Saturday, December 19, 2009

Week Fifty-One: Gingerbread Joy




This morning I awoke to the sound of the snowplow rumbling down our street and I instantly knew what that meant...we are going to have a white Christmas! This is the first snowfall of any significance here in western Pennsylvania this winter and I'm so glad our house and yard will be blanketed in white for Christmas week. Of course, I don't have to go out today, so I would probably feel differently if I had shopping to do and errands to run!

My ornament for the week is from Plum Pudding Needleart's "Candy Cane Wishes" chart. It may be miniature, but this turned out to be one of my favorite finishes of the year. The little gingerbread boy is stitched "one over one" on 28 ct. Country French Cafe Mocha Linen (I love the name of that linen and I don't even drink coffee!). I used the suggested DMC threads and backed it with the burgundy checked fabric shown behind the finished ornament. Gingerbread boys (and girls) have always made me smile--there is just something impish and endearing about them (kind of like my three sons when they were little boys!).







Do you have one special food that just says "Christmas" to you? For me, it has to be my grandmother's caramels. I whipped up a batch on Thursday evening and most of them have already disappeared--they've either been sent off for gifts or eaten by my youngest son. I had to hide the last dozen or two to be savored on Christmas day! My dear grandmother would make countless batches each year--mailing many off to friends whose Christmases wouldn't be Christmas without the gooey treats that they had come to expect from her each December. Each Christmas morning, the four of us kids would shout with delight when we spied the plain white box in which she had carefully wrapped dozens of caramels in wax paper~ each like a little present. They were, far and away, everyone's favorite gift year after year.

Gram passed away 26 years ago and that was the last time I tasted her caramels. I've made them many, many times since, but although they are good, they don't quite taste the same as hers. Making caramels is a true labor of love--you have to stand at the stove and stir the mixture over low heat for almost two hours! If you try to rush them you get caramels that are so hard they'll pull out a filling or so soft you have to eat them with a spoon. This year's batch turned out perfectly--it was almost as if Gram was right there, whispering in my ear to just be patient and keep stirring until they were just right...

I wish you all a blessed Christmas with your family and friends...

37 comments:

Daffycat said...

How I love this little ornament! It is simply precious, Carol.

The story of your grandmother's caramels is wonderfully heartwarming.

~ Stitchin Sweet Sue ~ said...

Over one, sheeesh, you put me to shame my friend. Grammy's caramels look divine. Nice post, TSF:)

xoxo

Barbi said...

Your first sentence made me smile!! Your heard the plow and you knew it was a white christmas. My goodness, for lack of better words I LOVE CHRISTMAS! Do we all kind of turn into excited little kids at this time of year? I love you new ornament! I find the little ones are the sweetest ones, and are my favorite too.

Barb said...

Darling ornament Carol. Caramels are my ultimate favorite but I have never made them. Fudge was what we had at our house. Now we only make the occasional batch of cookies (actually DH usually does that!) and maybe some Chex mix.

Kim B said...

It's precious! I love it stitched over 1 like that. And those caramels look incredible! What a sweet memory. I'm sure your grandmother is beaming to see you carry on with her wonderful recipe.

riona said...

Christmas activates the nostalgia center in all our brains: you are remembering your grandmother's caramels, I have been mooning over ornaments made by my children and pulling out my boys' old Brio train set for my grandson to enjoy.
And isn't it funny how one ornament becomes the stand out favorite each year ... I am going to put the last few stitches in my favorite one as soon as I leave the computer desk: a counted needlepoint free chart from Caron called Byzantine - I stitched it twice and am now blanket stitching the two together.

Catherine said...

Love the ornament and the story of your Grandmother and her caramels is so heartwarming on a day like today!

Lee said...

You are my favorite "over one" stitcher!

The caramels look delicious. I have my grandmother's little recipe book, but like you, my creations don't taste quite the same. And it has vague directions like "bake in a slow oven", or it has very precise instructions like "Beat vigorously with a wooden spoon for two minutes at 150 strokes per minute."

Claire said...

Love the gingerbread ornament.

Cindy's Stitching said...

I love gingerbread boys and girls also. I have a collection of those to. Loved the story about your grandmother. I have never had homemade caramels.
They look real good in the picture. You are quite the cook i see. Cookies and candies - yummm. You only have one ornament left and the year will be done.

Blu said...

Love the gingerbread boy. He's really cute.
Your caramels look delicious!

Ranae said...

Cute! the ornie it turned out great
The caramels look so good. The best recipes come from our grandmothers, don't they??!!
yummy!!!!

erlabjorke said...

Thanks for visiting my blog Carol, like you I love getting to know other stitchers and see their finished pieces
I love your gingerbread ornament. It´s just so cute. And your caramels...yummie!!!

Rowyn said...

Mmm, those caramels look tasty. I guess that partly has to do with all the effort that goes into making them.

The one food that says Christmas to me is my Mum's trifle. She has been making it every Christmas for as long as I can remember. Christmas would not be Christmas without it.

I love your gingerbread man finish, he is super cute.

Have a wonderful white Christmas!

Myra said...

This little ornament just makes me smile. :o) So cute! I loved reading about your Grammy's caramels. We had a spot of snow here yesterday, sadly it has all just about melted today. I am baking a carrot cake tonight - my mom always made one near the holidays so I thought I would try to carry out the tradition. I have her old handwritten recipe tucked into one of her cookbooks copyright 1954.

Shari said...

adorable ornament Carol!!! I stitched all of these & love them all. You know, I haven't finished them yet. Oops! I guess I did have some I could have put on the tree this year.
Your caramels look wonderful!!!! Yummy! And how great this batch turned out like your grandmas!

Carolyn NC said...

Ornie is adorable! Those caramels look fantastic - great memories. I know what you mean about the taste. My grandmother made pralines (to die for) and I've made them several times, but they're never quite the same. :)

stitchinfiend said...

Your caramels look so sooo yummy. I just love your little gingerbread ornament

Brigitte said...

Your little ornamet is so cute. And so nicely finished.
And I love the picture with those wonderful caramels, and the story behind them. What a great memory of your grandmother.

Lois said...

Carol, what a cute gingerbread boy! That is such a sweet ornament. This time of year brings back so many family memories. Enjoy the caramels, they look yummy! I do agree, when we try to replicate a recipe that a loved one always made it never does taste quite the same. I hope the snow isn't too deep, enjoy your white Christmas! We've woken up to a covering of snow this morning but it probably won't last until Christmas Day.

Violet Viola Viooltje said...

...now I'm thinking of the golden book I loved to read about the gingerbread man that runned away...
;o)

You made a lovely ornament and yummie caramels!

Michelle said...

You are so lucky to look forward to a white Christmas!

The ornament is really cute and the caramels look divine!

A very Merry Christmas to you and your family!

Edit said...

Your gingerbread is so lovely, it makes me feel Christmas is almst here.

And a white Christmas, that sounds nice, too. It looks we will have it as well :)

Here the most typical Christmas sweet is marzipan, people at a lot of it these days. And where I live they make a lot, in every street there is a shop selling marzipan. Even nuns make it and sell it.

Have a wonderful Christmas!

Julie said...

A cute and dainty little gingerbread ornie.

Those carames looks scrumptious, what a lovely story, thank you for sharing a precious memory at this special time of the year

Have a peaceful and happy Christmas with your family

Vinniey said...

Your Gingerbread ornament is so cute! And the caramels looks so delicious!

Ms. Wright said...

Well, of course, now I'm crying...but not because I'm sad. Thank you for sharing this post, Carol. I always talk about Grandma Bliss with my friends and students--how special she was to all of us. On almost daily basis I am reminded of her in some way--we were so lucky that she was with us for so long. Love you, Care.

Wendy said...

I just love your oranments !
before it just wasn't my "thing" so to say, but I keep seeing them everywhere, and then I find your lovely blog with so many nice ornaments, this can no longer be a coincedence !

when we were young we used to have little meatballs in tomatosauce, for after eavening mas on Christmas eve.
I no longer go to mas, but this year we are having meatballs in tomtaosauce on Christmas eve !

have a nice Christmas !

Annie said...

Glad somebody likes the idea of snow! Your ornies are so cute and the candies looks delish. Have a great holiday and stay warm!

Rachel S said...

The caramels look nummy and your ornament is gorgeous!

Merry Christmas.

Mylene said...

Cute ornament and ohhh those caramels looks soooo yummy!

Wish you and your family a Merry Christmas!

JOLENE said...

Your Gingerbread boy with candy cane in hand is adorable. I love caramels also. I make black licorice ones every year and like to tease people about the "lumps of coal" they will be getting for Christmas. I sent a batch of them off to one of my friends out of state last year. By the time I got around to getting a call from him stating his "goodies" had arrived, I warned him not to eat too many of them at once. He asked me why and I told him the black food coloring in them will make your "poop" turn green! All I remeber him saying was....so now you tell me! I laughed and laughed about that one for days.

Meari said...

I love that ornament! You did a great job on it. Merry Christmas!

Pumpkin said...

My goodness Carol, I'm drooling all over the front of me and my keyboard! You should have warned me ;o) Those caramels looks soooooo good and what a beautiful story to go along with it.

I LOVE your new finish! He's on my list for next year :o)

Laural said...

Have a Merry Christmas too!!!

I love the little gingerbread man! Caramels definitely take much more patience than I have. My sugar water that supposed to turn into caramel for deep dish apple pie never turns amber, ever.

Siobhan said...

Your ornament is adorable, Carol! Love the finishing, too. Your grandmother is surely smiling down from heaven at your continuation of her caramel tradition. I hope you had a great Christmas!

Sympathetic Threads said...

I have never tried making caramels, and yet they are one of my favorite treats from childhood as well. You have inspired me to try! :)

Anonymous said...

hello,
please, on the wall (Saturday, January 2, 2010), what's the model of the snowman (second line on the left)?
i love it so much...
thanks
karine (from france)
kapitole@orange.fr