Spoiler alert: If you are on my gift list, don’t read any more! I’m trying to keep it a surprise.
It’s only a few days before Christmas and I am finished making my gifts. No all nighters. No “IOUs.” I can’t believe it.
I always choose a project for the gift of the year. Last year was mini wallets and key fobs. This year it is oven mitts. I loved selecting the fabric for the receiver. I chose horse fabric for my friend, Edna. Cat fabric for my pet sitter, Jo and my friend, Lonnie (even though she doesn’t cook). A music motif for my nephew, and a guitar fabric for Davey and family. I also made a few generic versions for hostess gifts. The oven mitt is just a little something-something to say “Cheers!”
The pattern I used is actually part of a new pattern I designed. It is going to be on the website the first of the year. I am offering it as a preview for my downloadable patterns that will be available soon thereafter. Many of you have never tried a downloadable pattern, so here’s the chance to see what they are all about. I love the idea since I am an instant gratification kinda girl. I see it. I want it. Now I can have it immediately.
Well, off to wrapping! Ya gotta love it.
I discovered that, even though I am open to and embrace new ideas, I am the stickler for family traditions—especially at the holidays. One of the traditions that I love is the cornucopia. The cornucopia is a symbol of giving and sharing that personifies the next few weeks. Here’s how to make one. Be creative and add your own personal touch!
• Large, flat tray (optional)
• Cone-shaped basket in size of your choice
• Fall fruits and vegetables (either fresh or artificial) such as pomegranates, gourds, miniature pumpkins, small apples, artichokes, peppers, dried ears of Indian corn (choose ones that are hearty and won’t spoil if left out for a few days)
• Nuts and/or fresh berries such as cranberries (don’t use fresh cranberries if you are making an artificial arrangement).
• Leaves, straw, excelsior, or raffia for filler and decoration (artificial will last longer, but fresh colorful leaves allow you to choose from nature’s bounty)
• Ribbons and other interesting objects that will add color, sparkle, and texture (there are no right or wrong choices)
• I like to place the cornucopia on a large flat tray that has a layer of leaves covering the surface. You don’t have to do this but by placing it on a tray the entire display is portable so it can moved off the table to make room for Thanksgiving food as needed.
• Start by filling the back of the basket with leaves, straw, excelsior or raffia (this will also cut down on the number of fruit and vegetables you will need to fill the cornucopia and also be a “base” for the fruit.)
• Place the largest vegetables and fruits towards the back of the basket to serve as the backdrop. Arrange the smaller ones in front. Think of your arrangement as if you are taking a group photo and having the taller people in the back so everyone can be seen. Leave some of the fruits and vegetables to spilling out onto the tray on top of the leaves.
• Now sprinkle some nuts, grapes, and berries over the whole arrangement. Cranberries (or something similar in size) are nice to fill-in any spaces.
• Tuck extra leaves and/or ribbon amongst the fruit and vegetables.
• If using fresh ingredients, your creation should last a week or two.
Donna Babylon’s More Splash Than Cash decorating concept is designed to help everyone have a beautiful home. More Splash Than Cash doesn’t mean cheap. It means that the time and cash you invest–whatever the amount–are well spent and the results will be enjoyed for many years. Learn more at www.MoreSplashThanCash.com.
To me, part of enjoying fall is also the enjoying different foods. I love having dessert by a cozy fire. This easy-to-make dessert is a super way to end a day of raking leaves or making scarecrows.
• 4 pears, peeled
• 1/2 lemon, juiced
• 2 cups water
• 1/2 cup white sugar
• 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
• 4 (1 ounce) squares bittersweet chocolate, chopped
• 2 tablespoons heavy cream
• 1 tablespoon butter
• 1 tablespoon prepared coffee
• toasted almonds for garnish
1. Leave the stems on the peeled pears. Sprinkle with lemon juice to prevent browning. Set aside.
2. In a saucepan large enough to accommodate the 4 pears standing upright, combine water and sugar. Place over medium heat, and boil until sugar is dissolved. Stir in vanilla and place the pears in the syrup. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 15 minutes. Allow pears to cool in liquid, then drain.
3. In the top of a double boiler, combine chocolate, cream and butter. Heat, stirring, until chocolate is melted and smooth. Remove from heat, and stir in coffee liqueur.
4. Place pears on serving dish, dribble chocolate sauce over pears, and garnish with toasted almonds.
Donna Babylon loves sewing, decorating, and cooking. And, not necessiarly in that order. Today, cooking is on her mind.