Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Making Christmas, special...

A strange little mish-mash of things in today's post.  I thought I'd just share a few of the things that I've been making and baking in the lead-up to Christmas, and I'd like to invite fellow bloggers to link up to this post below (in the comments section) to show myself and other readers what you've been making and baking too!

I tried a new recipe for gingerbread and made these trees.  All you need is a good gingerbread recipe and a nesting stack of star cutters - mine had 10 layers.  Bake the cookies and then sandwich them together with a generous dollop of royal icing in between each layer, checking to see if the tree is straight as you go.  Ice and decorate as desired with sprinkles etc.   They make great presents as the receiver can enjoy it as a table centerpiece, or with a cup of tea.

And speaking of gingerbread, I made a gingerbread house for the kids to decorate.  They had a lot of fun and made a lot of mess.  This year I saved myself a bit of time and purchased one of these to cut all the pieces out instead of using paper templates.

I made copious amounts of Christmas mince tarts (recipe here).  I have a lot of British friends here in Switzerland so the tarts always go down well as you can't find them in the supermarkets for love or money.

I knitted this merino hat and mittens for a friend's baby girl using this pattern.  I lined the mittens with jersey cotton so they are extra soft and warm on her little hands.  I can't wait until after Christmas and I can start on a set for my new baby.

I was especially pleased with how the embroidered tag came out.  I used a cursive font alphabet pattern I had already, and then free-stitched the ball of wool and needles, zig-zagging it on the machine and fraying it to finish.

This lavender laundry spray is such a great gift and so easy to make.  It is made from essential oil, vodka and filtered water, recipe and instructions, here.  Bottles from Ikea.

This spice wreath made out of cinnamon sticks and star anise was surprisingly simple.  I just drew a wide ring on an old piece of cardboard and got out the glue gun and started arranging the sticks within the ring, (using the template below as a guide, but not actually sticking the sticks to it).  The whole thing took me less than thirty minutes to make.  A bit of gingham ribbon or raffia threaded through one end would mean you could hang it on the door too.  This picture doesn't show how good it smells :).

I made these gift-tags for all my handmade presents which will be given out to friends here, and a set of 24 for the runner-up prize for my giveaway.

These crocheted stars will be on all the gifts I give in New Zealand.

Wow, when I look at it like that, I have been busy!  Can't wait to get on the plane home.  Less than two weeks to go, and my to-do list keeps expanding.

If you are a blogger, please feel free to post a link in the comments below and show me what you've been making for Christmas this year, I'd love to check it out.

Frohe Weihnachten!


  1. wow you have been busy! what gorgeous treats- you really are one talented lady!

  2. I love it all!! Especially the gift tags and the mince meat tarts!! Have a wonderful trip home!

  3. I have to say, it all looks wonderful, but the spice wreath and the pine cones have gone straight to the top of my to-do list x
    ps I made an advent calender amongst other things which i posted about here http://blackbirdhasspoken.blogspot.com/2011/11/advent-of-advent.html
    Have a great trip!

  4. Everything you have made is so, so beautiful! I really wish I could crochet, your stars look lovely. And the pictures of your Christmas cooking is making my tummy rumble! Thanks for sharing, definitely inspiring. I need to stop thinking about it and start making the gifts for my daughter's teachers, just some simple fabric covered journals. Hopefully sometime this weekend.

  5. Wow, you are SO clever!! I'm adding the wreath to my list that already has the mince tarts...oh and the lavender spray too! It all looks great. Happy packing and preparing for home! x

  6. Love the gingerbread trees, seems so simple to pile stars together but it looks so beautiful once finished! The spice wreath is a gorgeous idea too.

    I've made my own Christmas wreath for our front door this year, very basic but it looks good from a distance!


  7. Just went to dig out the glue gun, cinnamon sticks, and star anise! Need to run to the market for more cinnamon sticks....great idea, I only hope I am able to execute as artfully as you did! You make it sound so easy but you are one talented lady.

  8. Hi Karen,

    I wish I had time to do a quick tutorial on this one, but alas I am flying out tonight. I have about 3 kilos of cinnamon sticks here too - I guess they will keep until next year.

    I began by making the outside ring, then the inside ring (using your template). Then I joined the two rings with diagonally-placed sticks. I did two "rounds" of the diagonally placed sticks, then I flipped the wreath upsidedown and "filled in" in the space between the original outside ring and inside ring with more sticks to make it all look a bit more full.

    Good luck!


  9. Hello,

    Your gingerbread house and Christmas trees are just fabulous. You are an amazing baker and I admire you for that :-)

    Anyway, I would like to award you with Liebster Blog Award. For more information about receiving this Blog Award, please visit my blog here: www.mywanderingstory.com





Thanks so much for your comments - I really appreciate them!

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