Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Some things to share

I'm sitting at the table in my parents' sitting room, having apple strudel and cappuccino for breakfast, with a bit of knitting in my lap and the falling snow in front of the window. Lovely, right? I have to say, while winter definitely isn't my favorite season (that special place in my heart belongs to late spring/early summer and early fall), and I usually get fed up by muddy, snowy weather by late January - the first few days of snow in the year really have something magical. Especially in the week before Christmas.
The soft white light that's getting even through the thickest snowclouds and is reflected by the white snowy blanket that covers everything. Snowy days are so much brighter than sleety, rainy winter days. The sound that is muffled. The childlike feeling that I get, walking through the still-white, fluffy powder on the streets.
The town I grew up in looks lovely around Christmas time. Cobbled stones, lights strung up, snow everywhere...
I wanted to share some more things with you before Christmas. For one, I made some Cinnamon Stars (and Cinnamon Bikinis for my stepdad and boyfriend) with the recipe from my guest post over at Rhinestones & Telephones. I made the dough the night before we left for home, because I had egg whites left over from eggnog making, and in the hustle of packing forgot to add cinnamon. They taste a tad boring now, but still good. :)

Speaking of eggnog: this is a really fast and easy gift to make, and doesn't need much besides things you'll probably already have at home. It also convinced four eggnog haters in my circle of friends (including me ;)!

Easy Eggnog Recipe
Whisk 4 egg yolks and 250g (about 2 cups) powdered sugar with a mixer or blender for 5 minutes. Add 250g (about 1 cup) heavy/whipping cream and whisk for 10 minutes. Add 1tbsp of vanilla sugar (or a few drops of vanilla extract) and whisk 5 minutes. Add 1 cup of grain alcohol (eg. vodka) or brandy and whisk for a final 5 minutes. This makes about 1liter of eggnog. If you want, you can add a bit of cinnamon or nutmeg for a more seasonal taste.

I'm also working on some more knitting. My boyfriend's best friend asked for a scarflet (and gave me a lovely set of tea and biscuits for Christmas), so I knit one up in the car on the way to my parents. I still need to post that one today! I also found some more lovely Merino wool here, and started on a blue scarflet for my boyfriend's dad, whose birthday is just after Christmas. The reddish wool is almost the same shade as my lost mittens, so I thought I'd maybe knit up another pair (after I finished the one for my mom) and a hat to match. Also, lovely green Merino wool! I couldn't resist the shade, it's my favorite type of green. I'm sure I'll think of *something* to make with it.
Speaking of wool, I tried dyeing one skein of the thrifted Mohair, with mixed results. I probably shouldn't have tried dyeing it in the washing machine. It felted up. On the other hand, I started on a Juliet scarf with the second skein and gave up after the third row. The hairy yarn is a pain to work with, and feels pretty scratchy. Also, my dyed skein looks just like a rose! I think maybe it can be saved and used as an applique for a purse or something?
I've also started on a record of the yarns I have used. I glued the wrappers and pieces of the yarn into my sketchbook, so if I ever want to look up what I used, it'll be there.
Oh, and I made some other treats to give away to various friends. Hot-Chocolate-on-a-Stick! It's also rather easy and fast to make, and so easy to customize! Just melt the chocolate (in the microwave, the oven or in a bowl over a pot of hot water), add in some cocoa powder (about 1tbsp per 100g of chocolate) and if you want, some flavoring agent (I used dried and sugared orange peel and cinnamon for the dark chocolate and gingerbread spice for the milk chocolate), pour into ice cube trays (250g of chocolate filled one tray for me), wait a couple of minutes and stick in some wooden spoons or icicle sticks (I actually used tongue depressors from the apothecary as I couldn't find either - there gotta be uses for being a medstudent ;). Swirl them around in a cup of hot milk to make hot chocolate, or even in coffee!
One last thing before I leave you to your hopefully very happy holidays. I saw this lamp yesterday, and it looked so pretty. I wonder if it is possible to make it yourself, maybe out of heavy paper or plastic sheets? It looks like it's just a lot of single pieces stuck together at the corners...
So, may you and your families have some wonderful, happy, peaceful holidays! I leave you with this song that I've been listening to on repeat for the whole morning. It's sung by my friend Lili Sommerfeld and her trio Seven Seasons. Not a holiday song but so lovely...


  1. Have a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year, Alessa! Your hometown looks like a picture postcard - so beautiful!! We don't have snow yet, but here's hoping!

    The scarflets looks lovely and the cinnamon stars are making me hungry!!

  2. Merry Christmas! I wish we has some nice white snow right now, but your post has filled me with holiday cheer.

  3. A happy and peaceful Christmas to you and your family.

  4. Oh my, cinnamon bikinis, that is utterly fabulous! I will definitely have to remember that one (mother of 2 teenage boys speaking here...)

    Wishing you an absolutely wonderful Christmas with your family Alessa and a creative and happy year to come!

  5. Oh, I meant to add, those lamps come in a kit form, and you do make them up yourself, a friend of mine bought and made one. Apparently they are not as easy as they look... but they are so beautiful, aren't they?

  6. Merry Christmas! It looks so lovely. x x x

  7. Apple strudel and capuccino? My ideal breakfast. I want to be at your house! Lovely snowy photos. The wool labels in the notebook is a good idea. Have a great christmas break. xx

  8. Merry Christmas Alessa! Now in my town, snow is only in the mountain, your hometown is really pretty behind the snow.
    I have to try these "Hot-Chocolate-on-a-Stick"!! Yummy!

  9. you´re making me hungry now! those pictures look lovely. It seems like you are having a great time. As for the lamp, my sis has a similar one. Yes, they are pieces stuck together. I can try and get the shape if she still has it. It´s made of flexible plastic material. You can find something similar at Ikea