December 22, 2011

Holiday D.I.Y projects

Twas a few days before Christmas and all through the house, not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse (errr cat...)

The cookies were decorated with the utmost of care...

In the hopes that three dozen more in a cookie exchange would soon be there.

The pies were crafted and snug in their bed (i.e oven)...

While visions of stand mixers danced in my head...

Me in my snuggie and Mike in his sweater....

Had just had a nap after a holiday party dinner.

When out of the living room there came a racket so big...

Why it's only Scottish Santa playing a little bagpipe jig!

Away to the mall I flew like a flash...

Tore open my wallet and threw up some cash.

For the presents were bought and wrapped under the tree...

Something for everyone on my list, including me :)

Now that I've got that cheese out of the way, I thought I would share some neat Holiday D.I.Y projects. This one isn't food related, but it's a quick and cheap way to decorate your home for the holiday season, so you can get back to more important things, like food. Did someone say melted brie wheel?

If you're a fan of real Christmas trees like I am, then you'll know the trials and tribulations of vacuuming constantly and watering the stand three times a day. But there's nothing like having a real tree in your house. Sure, it confuses the hell out of household pets, but the smell of fresh pine and the lights twinkling on its branches are worth the hassle.

Making your own Christmas wreath is a great way to use up the trimmings from the tree. For less than $10, I made my own wreath and have the equipment to make one every year now.

All you need is a wire wreath frame or a metal coat hanger. The wire frame was $3.50 at Michaels Craft Store. A coat hanger might be more finicky to make the wreath perfectly straight, but it is free. You'll also need floral wire which can also be purchased at a craft store and any embellishments, such as bows or pinecones.

Start by trimming the branches into smaller pieces. Grab a handful of pieces and place it on the wire then wrap tightly with the floral wire. (Watch this video for step-by-step instruction).

Grab another handful and overlap it with the first bunch to hide the wire. Continue until you have covered the whole wire frame.

And you have your very own Christmas wreath for a fraction of the cost of a store bought one. Add embellishments using a hot glue gun or by tying it with the floral wire.

Hot chocolate is usually a warm comfort on those cold winter nights, but I've never thought about making my own mix until this year. I have a recent obsession with food in jars, so I've been browsing many neat recipes for jar gifts, including cookie mix and hot cocoa mix. All you do is add ingredients to a jar, print out a recipe card, tie on some ribbon and you have a neat homemade gift.

I printed the recipe labels and used the recipe from The Yummy Life.

Add 1 cup of unsweetened cocoa powder, 2 cups icing sugar, 3 cups skim milk powder, 2 tsp cornstarch, 1 tsp salt to a mixing bowl or food processor.

Pulse in the food processor or mix until combined. Add the chocolate chips and any additional flavourings or toppings (like marshmallows, instant coffee/espresso or cinnamon). A Christmas candy bag also works well for packaging the mix.

I will definitely be adding this to some gift baskets this year along with some homemade chutney and canned bruschetta mix. Hope everyone has a Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

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