Tag Archives: Holidays

Welcome Fall…

It’s time to open the windows, toss warm cozy throws over the backs of chairs, sweep off the patio and invite friends and family to stop by and Welcome Fall….

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The fall season is an experience for the senses…the explosion of red and orange colors, delightfully cooler temperatures and the warm comforting foods made with nutmeg, cinnamon and pumpkin spice.

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I absolutely love having fresh flowers around the house…year round.  It’s one of the easiest ways to add a smile to your decor. And it’s so easy…grab a seasonal bouquet from your local store, dust off an old mason jar, dollar store vase or in this case I used a trifle bowl.  Add something unusual to the mix and voila…a pretty little piece of happiness.

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When the seasons change I take the opportunity to rearrange a few of my favorite things and give little nooks and corners a fresh look. This table sits in my morning room…I have tucked my small collection of crocks under the table. On top of the table I have arranged a few of my most recent purchases; a vintage egg crate and egg scale and a collection of vintage seltzer bottles.  I added the back of a sweet little antique chair as a back drop for the whimsical fall floral arrangement.

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…Surprisingly simple and fun to make.

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Fall seems to be synonymous with all things pumpkin spice, or least that is what my little sister has convinced me of through her daily postings of all things pumpkin.  Then of course there is the never ending barrage of all things pumpkin that show up daily in my inbox and news feeds.  So, I gave in…the cookies are good but for the record I prefer pumpkin bread smothered with cream cheese.

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…The cooler Fall temperatures are a welcome change from the dog days of the southeast Texas summer.  In this part of Texas the Fall colors are minimal…on a good day we may see a splash of red or orange from the Chinese tallow tree or a splash of salmon from the occasional rain tree.  Our backyard space is perfect for spending time alone relaxing in the hammock, snuggled up in front of the fireplace with my personal fire-man or dancing the night away under the stars with close friends.  What ever the occasion adding a few fall touches adds a level of warmth.

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Welcome Fall…Y’all!

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Filed under 2015, Crafts, Fall Time, Life

Stay Stress Free During the Holidays

I am always looking for tips and tricks to help me make the Holiday season more beautiful and enjoyable…These stay stress free tips from M&J are just what I needed with just 8 days left until the big day. I hope you find them helpful…Merry Christmas!

M&J Blog

The holidays are a  time for togetherness and celebration, but they can also be extremely stressful. From planning to shopping, hosting and decorating; the stress of the holidays can take the joy out of the most wonderful time of the year! Here are some ways to keep your cool during this busy season.

Black Wrapped Presents

Keep It Simple – When it comes to gift wrapping or decorating, you can use shortcuts without sacrificing style. Wrap all of your gifts with one type of wrapping paper, and then customize each with different trim.

Gingerbread from Honestly YumFocus on One Thing – Whether it’s wrapping the presents beautifully or making a gingerbread house even a seasoned architect would be envious of, focus on doing one or two things really well. If you put too much pressure on yourself to make everything perfect, you’re bound to crack.

Dining Room Thistlewood

Accumulate Over Time – There’s no reason to buy or…

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Legendary Lights of Clifton Mill

Thanks to Sherry at Fabulous 50’s for this beautiful pictorial of the Legendary Lights of Clifton Mill. A true labor of love and worthy of today’s Christmas reblog…Merry Christmas y’all!

 

Fabulous 50's

Last night my husband and I drove an hour North to see the Legendary Lights of Clifton Mill in Clifton, Ohio.  I was excited to test out my new photography skills, since I’ve taken a few classes, and am now shooting only in Manual mode and RAW format.  And because I now have a remote shutter release for night-time shots.  The 50 degree temperatures and weekday night made it the perfect time to go.  We didn’t freeze and weren’t squeezed by too many people!  We arrived at 5:30pm and there were already a few photographers set up even though the lights don’t come on until 6:00pm.  As we munched on some popcorn, since we didn’t have dinner, I talked with the other photographers a bit.  An announcer came on a loud-speaker two minutes before the lights came on to notify us and once they did, I heard a…

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The World’s Top 10 Most Unconventional Christmas Trees

Every day this month I am going to reblog one post that screams Christmas…And this one form The Worlds top 10 of Anything and Everything! does just that. This post has captured some of the most unusual Christmas Trees I have ever seen. Each one is more amazing than the one before it…I hope you enjoy them as much as I did. Merry Christmas!

 

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2011 Christmas Home Tour…Welcome to our Home

Welcome to our Home!

It’s time for the 2011 Christmas Home Tour and I am as ready as I am going to be.  Come on in…make yourself at home.  This is our Texas Hill Country home located much closer to the Texas Gulf Coast than it is to the hill country.  I am a NOLA (New Orleans, Louisiana) girl at heart but I got to Texas as quick as I could…

This is my first year to join the Christmas Home Tour…and I am already blown away by everyone’s Christmas decorations.  Thanks for sharing your beautiful home and thanks for stopping by our home.

The hubs and I really love everything about the Christmas season.  We love decorating our home inside and out.  We enjoy shopping for gifts for our family.  We split up the list and my husband buys the gifts for the guys and I take care of the girls.  We both take care of our own wrapping.  My husband is always the first one to put gifts under the tree.

We have been married for over 20 years and it wasn’t until this past year that we had a place big enough to host our family Christmas Eve gathering.  We are hosting again this year and we are looking forward to the whole family being together in our home for all of the Christmas Festivities!

This is where all of the fun will happen…everyone buys for the kids and the adults participate in a Dirty Santa gift exchange.  It gets loud and competitive with alliances being forged all for the sake of a AMEX gift card or a spotters scope.  It is the most fun I have ever had a Family Christmas party.

We have a fireplace but no mantle…its a long story which I will save for another day.  I like the clean contemporary look of our fireplace sans mantle…well that is until Christmas rolls around.  This is our second Christmas in our new home and I am still looking for the perfect architectural piece to hang over the fireplace.  Therefore, in place of decorating a mantle I focused on our dining room sideboard.

This little space will be one of our dessert tables during our holiday parties…The baking begins tomorrow.

In the short amount of time we have lived in our home we have hosted about a dozen gatherings.  We are finally getting a feel for how things flow best…we typically will set up a variety of food and drink areas throughout the kitchen space.  We want our friends and family to leave their worries at the door and relax while they are hanging out in the country.

Our Christmas tree is a forever tree…we have had it for over 10 years and it looks great in our new home. I don’t know what it is about photographing a Christmas tree that is so difficult.  Flash…no flash…it just never seems to look as pretty in pictures as it does in person.  So after trying numerous settings on my camera I decided the best pictures were the ones without the flash and up close…

One of my absolute favorite features in our new home are the custom-built-ins.  I am a collector of things…I do not collect one particular thing but lots of different things.  Our built ins make it easy to highlight my small collections in little vignettes.  The shelves hold a mixture of crocks, frankoma pottery, glass jars, antique locks and vintage spools of thread mixed in and amongst our family photos and my sons artwork not to mention a collection of books that have pink covers.

In years past our home has been an explosion of Christmas decorations…this year I tried to reign myself in a bit.  Just a little bit of Christmas in each room of the house.  Well at least that was the original plan.  My sons room has been deemed off-limits to Christmas decor…but no one had any objections to me sprucing up the guest room.

There are so many things I still plan to do..I still have to finish up our bedroom as well as the front and back porch area.  I will also be painting our fall pumpkins to look like snowmen, I will be dipping the bottoms of our everyday wine glasses in chalkboard paint and I have a yard sale table begging for a fresh coat of paint.  Today I purchased all of the ingredients for my baking needs.  I will be making peanut butter clusters, white chocolate dipped oatmeal cranberry cookies, almond toffee and pretzels rolled in white chocolate and crushed peppermint.  I hope you will check back over the next couple of weeks and see how things have progressed.

Here’s wishing you and your family a very Merry Christmas from our Texas home and a nola girl at heart!!!

I am linking up with 2011 Chrismtas Home Tour at The Inspired Room

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Filed under Christmas Traditions, family, Home Sweet Home, postaweek2011

Homemade Gifts; vanilla extract, terrariums and clay tags to name a few

Homemade gifts are what makes Christmas fun and memorable for me.  I have a few different gifts in mind for this year. None of them are expensive or elaborate.  Just some things I have read about this past year as I have surfed through a myriad of blogs and tweets.

The first homemade gift I am going to try to create is vanilla extract.  I read a post from Chef and Steward on making vanilla extract from scratch and I immediately added it to my Christmas gift making list.  Then the same week I saw an episode of Barefoot Contessa and she was making vanilla extract.  The cosmos collided and I knew this was a homemade gift I just needed to make.

This particular creation takes time to steep and mature…I have combined the ingredients; vanilla beans and vodka or rum, its your choice, into a  mason jar .  Actually I have a concoction of each steeping in the cupboard.  I hope I can pick up some vintage jars at the auction house tag sale this weekend that will make my homemade gift complete.

Also over the past year I have noticed in nearly every magazine I pickup and scan through there is a terrarium tucked into the decor.  I have collected several containers from tag sales and now I am ready to make a few of these adorable tiny gardens of my own.  I will make them over the next several days to make sure they remain healthy enough to give as gifts.  I certainly don’t want to give someone a dead plant for Christmas.  If that’s the case I may as well give them a fruit cake…

I have also been smitten by the crafters who are making clay tags.  There are a couple of crafting bloggers who are touting the ease of using air dry clay to make handmade inspirational tags.  I plan on giving this a try…think I will use them as gift tags or maybe even make them in sets to be used as Christmas tree decorations.  I also love the simplicity of a clay tag tied around a simple mason jar filled with a fresh bunch of flowers.

I have gathered the supplies for the terrariums and the clay tags…now it’s time to  jump in and enjoy making my homemade Christmas gifts.  I will post pictures and updates as the projects take shape.

Wishing you and yours a very joyful Chirstmas season!

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So Long, Farwell, Alveterzane, Adieu, Au Revoir, goodbye…2010

Well it’s that time of year.  The time when I pause for a moment and reflect on the  passing of another year.  I take time to think back on the years short comings and accomplishments.  I think back to this time last year and the New Years Resolutions that were made.  I  think about the passing of time and people. 

2010 was a very interesting year. 

After this pause in my otherwise busy life, it’s time.  It’s time to look forward to the coming year and all that comes with it.

FAITH, FAMILY, FRIENDS AND of course BLOGGING ABOUT IT!

Happy New Year!!!! 

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Christmas…that’s a wrap

 There are so many things I enJOY about the Christmas Season.  There have been years when Christmas was over before it ever got started, or at least that’s how it felt.  Not this year!  I enjoyed every single day of this Christmas Season.   

Here are few of my favorite things!

Jesus’ Birthday! It is the Reason for the Season!

For me the Christmas Season begins the weekend after Thanksgiving.  Our family traditon it for the Christmas Tree to be decorated on the weekend following Thanksgiving! 

 The Christmas Season also begins with a visit to my local Starbucks for a Grande Peppermint Mocha. 

Christmas Candy!  It reminds me of my childhood and my Grandmother’s house. 

Christmas Lights!  Everything looks better all dressed up!

Shopping for Gifts!  It is better to give than to receive!

Wrapping Presents!  They are the finishing touch for the tree!  I wish my gifts looked like this.

Baking sweets to eat and share with friends and family! 

Driving around looking at Christmas Lights with my Family!  It’s a Memory Maker!

The Salvation Army Bell Ringer! 

Christmas Eve Candle Light Service!

Hot Chocolate on Christmas Morning!

A beautiful roaring fire in the fireplace!

Christmas Movies, old and new…The Christmas Story and Scrooged!

Getting all bundled up to go outside!

Having the week off between Christmas and  New Years…Priceless!!!

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ready or not…Christmas is here!

The first of our family gatherings is tomorrow, ready or not.  I think we are ready.  But if in fact we are not ready no one will be the wiser. 

The tree is decorated and it looks lovely!  Even if I have not found a suitable tree topper.  C’est la vie!

The table scape is missing something.  Not sure what it is just yet, but it is definitely missing something. Any suggestions? The packages need a little dressing up but I can do that while the cake is in the oven. 

The rest of the house looks beautiful.  There is a little touch of Christmas in every room.  Not too much, not too little…well maybe not enough.  But it is a work in progress. 

However, I am out of time.  The first of three Christmas gatherings is upon us.  The first gathering of family is this Sunday December 19th @ 4pm.  The second gathering of family is Thursday December 23rd @ 6pm.  The 3rd gathering of family and friends is a 3 day event with out-of-town company.  I am Ready! Ready or Not but I am Ready for the festivities to begin!

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10 ways to beat the holiday blues…

If I am not careful I can get bogged down with the Christmas “to do” list.  Before I know it I am  stressed out over gifts, budgets and menus and I have missed all the fun.   I read a great article in the Focus on Women magazine I picked up at my local Starbucks.  Here is the condensed version for the full article go to www.FOWmag.com

1. Minimize your stress!  Get your shopping, decorating and Christmas cards done early. Set a goal!

2. Attend a holiday market!  The perfect way to get into the holiday spirit is to attend one of the many holiday markets. 

3. Enjoy the arts!  Check your local paper for a complete listing of Christmas concerts and plays. 

4. Treat yourself!   Enjoy a mani-pedi or a massage.  Enough said!

5. Make a date with your mate or bff.  The hustle and bustle of the holidays can monopolize all of your time.  Make an effort to carve out time for a quite dinner with your spouse or best friend.  Quality time is the best gift going.

6. Be an elf!  If loneliness is what’s giving you the blues, then look for opportunities to volunteer in your community. 

7. Adopt a pet!  If you are an animal lover you can adopt a pet of your own or volunteer at the animal shelter and help the animals find the perfect new home for the holidays.

8. Get out and exercise!  Exercise is great medicine for mild depression.  Take a walk, ride a bike or take a dance class.  Just get moving!

9. Create a blessing diary!  Every day right down 5 things your are thankful for.  You will be surprised at how many blessings you really do have.

10. Create a new tradition!  If your old family traditions bring back sad memories of loved ones lost, then it’s time to create a few new traditions.  Change things up!  Take a Christmas vacation instead of staying home, try some place tropical!

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