T’was The Week Before Christmas

Happy holidays!  Are you in a panic or as calm as a silent night?

Thought I’d share what I’ve been up to besides workshops.

Behold!  I bring you tidings of great joy and sparkles!  I’ve been baking and decorating for a Wilton Treat Team Member Secret Santa Cookie Exchange project that will be revealed on Friday’s blog post! Here’s a sneak peek – a very tiny sneak peek as in tiny fondant decorations I’m making for the cookie decorations.  Shhh, it’s supposed to be a surprise!

Christmas Star and Snow Angel-8375

I’m also adding professional gift wrapper to my resume by request this season, so I’m setting up shop on Thursday night and the gifts will be arriving.  It’ll be fun!

To thank my friend, Shelly, for her assist at my West Elm OC Cookie Decorating Workshop, I wrapped up something special for her and added these mini spatulas from Sur la Table nestled into the bow.

sur la table spatulas-8332.insta

Sur la Table has the cutest holiday themed goodies this year.  My candy cane striped mug and snow flake mug were a couple of my favs.  I use them each morning to hold my hazelnut girlie-brew. I don’t know if it’s the caffeine or the cheerfulness of the cups themselves but by 8:00 AM I’ve got my fa-la-la-la goin’ on!

Speaking of Sur la Table, last Sunday I took a holiday mac class.  I’ve taken a mac class before a couple years ago, but since I don’t make them regularly I like to keep up my skills.  Lauren at Newport Beach was a great instructor.  Learned so many little tips from her.  Did you know for macs to keep their color while baking you need to almost over color the batter before baking?  Covering the baking macs with foil after 3 minutes in the oven will also prevent them from becoming brown.  Continue baking another 4 minutes.  Wow!  Who knew? I don’t remember that tip from before.

Here’s our pistachio mac with rum buttercream, gingerbread with orange buttercream and peppermint with dark chocolate ganache with the rim dipped in crush peppermint candies.  I also met the nicest gals in class.  Win-win for me!

Sur la Table Macaron Class

Thanks to my mac crush, a tamis is on my Christmas list.  Just in case, you know.

We also managed to have a short trip overnight  to Pasadena to celebrate our good friend’s surprise birthday party.  I baked my OC Fair blue ribbon winning Dutch apple pie for him as apple is his favorite.  He was happy to supple the side of ham for the camera.  Funny fella.

apple pie for john

After the party, we went up to Colorado Blvd. and had a night cap at one of our favorite outdoor cafes and people watched for awhile.  It’s always entertaining.

Of course, we had to sample one of their signature pastries.  Oh my, so delish.  I enjoyed deconstructing it and we both enjoyed sharing it.  The things I do for my art.

mi piace pasadena

The next morning we awoke to the bells of the church where my mom attended high school.  We could see the the bell tower from our room and it made me miss her knowing this place was such a big part of her life.  It was hard for me to leave that day.

All these snaps are on my Instagram page which I have a lot of fun posting images I take here and there that don’t add up a complete blog post.

I’ve also been working on a new blog design that will have gallery pages for easy organization and searches and the ability to print recipes!  Yay!

I hope you’re having a good holiday season!  Please come back on Friday for some fun Christmas cookies!

Holiday Gift Wrapping Workshop at West Elm OC Sat. Dec. 13

I love big bows and I cannot lie as you’ll see in the post! I’m returning to West Elm at South Coast Plaza this Saturday, Dec. 13 to teach an hour DIY Holiday Gift Wrapping Workshop. I’m making posh presents pop with that extra panache! (say that fast 5 times). If you want to learn how to glam up your presents you’ll definitely want to sign up for our DIY class. I’m ready to unwrap my secrets on how to… [Read More]

Snowflake Gingerbread Cake with a Cocoa Trimming Kit

I hope your Thanksgiving was wonderful.  Ours was, as both boys were home and were able to stay a few days but today they’ve flown the coop again.  I never get used to that but before they left they got out all the Christmas decorations and put the garlands up on the banister while I was out shopping.  It was a perfect surprise!  It’s a big job to get the greens and lights up on our curvy staircase so I… [Read More]

Get The Party Started with Shutterfly– Perfectly Personal™ Holiday Card Collection

Are you thinking yet about the December holidays and sitting on the fence whether to entertain and host a fun party?  With the temps in the high 80’s here in Southern California it doesn’t exactly feel like the holiday party planning season is here but it is!  Thanks to Shutterfly, I was able to find my holiday spirit while working on a project for them. I’m very pleased to feature a party invitation that I chose, and I think you’ll… [Read More]

Free PicMonkey “Sweet Treats and Delicious Eats for the Holidays” eCookBook Download

I’ve got a special link for you today.  I was asked to participate in PicMonkey’s holiday’s treat eCookBook along with other baking bloggers.  As I was looking through it last night, I wanted to try darned near every recipe printed!  You’ll find many tasty treats with links to the participants’ blogs.  So fun to visit new sites and introduce oneself. Click on eCookBook cover below to be taken over to the PicMonkey Facebook page where you can download the cook… [Read More]

Pink and Orange Holiday Banister Decorations

In continuing to decorate using hot pink and orange for our upcoming party, I’m happy to say I have finished decorating the banister.  This is a huge relief for me.  One thing I was reminded of, yet again, when creating a new display using all new materials, plan on it taking three times longer than you originally thought it would take.  Even though I had a vision of what I wanted to create when I purchased everything, I still didn’t… [Read More]

Decorated Snowflake Cookies!

‘Tis the season for making a flurry of snowflake cookies. Sugar cookie recipe and tutorial. Roll, cut and bake. Royal Icing Recipe and Tutorial. Outline. #2 tip. Fill in. Lightly sprinkle with rainbow Disco Dust. Sunlight refracted through the chandelier. Individuality. Shiny silver dragees. Finishing touches. Snow drift. Flurries. Mini Snowflake Tutorial. Bearing gifts. To all my readers, new friends I have made along the way, and to the loves of my life, all unique and beautiful … … Wishing… [Read More]

The Best Giant Make-Ahead Cinnamon Roll Ever!

This spectacular cinnamon roll is the centerpiece of our Christmas morning breakfast and is greeted with the same anticipation at our holiday table as the Cratchit’s plum pudding is at theirs. The recipe relies on using store-bought frozen bread dough, thawed, and an overnight rise in the fridge while Santa makes his rounds. Pop it in the oven while opening presents and the scent of warm cinnamon throughout the house is what a holiday morning is all about. Of course,… [Read More]

Festive Holiday Cocktails

Entertaining for the holidays is a perfect time for signature cocktails. Here are a couple of recipes for variations on pomegranate martinis that are red in color. Red, being the key to complement a special decorative rim of flaked coconut that gives the cocktail glass the look of Santa’s hat or a snowy touch. It’s a festive look to serve up some holiday spirit with your … spirits. Things needed to make the decorative snowy coconut rim: 3 Tablespoons powdered… [Read More]

The Best Pecan Pie and Painted Dough Cut-Outs

“Of Pie I Sing” – A remembrance, a recipe and an idea  Funny how we tend to keep the traditional childhood foods in our adult repertoire – especially if one is the host or hostess preparing the fare – unless we make a conscious effort to break the proverbial cranberry mold. My childhood Thanksgiving dinner consisted of the good, the bad and the mysterious. My mom would toil over the turkey rising at dawn to put the bird in the… [Read More]