DIY Beaded Christmas Ornament Covers

DIY Beaded Christmas Ornament Covers

Make your seasonal foliage shimmer and shine using nets of delicate beadwork – Geraldine Curtis shows us how. Add a little opulence to your trimmings this year with these glittering, embellished baubles. We’ve used clear glass balls as the starting point, which are easy enough to find these days, try the mail order craft outlets for supplies.

DIY Beaded Christmas Ornament Covers

Alternatively spruce up your coloured spheres from last year’s Christmas display. Before you begin, lay the bauble on a folded towel on top of a roll of sticky tape to stop it moving around. Securing the thread around the neck of the bauble can also be tricky, so ask a friend to hold the knot delicately with a pair of tweezers and don’t worry if you’re left with a small gap. Then, follow our instructions carefully, make yourself comfortable and settle down for an afternoon of crafting fun.

You will need

Baubles clear or coloured with 21 cm (8.1/2″) circumference
Beads: iridescent and metallic purple, 8mm round or facetted
Strong thread
Needle size 10
Scissors

Step by step

  1. Prepare the needle with 2.5m (3 yds) of beading thread. This may seem long, but it is easier than having to rethread all the time. Tie a slipknot 20cm (8″) from the end. This is to prevent the first few beads from escaping. Thread on three clear and one purple, seven times, until you have 28 beads in total. Now undo the slip-knot and tie together around the neck of the bauble.
  2. Carefully pass the needle through three white and purple beads. Start the design at the far side of purple bead (diagram 1), refer to pattern pack. Thread on: five clear, one purple and five clear. Pass the needle through the next available purple in the circle of beads you have just tied. Repeat to make seven loops. When you return back to the first purple bead, push the needle through and down into the five clear and out the other side of the purple ready to begin making another row of seven loops (diagram 2).
  3. String on: five clear, one purple and five clear. Make seven loops and when you get back to the first purple bead pass through and down five clear, and on to the next purple bead, ready to begin making another row of seven loops.
  4. Thread on: seven clear, one purple and seven clear beads. Make loops as before and then return to first purple bead, pass through, down seven clear beads and into the next purple, ready to begin making another row of seven loops.
  5. Cast on: nine clear, one purple, and nine clear. Make seven loops and repeat, return back to first purple, pass through and down nine clear into the next purple, ready to begin to make seven loops.
  6. Add on: 11 clear, one purple, 11 clear, and make seven loops. When you get back to the first purple bead, pass the needle through, down eleven clear beads and through the next purple ready to begin making another row of seven loops.
  7. Slide on: nine clear beads, one purple bead and nine clear. Make seven loops and when you get back to the first purple bead pass through, down nine clear and into the next purple bead, ready to begin making another row of seven loops. Now repeat step 4.
  8. Slide on: six clear, one purple and six clear beads. Make seven loops and when you get back to the first purple, pass through, down six clear beads and into the next purple, ready to begin making another row of seven loops.
  9. Thread on: four clear, one purple and four clear beads. Make seven loops and when you return to the first purple pass through, down four clear and into the next purple gem ready to begin making another row of seven loops.
  10. On this last row thread on one clear bead, take the needle through the purple from the previous row and continue this technique all the way around, pull tight to gather into a star shape and tie off. Now fasten thread from beginning of pattern at neck.
  11. For loop, first make a slipknot 20cm (8″) from the end of thread. Pass needle through two purple, the 8mm purple bead and thread on two purple, one clear and two purple. Wind around metal loop twice, take needle back up through to other side of 8mm purple. String on two purple, one clear, two purple, one clear, two purple, 70 clear, two purple, one clear, two purple, one clear and tie off.

Smiley Santa Cookies Recipe

Smiley Santa Cookies Recipe

A merry twist to the Santa cookies, this Smiley Santa cookies recipe will be fun to make and wake up young ones with.

Smiley Santa Cookies Recipe

Makes: 20
Prep: 35 min
Bake: 10 min per batch
Decorate: Depends on skill

Planning Tip:
The decorated cookies may be stored airtight with waxed paper between layers at cool room temperature up to 1 week, or frozen up to 1 month.

Note:
Knead 1/2 cup flour into 18-oz tube refrigerated sugar-cookie dough. Roll into a log, cut log in 20 equal pieces and roll each into a ball. Place on lined baking sheet and flatten into a 2-in. round. Add hat (Step 5). Bake and decorate as directed.

Hats:
10 graham crackers, each broken into 2 squares

Cookie Dough (see Tip and Note):
1 stick (1/2 cup) butter or margarine (not spread), softened
1/2 cup packed light-brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp baking powder
Whites from 2 large eggs
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
20 wooden skewers, pointed ends broken off (optional)

Eyes & mouths:
1 oz semisweet baking chocolate or chocolate chips, melted
Royal Icing (recipe follows)
Yellow food color, liquid, gel or paste
2 purchased disposable decorating bags or 2 qt-size ziptop freezer bags and one #5 plain round piping tip
Red crystal decorating sugar (from a 4-oz tub)
80 miniature marshmallows

1. Trace outline of hat (actual size printed over this text) on sturdy paper and cut out. Place pattern on each cracker square and carefully cut around outline with a sharp knife.

2. Heat oven to 325°F. Line baking sheet(s) with foil. Using a 2-in.-diam jar, bottle or glass as a guide, mark 20 circles on foil about 2 1/2 in. apart.

3. Dough: Beat butter, brown sugar, vanilla and baking powder in a medium bowl with mixer on high speed until light and fluffy. Scrape down bowl sides, then beat in egg whites, 1 at a time until blended. Stir in flour.

4. Set a gal-size ziptop bag into a wide rimmed tall glass or jar (to free your hands); scrape dough into bag. Cut 1/2 in. off 1 bottom corner. Pipe a 2-in-wide, 1/2- in.-high mound of dough in each circle on ungreased foil-lined baking sheet(s).

5. Place a graham-cracker hat, touching dough, above each mound. With a wet finger, smooth top of mounds. If desired, insert skewers into dough.

6. Bake 10 minutes or until puffed and spongy when gently pressed. Using a wide spatula, immediately remove cookies to a wire rack to cool completely. Place sheets of waxed paper under rack.

7. Line cooled baking sheet with waxed paper. Scrape melted chocolate into decorating bag and pipe eyes and mouths for cookies on the lined baking sheet. Refrigerate until firm and ready to use.

8. Scrape 1 cup Royal Icing into a decorating bag fitted with piping tip. Tint remaining icing yellow; cover tightly. Pipe icing in bag around edge of hats. Squeeze icing remaining in bag into a bowl and stir in water, a few drops at a time until thin enough to drip easily from a spoon. Spoon icing within piped border. Spoon red sugar over wet icing; allow to dry.

9. Brush excess sugar from hats. Spoon 1/3 cup yellow icing into decorating bag fitted with piping tip. Pipe around curved edge of each round cookie. Thin remaining yellow icing as directed in Step 8; spoon within piped border. Before icing sets, put chilled chocolate eyes and mouth, smooth side up, on each cookie. Let dry completely.

10. Snip miniature marshmallows in half and press sticky side along bottom of hats and at tips.

Christmas Tree Cake Recipe

Christmas Tree Cake Recipe

An elaborately designed and decorated Christmas tree cake recipe that will be the crowning glory of your dinner table and a grand finale to an elegant Christmas meal.

Christmas Tree Cake Recipe

Serves: 24
Time: 10 min plus 25 baking
Decorate: Depends on skill

Tips:

– Bake the cake 1 day before decorating. Decorate cake up to 3 days before serving. Store loosely covered at room temperature.

– To stabilize the cake, insert wooden skewers in the cake horizontally and vertically. Mark the ends with green M&M’s so you can remove the skewers before serving the cake.

– For star at top of tree, from a large gumdrop, cut a ¼ -in.-thick round slice from base of gumdrop. Using a very small star-shaped cookie cutter or a sharp knife, cut star from slice. Dip cut surfaces in sugar.

Pattern:

christmas tree cake pattern

Ingredients:

2 boxes (16 oz each) pound cake mix, prepared as directed on pkg
3 cans (16 oz each) vanilla frosting
16 each starlight mint and red gummy-bear candies, or other candies of your choice
Green and red paste food color
1 cup confectioners’ sugar
1 bag (12 oz) M&M’s mini baking bits
1 bag (12 oz) regular-size M&M’s
12 red-and-white-striped birthday candles
1 yellow star-shaped gumdrop or 1 large yellow gumdrop (see Note)
2 miniature candy canes
Tiny red and green candy stars

How to:

1. Cakes: Position racks to divide oven in thirds. Heat to 350°F. Lightly grease a 13 x 9-in. baking pan and a 9-in. square cake pan. Line bottoms of both with waxed paper.

2. Spread 4 cups batter in the square pan and remaining batter in the larger pan. Bake 1 pan on each oven rack, switching position of pans halfway through baking, 20 to 25 minutes until a pick inserted near centers of cakes comes out clean. Cool in pans on wire racks 10 minutes. Invert onto racks, remove pans and peel off waxed paper. Let cool completely. Turn cakes right side up, cover loosely and let stand in a cool, dry place about 24 hours to firm up.

3. Frost and decorate: Slice rounded tops (humps) off cakes with a long knife until flat. Transfer square cake to a serving platter. Frost sides and top with 1 cup vanilla frosting. Press mints and gummy bears into frosting around sides.

4. Using a ruler and sharp knife, cut the 13 x 9-in. cake along dotted lines as shown in diagram. The large triangle is the tree’s center, the smaller ones are the sides and the narrow pieces at top become gifts to place at base of the tree.

5. Trim bottom edge of large triangle flat. Brush crumbs from cut edges of triangles. Stir green food color into 2¼ cups frosting until desired shade. Stir in confectioners’ sugar to stiffen frosting. Tint ¼ cup frosting red; spoon into a quart-size ziptop bag, seal and set aside.

6. To assemble: Place large triangle upright in the middle of the frosted square cake. Using green frosting as glue, attach smaller triangles on each side. Use remaining green frosting to frost tree from bottom up, flaring frosting outward in 7 places on each edge to make branches.

7. Before frosting sets, press in diagonal lines of yellow mini baking bits for strings of lights and blue and red regular M&M’s for balls. Insert birthday candles. Top with star-shaped gumdrop. Insert candy canes into square cake.

8. Gifts: Cut 1-in. strips of cake into 6 cubes. Frost 5 sides with vanilla frosting; press in tiny stars. Snip tip off corner of bag with red frosting and pipe ribbon on gifts. Place around base of tree. Let all dry 2 to 3 hours, then cover loosely with plastic wrap and store up to 3 days in a cool, dry place.

Courtesy of Woman’s Day

Sweet & Sour Red Cabbage Recipe for Christmas

Sweet & Sour Red Cabbage Recipe for Christmas

Sweet & Sour Red Cabbage Recipe for ChristmasServes: 10
Prep: 15 min
Cook: 1 1/2 hr

Cost Per Serving: 28¢

Planning Tip:
May be made up to 1 day ahead. Refrigerate tightly covered. Reheat in a covered saucepan or in a covered microwave-safe serving dish in microwave.

1 head (about 3 lb) red cabbage
1 cup distilled white vinegar
3/4 cup sugar

1. Cut cabbage in half from top to bottom and cut out core. Cut each half in 3 wedges, then thinly slice (see Tip).

2. Place cabbage, vinegar and sugar in a large, heavy pot. Cover and bring liquid to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, 1 1/2 hours or until cabbage is tender. Transfer to a serving bowl.

Tip:
Slicing the cabbage is easily done in a food processor fitted with a slicing disk.

Per serving: 90 cal, 2 g pro, 23 g car, 2 g fiber, 0 g fat (0 g saturated fat), 0 mg chol, 12 mg sod

Peacock Christmas Decorating Ideas

Peacock Themed Christmas Tree Decoration Ideas

Blue and Green for Christmas? Why Not?! The trendiest colors in home decorating can be beautifully adapted to the festive holiday decorations. Add a dash of gold, purple, green and some shimmer and you are all set to dazzle your visitors with these peacock Christmas decorating ideas.

Peacock Themed Christmas Tree Decorating

It has to begin with the tree! The Christmas tree being the focal point of all Christmas decorations, will set your peacock theme from where you will find it easier to carry it in the other areas.

Peacock Themed Christmas Tree Decoration Ideas

Use peacock shaped and themed ornaments to create the look. Mix round baubles with teardrop and clusters to create a full-looking tree.


Regal Peacock Lavish Blue and Purple Sequined and Glittered Christmas Ball Ornament


White Peacock Ornaments

Kurt Adler  Gold, Purple and Green Glitter Beads and Cord Ornaments: Ball, Dome and Heart

6.25″ Regal Peacock Blue Beaded and Glittered Minaret with Floral Gem

Glass Peacock Hand Decorated Reflector Ornaments Set of 12

Kurt Adler Peacock Design Glass Ball Ornament

6 December Diamonds Regal Peacock Shatterproof Christmas Ball Ornaments 3.75″

125-Piece Club Pack of Shatterproof Regal Peacock Blue Christmas Ornaments

Peacock Christmas Decorations

For mantles, tables and any other corners where you have space for large decorations, mix peacock feather sprays with large silk flowers in teal and purple mixed with Christmas greenery. The peacock theme is decidedly Asian, so think Rich and Opulent!

Peacock Christmas Decoration Ideas

Always balance with dull, Baroque-style gold decorations to balance off or you might get carried away with the colors.

Use decorations in Peacock colors as well as motifs to complete the look.


Decorative Christmas Trees in Jewel Peacock Tones


Lighted Peacock Feather Branches

 


Regal Peacock Bird Decorations

Outdoor Peacock Christmas Decorations

Take your theme outdoors and create a stunning entryway using lighted peacock Christmas decorations.

Outdoor Peacock Christmas Decoration
4 ft. tall Peacock yard decoration with sparkling LED lights

Beyond Decorations

Take your Christmas celebrations beyond just the decorations and add peacock touches in other places too. We love these dimensional peacock gift tags for all our Christmas gifts!

Peacock Gift Tags for Christmas
Punch Studio Peacock Dimensional Gift Tags

Gingerbread House Construction & Decorating Ideas

Gingerbread House Construction & Decorating Ideas

Let the charm of Gingerbread Houses into your house this Christmas with our easy plans and creative decorating ideas. Before long, you will be tempted to create an entire town of gingerbread houses!

Gingerbread House Construction & Decorating Ideas

Foundation

Cover your work area with a plastic tablecover or waxed paper for easy clean up. If your house will have an outside (lawn, gardens, etc.), use a large heavy-duty piece of cardboard covered in aluminum foil. For smaller versions, use large Styrofoam white plates. Be sure to use basic white frosting to “cement” your house, trees, lampposts, etc. to the base.

Blueprints

You will find plans for one-room house,Victorian house, chapel, country store, log cabin to help you build your gingerbread house. Offer suggestions to the children that a gingerbread house can also be Santa’s Workshop, a reindeer barn, Mrs. Claus’s kitchen, toy shop or even a replica of your own home. If you live in the big city, then why not make an apartment building using a tall milk container and adding lots of windows.

Building Supplies

Bread sticks (logs, rafters and beams), shredded wheat cereal (thatched roofs), wafer cookies (roofing tiles), mini chocolate candy bars (doors, shutters and shingles), Candy Kisses (church bell and roof decorations), lollipops (road sings), jelly beans (fireplace stones), fruit leathers (window shades), ice cream cones (trees), and candy canes with gumdrops (lamp posts) are just some ideas. For a more complete list of building supplies and their uses, click here.

Construction and Finishing Touches

Step by Step instructions are all laid out but remember to let the kids have fun… and enjoy the mistakes because it will cause even more creativity that you would ever have imagined!

General Plans

Dormers, Chimney and Windows

Set-up time: Allow gingerbread structures/frosting to dry overnight so they will be stable.

Landscaping

Flower cake decorations (garden), gumdrops (bushes), brown sugar (walkways and flowerbeds), pretzel sticks (fence posts), nuts (stones) and rock candy (rocks). Click here for details.

Christmas Decorations

Use Life Savers (wreaths), Red Hots and M&M candies (Christmas tree balls), white frosting (snow), powdered sugar (frost), melted hard candies (stained glass windows), colored sprinkles (Christmas lights), Fruit Loop cereal (Christmas railings) and marshmallows (snowmen) are some ideas.

People and Animals

Animal Crackers (add scarf decorations), Graham Cracker Teddy Bears (decorate in Santa suits), buy ready made from your bakery and for homemade, use cookie cutters or trace stencils onto cardstock and use for pattern on the cookie dough. Using a little blob of frosting, the people and animals will stand up on the base or to the sides of the house.

People and Animal Patterns:  Use cookie cutters, cut figures out of coloring books, etc.  Trace pattern onto a sturdy piece of cardboard or poster board and voila, you have patterns!

Place your pattern on Gingerbread dough with a sharp pointy paring knife, bake, cool, decorate.  To stand the figure around the gingerbread house, place it in a blob of thick frosting and voila, its standing!

Have fun and be creative!

BASIC GINGERBREAD RECIPE

ROYAL ICING CEMENT (“not” edible)

ALMOST BUTTERCREAM CEMENT (edible)

FONDANT (to make ornaments)

GINGERBREAD GIFT RECIPES

by Kimberly Lainson of The Party Works
Mary Ann & Kimberly, a mother and daughter team have created their siteshttp://www.thepartyworks.com and http://www.cakeworkscentral.com to provide a treasure trove of free kids birthday parties, baby showers and cake decorating ideas.

Gingerbread House Pattern – Log Cabin

Log Cabin Gingerbread House

Snow Covered Log Cabin Gingerbread House Plan

Welcome Christmas and Winter by building a cozy, tabletop log cabin with gingerbread. This gingerbread house plan requires no blueprints to print and cut, just like a log cabin does not require any. All you need is logs to build this one.

Log Cabin Gingerbread House

1.  Start with a 6-inch log in back, two 2-inch logs in front.  Top with 6-inch logs on sides, letting ends extend.  Continue building using spacers at inner edges of 2-inch logs.

2.  Fourth layer uses 6-inch logs all around.  Add 3 spacers across doorway; then top with 6-inch logs across front and back.

3. Using spacers and 3-1/2 and 2 inch logs, build up gables on front and back of cabin. Place a spacer on top of each gable.

4.  Ice and sugar roof pieces, ice top logs and spacers.  Set roof in place.

 

Pattern

Use the following pattern to cut the roof and if desired, front and back ends.

 

Log Cabin Gingerbread House Pattern

 

Basic Gingerbread & Gingerbread Log Recipes

ROYAL ICING CEMENT
(“not” edible):

ALMOST BUTTERCREAM CEMENT
(edible):

FONDANT
(to make ornaments)

Or if you would rather not bake at all, you can make an even more easier version of the Log Cabin gingerbread house. Try our Rolled Wafer Log Cabin – No Bake ‘Gingerbread’ House.