Pretzel turtles and a bow wristlet!

Wanted to share two quick last-minute Christmas projects with you before I return to my pre-holiday to-do list!

This idea can be found in about five zillion versions on five zillion blogs and Pinterest pins.  I used this version from thehungryhousewife.com.  All you need are mini preztels (the waffle shapes or the traditional twists), Rolo candies, and halved pecans.

Toast the pecans for 7 minutes in a 350F oven.  In the meantime, lay out your pretzels on a foil-lined baking sheet and top them with the Rolos.  Stick the Rolo-topped pretzels in the oven for 5 or so minutes, then smoosh a pecan half on top of each melty Rolo.  Viola!

I was worried that they would stick to the foil, but I put them in the fridge to firm up overnight, and this morning, they popped right off of the baking sheet.

Can’t get much more effortless than that.  I have seen other versions using Hershey Kisses (the white chocolate candy cane ones work great) topped with red and green M&Ms.

Second project is a sewing project.  I wanted to make something special for a relative that will be in town for Christmas, so I decided to make her a wristlet.  But I wanted to do something different from the wristlets I have done in the past.  I found this tutorial from elmstreetlife.com, and decided to make it my own by using natural linen for the body, and one of my favorite quilting cotton fat quarters (beefed up with some medium-weight interfacing) to give a two-toned look.  I really love the size of this wristlet.  I might have to make one for myself.  I hope she likes her gift.

And with that, I am signing off until later this week.  Off to make my cheesecake and finish cleaning the house!

Holiday Greetings 2012

It’s almost the big day!  I am enjoying the weekend with my lovely husband, and preparing to have over a dozen family and friends over tomorrow night for a Christmas Eve gathering with Chinese food, festive drinks, and lots of sweets.

Tadd and I will exchange gifts Christmas morning (and spoil our kitties with their gifts), and then we’ll pack up gifts and food and head over to my parents’ house for more presents and dinner with family!  I am contributing old favorites from blog posts past to our Christmas dinner; maple balsamic brussels sprouts and chocolate chip cheesecake (incidentally, the cheesecake recipe post has been viewed and pinned like crazy the past few weeks…I’m glad others are trying it because it’s SO good!).

I hope everyone enjoys their weekend!  Have a safe and happy holiday!

Merry Christmas!

2012 Christmas Card

2012 Holiday Season at Walt Disney World

Finally getting around to sharing some of the holiday events we attended this year at Walt Disney World.  We did a lot of these events much earlier in the season this year (as in, before Thanksgiving) because crowd levels closer to Christmas can be ridiculous, and it just happened to fit our schedule better.  Being in Florida at Christmastime can tend to not feel very Christmasy, but I love that we make up for it with easy access to these spectacular events and displays.  If you visit Disney at Christmastime, regardless of the weather, there is NO way you don’t come away firmly entrenched in the holiday spirit.  It’s the most festive place I know of this time of year.

Magic Kingdom: Main Street and Castle Dreamlights

Disney’s Hollywood Studios: The Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights

Epcot: Candlelight Processional with Guest Narrator Whoopi Goldberg

Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort: Victorian decorations and giant gingerbread house

Linking up to a very worthy cause!:

Green Tree, White Tree

I realize I missed the 3rd Holiday Home Link Party on Tuesday.  I have no excuse, except that things have been crazy around here to say the least!  Work has been nuts.  My husband’s work has been nuts.  Then we get home with a million regular chores plus holiday chores (we finally got our Christmas cards mailed out yesterday!).  Add to that the fact that it’s dark both when I leave for work and when I get home, so taking nice pictures suitable for posting has been challenging to say the least.

I figured I could at least join in for the Christmas tree party today, since I already had a few pics of our trees to share.

Our main tree is this green one in our living room.  It’s filled with a hodge-podge of sentimental and fun ornaments.  At some point early in our marriage, I decided I wanted blue, green, and silver ornaments, so there are a lot of those mixed in with everything else.  Also, there are lots of snowmen.  I have a “thing” for snowmen ornaments.

This is also the cats’ favorite tree.  Logan, our 8 year old Russian Blue loves nothing better in life than to sleep or lounge under this tree.  Christmas is definitely his favorite time of year.  The other two kitties enjoy it too, but not as passionately as Logan.

Our white tree was something I bought for dirt cheap during one of those post-Christmas sales a couple years ago.  I wanted a tree just for me to design and make pretty for our front room.  This is in the dining room, near our front door.  We have a green/brown/white color scheme going on in our dining room, so I kind of wanted to keep this tree in that family, but with lots of red too.  I also love little bird ornaments, and Tadd has always loved squirrels, so I decided to go with a loose “woodland creatures” theme.  I chose ornaments that were rustic and natural, but also bright and festive.  I think one of my favorite items on this tree are those red birds (like the one in the lower right hand corner), which I found at the Dollar Tree.  Gotta love great dollar store finds!

Last year was my first year decorating the white tree, and it was quite a bit more sparse.  I went a little nuts since then buying ornaments for it, so I think I have enough now.

I must admit, I love looking at everyone’s tree pics.  Everyone’s trees are so different, yet so pretty!  Decorating the tree is definitely my favorite “Christmas chore”.

Linking up!:

White Chocolate Candy Cane Fudge

I am hosting Christmas Eve for my family this year, and have been looking for some good finger-food style desserts to serve.  I ran across this post from CentsationalGirl.com with a great recipe for white chocolate mint fudge inspired me to give it a try with one small tweak…I decided to use crushed candy canes instead of the green icing.  I thought it came out great.  I love holiday treats that look as festive as they taste!  This will definitely be made for my family holiday gathering.

White Chocolate Candy Cane Fudge

2.5 bags 11 oz. white chocolate chips

1 14 oz. can sweetened condensed milk

6 oz. cream cheese

1/3 cup sugar

1/2 tsp peppermint extract

6 crushed  mini candy canes

nonstick spray

Pour the white chocolate chips into a double boiler (heatsafe glass bowl over a saucepan with a little water in it works fine).  The water should come to a boil, and then turn the heat to low.  Add the sweetened condensed milk and stir continuously to combine as the chips melt.  Add cream cheese, sugar, and peppermint extract.  Keep stirring 8-10 mins until everything is melted together and has a frosting-like consistency.  Pour into an 8×8 pan, top with crushed candy canes, and allow to cool and solidify for 6 hours or overnight.  Slice into cubes and enjoy!

Scrappy Patchwork Tree Ornaments!

I was recently inspired by this post on noodle-head.com and decided to try my hand at making some scrappy tree ornaments like the ones she made.  I found I could make them quickly with very little materials.  I already had a large amount of brown felt leftover from another project, so I cut them into the appropriate shapes (get the printable template on noodle-head.com).

Then all I needed was a few cute pieces of festive holiday fabric.  You barely need any…just some small scraps will do…  (small print works best)

And a little bit of ribbon….

And you’re ready to sew!

It’s pretty simple.  Sew the tree scraps to one piece of felt first.  Then sew the two pieces of felt together with a ribbon at the top for hanging.  One nifty trick is that you stuff a little bit of batting into the ornament while it’s still on the needle, just before continuing on to sew the third and final side of the felt together.

Viola!  Cute, rustic ornaments that take about 5 minutes to make.  I made mine in a very speedy fashion and they are far from the perfect little trees posted on noodle-head.com, but I kind of like that they look handmade and rustic.

A couple of other ideas I had regarding this project:

I made one without the ribbon loop at the top and gave it to my kitties as a toy.  I would like to make another one for them, but put a little catnip in with the batting.

These would be great with some kind of scented item on the inside.  Maybe some cinnamon?

Linking up!:

shabby creek cottage

Christmas Non-Mantel 2012

As I have mentioned several times before, my house, lovely as it is, lacks a fireplace.  As a matter of fact, there are very few newer construction homes in the Orlando area that do have a fireplace.  I envy the houses who do have one to decorate for the seasons.   I make do with my entry table as my makeshift mantel.

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This year I kept it pretty simple.  My snowflake finials, a cute snowman plush figure, and a mini Christmas tree placed on a silver tray.

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I used a bunch of Target Dollar Spot ornaments for filler on the tray, which I think gives it that holiday sparkle.

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I love these snowflake finials!  Got them on sale at Hobby Lobby last year.

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Nothing fancy.  Just cute, simple, sparkly, and festive.

Linking up!:

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The Lettered Cottage

Holiday Home Link Parties

I realize I have been a terrible blogger lately.  My holiday season so far has been a combination of mind-blowingly busy and sinfully lazy, but I have been enjoying every minute.  My Christmas decorating has been going slower than anticipated…We do have the main tree up now, but our secondary tree is still in the box, the outdoors have not been decorated aside from a fluffy white wreath I snagged at Lowes for under $10, and my house is a general mess of boxes of decor that have not yet been sifted through and unwrapped gifts.  Not pretty.

On the bright side, my sewing desk and table have been moved to a corner of one of our spare rooms, and after the holidays, I plan to start organizing and decorating that space to make it my own…FINALLY!  Only a year late…  But we tend to take our time around here with big projects.

However, I am excited about the upcoming Holiday Home Link Parties!  And I am pretty sure I will be able to share something for each party.   That’s my goal anyways. Care to join me?

Busy, Busy, Busy

So sorry for my extended absence.  The past week has been insane for me since Election Day.  Wednesday we went to an Orlando Solar Bears hockey game, Thursday we went to Magic Kingdom for the first night of Castle Dreamlights (and we got to see the New Fantasyland again!), Friday I attended a Dove Chocolate Party at my friend’s house, Saturday afternoon our out-of-town guests that we thought were arriving on Sunday night arrived a day early, and Saturday night we saw the band Weezer perform their blue album at Hard Rock Live.  Sunday we went with said houseguests to Disney’s Hollywood Studios and got to see the Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights.  Whew!  Last night after work, I was ready to just relax with a glass of wine, which is exactly what I did.

Some Instagram pics from our crazy week:

Rivers Cuomo of Weezer

 

Stay tuned for more pics (and maybe even video!) from our Disney holiday adventures so far this year!