Wednesday, November 16, 2011


   This diy comes from www. balzerdesigns.typepad.com.  Enjoy making a few of these for your own very special Christmas tree.

  This guest post on making geodisic paper ornaments is from Chel Micheline. This is a super fun project that I think you'll want to try! There are so many possibilities once you've got the basic technique!



  • 2 or more sheets of paper (cardstock weight or thicker)
  • Cutting tool (I used Sizzix #113472 Circle 3-D Ornament die in my Cuttlebug– but a circle punch, craft knife, scissors, etc. will work fine)
  • Adhesive (I use Aleen's Fast Tack but double stick tape or even a stapler would be fine)
Begin by cutting 20 circles out of your favorite paper. I used Basic Grey's "Mistletoe & Pear" and K & Company's "Swell Noel." The trick with this ornament is to use HEAVY paper- the heavier the better. Cardstock weight patterned paper is great- the thin paper that comes in stacks or origami paper? Not so great.
You can use thinner sheets of paper, but back each sheet with some heavier paper first, otherwise when it comes time to actually construct the ornament, you will get so frustrated you will throw it out the window before you finish it. Trust me, the first few of these I made, I attempted to use wrapping paper. Hours later, I gave up and stomped away from my desk in tears. I still eye my pretty origami paper from time to time with these ornaments in mind, but I all I have to do is remember "the Day of Ornament Frustration" and I am reminded WHY I have to use cardstock.
Back to *this* ornament: I used my Cuttlebug and the Sizzix Circle 3-D die, but a circle punch would work fine, as would a careful hand and some scissors.
Note: If you aren't using the Sizzix die, which embosses folding lines into your circles, you are going to have to create the folds yourself. There's two ways of doing this - either eyeball it (which generally works, but things can get wonky) or use the template I'm including with this tutorial - simply size it in Photoshop or Word so that the circle is the same size as the one you've punched out.



Fold along the triangular folding lines of each circle, so you make a little "cup" out of them. The folds should be TOWARDS the side of the paper you want to be on the outside of the ornament.


Now for basic ornament construction - the ornament will have 5 circles on the top, 10 in the middle, and 5 on the bottom. I like to organize my circles BEFORE I begin construction so I don't end up with two same - pattern circles bumped up against each other when the ornament is complete. Regardless, it REALLY helps if you organize your circles into a group of 5, a group of 10, and a group of 5.


Begin constructing the top of your ornament- simply glue the flaps together to create a little "cap." When flipped upside down, it looks like a little flower.
Repeat this for the bottom of your ornament - 5 circles together to form another cap.


For the center of your ornament, glue the 10 remaining circles together to form a chain.


When the center chain is dry dry, attach one end of the chain to the other, making a bangle shape. This will be the foundation of your ornament.


Now, place some glue on the outside edges of the top cap of the ornament, and affix it to the outside edges of the center of the ornament.


When that is dry, repeat with the bottom cap.
You'll end up with a completed ornament. You can do a lot of things with this guy: spritz it with glimmer mist, ink the edges with gold ink, or use a gold leafing pen or some Stickles. When it's all done there are two ways to make a hanger: (1) thread a ribbon through the entire thing top-to-bottom or (2) punch a hole through one of the flaps and thread a ribbon through it.
Here's one I made a few months ago, using hand-painted/stamped paper and with the edges stamped in gold ink:



  Christmas brings a new life to the believers. Much before Christmas comes, the mood around the world changes. It is the anticipation of lovely days ahead of giving joy, meeting friends and family and feeling the spirit in the air that changes the most negative person to positive moods. Chistmas makes a person different. The same man, who you never see smiling, laughs during Christmas. That is the festive spirit of Christmas and that is why it is a lovely festival.
    The most important part of Christmas is of course celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ. Another ritual of Christmas that makes it so special is giving. We send so many cards to friends and family that we lose the count. Similarly giving gifts is very important. Selecting the right gift for everyone, wrapping it lovingly and sending it across, all this is joyful. This joy cannot be described in words.
    As said earlier, it is the giving that is the major reason of happiness. If we look at our moods and behavior, we find that we always derive greater joy in giving compared to receiving. Can we not celebrate this spirit of giving everyday? Can we not get this joy everyday? Can we not make someone happy everyday? We can. With conscious effort, we can do one act a day that makes somebody genuinely happy. Why not carry the spirit of Christmas all the year and enjoy the happiness of giving. One is blessed when one gives. Let us get these blessings round the year.

The Spirit Of Christmas

   Many of us have difficulty enjoying the holidays for a number of reasons, but usually, in one way or another, the reasons have to do with family. It is, however, possible to regain a sense of peace and to find enjoyment in the season. The first step is to let go of feeling like you have to do the holiday in a certain way. Sometimes this can feel challenging, but you really can do it.
    The most common reasons people have trouble with Christmas is it may mark the anniversary of the loss of a loved one, there may be a lot of family discord or alcoholism in the family, or there may be great loneliness. If any of these reasons describe your situation, you will need to find new ways of passing the holidays so that you can find more joy. Going along with the way things have been in past years will not help you to find peace.
    Give yourself permission to avoid or limit exposure to people who make you unhappy over the holidays. Family pressures can be intense, so if you need to, you can change your participation in family events by stages. Even shortening visits will help you reclaim some of your time but perhaps even more importantly, you will start to regain a sense of control over your own life by making choices for yourself instead of passively going along. This will help you a great deal to feel better.

    Also, find old or new activities on or around the holidays that have meaning for you, no matter how unconventional they may be. You really do not have to spend Christmas any particular way. 'Holiday' literally means a day of freedom from labor, as well as 'holy day.' The word 'holy' in turn, means 'belonging to God' but it is interesting to note the word 'holy' comes from root words meaning sound, whole, and happy. Holidays should be your days of freedom, and a chance to feel whole and happy, not distressed and burdened. Find activities that help you feel this way.


   A mince pie, also known as minced pie, is a small British sweet pie traditionally served during the Christmas season. Its ingredients are traceable to the 13th century, when returning European crusaders brought with them Middle Eastern recipes containing meats, fruits and spices.
   The early mince pie was known by several names, including mutton pie, shrid pie and Christmas pie. Typically its ingredients were a mixture of minced meat, suet, a range of fruits, and spices such as cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg. Served around Christmas, the savoury Christmas pie (as it became known) was associated with Catholic idolatry and during the English Civil War was banned by the Puritan authorities. Nevertheless, the tradition of eating Christmas pies in December continued through to the Victorian era, although by then its recipe had become sweeter and its size reduced markedly from the large oblong shape once observed. Today the mince pie remains a popular seasonal treat enjoyed by many across the United Kingdom.


   The ingredients for the modern mince pie can be traced to the return of European crusaders from the Holy Land. Middle Eastern methods of cooking, which sometimes combined meats, fruits and spices, were popular at the time. Pies were created from such mixtures of sweet and savoury foods; in Tudor England, shrid pies (as they were known then) were formed from shredded meat, suet and dried fruit. The addition of spices such as cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg was, according to the English antiquary John Timbs, "in token of the offerings of the Eastern Magi."   Several authors, including Timbs, viewed the pie as being derived from an old Roman custom practised during Saturnalia, where Roman fathers in the Vatican were presented with sweetmeats.  Early pies were much larger than those consumed today, and oblong shaped; the jurist John Selden presumed that "the coffin of our Christmas-Pies, in shape long, is in Imitation of the Cratch [Jesus's crib]", although writer T. F. Thistleton-Dyer thought Selden's explanation unlikely, as "in old English cookery books the crust of a pie is generally called 'the coffin.'"
   The modern mince pie's precursor was known by several names. The antiquary John Brand claimed that in Elizabethan and Jacobean-era England they were known as minched pies,  but other names include mutton pie, and starting in the following century, Christmas pie.  Gervase Markham's 1615 recipe recommends taking "a leg of mutton", and cutting "the best of the flesh from the bone", before adding mutton suet, pepper, salt, cloves, mace, currants, raisins, prunes, dates and orange peel. He also suggested that beef or veal might be used in place of mutton.  In the north of England, goose was used in the pie's filling, but more generally neat's tongue was also used; a North American filling recipe published in 1854 includes chopped neat's tongue, beef suet, blood raisins, currants, mace, cloves, nutmeg, brown sugar, apples, lemons,

brandy and orange peel.  During the English Civil War, along with the censure of other Catholic customs, they were banned: "Nay, the poor rosemary and bays, and Christmas pie, is made an abomination." Puritans were opposed to the Christmas pie, on account of its connection with Catholicism.  In his History of the Rebellion, Marchamont Needham wrote "All Plums the Prophets Sons defy, And Spice-broths are too hot; Treason's in a December-Pye, And Death within the Pot." Some considered them unfit to occupy the plate of a clergyman, causing Isaac Bickerstaff to comment:
"The Christmas-pie is, in its own nature, a kind of consecrated cake, and a badge of distinction; and yet it is often forbidden, the Druid of the family. Strange that a sirloin of beef, whether boiled or roasted, when entire is exposed to the utmost depredeations and invasions; but if minced into small pieces, and tossed up with plumbs and sugar, it changes its property, and forsooth is meat for his master."
    In his essay The Life of Samuel Butler, Samuel Johnson wrote of "an old Puritan, who was alive in my childhood ... would have none of his superstitious meats and drinks.
    Another essay, published in the December 1733 issue of The Gentleman's Magazine, explained the popularity of "Christmas Pye" as perhaps "owing to the Barrenness of the Season, and the Scarcity of Fruit and Milk, to make Tarts, Custards, and other Desserts", but also possibly bearing "a religious kind of Relation to the Festivity from which it takes its Name." The author also mentions the Quakers' objection to the treat, "who distinguish their Feasts by an heretical Sort of Pudding, known by their Names, and inveigh against Christmas Pye, as an Invention of the Scarlet Whore of Babylon, an Hodge-Podge of Superstition, Popery, the Devil and all his Works." Nevertheless, the Christmas pie remained a popular treat at Christmas, although smaller and sweeter, and lacking in post-Reformation England any sign of Catholic idolatry.  People began to prepare the fruit and spice filling months before it was required, storing it in jars, and by the Victorian era the addition of meat had, for many, become an afterthought (although the use of suet remains).  Today the mince pie remains a popular Christmas treat, although as the modern recipe is no longer the same list of 13 ingredients once used (representative of Christ and his 12 Apostles according to author Margaret Baker), it lacks the religious meaning contained therein.

Mince pie eating contest

   Here are a few recipies if you're wanting to make one yourself:

Mince pies

8 oz butter, softened
1 lb all purpose flour
2 oz icing sugar
2 egg yolks
1 lb mincemeat
an ounce or two of brandy or rum - if desired
beaten egg, to glaze
bun tins to make 30 pies
   Cut the butter into cubes. Sift the flour into a mixing bowl. Add the butter and, using your fingertips, rub the butter into the flour until it resembles fine breadcrumbes. Stir in the icing sugar. Make a well in the centre, stir in the egg yolk and about 3-4 tbsp iced water to make a soft but not sticky dough. Knead lightly to form a smooth dough (if there is time - chill for 30 minutes). Preheat oven to mark 400F or gas mark 6.
   On a floured surface, roll out two thirds of the dough and cut out 30 rounds using a 2-½ inch fluted cutter. Use to line the bun tins. Fill with mincemeat*.
   Re-roll remaining pastry and trimmings and cut out circles using a 2 in cutter. Dampen edges of circle and place on pies. Seal edges, brush tops with beaten egg and cook for 20 minutes.
   If desired, mix some (to taste) of the brandy or rum into the mincemeat. Mixture will be a little looser. Delicious when served alone or with custard (British - of course) or cream We highly recommend sampling the recipe repeatedly!!

Pear-Mince Pie


  • 6 large pears, peeled, cored, and cubed
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened pineapple juice
  • 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup chopped pitted prune
  • 1/2 cup golden raisin
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons brandy (or 1 teaspoon brandy extract)
  • pastry dough, for double crust 9-inch pie


In a large saucepan, combine the first 11 ingredients.
Bring to a boil; cook, uncovered, over low heat for 40 minutes or until thickened, stirring occasionally.
Stir in brandy.
Pour filling into a pastry-lined 9-inch pie plate; top with remaining pastry; trim edges; seal and flute.
Cut slits in crust to allow steam to escape.
Bake on the lower rack in a 425° oven for 15 minutes.
Lower heat to 375° and bake 30 minutes.

 Amount  Measure       Ingredient -- Preparation Method
--------  ------------  --------------------------------
    4       oz           Currants
    4       oz           Raisins
    4       oz           Sultanas
    2       oz           Cooking dates
    2       oz           Candied peel
    2       oz           Glace cherries
    2       oz           Flaked almonds
    1       ea           Ripe banana, peeled
    4       tb           Brandy or whisky
      1/2   ts           Ground ginger
      1/2   ts           Grated nutmeg
      1/2   ts           Mixed spice
    8       oz           Flour
    4       oz           Shortening
    6       tb           Cold water

   MINCEMEAT:  Mix everything together either by hand or,
   if you desire a smoother texture, in a food processor.

   PASTRY:  Rub shortening into the flour until the
   mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Add enough flour
   to enable the pastry to hold together. Roll out pastry
   & cut into 12 cm circles.  Press circles into the
   bottom of lightly oiled baking tins. Fill with
   mincemeat & cover with another pastry circle. Press
   down at the edges & make a small steam hole in the
   top. Bake for 10 minutes at 400F, 200C Gas 6. These
   pise can be frozen before baking either in the tin or
   remove from tin once they are solid. Mincemeat will
   keep for 1 week covered in the fridge. Makes 36 pies


   The traditional Thanksgiving has its roots in the first Thanksgiving celebrations, when there were harvest festivals, or days of thanking God for plentiful crops. It simply reminds us the year 1621 when the Pilgrim's started the Thanksgiving, which later became a tradition for the entire nation.
   In the first Thanksgiving celebrations a thanksgiving feast was organized in which there were dishes like boiled turkey, corn, fruits, vegetables, along with fish, which was packed in salt, and meat that was smoke cured over fires. The pilgrims had invited their neighbors, Native American Indians, to share the thanksgiving dinner. Governor William Bradford proclaimed a day of thanksgiving that was to be shared by all the colonists and the neighboring Native American Indians.
   Even in modern times the people love to follow the Thanksgiving traditions because the importance of the things involved in the traditional Thanksgiving has not reduced for them in any way. The most significant Thanksgiving customs that are still popular among the people are like:

Family and Friends: The family and their friends gather on the Thanksgiving Day for celebrating this day together.

The Autumn Harvest: The people thank the Almighty for the bountiful harvest and express their gratitude by praising Him.

Offering Prayers: The families collectively offer Thanksgiving prayer to the Lord for His blessings.

Thanksgiving Dinner: It is a custom that in the United States the families prefer to have their dinner together on this day.

Eating Turkey: Eating at least one dish made of the turkey is a compulsory and interesting Thanksgiving tradition.

Playing Football: The people also love to play and to watch the football game on the Thanksgiving Day.

Thanksgiving Day Parade: Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade is another custom of the Thanksgiving Day in America. This parade is held every year in New York city and audience enjoy its broadcast also.

The Pilgrims' History: Traditional Thanksgiving recounts the story of the pilgrims, the early settlers, and the challenges that they faced.

Songs And Poems: There is a wide array of Thanksgiving songs and poems that enable families to create and customize the celebrations.