Monday, December 30, 2013

Favorite Things 2013 and a Linky Party

Well, here it is, ALMOST the end of 2013 (Yes, I know there is one more day to go.)  Today concludes my short walk down memory lane--at least this past year's memory.

Before I show you my final favorite projects, let me take a moment to say how much I appreciate you all.  I appreciate that you take the time to read my little blog, leave comments, ask questions, put up with my lack of thorough directions at times and my lack of step by step photos.   I appreciate that you share your stories and your projects and your hearts.  THANK YOU!!

I must say, I wasn't sure which project or type of project was going to make the final cut--they are all my babies and I put a little bit of myself and my heart into each one.  But..short, quiet drumroll, I chose the projects I made with bits and pieces of the scraps I have from bigger projects.  I love that I they use up otherwise useless bits of wood.  I enjoy the creative process in putting them together.

Things such as this scrappy, colorful star,
reclaimed wood favorite projects
reclaimed wood favorite projects
reclaimed wood favorite projects
reclaimed wood favorite projects
I will definitely be creating more of these scrappy projects in the future!  I linked up at City Farmhouse! and Unskinny Boppy

Now it is your turn.  Link up to three of your projects from 2013 that you loved creating and sharing.  Please, please provide a link back to my blog--you can grab my button in my side bar. And please link to the SPECIFIC post--thanks.  Have fun and visit each other's blogs as well and leave a comment or two.

Oh, and guess what?  My weekly linky parties are returning starting in the evening of Wednesday, January 8th--I can't wait, I have missed them!

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Sunday Verses

Sunday verses God's word

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Countdown To New Year's

Do you still have your Christmas decor up or are you a take it down on the 26th kind of girl?  I

I normally leave mine up until New Year's Day.  And this year is no exception, minus the tree.  It was in the way and although I love the lights, I was ready for it to go so away it went for another year.  The rest of the decor is still intact.

But, I decided I need something fresh in the Christmas decor mix--something to celebrate the anticipation of the New Year.  
New Year's Eve countdown sign
A countdown sign was just the ticket.
New Year's Eve countdown sign
I started with a 1x10 (?) that I painted blue.  I was going to paint all of the numbers, but then decided to junk it up a bit with old house numbers and bits and bobbles made into numbers.
New Year's Eve countdown sign
I still painted a few of them to help tie in the bottle of bubbly in the bottom corner.
New Year's Eve countdown sign
I thought the clock face was perfect for the New Year's theme.  I used E6000 to secure the junk.
New Year's Eve countdown sign
It won't stay up for too long, but is a fun addition to my holiday decorations.
New Year's Eve countdown sign
P.S.  I will finish up my 2013 favorite things posts Monday and then have a linky party for you to link up up to 3 of your favorite projects from this past year!

Friday, December 27, 2013

These Are a Few of My Favorite Things 2013

My favorite things?  Just throwing out a review of some of my favorite projects from this past year.  Sometimes, I think the review is like childbirth.  You forget the pain, forget the mess, forget the labor you went through and only remember the love you instantly felt as soon as the "child", er, project is born.  

While I continued to love my bright, happy colors, I also fell in love with the natural wood project this year.  I am not sure if working with all of this wood and tools has increased my testosterone level or what, but I found myself saying things like, "That wood is too pretty to paint."  And, "You don't paint wood that is that pretty."

Projects such as this bench
reclaimed wood
and island
reclaimed wood
and chalkboard,
reclaimed wood
and the alder wood on this wine rack screamed to be left alone.
reclaimed wood
So while I still paint the majority of pieces, the manly side of me learned to appreciate the beauty of natural wood this year.  I am sure men all over are sighing a collective, "Amen!"
I linked up at City Farmhouse!

Thursday, December 26, 2013

These Are a Few of My Favorite Things 2013

Where did that go?  What? 2013!  My goodness, did this year ever fly by quickly.  I am sure I was just making resolutions, plans, preparations for the new year and here we are at the end.  

How about you?  Did the year go by in a flash?  Are you looking forward to the new year?

I like to take a few minutes, or a few posts to reflect on the year.  It helps me to realize that although I did not accomplish everything I wanted and hoped, I did accomplish quite a bit.

So, if you will indulge me over the next few days I will share a few of my favorite projects and posts from this past year.  

Starting with my continued love affair with brightly colored wood.  
Reclaimed wood colorful pallet wood
This year I used even more pallet wood and reclaimed wood to create easy, fun home decor such as this scrappy chair and window art,
Reclaimed wood colorful pallet wood
and brightly colored, mosaic crosses.
Reclaimed wood colorful pallet wood
A fun rainbow fish,
Reclaimed wood colorful pallet wood
Reclaimed wood colorful pallet wood
What is one of your favorite projects?  Leave a link in the comments--I would love to visit!  I linked up at City Farmhouse and Unskinny Boppy

Monday, December 23, 2013

Traditions and a Yummy Recipe

tra·di·tion trəˈdiSHən/ noun
  1. 1.
    the transmission of customs or beliefs from generation to generation, or the fact of being passed on in this way.

Are you a traditional person?  Do you love to do and have certain things year after year? This time of year is all about traditions, and I love them!  As a kid we had many traditions that my family carries on today.  

Despite five years of lessons, sadly singing around the piano is not one of them.  
That is me, looking at the camera.

But we do carry on some childhood traditions such as opening one gift on Christmas eve.
This is the year I got a Skipper gymnastic set on Christmas Eve

We go bowling on Christmas Eve day before church.  And have soup and bread for dinner.
My oldest

My kids get pajamas on Christmas eve.  I quickly lay them out on their beds before we leave for bowling. 
In the past I would sew matching jammies--cheaper and less stressful to buy them!

We have always put out stockings on the couch or chair on Christmas eve for Santa to fill.
My boys both tossed their socks that they get every year in their stockings.

And when we open gifts in the morning, we sort them all and open one at a time, starting with the youngest.
I miss the days of buying dolls for my dolly!

We enjoy this yummy monkey bread recipe on Christmas morning (I make a real one and a gluten free one).

Monkey Bread:
Melt together a cube of butter and 1 C. of vanilla ice cream

Stir in 1 C. brown sugar and 1 C. white sugar

Heavily grease a 9x13 pan with butter.  Place one layer of frozen dinner rolls in the pan

Sprinkle with a good coat of cinnamon and sugar.  Pour ice cream mixture over the top.
Cover with greased plastic wrap.  Set out over night.

In the morning bake at 350 until lightly browned and done.  We often flip rolls over into a jelly roll pan to bake the underside for a few minutes.

My oldest (20 year old) is not coming home this year for Christmas--has to work.  It is the first Christmas without all of my babies and it will be different.  But the comfort of traditions will help and hopefully he will carry a few of these on. 

Thanks for indulging my walk down memory lane.  Let me hear a few of your favorite traditions!

Friday, December 20, 2013

And A Few More Last Minute Ideas

I am and wrapping anyway!  I have some baking to do and cards, but the rest is done.  

Wait, what?  You still need something for a neighbor, Sunday school teacher, great aunt?  Here are a few more ideas from past posts.  Again, they are my favorite gifts--quick, easy, and CHEAP, er I mean inexpensive.
last minute gift
Sugar scrub--2 ingredients, check out the my past post HERE.
last minute gift
And some yummy raspberry vinegar, perfect for delicious salads.  Find the recipe HERE.

So sit back, relax, whip up a few quick gifts, and enjoy the last dew days of Christmas prep!

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Last Minute Gift--in 30 Minutes or Less

Need a last minute gift idea?  Who doesn't?  You can make this simple gift in 30 minutes or less!
last minute gift state art
Start with a frame from the thrift store, dollar store, or your own stash.  Cut a piece of black construction paper or kraft paper to fit in the frame.  Print out the state of your choice.
last minute gift state art
Chalk the back of your printed out state.
last minute gift state art
Place on top of your construction paper and trace over the outline.
last minute gift state art
Chalk in,
last minute gift state art
or use white craft paint on the brown paper one.
last minute gift state art
I used a red chalkboard pen (red paint works equally as well) to freehand home on the state. 
Spray the chalked state with hairspray--the aerosol kind.
last minute gift state art
Pop it into the frame and you are done!
last minute gift state art
I did paint this frame red.
last minute gift state art
Easy, quick, and inexpensive--my favorite kind of gift!

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

12 Days of Christmas Project Tutorials

Someone asked me if I really made it through it all of my 12 Days of Christmas.  Indeed, I did-- a few weeks ago.  But, I thought I would share a recap if you missed any of the days.  Look below the picture for a link to each project, most with a tutorial.  
12 Days of Christmas
2. Centerpiece
3.  Rustic Nativity
4.  Vintage Suitcase
5.  Lacey Moose
6.  Scrap Wreath
7. "Rusty" Ornaments
8.  Ironing Board Card Holder
9. Junk Tree
10.  Christmas Message Center
11.  Ribbon Tree
12.  Cocoa Station

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Easy Christmas Toffee

Do you have a favorite recipe that you make only at Christmas time?  I have a few, but the family favorite is toffee!  This recipe came from a high school friend's family and I think of them when I make it. I make it "my way", which means I don't follow common candy making rules--Martha I a'int!  With a few simple ingredients, you can be enjoying this sweet treat in no time.
Christmas toffee

English Toffee
1 C. butter
1 C. sugar
2 Tbsp. water
chopped almonds--approx. 1/2 cup
chocolate--3 or 4 Hershey's bars or a 1 C. of chocolate chips

Note:  Pictures show a DOUBLE batch, recipe is for a single batch.  I recommend making a single batch until you become a toffee aficionado as it can be quirky.

Start by chopping some almonds and sprinkling them on a pan (this sad old pizza pan is 25 years old--a wedding gift).
Christmas toffee
Over medium to medium high heat, melt 1 cup of butter--the real stuff!  I use a large skillet to make the toffee in--the bigger the surface area, the better.  I am sure a heavy copper bottomed pan would be considered best, but I use what I have.   
Christmas toffee
Add 1 cup of sugar (my sugar may look funky--it is organic, raw sugar) and 2 TBSP of water. Stir with a wooden spoon.
Christmas toffee
As it starts to boil, stir occasionally, but not constantly.
Christmas toffee
It will foam and start to turn colors.  i did not wash down the sugar off the sides--I think I am supposed to, but I do not.
Christmas toffee
I also do not use a candy thermometer.  I do use the cold water test--dropping a bit of the boiling mixture in cold water--when it cracks it is done.  
Christmas toffee
I go on color mostly, and smell.  It will smell like it is SLIGHTLY burning--watch carefully at this stage and will turn a deep caramel color.  When it gets to this stage, I test it often.  The biggest mistake I make is pulling it off the heat too soon.  It usually takes about 15 minutes.
Christmas toffee
When it is a good color and cracks in ice cold water, pull it off and pour over chopped almonds.
Christmas toffee
I top mine with Hershey's chocolate bars--6 for a double batch.
Christmas toffee
Lick melted chocolate off spatula.
Christmas toffee
Sprinkle with more chopped almonds.
Christmas toffee
Wait patiently for chocolate to harden--I do not recommend putting it in the fridge or freezer to speed up this process--it makes the chocolate not stick to the toffee.
Christmas toffee