My friend Liz is always busting my chops about my crafty adventures taking up waaaay too much of my time and requiring waaaay too much effort on my part.
Alright, you got me this time Liz.
I admit it: this little gem took waaaay too much of my time! But I sort of love it anyway.
I find I’m rather obsessed with having a Christmas tree backdrop after the pinwheels of last year. The pinwheels hung around all the way through Oscar Party but they started to fall apart as the year wore on. It seemed like too much effort to disassemble them and after weeks of nursing it along to stay on the wall, I didn’t feel like another repair. So I took them down and put them in my guest room and closed the door so I wouldn’t have to think about it.
I forgot they were in there.
And then I finally had to make my guest room livable again. Crap. You would not believe what was in there when I opened the door. A massive pinwheel wall hanging. Dang it.
I still didn’t want to repair it. And it seemed wrong to throw it away. So I had to recycle.
So I started cutting circles. LOTS of circles from the pinwheels. I cut 1200 circles OK? Yes, it took a long time. But I had some bootleged season 3 Downton Abbey to watch while I was doing it so time passed quickly.
I then glued two circles together with fishing line between. Repeat about 30 times and you have a garland. Repeat a bunch of times and you can fill the space behind the tree. That took a while too.
But I don’t regret it.
I love the sparkle the back wall kicks off when the Christmas tree is shining on it. And it has to hold up better than the pinwheels, right?
It is well known family lore that my Mother’s recipes can be somewhat difficult to follow. There’s the classic at the bottom of the recipe, “oh and add ____” an ingredient which does not appear in the ingredient listing an is not mentioned until the very last step of the recipe, but it is KEY to a successful turnout. There’s also the measurement standards she uses such a “one package of nuts” and one “cube of butter” and “add some extra flour”. No mention of what size package of nuts or the fact that a cube of butter = 1 stick of butter or that “some” flour can be over half a cup….
But I gotta tell you, it makes for really fun recipe reading. Where else do you get instructions like “Stir over heat until a full rolling boil. You pretty much have to have a book to read since it needs constant stirring. I also bring a chair over to rest one leg on it like in a saloon.” Now, I’ve never made fudge in a saloon, but if I did, I would read a book while waiting for the sugar mixture to boil.
So this week when Heather wrote to try to decipher one of my Mom’s classics, I actually had to look up the recipe. I figure I should put it on the blog so it will be easier for us to find in the future. We had these Danish Almond Cookies every year when I was growing up and they are still a staple in my house at Christmas.
- 1 C Butter
- 1/2 C Sugar
- 2 C Flour
- 1 C Ground Almonds
- 1/2 t Almond Extract
Cream the butter and sugar together. Mix in remaining ingredients. Separate into two sections and roll each into a log shape. Wrap with waxed paper and refrigerate for 2 hours or freeze for 20 minutes.
Slice and sprinkle with colored sprinkles. Bake at 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes. These cookies don’t expand when you cook them so you can really cram a lot on one cookie sheet. This recipe doubles well. In fact, I almost always double it because they are so small and delicious, it’s easy to mainline about 10 before you realize what’s happened.
One year I had little helpers for the sprinkles and while distracted with some dinner prep, I turned around to find….
That there had been some very generous sprinkling.
Generous sprinkling or the regular amount, they are delicious.
This weekend I had Jack and Caroline over and I was trying to think up some fun Austin things to do with them. We’ve pretty much run through most of my go-tos with all of our other Auntie Martta fun days so I decided we should try to do something Christmas-y.
It turns out there are tons of fun things to do in this town during Christmas that are totally, uniquely Austin. So here’s the list I came up with…..no we didn’t hit them all this year, but we sure did make a dent!
So what do you think? Did I miss anything??