Sunday, November 28, 2010

Hand Stenciled Napkins


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I spent part of the day today working on these Christmas Napkins.  I am so tickled with the way they turned out!!  I made them out of a piece Painter’s Canvas Drop Cloth that I found at Lowe’s for a mere $5.00.  The price is hard to beat but I actually do love the way this cloth looks a lot like a rustic linen.  I was able to make 4 napkins and two tea towels out of one 4ft. x 5ft. piece.  Are you looking for an easy and inexpensive handmade Christmas gift idea?

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Here is how I made them.  I took a cloth napkin that I already had and used it as a pattern for the size I wanted.  My napkins measure approximately 19 inches x 19 inches.  I cut out 4 pieces of the Painter’s Cloth.  I turned in the raw edges approximately 1/4 inch on all four sides and ironed it down with a hot iron.  I then turned each side in again 1/4 inch and ironed in place.  I sewed all four edges down so that all my edges were finished with a double folded edge.  This gives you a neat edge. Ironing down all the edges really helped make the sewing part much easier and the edges neater.  Don’t skip this step!

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I then stenciled the word “Noel” on each of my napkins using black craft paint.  To do this I carefully folded the napkins how I wanted to see them in the napkin rings and that is how I knew where I wanted to place my stencil.  I used a stencil that I purchased at Maison de Stencil but you could also use any alphabet stencil and then you could dip the eraser at the top of a pencil in some paint and touch it down to get the two dots over the letter “E” in “Noel”.   I also used some blue painter’s tape to help keep my stencil in place while I worked. 

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And don’t they look great with the number napkin rings I found at Pottery Barn last year?! :)

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I think I am going to get myself another piece of the Painter’s Cloth and make some more so that I have a set of at least 6 or 8 napkins.  I also made two tea towels that I can’t wait to show you.   I will be posting them soon!!  So stay tuned!


I am linking this post up to Make It 4 Monday Over at Cottage Instincts.  Stop by to see some more great ideas.

And I am linking up to Just Something I Whipped Up Holiday Style over at The Girl Creative.  More fun projects over there too!

And I am linking up to Thrifty Thursday over at Tales From Bloggeritaville.  Stop by for a visit there too!

Friday, November 26, 2010

Hand Painted Christmas Bulb 2010

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 We had a very nice Thanksgiving this year.   How about you?   The food was very traditional with a turkey, mashed potatoes and gravy, and this year I made a cornbread stuffing for the first time and it was very good and it is now the new standard for stuffing around here from now on!  Everyone loved it. 

Today is was a cold November day around here and rather than brave the gray skies and drizzle we decided to stay home and forgo the Black Friday craziness.  I can’t think of a single thing I would be willing to get up at the crack of dawn to buy on a day like today.  I have a feeling there will be plenty of bargains available until Christmas day.  I did do a little online shopping and got a start on my Christmas shopping and then my daughter and I whipped up a batch of Chex Mix and I helped her try a new recipe for Raspberry Chocolate Bon Bon’s.  Oh my!  I will posting that recipe in a few days.

My daughter did most of the work and I watched and threw in my 2 cents  in between reading blogs and painting a new ornament for Christmas.  This was a fun ornament to paint and I already had all the paint colors from a similar Monogram Ornament I made last year.   

Christmas Bulb 2010                              Christmas Bulb 2009

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Here is how I made this years version:

1.  I took a clear Christmas bulb and took off the top and squirted some bright green paint inside and moved the bulb around to help the paint coat the inside of the bulb.  Then I turned it upside down to let the excess run out. 

2.  I used a hot pink paint and a thin brush and painted on two lines of pink squiggles around the middle of the bulb.

3.  I used Tacky Glue to attach the white snowflakes.  (These are the same snowflakes that I used on my Red Sweater Wine Bags and I found them at Michaels.)

4.  I dipped a pencil eraser into a puddle of black paint and carefully pressed it on the bulb to get the black dots. 

5.  I cleaned the pencil easer and then dipped it in white paint and pressed it on the bulb to get the white dots. 

6.  I tied a piece of green ribbon with white polka dots around the top.

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So there you have it.  I love those little snowflakes and you know I am still looking for more ways to use them!  ‘Tis the season!


I am linking this post up to the Handmade Ornament Exchange Party over at Under the Table & Dreaming.  Come by for a visit there to see more handmade ornaments.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving

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Our day yesterday did not end the way we thought it would but that’s okay.  Our dog Oakley is now seen in a new light.  Although she is a Golden Retriever she really isn’t all that big.  Actually, you could call her “wee”.  And last night we could prove it.  My husband and I were going to go out and grab a quick dinner and as we were driving out of our neighborhood we saw a really big white dog wandering around.  We pulled over and I called to the dog thinking it belonged to a friend of mine.  The dog came right to me and I knew it was not my friend’s dog.  It was HUGE!  A Great White Pyrenees.  She had a dog tag that said “SASSY” and a Virginia phone number etched on the back.  The thing is….we live in North Carolina.

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She willing climbed into our minivan and immediately tried to climb in the front seat and slimed my husband’s sleeve.  Augh!  She was thirsty I could tell.  We turned around and headed back home.  We called the number on her tag but only got a voice recording.  I sent out an email and called everyone I could think of who might know who this dog belonged to.  My thought was it belonged to someone who was visiting here for the Thanksgiving Holiday and had wandered away.  I turned out to be right. 

Our dog Oakley LOVED Sassy.  She kept trying to get her to play and it was the cutest thing to see this giant dog playing with our tiny Golden.  We fed her and gave her lot’s of water and my husband and I just kept looking at each other.  This is a BIG dog!  The whole vision we had of how we were going to spend our Thanksgiving weekend started to change.  It looked like we were going to be taking care of the Jolly Green White Giant of dogs.  But she was sweet, smart and very well behaved. 

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Our kid’s mouths dropped open when they came home and were greeted by this happy and huge dog.  We all have thought it might be fun to own a big dog.  Last night we all got a taste of it.  Our daughter wanted to take her back to school with her.  Yeah, right!  And our son who is not a big fan of dog drool made we wipe up an especially large puddle on the floor.  So much for the “helping” part he always insists on if we got another dog.

About 3 hours later we got the call back we were hoping for.  Sassy’s owner called with huge relief in her voice and came to pick her up.   We were right.  She was visiting family for Thanksgiving and Sassy found a way to wander away.  I could tell the past 3 hours were torture for Sassy’s owner and I am soooo glad we did the right thing and skipped our dinner out to bring that sweet dog home with us. 

I hope you all have a very HAPPY THANKSGIVING!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Hot Apple Pie Dip

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Today I saw a display of Ritz Crackers covered in fudge.  Imagine!  Chocolate covered Ritz!  They  will put chocolate on anything.  They were on display right next to the White Fudge Covered Oreos.  I was able to resist both.  As long as neither of my kids is with me shopping I am able to resist things like that.

Anyway, in the Holiday Ritz Cracker display were some free Holiday Recipe Booklets and I picked one up.  There were several good looking recipes in it.  Grab it if you see it.  One of the recipes that caught my attention was for the Hot Apple Pie Dip.  My daughter came home from school for Thanksgiving break and we decided to give this one a try.  It was very quite tasty!  I think that the next time I make this I might leave off the Cheddar Cheese and maybe sprinkle more brown sugar on top before it bakes.  When it comes out of the oven it just looks kind of strange with the melted Cheddar on top.  But it really did taste good and the house smelled wonderful.  And I served it on what else???  Ritz Crackers!


1 tub (8oz.) Philadelphia 1/3 Less Fat than Cream Cheese

2 Tbsp. brown sugar

1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice (I used 1/4 tsp. of Cinnamon and 1/8 tsp of nutmeg)

1 apple, chopped, divided

1/4 cup Kraft 2% Milk Shredded Cheddar Cheese

1 Tbsp. finely chopped PLANTERS Pecans

Wheat Thins original crackers


Heat oven to 375 degrees.

Mix cream cheese, sugar and spice until well blended.  Stir in half of the apples.

Spread into pie plate or small casserole dish.  Top with remaining apples, Cheddar and nuts.

Bake 10 to 12 minutes or until heated through.  Serve with crackers. 

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Holiday Home Tour

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Today I spent the day with some girlfriends touring 6 beautiful homes here in Greensboro, NC  that were all part of a Holiday Home Tour to raise funds for the choir at Caldwell Academy and they were decorated for the holidays.  Here are some of the highlights from the tour.    We  first toured 4 homes and then of course we had to fortify ourselves with lunch and beverages at a a place called Lindley Park Filling Station.  Very cute and small restaurant with wonderful food.  I had half of a sandwich called the Madison Avenue… Smoked Turkey, Granny Smith Apples, Honey Walnut Cream Cheese on a Croissant and half of the The Filling Station salad…Dried Cranberries, Bleu Cheese Crumbles, Walnuts over Spring Mix with their House made Balsamic Vinaigrette.  Every bite as delicious as it sounds.  I can’t wait to go back.  You know I couldn’t not talk about the food!

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Anyway, back to the home tour.  My favorite of the 6 we toured ended up being the first one we toured.   This home was in the Lake Jeanette area and  It had an “Old World” look to it

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This was the kitchen where they had a large gingerbread house display on the counter.

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I thought this was a different idea.  Copper buckets were hung by the fireplace instead of stockings and then the initial for each child hung off of those buckets.  

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This home had a pretty staircase.  We liked the burlap ribbon that was part of the garland.

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This home also had a pretty table set in the dining room.  Silver and gold were mixed together. 

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This was a grand old home built in I believe they said 1927 and was located near Greensboro Country Club in the Old Irving Park area. We are talking old money here.  Old Southern money and very grand.  They told us the owners moved out for 2 years while the home was renovated.  Can you imagine that?!

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The kitchen in this home was beautiful.  I loved the big farmhouse sink and they had an AGA oven.  The owner told us it stays warm at all times.  I always wanted to see one in person. 

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I loved this outdoor fireplace area on their back patio. 

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This beautiful home was in the Sunset Hills area.  Loved the side porches on this home.

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  This one had a renovated kitchen and it was beautiful. 

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This was the view out the kitchen window.  There was even a waterfall off to the right side.

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This is the last home we toured.  We did tour two others but my photos of those two home did not turn out very well.   (We had to take our shoes off to tour all of the homes and the basket in the photo above is filled with little booties.)

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This home had a “bridge” that was also decorated with garland.  This home also had a grand piano in the foyer as you came in the front doors.  Why I didn’t take a photo of that…I don’ know!

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Even the kid’s bedrooms in this house had decorated Christmas trees in them.  This girls bedroom was decorated with purple and black.  The colors really looked great together.

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And this girl’s room was decorated in soft pinks and soft greens. 

Here is what I noticed that most of the homes had in common decorating wise: 

~Wreaths hung with ribbon over mirrors

~Lots of fresh greenery in vases

~Magnolia leaves in garlands and wreaths

~silver and gold mixed together

~Lot’s of Mark Jacobs Santa Fairies

~Glass domes with ornaments, cookies, and more Santa Fairies under them.

~Big bows used as tree toppers with glittery stems poking out of the tops

~Lot’s of glitter

~Candles that smelled wonderful

~wreaths suspended by ribbon hung on windows inside the house

~Apothecary Jars filled with candy.

~Burlap ribbon used in the garlands

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I have to admit that as much as I hate seeing so many Christmas things in the stores already and it’s not yet Thanksgiving, the tour today put me in the holiday mood.  We might even hang our outdoor Christmas light tomorrow because the weather is supposed to be so nice.  But I promise we won’t be turning them on till after Thanksgiving!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Easy Appetizer and Great Snack Idea

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Do you need something extremely quick and easy to serve or take to a party?  Here is a quick and easy sweet treat that everybody loves, especially children!  And all you need is a box of Nabisco Nilla Vanilla Wafers and a tub of Alouette Berries n Cream Cheese Spread.  Alouette only brings out it’s Berries n Cream flavor this time of year.  And most major newspaper’s coupon sections have had a .75 cent off coupon for any of the Alouette Cheese Spread flavors.   If you see the Berries n Cream flavor, snap it up!  It disappears fast.  (It’s delicious on a bagel too.):) 

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You could prepare a plate of these and place sliced strawberry or raspberry on top.  Beautiful, Quick, and Delicious!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Le Beaujolais Nouveau Est Arrivé!

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Technically I missed it.  Seems the Beaujolais Nouveau wine was released today but since the day is almost over…at least for me it is, I have to say that I missed it.    I should have remembered that it is usually released on the third Thursday of November each year.  There was a time some years ago when this was a very big deal.  People used to have Beaujolais Nouveau parties when it was released.  We used to attend those parties.  Now it seems you hardly hear about it.  Anyway, we usually try to pick up a couple of bottles and like to drink it on Thanksgiving.   Sometimes its very good and other times it’s rough going.   How about you?  Do you have fond memories of drinking Beaujolais?   

10 Fun Facts About Beaujolais Nouveau

1.  Beaujolais [BOE-zjoh-lay] Nouveau is always released the third Thursday of November, regardless of the start of the harvest.

2.  The region of Beaujolais is 34 miles long from north to south and 7 to 9 miles wide. There are nearly 4,000 grape growers who make their living in this picturesque region just north of France's third largest city.

3.  All the grapes in the Beaujolais region must be picked by hand. These are the only vineyards, along with Champagne, where hand harvesting is mandatory.

4.  Gamay (Gamay noir à Jus Blanc) is the only grape permitted for Beaujolais. While certain California wineries may label their wine "Gamay Beaujolais" this is not the same grape variety as what is grown in France, and is quite different in taste and growing habits.

5.  Beaujolais Nouveau cannot be made from grapes grown in the 10 crus (great growths) of Beaujolais-only from grapes coming from the appellations of Beaujolais and Beaujolais-Villages.(Excuse me?  I think that one went right over my pea-sized head!)

6.  Beaujolais Nouveau owes its easy drinkability to a winemaking process called carbonic maceration—also called whole berry fermentation. This technique preserves the fresh, fruity quality of the wine, without extracting bitter tannins from the grape skins.

7.  Beaujolais Nouveau is meant to be drunk young-in average vintages it should be consumed by the following May after its release. However, in excellent vintages (such as 2000) the wine can live much longer and can be enjoyed until the next harvest rolls around.

8.  Serve Beaujolais Nouveau slightly cool, at about 55 degrees Fahrenheit-the wine is more refreshing and its forward fruit more apparent than if you serve it at room temperature.

9.  Approximately 1/3 of the entire crop of the Beaujolais region is sold as Beaujolais Nouveau.

10.  The region of Beaujolais is known for its fabulous food. This quintessential food wine goes well with either haute cuisine or Tuesday night's meat loaf.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Orange Creamsicle Cookies

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Creamsicle ~ Somebody who spends way too much time in the tanning booth, turning an unnatural fake orange color.

 I’ve seen a few “Creamsicles” in my day.  How about you? :)

I first saw this recipe for Orange Creamsicle Cookies  a few weeks ago over at All that Splatters and I printed it out because I wanted to try it.   Today, I finally made the time to make them.  Incredible!  They really do taste just like a Creamsicle.  They smell wonderful too.  These are a keeper!

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Orange Creamsicle Cookies

2 1/2 cups all purpose flour

3/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 firmly packed brown sugar

1 large egg

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 tablespoons orange zest (I used a Microplane Grater and took the zest off of two oranges.)

2 cups white chocolate chips ( 1 Package)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

In a small bowl, combine flour, baking soda, and salt; set aside.

In a large bowl, cream butter and sugars until light and creamy. Beat in egg, vanilla, and the orange zest until smooth.   Gradually add flour mixture until combined. Stir in the white chocolate chips.

Drop rounded teaspoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheets. Do not flatten cookies; it will make them dry. Bake 8 - 10 minutes or until golden brown around edges.

Cool for several minutes on cookie sheets before transferring to rack to cool completely. Store in airtight container.

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A hot cup of tea and a couple of these cookies and you can’t help but be happy. :)

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Starbucks Gift Card Winner



A BIG thank you to everyone who entered my Giveaway for the Starbucks $15.00 Gift Card.  It was fun to hear what your favorite drinks are and will help me branch out a bit.   Sometimes I get in a rut and order the same thing over and over.    And Thanks to Lori who left me a comment and said that she made my pickles to give to her Dad for his birthday and he liked them so much he gave her back the empty jars to make more!  Now that is high praise.  Thanks for telling me that made my day!

And now the winner.  With the help of the Random Number Generator: 

The Winner is Kacie over at And Baby Makes Two.  Congratulations Kacie!  Enjoy your Iced Caramel Macchiatos .  If you would, please E-mail me your regular address and I will pop this in the mail to you. 

Monday, November 15, 2010

Wine Bags For The Holidays


This post is part 2 of a series called How Many Things Can You Make From An Old Sweater :)

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I took an old red knit sweater (it was a Mens size XL) that I found a the Goodwill for $3.95.Red Sweater Recycle 005

I was able to carve out 2 Scarflettes (which I posted this past week) and 2 of these fun wine bottle bags out of the same red sweater.

Here’s how I did it.

The wine bags were actually made from the sleeves of the sweater.  The ribbing of the cuffs is what you see at the top of the bottle.  I used a wine bottle as a guide but the measurements were roughly about 14” x 6”. Trim so that you have neat and even rectangles.

Turn the sweater inside out so that the good sides are facing each other.

Sew across the bottom about 5/8”in and along the open side. 

Be sure to leave the cuffed top edge open so that you can place your wine bottle in it.

Tie it off with a ribbon.

Finally, I embellished the bags with some snowflakes that I found at Michael’s Craft Store and attached them with a small dot of fabric glue.  


I think they turned out cute!

I am linking this post up to Hand Made Holiday over at Just A Girl.  Stop by for some more great ideas!

Today is the last day to enter my $15.00 Starbucks Gift Card Giveaway.   Click on the link and leave your comment there to enter.  I will select the winner later tonight and announce the winner tomorrow on Tuesday.  Thanks!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

10 Things I Know I Am Never Going To Do And I Am Good With It

1. I am never going on a cruise.    When I saw the TV News clips of the US Navy dropping crates of Spam from helicopters to the dead in the water cruise ship earlier this week, my my jaw fell! I don’t do spam and I don’t do well with non-functioning toilets and bathroom odors.  I can’t even imagine the hell those poor people went through!

2. I am never going to be a teenage model.  (For all you Brady Bunch fans out there.) :)

3. I am never going to eat pate ( not the “pate” that rhymes with “skate”, I meant the pate that is pronounced “pat-tay” since I don’t know how to type French Accent marks.)  I don’t do liver in any shape, form or fashion.  Not even at a fancy restaurant in Paris.  NO.

4.  I am never going to find the diamond that fell out of my wedding ring.  

5.  I am never going to run the Boston Marathon or the New York City Marathon for that matter.  I once ran a 5 K race back when my husband and I were dating.  It was through the city streets of Detroit.  The highlight for me was the dead and flattened  rat we ran over in the middle of road.  That and the fact that I was physically ill and had to throw up when I was done from the physical exertion.    Yes, I did say a 5 K which I believe is one of the shortest distances you can run and is about 3 miles.  It nearly did me in. 

6.  I am never going to dance on or with a pole.

7.  I am never going to go camping again.

8.  I am never going to sing a national anthem solo at an athletic event.

9. I am never going to read War and Peace.

10.  I am never going to go sky diving.  I once had my chance but didn’t do it.  Regrets?  Nope. 

I know, I know,  never say never.  But really, like I said….I am good with it! :)

And don’t forget to enter my $15.00 Starbucks Gift Card Giveaway.   Click on the link and leave your comment there to enter.  Winner will be selected on Monday, November 15, 2010.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Fun Thanksgiving Food


How cute are these???!!

And this???!!


I came across a new blog site today called Gluesticks and thought this  cheese ball was such a cute idea for Thanksgiving.  You can go to Brandy’s blog and see how she made it and get the recipe for her cheese ball.  Her recipe makes a lot!  I might try and miniaturize it and use a store bought  Kaukauna cheese ball.  Since some days lately I seem to be up to my neck in Kaukauna cheese balls, I might as well buy one and bring it home from work with me.  Now I just need to get me some felt, some glue, and some googely-eyes.   It’s been years since I’ve worked with googely-eyes.  :)


Then from Brandy’s Gluesticks blog I found a link to another fun blog site called Our Best Bites where I found these cute turkeys made out of Oreo Cookies and peanut butter cups.  Click on the link and there is a great tutorial on how to make them. 


And these are pretty cute and easy too.  Those are marshmallows dipped in chocolate on top of a cookie.  You can find these at Our Best Bites too.   How creative.  I would love to make these and  I also love how Our Best Bites shows how they can be used as place cards.  Very creative!

And don’t forget to enter my $15.00 Starbucks Gift Card Giveaway.   Click on the link and leave your comment there to enter.  Winner will be selected on Monday, November 15, 2010.