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Sunday, December 18, 2022

Traditional Scottish Shortbread Cookies

Scottish Shortbread Cookies

 Scottish shortbread cookies are among my favorite treats. They are buttery, melt in your mouth bites of goodness! I have been making these cookies for over 40 years and they are a treat that my neighbors have come to expect at Christmastime. They are very simple to make and I bake between 12-30 large cookies each year. 

You only need a few ingredients that you probably have in your pantry: flour, real butter, powdered sugar and a pinch of salt. Sometimes I add some good vanilla but that is not required.

Cream the room temperature butter with the sugar then add in flour and salt. It will make a crumbly dough. If it's TOO crumbly add a teaspoon of vanilla or water. Mix until a dough ball forms.

Divide dough in half and gently pat into two metal pie pans. I find that meatal pie pans work best for this - sometimes it's hard to release from a glass pan.

Score into 8 wedges with a bench scraper or knife, then dock with fork tines. You can also use the fork to make a decorative edge. If you have cookie stamps now is the time to pull them out and use them! I like to sprinkle with sanding sugar but regular sugar works too.

Bake at 325 for about 25 minutes. It should barely be golden, not browned. After the large cookie has cooled tip the pie pan over to release and place on a pretty plate or tray.

 I bought some cardboard cake rounds last year to make gift giving easy.

 I then wrap it up in cellophane with a pretty bow and add a tag. 

I've also added an ornament to the package.

These make wonderful neighbor gifts during the holidays - or any time of year!

Scottish Shortbread

1 cup butter at room temperature

1/2 cup confectioners sugar

2 cups flour

pinch of salt 

sugar for sprinkling

Cream butter and confectioners sugar. Add flour and salt and mix until dough ball forms. Divide in half and pat into 2 pie pans. Score into 8 wedges. Bake at 325 for 25-30 minutes. Makes 8 generous cookies. Enjoy!

Saturday, February 5, 2022

Colorful Kugels

 I'm finally putting away the last of my Christmas ornaments. I had a big dinner party 2 weeks ago and had left out a few kugel ornaments in blues and silvers to create a wintery tablescape.

So what is a "kugel"? 

 Martha Stewart shares the history on her website, " In the early 19th century, glassmakers began to silver the balls, coating their hollow interiors with tin, lead, or bismuth-and eventually silver nitrate-to create a metallic finishEmbossed brass caps with rings were added to globes of various sizes in the 1840s, giving birth to the first Christmas tree ornaments, known as kugels (the word means "balls" in German). Most of these were made in Lauscha, Germany, where shapes were expanded to include clusters of grapes, pears, ribbed balls, eggs, and teardrops. Silver, gold, and green, which brilliantly reflected candlelight, were the most  popular colors."

I've collected  quite a few over the years mostly in red, silver and gold with a few green and blue. Kugel ornaments are quite heavy so be sure to secure them safely when hanging on the tree. I also like to fill large bowls or hang small ones from a chandelier.

My mom used to make lovely holiday tablescapes with her kugels in silver compotes.

And I nestle them in among my large Santas.

There so many fun ways to use these vintage ornaments in your holiday decor. Find kugels at specialty Christmas shops, antiquing or online.

Thursday, December 30, 2021

Traditional Christmas Tablescape


Were you able to visit with friends and family this Christmas season?  One of my sons and his wife drove to Utah from California, and one of my brothers and his wife were able to join us for Christmas Eve dinner. Although it was a small group I pulled out all the stops in my table decor. 

We use my Spode Christmas Tree plates every December. My mother-in-law's tradition was to use her Spode every day the whole month of December, so I started doing the same thing. I have had these plates for over 40 years and they still look like new!


Several years ago I made a tartan tablecloth and then I  layered it under a quilted runner I also made over 20 years ago.


I've got a set of bright red chargers that are perfect for several holidays.

Here is a vintage spooner showing off some of my Danish Christmas spoons.

And running down the center of the table are a few of my Duncan Royale and Jim Shore Santas.

In spite of the continued challenges this season I hope you were able to celebrate and feel the Christmas spirit!

Happy New Year!

Wednesday, March 31, 2021

Spring Tablescape - Spode Buttercup versus Spode Wicker Dell

 Last weekend it was my turn to host the family dinner party.(My siblings still have tried to get together a few times this past year and now most of us have been vaccinated!) 

 Many years ago my mother gave me several Spode Buttercup dinner plates. They have sweet yellow buttercups and forget-me-nots in the center surrounded by a wicker border with brown filigree. I thought they would be perfect for a spring get together! Only one problem, I had 8 plates and needed 10.


I turned to Ebay to see if I could find a few more.  No luck, but someone was selling another pattern by Spode called Wicker Dell.  They were a very reasonable price so I bought all five that he was selling for $30.

Can you tell the difference? Look closely.

Buttercup has...buttercups and Wicker Dell has primroses.

The filigree borders are also slightly different.

Even side by side you can barely tell the difference.

Buttercup was in production from 1924 until 1992. Wicker Dell was made from 1933 to 1964.

I used wicker chargers from Pottery Barn and a lovely mint green damask tablecloth inherited from my mother-in-law. The goblets are Fostoria Jamestown also in a minty green. 

An ironstone bowl filled with Ukrainian Easter eggs made for a  colorful but easy centerpiece.

I also added a white Kaiser bunny and a milk glass hen with a blue specked egg.

Everything looked perfect for welcoming Spring.
And by the way, no one noticed that the plates weren't all the same!

I will be joining 

Sunday, January 3, 2021

"Quarantine" Quilts

It's been a good nine months since we all went into lockdown and social isolation due to Covid-19. I realize that this has been a terrible hardship for many and in fact, a tragedy for others.  My family has been very lucky so far, my son-in-law had a mild case and the rest of us have remained healthy.

So, what to do with all of that time spent at home? I quilted.
 A lot. 
I put together 7 quilts in the past few months, most of them Christmas gifts. I was determined to use up my fabric stash as my shelves have been overflowing!

    Sometimes the back is almost as fun as the front. I used up the scraps to make this  backing.



What have you done to keep yourself busy?

 Bake? Paint? Read? 

Please stay healthy and safe. Best wishes for a better new year!