Monday, November 29, 2010

Sunflower Gingerbread Man Christmas Tree

I warned you that the tree you saw two days ago was only the first draft. 

My original thought was to do a sunflower tree.  The more I thought about it, the more I wanted to have sunflowers.  So when I got home from work today, I went down to the basement to find some sunflowers.  I only found a small handful---I know I have tons more, but in that space (which looks very similar to what I saw on the Hoarders show yesterday),I can't find anything!

So I came back upstairs and started to remove all the sunflowers I have in my kitchen, etc.  Yesterday I showed you my green wall with a bunch of sunflowers.........I grabbed all the yellow ones.... then I climbed up to strip this shoe vase above my kitchen china cabinet of its yellow sunflowers............

I left it pathetic looking, don't you think? Suddenly I am obsessed with finding sunflowers!!!   I looked around the kitchen to find more....

Ah ha! I spotted a few over the refrigerator................I climbed up on the counter and yanked them all from this little vignette........... eventually I had enough to add to the tree...........I still need a few more, but I am getting close to what I want.............

I begin sticking them into the Gingerbread Man tree...after a few minutes I am fairly happy:

I  could use a few more, but if I cannot find anymore, this will do.  I now have a Sunflower Gingerbread Man Tree!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Busy Weekend of Cooking

It seems like I have been cooking for most of the weekend. Today I made 5 turkey pot pies for the freezer (and one for dinner). They will be nice for one of those February days when Cold Tired Husband comes in from snow blowing/shoveling a foot of snow from the driveway and I don't feel like cooking.

Here is the one we had for dinner tonight:
I used phyllo dough for the top crust - this brand (they chose a different spelling). This makes a very, very light top crust. I am not fond of pot pies with pie dough on the bottom and top, so I always omit the bottom crust.  DH and I  both thought this was delicious!

I have no recipe as I just made it up as I went along. I did use carrots, onions, celery, potatoes and peas.  Whatever your favorite pot pie recipe is, will work.

On Friday (while I was at work) Sweet-Husband-Who-Probably-Felt-Guilty since he was off all day, went to Sherwin Williams (at my request) and bought a quart of 'Recyled Glass' paint to do a tiny wall just off the dining room.

Here is the wall before he painted it--it's a drab off-white color:

and here it is after he painted it:

I think that oil painting looks so much better against the green walls. Regular readers may have noted that 'Recyled Glass' is the same paint I used in the living room and dining room.  I have to say, I am really liking that color. I am tempted to buy another 4-5 gallons and paint (have DH paint) the family room and kitchen the same color.
It's been 5 days since I made that big CC jewelry order and they have not even sent it out yet! They must take a 4-day weekend for Thanksgiving. I am slightly upset as I wanted that stuff before this Thursday and I probably won't get it.  I have been noticing a decline in the length of time it takes Coldwater Creek to get my orders delivered.  A couple of years back, I could order and have the item sitting on my desk (they deliver to my work address) in less than 5 days. Now it's almost always closer to 10 days.

Early this morning, I did remove the Ho banner from the tree. Thanks, AZ, for your honest opinion of which I totally agreed.  I also added some huge real lollipops that I forgotten to put on.

I don't know if I will put up any other trees. I think not. I will probably just do something in the dining room when I remove the Thanksgiving decorations and call it good.

I am very happy to report that I have not stepped a foot in any store for over a week--no black Friday shopping for me!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Gingerbread Man Christmas Tree

I just finished the tree and am taking a short break before starting the turkey.

I decided to use all the gingerbread men I made a few years ago.

This one is made from dough. I also have many made of fabric.  The little brown star behind is made from cinnamon dough. There are also a lot of cookie dough stars that I also made.

I used a lot of green balls in different textures, sizes, and shades of green. Some are glass, some are glitter, and some are mesh.

The light from the window shining through the candy ornament.

Not sure about the Ho  in the center. It may come down.
This is just the first draft. It never stays exactly the same!

Hope everyone has a great weekend. I have a ton of work to do, so I had better get started.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Naked Tree, Now What?

When I got home from work today, my sweet husband had the tree waiting for me fluff. I did a bit of fluffing, but that was it.
I am not feeling any decorating luv just yet.

For the past two years, I have been doing this tree in lime green/aqua. I really love it, but this year, I am ready for a change.
a drastic change.............I think I am going to do it in gingerbread men, candy and denim stockings. I went to the basement to find my bin of gingerbread men.
 I dug through and found my gumdrop garland...I even found some popcorn garland......I know I have a lot of other candy decorations...maybe I will use lime green balls.........or maybe I will not even end up using any of this.  My first plan was to use my Hallmark Santa ornaments...I could go back to that never knows with me.
As I think about  all the possibilities,  I am feeling a twinge of tree decorating luv...............I may work on it tomorrow while I cook my Thanksgiving turkey.......yes, I am cooking tomorrow. We already had a turkey dinner with DH's family, which was very nice, but I want to cook my own turkey.  So tomorrow afternoon I will be serving dinner for four.  I just finished my cranberry sauce...I like to make it from fresh cranberries.

I still have to make some wreaths, etc. with my fresh greenery.   I think I have a busy weekend ahead!

How many of you are going to do Christmas decorating this weekend?

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

There Must be a lot of Us Not Baking Much Anymore

because in the last two hours I have had 8 people come to my blog while searching for "how to get lumps out of brown sugar". They were from:
  1. Topsham, Maine
  2. Saginaw, MI
  3. Chicago, IL
  4. Sdewickley, PA
  5. Columbus, OH
  6. District of Columbia
  7. Clementon, NJ
  8. Berkeley Heights, NJ
I had to chuckle a bit because, I, too, bake way less than I used to and I often have lumpy brown sugar.  It's good to know so many others have similar problems.  Good luck to all of you trying to save your brown sugar in the last hours before your Thanksgiving feast. I wonder, are you making sweet potatoes with brown sugar or pumpkin pie? For those of you in distress who find this post when you search, I have posted my  method of dealing with lumpy brown sugar  here .

Right after work today, I threw a load of laundry in and went out to cut down some greens for my holiday decorating.  It is supposed to snow/sleet/rain for the next few days and I wanted to get the greens before all the branches are weighed down.

I headed right to the big pile of branches left from the recent tree that fell down. I snipped a lot of  nice little branches of different greenery.
 Then I clipped some of the shrubs near the house that I grow just for this purpose.  I ended up with two nice pails full of assorted greenery.

Sometimes procrastination pays off.  Since I have never cut down all of my dead flowers, I have tons of interesting seed heads, like these black-eyed Susans:

I snipped a few of these, some Sedum Autumn Joy and some .......oh, my.............

what is that white feathery stuff......I just hate when I forget the name of a happens every fall/winter. .. as soon as I am done gardening, my mind moves to other just came to me.........astilbe!

At the moment I have no idea what I will do with all of this.  I am posting it now so that I will be forced to do something with it.  That is one of the great things about a blog. In order to have something to post, I must actually turn all of these branches into some sort of decoration now that I have said I will.  I am hoping to create a few beautiful arrangements soon.  Right now I have to go check on the laundry.

I Resisted as Long as I Could (over a week)

Last week I received an email with a spend $200/get $75.00 off and free shipping offer. Many of you know I live for offers like this! :)  Since my clothing space is all filled, I decided I did not need any more clothing even with a deal like that.

This morning I decided to take another look and found all kinds of new jewelry items were added since last week. Every time I wear a certain blue jacket, I remind myself that I need a blue necklace.  I think this sterling silver one will be perfect!  With the price of silver skyrocketing, this was a steal at something like $30.

Just in case that shade of blue is not quite right, I picked up a couple more

Hammered metal discs--I have had my eye on the hammered metal necklaces since last spring--they were in the $100 range and I was not about to pay that for costume jewelry! They finally were marked down to more than 50% off - again in the $30 -$35 range, if I remember correctly--
at that price I could afford two!

I spent an hour filling my shopping cart with 8 items -only two pieces of clothing.
My birthday is less than two weeks away--Happy Birthday to me! I will let my dear husband know that his gift shopping is complete. :)

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Miscellaneous Musings

Yesterday, Patti, from Osage Bluff Quilter, left me this message:

Me again, Do you get Country Living Magazine? I got mine today and they have stockings made from tissue dress patterns! You iron it onto bondable vinyl. Weird!!
Mon Nov 22, 08:33:00 PM 2010

I read the comment early this morning and since I no longer get this mag, I googled it to see if I could find a picture.  After not too much effort, I found it.

How creative is this?!! I sent Patti a reply stating that I could see these used for a gift of notions for someone in a sewing/quilting group.  What a unique packaging this would be for a gift!  I only wish I was in such a group so I could use this idea. 

If you are in such a group and want to make one of these stockings,  you can find the directions here at Country Living's site.  If you use the idea, send Patti a thank you email. :)

Speaking of magazines, I got my December issue of Southern Living today.  I have not opened it yet, because I have been busy setting my Thanksgiving table (you can read all about it here.)
Back to the I sent in my $20 for 13 issues of Southern Living. What a bargain!  I don't live in the South, but I really enjoy this magazine.  At less than $2 an issue, I could not pass it up.

Before going to work this morning, I spent about 15 minutes sewing on the 'Ho Ho'  banner.

 I am going to make the reverse side say "Noel" so this one takes double the work of the Thanksgiving banner.  I hope to have it done by the weekend.

Tomorrow is hump day. I can't believe how fast these weeks go by!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Birch Candle Centerpiece and other 4:30 a.m. Inspirations

I was up early again (I wake up every morning at 5 a.m. without an alarm clock. But since the time change, I have been waking at 4 a.m.) That's O.K. because it gives me a lot of surfing time before I have to get ready for work.

I love this Pottery Barn centerpiece.

I would add a lot more greenery to it.
You can buy the candles here.  I picked up two pieces of birch bark that had blown into my flower beds last weekend. Normally I would just walk by, but something made me pick them up and actually save them.  Maybe I will just wrap them around a candle or two and come up with a centerpiece.  I need to go outside tonight and see if there are any more nestled against the flowers I never got around to cutting down.

As I sipped coffee and meandered through hundreds of holiday decorations on Google Images, I found my way to I clicked on the tree skirt category.

Wow! Is this not spectacular?
It's $650.00
Here are the matching stockings:
They are $195.00 each.  These would go so nicely with my new green walls. But I don't think you will find   these as part of my Christmas decorating any time soon. 

I found these silver pine cones interesting. They are quite the bargain at something like $168.00.

I have pine cones that look very similar to these. I also have metal candle may see a knockoff of this one in a few weeks.

I need to get moving on Christmas decorating this weekend. Betty R. already has 2 trees up---way to go Betty!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Not much Happening around Here

I have been thinking about the table I will set for my Thanksgiving dinner. I am pretty sure it will be this Vintage china. The dinner plate is a pattern called 'Windsor Fruit'.  from Johnson Brothers England. Of all the dinnerware I own, I think 'Windsor Fruit' is my favorite.
The vegetable bowl behind the dinner plate is a different pattern from Vernon Kilns. It is called 'May Flower'. I think the two work beautifully together. They are from the 1940's - 1950's.

Here is a close up of the 'Windsor Fruit' plate.
The pic is from I went there to find out when the china was made. Whoa, was I impressed when I saw the price of this dinner plate! Let's just say I made a very good purchase about 20 years ago when I bought this nearly complete service-for-eight set.

I am not even cooking on Thanksgiving Day. We are going to my MIL's for dinner. We already have a turkey, so I plan to cook it on the Saturday following. I will do the whole turkey day shebang all over again. The best part will be having leftovers for a big turkey/dressing/fresh cranberry sauce sandwich the next day.

I am not even cooking anything to take to  my MIL's.  I found this 14-slice variety pack of cheesecake and that is my contribution--every piece is a different flavor. Can you imagine making 14 different cheesecakes and assembling this?
You have to love those huge food distribution stores--in this case, Gordon Food Service.

Other than working and getting my hair cut, I have not accomplished much this week. 

I did start a new banner for Christmas. It will be a 'Ho Ho Ho' banner, but so far I have only completed two H's.  It took a bit less than 10 minutes before work one morning. 
I guess I am just not in the mood to sew this week.

I have also been ordering library books. The Country Decorating one I had last week was a Dud--other than the sunflower tree, there was not a thing I was interested in. I already have a pic of that tree in my files. I got it off the net a few years ago--more proof that the net is the place for ideas!

 Now I have three novels to read.

 I had better get started--a couple of these are pretty thick!

So that was  my week--not too exciting--I hope yours was better!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

It's Been a Good Weekend

Thank you for all your kind comments on the bake sale items. I guess they all sold. I just dropped them off and left  yesterday morning. I hope those who bought  enjoyed them.

Right after work on Friday, I ran to Joanne's Fabric store because I needed some magnetic snaps to finish my latest denim handbag.  It is rare that I go into Joannes and leave with just one item!

Friday was no exception. I came home with all of this fabric--just a yard of each--  and two little bundles of turquoise and black/white fabric. Each bundle has 8 pieces of 9-inch x 21-inch  coordinating fabrics. It's a good way to get a nice assortment of different patterns in the same color family.

Today I went back to Joanne's because a new sale started. They had purse handles for $4 each--original priced at $6.99 to $13.99 each.  I could not resist! I also picked up more magnetic snaps because I already used up the ones I bought on Friday.
Early Saturday morning I finished my latest bluejean purse with the black accent vinyl.  I used it all weekend. 
Ever since I began making these denim bags, I have been wearing jeans on the weekends.  You may remember that I said I almost never wear jeans...well, now that I have quite an assortment of bluejean bags, I had to buy some jeans to go with them!

 Last week I ordered a few Christmas decorating books from the Michigan Electronic Library. I picked up the first one today.  I think I am going to spend a little time browsing through it tonight to see if anything inspires me.
I have been doing sunflower trees for the past 6+ years (at work). Maybe I will do a bluejean/burlap/sunflower tree this year at home.... anybody have their tree up yet?

I would like to share and answer a recent comment. Since it's anonymous, I can't send an email answer.

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Thanksgiving Decorating--still at it":
anonymous said:
You're very real and personable. Your home reflects your enthusiasm, unique skills and love of home and family. I return as often as I can to catch up and oftentimes get a bit of inspiration for my own home. Too often all the other blogs just look the same, hard to tell the difference. You're one of my favorites and I enjoy my visits and truly appreciate you sharing.

Thank you, Willow.   I am so glad you find some sort of inspiration reading my ramblings. I would love to hear about your own home projects inspired from something I posted! 

That goes for all of you out there--It would be a thrill to hear about something you made because I wrote about it.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Bake Sale

First I would like to thank all of  you who left a comment thanking my dad for his service. It means a lot to any veteran when he/she is thanked.

 Just last week at work I we did a wedding for a young (20-yr. old) groom who had already spent one tour of duty in Afghanistan and, in just two months, he will be going back for his second tour.  As he was ready to leave my office, I shook his hand and said, "Thank you for your service to our country."  I could tell he was pleased that someone thanked him.

Tonight I am baking for our VFW holiday bazaar tomorrow morning.  I am an auxiliary member, but, much to my mother's chagrin,  I really do little to help out.   My Mom is a two or three-time past president of the auxiliary and I am sure she wishes her daughters would be more involved, but we all work full-time and really have little energy to attend meetings, etc..  So when one of the ladies called me last week to contribute to the bake sale, I felt it was the least I could do.

Believe it or not, I have never contributed to a bake's a bit intimidating......... what if they hate the stuff I baked?  How embarrassing that would be!

 Last night I decided to make Aunt Mary's caramel corn - I think you can get the recipe on this old post--if you click the picture to enlarge. I used the microwave to pop  enough corn to fill this roaster:
 Then I made the caramel sauce and baked it in the oven.
 I added peanuts, walnuts and M&M's to the caramel corn and called it "Crunchy Munchy" (sorry I forgot to take a pic before I bagged it all up).

Then I made some Chocolate Decadence Bars--they have a center layer of ooey- gooey milk chocolate and are topped with pecans.

 I cut them into bars and boxed up 4 per container.  I am thinking that selling just a few pieces at a low price is better than trying to sell a dozen at a higher price.  You can see the label I made for these in the Crunchy Munchy picture above.

I don't think I have ever posted this recipe, but I think if you google "Chocolate Revel" bars, you will find something very similar.

Tonight I made these mini-pumpkin bread loaves with chocolate chips and walnuts.  I used my original recipe, which I posted a few years ago (was it really in 2006!?) here.
I think I am having the most fun making labels and boxing up the baked goods.  I just printed off these pumpkin bread labels. I was pretty pleased with them, then when I went out to apply them, they were too big and I had to cut them in half!  I guess if I had not told you, you would not have known that these were half a label. LOL.  I had no idea how I was going to box these up. I pulled out a chair so I could reach way up in my cabinets where I store items such as this and was so surprised to find these black to-go containers---they were just perfect for two mini loaves! 
So now I am done baking. I will have to get all my goods to the VFW hall before 9:00 a.m. tomorrow.  I just hope someone buys them!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Say Thanks to a Veteran Today

I would like to say thanks to my father, a Korean war veteran, and to my husband, a Vietnam veteran. It is because of millions like them that we enjoy so many freedoms today.

Today a special honor was bestowed upon my father.  He was our county's Veteran of the Year, an award given to someone who has gone above and beyond in service to the VFW.

On the 11th day of the 11th month, at the 11th hour, my Mom and Dad were among  VFW members across this great country placing wreaths in rememberance to those who have served. Here they are placing the wreath for the Korean war. 

This is my father at the podium, behind the tomb of the unknown soldiers, accepting the award.
Unfortunately I was not able to attend because I was in a training class at work.  At least my husband was able to go and took these two pictures.  I really should have missed that training class and went anyway. I am so sad that I was not there in person to see my dad get this honor. 
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