping cream, slow enough that it never stops boiling. Keep stirring until it reaches a soft firm stage, 230-234 degrees. Add vanilla and pour into buttered 8"x11" pan. Let cool, cut and wrap in waxed paper. Enjoy.