Wednesday, December 31, 2008


~Antique Party Hats courtesy of Country Living~

What a way to spend New Year's Eve, huh? I'm still blowing and sniffing and coughing. Ugh! I never knew just how much YUK one person could produce in their sinuses. I'm ready for it to be over with - enough is enough already!

So what kind of fabulous things does everyone have planned for tonight? Do you like to go out and party until the wee hours of the morning? Or do you prefer to ring in the new year by having a quiet evening at home with family and/or friends? Unless I feel a whole lot better by tonight then we will be doing the latter for sure! Perhaps a glass of sparkling champagne wouldn't hurt though...for strictly medincinal purposes of course!

I can't wait to see what fabulous things 2009 has in store for all of us!

Sunday, December 28, 2008


Hope you all had a wonderful Christmas. This is what we've been feeling like around here these past few days. Wiped out by Christmas, out of town guests and a bug of some sort that involves a sore throat and congestion. ICK! I just want to sleep. Z-z-z-z-z-z-z-z-z-z .

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Holiday Wishes

Merry Christmas to all. . .and to all a good night!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Special Gifts for Special People

I've been busy making ornaments for some special friends while waiting for cookies to bake. Last night I was so involved in crafting that I forgot I had taken butter out to soften to make my brother's favorite Christmas cookies. So at 1:30 a.m. I was combining the ingredients in the mixer and forming the dough into logs to slice and bake today. I can't wait for my DH to wake up this morning and ask what the heck I was doing in the kitchen so late at night!
I can't remember if I showed you the ornament below or not and I'm too lazy to go thru my past posts to check. If I did, I apologize for making you look at it again. Happy Sunday....only 4 days til Christmas....are you ready?

Friday, December 19, 2008

Christmas Baking

This Sunday is the cookie exchange I go to every year with a group of my good friends. We have fun getting together for some good food (and cookies), good cheer, and good company. And it's just nice to take some time to sit back and relax during the hectic holiday season. We just had a huge amount of snow dumped on us, so I hope that doesn't put a damper on the festivities. Living here in the Midwest, parties and get-togethers planned for this time of the year are often a bit tentative due to our winter weather. If you're like my DH, you will drive through any kind of weather. I, on the other hand, am a little more cautious and driving in slippery ice and snow is not exactly my idea of a good time. Usually by the time I get to my destination, I have to literally peel my hands off the steering wheel, as they seem almost fused to it due to the stressful journey.

Anyway, due to the recent snowfall I thought it was a good morning to bake the cookies for the party. I decided to make my Norwegian Grandmother's Muerbe Cookies. This is a butter cookie recipe which originated from The Settlement Cookbook (The Way to a Man's Heart) by Lizzie Black Kanders. Lizzie taught cooking classes for immigrant girls at The Settlement House in Milwaukee around the turn of the century. After noticing that the girls spent quite a bit of time copying the recipes she wrote on the chalkboard, Lizzie decided to publish them in book form to help raise money. And after all these years the book, which was originally published in 1901, is still helping to raise money for charities. This cookbook was a staple in many of our mother's and grandmother's kitchens. I still have my mother's copy of the book and cherish both the memories it holds, as well as the recipes and household tips written inside of it.

Muerbe (Basic Butter Cookies)
1 lb butter
1 cup sugar
2 eggs, separated
6 cups flour
2 Tbls brandy
1 tsp baking powder
1 cup almonds, finely chopped

Cream butter and sugar. Slightly beat egg yolks with fork and add to the butter and sugar mixture. Mix well. Add brandy and flour combined with the baking powder. Chill dough for several hours, then roll out on a lightly floured surface. Cut cookies with small round biscuit cutter and place on ungreased cookie sheets. Beat egg whites slightly with fork and brush on cookie tops. Sprinkle with cinnamon-sugar and chopped almonds. Bake in 350 degree oven for 10-15 minutes. Remove from cookie sheets immediately and cool completely on wire rack. Makes 10 dozen cookies.


Monday, December 15, 2008

A Pretty Little Christmas Tour of Homes

Welcome to A Pretty Little Christmas Blog Party! The 'oh so talented' Heather is our hostess and wait till you see her delightfully cozy home all decked out for the holidays. . .you definitely will fall in love with this girl's style. Also Boomama is hosting a huge Christmas Tour of Homes as well, so let's get going...there's lots to see!

This year I've decorated our home in cool icy tones of pink, aqua, silver and white. Much to my DH's dismay, I have ALOT of Christmas decorations and a NOT SO BIG house, so I never have enough room to put them all out at one time. I still do my gingerbread tree in the kitchen, a snowman tree in the livingroom, and a Paris themed tree in my family room. But the rest of the decorations usually vary from year to year, which I kind of like as it breaks up the monotony each year.
I love, love, love mercury glass and anything covered in silver glass glitter. I got these goblet style candle holders at Homegoods to use at my daughter's wedding last month. The flickering candle light creates a wonderful glow when they are lit. The glitter deer is from Target. The mercury glass tree is from Michael's. And the best part is I didn't even have to polish my sterling silver tray, because I think the tarnished finish suits the mercury glass very well.
These vintage tinsel trees sit in a grouping on top of my grandmother's baby grand piano. A string of mini white lights weaves it's way through the display. I am so obsessed with tucking those small $1.47 strings of 50 Christmas lights all through the house.
This sweet little angel is new this year. She was displayed on top of this wispy wreath in the store and I couldn't resist buying them both, just the way they were. Now that's what I call a smart shopkeeper who knows how to double her sales!
This pink organza stocking is another Homegoods find. Both the color and the layers of ruffles at the top are what caught my eye.
If you need to sit and rest a while, you can do it in this wicker chair in my 'studio annex.' Since my daughter's wedding, I have taken over her old room and am using it as an extension of my studio. Unlike my original studio space, I am trying my best to keep this one tidy. So far, so good...but then it's only been a month since she moved out!
I adore the sparkley aqua color of this tree. Most of the ornaments on this tree are new this year, either made by "moi" or handmade by talented friends.
JOY has been my word for this year. . .I can't seem to help myself when I see that word pop up wherever I go.
I keep this little guardian angel out all year long. I got her at a tiny local craft show a many years ago. She is made by a textile artist who uses vintage lace on everything she creates. I have her hanging on a small quilted memo board that was also handmade by another crafter I know.
Pink snow cottages and a vintage aqua Santa ~ what could be better than that?
More mercury glass and a wee pale pink bottle brush tree trimmed in pearls.
This creamware pitcher holds pink and aqua vintage glass bead picks ~ very festive indeed!
A darling mica covered ornament made from a kit designed by blogging friend and fellow Joli Paquet artist, Beth Quinn. FYI - Due to popular demand, Joli Paquet will be returning after the first of the year. Check back here in early January for all the details.
An aqua clip-on glass candle ornament "lights" up the night. . . . . . . . . .while a bottle-brush tree balances atop a snow covered aqua glass ornament. This is my version of a 'contemporary' Christmas tree, using a glass and silverplate tiered cookie server loaded up with silver glittery ornaments, pinecones and glass balls.
Well, thank you so much for stopping by. . .if you want to see a lot more of the Pretty Little Christmas homes, then click here. I'm on my way out the door now to visit some of my friends places too. . . .who knows, maybe we'll bump into one another along the way! Enjoy the day!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Ornament Swap

I received the most beautiful box of ornaments in the mail this week from the swap that Heather Rowley hosted. And what a wonderful boxful of treats it was.
I really enjoy participating in these types of exchanges and I adore having all these handmade goodies to decorate my home wth. These tiny handcrafted works of art from friends become my most treasured Christmas decorations of all. I gave these swap ornaments a place of honor on this white feather tree that sits in my front hall. Here are a few closeup detail shots so you can enjoy their beauty as well.

Natalea Kandefer

Lisa Harshbarger

Jessi Nagy

Jenny Fowler

Heather Rowley

Fanny Fairbanks

Julie Weller

Connie Senyitko

Connie Senyitko

Connie Senyitko

MY ornament!
Many thanks to all the talented participants and also to Heather who did a fabulous job organizing this fun little swap! Maybe we can do it again NEXT year!

Clever Gift Wrapping

The creative staff at Anthropologie are at it again, spreading lots of inspiration along with holiday cheer. Every year they have the most unique packaging ideas. When you purchase a gift and ask for a box they always have some sort of package decoration to go along with the box. This year they are giving out the button ribbons pictured above, which consist of colorful buttons sewn onto a strip of muslin fabric. To secure the "ribbon" around the package they have ingeniously sewn button holes into the fabric. You can see how it all works by clicking here. I was thinking that it would be fun, as a variation, to do this same thing with pretty ribbon and rhinestone buttons. Or perhaps a length of lace and pearl buttons. The possibilities are endless!

Monday, December 08, 2008

A Nice Surprise!

I just found out that my "Believe Angel Star" is featured in the Winter 2009 issue of Somerset Studio Gallery on sale now! Thanks Jenny!

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Party Time

Miss Heather from Pretty Petals is having a party on December 15th! Sounds like a fun time to me. Why don't you come too? You can sign up by clicking here. See ya there!!!

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Just a quick note to announce the winner of the Winter Wonderland Sticker Giveaway. Thank you all for the sweet comments you left here and on the Joli Paquet blog. All the artists associated with Joli Paquet are truly grateful to everyone for your kind words and support of our holiday crafting event. We'll be sure to keep you posted about any future Joli Paquet events.

And now for the lucky winner. . . . .. . . It's Priscila from Casa Bella Chic!

Priscila said...Text Color
I'm so happy that I could join this month with you girls! You have been an inspiration to me and my crafty little hands! I've had lots of fun here and maybe you should all more tutorials for valentines and easter...for each holiday?!!! That would be fun!!!
PS. I would love to win the giveaway...:)

Congratulations Priscila!

Friday, December 05, 2008

2nd Annual Cookie Swap

That bubbly, Barbie-Lovin' Jessi Nagy is at it again. Last year she hosted the most wonderful online Cookie Swap and guess what? She's doing it again!! The best part about a virtual cookie exchange is that you don't have to actually bake and package the cookies. So grab a cup of coffee (or tea or holiday cheer) and click here to find the links to all the tasty treats.
The recipe I'm sharing for Spritz Cookies is one that has been in my family for four generations. I used to love helping my Norweigan grandmother make these (and other) cookies at her white oilcloth covered kitchen table every Christmas. She used to have huge tins of a variety of cookies on hand during the holidays to serve to guests who would stop by for afternoon coffee. Grandma was always the consummate hostess, especially at Christmastime. Although people make these cookies in a variety of shapes, Grandma used to always make them in the shape of S's and O's.
* * * * *
Grandma Friis Spritz Butter Cookies

~ Photo courtesy of Larsen Bakery ~

1/2 lb butter

2/3 cup sugar

3 egg yolks

2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 tsp vanilla

1/2 tsp almond extract

Cream butter and sugar together. Add egg yolks and extracts. Mix in flour. Put through cookie press to desired shape. Bake at 350 degrees for 8-10 minutes. Makes 6 dozen cookies.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Tim's 12 Tags of Christmas

Photo Courtesy of Tim Holtz

If you're having withdrawal symptoms from Joli Paquet being over, you may want to check out TIm Holtz 12 Tags of Christmas. He is posting a new tag tutorial on his blog each day AND a giveaway to boot! You just can't beat fun like that during the holidays!
Photo Courtesy of Tim Holtz
And if you like what you see (and have lots of spare time on your hands), you may also want to check out the 12 Tags of Christmas that Tim did last year here. Photo Courtesy of Tim Holtz

By the way, you can still sign up for my giveaway by posting a comment here or here. I'll be drawing the lucky winner's name at the end of the week.

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