Mulled Wine on a Star

For years I have started to buy mulled wine as early in the fall as it becomes available. Usually I buy non-alcoholic, so maybe I should say "Mulled without wine". Anyway, in Finland we call I "Glögi" -both ways, with or without alcohol. This year it has been different. I have cut down sugers from my diet fot health reasons, so that is why I have not been too keen on buing readymade Glögi. Instead I have read a lot of recepies, and planned to make my own version, with minimum sugar.

This is how it turned out to be:

2dl sugarless cranberry juice  (I used one made in Finland from Finnish berries)
3dl water
a little bit of readymade "glögi" -concentrate
fructose, by taste

Christmas Spices: cinnamon, ginger, Dianthus, raisins, orange peel
2dl Dry white wine

We have a ready made seasoning mix for "glögi" available during the christmas season, you can buy it, as well as "glögi" concentrate from Suomikauppa (a shop for Finnish goods)

At first boil the water, then mix with cranberry juice, fructose, seasoninf mix, and the "glögi" concentrate and keep warm for apx. 45 min. but do not boil. Then filter off the spices and add in the wine. Warm up and serve with raisins and almonds.

The brand new stars under the Glögi mugs are made the same way as the origami stars, but left "two-dimensional". They are made from 3 cm wide linen ribbon and to make the re-usable I sewed a rectange in the midlle of the star to hold the ribbon in place. Pretty.


Traditional Paper Stars

A long time ago a co-worker taught me how to make origami stars from four long slices of paper. I made many back then, my mum even got ten red ones and ten golden ones as a Christmas present. Now I found the instructions again in a Swedish Christmas magazine "101 Idéer" and was suprised, that it wasn't easy at all to figure out how to make these little origamis. I tried and tried, and my friend tried but I had to get a good night sleep, and try again the next day before I got it right. I decided to make so many stars, that it would be impossible to forget ever again. Well, it is easy to say so now, we'll wait and see how it will be next year, or the year after. But this Christmas:  I did it!

"Every Time When the Bell Rings..."

About twenty years ago a got a postcard from a good friend. The card had a poem on it, a poem about an little angel, who got tired from all the work as an guardian a a child. The angel put the the baby asleep in the night and flew up to the heaven to get some sleep on a little cloud and in the morning she was back in business, just when the kid woke up. (Hopefully there was another angel in the night shift :)) The idea to this piece of decorations, however, came from the poem. This is where the Christmas angel left her dress for the night, with a little bell... maybe you've heard it tinkle sometime...


Matching matches

I just love candles.This is just the season to light as many as possible. Every day, on each table. I also tend to forget matches on the table, simple little boxes but little bit dull looking. I solved the problem by matching the matches into other decorations. Now their are cute. With  a little  piece of lace, old book sheets and a wooden button their are brand new looking, and ready to be forgotten on the table again.


The First Gingerbreads

I made the first gingerbreads of this Christmas season. Not very triditional, but still. I am on a sick leave, and I am supposed to stay in bed and only stay up for a short while at time. So I had to make something quick. I used readymade gingerbread dough I found from the crosery store freezer. I defrost the dough and then cut it in sticks 1 cm wide and 8cm long. After baking them in the oven, I let them cool down. Then I dipped each stick into melted milk chocolate and covered the chocolate with crushed peppermintcandies. I took the gingerbreads outside the the terrace for a while, so the chocolate would set and in no time at all, the first gingerbreads of the Christmas season were ready to be served!

My New Garland at the Front Door, version 1/2011

Our family has a summer cottage couple of hundred kilometers north from the south coast of Finland and last week I took a little break from work to spend couple of days there with the kids and grand parents. The nature around the cottage was still beautiful though summer is gone and even the fall is already turning into winter. We took long walks in the forest and I collected natural materials for a new front door garland.

Now that we still don't have any snow , it is easy to find materials from the forest. I used long willow twigs to create a base for the wreath. The leaveless blueberry branches are the main material and they are accompanied by some gray lichen. They were easy to tie together with iron wire, as they are rather light. The last bit was to decorate the wreath with a lingonberry branch, a small cone and a figure of a reindeer.

This is not only for christmas,
but for the wait of the snowy winter
Some thinning was done in the nearby forest and we found a huge pile of fir branches which still wait for my inspiration to make something out of them. They would also be great  material for a garland, but could I think of something else? Ideas anyone?


A knitted heart

I bought Christmas magazines and got hundreds of new ideas. That was bit of a promise, 'cause one of the magazines was called "101 Idéer" which is "101 Ideas". So this beautiful hearth was introduced in the magazine. It was knitted from different yarn and felted in the washing machine. And as the magazine was written in Swedish, I could not completely understand the instructions, so with a little help from my best friend I made my own version, which I think is even more cute than the original. I used needles sized 3 1/2 mm and the wool yarn, which I usually use for thick stockings.

This is how I made it:
1. Cast on three stiches.
2. Knit st stiches during the whole heart. Increase 1 stich in the beginning and in the end on each right side row by working into front and back of the first and the last stich. Continue untill you have 38 stiches.
Knit bubbles by making five stiches out of one. (knit the front and the back loop in turns to create five stiches before letting the stich fall of the needle. Knit these five new stiches back and forth three rows and then knit all five together on the right side. You have created a bubble. Continue knitting st stiches until the next bubble. I made bubbles on every fifth row,  approximately after every 7 stiches;  1-2-3-4-5-6-5-4 pcs.  as shown it the picture.
4. When you have 38 stiches in the row, knit 12 rows without increasing and then decrease in the beginning and in the end of every right side row by knitting two stiches together until you have 30 stiches. Knit st stiches four rows.
5. Bind off.
6. Make the back piece of the hearth likewise, but without the bubbles.
7. Make a handle by knitting st stiches with 8 stiches until you reach the lenght you wish.
8. Sew the pieces together on the back side.
9. Sew a small bag out of a fabric (f.e. flannel). Sew it inside the hearth like a lining. Fill the extra space inside the heart with cotton wool before sewing the lining.

10. The hearth is now ready to be filled with candy, small gifts or ginger breads to greet your friends or family, or even the postman at the front door!