Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Add This To Your Menu...

New Year's Eve is fast approaching,

and whether you're going all out to ring in the New Year with a
big bash

or taking it easy at home in your slippers and comfy pants relaxing by the fireplace,

you may want to add this drink to your menu for the evening...

Cranberry Margaritas

I spotted it in this months issue of Sunset Magazine and, being a cranberry lover myself, I ripped out the page right away and posted it on the fridge letting Will know that we would be making these on Christmas day.

They were delicious and so simple to make!

You can click here for the recipe.



I hope you all had a wonderful holiday!

We sure did...

and still are.

We're making the most of Will being home and the kids being out of school.

All we need now to make it complete is a little bit of snow.

(That's wishful thinking at its best, right there! Maybe we'll go find some snow instead of waiting for it to find us!)

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Merry Christmas To All...

Just wanted to wish everyone a very Happy Holiday!

From our home, to yours...

Merry Christmas

Our Christmas is well under way and our kitchen is going to need a much deserved break once all of the festivities are over.

We're spending Christmas Eve with my family and Christmas Day with Will's family. We're hosting at our house for both gatherings and we can't wait to get everyone over here.

We're ready!

We've spent the past several days cleaning, baking and creating gifts.

I think this gift might just be my favorite this year...

I decorated another candle. This one much more rustic and natural than the first.

I used twine wrapped just above my epsom salt line...

Tied with a large rusty snowflake, I think she's going to like it very much!

What do you think?

I think I need to make one for myself!

The house smells delicious...thanks to more Sugared Pecans and Cranberry-Orange Bread. We made Spritz Cookies too, and there's a double batch of Sugar Cookie Dough that is currently in the fridge waiting to become cut-outs of yummy Snowmen and Christmas Trees and Stockings.


I'll be back after the holiday!

Merry Christmas!

P.S. Our Christmas Cards were created by a client and friend of mine. She's a wonderful photographer. If you're local, check her out!

Click here for her website.

Click here for her blog.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Embellishing Our Sparkly Candles...

I must say, I think they turned out great!

Here is what I did to dress them up.

Last night I went to sleep having finished the process of gluing on the Epsom Salt with the Mod Podge...

I let them sit on the drying rack overnight, so that the mod podge would (hopefully) be good and cured by this morning when I needed to get them fancied up and wrapped for the boys to give to their teachers.

I used some red, satin ribbon...

steel wire...

and ball point pins...

I wrapped the ribbon around the candle lining it up just past where the epsom salt ended. I wrapped the ribbon as tightly as I could, while trying to cause the least amount of disruption to the salt (this was easier said than done). I folded over the ribbon on the end that would overlap and secured it with two matching red pins stuck directly into the candle...

I then took my wire, making sure that I had enough of it to wrap around the candle several times, and twisted it in the back to keep the wire tight...

I punched a hole in a small card that I attached to the candle, running the wire through the hole...

The greeting I wrote in their teacher's cards:

Hoping your Holiday is

Merry & Bright!

I am really happy with how they look!

The satin ribbon makes the candle feel fun and festive for Christmas, and the wire adds just a bit more shine to the already sparkly candles.

Of course, once Christmas is over, they can take off the wire and ribbon if they choose and they will be left with an elegant, simple candle that they can enjoy all year long.

I found the perfect gift bags for our 9 inch candles in the...

wine department

at the grocery store!


Wine bags were the only bags tall enough.

And once I saw these bags, I knew the boys would love them, which would make it even more fun for them to present to their teachers...

I'm going to dress up the other 4 candles that I made last night to give as gifts as well, but I want to change up the look a bit.

Maybe a bit more rustic and subdued.

Here's hoping the next four work out as smoothly as the first two!

P.S. I am posting this at:

The Inspired Room for Holiday Linky Friday

The Shabby Nest for Frugal Friday

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Sure Enough...It Really Is That Easy...

The directions:

(and I quote)

"Spread some Mod Podge on each candle with a sponge brush, then roll the candle in Epsom Salt in a ratty old pan."

That's it!

Easy, right?

It must be! She said her 5 year old helped make them.
But I wasn't about to go there.
My six year old would be covered in mod podge and the kitchen would be covered in salt.

But if her 5 year old can do it, then clearly, I should be able to.

I saved the idea to my Tumblr as soon as I saw it.

I needed a gift to give the boys' teacher's for Christmas, and this fit the bill perfectly!

I went to Michael's and bought my supplies.

9 inch candles on sale, no...on SUPER sale, for $1.99!

My plan to do two candles increased in that very moment and I came out with six.

(I mean, seriously, $1.99...I know at least four more women that would be happy to receive a pretty candle...myself included!)

I found the mod podge (I'm still not sure exactly what it is, or what it's really used for) and was on my way back home.

As soon as our little girl was sound asleep for the night, I started in on the project. Just to be safe, I re-read the directions that she had written (...and came away totally unsatisfied with the lack of step-by-step instruction...because how could something so pretty be that easy?). I'll admit, I thought for sure I was going to screw it up somehow. But that probably came from the fact that I need the boys to take these to school with them tomorrow morning to give to their teacher's (it's the last day before Winter Break) and I did not have a back up plan if these didn't work.

Luckily...they worked out perfectly!

So this is me, telling you...

you can count on this to work!

All you need is:

any candle of your choice.

Any size, color, scented or unscented...it's up to you.

I went with white to be certain that it could fit in with any decor...

Instead of running the shimmer all the way to the top of the candles, I wanted to stop about 3/4 of the way up. I put a rubber band around each candle before I started so that I would have a decently straight line to go off of when I was painting on the mod podge...

I lined everything up - assembly line fashion...


mod podge and brush

epsom salt

and a drying rack covered in waxed paper to catch any excess glue and salt

I put the epsom salt in an old baking pan and filled it to about an inch deep. I didn't want to run the risk of the candle rolling on the bottom of the pan and scraping off the salt. I'm sure it was unnecessary, but it made me feel better...

Candle #1...


Pretty, right?

After I rolled the candle in the salt and stood it up on the drying rack, I immediately and carefully rolled the rubber band up off of the candle. I was afraid to leave the rubber band on just in case any mod podge had gotten under it. I didn't want to end up with the rubber band glued to the candle.
Not exactly the look I'm going for!

Four down, two to go...

I ended up buying two different bottles of mod podge. Again, since I had never used it before, I didn't know what to expect. The first was just plain, glossy finish. The second was called "sparkle". It was worth trying. So the last two candles were done in the sparkle mod podge. You can see in this next photo that is has a very fine glitter in it...

Honestly, looking at all six finished candles, I can't tell the difference between the glossy candles and the sparkle candles...

All I know is that I am really, really happy with how they turned out!

I'm going to let them fully dry overnight and then embellish them and wrap them up for the boys to take to their teacher's in the morning...

Thank you, thank you to Emily at Remodeling This Life!

Your daughter is right...

"you have some interesting ideas."

And thank goodness for that!

I'll show you all the finished product in the morning...

P.S. I am posting this at:

The Inspired Room for Holiday Linky Friday

The Shabby Nest for Frugal Friday

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Christmas Came Early...

...for me, anyway!

Check it out...

Can you tell what it is?

Old windows.

Lots and lots of old, beautiful windows!

My sister-in-law, Becky, and her husband, Ryan, live in Portland, OR in a neighborhood that was built in the very early 1900's. A couple of months ago, while on a bike ride they noticed a huge stack of old windows sitting on the lawn in front of a house in their neighborhood. The woman who lived in the house was replacing all of her home's original windows with brand new one's.

Becky asked the woman what she was planning on doing with them and the woman said, basically, "if you want them, take them" - she just really wanted them gone and off her lawn. Becky gave Ryan the look (knowing full well that you don't run across this kind of jack-pot every day!), so Ryan rode home, got in the truck and went back to load em' up!

They know my affinity for old windows and were confident that between Will and I, we would be able to make something great with them.

They were planning on saving them for me for Christmas, but circumstances made it easier for them to get the windows up here now. They're currently sitting in our garage, waiting to be used.

I'm thinking the playhouse could use another window, for sure.

And after that, the sky is the limit!

Time to get creative.

Thanks, Becky and Ryan!

I am giddy!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Christmas 2009 - Home Tour...

The decorating is done and now it's time to sit back and enjoy it.

Welcome to our home...all dressed up for Christmas!

The view of our entry, and what you see when you walk through the front door...

A few Christmas ornaments and some matching ribbon was all it took to turn our everyday entry mirror into something more festive.

We even have a little snow...

The lighted wreath on our bedroom door makes the entry glow at night...

Since each of the kids have their own bedroom this year, they each got a wreath on their door, personalized just for them.

William's favorite color is green...

Owen's favorite is blue...

And pink, of course, for Ellison...

I think this string of delicate, glittery snowflakes is so pretty. And perfect in her girly room...

The tree branches above our bed got a little *bling* for the holidays...

A major change this year, from years past...our Christmas tree is in our Family Room, instead of the Living Room where it normally appears in December.

This was Will's idea.
I was skeptical, at best.
Ok, honestly...I was not on board with the idea.
At all.

But he fought for what he wanted (got to respect someone who stands up for what they believe in!) and after weeks of debating about it through the month of November, I finally gave in, and the day after Thanksgiving we put the tree up in our Family Room.

So how do I feel about it now?

I LOVE it!

Will was totally right!

His reason for wanting the tree in this room was so that it would be right by the fireplace and next to the mantel that we hang our stockings on. I thought for sure that it would be too crowded and that it wouldn't work.

I am here to say...I was wrong.

(This will make him feel good!)

Will was right!

And I'm sure our tree will be in our family room every Christmas.

It is right off of our kitchen and the place that we spend most of our time, so really...it just makes sense to have it in here.

It's so cozy. Exactly how we want it to feel during the holidays!

For the mantel, I gathered lots of glass - vases, jars, urns...whatever I could fit together on the mantel. It didn't matter that they didn't match or didn't relate to each other. The red and silver ornaments are what create the look...

Our wool stockings were made by my mother-in-law. I love the colors and textures and the boys love that they are so BIG...

And one of our favorite items to hang by the stockings...

And, yes, it has two handwritten letters in it.

I love watching them write their letters to Santa!

This year, the tree was decorated by the kids.

I put some of our Christmas balls around the back and sides of the tree, but everything else was done by the kids. That's why all of the ornaments are hung in a column down the front...

You can almost see a straight line down the side of the tree where the ornaments end...

They were just so excited to get them all on!

I love how it looks.

It is perfectly imperfect.

And the best part is how proud of it they are.

To me, it is beautiful.

Crooked star on top, and all!

Thanks for touring our home!

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays, everyone!