Oh, Christmas. I don’t ever remember feeling this overwhelmed or as rushed to get things done leading up to Christmas. Maybe it’s because I decided to take on a bigillion crafting projects this year, starting with our Christmas cards. Adorable? Yes, if I do say so myself. Time consuming and tedious? ZOMG yes. Do you know that the bitch woman at the post office actually gave me a hard time about making cards that were not only — GASP — square in shape, but “lumpy” to boot? She acted as if I was committing some cardinal sin against the US Postal Service by choosing to send such a card. Funny, I don’t remember complaining when I shelled out the $0.88 a piece to mail them (ouch). And last I checked, the government is always on the prowl for more money, so take my postage payment and shuttie.
Unfortunately it doesn’t photograph well, but you get the idea of what sort of abomination I dared to send out at Christmastime. Square!!!1!!1!
On a ligther note, let’s turn to my obsession with monograms. I will admit that if I could have the letter P mowed into my front yard I would probably do it. I just hope that other people are as delighted by seeing their initials on things, because this was one of the themes of my handmade Christmas gifts this year.
Exhibit A: ornaments adorned with a monogram and varying delightful embellishments. Fun.
My Cricut, some vinyl and a little ribbon were all I needed for this project. Oh, and clear glass ornaments.
Exhibit B: Personalized hand soap
This idea was passed along to me by a friend who had discovered an awesome blog called How Does She. . . It’s chock full of fun and creative gift ideas for the holidays. I loved the hand soap idea, but since I don’t have a need for gifts for teachers, I made them for friends using monograms and simple designs cut from vinyl. I chose colors that would match their bathrooms. I love how they turned out, and since I already had the vinyl, they cost me a whopping $1 each to make. Check out the tutorial for easy instructions.
And finally, I saved the most delicious project for last. Thanks again to How Does She. . . I was inspired to try making Oreo cookie suckers for co-workers and friends. I’m not much of a baker and don’t usually make treats for the holidays, but these were too cute to resist.
Check out their tutorial for step by step directions. They take much better photos than I do and represent the cookies’ cuteness much better than I can. I would like to add a few editorial comments, however.
- Oreos are apparently the most fragile cookies ever made. My first batch was made with regular old Oreos and I broke several before it occurred to me to microwave the cookies before attempting to twist them apart. 8-10 seconds does the job.
- I would recommend using the choclate that is specifically made for melting and using for projects like these. They melt perfectly in the microwave and were super easy to work with. They’re always available at Michaels in various colors, but I got mine at the grocery store off of a holiday baking display.
- After dipping the lollipop stick in chocolate and gently pressing the two halves together, refrigerate the cookie pops before attempting to dip them in the chocolate. A few times I tried to dip too soon and they fell apart on me. Lesson learned.
I had a lot of fun once I figured out what I was doing and got the hang of it. I dipped the regular Oreos in white chocolate and decorated them with crushed peppermint, sprinkles (or jimmies if you’re from Wisconsin) and crushed Oreos (an attempt to make use of my mistakes — see #1).
Then I dipped mint Oreos in milk chocolate and decorated them with crushed peppermint, chopped Andes mints (which you can buy pre-chopped at the grocery store) and sprinkles. FYI: the Oreos with the mint filling came apart much easier than the regular Oreos. They seem to have a softer filling.
I also loved their Oreo sucker holder which they again generously provide a tutorial for, but I just didn’t have the patience or time. Instead, I bought some baskets on sale at Jo-Ann Fabrics, shoved a foam block inside, popped in the suckers and made it all pretty with crinkle paper. Not as cute as their sucker holder, but it serves the same purpose and it was really easy.
My next project will be themed gift bags that have become an annual tradition in Andy’s family. The women in his family exchange gift bags filled with fun things, including store bought and handmade gifts and goodies. They often have a theme — for example, last year, Andy’s Aunt Shelley’s gift bags has a sweets theme. My favorite item in the bag was a “P” shaped ornament that looked like a cookie. Our theme? Holiday cocktails. More on the gift bags soon. . .