Tuesday, December 31, 2013

2013, Gone in a Flash!

Hello, all!
I wanted to post one last time for 2013.  

All in all, 2013 was a pretty decent year.

It was the year that I seemed to
 continually disappear from blogland.
Not intentionally mind you,
but it just kept happening.
As a matter of fact,  
I have a few projects that
I still have not shared with you.

I guess I better make "being a better blogger"
one of my New Year's resolutions,
along with that ever present thorn in my side...
"lose weight."

I thought it would be fun to look at my
Top 4 posts of 2013.  
Up until this point,
I really had no idea which ones were the tops.

Number 4:

Number 3:

Number 2:


And now, my most viewed post of 2013.....
.....drum roll please.....

Number 1:

It's always fun to look back, isn't it? 

Ok friends, that's a wrap for 2013. 
If you are going out tonight to celebrate,
 please be safe!


Monday, December 23, 2013

Christmas Wishes

I wanted a different way to wish all of you a Merry Christmas this year. 
It seems in years past, I post a picture of our Christmas tree
with a wish to you for a Merry Christmas.

This year, I'm getting a little more personal.

Every Christmas Eve,
before the big Italian feast,
and before the chaos of unwrapping gifts,
we go to Christmas Eve Mass.

This Mass is my most favorite of any throughout the year
for reasons I don't think I can put into words. 
I'm not one to preach here on the old blog,
but this Mass is like having 
the joy, the magic & the spirit of Christmas
all combine together for the
true meaning of the season.

Our church, when all is dark & only the Christmas lights are lit,
 is a breathtaking sight.  
I wish I had a nighttime picture to share with you,
but I hope this one will suffice.
(Imagine the large, 100-year old church being completely dark
with only this altar display lit.) 

Wishing you the joy,
the magic,
 & the spirit of Christmas
now & always.
Love to you all,

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Christmas Tour Continues...the Kitchen

The Christmas tour has now moved into the kitchen.

Please come in...welcome to the kitchen. 

I don't do a lot of decorating in here,
but more this year than I have in years past.
My little baking themed tree.
So cute!
Every year, I add just a few Christmas touches to my
cabinets with the glass doors.
Why just a few?
I don't know.
This year though,
I took everything out and went full-on Christmas!
 Best thing I ever did!
I love seeing it filled with Christmas goodies.
I had such a hard time taking a picture
because of the glare from the glass doors.
I finally figured out to just open the darn doors
& take the picture!
I'm telling you, my head is not on straight this year.  lol 

I love this large cookie platter
and the snowman baker, too.

Thank you for taking the tour of my kitchen.
If I can get some decent photos, I'll
return with a mix of other vignettes throughout the house.
Keeping my fingers crossed on that though. 
It seems I leave for work in the dark, and
come home from work in the dark...not
exactly conducive for picture taking.

See you soon!

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Christmas Tour 2013...Living Room

The Christmas Tour continues....

On Monday, I shared my mantel.
Today, I would like to share my Christmas tree.

Oh I'm sure you've heard me complain before how
 I wish I could have a pretty themed tree
like I see so much of in blogland.
My kids are not willing to indulge me on this.
They want the tree decorated the same as always,
with the same ornaments they're used to seeing
year after year.  They take their traditions
very seriously around here!
These are a few of our hundreds of cute ornaments that
we've collected over the years.  I mean that literally.
It's often a struggle to find an
available branch to put them on! 
One day, when my kids have left the roost, 
I will get my themed tree.
But I have a feeling, I won't want it then.
I'm certain I'll want to hold on to every tradition 
we've shared once they're gone.
(I could cry just thinking about it.)

I wish I had thought to take a photo of the wall
opposite the mantel and also one of the entertainment center.
Where is my head??
I'll be back again soon to continue the tour.
I think the kitchen will be up next!

Monday, December 16, 2013

Christmas Tour 2013...The Christmas Mantel

Good morning all!
I believe it's time to get my little Christmas Home Tour rolling again.
Let's take a peek at my living room mantel, shall we?
 It's kind of a funny story.
I convinced my husband into bringing some of the
Christmas boxes down from the attic
a few days before Thanksgiving.
I told him that the mantel takes me forever to decorate
and "maybe I should start a little early."
Well, after much moving & removing,
tweaking & retweaking,
sitting & staring,
then re tweaking some more,
I came up with this year's mantel display.
My husband looked at the mantel, and I can see that he's puzzled
about something.  Then it comes out...
"I have a feeling that nothing on that mantel came
from any of those boxes you made me carry down from the attic!"
Well,  I did take those little Christmas trees from one of the boxes.
Does that count?
Everything else, I shopped the house for.  lol
It wasn't intentional, it just happened that way.
The wreath is a new purchase from TJ Maxx this year.
I saw it and fell in love with it.
Oddly enough, my husband said he really likes it too.
My husband's old sled from when he was a kid.

My Christmas Mantel 2013. 
We are just 8 days away from the big day.
So much to do, so much to do!
Be back soon!
Linking to:
Inspire Me Tuesday @ A Stroll Thru Life

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Christmas Tour...The Sitting Room

I'm back with my Christmas tour and as promised,
I'm going to share my sitting room with you today.

 This is one of my most favorite rooms;
it's connected to the dining room.
As a result, I kept the same color scheme
with neutrals in white, cream, silver & gold.
In this room though, there is a touch of blue.
(Warning:  I may have taken a few too many photos.)
I bought this tree last year after Christmas and I forgot all about it.
My husband was pulling the decorations from the attic and
called me to say he found a tree in the attic still in the box.
I had no clue what it was!  lol
He actually had to send a picture of it to me while I was at work!
Close up of some ornaments on the tree.
 Some sparkle atop my blue dresser.
 My seasonal pillows.
And yes, the girl who can't sew (that being me), made that poinsettia pillow!
I would have had a tutorial to share, but who am I fooling...I didn't take
any pictures during the process.
I never thought in a million years it would turn out like that!  lol

This shelf hangs opposite the wall with the blue dresser.
You may remember this shelf from last year.
The display is pretty much the same.
And there you have it, my holiday sitting room!
I'm hoping to continue the Christmas tour soon.
(If I could only get some decent photos in this drab weather.) 
The rest of the d├ęcor in the house features lots of red.
I hope you'll join me!

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

The Christmas Tour Continues in the Dining Room

Hello, hello!
I'm continuing my Christmas tour of the dining room today.
Wanna come take a peek with me?
My dining room hutch shares the same neutral
colors as the rest of the dining room.
(You can see my first dining room post here.)
Mercury glass hurricanes, votive candles, pinecones,
and that silly snow bird all combine for this hutch vignette.  
A white, silver & gold star hangs atop the mirror. 
I love that star!
I have to say, I'm really enjoying this neutral palette
for Christmas.  It's so different from the rest of the house.
I hope you enjoyed my dining room tour.
My sitting room which adjoins with this dining room is up next.
See you soon!

Monday, December 9, 2013

The Christmas Tour 2013

Hello my dear sweet friends!
Is this month flying by or what?
I thought it was high time that I took you on a little Christmas home tour.  
Today, I'm going to begin with a few shots of the dining room. 

Very simple, very neutral colors here. 
White, cream, silver, gold.
 My mom, oldest sister & I had some fun with the chandelier.
Kind of funny what happened really.
We were just wrapping burlap ribbon around it, haphazardly,
with no real thought involved...
just to see how it would look.
Next thing we knew, we grabbed the scissors, 
we added silver bulbs,
and there you go...we loved it! 

Nothing too fancy for the table centerpiece.
A lantern, a couple of silver glittered deer,
and a burlap poinsettia sit atop a silver beaded table runner. 

On the other side of my dining room table is my
chalkboard.  I know I'm no artiste, but here's what
I came up with for this year.

I hope you enjoyed my dining room tour, this far.
I'll be back soon to continue my home tour with you.
Have a wonderful week! 

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Eat, Drink and Be Thankful

Just wanted to quickly share my dining room chalkboard with you.
I think it pretty much sums up the Thanksgiving holiday to a T.
Don't you agree?
Wishing you the happiest of Thanksgivings!

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Caramel Pecan Turtle Cookies

I suppose it's no surprise to any of you, that I love to bake.
I think I've said it often enough over the years.
So when Marty @ A Stroll Thru Life said she was
throwing a holiday baking party with some friends,
 I just knew I had to participate.
I pulled this recipe from a magazine many moons ago,
and finally got around to making them!
 (Oh you should see my folder of "recipes pulled from a magazine." 
It's Scary with a capital S!)
These cookies are very yummy, but I must caution you: 
They are easy to make, but a little bit time consuming. 

Caramel Pecan Turtle Cookies

1 cup Crisco or 1 Crisco stick
1½ cups sugar
½ cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons milk
3 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
4 to 5 cups flour (I used 4 cups)
1½ teaspoons baking soda
1½ teaspoons cream of tartar
1 teaspoon salt
28 caramels
2 tablespoons milk
3 cups pecan halves
1 (6 ounce) bag chocolate chips

Cream Crisco & sugars together.  Add milk.  Beat in eggs one at a time; add vanilla.  Combine flour, baking soda, cream of tartar & salt.  Mix into creamed mixture.  Chill 1 hour.

Heat oven 350°.  Roll out 1/3 of dough at a time, to ¼ inch thickness on a floured surface.  Cut out with a 2¼ inch cookie cutter.  Place 2 inches apart on ungreased baking sheet. 

Bake 5 to 6 minutes, until edges are slightly golden.  Remove to cooling rack.

For topping, combine caramels & milk in microwave safe bowl.  Cover with waxed paper.  Microwave at 50% for 1 minute.  Stir, repeat until smooth.  (Or you can melt on stovetop in small saucepan at very low heat.)  Drop rounded teaspoonfuls on top of each cookie.  Place 3 pecan halves around edge of caramel. 

Place chocolate chips in microwave safe bowl.  Microwave at 50% for 1 minute.  Stir, repeat until smooth.  (Or again, you can melt on stovetop in small saucepan at very low heat.)  Spread rounded teaspoonfuls over top of caramel, but don't cover pecans.  Cool completely. 

Yield:  5 dozen

Now go ahead & enjoy that turtle cookie...mmmmm...

Linking to:
Holiday Baking Party at A Stroll thru Life
 All Things Thursday at Posed Perfection

Monday, November 11, 2013

It's all about Thanksgiving (vignette & some Etsy love)

I'm sharing a coffee table vignette today and it's all about Thanksgiving.

You see, I've got Christmas on my mind,
but I'm bound and determined to give Thanksgiving its due. 
Even if I'm listening to Christmas music as I type this.   
I really love Christmas music. 

 Mostly everything I used in this vignette, I've had for years.
Some close ups & details:

 I used my favorite bird cage that I know you've all
seen dozens of times,
an orangey rust votive from Target,
and Mr. Turkey, in off-white,
from Joann Fabrics a couple of years ago. 
As I started typing the details of my vignette, I realized
that I have a few Etsy purchases included here,
so why not spread a little Etsy love too?
I purchased the sweet fabric pumpkin on Etsy a few years ago,
 the shop can be found here.
The bottles in the basket came from Michaels this past summer,
and I believe my amber turkey was another
Joann Fabrics find a few years ago. 
The burlap runner was also an Etsy purchase.
It's a great runner and I think it's the perfect base for my vignette.
The Etsy shop can be found here.
Hanging out in the background of my vignette is this cutie,
my Give Thanks pillow, from the hands of the
very talented Ann of On Sutton Place.
I love this pillow!
Her Etsy shop can be found here.
Thanks for stopping by!
Linking to:
Inspire Me Tuesday at A Stroll Thru Life

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