Two of my former elementary school art students, Megan Kendrick and Michael Kendrick, are blessed to be the grandchildren of Santa Claus; their mom, Debby, is his daughter. He doesn't seem to have aged since I first saw him; late 80s or early 90s... but then Santa doesn't age, does he?
I contacted Debby and asked if I could share these beautiful photographs of Pappy Ho Ho, as Michael's children (Santa's great grandchildren) call him.
You can read a touching story about Pappy Ho Ho in this 2014 Herald Mail (Hagerstown, MD) newspaper article. There is a video at the bottom of the article with him speaking.
I no longer live in the area Santa frequents when he's not at the North Pole. I miss seeing him.
(Update on 12.27... a new Herald Mail article here)
My next share is a DIY tree topper, which I mentioned in my previous post.
It had its beginnings in a Michael's store; a random lucky find of straggler holiday items sitting neglected in an overlooked box (I am rather proficient at discovering and rescuing stragglers and neglected and overlooked items).
A light bulb moment had me snatch them up to take home.
I wandered though Lowe's looking for a form to use as a tree topper base. I had considered some things I had at home... wire, cardboard, a clear plastic box from a recent purchase, etc. I didn't want to distort or block light from showing through the star, though.
No form found, so I chose green plant training wire (found in the garden department) to make one that would blend in with the tree.
I wound it around a wine bottle (it's always useful to have wine on hand) to make a cone shape and then made 3 vertical passes from top to bottom; winding it around the coils to secure the shape so I can easily slide it onto the tree top. I checked after coiling to make sure it would fit.
I attached the two completed front and back star pieces to the green wire cone with brass wire; going around open areas of the wooden star and then securing to the green wire cone.
Finally done... I like it!!
It reminds me a little of the gold metal one our movers lost a few years ago that I have tried so hard to replace.
the tree from our snug happy hour spot in the Chinese wedding bed when it's too cold to sit out on the balcony.
With the exception of the angels (Christmas ornaments I added) and stable, the nativity has been around for as long as I remember. My mother handed it off to me years ago, after finding one she liked better.
The stable is about 6 years old. It wasn't cozy enough for a newborn baby, so I cut bamboo blind slats (saved from another project) to fit and glued them to the back of the stable. That made it easier to back-light too.
The price tags were never taken off the bottom of the figures, which I love!!
My third share is for those who love gingerbread, and any who have purchased this gingerbread village silicone baking mold from World Market.
I enjoy going to that store and recently purchased one, thinking little gingerbread cake houses would make cute gifts. I appreciate when novelty baking items come with a recipe or instructions included. Not so with this one, and the only review of it on the World Market site was titled "I hate this thing". Not good.
I looked through some of my gingerbread recipes and decided on this one: http://www.marthastewart.com/342372/gingerbread-snacking-cake
An easy to print version of the recipe with my notes and changes in red is here and will open as a Word Document: Gingerbread Village Recipe
Cooking spray is much easier, but I don't always get good results with it.
I filled 2 heart muffin tins to bake at the same time; that way I'd have something if the mold didn't work out well.
The heart muffins were baked for 20 minutes and the village for 30. I allowed the village to cool before pulling the silicone edges away from the cakes and releasing them onto a rack. I think next time I will substitute half of the molasses with Kayro syrup, and white sugar for the brown. A lighter color batter may show the house detailing better.
You can place in a pretty holiday cellophane bag, tie with a ribbon, and gift...
or, you can eat it!!
Enjoy!! Have a wonderful holiday!
Update on 12.20.2016...
- the recipe I shared will make 10 houses; I have updated the recipe after doing my 2nd baking with the mold.
- make sure you have buttered and floured the mold well before putting the batter in!! If you don't it do this thoroughly, it will stick! My third batch stuck and I had to crumble it all to get them out. I am putting the crumbs in a plastic freezer-safe container and will use it to make a crust for pumpkin cheesecake.
- Put some butter in each cavity and heat in the microwave on 20-30% power to mellt, then spread with a silicone brush; or peel the paper off one end of a stick of butter thats been softened, hold it by the paper end and liberally cover the inside of each house cavity.
- the eaiest way to flour is to put a little flour in a small sieve (photo, above left) and shake it over the entire inside of the mold after buttering.
- in the 2nd baking, I used half light Kayro syrup and half molasses, and half brown sugar and half white; with these changes, it seemed to take about an extra 5 minutes to cook. It's a slightly lighter color.
- they will be rounded on the bottom; you can trim to flatten if you like; they are fine rounded, though. The sieve works great for dusting the houses with confectioners' sugar, too.
And an additional holiday share:
The are supposed to be iced, but I happen to like them un-iced; they aren't so sweet that way. You use fresh lemon peel and fresh rosemary in the dough. I use an electric spice grinder to save time. Recipe is here. Enjoy!