Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Merry Christmas To All!

     We were lucky to escape the freezing weather in Illinois (driving the first two hours in terrible ice and snow) to the balmy state of Florida for Christmas. More importantly, I am getting to spend time with my daughter, finalizing wedding plans and actually getting a wedding gown. After 8 months without seeing her, I know I can never let that happen again. 

     Before leaving home, we were blessed to spend a little time with our grandsons. They are really growing up way too fast. 

We have taken some time to enjoy 
the beauty of Christmas at WDW.

We listened to the Disney Choir (my daughter is a member) 
sing beautiful Christmas hymns and carols.

The Christmas Story was narrated by Edward James Olmos. 

     I was also blessed to spend some precious time with my Daddy. We had him with us here for 5 days and then we put him on the plane to my sister's home for Christmas. 

     My wish for each and every one of you is a Merry Christmas and only the best of health, love and joy for the coming New Year. 

Friday, December 6, 2013

It is Christmas Around the House

     You may remember the wreath I made for Halloween using ribbon. I wanted to see how it translated into a Christmas wreath and it was a fun project. A girlfriend came over and we had a craft day. She used burgundy and gold ribbons and it was really interesting to see how mine turned out whimsical and fun, while hers was elegant and classy. You can find the tutorial to make a ribbon wreath here. Use a variety of ribbon colors and textures for whatever holiday you are doing. I added two of my Annalee dolls for a little more fun.

Around the rest of the house...
A snowman tucked into my
twig wreath in the kitchen.

This year red is the color in my house,
 along with several snowmen and
quite a bit of "sparkle"!


Little hints of color to brighten the kitchen.

     One of my few new purchases, this sweet little wooden plaque with glittered stockings. I found this in St. Charles, MO for only $7.99 and it had to come home with me.

Snowballs in a bread bowl?

I think this is my favorite spot in the house this year.
     You can't have a Disney daughter without adding a bit of Disney Magic to the house. How many other women my age got Sven from the movie Frozen for their birthday?

Are you seeing a pattern?
Snow people, wildlife, red, silver and green.

     This sweet little snowman was another St. Charles purchase. I got him in a gallery, he is made of recycled products and this one is called Snowman Praying. Love.

     The hallway and guest bath have a bit of snow and also kept some seashells. The ornaments on the candlesticks are made of shells and if you look closely, you will see the starfish in the picture above. I love mixing all sorts of things around my house. There are no rules, just love the things you use!


     What I really wanted was a gorgeous holiday quilt set from Pottery Barn, what I got was my grandmother's Christmas quilt across the bottom of a plain white quilt. Much more practical and yet it still adds just a hint of Christmas to our bedroom. Just a little hint of holiday color can really make your house festive.
I hope you enjoyed your tour.
Come back soon!
     I was asked yesterday if I would review what looks to me to be a great gadget. I turn down a lot of requests to try merchandise, but this was something I would buy for myself if I had known it existed. I wanted to mention it here before I even get mine because I know many of you are still Christmas shopping and this looks like a great gift idea for almost everyone. The Powerocks Magicstick is a portable battery that keeps your cell phone powered on-the-go. You charge this colorful gadget with the included USB cable and then it fits in your purse (or pocket), and you can re-charge your phone while you are walking around the mall, or any other event. I can't wait for mine to get here so I can try it. I can't tell you how many times I am shopping for the day and my phone is down to almost no charge. I will be doing a review as soon as I get mine and try it out.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Tree 2013 and Topper Tutorial

     Of all my posts since I started blogging, the two most popular are my tutorials on making a tree topper and tying a bow. You can find both on my sidebar. I took a little blogging break (unplanned) but I didn't take a break from decorating for Christmas! When I started getting messages asking me where the tree topper for this year was, I decided the break was over. I actually liked my tree decorations last year so much, for the first time I considered using the same theme two years in a row. I did repeat some of my decorations, but I did use ornaments this year along with lots of red, polka dots and bright green.

     I found these fun red, green and polka dot balls and used them as the starting point for my topper. They look a little alien to me, but happy.
Red glittered twigs make the next layer.

Another layer, this time with green sticks.

     The bunches of sparkling green leaves are added to fill in the front of the topper and are placed slightly lower than the other "ingredients". At this point, using a fine wire, tightly wrap all of the layers together leaving long tails of wire on each side. Don't worry if things seem too close together, once it is on the tree you can pull and adjust the spray of twigs and leaves. Wire the topper to the top of your tree and then add your bows. Just a reminder from past tutorials, many people only put one bow on the top of their tree at the base of the tree topper. I always use 3 or 4 bows (this year I used 3). Tie the bows about the same size and wire them evenly around the top of the tree. It makes your topper much prettier from all sides.


     I used ornaments in green and red/white stripes along with redbirds, ice crystal covered twigs and some wispy green roping that I cut into pieces and layered around the tree for texture.

     Of course I think a tree is prettiest in the dark, but the picture below shows it in the daylight. I was happy to find polka dot wrapping paper and ribbon too.
     I don't know about the rest of you, but it certainly feels like Christmas is coming quickly this year. My shopping is done and my packages are wrapped, so I feel like I can breathe a little bit now.
     Thank you to those of you who worried about me. We were very lucky when the tornadoes hit our area a couple of weeks ago. The closest was about 20 miles away and we certainly were hiding in our basement. We lost our big Bradford Pear tree in the front yard and had enough roof damage that the roof has to be replaced. I have been dealing with insurance, tree cutters and adjusters and we are still in the process of trying to get things done. So many others in Illinois lost their homes and loved ones that we feel very blessed to only need a roof.
     I am anxious to see all of your decorations. Thanks for visiting!
I am joining Kim @ Savvy Southern Style for
Wow Us Wednesdays

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

I Can't Get It Together!

     I seem to be spinning my wheels lately and obviously blogging has been put at the bottom of my "to do" list. I have been busy doing some fun and happy things and also found myself running a fever for 6 days, visiting the doctor and finally getting over whatever it was with the help of a strong antibiotic. I think I started with a bit of flu (a week after the shot) and it turned into a sinus infection. I just was so busy that I kept popping Advil and pretending I wasn't sick. That doesn't work very well.
     In the past couple weeks I have been blessed to have celebrated my birthday 3 different times having lunch with friends. I had my oldest friend come spend the night and do some shopping, and we had friends we haven't spent time with in more than 10 years come through town and stop for a good visit. We squeezed in a day in St. Louis, a birthday lunch with my sister (celebrating our birthdays on my Mom's birthday), a couple of doctor's appointments and of course all of the normal, daily things that need to be done. During the "sick days", I did what was on the calendar and fell into bed the minute I walked in the door. So...my blog friends and my readers paid the price for my crazy life. I guess we all have times when we just can't do everything!
     So, I am a little torn on this early push for Christmas. I am seeing more and more stores that are now going to be open on Thanksgiving and it seems so wrong in some ways to completely ignore a holiday that so many people love. I really feel sorry for those that are being forced to work on a day that they should get to spend with family. On the other hand, usually by Thanksgiving evening, getting out and going shopping might be fun (for me it beats football)! We no longer do much on Thanksgiving, so it doesn't matter much to us, but it does to others. I'm thankful every day for my blessings, but I do remember how important it was when the whole family could be together.
     Because of the way my family now does Christmas, I have to be done, wrapped and ready early in December, so I feel the holiday push much sooner than most these days. I am actually almost done with my shopping! The house is still decorated for fall, but the gifts, boxes and wrapping paper are ready when I find the time to put them all together. As for decorating the house...I'm not in the mood to do the work and every year I wonder why we do it when we don't have Christmas at my house, but I always find the inspiration. I'm counting on it happening again this year! 
     I have good intentions of getting around to visit blogs the next few days. I can't wait to catch up and hopefully find that holiday decorating inspiration that I always find when I see what others are doing!

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Molasses Cookies (Soft)

     I wish I could take credit for this recipe, but I can't. These are actually called Sugared Molasses Crinkles and I found the recipe in Where Women Cook, Celebrate! The recipe was submitted by Ashley English, who is an author and a weekly blogger for Design*Sponge. I was looking for a non-chocolate, fall cookie for dinner guests and I loved the rich, brown color of these cookies.

Ingredients: (I doubled her recipe)

5 cups all-purpose flour
1 T. baking soda
2 tsp. salt (I used a little less)
1 T. cinnamon
1 T. ground ginger
2 tsp. ground nutmeg
1 tsp. ground cloves
1 tsp. ground black pepper
2 cups dark brown sugar
1 1/2 cup granulated sugar (divided)
2 sticks butter at room temperature
4 eggs
2/3 cups molasses

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

     I don't always sift my dry ingredients, but because of all the spices...I did so for this recipe. Sift together flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cloves and black pepper in a bowl and set aside.

With a mixer, beat the brown sugar and 1/2 cup
of the white sugar and the butter until combined.

Add the eggs one at a time, stopping to scrape
the bowl after each egg.
Add the molasses
and completely incorporate.

On low speed, gradually add the flour
mixture until completely blended.

Cover dough with plastic wrap and chill one hour.

     Roll cookies into balls and roll in remaining 1 cup of sugar to cover. Place on cookie sheets (you can use parchment paper if you want to) and bake until centers are firm, 12-15 minutes. Cool 5 minutes on cookie sheets and transfer to wire racks.

These made the house smell so
good and are a perfect fall or Christmas cookie.
     I have no idea what happened to this week. My birthday was Tuesday and between girlfriend visits and appointments, it has been days since I picked up more than my iPad to check my emails. I hope you all have a safe, dry Halloween. We have been raining all day, but it has finally stopped. I hope it holds off for the little ones.