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Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Two quick holiday crafts: Santa hat brownie bites and Christmas card tree

It was TubaDad’s first day off in I-don’t-even-know-how-long and instead of having a lazy day on the couch, we were hopping all day. Oh well, tis the season, right? And we got a lot done, even though we’re both bushed right now.

One of TubaDad’s big projects for the day was assembling the new kitchen island. We ordered a second one like we had in the other house and it is awesome to finally have it. He had great helpers in my dad and his buddy Clark (who came over with the girls’ BFF to drop off some presents and then got sucked in) – thanks guys! I unloaded six boxes into that island tonight – SIX! It felt so victorious to toss those empty cardboard boxes into the garage. Ahhhhhhh.DSC_0696LR

DSC_0660LRWhile the guys were hard at work, my mom and sister-in-law Jane had an edible craft project for the kids: Santa hat brownie bites. Jane had seen these on the Pioneer Woman’s web site, and they arrived with ingredients in hand. Fun, yummo, and a great project to do with kids!

To make the hats, start with brownie bites (either bake brownies in mini muffin tins or get a container of brownie bites from the store), put a strawberry on top of your brownie bite and pipe a circle of frosting around the base, then dot the top of your strawberry with icing. Voila! They used homemade brownies and melted white chocolate chips on the PW site (here’s how they did it), but we used store-bought brownie bites and a can of white cake frosting squeezed out of a ziploc bag with the corner cut off. These little babies got rave reviews from the kids and the adults and would be so easy and quick to make for a Christmas party.


The guys were still working on the island, so Jane and I decided to whip up another craft project, a Christmas Card Tree. I had seen this one in Family Fun and loved the idea of using something we had lying around in the garden to display all the beautiful Christmas cards we’ve received. Basically we took an old, rusty tomato cage: DSC_0692LR

My mom gave it a quick rub-down with steel wool, then we sprayed it with some old gold spray paint we found in the garage. (If your tomato cages aren’t rusty and half-submerged in dirt like ours, you wouldn’t need any spray paint.) We wrapped a cone of Christmas paper around the top, and cut a circle of Christmas paper for the base (it should be a little larger than the tomato-cage base), then hung Christmas cards on it using binder clips.


Cool! In Family Fun, they had a bigger tomato cage that had another row to hang the cards from (here’s their picture). So I improvised a third row by tying some ribbon around the top of the cone and hanging cards from that. I’m definitely going to remember to do this next year.

DSC_0686LRWhile we were working on the card tree, by the way, my little bro tried to take a nap, and I couldn’t resist snapping a pic. I know, I know, pesky sister.

Alrighty, I need to get some sleep because tomorrow is going to be crazy with all the last-minute Christmas wrap-up that we should have finished ages ago and didn’t. Enjoy the holidays, and merry merry from our family to yours.

PS: You’ll notice from the pic that the new house doesn’t have a fireplace mantel, which drives me crazy! Maybe later, much later, if we get brave, we’ll try raise it and add a mantel.


  1. Your Santa hat brownie bites look fantastic! The ideal treat to take when going out for supper.

  2. What an awesome day filled with so much fun! Those Santa hats are the best and sound oh so easy! (I'd be into the pre-made stuff too.) Another project to keep in mind for next year. I'm guessing she could kinda handle it this year but due to that clock that insists on ticking and Santa coming TOMORROW NIGHT....Yikes!! I don't think we can squeeze it in this year.

    The card tree is the best!! And, Hannah and I like seeing her little pic proudly displayed on it. Yours of your oh-so-cute sweeties is on our mirror, for all to see.

    What a fun day filled with family and friends. Please pass on our love to Wela and BobBob as well as Bobby and Jane.

    WE LOVE YOU!!!! xoxo

  3. You are always doing something creative! The Xmas card tree is great, everything is.

  4. Anonymous12/23/2010

    Thanks for a fun afternoon of crafts and hanging with the girls! Aunt Jane

  5. I LOVE the card holder and the Santa Hats!!! You are sooo creative!! I am a Kindergarten TA and I will remember both of these for next year.
    Your family picture is beautiful!! Have a Merry Christmas and I still laugh when I think of last year and your brother and the twirly ride thing the girls got:)

  6. Those crafts look awesome. We definately will be doing the Santa hat brownies.

    Love the backyard I am seeing in the pictures. Very nice!

    Have a great Christmas!!!!

  7. Anonymous12/23/2010

    Thanks for the great ideas!

  8. Anonymous12/23/2010

    It always looks like it is so dang much fun at your house. Couldn't tell: did you add a second island or replace the one you had?

  9. This one was a second island that we ordered. We put it in the spot where you're supposed to have an eat-in kitchen. That spot would only fit a small table, so for us it was better to put our big, expandable table between the kitchen and family room and use the space for a second island.

  10. Anonymous12/23/2010

    An easy, inexpensive mantelpiece could be placed just above the pop-out (below the family photo). It could be angled like the area below it, finished wood, painted white, etc. When the "big deal" mantel comes later, the old one can be a shelf somewhere else - e.g. in a closet. Just sayin'.

  11. Kristina12/23/2010

    Miss S and Clark had lots of fun! I was ordered to get some brownies and strawberries right away because she is wanting to make more for our house on Christmas Eve!
    The card tree is so cute and so cool! Great idea and I love it!!Might be a great teacher Christmas gift for next year!!Useful and fun!HUGS to you all!

  12. Santa hat brownies...totally cute! Also, love the tomato cage card holder so I printed out those instructions for next year. Thanks for the link. We never have enough space to display all the pretty photo cards!

    1. Could you tell me where you got your island from? Exactly what I'm looking for!!! LOVE it!!! My email is moncalee@aol.com
      Thx so much!!! Enjoy your Holidays!!!

  13. Could you tell me where you got your Island from? Exactly what I'm looking for. LOVE it!!! My email is moncalee@ aol.com
    Thank you & enjoy your Holidays!!!