Tuesday, December 13, 2011


   This comes from www.celebrationsathomeblog.com .  Try these for a different twist at your next holiday party.

Nothing says Holiday nibbles to me, like a dish full of spicy nuts! This recipe is perfect to have sitting around the house during a party or on Christmas day while you’re waiting for your big meal. It has just a hint of sweet and a hint of spice and has proven to be a tried and true recipe. I like to have a small dish of nibbles on the bar too as you see here, and this is my go-to snack! Try making these today – I bet you have all the ingredients in your kitchen already!

Spicy Pecans

2 egg whites
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup sugar
2 Tablespoons Smoke Paprika (or regular)
1 1/2 teaspoon ground red pepper (cayenne)
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
6 cups pecan halves
1/4 cup Plus 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
Beat egg whites and salt with wire whisk until foamy. Add sugar, paprika, red pepper, and Worcestershire sauce, beating well. Stir in pecans and butter. Spread on a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil & sprayed with non-stick spray.
Bake at 350 for about 30 minutes or until pecans are crisp, stirring every 10 minutes.
Let cool and store in air tight container.

NOTE: I like to add some almonds to my nut mixture, for example 4 cups pecans and 2 cups alomonds. These are also delicious tossed in a salad!


   This comes from www.cremedelagems.blogspot.com .  Would make a lovely ornament on your tree for the spooky little ghoul or ghost in your house.  OOOOHHHH!

Jack Skellington Ornament

B O O!
It's Jack Skellington... as a Snowman.
Please allow time for all photos to load :)
Have Fun!

As always, if children will be doing the creating, I recommend they use
Sculpey brand Polymer Clay is safe for children.

Polymer clay can be found in your local craft store.
Remember to keep all sharp tools away from children. Read

and follow all package directions on the back of

your polymer clay packaging.
Condition (squish & soften) clay before using & wash hands
between using each color.

Warm Jack up by wrapping his neck with a scarf made of wool felt~
I also think Jack would look just as cute with only his head and santa hat ;)


   Ethiopia (and especially the Ethiopian Orthodox Church) still use the old Julian calendar, so the celebrate Christmas on January 7th, not December 25th! The Christmas celebration in the Ethiopian Orthodox Church is called Ganna. Most people go to Church on Christmas day.
   Many people fast (don't eat anything) on their 'Christmas Eve' (6th). At dawn on the morning of Ganna, people get dressed in white. Most people wear a traditional garment called a shamma. It's a thin white cotton piece of cloth with brightly colored stripes across the ends. It's worn like a toga. If you live in a big town or city you might wear 'western' clothes. The early Ganna mass starts at 4am!

   The Ethiopian capital city is Addis Ababa. It's a modern city. Most people who live outside big cities live in round house made of mud-plastered walls which have thatched cone-shaped roofs. Sometimes houses in the country are rectangular and made of stone.
The design of Ethiopian Church is similar to the houses. In the country, they are often very old and have been carved out of rock. In cities, modern churches are built in three circles, each within the others.
   The choir sings from the outer circle. Everyone who goes to church for the Ganna celebrations is given a candle. The people walk around the church three times in a solemn procession, holding the candles. They then go to the second circle to stand during the service. The men and boys are separated from the women and girls. The center circle is the most important and holy place in the church and is where the priest serves the Holy Communion or mass.

   It's also a tradition that one of the Wise Men who visited Jesus came from Ethiopia.
Around the time of Ganna, the men and boys play a game that is also called ganna. It's played with a curved stick and a round wooden ball, a bit like hockey.
Traditional Christmas foods in Ethiopia include wat which is a thick and spicy stew that contains meat, vegetables and sometimes eggs (sounds yummy!). Wat is eaten on a 'plate of injera' - a flat bread. Pieces of the injera are used as an edible spoon to scoop up the wat.
   Twelve days after Ganna, on 19th January, Ethiopians start the three day celebration of Timkat. It celebrated the baptism of Jesus. Children walk to church services in a procession. They wear the crowns and robes of the church youth groups that they belong to. Adults wear the shamma. The priests wear red and white robes and carry embroidered fringed umbrellas.

   Musical instruments are played during the Timkat procession. The sistrum is a percussion instrument with tinkling metal disks a bit like a vertical tambourine. A makamiya, a long T-shaped prayer stick is used to keep the rhythm and is also used by the priests and a stick to lean on during the long Timkat church service!
   Ethiopian men also play a sport called yeferas guks. It's played on horseback and the men throw ceremonial lances at each other (sounds rather dangerous!).
   People don't give and receive present during Ganna and Timkat. Sometimes children might be given a small gift of some clothes from their family members. It's more a time for going to church, eating lots and playing games!


   During Christmas in Costa Rica, people like to decorate their houses with beautiful tropical flowers. A model of the nativity scene, called the Pasito or Portal, is the center of the display. It's also decorated with flowers and sometimes fruit. Some of the scene take a long time to make and all the family is involved. As well as the traditional figures, people add other models including houses and lots of different sorts of animals.
Christmas wreaths are made of cypress branches and are decorated with red coffee berries and ribbons. Most homes, shops and important buildings are decorated with Christmas lights.
   In Costa Rica, the gift bringer is often 'NiƱo dios' (Child God, meaning Jesus) or 'Colacho' (another name for St. Nicholas).
   On Christmas Eve, everyone puts on their best clothes and goes to Midnight Mass. In Costa Rica it's called the 'Misa de Gallo (Mass of the Rooster); it's also called that is Spain.

   After Midnight Mass the main Christmas meal is eaten. It normal includes chicken and pork tamales that have been wrapped for cooking in plantain leaves. To drink there's lots of egg nog and rum punch!
   After Christmas, and into January, there are lots of fiestas, parades, rodeos, street parties, bull runs and choral and dance festivals. On 26th December (Boxing Day) there is an important horseback parade called the Tope. The next on the the 27th, many towns and cities have 'Carnaval' with a big parade featuring dancing and big floats.


This diy comes from www.twigandthistle.com.  Make this ahead of the Christmas season and your children will enjoy finding what little treasures and candies lie beneath the lids of the holiday tin advent calendar.

Magnetic Holiday Advent Calendar DIY


UPDATE: Wow, and I thought I was being so clever, Martha beat me to it by a whole year! Check out her version!
The long Thanksgiving holiday is the perfect opportunity to get started on some of those Christmas crafts you’ve got planned. I started a little early this year so that I could share this little project with you and I hope you enjoy.
Some of my fondest holiday memories from childhood were around the advent calendar. My grandfather would mail us one every year and I can remember how excited we were every day to open the tiny doors to see the surprise inside! Typically chocolate but sometimes a small trinket or toy.
This project is a new take on the traditional advent calendar and one that will easily last for years. With just a few basic supplies, theses metal storage tins transform into a fun holiday count down. Cheers!


• 25 Small 41 mm Metal Tins with Glass Tops
Available through Packaging Specialties order by phone at 206.762.0540
and online at Polymer Clay Express
• Advent Calendar Downloadable PDF (See Below)
• Magnetic Sheets (Available at Office Supply Stores)
• Craft Glue or Strong Double-Sided Tape
• X-Acto Knife
• Bone Folder
• 1 4/8″ Craft Punch (Optional)
1. Begin by downloading and printing the Advent Calendar PDF. With an x-acto knife, trim out along black lines. Once circles are trimmed, cut inwards making small slits along outer rim. Be sure to cut only to the edge of the color. This will aid in fitting the rounds inside the lids.
2. With the inside of the lid facing up, place number on top, face down and press into place. Secure by rubbing the pointy end along the inside edge of the tin top.
3. To make them magnetic, cut circular shape slightly smaller than the tin from magnetic sheeting. This can be done with either a craft punch or x-acto knife. Glue to bottom of tin, making sure not to glue magnetic side (the dark side).
4. Fill tins with small candies, toys, cute paper clips, whatever will fit and your family will enjoy!
5. Arrange magnets on fridge or any other magnetic surface. Place in rectangular numerical order, in the shape of a tree, or arrange them randomly for added hunting fun. The possibilities are endless so have fun!



This diy comes from www.afieldjournal.blogspot.com. These would make great paper ornaments also.

Peppermints & Candy Canes

These candy gift tags were an assignment I did for HobbyCraft, a UK publication. The story was unfortunately cut at the last minute, but I wanted to post some of the photos now that it's Christmastime. To make these, gather colored card stock, scissors and glue. Use the template to cut out the shapes and assemble as shown. You can add crepe paper "wrappers" to the peppermints, by gluing an additional paper circle to the back of the tag, sandwiching gathered crepe paper pieces between the layers. As a final touch, I dusted the finished tags with crystal glitter. Use these to embellish a package or decorate the tree!


   Christmas in the Democratic Republic of the Congo is more of a religious festival than being commercial. Most people won't have any presents.
   Christmas Eve is very important with Churches having big musical evenings (most churches have at least 5 or 6 choirs) and a nativity play. These plays last a very long time. They start at the beginning of the evening with the creation and the Garden of Eden and end with the story of King Herod killing the baby boys.
   People taking part in the play really like to show off their 'best' acting skills and tend to go over the top and 'ham it up'! King Herod and the soldiers are often figures of fun (like pantomime 'baddies') and Mary is often well advanced in labour before she arrives!

   The birth of Jesus is timed to happen as close to midnight as possible and after that come the shepherds, the wise men and the slaughter of the innocents. This means the play normally finishes about 1am. However, in some places there will be further singing until dawn! The Christmas day service then starts at 9am with lots more singing.
   On Christmas day, most families try to have a better meal than usual. If they can afford it, they will have some meat (normally chicken or pork). The rest of the day is spent quite quietly, maybe sleeping after a busy and late night on Christmas Eve!
People go back to work on the 26th (Boxing Day).
In the Lingala language, which is spoken in the DRC and some other African countries, Happy/Merry Christmas is 'Mbotama Malamu'.


This comes from www.sweetopia.net .  Very cool looking and very delicious!

Christmas Cake Pops


I have to start this post out by thanking Angie at Bakerella. If you haven’t heard of her, she is without a doubt, the queen of cake pops – having blogged for years as Bakerella and having published an excellent book on making cake pops. The instructions in her book are fantastic – she covers every detail from the basics on how to make cake pops of all kinds, down to how to ship and store them. I’m pretty sure she has played a major role in the cake pop craze sweeping the globe too!
Her book’s thorough instructions made these Christmas cake pops easy to make for the holiday issue of the LCBO’s Food and Drink magazine. (Yay! I was so happy to be asked to make the pops for them. Btw info. in index and photo on pg. 29).

If you haven’t seen Food & Drink, it’s a Canadian magazine dedicated to the art of entertaining, including the latest recipes and information on wine, spirits and beer. It’s a real treat for the eyes and is so inspiring – no matter what the season, it always manages to get me in the mood for trying new sweet and savoury dishes.

It’s a little early for Christmas, but since they were actually made in July, I’m happy to finally post them here.

All the pops were vanilla or chocolate with merckens candy coating. These above were dipped into sanding sugar and decorated with gum paste snowflakesand gum paste trees.

The milk chocolate pops were topped with gold flakes (If you’d like to read more info. on edible gold, please click here).

Some ‘snowier’ options included cake pops covered in coconut, white sanding sugar or candy cane bits.

Green gum paste used with this holly cutter, as well as white and red royal icing, turned these into a cake pop version of Christmas fruit cake.

And of course I enjoyed nibbling (okay chomping), on the ‘fruits’ of my labour.
Fun to make, delicious to eat and perfect little personalized gifts – hope you enjoy making cake pops this upcoming Christmas season too.