Homemade Christmas Gifts

My house felt like a Christmas workshop up until Christmas Eve. The carols were playing, sewing machine whirring and the house was filled with the smell of warm cookies, beeswax and herbs.
All my homemade gifts were done on time. Cotton pillow slips and floursack towels were embroidered, washed and ironed. Beeswax votives came out clean and sweet, their wicks straight and trim. The rosebud and lavender drawer sachets smelled like my summer garden and so did the lavender soap. My daughter’s painting was finished, framed and varnished.
The last of the baking, apricot pastries, went quickly so I had time to try out a new recipe. I saw these Almond Bars on Everyday Cheer and I knew they would be delicious and easy… they were!
Christmas Eve was rainy and chilly but it didn’t matter. We had a fire crackling away, a delicious dinner and everyone was filled with a happy, expectant feeling.

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Spicy chocolate & honey, cookies & candy canes


Ten days until Christmas! It’s windy and cold outside. Our little town is bustling with holiday busy-ness… Carolers singing on church lawns, a Christmas play at the old Town Hall, our annual town festival with boy scouts selling wreaths on the green and all of our churches hosting craft fairs, white elephant sales and holiday luncheons. New York was great for a visit but I am very happy to be living in my little town, especially at this time of year.
Finishing up projects, baking and playing Christmas music has kept me busy between all the fun events. I found this little Linzer cookie kit last year for $5, recipe included. The cookies were very easy to make, the dough handled well and they taste good!
There’s nothing like a good cup of hot chocolate at this time of year. It’s simple and delicious to make from scratch. I use honey instead of sugar and add some holiday spice.
1 1/4 cup milk
1 tsp. honey
2 tsp. unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp ginger
Dash of nutmeg
Heat milk and honey over low heat, stirring until honey is dissolved. Add cocoa, continue stirring and add spices. When the milk starts steaming, it’s done.
This is so easy and can be modified to your own taste. My daughter likes to add a touch of cayenne pepper to hers. My other daughter prefers it with just cocoa and honey, no spices added. Cardamom is nice, if you have it. Of course, freshly whipped cream would be delicious on top too:)
Decorations can get elaborate. Sometimes it’s just as satisfying to use what is on hand. These candy canes are cute and festive and a few bows left over from last year add a little color and hide the construction. I used a plastic lid, punched holes in it and wired the candy canes, still wrapped, on to it. Simple but homey and cheerful in my cozy old kitchen.
I hope everyone is enjoying this beautiful season. Thanks for stopping by!

Christmas in New York


There’s nothing like Christmas in New York City. My cousin came up from Florida for a visit and we took a train into Manhattan. We did as many of the “Christmas tourist” things that we could fit in and had so much fun!!! The windows at Sax 5th Avenue were so gorgeous! We went to Radio City Music Hall to see the Rockettes and the angels, the tree and the skaters at Rockefeller Center. On our way to see Macy’s windows, we stopped at the Christmas festival in Bryant Park. Times Square was crazy, as usual. Carnegie’s is always fun and I still think their cheesecake is the best ever.

Cookies and Christmas Projects


Such a fun time of the year! The weather has been icy, rainy, snowy and overall dreary but it doesn’t matter, I’ve been busy inside baking and trying to finish Christmas gifts. This picture will be for for one of my daughters. My Dad’s 79th birthday was this week so I made a batch of his favorite cookies. It’s the same recipe his Grandmother used when she made them for him. I had a lot of felt from my Mother’s sewing room so I’ve been playing with making these ornaments. I had them all hanging in the kitchen window. My girls noticed them on Thanksgiving and took home what they wanted. You learn to share everything when you come from 3 sisters and have 3 daughters, lol! I’m glad my daughters liked them. I hope all of you are enjoying the season!

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These cookies bake from 7-10 minutes.  It’s best to refrigerate the dough,  for about 15 minutes, before rolling it into little balls.  Set them a couple inches apart onto the cookie sheet, they do spread.

Window Dressing


I do seasonal window dressing for an optical store. It’s a few stores away from where I had my store. I had to modify my style and personal preferences to fit this store but I like the way it turned out. The display is double sided, seen from the inside and through the window. It was strange being there a few weeks before Christmas and not having a store any more. A wine shop recently opened where I had been. There’s been lots of ‘endings’ the past few years. That is life. New beginnings too.