Friday, December 23, 2011

A 2011 Handmade Christmas....

Girls love to communicate, whether it's chatting your ear off in person, texting, on the phone, or writing, they love to keep the conversation going.  My granddaughters are no different, so I  thought I would capitalize on that fact and give them a Christmas present that I can replenish on occasion using my own art, and give them a way to keep in touch that exercises their writing and penmanship skills.  I took some photos I already had on my computer and used them to make cover sheets for their letters, and then added plain lined sheets using the colors I already used for their cover sheets. So they have one sheet with a nice graphic, and two plain lined sheets for each letter they might like to send. I also found pretty half size envelopes in colors to match each theme at the UPS store.
I found packs of colored pens for each, and marked each set with their first name initial on each pen so there wouldn't be confusion. Luckily these have a soft grip where you can permanently mark the pens. I then took pretty stickers and labeled each box, which are shoe box size Sterilite tubs with locking handles. They are a perfect size for the stationery sheets, which are half size of regular copy paper.  I threw in a role of giant Smarties and whaalaa! An inexpensive gift with a touch of home made and grandma's art to boot. All total each gift cost about $7 to put together, including paper, envelopes and candy. Not bad for a gift that keeps on giving, and one I can build on in the future by replenishing their supplies.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Gingerbread House 2011 done! Now the waiting begins....

 Can you see the stash of candy in the background? I had to really be creative this year as the candies I used 12 years ago, the last time I created a house, are not available anymore. Luckily, Red Vines are still easy to be found, which I used for the bricks, as well as sugar wafer cookies, although these were doubledecker, which I didn't notice until I got them home. Eeek! They kept trying to separate in layers and were a bit bulky. I tell you this in case you want to create a gingerbread house using some of the elements I have.
 Lifesavers were used to make the stained glass windows, although I would really try to find some yellow candies to crush with the lifesavers as I couldn't find the rolls and in the bagged ones don't have the yellow lifesavers anymore. I put a tealight through the back door to illuminate the windows so you could see them better. Note to self, if wanting to use tealights, make the door big enough for them to go through all the way. :-)
 Spearmint gum drop leaves were harder to find this year, it took me trying at 3 stores before I found them, but I also found some very cool Kukaburra licorice that is similar to millifiore flowers, and were easy to slice. Yay! I wanted to get some pastel mint parielles, but the only store that carried them wanted $8 for them, no way was I going to pay that! Note to friends, they would make a nice Christmas present....I'm just saying.....the Smooth and Melty mints are the best!
 This was the first year I used Necco wafers for the roof, and I like the way they worked out. I used chocolate non-parielles and silver draggies as embellishments which my mother-in-law says looks like diamonds.

All parts of the house and grounds are edible, which to me is the best part of a true gingerbread house. Now the waiting begins, we shall see who the winner is. I did have one woman pass me as she and her son were leaving the store and she gasped as she saw the house and said, " Oh, your house is so beautiful! It's the prettiest one here that I've seen!" So, if nothing else, I know that at least two people were delighted at what they saw, and that's the reason to created these. To delight the adults and evoke memories of childhood past, and to delight children and conjure dreams of sugar plums....

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Gingerbread House 2011

 It's been sooooo long since I created a gingerbread house, something I love to do if given an opportunity. A local business is offering a $500 dollar 1st prize so that was incentive enough to try my hand at creating one again. It will be an interesting process and project as my FIL is at home from the hospital after a second bout of pneumonia. Although hospice is tending to his needs as far as prepping for the day or getting him ready for bed, I'm the primary caretaker now. He's so sweet, and so appreciative of all that's done for him that he makes it easy to care for him.
While he naps, I will try adding a bit here and there to my little house, in hopes of having it done by Saturday night. Things look a bit rough so far, but as with all creations, you start out with a rough up and then add detail until you have a finished product, with all flaws or oops! parts fixed or covered up. Lucky for me that frosting is a magic eraser or the perfect cover up, as this has been a challenge so far, working in a tiny kitchen without all my tools of the trade at hand. Wish me luck, this will be fun, but we shall see if it gets done. :-)