Sunday, December 30, 2012

Oh, the bargains!

They have me sidetracked again.  I was on a roll de-Christmasing the house and rearranging furniture and such, when a trip to the store for clearance throws for the loveseats got me sidetracked again.  In all the great clearance detective work I was doing, I came across this holiday table runner for about $8:

And since we just moved a sofa table, it caught my eye.  Haven't had a new runner in years, and I'm not usually a "seasonal" decorator.  Turns out this runner is a tad too long for its intended spot, so I had the bright idea to cut off the holiday ends, and turn the runner into an every-day piece.  The ends can be seasonal table toppers!  (See how my mind works?)  So . . . I'm thinking I can tat an edging for each end of my every day runner.  But what color?  The current edging is a sort of brown/green color, and my living room is fairly neutral with a little olive green.  I am contemplating these threads, and leaning toward the top brown.  I also have two balls of that color, so I would probably not run out when 75% done!  Actually, looking at this picture makes the green a definite "no". So, brown thread or a lighter beige?

So now for the fun part.  Which edging?  I'm considering one of the bottom two in this picture:

Any thoughts?  I'm thinking the bottom one would take less thread, and probably be quicker for me to finish.  And allow me to get sidetracked onto something else :)  Maybe I can even tat a matching edge for the holiday pieces!  Here we go.

My other project this weekend has been to prepare a "Gratitude Journal".  I had a blank book with an ugly cover, and decided to dress it up a little with some decoupage for a journal I've been wanting to get started.  The New Year is a perfect time to start documenting the things I am thankful for. 

To acknowledge the positives each day won't allow me to dwell on the negatives that I encounter.  Studies show that positive attracts positive.  Have you ever noticed how attitudes are contagious - whether positive OR negative?  I strive to be the positive one, and I truly believe that happiness is a decision we all make every day.  Thus the keys on my book.  The key to happiness is being grateful for all that we have.  

So.  My book will be in my living room, and my goal is to write in it every day.  And my family and friends are invited to write in it as well, whenever they visit.  

And that's just a couple of the things I have planned for the New Year . . .

Monday, December 24, 2012

Merry Christmas Eve :)

I hope you can in every way,
Find Joy and Peace 
on Christmas Day.
However you celebrate,
Whatever your cheer,
Remember the best things
are those you hold dear.

Merry, Merry Christmas!

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Wine Jelly and Almonds

I really do love that I have the whole weekend before Christmas!  I can clean (sorta) and get the house organized (kinda) and make some things I like to putz with (yeah!) 

The house is quiet while others are out running last minute errands, I'm making some last minute things I just wanted to make.  Not necessary, but you know me.  Gotta squeeze in one more thing . . .

So, the house smells like wine and almonds.  I made Swedish Toast again - one of my favorites that I just have to make.  The recipe is HERE - from last year when I made it.  The wine smell has wafted its way out of the house now, but it did smell somewhat like a bar in here this morning.

We love cream cheese with just about any kind of jelly on crackers, and I've tasted the wine jellies before.  A very good appetizer!  I thought if I tried it with a pretty red wine, it would be a beautiful color, so I bought a bottle of this:

Mixed 2 cups of wine with 3-1/4 cups of sugar, and heated on the stove until the sugar melted.

Then I added one packet of liquid pectin,

Boiled the mixture hard for a minute while stirring, put it into clean canning jars, threw it in the boiling water canner for a 10-minute boiling process, and 


Barely an hour, and I have four pints and one half-pint of pretty red wine jelly. The color is pretty, but I think a white zinfandel or a rose would actually be prettier.  Had I thought ahead a little better, I could have tatted a pretty little top to tie onto the jar with a ribbon. Maybe I have time to do that . . .

Pretty, pretty!

Now I even have time to read the NEXT book I've started - Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern.  Thanks to Isdihara's post HERE, I'm on my second read of the month, completely avoiding the other books on my "to read" list.  I am so easily sidetracked :)

On with enjoying holiday preparations!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

A Snowflake, A Gift and A Dog :)

Betsy Snowflake

Another snowflake done!  Whoopee - I've finished a whopping 4 flakes this season.  Ha!  I always start too late on holiday tatting.  I really enjoyed this pattern though - Betsy Snowflake by Betsy Evans - an easy, pretty snowflake with split rings to allow finishing in one pass. I do believe I will be able to get a few more of these done - if for nothing else but my own tree.  I love the shape of this one.

I've been puttering with various projects this past week, keeping busy to enjoy this season of giving.  Michelle and her daughter and I were actually able to schedule a Twin Cities Tatters day on Saturday - another chance to sit and relax and tat with coffee.  Jealous yet?  Salted Caramel lattes and mochas.  Now are you jealous?  Tatting snowflakes and chattering away.  It's so nice to take a few minutes to slow down and enjoy some relaxed time with friends during the rush of the season. 

And here's a gift I finished for a dear young lady - I enjoy making things for someone who appreciates them so much. She says she loves them because no one ever made her anything before. (I can't imagine!) I thought this table topper with a burlap center and some coasters (I forgot to add the little ivory bird salt & pepper shakers to the picture) made a cute set.


And, we even remembered this one's birthday is today.  We can't believe Taffy's been with us for 14 years!  She doesn't see much other than shadows, and her selective listening has pretty much become deaf ears, and she runs into our legs and open doors.  Other than that, she's a happy little companion content to sleep by my feet.  Or on them.  In any case, she had a pig ear snack and got a new squeaky toy, both of which she enjoyed much more than posing for this picture!

I do not like this hat I do not like this hat . . . 

And thank you for all the kind comments on my last post. Life is a treasure we forget to embrace during our busy lives sometimes. Be happy and sing Christmas carols - the angels will LOVE it!

P.S.  Is this font too big?

“Tears are the jewels of remembrance, 
sad but glistening with the beauty of the past.”
            From The Courage to Grieve by Judy Tatelbaum

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

New Angels

I don't ordinarily complain on my blog, but today I'm tired of being tough and optimistic.  I have lost an uncle and a niece within 3 days, and another uncle just 5 months ago.  Completely different generations, two older but unexpected, and one younger and in poor health for the past couple of years.  I'm sort of at a loss for words today, watching members of my family grieve for their Dad and brother, and seeing my nieces reminisce about the fun they had growing up with their crazy cousin, now lost to them forever.  It's just hard to watch those you love in such pain.  Both my family and my husband's.  I now truly know the meaning of a heavy heart.

But it makes me realize how absolutely wonderful life is, and how much we should appreciate every moment.  Unexpected events can change your life in mere minutes.  Spend time with your loved ones, hug your kids, tell your spouse/partner how much they mean to you, and take the time to notice the beauty of the day around you.  Appreciate your days, no matter what inconveniences you have.  Be tolerant of others and their actions.  You never know what tomorrow might bring.  

There are new angels in heaven today.  And every day.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Need. More. Time.

I love that Thanksgiving fell early this year - it makes it seem like there is more time until Christmas with that extra week.  We leisurely got the tree up, and I really have  most of my Christmas shopping done.  Had a great time last weekend making lefse - even Michelle and her daughters joined us.  I was feeling pretty on top of the Christmas rush.

(Taffy poses when the camera comes out!)
And then, this awesome old dresser entered my life.  

It's a shame to cover up that beautiful old wood, but I dislike stripping and refinishing wood.  So, I am going to paint this beauty.  THIS weekend.  Great timing, right?  But it can't sit in the garage - we are getting our first significant snowfall tonight, and would prefer to park all vehicles in the garage.  This dresser has a piece of glass to fit the top also - I'm envisioning doilies and pictures under the glass . . .

So, I won't be tatting many snowflakes this weekend.  But I might get a few more chapters of The Ruins of Lace read.  A book review another time.  I wish there were a few more hours in a day - or a weekend!