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DECK THE HOLIDAY'S: 12/06/11

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

DIY TINY GINGERBREAD HOUSES TO PERCH ON YOUR CUP OF COCOA OR LATTE!!

  Found this on www.notmartha.org .  These little houses have so many uses and can be given away as gifts or made for that  next Christmas party. Happy holidays!!


gingerbread house that sits on the edge of a mug


I made tiny gingerbread houses that are meant to be perched on the edge of a mug of hot chocolate.

gingerbread house that sits on the edge of a mug


I had been thinking about those sugar cubes that hook on the rim of a teacup earlier this month, and I was also thinking about 3-D cookies and how they fit together and figured it would be pretty neat to make cookies that hang on the edge of a mug. I thought I was being so brilliant but it only took a few seconds to discover that a flat cookie on the edge of a mug has already been done. So I started wondering what else I could do. At the time I was making a bunch of gingerbread recipes trying to find one that would hold up for my partridge in a pear tree cookie, so a gingerbread house was on my mind.



gingerbread house that sits on the edge of a mug


I made a few versions to figure out how to make one that wasn’t so top heavy that it would flip off the mug, and how small I could get away with and still fit on both large and small cups. I generally followed the size of my The Mini Gingerbread House Kit (though, those pieces don’t fit together as nicely as I’d have liked).



gingerbread house that sits on the edge of a mug

I’ve made a PDF pattern of gingerbread house pieces which you can open or download right here. My only instruction is that you should make sure that the wall pieces are to be sandwiched on the inside of the door pieces, that way the roof fits on properly. I included two door pieces you can choose from, one at 3/8ths inch wide and one at 1/2 inch wide. I found that a 3/8ths inch door, or slot, fits most mugs but the 1/2 can be used for your really big and heavy mugs. I traced the pieces onto this template page at 9:54 in the evening, please forgive the sloppiness but I’m getting tired, let’s just call the untidy lines charming.



gingerbread house that sits on the edge of a mug


I used the Gingerbread Snowflake and the Royal Icing recipes from marthastewart.com.



gingerbread house that sits on the edge of a mug


I rolled it out onto a sheet of tin foil at 1/8th inch thick. I skipped a silicone mat because I use a paring knife for the corner details and didn’t want to accidentally cut down to the layers of glass fibers, and after some trial I found that parchment paper will warp after being chilled and then stuck in an oven which can distort some shapes.



gingerbread house that sits on the edge of a mug


I used a dull sewing pattern roller (like a small pizza cutter) to go around most sides. You can do all of one side than turn the entire sheet of tin foil 90 degrees to do all of the next side, this makes the process go a bit faster. Try to fit all the pieces for each individual house in the same batch, I found my batches browned differently from each other. Lift the excess dough up from the tin foil, not moving your cut out shapes at all, this will help them keep their shape. Then slide the tin foil sheet onto a cookie sheet and put both in the freezer for about 15 minutes, you want the dough really well chilled before baking.



gingerbread house that sits on the edge of a mug

I used a (well cleaned) flat head screwdriver to get in the detail around the doors, then a paring knife to make sure the corners are cut cleanly.
Here are some tips, most of these are in the recipe but I don’t want you to overlook them:
  • After making it divide the dough into thirds (I made half a recipe) wrap in plastic wrap and chill in the fridge for at least an hour, preferably overnight. Make the royal icing while it’s chilling, you’ll need it before you make all the gingerbread you are planning on.
  • Roll the dough out to 1/8th of an inch. It seems impossibly thin but you be cutting the shapes and pulling the excess dough from around them so your pieces won’t be too disturbed. Feel free to nudge your shapes back into squares before chilling them again.
  • Preheat the oven, roll the dough out on tin foil, cut your shapes and lift off the excess dough, slide the tin foil onto your cookie sheet, now put the cookie sheet into the freezer for at least 15 minutes before baking. This will keep the gingerbread from spreading too much.
  • Make a single test house with your chosen door width. This sounds like a pita, and it will be, but it will be far less trouble than the frustration of finding none of your finished houses fit on mugs. Knowing now that you need to cut a wider door is worth it.
  • I found that dough chilled for only an hour puffed up quite a bit, but didn’t necessarily spread if the cut out shapes were chilled in the freezer. Dough that had been in the fridge overnight, or even the second day (it’ll keep for a few days) puffed up quite a bit less, perhaps because the baking powder had lost it’s mojo by this time?
  • If you suspect your intended mugs are thicker and sturdier than usual grab some cardstock or a magazine insert and cut a few different slots — 1/4, 3/8 and 1/2 inch wide, about two inches deep (or tall). The one that slides easily onto the edge of you mug and even has a little wiggle room is the width you want for your door.
  • If your gingerbread should spread and the doors look too narrow to you, you can trim them when the gingerbread is just out of the oven before it sets and cools too much. I suggest a paring knife and trimming just a bit from either side of the door.



gingerbread house that sits on the edge of a mug

I decided to only decorate the roofs for now. I might make these again next year and get more detailed with the decorations. I used a variety of sugars and sprinkles. One note, I discovered that candy cane dust will stick together so well that it will not show any piping detail beneath it. I liked the way regular sanding sugar made the roof sparkle a bit, though I couldn’t capture the cuteness in my pictures.



gingerbread house that sits on the edge of a mug

Don’t fill your mug of hot chocolate too full, you don’t want the bottom of your gingerbread house to get soggy.


gingerbread house that sits on the edge of a mug

Can you tell the crushed candy cane one was my favorite?
I would be these would be fantastic made out of sugar cookie or shortbread dough. You could certainly leave them undecorated, or perhaps press sanding sugar into the roof pieces before baking. On the other hand I’m curious to see what one would look like covered in pieces of tiny candies. I’m also planning on making house-shaped marshmallows that will fit on the edge of the mug.


gingerbread house that sits on the edge of a mug


update: I made a few variations including a chimney and a version made out of sugar cookie dough which you might be interested in.

a few variations on my tiny gingerbread houses

HOW ABOUT ANOTHER CHRISTMS HOLIDAYS MUSIC QUIZ PART 2!

Try to identify the carol from the clues. Some are pretty tricky! The answers are at the bottom... don't peek if you want to try it for yourself. See also Christmas Carol Quiz 1.
  1. The apartment of 2 psychiatrists.
  2. The lad is a diminutive percussionist.
  3. Festoon the entryways with colorful decorations.
  4. Sir Lancelot with laryngitis.
  5. A B C D E F G H I J K M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y X Z
  6. Present me naughty but dual incisors for this festive Yuletide.
  7. The event transpired when a smogless bewitching hour arrived.
  8. Exuberation to this orb.
  9. 288 Yuletide hours.
  10. Do you perceive the same longitudinal pressure which stimulates my auditory sense organs?
  11. The red-suited pa is due in this burg.
  12. Stepping on the pad cover.
  13. Uncouth dolt has his beezer in the booze and thinks he is Dark Cloud's boyfriend.
  14. Far back in a hay bin.
  15. Leave and do an elevated broadcast.
  16. That exiguous hamlet south of the holy city.
  17. Behold! I envisioned a trio of nautical vessels.
  18. Listen, the winged heavenly messengers are proclaiming tunefully.
  19. A joyful song relative to hollow metallic vessels which vibrate and bring forth a ringing sound when struck.
  20. As the guardians of little woolly animals protected their charges in the shadows of the earth.













Here are the answers!
  1. The Nutcracker Suite
  2. Little Drummer Boy
  3. Deck the Halls
  4. Silent Night
  5. Noel (No L)
  6. All I Want For Christmas Is My 2 Front Teeth
  7. It Came Upon A Midnight Clear
  8. Joy To The World
  9. 12 Days of Christmas
  10. Do You Hear What I Hear?
  11. Santa Claus Is Coming To Town
  12. Up On The Rooftop
  13. Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer
  14. Away In A Manger
  15. Go Tell It On The Mountain
  16. O Little Town of Bethlehem
  17. I Saw Three Ships
  18. Hark The Herald Angels Sing
  19. Jingle Bells
  20. As Shepherds Watched Their Flocks by Night

DIY LARGE SNOWFLAKES!

This diy comes form www.craftynest.com .  These would make cool wall decor during Christmas.  Also add a little clear or white glitter to give them a little more sparkle.



Giant Craft Stick Snowflakes



Giant white craft stick snowflakes
Giant red craft stick snowflakes


I could hardly wait to show you this Popsicle stick craft! These snowflakes are fun, easy, and so inexpensive to make. The smallest snowflake is 12 inches across; the largest is 24 inches. I had some rhinestones left over from my Christmas tree advent calendar, so I glued some at the tips of each white snowflake. You could also coat them in glitter or fake snow. And why stop with snowflakes? You could make stars, wreaths, or Christmas trees decked with lightweight ornaments. Hang them in your window, over a door instead of a wreath, or from the ceiling.

How to make giant craft stick snowflakes


Supplies and tools
  • craft sticks
  • protractor
  • hot glue gun and glue
  • fishing line
  • clear cellophane tape
  • 3/8- to 1/2-inch-wide holiday ribbon
  • red and white paint (I used Benjamin Moore Aura Steam [AF-15] and Caliente [AF-290])
  • round 12mm rhinestones
  • scissors
  • double-stick foam tape
  • small paintbrush
  • drop cloth or newspaper


All my snowflakes are based on three basic patterns, which I will call star, hexagon, and rotated hexagon.

The Star



star - step 1

1. Start by gluing six craft sticks in an asterisk shape at 30 degree angles. Use a protractor to make sure your angles are accurate.


star - step 2

2. Then add the points to the star.


star - step 3
DIY giant snowflake - star pattern
3. Finally, depending on the pattern, add the final craft sticks to complete the snowflake.

The Hexagon



star - step 1

1A. Start by gluing six craft sticks in an asterisk shape at 30 degree angles. Use a protractor to make sure your angles are accurate.


mini hexagon


1B. For the mini hexagon, start with three craft sticks instead of six.



hexagon - step 1


2. Add more sticks to expand the lengths.


hexagon - step 3


3. Glue six sticks in a hexagon shape, then glue each point of the hexagon to your asterisk shape.


hexagon - step 4
hexagon - step 4 alternate
rotated hexagon - step 3 alternate

4. Finally, depending on the pattern, add the final craft sticks to complete the snowflake.

The Rotated Hexagon



rotated hexagon - step 1

1. Start by gluing six craft sticks in an asterisk shape at 30 degree angles. Use a protractor to make sure your angles are accurate.


rotated hexagon - step 4


2. Glue six sticks in a hexagon shape, then glue the middle of each side of the hexagon to your asterisk shape.


rotated hexagon - step 3

3. Finally, add the final craft sticks to complete the snowflake.


paint the snowflakes

1. Using a small paintbrush, paint two coats of paint on each side, including the edges. I recommend spray paint instead because it’s easier and faster, but severe weather prohibited spray paint in my case. Let dry.


glue rhinestones


2. Glue rhinestones onto the tips of the snowflakes. Or glue on glitter or fake snow. Let dry/cool.


hang snowflakes in window


3. To hang them in the window, tie fishing line to each snowflake. Tape the fishing line to the top of the window frame with clear cellophane tape.


hang on the wall

4. To hang them on the wall, tie a small ribbon bow to the snowflake, then tie a longer piece of ribbon to the back of the bow. Attach the long ribbon with double-stick foam tape at the very top of the wall

CHRISTMAS IN BRAZIL!



   In Brazil, Christmas is one of the most important festive days, or "dia de festas". It is celebrated on 25th December.
   Having a multicultural population, the festivities in the country are influenced by ethnic ways. As a former Portuguese colony, they have retained some of the Christmas customs of their former masters. Notable among these is creating a nativity scene or "Presepio". The word "Presepio" comes from "presepium" meaning the bed of straw in which Jesus first slept after birth in Bethlehem. This custom is common in places of north eastern Brazil like Bahia, Sergipe, Rio Grande do Norte, Paraiba, Maranhao, Ceara, Pernambuco, Piaui and Alagoas. A Franciscan friar named Gaspar De Santo Agostinho is believed to have first introduced the tradition in the city of Olinda (in the state of Pernambuco) in the 17th century. The practice of setting up presepios continue to this day. Every December, presépios are created during Christmas and displayed in churches, houses and stores. Come January and they are dismantled along with the Christmas trees and lights.




   On Christmas Eve, thousands of devout Catholics attend the "Missa do Galo" or Midnight Mass. Masses are also organised on December 25 in the morning and later afternoon.
   Christmas decorations in the country involve setting up Christmas trees in individual homes and adorning them beautifully with decorative items such as lights, plastic balls and glass balls. A highlight of Christmas celebrations in Brazil is making huge Christmas "trees" of electric lights. These "electric trees" can be seen against the night skies in major cities such as Brasilia, São Paulo, and Rio de Janeiro throughout the season.
   Caroling is quite a popular custom here. Various christmas carols are sung during Christmas to commemorate the birth of Christ. A number of Christmas songs (pastorils and others) are sung on the occassion. "Noite Feliz" ("Silent Night") is probably the song most associated with Christmas in Brazil.





   The beginning of the previous century saw many immigrants coming from Europe and other parts of the world and settling in Brazil. As a natural consequence, the festivals celebrated in the country began to be observed in diverse ways and influenced by different traditions that these people brought with them. Christmas is not an exception. The food eaten in Brazil (specially in the South states) during Christmas came from Germany, Italy, Portugal, Spain and other countries. The traditional Christmas dinner here includes roasted turkey, vegetables and fruits. Beer and wine are also served often; a German "Stollen" or an Italian "Panetone" often find their way to a Christmas feast held in the southern parts of the country. A huge Christmas dinner menu includes turkey, ham, colored rice, and wonderful fresh vegetable and fruit dishes. The less fortunate have rice with chicken or with beans.
    In some regions the feast starts on Christmas Eve around 9 pm, while at other places it is eaten at midnight with the children being served first.
   Like Santa Claus in the U.S., Papai Noel (Father Noel) is the gift-bringer in Brazil. According to legend, he lives in Greenland and resembles Santa in many ways. Papai Noel can also remind you of Chile's "Viejo Pascuero" (Easter Old Man). This gift-giver of children is depicted as wearing a red fur coat with boots and carrying a bag full of presents. He is believed to secretly leave gifts at the house of every good child on Christmas Day. Children wake up early on Christmas morning to look for gifts from this benevolent character.





   Except for the high temperatures and the absence of snow, Christmas here is pretty much the same as it is in the US.