Dec 18, 2012

Easy Yet Grand Christmas Food Ideas

A Christmas family feast is an important part of celebrations. Conventional Christmas feasts may include Turkey or Goose, other meat dishes, vegetables, breads, fruit cake and Christmas puddings. The list is endless if you want to get creative. Parcels of biscuits, fudge, candies, jars of homemade preserves are great gifts to give to your guests. Here are few easy to make, tried and trusted recipes you can create to make your celebrations perfect!

Mixed Fruit Cake

                                                                                                         
Ingredients
  • 500 ml cake four
  • 250 gm butter
  • 200 ml brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup mixed fruit, chopped
  • 5 eggs
  • 2.5 tsp baking powder
  • 5 ml vanilla essence
  • 125 ml milk
  • 3 ml cinnamon powder
For decoration
      Icing sugar to dust
      Some glace cherries

Cream butter and sugar together thoroughly. Add eggs one at a time beating well after each addition. Sift all the dry ingredients together and add to the egg mixture. Add fruits to the batter and mix well. Pour into greased loaf pan and bake in preheated oven at 180 degrees Celsius (350 /F) for 50 minutes or until skewer inserted into the center comes out clean. Dust with sifted icing sugar and decorate with glace cherries.


Chocolate Cup Cakes Recipe for Christmas


                                           
                                                                                                       
Ingredients
  • 175 gm cake flour
  • 2 Tb-sp cocoa powder
  • 5 ml baking powder
  • 5 ml baking soda
  • 150 gm castor sugar
  • 150 ml cooking oil
  • 150 ml milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 Tb-Sp treacle or golden syrup

Sift flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and castor sugar together. Mix eggs, milk, cooking oil and treacle in another bowl until well combined  Pour this mixture onto the sifted ingredients and fold until smooth. Spoon batter into paper cup cases and bake at 160* Celcius for 15 to 20 minutes.

Chocolate icing
  • 100 gm chocolate
  • 5 ml milk 
  • 15 ml butter
Combine together and melt over double boiler and put chocolate cream on top of cup cakes when cool.


How to make a Christmas Log Cake


                                            
                                                                                                               
Ingredients
  • 25 gm cake flour
  • 25 gm corn flour
  • 3/4 Te.sp baking powder
  • Pinch salt
  • 100 gm caster sugar
  • 4 eggs separated
Chocolate Cream
  • 400 ml icing sugar
  • 75 ml cocoa powder
  • 200 gm margarine
  • 25 ml milk
Preheat oven at 220* C

Beat  egg yolks and half of the sugar till creamy. In a separate bowl.beat egg whites until frothy. Add remaining sugar and pour on the egg yolks. Sift flour, corn flour, baking powder, salt and fold into the mixture. Line baking tray with greased paper. Pour the mixture and bake at 220* C for 7 minutes.
Meanwhile, place wax paper on a damp kitchen towel and sprinkle castor sugar. Turn the cake onto this.
Strip off the paper lining and trim the edges. Mark a line across on the short end to facilitate rolling. Roll up the tea towel, leave covered for five minutes. Unroll, and remove the wax paper, then re-roll and leave to cool.

Chocolate Cream

Sieve icing sugar and cocoa powder, add margarine and milk and beat till creamy. Unroll the cake and fill it with cream, leaving some for decoration. Re-roll and cover with the rest of the cream and mark with a fork. Decorate with Christmas leaves or glace cherries.




Dec 14, 2012

How to Make A Christmas Wreath to Decorate Your Home (DIY Project)

Christmas is just around the corner and it is time to get ready for the celebrations.Traditional colors of Christmas are green and red. Green symbolizes evergreen eternal life whereas many consider the color red symbolizes the blood of Jesus's crucifixion. The Christmas tree and other vegetation related to Christmas decor have a triangular shape, as with Fir trees, Mistletoe  Red Amaryllis and Christmas Cactus. The triangular shape is symbolic of the Trinity and  it is usually pointed towards heaven.

Other attractions in the Christmas decor basket include candles, bells, stockings, angels, and traditional wreaths. A Christmas wreath on the front door says, 'Welcome', and a decorative wreath on the dining table with candles can enhance and glorify the festivity of the occasion.

We now teach you an easy method of making your own Christmas wreath to tune up the holiday mood!

How to Make a Straw and Fir-Cone Wreath (DIY Project)


                                                                        



Materials required:
  • One wire coat hanger
  • Straws
  • Some Fir-cones
  • Red satin ribbon - 5 to 6 metres
  • Artificial strawberries
  • Florist wire
Method:

Bend coat hanger to form the shape of a wreath, and arrange straws around the wire frame and bind them with a string or some florist wire. Bind red satin ribbon around the wreath. Wire Fir-cones and insert at the top of the wreath. Wire strawberries or any other red balls together in bunches and place them in between the cones. Tie a big looped bow of ribbon and place it on the top with florist wire.


                           


                                                    ROSE AND FERN WREATH
Credit: AMillionLives.net
                               


                                                DRIED SLICED ORANGE WREATH
Orange slice wreath.
Credit: margesakelik on Pinterest
                                   
                                                                                                                       

                                                                   POM POM WREATH
Pom Pom Wreath
Credit: Tammy Kingsbury on Pintrest

     How to Make a Green Candle Wreath - DIY Project

                                                                                                                                                                                             

Materials Required:
  • Florist oasis ring
  • Four green candles
  • 2 bunches of red Heli-chrysums 
  • Dried and dyed foliage, stalks
  • Some red star flowers
  • Florist wire
Position and insert the candles into the oasis. Make small bunches of flowers and foliage using florist wire and insert into the wreath arranging them around the ring. Finally, fill any gaps with red star flowers.

    FRESH FLOWER WREATH
                                        
Unity Candle Wreath
Credit: FlowerCrossAmerica.com
                         
These were just a few D.I.Y. (do it yourself ) ideas related to Christmas decorations. You may play around with different colorful fresh or dried flowers, shrubs, ribbons and spray paints and you'll see the possibilities are endless.


Oct 30, 2012

Halloween Recipies For Everyone


Candied Apples





                                            

Ingredients 

  • 7 Apples
  • 1 Cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup corn syrup
  • 3/4 cup water
  • few drops of red food color
Directions

Insert craft stick or wooden skewers into the top of an apple. Combine sugar, corn syrup and water in a saucepan and cook over medium heat to form a thick sticky syrup or until a small amount of syrup dropped into cold water forms hard, brittle threads. Remove from heat and stir in food color. Holding apples by their sticks, dip in syrup and rotate to coat evenly. Place on butter paper sheet to harden.

Halloween Cupcakes 





Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups cake flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 te.sp baking powder
  • pinch of salt
  • 8 tb.sp butter
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/2 te.sp ess 
  • Oven tempt. 350 F
Directions

Sieve together flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in a bowl. Add butter, cream, eggs and essence, beat till smooth. Divide batter evenly into a twelve-cake tin lined with paper.

Bake for 20 to 25 min  until capcake tops are pale gold or till a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool cupcakes on wire racks before decorating with candied corn and vanilla cream.

Enjoy!

Oct 11, 2012

Halloween - The History and Interior Design Ideas

The History of Halloween

Via

Halloween, less commonly known as "All Hallow's Eve", is just around the corner. The entire world will celebrate this holiday on the 31st of October but very few know its origin - the occasion was initially started by pagans as a way of honoring the dead - kinda creepy!

The day falls on the last day of Autumn, i.e. the beginning of winter, and folks used to start stocktaking to prepare for the cold winter months ahead. They believed this was the time when physical and supernatural worlds were in close proximity, so the boundary between the world of living and dead became blurred. As a result, this could lead to certain magical/evil events taking place, like ghosts of the dead returning to earth. 

To ward off these spirits, folks built huge bonfires and sacrificed animals to invoke the help of gods against the supernatural. At the same time, people used this as an occasion to honor saints and pray for the recently departed, who had yet to reach heaven. These departed souls were supposedly wandering about this world until Halloween, which would provide them with a last chance for gaining vengeance upon their enemies before moving onto the next world. To avoid being recognized, they would wear masks and costume to disguise themselves.

These days, we have a bit more fun by wearing disguises, carving pumpkin, trick or treating, sharing stories about ghost, witches, watching horror movies, and setting up bonfires. But some people also observe prayer, fasts and attend vigils or church service.
Via
                                 

Interior Design and Decor At Halloween

                                                                                                                             
Candles and lanterns were lit to guide folks along the path to places of worship on the day following Halloween (i.e. the day after "All Hallow's Eve", which would be "All Hallow's Day"). They would carve lanterns from pumpkin as it was in abundance and has a soft skin which makes carving easy.

Via

Accessories for Halloween 


Homes are decorated with different elements of autumn season such as corn husks, scarecrows and pumpkins. The collage of imagery of the media has created is overall related to the theme of death, evil, and horror, and hence all decorations follow that idea, especially during trick or treating, when children wear scary disguises, carry lanterns and move from house to house, anticipating a bit of candy and a bit of fright.

Colors, Costumes and Interior Design Themes at Halloween Parties

Traditional holiday colors for Halloween are black and orange, although any other earthy color can easily fit into the decor, such as shades of brown and red. Halloween costumes reflect supernatural figures such as ghost, skeletons, witches, monsters and devils, so when it comes to deciding the color, anything goes, except perhaps pink.


Hell parties are held at (supposedly) haunted venues, or ghost tours are conducted across town.  Homes and party venues are decorated in gory themes that include decorations of fake cobwebs, scary-looking jack-o-lanterns and images of witches, black cats, ghost, bats, spiders, skeletons, wizard, vampires and werewolves.

Via

Food at Halloween 


Halloween comes during harvest season for apples, therefore candy apples or toffee apples are common treats (simply roll whole apples in sticky sugar syrup). Other popular food items are candy pumpkin and corns, pumpkin pies and pumpkin breads, and of course, apples.

Via
                               

Apr 20, 2012

Sunshine Bedroom Decor

The following post is a continuation of a series on color schemes in interior design. Feel free to browse through other article series related to interior design DIY.


The bedroom on the photo below is decorated in both warm and cool colours to achieve a lively atmosphere. The most prominent warm colour in this scheme is yellow, which is the lively color of the sun, included to create an aura of warmth and comfort to this interior design. On the other hand, the two most striking cool colours in this interior design are blue and green.

Notice how warm colours here appears to advance and come forward while cool colours appear to recede when set alongside warm colour. This creates a kind of visual depth in the room, important for bring variety into the scene.

Furthermore, you'll see this bedroom decor relies on both primary and secondary colours simultaneously. The geometric design of the fabric used for the duvet cover and pillow cases compliment the straight lines of the curtain and brown sofa chair with green and blue cushions, as well as yellow, brown and blue accessories (bowl sunflowers, lamp on the ivory coloured wooden table) also compliment the room decor.
This picture is taken from the Whitehead Linen, South Africa, Catalogue.

The beige-lime colour on the walls lifts the atmosphere of the room, making it more active, while the vintage cane box and photo frame add interest to the room. Overall, it's a clever mixture of colours, patterns and accessories, which ties in with the eclectic interior design style we explored earlier.


Apr 16, 2012

A Tetrad Colour Scheme

This picture is taken from the Whitehead Linen catalogue which shows a well-balanced attractive bedroom decorated under a tetrad colour scheme. Browse through more articals on colour schemes in interior design.



A Tetrad colour scheme is a contrast of four or more colours on a colour wheel. The colours used in this room decor are blue-green, blue-violet, red-orange and yellow-orange. If you want to use more colour in a room, you should use them in different proportions to add interest. For example contrast a warm colour on a small surface with a cool colour on a large surface.

To create a harmonious effect, you should lower the intensities and values of colours.You may see tones of blue-green, shades of blue-violet, tints of yellow-orange and red-orange - a collection infused with colour, character and vitality.

Checks and stripes with ivory-based fabric in this photo complements the same colour stripes in the curtains. The wall colour has a tone of blue-green and the accessories (glass ware and china) also compliment the colour scheme of the room. The curtains, upholstery fabric, rug on the floor, the Afghan and the accessories are all well-coordinated to balance this bedroom.

Next, I explore a sunshine inspired bedroom.

Apr 14, 2012

Lighting The Kitchen

This is the last article following the theme of lighting different rooms in your house. It is about lighting your kitchen using principles of interior design and décor

Like all the other rooms kitchen needs a good level of general light and task light. A kitchen, aside from its style or size, must be functional and for many, it's a dinning place too. If this is the case you should invest in a soft light that flatters the food as well as the mood of people to make eating a pleasant experience.


Via Town Green
                                                             
I wrote a guest post on lighting the kitchen a few months ago which got published on the Arcadian Lighting Blog. Hope you find it useful!


In my next article, I talk about a room design which uses the tetrad color scheme

Mar 23, 2012

Lighting the Lounge

I have previously written about using the color of light in your home, and this is the continuation of a post series on lighting and design of different rooms in the house. The current article talks about lighting your bedroom.


As you know by now that lighting is important in setting the mood of your home décor and to create a subtle and interesting interplay of light and shadow you can combine different types of lighting, i.e. general lighting, functional or task lighting and accent or decorative lighting. General lighting (central ceiling fixture) provide overall illumination, task lighting (lamps) illuminates a particular area-light with distinct purpose and accent lighting (spot light or down-lighter) accentuates decorative objects. 





To add atmosphere as well as appropriate illumination you should unite function and beauty by providing a balance of general, task and accent light. Pelmet and cove lighting can have traditional profile and could add glamour to a room.

Lamps with bases modeled on Chinese pottery or turned brass or wooden candle sticks are considered to be decorative objects in their own right. Plus, floor lamps or a pair of lamps on the tables look interesting.



Once you have dealt with general and task lighting you can add excitement and a touch of drama to a decor by using decorative or accent lighting. You may use a spot light to accentuate a Chinese vase / painting or group of candles that reflect in a mirror or a concealed lighting built into a display cabinet to show off your decoration pieces and crystal. 

Next w e talk about lighting the bedroom.

Mar 17, 2012

Designing Your Room With Warm, Cool and Neutral Lights

This is the eighth part of a post series on the interaction between light and colors in interior design and decor. The last article was about natural and artificial light in your home. Feel free to browse through other articles about interior design

There are three basic types of lights:


  • Warm light,
  • Neutral light, and,
  • Cool light.


Warm Lights in Interior Design



Warm lights, as we've discussed before, are yellow, orange and red and they're used to enhance warm-colored furnishing or to softens contours and angles. Warm lights create a cosy feeling and make objects appear larger and closer together.

For a warm lighting scheme to be successful in your home, you need take certain precautions. For example, you should avoid lights in the hues of greens and blues because they look dull and gloomy. Moreover, if you do go for a warm lighting scheme, try stay away from warm colors in the room because they will simply make the room look cloyed and hot.

Neutral or White Light in Interior Design



White light does not have any extraordinary effect on colors and it allows color to be perceived at its truest.

Cool Light in Interior Design



Using cool light, i.e. blue, aqua and green, in the right place, creates a sense of space and dignity in your home décor. It creates space by making walls and furnishings appear further away and enhances greens and blues. Cool light also highlights the silhouette of an object and accentuates surface features and defects.

While cool light neutralizes warm colors (fresh colors will appear greyish) and intensifies cool ones by creating an overall chilling and depressing effect.

A clever room decorator does not use warm light and cool light together as it evokes conflicting reactions.

Mar 12, 2012

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