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Welcome to "The Country Schoolmarm"! Get yourself a cup of coffee (I take mine strong with vanilla creamer), grab a seat, and chat a while! Isn't that what country friends do? Now, all we need is a porch...

Saturday, December 5, 2015

Day 5 of Ravenwood Whimzies "12 Days of Christmas Blog Hop"... Party in the House!!!

Wait, wait... If you came in through the back door, you'll need to go stop over at Wendy's first. She has some words to get you on your way, and you don't want to miss the other blogs' wonderful posts. They are full of fun crafts and goodies to make and eat. Thank you, Wendy, for organizing and hosting this blog hop! 

If you came in from Wendy's, well, make yourself at home. I am going to show you a fun and easy craft and share a favorite recipe from my childhood. 

Sitting by my "fire" with a basket of scraps. Good times!

My craft is a yo-yo tree. Yo-yo's are about as basic as you can get in stitching and are very forgiving. I have taught my fifth graders how to make these trees many times. Nothing says fun than trying to teach 15 some 11 year olds how to use a needle and thread.  It really is a good introduction to a very basic stitch- the running stitch. If you choose to do this with younger children, a dowel rod and spool make great bases for this tree. A little bit more substantial to handle. It is a craft that needs supervision, but it is a good lesson in crafting. You can use multiple fabrics, scraps, anything! I think next time I might make these out of old feedsack material


For my tree, I used the following:

1 fat quarter in a green material
1 cut piece of branch with a drilled hole in the top (I got a bag of them at a home decor shop. Already cut. Already had a hole!)
A little container for my tree
Button and craft thread
A little tree topper (mine is a rusty safety pin and red bead)
There is some fluff in the picture in case you wanted to puff up each yo-yo a bit. 

Now, I am going to show you an "orderly way" of doing this for those rule followers out there. In real life, I would not measure or trace anything. I'd just cut. Shhhh. Don't tell. I think there is beauty in imperfections. Either that or I am lazy. It's a toss up. I hate to measure!

Measure your container first. Then, decide how much overhang you want out from the sides. My pot is 2 inches wide. I want an inch of overhang on each side. So, I'd need a yo-yo that is 4 inches wide. To get the right amount of cloth, double the size that you want for the yo-yo. I want a 4 inch yo-yo, so I need an 8 inch circle. I am not into templates. So, I found an 8-inch plate and traced it. I need to make just one. This will be my bottom "limbs". I am going to make 7 yo-yo's total. Odd numbers are aesthetically pleasing to the eye. 

 Yup! That plate works! I continued to find household items to use as templates. I used a marker to trace. I used button and craft thread to make a running stitch along the edge of the circle. When I came full circle, I pulled the string like a little draw-string purse. I did this with all of the yo-yos. 

Here is my first yo-yo...

I continued to measure, double, trace, cut, running stitch, and pull. 

Now that you have them. It's time for gluing and stacking. I used a glue gun because I have no tolerance for waiting. I glued the skewer to the stick. I snipped a little hole on the non-gathered sides of the yo-yos and fed the skewer through the yo-yos. 

I snipped the end of the skewer and hot glued my tippy top piece. Then, I glued the trunk to the inside of the container with lots of hot glue. I wrapped a little burlap inside the container for interest. I finish it with some fun baker's twine!

There you go! Simple and easy to make!

Now!!! Good eats!
I have fond memories of these! They were so thin and buttery, the melted in your mouth. I also would always scramble for a particular shape. The angel, think!

My Grandmom's Sugar Cookies
(Sand tarts)
Makes 5 dozen


1-1/2 cups sifted 10x sugar
1 cup butter
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon almond flavoring
2-1/2 cups flour (my grandmom specified "sifted". Yeah. I don't do that. My sifters are purely decorative. )
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cream of tartar


Mix sugar and butter. Add egg and flavorings. Mix thoroughly. Sift (There it is again!) dry ingredients together. Add dry ingredients to the wet ingredients. Stir until mixed evenly. Refrigerate for 2-3 hours. 

Preheat over to 375 degrees. Divide dough in half and roll out on lightly floured surface to 3/16 of an inch thick. Roll very thin for crisp cookies. Cut with cookie cutters. Cut as many cookies from each rolling as possible (rerolling makes the dough get tougher). Sprinkle with sugar. Place on lightly greased baking sheet. Bake 7-8 minutes or until delicately golden. 

I am not sure why my grandmom referred to them as sand tarts except with the golden brown and lots of sugar, they do look like a sandy beach. I like to use "Sugar in the Raw" because it gives more texture and crunch. 

Thank you for stopping by! Make sure to keep visiting Wendy's page for more crafts and good eats from other wonderful bloggers!

Merry Christmas!


  1. Hi Heather, I love your yo yo tree craft, I still remember a craft that I did when I was in 4th. grade for Christmas, The wonderful impression you are making on your students lives. What yummy cookie recipe. I rem. my grandma would always have cookies in her cookie jar called lemon crackers. Wishing you and your family a very Merry Christmas, thanks for sharing. Hugs, Lecia

  2. Good Morning Heather. I am Joyce, and this is my best teddy bear friend, Prudence Clearwater. We are honored to meet you. Your home is lovely and I have always wanted to make one of those penny trees, thank you for the amazing tutorial. The cookie recipe sounds wonderful, a must for this years baking.

    Merry Christmas.

  3. Thank you both so much for visiting! I appreciate it so much!

  4. Heather, I love the Yo-yo Tree! Plan on making at least one. The sand tart cookies sound delicious also. I wondered what they are- we just call them sugar cookies here in Alabama. The grandchildren love them. This Blog Hop is so much fun. Thank you for sharing with us all :)

  5. I love your little yo-yo tree! The cookies sound delish! I don't sift either. Instead I use a whisk to mix the ingredients.

  6. I've never made Yo-Yo's! This tree is so cute and looks petty darned easy so will have to give it a try! We make sugar cookies every year! I can see why your Grandma would call them a 'sand tart'! Thanks for sharing!

  7. Oh my dear Heather it is so good to "see" you! I miss you not blogging so much anymore! The yo-yo tree is so cute and you are such a great teacher, love the little notes you wrote. Thank you so much for sharing! Have a very merry Christmas!
    Be blessed,

  8. Oh Heather - what a wonderful post! I sure enjoyed it! Now I know what your Grandma's Sand tart cookies are! Love your tutorial too! Thank you so very much for helping make the blog hop a success.

  9. Oh I love this sweet tree. I've always wanted to know how to make yo yos. I've made a few accidentally over the years! haha! Happy holidays, Diane

  10. What a sweet little tree and the sugar cookies sound yummy!!!

  11. Wonderful tutorial for your yo-yo tree, thank you so much! And the sand tarts sound so delicious, adding it to my holiday baking list for sure! Thanks so much for sharing and wishing you and yours a joyous holiday season! Deb xo

  12. All your crafts are really nice dear and I always try making the stuff you share here. This time I need some more help from you as I am planning a party at Los Angeles event venues and I need some crafty ideas for that.

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