Thursday, December 31, 2009

2009 A Year in Review


I am joining Cindy at My Romantic Home today for her Year in Review Party. I have just learned to do mosaics (this is my second one) and I thought that might be a quick way to wrap up the year.


2009 has been quite a year for us. Most significantly, we added a new member of the family—a son in law. I’ve included mostly tablescapes in my mosaic. We are a family who strengthens the ties that bind around tables…..reception tables, dining room tables, picnic tables…it doesn’t seem to matter to us. I’d love for you to visit back posts if any of the pictures strike your fancy and hope to see you in 2o1o. For more year end roundups visit Cindy at My Romantic Home here. Thank you Cindy! I wish you all a 2010 filled with health, joy, and peace!

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Herend…a Leaner Sleeker Look

I hope you all good holidays. Whewwwww…I don’t know about you, but I personally don’t need to eat anything that couldn’t fit on the end of a toothpick—and just one of those :). I am joining Susan At Between Naps on the Porch with the tablescape I first told you about here using my daughter’s new Herend china.


This was our Sunshine’s first time to host a family gathering or use her new china since her wedding in June. She asked for a little help setting her first formal table. Like a good mother, I agreed to help. (read: I have been dying to get my hands on this and jumped at the chance :)! The result was a symphony of gold and silver, crystal and linen!


The dinner plate is Gwendolyn by Herend. She loves the slightly scalloped edges and the fourteen karat gold accents. The salad plate is Chinese Bouquet in green also by Herend. The green is actually a deeper, truer green in person. It also comes in blue and I was rooting for that….alas, it is not my china :).


She had to have a little help with a few things. The silver is Burgundy by Reed and Barton. Although, this is her chosen pattern, most of it is mine. She will be getting a little here and there on special occasions for quite some time. The Battenburg placemats are mine also, but the beautiful linen hemstitch napkins were a wedding gift from one of her friends. I loved them so much I inquired where they came from. You can find them here—great prices. I think I need some too. You have seen the napkin rings—mine, for a dollar each at Old Time Pottery.


The younger generation seems to like a little less fuss—a leaner, sleeker look. (I think partly because they don’t have as much “stuff” as we do :). We used an inexpensive clear square vase with Kroger flowers. I love my Kroger florist! She knows me from the half price bin, but is always willing to save or special order something for me. We thought the white roses and green hydrangeas would be perfect with the china. I used clear marbles and the hydrangea leaves to hide the stems. The candlesticks and water goblets are Lismore by Waterford and also wedding gifts.


Another folding table was needed for guests. Here we used a tablecloth and gold chargers. I love to use my mint juleps as flower containers for smaller tables. Alone or in a group they still make an impact. We had so much fun with our first mother/daughter playdate with dishes!


I want to take just a minute to wish you all a new year filled with far more joy and love than you can imagine….that is exactly what you have brought me this year. My one year blogaversary is coming up and I couldn’t have ever dreamed or imagined how much my first year with you would mean….thank you.

Click on the Tablescape Thursday button on the sidebar for a quick cab ride back to Susan’s on Thursday!

Sunday, December 27, 2009

The Day After Christmas


The Day After Christmas

with Apologies to

Clement C. Moore

Twas the day after Christmas

and all through the house,

Not a creature was helping,

not friends, kids, or spouse

The stockings hung limp like dirty old socks,

and looked down on a room filled with box after box.

The children went home and were snug in their beds

Beloved was hunting with ducks in his head.

And I in my sweat pants with broom in my hand

had just settled in to “deChristmas” the land

But to my amazement what did appear?

New zest for my mission; I kicked into gear

with quick bursts of power like a well-oiled machine

I knew in a moment; must be the caffeine.

More rapid than Tiger running from Elan

I gathered momentum and quick made a bee line

Now mantel! now stairway!

Now trees and the door!

Out holly! out glitter!

Out cookies galore!

To the top of the house, at the end of the hall!

Now put away boxes

Dash away all!

So up to the attic,

(this is hardly a cinch)

I make myself wonder

Am I really the Grinch?

And then in a twinkling , I heard at the door

the children and husband.

They’ve come back for more.

But they heard me exclaim as I ran from their sight

Better get takeout; No dinner tonight!

I hope you all had a very merry Christmas. I did (really :)! I will be joining Susan at Between Naps on the Porch for Metamorphosis Monday. Click on the MM button on the sidebar for some real transformations!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

From My House to Yours


…..And his name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, the mighty God, the everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace

Merry Christmas

Wishing you the joy and peace of




Monday, December 21, 2009

Deck the Halls….All Through the House

Welcome to Deck the Halls! I’ve been having such a good time visiting with you in your homes and the places you’ve visited. I am constantly in awe of the creativity and talent I see every week in the land of Blog! Thank you for sharing it! Now that you’ve been at my house for a while, and seen lots of our house, I thought you might…you know….need to find the powder room :). It’s okay, it’s one of my favorite places to decorate. Right this way--


This is in the powder room off the kitchen. So many of you have darling snowmen collections; I thought you might like to see this. “The baby” (you may remember him as baby Jesus here) gave this to me when he was about seven years old. He spied it in a Hallmark shop window and had his grandmother take him back to get it….and pay for it, I’m sure :). It’s one of my favorite decorations.


This angel is always in the powder room. I think of her as our family guardian angel and she always holds potpourri appropriate for the season.


I love pretty linens almost as much as I love pretty dishes. I like guest towels and tea towels in particular. Don’t worry about your hands…I’ve provided alternative paper guest towels :)


This little snowman has always been in the boys’ bathroom….now he is downstairs. I made this for my husband’s mother while we were still in high school….two fish bowls :). Now that you’ve visited the powder rooms , I thought you might enjoy sharing “the cupcake experience”. Many of you have children at home or grandchildren who visit. I’m a “tweener”—no little ones of my own, so I have to “borrow” them. This morning I had godchildren over to decorate cupcakes.


I made the devil’s food cupcakes and cream cheese frosting in two colors yesterday afternoon. I laid out six different types of decorations and sprinkles. I bought a darling apron for Miss M to wear and take home. I planned for everything….I thought.


She is three and baby brother is one. And all went well….for a while. There is no excuse for me. I used to teach school and have given more birthday parties than I care to remember. I forgot the first and most important rule: Activities NEVER keep them occupied as long as you think they will. So my 30-minute activity lasted about 12 minutes and then went from the preparation stage to


the eating stage faster than you can sing Jingle Bells! Fortunately we ended up with a few cupcakes to send home---some decorated by me and some by them.


There will be enough to leave a snack for Santa


Fortunately for me, my co-host stepped in saved the day..


Sorry Charlie, this is an every-dog-for-himself situation. I appreciate the help!

I’ve met so many new friends during December and truly appreciate each one of you. I hope you and yours have a Christmas filled with the joy, love, and hope of the season. I also hope you will be back to visit in 2010! And finally one of my favorite tea towels


Don’t forget to add your post link to Mr. Linky after you have published and link back here! Thanks for joining the party!

A Reminder to Come to the Party!




I hope you will join me  one last time this year for Deck the Halls!  We’ve been having such a good time on Tuesdays with lots of participants!!!  I will be posting Mr. Linky early on Monday evening.  You’re all invited to my house!  See you tonight!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Red and White Wishes and Peppermint Dreams

First, thank you ,thank you to those of you who joined in the fun for Deck the Halls! I am overwhelmed and grateful for your response. If you participated, commented, or just lurked :), I am glad you came! In this busy season I hope Michael Lee West at Designs by Gollum and Beverly at How Sweet the Sound won’t mind if I “double dip” :) I am linking for Foodie Friday and Pink Saturday for a spin on pink. Thanks for hosting ladies! Peppermint is a favorite of mine and a tradition that takes many forms at our house. It may show up in a table setting or party favor.


It may show up as a snack for Santa in the family room.


It almost always appears as a theme in the packages under my tree. But one place, it always shows up is in the old fashioned hard candy I have been making for years.


It’s a real treat for us to eat or to package and give as Christmas “happies”. There are lots of flavors available and some are available in the grocery store or at Hobby Lobby. Our favorites are spearmint, peppermint, and lemon.


This year I even crushed it and used it as a garnish for this pound cake. It was festive and added a touch of flavor!


This was a new idea I tried this year. I rolled the edge of the cake stand in corn syrup and then in red and white sugar crystals for an easy presentation. Here’s the recipe for the hard candy…remember, it’s not just for Christmas! Click the FF button on the sidebar to visit Designs by Gollum for more recipes. Click here for Pink Saturday fun!

Old- Fashioned Hard Candy

2 cups sugar

1 cup water

2/3 cup light corn syrup

1 teaspoon oil flavoring

Food coloring

Powdered sugar

Heat sugar, water, and syrup in a large saucepan until sugar is dissolved. Bring to a boil over medium heat until 300 degrees is reached on a candy thermometer (hard ball stage). Add flavoring and food coloring. Stand back…the peppermint oil is potent! Pour onto a well greased cookie sheet that has been lightly dusted with powdered sugar. Allow to harden. When it is cool, the fun begins! Work out your holiday frustrations and break it into pieces with a rolling pin or meat cleaver!! Careful—the pieces may be sharp! Sprinkle with powdered sugar if desired.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Deck the Halls…A Room for Memories

Welcome to Deck the Halls! I ‘m so glad you stopped by to participate or just to see what everyone else is doing. So far I have taken you into “my rooms”, the living room and the dining room. Today I want to invite you into our family room—the room where we make and keep our Christmas memories. I hope you will turn on your volume. The first song is my favorite Christmas song; the second is Beloved’s.


Next to the kitchen, I suppose this is the heart of our home. This room is filled with warm library paneling. I had the gas logs removed a couple of years ago…I love a real fire. Our stockings are a mishmash. Only the oldest has a stocking needle pointed by me…look for the other two to show up on Dr. Phil with their stories :) The other two will not give up their childhood stockings. I have added one for our son in law this year.


While the other rooms are formal, this room is all red and green and candy canes. It is full of memories of Christmases past and waiting to make new memories.


The Elf Himself sits on one corner of the mantel.


This tree, a live one, is filled with family ornaments….the ones the kids made in elementary school and Sunday school classes. It is filled with the ornaments we have given each child every Christmas until they leave home and start their own trees. It is filled with the Christopher Radko ornaments I have been collecting for many years. Each little bauble holds a memory.


This is one of my favorites—Christopher Radko’s “brave heart” ornament, released the Christmas after September 11.


No tree for us would be complete without an Ole Miss ornament!


We usually pick up an ornament on every trip we take!


I enjoy wrapping packages and always use a red and green theme.


Lots of rattling and shaking goes on around here :)


Peppermint scented pillar candles with candy canes for Santa!


Finally, I had to share one of my favorite Christmas memories with you. Our youngest was almost six months old when he was asked to play the part of baby Jesus in the school Christmas pageant. Mary, played by a smart second grader, was ready if the little one cried….and he did!!! Baby Jesus with a binky! I still have people from our old home town ask me how baby Jesus is :)

Thanks for sharing these Christmas memories with me. If you are linking to Deck the Halls, add your URL below after you have published! Be sure to leave a comment!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Handprint Ornaments

Even if it is cold where you live, the holiday season is heating up…concerts, office parties, family get togethers, church programs…wheww! I’m joining Susan at Between Naps on the Porch for a mini metamorphosis. I just fixed a mug of mint hot chocolate and this is what I am working on


Our daughter teaches kindergarten in an area that has been hard hit by the economy. Most parents, if there are two, work more than one job to keep the family afloat. For our Sunshine, having a room mother for her class is just a dream…so I try to help. We have been doing this little project for the past four years….and I’m almost good at it! In early December she buys solid color ornaments. This is the first year we have found the non-breakable ones and it is great!!


Then she has the little darlings dip their hands in white paint and grasp the bottom of the ornament in their palm, leaving finger prints up the sides.


This is where I come in! Each little finger becomes a snowman or woman…depending on the hat I make! Some get top hats, some get baseball caps; a few even get cowboy hats! I use regular paint pens.


I haven’t drawn the stick arms on these yet…just working on their fashions right now. Twenty five kids with five fingers each…lots of snowmen!


Then each ornament gets a name. This is a great inexpensive project for Sunday school classes, Scouts, or just with the kids or grandkids.


Each one will go home with the children on the last day of school. My tree is filled with so many ornaments like these. I hope their parents will love and cherish them. While I am working on these, Sunshine is at home making individual banners for the children. Teaching school is not a career; it’s a calling :)


Don’t forget! Mr. Linky will be up tomorrow night for Deck the Halls! If you have participated or visited, I thank you! If not, I hope you’ll join the fun.

Now Click on the MM button on my sidebar to visit Susan for more makeovers!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Red Velvet …The Easy Way

I’ve been away from Foodie Friday too long..not that I haven’t been cooking. I am glad to be joining Michael again at Designs by Gollum. It’s been a long busy day here. The soup and salad luncheon was a success. The weather was very cold and just right for hot mugs of soup followed by dessert by a roaring fire…the real kind :)


We love red velvet cake and there is nothing more festive for the holidays, but frankly, it’s a lot of trouble. I found this recipe that has all the taste and none of the three layer hassle. It was pronounced a hit by the luncheon group and put in my “keeper” file ! These cookies are slightly bigger than the usual cookie, but you can make them whatever size suits you.

Red Velvet Cookies

2 1/4 cups all purpose flour

1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa

1 1/2 tsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp. baking soda

1/4 tsp salt

1 cup butter, softened

1 1/4 cups sugar

2 large eggs

2 Tbsp. liquid red food coloring

2 Tbsp. vanilla extract

3/4 cup buttermilk

Parchment paper

Cream cheese frosting

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine first five ingredients in a bowl. Beat butter (separate bowl) at medium speed until creamy. Gradually add sugar and beat well. Add eggs, one at a time, and beat after each addition. Beat in food coloring and vanilla. Add flour mixture and buttermilk alternately, beginning and ending with flour. Beat on low speed until blended. Drop by 1/4 cupsful three inches apart onto a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Use a spoon to spread into three inch rounds. Bake at 350 for 15 minutes or until tops are set. Cool on baking sheets for five minutes and transfer to wire racks until cooled completely. Spread cream cheese frosting onto cookie and garnish. Crumble one cookie into fine crumbs to use for garnish.

Cream Cheese Frosting

1 ( 8 0z) cream cheese, softened

1/2 cup butter, softened

1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

Dash of salt

16 oz powdered sugar

Beat first four ingredients until creamy. Gradually add powdered sugar and beat at low speed until smooth.

This recipe is long; don’t be intimidated. It couldn’t be easier!


I thought you might enjoy seeing my co-hostess for the luncheon. I don’t know that I‘ll ask her again. She’s not much of a cook and hates doing dishes :). She does make up for it in her sense of fashion though! Click on the Foodie Friday button for more recipes and fun!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Christmas Luncheon

Thank you to Susan at Between Naps on the Porch for hosting this fun party every Thursday. I am so excited to invite you in for my luncheon today. We’ve been building towards it all week! On Monday I showed how I was making part of the centerpiece here. On Tuesday I showed you my decorations in the dining room. On Wednesday…I set the table!!


Tomorrow I am having a luncheon for nine friends. I saw a similar tablescape in early October in my Christmas with Southern Living and I’ve been plotting ever since. This will be a casual soup and salad for a dear group of friends.


I found these oversized mugs for soup at Kroger for $1.25 each. They match well with the Christmas china and carry out the red and green theme. It is supposed to be bitterly cold here tomorrow---just right for a big mug of soup!


I am using red chargers and my Christmas Tree china by Cuthbertson. I collected this as a young bride. I pull this out the minute I put away the Thanksgiving china and we use every day all season long. It is casual enough for just us and can be dressed up for more formal dinners! The glasses are by Spode. These two patterns are so similar. They mix well. The napkins are more of those 99 cent bandanas from Hobby Lobby. I found the napkin rings at Old Time Pottery this year for 99 cents also!


Salt and Pepper shakers tied up like candy!


Here is one of the moss ball projects I showed you on Monday—set in a martini glass and tied with red and green satin ribbon. That’s a dog gate in the background—I’d retake the picture, but I am busy cooking!


Here is the centerpiece idea from Monday also. I added the red carnations from Kroger to the moss balls and Gibson cup and saucer.


Each person will get this favor. Really Rainey at The Project Table showed us here how to make bath salts. I made a batch of red and a plain batch. These happen to be votive containers a friend gave me. She owns a candle business and passed them along to me. You could do this in a small jar for the same effect. Of course, everything has to be tied up with a ribbon…It’s Christmas :) Here is tomorrow’s menu:

Hot Cider and Cheese Straws

Baby Blue Salad

Crab and Corn Bisque

Wild Rice and Chicken Cream Soup

Herbed Muffins

Susan’s Cranberry Trifle

Red Velvet Cookies

The trifle recipe is from the “Between Naps on the Porch” Susan and you can find it here. I will be linking to Michael at Designs by Gollum for Foodie Friday with some recipes. I hope you will come back. Thanks for sharing this with…I’ve had S0 much fun doing it! Click on the TT button on the sidebar to see more festive tables at Susan’s!