Archive for the ‘Handmade Holidays’ Category
Posted in Baking, Family, Handmade Holidays, Make Your Own, REAL Holidays, Recipes, tagged baking, lattice-top pie, mahlzeit, mom, Pecan Pie Bars, pecans, pineapple pie, sweet treats, zucchini on December 9, 2012 | 5 Comments »
You have an official pass to eat goodies– it’s Christmastime! But in January, you have to be good. Here are some of the yummies, we’re making:
I (Xan) really just starting baking a few years ago. Baking is one of those things that one does with one’s mother, and since mine died right at the brink of my adulthood, I didn’t really feel confident in doing it. Plus, it made me sad. But when I changed my food buying habits and diet a few years ago, I had to learn to bake, or no bread. And I really did kinda figure it out. I’m slowly figuring out bread, am something of an expert now, or at least fairly fearless, at scones, and last year I taught myself to make pies (including the crust). Here is one them, and it fits in with last Tuesday’s post about baking with my mother.
Well, I (Sincerely, Emily) had wonderful intentions of making some cookies over the past few days…. ahhhh, that just didn’t happen.
So, the only sweet treat you are going to see from me is in the post I did yesterday about the Pecan Pie Bars that I made. Oh, and there is the batch after batch of zucchini muffins and bread that I have been making over the past few montsh (and stashing in the freezer – and other people’s freezers too).
What sweet treats have you been baking? Comment and add a link if you posted about them.
When I was a little girl, and well into high school, my mother and I would make gingerbread people every year for Christmas. And not just any gingerbread people. We would make a list of everyone we knew, and make portraits of them in gingerbread. I carry in my head a memory of every surface in our kitchen covered with gingerbread people.
Every year we would open up the cookbooks and search for the really good gingerbread recipe since we could never remember which one it was. Finally, in a moment of facepalming, I remember my mother writing “this is the one!” on the proper recipe.
After my mother died, I can’t remember if I kept this up, although I have a vague memory of trying to revive it with my own children. However, for whatever reason, “kids these days” or my ambivalence about baking, or a sense that people didn’t really appreciate the gesture, the tradition fell off. I revived it a couple of years ago, making some for Wei’s church ladies, and my office mates.
When you lose someone you love, you hold tight to little things like notes and their personal belongings. My mother’s cookbooks are among my most treasured belongings, and her notes, in her precious hand, make me feel like she’s still here. I want to restart this tradition, maybe with my borrowed grandchild Tete, maybe with my daughter (or both of them).
So I started writing this and I pulled out the book with the gingerbread recipe, but…
No “this is the one.”
In my mind’s eye I can see the writing on that page. I have all my mother’s cookbooks, and yet it isn’t there.
So the tradition, in its entirety will continue. My daughter and I will see if we can identify the “good” recipe, just as my mother and I searched for it every year. I can see where this will become a family story, of the search for the best gingerbread recipe. It’s one of those things that makes holidays real.
Do you have a recipe for gingerbread men? Link it in the comments! Maybe I’ll use yours!
Posted in Canning, Cooking, Crafty, Creative Pursuits, Food Preservation, Frugality, Gardening, Handmade Holidays, Holidays, Make Your Own, REAL Holidays, Recipes, tagged food, Gifts, handmade, Homesteading in Maine, recipe, Recipes, rick bayless, salsa verde, tomatillos, what to do with zucchinis, zucchini, zucchini relish on December 2, 2012 | 3 Comments »
Are you inspired by all the great handmade gifts our writers have been making? We like to cook things for the ones we love as well! Here’s some handmade recipes for holiday giving!
Of course, sweets are the mainstay of homemade holidays, but this year I decided to go savory. Every year I grow tomatillos, make pints and pints of salsa verde, and then it sits on the shelf because no one eats it. Naturally, this year I decided I’ll make it in half-pint sizes, and then use it for gifts. I made 20 half-pints. When I went to check for this photo, I was down to 11; I think my husband has been eating it because of the nice small sizes. I used Rick Bayless’ wonderful recipe, and grew everything myself except the limes. By the way, this stuff is great on pizza!
Well, Xan has me drooling over her salsa verde.
With the successful zucchini growing season this fall, I (Sincerely, Emily) knew exactly what some people were going to be getting this year for gifts! Zucchini Relish! I started making this recipe back in the fall of 2009 with a few zucchini from my garden (before the nasty borer got to it!) and more from the farmers market. Now I am thrilled I can use all of my own, homegrown zucchini for the recipe. I have not harvested my horseradish yet, or I would have used that too!) I found the recipe over at Homesteading in Maine and I also have the zucchini relish recipe posted (with permission) over at my blog too.
While reading Xan’s post yesterday about the benefits of being frugal, I started to think about how different a lot of our Christmas decorations are compared to most other people we know. While we have purchased a few things, a majority of our holiday decor is inherited, hand made, bought on clearance at the end of the season, or a “treasure” taken from trash that belonged to someone else! I thought I’d share a few of my favorites with you.
It’s big, and I’ve not seen anything like it, but it’s one of my absolute favorite Christmas decorations. We inherited this beauty from the husband’s Nanny several years ago…
Another decoration high on my favorites list is my grandma’s nativity set. While I would prefer a Willow Tree nativity (as far as looks go, it’s much more my style), this one holds a great deal of sentimental value. There are definitely a few chips and nicks on these figures, and one of the wise men is missing a hand. We just say it adds character!
We have received many handmade gifts and decorations over the years, but one of my favorites is this set of stockings. A very kind lady from church made these as a wedding gift for us. What a thoughtful gift.
Now, here is the disclaimer for the rest of this post…. the husband has some decorating favorites of his own! He is all about the cheese factor. He has been an avid Coca Cola memorabilia collector for as long as I’ve known him. Several of “his” decorations have literally been saved from the trash. We have a few of these grocery store cardboard “Santa Coke” advertisements scattered throughout the house.
While I was off on maternity leave with #2 (during the holiday season), the husband picked up a job cleaning a few banks in the area. He found this “treasure” in the trash… new and in the box! It was several years old, but had never been taken out of the box. So of course it came home with him.
This sign is proudly displayed next to his full size leg lamp from “A Christmas Story” every year. I will spare you that picture! Another image I will leave to your imagination is the massive amount of garland he has strung all over the place. It was all bought for pennies on the dollar at after Christmas clearance sales.
While we obviously have two distinctly different styles in decorating our home for the holidays, we make it work with a little compromise here and there (I decorate part of the house, he decorates the other). The boys love it, and will always have great memories to share as they get older. Best of all we spent little to no $$$ on any of it (except the leg lamp)!
How do you decorate your home for the holidays?
Short days, wet patio, warm blankets and hot mulled cider: it’s Fall, y’all which means TIME TO KNIT!
I’ve got two new knitting books checked out from the library for inspiration and am trying my hardest to finish this last pair of socks so that i can dig into Christmas projects and some warm clothes for personal use. On my list to make this season: mug coozies, leg warmers, fingerless mitts, mittens and a bunch of baby things like socks, bonnets and toys. I love knitting stuff for others, and love it even more when i get all those gift projects finished and can work on stuff for me! I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that.
After all, knitting for yourself is the best way to learn. If you keep giving away all your finished knits, you have no idea how they wear: comfie, itchy, good, bad, long lasting, etc. My last project was an experiment that failed, and i’m okay with that. Plus, now i have yarn available for another project after i rip out this non-cowl.
What sort of projects are you looking forward to working on this fall? Do you knit, quilt or sew? Do you like making things for yourself or others more?
We talked a lot about celebrating handmade/homemade holidays during December and many of us showed gifts we made for others. Today I’d like to share some handmade gifts I received from my nieces & nephews (ages 3-10).
Each of the oldest nieces & nephew decorated a terracotta pot for me. Most likely my sister found these pots at a garage sale and kids painted them for me. They will certainly look fabulous this summer on my back porch filled with a few succulents. I might seal them with some sealer to make sure the paint doesn’t come off or wear away.
They also made me a batch of paint swirl ornaments. My sister said even the three year old picked out which colors of paint she wanted in the ornaments my sister helped her make.
One of my nieces is very crafty and creative (a lot like I was as a girl). She made me this scarf from fuzzy yarn at one of her homeschool co-op classes, it was a gift made just by her for me (modeled by Dexter). It’s nice to see that we’re passing on the love of spending time rather than money on gifts for the holidays. No doubt they had a blast making these gifts!
Did you receive any homemade/handmade gifts this year from friends & family?
I can also be found at Chiot’s Run where I blog daily about gardening, cooking, local eating, maple sugaring, and all kinds of stuff. You can also find me at Your Day Magazine, and you can follow me on Twitter and on Facebook.
Posted in clothing, Crafty, Dark Days, Gifts, Handmade Holidays, Knitting, Spinning, tagged Canning, crocheting, handmade gifts, Handmade Holidays, knitting, Sewing on December 30, 2011 | 2 Comments »
With all my traveling, sewing, soap making and present wrapping, i missed out on participating in much handmade holiday conversation here at Not Dabbling, so my post this week will be a run down of all the projects i worked on this year.
Check out An Austin Homestead in the next week or two to see all my projects revealed. You can also find all my original handmade holiday posts in the archives on the left sidebar.
I got started with my holiday gifts early this year, beginning in September with some canned blackberry jam made from berries i picked just down the road, blended with dried cayennes saved from my Austin garden.
While i harvested gobs of berries and sold veggies to folks at the local farmer’s market, i was inspired to make my own produce bags for use at market and at home. I played around with my crochet hooks and came up with a sweet and easy pattern. I made at least 6 of these to give to several family members as Christmas gifts. *And i’ll be posting a tutorial on how to make your own market bag soon- so stay in touch and crochet with me!
My spinning wheel was a big contributor to my gifts this year. Not only did i give some beautiful skeins of “meriboo” (merino/bamboo) yarn to my mother in law, i also spun the yarn for several knitting projects for other loved ones. One mother has a new scarf, one father has a new hat, and each sister has a headband or hat. I am especially proud of two hats i knitted for my two best friends. One is in Texas, the other in New York and thus one has ‘not so warm’ hat, and the other an extra warm hat made of handspun quivit fiber (musk ox). I don’t yet know how to follow a knitting pattern, so all my projects come out rather “uniquely” which makes them even more special: they’re the only ones like them!
Giving my handmade gifts filled me with so much pride this year. I think my recipients loved their gifts, and i could tell they were all touched by my truly ‘hands on’ experience with each of their presents. Whether spun then knit, or picked then canned: all my gifts started with me from scratch to become treasured and useful possessions that will hopefully remind my recipients of me whenever they taste, wear or use them. To sit down to spin yarn for a project for someone you love to enjoy for years to come: THAT is what Christmas is all about, Charlie Brown. For me, at least.
In these dark days after Christmas (and other gift giving holidays) and before the new year, what thoughts and gifts are you pondering – both given and received? What present (given or received) stands out in your memory as the most treasured this year?