Monday, May 21, 2012

Mistletoe Margarita

I scored an amazing pile magazines while hitting garage sales with my mother this past weekend.  There were two stacks of random holiday magazines all tied together with string.  As I'm going thru them today I found a recipe in Family Circle for a drink that sounds like it would be really good.  I host a big Christmas Open House every year to show off all the trees.  For the last couple of years I've served a holiday cocktail.  I'm going to have to try this one and see if it's in the running for this year's drink.

Mistletoe Margarita
1 ounce Tequila
1/2 ounce Cointreau
1/2 ounce Wild Hibiscus Syrup (
1/2 ounce fresh lime juice

Directions: Shake all ingredients very well in a cocktail shaker with ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

Garnish: 3 cranberries and a mint sprig (to give it that mistletoe look) and an optional salt rim

I dislike salt so I'll likely try it with sugar instead...CHEERS!!!

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Christmas 2011 - Tuscan Themed Kitchen

Whoa...I'm way behind on blogging lately.  I've been planning a wedding for my brother and it has taken over my life.  LOL 

When it came time to finalize the decor plans for the house I decided to use a bunch of the stuff I had made throughout the year.  I went with a Tuscan theme for the kitchen, using the colors brown, lime green and purple.

There are several parts of this room that include projects I made throughout the year.  Here's a list of what made it into this room's theme.
Here's a look into my kitchen last year...

Those crates are not a part of my everyday decor in the kitchen.  I added them just for the season to compliment the theme of the room.  It's always more fun to decorate the whole room...not just put up a tree.

I always say that no space is safe from being decorated...LOL  Notice that I even add a sprig of garland to the tops of my pictures and hangings, then decorate them to match the rest of the room.

I always decorate this old window pane that I have hanging from my ceiling year round.

I tried something new with the cupboards this year by lining the underside with garland.  It was done by placing a few screws along the bottom of the cupboards and then wrapping a branch around the screw to secure the garland.  It was kind of neat and different.

I should note...a lot of the lime green and brown ornaments are plastic "filler" ornaments that I've purchased for 75% and 80% off after Christmas each year.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Christmas Krinkles: Greeting Cards

Patience Brewster ,the artist who creates the Krinkles (which I absolutely adore), began as a childrens book illustrator and then moved into making a line of greeting cards.  The Krinkles line was born after Department 56 discovered her through her cards.  She continues to create cards in the whimisicle style that she is so well known for. 

I love having the cards that match the figures that I own.  I place the cards into a simple frame and use them to display along with my pieces.  I think it's kind of fun to show the original sketch that inspired the actual piece that I've got on display.  If you look closely you can see how I've got a few of the cards incorporated into the display of my Krinkle room from 2011.

I've included a few of her Christmas cards below for you to enjoy.  I purchase most of my cards from an online store called Fiddlesticks.  Check out the great line of Brewster greeting cards they offer by selecting the Patience Brewster link on the left side of their store front.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Plastics...Cheaper & Easier Storage

I am no stranger to the fact that Christmas ornaments can be really expensive.  There are however ways to decorate that are cost effective.  My trees are loaded with ornaments but a large amount of those ornaments are what I call "filler" ornaments.  These are plastic ornaments that are sold in big packs for a decent price.  It's even better if you can get these packs on clearance after the holidays.

These ornaments packs come in multiple shapes, sizes, colors, etc.  There may be a few pieces in a pack that you aren't in love with (say the Santa boot shaped ornament in the box pictured below).  If the price it right, you can pitch the four you hate in the box and still have a good quanity left to use as filler. 

These ornaments are really easy to store because they aren't as fragile as glass and don't need to be wrapped before being packed away for the year.  I store my plastic filler ornaments in the pop-together bankers boxes.  They stack well and are really easy to get into by simply removing the lid.  I sort these in the boxes by color (which I write on the box) so that I can easily pull the color I need for the tree I'm working on. 

I start decorating my trees with the more expensive, more decorative ornaments (which I never buy unless on sale or with coupons) and then I grab my box of filler ornaments and start to fill the rest of the tree.  These ornaments are also perfect for filling in any bare spots on garlands and wreaths or any empty places throughout the room.  If your tv console needs a little Christmas love, grab a glass container or bowl and fill it with your filler ornaments. space is safe from decor at Christmas.  LOL

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Moss For Christmas?

I have found an incredible medium that I absolutely love...moss! I was browsing the isles at my local Dollar Tree store and I found myself looking at the floral/vase section. They had a bag of what looked like moss covered stones. I had been brainstorming to think of how I was going to decorate my cool re-claimed greenhouse for all of the seasons of the year. These green moss stones got the creative juices flowing. I bought a few bags of the faux stones (for a whopping $1 a piece) and then my obsession began.

While I have originally made these ornaments to be used for my spring decor, they can still easily be used by some in their Christmas decor as well.  These would be perfect used on a tree decorated with dried florals or even a garden themed tree.  You read correctly...I've never had a garden themed tree but I've seen many who have.

My search for moss ended at Hobby Lobby where I found moss in pre-packaged sheets. These sheets have a webbed backing that makes it super easy to attach to things. A package of this great stuff cost $6.99 but was a deal when I used my 40% off coupon (coupons for hobby lobby can be found online weekly at

I am in love with this product. I have intentions "mossing" anything and everything that I can get my hands on. What until you see some of the things I have done with this moss. I don't have pics of these ornaments in action. I'll post those after I get all of my spring decor put up in the living room. Stay tuned!

Ornaments (old or new)
Moss (I buy the sheets rather than a bag of just loose moss)
Glue gun & glue

  • Start buy cutting some random pieces from your moss sheets.
  • Carefully apply glue your moss pieces.
  • Apply the pieces to your ornament. You may need to do some creative folding but you'll find that these moss sheets are very forgiving. You'll need to start cutting specific sized pieces to fill in holes as you work your way around your ornament. The moss is very easy to use.

These moss ornaments would be perfect additions to the following trees.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Sewn Paper Garland & Ornaments

I was cruising around craft sites one day and I ran across something that I had never seen or ever imagined to be possible before...sewing paper on a sewing machine.  Of course I had to give it a shot and see if it was really possible.  Low and behold, it worked.  I had a lot of fun experimenting with it and ended up making a very simple garland and dangling ornaments. 

Here is my sheet music garland.

Here is the sheet music dangling ornament.

Being a musician, I typically always test the things out of printed music.  I had my trusty vintage hymnal close by when I began this project.  You can make these out of any type of paper you wish.  Be creative with your paper selection and make something to use for a birthday, baby or bridal shower, of course Christmas and any other holiday.  As you can well imagine, you can do much more intricate things with these sewn paper garlands and ornaments.  I stuck with the basics for this but will definately be trying some variations in the future.

Paper of choice
Circle pattern (I just used two different sized lids off of spice bottles)
Sewing machine & thread
Hole punch (if making ornaments

Instructions for Garland
  • Cut circles from your paper.  I chose to cut two different sizes for some added interest.

  • Begin by having an ample length of thread pulled from both the spool on top and the bobbin.  This will give you something to grab and pull your garland through the machine while sewing. 
  • Run one piece of paper through your sewing machine at a time.  You can either choose to sew the pieces end to end (pieces touching) or leave a random sized space in between each piece. 
    • To add space between pieces simply sew through one piece completely.  When you get to the end of the piece, continue pressing the pedal on your machine while pulling the sewn portion of your garland through.  This will cause the thread to twist together.  When the desired amount of space is achieved, slide another piece of paper under the presser foot and continue on.

Showing the process of pulling the piece through to add a gap.
  • When you have reached the desired length for your garland, run the machine a little further (without adding any paper pieces) to give you thread to hang your piece from.  Both ends can be trimmed back after you decide where and how you will hang your garland.
Instructions For Ornaments
  • Follow the same basic sewing instructions as above with the following changes.
  • Select your starting (top) paper piece and put a whole in the top using a paper punch.  this will provide a place to hang using either ribbon or an ornament hook.
  • Begin sewing right under the punched hole on your first piece.  Continue sewing pieces together as instructed above until you have reached your desired ornament length. 
  • Trim threads from the top and bottom.  Your ornament is ready to hang.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Christmas 2011 - Country White & Blue

My stairway is decorated year round with a few reclaimed pieces from my family.  For Christmas this year I decided to deck the pieces out in light blue (which is a first for me).  I paired it with white and silver and really like how it turned out. Every decoration in this space was from 75% or more clearance after Christmas 2010.  The ornaments and all trimmings came from about three different stores (mostly Walmart and Kmart).  I love doing something brand new but super cheap.

Salty Ornaments

I can't say enough about much how I love using the plain glass ornaments to make things myself.  These salted ornaments are really cool and super easy to make.  It's s very cheap project with great results.  This would be a good project to include with kids.  I will definetely be playing with some variations on this technique in the future...I'm thinking pastel colored cookie sugars for spring ornaments.

Glass ornament
Epsom salt
Glue stick
Tape (optional)


Let me first explain the optional tape.  I am a stickler for having anything handmade still look nice and presentable.  That being said, I used the tape to divide off nice even spaces with straight lines.  I have seen this technique used freehanded which results in a less precise finish.  It all depends on the look you are wanting to achieve.
  • Apply tape along your ornament as a guide to where you would like your salting technique to end.  You may choose to tape in different patterns and/or formations.  I simply divided the ornament in half.
    • If you chose to freehand your design, simply skip to the next step and apply the glue straight on to any part of the surface you would like salted.
  • Coat the entire portion of the ornament that you wish to salt with glue using a glue stick.  Be sure that you've evenly coated the area to ensure that salt will stick.
  • Dip the glued portion into the epsom salt.  I poured the salt into a bowl and simply rolled it in the pile.

  • Gently remove the tape (unless you chose to do the freehand method) and hand the ornament to dry.

Here is a shot with the flash on so you get a better look at the salt and glue after it's dried onto the ornament.  It really looks neat.

    Thursday, January 26, 2012

    If You Can Spell...

    I absolutely love the use of letters in decor.  I have an additcion to letters which is evident by my initials all over my house in every font, size and color.  I think it's a really fun way to incorporate something personal into your space.  If you look in just the right places you can find letters everywhere.  I love digging through the bins at places like Michaels to find letter items to give to friends (and of course for myself...since I can't ever seem to have enough around the house.  LOL).

    If you know how to spell and find a bin of random letters then think Christmas.  Here is what goes through my mind when I find that amazing bin of letter cut outs...

    I'm looking for...
       D, A or S for myself
       K for Kylie, L for Leah, R for Ryan...and so on.

    But then I start thinking...
       JOY, NOEL, HO HO HO, MERRY, ...get it???

    Anything you find can easily be painted with spray paint or basic acrylic paints.  Here are some of the things I've found recently.

    These letters were $1 a piece from Michael's.  They already have a nice finish and have hangers already installed on the back.  These would make perfect tie-ons for a gift.  I will likely string these together on a piece of ribbon using the hangers on the back and then swag them or hang in the center of a large wreath.

    I got these foam letters in a clearance bin at Barnes & Noble.  I think all four of them cost me about $6.  I will give these a matching coat of paint and use them on a shelf or worked into a centerpiece.