Tuesday, 22 December 2015

Needlework Tuesday's Online Christmas Party

 Welcome to my version of an online Christmas Party.  Usually Tuesday is my Needlework post, not much stitching going on at this point instead lots of Christmas making.  So sit back with a cup of your favourite beverage and lets have a holiday visit.

I've set the table with my Royal Albert Poinsettia china and have poured myself a cup of Sugar Cookie tea (from Celestial Seasonings).  I am still looking for some dinner and side plates in this pattern. One of these days, when I am searching the local antique markets, I'll find them.

Later today, I'll be rolling out the dough for the gingerbread men.  The dough is all made and chilling in the fridge.  I don't have a traditional gingerbread man cookie cutter, and will be substituting this zombie one.  I think it will make for fun cookie eating.  I plan to ice them with royal frosting (made with egg whites and icing sugar).  I bought a package of the food safe markers that will work directly on the cookies or on the icing.  I haven't used them before, so not too sure how they will turn out.  Yes, I'll add photos later.

In past years, I used to do oodles of baking. Two of my favourites are Elfin Shortbread Bites and Nanimo Bar Cookies, the recipes can be found at this link.   Unfortunately, I used to eat most of it as well.  This year, it`s the gingerbread zombies and I`m going to attempt to make a yule log cake, and it`s going to be diary free. yep, it`s going to be a challenge, but so worth it.

I did complete one holiday craft.  All summer I tended the grape vine growing in my front yard.  It`s one that the birds planted some years ago.  No matter how much I cut it back, each spring it grows back, vigorously.  This year, I decided to let it grow with the plan to make a wreath.  I cut down the vines in mid October and twined them around each other, tied it in a bunch of places and left it sitting on my deck. A few weeks ago, I decorated it and asked hubby to hang it on the new fence he built this summer.   He thought I was nuts making such a large wreath, but now he understands. It is a big space to fill.  No snow here like there usually is.  Were are actually expecting temperatures around 12 celsius for Christmas day.

Our yard is decorated and it`s time to move indoors.  oops, I mean, time to go to the tree farm to select our tree.   We have been going to the same place for years.  The trees are excellent and the price is perfect.  This year we brought cups of hot chocolate and wandered freely till we found the perfect tree.  The ones in this photo  are  a bit small, but give them a few years.

 I found the perfect tree.  We like to choose a Charlie Brown inspired tree. This one is a bit sparse at the bottom, but that leaves more room for the gifts and some where to hang those larger ornaments.
Hubby is equally pleased.  For those who buy their tree at a lot, I made a short video of hubby using the saw to take down this mighty tree.  Watch carefully or you might miss it.

The tree is now home and happily residing in my front room. It is partly decorated, leaving the rest of the ornaments for my kids when they finally get home.

 Does your family fill stockings.  I don`t know how wide spread this tradition is.  I remember waking early Christmas morning to find an over flowing stocking at the foot of my bed.  We were allowed to quietly open our stockings leaving our parents to sleep a little longer.  We did the same thing with our kids, leaving their stocking on the floor by their bedroom door.  We`d lay in bed listening to their excitement as the two of them gathered in one room to pull out their new treasures.

When I visited my sister in Calgary in October, she asked if I would fill her stocking this year. She told me how unsurprising to was to open a stocking that she had filled herself.  I brought her stocking home with me and had a lot fun finding some very cool stuff to fill it with.  I`ll find out how well I did in just a few days.

 Now to the tree.  My favourite part of decorating the tree, is remember and retelling the stories associated with each ornament.  I want to share just a few.

My godson gave me this rocking horse when he was a wee tyke. He passed away a few years ago when he was 26.  It`s one of the few gifts he gave me that I still have.

Since we didn`t live in the same town while he was growing up, it was always special to him when we can to visit.  Often we would stop at Tim Hortons and buy a box of donuts as a treat for him and his siblings.  His favourite were the ones with the colourful sprinkles.

I found a pattern to crochet donuts and went wild. I used beads in place of the sprinkles.  I made over a dozen of them and gave them to all the family members.  One hangs on my tree near to the rocking horse.

My father passed away a year after my nephew.  As I was thinking about the rocking horse and donut, I wanted to have an ornament that would bring my father to mind.  My father was a mechanic  though I couldn`t find a car where I was shopping.  I did find a cluster of peanuts.  Who in the world hangs peanuts on their tree, not something I would have imagined.  My dad probably ate peanuts every day of his adult life.  What could be a better salute to him.

Okay, enough of the sad stuff, this is a party after all. I`m so happy that you could visit with me today and share a little cheer.  It`s time for me to get baking, that gingerbread won`t roll itself.

Mister Linky is waiting below for a link to your Christmas party post.  I`ll be sure to drop over to your place for a visit some time today.

I did get my zombie gingerbread men made, though they are waiting their frosting. pictures will have to wait.  Not to disappoint, for the first time I made Yule log cakes. I watched an episode of Food Factory and they were making thousands of them.  I was inspired.  Daughter helped with the rolling and she is solely responsible for the decorating.

Yule Cake - Gluten and dairy free

yule cake - dairy free

I turned the left over bit from the wee branch and turned it into Yule kindling -
 gluten and dairy free


Cheryl Coville said...

Thanks for inviting me to your party, Heather. I think zombie gingerbread men will be fabulous! Wishing you a very merry Christmas!

Kate said...

What a great idea, Heather.

Lin said...

Lovely post Heather. As a child I did not have a stocking so it has been a great pleasure for me to start a tradition with my husbands grandaughter. I made a stocking for her the year she was born and fill it every year with little things that I have picked up over the year. This year she will be six and I am looking forward to doing this for some years to come. Sadly there will only be the one grandaughter so she is spoilt a bit! Have a wonderful Christmas Heather. xx

Marie said...

Great post! Thanks for inviting me to your party.

I cut down on my holiday baking, too, for much the same reason. ;)

Love your holiday wreath, Christmas tree, and memorial ornaments. My absolute favourite is the peanuts. They would be right at home on our tree. Who says that only traditional Christmassy things belong on a tree? For example, we have some plastic strawberries (which were originally intended for flower arranging, I think) that I hang on the tree thanks to some added raffia. For me, anything's game. The fact that yours reminds you of your Dad...that's even better.

Have a wonderful Christmas and a healthy joyous New Year!

Maggie said...

Dear Heather

Thanks for a super idea! Christmas done without lots of stress, with our own traditions is the best. We all have stocking, in all shapes and sizes. The decorations on the tree, has special memories, it is a lot of the one's the kids made when they was much younger. Every year we buy or make one new decoration. I want a fish for the tree, so this one is going to be made by the family.

Merry Christmas


Sherrie said...

Hi Heather,
Love your teapot. The peanuts are really cute.
The doughnuts look good enough to eat. Have a
great day!

Teddy Elaine Quilts said...

Those Zombie cookies were wonderful and tasted so good.. Love Mom