Monday, December 05, 2016

Flocking a Wreath for 3 dollars.

Here's a sneak peak at my decor this year.  It's so silly to want to change things out, but each year I'm in a different mood.  I like to rotate things around, but....I never want it to look the same.  I recently bought some gold napkins that I embroidered the word jingle on.  I then sewed a bell to each corner of the napkin.
I then went to the Michael's black Friday sell and picked up a few gold decorations for 60 percent off.  LAST, I found a green wreath for two bucks.  I did not LOVE the plastic green finish, so I took a dollar can of spray paint and 'flocked' the wreath.  I tried to record the process using my phone....but I hit slow motion instead of time lapse...oops.....so...here's about a 30 second spraying job that takes 2 minutes to watch, but....seriously, how neat does a can of dollar spray from Walmart change up the whole look of this wreath?  I didn't even have to buy that expensive can of 'snow' spray and I got the same impact.  I'm pretty sure I'm going to go 'flock' everything in my house now.....
In the meantime, here is the video tutorial.

Friday, December 02, 2016

Vintage Santa Tree

I've been collecting vintage Santa ornaments for a few years now.  I love old ornaments.  I love that they once had a home on someone else's tree and now I get to share Christmas with them.  I especially love the flocked ornaments from Japan.  They remind me of a few I have from my great grandparents.  I've been picking them up as I seen them in antique stores and thrift stores.  I took a video tour of my newest little tree. You can watch it here.  Excuse my voice....I've been sick for a month and despite some heavy duty meds.....I still have stuff hanging around.   I'm still putting together a little area by my fireplace with my blow mold Santa's and this little tree.  BUT.....I'm pretty excited to finally have enough to fill a little tree!


Thursday, December 01, 2016

Christmas Sock Exchange

 One of the gals in my bible study told us about this sock exchange idea when we were deciding what we wanted to do for our Christmas get together.  We all agreed it was a good idea....and a fun one!  The idea is you buy Christmas (ish) socks and fill both with all sorts of treats.  Bring it to your get together an choose a pair to take home.
With the holidays in full swing, I tried to find some fun non-candy items (with a few treats thrown in).  Paper straws, my favorite lavender lotion of central market, some head bands, a pen...and then...candy.  I added a bow and an ornament b/c I can.
Please note in the first photo June checking out my gift while I took a picture and her reflection was displayed in full glory.  I left it b/c she is so spectacular.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Baby Jesus Cookies

 Last year I had this whole plan laid out for some gifts I was going to make some friends...which involved some specific cookie cutters....that I could never find in my hosue.  This is plan B.  I saw some little cookies like this somewhere on the net and gave it a go.  I used a Russian nesting doll cookie cutter (an Easter egg cookie shape would work too).
 I used royal icing to pipe on the face and the swaddling clothe.  When it dried I used a Wilton icing pen to draw on the eyes.
I wrapped each one with cellophane, and then put them in bags with brown crinkle and an attached bible verse.

Monday, November 28, 2016

Oh, Christmas Tree!

A few months back I posted about some screens I had saved when I had my windows replaced a few years back.  I've been painting different holiday scenes on the screens to set on the front porch.  This one was kind of tall, so I painted a tree.  The key is to set this on a garbage bag or plastic table clothe when you paint it so that the paint 'pools' and dries some in the mesh holes.

Friday, November 25, 2016

Fall Spinach Salad

It's time to pack up fall and say hello to Christmas, but first...one last fall-ish dish.  This recipe makes a ton-it says it serves 16, but I could inhale the pecans alone.
Fall Spinach Salad
Salad Ingredients:  
2 pkg of baby spinach (12 oz total), 1 medium apple (chopped), 1 c. crumbled feta 4 oz, 1 c. glazed pecans, 1/2 c. diced red onions, 1/3 c.dried cranberries, 5 pieces of bacon (cooked and crumbled)
Dressing Ingredients:  2 T apple cider vinegar, 1 T. sugar, 1/2 t. Dijon mustard, 1/8 t. pepper, 1/4 c. olive oil

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Happy Thanksgiving

L. M. Mongomery Anne of Green Gables November Quote by farmnflea, $10.00:
I've celebrated Thanksgiving with many different people in many different ways, but over the last few years it has taken on a new meaning for me as I've seen more of the world.  I am sometimes stopped in my tracks when I see the rest of the world and see this spot God carved out for me.  I am so thankful.  I know that so much of what I struggle with would be a dream for others.  My worries are so trivial, and I am so grateful to be so blessed, but I'm trying to hold tight to all I've been given even when it doesn't seem like it's as 'much' as others that surround me, it's still so much more than most.  I've been given so much freedom.  I've been given so many resources.  I've been given so many great friends.  I've been given so many holidays with family.  But I know it was not for nothing.  It wasn't because I earned it, or God loved me more....it's because He trust me to use my blessings for His kingdom.  I'm praying this holiday that the next month opens doors for me to love better, and give more generously of all I'm thanking God for today.  


Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Apple and Spinach Salad

I'm always looking for delicious salads....and often failing, but....I found a keeper via a posting on facebook.  Oh.  My.  Goodness.  I've made it over and over.  In the winter I craft fresh fruit and there aren't a lot of offerings in the store, but apples, apples are in season, so this one is just right!
Apple Salad Recipe
Ingredients for Salad:  1 bag of baby spinach, 2 granny smith apples (sliced), golden raisins, cashews, thin slices of red onion
Ingredients for Dressing:  1/4 c. sugar, 1/4 c. apple cider vinegar, 1/4 c. vegetable oil, 1/4 t. garlic salt, 1/4. t. celery salt,

Monday, November 21, 2016

Aging Wood

I've accidentally aged a lot of wood over the years....but that requires A)  Being forgetful B) Mother Nature and usually C)  Carpenter Ants.  So, said aged wood gets tossed.  This year I wanted to make some angels for my front yard (finished project coming later), but I wanted to have an aged look to the wood (I'm white washing later on top of the 'aging').  I googled a bunch of different ways to age, and went with the simple tutorial of steel wool (Brillo Pads) and Apple Cider Vinegar.  
 I soaked the wool in the vinegar overnight (a procrastinators dream project).  Then I took it out and just rubbed the wood down with the steel wool.
 It initially looked like the above pictures (you could see the lines of the wood starting to darken).  I let it dry for about a day and it was much darker.  I went over it a few more times b/c I want my angels well aged, but....I'd say that's a pretty simple tutorial that takes about a year less than mother nature and doesn't invite as many critters over to inspect your 'aging' wood.

Friday, November 18, 2016

DIY Cork Board

 Several years ago my brother moved in for a little bit....and it ended up becoming a 'lot a bit' when he purchased a new car.  What I learned in the meantime (along with lots of ideas for Vegan cooking) was that I can live without a guest room.  Which means....it's time for a craft room!  I'm going to do an extensive post all about said craft room when its finished, but in the meantime....I'll be posting some of the diy projects.  I can already tell you this will be my favorite room of all times!  This first project was an easy one....I had a frame someone had given me and some paint I bought for some laundry room projects.
 I bought a large piece of cork from Home Depot....it was less than 6 bucks and I had a TON left over even though the frame is at least 24 inches by 18.  I used the insert to measure out how big to cut it.
 I cut the piece out with my jigsaw.  If you only own one tool (and I only own three), this is one I say is a must.  You could use a saw, but....a jigsaw is what I'd want with me on a deserted island.  No brand advertisement or suggestions, just sayin'....
 I then slipped my finished piece into the frame and hot glued the edges.
Winning at life.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Dinner Rolls

      If you've known me for about a minute you'll know carbs and I go way back.  I can name any bread that's served at any restaurant I have eaten at...sometimes I try to show restraint, but....I do love a good ball of dough.
     Recently, my pal Regan introduced me to this set of rolls she makes all the time.  She greeted me at the airport with a bag and I at some as we drove back towards her house for a weekend visit.
    I love homemade rolls, but through the years, sometimes yeast can be tricky....and this recipe seems to be relatively easy and fool proof.   So...if you like rolls, need an easy recipe, or.....need a great recipe for Thanksgiving, try this one.
Dinner Rolls
*makes 24 rolls
Ingredients:  1 1/4 c. milk (warmed), 10 T unsalted butter (melted, cooled, and divided), 1 large egg, 4 1/2 c flour (divided), 2 T sugar OR honey, 1 envelope (or 2 /14 t.) instant yeast, 1 1/2 t salt
Instructions:
1.  Whisk the warm milk, 8 T melted butter, and eggs together.
2.  In a standing mixer (with a dough hook)-mix together 4 c. flour, salt, yeast, and sugar (or honey).  Add half the milk mix and begin to beat on low.  Add the remainder of the milk and continue to beat on low for about a minute until it's combined.  
3.  Increase speed to low-medium and let the machine knead the bread for ten minutes.  Check the dough about five minutes it, and if it's sticking to the sides of the bowl, add 1 T of flour at a time (up to 1/4 c.) until it doesn't stick anymore to the sides of the bowl.  
4.  Place dough into a lightly greased bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let the dough rise for a hour (until it's doubled in size).
 5.  Divide the dough into 24 equal balls.  Roll and place about 1 inch apart on a parchment lined pan.  Cover loosely with sprayed plastic wrap and let it rise for another 30-60 minutes (rolls should be doubled in size).
6.  Brush the tops of the rolls with the remaining 2 T of melted butter.
7.  Bake at 375 for 20-25 minutes (should be turning golden brown when they are ready).
8.  Let the rolls cool for 10 minutes and then serve warm.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Pumpkin Subway Sign

Here's a quick tutorial I did for Good Morning, Texas on Tuesday.  It took me awhile to figure out the are of subway signs.  
 It used to be the paint would smear under the vinyl, but I found (thanks to the internet) if you first paint the letters with mod podge and let it try....
 ...and go back over with paint, it will stay in place.  One note-make sure if you are using fence post (like I did)-sand them first or you will still get some smearing!

Friday, November 11, 2016

New York City is always a good idea...

...even in the rain.

 Last spring, when the new school calendar went online and I saw I Columbus day off again, I looked up New York City flights on a whim.  It turns out Virgin Airlines was running an amazing deal on flights and I couldn't help but book one.
 This was my fifth trip to the big apple, but it never ceases to reveal new corners for me to explore.  It also never fails to rain when I visit, which means my camera isn't quite as useful as it is in other locations.  I love her still.  This go 'round I went to the Met.  I only had a little bit of time, and there is a lot of museum, so....I'll save that for another trip, but I did get to explore the American Art corner of the Met.
 ...and my teammate told me not to miss the rooftop garden with amazing views of Central Park and NYC skyline.  She didn't lie.  It was stunning!
 When I was talking to my friend Maurine, who lives in Florida, I mentioned I was heading there and it just so happened she and her husband were coming in from a cruise the very same weekend.  I can't tell you how excited I was to hear that b/c we get very few days to spend together due to distance and schedules.  We met up in the evening and she was on board for taking a train to Brooklyn and walking back across the bridge.  The walk was about a mile, and even in the clouds and drizzle it was worth every minute.  We snapped photos of the skyline, the Manhattan bridge, and the Statue of Liberty and chatted and laughed.
 We also snagged dinner at Katz's and it was far too little time, but precious all the same.
On Sunday, the rain did not give up so I stuck near the hotel and then when it cleared (at least the rain, if not the clouds) I went down to the Staten Island Ferry.  It's a free trip across the water....and back (you do have to get off one ferry and hop on the other at the opposite end of about a thirty minute ride), BUT it takes you right past the Statue of Liberty and you get a great view of the skyline.
 Monday morning I got up to sunny skies and cooler weather (of course, this is insurance that I'll be back b/c I know how beautiful it can be with that sun....though I already knew that rain or shine I love New York).  I decided to catch the subway to 81st and walk to Levain Bakery (and Central Park).  I had read about the hour(s) long line and the divine cookies.
 There was a short line when I arrive (maybe ten minutes), so I got the culinary experience without the wait.  They have humongous cookies that are really good.  I can tell they use only the best, but....it's a little less sweet that I'm used to-it was a good cookie, and what impressed me most were how sweet all the employees were.  I'd go again, but...I probably wouldn't wait two hours.
I said hello and goodbye to the park and New York after a brief weekend.  I'm sure I'll be back...it would be too heart breaking to think of any alternative to that situation.

Tuesday, November 08, 2016

Caramel Brownie Bites

The past five (or more?) years my work got together for a cookie/recipe exchange  I work with a lot of folks, so baking a certain number of cookies for us each to go home with a platter/selection is a little unrealistic, especially when you are single!  It became a recipe exchange instead.  We bake two of each cookie and place them in baggies (as cute or plain as you feel like being) with an attached recipe.  It's been a great way to gain some really fun new recipes through the years.  Last year I tried one I found on brucrew that seemed simple, and turned out to be delicious.  Here are my bagged cookies ready to go.  
Print Recipe Card Here  If you want a copy of the recipe.  Click the link (it's a free website I used to share uploads.

Basically-you choose your favorite brownie mix, and bake it up (using the recipe with the * next to it).

You cut it into 35 pieces after it cools, and then wrap each little square around a Rolo.

Chill for an hour or so in the fridge.  Then melt almond bark.  Roll each brownie ball into the almond bark.  Sprinkle with sea salt.  Harden.  Bite.  Eat.  Repeat.