Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Baking: Mincemeat Cookies - Give 'em a try!!

Isn't that a pretty cookie?? I think using new bigger cookie cutters was fun, makes for more calories per cookie and they'll go faster and use up the dough so I made only half of them like this, but I just think it's lovely - to make these cookies you need a fair sized cookie cutter and a smaller one that either is identically small version or I think one that just compliments it myself. The inside is a Dogwood flower - my fave.
Since it is after Christmas I didn't feel chained to making the traditional heart, star, and holly leaf. Never mind I couldn't find the little cookie cutters anyway and no holly leaf, got lost in the two kitchens I suppose. So that is why you will see my other cookies later - rabbits! A new attempt - not quite such a great one, but we love rabbits in our family so I thought it was worth a try. Also I had identical small rabbit cutter so why not?
Now don't go running from the word mincemeat - it isn't gross at all like it sounds. It tastes wonderful...especially when you 'improve' on the recipe. My grandmother taught me to make them and we have a strict regime: mincemeat tarts are for Thanksgiving and only the mincemeat cookies are for Christmas. Well, I don't always follow that rule because the mincemeat cookies rock - the dough is what really does it, but the filling is necessary, too.
The recipe comes from my old (okay my mother's) old Betty Crocker Cookbook which photographed so nicely here it looks new - in person it is yellowed, beat up and vintagey looking. Odd what a camera can do...it's also held together with tape on the binding. LOL I have no idea if the new Betty Crocker cookbook has this recipe. I guess I could go look, but I'm lazy - I always use this one.
The recipe in my book is in the cookie section and is under 'filled cookies' - you can be lazy and just make turnovers, but we cut out two identical cookie cutter shapes, the top one with the little cut out and filling in between. It can take practice and the dough will need constant chilling to handle and plenty of flower - sticky!! It is a very easy batter to make and you don't need to use the heavy cream, I never have that on hand, only 2% milk and it works just fine. Heck, cuts back on calories, too. Practically fat free and diet like, right? lol

Now here's a not too attractive picture of the filling after I 'fixed' it. I add an apple or two, granny smith is my favorite for more bite and plenty of raisins, all of this chopped very, very finely. Diced til you couldn't make it smaller without it being apple sauce. This year I ran out of raisins and had already begun so I added dried cranberries, worked just as well. Add as much as you like. I even add a touch of sugar so the filling is sweet and not too clove-y for me. Weird how a shiney metal bowl can really ruin a pic. Ick. Too much reflection. The little white squares are the apple.

Now, after you are done, hopefully you end up with something like this: a pretty cookie with the filling peeking out.
When you break it open it looks like this - yum!! You should smell my house right now - wow, do those cookies smell good. I need to make an air freshner can of that smell. Mmmm.... Oh, one last tip, just a spoonful of filling in the cookies, make sure you can form a seal around the edges or they are messy. Sometimes, if it's just for your immediate family and they demand more mincemeat filling I don't mind if they don't seal perfectly.

This is my first year's attempt at bunny cookies...not quite as pretty, huh? Also the little bunny was just a little too big and kept breaking the bigger cookie and well, they ended up not too cute, but they taste just as good, trust me...

And that's the end of my little tutorial. I have a confession to make - even if no one will ever see them or I have plenty of good cookies, I make my family eat the ugly cookies first. Does anyone else do that?? LOL I'm a control freak and I want the pretty ones to last longer and you never know someone might stop by and you want to give them a pretty cookie or two, right? :) I also made a few star cookies, but they are too ugly even to show. Those go first tonight.
Happy Tuesday, Everyone!!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

58 Gingerbread Lane

No one yet has joined me in Gingerbread House decorating show offs - how sad.

Doesn't anyone do Gingerbread houses anymore?? Well, I do. I'm ready to show you my smaller (different kit, too) and less extravagant house this year. Perhaps the residents of 58 Gingerbread Lane are feeling the economy, too. Anyway, without further to do:

The Front with candy lights, peppermint wreath, mint lifesaver path to the door, gumdrop shrubs, doublemint gum door and shutters, etc.:

The back view, you can't see, but I used red icing for the back door and behind the window (pretzel window) for stained glass effect:

And side view, gumdrop ridge of roof, plenty of snow, little (uglier kit peppermint) wreaths between the windows:

The BEAUTIFUL and HEAVY glass pedestal is a remarkable find and a tremendously gracious gift of my Fairy (Vintage) Godmother, of course. It has a history, but I'll keep it quiet, suffice to say this is a really nice vintage find and SO sweet of a gift to me while I was awaiting my operation. I can barely heft it around empty, lol. Now, I don't have piles of cookies to show you, I have dough and filling waiting, but first want to make one other dough to chill while I bake and then I have my snowflake cookies, etc. Mmm...the house will smell so good.

Happy Holidays

and if you made a gingerbread house or a graham cracker house share a pic/link, will you, please?? Better Luck next year, I guess....

By the way - just to make it easier to see last year's gingerbread house here's the link (I added a gingerbread house label as I plan to do it every year I can):


Not too different as you can see except the sweet tart roof took AGES to do. I'd love to do something really different next year. Go wild and create something different like these guys did in the post I had here:


Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Poor Fairy Godmother

Just found out earlier today she sneakily had major surgery on her foot she'd been putting off a great long while and that was why I hadn't heard back from her. I'm sending her warm wishes and hopes for speedy recovery - she had a tragic bloody accident afterwards that required more surgery and is now (hopefully) tied down to the bed and not allowed to get up and do such silly things. Shame, shame!! ;) I hope my Fairy Godmother still enjoys her Christmas Holiday, though. I wish I could be there for her as she was for me and my surgery. I'm there in spirit! Listen to your doctors and REST. You know...all the stuff I'm not doing. lol

Gingerbread House on its way...

Just finished my Gingerbread House. Hope someone else did, too and is willing to leave a link to their pics. I will take a picture when the light is good AND I have a camera AND a clean surface at the same time. No easy thing when it is the Holidays.

This house is much smaller and simpler - at least easier - no sweet tart roof, sad to say, but 'lights' and shrubs and special windows. :) My family turned the house upside down and totally changed all the rooms of two floors (yep, right before Christmas and then skip back to work with it all laying around undone) so I'm trying to keep my sanity and clean the kitchen at least and keep some space for myself and my baking. A hopeless cause, but one I fight nonetheless.


Saturday, December 19, 2009

*Yippee!!** A Christmas Surprise from my (Vintage) Fairy Godmother!!!! Hoorah!

On a dreary day, feeling dreary and un-Christmasy - gingerbread house only just begun, mom working on my present/project I will blog thoroughly about when I 'receive' it. I was just not feeling in the mood - trying hard by dimming lights so only the tree and garland on the mantle glowed...suddenly I found a package at my door!! It was so brown and so ordinary looking - it must be missing parts to some washer/dryer thing we had installed today.

But wait...could it be? The address it came from was from the magical Hudson, OH!! Oooooh... It said Todd Family - that means I can open it, right? I'm a Todd. I opened it up, and one peek was the confirmation - a sweet colorful red and white explosion of Christmas cheer from my Fairy Godmother!!

The presents were mine, the card said, but the purse is a toss up, I'm giving it to mum without a look at it myself as the presents inside it were too good to pass up and I'm spoiled already! Three red and white beauty sponges, which briefly I wondered if were cat toys. lol The pipecleaners most very likely are...

Then I looked closely at the two prominent presents...
What?! They are FRENCH?? Oooh La La La! C'est la Francais! One red and white striped and one with the softest poofiest pink poofs and shiny light pink paper. Oh, Fairy Godmother you made my day already!!!
I promise myself I will not open the prezzies that are wrapped until Xmas day as I always need cheering up on that day. But one little prezzie was just rolled up in tissue paper - no hint of ribbon that makes it okay to unroll, right?? Thank goodness I did because look what I found!!!

A tiny green bottle brush tree...awwww!! The sweetest gift already. Thank you Vintage Fairy Godmother - you made a cold dreary day happy already. The wrapped gifts I will try my hardest to resist opening until next week. *kisskiss* - one on each cheek, because zwee are Frainch, oui? Tres European!

Happy Holidays Everyone, hope you have a Fairy Godmother, too. Or no, I'm just selfish enough to be thankful I have my very own. LOL

THANK YOU, Auntie Mae!!!!!!

Edited to add - and yes, I found two tiny wrapped prezzies in the purse, too, still unwrapped. :)

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Special Post - second of the day, too!! Etsy Update

My Pink ornaments made it up at last. Silly me for forgetting to do so for so long. Might've had to do with wanting to keep them. lol

Take a peek:

And to see the special backs of the ornaments - oh so pretty and also the ornaments displayed on my white tree you must go to the shop.

What do I love best about ALL my ornaments? They really do look great any day. You can store them away for great delight of reopening them once a year as I do with some favorite ornaments, but some I want around year round just to make me smile. Two posts in one day - aren't you all spoiled? LOL Just kidding.

Off I go to freshen up and then get messy with my gingerbread house. And somewhere after or in the middle I have to make deviled eggs for a Christmas party. And then the dough for some really scrumptuous Christmas cookies to be refridgerated until the day before Christmas Eve. (Or they'll all be gone!!)

New Items - more than ever before at shop!!!

I can hardly believe it, but I have more than 30 items in the shop. Wow. And it isn't all full of prints. That's a lot of work represented there. I don't think I have all my individual ornaments up, but I do have the pairs and a trio and quite a few individual ones and even a new never seen before medieval rabbit pendant up just this morning.
I'm happy to have even this progress just because I haven't wanted to admit it, but I've been in a great deal of pain, but today I think I've conquered it for at least awhile. I'm ignoring it and I'm also watching the end of Impromptu which every Hugh Grant fan should see at least once. Oh the youth!

Also Emma Thompson is great! Hilarious scenes - great passion. And more hilarity. It cheered me up immensely.

Anyway, Happy Holiday decorating and baking and all that. I made a batch of cookies and they vanished!! Santa either came early or my family just loves those cookies. They are an old traditional family recipe - Grandma Peter's Snowflake cookies. They are too good to let sit out. I had planned to at least take a pic and give most of them away to my Yiayia, but they vanished over two days! Oh no! Good thing I can make many more. LOL

Monday, December 14, 2009

Huge Apology - RL Sucks

No Internet for three days. Aaak! Just when I promised to post and I'm sooooo late in the season. So sosososo sorry - not my fault. I'd list the company, but I don't wanna get sued. Anyhow. Will start posting and try to do it before they yank it away again by mistake. Rethink changing Satellite and Internet providers a million times - they don't fulfill their promises on YOUR timeline. It's been a HUGE hassle. Then my ice machine decided to break and leak several times on WOOD floor and needs fixing. Then had trouble with good car and already having trouble with bad car. These things happen in threes. Knock on wood I'm safe now. *sigh*

Edited to add: Oh, maybe they happen in fours (or else I have two more bad ones coming, knock on wood, our washer died. Had to buy new washer AND dryer which was on its last leg and that was a hassle and a half all on its own.

Etsy update commencing asap. So upset and not feeling well painwise I'm not even picture ready on all of them anyway. Oh, so not a Xmas feeling anymore.

But, I'd also like to add, these ornaments totally work on Valentine's Day or Any day so, does it really matter if it isn't early for Christmas?? I'll still send them out asap. At least I have a warm kitty curled up next to me. Aaaah, kitty therapy.

Edited to add one last time, now camera pics won't upload to computer - and had TV/new cable burnout took me an hour or so to fix. There's the two more. I've had my quota, Santa, send me something sweet, please. I need some good news and good pics for my blog to actually work. *sigh*

Friday, December 11, 2009

Another Christmas Peek - My first Ornaments

Would you believe our tree is bare? It's positively naked at this point - scandalous! :) We'll likely summon the energy to at least string a ton of lights tonight, but the ornament hanging will take time as we have many traditional and new "last year bargain" ornaments as my mother is quite the collector. But I digress. Here is a peek - only a peek mind you, I have soooo many pictures and so many ornaments to show you and to post on Etsy.
Here is a peek at a pathetic attempt to show you what a tree might look like if you buy most of my ornaments. (And here's where I'll give you, my special readers a deal, if you like what you see in this post and/or on Etsy and decide you must grab as many or even all as you can, I will make you a deal to buy them in a large batch and ship for FREE). Shhh...it's for my readers, you dear ones that keep me going. Now on to the pic:

Now, by this small pic you might think, they are all the same, they are what we've seen before framed, mounted, It'll be boring. Well, one, you'd be wrong, I saw a lovely pic from Country Living last year, maybe? And someone just covered their tree with all the framed silhouettes they had in the house it seemed and the effect of all silhouettes was too cool, the heavy looking frames didn't look natural to a tree and looked like it would be cumbersome. So, I thought - oh, I must make silhouette ornaments and started in the summer. And well...got distracted didn't I? So I have some that are a lady on one side, a gentleman on the other, likely engaged/marriage silhouettes made for them. Little love trinkets they kept. And I loved them, painted them on the vintage French text paper, and on the vintage music paper. A two sided version of the paired silhouettes I sold framed. No need to give a pic of that here.

Then I wanted to tell little stories to myself as I did them - this is a young woman who is silhouetted on vintage French text, on the other side a look of a post card - the Eiffel Tower and stamped as if posted back home to her loved one(s). How sentimental. But then I get sentimental this time of year.

Another story (and an example of other views you will see of every ornament I post - in natural light on a dark background so you can better make choices)...in this one a family got their silhouettes made. Proud Papa and his young son.

Proud mother, her hair carefully adorned and her young daughter. May the children of that age grow to be adults and have families of their own. Reading the Lincolns (Abraham and Mary Todd, obviously) these reminded me of them - maybe they had other children that died - maybe these children died soon after. Oh, now I get sad and start to lose the Christmas cheerfulness and yet it reminds me of women and men dressed gaily for the holidays with pine boughs and spiced punch and kids peeking down over the staircase.

Then I went in a totally different direction - all of these are on the tree in the first pic - they don't look so varied til you get close up, do they? I ALWAYS want my ornaments to look good on both sides, by the way, ornaments have a tendency to twist and turn their backs to us, though my mother (finally an elf that helped me) strung these with such nice ribbon and so well that they don't have that tendency...that might be sad, or maybe you'll flip them around yourself when you view your tree or change it day to day...oh, the possibilities...)

This is a stamp I got at a GREAT and I do mean GREAT Estate sale. And would you believe I hadn't used it yet?? Bought it the same time of other great stamps, but just didn't get to it. This chair reminds me of going to the St. Louis Art museum and also the Napoleonic exhibit I loved so much last year. The chair is gorgeous to me and when my mother saw it she said she'd buy it off of me - she loved it on the spot. I promised to make her just one more ornament for her later - every effort right now I must post.

Also, the background, my first use of it, tinier writing, even more realistic than maybe the French text one I have. The backing: a tribute to Napoleon and the beautiful things I saw there: they replaced the monarch's Fleur de lis with a bee and crown. Oh, you should have also seen Josephine's dresses or examples of, too they had - the style - so elegant!!

And that's all for your little peek. I'm posting them a little at a time.
****Also...important note: some ornaments, a great deal, are sold separately. Some in pairs, one I believe might be in a threesome. Just to warn you when you get ready to buy.
And a second important note: I changed styles AGAIN and if you don't like these antique white or musical papers and have a white or pink tree and like those colors...well, so do I. I only made 2 - that's right 2 pink ornaments (French style, but of course, oui). They are on my little white tree even as we speak and will stay there unless they sell. They will be posted asap, too. And I will blog about that, too. Next year I'll do more, promise, and maybe other colors.
EDIT: I'm dead tired, I'll post my ornaments tomorrow, 'kay? Gotta make dinner and light the tree. Sorry if anyone was waiting to grab one.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Etsy Update: Holiday Houses Up

It's hard to think of parting with my pretties, but I have put them up for sale today. ;) My sorta secret was that I wallpapered the backs of the insides of the houses so you can peek in and see vintage sheetmusic from every window and doorway. I hope you like them as much as I do.

Baking some chicken and making dinner right now. Hope you are all warm and snuggled up in your homes, too.

These are the only houses for the season. If they don't sell they have a great home at my house as I love each and every one. Next up are my ornaments. I'm not quite done and today was faaaaar too overcast to even think of photographing the ones I have done anyway. After that...some more pendants - different this time - sometimes I like to wear my music, does that give it totally away?? lol

Sunday, December 6, 2009

A Christmas Peek...58 Cherry Lane

A little treasure - a new header - and a sign of things to come. I have been working as hard as I can to at least turn out a few little charms this season. First up are some really cute houses I made. Are you sick of my houses?? Well these are different - these are Christmas houses!! I've fallen hard for the antique white, robin's egg blue and pale pale pink and sage-y green and all of these have been filling my house lately. I still love deep dark red and dark green and Scandinavian style Christmas ornaments and her collection, but when I go up to my bedroom and I want to relax - the soothing pale pale blue walls and white furniture make me want a dreamy escape. Who is it that said all Christmas must be red and green?

Throw out that rule book and join me on my trip through 58 Cherry Lane...

You'll have to wait for the Etsy update to see it in full detail, but as you can see there's a special touch - a little roof over the door way to protect the visitors as they await their invitation in.

It snowed hard over the past day or so in 58 Cherry Lane, but the rooftop (and little roof over the doorway) and surrounding area all glisten with sugary icy coating. To tell you the truth - no picture I take shows you just how pretty the glitter I used is - it's kind of an old fashioned big glitter and I loved it so much I bought trees and they weren't nearly up to par so I coated them in glittery extra snow, too.

Next stop is the Pink House, though only the roof and tiny wreath are pink. The Antique white house begged me to use this color on the roof, it was meant to be, granted the 'snow' is more like an ice storm, the pink shows proudly through and I love it. *

At the pink house, the white shutters are ready to be closed soon as it is getting pretty cold, but they keep them open in the daytime for the sun and to enjoy watching the kids play with their sleds. They hung a pink wreath above their door - a vintage button stolen from my mother's collection, shh, don't tell...

Next stop, oh, is a special one. I'm rather attached to all these houses, but this one is the creme de la creme, literally as it is the White House. Not that one, this one:

Now you can't fully appreciate the specialness of this house as it is photographed here alone. The first two houses I showed you are the medium average sized homes, this is the big house of the lane, You can fit the other two houses, only one obviously at a time, within this home. It has a pink door with a special cut out and another button doorknob. The white wreath is an antiqued pipecleaner with a special very pretty white ribbon. I'll now show you this house in another setting as it is a fairy house it can move on its own, no? Here's another way to display it and one I rather prefer...

...as it is the view above my desk temporarily. I apologize for the small picture so that you can't see two of the glass cherries on the middle shelf right in front of the big white N, Fairy Vintage Godmother gave me those and I managed to pose two to look like they were joined. It's so cute in person. I suck at taking pictures anyway. I climbed on tiny chairs and leaned precariously and endangered myself taking this pic, though, so I'm proud of it. I was also spooked by a phone call right as I got down as if a family member or medical professional had witnessed my naughty and dangerous behavior. Luckily it was a telemarketer. Phew. I even held the camera over my head and just prayed for a good pic. Not too shabby, eh??

And last, but certainly not least is my other favorite (heck they are all my favorites) the little bitty sage colored house that perhaps the poor Cratchit family could have lived in with Tiny Tim in comparison to the big white mansion. It has a door, too, with a little button doorknob and I think it's tiny size is perfect as it is the same size as the house I just sold that was my old holiday header.

Truth is these aren't even the best pictures, they don't show the inside, either, a surprise awaits, but perhaps you can peek through some of the windows and see something. Anyhow. These are all indoor pics with the best light I could do - days are so short now. So this morning I took even better pictures of them in bright daylight and with the roofs off and maybe the colors slightly truer and even the three different sizes of houses lined up so you can see the difference. They are nesting houses, you can store them with care inside the large White House is you would like to buy three out of the four or all. One medium will have to stay alone then, obviously. I've decided to make another White House as I'll be sad if it sells it goes so well with all the whites and Shabby and Chic and Vintage and dream home of mine.

So stay tuned for the update. I'm much too tired today and I have much cropping and rotating and resizing and all that still to do. But this peek is to show you what to expect and maybe you'll pick one out ahead of time and snatch it up.

The Etsy update either late Monday or Tuesday. And then a few more jewelry items and the best to come: Ornaments. Ornaments on my little white tree that I've actually been working off and on with since June, can you believe it. And I don't have that many ready because I am a real critical craftsman, it has to be perfect and it has to be something I'll want to keep because if it doesn't sell...it's mine. lol Which is okay with me.

Happy Holidays everyone. After this week I'm focusing on home decorating and a Gingerbread House!! Now, I hope someone else will make one and share a link in comments!!!

58Cherries Elf - Head Elf, mind you...

*It's as pretty as an ice storm is I have a love/hate relatiionship with ice storms - we've had some nasty ones in St. Louis over the years, I say nasty as I once had to crawl. Literally crawl inch by precious inch in thin jeans in my college years up hill to get to work at the University library. I had really smooth rubber soled sneakers that were completely unsuitable for the weather and the snow plows had made an ice wall that made it impossible to even get to the street between cars and walk up that way and the other side of me was a field of pure ice. But I digress. The real point is that if you are safe and snug at home you see the beautiful icicles hanging everywhere and the world glistens and almost seems like a fairyland. Until the branches break and the power goes out and...well...never mind. LOL

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Christmas Spirit: You find me at last...

I'm out of a bad funk and sickness and I'm ready to spread Christmas cheer and try my best to beat the blues back. The blog is a light sugary pink like cupcake frosting. I hope that doesn't offend anyone's eyes or fashion sense, I'm becoming more and more of a touch of pink to Christmas kind of gal. Red and green can go in the right hues. And all shades of white - yummy.

Now, onto some fabulous news, I made some new Christmas houses that I'd like to share up on Etsy the problem is photographing them so you can see just how cute they are in person. I'm still fiddling with placement for one place to photograph them, then take them all outside for true lighting and individual attention. I just want to give you a heads up on two medium, one small and one large house I will be selling soon. They have glistening glitter roofs that just make me smile I love snow.

As to the header - it is sooo last year, I know, but until I make a better pic of this year's decorations it will have to do. I still love it, though. I just sold that house about a month ago or so and I miss it already. It went to a good home, though and I must get more space so no brooding over favorite items.

But first, I must get a few more pendants up, my mom stole one, okay, I let her take a one of a kind really cool pendant for the Fairy Godmother and that means all the time I took taking pics was wasted, ugh. I'll make a new one that won't be quite the same, but great, too. (I was so out of it yesterday and trying to find what I needed and do five things at once I only got one new pendant up, but you might like to look at it anyway. There is a pic of all other pendants coming).

Oh, and also - ornaments. I will have ornaments up soon, too. I think the gremlins that live to take your keys and one of every sock have been stealing my ornaments for how can I possibly only have 5 ready so far?? I have sooo much work to do. Also two pendants I had up for sale - they mysteriously disappeared - that can't happen and that's why some items disappeared from my shop awhile ago. Sorry, but I made new ones to make up for it, but each one really really is unique and take awhile to make so it's slow going for me.

Santa, how about lending me some elves??

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

My Fairy Vintage Godmother

Happy 1st of December everyone.

Does it feel like December yet to you? Not to me. Or at least, I'd like a little more time, but time flies and we must struggle to keep up with it.

I'd like to share just two pics of the many little gifties my Fairy Vintage Godmother bought for me - she's my real godmother, but she's like a Vintage Fairy - she's been at this trade of dumpster diving, thrift store scoring, and garage sale nut long before it became 'in' and all the Indie/Newbies started hopping onto the bandwagon. My parents, too, but nobody surpasses my Auntie when it comes to finding treasures. Anyway, I also call her Mrs. Santa Claus because she so loves to give away anything she thinks another might treasure, too.
Anyway, back to the goodies:
As I prepared for my surgery and as I recovered in the hospital, she kept slipping me little presents to cheer me up. Now first let me say that maybe the most well used and appreciated of them all at the hospital was a stack of brilliant colored, soft and wonderful hand towels she just happened to get at Target. Hand towels you might ask? Yes indeed. Ever go to a motel and use their hand towels all scratchy and goodness knows where they've been and how they've been washed. Think the same of hospitals. And when you recover, or maybe it's just me, but when you recover from a major surgery your body overheats - I had a fan blasting and people grabbing towel after towel and wetting them and putting them on my forehead and even a bit of color that wasn't dirty white was a pleasant sight to the eyes.
But these are just two of oh so many wonderful things she gave me:

It's a beautiful little trinket box of a slightly vintage look - the pink is perfect with what I've fallen in love with. Inside where a few wonderful glass (if I remember correctly) cherries. I failed to take a pic, sorry. The bird handle is so precious and so thoughtful.

And as if it wasn't enough, she bought me this gorgeous gold cherries necklace. Something I certainly haven't seen, pins and earrings yes, a necklace? Oh, no, very rare. I love it.

What else did she give me? Oh so many things, I can't remember them all, but two kimonos come to mind. One was new (I think) and rather modern Japanese style, beautiful. She thought I'd wear it to the hospital, but I knew better - a. what if some awful orangey goup they put to sanitize your wound gets on it? b.What if someone steals it? No, it stays at home, but will be worn with love. But the second kimono was an accident. She loves it to death and I've admired it so many times she's come to visit her mother and she left it in my room the one night she slept there while helping out (she lives in Ohio) and she said, let Nicki keep it. For Reals??? OMG It's one of those amazing finds she got at this like magical thrift store she finds the best stuff at. I was at a loss for words for I know she loves that kimono and it means the world to me that she gave it to me. Thank you Fairy Godmother, you move me to tears with your generosity.

It must run in the family as my mom is just the same and Yiayia (their mother - grandmother in Greek just fyi) - they give and they give sometimes til it hurts. I want to be like them. They are my inspiration.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Christmas Decorating ideas

You MUST check out Country Living's 30 tree looks and think about changes and additions to your own decorating.
I have some prim looking ornaments coming up - just in case you go for this type of tree - the tin star is cool, but are those just tags as ornaments?? A little on the sad side, but very interesting look.

As for these Victorian ornaments - I love them, I have some of my own, okay, my mother's own, but they look really great when I wind the garland around my banister and add ornaments, these I hang at regular intervals and they are very cool to me.

Oh bottlebrush trees, how have you taken my heart?? I love them so but cannot find a single good one this year that isn't the typical little green ones, so, going with some of the items I'll be selling very soon, I added a great deal of old fashioned glitter and made them look much better and actually in great masses - a beautiful forrest just after a heavy snow.

Oh, and I know I can by reproduction ones for outrageous prices on ebay and even real vintage ones, but I found some great ones at a store once for a great deal and I've got medical bills to pay and our washer and dryer are dead and so are all our Christmas present ideas. Luckily we got a good deal with the holidays for new ones.

I already have my gingerbread house kit so as soon as I post at least most of my items on Etsy I plan to outdo last year's. Anyone else plan to make one? They are just so fun to look at. I miss being a kid and coveting eating all that candy or finding a big one to live in that didn't have the witch from Hansel and Gretel in it.

One year an aunt bought a beautiful one at a bakery and then when the season was done let my cousin and I eat it and the glee of eating the walls and the sugar cone trees and little peppermints and who knows what else is a Christmas memory I cherish.

If anyone else does a gingerbread house and would like me to link to yours send me a link or a pic or just invite me on over to your blog because I LOVE looking at Gingerbread houses. They did a Challenge on the Food Network for gigantic houses, but as usual humidity and time limits just ruin what might have been a cool competition in better circumstances. Oh, and it doesn't have to be gingerbread - many people use graham crackers, too.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Shabby style Daybed + Cats, of course

There is a law of the land that states any clean and freshly made bed must be immediately appropriated by any fuzzy animal in the house. As you can see Smokey is making sure I comply fully with this law and not go to jail.

We bought this day bed at a garage sale years ago and it was my main bed for many years until I decided I really wanted to stretch out and have my kitties be able to sleep without getting kicked off so I bought a queen sized bed and put this away in storage. It is currently serving as my sickbed as I still find my own bed inconvenient and on really bad nights I don't want to wake others with moaning and frantic pill hunts plus I can get myself some juice or crackers, etc.

I love the colors - the quilt is new, something my mom bought while I was in the hospital and she wanted me to have fresh sheets and a quilt and be comfortable. Also...she couldn't remember where we'd put the twin sheets and it was either buy new or go bare. lol

Smokey: What on Earth do you mean you didn't just take all that effort to make the bed perfect for me?? You may have forgotten to take your medicine today, just saying... Now go fetch my catnip mouse and a brush and all will be forgotten of your little comments.

blurry pic of one of many little details I love so much they make it so vintage and pretty to me. It's my spare bed, if ever I have my studio finished...ahem, man of the house...I really want it down there so I can rest and straighten my back out like I need to in between projects.

There is no law against having two fuzzy creatures at a time on said bed, but there are times when three is too many or even two if they both try occupy spots too close to each other:

Sorry it isn't a Thanksgiving post, but I may have one tomorrow or so, I'm hoping I'm able to make some very old fashioned treats that I so adore: mincedmeat pies/tarts. They are good, really, don't let the name turn you off, no meat taste at all and I add lovely apples and raisins and my family can't get enough of them.

Actually I probably blogged before about them, but so what? It's all I'm up to making this year besides a salad for the meal. I had to beg off cooking and entertaining this year. I'm lucky and thankful that the surgery is over, if the regular schedule was followed I'd be just released and home and feeling much much worse so I'm grateful for having it over.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Winner of Giveaway!!

After adding up the number of comments from the giveaway post til today and randomly selecting a number - I got the number 5 - so the lovely and inspiring Danita won! What a lucky gal!

I hope you like the pin. I'll comment on your blog to let you know and get your info to send. So sorry to those that didn't win, but I do have a plan to give one of the pendants I'm making soon so don't be too sad. It'll make a good gift for yourself or another. Now I really must get back to my crafting table and try to ignore the looming holiday as I'm so very very behind. Next giveaway will be first day of December maybe? Until then - happy weekend everyone!!

REMINDER - Giveaway ends today!!!!

I just want to remind everyone that the giveaway ends today. I'll wait til late night to pull out a winner - right now it's six people only - good chances for those that entered, but rather pathetic for a giveaway. No one else likes little red Foxes?? Aww. I feel bad for him.

On an up note, my alumni pool lets us swim for free (something I didn't know before) and I actually got to go swimming again. It was more like a chair lifting me into the pool and me doing pool exercises, but it was enough to just enjoy that feeling again and know I can go any evening I want! Yay!

Would you believe when we called the head of the athletic dept. just a few months ago they told me I'd have to buy a 400+ dollar pass just to swim for a year? And they either were messing with me or someone doesn't know their job at ALL. And I can use the exercise room, too. I'm so happy! :) I want to get healthy and strong and do a better job as a blogger and shop owner. So please don't give up on me yet!!
You can comment here or on original giveaway post to be considered for the giveaway. Last Chance!!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Etsy Update: Cool New Pendants

I'm very proud of these two beautiful pendants I just put up on etsy. The first rabbit sold fast, so I made another one, but the other one is a crown with medieval/renaissance writing on it using two of my favorite stamps.

Cute, aren't they? And they both come with silver plated chains that are easily adjustable, just cut to desired length. My mother and I have worn these out and they always get compliments.

larger than actual size which is just 7/8" by 7/8"

They are up right now, go take a peek and don't forget the giveaway - comment there if you want the Fox pin.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Monday Giveaway!!!!!!!

Shake off those Monday Blues and comment here for a chance to win this really cool fall pin with a beautiful fox on it.

Made of Polymer Clay by Stone House Jewelry, it's really a pretty piece and I'd never guess it was made from clay. Measures 2x2" and is really cool. I thought it was really an appropriate Fall giveaway. Giveaway ends this Saturday and will be shipped right away.

I'll be having another giveaway soon after Thanksgiving for a Xmas treat.

So the only rules for this giveaway is leave a comment - any comment on something interesting you've seen/done/wish you had/ etc. or something interesting.
And now for a cute pic I got of one of my kitties at Halloween. Ever try to get a hat on a cat? It isn't easy - I had to bribe him with candy. Naw, just kidding, he was real laid back about the whole thing I just wish all my other pics weren't so blurry.
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