Christmas making and baking

Well, each day is speeding by so fast I fear I won’t manage to get in all the fun visits with friends, my day job, my teaching, my baking and, most of all, my jewellery-making. This time of year, I devote my time to making Christmas presents for family and friends. I’ve got a few more Viking Knit necklaces to make. And I’m still waiting on a shipment of end cones and sterling wire from Artbeads (it supposedly shipped two weeks ago so I’m checking with them on Friday if it doesn’t appear.)

Back to designing in January when — hopefully — long weekends stretch in front of me with nothing else to do.

Oh, and I’ve been knitting with wool on the large round looms, making circular neck warmers that I have in the washing machine right now, hoping they will felt. I will embellish them with beads, to make presents. I promise to post photos if they turn out. I loomed about 10 inches of candy floss pink wool in a 10 inch diameter tube, then, after I cast it off, I took more wool in chocolate brown and wove that through a section of the tube in an interesting pattern. If it comes out nicely, i will either bead it around the top and bottom edge, or sew beads into the brown wool I wove into the pink, once again in a random, starburst pattern.

What I really want to end today’s post with is a recipe. I started making Peanut Butter Balls when Ethan was 2. To him, and to my baking partner Laura’s 12 year old son Justin, PB Balls = Christmas. People love them, they are no-cook and the hardest (and funnest) part is dipping them. As my gift to everyone, I’m sharing the much-coveted and -requested recipe for Peanut Butter Balls. Make some and enjoy the creativity you can unleash while baking!

Peanut Butter Balls
For the filling: combine in a medium bowl 2 c icing sugar, 2 tbsp butter or margarine (at room temp), 1 tbsp milk, 2 tsp sugar and 1/2 tsp vanilla. Then mix in 1/2 c creamy peanut butter.

Line a pan with wax paper. Roll heaping tspfuls of filling in 3/4″ balls and place on pan. Refrigerate for 2 hrs until firm.

Melt one bag of chocolate chips (I prefer dark chocolate, but you might be different) with 1 tbsp shortening in the microwave. 3 min max usually does it. The mixture should be very smooth. Spear about 6 of the balls on toothpicks and dip each one, shaking the ball until there is a nice, even coating of chocolate on it. Return the ball to the wax paper, gently remove the toothpick and decorate. I like to place a nice salty cocktail peanut on top, but some people use silver dragees, others put sprinkles. Be creative! Let them set for a bit in the fridge then pack in containers, wax paper between the layers, and store in the fridge up to two weeks. Believe me, they won’t last that long anyway!

Enjoy and Merry Christmas!

Sinner

With the name Cindy, the word sin is an irresistible pun that even I take advantage of. But I’ve had sinners on my mind lately, even though I don’t believe I’m much of a religious person anymore, at least in the organized, church-going way. I do believe that people get what’s coming to them and what you send out you get back: karma, if you will. Mitzvahs piled up if you’re a good person. Those of you who are FB friends will know I’m on an uncharacteristic vendetta against someone who’s claimed what is rightfully mine. That story will play out and karma, or whatever you call it, will bite that witch in the ass. Mark my words. But enough of family feuds…

What I’m getting to is that I’ve committed the cardinal sin of a blogger — not posting for two weeks. I will apologize right now, but also pile on the excuses. I have a new job and have had meetings and events virtually every night. So when I do get a few minutes, I want to just catch up on some tv shows, continue making Christmas presents and relax a bit.

But some of my precious time has been taken up with teaching. Last Sunday afternoon, I had a class of two at Michaels to teach them the basics of knotting — essentially a macrame knotted bracelet. It went well, and I gained a new acolyte. Then right afterward, I threw myself into the eye of the hurricane known as a 10 year old girl’s birthday party and taught them the same technique.  It was crazy, but mostly because of the disorganization of the Micheals people. I’ll be doing another party in January and have learned some valuable lessons that should make the next one go well.

I am just on my way out now to teach the final of the four fundamentals classes, Wire Wrapping. A pair of delicate earrings will be the outcome, so I hope I have students. If not, Laura and I can get on with the creativity of our Christmas baking extravaganza. And we realized it’s our 10th year of baking together. We have that art down to a fine science. As with jewellery techniques, practice makes perfect results, but we can’t resist experimenting with something new every year. This year, Guinness Gingerbread. And it was a success!

Talk soon.

What’s up

December 2010
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