Yule/Winter Solstice Craft

Winter celebrations are many and varied. Need some solstice love? Read on.

In the words of Veggiewitch:

We start early in December, by colouring Winter scenes to hang around the house, but our favourite craft/project to do each year for Yule is to make and decorate cookies. We have often made a few new ornaments for the tree (reusable ;0)), but will always make sugar cookies and spice/ginger cookies. It’s pretty simple around the Veggiewitch Home at Yule. We’re happy just having each other’s company, being inside warm, and sharing what we have with family, friends, and neighbours. ♥

Gentle day,
Veggiewitch ♥

EAT THE MITTENS

Edible mittens only keep you warm on the inside.

OM NOM NOM

Vegan cookies and dairy free milk. Comfort for the vegan-hearted.

Feel free to visit Denise’s blog for lots of amazing vegan recipes and her Etsy shop for all kinds of handmade goodies. 

Anyone else celebrate something other than or in addition to Christmas?

She’s Crafty, She’s just my type.

I am not Crafty, well, not Martha Crafty.  I am more Beastie Boys Crafty.  Or at least I used to be before I was possessed with the spirit of Christmas.  Recently, behind closed doors I am not “kicking bass” with the Beastie Boys.  I am getting my craft on with my kids (and my husband when I can con him in to participating.)

It is time to come out of hiding.  My name is Kelly and I am an overachieving Christmas Crafting Stay at Home Mom with a moderate addiction to Pinterest. When I say that something is So Cute I am not being snarky.  Not any more.  I am trying to figure out how you made it and wondering if I can get out of the art supply store for less than $20 with all the supplies I need to recreate the aforementioned Cute.  You don’t believe me?  I will give you two examples.  Because three examples would be too show-offy (but I can’t  promise I won’t be back.)

Part Craft and Part Cookie – the Christmas Coal

coal1

Supplies needed:

  • Entire package of Oreos (minus a couple, let’s be honest.)
  • Entire bag of marshmallows (minus two, one for me and one for my medium sized helper)
  • 4 tbsp of butter (I didn’t eat any of the butter.  I’d just had two Oreos and a marshmallow, people, jeez.  I was full, nothing against butter.)

Instructions:

  1. Put Oreos in your food processor.  Contemplate how long you have had your food processor while you explain that the weird smell of burned out motor is totally fine. (Seven years, since the medium sized helper was a baby.)
  2. Grease an 8×8 pan.  I am currently in love with silicone baking pans. Do what you will with that information.
  3. Throw the marshmallows in the microwave (or on your stove top if you are anti-microwave and totally pro making things difficult for yourself.) Do not do this until all of your cookies are totally pulverized.  (Note: I will PULVERIZE YOUR COOKIES! is an excellent and subtly profane threat, file it away for later use.)
  4. Melt your butter and fluff up your marshmallows (about 90 seconds.)
  5. Stir your cookies in to your marshmallowy buttery deliciousness.
  6. Keep your smallest helper from falling off the back of the step stool.  Ignore the fact that your medium sized helper almost doesn’t need the step stool or you will begin to weep.
    kidscoal
  7. Press the gooey mess of cookie marshmallow goodness into the pan.  Throw it in the back of your fridge for a few days until it is good and cold.
  8. Slice it up in to coal sized squares and put it in cute plastic bags that you might have in the bottom of last year’s Christmas Crap I Did Not Need to Buy box.  Throw them in a bowl on your counter next to your seasonally appropriate night light which you totally have because you are slowly turning in to a person you don’t even recognize.
    coal2

Now, you are thinking Pffft… she microwaves.  You are non-plussed. But you have not yet seen The Christmas Kid Craft. The one you make for the grandparents and that you end up having to make more of because they are so damn cute you need to save some for yourself.

Now I don’t know about you (well, actually I do, you are reading a Crafty Craft Blog, so I know more than you probably care to admit) but I’d guess you just love a seasonal hand towel.  Who in their right mind does not love a seasonal hand towel?  Well, people that would rather have a Kid Craft.

Boom.

Seasonal Hand Towel Kid Craft.

towel1

Supplies:

  • Muslin Kitchen towels (You can find these for about a buck a piece or less if you can find them in five or ten packs.  They are in the kitchen section near the bar towels and such.)
  • Paint, cheapie acrylic paint is fine or fabric paint if you prefer.  Brown, red, yellow and green
  • Four foam brushes, the small ones
  • Cardboard pieces to slide inside the towels once they are folded to keep the paint from soaking through more than one layer of towel
  • A thin black marker/pen/Sharpie
  • Adorable family members – big and small

Instructions:

  1. Add ironing to the ever growing list of things I do that mystify the old me.  Iron the towels in to the shape you like best.  I like mine to be folded such that the hemmed edges are at the bottom since they tend to stay straighter after washing.
  2. Slip a piece of cardboard under the top layer of hand towel.
  3. Talk someone in to helping you if your smallest helper is tiny.  Apply paint to one foot with a foam brush.  Stamp the foot on the towel.  Reapply paint and stamp as many as you’d like.  (Note: Pretend your tiny helper is a ticking time bomb.  Act fast.  Make sure you have cleaned out your sink before this step so that the paint covered  kid can hop right in there before putting their feet in their mouth.)
    mqdlqtowel
  4. Do it all one more time!  With the second foot create the other side of your tree.
  5. On to the reindeer!  Using a paint covered hand stamp a couple of towels with a brown hand.
    emtowel
  6. Add a red nose and antlers to your reindeer.  Add a star and a tree trunk to your tree.  Stand back and admire your handiwork.

Now pop those bad boys in the mail with a 5×7 of your young’ins and just wait for your phone to ring.  As the accolades roll in try to avoid saying “Yeah, I saw it on Pinterest, they were only  a dollar a piece!!”

Instead say “Oh, the towels, yes!” as if you had forgotten all about them, I mean you are crafting daily who can keep track? “The kids made those, how cute are they?” you’ll say while you beam with pride.

And then go clean the paint out of your kitchen sink.  Stainless steel doesn’t mean you never have to scrub it.

Nothing says Christmas like whales and popcorn. How to make your own Holiday cards with block printing for free (or the cost of a clean load of laundry).

Harvest Potpourri Orange

I believe I learned to do this in grade school…it’s something that has become a tradition for me during this time of the year.  You can make these for any holiday but if you start making them in October they will cover all of the holidays, so that is what I do now.  I give them to friends and neighbors in celebration of kindness.  Citrus oils are happy oils and who couldn’t use a smile any time of the year?   I have decided to share my process here so you can share smiles all year long too.

Continue reading

Jammin’ with Jen

Alright, I’m going to lay it all on the line here. I may have once won first prize for my strawberry jam in a local show but the truth is…jam making and I have a rocky relationship. Just when I think I have mastered the art, I’ll buy a ridiculous amount of fruit and make a ridiculous amount of jam and it won’t turn out exactly right. When it is just right however, I’ve been known to fist pump the air in my kitchen and do a very unattractive victory dance.

I have used a lot of different recipes in the past. Some that use only lemon juice as the setting agent and some that use a jam sugar which contains pectin. In my books, both are equally acceptable. Although with jam sugar, you can make 8 pots of jam in an hour. This fits better into my time-starved lifestyle. Enough rambling…here is my recipe for quick strawberry jam…yes the very one that secured me first place against a wealth of jam making talent. 

Strawberry Jam

  • 1kg strawberries (or other berries of your choice)
  • 1kg jam sugar (this is a sugar that has pectin powder already added. If our O/S readers can’t find it, just use a pectin powder added to regular granulated sugar)
  • Juice half lemon
  • 1 tablespoon of rose water
  • 1 tablespoon of vanilla extract or 1 split vanilla bean
  • An array of sterlised jam jars (I’ve used both proper preserving jars and recyled ones. They both work fine.)
  1. Before you start, make sure you’ve steralised your jars. I do this by washing them in the dishwasher. By hand would be just as good. Whilst I’m making the jam I put them in the oven at about 150C to ensure they’re completely dry. Put two small plates in the freezer for later.
  2. Wash your fruit and cut the tops off. Halve/quarter them depending on their size. This is the most time consuming part. Why not put on some Bob Marley and really get your jam on? Once all the fruit is in the pot, mash it with a potato masher. This will still leave some large peices of fruit in the jam.
  3. Add the rest of your ingredients to the fruit and put on a low stove until sugar is dissolved. Turn up the heat and bring the mixture to a rolling boil. Boil for 4 mins only. Skim off any scum that comes to the surface with a large spoon.
  4. After 4 mins, take your jars out of the oven and allow to start cooling. Get a plate out of the freezer and place a large spoonful of the jam on it. Let it sit for 30 seconds. If you can run your finger through the jam and the two sides don’t join back up, they say its done. I usually give it an extra few minutes. So it ends up boiling for 8-10 minutes. But you should still check at 4 minutes just to be sure.
  5. Once you’re happy with the consistency, spoon or pour into jars. Put the lids on, turn them upside down and allow to cool.
  6. The only thing left to do is make your little babies pretty. Add a label with the type of jam and date. I also adore giving them a little hat to wear. They seem kinda naked otherwise. Continue reading