Homemade Woven Ornaments

easy-holiday-craft-ornamentsIt’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas. And this year I decided to make some ornaments. These homemade woven ornaments are a great gift idea for friends and family. It is also a good craft to do with your older kids. I thought my 6-year-old would like to do this but he had a hard time with the over under idea of the sewing. Either way it kept him busy while I finished mine. And I just love yarn crafts. Don’t you?

supplies-for-easy-yarn-christmas-ornamentsI had seen this plastic grid in the craft store and always wanted to do something with it. Then it dawned on me. Woven ornaments. I could have used yarn that I already owned but decided to pick up the craft yarn that is sold next to the plastic sheets. And I thought these plastic yarn needles would work but they ended up not fitting through the squares. Luckily I had smaller yarn needles at home to work with. You could also wrap the tip of the yarn with scotch tape to get it to fit through the hole but I much prefer a needle.

making-yarn-christmas-ornamentsAll you have to do is cut out your shapes from the plastic and start sewing, making whatever patterns you like. A lot of the plastic ends up showing through so I actually went back and spray painted the plastic shapes silver before starting to sew. I also picked up another sheet of plastic that they sell in hot pink. Because why not. They might be untraditional colors for Christmas but I love that.

homemade-woven-ornamentsI think they turned out really cute. They were my favorite kind of craft where you can do it while you watch tv. These will sit nicely on a tree or you can use a metal hook to hang them. You could even do this on a much larger scale and use each sheet for a single letter and create words for your mantle.

woven-word-christmas-ornamentHo.

yarn-ornament-craft-for-christmasAnd how awesome do they look on this white tree!!

lightning-bolt-woven-christmas-ornamentI love lightning bolts. What can I say. I am sure Santa does too.

woven-ornaments-with-yarnAnd of course my son wanted in on the action. I love that he is pretty much cross-eyed from looking at the ornament he’s holding. And isn’t his shirt great? It’s a Yoshirt. It cracks me up when he wears himself to school.

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Holiday Best

Best of holiday posts. Everything from decor, crafts and lots of yummy treats.

Last minute gift idea for your girls

Photo garland with your kid’s photos

 

Holiday Entertaining:

Chic Cookie Exchange Inspo

Balloon signs for your party decor

 

Party Foods, Treats and Drinks:

Best Cheese Ball Ever

Best Caramel Corn Ever

Kitchen Sink Oreo Cookie Balls

Peanut Butter Pie

Homemade Cinnamon Candy

Edible Confetti for hot beverages and cocktails

Orange Cardamom Hot Chocolate

Brown Sugar Bacon Butter

Spiced Clementine Margarita

Spiced Cranberry Bourbon Cocktail

Sherry Cake

Cinnamon Walnuts

Spiced Pear Cocktail

Orange Spiced Iced Coffee

Spiced Pear Bellini

Spiced Cranberry Bourbon Cocktail

Spiced Cranberry Bourbon Cocktail Recipe.Oh hey there delicious cocktail. While I call this a spiced cranberry bourbon cocktail it can also be called Christmas in a glass. Last year, I had a delicious spiced cranberry cocktail at Mozza and I had to figure out how to recreate it. So I played around with it and this is what I came up with. It is delicious and flavorful and, surprisingly, more steps than I usually do for a recipe. But it must be done to get that full flavor. I love the vibrant color and the yummy, yummy flavor.

Spiced Cranberry Bourbon Cocktail Recipe.You simply start with store-bought cranberry juice and then jazz it up by infusing it with warm holiday spices.

Smash cinnamon sticks before simmering them in cranberry juice. One thing I like to do when infusing things with cinnamon is to give the sticks a little whack with the back of the knife to open them up. Then I just scoop up the pieces and dust and put them wherever they need to know. I feel like it helps to open up the flavors a little bit more. And its fun to smash them. Lay the cinnamon sticks as flat as you can, lay your knife flat on top and then give it a whack with the heel of your hand. Take care not to be near the blade. Losing your hand around the holidays would not be cool.

Warm spices add flavor to store-bought cranberry juice. Add your flavor agents to your sauce pot and then add in your bottle of cranberry juice. Let the mixture simmer for about 45 minutes to an hour. It will reduce down a bit but does not become syrupy. What I love about this is that once this jazzed up cranberry juice is made, you can easily put together cocktails for the next few weeks. Or have a big batch ready to make them for a party.

Spiced Cranberry Bourbon Cocktail Recipe.Once the cranberry juice mixture has simmered and cooled, strain it in to decorative bottles or put it back in to the cleaned, original cranberry juice bottle. Then you just need to grab a few more ingredients to put the drink together. Bourbon. Ginger beer and fresh nutmeg. Yum.

The spiced cranberry juice would make a great cocktail kit gift idea. These bottles of spiced cranberry juice would be a great gift idea. Use a cute bottle like the one above, and then provide the bottle of cranberry juice along with the recipe on a cute card and even a bottle of bourbon and some ginger beer. You could totally wrap that up all cute in a basket with holiday cheer.

Spiced Cranberry Bourbon Cocktail Recipe.Then it’s time to put this thing together. Add the cranberry and bourbon in a cocktail shaker. Add ice and shake it up.

Top the spiced cranberry and bourbon with ginger beer. Yum!Strain into a glass over ice. Top with ginger beer and give it a little stir.

Fresh nutmeg is where it's at.Grate some fresh nutmeg right on top. Your nose will thank you.

Spiced Cranberry Bourbon Cocktail Recipe.Holiday in a glass. Boom.

Spiced Cranberry Bourbon Cocktail Recipe.This is the perfect holiday entertaining beverage. Or for a cozy night by a fire.

Spiced Cranberry Bourbon Cocktail Recipe.Holiday cocktails make me happy.

Spiced Cranberry Bourbon Cocktail Recipe.Do you like cranberry cocktails? What is your go-to holiday drink?

Spiced Cranberry Bourbon Cocktail
 
This cocktail tastes like Christmas.
Recipe type: Cocktail
Ingredients
  • Spiced Cranberry Juice
  • 1 bottle 64 oz. Cranberry Juice (I like Langers best)
  • 2 inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and cut in to large chunks
  • 3 cinnamon sticks, cracked
  • ¾ tsp fresh grated nutmeg
  • For the Cocktail:
  • 3 oz spiced cranberry juice (recipe above)
  • 1.5 oz Bourbon
  • 3 oz. Ginger Beer
Instructions
  1. In a saucepan, add cranberry juice, ginger, cinnamon sticks and nutmeg.
  2. Simmer on medium heat for about 45 minutes.
  3. The juice will reduce a little bit but not become syrupy.
  4. Once cooled, strain with cheesecloth or a coffee filter in to a container.
  5. For cocktail:
  6. Add spiced cranberry juice and Bourbon to a cocktail shaker.
  7. Add ice and shake well.
  8. Strain in to a glass with ice.
  9. Top with 3 oz. of ginger beer and give a quick stir.
  10. Grate fresh nutmeg on top of each cocktail.
  11. Recipe above makes approximately 2 cocktails depending on your size of glass.

 

Candy Bar Trains for Christmas

Make candy trains for Christmas! I’m SO excited to share this post with you guys! Did I say that yesterday too? Well, this year I am sharing a bunch of really fun holiday things that mean a lot to me. You know, like wine cake and such. Because cake with wine is VERY exciting. And today I’m sharing these awesome candy bar trains! This is something me mom made when we were growing up. And while I don’t remember making my own, I think these are the PERFECT alternative to gingerbread houses. Gingerbread houses can be so hard!!! Unless you glue gun the walls together, they often collapse and seem a bit fragile.  But these trains are a little bit easier and such a fun idea for families to do together at the holidays.

Make candy trains for Christmas! When I told my mom that I wanted to do a post on her trains, she searched her archives and came up with these written instructions for how she made them including a supply list. And then she left on a cruise. So I poured over her instructions and started gathering materials. And then got busy and put off making the actual train. And weeks later, my mom was back in town and I was finally ready to take photos of the candy bar train making process. So I invited her over to help me put it all together! I love having my mom help with posts! We pretty much followed her instructions this first go round but I can’t wait to make more and really get creative!

Make candy trains for Christmas! We got everything together and did a little mock-up before starting glueing things together with the royal icing. In doing so, we learned that candy has changed a bit since she first made these. Some things are larger and some things are smaller. Feel free to use whatever candies you think are best and please you, aesthetically. Also, she used to make a train track out of thin black licorice laces. I couldn’t find those anywhere! I also had a hard time finding rolls of Lifesavers (which we didn’t end up using anyway) and the larger Tootsie Rolls which make perfect logs. I feel like you can’t go wrong by buying the candy that looks fun to you and then see what you come up with. And if you have kids, the extra candy certainly isn’t going to go to waste…

Make candy trains for Christmas! We made (I say we, but really my mom made it) royal icing which would act as the glue to hold the train together. We probably could have used a little less of the icing but we wanted to make sure that things stuck really well.

Make candy trains for Christmas! My mom’s diagrams were very detailed about the front train car. But the rest of the cars can be whatever you want them to be. Have fun with it!  This is the back of the first car by the way.

Vintage Christmas miniaturesA few years ago my mom gave me her tin of vintage miniatures that she used for her trains and a few other food crafts she made.  So many memories in that tin! It was awesome to go through and remember all the old plastic figures and show them to my kids.

Make candy trains for Christmas! We let my son decide where Santa should sit. I think he made the right decision.

Make candy trains for Christmas!Our second train car holds a bunch of presents and toys and the final car is the log car. It dawned on me that it would have probably looked a little bit more like logs if we stacked another row in the center and on top of the bottom row. But it’s been probably 30 years since we’ve seen one of these trains so…we forgot. I just love how it came out!

Make candy trains for Christmas! How fun is this tree?! I added a little more royal icing to look like snow.

Make candy trains for Christmas! And of course we added edible glitter to have even more of a snow-like look although it is pretty hard to see. Like gingerbread houses, these are edible, but since all of the candy has been manhandled I wouldn’t recommend eating them. My kids asked so incessantly that I finally said they could eat their cars. Turns out all the different flavors of candy don’t taste that great together. So they stopped eating them instead of picking the candy off individually…dummies. (Yes I just called my kids dummies. But as a joke. That is kind of ironic. Especially since my 3rd grader had to go ask his teacher how to do one of his homework math problems since I couldn’t figure it out…)

Make candy trains for Christmas! I think this will be a tradition that we do with our kids every year. And I can’t wait to share it with the cousins and friends!

Make candy trains for Christmas!I put my train on a cake board that I got from the local craft store. It came in a pack of 5 so you could easily have each kid make their own mutli-car train.

Make candy trains for Christmas!When my youngest son got home from school he skipped lunch (truth be told he had candy for lunch) to make his train. He was so excited! He’s almost 6 and this was really easy for him. Where we had used a piping bag and decorating tip, we gave him a little paint brush to use with the royal icing and it worked really well. In hindsight, we probably would have had a cleaner look if we had used the paintbrush.

Make candy trains for Christmas!This would be a super fun idea for a family holiday party. I had only bought 6 of the large candy bars but the candy used to decorate was very plentiful. I could have made a ton of train cars by just picking up a few more Snickers bars, which is what we’ve always used. I guess you could use a different kind. But you would ruin Christmas…so…

Make candy trains for Christmas!We ended up having a last-minute playdate after school that day so my older son and his friend decided to make them too. Turns out, with a little imagination, your train car can be a sports car.  And a new tradition may be born.

Here is a very general list of what you might need to make a candy bar train with 3 cars like I’ve made above:

Large Snickers bars for the train cars (so 3 Snickers bars for the full train I made)

Fun Size Snickers bar for the front car

14 Peppermint candies for the wheels (note: the first car has 2 extra wheels – and they probably aren’t called wheels are they…)

1 gummy fruit slice for the corn catcher at the front of the train

4 Werther’s or several Lifesavers for the front of the train car

1 JUJU Bee for the light on the very front of the train

1 Gum Drop for the front train car

1 Lifesaver and 1 Rolo for the smoke stack on the first train car

Thin licorice laces to connect the train cars. Can also be used for the train tracks if you decide to add them to your cake board

14 M&M’s for decoration on the wheels

Several Tootsie Rolls for the log car.  The full size work best but you can also stack the Midgees if you can’t find the regular ones.

White edible glitter for snow

Royal Icing and a pastry bag and tips. You can also use a smallish paintbrush instead or if you have a young child where a pastry bag might be too hard to manage.

Assorted Miniatures

Tweezers might also come in handy (if you want to be all type-a about it)

To make Royal Icing: 

3 level TBSP Meringue Powder

4 cups powdered sugar

6 TBSP water

Put all ingredients in a large bowl and beat with a mixer for 7 to 10 minutes.

If you make one share it with me on instagram!!!! Tag me at @cupcakescutlery and use the #cupcakesandcandytrains

Sherry Wine Cake Recipe

Sherry Wine Cake Recipe. One of my newer holiday traditions. Perfect for Christmas morning breakfast. I’ve been meaning to share this recipe with you for years. But posting near the holidays gets to be too much sometime. There are so many things to share and so many extracarricular activities with family and school that I usually run out of time. But this year I made a point to start early so I could share with you one of my newer traditions. Sherry Cake. Yes. Cake made with wine. Oh, and it is also a cake I eat for breakfast. I was introduced to this cake years ago and fell in love with it. It just tastes like Christmas. So I decided that I would make it for Christmas morning breakfast. I think I may be the only person to eat it. But I love it and will continue to have it on the roster.

Sherry Wine Cake Recipe. One of my newer holiday traditions. Perfect for Christmas morning breakfast. This sherry cake recipe couldn’t be easier. It uses boxed cake mix as the base, vanilla pudding mix, oil and eggs. Basic, right? Then you add fresh nutmeg and sherry wine. I don’t know anything about sherry wine. I bought this one at the grocery store, but the bottle I previously had I got at a wine shop and it had a hint of orange to it that I really enjoyed. Sherry is a fortified wine (alcohol added) and it is a really nice, warm flavor. There are tons of different varieties and I can’t see how you could go wrong with any of them. It adds a depth of flavor to the cake that is really lovely. And between the wine and the pudding, the cake is nice and moist.

Sherry Wine Cake Recipe. One of my newer holiday traditions. Perfect for Christmas morning breakfast. I bought this bundt pan specifically for this recipe. I can’t believe I didn’t have one before!

Sherry Wine Cake Recipe. One of my newer holiday traditions. Perfect for Christmas morning breakfast. You mix all the ingredients together. Totes easy.

 

Sherry Wine Cake Recipe. One of my newer holiday traditions. Perfect for Christmas morning breakfast. Put the batter in a greased and floured bundt pan. And bake for about 50 minutes.

Sherry Wine Cake Recipe. One of my newer holiday traditions. Perfect for Christmas morning breakfast. The sherry cake, once inverted, is a dark, gingerbready color. The house smells of nutmeg and vanilla cake. And Christmas. Simply top it with powdered sugar and dig in.

Sherry Wine Cake Recipe. One of my newer holiday traditions. Perfect for Christmas morning breakfast. This is a great cake to bring to a holiday party because it is totally unexpected. It is straight out of the 70’s and I love that about it too.

Sherry Wine Cake Recipe. One of my newer holiday traditions. Perfect for Christmas morning breakfast. Doesn’t the powdered sugar look like snow?! Have you ever had a wine cake before? Let me know if you try this!!!

Sherry Wine Cake Recipe
 
My favorite thing to eat on Christmas morning.
Author:
Recipe type: Breakfast/ Dessert
Ingredients
  • 1 box Yellow cake mix
  • 1 small box instant vanilla pudding (3 oz)
  • ¾ cup oil
  • ¾ cup Sherry (I think you are supposed to use Cream Sherry)
  • 1 tsp nutmeg (freshly grated)
  • 4 eggs
Instructions
  1. Mix cake mix and pudding.
  2. Add oil and Sherry.
  3. Beat at high speed.
  4. Add in one egg at a time, beat in between.
  5. Beat for about 5 more minutes after the last egg.
  6. Add nutmeg.
  7. Oil and flour a Bundt pan.
  8. Bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes and test.
  9. Watch carefully - do not over bake.
  10. Turn out of Bundt pan immediately.
  11. Let cool completely.
  12. Sprinkle with powdered sugar.
  13. Then eat your face off.