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Day Ten: Edinburgh Gingerbread

This is Day Ten in a 10 day series featuring homemade gifts. Click here to start reading at the beginning of the series.

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Since this is our final post in our series, we are going to go out with a bang!

We are going to share with you our family’s favorite and only gingerbread recipe. Our grandmother found the recipe at a library in Cleveland, Ohio, and she shared it with our mother, who is now passing it down to us. Our grandpa loves this rich, nut and fruit-filled loaf; he would probably eat it constantly, except that he only gets it when Mom bakes it for him!

Below are some step-by-step instructions and the recipe.

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Sift the flour, soda, and spices into a large bowl.

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Add raisins, dates and  walnuts.

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In a large pan, combine butter, sugar and molasses. Bring to a boil.

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Beat eggs…

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and pour the boiling molasses mixture over them.

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Pour into the dry ingredients.

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And then divide evenly into three large greased loaf pans.  Bake at 350 degrees for one hour or until a toothpick inserted near center comes out clean. (If you are giving gingerbread as a gift, you can put the batter into seven small loaf pans. They look so cute!)

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For your enjoyment, here is the recipe:

Edinburgh Gingerbread

6 1/2 cups flour, sifted
1  1/8 cups granulated sugar
4 tsp. baking soda
2 cups light molasses
4 tsp. cinnamon
8 eggs
4 tsp. cloves 
1  3/4 cups raisins
4 heaped tsp. ginger 
1  3/4 cups dates
2 cups butter 
2 cups walnuts

Sift the flour, soda, and spices into a large bowl. Add raisins, dates, and nuts to the flour mixture. Put the butter, sugar and molasses into a medium saucepan and bring to boil. Beat eggs and pour the boiling molasses mixture over them, stirring vigorously. Pour this mixture into the dry ingredients and beat thoroughly. Put into three large greased loaf pans. Bake at 350 degrees for about 1 hour.

 

We’ve really enjoyed writing this ten-day series of home-made gifts! We hope to be posting a couple times each week from now until our next series begin. We’ll let you know when that will be.

Thank you for visiting A Homespun Country Life!

Merry Christmas!

~ Kerstin, Elisabeth, and Gabrielle

Check out Day Ten in a 10 Day series by one of our blogging friends Skirt Fixation.

 

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Day Nine: “Hand-made” Music

This is Day Nine in a 10 day series featuring homemade gifts. Click here to start reading at the beginning of the series.

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Today’s post is about a gift that truly is handmade, but in a different way than most of the “homemade gifts” posts we’ve done.

Yesterday morning we girls went to an assisted living home not far from where we live and played Christmas music on their piano. Our piano teacher has been encouraging us to do this for the past few years, but we hadn’t until yesterday. The people at the assisted living really enjoyed it, and we hope to do it again.

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So, if you have a musical talent, whether it is singing or playing an instrument, we encourage you to set up an appointment at an assisted living or nursing home in your area and play/sing for the elderly.  It doesn’t have to be for the holidays; they will enjoy it if you  play any songs that you know!

Thank you for visiting A Homespun Country Life!

~ Kerstin, Elisabeth, and Gabrielle

Check out Day Nine in a 10 Day series by one of our blogging friends Skirt Fixation.

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Day Eight: Christmas Cookies

This is Day Eight in a 10 day series featuring homemade gifts. Click here to start reading at the beginning of the series.

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One of our favorite things to give to friends and neighbors at this time of year are Christmas cookies! Mom makes the dough, and we girls do the baking and decorating. We like to put an assortment on a wintery paper plate, cover it with gallon-size food storage bag. Everyone likes to receive homemade Christmas cookies during the holidays, especially when they taste as good as these ones, which are made from our go-to Christmas cut-out recipe.

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I love that blue swirled one. 🙂

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What a lovely assortment of cookies!

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I can’t tell you enough yummy things about these cookies, so you are going to have to try them. As they say, the proof is in the pudding…er…cookies.

Here’s our recipe for Light Ginger Cookies. I think Mom originally got the recipe from Betty Crocker’s Cookie Book.

Light Ginger Cookies

1 cup powdered sugar
1 cup butter, softened
1 Tablespoon vinegar
2 ¼ cups flour
1 ½ – 2 teaspoons ginger
¾ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt

Mix sugar, butter and vinegar. Stir in remaining ingredients. (If dough is too dry, work in milk or cream, one teaspoon at a time.) Roll ⅛ inch thick on lightly floured surface and cut into shapes. Bake at 400º for 6-8 minutes, until light brown. Cool slightly; remove from cookie sheet.

Makes about 4 dozen.

Cut-Out Cookie Icing

2 cups powdered sugar
2 Tablespoons butter, melted
2 to 3 Tablespoons milk (until perfect consistency)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla or almond extract

Mix all ingredients. Enough for lots of cookies. Leftovers taste yummy on graham crackers.

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A parade of Christmas cookies!

Thank you for visiting A Homespun Country Life!

~ Kerstin

Check out Day Eight in a 10 Day series by one of our blogging friends Skirt Fixation.

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Day Seven: Gift Bags

This is Day Seven in a 10 day series featuring homemade gifts. Click here to start reading at the beginning of the series.

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Bags that are filled with yummy goodies and small gifts are rich in tradition, yet simple to prepare even on short notice. For the past few years we have put together bags like the ones above, filled them with yummy things, and given them to family for Christmas. They are so fun to unpack! Below are some of the decorating ideas we have used on our bags. We usually put handmade tags on them so everyone can find their bag!

Bag Number One:

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On the first bag I took foam snowflakes and glued them onto a bag. It gave an easy yet pretty look.

Bag Number Two:

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I took a festive piece of scrapbooking paper and cut it to fit the bag….

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and then I took a rubber stamp that says “May the quiet beauty of this season bring you deep joy and warm memories to cherish throughout the coming year”, stamped it onto a piece of paper and  glued that onto the bag.

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Bag Number Three:

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On the third bag (this is my favorite!), I cut strips of holiday scrapbooking paper,

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and after all the paper was glued on, I cut around the edge of the bag to even it out. I used a glue stick so that the glue would spread evenly.

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When I look at this bag, I first think of my sister’s scrapbooking book, and then I see the cream holly and ivy paper (on the right) and that reminds me of lace!

Bag Number Four:

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This bag is just like the third bag, I just used winter paper.

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The finished fourth bag is in the background.

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Some of the things that we like to fill our Christmas bags with are:

• Oranges

• Popcorn balls

• Candy canes (or old-fashioned peppermint sticks!)

• Homemade frosted cookies

• Homemade caramels (Click here for our favorite recipe!)

• Wool socks or mittens

• Little useful gifts (sometimes dishcloths, crochet hooks, a pocket knife, etc.)

Thank you for visiting a Homespun Country Life!

~ Elisabeth

Check out Day Seven in a 10 Day series by one of our blogging friends Skirt Fixation.

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Day Six: Hand-sewn Mini Journal

This is Day Six in a 10 day series featuring homemade gifts. Click here to start reading at the beginning of the series.

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For today’s post, we want to show you how to make a miniature book. While this probably isn’t the most professional technique for book-binding, it is fast and easy, and it uses materials that you probably have on hand. The options for decorating are endless, and the resulting “jotter” is a beautiful, one-of-a-kind gift.

Materials

  • 1 or more sheets of paper (we used one that is about 12 1/2″ x 9 1/2″)
  • Scissors or a paper cutter
  • Needle and coordinating thread
  • Glue stick
  • Small piece of scrapbooking paper for cover

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Fold it in half the long way; then unfold it…

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…and fold  it in half the short way to leave creases.

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Cut along the short way, stack the two pieces of paper, and then cut down the fold crease so you have four rectangles of equal size. Stack all four pieces together, and fold in half the long way, but don’t cut along the crease. Now fold in half the short way and cut along the crease. This will give you two booklets of folded papers.

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They should look something like this.

Fold as many papers this way as you want. The more papers you use, the thicker the book will be.                                 Note: It’s better to make several thin “booklets” to sew together than to make a few thick ones, which would be more difficult to sew.

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Next take the needle and thread and backstitch along the folded line of each booklet, which will now be the spine of your book.

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You want the entire line to be stitched, because it makes the next step easier. Repeat this entire sewing process with the remaining booklet.

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To sew the two booklets together, whip-stitch tightly at regular intervals (about 1/4″) down the entire spine of the book, tying the thread securely at the end.

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To attach the cover, we used a glue stick, which gets the job done so much faster. 🙂

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Apply the glue evenly to one side of the book.

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Press the glued side of the book to the scrapbooking paper and hold firmly until set. Then glue the rest of the paper and fold it over the other side of the book.

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And there you have an adorable mini journal. Tuck it in your pocket to record your thoughts and dreams throughout the day, or write magical stories in it by candlelight! To give it as a gift, wrap it in tissue paper and tie it with a festive ribbon.

Thank you for visiting a Homespun Country Life!

~ Kerstin and Elisabeth

Check out Day Six in a 10 Day series by one of our blogging friends Skirt Fixation.