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Friday, November 30, 2012

Snowy Meltaway Cookies

One of my traditions of Christmas is baking cookies. I usually try to bake twelve or thirteen different varieties. They later get put in trays to give as gifts. I have so many favorites but this one ranks as one of the best. When I was asked to participate in the Homemade Holiday Treat Blog Event, this was the cookie I wanted you all to see and try.

They are bite sized buttery goodness. They taste as good as they look! They are rich and melt in your mouth and they look pretty on a tray or plate too!

So, is your mouth watering yet?

Here are they ingredients you will need:

2 sticks butter softened
3/4 cup corn starch
1/3 cup powder sugar
1 cup flour

6oz cream cheese
11/2 cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
non perrels or sprinkles optional

Did you notice? NO eggs!

Combine the cookie ingredients together

I used my food processor but you could use a mixer.
Combine till mixture gathers to a ball

Pinch off dough and form a ball and place on cookie tray

This recipe yields 24 cookies. You can also double this.
Bake at 350 degrees for 7 minutes

Cool cookies completely. They will be very delicate.

Mix together icing ingredients. I used a bag and piped the icing but you can spread it on top with a knife also. The piping is neater.

This cookie doesn't need anything else, but to make it festive I added a little bit of non perrels.

Yummy! Enjoy!

Now Please go check out all the other wonderful desserts!
Just click on the desserts below!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

How to get your Christmas Tree Taller?

I have been pondering buying a new Christmas tree this year. I have artificial trees mainly because of allergies. Since we moved in our new home a few years ago, the tree seemed to short for the vaulted ceilings. Most of the 9ft trees I have shopped for are around $300. I can think of a lot more things I would rather spend the money on. Let's face it, there are always after Christmas sales.

So I took the old tree out and put it together and stared.

....and stared

              ......and stared!

It seems that my creativity only happens when I stare at something for a long time. Most of the time it works and other times.....well....nothing, nada, zippo!!!

Then yesterday I turned my 7ft tree into an 8ft tree!!! Not 9ft but close!

I had purchased an old washtub. It was sitting in my sun room the day I put the tree up. I decided to turn it upside down and use it as a base to give the tree my height.

I was scared that there wouldn't be enough stability but there was.

Another tip:  See the green mat. It is a shelf liner. I put it under the tub to keep the tree from sliding on the wood floors. Works like a charm!

I will cover the tub with a tree skirt. It also looks good just like this. There are a lot of things I could have done like building a platform, but this was an easy fix.

Now to decorate. Hmmm

This year I haven't been in the mood to go all out as usual. Since I will be taking a trip soon to NYC, I think I want to keep it simple.

I guess it is time to star for awhile lol!

Do you have your tree up yet? How will you decorate it?

Friday, November 23, 2012

My Two Worlds Meet {Thanksgiving}

Funny how you find things that really hit home. This article made me beyond proud. For years I have been a part of a wonderful community at Father Ryan High School. This Thanksgiving was going to be extra special for them, Although my children were never part of the band, we supported our school and routed for them. We also had friends whose children were involved. So naturally, when we heard our little high school was going to march in the Macy's day parade, we were thrilled. Being from New Jersey I have always hoped they would get to go. The parade holds a special place in my heart.

Father Ryan High School, my children both graduated from there, Many happy memories. It wasn't easy putting my children through private school. It was a hardship at times. My hope is that they learned more than what was written in books.

Both my children were very involved in service. My son lead projects collecting for families at Christmas and work at the shelter. My daughter received her Gold Award, the presidential award and the Charlie Green Scholarship for service. Though these are special, nothing is as important as the gift of giving and the gift of learning. Learning that there is more to life.The hours and hands on service that mean so much to the people that need us. That was the most important thing learned.

So I turned on the television yesterday and gleamed as they marched and played. At first I was upset because I couldn't see there faces but then I realized that it didn't matter because they were representing all of the students. It was a proud moment. I had heard that their uniforms were constructed from all of the uniforms worn over the years.
UPDATE: They won accolades for their uniform in Entertainment Weekly!
Then this morning I saw this article from The Tennessean. This is what Thanksgiving is all about!

FAR ROCKAWAY, N.Y. — Evidence of Hurricane Sandy’s toll on Queens was apparent the moment Father Ryan High School’s band members stepped off their two buses.
    They were parked in front of a boarded-up house, its damage marked with an insurance adjuster’s spray paint.
    Far Rockaway, a community about an hour outside Manhattan, had its problems before the devastation. Children stare down from sixth-story apartments with bars on the windows. The New York Times examined the housing crisis’ disproportionate effect here after residents abandoned their houses, unable to pay their mortgages.
    But after Sandy left remaining residents’ homes flooded and wind-damaged, and they sat two weeks without power in the freezing cold, things were even worse.
    It’s why many of them cried at the sound of a small band from Nashville — one that just had marched two miles in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade — coming down their streets.
    “It shows that people actually care,” said Mariam Karim, watching the band’s performance at Brian Piccolo Middle School. “It gives us hope that other people are willing and able to help.”
    Her home about 20 minutes away was less affected by Sandy, which struck New York on Oct. 29, but her father found himself with no electricity and a sick infant who needed a working nebulizer. They crowded in together for more than a week but were back in Far Rockaway for a 20-person Thanksgiving dinner, the power restored and much for which to be thankful.
    The one-band parade in Far Rockaway was the result of Father Ryan High School asking Macy’s for a charitable opportunity while in New York and Grace interdenominational church ( ) in Manhattan asking for a band.
    David Whitehead, Grace’s pastor, said he was pumping water out of Far Rockaway basements with other church volunteers when he thought of it.
    “I felt like this community was the hardest hit, the lowest income, and these were people really in need,” he said.
    A volunteer with another group’s cleanup effort, Stephanie Ellis-Gibbs said she would have been in Nashville for Thanksgiving had it not been for Hurricane Sandy. Her relatives live in Mississippi and Tennessee and chose to gather at a Nashville cousin’s house.
    But after sitting a week without power in Queens Village — huddling with her family in the living room and closing off the rest of the house — she couldn’t face a long trip. Ellis-Gibbs, her husband and their four children decided to spend Thanksgiving volunteering to help people who suffered even more than they did.
    “The kids recognized the band and said, ‘These are the people from the Macy’s parade,’” she said. “They have to be exhausted. To see so many people coming in to volunteer and then see some from as far away as Nashville — it’s invigorating.”
    The band members had been up since 1:30 a.m., and the drive from Manhattan to Far Rockaway was long, even with an NYPD escort. Still, their movements and music were precise as they marched down Central Avenue playing “Super Bass,” “Gangnam Style” and “Call Me Maybe” for residents who cried, clapped and danced, many of them walking along behind once the band had passed.
    “The parades were completely different, but both were just as powerful,” said Sean Carroll, a Father Ryan junior who plays the trumpet. “Macy’s was once in a lifetime. This one — you could see how important it was to people.
    “You could see it on their faces.”
    Happy to see that there are good reasons for sacrifices made. Proud of our school!
    Hope you had a meaningful holiday!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

5 Minute Ornament

With Thanksgiving coming up tomorrow, I am in the kitchen getting prepared for the day. I noticed that my light was out above my counter. No, this is not a how to about how to change a light bulb or how many it takes to do it, although I think there is a joke about that! I think this project would be great for kids to do tomorrow if you are looking for something quick and easy.

As every neurotic blogger knows we stare at things and collect things that the normal person would never look at twice. So there it sat.

It really had a great shape and since I have been up way to long and have had too many cups of coffee, my mind did not shut of nor did those little voices. Oh come on , I know you have them too. You do, right?

So I grabbed my Sharpie and started to doodle. Little dots and covered the silver tip. That's right! No painting or anything!

I did grab some ribbon to complete it.

I just tied them I didn't even use glue!! That's it. Isn't he adorable?

You can make angels and Christmas trees anything you can come up with. It literally took 5 minutes to make! Have fun making these!!! Be careful though they are breakable!

Monday, November 19, 2012

Vintage Paper Ornament Tutorial

If you follow me on Facebook you saw that I ordered myself an early birthday present! This weekend it was delivered. I was so excited I couldn't wait to open it and start creating. This little product is genius!

Oh how I love doilies! This Martha Stewart circle edge punch is awesome. This is not a review. I purchased it after seeing it on Michele's blog. (The Scrap Shoppe)

I decided to make a beautiful vintage ornament with my first creation. Since my last couple of posts have been paper related I thought this would keep with the theme!

Don't you just love it!! With a little help from The Graphics Fairy and some German glass glitter this ornament came to life,

Heres how you do it

I purchased some Christmas scrapbook paper and began using my punch. By the way this is just one of the patterns.

Then I got two pages from an old hymnal and started to fold on a zig zag motion

I folded in half and measured where I wanted to cut by eyeing it in the inner circle.

I cut it ti fit and glued the fan to make a circle and glued the circle on the doily

I decided it needed some sparkle. I grabbed my Meyers German glass glitter and edged the music sheets.

See that sparkle! That is what you get when you use Glass!
Then I printed a vintage Santa from The Graphics Fairy, cut and trimmed with glitter.

Then I glued to the top of the folded music,

Because there are so many punched holes I used them to thread some red satin ribbon.

I threaded it through two holes so it hangs even and balanced, Then hung it!

I can see I will be using my new gift for years to come. I hope you like and will create some too!

Have an awesome week! So glad to hear your comments. As always thanks for following!

Home Stories A2Z

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Jewelry Box Vanity

 I have painted a few vanities before. This was my last one. I also turned a vanity into a desk when my husband accidentally broke the mirror that latter become a clock. Then there was my little niece's vanity that was given to me to redo and sell by my sweet sis. BUT I never quite saw one like this one.

This piece of furniture got me excited. I had never seen one of these. I love finding different pieces. This little gem sat in my sun room awhile till a client asked if I had a vanity. I love when I have someone ask for a piece that I happen to have.

When she found out that this was a special piece, she wanted to get it. She bought it for her daughter and wanted it to go in her room but also be able to go anywhere as she grew. We decided on Annie Sloan's Paris Grey

I slightly distressed it and dry brushed white over the finish. I painted the trim in solid white.

Now why was this so special? I was a jewelry box! A vanity and a jewelry, what a great combination!

This piece can definitely grow with her daughter!

It also had a stool that she was going to cover herself to match her daughter's room.

I love the oval mirror too!

This is the before

This is the after

So I ask you, have you seen one of these before?
Furniture Feature Fridays

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Paper Angel Wings

Months ago my dear friend lost her dad. I wanted to do something special for her. I feel homemade is always the way to go. It is so heartfelt. I could have ordered a wreath or flowers but this was more of a celebration of life and how much someone special is always with us. It came from my heart.

I thought the song "You'll Never Walk Alone" by Rogers and Hammerstein was also fitting for the message I wanted to give her.

 When you walk through a storm Keep your chin up high 
And don't be afraid of the dark. 
At he end of the storm Is a golden sky 
And the sweet silver song of a lark. 
Walk on through the wind, Walk on through the rain, 
Tho' your dreams be tossed and blown.
Walk on, walk on With hope in your heart 
And you'll never walk alone, You'll never walk alone.

I have done paper wreaths before. You can make any shape. The only problem is they are fragile.

This is my Bon Voyage wreath with map paper.

These paper Angel Wings would also be a good Christmas gift.

It took a long time to make but it was worth it!

I started with foam core, you could also use cardboard.
I drew some wings to my desired size for hanging on the wall.
I cut it out with an exacto knife and begin rolling up sheet music from an old hymnal.

This is what took so long. I placed each one along the wings before I hot glued them on to make sure I liked how it looked.

I added the song title to the center and wrote the lyrics on the back
I ruffled some brown paper to highlight and frame center.

Then hotglued a jute on the back of wings for hanging.

I loved the way it came out.

We all need angels watching over us....anytime of the year.

Let me know if you make one for a Christmas Gift and send me a picture!!

Monday, November 12, 2012

Paper Christmas Trees

What a great way to say Happy Holidays or in the case "Hollydays"!

This is an easy project that would make a great Christmas decoration or gift.

I took three clay pots and painted them with chalk paint. 
Cut foam to fit inside. 
Placed a wooden skewer in the center.
Cut squares of Hymnals in graduated sizes and poked pages to the top.
Added green moss and snow to cover foam.

My idea was to find a holly graphic from The Graphics Fairy and transfer the image to the pot.

You could use any image. Karen always has the best ones. The are so many to choose from. I liked the vintage Santa too.  Just modpodge and use printed image print side down on pot and rub really well. Thats it! peel up and the calk paint absorbs the image right away.

I used a sharpie and hand wrote "Happy Hollydays" on the other trees pots.

I think these would look cute on a fireplace mantel.

I love quick easy projects like this!

What image would you try?


Friday, November 9, 2012

Trophy Wine Topper

Over the years my kids have accumulated a lot of trophies from competitions they were in. They did speech and debate for years,sports, 4H, art, service, music...the list goes on and so did the awards.

I saved every one of them so they can see their accomplishments. From Kindergarten till 8th grade they adorned their walls. Then, I would sit them down in the middle of trophies, certificates and ribbons and take a picture. Then box them away. They took their favorite ones out for display. Again, when they were seniors in High School I did it again.

They remain boxed up for their keepsakes but there were I few that they didn't mind me tearing into. You know you have them too! I mean what do you do with them? You can only have so many book ends!
 I have an easy project. Now that the kids are grown I thought it would be fun to create wine toppers.

I saved wine corks for projects but you can get new ones in a craft store. I unscrewed the top of the trophy. Drilled a little hole in the cork to get the screw started and screwed it in. That's it!!!!

How easy is that?

I have to admit, I wanted to get all the trophies out and rob the little toppers! I chose the drama masks to start. I have so many theatre friends that love these! The sports ones are great too!

Now to get this bottle open and have a glass of wine so I can use this thing!

I think these will make a great Christmas gift! 
Do you think you will try these?

If you don't have any try a thrift store!

What have you done with trophies?

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Beautiful Paper

I got to get away a few days with some girlfriends of mine. We went to Atlanta! This is the third year we have gotten together. We always have a blast. We ate at a few good places, celebrated Day of the Dead at a Mexican Restaurant and Cantina and shopped till we dropped!

While I was there I picked up a few things to create with. One of those things was this beautiful paper.

When I saw it I knew it had to go inside my piano bench! I have fallen in love with papers before. I love the colors and the art work. One of my favorites was my red hutch with birds. I also loved the little french cabinet.
Both have sold! I think it is important to say that I think papers set a piece aside to be different. They make something "One -of-a-Kind"! I don't use them on everything. It needs to be special. I have to get a feeling of a kind of "marriage" if you will, it has to fit.

The difference with this one is that it will go on the inside. It will make for a wonderful surprise!

It adds a little something special to an already different piece. I took the pictures at night so the color isn't right, darn!

Well I thought it was done but to my surprise this paper showed up to take it to the next level.

Have you ever added to a piece you thought you were done with?