Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Catching up a bit

Just a quick little post concerning our Christmas.  It was pretty low-key for the most part.  Actually, I should back up to a couple days before Christmas.  Mr. T ended up with a couple of days off due to rain and mud.  So he got busy in the kitchen.  He made cinnamon pretzels, eggnog logs, sacher torte cookies, macaroon kisses, whipped shortbread, two kinds of fudge, three kinds of pressed cookies -- and that may be all, I'm not sure.  During that time, our kitchen was truly a festive mess, but it was a blessing to have so much help with the baking!
Eggnog Log photo from Taste of Home
For Christmas Eve, we were joined by my dad, our son, and two of our granddaughters.  We had our usual Christmas Eve Soup and I served it with these fabulous Iron Skillet Biscuits from Mountain Top Spice.  These biscuits have made a regular appearance in my kitchen since I found the recipe.  They taste similar to Cracker Barrel biscuits, only better!  Dessert was ice cream and a cookie and fudge tray. In between supper and dessert, we opened gifts and cards with the girls.

For Christmas dinner, it was the same crowd, minus the girls.  We had turkey breast, mashed potatoes, buttercup squash, and homemade cranberry orange sauce.  Same dessert.
Partial view of the Christmas table just prior to dinner
After dinner, we Skyped with our Nevada family.  Didn't get pictures of that.  One neat thing that we did during that Skype visit was to show one another our Christmas trees and other decor,
The arrangement I had for our creche this year.  The sign to the right says "thankful".
 and also the scenery outside our windows.  (They had snow, we had mild, sunny, weather with green grass!)  Skype is such a miracle, isn't it?  We had a great connection and it really seemed as if they were in the same room with us.  A fun thing for my 92-year-old dad.

And then after that, we went over to our local daughter's home and opened gifts,  played games and ate snacks with their family.  Took a cookie and fudge tray there too.

The day after Christmas, we went out for breakfast and then did a bit of after-Christmas shopping.  I'll post separately about that if I can remember to get some pictures of what we bought before it all gets put away.  So that was our celebrating.  Low-key, but enjoyable and meaningful, with lots of family time.  Hope yours was the same!

Friday, December 25, 2015

Merry Christmas!

This beautiful vintage image is from The Old Design Shop.
Just taking a moment out of our busy day to wish a very merry Christmas to all of my readers and friends!  May you enjoy a blessed day wherever this holiday finds you.  And may you find moments to ponder the true meaning of why that Baby in the manger came to earth!

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Need a last-minute gift for a friend?

A set of these cards that I gave away last year
Got a printer, some printer ink, and maybe a little bit (still) of creativity and imagination?  Then this idea may be for you.

Every year for the last few, Ashley at Under the Sycamore has offered a free download of these Best of My Days cards. Briefly, they are like mini-journals for each month where you jot down one great thing, or blessing, if you will, that happened each day.  Last year I gave a few sets of these as gifts and people really liked them.  I don't know how much men would go for them, but for women friends and teenage girls they were a successful gift.  Even busy young moms who could never find time to journal can often find a moment to jot down a phrase or sentence.

As you will see when you go to Ashley's blog, the fun of gifting these is in the decorating and embellishing of wrapping them up.  I tend to take the easy way and use gift wrap or other paper items (the scene above is from the front of a church bulletin), but Ashley gets really, really creative.  You will be inspired.  Hope this idea is a help to someone!

Monday, December 21, 2015

How to make a Christmas memory book

A sample cover for a memory book
  Today I'm going to share a special project with you.  No doubt your Christmas celebrations are already in full swing, or they soon will be.  Or maybe, like me, you are into Christmas crafting and are in well over your head.  There are a number of things that I am just going to wait and finish after Christmas!  So you will probably want to file this away and start working on it after Christmas if you are interested.  I must just say that it's one of the most satisfying projects I have ever done.  

Quite a few years ago now, I came up with a unique gift for my grown children.  I’d been thinking back over Christmas memories  of my childhood, and I felt strongly the need to write them down so my children and grandchildren would know what it had been like.  As I mulled over just how to do this, I came up with the idea of making a Christmas memory book for each of my grown kids and their families.  I thought I would type up some memories, maybe scan or copy some old photos, and include some recipes.
This shows a recipe in my grandmother's handwriting and just the edge of a vintage gift tag.
As I thought further, I decided to include not only my own childhood memories, pictures, and recipes, but to include those items from my children’s childhood as well. 
We always had nonpareils at my grandmother's farm at Christmas time.
The next step was to actually think hard about my memories and begin writing them down.  It was amazing how much I remembered once I started typing.  I am going to try and share the process of how I made the books with all of you, so that others who might like to make these as a gift will have a starting point.

If you want to make one or more memory books for Christmas 2016, I highly recommend beginning to write down your memories today (or starting December 26, which might be more realistic)!

To do this the way I did, you will need:
* Looseleaf binder for each memory book -- the type with clear-view pockets on front and back so you can add a decorative front and back cover
* Printer, ink and paper
* A scanner, or access to one
* Photos, recipes, other paper treasures
* Stickers, rubber stamps, and other embellishments
* Clear page protectors

So here we go with the step by step.

1.  Decide on the scope of your memory book.  Will you use just your own childhood memories, or will you add in the memories from your kids’ growing-up years?  Do you want to add pictures or recipes?  Write down your thoughts and plans for the project.

2.  Decide how you will put the book together.  I chose to use loose-leaf binders because they were easy to decorate and I wanted the kids [and myself]  to be able to add pages into them.  You will want to purchase binders, sheet protectors and such right away so they will be on hand when you are ready for them.

3.  Begin thinking about and writing down your memories.  As you do, you’ll probably find, as I did, that they coalesce rather neatly into categories.  Think about it:  Did you stay home every Christmas or did you go to Grandma’s house?  Maybe your grandparents came to you!  What did you do on Christmas Eve?  On Christmas day?  Do you have special memories relating to getting the Christmas tree, to church services, or to singing Christmas carols?  Did your ethnic family background mean you prepared special foods or observed special customs?

Here are the categories I used:
 * Christmas Eve in the Neighborhood (this included recipes for some of the treats my mom prepared to take to the families in our neighborhood)
* Christmas at Home (which included memories about our tree, special gifts, cards, recipes and so on.
* The Methodist Church Christmas Fair (a huge part of our Christmases as children)
* Trips to Milford (memories of our holiday visits to take gifts to loved ones in another part of the state)
* Christmas on the Farm (memories of how my grandmother decorated, wrapped gifts, etc. plus the dinners and gift exchange we had there)

*  In between this and the more recent memories, I put in lots of scanned photos, cards, snips of ribbon and wrapping paper, etc. from my childhood.
A photo from my book -- Christmas 1951
Then I went on to more recent memories of when I was raising my own children:
 * Christmas Memories for Another Generation
* Holiday Baking
* How the Third-Grader Saved Christmas
* Christmas Heirlooms
* Christmas on a Shoestring
* Gingerbread Houses
* Christmas Breakfast
* Gifts of Food
And I ended with a Christmas acrostic written by our son in elementary school.

In between are loads of my Christmas recipes -- basically all of my Christmas cookie recipes, plus ones for kitchen gifts, Christmas Eve supper, Christmas breakfast, and Christmas dinner.

I also scanned many, many of the photos from my kids’ childhood Christmases, along with some tags, cards and other things to make it special.

   So, in writing down your memories and other things like recipes, you will probably want to just sit down at your computer and open up a word processing document to put these things in.  Be sure and save it after you finish each stint of writing.  You don't want to put this much thought and work into something, only to lose part of it.

4.  Decide what recipes you need to include.  I wanted all of my Christmas recipes in one easy-to-find place, so I put them all in.  Type up the recipes one or two per page.  I also scanned some recipe cards, especially ones in the handwriting of loved ones, to include.
A traditional family recipe in my great-grandmother's handwriting
5.  Choose the photos you want to scan and any additional items, like vintage cards, tags, wrapping paper and so on.  Scan and save the items.  (The great thing about scanning [as opposed to photocopying, which would certainly be another option] is that the images will be right there on your computer should you want to make another book.) With my scanned photos and other things, I cut them out so I could glue them onto whatever pages I liked throughout the book.  If you are a whiz at scrapbooking, though, you can do it that way, or if you are a pro at graphic design you can design each page right on your computer and print them out without needing to embellish them. 
One of the vintage Christmas tags I scanned
6.  Print and embellish your pages.  You can use your scanned memorabilia for embellishing, or use stickers or even rubber-stamped messages/images in red or green.

7. Slip the pages into page protectors, placing the pages back to back so you can fit two into each page protector. 

8.  Arrange the pages in the binder as you like.

9.  Design front and back covers and perhaps an edge strip as well (to go along the spine of the binder to show the title) and slip these into place.
A sample back cover
And there is your Christmas memory book!  Since you have the pages in your computer and the memorabilia is scanned and saved, you can make as many copies of your book as you like.  By special request, I ended up making one for my parents and two for my aunts as well as the ones I did for my grown kids.  
Of course, I made one for myself as well!  And I use it.  It's the perfect place to put my menu for Christmas dinner, any new recipes I try and want to keep using, and so on.  

I'm linking today with Sandi's No Place Like Home at Rose Chintz Cottage.  Let me know if you have any questions.  And if you make a Christmas memory book, I would love to know about it!

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Just checking in

Vintage coffee ad from my collection.  Love those cups!
I'm actually not in the kitchen this afternoon, but rather in the craft room trying to make some headway on a few gifts.  But here's what's been happening in the kitchen:

* Dipped a package of marshmallows (just the tops) in melted chocolate and then in either sprinkles or crushed candy canes.  I didn't try one, but they looked good!  These were for a kids' party at church.

* Made a double batch of chocolate butter cookies and dipped them in sprinkles -- sent most of those to the kids' party as well.

* Bought more ingredients while grocery shopping today to make more of those chocolate-dipped marshmallows and also more chocolate dipped orange slices which have become a huge favorite in this house. 

I also plan to make date balls, fudge, and a few more kinds of cookies over the next few days.  Need to get a festive package off to Nevada as soon as I complete the gifts for that family!

Lentil soup is simmering in the slow cooker so I don't need to worry about supper.

I've just brewed a mug of White Christmas tea and am ready to get back to the sewing machine (and an Amazon wish list or two or three!).  Hope your Christmasy projects are coming along well!

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Christmas preparations progress report

This scan of a lovely Christmas card by artist Kathy Lawrence always brings a smile.
It's pretty slow progress.  But I'll just list some of the Christmasy things that are getting done.

I'll post about this more in my Christmas blog, but Saturday morning we took three of our grandkids out for our annual traditional shopping trip to buy gifts for their parents and baby sister.  Breakfast at McDonalds is always a hit with them.

That afternoon I went (along with my daughter and granddaughter) to a ladies' Christmas fellowship and Yankee swap.  Always a fun time.  I made an Easy Cheese Log and cookie tray to bring along.  As part of my gift for the swap, I included one of these Christmas Star Dishcloths which always seem to be admired.  I only have one more in my gift stash, so I need to get busy and make more after Christmas.

That night when I got home I made a batch of   Whipped Shortbread Cookies.  Some of these would be added to my cookie tray for Sunday, while others went into a tin for the freezer.

On Sunday afternoon we were blessed to attend a Christmas vespers service which our daughter, son-in-law and three grandchildren were participating in.  It was lovely and a nice way to prepare our hearts for Christmas.

And I've also finished a couple of handmade gifts, wrapped a few gifts, purchased a few gifts, sent some Christmas cards and displayed some we've received, and bought more baking ingredients.

A highlight of my Christmas preparations this year has been, as I've mentioned, the lovely online Advent calendar which you can find here: 25 Days of God-Given Gifts by Abby, at Little Birdie Blessings.

Lovely graphic is by Abby, at Little Birdie Blessings.
I've been using the SOAP method of Bible study to meditate on the verse Abby shares each day.  What a blessing!  If you haven't visited Abby, you will want to.  It's not too late!

Monday, December 14, 2015

Small projects for a Christmas fabric stash, part 2

As I mentioned in the last post, I definitely have quite the Christmas fabric stash.  In fact, I even have a Pinterest board for my virtual Christmas Fabric Stash on Pinterest  Here are a few more projects to help you use up that stash!  

You can see one of my rag garlands in the photo at top.  And here is a rag garland in a different color scheme, in the living room, holding up some sweet silhouette ornaments made by my daughter out West.  The link is below the photo.  These garlands put very small pieces of fabric to good use.

 Rag Garlands
 I don't have a link for these hot mats (which will protect your dining table from hot dishes), but  they are pretty simple to make.  Just cut 2 squares of Christmas fabric (they need not be matching) whatever size you like.  I usually use 8 to 10 inch squares, but I vary it depending on the size of fabric scraps I have available.  Then cut a piece of cotton batting the same size.  Place the fabric squares right sides together and layer the cotton batting on top.  Pin the edges carefully so the layers don't slip and machine-sew around the edges, using a half-inch seam allowance and leaving a 2-inch area on one side unstitched for turning.  Now turn the mat right side out, using a chopstick or other implement to carefully and neatly poke out the corners.  Press the mat, being sure to tuck in the raw edges (the gap you had left unstitched) inside to neatly match up with the rest of the mat.  Press again.  Then, using a 1/4-inch seam allowance, stitch all the way around the mat, which provides a nice finish and neatly closes up that gap.  Press again and you are done!
More hot mats
 You can make mug rugs the same exact way, using smaller squares of fabric.

Christmas fabrics also can be used to make beautiful table runners and placemats for your holiday table.  I don't have instructions for these, but this link: Christmas placemats and table runner tells you where I found the pattern.

 Vintage-Style Pillowcases can, of course, be made from any fabric, but it is fun to make Christmas pillowcases to really showcase a seasonal fabric.  Here are some that I have made.

Mug rugs are some of my favorite things to make.  You can get so creative.  The mug rugs below were made using this link as a starting point:
Tea Time Mug Rug

 A simple throw is easy to make as well.  The links below tell you how I made these.  The flannel one has a plain dark green flannel on the reverse side.  Just fold it the other side out to use at other times of the year.

Simple Flannel Throw

Christmas Fabric Throw

I used a holly print fabric for the reverse side of this one.
 So there you have a few more projects!  Enjoy playing with the Christmas fabrics in your stash.  I'm linking this post up with Sandi's No Place Like Home at Rose Chintz Cottage today.

Friday, December 11, 2015

Small projects for your Christmas fabric stash, part 1

Yo-Yo ornament made by one of my granddaughters
Do you have a Christmas fabric stash?  I sure do.  I find pretty Christmas fabric at a good price almost impossible to resist.   Sometimes I even buy it when I don't know what I'll use it for.  You too?  One idea for using the larger pieces would be a Christmas tablecloth or table topper.  But often I will have scraps left over from other projects. 

If you are like me and want to use up every possible scrap of your Christmas fabrics, here are some links to a few projects I have shared over  in my Christmas kitchen in the past.

 Patchwork-look Coasters

A patchwork-look coaster -- so easy!
Fabric Napkins

Yo-Yo Ornaments
A yo-yo wreath ornament
Soft Fabric Trees
Soft tree displayed in a bathroom on an inverted goblet

Soft tree displayed in a Christmas teacup
Christmas Tablecloths

Foldable Fabric Baskets

A foldable fabric basket
Hope you've enjoyed these ideas.  Have fun with them!  Some would even make nice Christmas gifts!  Today I am linking up this post and Part 2 with No Place Like Home at Rose Chintz Cottage. 

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Favorite cut-out Christmas cookies

2009 vignette on my kitchen island
"When lights and decorations go up along main streets across the country, rolling pins and cookie cutters of many shapes soon come to light in the kitchen. Then, more than at any other season, rolled cookies have top popularity. By the time Christmas arrives, cookie stars, hearts, crescents, jaunty gingerbread boys and animals dangle from the branches of twinkling Christmas trees."
~ Nell Nicholson, in Farm Journal's Homemade Cookies.

Oh, how I loved that book, which my mother had in her cookbook library when I was growing up (and which I eventually got my own copy of).  Nell Nicholson wrote so evocatively of country-style food -- and really, of an entire way of life.   Her words still ring true. For a good many people, the best Christmas cookies are the kind you cut out with holiday cutters and sprinkle with colored sugars and sprinkles before baking -- or, alternatively, bake first and then frost and add the trimmings. I have made plenty of cut-out cookies in my day -- by myself, with my own kids, and now with grandkids -- and thought I would share a few of my favorites here. There are other cut-out cookies over in my Christmas blog as well, and I have labeled them as such so they can easily be found.

Here's the first one:


1 1/4 cups butter, softened
2 cups sugar
2 eggs
5 cups flour
1 tsp. salt
4 teaspoons baking powder
1 tsp. nutmeg
1/2 cup milk

Cream together butter and sugar. Add eggs and beat until fluffy. Sift together dry ingredients and add alternately with milk. If the dough is sticky, add flour if necessary to make the dough easier to handle.

Roll dough 1/4-inch thick on a well-floured surface, and cut with cookie cutters of your choice. Sprinkle with colored sugars or sprinkles.

Bake on ungreased baking sheets at 375° for 8 minutes. Remove to wire racks to cool. Makes about 100 cookies.

This recipe came from a Farm Journal Christmas magazine from the early 1960s. It was supposed to be a very easy dough for children to roll and cut, and I remember helping to make these as a child. Later, I used this recipe for my own kids to make and decorate cut-out cookies when they were young.  It's not my favorite sugar cookie recipe, but it is great to use with kids.

No list of cut-out Christmas cookies could really be complete without gingerbread men.  The following recipe is slightly adapted from Cook & Tell, and is my favorite recipe for ginger guys. Note that it is easily made in a saucepan!


1/2 cup shortening (or use real margarine)
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup molasses
1 1/2 tsp. vinegar
1 egg, beaten
3 cups flour
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ginger
1/4 tsp. salt

In a large, heavy saucepan, place shortening, sugar, molasses, and vinegar. Bring to a boil, stirring. Remove from heat and cool mixture to room temperature.

Add beaten egg to cooled mixture in saucepan. Sift together remaining ingredients and stir into molasses mixture using a wooden spoon. Mix well. Form mixture into a ball; wrap in plastic wrap and chill for several hours.

Working with a small amount of dough at a time, and leaving the remainder of dough in the fridge, roll out dough 1/8-inch to 1/4-inch thick and cut with desired cookie cutters.

Bake on ungreased baking sheets at 375º for 8-12 minutes. Mine took about 8 minutes or even a little less. Makes a bunch of gingerbread men.

This next recipe is a newer favorite of mine, although I suspect the recipe itself is quite old.


2 cups brown sugar
1 cup butter flavor Crisco® (I use the sticks -- so, 1 stick for this recipe)
2 eggs
3 Tblsp. cold water
1 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
4 cups all-purpose flour

Cream sugar and Crisco® until fluffy, using an electric mixer. Add the eggs, water, and vanilla and combine well. Sift the dry ingredients together. Work them into the sugar mixture with a wooden spoon or your hands, if necessary. When well blended, form the dough into a ball and wrap it in plastic wrap to chill for several hours or overnight.

When ready to bake, roll the dough very thin on a floured surface. Cut out shapes and decorate with colored sugars and sprinkles, pressing down lightly. Using a floured spatula, transfer the decorated cookies to a foil-or-parchment-covered cookie sheet. Re-roll the scraps to make more cookies. Repeat the cutting and sprinkling process.

Bake at 350º for 6 to 8 minutes until golden brown. Remove to cooling racks.

Yields a lot of cookies; I have never counted to determine how many, and the original recipe, which I found in Cook & Tell, didn't say.
Have you ever made a chocolate cut-out cookie?  I have two recipes for those and they are very good.  Different!


1 egg
1 cup sugar
1 cup molasses
1 cup unsweetened baking cocoa
1 cup melted shortening (for example, one Crisco® stick, melted)
2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 cup warm water or coffee
1 tsp. vanilla
4 cups flour
1 tsp. cinnamon (optional)
1/4 tsp. cloves (optional)
1/4 tsp. salt

Beat the egg; add sugar and molasses and beat 1 minute more.  Dissolve the cocoa in the melted shortening, cool slightly; then add to batter and beat again.  Dissolve the soda in the warm water or coffee and vanilla.  Sift together the flour, salt, and spices if using.  Add soda mixture to the batter alternately with the sifted dry ingredients, beginning and ending with dry ingredients.  Chill dough for 1 hour before using.

Roll out dough 1/4-inch thick on a lightly floured surface; cut into shapes.  Bake about 8 minutes at 350º; do not overbake; you want them to be fudgy, so watch carefully.  Remove to racks to cool.

When cool, frost generously with a vanilla butter frosting.  If you need a recipe, try this:  3 cups confectioners’ sugar, 2 Tblsp. softened butter, 1 tsp. vanilla, and up to 5 Tblsp. milk -- start with half that amount and stir in more milk as needed until smooth and spreadable.  Makes a good amount of cookies!

The second one is a little bit less fudgy and more molasses-y, but very good:


1 cup butter
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup molasses
1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla
3 cups flour
1 tsp. salt
1/2 cup cocoa
Vanilla glaze, optional

Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy.  Beat in molasses, egg and vanilla to mix well.  Sift together flour, cocoa and salt; stir into creamed mixture.  Chill dough.

 Roll dough rather thick, about 1/4”, and cut into rectangles with a clean empty luncheon meat can, or use cookie cutters of your choice.  Place cookies 1/2” apart on lightly greased baking sheet.

Bake at 350° about 10 minutes.  Remove from sheets and cool on racks, then frost with vanilla glaze if desired.  Makes about 3 dozen.

 A little side story concerning these Cocoa-Molasses Cookies:  Years ago I read the Trixie Belden serieÏs to the kids, then they enjoyed them on their own as well.  In one of the books a Dutch lady named Mrs. Vanderpoel served Trixie and her friends some cookies, and I’ve always wondered if these were the ones.  The recipe says that these cocoa-molasses cookies are ”long-time favorites in Dutch neighborhoods in the Hudson River Valley.”   These are yummy with a vanilla glaze but just as tasty without it.  Moose and pine trees cut from this dough are really good!

  And this last one, which may be my personal favorite sugar cookie, is from my dear friend Marilyn's mother. Love the festive combination of flavors in this one!


1 cup shortening (may use half margarine)
2/3 cup sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. almond extract
3/4 tsp. vanilla
3/4 tsp. orange extract
2 unbeaten eggs
2 1/2 cups flour

Combine all but the flour and beat thoroughly. Add flour and mix well. Chill dough thoroughly.

Roll small portions of dough 1/4-inch thick and cut out. [Edited to add: decorate cookies before baking with sprinkles and colored sugars; or, bake the cookies plain and frost when cool.]

Bake for 8-10 minutes in 375º oven.

The yield is unspecified on this one, too. You really do get a lot of cookies from cut-out recipes, especially if you re-roll the scraps, a process that sometimes seems interminable. But I always do it.

Whichever recipe you choose, have fun.  Happy Baking!

I am linking up today with Gooseberry Patch's Christmas Cookies and Candy Recipe Roundup, where you will find loads of inspiration for your Christmas kitchen gifts and treats.

Wednesday, December 09, 2015

A most meaningful Advent calendar

This beautiful graphic is by Abby at Little Birdie Blessings.  It is Day 9 for the Advent Calendar.
I very seldom post the same thing on both of my blogs, but this is an exception.  Abby, at Little Birdie Blessings, has created a lovely online Advent calendar which you can find here:  25 Days of God-Given Gifts.  Each day, Abby is highlighting one of the special gifts which God so generously gives to His children.  She is sharing precious Scripture verses and beautiful free graphics for your enjoyment and blessing.  Do go over and see the calendar and then return each day to see that day's gift.  You will be blessed!

Tuesday, December 08, 2015

How to make a Christmas shadow box

I shared this on my Christmas blog -- Mrs. T's Christmas Kitchen -- a few years ago, but have never posted the actual how-tos here at my kitchen table.  I thought since it's December, and people are trimming their trees and homes, some little bits and pieces might come to light that would be perfect for a project like this.  I just got my shadow box out for the season, and was delighted all over again to display it.  So if this looks like your type of project, read on.  What follows is not exactly a tutorial, but rather basic instructions that might work with whatever memorabilia you choose to use.

For the longest time I had wanted to make a Christmas shadow box using vintage odds and ends.  I had seen the idea in Gooseberry Patch Christmas Book 7, and loved the one they showed.  The directions were by necessity not super specific, because of course what everyone chooses for a shadow box frame and bits of memorabilia will be different.

I wanted to use an old red wooden silverware tray as a shadow box frame.  This was my mother's, and was used by me as a teenager when I had a little home baking business.  In recent years, nearly every time I opened the silverware drawer in my own kitchen, I would be reminded of this project and how much I wanted to create one of these shadow boxes.  So one day I got my materials together and set out to make one.  It took me a week or more, because I was working on it in available snippets of time here and there. It would likely take only a few hours for most people.  I began by thoroughly cleaning and washing the tray.
Then I lined the compartments with scrapbook paper.  I had some I had bought years ago specifically for this project.  I thought the red plaid had a vintage look -- but oh, aren't those red and green prints amazing?  They look like scans of actual vintage fabric.  There are stains, worn places, etc.  Just the look I was going for!
Another look with the tray flat, just as I glued the paper in.  I used a glue gun for the entire project.
After lining the bottom of each compartment, I remembered something important.  One side of each compartment was going to become the shelf for the memorabilia.  So I needed to line those as well.
Then the fun began!  I started with the vertical side compartment.
I was a bit at a loss trying to decide how to fill this longer vertical space.  I finally decided to make a tag and hang it from a red thumbtack.  The picture is of me and my brother and a cousin in the snow.  The flocked Santa sticker, the plastic holly and the striped bias tape are all vintage.
A closer look at the tag and its vintage Santa sticker, holly, berries and bias tape.
The lower end of the tall side compartment needed something to fill in below the tag.  I used vintage plastic greens, holly, and berries.  This was old stuff from my great-aunt.  Tiny vintage glass Christmas balls, too.

Then I set about filling the compartments.  This was pure fun -- but I found that it did need careful placement. There was one mistake I made by doing this, which you will eventually see below.   I set everything in place while the frame was laid down flat and made sure I liked the effect before gluing anything down.
The top shelf holds lots of memories.  When I was a child my grandmother had Santa mugs that the grandchildren were allowed to use at Christmas dinner.  The one here is a cheap miniature plastic imitation, but looks much the same.  The folded cupcake paper (which I may or may not leave there) is from a stash of my grandmother's Christmas things.  The tag is from my daughter as a teen, and the ribbon roses are a reminder of her as well since she often called herself the "little rose girl".  (She loves roses!)  The red ribbon, plastic greenery, the bell, and the little red bird are vintage.  The cookie cutter shapes are new but I thought they went well with the other things.

The second shelf holds a box of vintage light bulbs, a vintage sticker tag and a vintage plastic Santa and sleigh. I stuck a little metal embellishment that says "Cherish" on the tag.  The little metal pieces don't show up well in the photo, but they look cute in the shadow box in person.

The letter stickers and the word on the tag are newer items.  You can't really see the word but it says "family" and is a shiny silver color.  In retrospect I should have put the "memories" letters lower on the back wall.  (This was the only downside to arranging everything flat to check placement; it skewed my view of things at what would be the top of each compartment.) It is fine when the shadow box is hung on a wall, but is a bit hard to see in the photo.
Vintage plastic deer, light bulb and tinsel from one of our early Christmases together.

Finished shadow box!
Hope you have enjoyed this look at the making of a Christmas shadow box!  Maybe you've been inspired to make one of your own!

I am linking up today with Sandi's No Place Like Home at Rose Chintz Cottage.  You'll find loads of inspiration over there, so do visit!