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Dec 22, 2014

Holiday House Tour


Hey there. I'm so glad to be able to show you our house, decorated for the holidays. Earlier this week I was standing in the middle of all of the boxes of decorations, looking a bit lost. Tom said, "Just make it cozy, we don't need it to look like a store." So that's what I did - keeping it simple, with some of the usual suspects from past years, and a few newbies thrown in, too.

Christmas House Tour

Let's start on the front porch. I did end up switching out the embroidery hoop snowman for a burlap and pinecone wreath I've hung above the fireplace in the past. Tom helped me hang the garland around the door. We were going to put it around the window as well but there was no way to attach it (he wouldn't let me use hot glue.) A mixed planter adds some much needed colour.

Front porch

Front porch wreath

Front porch wreath

Front porch wreath

And we have our very own guard elf. She was so good about sitting for pictures. It was a damp, crappy day but she stayed for as long as I needed. Good elf!

Guard elf

The living room tree is decorated in red and gold ornaments this year. With gold ribbon and pinecones. Along the window sill behind, I scattered pine branches, gold ornaments, and candles.

Christmas tree

Christmas tree

window sill candles

Christmas tree

bokeh ornament

I like to hang something different over the fireplace each year. I've done wreaths, miniature stockings, and even songs. This year I went with a pinecone wreath hanging on an antique window frame. I've had that window frame for about 12 years - I think it's the first thing I ever refinished. I draped the top with greenery and a pinecone garland, then hung some snowball ornaments at different levels.

fireplace hanging

We have new stockings for us all this year. We've always had mismatched ones in the past - my left-brained analytical self likes that now they all go together.

stockings

Across the mantel I arranged flameless candles, with more greenery and pinecone garland woven in between. I think I'm a pinecone addict.

mantel candles

Nearly every other surface in the living room is decorated as well. I tried to stay with the red/gold/natural theme that's the tree.

ornament vase

Table centrepiece

lantern

These little trees were made from scrap wood from another project. I cut the pieces from an old board (intentionally imperfect), hot glued the pieces together, and then gave them a taupey-grey paint wash. I like to believe that Tom is showing his approval in the background.

scrap wood trees

sidetable

We bought some tiny reindeer when we were at Blue Mountain in September and I almost forgot to dig them out. That would have been tragic because they are just adorable.

reindeer


We spend a lot of time in the basement TV room, so I decorated the bar area a little bit. Just some simple garland and a bark tree. I love that tree. We also have one on the dining room table with birch bark snowmen.

rec room bar

birch bark snowmen

And there you have it. I'm spending the rest of my free time this week wrapping gifts and preparing Christmas Eve dinner. Though I might get bogged down at work as it's month end, again. I'm looking forward to a few days away from the office. 

I hope you all have a wonderful holiday and New Year! Thanks for hanging out with us!

Christmas Dogs




















Dec 8, 2014

Raspberry Thumbprint Cookies

I started my Christmas baking this weekend. A simple recipe to ease into the baking mode. This recipe takes just a few ingredients and you'll have the cookies cooling on the counter in no time.

Raspberry Thumbprint Cookies

Raspberry Thumbprint Cookies (makes 45 cookies)

2 cups flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup butter (softened)
2/3 cup sugar
2 egg yolks
2 tsp vanilla extract
raspberry (or other fruit) jam

Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees.

In a small bowl mix the flour and salt. Set aside. In a larger bowl, cream the butter and sugar until completely combined and fluffy. Add the egg yolks and vanilla, and mix again.

Use a tablespoon measuring spoon to scoop up batter and roll it into a ball between your palms, placing it on a greased or parchment covered cookie sheet. Gently press your thumb or finger into the center of each ball, creating a well. The edges of the cookie may crack, but that's okay.

Raspberry Thumbprint Cookies
Raspberry Thumbprint Cookies

Bake the cookies for about 10 minutes, then pull them out of the oven.

Spoon your jelly or jam into each well, being careful not to overfill them.  I put a little dab of peanut butter in a few of them first and then added jam, just for fun. You could also fill them with chocolate, icing, or even candy. I'm thinking of trying out Cookinotti (Biscoff) spread.

Raspberry Thumbprint Cookies
Raspberry Thumbprint Cookies

Put the cookies back in the oven and bake until the are slightly brown around the edges - about 10 to 15 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool.

Raspberry Thumbprint Cookies

This recipe takes no time at all, but if you were in an even bigger hurry you could use pre-made cookie dough (sugar cookie, maybe?) and be done in a flash.

Raspberry Thumbprint Cookies
Raspberry Thumbprint Cookies
Raspberry Thumbprint Cookies
Raspberry Thumbprint Cookies





Dec 5, 2014

Embroidery Hoop Snowman


I had a little fun this week, playing around with crafts and getting into the Christmas spirit. I've been wanting to make this snowman door hanging for a couple of years. I always thought I'd find embroidery hoops at the thrift store but never did. When I was at the fabric store buying material for the receiving blankets, I wandered over to the embroidery area and was surprised at how inexpensive the hoops were. I think it cost about $7 for all three. All of the other materials came from scraps I already had.
Embroidery Hoop Snowman Door Hanging

The first thing I did was paint each of the hoops white. I covered all of the outside, the front, and most of the inside. (Don't skip painting the inside - I didn't do a very good job the first time and had to take the snowman apart when I found you could still see bare wood along the inside edges.)

I used leftover white flannel from the receiving blankets for the head and body of the snowman. You just need to place a hoop over the material and cut around it, leaving about an inch of excess material all around.

Separate the two parts of the embroidery hoop, put the fabric over the smaller ring, then press the larger ring back in place, making sure the fabric is taut.  Do this for all three rings. Once your fabric is in place you can trim the excess fabric away.

Embroidery Hoop Snowman Door Hanging

I made the eyes, nose, mouth, and buttons from scraps of fabric in my stash. The hat and scarf are made from two sweaters that I was getting rid of - I like how the knit gives it a more 3-D effect. I just glued the grey stripes right on to the blue material with craft glue. A piece of cardboard cut into a triangle and inserted into the hat keeps it from falling over. Tom thought the hat needed a pompom, so I whipped one up with grey yarn.

Embroidery Hoop Snowman Door Hanging

To join the hoops, I tied the first two together at the locks using yarn. I wanted there to be a tiny bit of a gap between them to leave room for the scarf. The bottom two hoops are glued together (hot glue).

Embroidery Hoop Snowman Door Hanging

The bottom circle looked a little plain with nothing on it, so I added a "Merry Christmas" sign that I bought at the dollar store.

Embroidery Hoop Snowman Door Hanging

The final touch was adding the arms. They're branches cut from the clematis out front and glued to the back edge of the middle hoop.

Embroidery Hoop Snowman Door Hanging

Looking at it now, it kind of shouts third-grade craft time vs. let's sell these on Etsy. But I enjoyed making it, and it adds a bit of whimsy to our otherwise sedate front entrance. I haven't yet decided if he'll stay - I might break down and switch him out for one of the wreaths I've made in the past.

What do you go for when decorating - fun or classic?

Embroidery Hoop Snowman Door Hanging

Embroidery Hoop Snowman Door Hanging