Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy New Year To All

Wishing you a New Year filled with new hope, new joy and new beginnings.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Clean-up Time

Time to clean-up!! I love the anticipation of Christmas - the decorating, the baking, the shopping. And now that it is over - I can't wait to get it all cleaned up and put away!! My artificial pre-lit tree is hitting the trash this year. I bought it in 2003 and it has been such a pleasure every year (not to Rachel - she prefers the real thing). This year, though, the lights died. The night we were all set to decorate it, I had to run out and buy some strings of lights as some were not working. By last night, the rest were not working. It looks rather pitiful now, so out it goes. I'm anxious to get everything back to normal.

It was a wonderful Christmas. We attended the candelight service on Christmas Eve, had lots of fun opening presents on Christmas morning, had a yummy breakfast, friends and family over in the afternoon and a peaceful night.

Now it's time to make those resolutions that are sometimes hard to keep, but fun to plan. But for the moment, I'm off to remove ornaments and pack-up boxes!!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas Friends

To all the special people I have met this year through blogging, thank you for sharing your stories, your memories, your adventures, your talents and your friendship. I wish each of you a very Merry Christmas. God bless and be with you all.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Weekend Update

I had a great weekend, how about you? I got so many things done and am very excited for Christmas. I love Christmas! It is one of my favorite holidays. I want to share a couple more things from around my house with you. Do you hang mistletoe? Did you ever hear of "mistletoes"? Look at these! Aren't they cutest??!!!

When I was a kid, my mom had the cutest little elves. The ones pictured below she gave to me when I first got married so I could bring some of our family home to my new home.

These little guys have been around for years, peeking out from here or there . . .

This cute guy is missing his little red glove!!

You just never know where you may find one . . .

Here's another one sitting on the teapot!!

And then there's the tacky plastic Santa and his reindeer that we bought for Logan's first Christmas in 1990. Nope, just cannot get rid of the tacky plastic Santa. He sits in our television armoire faithfully each and every year.

This is a little tree collection that I display in my red bathroom. Logan made the tall tree on the left when he was in pre-school out of fabric scraps and Rachel made the little tree in front of it, also in pre-school, from paper plates. Do you have handmade decorations that you display each year?

I have loved to make crafty things for as long as I can remember. Crafts have come a long way, but each was fun in its time. I just cannot bring myself to get rid of some of the crafts I made many moons ago, as outdated as they may be. They bring back many memories of days gone by. I remember working on these things when I look at them and I cannot toss memories to the side. So, yes, they probably look ridiculous, but I made them and I like them and it's my house so it's okay. Here is a hooked wallhanging that has graced the inside of my front door for probably over twenty years.

Do you remember these heart hangers? I don't remember how long I've had this, but I'm thinking from at least when Logan was just a little boy. Still looks good on my bathroom door and it hasn't even fallen apart!! Imagine that!

And I made more "jewels" this weekend!! How do you like this car mirror hanger? This one is shades of brown/gold.

And this one is shades of blue.

The pictures aren't the greatest, but hopefully you get the idea. I love making jewelry. You can get so creative in what you do and still just use the basic tools and techniques. There are so many fancier pieces that can be made, but I'm having fun with the basics. It's a great hobby and it is such fun looking for different beads, but it is very easy to get carried away. I have such an inventory now that I could probably make about forty more pieces and not need to buy a single bead to do it. Yet I still find excuses to hit the bead store cause there's always something I just gotta have!!

A couple weekends ago, Rachel and I made these cinnamon applesauce ornaments for the first time. I don't know why we've never done these before as they were so easy. If you haven't either, you should try it. Three cups of applesauce, which is your average size container, and three cups of cinnamon, which is 5 containers (50 cents each at Walmart). Once prepared, I read that you can either let them sit on wax paper for three days - which I do not have the space for - or you can bake them at 175 for three hours. I chose the latter option and my house smelled great during the process.

I'm sending my Christmas cards out late this year. I was just too busy doing other things. This picture below will be going in the mail with my cards tomorrow. The background is not the greatest, but the foreground is superb!!

This coming week will be crazy and fun. Our office party is tomorrow. We're meeting the girls from our Port St Lucie office in City Place. Should be fun browsing through the shops, a late lunch at the Cheesecake Factory and a trolley ride through downtown West Palm Beach to see the festive displays. This truly is the most wonderful time of the year!!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Cookies and More Jewelry

I was a busy bee tonight - crafting jewelry and baking cookies. Rachel has been studying tonight for probably about six to eight hours. She has a big Biology Honors final exam tomorrow. Even though I swore I would not make more cookies until next week, Rachel loves the Fudge Balls I make. Since they were all gone, and Rachel spent so much time studying, I decided to make more cookies for her. She was very happy!!

Don't they look yummy? I got this recipe from Miriam B. Loo's Family Favorites Cookbook, copyright 1977. This cookbook came from the Current catalog. I bought it way before I was married and have used it often to make many great recipes.

These cookies are simple to make and I highly suggest you give them a try. Here is the recipe.

1/2 c. butter
1-1/2 squares unsweetened chocolate (1-1/2 oz)
3/4 cup sugar
1 egg
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp salt
2 cups flour
Confectioners' sugar

Melt butter with chocolate in saucepan over low heat; cool. Add sugar, egg, vanilla and salt; mix thoroughly. Stir in flour. Shape into balls, using a teaspoonful for each. Place on ungreased baking sheet. Bake at 375 for 8 to 10 minutes or until delicately browned. While warm, roll in confectioners' sugar. Makes about 5 dozen. Yum!!

In between baking cookies, I crafted some jewelry for gifts. Below is a picture of the Christmas trees and snowman earrings. These are made with Swarovski crystals and pearls. Aren't they adorable?
Next is a bracelt using lavender Swarovski pearls and freshwater pearls.

I also made these present earrings which I am going to give to my sister, Lisa. Last year I made blue present earrings which I gave to my friend, Sandra, for Hannukah. Lisa thought they would be nice in a neutral color so you could wear them at any time. Voila!!

I got to the post office at 9am sharp this morning to mail my packages to New Jersey and Vermont. I was able to mail them regular ground transport with delivery on Monday. I walked out of the post office at 9:05 am!!! Talk about efficiency!!! I had a very productive day and night. What will tomorrow hold???

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Cynthia, My Jewelry and Ed

This is Cynthia. We work together. This picture was taken in the lobby of our office. Cynthia starts her final semester of nursing school in January. She is amazing because she works with me full time, goes to nursing school full time (and maintains great grades) and has a husband and two children. Cynthia will be an excellent nurse because she is an excellent Human Resources Coordinator, as well as a warm and compassionate person. She also has a new iphone that she got as an early Christmas present. Yes, we are supposed to be working, but I had to take her picture so I could give her credit for taking the pictures below of the jewelry I made last night.

I made several additional items, but these are the pictures that turned out best. I'm not sure who I will be giving this set to. I will decide after I have everything made.

Everything looks better in person, but hopefully you can get an idea of what I've been up to.

I also have the most adorable Christmas trees and snowmen earrings, but those photo's came out a little dark. We'll have to try shooting them again. I love Swarovski crystals and pearls, murano glass and other unique beads that I find in my travels. It is a relaxing hobby where I can nurture my creative passions.
And if it wasn't enough to see beautiful Cynthia and my jewels, here is Ed, our computer instructor. Ed teaches the nurses we hire all the computer "stuff" they need to know.
They make my day enjoyable!!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Nine Days To Go . . .

I really give credit to all of the "regular" bloggers who manage to keep up with daily posts during this busy time. I just cannot do it! I have probably baked at least 20 dozen cookies so far, if not more. Rachel had two cookie exchanges, which were lots of fun. Last night I finally finished the scrapbook I've been working on as a gift for my brother. I must get my out-of-town gifts packaged up so I can get them in the mail to ensure Christmas delivery. And I haven't even started making the jewelry I need to make yet!! But I'm feeling good, happy, peaceful and content during this wonderful time of the year!!

I wanted to take a moment to give you an update on our little Bella, the puppy we got in late August. Remember Bella? She was l lb. 6 oz. about a week after this picture was taken. We were bottle feeding her at the time.

Bella got her first grooming this past Saturday. I'm sure you will agree, it was well-deserved!! This is her "before" picture with Al, the groomer.

She cleaned up nicely!!

Bella has definitely secured her place as a member of our family. She frolicks with Lacie and is probably the aggressor, but I do believe Lacie has finally come around to liking this new puppy she has to share space with. Lacie has been teaching Bella "the ropes" and Bella is doing great with keeping back when growled at, staying away from the table at dinner time and knowing what to do where when outside. They run around the house like wild animals until they drop together from sheer exhaustion until one spots a glint in the others eye and then they jump up and do it all over again!

Hope everyone is enjoying this time of year and getting done all of those things that you need and want to do. I've been thoroughly enjoying my favorite bloggers posts and am very impressed with your ability to do it all! Keep up the good work! Hopefully it will wear off on me!!!

Monday, December 8, 2008

Oh Christmas Tree, Oh Christmas Tree

We have several trees up now. Here is the Victorian tree in my bedroom.

I love the ornaments on this tree.

The angel at the top is just perfect for this tree.

This is the tree I have on the server in my dining room.

This next tree was to be my Key West tree, but I did not have enough tropical ornaments. Since I couldn't really justify purchasing a lot of new tropical ornaments, I picked up some inexpensive small ornaments to adorn it until I can get the ones I really want. I think it looks nice next to my china cabinet.

I wish I had the time and energy to get all my holiday decorating done at one time, but since I really have an over-abundance of Christmas decorations, I must do it in stages. Here is a little snowman collection.

And a favorite of Rachel's each year, her Barbie carousel that plays a variety of traditional Christmas carols.

I have one gigundo container left to go through and this is a good one, full of little elves, adorable misteltoes (wait till you see that), angels, and other fun things I've been accumulating for years. I just love Christmas decorations. They are fun to have around me and fun to share with you!!

Tomorrow after work I need to bake and finalize the pictures I will be including in the scrapbook I am working on for my brother. And I have jewelry, jewelry, jewelry to make. So much to do, but I just love this time of year and everything that goes into making it a special time for one and all.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Belated Gratitude

Way back on November 8th, yes a whole month ago, I was the very lucky recipient of a surprise give-away hosted by our Garage Sale Gal, Deb. Look at the wonderful things I won . . .
A lovely Christmas towel . . .

A dainty Christmas hankie . . .

And a partridge in a pear tree, inscribed Christmas 1976, the bicentennial . . .
Deb also included some sweet and spicy herbal tea, a cinnamon ornament, a vintage angel cookie cutter and a pretty note pad . . .

I truly enjoyed receiving such a thoughtful gift and I thank you, Deb, for your kindness and consideration. Please forgive me for taking so long to acknowledge you for taking the time to put together a package of happiness for me!!!