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DECK THE HOLIDAY'S: 03/12/15

Thursday, March 12, 2015

NAPKIN RING IDEAS TO HELP TO SET THAT FESTIVE CHRISTMAS DINNER PARTY!

   This dify comes from www.theletteredcottage.net  Many get ideas on how to add that extra detail to your holiday dinner. Enjoy!


Christmas Craft: Festive Napkin Ring Ideas

Hey there!
Are you having a nice December? Hope so!
We saw our niece and nephew sing at church tonight and it. was. wonderful! There’s something about little ones signing & singing songs about Jesus that always makes me teary.

Speaking of Christmas and fellowship, if you’re hosting a family dinner and you’re looking for some inexpensive and easy ways to festify (get it? festive? fy?) your dining room/kitchen table, how about creating some holiday napkin ring bling!


All ya need are some napkin rings…
…a hot glue gun, glue sticks, and some “holiday bling” from the arts & crafts store…
Everything in the photo above was marked 50% off, so each item only cost between 50 cents and $1.
Normally, I wouldn’t have purchased so many different options, but I wanted to have fun creating a variety of looks for this post, so I just grabbed a bunch of stuff that looked like it would sit right on top of my napkin rings.
Kevin and I had a ball putting them together today, and of course we had to name them all too.
“Bingle Jells”
“Flutter By”
“Mistle. Yo”
“It’s a bird…it’s a plane…it’s a napkin ring!”
And if you wanna get eggs-tra fancy schmancy with this one…(hardy har har)
Kinda pretty, huh?
Or is it weird to have a bird nesting in the middle of your plate right before you eat off of it?
Anywho…this next one isn’t quite as…uh…………….this next one doesn’t have eyeballs.
“Is that dessert on my plate, or just a really cute napkin ring?”
“Napkin ring/After Dinner Hint”
These little adhesive-backed poinsettias went on especially quick…
(You could probably even make these if you wanted to get really crazy. They’re just made out of felt and corn kernels.)
“I want some spaghetti-a, under my poinsettia”
And last but not least…
“Twilight”
Because if you don’t use some kind of sealer on the snowflake, and you wipe your face with this napkin, you’ll be as sparkly as a vampire in the sun.

HOW TO MAKE PUFF PASTRY THE EASY WAY!

  This diy comes from www.thepinkwisk.co.uk.   Baking desserts and pastries don't have to be have and difficult.  I have watched quite a few chefs make this.  They seem to make it a long drawn out labor intensive ordeal.  Follow this recipe and diy and it shouldn't be all that bad.  Tell me what you think?


How to make Puff Pastry




It’s not complicated but it does take a bit of organising in advance. I do use shop-bought puff pastry and generally have some in the freezer. Making your own is quicker than the time it takes to defrost some
(and it’s not difficult either)
This version of puff pastry is referred to as rough puff pastry, the idea being that you only get 75% of the rise that you would get with traditional puff pastry – getting technical there! However, when you see the rise you get with this its far above and beyond shop bought.
Puff Pastry takes a couple of days to do and also means you have to wrestle with a full pat of butter – hmmmm, I can be organised but not that organised!



Ingredients:


250g strong plain white flour
250g butter, cold
juice of 1/2 lemon
5-6 tbsps cold water to combine
To make the rough puff pastry add the flour and salt to the bowl of a food processor and give it a quick pulse to mix.
Cut the cold butter into 1/2cm slices and add to the food processor bowl.





Using the pulse function whizz until the butter is broken up but still in visible lumps. Tip the mixture out into a large mixing bowl.






Make a well in the centre and add the juice of half a lemon and then enough super cold water to make a dough. Use the blade of a table knife to mix the dough rather than your hands as you don’t want to melt the butter.








Once the dough is into a ball wrap in clingfilm and pop it into the fridge for an hour so that the butter hardens up again.
After an hour take the dough out of the fridge, lightly flour your work surface and then roll out the dough into a rectangle shape.






Fold into three like an envelope (see pictures below).







Turn the dough 90 degrees to the right so that the folds are now left and right. Roll again to a large rectangle and fold into three again. Turn and then repeat this step twice more, turning before each re-rolling and folding.






Each time the pastry gets smoother and more refined. Wrap again in clingfilm and allow it to chill for another hour in the fridge.






See? – It wasn’t difficult was it?
The pastry is now ready to be used for whatever you need it for. It can be frozen, wrapped well in clingfilm for upto six months. When defrosting, just make sure it stays dry and doesn’t sit in a pool of water.






Half a block is sufficient for a puff pastry top for a pie so it may be a good idea to cut it into half before freezing.
Traditionally you shouldn’t re-roll puff pastry trimmings. It disturbs the buttery layers within the pastry which you’ve worked so hard to create. However, you can. In these times throwing away pastry trimmings is wasteful and I just can’t do it. Gather together the trimmings and gently squeeze them back together as a ball.  Chill this wonky ball of pastry for half an hour or so until firm again.
This ‘wonky’ trimmings puff pastry is ideal for Palmiers – see recipe here. You can’t guarantee a huge rise or that the rise is in the right direction but it still tastes delicious all the same (and its better than heading for the bin!)

HARBIN INTERNATIONAL ICE AND SNOW FESTIVAL FROM CHINA!!









    The annual Harbin International Ice and Snow Sculpture Festival has been held since 1963. It had been interrupted for a number of years during the Cultural Revolution, until it was resumed in 1985.
    Harbin, the capital of Heilonjiang province of China, it is one of the main sources of ice and snow culture in the world. Geographically, it is located in Northeast China under the direct influence of the cold winter wind from Siberia. The average temperature in summer is 21.2 degrees Celsius, -16.8 degrees Celsius in the winter. It can be as cold as -38.1 degrees Celsius in the winter.


Niagra falls sculpture


    The festival lasts the whole month. However the exhibits often open earlier and stay longer, weather permitting. Ice sculpture decoration technology ranges from the modern (using lasers) to traditional (with ice lanterns). There are ice lantern park touring activities held in many parks throughout the city. Winter activities in the festival include Yabuli alpine skiing, winter swimming in the Songhua River, and the ice lantern exhibition in Zhaolin Garden.






    The Harbin festival is one of the world's four largest ice and snow festivals, along with Japan's Sapporo Snow Festival, Canada's Quebec City Winter Carnival, and Norway's Ski Festival.
    The 2007 festival featured a Canadian theme, in memoriam of Canadian doctor Norman Bethune. It was also a Guinness Record of the largest snow sculpture: over 500 feet long and 28 feet high, using over 13,000 cubic meters of snow. The composition consisted of two parts: "Niagara Falls" and "Crossing the Bering Strait" (the latter depicting the migrations of the First Nations).