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What I’m Loving This Week


Christmas Snow Phot…

$9.75

Gratitude- Wood and…

$15.00

needle felted snowm…

$22.00

Holly Berry King – …

$82.00

Artichoke coffee co…

$10.00

Christmas ornaments…

$9.00

Christmas Tree Hat,…

$12.00

Wooden Toy – Winter…

$12.00

Convertible Cloth P…

$17.95

Newborn Cuddle Me

$67.00

Winter Green Accent…

$6.00

Bamboo Velour Teeth…

$20.00

Winter Green Finger…

$15.00

Playscape Trees – s…

$18.00

Waldorf Inspired To…

$78.00

Winter Greens – Vin…

$3.50

Etsy treasury created by FeeVertelaine

A moment of truth… I haven’t even begun to start on my handmade gifts this year. Gasp! It’s truly been a very busy season for me (thank you, wonderful buyers!). But with Thanksgiving upon us I know I must start squeezing them in between orders. Here’s a little of what I want to make.

♥My husband and I are going to a little kitchen for our girls. I’m thinking something like this one.

Malabrigo slippers for my mama

Lavender and Peppermint Foot Creme…. who wouldn’t love some of this?

♥I think Toadstool pencils would make great stocking stuffers

Herbal fire starters

♥with a strike on top match stick jar for friends with fire places… sigh, envy

 

I would love to know what you’ll be making!

 

Julie Hunter is a wife and mama, raising 3 spirited girls, two babydoll sheep, angora rabbits and a gaggle of chickens and ducks in the North Carolina Foothills. She spends her days at home, crafting with her children, homeschooling, taking long gathering walks in the woods and knitting Waldorf-inspired toys. You can find her blogging and keeping shop at This Cosy Life.

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Christstollen – A Recipe for The Oldest German Christmas Pastry

Christstollen, the Christ Loaf, is the oldest German Christmas pastry – made to resemble the Christchild in his swaddling cloths. Unfortunately there are not too many people in the US who know about it. Lebkuchen has become the standard sweet that people think of when they think of Germany and Christmas. So I wanted to introduce some more people to this wonderful traditional bread.

Are you READY? First you may want to ask yourself: Do I really have time for this project, in the midst of the Christmas insanity, in the middle of writing & mailing out cards, buying & wrapping gifts, taking your kids to Christmas concerts and Nutcracker performances? Are you sure about this?

Well, if your answer is “Yes”, you should start shopping for these items now! Might take you a while to scout for the ingredients:

For >>the<< recipe you need:

  • 1 kg flour
  • 450 g butter
  • 1/2 liter warm milk
  • 200 g sugar
  • 100 g of fresh yeast (ca. 5 tsp of dry yeast)
  • 10 g salt
  • spices: 1 tsp each of ginger powder, cinnamon, cardamom, nutmeg
  • pinch of ground cloves
  • zest of one lemon
  • 100 ml rum (whenever I am not looking my husband adds more to the bowl…)
  • 500 g raisins
  • 150 g corinths (small kind of raisins, I found them at Sprouts)
  • 200 g almond flour
  • 150 g candied lemon peel
  • 150 g candied orange peel
  • logs of marzipan, if you are feeling rich buy 2-3 (You know they keep that stuff hidden in the baking section at the grocery store, I swear. Usually I find it behind a display of some sort on the bottom of the shelves…Make sure you squeeze the package to ensure its freshness. If the paste inside the cardboard and wrapper are rock hard and won’t give, don’t purchase! Grab the next package and repeat till you find one that is squeezable. Sorry, but I came home many a time with old marzipan. I guess not too many people buy that stuff)
  • 100 g butter
  • powdered sugar
  • Vanilla sugar ( impossible to find in this nation – find a long lost relative in Germany and have them mail it to you!)

Step 1 Put raisins, corinths, chopped candied citrus fruit peel, almond flour, rum, lemon zest in a bowl and soak over night or for a longer time in the refrigerator. Monitor husband and rumbottle closely!

Step 2 Make the pre-dough. put flour in a bowl and make a little well. In the well put a few tablespoons of lukewarm milk mixed with the yeast and 1 tablespoon of sugar. Stir taking small amounts of the flour from the side of your well. Cover with a dusting of flour, put a towel over the bowl, and let it rest in a warm non-drafty place ( are you kiddin’ me? there is no non-drafty place when you live in an old house ) for 45 minutes. During that time you can work on those last Christmas cards for the uncle and aunt in Germany you forgot…

Step 3 Go back to your dough and see if any rising action took place. If not, write more cards or wrap another gift. Maybe you could mail that last package to a customer. By now the lines at the post office might be too long.But you got time! If the dough has risen, once you return from your errand, add the rest of the warm milk, spices, butter, sugar, and mix all of in with the flour. You know the real German Hausfrau has big arms from doing this. It’s hard labor to move these mountains of stuff and kneed them together. Luckily I own a kitchen aid. My scrawny arms could never manage this. So hopefully you have one of those miracle tools, too! Once everything is nicely mixed together into a sticky ball of dough, let it sit and rise for another hour. During that time you could run out and buy another gift for your husband. If he is deserving…

Step 4 Hopefully you have removed the soaking fruits from the refrigerator – so the warm yeasty dough doesn’t suffer too much of a shock from the cold fruit mixture! Your bowl is probably too full already. But you can take out batches of the dough and kneed in the fruit mixture by hand. I like to do it that way because you get a feel for how sticky the dough is. Maybe you want to add some more flour…

Step 5 Make loaves. Split the dough into parts, depending on how many loaves you want to make. I usually make one larger loaf and two small ones. But you can do whatever you want. Roll out the first batch of dough flat. Take the marzipan log out of its package, sprinkle some powdered sugar on your workspace and roll out the marzipan as flat as you can. Move the marzipan over on top of your rolled out yeasty dough pieces and roll the two layers together. Sort of like making a jelly roll. Shape the roll into a nice loaf and place onto a cookie sheet covered with parchment paper. Start working on the next loaf. You can bake more than one loaf on a cookie sheet! Put towel over the finished loaves and set them in warm place to rise again! Is it Christmas yet? =)

Step 6 I promise you are almost there…Preheat your oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit while the loaves are rising once again. Bake them until they are cooked all the way through. Now this is the tricky part. In case you thought the rest was hard… Maybe it’s living at high altitude that messes me up each year. Sometime I end up with loaves that are way too dry. Other times they are still sticky despite the fact that I stuck in a knitting needle and tested them. It’s really kind of hit or miss. I have baked them for 35 -45 minutes. But I am hoping some day mine will turn out as perfect as my mother’s. Sigh!

Step 7 It’s the last one I promise, honestly! As soon as the loaves come out of the oven brush the hot loaves with melted butter and sprinkle with vanilla and powdered sugar. Does it look like baby Jesus in his swaddling cloths? Good job! Once they have cooled down wrap the precious loaves tightly, put a bow on them, and give them to a person who has been good to you all year. Or feed them to the family right then! They are probably tired of waiting around for you since you spent most of the day in the kitchen…

If you would like to know more about the history of this traditional German bread please read this blog post from my personal blog here.

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The Advent Spiral





The “Advent Spiral” or “Spiral of Light” as it is sometimes called is a thing to behold. It marks the lengthening of days and the journey we will all take into the darkness and quiet of winter. It reminds us to take our inner light with us on this journey through the long cold months and longest days of our year and to have a reverence for it.
The apple lanterns have been carved and are ready, the star shaped sugar cookies are warming in the oven, the pine boughs have been cut and layed just so, families gather in a darkened room on a cold December afternoon near to the Winter Solstice.
And so it begins. One at a time, the children walk along the spiral path of boughs leading to one large lit candle. Each holds an unlit candle, even the smallest hands are capable and ready! In the middle of the spiral the children light their candles and then retrace their steps out of the spiral, leaving their lit candle next to the last child’s. The room is hushed, sometimes there is faint harp music – light and airy.
As each child passes through the spiral something amazing starts to happen -the room brightens!
After all the children have made there way there is often singing and snacks of cookies and warm apple cider.
The hearts and souls of all who attended are warmed and the children go away with a sense of the light &warmth they have built candle by candle.
The advent spiral can also be done in your own home to prepare the family for winter and bring the cheer to your very own house!
FaerieWaldorf has a wonderful guide for sale in her etsy shop all about preparing and participating in the Advent Spiral!
Soltice Sun King pictured above from PaintingPixie’s etsy shop.
Needle felted apple’s by CozyCottageCreations
Wooden Spiral by DragonsandMermaids

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Life as a Waldorf “Short Order” Cook

The other day my daughter was asking me:”Mom, what are all those little sticky notes on the window behind your sewing machine?” I responded:”Oh, those are the custom orders I received and need to finish for Christmas.”

If you are an artist/crafter and offer custom work in your etsy shop, life in the months before Christmas can get pretty complicated and hectic.

You may find yourself worrying and asking the following questions:
How many custom items should I offer?

Do I have all the materials to make them?

Do I have enough shipping materials, and will I be able to ship it on time?

How do I keep my store stocked at the same time?

How do I balance the custom work with my desire to create new items?Should I just skip sleep and work 24 hours? Now is the time, right?

I have been struggling with these questions since August. I would really like some input from other crafters who offer custom work. How do you stay organized and make it through this busy season?

Sometimes I get so tired of the balance act I am performing that I want to stop taking customs orders altogether! But then I get some wonderful Feedback or a really sweet message from someone who received their doll, and I forget all about the stress.
I find, that the challenges of custom orders bring out the best in me. Often customers come to me with ideas I never would have come up with myself! Or they point out how one of my items sold previously was so great because of a certain feature and why don’t I combine it with this other feature…I think my customers make me a better artist. Even when I find myself grumbling at times about a difficult request…

My favorite kind of dolls are ethnic dolls. I made the Asian dolls you see in the pictures for children adopted from China. There is a great need for such items because it is hard to find dolls with Asian and other ethnic features on a regular store shelf. I feel that my work is important and appreciated by the children and parents alike!

But I am only one woman. I wish I had some elves to help. Maybe some day my daughter will be old enough to help. But for now it is just me.

Later I might post a picture of all my little sticky notes in the window of my “studio”. I feel like a short order cook at times. Which is a funny way to put it since my orders take hours to complete. =)

Hope to hear some opinions from all of you who do customs!

Love, Ulla

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Life as a Waldorf "Short Order" Cook

The other day my daughter was asking me:”Mom, what are all those little sticky notes on the window behind your sewing machine?” I responded:”Oh, those are the custom orders I received and need to finish for Christmas.”

If you are an artist/crafter and offer custom work in your etsy shop, life in the months before Christmas can get pretty complicated and hectic.

You may find yourself worrying and asking the following questions:
How many custom items should I offer?

Do I have all the materials to make them?

Do I have enough shipping materials, and will I be able to ship it on time?

How do I keep my store stocked at the same time?

How do I balance the custom work with my desire to create new items?Should I just skip sleep and work 24 hours? Now is the time, right?

I have been struggling with these questions since August. I would really like some input from other crafters who offer custom work. How do you stay organized and make it through this busy season?

Sometimes I get so tired of the balance act I am performing that I want to stop taking customs orders altogether! But then I get some wonderful Feedback or a really sweet message from someone who received their doll, and I forget all about the stress.
I find, that the challenges of custom orders bring out the best in me. Often customers come to me with ideas I never would have come up with myself! Or they point out how one of my items sold previously was so great because of a certain feature and why don’t I combine it with this other feature…I think my customers make me a better artist. Even when I find myself grumbling at times about a difficult request…

My favorite kind of dolls are ethnic dolls. I made the Asian dolls you see in the pictures for children adopted from China. There is a great need for such items because it is hard to find dolls with Asian and other ethnic features on a regular store shelf. I feel that my work is important and appreciated by the children and parents alike!

But I am only one woman. I wish I had some elves to help. Maybe some day my daughter will be old enough to help. But for now it is just me.

Later I might post a picture of all my little sticky notes in the window of my “studio”. I feel like a short order cook at times. Which is a funny way to put it since my orders take hours to complete. =)

Hope to hear some opinions from all of you who do customs!

Love, Ulla