Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas to all!

Yes, that is our Christmas tree in the middle of my studio! After all, it was our formal living room.  Zoey tried to stay up all night to wait on Santa.  Poor thing, she didn't make it.  We had to carry her to bed. Maybe next year sweet pea. Hope your Christmas is full of joy my friends!  xoxo

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Santa's helpers trimming the tree

Jack and Kara helped put all of our favorite decorations on the tree this year.  Just like you and I, the kids love opening the boxes and finding their favorite ornaments from Christmas past.  Many were made with their own hands.
A few of you may have noticed that the tree is in my studio.  This room was our formal living room and always the home of our tree.  So, we moved a few things and slid over my studio table to create room.  I'll show you a full tree shot in my next post. For now, I need to keep an eye on these two "Santa's helpers" who are very interested in the ornaments and the tree.

Don't be fooled by those eyes.  These two can be trouble! That cute little white one ate a glass ornament a few years back on Christmas Eve.  In case you didn't know, a few cotton balls dipped in heavy cream or melted ice cream taste really good to a basset hound and on the way out, they pick up all the tiny pieces of glass! lol  I hope you don't have to test this method over the holidays!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Cranberry Pistachio Biscotti

Hello all!  No, I don't normally post recipes on my blog but these little biscotti turned out like little works of art! I love the green and red colors for the holidays, and trust me they taste delicious!  If you need a last minute recipe, this one will not disappoint. These will make great gifts for teachers, neighbors, family and friends too. Out of time to make your own cute gift bags and decorated containers?  Michael's has Martha Stewart holiday bags and treat boxes on sale for 40% off!  Hurry!  Here's the link to the recipe - go here! Thinking of you this week.  I hope it doesn't feel like a race to the finish line and that you can remember the reason for the season.  xoxo

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Christmas party, games and great gifts!

Hello all! My friend Jodi hosted her annual Xmas party and gift swap this past weekend. I want to share some of the fun with you!  Here's a shot of my gifts wrapped and ready to go for Jodi, Kelley and Kim.
I got them each a necklace, which you can spot around their necks in our group shot below.  I had wrapped them in tissue and baker's twine. I stamped their initials on an old bakery receipt as a gift tag and added a cute bird ornament from Michael's to the packaging. I have a bunch of evergreens on hand to add to gift wrap and such. I seem to be reaching for it all the time these days. Love the touch it adds. Ready to see the great gifts they got for me? 
Love this PB pillow from Jodi! It is on my couch right now.  Thank you!
Kim gave us each one of these adorable altered spoons and a prim ornament. I have my spoon sitting in a cheese box with cookie cutters in the kitchen. Looks so cute!

Aren't these candy canes and this church ornament so sweet? Love the graphics from the old greeting card used to make the church. Just Precious! Kelley spoiled me with these and this cute little painted tart tin candle holder too.

Here we all are together. That's Kim, Kelley, me and Jodi.  I love these girls. They enjoy crafting and hunting for vintage junk just as much as I do. We are so lucky to have each other.  It gets better though...our husbands and our kids are also friends! Such a blessing.  Here's a shot of the kids having a wrapping contest - boys vs. girls. This is a hysterical game. We had to judge a winner.  They wrapped a team member!
 That's Jack on the left.  Cooper "got wrapped" and Kyle and Shane rounded out the team. Can you see the pick on top of Cooper's head?
 Here comes the girls entry. That is Sydney all wrapped up and Kara putting on the finishing touches. I didn't get a photo with Riley, there other creative team member. They had so much fun.
This is a great party game. I highly recommend it.  We had to call it a draw. We couldn't pick a winner. They were both way too good.  Hope you are having a joyful holiday and find time to spend with your friends and family. 

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Crafternoon at Becky's

Meet Becky! A few months ago, she sent me an email to say hello. We quickly realized we live just a few miles from each other, love so many of the same things and have many of the same blog friends! Becky is a hoot. She is a writer, home stylist, fabulous cook and hostess, artist and collector of some great junk!  Becky is so talented in many ways, but entertaining is definitely top on the list. Thank you for a wonderful afternooon. Can't wait to get invited back.

Would you like to take a peak at her beautiful home?  She was so gracious to let me photograph a few of my favorite things during our visit. My photos do not do it justice but here are a few shots to share. You may recognize goodies from some of your favorite shops and blogs!

Take a look at this gorgeous table she set.  She had a cute banner craft for us to make, all the supplies and goodies we needed and this wonderful gift basket filled with some of my favorite colors (requested in advance) and textures!  Is she amazing or what? This girl needs a blog. Don't you agree?
Becky, Shelley, Jessica, Carol and Ruth - thank you for a great afternoon. Visit Shelley's blog Sweet Pea Home here for more great photos and links to the other guests websites. She got some great shots too. I unfortunately, had to leave a bit early for an Xmas party. So nice to get to know each of you ladies. Looking forward to the next one!  Hope everyone is having a great week. I'll share some Christmas decor around the house with you this week.  Be back soon!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Hostess gifts you can make

Hello all! I'm sure everyone is super busy preparing for and celebrating the holiday season. I made a few quick hostess gifts this weekend and wanted to share with you.  Here's a recipe card for "Kris Kringle Cookies" that I found on google images.  I printed it on card stock and embellished with some scraps of lace and the Santa graphic I found here at The Graphics Fairy.  Don't have a sewing machine? Hand stitch or just use a clear drying glue. I prefer to apply the glue with a paint brush to keep the layers very thin. For heavier embellishments, like the button and lace at top, use gel medium or tacky glue.  Used too much glue or don't want to see the stitching?  Glue the finished card to another piece of card stock for a nice backing then cut out with scissors.
I packaged the altered card in a clear cellophane bag. The top is an old Christmas card cut to size and folded over and stapled.  You can use a book page or sheet music too.
Here's another quick hostess gift - a wine bag with vintage postcard image.  I cut a rectangle a little bigger than my wine bottle leaving the material folded (seam) at the bottom so it was still one piece.  I then copied one of my vintage postcards onto another piece of fabric, trimmed with pinking shears and machine stitched onto the top layer only of my bag.  I kept this simple and did not matte the postcard with another piece of material but you could!  Next step, I sewed the sides and bottom of the bag (leaving about 1/2 inch border) but left the top open.  I then took my pinking shears and made the pretty edges down the sides. Place the bottle inside and tie the top with whatever you have on hand. I used a single layering of seam binding but I think the more you add to the top the better. Grab some ribbon, seam binding, jute all cut in different lengths but coordinating colors and tie it around the top. You can hang a tag or ornament there too!  Enjoy!  Linking up to -

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Mom and Dad's 50th

My parents celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary on December 2nd.  My brother flew in and we planned a small dinner party for them with family and friends. 
My Dad took a picture of their wedding cake to the bakery and they recreated a smaller version for the occasion.  It came out great. My mom noticed right away and was very touched.  Did I mention it was also delicious?!
My brother and I (Yup, he is practicing for his daughter's wedding next year!) made centerpieces for the table using large mason jars and fresh flowers and evergreens. My mom carried a large bouquet of white mums and roses on her wedding day. Her bridesmaids carried white carnations.  We distressed some tags and added photocopied pics from the wedding day. We tied them on with a gold shear ribbon. She loved them!
Jack surprised us all with a toast to his grandparents, "To Grandmom and Pop Pop, this has been a long time coming."   lol  That kid is a piece of work.
Congrats, Mom and Dad.  As I said in my toast, "Thank you for setting such a great example for the rest of us to follow."  xoxo
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