Handmade Christmas Decorations

HANDMADE CHRISTMAS DECORATIONS & ORNAMENTS

handmade Santa

Earlier this week I promised I would show you some of my handmade and hand painted Christmas decorations that I have created over the years.  Many of you know that I have been an artist and painter for almost all my life.  While I work mostly in card stock now, creating party and wedding favors and decorations – I was once an avid painter. One of my favorite handmade painted wood pieces is the Santa fireplace mantel sitter, shown above.  He is one of my larger pieces that I have kept for many years and I still love to display him on my mantel right next to our Christmas stockings.

handmade Santa ornament

Our Christmas tree is filled with hand painted ornaments too.  Above are a few of my Santa ornaments and below are my snowman ornaments.

snowman ornament

A few more hand painted ornaments and figurines below – and reindeer of course!

Reindeer

reindeer-collage

Over the years I painted on anything and everything mostly wood, however, I also painted a few boxes.   That heart Santa box is one of the first larger pieces that I ever painted.  He is so very farmhouse style now!

Christmas boxes

My one and only hand-made paper ornament that I made this year – I really should get to making more of these!

handmade Christmas ornament

Last year I found this stunning Christmas coloring page. I printed it on watercolor card stock and watercolor painted it and then framed it.  It looks great in our kitchen.

Painted winter scene

 Although some of my hand painted decorations look a little outdated (or I prefer, “vintage”) – I will always keep them and display them every Christmas.  There is something wonderful about handmade Christmas decor and over the years it has been a tradition for me to add at least one new handmade item to our holiday display.   Thanks for stopping by the blog and letting me show off some of my handmade Christmas decorations.

If you don’t have time to make your own Christmas decorations but love handmade, stop by any of my shops below for something handmade by me for you!

 Visit my shops by clicking the links below –

ONCE UPON A HOME DESIGNS

THE PARTY FETTI SHOP

READY SET CRAFT KITS

PINWHEEL PRETTIES

Hope you have a great week!  Come back soon – I am excited to share our basement remodel next week.

Jill Signature

Christmas Home Tour Part II

CHRISTMAS HOME TOUR PART II

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Earlier this week, I showed you my home decorated for Christmas in the evening.  Today I am taking you on a daytime Christmas home tour.

Let’s start with the front door and inside entry-

christmashtentry2

I have added string lights all over the outside of the front door display, as well as to my deer and other inside front entrance Christmas decor. I love my antique sled found a few years ago at an estate sale.

Next, a few more up close photos of my decorated entry side table and past the stairs into the formal living room.christmashtentry2upclosecollage We have two full fireplaces in this house and while I love both of them, it has been a challenge to decorate two large mantles this year.  I have had to split most of my Christmas decorations between the two mantels. I plan to make some improvements and additions next year to our formal living room fireplace for Christmas decor and some new art.  Below is my minimal set up for it this year.

christmashtformallivingroomcollageOur new large tree sits in the corner of the formal living room and we also have a smaller feather tree with a hand painted base in our kitchen dining area.  Below is our kitchen eat-in, which I love. We have 18 foot vaulted ceilings in the room, lots of windows, a sliding glass door out to our deck and a second fireplace.  For our kitchen dining table set up – I went with a cozy button tufted settee and two crushed velvet high back chairs.  We spend a lot of time in here, so I went with plush but comfortable seating.   I made that fun Santa wreath a few years ago- looks great hanging on our door that leads to the garage.

kitcheneatincollage

In this same room, we have a built in buffet- I call it the wine buffet.  I love to decorate it for the holidays too.

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Here is my collection of woodland creatures, Santa figurines, and snowmen.

christmashtcollectionscollage

Last, is our formal dining room with the farmhouse wood box that I made filled with Christmas greenery and gold glitter pine cones.

formaldiningcollage

Come back in a few days and see all my hand painted Christmas decorations and ornaments that I have made over the years.  I can’t wait to show you my handmade collection.

If you are still shopping online and need some last minute Christmas gift ideas or Christmas decorations, stop by my Etsy shops by clicking on the links below-

ONCE UPON A HOME DESIGNS

THE PARTY FETTI SHOP

READY SET CRAFT KITS

PINWHEEL PRETTIES

Hope you have a great weekend!

Jill Signature

 

Caramel Apple Cake Recipe

CARAMEL APPLE CAKE RECIPE

Caramel Apple Cake

This is a great recipe for Thanksgiving but I love it anytime during the fall season.  Caramel and autumn go perfect together.  Wait until you try a bite- it is simply divine!

The recipe is below –  but before we get to baking, stop by any of my shops over the Thanksgiving holiday for some early online Christmas shopping.

ONCE UPON A HOME

Christmas Gifts

THE PARTY FETTI SHOP

Party Decorations

READY SET CRAFT KITS

Craft Supplies

PINWHEEL PRETTIES

Paper Pinwheels

Browse all the new holiday decor and gift items available in my shops –  I am adding more new items every day!

CARAMEL APPLE CAKE RECIPE 

Recipe for Thanksgiving Cake

Applesauce Ingredients:
3 Fuji apples, peeled, cored and quartered
3 Golden Delicious apples, peeled, cored and quartered
1/4 Boiled Apple cider
3/4 cups apple juice
2 tablespoons of brandy
3 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons honey (I like clover honey)
1 tablespoon dark brown sugar
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

How To Make The Applesauce:  
In a medium saucepan, combine all ingredients, and stir to combine. Cover the saucepan, and cook over medium heat for 15 to 20 minutes, or until apples are soft. Allow to cool, then mash with a fork or potato masher to your desired consistency. Chill sauce to room temperature before adding to cake batter (see recipe below).

Apple Cake Ingredients:
4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch cubes, at room temperature
2 1/2 cups sugar
2 large eggs
4 cups homemade applesauce (see recipe above) or store-bought unsweetened applesauce

How To Make The Apple Cake:
Preheat the oven to 325-degrees. Butter three 8-inch round cake pans, line the bottoms with parchment paper, and butter the parchment. Dust the parchment with flour and knock out the excess flour.

Sift the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, allspice, and cloves together into a large bowl. Set aside.

In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter until creamy, about 4 minutes. Add the sugar and beat until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the egg and beat until combined.

Add the flour mixture to the mixer bowl in three parts, alternating with the applesauce, beginning and ending with the flour mixture. Scrape down the bowl, then mix on low speed for a few more seconds.

Divide the batter among the prepared pans and smooth the tops. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes, rotating the pans halfway through the baking time, until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. Transfer the pans to a wire rack and cool for 20 minutes. Turn the cakes out onto the rack, remove the parchment, and let cool completely.

Caramel Sauce Ingredients:
(Yield: about 2 cups)

1 1/2 cups sugar
1/4 cup corn syrup
1/2 cup (1 stick) of butter, softened, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 ½ cups heavy cream

How To Make The Caramel Sauce: 
In a medium saucepan with high sides, combine the sugar and corn syrup with 1/2 cup water. Stir the mixture gently so you don’t slosh any of it up the sides of the pan. Turn the heat to medium-high and continue stirring until the sugar dissolves. Increase heat to high, stop stirring, and allow the mixture to boil. Once it begins to turn a rich caramel color (if you don’t want to eyeball it, take the caramel to 300 degrees F on a candy thermometer), remove it from the heat, add the butter and cream, and stir until combined.

You can save the caramel sauce, tightly covered, in the refrigerator for up to 1 week. Let it come to room temperature before using it on cakes, ice creams, or quick breads.

If you want a warm topping, heat the caramel sauce in short bursts in the microwave or in the top of a double boiler.

Caramel Buttercream Ingredients:
1½ cups sugar
1⁄3 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups whole milk
1⁄3 cup heavy cream
1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, soft but cool, cut into small pieces
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1⁄3 cup plus 2 tablespoons Classic Caramel Sauce (see recipe above), at room temperature 

How To Make The Buttercream: 

In a medium, heavy-bottomed saucepan, whisk the sugar and flour together. Add the milk and cream and cook over medium heat, whisking occasionally, until the mixture comes to a boil and has thickened, about 10 to 15 minutes.

Transfer the mixture to the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Beat on high speed until cool. Reduce the speed to low and add the butter and vanilla; mix until thoroughly incorporated. Increase the speed to medium-high and beat until the frosting is light and fluffy.

Add 1⁄3 cup of the caramel and continue mixing until combined. If the frosting is too soft, put the bowl in the refrigerator to chill slightly, then beat again until it is the proper consistency. If the frosting is too firm, set the bowl over a pot of simmering water and beat with a wooden spoon until it is the proper consistency.

Assemble The Cake:
Place one of the cake layers on the cake base and level off the top. Put a thin layer of caramel sauce on the layers and then spread caramel buttercream on top. Next, add another layer of cake and level and frost as you did with the first layer. Trim the top of the last layer and then place it on top of the cake bottom side up. Spread a very thin layer of frosting over the entire cake (crumb coat) and place the cake on the fridge for 30 minutes. Remove the cake fro the fridge and use the remaining frosting to ice the top and sides.  Use the remaining caramel to drizzle over the top. Add chopped peanuts, if desired.