December 31, 2011

2011

I am writing this post while wrapped up in one of the quilts that I made this year. I am amazed that I can even say that. At the start of 2011 I had no idea that I would accomplish so many projects, let alone learn how to quilt. Looking back at these photos makes me realize that 2011 was full of everyday blessings that I am so thankful for!

I am looking forward to a new year filled with lots of creative projects and I wish all of you a 2012 filled with peace, security, love, happiness and joy!


December 30, 2011

What Are You Doing New Years Eve?

Are not these two impossibly adorable? And I think every girl needs a tiara.



Hope you have a wonderful New Years Eve!!

December 18, 2011

December 16 - Gingerbread Cottage

Getting closer to the big day. Time goes so fast and I wish it would slow down. I love this part of Christmas. The lights. The warmth. The music. Everything feels like magic.

Becky was the gingerbread house artist this year. I love her attention to detail. She used tweezers to apply each teeny weeny candy wafer to the roof!  The kit came from Ikea. If you get a chance to visit Ikea before Christmas, you really should pick up one their kits. They are $3.99 and really nicely made. And they really are fun to decorate!

December 16, 2011

December 14 - Loved Ones

On Wednesday night we invited some of the people we love most to dinner.  This is my sister, my daughter and my mom. Aren't they the cutest!!

My mom brought a bottle of wine and Becky made individual shepherd's pies and I threw together a big tossed salad.  We had eight people around the table and the conversation flowed and there was a lot of laughter. My house comes into its own at Christmas, and it is even more special when filled with loved ones.

And as I am posting this, I realized this is my 100th post!! I am so thankful for all of you who stop by and leave me such sweet comments!. I hope that each and every one of you is having a wonderful week before Christmas ♥

December 13, 2011

December 13 - Knitting


In the midst of holiday decorating and baking I suddenly really had the desire to knit! I am making a pair of mittens out of super soft worsted weight Malabrigo. They are knitting up really fast and I think they will make a super cute gift for someone special!!

December 12, 2011

December 12 - Chai


Chai. Otherwise known as the official drink of Christmas.  I will never forget the first time I had a chai latte. We were walking around the village square in Medina, Ohio looking at the Christmas lights and window shopping. It was cold and snowy, so we decided to warm up in the local coffee shop. And there on the menu board was something called Chai. I asked the barista what it was, and he said to just try it. So I did. And after the first sip I said "This tastes like Christmas"!  And I still think it does.

December 11, 2011

December 11 - Sunday

I have to admit that I did not do anything particularly Christmassy today.

Laundry needed to be done.
Floors needed to be swept.
Piles of stuff in the craft room needed attention.
Refrigerators needed to be CLEANED out!!

Oh wait....I did watch Christmas In Connecticut this morning. I love that movie!! Sleigh rides and pretty dresses get me every time! Have you seen it?

I am in the mood for some hand stitching, so I may finish off one of my summer projects. Can't decide whether this wants to be a pillow or a table topper. 

Enjoy the  rest of your weekend!!!

P.S   I know. Purple!! This ornament is on my daughter's tree in her bedroom. Bright colors reign supreme in her room :)

December 10, 2011

December 10 - The Nutcracker

Tonight was the first time I have seen a professional performance of The Nutcracker. Tonight I understood the meaning of the word "breathtaking".  The set design was stunning, the costumes were lovely, the children were adorable and the dancers were so unbelievably talented. I LOVED every minute, and cannot wait to go see it again next year.

December 9, 2011

December 9 - Ikea Love

So many of our decorations this year came from a trip to Ikea in November. Ikea totally understands our style. Red gingham, red lanterns and this adorable little goat. Dinner time is really cheerful each evening as I have every day red and white dishes that look so cute with the Christmas decorations! So thank you, Ikea, for all the of decorating help this year!!

December 8, 2011

December 8 - Green Coffee Cake


Every year, for many years, I made a homemade, from scratch, sour cream coffee cake for Christmas morning. It was a recipe made out of tradition more than anything else.  One year, on a lark, I made a pistachio cake recipe that was a relic from the 70's.  My kids LOVED it. They named it the Green Coffee Cake, and it has now replaced the time intensive sour cream coffee cake.  It is delicious AND really easy to make.

Here's the recipe if you'd like to give it a try!

For the cake:

1 18.25 oz. box yellow cake mix
1 3.4 oz. box instant pistachio pudding
1 c. sour cream (you can use light if you want)
4 eggs
1/2 c. vegetable oil

For the filling:

1/2 c. chopped nuts (walnuts, pecans) you want these finely chopped
4 T. granulated sugar
1 t. cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In a large mixing bowl blend together the cake and pudding mix. Add the sour cream, eggs and oil. Mix well. In a small bowl, mix together the nuts, sugar and cinnamon.  Pour half of the cake batter into a greased and floured (or use Bakers Joy) 10" tube pan. Put half of the nut mixture on the batter in the pan and press down lightly. Pour the remaining batter in the pan and top with with remaining nut mixture. Bake for 40-50 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean. Let cool in pan for about 10-15 minutes and then invert onto a cooling rack.

Happy Baking!!!

December 7, 2011

December 7 - Christmas Movies

We are still adding cute things around the house. Another tree. A cute wreath. During the evening we have been wrapped up in quilts watching Christmas movies. As I am typing this post, National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation is on. Last night we watched White Christmas while making more candy.

We even came up with a top 5 Christmas movies list:

5. Miracle on 34th Street

4. Elf

3. The Santa Clause

2. White Christmas

and

1. A Christmas Story

Are you a Christmas movie fan? What is your favorite?

December 6, 2011

December 6 - Snowflakes

It is very unusual that we haven't had any snow yet. But that hasn't bothered us in the least. We spent a few evenings while watching Hallmark channel movies with scissors, paper and Pinterest instructions and started cutting.  Once we got started it was really hard to stop. Each one turned out so different from the next, just like the real thing. The snowflakes are now on almost every window in the house, and I love the lacy effect they give. I especially love them at night, when the outside lights are on. It makes the long dark nights more cheerful!

This is a totally fun activity to do with your kids, even if they aren't so small anymore :)


December 4, 2011

December 4 - Candy Making

Today was spent making all kinds of delicious chocolate confections. We turned my Mom's house into Willy Wonka's Chocolate Factory. With Christmas music playing on the radio and all the Christmas lights turned on, we melted pounds and pounds of chocolate, and made all kinds of chocolate confections to give to friends as Christmas gifts. 

Oreos and pretzels were coated in chocolate and sprinkles.  We made trays of peppermint bark, chocolate toffee and chocolate covered peanuts. We also made the cutest candy canes with chocolate Santas, which I think will be delicious with a cup of hot chocolate.

These are the days that I look forward to all year. A chance to spend time with my favorite people, making handmade presents that are made with love and laughter.

December 3, 2011

December 3 - Ornaments

I look forward every year to opening the boxes filled with my Christmas decorations, especially my tree ornaments. Unwrapping each tissue wrapped ornaments is a link to the past.  So many of my ornaments have been given to me over the years by loved family members and friends.
This year starts a new tradition with handmade ornaments. Most of the ornaments on our dining room tree were crocheted or handmade I by Becky during the month of October.






I adore the felt ornaments with gingham ribbon. The crochet birds were inspired by Lucy at Attic24 and could not be more adorable.
And I know I posted this photo before, but I really do love this ornament!

December 2, 2011

December 2 - Christmas Sweaters



No. Not Christmas sweaters for people. Christmas sweaters for a cute little puppy! She has a whole wardrobe of them thanks to the Dollar Spot at Target :)

Doesn't she look like she belongs in Charlie Brown Christmas when all the kids are singing "Hark The Herald Angels Sing"?   Loo loo loo loo loo, breath, loo loo loo loo.......


December 1, 2011

December 1 - Whirlygigs


 We call them spinny things. Or whirlygigs. But they are actually called German Christmas Pyramids. I bought my first one years ago for just a few dollars and really had no idea what it was. But when I put it together and lit the candles and saw the fan move for the first time, we were entranced!
 For some reason, the box was stored in the basement and I forgot I had it. It languished there until I saw this post by Alicia Paulson and went searching the depths of the basement for the box. I found it and placed it on the table. And once again we were enchanted by the motion of the fan and the glow of the candles.


Last year while Christmas shopping with my Mom, we stopped at TJ Maxx, and there, nestled among all kinds of Christmas baubles was an authentic Christmas Pyramid. I jumped up and down in excitement, and my Mom knew instantly what to get me for Christmas! Even though I could buy stock in candles, I love lighting these each evening. I think they are possibly my favorite decoration.