Christmas prep over the weekend

Genny arrived Saturday morning and we started on our Christmas preparations. I began by mixing together ingredients for two kinds of truffles. Almond Truffles and Raspberry Truffles. Both are easy to make.

Later in the day, after the chocolate had hardened a bit, I used a small cookie scoop to portion out the centers. Then I rolled them and left them on cookie sheets to harden again before placing them in the freezer. The day before the open house, I will dip them in white almond bark. The raspberry-flavored ones will get coarse red sugar sprinkled on top and the almond-flavored ones with be garnished with finely chopped toasted almonds.

truffle centers

I helped Genny with the chalkboard Christmas tree for a little while. There will be a large lamp post on the side of the chalkboard tree, and I needed to make a pattern for Genny to trace for the lamp. I also had a coloring page that I had printed from online, that had to be simplified for Genny to transfer to the chalkboard. While I was doing all the above, Genny was working on the chalkboard tree.

She likes to start at the top of the eight-foot tree to minimize smearing the chalk as she works. This is the beginning. Thirteen more panels to go!

Chalkboard Christmas Tree

We took a break from the chalkboard tree to work on the “Blue and Silver Tree” in the downstairs bedroom. The room is done in blue and yellow. The tree is decorated with vintage-style ornments in blue and silver. And finished with a sprinkle of silver tinsel.

My handy Christmas elf (DH) brought the tree down from the attic Friday evening and set it up for us. He made sure all the lights were working. The silver bead garlands are attached to the tree so they stay on while the tree is stored. That saves us a lot of time each year. To attach them, I bend the end of a stem under and over the bead string where I want it to hang. I squeeze it together and they stay on, even while the tree is hauled from the attic, down two flights of stairs, and down the hall into the bedroom. The beads usually need a little tweaking as they may be tangled around another branch here or there, but, for the most part, they are ready to go when the tree is placed in the tree stand. The lights stay on the tree, as well, of course. I used cool-white LED lights on this tree and they are perfect for the blue room.

The other interesting thing about this tree is that I spray-painted it silver. Yes. I spray-painted a brand-new tree when we got it in 2012. Here’s a blog post about the first tree I spray-painted in 2008 with some updates through the years. As the post points out, I didn’t use glitter on the second incarnation of the spray-painted tree. You can read about it here:  thanks, hgtv

I should have taken more photos as we went along, but I forgot. Here’s a video of the completed tree.

Silver and Blue Christmas Tree

Then back to the chalkboard tree. Genny wasn’t satisfied with the picture she had chalked in the left panel below. You can see it in the chalkboard tree picture at the beginning of this post. It was too finely detailed to be at the top of the tree where it is harder to see than the lower panels. We decided to use the same picture, but we enlarged the picture using the printer/copier and will use the main part of that picture for the left panel. Maybe you’ll see that next week!

Chalkboard Christmas Tree 2018

She moved on to the next panel, the children’s Christmas program. We’re going to have a little angel dangling to the right of the manger, among the stars.

Chalkboard Christmas Tree 2018

This panel celebrates the annual Christmas Eve church service.

Chalkboard Christmas Tree 2018

And below the church panel is Grandma baking Christmas cookies. Genny gave Grandma blue curtains with snowflakes to mimic my own kitchen’s Christmas curtains.

Chalkboard Christmas Tree 2018

As you can see, we have a ways to go! Of the twenty-plus trees we put up, this one takes the longest to “decorate.”

Chalkboard Christmas Tree 2018

While Genny worked on the chalkboard tree, I made a double batch of Butterscotch Gingerbread Cookies. I am storing the dough in the fridge until Wednesday, when I will bake them. I also made Double Chocolate Biscotti, which has mini chocolate chips and chipped white chocolate in the dough. I baked those, stored them in a gladware container and put them in the freezer. Before the open house, I will thaw them and dip one end in white chocolate.

Double Chocolate Biscotti

The other project I finished today was to make ribbon tree toppers for the glass tree. I looped ribbon and tied it to the end of wooden skewers I had painted black. I enjoyed the fireplace and Christmas music on my computer while I worked.

Ribbon tree topper

I added some hot glue to hold the ribbons in place. On Wednesday, DH plans to climb the ladder to place these at the top of the glass tree.

Ribbon tree topper

Also on Wednesday, I plan to make more cookies for the freezer. Genny will be here on the weekend, as well as our older son and his family to help with more Christmas prep. It should be fun! Stay tuned and join us as we watch Christmas come together!



  1. Laney
    Posted October 21, 2018 at 8:00 am | Permalink

    It always gives me such a warm, happy feeling to see your Christmas preparations in full swing!

  2. Carmen Lewis
    Posted October 22, 2018 at 8:42 pm | Permalink

    Genny needs a mahl stick when she works on the chalkboard tree! It would let her work without smudging anything, and you could probably make one with stuff you have around the house.

  3. Lucy
    Posted October 24, 2018 at 7:30 pm | Permalink

    this makes me want to start putting up my decorations!

  4. Posted October 25, 2018 at 12:43 am | Permalink

    Hi, Carmen! Grab your sisters and come on over! 🙂 Thanks for the tip regarding a mahl stick. That will be so helpful.

  5. Posted October 25, 2018 at 12:43 am | Permalink

    Thank you, Laney! 🙂

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