Wednesday, December 23, 2020

Free Cute DIY Kitchen Gift Idea Printable

If you are in need of a thrifty and useful gift, consider printing out these little little 3x5 measurement equivalency cards and pairing them with a wooden spoon, a jar of spice or sprinkles, even some brown sugar in a Mason jar, and a favorite or interesting recipe.

You can punch a hole in one corner and put them on a ring or tie with baker's twine or raffia. I love thrifty, make-do gifts. Not everyone does, however; I was shocked (decades ago) when my own mother told me in no uncertain terms that she did not like handmade gifts after I proudly gave her a cross stitch creation and a jar of mulled cider spices I had blended. I believe it was partly a reaction to having been young during the Depression; my parents, and many of their generation, bore the scars of severe deprivation. They liked shiny and new, especially my mother, not reminders of lean times.

As always, please use the links so that these print out full size and are not the compressed files you see as images below.

Terra Cotta Tones Link

Mustard Tones Link

Turquoise Tones Link

free printable diy kitchen measurements

free printable diy kitchen measurements

printable free diy kitchen measurements

Thank'ee for stopping by. Almost Christmas!

    Kind regards,

    The Merry Olde Dame, Holly

Monday, December 21, 2020

Last-Minute Free Printable To - From Tags

I was a bit shocked to go into a Walmart yesterday to grab a few last-minute Christmas decorations, only to find Christmas gone except for a few things in baskets by the garden section, and Valentine's Day candy and decorations where the Christmas items had been. 

Here are some free printable tags in case you find yourself in a similar situation. Free, gratis, no strings attached.

I remember a very elderly neighbor when my first husband was in graduate school. She lived a few doors down in what had then become a "student ghetto," one of the last holdouts in the entire area not to be a student or married to a student. She was generous in sharing little things she had, and she would never just say they were "free" -- she would say, "Free, gratis, no strings attached." I picked that up and have said it myself for about 40 years now.

I don't like to always be sighing over "the good old days," but I do remember the fun of shopping the last week of Christmas, and indeed on Christmas Eve. The stores were still full of Christmas things and the bustle was exciting. I don't know when exactly that retail began acting like Christmas was over before it was over.

In other news, I have yet to be able to do my embroidery this month, or last. Maybe in January. I have so many ideas for early winter and Valentine's Day.

And speaking of upcoming holidays, be sure to get yourself a broom (straw broom is best) before January 6th! You'll need it for Twelfth Night! Twelfth Night is actually celebrated on January 5th, the Eve of the Epiphany. So have it handy before then.

Click THIS LINK <----- to save a copy of the file below. I have it stored on Google Drive. If you click and save the actual image below, it might not print nicely, having been compressed and shrunk by Blogger.

free printable diy christmas tags for gifts

Thank'ee for stopping by!

    Kind regards,

    The Merry Olde Dame, Holly

Friday, December 18, 2020

Simple Gifts: Dried Satsuma Peel

Heigh Ho Ho Ho, Christmas is nearly here. I finally finished up with surgical procedure after procedure last week, and am feeling like myself a bit again. 

The holidays seem to go by in a flash the older I get. And the older I get, the more old memories seem to pop into my mind.

When I was young, the winter holidays meant plenty of citrus where I grew up in the Deep South. My mother grew many different types in our yard, and we would also go buy them from the local groves. Satsumas and kumquats were always my favorites, while my mother loved the huge sweet green lemons that I have not seen since.

Bowls and baskets filled with citrus were on our table and counters during the Christmas season, often nestled in a bed of Loblolly pine boughs. The scent was wonderful and branches of kumquats looked glorious!

Nowadays, bags of "mandarins" are in most groceries. We called them satsumas. I buy them and eat them by the dozens during the holidays. 

Don't let the peels go to waste! Save the peels to dry and put in pretty jars to use during the year and give as gifts.

Dried DIY mandarin orange satsuma peels for simple gifts

Wash any mandarin or satsuma you plan to eat with dish soap, and rinse and dry thoroughly. Wash hands as well, and peel as usual, saving the peels. Using a small paring knife, scrape/cut away as much of the white pith as you can, just leaving the orange part of the peel. 

DIY dried citrus peel christmas gifts recipes

In the desert, we can just place the peel outside in the sun a few days, and have it dry. I usually do a combination of air drying during the day, and then placing in the oven at the very lowest setting, and baking with the door cracked open a bit until completely dry but not browned.

When dry, I place them in a clean jar along with an anti-oxidation packet of silica gel that I've saved from other food packages, such as come in beef jerky packages. You can also buy them. Sometimes I use a bit of coffee filter and wrap up a teaspoon of salt in it, then tuck it down in the bottom of the jar. Another small folded bit of filter goes on top, so that no peel rests on the salt directly.

Cap the jars tightly, tie on a simple ribbon, and they make a lovely gift. They keep their color well and their fresh flavor. I use them year 'round to mince and use in salad dressings and a citrus-oatmeal cookie we like.

Does anyone save peels to use later or dehydrate their own herbs or vegetables? My sister-in-law made lovely soup seasoning mixes with vegetables she dried and blended with spices, long long ago.

Saturday, December 12, 2020

Gift Card Sleeves: Free Printable Holders for DIY Christmas

Last week was surgery week for me. Five surgeries, even short outpatient ones, in a row is draining! I feel like a very sore pincushion and look like one, too. Black and blue from stem to stern! After the third day, I got a bit lost. I'm not sure what happened to Thursday and Friday. I just know that now, instead of rest and magazines and pampering and daytime television, patients sit up in recovery, begin walking around, and keep up a schedule of walking every hour. It's evidently a lot better for us than the old way.

If you forgo sedation, you can even drive yourself home, to the pharmacy, etc. after just an hour's wait.

One thing I did notice in my few travels last week (to the grocery and the pharmacy) was that people were shopping like crazy. With stores just reopened this week in New Mexico, the shelves are being picked clean. We don't know if they'll be shut again before Christmas, so everything and anything is being bought. There are only a very few giftcards left, too, out of hundreds and hundreds per store. And for some reason, none of the little free holders are left. There are some rather pricey ones for sale, but that's not thrifty if you're on a budget. I love the fancy holders, but not the cost.

Here are two sheets of do-it-yourself printable holders for gift cards. You could also tuck cash into them. 

You can print them out at home or send them electronically to an Office Depot, Walgreens, or Walmart; in most towns they print them right there. Then you can cut out, fold in half, fold the tabs, glue, and the gift card holder is ready once dry. With the fancy dry-line adhesives, you don't even have to wait for them to dry.

The extra little card can be used or just discarded.

Use the LINKS to make sure you get the full-sized file stored "in the Google cloud." Blogger compresses and shrinks files and then they don't print as nicely. Better to use the "cloud" or "drive" and get the best file.

Use THIS LINK <----- for the old-fashioned holders.

free printable christmas gift card holders sleeves diy

Use THIS LINK<-------for the red/blue holders below.

diy christmas printable digital gift card holders sleeves

Thank'ee for stopping by.

    Kind regards,

    Holly, The Merry Olde Dame

Wednesday, December 9, 2020

Free Seed Packet Printable for Christmas! Digital Download.

If you like to gather and save seeds, and then share them, click on the link and download the free cute seed packet envelope to cut out and fold. It makes a cute gift and can even be placed in a Christmas card.

I have a small gardening area, so when I buy seeds, I have a lot left over. Be thrifty and divide up those specialty seeds among your gardening friends! I love to get exotic and rare seeds as well as heirlooms. My gardening buddies love them, too. This year, all of my Christmas cards have seeds tucked into them, some from gleaning and some from boughten packs.

Use the link to save the image, so that it prints out the right size and clarity.


free printable diy seed packet christmas

Thank'ee for stopping by.

    Kind regards,

    The Merry Olde Dame, Holly

Tuesday, December 8, 2020

Beauty All Around, in Unexpected Places

My location near the border with Mexico means things are done differently here. Our governor locked our state down tight, but our visitors from Mexico do not care and probably don't even know this. Their lives in Juarez are very difficult, in the best of times. And now, some are very desperate. Today when I stopped by the grocery store to pick up some things, I heard glorious music. I was surprised, because the piped out music is usually awful. But it wasn't coming from the store; it was a mother and daughter musical duo. The mother was dressed beautifully with a silver lamé overlay to her flowing pants, and played song after song on her violin. The daughter handled the amplifier and a sign telling of their plight. The sign was in English, but the pair had no English, so I used my awful Spanish to convey how lovely the music was. 

There is so little cash in our society now! The homeless, the Salvation Army kettle crew, and the wait staff are all feeling it. I try to carry some but it all can be distributed just within a single trip.  Today I had great luck, in that the violin player was still there after my trip into the store to get some cash. There was a bit of a wait to get into the store, as it was limited to 75 people inside at any given time.

I'm moving slow this week due to a series of surgeries I'm having. In the old days, such surgeries meant resting in bed. Now it means out you go from the surgical center, walk every hour, and don't use any sedation or pain killers if you want to keep up with your errands! 

I got a bit of a snippet of the violin music from inside the car on my way out. I'll try to post it here. I haven't posted videos before, so it's iffy whether it will work. I'll post a still picture, too. I was too shy to get closer, felt it might be intrusive. Here's hoping the video will play!

CLICK THE SECOND PHOTO and the video will play!

Thank'ee for stopping by.

    Kind regards,

    The Merry Olde Dame, Holly

Monday, December 7, 2020

Santa's Magic Key - Free Printable to Reassure Kids

Sometimes children become anxious that Santa will be unable to get into their home or apartment. They see their doors locked up tight at night, and most do not have fireplaces and chimneys.

I made this little printable sheet to reassure the kiddos. With the "magic key" tag left outside the door -- perhaps tied to the doorknob -- Santa can easily come in and leave the goodies.

When I taught in the primary grades, I had to be careful not to betray any information about Santa. My son was already older, and I had forgotten the angst some of the children felt about Santa. Some of the students had older siblings who would tease them about the veracity of Santa Claus and point out that they had no chimney for Santa-travel. That's when I started making "magic keys" for the students to take home - just old keys with ribbon tied on to hang outside the door and await Santa's magic touch. 

Print out the tags and either tape or glue on an old skeleton key, or fussy-cut one of the printed keys and affix. When Santa touches the printed key, it magically becomes metal, don't you know, and opens the door right up.

free printable santa's magic key

Please be sure to use the link to download the file. Blogger compresses large files, so the images in the post will be too small to print nicely. It's safe to download the full-sized image file from Google Drive.

Here's the LINK <------

Thank'ee for stopping by.

    Kind regards,

    The Merry Olde Dame, Holly

Friday, December 4, 2020

"Rompope" - The Eggnog of Mexico

I don't know if anyone has traveled to the Middle East, but one delightful aspect of the region (in olden days, anyway) was the number of almond-based drinks. 

Mexico, too, has a delicious almond-enhanced holiday drink. Yesterday I mentioned Ponche Navideño, but instead of that recipe, today I'll post one for Rompope. Rompope is actually more popular than the punch, although both are wonderful. But Rompope should come first, because it's first in the people's hearts.

Here is one old recipe. The main difference between Eggnog and Rompope is the almond meal. I don't know if many people will be making these elaborate Christmas drinks this year, due to COVID-19. They are labors of love that are usually made to celebrate our special guests. Many Yuletide recipes have expensive ingredients (especially so in olden days), and were only made for that special time or for weddings. With so many communities locked down, there isn't as much baking, mixing, and decorating as usual among many. 

You can right-click the image below to save the recipe.

Mexican Eggnog, rompope recipe receta

NOTE: You can substitute pre-ground almond meal for the freshly ground meal the recipe calls for.

Thank'ee for stopping by, and I hope you enjoy. Do you have a special drink for the season? I remember most fondly the Sherbet Island Punch my piano teacher would make for our Christmas recitals. As a preteen and then teen, I thought it most elegant.

    Kind regards,

    The Merry Olde Dame, Holly


Thursday, December 3, 2020

Mini Wreaths in Action

Oh, today got away from me. I was trotting all day, so to speak, doing this, doing that. As all of you know, it takes a million small tasks to run a home.

Last year, after Christmas and on sale, I found a little set of mini wreaths at Target. I think they were intended to use as placecards, but I have used them otherwise. In the "guest bathroom," I have two soap pumps at the sinks, and each wears a little wreath. The others are tucked here and there into mole glasses in the old Mexican "china cabinet." 

mrs meyer's hand soap with little wreath on top for christmas

Just a simple touch to tuck them into glasses, but I see them in there. If you are wondering, mole glasses are the little drinking glasses that "mole" comes in. Mole (pronounced MOE-lay) is a rich Mexican cooking sauce usually thinned with broth and added to cooked, shredded turkey and served with rice or posole (what I call hominy). It is a deep, dark chocolate brown, and indeed, it does contain cocoa. It looks awful, and tastes divine!

Do you have little special touches around the home, too? Sweet little touches that might not even be noticed at first, but gladden your heart?

Wednesday, December 2, 2020

"The Christianas, and the Stemming, and the Potsing, and the Schussing" in the SNOW! With Tom and Jerry Batter!

A movie I love to watch every year is White Christmas, with Bing Crosby, Rosemary Clooney, Vera Ellen, and Danny Kaye. It's corny and a bit sappy, but I just love several scenes, especially when they are traveling via train, and a scene of a smorgasbord in the middle of the night in a ski lodge. I actually stayed at such as lodge 40 years ago. I think there are quite a few Hallmark movies out that attempt to recreate that cozy, wonderful feeling of being able to get up at 2 a.m. to wander down to the great room with its roaring fire and snack spread, snug in your flannel granny gown.

In the train scene, Bing's character is talking about skiing, before they launch into a lively song about "Snow." He speaks of  "The christianas, and the stemming, and the potsing, and the schussing" and "hot buttered rum, light on the butter." The "christianas" et al are all skiing moves, and who doesn't recall at least the Lifesaver flavor of Buttered Rum? 

screenshot of snow song in white christmas movie with bing crosby
"Snow" in White Christmas

There is another Yuletide drink that has almost disappeared, except in a few select areas, and that is the Tom and Jerry, basically a hot version of eggnog. No wonder it fell out of favor: There are a lot of steps to making it. If you go "junking" or antiquing, you might have run across a bowl and cup Tom and Jerry set, usually in Christmas colors and motifs. It's actually a BATTER/glop that contains raw eggs, used to flavor brandy and rum (or bourbon if you prefer), and here is an old recipe for it. Teetotalers such as myself can use hot milk in place of the water and alcohol:

Tom and Jerry Cocktail


6 eggs, room temperature, separated
1/2 teaspoon cream tartar
1 cup superfine sugar
1/4 teaspoon cloves
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 1/4 cup powdered sugar
1/2 cup whipping cream
hot water
nutmeg for garnish

To Make:

  • Separate the eggs.
  • Beat the whites along with the cream of tartar until they are a soft meringue.
  • Gradually add the superfine sugar (can use regular granulated, too)
  • Continue beating until stiff meringue forms (but not totally "dry").
  • Place the meringue into a large mixing bowl.
  • Using the same mixing bowl that you mixed the meringue in, add the yolks and 1 cup of the powdered sugar.
  • Beat until light yellow and the consistency of frosting.
  • Add the spices. Mix for another 1 minute.
  • Fold the yolk mixture into the egg white mixture; don't stir, just fold
  • Using a clean mixing bowl to whip the cream with the remaining 1/4 cup powdered sugar until stiff peaks form.
  • Fold into the egg mixture.
  • Fill a cup with hot water and 1 ounce of rum (or heated milk to fill the mug)
  • Top with a scoop of Tom and Jerry.
  • Garnish with a little nutmeg.
  • Serve (refrigerate leftovers).
  • Enjoy!

Tuesday, December 1, 2020

Free Printable Digital File ADVENT SET

Hello Bloggie Friends, I have a quick upload for you. It's little tags you can print and use for Advent. Numbers 1-24 and some other tags to add to make a gift of the set. I hope you enjoy!

I had a different post up but I'm switching it to tomorrow. I had forgotten today is December 1 until I saw another blog friend mention turning her calendar page over! Had a flu shot and have been kind of muddled and ill for a few days.

Here is a peek at what the little tags/cards look like, but use the link to get all the pages of the set. I sell this set on Etsy so ignore the watermarks, your files will not have them. The link is BELOW this photo:

 Advent Set <----click this

This is my first time uploading a "zip" folder, so I hope it works. Let me know if you have trouble. Remember that this link will Pop Up in a different window. If you have trouble, try to copy and paste this long linkie into your address window:


     Kind regards, 

     The Merry Olde Dame