Sunday, December 28, 2008

~ A Year in Review Party ~

I want to start this post by wishing all of you wonderful girls a Happy New Year and abundant Blessings to all ! Cindy from My Romantic Home is hosting " A year in Review" Party, what a wonderful idea Cindy! You can go to my side bar and click on her graphic for more information and get the details ( or click on her link here).... I'd love to see all of your years worth of favorite posts and passions! Mine begins with the mosaic above, you can make your own at Big Huge Labs, it's fun, go give it a try too!

My "Year in Review".....

( I had this calender 2 years ago, but thought the pic was fitting for this post, lol )

I've posted a few oldies from the point where I started blogging in April 2008, and added some new ones to show you too. The new ones are just additional pictures of the things I've posted about here that I've liked throughout the year....Hope you enjoy!
One of my very first posts was on Outdoor Entertaining...I took my Canning Jars and added some fresh hydrangeas ( above ) to create a simple country cottage centerpiece. The Iced Tea was "fancied" up ( using lemons to wet the rim for easy dipping ) with a pink sugar rim ! yummy :)
I've always loved Dutch Doors , I think I did a whole paragraph on how mine (above ) creates such a cottage feel to me and evokes such sweet memories of the house I grew up in...My Mom had two of them and I've always wanted one ...and now I do :).... happy happy joy joy :)
And of course my Year in Review has to include lots of cooking and baking too! My two favorite passions besides Decorating!
I think learning from other bloggers is so Inspirational and fun ! I try to share tips now and then and I get so many ideas from all you wonderful ladies too! Before I started blogging this year, I turned to my favorite source of information and inspiration and as most of you probably know by now, its been Susan Branch...I did so many posts about her books and her items I was dreaming in watercolors, lol... She's still one of my favorites and I await every new venture she takes on. ( you can click on the pic above to get some great little ideas )...

I enjoyed posting about other women's passions also! Finding such talented women out there , I've been able to get some of my favorite pieces in my house this year... Like the shutters above from Elyse ( Cottage ) and Penny ( Lavender Hill studio ) who made me such a gorgeous basket and I posted about last month....I've ordered and found such beautiful things! I wish I could mention them all here, but throughout 2008 I've met some wonderful women and I am so grateful for such connections! And I cannot say enough about how nice it is to see a new comment from one of you , and all your sweet and uplifting words! They mean so much to me!

I enjoy spending my free time visiting your lovely homes and blogs too!..... its like opening a new magazine and seeing your favorite things and then the best part is, I get to leave that person a comment right away and let them know how much I enjoyed my visit too!, how great is that?!
I've gotten to share so many of my passions besides decorating and cooking and collecting! Like the stool above, I've tried my hand at hand painting furniture. It really is fun and I get instant results too, something I love :) Things have to be fast and easy for me to throw myself into, I am not a fan of long projects. But having said that, I would love to have the patience to sew like I used to, but that's for another New Years resolution :)
Another favorite post of mine , is anything "Vintage"... and posting about my collections and obsessions seems to be pretty much predictable now :) but I really do love anything with a history to it. One of those "collections" is Vintage cookbooks and Vintage housekeeping manuals... I adore them, and reading them makes me feel like I've entered an era I should have been born in :)
I have a very small collection of vintage Aprons, but lets just say, I want a few more in 2009 :)
If you click on any of the pictures they should get large and you can see the detail better...
I think most of my posts from this year have always involved my Kitchen :).....its truly where the heart of the home is for me, or refuge , or whatever I need it to be that day :)
Well, I'm about finished with my "Year in review'', but I can't end it without Thanking each and every person who stops by ! Your visits are what make blogging the wonderful thing that it is, and visiting you is one of my favorite parts about it also!

I wish you all a wonderful New Year, filled with inspiration and beauty, and health and happiness !!
Year's end is neither an end nor a beginning but a going on, with all the wisdom that experience can instill in us. ~Hal Borland

With Friendship and Gratitude,


Friday, December 19, 2008

~ It's the little things that count ~

Christmas waves a magic wand over this world, and behold, everything is softer and more beautiful. ~Norman Vincent Peale

I'm so excited..... Today we are getting our second snowfall of the Season! The picture above was our first, but today we are supposed to get 4 inches. I still feel like I'm 12 years old when it starts to snow, its like magic falling from the sky. My 3 children ( mostly teenagers ) still get so excited too! We gather at this window and look out at all the beauty as it falls and kisses our homes and streets.....Oh the wonder of it all!

Its the little things in life that make me happy...

and...speaking of little things....I have this thing for miniatures, maybe its that little girl in me that still wants to play with her dollhouse, or maybe its because in smaller form, everything seems cuter and more manageable, or, lol, it could be that its easier to rearrange :) anywho, the pictures below are of my new Christmas ornaments, but I have to say, I am going to keep them out all year on my kitchen shelf because I think they are so sweet....

I take great care of my refrigerator, but I don't think it could ever be this perfect :), or, lol, that sparse either.... :)
I love the Vintage milk bottles on the shelf...

The detail is so amazing to me on these Ornaments, the hot chocolate even has 3 mini marshmallows, how sweet....and if you click and make the picture bigger, you'll see that even the sprinkle for the cookies are multi-color too!
The oven even has a light too! and btw, if Santa wants to know, i'd like this Vintage stove for Christmas in big girl form :)
I've always collected Vintage baking themed items for my kitchen for years, I think it gives such a sense of Nostalgia. When I use all the things I've collected I can almost sense the woman who used them before me ....I always wonder what she was baking when she used them, or who was in her kitchen , or what she was like ....
The Italian in me loves to cook and bake and I wanted to share one of my favorite recipes with you this week. I swear they are so easy it's almost ridiculous :) But the taste is truly Amazing despite the fact that it has only 3 ingredients! They are called Pastizzi's....enjoy friends! ( note: I sprinkle mine with powdered sugar when they are done... to me, its the finishing touch! ) So here's a little something for you...

  • 2 lbs. flaky pastry dough
  • 2 lbs. ricotta cheese
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 eggs

  1. Note: You can substitute Pillsbury Flaky Pastry Dough for home-made flaky pastry dough...if you'd like.
  2. Mix the ricotta cheese with the two eggs until the eggs are thoroughly mixed into the ricotta cheese.
  3. Add a bit of salt and pepper to the mixture for taste.
  4. Roll out the dough (do not make the dough too thin.)
  5. Cut the dough into three- to four-inch circles. ( I make mine a little bigger )
  6. Put one tablespoon of the ricotta cheese mix in the middle of each circle.
  7. Fold each circle from the top and the bottom to the centre and squeeze the edges together so that the pocket is sealed (the horizontal ends should be formed into points.)
  8. Put the pastizzi on a greased baking sheet.
  9. Bake in a moderate oven (350-425 degrees) for about one hour. or until golden brown.
  10. Sprinkle with powdered sugar!
My Daughter Melanie and I love making these together!

“Life itself is the proper binge.”
... Julia Child

Then its clean up time....

This is a little tip.... when washing silver and china during the holidays, use a Tupperware bin, I can't tell you how many pieces slipped out of my hands and broke in the sink before I saw that idea!
I just love Gooseberry Patch, such sweet little images and their books have that wonderful nostalgic feel too!
Now its time after we baked and cleaned up , to head into town and finish our shopping!
Blessed is the season which engages the whole world in a conspiracy of love.--Hamilton Wright Mabie

Merry Christmas to all , and to all a good weekend!

Love and Hugs ~


Sunday, December 14, 2008

~ Cottage Christmas Gifts ~

I started the weekend with the intent to get some holiday baking done, but since I'm behind in shopping , the Baking got pushed to tonight, so hopefully I can get a batch of something done! I always have the best intentions, lol, and as my Mother says: "A job well started is a job half finished" , I think that's actually from Mary Poppins, but she claims it's her philosophy :) I kinda like it, but it doesn't always push me :) I do what I can, when I can. That's my kinda philosophy :)!..... And right now, what I can do is Thank all of my wonderful blogging friends for leaving such sweet comments on my previous post about painting my furniture! I read every one and you have no idea how they just light up my days! So Thank you so much , you all make blogging such a wonderful adventure!!..... now on to another Thank you..... :) This creamy yellow egg holder below just made my day!

A huge Thank you goes out to the Farm Chicks ! If you don't already know them , you've got to pay them a visit, they are two of the most talented women out there , I was thrilled when a package arrived this weekend from Serena and Teri ! I had mentioned that I loved a ceramic egg holder they had on one of their posts and they sent me one for Christmas! ( check out their blog here too )....What absolute sweethearts you both are!! I had been looking for one of these all year! Thank you so much girls, you really are the sweetest!! I am so excited for their book that is coming out soon too! you can pre-order it here , I know it will be a fabulous read and full of gorgeous visuals too! They do everything with such a warm sense of country cottage style and I am such a huge fan!
The ceramic egg holder is all happy in my kitchen ! :)
The next two pictures are from Country Living magazine, to which Serena and Teri's style is so beautifully shown , I just love everything they put their creative talents to!
So pretty , it just makes you excited to Bake! :)
I also spent a little of the weekend working on an ornament for an annual Christmas holiday Ornament exchange that a girlfriend of mine has every year, and I am now officially addicted to decoupage ! lol...
After I cut and pasted most of my Christmas magazines for the base , I added some of my favorite glitter stars and then made a few glittered polka-dots of my own.
I added a brown grosgrain ribbon and it was all finished.... hmmm, lol, well maybe :) I might add a bit of glitter to the ribbon too, I haven't decided yet :) I love that glitter stuff , and sometimes I don't know when to stop :)!
As always, I hope the Holidays are finding you all happy and healthy! Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays out to you all !!

With Love and Hugs,

~ Cynthia ~

Monday, December 8, 2008

~ A New Look ~

I've wanted the table above for a long time, I've always had the vision in my head of what I wanted, but even with my resources and much time looking I just never found the perfect one, so as they say: "when you can't find what your looking for , make it yourself ".... well, lol, I don't know who said that, but its a good motto. Hand painting furniture to some seems difficult , but I can assure you, if I can do it, so can anyone! Its a busy season, but I really wanted this done by Christmas so I took most of Saturday, set aside a few hours and went to work on it. The following below is a step by step guide to how I got to the finished look. (Above and below are 2 pictures of it finished and then the pictures go in order from "before" to the last step....)
Before ( below ) an old antique pine table and my 4 chairs...My new choice of colors were inspired by Elyse's beautiful little table over at Cottage, I knew they would be perfect for my kitchen, Thanks Elyse!
First step: Zinsser primer , one coat....
2: One solid coat of Linen White
3: Add any details you'd like, for me, I taped out and painted 4 stripes in a Robins Egg blue, then I also decoupaged some of the roses from my kitchen wallpaper and then hand painted cherries on to the chairs and table base...and then after the details were added, I sanded some paint off in areas of use to give it a nice distressed shabby look...

4: the next step is to glaze it with a glazing medium ( available at any paint store ) get that, add a tint of antique color to the glaze, in my case I used a 1/4 cup of coffee color to 1 cup glaze and mixed it together. Then apply it it circular motions ( with a soft cloth )over the piece you are painting and this gives it the nice antique look.
5: And last but not least, apply a Coat of Bees Wax ( follow directions on the can ) to protect the finish, another name for the Bees Wax is "bowling alley wax"or Butchers wax.................................wa-lah! , you are done :)
Now its time to sit back and enjoy it..... :)
Any of the pictures can be clicked on to make bigger and get a better view of the layers....
I hope you are all having a fabulous Holiday Season! Now I'm off to visit all your wonderful blogs and catch up! Thank you so much for all your sweet comments on my gift wrapping ideas and Christmas decor, I am truly blessed by all of you!

~ Hugs ~


Friday, December 5, 2008

~ Happy Holidays ~

I hope the Season is finding you all healthy and happy! I want to start this post with a big Thank you! Thank you for coming into my little corner of the world and brightening my every day! Its that time of year and I've noticed by all your beautiful blogs , that we are all in the same boat :) covered with trims, wrapping paper, and so many "to-do's"....but I've loved that everyone has opened their homes and given me such beautiful and inspirational eye candy and its so wonderful to share ideas and talents, I appreciate you all so so much! with that said, It's time for me to wrap :) no pun intended, ( oh that was so cheesy, lol ) but then again, im a cheesy kind of girl sometimes.... The pics below are me playing with my wrapping ideas and a few little extras. I haven't come near finishing my shopping, but when I do, I like to spend one day, eggnog in hand and wrap all day. Its fun to collect things throughout the year that I can use on packages and when I pull the box out I'm so happy I did too :)
I use so many things as wrapping paper, sometimes the usual and sometimes scrapbook sheets, tins, fabric, or my new favorites are the little Chinese food cartons. All craft stores have them now, and they are so simple and cute :) I like adding tags with sayings to my packages too, just a little something extra :)

Its fun to have a little box filled with ribbons and small "add-ons" as I call them :) so when I put the bow on the gift, I can just tie a little glittery star or a mini Xmas ornament in the center and it adds a nice touch and another mini gift too :)

This one below is ready to go, filled with a tea cup and some greenery and a few little extras for someone to enjoy. I've seen so many tea cup trees this year and its such a great idea for a tree in the kitchen or anywhere, I love them! Just tie a pretty bow on it and it looks so sweet and ready to hang too!

lol, I adore these little stars, my daughter says I'm going "star crazy"....she's right :)
Doesn't it look sweet on the tree?
Happy Holidays my sweet friends !!

Much Love and Thanks!

~ Cynthia ~