Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Very Merry

We had a wonderful Christmas! I hope you did too! Most of our week was filled with visiting friends and extended family. Lots of fun!

I've also had some computer issues... I loaded some software that my Little One got for Christmas, and *something* happened. Things just aren't working quite right.

I always enjoy this time around New Year's, looking back fondly on the previous year and looking forward to new and exciting things for the coming year. I've seen lots of other blogs doing a recap of the year, and thought it would be fun to share some of my favorite photos from my blog from 2008.



I want to wish everyone a fantastic 2009!!!
Happy New Year!

(P.S. The winner of the final giveaway was Maija!!! I had sent her an email but didn't get a chance to post here. Thank you all for playing. I loved reading about your special traditions!)

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Glittery, Vintage-y, and White

Earlier this month I hosted a small ornament swap for some blogging friends.
The theme we decided on was a combination of vintage, glittery, and white or pastel/soft colors.

Imagine my delight when the boxes started to arrive, like this one from Crystal:


And this one from Sarah:


The swap was fantastic! I am so excited to have these new lovelies on my tree!

HOPE Canvas: Maija
Glass Tree: Lisa
Felted Dangle: Fanny

Stocking: Natalea
Santa: Crystal
Church: Jessi

Feathered Wreath: Jeanne
Bird: Michele
Cottage: Connie

Glittered Leaf: Sarah
Cone: Jenny
Reflector: Julie


These glittered birds were my contribution. I used a chipboard bird from the scrapbook store and completely covered it with tarnished silver glitter. I then added the glittered holly and vintage pearls. They were a lot of fun to make... and there is STILL lots of glitter around here!


And finalllly... using this random number generator... the winner of the Tuesday giveaway (angel kit) is:

#21 Michelle
"What a wonderful idea your give-away is! Making a list of favorites is a great idea too. I love watching my family open gifts, especially when I feel like I found a really good one for someone!"

And the winner of the Wednesday giveaway ($24 Gift Certificate) is:

#55 Diane
"Heather, what I love about Christmas...it seems, at least where we live, that everyone is nicer at this time of year. I think it makes people sometimes stop and think about others. Maybe it's that little guilt-nudging angel on our shoulder...
It's the snow and lights and twilight and music and making things, baking, snuggling up next to the tree and the fireplace with hot chocolate, sending cards with little hand made tags inside, glitter and candles and trudging through the snow..."

For all the details about the giveaway and to enter, click HERE!
Tomorrow is the final day!!!
Merry Christmas Eve!!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Warm & Felty

While we were without power during the ice storm, I had a little free time to make some ornaments for some friends. I have been a huge fan of Charlotte Lyons for quite some time, and I was very excited to see that she had put together a sweet little book and kit that was available in her etsy shop earlier this Fall. The booklet, called "Crafted. Felts and Fabrics. Inspiration from the Scrapbag" is delightful. There are lots of cute projects using wool felt and fabrics, with little or no sewing involved... which I LOVE! Be sure to visit Charlotte's blog too! She has been sharing some fun holiday crafting projects! I just adore the lace wreath! (Maybe I'll have one done for Valentine's Day... or Christmas next year! Heehee.)


These are what I created. Simple heart ornaments using just the scraps that she had sent in the kit, and some felt that I had made using my own sweaters. It was just fun to play.


I really loved working with the felt, and hope to do some more soon! I've been telling my family and friends to check in their closets for old wool items that I can have. There are some other great felt books out there right now, like this, this, and this. I have a couple already, but I'm hoping Santa will deliver the others!

And finalllly... using this random number generator... the winner of the Monday giveaway is:
#11 Laurie - Magpie Ethel
"I love the holidays a ton....christmas is definitely my holiday. I think what I enjoy most is making it a magical time for my kids. Even tho they are in high school now I love all the traditions we have established...making pizelles, cutting the tree, hanging special decoration they made as little ones, filling stockings. The holidays take on a special meaning when seen thru the eyes of children!"

For all the details about the giveaway and to enter, click HERE!
There are 3 more days of prizes!
Thank you all for stopping by! I'm really enjoying reading all of you family traditions and what makes the holidays so magical for you!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Holiday Giveaway!


I have a confession to make. Christmas kind of snuck up on me this year, and I haven't really enjoyed the season like I usually do. I LOVE Christmas, don't get me wrong, but something has been a bit off this year. Some of it has definitely been our crazy weather. Some of it was just being busy with everyday life stuff. I just feel like there was enough time to do everything that I wanted to, and I think that has been what's bothering me the most. I had so many decorations that I wanted to make, things to share on my blog, recipes to try... they will all go undone this year. I've been crazy here these past few days cleaning, wrapping, shopping, baking... all things that I love doing (except the cleaning part:). It's been seriously stressing me out though! I never get frazzled like this, and I definitely work best under pressure, but this has just been crazy.

So, earlier this afternoon while making the girls lunch, I thought about all of the things that I really love about Christmas. This is some of what I came up with:
  • Our yearly tree cutting trip.
  • The girls sneaking samples of cookies and icing, giggling with delight that I didn't see them.
  • Pretending that I didn't see them.
  • Our annual Christmas Eve Open House and Gift Swap (with an appearance from Santa).
  • Re-gifting to my father the SAME joke gift that my sister and I have been giving him for the past 20 years.
  • Santa leaving brand new PJs for the girls under their covers for them to find at bed time on Christmas Eve.
  • The happy screeches of my Little One when she wakes up on Christmas morning.
  • My Little One's amazement at the fact that Santa and his reindeer ate the cookies and carrots that she left them.
Making this list made me feel soooooo much better. My family probably won't notice a few dust bunnies, or if all the wrapping paper doesn't match my decor, or that I didn't make 20 different types of cookies this year.

It will just be good to be together.

I'm certain that I am not the only one out there worrying and rushing to get things done. Make a list of the things you really love... you'll feel better too.

Leave a comment HERE on this post listing one of the things that you really love about Christmas. I will pick a name each day (Monday-Thursday) leading to Christmas to win a little prize. So, you will have 4 chances to win. Be sure to include your email address, so that i can contact you if you win!

Here are the prizes:
Monday - A mini Kitschy Christmas Kit ( a smaller version than the one in the shop)
Tuesday - A Sweet Vintage Angel Kit
Wednesday- A $24 Speckled Egg Gift Certificate
Thursday- A $25 Speckled Egg Gift Certificate

I wish you and your families a wonderful holiday, filled with the things you really love!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Marshmallow Snowmen Tutorial

Thank you for the sweet emails and comments about the ice storm. It has been a crazy experience... hopefully a "once in a lifetime" thing. We are really lucky though, some of the people in the more rural areas may not see power for weeks. Can you imagine?!? Yikes.


I've suddenly received a bunch of emails asking for directions for these Marshmallow Snowman Pops that I posted a photo of last year. I've been making them for several years for little friends and classmates. The kids LOVE them! I can't take credit for the idea... there was a kit to make them at a gourmet shop that I had visited. It was about $20 and only made 3-4 pops (which I thought was a little steep!) This is my less expensive version. I don't have the supplies on hand to do a proper tutorial, but here are the directions.

Supplies:
Large marshmallows ( 3 per pop)
Long lollipop sticks (these are about 7" long)
White chocolate candy melts (available at craft or baking shops)
Mini M&Ms
Waxed Paper
Cellophane Bags & Ribbon

1. Push 3 marshmallows onto the sticks. The stick should come about 3/4 of the way through the top marshmallow(the head), but should not poke all the way through. The marshmallows should be touching each other (no gaps in between). The flat sides should all face up.
2. Melt white chocolate according to the package directions in a medium bowl.
3. Working quickly, dip marshmallow pops into the white chocolate. The marshmallows need to be completely covered, or they will get hard and yucky. Shake slightly to allow excess to drip off. Place on waxed paper. While the chocolate is still wet, add M&Ms for eyes, nose and buttons.
4. Allow chocolate to set. Peel from waxed paper and wrap in cellophane. Tie with ribbon and store in a cool place.

Tips:
*If the chocolate starts to get too thick, you may need to re-melt it.
*Add some other decorations to the snowmen. Maybe pretzel stick arms or a scarf made from a fruit roll-up.


Monday, December 15, 2008

Ice Storm

We finally have our power back. It has been out since Thursday evening. This storm has been like nothing that I have ever seen before. Huge trees are broken like toothpicks, power lines dangling in roads, branches poked through car windshields, whole towns are still without power.
Driving is like an obstacle course. Absolutely unbelievable. I keep hearing people say that it is like a war zone, which sounds really dramatic, but it is so true.


We are all ok... as are our family and friends. Our little road fared really well with little damage. My husband was able to get a small generator so we stayed somewhat warm.


It is so deceiving, because it looks absolutely beautiful outside with everything covered in ice. These are a few pics from out yard on Friday. A birch tree which had flopped over and a big bittersweet vine. You can see some more pics from the news here.


I have several emails to answer and packages to send... I'm hoping to start working on them today. I apologize if you haven't heard from me these past few days. It's just been a little crazy.... I'm sure you understand!

Friday, December 5, 2008

Cookie Swap!


My super-sweet friend, Jessi, is hosting a virtual Cookie Swap again this year!
You can visit her blog to see a list of everyone who will be posting holiday recipes.
I'm very excited to see all of the recipes... I LOVE to bake (plus I have a MAJOR sweet tooth!)
I usually make a ton of homemade goodies for friends, family, even the mailman...

Here is a recipe for Raspberry Thumbprint Cookies. It is an easy recipe that I found in a magazine several years ago. I've been making them every year since then! I leave out the pecans beacuse of allergies, and they still turn out great!

1 (8 oz.) package cream cheese, softened
3/4 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
2 tsp. vanilla
2-1/4 cups flour
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 cup finely chopped pecans (optional)
1-1/4 cups raspberry jam

1. Heat oven to 350°F. Beat cream cheese, butter, sugar and vanilla with mixer until blended. Add flour, baking soda and pecans (optional); mix well. Refrigerate 30 minutes.

2. Shape dough into 1-inch balls. Place, 2 inches apart, on baking sheets. Indent centers.

3. Bake 10 minutes. Fill each cookie with about 1 tsp. preserves. Bake 8 to 10 min. or until golden brown. Cool on baking sheets 2 min. Remove to wire racks; cool completely. (Makes 5 dozen.)

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Kit-astrophe


Poof. Just like that, they disappeared!
Completely gone from my shop.
The kits from the previous post, and several other goodies that I added to the shop last week.
All gone.
It was like they never existed.
I'm not exactly sure what happened, and neither is the website host...
Weird.

Anyways, the kits and other products are back.
All the new things are HERE.
The kits are HERE.
I apologize for the confusion over the past few days.