Sunday, December 19, 2010

I spy... Ten Tiny Fingers!

Now that the first of the holiday gifts have been handed out and opened, I have decided to show my work. I am a nanny for a two-year-old boy named Jude. I recently introduced him to the "I spy" game once the Christmas tree was up. We would sit for at least half an hour at times and spy different ornaments on the tree, even though his favorite thing was to point out all the blue lights. When we first started playing it, he would get so excited when he would find something which sparked the perfect gift idea light bulb going off in my head!

Well, here is. My perfect light bulb gift idea and my first project on the sewing machine I recieved as a wedding gift. I made a "I Spy" quilt for my little two-year-old. I think it turned out pretty gosh darn nice and every -whoops a daisy- in it is a "handmade with love" disclaimer.

For a gift for his parents, I help my little monkey make a special gift. Last year we gave them a cozy blanket with his footprints on so they could have cozy family time. This year Jude is all about hand prints and has become quite a pro at making them, so this is what we came up with.

I looked into using glass and porcelain paint but because of the violent warnings of possible cancer causing agents, I decided to use a non toxic acrylic paint for his hand prints and a permanent marker to write the poem. My husband than lightly dusted it with a clear acrylic spray coating. It can't be used for food, just display but I thought it was beautiful and I am in love with the platter I found at such a great price at Ross.

Happy Holiday Crafting to you!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

I sure do love those Christmas Cookies, with tea!

 The tree is up and the house is decorated... Time to get started on the baking and present making! So, I can't tell you about the presents yet, but I can share the start of my holiday baking! I started the season of sweets with soft gingerbread cookies and some jam filled butter cookies. Both are our favorites, but I foresee a lot more baking in my future! I have included the recipes below - they aren't my own recipes, but I have altered them a little from the original. I hope you enjoy them as much as we do! Cheers to Christmas cookies!

Jam filled Butter Cookies

3/4 cup Butter (softened)
1/2 cup Sugar
2 Egg Yolks
2 cups All Purpose Flour
2 tsp Vanilla Extract
1/2-3/4 cup Fruit Preserves

-Cream softened butter and sugar together. Add egg yolks and vanilla extract. mix well. Add flour slowly until all mixed well.
-Roll dough into 1 inch balls. If dough is too soft, refrigerate for 15 to 20 minutes. Place balls 2 inches apart onto ungreased cookie sheets. Use your finger or an instrument of similar size to make a well in the center of each cookie. Fill the hole with 1/2 teaspoon of preserves.
-Bake for 8 to 10 minutes in the preheated oven, until golden brown on the bottom. Remove from cookie sheets to cool on wire racks.

Soft Gingerbread Cookies

*To make and keep cookies soft, Roll out dough on plastic wrap or wax paper while warm, then chill before cutting into shapes.

3/4 cup unsulfered molasses
3/4 cup light brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 cup butter softened
2 3/4 teaspoon ground ginger
2 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1 large egg - beaten lightly
4 1/4 cup unbleached all purpose flour
2/3 c crystallized ginger, finely chopped (optional)

1. Combine molasses and sugar in saucepan; heat over medium heat 2-3 minutes or until sugar dissolves and bubbles form around edges.
~ Remove from heat and stir in baking soda
~Add butter, ginger, cinnamon, salt, cloves - stirring until butter is melted.
~ Stir in egg, then flour: mix until no white streaks remain.
2. Roll out on wax paper to 3/8 inch thickness, cover with plastic wrap, place on baking sheet and chill in refriderator for 10 minutes and up to 8 hours.
3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees, line cookie sheet with parchment paper and cut dough into shapes.
4. Bake 10 minutes or until firm to touch.
5. Serve warm or transfer to wire rack to cool.

Decorate with melted chocolate (optional)