Friday, December 23, 2011

Merry Christmas

Just wanted to wish you all a very Merry Christmas!!!  Blessings and happiness to you and yours!  Thank you for all of your support and encouragement throughout the year and for taking the time to stop by and visit :)

I will be taking a couple of weeks off from my blog to spend time with my family...see you in 2012!


Monday, December 19, 2011

Painted Pine Cones, Orange Sugar, and a Cranberry Cocktail

Hi!  I intended to have this post ready last week, but there was a long stretch of dreary, no-sun days and I was unable to get any photography done...but Caighton and I busied ourselves doing various Christmas crafts!

I love to use these mini pine cones for decorating, as well as, table settings.  I have used them before in product shots for the shop.  I think they look so cute in tea cups and make for a unique place card setting that way...

So, for a variation on that, I thought it would be nice to paint some of the pine cones white and place them in my little vintage clay pots for a more Christmas inspired place setting.  Tucking a stamped paper doily below them, keeps the plate clean and allows you a spot to stamp your guest's name.

Caighton and I had a lot of fun painting the pine cones {you can add a dusting of glitter while the paint is still wet for a very pretty effect}...

Next up I made some Orange Sugar...

A perfect gift for someone who loves tea or iced tea, and it is super easy to make.

All you need is the zest of one orange for every cup of sugar you want to the zest and sugar in a food processor and pulse for a minute or two to evenly distribute the zest among the sugar...Easy!  And the smell is heavenly!!

I transferred mine into these adorable canning jars I brought back from one of the kitchen gadget stores I came across on our trip to Paris...I also added one of my dried orange slices to decorate the jar...

Shake the jar once a day for the first week to keep the sugar from clumping.

I used the orange sugar over the weekend to make my Christmas Cranberry Cocktail...

All you do, is thaw some frozen cranberries and then combine them in a bowl with some of the orange sugar. 

Macerate for at least a couple of hours, gently mashing the berries every so often {depending on how many drinks you plan to serve, use about 2 tablespoons of sugar for every 1/2 cup of berries}

Place a scoop of the cranberry/sugar mixture in a champagne glass and fill with sparkling wine...

The bubbles from the wine will make the cranberries float and distribute the sugar.  It's a fun, festive, and not-too-sweet Christmas drink!  Enjoy!

I hope to be back soon with more Christmas projects.  My kids are officially home for Christmas break now :)


p.s.  I wanted to let you know about the amazing Annie Sloan chalk paint giveaway going on over at Christie's blog, Carter's's what you could win ~

2 Fabulous pots of Annie Sloan Chalk Paint

1 tin of Soft Clear Wax

1 tin of Soft Dark Wax

1 Ultimate Wax Brush

1 Glazing Brush

2 Chalk Paint Brushes

1 sheet of Ripple Cloth (for buffing)

1 Color Chart of all 28 Annie Sloan Chalk Paints

The Painted Kitchen Book

Creating the French Look Book

& Quick & Easy Paint Transformations Book

Prize value over $250!!

***Head on over to Carter's Cottage to enter!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Simple Homemade Christmas

Good morning!

Well, the weekends until Christmas are winding down!  I don't have all of my Christmas shopping done yet, but I basically refuse to do it on the weekends, as I don't like fighting the crowds.  I much prefer to be baking and crafting, rather than shopping :)

For those of you who read my blog regularly, you know I'm not much of a crafter...oh, I'd like to be, but it's just not really one of my strengths {there are some seriously amazing crafters in blogland!}...

...but every Christmas, I catch the bug and want to do nothing but craft projects for about 3 weeks...

Today, I am featuring two of the projects I worked on over the weekend...think simple and natural, as that seems to be the theme this year.

I took some of the clear ornaments that you get at any craft store as the start to this first project {I chose the square ones for something different, but the round ones would work great for this too}...

First, I took off the top to add some salt, for snow {I used a funnel}, and then added some pepper berries and small green flowers.  The pepper berries will dry naturally and retain their color nicely, if you are starting with fresh ones.  I found the flowers in the fresh floral section of the grocery store, they were marked simply "Christmas bunch."

{back view}

I finished off the ornament with a bit of torn vintage French paper {with a Christmas theme}, burlap, and some sheer green ribbon.  I used double sided tape to secure the torn paper.

Project number two was some napkin rings using star anise pods...

First, I cut a small length of ribbon...I used the vintage French ribbon I bought from Jeanne's shop last year, but any sturdy ribbon will work well.  Then it was just a matter of hot gluing the star anise pod to the middle and then hot gluing a small rhinestone onto that.  I deconstructed an old vintage pin, that I had that was falling apart, to get my rhinestones, but you could always buy new ones at the craft store.

Adding a little velcro to the ends of the ribbon will allow the napkin rings to be used again and again.

My mom, sisters, and I decided to have a homemade gift exchange this Christmas, so you will be seeing more simple, homemade gift ideas from me soon :))

I would love to hear what your best ideas are for homemade gifts!

Happy crafting!!


Thursday, December 8, 2011

Virtual Holiday House Walk...

Good morning!  Yep, I am the "surprise stop" on my good friend Jen's Virtual Christmas House Walk!

Be sure and check out my friend Tara's beautiful home {that is before mine on the tour}, over at Blondie 'n SC!  And if you are just getting started with the home tour {which started on Monday} you can get a complete list of homes in the tour over on Jennifer Rizzo's blog.

Ok, let's get started...

I'm afraid I do not have my act quite as together as the rest of the gals on this tour and only have one room to show you and not the whole house...but I took a lot of pictures of this one room :))

I stuck to a very natural Christmas look in this room...lots of fresh greenery, twigs, berries, pine cones, apples and dried orange slices for a homey feel and a Christmasy smell.

the homemade tags on the vintage German beer bottles read, peace, love, joy...

I love using old crates combined with fresh greens, and this crate, along with the vintage Anheuser-Busch crate, belonged to my husband's mother-in-law recently gave them to us and I just LOVE them!  Even the sides of the crates have "cool" printing on them...

I made my own dried orange slices by cutting the fruit and then baking them in a 200 degree oven for 3 hours to dry them out.  Just flip the fruit slices every 30 minutes or so, in order for the fruit to dry evenly. Super easy!  They look really pretty hung on a tree or in a window, as well.  And, lemons and limes work great too!

I bought this vintage sheet music wreath, but with a little time, patience, and glitter, you could easily make one yourself!

The usual grain sacks that adorn my old ladder were replaced by these lovely vintage grain sack stocking from Dreamy Whites Online...

Several years ago, my in-laws gave us many of the vintage ornaments that are on our tree, and I have added a few more every year as I find them at the flea market and antique shops...

I will show you more of the tree when I get a few presents wrapped and under it :))

Thank you so much for stopping by!  Tomorrow the tour continues with Kristin's home over at My Uncommon Slice of Suburbia!! 

:) Tracey

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Finding the Perfect Tree

Hi!  Just checking in for a quick post...I wanted to share a few photos from our tree hunting excursion this weekend!  We are lucky enough to have a beautiful nursery right in our own town that has a tree farm as well, where you can go and cut your own tree...

It was a lot of fun to search for just the right tree...

...we had to pass up a lot of "Charlie Brown" trees that weren't quite ready yet to be Christmas trees, but I sure thought they were cute...

We had hoped for some snow, but instead we got a gloomy, rain-filled day.  We made the most of it though!

My husband did the honors of cutting the tree down for us and, in the end, we were pretty darn happy with the tree that we picked...

Over the weekend, we also visited Santa...aka my neighbor Jerry...he dresses up every year for the neighborhood kids and passes out candy canes and coloring books!  So my sister came over and took our sweet little Sophie for her first visit with Santa...

Isn't she a cutie?!!

I will be back tomorrow with a little Christmas decorating :)

Enjoy your evening!


Friday, December 2, 2011

The Coming Home Collection...

{The Evelyn Handbag}

Good morning!  I am so honored, excited, and overjoyed to share my very dear friend Jeanne Oliver's new Winter 2011 line, The Coming Home Collection, with all of you!!!

Let me just forewarn you, after you view these pictures, you are going to want to do some shopping :))

Jeanne has truly outdone herself yet again!!!  Be sure to check out the details at the bottom of my post about her mega huge giveaway!


...and, for the first time, a little girl's messenger the same gorgeous material as the Betty Ruffle Halena wants one of these...

and that adorable little dress is available as well {sizes 2 - 10}...

Isn't it the cutest, sweetest dress?!!

And, of course, I LOVE Jeanne's adult dresses!  I have 2 from the last collection and I plan to buy some from this collection as well!

Jeanne carries vintage items and gorgeous jewelry in addition to all of her beautiful dresses and are just a few examples...

To see many more gorgeous new items from Jeanne's Winter 2011 line, The Coming Home Collection, please head on over to her shop...

you can also view her Lookbook to see the entire collection

And for some really cool news...

***If you go to Jeanne's blog, you can sign up to be entered into her $500 gift certificate giveaway, just click *HERE*

Have a great weekend!!!