Saturday, December 28, 2013

December moments



I hope you are having the merriest and most relaxing holidays! :)

I am still trying to get some work done, but I am also enjoying a peaceful holiday routine including my boyfried baking a lot of delicious bread (my favourite so far: wholemeal loaf stuffed with goat cheese and caramelized onion).

The weather is still kind of dark and gloomy, so we also cook a lot to cheer up these cloudy winter days - that is what Italians usually do, right? :P

So I present you with a certain pride 560 handmade tortellini!
(plus random pics from the last weeks)

And you? How are you spending these Christmas holidays?











Monday, December 23, 2013

Free Christmas tags roundup


I haven't quite processed yet the fact that tomorrow is Christmas Eve!

I am currently packaging the last batch of orders before Christmas, and trying to keep in mind that this is also the last day to buy, well, pretty much anything one needs for Christmas. 
In fact, the Swedes celebrate on the 24th raher than the 25th, which means that on Christmas Eve Swedish towns look sort of post-apocaliptic. No people in the streets and no open shops, because everyone is at home having fun with their families (I learnt this piece of information a few years ago, in Stockholm, and I learnt it the hard way :P )

So, my programs for the day include a tour of groceries and markets, to make sure we get a suitable supply of nuts, goat cheese, red wine and smoked salmon. : )

But can I leave my blog without a quick roundup of my favourite free gift tags?
Certainly not! : )

So, here is my selection. I hope you will enjoy it!

Lovely little drawings from Oana Befort.

Minimal, delicate tags from Oh So Pretty.

Chalkboard tags from Shanty 2 Chic.

Cte tiny bears from Creature Comforts.

Ugly Xmas sweater tags from Love vs Design.

Happy, festive tags from The Crafty Cupboard.

And if these aren't enough, don't forget that the free printable 
goodies from last year are still available! : )


I hope you will find something that suits your style and presents! : )

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Details from a messy Christmas tree!

..it does not have to be perfect, 
it just has to be merry and festive, right?   : )
♥♥♥

-something from last year (a little porcelain train from Denmark)

-something from a second hand shop 
(I had to fix this tiny house with a bit of glue, but I think it's so cute!)

- something perfumed.. (dried orange slices & gingerbread)

- ..and something sweet (candy canes & chocolates just need to be on our Christmas tree!)

- something handmade, from a friend (so delicate!)

- something Scandinavian (a little good luck tomte)

-something I made..


- and glittery dinosaurs, of course! : )

- bonus: little guests between the presents! 


Wish you a lovely Advent Sunday!

♥♥♥

Saturday, December 21, 2013

The Christmas tree mission, part 1

Sorry for being so late with today's post.. : )


When it snowed for the first time this winter, I 
decided I did not want to wait any longer for my Christmas tree. : )



So I wore my warmest socks..


Plus hat, a big scarf and one of my boyfriend's jumpers..


..and we walked out in the snow, to get to the plant shop!



It was a really nice walk through the freshly fallen snow! 



We chose a nice silver fir..


..we brought it back home..


..and got ready to decorate it!



Yes, gingerbread cookies are one of my favourite ornaments!
They cost (almost) nothing, they are simpe and festive, 
and they add a delicious cinnamon&ginger scent 
to the resin perfume of the tree. : )
So we started putting lights, garlands, glass bubbles and cookies on the branches of our tree..


..while more snow was falling on the huge fir in the garden! : )
(ok, the snow in the above image is just one of Google automatic effects.. but isn't it cute? )

I'll show yo my finished tree tomorrow! 
Well, it's never really finished yet, because I keep adding 
little ornaments that I find around or get from our friends..
..still, I hope you will like it!

Wish you a magic weekend,
big hugs,

Mijbil



Friday, December 20, 2013

Handmade DIY gift idea: mini gingerbread houses!


Hello my good friends! : )

Are you ready for Christmas already?
With just one weekend left before the holidays, I thought it was nice to share a cute last-minute gift idea that could be a lovely Sunday project and maybe help you avoid the last-minute shopping rush for little presents and favours.

Gingerbread houses are quite adorable indeed, but generally time consuming - plus, the making of can get a bit messy! 
The version I suggest is simpler and quicker, but I think the result is still super cute:

1- (the recipe) a super easy shortcrust pastry instead of gingerbread. It is really fast to make, and very resistant (and also delicious!)

2- (about size) since you all know my passion for miniatures, my choice to go for tiny cookie houses shold not come as a surprise! : )
But there are several pros indeed: a tiny house is easier to assemble and decorate, and way more stable - meaning that it can be gift wrapped and given away as a gift without the risk of destroying it!

3- (the setting) a festive cookie will make a scrumptious base for your house, and allow you to add some extra details (Christmas elves, mushrooms or tiny snowmen) to achieve extra cutenesss!

Have I managed to convince you already?
Here is my recipe! : )


Ingredients:

- 250 g of plain flour 
- 125 g of sugar
- 135 g of salted butter
- 1 egg
- 1 yolk
- (optional) a little bit of vanilla scent

Preparation:

Cut the butter into tiny pieces and let it soften a bit out of the fridge.
Start from a mond of flour, add the sugar in the middle, then the eggs, the vanilla scent and the butter pieces.
Use your hands to blend it all together until you get a nice uniform dough.
Avoid overworking the dough. The key point is to keep it all quick, so make sure you stop kneading as soon as you are able to form a compact ball of dough.


Let it rest in the fridge for at least half an hour, and then you'll be ready 
for cutting out the shapes of your houses! : )


There is plenty of free gingerbread house templates on the net, so simply choose your favourite and print it out in a tiny scale - only, make sure to choose a simple one! No Victorian manors allowed in this case. : )
You will also need a medium-large cookie cutter of your choice. I had this cute snowflake cutter at home, but a heart, a star or a Christmas tree would work too. If you don't have any cutter large enough, just cut out a round or rectangular shape from the dough. 


(a gingerbread-inspired dish cloth is of course absolutely necessary :P )


Cut out the elements you need for your house.

Tips:
- use a slightly thicker layer of dough for the bases, that need to be stronger than the rest 
(and, if possible, bake them in a separate batch)
- prepare some extra walls, roofs and facades in case some of them get ruined during baking (I was lucky this time, but from my former experience I learned that some of the cookies can get deformed or overbaked, since the heat distribution in the oven is not perfectly equal)
- with this amount of ingredients I was able to create 6 houses, and a bunch of cookies from the leftovers. : )


Bake at 180° for about 10 minutes, until the cookies turn gold (better keep an eye on them, since the baking time strongly depends on the cookies' thickness and on the behaviour of every single oven).


Nice, uh?
Let them cool down, and you are ready for the funny part! : )




Start by decorating the roofs and facades, and let the icing dry completely.
(Don't go for very complicated decorations. 
A tiny house is cute with just a few lines and a little bit of sugar sprinkles!)


(oh, look, I made a Christmas tree!)


Assembling tiny houses like these is really easy.
The walls are thick enought to provide strenght and stability,
and you can use whatever you find in your kitchen to add extra details.

I used red marzipan for the elf and the mushrooms, 
sugar frosted chickpeas for the tiny snowmen,
and white chocolate sprinkles to make micro pebbles.

Next time I think I'll get creative and make tiny fences and wooden logs with chocolate, but this time I really want this project to be quick & easy!



Well, I really hope you like the final result! : )
As I said, this project won't really take long, and it is also a perfect family activity for a cold winter weekend.  : )
And every house will be a super cute, unexpensive, delicious and unique little gift.. or a treat for yourself, of course! :D




(oh, the little village..)