Thursday, December 10, 2009

A Happy Snow Family, My Compliments--and Apologies--to the Chef...and My First Christmas

Good evening, all!  How was the day today?  I FINALLY got finished with all my decorating--the boxes are out of all the rooms, and I'm a bit more peaceful!  Hosting two parties this weekend--one's for the girls--so really needed it done!

Made a card just for fun today--a reward for getting all my chores done!

This is one of my favorite images from Crafty Secrets' "Christmas" Images & Journal Notes booklet--just love this happy little snow family off on a winter's joyride! 

Just a little closer view--such a beautiful retro image!  I did a thick, jaggedy glitter edge on this--seemed a little more like ice--I like it!  Looks much better in real life, of course!

Had fun with these holly leaves and berries...used Martha Stewart's holly leaf punch, stained them up a bit with Vintage Photo ink, and added berries with Xmas Red Stickles.    Hope you like it--it made me smile today!

Now...on to my compliments...and apologies to the Chef!  One of my favorite chefs and blog friends on the planet is Marie--you've heard me rave about her before!  She is one of the most creative cooks, talented artists, and just all-around lovely people it has ever been my pleasure to meet (not in person, yet!)  If you haven't already been to her English Kitchen--just leave my blog this moment and dash over there right now!  You can come back and thank me later...!  Marie posts the recipe and photos for something EVERY day--even when she's not feeling very well...she's always there! 

Since she's in England, our times are a bit off, night and day-wise!  One of the last things I do before I go to bed for the night is check in with Marie--there's always something there that just makes you feel so homey and cozy.  The way she describes her favorite foods is just beautiful!

This recipe, however, comes from her other, equally lovely blog--much more personal in nature...her daily life, her faith, her family, and ALWAYS an amazing recipe to share...A Year from Oak CottageThe moment I saw her photo of these cookies--CHEERY CHERRY COOKIES--I knew they'd be the ones to fill my cookie jar to the brim
this Christmas...

...and now that I have made them, I WILL keep that jar filled with these cookies--they are so delectable!

Now for the apologies to Marie...I would usually never even DREAM of changing her recipes...I've tried many of them, and they've all become family favorites.  However, this one called for those little red and green candied cherries like you'd find in fruitcakes...and my girls don't like those at all!  So, since I was making these for them, I had to make a little change, while keeping them as close as possible to the original.  I always have delicious cherry baking chips on hand, so that is what I used.  I also wanted to add a touch of green, so stirred in a healthy dose of green decorating sugar. 

One more change...I used almond extract instead of vanilla....the results were WOW!  I know the original would be, too!  So go and check out the fabulous original, or use my adaptation--either way, I know you'll just love these!

Hungry yet???

To close up shop for the night, I thought I'd share a couple of photos from my very first Christmas...1962...Boston, Massachusetts.  Cambridge, actually.  Mom and Dad were there for a couple of years while Dad attended Harvard Business School, and this is where I made my appearance in life. 

I LOVE this picture of my Mom--isn't she beautiful?  That 's quite a mess for one little girl, isn't it?!  I actually remember a few of these gifts...That rocking chair in the room is in my bedroom today--one of my favorite possessions...

Love all that long, silver tinsel on the tree...and click on the picture to get a good look at those glittery shoes in the foreground--see?  I can't help liking glittery things, can I? 

Thanks for visiting with me for a while today--it's fun to share a bit of daily life with each other, isn't it?  Hope your evening is just wonderful...stay warm & cozy!

Sweet Dreams!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

The Play Date Cafe' Challenge...#8!

Good evening, everyone! It's here again...time for The Play Date Challenge...#8! This week, our host is the lovely Alison...

...she is quite an artist, and worked extra hard this week, actually creating a digital stamp for the DT to use in our cards!
Here's my card for this week's challenge:

I haven't worked with digital stamps before--so this was really different for me! Thanks, Alison, for your adorable creation! Go and check out her other stamps here at Stretch N' Bubbles'll just love her--tell her hello from me!
That's it for tonight...Can't wait to see what you all create with these bright, fun colors this week!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Ever Just Have One of Those Days...?

How is everyone today? Hope the day is going well! It's COLD here in California--central California, anyway! This morning, while taking my daughter to school, the car thermometer showed 31 degrees--WOW! That's really something for here!

It was so frosty, that it actually looked like a light dusting of snow on all the roofs and lawns...never seen such a uniform covering of frost--we just decided to say that it snowed--it looked like it!

So I had to take a photo or two of this very ironic scene...

Big, fat, luscious roses covered with ice! It's hard to see the ice crystals on the roses, but you can see it one the ground around them...

Most of the ground was much whiter than this--these were just some of my fattest roses, so I had to show them off, as I'm sure they're my last this year!

This looks like dew drops, but it was frozen! Hard to capture it just right...oh, well!

So, like the title of today's post was just one of those days today! I've got lots on my plate this week, (don't we all?!) and was trying to juggle that plate with way too many things balanced on top of it--and it all just kind of fell around my feet today! Nothing horrible...just trying to finish decorating the house, getting things ready for a weekend Christmas party, cleaning, and a few projects...these things shouldn't be attempted all at once--don't try it!

I'm actually not complaining--just laughing at myself today! I had to sit down and make something just for fun, and this is what it turned into...

Just about says it all, doesn't it?!

This is from Crafty Secrets' "Domestic Goddess" Creative Scraps...was still sitting on my table from yesterday, so I thought I'd use it again! (Note to self...gotta clean table, too!) Love this chartreuse metallic rick-rack trim...definitely useful for a bright, retro-style card! Love that bright pink gingham ribbon, too!

So, come on over for lunch, okay? I'll clean off my table and get cookin'!

That's all for tonight...just wanted to check in and see if everyone else on the planet was sane today except for me! I'll be back tomorrow...calm, cool and collected with something pretty!

Just to close off, found a couple of my favorite photos of all time this week--these are of my beautiful oldest daughter, Chelsea, far away at college...I felt these truly expressed my feelings about this day...

This was at my husband's sister's wedding...need I say more? It was time for her special picture with the bride and groom, and this is all we could get out of her!

This little baby of mine will be turning 20 years old this, how time flies!

Have a wonderful evening!

Monday, December 7, 2009

Crafty Secrets DT Challenge--In the Kitchen!

Good morning, everyone! Hope the day is going well for you all--it's just POURING here! This is our version of winter here in Central California--it FINALLY feels like Christmas!

I was so thrilled to be asked to join in with the Crafty Secrets Design Team today in their monthly Challenge as a Guest Designer--thanks, Sandy! The theme for this month is much to choose from in that category with Crafty Secrets!

I'm really not happy with my photos today--sorry about that! The lighting is just terrible--so not much I can do!

For my card, I chose an adorable vintage image from their "Domestic Goddess" Creative Scraps--LOVE those Creative Scraps! So many fabulous images to choose from!

I stamped the mixing bowl image from the "Little Chef" stamp set for the background and glittered it up--of course! Sacrificed a second image from the Scrap sheet and cut out the little kitchen fairy so I could pop her up--one of my favorite things to do! I love that the Scraps come with word strips that can be used with the images--makes the job quick and easy!

I punched the border with my favorite new Martha Stewart Loopy edge punch, and used Crafty Secrets' "Earthy" paper pack for the green houndstooth paper...some lace, grosgrain ribbon, more Martha Stewart "White Gold" glitter and a big, fat button, and that's it!

Wish I'd had time to do another project, but I didn't!

Thanks, ladies, for letting me play with you today! If you haven't been over to the other DT ladies' blogs yet--hop on over pronto! What an amazingly talented group of women--I'm always inspired by their projects! Here they are:

Vicki Chrisman--Design Team Leader

Heidi Blankenship and Linda Duke are also on the Crafty Secrets DT, but were unable to participate this time--but stop by for a visit anyway!

We'd also love you to stop over to Splitcoast to the Crafty Secrets' Forum, where we have a fun challenge each week! This week, the amazing Darlene is our host, and I'm sure she'll have something fun "cooked" up...Come and play with us!

Since we're talking about kitchens, baking, etc...I thought I'd include something delicious for you--wish you all could just take a big, fat bite of this yummy cake!

This is how the Campbells' do cake...once in a while we'll pull out the recipes and make one from scratch, but we're usually in a hurry, so we'll just take out a cake mix and have at it!

We do a little something to make it our own, however, and people really love it! We add a whole bag of some kind of chips--chocolate, butterscotch, white, get the idea! the batter before we pour it into the pan!

When you bite into your cake, there's this extra fabulous crunchy, melty layer on the bottom from the chips...YIKES! We can't make a cake without doing this anymore! Came up with the idea a couple of years ago...always seem to be looking for ways to add more calories to something! Try it, I think you'll love it!

The other thing I do...I just can't seem to use "canned" frosting anymore--I've found a few delicious frosting recipes over time that have become favorites. I'll use them over and over...modify them according to cakes--but homemade is just SOOOO much better! So that's what we did here, too! Here's the recipe for the creamy, chocolatey frosting!

Well, that's it for this wet, wintry morning! Hope your day is wonderful, no matter the weather, and that you're enjoying this beautiful Christmas season!

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Christmas Elves--Santa's LIttle Helpers...

"The belief in elves originated in the mythical tree spirits of northern Europe and Scandinavia. The Celts worshipped evergreens and the elfin spirits who lived in them. Also known as pixies, brownies, fairies, dryads, and huldefolk, these fairy-like beings could either be benevolent or mischievous to people, depending upon whether or not the people had been on good behavior: Santa Claus himself is the 'first elf' according to Clement Clarke Moore's 1822 poem, 'A Visit from St. Nicholas'." (From "The Christmas Almanac", Ed. by Natasha Tabori-Fried and Lena Tabori)

Good evening, everyone!

Wow! It's been such a busy weekend! I can't believe I haven't posted anything since Thursday--bad blogger!!! Oh, I am now! This IS a busy time of year for all of us, I know. About to leave again, but in the morning, I'm looking forward to catching up with all my favorite blogs...!

Just a couple of things tonight--I've had elves on the brain today--got me remembering a huge part of my Christmases as a child...

...My parents started, when I was young, to inform us around the beginning of December, that we'd better mind our p's and q's, because Santa would be coming soon, and he assigned a special elf to watch over every family...he could be anywhere in the house, at any time! YIKES! If you misbehaved, he'd rush off in a flash to tell Santa what you'd done, and be back in no time to keep a sharp eye out once again!

Needless to say, this worked really well for the six of us kids...if any of us stepped out of line, either my parents, or another sibling, would remind us that Herman Elfie was watching. Yep...His name was Herman Elfie...don't quite know where that came from! I'm sure my Dad made it up--he was always making up magical stories for us...I'll tell you more about them someday!

So, in thinking of Herman Elfie today, I whipped together this little card...this adorable vintage image was kindly shared by Twyla and Lindsey...thanks, ladies! Here it is:

I'm enjoying using my Christmas tree to hold my cards for photos--love the lights in the background, and the branches make great "arms" to hold it just where I want it!

Not sure why this pictures is so much brighter...sorry! Just a little close-up of these cuties!

I printed the image twice, and popped up the elves--love doing that! Some pompom trim, gingham ribbon, and metallic rickrack trim...topped off with a little of my Martha Stewart White Gold glitter, and we're all done!

That's it for tonight! I'm off with the family for a quick visit to Grandma and a Christmas Choral program, but I'll be back tomorrow morning with some really fun stuff! See you then, and sweet dreams!