Friday, February 12, 2016

"Bee" Mine

I found this Lemon Sugar Cookie recipe on Pinterest.  I was looking for something tasty to decorate for Valentines Day. I was all set to try my hand at decorating with Royal Icing.  Turns out I must have thrown away my ancient jar of meringue powder so that will have to wait for another day.  But that's alright, because the lemon icing for these little cookies is so divine, who needs Royal Icing?
 So lemon cookies it is. I had the little sugar bees and I think they get the "Bee Mine" message across just fine :)
 The hand carved heart spoon is a gift from my Valentine of 35+ years.  Oh Earl, you know just how to make my heart go pitter patter.
We will probably stay in for Valentines Day. Do a little cooking together, grab a movie on Netflix. We both hate crowds, dinner out and a movie can be saved for another night.  How about you? Are you staying in or going out? Happy Valentine's Day to all my friends!

Monday, January 25, 2016

A little Spring Dreaming

How are you all doing? I know some of you are buried under piles of snow.  Michigan, however, is having a streak of what we almost consider a heat wave. Temps in the 30's and 40's this week and glorious sunshine! Oh how I love the sun this time of year.  I'm busy dreaming of Spring right now. Earl and I sat down a couple nights ago and planned the garden. Beets, and brussel sprouts, beans and peas, jalapeno peppers and purple carrots all ringed with flowers in our raised beds.  I'm also planning a kitchen herb garden right outside the back door. I can't wait.
In the meantime, I'm also adding some new rosey designs to the etsy shop.  
 Roses and polka dots in pretty spring colors.  So you can dream of gardens while you whip up those warm baked goodies to enjoy with your hot cocoa :)
Are you planning your garden yet?

Monday, January 11, 2016

A Little Sparkle and a Cake

I promised to show you the transition from Christmas lights to New Year.  My little tree was on the library table in the living room. I think the hardest part of taking down the decorations each year, is missing all those brilliant little lights. They chase away the winter dark, and I always need that! The corner is a dark one anyway, and even darker this time of year.  I found these lighted branches on clearance at Home Depot after the New Year.  I have seen them everywhere from the grocery store to Kohl's, so they aren't hard to find.  I had the large mercury glass vase and some faux evergreen branches and I am happy to say the lighted branches were the perfect transition from Christmas to January. They made me miss the lights on the tree a whole lot less, and the added bonus is I know I'll use them next year at Christmas time.  
 Truth be told though, I am beginning to crave a little green and some color.  I am not a winter girl and winter has finally arrived in Michigan with blowing snow and bitter cold temps.  It had to happen, I know, but where everyone else sees cozy and hot cocoa, I just see a whole lot of snow. Give me green grass under my toes and balmy nights sitting in the garden.  I'm already counting the days until Spring.  This little vignette will soon give way to something living and green.

I also wanted to share this little beauty that Earl made for a New Years party we went to.  I know it's a bit late but this deserves to be shared.  It's a "Stump de Noel" and he had such fun making this.  Marzipan leaves and acorns, meringue mushrooms and shelf fungus and pistachio moss. That man is amazing!
 The cake itself was eggnog flavor and the frosting is chocolate ganache.  He made the "dirt" with ground up chocolate oreos.  I think I'll keep him. It was quite the way to bring in the New Year!
How are you doing this second full week of January? Are you dreaming of green yet?

Monday, January 4, 2016

The Swap

Good Monday morning! I trust you have all made your resolutions, enjoyed a good transition to the New Year and if you haven't taken down your Christmas decorations you are chewing on one last cookie and contemplating how long it will take you to re-pack all that lovely Christmas cheer until next December.  Mine is (mostly) packed away and I have replaced it with some sparkly decorations that make the transition into January a little easier to take.  I can't lose all my sparkle and light in the darkest month of the year. I'll share that later.  Right now it seems appropriate to discuss my resolutions. In fact, one in particular is "weighing" on more than just my mind, if you know what I mean. I'm giving up sugar. Again.
I had given it up for many months last year. Sugar is a trigger for me. I just can't stop eating it. You too? I allowed myself free reign over the holidays and I am regretting it.  I have a shameful story to tell and I may as well begin.  It all started on Instagram.  I would like to blame Patty, but truly my own lack of control is the culprit. While checking my feed I came across this:
Patty posted that she would need a lot of luck to not eat these all herself.  Me being the helpful sort , I commented that if she sent them to me, she would be free of the temptation.  I rock. When I see a friend in need, I am a friend indeed.  Well Patty accepted the challenge and asked for my address so she could send me some.  I suggested a mini swap and she said yes, but suggested maybe we could do it after the hustle and bustle of Christmas.  Challenge accepted.

So the week between Christmas and New Year I started baking.  I made these fabulous White Chocolate Chip Craisin cookies. 
These amazing Salted Caramel Turtle thumbprint cookies

And these delicious Orange-Chocolate Biscotti cookies

I baked my little heart out. I planned to send them out right away but got caught up in the preparations for New Years. Undecorating the house, working and you know, stuff.  As I was walking past the caramel thumbprint cookies one day, I thought I would just try one to make sure it was still fresh enough to send. Yes, yes it was, but what is this? The caramel was kind of sticking to another cookie. I could see it was not a really good idea to send those caramel filled cookies alllll the way to California. They would be a sticky mess! So I set them out and we ate them. Whew! Crisis averted. I would make something else to take their place.

The weekend of New Years was a busy one. I didn't get to the post office and then Monday an ice storm hit that pretty much closed everything down.  As I walked past the bag of biscotti with my fresh hot coffee, I started to think about just how good they would taste together. There were plenty. I grabbed a few.  Ok, we ate them, all right? We drink a lot of coffee around here and biscotti is killer with coffee. The falling snow and cold temps outside just made those cookies taste even better. I am weak. I am ashamed. I have no excuse really.

After those were gone, there were no more cookies in the house. None except the white chocolate cranberry ones I had put in the freezer to keep them fresh so I could send them to Patty.  I think we all know where this is going.  That's right, They too are gone.

At this point I clearly recognize that I have a sugar monkey clawing at my back. My pants are tight, I can barely look at myself in the mirror. I can only hope that Patty has eaten the cookies she was going to send me, because I DO NOT NEED ONE MORE COOKIE.  Time to take back control.  Earl may have to lock me in the studio until I'm over the worst of withdrawal.

Patty, for the love of all that is holy, don't send those cookies to me! 

P.S. If they are already in the mail, I can start my diet after I *ahem* dispose of them properly.

Anyone else trying to reign themselves in for the New Year?

Monday, December 21, 2015

The Christmas Living Room

I promised you a look at the Christmas living room.  I had big plans for decorating this year, but as time went on I ended up with a pretty simple, farmhouse look to the room.  This is the year of "less is more" in so many of the tours I have seen. I'm all on board with that :)
 The sofa is primed with a ticking stripe covered pillow for long winter naps and some big red checks. If you have been around here for any time at all, you know I can't resist the gingham. The painting above the sofa was a gift from My youngest daughter, Victoria.  She knew that being a farm girl, I loved a certain famous cow painting that I had seen on a favorite blog.  This is not that painting.  Being her mother's daughter, rather than pay a rather hefty price for the original she painted this one herself and presented it to me on my birthday this past May.
 I love her version even more, of course. I had some old shutters in the basement that I painted and placed on either side. I like how the green shutters and blue and white plates pick up the colors in "Bessie's" painting.   I may have her knock off the Mona Lisa for me next ;)
 Our little reading chair by the window. You can't tell, but today is dark and rainy. Temps in the 40's and destined to be in the mid-50's by Friday. No white Christmas here! This chair catches the best light for reading though.  I brightened up the window sill with Poinsettias and the old red truck.  You can see the poinsettias are already dropping leaves. I never have much luck with them, but after Christmas I don't really want them to hang around anyway.  Do your poinsettias last or are you a killer like me?

 This is the first time I have ever had a table top tree.  We found the library table for a song at a yard sale this summer. I have always loved library tables and as the guy selling it was lowering his price just because we showed an interest in it how could I leave it behind?  It takes up the space we usually use for the tree so here we are.  To tell you the truth this little tree is a little too perfect for me.  We are talking about clearing a spot in the woods and planting a few trees every year so we can cut our own. We should have a magical crop by the time we have grandkids old enough to help us look for the perfect tree.  No, there aren't any grands on the way yet, but when they come along we will be ready! The mercury glass globe lights were a gift from Victoria, and she and Lauren hung them for me when everyone was home for Thanksgiving.  The little church on the bottom of the table was a replica of a church that still stands in a small nearby town. It was made by Earl's great grandfather who helped build the original church.  I saved this from a church "clean out" years ago without even knowing the family history that went with it!
 When I first decorated the tree I was going to be all coordinated and matchy for once.  No more kids at home, all I had to please was myself! Well, it just didn't look right.  Too bare, missing all the love and history our family has built into Christmas.  I ended up retrieving the old ornament box and hanging those ornaments that had been with us so many beautiful years. The canning lid photo of Victoria, made in first grade.

 the pretzel ornament Lauren made in Kindergarten, (amazing that those pretzels haven't turned to dust!),

 the little angel made entirely of pasta that one of them made in Sunday School, isn't she adorable!?

And the little bird ornament Victoria got for Earl on a first grade school field trip. She presented it to him and told him it was "the bird full of love", and that is what we have called it ever since :)

 My little collection of glitter houses continues to grow,

 and this year a very talented niece crocheted 3 tiny birds to add to Earl's collection. They are already treasured and will be added to the tree from now on.  Each one of these little beauties is not much bigger that a quarter!

It's all the warm little memory makers and touches that make me happy in my Christmas home.  Surrounded by handmade gifts and sparkling lights, my home makes me happy.

I will be enjoying time with family and friends, baking, and just relaxing for the rest of the week. I hope you can do the same. Thank you for stopping by, for saying hello and for sharing my little corner of the blog world.

Merry Christmas Everyone!