Friday, December 31, 2010

2010 was a good year. A busy year, but a good one. It's fun to look back over the photos that represent each month. Looking at the best and most beautiful memories, dulls the less pleasant ones and who wants to relive those anyway? So here is my retrospective, full of projects, food, family, food....hmmm. Maybe a little less food in 2011. ;>)
Here's to a great year, and the great year ahead. Happy New Year my friends!

Monday, December 27, 2010

All is calm, all is bright....

I think this must be the part of Christmas that is described by that line.  Everything is calm, the rush and hurry is over, and today was graced with bright, glorious sunshine.  I played with my gifts to make a new centerpiece for the week. Something that reflects the calm.  Adorable faceted lantern and sparkling green Christmas tree candles courtesy of my darling husband.  Large white rectangular ceramic platter from Victoria, (I got the pottery barn bowls on my wish list from Earl and Lauren, amongst other wonderful goodies!) The tree was down Christmas day, not because I was anxious to get rid of it, but because we noticed a hatching of hundreds of tiny bugs after opening the gifts and realized the tree we purchased from Costco this year was the source! Thank goodness they waited until Christmas day to come out. A quick undecorating and it was out of the house.  Everything else is staying up until next week.  Just a little more time to savor the prettiness of Christmas. Besides, I'm guarding my last week home from work closely and the downer of taking everything down can wait. I hope everyone else is enjoying the calm. My heart goes out to my friends on the east coast who are under a snow emergency. I hope you are all home where you can burrow in until the storm is over.  Best wishes to all for a Happy New Year!  I'll see you soon:>)

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Merry Christmas to All.....

Well it's here. I didn't get as many projects done as planned, I'll be honest, I didn't get any of them done. No handmade gifts this year, but next year for sure:>) My kids are around, we have plans to walk downtown tomorrow night with fancy coffee to keep us warm, and take in the breathtaking light display. Maybe it will snow, wouldn't that be magic? We've made spicy, sweet nut mixes and chocolate brownies to give to friends (ok, credit where credit is due, Earl made them!) The gifts are all wrapped even if the cards aren't all sent.
I have a few minor things to do in the next few days, but mostly I plan to make the house sparkle, light candles,plan Christmas breakfast and lunch and just hang with the family. I feel blessed beyond belief.  Gifts and love have flowed this season until I am overwhelmed. I can't remember a more relaxed Christmas and I thank God for love, and friends who see us through, and family that wraps their arms around us when we need them and loved ones who rejoice when we rejoice. I remember you in my prayers, I really do, and I pray that no matter what kind of Christmas you are experiencing, you can find the love and blessings that God has sprinkled around you.  I know they can be hard to find sometimes, but they are there. God bless all of you this Christmas season. I'll see you in the New Year:>) ♥

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Finals week

Final week of this semester, were there ever any sweeter words? Especially before Christmas, especially in the dead of winter, I just can't wait to be free of it.  Don't get me wrong, it has been an interesting semester, I've learned some things, (thank goodness!) But I look forward to a few weeks off.
This was my finals project for my graphic design class. A sculpture made entirely of white paper, incorporating 5 or 6 different textures.  I got the assignment and immediately ideas began popping into my head. This was one of them, a wreath. It is Christmas after all. I loved making it and it was easy.  A little research online and I had figured out how to do it.  The little angel was part of the composition.  I made the piece so it could be disassembled and I could use the different parts when it was finished.
I love the texture of the leaves and the little flowers. I think they look a bit like hellebores, or lenten rose.  I may do a tutorial on making this if I have time before Christmas.
Tomorrow, my final in typography and I'm finished with the semester! Yay! Friday, my last day at work until the new year and Victoria comes home for Christmas break. Triple yay! Things are looking up:>)

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

White Christmas

Today is the White Christmas event over at Cuisine Kathleen.  Kathleen does amazing tablescapes. I'm almost ashamed to participate in this meme, I am simply not a tablescaper. While I would love to have a butlers pantry filled with dishes of all kinds, the humble cottage has limited storage, so I tuck away what I can here and there and dream of the day I can indulge my wicked desires for crockery.
In the mean time, one of our loveliest holiday traditions in this household is the advent dinner.  We take time every Sunday of Advent to sit down to some candle light, appetizers, sparkly juice and treats and just enjoy being together as a family. I fancy things up as best I can to make it special.  Kathleens' challenge to do an all white table was tough for me. If you hadn't noticed, I'm usually all about color!  I have been lightening up lately though, and I realized I have started collecting a lot of silver and white for Christmas.
I love the look of mercury glass, just like most of you do, so I pick it up a little at a time on clearance after Christmas. The beautiful mercury snowflake votive holders were gifts, as was the plainer votive holder that just gets better with age. I love how it sparkles and catches the light. The heavily embroidered, brilliant white tablecloth came from a church sale.
I picked up the silver chargers a couple years ago, cute with my new white plates and silvery snowflake napkin holders. I love snowflake motifs for the table because they are appropriate all winter. It's nice to get a little extra use out of these and I need even more sparkle in January than I do in December! Earl will be so thrilled that he has to pick glitter out of his mustache from that glittery pic! lol.  He puts up with a lot having three women in the house! (Love you honey) A few white bottle brush trees, some sparkly silver  candle trees (am I the only one who can't bring themselves to burn those things?) and a few snowflake ornaments scattered on the table and I'm done. It isn't as spectacular as Kathleens, and let me tell you, her table is spectacular! but it's just right for our little cottage. Head on over and see the table she did and all the other lovely tables in her linky. You'll love the sparkle too!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Oh Happy (Snow!) Day

Throughout the afternoon I watched them there,
Snow-fairies falling, falling from the sky,
Whirling fantastic in the misty air.
                                                  Claude McKay

Just like many of you, we had our first real snowfall yesterday. This morning, just as I anticipated, I have a paid day off work called a snow day.  Oh the joy! A bonus day just before Christmas to stay in my jammies late into the morning, work on Christmas cards, (and my final project for my Graphinc design class!) Listen to Christmas music and drink coffee.
These photos were taken after church yesterday, before the blowing and drifting started.  It is much deeper now. I have to admit that, come January, snow and cold are not on my list of things to love. But snow before Christmas is magic. isn't it? Is it really fluffier, whiter, softer? It seems to be. So today I'll enjoy the bluster and sparkling whiteness. I'll revel in a paid day off work.....and yes, I'll hope the roads are still not clear enough for school tomorrow:>) Anyone else getting a snow day?

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Dried Cranberry and White Chocolate Biscotti

This week is the cookie exchange at Pleasant Home. I love this blog, not just for Jodi's gorgeous sewing, but because it's a beautiful, cheerful place to be, full of color and whimsey! Cindy at Rick Rack and Gingham also has a linky for cookies and candies and a lovely blog that you will enjoy. 


One of my favorite Christmas cookies is biscotti. 
It's super easy to make, and I think because it is twice baked, it travels well and is less likely to get stale. Not that I would know, it never lasts more than a day or two here in the cottage! It's a really great treat with my morning coffee or tea too. There
are a zillion flavors you can make, but this recipe is one of my favorites. 
This recipe is actually called Dried Cranberry and White Chocolate biscotti. I was out of white chocolate, but they are just as good with dark chocolate, maybe better:>)
Rather than type out the recipe I'll give you the link. has the formatting already in place for you to simply print the recipe and start baking, so go HERE and get it. How easy is that!?

Monday, December 6, 2010

Season of Sweet Surprises

Isn't December the loveliest month for surprises? It has been for us. Today I recieved a large and unexpected box from the UPS man. Turns out it is a beautiful handmade wreath sent from my dear college room-mate. We recently found each other again after years of losing touch. I am so glad to have her back in my life.The wreath is made from pinecones and berries and greens. Try to ignore the dust on my door, (good heavens, looks like it needs some work!) and just look at my wreath!
 Melanie knows how much we love to decorate with birds for Christmas so she added this adorable little nest and birds to the bottom of the wreath.  I had a pinecone wreath years ago that I think I discarded because it had been used to death. I had really been thinking of making another, but now I don't have to!
Thank you Melanie, I love my sweet surprise:>) 

Sunday, December 5, 2010

 What a joyous weekend we had! Lauren picked up Victoria at school Thursday, and Friday morning at 1:30 a.m. they snuck into the house and quietly went to bed. I knew about it but Earl didn't because it was a surprise for his birthday weekend! He awoke to his girls being home and we had the best time! Baking cookies, laughing, Lauren took us all out to lunch and the girls baked him a  birthday cake that was so delicious we couldn't stop eating it 'til it was gone. This afternoon after church they made an advent lunch that was the best. Roasted cinnamon pear bruschetta with brie, broiled salmon, and stuffed mushrooms. Last night Victoria and I made cookies for all the girls on her dorm floor and I made tags for the packages from old sheet music and glitter. After that we went to our churches Christmas program and came home and dozed through a movie with the candles burning and the tree glowing in the corner.  Having our girls here for special  time together just makes Christmas for us.  In two weeks Victoria will be home again and we will both have time off until January and more time together as a family.  Thank you girls, for the most wonderful weekend.  You are my Christmas angels:>)

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

I ♥ a flash mob, and I swear if I saw one like this I would cry like a baby.

The winner of the Gooseberry Patch book is Anita. Congratulations!
Happy December everyone:>)