Christmas Workshop


[Crafts]

Star of David

To make a star to decorate a package, card, or Christmas tree, you will need: scissors, a ruler, 3 plastic drinking straws, 2 chenille sticks, and glue.

  1. 1.

    Cut each straw into six pieces 1 1/8″ (3 cm) long.

  2. 2.

    Thread nine straw pieces onto each chenille stick.

  3. 3.

    Twist the ends of each chenille stick together, then bend each stick into a triangle with three straw pieces on each side, leaving a tiny space between the straw pieces (see illustration).

  4. 4.

    Lay one triangle down. Place the other one, facing in the opposite direction, on top of it, forming a six-pointed star, and glue the two chenille sticks together where they touch (see illustration).

Star of David

Bubble Wrap and Card

To make decorative wrapping paper and a matching card, you will need: newspapers; a measuring cup; water; a wide, shallow bowl; food coloring (color of your choice); 1 teaspoon liquid dishwashing detergent; a drinking straw; white butcher paper; and scissors.

  1. 1.

    Cover your workplace with newspapers.

  2. 2.

    Pour 1/2 to 1 cup of water into the bowl. Add drops of food coloring to the water until you have the desired color. Stir in the dishwashing detergent.

  3. 3.

    Put one end of the drinking straw into the colored liquid and blow through the straw to create a lot of colored bubbles. Blow until the bubbles are high and flow out of the bowl.

  4. 4.

    Place a piece of butcher paper over the bowl so that it touches the bubbles. The bubbles will pop and leave a colored design on the paper. Repeat the process over and over again (including making more liquid and bubbles as needed) until the wrapping paper is covered with bubble designs.

  5. 5.

    Let the paper dry thoroughly. (Optional: At this time you could use another color of bubbles for a multi-colored design.) Cut the desired-size card from the dried wrapping paper.

Pretty Pots

To make a colorful pot for a gift or a decoration, you will need: newspapers; a small, clean terra-cotta pot; 2 colors of acrylic paint; 2 old plastic lids; a small sponge paintbrush; scissors; a thin kitchen sponge; glue; ribbon or lace (optional); and your choice of contents for the finished pot (see step 5).

  1. 1.

    Cover your workplace with newspapers.

  2. 2.

    Decide a paint color for the outside of the pot and a second, coordinating color for the sponge art (see step 3). Pour the first paint into an old plastic lid. Paint the outside of the pot and let it dry. (Do two coats of paint if one does not completely cover it.)

  3. 3.

    Cut the sponge into small shapes such as circles, squares, triangles, hearts, or other shapes. Use circles for a polka-dot pattern, squares for a checkerboard, or different shapes mixed together. Pour a small amount of the second paint into the other plastic lid. Lightly dip one side of a sponge shape into the paint, then stamp it onto the pot. Repeat for desired design. Let the paint dry.

  4. 4.

    Optional: Just below the pot’s top edge, glue a piece of ribbon or lace around it and let dry.

  5. 5.

    Fill the pot with one of the following: a small plant, a package of vegetable or flower seeds, wrapped candies or cookies, a bag of potpourri or bath salts, a small wrapped gift, a candle, paper clips, rubber bands, pencils, golf balls, or whatever you like.

Colorful Streamers

To make these streamers to put on your Christmas tree or to decorate a room, you will need: scissors, 8 1/2″ x 11″ (22 cm x 28 cm) pieces of colored paper, a ruler, and glue or a stapler.

  1. 1.

    Cut a piece of paper in half lengthwise. (Each piece will make a streamer.)

  2. 2.

    On a long side of one half-piece of paper, cut strips 1″ (2.5 cm) apart to within 1/2″ (1.5 cm) of the other side (see illustration 1).

  3. 3.

    On the opposite long side, cut in the middle of the cut strips to within 1/2″ (1.5 cm) of the other side (see illustration 2).

  4. 4.

    For a different streamer design, fold a half-piece of paper in half again lengthwise, then cut the strips as directed in steps 2 and 3.

  5. 5.

    Cut several streamers of each design. For each design, glue or staple the ends together until you have the desired length.

[Recipes]

By Kim Howey

Chocolate Mousse Balls

5 milk-chocolate candy bars (1.55 ounces/44 g each)

1 container (12 ounces/340 g) frozen whipped topping, thawed

1 cup crushed vanilla wafers

  1. 1.

    In a saucepan over low heat, melt the candy bars; cool for 10 minutes.

  2. 2.

    Stir the chocolate into the topping; cover and freeze for 3 hours.

  3. 3.

    Shape into 1″ (2.5 cm) balls. Roll them in the wafer crumbs. Freeze.

Cheese Casserole

5 eggs

2 cups milk

8 slices bread, torn into 1″ (2.5 cm) pieces

1 cup (4 ounces/113 g) grated cheddar cheese

1 cup (4 ounces/113 g) grated mozzarella cheese

4 tablespoons crumbled bacon (optional)

  1. 1.

    Beat the eggs in a bowl.

  2. 2.

    Heat the milk in a saucepan over low heat; add the eggs, bread, cheese, and bacon (optional), and stir until the cheese melts.

  3. 3.

    Pour into a greased 8″ x 8″ (20 cm x 20 cm) pan.

  4. 4.

    Bake at 325° F (160° C) for 30 minutes or until the custard is set.

Banana Whip

1 banana

1 cup milk

1/4 cup vanilla yogurt

1/8 teaspoon nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

  1. 1.

    The night before, peel the banana and cut it into slices. Put the slices into a plastic bag and freeze them overnight.

  2. 2.

    The next day, put the banana slices into a blender. Add the milk, yogurt, nutmeg, and vanilla.

  3. 3.

    Blend on a low speed until smooth.

Rudolph Red-Nosed Cookies

2 eggs

3/4 cup sugar

2/3 cup margarine or butter, softened

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 cup (6 ounces/170 g) semisweet chocolate chips, melted and cooled

2 cups oats

1 2/3 cups flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

2 jars (10 ounces/284 g each) maraschino cherries, drained

  1. 1.

    Beat the eggs, sugar, margarine or butter, and vanilla until smooth.

  2. 2.

    Mix in the melted chocolate chips.

  3. 3.

    Stir in the oats, flour, and baking powder; refrigerate for 30 minutes.

  4. 4.

    Shape the dough into 1″ (2.5 cm) balls; place them 2″ (5 cm) apart on a lightly greased cookie sheet.

  5. 5.

    Press the cookie centers with your thumb, and place a maraschino cherry into each center.

  6. 6.

    Bake at 350° F (175° C) for 10–12 minutes or until set.

Stained-Glass Cookies

2 3/4 cups flour

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup butter, softened

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 cup light corn syrup

1/2 teaspoon almond extract

assorted hard candies

  1. 1.

    Mix the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a bowl.

  2. 2.

    In a separate, large bowl, beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.

  3. 3.

    Beat in the syrup and the almond extract; on low speed, beat in the flour mixture.

  4. 4.

    Roll out the dough to 1/4″ (.6 cm) thickness and use cookie cutters to cut it into holiday shapes. Then, using tiny cookie cutters or a table knife, cut out “windowpanes” in the middle of each cookie.

  5. 5.

    Place on baking sheets lined with waxed paper; fill each windowpane with a hard candy.

  6. 6.

    Bake at 350° F (175° C) for 7–8 minutes or until the candies are melted. If desired, pierce the top of each cookie for hanging.

Individual Cheese Logs

2 packages (8 ounces/227 g each) cream cheese, softened

1 cup (4 ounces/113 g) grated cheddar cheese

1 tablespoon chopped onion

1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley

1 teaspoon lemon juice

1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

1 cup ground walnuts

crackers

  1. 1.

    In a small bowl, combine the first six ingredients; mix well.

  2. 2.

    Shape into logs 3″ (7.5 cm) long and 1″ (2.5 cm) in diameter (makes 8 logs).

  3. 3.

    Roll them in the nuts; refrigerate. Serve with crackers.

Vanilla Custard Fruit Bowl

1 1/4 cups heavy cream

3 egg yolks

2 tablespoons sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 teaspoon cornstarch

any fresh or frozen fruit, cut into bite-sized pieces

  1. 1.

    Bring the cream to a simmer in a saucepan over medium heat, stirring frequently; remove the pan from the heat.

  2. 2.

    In a medium bowl, very gradually stir 1/4 cup of the hot liquid into the egg yolks. Add the sugar, vanilla, and cornstarch; beat with an electric mixer on high speed for 3 minutes.

  3. 3.

    Gradually stir the remaining liquid into the egg yolk mixture; return all to the saucepan and cook, stirring constantly over low heat until the mixture thickens.

  4. 4.

    Remove from the heat. Place a piece of waxed paper on top, then cool for 20 minutes. Serve over the fruit.

[illustration] Christmas Border by Karen Morgan

[photos] Photos by Tamra Hamblin