Thursday, December 9, 2010

Suggested Christmas reading

Some weeks ago I gave mini-reviews of some of the early Christmas magazines gathered this year. I've added quite a few since then and thought I'd share a few bits about these as well! One of my favorites is the 2010 Christmas magazine from Gooseberry Patch. It's visually beautiful and full of tasty treats, as always, but one of the sections is titled "Friendship Tea" and is ideal for tea lovers to enjoy. The recipes include Victorian Jam Cake, Pecan-Stuffed Dates with Bacon, Sherried Shrimp Sandwiches, Turkey-Watercress-&-Cranberry Sandwiches, Vegetable Canapés, Checkerboard Cheese Sandwiches, Poppy Seed Mini Muffins, Lemon Tea Loaf, Cranberry-Buttermilk Scones, Homemade Devonshire Cream, Iced Shortbread Cookies, Ginger Crinkles, Pecan Tassies, Dreamy Hot Chocolate, Friendship Sip Mix and Dainty Turkey Sandwiches.

Holiday Cookies from Martha Stewart is my other favorite from this latest batch of magazines. My favorite idea from this issue is to bake an entire round pan of shortbread and then wrap the disc in cheesecloth and tie it with ribbon. Lovely! There are too many great cookie flavors to list here, but there are plenty that would go well with a cup of tea -- including Matcha Tea Biscuits. There are also quite a few gluten-free and flour-free cookies in this issue.

Are any of you fans of stylemaker Matthew Mead? I've admired his work for years (in Victoria and Country Homes, among other magazines). This year, my hat is off to him for creating his *own* magazine, Holiday with Matthew Mead, and self-publishing it! If you are a fan of the vintage, the recycled/upcycled, the elegantly handcrafted, you will love this issue. The entire magazine is visually quite lovely and full of Mead's trademark style. It's sold online-only (go here to order), and I hope he publishes one again next year. (Hint: Pre-order, as I did, to save money next year!)

A matte paper stock was also used for the cover of Christmas Cottage, a special issue from Hoffman Media, the folks behind Tea Time and Southern Lady. This issue has lovely features in a variety of decorating styles (bright stripes and candy colored hues, cool aqua and white tones), and the recipes for bite-size sweets (one in chocolate cups!) and Homemade Tea will be a treat for tea-loving readers.

Do any of you midwestern readers subscribe to Midwest Living? I found myself buying it so often I got a subscription for the office! It is one of the loveliest of the city/regional magazines I've come across, and I find this cover wreath simply stunning! This issue's recipes are great, and I especially like the feature "Layers of Love," which tells how to make those popular food-in-a-jar gifts.

The October/November 2010 issue of The Stampers' Sampler is full of beautiful card ideas but also ideas for shoe-shaped favors similar to ones made for our recent Tea for Toys. Tea lovers should note that the feature on Luscious Lunch Sacks includes one regular paper sandwich bag which was dolled up with a tea theme in a piece titled "Cuppa." It's worth a look if you're in your local craft store!

Southern Living Christmas at Home is a great issue for southern readers to enjoy. As you would expect, it is full of great recipes (should I make the Red Velvet Trifle for the office Christmas luncheon?). What I like most, however, is the can-do decorating tips that you can try with things you already have on hand and can use in a new way. Plus, I loved reading about unique Christmas decorating schemes (yellow!).

And finally, there is of course Martha Stewart Living's Christmas issue, the annual issue which reminds us why we all love Martha so much in the first place. Tons of great cookie recipes, beautiful decorating ideas — there's really no one like her. Which is why I laughed all the louder when I read her account of hosting a holiday brunch for colleagues, some of whom brought their children: "Parents are so thoughtful; it often seems that they have prompted the children to respect Martha's house and its contents — be careful!" Now that is just hysterical. Don't you know those kids' parents threatened them to within an inch of their lives if they dared touch anything at Martha's! Still, when it comes to holiday decorating and baking, Martha rules the roost, and her Christmas magazines are ones I keep year to year.


  1. Hello Angela, I love your magazine selections! The Gooseberry Patch is especially good, I love The Midwest Living and the Southern Living Christmas at Home, some of my favorites, too! Funny comments on the well-behaved children at Martha's house, you are so right.
    Have a great day, Joanie

  2. I did order and receive Matthew Mead's Holiday magazine. It is beautiful, but the ink smells. I am hoping it airs out after while because it is a keeper. The paper quality is lovely and not a bunch of advertising. But now you have tempted me on others, shame on you. You know my addiction for magazines. The Country Cottage one has been calling me when I have seen it at the market. I might have to succumb.

  3. Thank you.I'll have to Google Matthew Mead.A fun project for me.My husband and I go on weekly dates to B&N or Borders.I've been enjoying all the christmas mags.

  4. Oh man, and I thought I was a magazine junkie. Now if I just had the time to read them.

    Hadn't seen the Gooseberry Patch one out there. May have to take a look.

    - The Tablescaper

  5. Thank you so much for this post. I love Matthew mead, Gooseberry Patch and Hoffman Media. I'm am also loving Victoria Classics, Holiday Bliss mag. Take care.

  6. I have the Gooseberry Patch mag (also books 1-11 of their hardcover Christmas books - 12 is on my wish list) and Hoffman's Christmas Cottage.

    I'm trying to cut down, but after reading this post I'm tempted to add a couple more. ;-)

  7. I just love to read you magazine reviews! Thanks so much for sharing with this confessed magazine junkie!

  8. I agree with you about the Gooseberry Patch magazine. Thanks for bringing the others to our attention.

  9. love your magazine reviews. thanks I do have the first one and love it.


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