Friday, December 20, 2013

Christmas Cottage Kitchen



This year I am hosting Christmas Brunch for my family,

and I have been busy adding some Christmas Cottage touches to my kitchen. 




These little 'gingerbread' houses are made from graham crackers! 

I will be putting these at each place setting as sweet favors to take home. 




But for now they stay safely tucked inside the cubbies

 of the spice shelf that my eldest son, Gabe made for me in shop class years ago. 




I will give a tutorial to make them at the end of this post. 




This year I have kept my decorating to a  minimum,

 using mostly what I have crafted or what I already had on hand. 




It's amazing what you can find hiding in plain sight! 




Candy always makes a design statement! 




This shelf makes a handy hot chocolate station. 




A vintage canister stays well stocked with marshmallows! 




The Kitchen Queen received a little makeover for the season, too! 




Lighter and Brighter! 


A vintage style Father Christmas I made years ago
 from cotton batting and a Santa face sticker,
 stands beside treasured cut glass that belonged to my Dear Mother. 




Tea lights in tiny tart tins illuminate the scene. 




A sweet Old Fashioned Frostie Root Beer bottle
 - a gift from a sweet sister -
 adds a subtle but relevant touch. 




A simple wreath, hand crafted from gatherings, hangs alongside. 




Matching miniature versions dangle from chair backs. 




One of only two purchases this year,
 this little bird feeder ornament somehow jumped into my shopping basket, 
so I had to take it home! 




Along with this little greenhouse! 




Sweet souvenirs of my shopping trip with daughter, Heather, to Bellevue Square. 




I've redecorated my daybed in soft grays and greens for winter.




A simple basket of red apples adds a bright pop of seasonal color. 




I hope you enjoyed visiting me in my Christmas Cottage Kitchen.

I wish I could sit and visit with each and every one of you at my kitchen table. 

xoxo



Graham Cracker 'Gingerbread' Houses

To make 6 houses, you will need: 
**
1 box Graham Crackers

Assorted candies

Royal Icing. 

Waxed paper for work surface.
**

Recipe for Royal Icing:
(makes 2 1/2 cups - enough for 6 houses)
3 large egg whites
1 tsp cream of tartar
1 lb confectioner's sugar

In a large bowl beat egg whites and cream of tartar with electric mixer until frothy. Gradually add confectioner's sugar and beat 5 minutes until glossy, stiff peaks form when beaters are lifted.

Spoon Icing into a sturdy zip-loc sandwich bag and snip a tiny hole in the corner for piping, or use a disposable piping bag with writing tip. 

Keep extra Icing in plastic bag to keep from drying out. 

Note - if making for consumption: Because of the small chance of possible salmonella contamination from raw egg whites (especially dangerous for small children and the elderly), you can make Royal Icing with meringue powder or pasteurized dried egg whites instead of fresh egg whites. Purchase these at cake decorating suppliers and follow directions for Royal Icing on the package. 

**



Use scissors to cut graham crackers. 

Make the base a little larger than half the cracker. (For front porch)

For front and back, cut peaks from 1/2 graham cracker. 

For sides, break crackers into quarters. 

For roof, use two halves. 




Pipe Royal Icing along 'front' and 'back' of house, leaving front porch free. 
Use side pieces as measure. 




Place front and back on piping, using 'props' to keep upright until dry. 

This takes only a few minutes.
(I found that using the 'flat' side of the cracker out, worked best for decorating.) 




Continue on, piping along sides of front and back- place side pieces in place. 




Pipe along peaks, and place roof pieces. 

Pipe along center of roof to hold peak together. 

Let the little houses dry several hours or overnight. 

Keep Royal Icing fresh in refrigerator. 




To finish - decorate the front first by lying house on its back. 

Let this set a few minutes before placing upright. 

Decorate the 'porch' next with a little 'snow' around the edges.
 Place 'shrubs' of green gumdrops or round green candies and coat with more 'snow'. 




Add more 'snow' to the roof line, using cookie sprinkles for glitter and adding a red licorice or candy chimney with a dab of 'snow' on top. 

Icicles are made by pulling down the 'snow' with toothpicks. 

These little 'Gingerbread' houses are quite sturdy and will last several years if wrapped in tissue paper and kept in an airtight container, such as a popcorn tin, and stored in a dry place. 

Have fun! 

xoxo



25 comments:

  1. Those gingerbread houses are sweet:) Your decorations are perfect for your nature themed Christmas. I wish I could "come over" for a chat too! Have a great weekend, Cindy

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  2. What a lovely post! I love the lighter and brighter part. I think that's important during the darker winter months. Your place looks wonderful and everyone is going to love taking one of the little cottages home with them..... I know I would! xox

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  3. I love that decoration that you and your daughter, Heather found on your shopping trip the other day! So cute! Did I tell you that I also have a daughter named heather. Love all of your decorating and the lighting on the shelving is just perfect for everything. Christmas brunch sounds like so much fun to do and your little gingerbread gifts are just adorable. Love that minimalist look that you are doing this year and your home looks just lovely! Thanks also for your sweet comment on my little dog. That is something that I am sure all of us who are over 10 have experienced and it is never any fun! Hugs from the lone star state.

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  4. Merry Merry Christmas -- wow good looking gingerbread houses - we are going to build a few of these little house in a few days with grandkids... you gave me some ideas..thanks!
    I LOVE the vintage style Father .. so bright and how did you keep the cotton so white... and that root-beer bottle we have one just like that..
    Love my visits here...
    Hugs

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  5. Your kitchen is delightful! Sometimes the simplest touches make the biggest impact. It's nice to pull things from around the house - somehow so satisfying not to be out buying the latest statement-decoration.
    Thank you for the tutorial on the little houses. I think they'd be fun to make for New Year's, when we have our grandchildren all visiting.
    Did you get the big snowfall that we received overnight?

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  6. Oh everything is so charming - the gingerbread houses in the cake stand are so clever. What great take home gifts. I like the colors that you chose - they make everything so soft and pretty. Happy holidays to you - it is all charming.

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  7. Hi Karen,
    Your whole house lots delightful! I love your little gingerbread houses, displayed in the cake stand, so cute! Your Father Christmas is wonderful so Victorian! Your new greenhouse ornament is amazing, a lovely find!!
    Enjoy your brunch!
    Merry Christmas!
    Hugs,
    Bella

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  8. How cute are your gingerbread houses - and no baking is a plus. Your kitchen is so sweet! I love seeing all of your vintage glass. Have a wonderful weekend!!

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  9. I'll learn how to make garland and do even this year, there's always next year! Simple and sophisticated at the same time, then I come to show you how it was
    Karen love these soaps, but could not remember how to do, is a gift made with love is sure to please.
    I'm bringing this once rustic here at my house with some embellishments you suggested.
    Loved being with you in your Christmas Cottage Kitchen.
    The place looks wonderful and everyone will love taking home some ginger homes .. I know I would! And thanks for the tutorial on the smaller houses.
    I'm going to do for the New Year when I will be able to have more time to decorate the house. I hope so!
    It is always a pleasure and joy to be here, to share and participate makes me very happy. Big kiss Karen and merry christmas to you and yours. Big kiss and hohoho, merry christmas!

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  10. What beautiful little houses! And, thanks so much for posting the recipe and picture tutorial. Your home is so warm and inviting, Your company will feel right at home. -- Jan

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  11. those graham houses are adorable! so are those vine wreaths! you put a lot of love and care into things. :)

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  12. Wonderful, fabulous house tour! Happinness and peace to your family Karen, wish you have an unforgettable celebration!
    Many hugs from me and thank you for all your nice words.
    Olympia

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  13. Dearest Karen,
    You not only made lovely Graham Cracker houses and wreath from your garden's material but you created a 'come home and feel cozy' ambiance for your loved ones. Recreating the atmosphere in which they all grew up in that is a GIFT in itself.
    Lovely job.
    Hugs and wishing you all a Merry Christmas.
    Mariette

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  14. I love visiting you after you've decorated for the holidays, Karen. Such elegant style - without spending a fortune. I used to help Jillian's classes make those little "gingerbread" houses when I was room mom - the children loved it! <3

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  15. I love those little gingerbread houses! What a great idea as a party favor for your Christmas brunch! And the wreaths behind the chairs are a lovely decorating touch, too. Merry Christmas, Karen! xx

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  16. simple, adorable, natural - perfect! You have such an inviting home and know just the right way to celebrate each season in it.

    Merry Christmas Karen!

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  17. Your house looks so cozy. The little houses look so cute. We got the tree up yesterday and now I need to put some ornaments on it. Got some slightly scented candles burning right now which i love on a cool evening. It was warm today about 50. Interesting for the first day of winter. I've not bought much for decor this year either. Merry Christmas~ to you and your family!

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  18. Beautiful festive post Karen...the little houses are so cute, your home is so warm & inviting...Merry Christmas & A blessed 2014 to you & your lovely family... enjoy!! Hugs May x x x

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  19. Everything is so festive and beautiful! I really like the basket of apples on top of the suitcase. It really adds nice color and a holiday touch. I like pomegranates a lot this time of year as well. Your little graham cracker houses are so cute! You are such a creative person :)

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  20. Karen! Your home is the coziest sweetest place ever!!! I just love it!!! And your mini gingerbread houses are adorable!!!! Thank you for the recipe! We always go through the trouble of using milk cartons! This way is so much better!!! And I am over the moon for that little greenhouse! How cool is that! I hope that your Christmas is beautiful and filled with glorious memories!!! Many blessings...Nicole xoxo

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  21. Lovely. I feel as if I've stopped in for a visit. My daughters each made a little graham cracker gingerbread house when they were in kindergarden. They used pint boxes of milk inside.

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  22. Dear Karen, your home looks lovely for the Holidays.
    Wishing you and your family Happy Christmas, lots of love, good time, good food and may all your plans and dreams come true in 2014.

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  23. Merry Christmas to you and your family from the Netherlands Karen! ;-)
    dzjiedzjee.blogspot.com

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  24. Thank you so much for this tutorial. I would love to try for next Christmas :)

    Ohh I love everything the pictures about your home and every decoration is so darling, simple and lovely.
    Merry Christmas Mrs Karen, thank for being my great friend in blog during this year. You are dearly loved by me and I pray for you and family.
    May God bless you abundantly for the next year.
    Love,
    Delvalina

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Thank you for stopping by! Your comments are important to me and are very much appreciated. xx Karen

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