Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Snowball Ornaments

I found these decorative balls at the $$ Store a few weeks ago. I thought they were rather cute, but had no idea what I would do with them. Then, a few days later I picked up a package of clear Christmas balls at the second hand store.

Put them together and this is what I came up with:
Snow-Ball filled ornaments!
Into the clear balls I tossed in about 30 mini-snowballs.

Then I capped them with the silver tops. Pretty already. Bu they need more!

How about some ribbon? Oh yeah. Never too much of that at Christmas time. Simple little pre-tied bows that I glued on with the hot glue gun. Then I had some fun. How about red gingham?

Or green with pink mittens?

Or ricrac? I glued this around the middle this time. I like the graphic line it gives.

What do you think? Pretty simple, eh? But perfect for our pink, green, red and blue tree this year!

Please leave a comment - and BECOME A FOLLOWER! I would LOVE that!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

A Stack of Advent Books

Here is another great idea I found on Pinterest. The kids in my house always have difficulty waiting until December 25th for Santa to come. So, on top of our usual "chocolate-a-day" Advent calendar, I've thrown this new "tradition" into the mix.

First, I picked 24 of my favourite Christmas books (Luckily I have taught kindergarten for the last 10 years so I have tons of these!).

Then I wrapped each one in colourful paper (I'll admit it - I bought the cheap stuff for this - but it still looks pretty!)
Using my Creative Memories tag punch, I cut a tag out of cardstock for each book
A black ink pad and number stamps add the date to each tag, numbers 1 - 24.
I used a black marker to add some detail and to beef up the numbers a bit.
Onto the packages they went!
As a mom, I need to think through the whole process and make sure I avoid as many possible problems as I can. I can just see my three little ones fighting over who gets to un-wrap the book each evening. To avoid this, I have put a child's initial on each package. Fighting avoided.
I think the kids will be so excited to see the stack of books on December first. In fact, I am pretty excited too. I ADORE all of these stories and I can't wait to share them with my little ones during the most wonderful time of the year!

Please leave a comment so I know you have visited. How about becoming a Follower, too?

Thursday, November 24, 2011

$$ Store Ornament - Only Better!

This year I want all new ornaments for our Christmas tree. Not becasue I don't like all of the ones I have collected since high school (I'll keep them all for another year), but just because I want a change.
We have a 7 foot, double-thick artificial fir tree. It takes TONS of ornaments to make it look fully decorated. So, if I want all new ornaments, I need a inexpensive way to gets LOTS of them.

So - off to the Dollar Store I went.
There was tons of useful stuff there, but everything seemed a bit simple and plain. But I had lots of ideas on how to improve what I found.

For this $$$ Store remake, I used these supplies: Buttons from my stash, hot glue, sparkly embroidery floss and some glittered snowflakes (sold in packages of 10 for $1.00).
I chose these button colours because they fit into my Christmas 2011 Colour Palette of red, green, pink and blue.
The plastic flakes are quite pretty, covered in a fine glitter. But they need more!
Bring on the buttons and the sparkly thread! I simply tied a bow of thread through the holes of the button. Cute, eh?
Then the hot glue-gun shot into action, adhering the button to the centre of the plastic flakes.

Now isn't that simple and pretty? I haven't decided if I will hang them using the small little wire ornament hooks or buy some thin ribbon to make loops. Hmm.....
The tree is going up on Saturday. We meet Santa that evening at a local event so I think that will be a good start to our very Christmas-y day.
Please leave a comment if you like my $$$Store makeover or my blog in general. Thanks!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Pink and Sparkly Christmas Wreath

I heading towards a different looking Christmas this year, in terms of colour in my decor. Lately I have really fallen in love with the use of pink, red and turquoise that I have seen in magazines and on many of the blogs I visit.
So, when my little lady requested a pink wreath for her bedroom door, I immediately went for pink. After all, she has a lovely little pink Christmas tree right inside her room. Wouldn't they look lovely together?

On a recent trip to Dollarama I found this simple white and silver wreath. I shopped my house and found all the other materials for my wreath - silver ribbon, a silver snowflake, white branches and some plastic icicles.

And some crocheted roses - of course! I've made a ton lately, and now I am putting a few more to use.
Then, with my trusty glue gun in hand, I began adding the sparkle - first the twigs and snowflake ornament.
A lovely silver bow:
And seven pink roses, crocheted in a variety of blush shades, including one with a thread of silver running through. To amp up the girly factor, I glued large pearl beads into their centres.
So what do you think? Me? I LOVE IT! It turned out even better than I hoped.
It glistens.
I kind of wish I could display it in a more "public" place in my home so more people could enjoy it. But I guess it can our family's pretty little pink secret at the end of the upstairs hallway.
Please leave me a comment. I'd love to hear from you!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Cricket is Back!

Two years ago, a box arrived in the mail addressed to our three children, sent directly from Santa Claus. Inside was our own personal elf, sent to watch over our children each day leading up to Christmas. Each night he flies home to the North Pole and fills Santa in on their behaviour during the day.
On Christmas Day, Cricket returns to his home in the north, waiting for the day during the following November that he will travel back to us for the next Christmas season.

This year, he arrived the Saturday morning right after Hallowe'en. The kids awoke to this:

Cricket had arrived and left a fully prepared breakfast and a note chronicling what he had been doing over the last 10 months. There were also some simple instructions about behaviour for the months of November and December.
The kids were so excited about the arrival of Cricket - she signals the beginning of the Christmas Season. My husband and I were most excited about the fact that our 7-year-old son could read the whole letter from Cricket without any aid!
Cricket had prepared a baked egg dish, and left strict instructions that it tasted best with a little bit of ketchup. And on the side, there was mugs of hot chocolate, complete with 5 mini-marshmallows for each of us.
The table was set with holly covered dinner plates and each place setting had its own candy cane. Candles lit the table in the early morning light.
Breakfast was yummy! Family time is wonderful! And Christmas - let it begin!!

Please leave a comment. I'd love to know you visited!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

A New Obsession......

I spend too much time on Pinterest. No- that is not my new obsession. I do spend lots of time "pinning" a large variety of recipes, decor ideas, craft projects and pretty pictures, but I am proud to say that I actually make an effort to use my "pinned" items as inspiration.

But I came across this picture the other day.

I am not sure if it is the colour combo, the mix of textures or the simplicity of the craft, but I was in LOVE.Look at those lovely little hand-made flowers! Luckily I was easily able to locate a tutorial detailing how to crochet these darling roses.

I spent 4 hours in the car this weekend, driving to and from my my mother's house and I am almost embarrassed to say how many of these pretty little roses I made!

Most of the flowers I created were pink, white and silver (for use in an upcoming project - stay tuned!) but I also whipped up a couple of chocolate brown roses for an alternate use.
My daughter wears a lot of chocolate brown and recently her favourite brown hair clips have gone missing. "Mommy-The -Crafter" to the rescue!

It was very easy to attach these crocheted flowers to some heavy-duty hair clips (my daughter has wickedly-thick hair!) and add an embellishment of a large pearl bead.
Lovely - and she ADORES them! If fact she changed her clothes this morning so that she could wear these brown clips to school today. : )

What do you think? My hubby thinks they are too big, but when you have this much hair, you need big acessories!
Hopefully in a couple of days I'll have my next crocheted rose project done. Come back and check it out!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Pumpkins and Chocolate? OH YES!!

We probably went a little overboard with pumpkins this year. Really. Everytime the kids and I were anywhere you could buy them, we did! By Hallowe'en we had our own gigantic pumpkin patch growing near our front door.
Here is a shot of maybe 1/4 of our pumpkin plot:

As we were putting away all of the Hallowe'en decorations, post trick-or-treating, we began throwing all of our pumpkins, big and small, into the green waste bins.

Oh! I felt so guilty!!
All of those perfect little sugar pumpkins heading straight for the compost. How wasteful is that?? I know they are destined for a future as green fertilizer on the gardens of my local town, but really? Shouldn't we EAT them? Isn't that they are sold??

My guilt overtook me. Okay. So did the thought of my favourite pumpkin recipes. Mmmm....

How to take a pumpkin from decor to dinner? Very, very easy.

1. Cut the sugar pumpkins in half.
2. Scoop out all of the seeds and stringy bits.
3. Cover the open side with plastic wrap and microwave for 10 minutes.

4. Using a large spoon, dig out he softened insides, leaving only the outer shell. This is what the yummy guts look like:
5. My pumpkin guts were a little stringy so I mashed them up with a fork.

Now onto my favourite pumkpin recipe:

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Squares


  • 2 cups all-purpose flour, (spooned and leveled)
  • 1 tablespoon pumpkin-pie spice
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 1/4 cups sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup canned pumpkin puree ( or some of the yummy homemade puree you just made!)
  • 1 package (12 ounces) semisweet chocolate chips


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line bottom and sides of a 9-by-13-inch baking pan with foil, leaving an overhang on all sides. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, pie spice, baking soda, and salt; set aside.
  2. With an electric mixer, cream butter and sugar on medium-high speed until smooth; beat in egg and vanilla until combined. Beat in pumpkin puree (mixture may appear curdled). Reduce speed to low, and mix in dry ingredients until just combined. Fold in chocolate chips.
  3. Spread batter evenly in prepared pan. Bake until edges begin to pull away from sides of pan and a toothpick inserted in center comes out with just a few moist crumbs attached, 35 to 40 minutes. Cool completely in pan.
  4. Lift cake from pan (using foil as an aid). Peel off foil, and use a serrated knife to cut into 24 squares.
Oh yeah! Look at these!
I love how moist these squares are. They are divine, and honestly, they don't taste like pumpkin. I think the pumpkin just adds to the warm colour.
By the way, don't cut these squares until they are completed cooled. Otherwise the squares just mash and rip and all of the chocolate comes out on your knife.
Mmmmm......time for tea....and a pumpkin square!