Finnish Prune Pinwheel Tartlets for Christmas

Food & Drink

I’ve talked about Finnish foods a bit before, for instance sour cream pie, liver sausage and blueberry soup. I don’t think I’ve done more than mention the joulutorttu, though, the baked Christmas dessert filled with plum jam.

Joulutorttu

Back in the day when you had to make the puff pastry from scratch they must’ve taken a good while to produce. These days, with store-bought puff pastry, they really are a cinch to make:

  • cut thawed puff pastry sheets into 9 evenly-sized squares
  • separately for each square, cut every corner in half as if you’re cutting a line diagonally from each corner to the center BUT leave about 1” in the center intact
  • fill centers with about a teaspoon of plum jam
  • make a pinwheel shapes by bringing every other half-corner together in the center
  • if desired, brush beaten egg on exposed puff pastry surfaces
  • bake about 10 minutes in a preheated oven (400 degrees F / 200 C or according to package) or until golden brown
  • let cool and dust with confectioners sugar

(These instructions fit U.S pastry sheets and measurements.)

Since I haven’t found plum jam in stores here, I’ve developed a super-duper easy way: I soak prunes in hot water until soft (approx. as long as the pastry takes to thaw) and use them to fill the tartlet, one prune per square. I also use toothpicks to skewer through both the pinwheel corners and prune in the center so that the tartlet won’t open while baking (the tips will burn easily if they do). And since I’m not terribly fond of confectioners sugar, I usually skip it.

While flipping through a back issue of Country Living magazine, I spotted the very same pastries except with a summery filling: jam and cream cheese.

Country Living 7-8-2016 Jam Pinwheels

Country Living July/August 2016, p. 20.

Country Living magazine gives credit for these jam and cream cheese versions to Kayley McCabe; visit the post at Handmade Charlotte for her writeup and tips.

They sound absolutely delicious – I’ll have to try some time!

Note: I wasn’t paid or perked to mention this; just passing along a good thing.

 

Ribbon Ornaments from Leftover Crafts Supplies

Arts & Crafts, Colors, DIY, Fabrics & Materials

I have a problem: as long as they are in good shape, I’m unable to throw away pieces of ribbon, however short. As long as there aren’t that many, though, they’re easy to store. But when you’ve been sitting on a stash for a while, suddenly (err– nope, not so suddenly, he hee) they’re EVERYWHERE.

This year has become the latter. So, I did some crafts! Ribbon ends that are too short for anything else, combined with other bits and bobs, make wonderful small ornaments. Since I had a variety ribbons etc. in various lenghts and amounts, I tried a few different types.

First, I adapted the ribbon hair bow tutorial by Camille Gabel at Growing up Gabel into bow decorations. For a test piece, I combined fuchsia, burgundy red, pale pink and white, plus a random peach-colored remnant.

Ribbon Ornament Test Piece Finished

That worked really nicely! I didn’t have enough of ribbons in more colors, though, so I cheated and added a few short pieces of fabric.

Ribbon Ornament Project More Colors Cut

Ribbon Ornaments Finished

The fabric edges do ravel, which might be a problem when hanging the ornaments on the tree or taking them off. I tried snipping the ravelled threads off as well as I could. We’ll just have to see how they fare long term.

I also tried making a tree-shaped ornament out of short green bits of ribbon and a stick (like this one made by Melissa Lennig). When I started, though, it was raining buckets and I didn’t at all feel like popping into the woods to pick up a stick and wait for it to dry. Instead, I decided to try a q-tip with one end snipped off. How bad can it be, I thought.

Mini Tree Ornament Collage

For the record, a q-tip is way too small for this project. It was too short and slippery and difficult to handle or try to tie the ribbons on. Phew! I only had the patience for one. The basic idea is neat, though, and works just fine, so I might make more with actual sticks at some point.

Mini Tree Ornament Finished

While rooting around in my cabinet for supplies, I came across a pile of ornaments I started some years ago but never finished. I filled clean silvery candy wrappers with rolled-up paper, glued them shut and added a hanging loop out of cotton yarn. Here they are almost finished:

Candy Wrapper Ornaments Assembled

Finally, I made a minimalist, tiny white-on-white wreath with a gold-embellished bow.

White Mini Wreath on Mirror

You’ll never guess what it’s made out of – used plastic packaging strapping! I glued two lengths into a circle, then glued the circles together and added a bow. The bow came pre-tied; I saved it from a store-bought gift packaging and merely added a gold-colored twist tie at the back.

White Mini Wreath Collage

White Mini Wreath Finished

It was really satisfying to take a bunch of waste material or remnants and turn them into something useful. In fact, we used them all in our Christmas decor this year: the mini wreath hangs on the front hall mirror and all of the ornaments in our little tree.

2018 Rainbow Tree Collage

With the rainbow-colored paper chains I made years ago, our tree is very colorful indeed!

What are your favorite Christmas projects that involve recycling or upcycling?

Happy Halloween!

Arts & Crafts, Colors, DIY, Inspiration

I’m impressed – and cheered! – by the DIY rainbow pumpkins by Brittany W. Jepsen at The House that Lars Built:

House that Lars Built Rainbow-Pumpkin-Porch-0102

The House that Lars Built; photo by Jane Merritt.

Isn’t the array simply stunning?!

Happy (Rainbow) Halloween!

P.S. An honorable mention goes to Brittany DeMauro at Costume Supercenter for sharing Avengers pumpkin-carving stencils. Avengers assemble!

Note: I wasn’t paid or perked to mention this; just passing along a good thing.

Paper Rose Wreath Made from Recycled Book Pages

Arts & Crafts, Fabrics & Materials

Brittany Bailey shared a paper rose wreath made from recycled book pages:

Pretty Handy Girl Brittany Bailey Book Page Rose

Brittany Bailey.

Pretty Handy Girl Brittany Bailey Book Page Rose Wreath

Brittany Bailey.

So beautiful, right?

As a booklover and librarian, I’m protective of books in good shape. But as a maker, if a book is beyond saving, I’m glad to see it continue its life as crafts materials. Brittany’s project definitely brings together the best of both worlds. Thank you for sharing!

Visit Pretty Handy Girl for the tutorial.

Note: I wasn’t paid or perked to mention this; just passing along a good thing.

Online Finds: TP Roll Ghost Halloween Craft

Arts & Crafts, DIY

Being a Finn, I don’t typically decorate for Halloween. These über-cute ghost tea light holders might make me change my mind, though:

The Craft Train Kate Ghosts-hero-2

Kate at The Craft Train.

Aren’t they adorable! And made from very simple materials – repurposed toilet paper rolls, white paint and a black marker. Visit Kate at The Craft Train for the whole project.

Note: I wasn’t paid or perked to mention this; just passing along a good thing.

New to Me: Himmeli-Style Hanging Planters Made from Brass

Design & Designers, Stunt Double

Mandi Gubler at Vintage Revivals shared a tutorial for making himmeli-style hanging planters:

Vintage Revivals Mandi Gubler Himmeli Hanging Planters

Mandi Gubler at Vintage Revivals.

Hers are made from brass tubing and leather thongs for durability. I like the updated materials! I’m not so sure about the modern shapes, though – I’m fond of this particular Finnish tradition, but I do realize turning a traditionally-shaped himmeli into a planter would be very difficult (see some examples in a past post of mine).

Visit Mandi’s blog for the video tutorial in stop-motion.

Note: I wasn’t paid or perked to mention this; just passing along a good thing.

A Pompom Solar System

Arts & Crafts, DIY, Geek out!, Stunt Double

Love this – Lisa Tilse at We Are Scout turned our solar system into a pompom mobile:

We Are Scout Lisa Tilse Pompom Solar System

Lisa Tilse at We Are Scout.

So clever! The blue and green Earth is the best, closely followed by Saturn with its rings and the colorful Jupiter.

Visit her site for the tutorial.

Note: I wasn’t paid or perked to mention this; just passing along a good thing.

Experimental Cooking: Popcorn Nachos

DIY, Food & Drink

Due to various dietary restrictions (some old, some new), we’re trying out different versions of old favorites and recipes completely new to us. This means food experiments! Here’s Husband’s latest: popcorn nachos.

Experimental Cooking Popcorn Nachos

It works surprisingly well, even if the result is a bit crumbly. As long as you’re using a fork, it’s fine.

You don’t need a recipe as such, but here’s the how-to:

  • Pop a batch of corn and pick out the unpopped kernels. Spread in the bottom of a baking dish.
  • Top with a light layer of salsa, chopped peppers, olives, mozzarella, etc. – whatever you’d put on regular nachos.
  • Bake in the oven at 350 Fahrenheit / 175 Celcius until the cheese melts.

Did you try it? What did you think?

Colorful, Geometric Paper Jewellery

Arts & Crafts, Design & Designers, DIY

This amazing geometric paper jewellery pings the same receptors in my brain as the geometric quilting patterns I found earlier.

The House That Lars Built Paper Earrings Necklace

The House That Lars Built; photo by Jane Merritt.

They come from a set (tiara, earrings and necklace) inspired by the royal wedding of Meghan Markle and Prince Harry of Britain.

How inventive – kudos! Visit The House That Lars Built for the tutorial.

Note: I wasn’t paid or perked to mention this; just passing along a good thing.