Saturday, December 31, 2011

Next Room to Finish

As I walk through the house I see that my husband and I have accomplished a lot in the past year since moving in.  We put up shutters, hung curtains, filled rooms with furniture and some art work.  That doesn't include all the work we (mostly he) did to the outdoors clearing trails and pulling down vines.  However, with a new year ahead I am thinking about the things I would like to complete in 2012.  Sounds like another list.
    East Guest Room

    1. Curtains- pre-made 108" panels are hard to come by so I will have these made.  It will be the biggest financial commitment to this room.

    2. Seating-  I need a tall chair or maybe a small settee or love seat.  I saw this in a store, but didn't pull the trigger.  Love the style.


    It will probably be the last addition I make to the room unless I stumble across something perfect.

    3. Quilt with pillows- It's time to finish up my BQ quilt.


    I am so close, but my motivation is low since I don't have access to a long arm machine.  Ridiculous.  Time to get it done.

    4. Grass or reed panels- I would like to get some grass cloth wallpaper and make some framed panels for  the walls.  Here is my inspiration photo.


    Really think it will look great with theme going on in there.

    5. Guest welcome frame- I have a cute red frame in the other guest room, but have not found the right one for here.


    I worry about too much wood and also too much silver.  I need a new pop of color.

    Aside from this room I still need to work on the screened porch, game room, and the hall powder room. More on my inspiration for those rooms later.

    On another note, Happy New Year!  I hope yours is filled with family, friends, and lots of good memories.  My advice to you; take pictures of your everyday life (not just the events), you will be glad you did.  Don't use the excuse "I don't have a good camera" to inhibit you.  Click, click, click.


      Friday, December 30, 2011

      Back to Crafting: Basket Tags

      Breck and I have a fair amount of guests that pass through our home on any given weekend.  This includes our own children.  I wanted to make baskets to keep in the linen closet to 1) store items a guest might forget to pack, 2) store things that my son and daughter-in-law Regan and Trevor use, and 3) house personal items for my son Cameron.  I started by picking up 3 baskets at Target with simple fabric linings.  Now tags.

      I had a roll of brown paper left over from a home improvement project years back.  It would be perfect for my basket tags.


      I cut a sheet 8 1/2 x 11 to run through my printer and pressed it with a warm iron.


      I printed the labels for the three tags I wanted to make onto the brown paper.


      Next I cut the one for Cameron and with black thread sewed it onto a square of burlap.  I also made a tab with burlap cut into a strip with the raw edges sewn under.


      I hot glued the tab to the back.  Simple.


      Then I attached it to the basket with a liner.


      I filled it with personal things for the bathroom.


      Now it can be tucked in the closet or under the sink and ready to go when Cameron comes home.  Less for him to pack when he comes to visit.


      Now to make the other two.

      Tuesday, December 27, 2011

      What Beautiful Weather

      The weather warmed nicely after Christmas into the upper 50's.  Perfect for enjoying the backyard. The guys played Mini Frisbee Golf. Great game.




      We also played Bocce ball, but I don't have pictures of that since I was in on every game. Lots of fun.

      And what would my blog post be these days without some wildlife photos?  He looks like an angry bird.




      My parents gave me a trail camera which I intend to set up soon. I have read the directions, set the time and date, chosen how I want it to record, and it is all ready to go save one thing; no memory card. I have a few laying around, but they are not the right type. When I get to town to pick one up we will be ready to shoot. I should get some nice shots near the deer feeder and bird feeder. Fun, fun, fun.

      Monday, December 26, 2011

      A Warm Fire on a Cold Night

      It's really nice to gather around a roaring fire at night when the temperature drops.  Such was the case for my husband and me when he lit this blaze.  It burned so hot.  I took the opportunity to test out different ISO and shutter speeds on my camera.


      Love the detail.


      This shot, in retrospect, would have been much better if taken on a tripod.  I love the slower shutter speed here which allowed the sparks to really show.  It was like the Fourth of July.


      And yes, if you were wondering.  We do get Wi-Fi at the fire pit.


      New Years is coming!  Have you thought about your resolutions?  Do you make resolutions?  How about learning something new in 2012?

      Sunday, December 25, 2011

      Not The Post You May Expect

      I am not going to share any new recipes today or stories about my Christmas.  I will say it was a good one, though.  I want to share with you some photos I took today from my back porch with my new telephoto lens (thank you, Honey).  The first shots of my feeder are from about 50 feet away.  I am amazed at the clarity.


      I love the hidden cardinal in the tree.  You can just see his head and beak in the upper left quarter of the shot.


      This shot shows 3 different species of bird on the feeder. Love.  Also love the rain water dripping off the branches on the left and the defocus ot the background.  Truely, the camera is doing all the work here.


      You can see the male and female in this shot if you look.  Unfortunately the camera's focus was on the tree.  My fault.  I am still getting used to the touch screen.


      Love the blend of focus and out of focus here.  Can you tell I am obsessed with cardinals?


      I will share a quick story after all since it was just so darn cute.  My brother and sister-in-law gave us a kitty advent calendar for Christmas with lots of toys attached.  Once our puppy visitor (insert photo here)


      Leo left, my Inhibitors came out to see and smell what had been going on all day while they hid in a back room.  They found the advent calendar with all the toys attached.  This is what happened.


      It drove them CRAZY not to be able to get the toys off.


      In the end they both wanted the same toy.  Can you tell?


      I clipped off the plastic brads and let them go to town.  All 12 toys are now scattered here and yon with the exception of one blue mouse.  Kracken has not let it out of his sight.

      Thursday, December 22, 2011

      I'm Making a List (or 4)

      I am a list maker, I confess.  I have been known to spend way more time creating a list than executing the duties on my list.  I also tend to lose my lists or forget I made one all together.  I obviously have a problem.

      That being said I am going to spend a portion of this rainy morning making 4 lists: chores to complete at home today and tomorrow (possibly subdivided between my husband and me), errands to run in town, food to prepare for the Christmas weekend (that means some quality time on pinterest), and a grocery list for said food (sorted of course by dairy, produce, meat, and aisle).  Ta-da.

      I know this is not very interesting, and it comes with no photos, but it is a necessary step for me.  Besides, what better way to spend time on my couch killing a box of Kleenex on my little cold?

      Tuesday, December 20, 2011

      Teacher Gift

      I have worked in schools off and on for 20 years.  I love it.  Today I received a teacher gift like no other I have ever been given before.  Today a student gave me cookies.  Yes, I have gotten cookies before.  I have never received cookies so obviously made by the student.  I just had to tell you about them.


      I have to give kudos to his mom.  She let her son make these adorable cookies all by himself.  She didn't go back and "fix" them to make them look neat and tidy.  How wonderful.  I wish I could tell you more about this young man, show you his picture, tell you wonderful stories about the fascinating things he does everyday, but I can't.  Instead I must let these little cookies speak for themselves.

      I also want to share with you another early present I received.  My mother-in-law sent a gift "to be opened and enjoyed right away."  Look at how nicely this wonderful table runner goes with the decorations already on my dinning room table.


      Lastly, I need to get a list together of the things I would like to do while on Christmas break.  Number one is to get into my sewing room.  Number two; get to the recycling center with all this corrugated cardboard that is stacking up.  And thirdly to enjoy an extra cup of coffee in the morning with out rushing.  I wouldn't mind trying out my new camera on a sunset either.  Simple stuff.

      Monday, December 19, 2011

      Ahhhh. Party Over.

      I am so glad I hosted a cookie exchange this year.  I for one had a wonderful time and I really enjoyed trying out some new recipes.  Here they are with the links to their recipes.

      These were the hit of the party and so easy to make.

      These were very good in the their own right, but I over cooked them a tad by accident while reheating.

      I used Balsamic Vinaigrette instead of regular Italian.  It was good served with a sprinkle of sea salt.

      Next time I would use regular cucumbers because I like the flavor better.

      I doubled the avocado.

      I would make these again and again.  Great and easy to make.

      These were amazing. Tasted just like Baklava

      Everyone's cookies looked awesome.  I love the way the all were displayed on the table.  Very festive.


      Here they all are.  So good.  Thanks Amanda, Karen, Andrea, Linda, Allie, Alma, Sara, Janet, and Marah for all your work.  Shall we do it again next year?

      From left to right: Fudgy Bon Bons, Christmas Cookie Crunch, Candy Cane Blossoms,
      Christmas Swirl Cookies, Nut Butter Balls, Soft Cocoa Cookies,
      Chocolate Pinwheel Cookies, White Chocolate Cherry Shortbread, Carmel's Red Sugar Cookies
      I think they liked the clipboards with the recipe cards.  They sure were fun to make.



      Tomorrow is our last day of work then the relaxing can begin.  Family is coming in for Christmas and some of these goodies from tonight's party may make it to the menu.

      Saturday, December 17, 2011

      Cookies. Check!

      I shopped for the party this morning.  Here is how it looked straight out of the trunk.


      Out of the bag.



      Pretty sure there will be some assembly required.

      I also got my cookies made for the exchange.  This recipe is awesome, one of my favorites, but it sure takes a lot of time.  Especially when you are cooking 7 dozen.


      Tomorrow I will get the rest of the prep done so on Monday I can assemble quickly.

      Friday, December 16, 2011

      Fall Hanging On and a Christmas Party

      The reds are gone, and goodness knows I took plenty of pictures.  Now the yellows and golds have settled in.  This wonderful oak graces my back yard.  Look at the twisting branches and beautifully textured bark.


      I love the yellow.




      I made a new recipe to take to my friend and coworker Andrea's party.  4 ingredients.


      Chopping the jalapenos was the dangerous part.  I wore gloves.


      I put a dollup of cream cheese, a piece of cooked bacon, and a slice of jalapeno on a piece of cresent roll dough and twisted closed.


      Baked 10 minutes at 350 and I was done.


      Andrea's house is amazing.  Her decorations are so elegant I really wanted to share a few of my favorites like these deer and the advent calendar in her living room.


      This was her mantel in her family room.  So warm and cozy.


      This little collection was tucked behind a sofa.


      And how charming is this little guy on an antique buffet in her front foyer.  Love.


      This little bear and his honey pot are on her tree in the front window.  So cute.


      She has some wonderful collections, like this one in her kitchen.


      Aren't these stoves adorable?


      Someone needs to start their own blog (cough, cough, Andrea).  Thank you for sharing your beautiful home with all of us.  What a wonderful evening.