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Archive for December, 2012

This year, with the holiday baking, I mostly stuck to tried and true winners.

Cookie birdhouses, Dec 2012

Cookie birdhouses, Dec 2012

There was only one really new thing on the treat plate this season. Dad and I used to construct a gingerbread church every Christmas, growing up. I had meant to try and make it again, a few years ago but both the cookie dough recipe and the building pattern have been lost. I’ve tried a few other recipes, over the years, but never found one that really worked for me. With any type of house construction, you need a dough that will cut clean and stay in shape, so the pieces will fit properly and I wanted one that also tasted good! I’ve been reading “Bake at 350” for a while now and tried her regular sugar cookie recipe early in the year. It was an excellent cut-out cookie! Tasty, easy to work with and held it’s shape when cooked. Even though it was a winner, I still wanted something a bit more seasonal. When she posted a spiced sugar cookie last month, I decided to try it. Since I wanted something for gifts, I designed a simple, small birdhouse. They are only about 8” high, so quite petite. The dough was great to work with, but I did cheat and doubled the called for amounts of spice since I wanted it to have a bit more flavour. I was able to get four houses per batch of dough. It cooked clean and they went together quite easily. I kept the decoration simple as well and stuck to white royal icing. The fronts were done first, the houses assembled and then the roofs were done. For ease of transport and display they were set on a foil-wrapped square of cardboard and then wrapped in cellophane with a bit of curling ribbon. I was really satisfied with the final product and people seemed happy to receive them!

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While making the Demonic bears is fun, a few of the stuffies seemed better suited

small pink fairy bear, altered stuffed bear

small pink fairy bear, altered stuffed bear

to becoming fairy bears. They were just too sweet to become little demons so they’ve been given the cuter, butterfly wings. This was a case where I didn’t end up putting the wires in his wings. The tiny scale of the bear and the wings meant that the wires might have distorted his body. Besides they didn’t seem to need it since they are able to keep their shape all on their own. He is one of the smallest altered bears I’ve done so far and was so tiny that sewing him was more of a challenge then I expected, but it was worth it to get to the final cuteness.

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My stash of materials incorporates a very wide range of things,

vintage “Visible Man” case and skeleton

vintage “Visible Man” case and skeleton

many of which certainly qualify as “odd”, to put it mildly. We were lucky enough to both find a large, multi-drawer metal unit as well as having an antique wooden drawer case. Both are great ways to store assorted sections of the stash and keep them organized. A few days ago I went up to retrieve some things for one of the holiday projects and opened a drawer to find this. They weren’t arranged this way, it’s just how the skeleton fell, when some other things were taken out. Seeing the “Visible Man” skelly cuddling up to it’s case made me smile, so I had to share!

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The weather has been warm enough that it’s been easy to forget how close we’re getting to Christmas. We all got reminded that the season is at hand yesterday. Santa came to Shakespeare! This was actually the second year that there was an actual Santa Claus parade here in town but this one was on a much larger scale than last years. It was a good size and had a nice range of floats and marching groups. Even Elvis put in an appearance! There was also food and drinks, along with photos with Santa, at the Credit Union, courtesy of the Perth County Visitors Association. It was a fun time and put us all into the festive mood.

The start of the Shakespeare Santa Claus parade

The start of the Shakespeare Santa Claus parade

Elvis appears at the Shakespeare parade

Elvis appears at the Shakespeare parade

more Shakespeare Santa parade

more Shakespeare Santa parade

Santa arrives in Shakespeare

Santa arrives in Shakespeare

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