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DECK THE HOLIDAY'S: 11/27/11

Sunday, November 27, 2011

DIY MERCURY GLASS ORNAMENTS!

   This diy comes from www.acaseofthemundays.com .  These look really cool and "old world".  Use them on your tree, in a wreath or hang them with some fancy ribbon in a window.


DIY: mercury glass ornaments

I am slightly obsessed w/ mercury glass this year!!!


{lovely globes from pb}


{pretty pretty candlesticks - also from pb}

which got me to thinking about mercury glass christmas ornaments.

... lovely, right? {and again pb}

okay okay. so apparently - based on my googling - mercury glass was sort of the thing last christmas. but this is one bandwagon i don't mind jumping on late.

the problem: i'm cut off on decor this year. {okay not true. but we did just get married a little over 2 months ago ... i have plenty of new decorations around the house w/out going overboard for christmas.}

the solution: i decided to make my own!


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supplies:
* clear glass ball ornaments. (hurry to michael's - they are 50% off!)

* can of metallic spray paint. i used
krylon premium original chrome spray paint. if you can find it, pick up krylon's looking glass mirror-like spray paint. {the chrome will work ... however the real mercury glass is more mirror like - so the mirror-like paint is ideal.}
* a gold acrylic paint. i used decoart's dazzling metalic paint in glorious gold.
i would consider a silvery gold ... like slightly tarnished silver.* spray bottle of water
* blow dryer
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directions:

step 1

) spray inside the first ornament ... then let excess water drain
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step 2)
 spray the chrome (or mirror-like) paint into the glass ornament. make sure to press lightly and rotate the ball until you have a couple light coats. {the lighter the coat the more iridescent the final product!}


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the moisture left in the ornament will cause the silver to separate.
continue to roll the ball in your hand until the entire inside has been reached by the silver paint.
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step 3)
  grab your blow dryer (and a pair of gloves). carefully blow into the opening of the ornament on medium high. continue to rotate as the paint dries. {emphasis on "carefully" because i might have dropped one!} occasionally ... empty out excess water once it separates from the silver paint.


 
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step 4)
though the silver paint is mostly dry, leave the ornaments to dry openings up overnight.



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step 5)
add the gold acrylic paint to each ornament and roll until they are coated in gold paint. then place upside down in a throw away tray to drain the extra paint. let them drain for several hours (or again overnight).
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step 6)
once again, blow dry until the paint is completely dry ... and shiny. {it will look a bit milky until it is completely dry.}

pop in the ornament tops ... and that's it!!!
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what do you think!?!

if i could change one thing - i would have ordered the mirror-like paint since i couldn't find it in town ... and practiced patience until it came in the mail. i think after the holiday, i'll order the paint and mercury-glass some hurricanes for the mantel. don't worry. i'll be sure to blog about it.

HOT CHOCOLATE ON A STICK, WHO DOESN'T LIKE SOME KIND OF FOOD ON A STICK!

   Nothing is better on a cold autumn day than a cup of hot chocolate.  Nothing is better to give as a gift to that special someone than hot chocolate on a stick.  Even if you don't want to heat up some milk, you could eat this decadance right off the stick.  Theses recipies are brought to you by www.whipperberry.com.  Make some cookies for dunking and enjoy a cup of cocoa!


Hot Chocolate on a Stick




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   Yes you heard me right…Hot Chocolate on a Stick!! This is the cutest idea of the season and I just had to share. I was inspired by Make and Takes via Pen & Paperflowers, thanks ladies!!


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   Then you assemble. Place a ganache block on the bottom, a marshmallow on top, then skewer with a stick.



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  Embellish the stick with Divine Twine or ribbon…


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   Try to resist eating them all, and package them up to give to your friends and neighbors…



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I’ll make it even easier…here is a free printable tag for your tasty little gifts {click on image to print tags}


Hot Chocolate on a Stick printable copy


When you are finished…heat up some milk, pour it in a mug, and give your little treat a try…yum!


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And the best part about this treat? It can be given and enjoyed all winter long, not just during the holidays!

TEN AGES OF CHRISTMAS, PART I !

   Some of the celebrations we associate with Christmas today began way before Christianity developed, so that by medieval times traditions of mid-winter feasting were long established. Later the Puritans banned some festivities, but other 'holyday' pleasures still survived. It was not until the reign of Queen Victoria that many of today's customs - such as decorating fir trees - really took off.


Medieval


Medieval

Fire, light and evergreens

   Pre-Christian, northern societies used to enliven the dark days of the winter solstice with a celebration of fire, light and jollity, to create relief in the season of nature's dormancy and to hurry along the renewal of springtime. Christmas, as the celebration of the birth of Christ, was also a winter festival which gradually incorporated many pagan traditions, one of which was the burning of fires to ward away dark and evil spirits.
   The tradition of decorating the home with native evergreens is a truly ancient one. Since pagan times evergreens have been valued for their ability to retain signs of life in the middle of winter - even in some instances producing berries and flowers.
   Early Christians displayed evergreen plants in the home to symbolise everlasting life. Holly, ivy and evergreen herbs such as bay and rosemary were the most commonly used, all with symbolic meanings that were familiar to our ancestors. Rosemary, for remembrance, and bay, for valour, are still well known. Holly and ivy were a particularly popular combination, the holly traditionally thought to be masculine and ivy feminine, giving stability to the home.
    A kissing-bough was often hung from the ceiling. This would consist of a round ball of twigs and greenery, decorated with seasonal fruit, such as apples. It was the precursor to the bunch of mistletoe, under which no lady could refuse a kiss. Mistletoe was sacred to the Druids and was once called 'All Heal'. It was thought to bring good luck and fertility, and to offer protection from witchcraft.
   In the medieval period, the Yule log was ceremoniously carried into the house on Christmas Eve, and put in the fireplace of the main communal room. Often decorated with greenery and ribbon, it was lit with the saved end of the previous year's log and then burnt continuously for the Twelve Days of Christmas, providing much needed light and warmth.



Elizabethan


Elizabethan

The banqueting course

'Sugar, spice and everything nice ...'

   The exhortation to 'eat, drink and be merry' epitomised Christmas in Elizabethan England. A highlight of the season was the Christmas feast, which, in those households that could afford it, culminated in a 'banqueting course' of sweet and colourful delicacies.
   A banquet, or sweetmeat, course allowed the host to display his wealth and status. It also provided its creator, often the lady of the house, an opportunity to show her culinary and artistic skills. Sugar, very expensive at the time and considered to have medicinal properties, was the key ingredient of most of the elaborate dishes.
   They were prepared and displayed to dazzle the guests with their beauty, delicacy and wit. The latter was provided by the creation of whimsical foods designed to deceive the eye. 'Collops of bacon', made from ground almonds and sugar, were a great favourite, as were walnuts, eggs and other items made from sugar-plate, a substance of egg, sugar and gelatine which could be moulded successfully into almost any form the cook might conceive. Another popular sweetmeat was 'leech', a milk-based sweet made with sugar and rosewater, which was cut into cubes and served plain or gilded, arranged as a chequerboard.
   Spectacle was of great importance, with pride of place going to a marchpane - a round piece of almond paste which was iced and elaborately decorated, sometimes with figures made of sugar. Crystallised fruits added colour. Gold leaf was used to gild lemons and other fruits and also gingerbread, which added to the rich and splendid appearance of the banquet.
    All of this would be accompanied by hot drinks, including 'lambswool'. This was made from hot cider, sherry or ale, spices and apples, which when hot exploded, to create a white 'woolly' top. Spiced wines and syllabubs were also popular. Guests were flattered and impressed by such extravagant expenditure.



Restoration

Restoration

The restrained restoration of Christmas

'More mischief is that time committed than in all the year besides ... What dicing and carding, what eating and drinking, what banqueting and feasting is then used ... to the great dishonour of God and the impoverishing of the realm.'

   So wrote the strict protestant, Philip Stubbes, in the late 16th century, expressing the Puritan view that Christmas was a dangerous excuse for excessive drinking, eating, gambling and generally bad behaviour.
   This view was made law in 1644, when an Act of Parliament banned Christmas celebrations. Viewed by the Puritans as superfluous, not to mention threatening, to core Christian beliefs, all activities to do with Christmas, both domestic and religious, including attending church, were forbidden. The ban, however, was unpopular and many people continued to celebrate privately, albeit in a far more restrained manner than in Elizabethan times.
   A more openly festive, if slightly subdued, spirit returned following the restoration of the Monarchy in 1660. Old customs were revived, and Christmas as both a religious and social festival was celebrated throughout society. The writings of Samuel Pepys provide a fascinating insight into Christmas in London during the decade following the Restoration.
   A civil servant best known today for his diaries, Pepys' observations about Christmas give us a feeling for what the season was like for Londoners at the time. In common with his contemporaries, Pepys worked on Christmas Eve, and often for part of Christmas Day itself. He attended church without fail on Christmas Day and, in 1660 and 1664, he went to both morning and evening services.
   The Christmas meal was also an important part of the day. Pepys noted with pleasure, or otherwise, what he ate each Christmas. In 1662, he made do with 'a mess of brave plum porridge and a roasted pullet ...', a rather frugal meal owing to his wife's illness. This was supplemented by a bought, rather than home-made, mince pie.
    In other years he enjoyed richer food, including a 'shoulder of mutton', and in 1666 'some good ribs of beef roasted and mince pies ... and plenty of good wine'. For entertainment, Pepys attended theatrical productions when possible, and read and played music at home. Visiting with friends and family was frequently mentioned.


Georgian and Regency


Georgian and Regency

Twelfth Night

   Twelfth Night, the 5th of January, has been celebrated as the end of the Christmas season since the Middle Ages. One of the most important days in the Christian calendar, Twelfth Night also marked the Feast of the Epiphany, when the three wise men, or Magi, arrived in Bethlehem to behold the Christ child.
   The word 'epiphany' comes from the Greek word for manifestation, and was chosen because this was the night on which the Christ child, called 'the King of the Jews', was manifested to the Gentiles.
   Most ancient writers agreed that there were three wise men. Over time they became known as the Three Kings - Caspar, Melchior and Balthazar. Caspar was thought to have brought the Christ child frankincense for divinity, Melchior gold for kingship and Balthazar myrrh for humanity.
   The custom of offering these things as Epiphany gifts was common for centuries. In 1756, The Gentleman's Magazine reported that: 'His Majesty, attended by the principal officers at Court ... went to the Chapel Royal at St James' and offered gold, myrrh and frankincense'.
   It is easy to see how kings and queens thus became the characters that traditionally represented Twelfth Night. During the 18th and 19th centuries, Twelfth Night parties were popular and usually involved games-playing, drinking and eating. A special Twelfth Cake, the forerunner of today's Christmas cake, was the centrepiece of the party, and a slice was given to all members of the household.
   Traditionally, it contained both a dried bean and a dried pea. The man whose slice contained the bean was elected King for the night; a Queen was found with a pea. For the rest of the evening, they ruled supreme. Even if they were normally servants, their temporarily exalted position was recognised by all, including their masters.
   By the early 19th century, the cake itself had become very elaborate, with sugar frosting and gilded paper trimmings, often decorated with delicate figures made of plaster of Paris or sugar paste. It remained the centrepiece of the party, although the bean and pea of earlier times were usually omitted.
   Twelfth Night was popular until the late 19th century. As the antiquarian William Sandys then observed, 'Twelfth Night ... is probably the most popular day throughout the Christmas, thanks to Twelfth Cake and other amusements'.



Early Victorian

Early Victorian

The Christmas tree

   The image of a glittering fir tree, with its lush dark-green branches illuminated by twinkling lights, at the centre of a happy domestic scene is today one of the most powerful and recognisable images of a 'traditional' Christmas. For many, the Christmas tree is also firmly associated with the Victorians, and indeed with those great advocates of Christmas, Queen Victoria and her husband Prince Albert.
   The custom, which originated in Germany, was introduced into England during the Georgian period. Queen Charlotte, German wife of George III, is known to have had a decorated tree for her family as early as the 1790s, and there is also a record of a tree at a children's party given by a member of Queen Caroline's court in 1821. Queen Victoria herself remembered such trees in the 1830s, happily describing potted trees placed on round tables 'hung with lights and sugar ornaments'.
   So, although Prince Albert is generally given credit for introducing the Christmas tree to England, he in fact simply popularised and made fashionable an already existing custom. Victoria and Albert shared a heart-felt enthusiasm for Christmas and each year of their marriage, decorated trees provided a focal point for their domestic celebrations.
   In 1848, a print showing the Royal couple with their children was published in the Illustrated London News. From this time onwards, the popularity of decorated fir trees spread beyond Royal circles and throughout society. Charles Dickens referred to the Christmas tree as that 'new German toy'.
   Trees were generally displayed on tables in pots, with gifts placed unwrapped underneath. The tree was decorated with wax candles, baskets of sweets, flags and little ornaments and gifts. The imported German Springelbaum was the tree of choice until the 1880s, at which time the home-grown Norway Spruce became available. This made a larger tree more affordable, and people began placing trees on the floor.