Showing posts with label Christmas. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Christmas. Show all posts

Mom's Traditional Shortbread Cookies With A Lavender Twist

I finally started my holiday baking but everything I made didn't turn out except for these tried and true traditional shortbread cookies. The recipe has been in my Mother's family for many generations and I don't remember there ever being a Christmas where a plate of these was not served at family gatherings.

When Mom got sick and could no longer bake my aunt would bring her a tin every Christmas. If she couldn't, I did. I wonder what Mom would think about me breaking tradition this year by dipping them in lavender sugar (affiliate link).

Lavender Sugar Dipped Traditional Shortbread Cookies

Mom loved the scent of lavender and so did her Mother. The week we held bedside vigil before Mom's passing her bedding was sprinkled with lavender oil. When you opened the door to her room you were greeted with the most lovely scent that was immediately calming.

And so to honor both my Mom, Grandmother, and Great-Grandmother, I altered the old family shortbread recipe this year with a dusting of their favorite flower.

Traditional Shortbread Cookie Family Holiday Recipe

The ingredients are first mixed with my Kitchen Aid and then kneaded by hand onto a floured board until the dough starts to crack. The dough is cut in two and rolled into two round or rectangular logs (as pictured below).

Traditional Shortbread Cookie Dough

I found the sugar from a local company here in Canada and have included a link here to their lavender and vanilla sugar. An alternative would be this lavender sugar (affiliate link). The dusting of lavender adds such a lovely subtle flavor to the shortbread cookies that isn't over-powering.

I've used lavender sugar before when making handmade Lavender Infused Suckers for my daughter's wedding. I may make my own lavender sugar next year from my harvested plants. I shared a post here on How To Harvest And Dry Lavender.

Homemade Traditional Shortbread Cookies Lavender Dusting

As I baked these cookies I was flooded with memories of last Christmas and how much fun she had at what would be her last Christmas dinner with her family. Recently I turned the jacket she wore to that party into Embroidery Hoop Memorial Ornaments for my family.

Last year my gift to Mom was this handmade Alzheimer's Busy Blanket. I so wish I had made it for her several years ago when first diagnosed as it was a great way to keep her fidgeting hands busy.

If you'd like to try these Traditional Shortbread Cookies with a lavender twist, please save it on Pinterest and/or share it with a friend.
Traditional Shortbread Cookies With Lavender Twist

May your hearth be warm, your cookies abundant, and your every wish granted.

Merry Christmas

Homemade Traditional Shortbread Cookies dipped in lavender and vanilla sugar
1 lb Butter Softened (do not use margarine)
1 cup Icing Sugar
1 tsp Vanilla
4 cups Flour
Lavender Sugar


  • Butter should be softened.
  • Cut the butter into small pieces and add to mixing bowl.
  • Cream butter, icing sugar, and vanilla in a mixer.
  • Add flour one cup at a time, mixing well until no dry flour remains.
  • Knead dough to incorporate flour until consistency just ready to crack.
  • Divide dough into 2 equal portions
  • Shape each portion into long rectangular or round logs.
  • Wrap each log with waxed paper
  • Freeze until easy to cut (approximately 30 minutes).
  • Remove wax paper.
  • Cut into 1/4 inch slices.
  • Pour Lavender Vanilla Sugar into a bowl and dip the tops of the cookies.
  • Arrange about 2 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheets.
  • Bake in 325°F oven for 12 to 14 minutes until edges are light golden brown.
  • Let cool on cookie sheets for 5 minutes before removing.

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    Embroidery Hoop Memorial Ornament with Mom's Jacket

    I must have written, deleted and rewritten today's post a half dozen times as I debated whether to blog about such a personal project. As many of you know I lost my Mom to the ravages of Alzheimer's Disease on November 15th and the holidays have been especially difficult for our family this year.

    I felt the need to honor Mom's memory with a meaningful tribute that not only would be cherished this holiday season but for many to come. And so using the jacket Mom wore last Christmas, I made Embroidery Hoop Memorial Ornaments for my siblings and the grandchildren.

    Embroidery Hoop Memorial Ornament

    Embroidery Hoop Memorial Ornament

    I have to thank Denise from My Thrifty House blog for the inspiration for my memorial ornaments after seeing her Embroidery Hoop Plaid Ornaments post.

    I decided to pay that inspiration forward by sharing my memorial ornaments in hopes that it too will inspire others to create something special out of a piece of clothing, a blanket, or linens inherited from a loved one who has passed.

    Embroidery Hoop Memorial Ornaments

    When we packed Mom's clothes for donation, I went through her closet to keep some of her favorite blouses. When I saw the jacket, it just had to come home with me to turn into something special.

    DIY Memorial Ornament Supplies

    In the photo above are some of the materials I used to make the ornament. I've included a Materials List towards the bottom of this post for your convenience.

    How to make the memorial ornament

    I managed to get enough fabric from the jacket sleeves to make all eleven embroidery hoop ornaments.

    Memorial Ornament Using Loved Ones Jacket Sleeves

    What you will need is a 3-inch embroidery hoop. What I quickly learned was these were hard to come by where I live, especially during the holidays. Every store was sold out.

    Cut the fabric in a square approximately 1-inch larger than the hoop. I should mention that the Singer sewing scissors pictured below were my Mothers. I think of her hunched over her sewing machine when I was a child every time I use them.

    Place the inner ring under the fabric and stretch the fabric with the outer ring, tightening the allied gridlock screw. Trim the excess fabric, leaving enough to fold over the backside of the embroidery hoop.

    Memorial Ornament Using Embroidery Hoop

    Flip the embroidery hoop over and hot glue the excess fabric around the wooden embroidery hoop frame as pictured below.

    Memorial Ornament Embroidery Hoop Back

    Embellishing the embroidery hoops

    I left the wood embroidery hoop frames natural because they pulled the light brown color in the fabric of her jacket.

    Unfortunately, I couldn't find a picture from last Christmas of her wearing the jacket where she was facing the camera while smiling. I found many with her turned towards people smiling.

    Using a color laser printer on the wallet size setting, to fit the 2"x3" metal photo frames, print the photo on glossy photo paper. Insert into the photo frame and hang from the embroidery hoop with white satin jewelry cording.

    Embroidery Hoop Memorial Ornament Photo Frame
    Next, I cut the greens from a small wreath and hot glued them onto the top of the embroidery hoops.

    Slip green florist wire through the tops of small red and white jingle bells and attach them to the embroidery hoop.

    For the ornament hanger, slipknot a strand of white satin cording around the gridlock screw and tie in a knot at the top.

    DIY Photo Frame Memorial Ornament

    Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links so you can see what products I used or recommend to complete this project. What that means is that if you click on one of the product links, I may receive a small portion of any sales at no additional cost to you to support the costs of running this site. See my disclosure policy page.

    Materials List

    3-inch Embroidery Hoop
    Fabric (from garment of loved one)
    Small Picture Frame Ornaments
    Glossy Wallet Size Photo
    White Satin Jewelry Cording
    Small Red & White Craft Jingle Bells
    Christmas Artificial Pine Picks
    Hot Glue Gun
    Green Florist Wire
    Fabric Sewing Scissors
    Craft Scissors

    DIY Christmas Memorial Ornament

    I hope you found my Embroidery Hoop Memorial Ornament using Mom's jacket inspiring. Perhaps you know someone who has recently lost a loved one who may find this just the idea they were looking for to honor their loved one during the holidays. If so please save on Pinterest and/or share it with a friend.

    How To Make Embroidery Hoop Memorial Ornament

    Here is another way I honored my Mom in the Mom's Stool Got A Befitting Makeover post. This was a stool you could always find Mom on in the kitchen while doing dishes and peeling potatoes for her family of nine.

    Hold on tight to those you love this holiday season. What I would do for another Sunday afternoon spent holding Mom's hand while looking out the front windows of her care facility.

    You will find this project linked to these fabulous PARTIES.
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    How To Create Festive Christmas Planters With Faux Greens

    Do you love the look of beautiful Christmas Planters flanking the front door but avoid them at your house because of the maintenance of having to keep them watered? Perhaps you go away for the holidays or you're like me and live in a freeze/thaw environment that wreaks havoc on fresh greens.

    I like having my Christmas urns on display by mid-November, but oftentimes they are dry and turning brown by December 25th. So this year I decided to take a different direction and go the faux route. The investment is much higher initially but they'll pay for themselves within two holiday seasons and I never have to worry about forgetting to water them.

    Outdoor Christmas Planters With Artificial Greens
    In my post How To Fill Outdoor Planters For The Holidays, I share a tip on how to decorate large heavy outdoor planters from the comfort of inside your home.

    Pictured below is everything I used to fill each Christmas Planter...
    Materials For Outdoor Christmas Planters with faux greens
    Towards the bottom of this post, I've included a detailed Materials List for your convenience.

    Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links so you can see what products I used or recommend to complete this project. What that means is that if you click on one of the product links, I may receive a small portion of any sales at no additional cost to you to support the costs of running this site. See my disclosure policy page.

    How To Create Outdoor Christmas Planters With Faux Greens

    DIY Outdoor Christmas Planter Left With Faux Greens

    DIY Outdoor Christmas Planter Right With Faux Greens

    Video Tutorial

    Here is a quick video to show you how all the elements of creating a Christmas Planter came together one by one.

    Written Tutorial

    Now let's get into the how-to for filling each planter in the order in which each element is added, starting with the prelit willow branches.

    What elements to add first

    My prelit willow branches came in a package of three short bundles but I wanted them to be the same height as the curly willow I'd be adding to the center of the pots. To get the height, wire the three bundles together vertically. My suggestion is to save yourself the headache and buy the tall outdoor pre-lit branches.

    Add six tall painted curly willow branches around the stem of the prelit branch to help support the weight of the pre-lit branch. Intertwine the curly willow with the pre-lit, fluffing the pre-lit branches so they look full and illuminate the curly willow.

    Starting with the longest 36-inch pine spray, add one on each side and one behind the branches, pointing upwards. They will also provide added support to the branches (as pictured below).

    Outdoor Christmas Planter With Artificial Pine

    Layering the faux greens

    Next, add a bushy 34-inch pine split spray with pinecones on each side, also pointing upwards and bending slighting downwards (as pictured below).
    Outdoor Christmas Planters With Mixed Artificial Pine

    Place the 26-inch cedar & pine spray next on either side and on the front and back, pointing towards (as pictured below).

    Outdoor Christmas Planters With Artificial Cedar & Pine

    Fill in the gaps on the front with three 12-inch mixed green picks (as pictured below).

    Outdoor Christmas Planters with artificial mixed greens

    Now for the pretty embellishments

    On the left side insert a cluster of three tall red wooden decorative picks (as pictured below). I've had these picks for years and used to stick them in the Christmas Tree. Last year I spray painted them red and wired three together at different heights. I call them my Madonna picks, get it?

    Outdoor Christmas Planter embellished with wood picks

    On either side of the tall branches insert a tall artificial berry pick for a pop of red (as pictured below).

    Outdoor Christmas Planters with artificial berry picks

    Wire the large pinecone and grapevine ball and place them in front of the Madonna picks (as pictured below).

    Outdoor Christmas Planters embellished with large pine cone

    You can skip this embellishment if you like, and I seriously considered it. Wire a plaid bow in front of the pinecone and grapevine ball (as pictured below). If the planters are quite full, a smaller bow would work just as well.

    Outdoor Christmas Planters with plaid bow

    To Make A Floral Bow

    • Roll out a strand of ribbon 6-inches long (first tail).
    • Fold the ribbon over.
    • Measure a strand of ribbon 8-inches long over the previous strand.
    • Fold the ribbon over.
    • Measure another strand of ribbon 8-inches long over the previous strand.
    • Repeat the last two steps until you have 8 stacked loops.
    • Fold the ribbon over.
    • Measure a strand of ribbon 2-inches long over the last strand (center loop).
    • Fold the ribbon over.
    • Measure one last strand 6-inches long (second tail).
    • Tie the ribbon with a 16-inch piece of florist wire in the center.
    • You should now have eight 4-inch loops on either side.
    • Fan open the loops and fluff each loop open.
    • Place the 2-inch loop over the florist wire to conceal.
    • Separate the two 6-inch tails
    • Cut the ends of the tails.
    • Long strands of florist wire used to attach the bow to Christmas Planter greens.

    Place decorated plastic inserts into your tall planters, admire your work and forget about them until after the holidays!

    Now, this sounds counter-intuitive but I watered the faux greens in like you would fresh greens to freeze them in. This step isn't necessary but my planters are out in the open where there is a bit of a wind tunnel so this is extra security to prevent the smaller embellishments from flying off with the wind.

    Here are my Christmas Planters in our tall heavy plant pots flanking the front door.

    Outdoor Christmas Planters Using Faux Greens

    ...and this is what they look like at night illuminated by the pre-lit branches.

    Outdoor Christmas Planters with Faux Greens at night

    For a couple of years, we had tall lanterns with mixed greens on top of each planter but I missed having traditional Christmas Urns. I like the idea of having both the holiday planters and lanterns to welcome guests during the holidays. The lanterns we made from salvaged scraps for a fraction of the cost of buying large lanterns. You can see how we made them here in the post, Large DIY Holiday Lanterns.

    Materials List (per pot)

    Plastic Flower Pot Insert with dirt
    6 Tall Painted Curly Willow
    4 Cedar/Pine Greens 26"
    3 Mixed Green Picks 12"
    2 Artificial Berry Picks
    1 Large Pinecone 11"
    1 Grapevine Ball
    3 Tall Red Wooden Decorative Picks
    2 1/2" Plaid Wired Christmas Ribbon
    Green Florist Wire

    The total cost to make these Christmas Planters with artificial greens was approximately $150 per pot. I just heard you gasp but if you compare the cost of using fresh greens every year, these will have paid for themselves within 2-3 holiday seasons. You could easily spend this amount per pot every year if you had them made by your local greenhouse or flower shop.

    For those of you, like me, with black thumbs who prefer the fill and forget option for Christmas Planters, save it on Pinterest to refer back to and/or share it with a friend. If you purchase good quality artificial greens, it is hard to tell they aren't the real thing unless you touch them.

    How to make Outdoor Christmas Planters with artificial greens

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    90+ Christmas Tree, Wreath and Ornament Ideas

    Hello, my fellow DIY lov'n friends, have you started decorating for the holidays yet? Perhaps you're in need of some hall decking inspiration. Are you like me and browse the flyers or Christmas decoration aisles looking for inspiration and then create your own version that's much easier on the pocketbook?

    I do it all the time. I love hanging a wreath on the mirrors in our home but I can't justify spending at least $50 per mirror per room, so I make my own. Another decorating DIY is that since becoming empty nesters, instead of a full-size tree in our basement, I create a vignette of handmade cone trees. Every year without fail I'll see another great cone tree idea and the vignette has become more like a forest. Don't even get me started on ornaments. I always hang a handmade one with the gift tags on each present.

    The biggest challenge with DIY holiday decorating is finding the inspiration. Today we hope to make that easier for you with our collection of over 90 DIY Christmas Tree, Wreath, and Ornament Ideas.
    90 Plus Christmas Tree-Wreath-Ornament Ideas

    Over 90 Christmas Tree, Wreath, and Ornament Ideas

    All the ideas shared here were created by members of the All Things Creative group, blogging friends who come together each month to share creative DIY ideas. All Things Creative Group - Homemade Handmade Gift Ideas

    You'll find loads of Christmas Tree decorating ideas or making mini trees from scratch. There are great traditional or unique DIY Wreaths and Ornaments in this collection as well.Over 90 Christmas Tree-Wreath-Ornament Ideas
    Press the links below for a closer look at how to make these handmade Christmas Tree, Wreath, and Ornaments. I hope you find just the thing you were hoping to add to your holiday decorating theme this year.

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    How To Make Wood Slice Map Ornaments

    It is looking like a winter wonderland here where I live and it's taking everything for me to refrain from playing Christmas music. Snow always gets me into the holiday spirit and my thoughts have been wandering to ideas for hostess gifts and ornament exchanges this year. I prefer giving handmade gifts and with the holiday soirees soon approaching, I needed to come up with some ideas fast.

    When I saw the theme for this month's Thrifty Chicks Challenge was world globe and/or map upcycles, it gave me the inspiration I needed for my handmade gifts this year with these adorable wood slice map ornaments.

    Easy Wood Slice Map Ornaments
    Tucked away in a file cabinet were leftover pieces of maps used a few years ago on a Mid-Century Modern Dresser Makeover. I found enough pieces to probably make a dozen or so map ornaments but at this point, I didn't have a clear idea of how I would make them.

    While killing time on his lunch hour, Mr. Frugalista found a pile of off cut treated pine posts at Goodwill for $2 each and wondered if I could put them to good use. Heck yes, it was just the inspiration I needed. Because what I saw wasn't pine posts but rather rustic wood slice ornaments and an idea was born.
    Treated Pine Posts Used For Wood Slice Map Ornaments
    Before I get into the details of how I turned the wood slices into map ornaments, I should tell you a little about the Thrifty Chicks group. On the second Wednesday of every month, my creative junk loving friends and I come together to transform, upcycle or repurpose a junk find based on a theme. As I mentioned above, this month the theme is world globe and/or map upcycle.
    Thrifty Chicks Monthly Themed Blog Hop
    These are the products I used to make them, minus the red and green burlap ribbon. I found plaid ribbon I liked much better. At the end of this post, I've included a materials list for your convenience.
    Materials Used To Make Wood Slice Map Ornaments

    How To Make Wood Slice Map Ornaments

    4 Handmade Wood Slice Map Ornaments

    Rig a jig to cut wood slices

    To get a uniform thickness for each ornament we made a simple jig using a piece of melamine mounted with clamps onto the miter saw. Set at approximately 1/2 inch from the blade and at a 28° angle, echoing the angle already on the pine post, we cut a dozen wood slices.
    A rigged jig to cut wood slice ornaments in uniform sizes

    Make the back side pretty too

    You can skip this step but because the treated pine posts were dark brown, I stained the back side of each ornament dark walnut to match the sides.
    Dark Walnut Stained Backs on Wood Slice Map Ornaments

    Decoupage Maps

    You'll notice in the picture below, the ornaments were not stained on the back when I decoupaged the maps. Learn from my mistake - stain the back of the ornaments first before starting this next step.

    Once the stain is completely dry cut up a map (I used world map paper) into small pieces and decoupage them onto the front of each wood slice using Mod Podge and a foam brush.
    Decoupaged World Map pieces onto Wood Slice Ornaments
    Once dry, use scissors to cut the paper around the perimeter of the wood slices. With an inexpensive emery board (I got mine from the dollar store), file the edges of the paper working from the top (papered side) down.
    Emery board to file edges of decoupaged wood slice map ornaments
    Apply a thin coat of matte Mod Podge over the map to protect the paper.

    Song Verse Typography

    To add a verse to the maps you have three options. Unfortunately, I don't have a handy die-cut cutting machine and so I had to apply mine using an image transfer technique.
    Create typography in Word for Wood Slice Map Ornaments

    Option 1 - Image Transfer Technique

    Create the typography verses in a Word document using the Great Vibes font in a 36 point size and print the sheet. Cut out each verse and center them over the map wood slices. Slip a piece of carbon or graphite paper underneath and trace the verse onto the map. I used my other hand to hold the verse down while I traced but you could use low tack tape. Go over the verses with a fine point Sharpie marker in the color(s) of your choosing.

    Here is where I'm keeping it real guys...

    On a test ornament, I tried a gold metallic marker but it looked lost on the map. Next, I used a bright red marker thinking it would pull the red from the plaid ribbon and pop. Wrong. So in my infinite wisdom, I decided to go over the red with a green marker for added dimension. I'm not overly thrilled with the results but I had no more map paper left so I just went with it.

    Thankfully, I'm providing you with other options below...
    Peace On Earth Wood Slice Map Ornament

    Option 2 - Make a stencil

    Using a die cut cutting/embossing machine and contact paper, create a stencil and paint the verse on. I would suggest protecting the paint once it dries with a thin coat of matte Mod Podge like I did with my Sharpie option.

    Option 3 - Self-adhesive sticker

    Using a diet cut cutting/embossing machine create a sticker using self-adhesive vinyl. This would have been my preferred option had Santa fulfilled my Christmas Wish List the last couple of years. Something tells me I must be on his naughty list.
    Joy To The World Wood Slice Map Ornament

    Eye hook hanger

    Poke a hole in the top of each wood slice with an awl and screw in a small eye hook.

    Adding freshly fallen snow

    Using an artist's pallet knife, apply Snow-Tex onto the top of each wood slice and let a little drip over the edge onto the map for a realistic look. While it's still wet, sprinkle glitter over the snow, letting the excess fall into a dish to reuse again later.
    Christmas Around The World Wood Slice Map Ornament

    Embellish the ornament

    Tie a mini glitter snowflake onto the eye hook so it hangs just above the verse. Loop 1/2-inch wide plaid holiday ribbon through the eye hook and tie a small bow.
    Weary World Rejoices Wood Slice Map Ornament

    Materials List

    As promised at the top of this post, I've included a materials list for your convenience. 

    Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links so you can see what products I used or recommend to complete this project. What that means is that if you click on one of the product links, I may receive a small portion of any sales at no additional cost to you to support the costs of running this site. See my disclosure policy page.

    Mod Podge Matte
    Foam Brush
    Dark Walnut Minwax Stain
    Eye Hook
    Carbon or Graphite Paper
    Sharpie Fine Tip Marker in Red & Green
    White Glitter
    Artists Pallet Knife
    1/2 inch wide Plaid Holiday Ribbon
    Handmade Wood Slice Map Ornaments
    Here is another wood slice idea that may interest you. Two years ago I made fun Wood Slice Holiday Coasters from the branches of a fallen tree in our yard. 

    If you enjoyed these handmade Wood Slice Map Ornaments, please share them with a friend and/or save them on Pinterest.
    How To Make Wood Slice Map Ornaments
    If you are unable to DIY wood slice map ornaments, I found a few ready-made options you may like.

    Please join me in visiting my friend's blogs to see what they did with either a globe or map.6 Ways To Upcycle A World Globe or Maps
    Wooden Platter To Make A Lazy Susan by Shoppe No. 5
    Christmas Around The World Star Ornaments by Adirondack Girl At Heart
    Will Be Back Next Month by Just The Woods
    Vintage Trunk Refresh by Lora B. Create & Ponder
    How To Make Wood Slice Map Ornaments by The Interior Frugalista (that's Me)
    DIY Globe Upcycle by Little Vintage Cottage

    You will find this project linked to these fabulous PARTIES.

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