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Posted by on Nov 16, 2016 | 0 comments

Amy’s Handmade Holiday Wreaths

Amy’s Handmade Holiday Wreaths

We’ve always loved the look of Amy DeGood’s floral arrangements (we featured her Del Ray business Good Gardener last year). Now that the season for locally grown flowers has passed, Amy’s transitioning to the use of evergreens to create simple, elegant and natural wreaths. You can buy them at an open house in Del Ray this Sunday. Amy makes a variety of sizes and style wreaths. She mixes branches of evergreen, boxwood and magnolia from her farm (and collected around the region) with dried flowers and curly willow branches to create an elegant layered design. Amy says the key to keeping a natural wreath looking good well into the holiday season is to keep it cool, protect it from the rain/wind and give its branches a squirt of water if temperatures are unseasonably warm. Amy will be selling her wreaths at a sale this Sunday, November 20 from 1-3 pm at 415 E. Windsor in Del Ray. Quantities are limited, so the earlier you come to the sale, the...

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Posted by on Mar 24, 2016 | 2 comments

A Hamantaschen How-To

A Hamantaschen How-To

Growing up, hamantaschen were my favorite cookies. I lived close to Holy Bagel on Masonic and Haight in San Francisco (this fabulous institution no longer exists). On my way to school most mornings, I would pick up one of their giant apricot hamantaschen and a cup of coffee at Holy Bagel. This was such a heavenly combination. Hamantaschen is a popular cookie during Purim, a Jewish holiday. This year, Purim begins Wednesday and ends on Thursday – don’t worry, you still have time to make these delicious treats. My mom usually sends me a box of home made Hamantaschen every year for Purim. This year, I asked her to send me the recipe, so I could learn to make them. I love baking and enjoy adding new cookies to my repertoire. The ingredients are pretty basic. Dry ingredients first: 4 cups of flour 1/2 cup of sugar 2 teaspoons baking soda 1 teaspoon orange zest 1/2 teaspoon salt Wet ingredients: 4 eggs 1/2 cup of oil 1/4 cup fresh...

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Posted by on Dec 23, 2015 | 5 comments

Del Ray’s Christmas Card Lane

Del Ray’s Christmas Card Lane

There is no lack of creative holiday spirit in Del Ray, and one of my favorite displays has got to be the over-sized Christmas yard cards on Luray Ave. Whether you view them during the day or at night (each has its own spotlight), they are guaranteed to impress. The cards are the work of several neighbors, led by Becky VanZoeren, inspired by a 40+ year old tradition from Becky’s home town of Kalamazoo, Michigan. Growing up in Kalamazoo, Becky’s dad would take her and her family to see the magnificent display of cards on the now famous Lauderdale Drive, appropriately nicknamed “Christmas Card Lane.” Since 1965, at least 40 houses on the street have decorated their yards with hand-painted plywood cards, lit up at night for people to enjoy. In 1969, the cards made the local news and today they have a Facebook page. Last year, while chatting with an old friend from Kalamazoo about the cards, Becky decided to bring the tradition to Del Ray. Becky and...

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Posted by on Dec 17, 2015 | 0 comments

World Peace Paper Mâché Ornaments

World Peace Paper Mâché Ornaments

I love making holiday ornaments by hand and this year was no exception. My daughter Nadja’s Montessori school had the opportunity to decorate one of the Del Ray Christmas trees, so we chose to make paper mâché ornaments in the theme of world peace. To make enough for an entire tree took days, but you could easily make one or a few in a couple of hours. To make the ornaments, we blew up a balloon to the size we wanted, tied it off, and then used Mod Podge to layer strips of newspaper all over the balloon. We made a mix of small and large ornaments. When the balloon was completely covered with newspaper and a generous coating of Mod Podge, we set it in a small pot to dry in front of a portable heater. (If you do this, be careful not to put the balloon too close to the heat or the balloon will expand and bulge through the newspaper.) After this first layer dried, we started...

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Posted by on Dec 10, 2015 | 0 comments

DIY Gifts: Chocolate Truffles in Origami Boxes

DIY Gifts: Chocolate Truffles in Origami Boxes

The elves in our house are hard at work making gifts for family and friends, and we hope these origami boxes filled with chocolate truffles will please their recipients! First, the truffles — easy enough since they only require three basic ingredients (and a few extra for toppings). We used this recipe which calls for: 8 ounces of bittersweet chocolate (60% cacao) 1/4 cup cream 6 T of unsalted butter (I used slightly less) I heated the cream in a pan, then added it to a bowl set over a pot of simmering water with the chocolate and butter. I gently stirred the chocolate mix until it was silky smooth and after it cooled, I put it in the fridge covered with plastic wrap to harden. After a few hours, it was time to roll the truffles. For each truffle, I scooped a hefty teaspoon of chocolate and rolled it in my hands until round, then passed it on to Calvin to coat in the toppings. Half of them...

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