Friday, December 25, 2020

Coconut Candy Cane Cake

For our Christmas Day dessert I made us this candy cane coconut cake inspired by an ad for Durkee Coconut seen in Ladies' Home Journal 1956. 

I used an oblong glass baking dish and carved the cake into the cane shape.  This made for lots of cake scraps which equals 'snacks' while I ice the cake.  To make the red coconut I used wilton red gel dye with a bit of water added to it and put into a plastic lidded tupperware-ish container (those round plastic "disposable" tall soup containers from Chinese take out) along with the coconut.  Give it enough shakes to distribute the red.  I made my coconut the day before because sometimes food dyes will darken more in time.  I also toasted the coconut slightly to dry it out.  Before putting the coconut on the cake I iced it with alternating red and white stripes of frosting.

I don't know if these instructions make sense.  Over the past 48 hours I have only had about 5 hours sleep, ya'll women out there know what I'm talking about.  Christmas Eve and Day we are on double time.  I am ready to settle my brain for a long winter's nap!

Thursday, December 24, 2020

Happy Holler Days!

Our tree theme for this year was Kentucky hillbillies since we love (and miss) traveling there.
Here are a few close ups:

Here is a badly back-lit full view:

The tree topper:

I got the idea to do this tree theme way back during Thanksgiving 2019, inspired by our trip to Kentucky.  I started working out details immediately even going so far as seeking out a green fake tree and white lights with green cords.  We have many fake trees: 1 white, 2 black, and numerous aluminum ones, but not a green.  I don't care for green trees, fake or real.  However I felt for this woodsy theme a green tree was the only way to go, but it had to be dirt cheap because it (along with the lights) was going to be donated back to a thrift the first week of January.  I happened to find a decent one at the Goodwill for 3 bucks on an after Christmas sale.  Then several weeks later I found a box of lights at a church rummage sale for 50¢!  The next idea I had was to make outhouse ornaments using the cardboard boxes from toothpaste, so I started saving those back.  They are covered in wood grain shelf liner from dollar tree.  The pine cones were offered from mother nature. The corn cob pipes, moonshine jugs, and Hillbilly post cards are all prints on cardstock.  I made little clothing lines from jute twine, mini clothespins (dollar tree), plaid flannel cut into shirts, and some of Mr. Husband's old white socks cut into mini socks along with some mini whitey tighty underwear. The tree topper is comprised of some of the hillbilly items I collect (knee huggers and a souvenir log cabin bank).
Everything seemed like it was coming together yet those with a keen eye may have noticed that the tree is not green, it's black.  This is because after I set up the green tree and pulled the lights out of the box, I made the realization that the lights were 'net' lights.  There were two sets in the box and I figured I would still try to make them work even if that meant more work for me to get the wires shoved far back on the branches.  The first set of lights looked pretty good after I was done but only covered a little over half of the tree.  But that's okay, right? I have another set.  Nope.  The other set was smaller and a much closer knit net which barely covered the rest of the tree.  The lighting on the tree looked very dull and sparse on the bottom but dense and bright on the top.   Mr. Husband being the ever supportive partner that he is comments that it's perfect looking that way, it works with the theme of hillbilly.   No, no...if my theme was white trash it would work, but hillbillies are people I have a fondness for.
 Hillbillies, White Trash, and Red Necks are commonly seen as all the same but here's the rub in Christmas Tree theme language:

White Trash Christmas tree decorations: 
 crushed beer cans, uneven lights, mini trailers, busted up hot wheel cars, 
toy stuffed dogs (bonus if they are Rottweilers) chained to the tree, tree standing crooked and limbs broken, a garland made from Marlboro cigarettes.  On Christmas eve Santa Billy Jo Claus visits the trailer park and all dirt roads expecting a jumbo bag of pork rinds and a room temperature Busch beer.

Red Neck Christmas Tree decorations:
red, white, and blue christmas lights, NRA ornaments, Nascar crap, mini KKK hoods, 
oversized toy pick up trucks, red solo cups, a confederate flag for a tree skirt, 
and a tree topper depicting that orange numbskull that's squatting at the White House. 
 They celebrate the arrival of Bubba Claus who wears a tank top saying "Beef, Beer, 'Merica" on it and smells of corn nuts.

Ya'll can file those ideas away for yourselves, but I'll pass.

 Back to my homage to Hillbillies....So I decided to try out my black pre-lit tree but tucked in some dried pine straw to give it a more naturey feel.  I loved how it turned out, even better than if the green tree and lights weren't all White Trashed out.  

And speaking off Red Neck/ White Trashness, if you need a laugh... and I know you do, check out People of Walmart and give thanks for contactless drive up grocery shopping.

Wednesday, December 23, 2020

Decked Out Christmas 2020

Here are the halls, walls, and multiple flat surfaces decked out for the holiday this year.

The Santa shrine seen above is usually set up similar every year, just with new additions to the Santa cult.

{Dining room}

{Dining room}
Of all the areas in the house I thought this wall layout was the most successful new look I came up with.  I decided to group most of the 'Holiday Mail Bags' together and added a plastic garland (from Vanessa) to the Merry Christmas banner.

{Dining room}
Dinner and a show! The Santa Choir perched on top of the china cabinet. 

{Record Cabinet, Living room}
This area is still missing something...Maybe some greenery mingled into the silver garland.

{Display Cabinet, Living room}
This area is usually the Robots Attack! the town but we decided to go with peaceful this year.  

{Living room Green shelf}
I tried something different here with flanking several of the blow molds on each side, not too bad, the height balance is just about spot on.  The wall needs more pop though for sure.

On to some random displays:
{Wall o' Kitsch}

{Another Wall o' Kitsch}

The walls are always a problem because I don't like adding more nails for temporary display.  I have to work with the nails that are already there from the regular yearly decor.  Tape, push pins, or command strips just aren't compatible with my walls for some reason. 

{End tables of elves}
The majority of the elves were hanging around the TV and didn't get a photo this year.

Each year I attempt to get all of these stray bits to come together for a cohesive look.  Since I am always adding new pieces to the hoard this helps with slowly collaborating the random into an intentional balanced layout.  I'm not there yet, but it's all part of the collecting adventure.

I really enjoy comparing each year and seeing progress or revisiting layouts that worked or could be 
re- tweaked.  Here are my past Holiday Hall Decking over the past 15 years:

Robots Attack Christmas 2010 (not too much decor though)

Tuesday, December 22, 2020

The Holly Boy

I have a fun little "adventure" to share today.  Back in 2018 I made a cranberry jello tree 'salad' from a recipe I found in a Better Homes and Gardens magazine from 1958:

Along with setting the scene I decided to make the cute little holly elf seen in the back ground:

I figured he was a DIY kinda deal back then...but I was wrong!

He is a real thing!  
The Holly Boy!

During the summer I was perusing Wishbookweb which has entire scans of vintage Christmas catalogs, and came across this page from Sears 1957.

 It's my cute little holly elf...only he is a boy!

...And he came with a deer pal too!

I was on the trail!  Who is the Holly Boy and what is his "quaint story"? 

The only source of info I came across was from a lady named Diane of Always Crave Cute blog.  She owned a little booklet from 1955 called the Holly Boy:

The story is about a little girl named Linda who is over thinking the emotions of a Holly Wreath.

How can a holly wreath be happy?!  This oversensitive kid is crying about the branches not having a good time when all of a sudden the wreath starts to move....could it still have a squirrel lurking inside?

No, no!  It's a magical Holly Boy who has been spying on Linda...he claims to know everything about her.  I think we have now discovered the secret link to how Santa keeps an eye on kids.  It's not from the elf on the shelf anymore.  Those little bastards have got too much work now coming up with various new comical set ups for the kids to see every single damn morning.  Now it's up to the holly wreaths to send in reports.

So it turns out the Holly Boy is thrilled to be part of a wreath because the wreath brings people pleasure.  I don't know what kind of mental aguish Linda is going to be struggling with when that dried up dead wreath has to be thrown out, but I feel certain it leads her to a life of chronic hoarding. The end.

The Holly Boy was a hopeful contender during the 1950s wanting to get into the cool club with Santa, Rudolph, and Frosty the Snowman but he just didn't make the cut.

I highly recommend you guys go read Diane's post with her research on the Holly Boy.  It has stories from people who claim to have been related to the entire Holly Boy world (a song, record, story, and the figurines).

And then I demand you check out Here we are: The Legend of Holly Boy.  This is were shit gets weird.. I mean weirder than a wreath coming to life.  At some point after 1955 the little story that was presented to you above gets a big heaping dose of bat shit crazy. There's time travel, the birth of Jesus, a slaughter war by a giant king, and an angel with healing beams in her palms.
Here's a sample:

Have yourself a singed Christmas Weedy!

Now that I have been let into the mysterious world of The Holly Boy I will be hunting out more about him.

UPDATE (even if it's just minutes after I wrote the original post)!
 Saw these paper coasters on ebay (whooping price of 27.00):

Update Again!

While going virtual thrift-estate-store saleing on ebay I type in all sorts of combinations of words looking for stuff.  On one search I had typed in "Vintage flocked Christmas"
and noticed in this listing for "Lot of Vintage Christmas Decor Santa Snowman Flocked Stocking Tinsel"  

But what is that?!  To the left....

A trio of bedraggled Holly Boys!  These guys are what gets thrown out with the wreath at the end of the season.
The lot went for a mere 5.50 (plus 10.00 for shipping).  I didn't bid on them because I am happy with my own little Holly Boy.  But I am curious of their original construction and how much I may have gotten right. 

Monday, December 21, 2020

Upcycled Cookies

Here is another "dip it in almond bark" idea I came up with.  Mr. Husband mentioned once 30 years ago that he liked these bland butter cookies and now every year his mom gets him a tin.  They don't get opened let alone eaten so I wind up having to throw out a whole tin of stale cookies in February.  I have asked him to save me some trouble and just take them straight to the trash can after he first gets them, but that hasn't happen just yet.  But then I had an idea!  Bump these babies up with some almond bark, coconut, and sprinkles!  So much tastier and so pretty.  I think these could even be part of a gift basket along with the obligatory almond bark pretzel rods everyone does every year as a cheap gift.

Sunday, December 20, 2020

Claxton Fruit Cake Bites

Mr. Husband loves himself some fruitcake!  I decided to bump up this lowly treat for him by coating bite size pieces in almond bark!

I don't care for fruitcake but this was a game changer for me.  If you don't like fruit cake but find yourself with one this season you have got to do this!  During the holidays I find myself coating many things in almond bark and tried this out on a whim.  Mr. Husband absolutely LOVED it.

Directions are cut up fruit cake, dip in melted almond bark, and top with sprinkles for extra festiveness! 

Saturday, December 19, 2020

Christmas Jointed Die Cut Cuties

I had so many posts last December (57!) that some things had to be pushed to this year, as this post is.  Here are some super precious vintage paper die cut jointed decorations that actually don't belong to me.
Last year while getting together with friends I fell in love with these and she let me borrow them to photograph and scan to make my own...and you guys too!
So first check these out!

Can you stand it?!  They are suppose to each be 3 pieces however the candy cane one is missing a section.  I say just make 2 of the bottom section.  
Check out the below post for scans to DIY this for yourself!

Christmas DIY Die Cut Cuties

(print 1)

In the above post I presented these adorable vintage Christmas jointed Die Cuts.  They actually belong to a friend who let me borrow them to scan and make my own.  I thought you all may be interested in doing this as well.  There are three different ones...angels on a candle, Santas on a candy cane, and Santas on a Christmas tree.  Each set has three pieces that are held together with brass round head fasteners.  However the candy cane one is missing the bottom section so just print two of the long section, it'll work out fine.  You will need 9 sheets of cardstock and 6 fasteners.  The original fasteners are super tiny, just use what you have.  I happen to have a box that I picked up at at thrift store years ago.  I guess they can be bought new at office supply stores, maybe even in the scrapbook section of a craft store...or skip that and just glue the pieces together.
To make sure the sizes of each piece remained proportionate I did not crop any of these scans, which explains their wonkiness.
Hope you enjoy these!  I haven't made mine yet.  I was kinda planning on printing them out huge on the wide format printer at the library but that ain't happening anytime soon!

(print 1)

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(print 1)

(print 2)

(print 1)

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