As the name of my blog indicates, I spend a lot of time thinking about home. Of course, my Heavenly Home is the one that is eternal, so that’s where I need to lay up my treasures, and that’s the one I’m striving for. But in the meantime, I have been given this tiny piece of the here-and-now—this nearly six-acre tract of land, this farmhouse, this domain—in which to serve Him. And, though this is in the earthly realm, I want the things that happen here to be investments in the Heavenly realm.


Friday, December 5, 2014

The Farmhouse Kitchen ChristmasTree


Most of the rooms in The Farmhouse are smallish, but the kitchen - it is not. It's a true farmhouse kitchen, added on twenty or so years after the original part of the house, and then made larger when a porch was closed in and made a part of the room. 

It is large enough for a Christmas tree.



I can't remember exactly what year it was, but one Christmas day there was not enough room for our growing family and my sister's growing family and my parents to all sit in the living room (even uncomfortably) to open presents. At the last minute, someone suggested that we all move into the kitchen. Right then, I decided that the next year, I'd have a Christmas tree in the kitchen. I knew I'd need a skinny tree that wouldn't take a lot of space, and it would need to be artificial because the wood stove is in the kitchen. 

After Christmas, we searched for our kitchen tree but there were none that met our criteria. None. 

That spring, the day before Resurrection Sunday, we went to an antique store in search of a deviled egg plate. As we left the store, Ron said, "Look! There it is!" There in the store window was a pencil tree, the perfect size. And so we bought a Christmas tree, the day before Easter.  




The first year, I decorated the tree with my collection of tin cookie cutters hung with checked ribbon. Every year since then, I have hung gingerbread men and dried orange slices. 

But this year, on the Annual Mother/Daughter Christmas Shopping Trip, I purchased a pineapple cookie cutter at Williams-Sonoma. 



Then last Friday, Nora Murphy released her Holiday 2014 e-mag, featuring the gorgeous colonial home of Dana Schwartz. (I have oohed and aahed over Nora Murphy's work before!) I was perusing the photos, in my house-y glory, when, lo and behold, there in Dana's kitchen was a Christmas tree with pineapple ornaments.

I think she used the same cookie cutter, don't you?
source


I was inspired to use my new pineapple cookie cutter to make cookies for the kitchen tree!


To decorate the tree, I draped popcorn garland (faux, although real would be great if I had the patience), and hung dried orange slices and a double batch of brown sugar spice cutout cookies (recipe below) tied with raffia. 





I had made a patchwork tree skirt many years ago that became the kitchen tree skirt, but two years in a row, Pinky peed on that skirt! What is up with that?! I washed it, washed it in hot water, washed it with vinegar, sprayed it with citrus...nothing deterred her. Blah. 

This year, I wrapped a towel around the base of the tree as a test. She totally ignored it. That made me brave enough to grab the coverlet throw on the end of my bed to use. So far, so good. 





I love having a Christmas tree in my kitchen! We spend so much time in here. It's not only our kitchen; it's our everyday dining room, our sitting room, our school room, a gathering room. It seems fitting to celebrate Christmas in the heart of our home. 




SUGAR & SPICE CUTOUT COOKIES
(Although I use them for decorations, these cookies are totally edible!)

1 cup dark brown sugar, firmly packed
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

* * *

Preheat oven to 350°F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper.

Cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add egg and vanilla; blend well.

Stir together remaining dry ingredients and add to butter mixture. Blend well.

On floured surface, roll out half of dough at a time, approximately 1/8" thick. Cut into shapes. Use a toothpick to make holes for hanging.


Bake for 12-15 minutes, until golden brown. 
(I baked my pineapples about 14 minutes. If they were for eating, I'd take them out earlier, but these cookies needed to be firm for hanging.)

Cool on wire rack. Leave out to dry for 24 hours. 
(One year I tried to hang them right away. A couple of gingerbread men lost their heads. Not good!)

Tie on raffia (or string, yarn, ribbon, or bakers' twine) for hanging.

I made a double batch, which yielded 21 pineapples. You'd get a lot more if you use a smaller cookie cutter.



Linking with Nester's Christmas Tour of Homes...where it doesn't have to be perfect to be beautiful!

17 comments:

  1. What a wonderful tree with all those pineapple cookies that say "welcome." The way you have it positioned makes it a dining room tree as well. Your home must rock come Christmas morning!

    Years ago, I had a big old farmhouse kitchen where there was room for a Christmas tree and we loved it, too. Now, if I can eke out space, I try to have a small kitchen tree in a stoneware bowl.

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  2. I loved hearing about your huge country kitchen and seeing photos of your tree and cookies too.

    Happy Holidays ~ FlowerLady

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  3. I absolutely LOVE this! It's the perfect tree! Sooo cute. The first year we were married we were soo poor it seemed and had NO WAY to buy all the beautiful store bought Christmas ornaments. My creative neighbor was in the same boat and she had a recipe for cookie dough ornaments. We made stars, and Christmas stockings, and trees all out of dough that we painted and used yarn for our hangers. They were just the cutest things. They were heavy though and back in those days we had only "real" trees which had a hard time supporting the heavier ornaments. Over the years we lost some of them to falling off and breaking etc., but here we are 40 years later and some of them still find their way to our Christmas tree. Secretly they are still some of my favorites. What a good idea to use pinapples! This whole post made me smile. Enjoy your day!

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  4. I must stop by the kitchen store in town and see if they have a pineapple cookie cutter!

    Beautiful!

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  5. I've been savoring Nora Murphy's magazine! I loved the pineapple cookie ornaments. It's funny how I like your style, and Dana Schwartz's style but it's not totally me. I looked at her Christmas decor and enjoyed it but I thought of you and your lovely Farmhouse and how YOU could do all those decorations and it would look perfect! I did do dried orange and lemon slices this year and have them in a bowl with cinnamon sticks and cloves.

    Your tree is perfect! Can't wait to see it in person! My Mom has a pencil tree that she has used in many rooms of her house, this year it is in the dining room.

    We'll I'm rambling! All this to say, "Beautiful tree and I love what you did with it!"

    Deanna

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  6. Oh that's perfect for your great kitchen. It's wonderful when our minds finally click on a good idea. I'm glad you have such a large and cozy space to enjoy the whole extended family. This old house does not have any open concept space and we've just gotta cram with joy!!

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  7. Ahhhh... what a great tree! And I think the cookies with the dried orange slices is lovely for a kitchen tree. Mmmm...are cookies allowed for snacks?

    I think it's a great idea to have a tree in the kitchen... mine would have to be even smaller than pencil thin to fit. I do sometimes have a tiny tabletop on in the window alcove by the sink. I might be trying out your idea of cookies and dried oranges.

    Wonderful to catch a glimpse of your home getting ready for Christmas.

    Hugs,
    Brenda
    xox

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  8. Ooooooo! I like it!

    Naughty Pinky! ;-)

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  9. Love your tree. It looks so warm and cozy in the lighting and the ornaments are to be admired--all home made and kitchen related! Well done!

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  10. I love the tree in the kitchen, Cheryl. Lovely beauty with the symbol of hospitality adorning it! I used to put a little tree in my small kitchen with little gingerbread men hanging about. How nice to have a large kitchen--and by the way, your floors are beautiful! ♥

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  11. Love your kitchen tree. I think I must make some dried orange slices, and those spice cookies!

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  12. I love your tree! I'm afraid if I hanged cookies in my house the kids would be helping themselves ALL. DAY. LONG :)

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  13. Your tree looks so pretty! And I like your tree skirt. Naughty little Pinky! I have had a problem with one of my cats peeing on a bathroom throw rug. I wish I knew why they will do such things!

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  14. I love your cute tree and those cookies are adorable, too. Love the animals. One of these days you need to write about how you keep your house so clean and tidy. I am always impressed by how beautiful your home always looks. How do you do it? Can I do it, too? I'd love all the advice you could give. :)

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  15. Placing your festive tree in the kitchen-keeping room where it can be most advantageously admired is a good idea. It is where we used to keep our large tree. These days we only decorate with small table trees. Can you believe that I bought a pineapple cookie tin months ago - at the Landis Valley Museum shop? It is a small one. Your cookies inspire me to cut out my own - and perhaps even hang them on our little tree. Your woven Colonial throw makes a fitting tree skirt.

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  16. Absolutely stunning! Your home is beautiful. Blessings to you and yours!

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  17. I just stopped by from the Nester's. I enjoyed your site so much - I can tell we have a lot of the same priorities. I'm your newest follower!

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