Friday, December 30, 2011

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

christmas tree stirring whisk

this czech tradition is a wonderful way to upcycle your christmas tree - make some stirring whisks!!!...lovely and USEFUL christmas memorabelia, that you can use all year round! great for mixing thin or medium thin batters and sauces.

eventhough my grandfather was never much of a crafty person, he was very much a traditional person and this is one czech tradition he followed :) he made these over 30 years ago...and i stir crepe batter with them almost every morning :) but i wish he had carved the dates on the handles....

let DRY

- i've never made one before, this year will be my first and we usually "put away" our tree late january (...i love having our christmas tree as long as possible!!!), so here are some straight forward photo directions i found, and when i make mine, i'll let you know how it turned out ;)
- if your tree will be dry like ours when you do it - my dad said he thinks my grandfather soaked it in hot water before carving off the bark.
p.s. to use - clasp hands flatly with the handle in the palms of your hands and roll your hands alternately forward and backward to make the whisk twirl!

Saturday, December 10, 2011

yummy gingerbread cookies

i n g r e i e n t s :
500 g flour
100 g sugar
250 g honey
1/8 l   water
1 egg
2 tsp of gingerbread spice mix*
2 tsp of holland cocoa
2 tsp baking soda

* i used this spice mix(but not the recipe),
   or here's a homemade mix

 m i x,   k n e a d,   m a k e,   b a k e:

1. m i x  flour, spice mix and soda in a bowl

2. simmer water, sugar and honey together

3. while still warm, pour sugar-honey-water into the flour
mix and  k n e a d  together (by hand or - i used my kitchenaid)
4. add egg and  k n e a d  again
5. refridgerate dough for a couple of hours
6. m a k e - roll out dough and cut out cookies
(note: we also used cookie stamps and a knife to decorate)
7. b a k e  at med-high heat and remove from oven shortly
after the cookies rise (it also depends on how thin you make your
cookies, but we baked ours at 180° C for about 3-4 minutes)


- as soon as you take them out of the oven - while still hot, glaze with (very well) beaten egg.
tip: if you want to have darker brown cookies, add 1-2tsp  of cocoa to the egg.

 - when cookies are cool(i usually do it the next day), decorate with icing. 
tip: if you're having a hard time making straight lines with your icing, try making a line of dots or dashs(that is, if your icing is not too runny), looks better than a runny line! and makes the cookies cuter!

if you intend to store them, store in a container with a cinnamon stick, a few cloves and vanilla bean stick :)

p.s. they make lovely ornaments!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

winter is here!

today we received our first s n o w  - yay!!!
...and it's finally starting to feel christmasy :)

p.s. i actually already posted this little guy last winter, but i accidently
erased the post, and now seemed like the right time to repost him :) 

Monday, December 5, 2011

beautiful paper cutouts

Markéta and Petr Vránovi design and sell beautiful cutouts with traditional motifs.

i bought a couple of sets 3 years ago and this is a comet from one of the xmas sets. they do require patience, but they are well worth it!!!...i copied mine onto card stock, cut out with an xacto knife and hung it with some thread. and i hang it in the window every christmas :). such lovely cutouts really give you an appreciation of how beautiful just plain ol' paper can be!

felt conifer christmas garland

....same directions as my garland wand,
only(as you can see) i didn't make such
large gaps in between the felt strips.
- my strips are approx. 3cm wide.

p.s. - place your strips onto your sewing
machine - makes the "feeding" go so
much more faster, than when you have
them on the table....found that out when
i was almost finished.

p.p.s. - a wreath would be nice too!

         p.p.p.s.  h a p p y  second advent sunday!

Friday, December 2, 2011

easy standing felt christmas tree

 i was making an ornament-a-day felt xmas tree for the boys, and Ji wanted to make his own, so we made an easier version for him - not that mine is anything difficult, but i was making a sewn and stuffed version that will have a wooden stand...that i still need to finish :s .....Ji dressed his already :)
Ji's tree:
corrugated cardboard
tools: pencil, scissors, glue stick
1. CUT OUT cb triangle and 2 rectangles (stand)
2. TRACE, CUT and GLUE felt
3. make STAND

 1. cut out the triangle with the ribs going verticallly - this is important so you can stick your toothpick into one of the ribs (that way, it will be hidden and won't make a bump under the felt).
2. cut the triangles a little larger than the drawn triangle - it looks better ;), use 2 different greens - more fun :), glue with glue STICK - liquid glue could soak through the felt.
3. glue the 2 rectangles together (plain or "x"), make a hole in the center w/ your toothpick, then apply glue to both ends and stick one end into your stand and slide other end into the center rib of the cardboard

with felt scraps, thread, string....anything that will latch onto the felt (.....or when doing with older children you can use pins to pin on just about anything!)
or you can glue on your "ornaments", but i like the no-glue method more, since you can redress your tree as you like :)
tip: we found it best to decorate by holding the tree in the air by its toothpick - gives you more control   

Thursday, December 1, 2011

favorite tractor

Ji got this wooden tractor and wagon from my mom's good friend for christmas 3yrs ago and he has been playing with it ever since  - almost!

it has rooftop stearing, and a dumping wagon and is very durable! he loads the wagon with all kinds of things - blocks, animals, cars, "mail", etc. and drives them from place to place.....sometimes even to clean-up!

he just loves his tractor so :)!