Thursday, December 30, 2010

Winter Whites

Today's weather reached a high of 40 degrees and this is what's left of the snow that blanketed our area a few days ago. 

Although right in the midst of clearing the first round, I'm not sure Henri was really enjoying himself.  

But today during our walk,  see,  the snow is almost all gone!

The day after the storm, sunny blue skies.

And everywhere you looked, a beautiful blanket of snow.   

This time of year, we have a habit of ending the day with a hot cup of cocoa. 

So tonight I just got through whirring up a little white fluff with my favorite kitchen machine. 

Home made marshmallows.   Here's the recipe.  They are so easy to make too.  Ready in a couple hours. 

Just in time for our New Year's Eve cup of cocoa tomorrow night.  And truth be known, that's as wild as we ever get on New Year's Eve.  I hope you enjoy yours too! 

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Visions of Sugar Plums

We have freshly fallen snow here on the coast. 

And a few pretty sea urchins that I collected from the shore. 

I just added a little gold leaf to glam them up a bit. 

Stacked up in hues of sea washed greens and soft plums they are tiny gifts from the ocean.

 Inspired, I head into the kitchen to bake up a batch of cookies that I could perhaps decorate in the same colors.    Although laden with sprinkles, my freshly baked sugar cookies looked more like sea urchin wannabees, rather than the lovely vision of sea urchin confections still dancing in my head. 

However, they do pack quite a sugary punch and I like the way they sparkle. 

Yesterday's snow was an all day event. 

A mesmerizing, swirling pattern of motion.   

Contented to stay inside and wrap packages,  I made pom-poms out of white tissue paper and hand stamped birdies on plain manila tags. 


Simplicity became my mantra. 

And I enjoyed my day immensely.   

And just so you know, there are plum colored sprinkles all over my floors.  Merry Christmas y'all! 

Saturday, December 4, 2010

A Bit of My Christmas Decor

Not sure if this is netting from a local fisherman, but it was set out for trash this past summer when I scooped it up and stapled it to the back of an empty old frame I had.  Then I found some winter inspired bits of jewelry to add to it. 

I found several boxes of recycled ornaments at the thrift store to make this wreath I had been wanting to make ever since I saw this gorgeous one on a post by Heather Bullard

 I just used one of those thin single wire wreath rings and snipped it apart at the top and started stringing my ornaments, alternating between sizes.

Then I got out a can of faux snow and did several bursts of spray to tone it down a bit. 

This is my favorite Christmas tree holder ever.  I found it a local closeout store and it actually has a place to hold your tree inside.  It's heavy and the finish is a beautiful aged pale chippy pink.  I added some aqua tulle over the top, and a hand stamped Merry Christmas tag. 

 Here's the tree I put inside, a small faux evergreen with pine cones. 

Here it is with the pale pink and clear garland I found to wrap it up with.  

Since I still had more ornaments I made another wreath. 

I had another tree that I wanted to add some snow to, but my snow spray was not thick enough.  I found out that I could make the thicker snow with Ivory soap. 

I just used an old grater and then added some warm water and some spray starch until I got a paste that I could paint on.

It was a bit messy, but it worked out.  It wasn't the look I was going for, I wanted it all to be white, but this works too. 

We had our first snow right after Thanksgiving, it was barely a dusting but I captured this little butterball eating leftovers. 

Here are some of all the others that kept Henri filling the bird feeders that day. 

And what is more beautiful than having a bit of live Christmas decor outside, courtesy of our  little feathered friends!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

The Family Crust

Last week when we arrived at my Mother's house, she had just taken an apple pie out of the oven and had sat it aside to cool.  For some reason the design on the top caught my eye and I asked her if it was something new she had just come up with.  Well.  Let me tell you I was caught off guard to find out that it was the same design that my Grandmother and perhaps even my Great Grandmother had always done on all their double crust pies.  I never even knew there was a family crust! 

Tonight in the midst of my Thanksgiving preparations, it was as if I could feel the presence of both my Grandmothers peering over my shoulders as I set off to recreate this family tradition in the blueberry pie I was baking.  I suspect they would be smiling and nodding to each other as they patiently waited for me perform this rite of passage. 

Could I get it right the first time?  Could my Grandmothers really be watching me do this?  I actually felt a bit nervous. 

It reminds me how thankful I am to still have my Mother.  Someone I can still see, hear and embrace in real life.  Who I can still share giggles with and memories of growing up and spending Thanksgiving as a child at my Grandmother's house.  The white farmhouse with the beautiful floral pattern wallpaper in the dining room where we sat at the long wooden table, together, so many years ago.  With pies that all had that same distinctive family crust of which I realize now I hadn't remembered as a child. 

As I add my own touch to the family crust,  a sprinkling of coarse sugar crystals, I snap a quick picture to document it for future generations that may wonder what that shiny stuff was on the pie. 

 Wishing all my sweet readers out in blogland a very blessed Thanksgiving Day and hoping you always leave enough room at Thanksgiving for some pie!

Friday, November 19, 2010

I Bough To You

 I usually wait until December 1, which is the day after Henri's birthday, before I start my Christmas decorating.   But that was before I read this article written by the talented Sharon Lovejoy, for Lowe's Creative Ideas for Home and Garden.  Sharon, who I have gotten to know through her blog, divides up her time between living on an island off the coast of Maine in the warmer months and then as cooler weather approaches heads back to California to enjoy the winter!  The article she wrote inspired me to simply shop my own backyard to decorate for the holiday season. 

I don't know how, but Henri recently moved this heavy wrought iron birdcage from where it was sitting in our backyard, up onto our small deck all by himself.   He also attached 3 birdhouses to the top of the rail for me.  (My steadily growing collection of birdhouses that I still hadn't figured out what to do with yet.)   He did this as a surpise for me and waited for me to discover it by myself.  I was thrilled and Sharon's tips of how to decorate for the season using nature's bounty were all I could think of! 

My favorite of the 3 birdhouses is this red one. 

A diagonal sweep of pine boughs is all this cage really needed with a few rose hips tucked here and there. 

The yellow are fruit that were scattered around all over the ground right below my Japanese Quince bush. 

This birdhouse cried out for a few pine cones, the only ones I found right near the quince bush. 

The most rustic and weathered of the birdhouses. 

The metal trim on the roof and entry add to its rustic charm.   

From inside looking out, a geranium in the foreground that Henri brought inside for the winter. 

As evening approaches, a decision to add a strand of icicle lights had me getting a little carried away.  When it got too dark to do any more gathering I decided it was good enough.

See what happens when you get a little blog inspiration.  Next thing you know, I'll be inside baking Christmas cookies!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Simply Stated

Look what I won from a giveaway Rebecca had over at Simply Stated. This gorgeous pair of pineapple finials! Rebecca runs an antique shop in Campbell, New York, is an amazing photographer, AND she makes cakes too! It's no wonder I always enjoy my visits over there.

Here's a close up to show the richness of color on these beauties.   Thank you so much Rebecca, they are simply beautiful! 

Speaking of color, here's my most recent painting I did in my Adult Finger Painting class.  

I call it "Chinese Lantern Plant In Vase".  At least that is what it was SUPPOSED to be anyway!