Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Give Thanks

The Holiday weekend is upon us. It's time to pull out the aprons, grab out the roasting pans, cookie sheets and pie pans. I'm excited to have everyone home for the holiday. There is nothing more important to me than spending time with my family.

I'll be baking and maybe blogging about the process along the way. But I wanted to take a moment to wish everyone a Happy and Healthy Holiday with their family and friends. I hope you all have some great time feasting with your loved ones.

And remember to give thanks...

Monday, November 25, 2013

Holiday Hands

The holidays are upon us and I'm starting to get the house ready...oh yeah, and my hands. I'm practicing on my nails. These blue nails help the white snowflakes really pop.

But I'll be doing other decorations and trying out other designs.

How 'bout you? Do you do any special designs for the holidays.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Catching Fire

I read this book a few years ago but it is still fresh in my mind and heart, which made seeing the movie a fun experience even though the story is so dark and sadly depressing.

There are moments of hope, such as when the tributes sacrifice themselves for Katniss and Peeta. They are hoping to be a part of something bigger than the Hunger Games. The Tributes are trying to start a revolution. And they do. Together they work to change more than their own paths, they are changing the world.

It's a very sad movie in a lot of ways but also it brings out the strength in love, hope and helping others.

I highly recommend this movie.

If you see it, let me know what you think.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

OFF TO THE SCBWI FALL RETREAT

I'm off to see the wizard(s) and wizardesses of words and writing at Silver Falls and hopefully learn a thing or two. Plus this will be a great time away from the city to spend time reading and writing and talking with other like-minded folk.

If you want to read more about it, click over here.



Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Nothing Says the Holidays

Like Egg Nog. Yep, you heard me. When I was young, Mom used to make homemade Egg Nog and I still remember sipping it warm off the oven. I'd make my own, cold version-sans alcohol, after New Year's rolled around because Mom only made it from Thanksgiving to Christmas. Hot Buttered Rum was a celebration drink.

And last night, after dinner, we all started talking about Nogs of different varieties. Some people like the thin, low-fat version, while others like the super rich and thick heavy cream variety.

I myself prefer the homemade version and it made me think back to when Mom made those mugs of Hot Buttered Rum.

One thing was obvious from all of our talk, we all had differing opinions. So, my son ran up to the store and bought a couple different types.

Now, we don't usually sit around downing rum and Egg Nog, but 'tis the season. So we did a few taste tests.

And guess which one came out the winner:

Yep, the Classic because it had more "spice" than the other version, which seemed a little watered (or 'milked') down.

But then I wanted to add the "Hot-Buttered" equation to the party.

So I took a cube of butter and one cup of brown sugar and warmed them on the oven. Then I took the Classic variety of Egg Nog and warmed it on the stove.

Here's how I doctored up that store-bought Nog:

I took Two Tablespoons of my hot buttered rum batter and put it in the bottom of a mug, then I poured a generous helping of the classic nog liquid over the top and stirred in a jigger of rum (a little less in my cup). Then we toasted the holidays.

So, if you want Hot Buttered Rum for Thanksgiving but don't want to go to all the work to make it completely from scratch, this is the way to do it.

RECIPE:

INGREDIENTS:

One half-gallon of classic Nog
1 cube of butter
1 cup of brown sugar

INSTRUCTIONS:

Start with your store-bought "classic" Egg Nog and warm it slowly on the stove, stirring constantly.
Warm one cube of butter and one cup of brown sugar on the stove (until just before it turns to caramel) to make your Hot Buttered Rum Batter.

Take two tablespoons of your "batter", put it in a mug and pour the warmed classic egg nog over the top, then add your portion of rum  to the drink for a warm, comforting, celebration drink.

CHEERS!




Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Halloween Might be Over but this is one Creepy House

It sits on a beautiful corner in a beautiful city but no one walks on this side of the street, there is even moss growing on the walkways, as if people see it then turn away and cross the street, unwilling to stroll down the same side of the sidewalk.

Apparently it's a house with a haunted history . . . full of memories because no one passes by this house, at least not that I saw. There were trills of laughter and footfalls around me, always on the other side of the street.

Obviously this house has a story to tell because when people are too afraid to walk on the same side of the street, it makes me wonder...what happened in there?

Obviously it was a grand home at one time in history...so why has it been abandoned? The shutters are closed up, protecting the home for prying eyes...except for the turret. . . as if someone could be sitting up in that room, looking outside and watching...


I see the hidden beauty, masked behind years of neglect and I want to pull out a paintbrush and give it a fresh coat of paint, to spruce the place up a bit...
But then I see that "ONE WAY" sign stabbed into the grass out front...it seems to be pointing away from this house and away from this side of the street, like a warning.

I know when I was a child, this boarded up house, would cry out to me...calling me to want to sneak inside and explore the hidden rooms to discover its secrets.

But today, it was a little creepy...even crossing over to take a few photos. As if, I was invading this Grande Ole' Dame's privacy.

Beautiful...in an eerie sort of way.

Monday, November 18, 2013

DIY Floor Refinishing - Sanding the Old - In With the New

So, as you can see, the project isn't finished but...it is getting there. And if you didn't see the floors before my hubby began this process - let me give you a peek.

This floor is 123 years old. So it's OLD fir flooring that has seen its share of wear and tear. But before my hubby could strip the layers of paint away, he had to do a few minor repairs--there were a few weak boards he wanted to replace.

You can see him here, reaching down into a hole to make a patch in the floor, and of course he had to use old flooring so it would match.  (A note to gardening friends - do you see him on his knees - yes, he's using a favorite gardening tool of mine - a Knee Pad, so there is more than one way to use this tool).

Anyway, then he had to strip off the first layer of paint with a machine he rented from The Home Depot for $60 for the day.

(You can see his patch job there - it won't show up so much after he strips the paint away from the other boards). But then he started the job, going slowly over the floor and being careful not to take too much off. He was concerned about gouging the wood but this old fir is super strong and you can see it was much improved after the first pass.

Of course he had to go over the floor a second time.

And then he actually got down on his hands and knees (using my gardening tool again) to get the last stubborn bits of paint up off those boards.

It was an all-day project and it was definitely a dirty job - he wore a dust mask to keep from breathing in the tiny particles floating in the air.

And you can see all the dirt left behind from the sander.

We're going to put a clear Varathane over the floor to protect the wood from scratches and wear but that's a project for another day.








Monday, November 11, 2013

HOLIDAY SPICE is now on Kindle

So if you want a HOT holiday, you might want to pick up this anthology on your kindle and curl up on the couch with a cup of cocoa then just wait for that warm holiday spirit to hit ;D.

HOLIDAY SPICE is only .99 cents this month. But remember this ISN'T a kids' book.

Other e-tailers will probably carry the book later in the month. http://www.amazon.com/Holiday-Spice-ebook/dp/B00GLEY2OY/ref=sr_1_2?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1384212470&sr=1-2&keywords=holiday+spice

My story is THE MESSENGER. 

DIY Wreath - Changing with the Seasons - Halloween to Christmas

It's so simple to live cheap and green. All you have to do is think "reuse", "repurpose" and "recycle". And I grew up doing that because in a house with nine kids, hand-me-downs was my way of life. New meant a new pair of shoes at the beginning of the school year--yep, one pair a year and I think I wore the same "gym" shoes for six years. I kept hoping my feet would grow so I could get a new pair. But anyway, back to this post about wreaths and refitting one thing to fit the next season.

Here's how this Christmas Wreath started out as a Halloween Wreath.

All I had to do to make the transformation was pull off the spiders and add large white pearl beads and a few rhinestones and rhinestone ribbon. It was that easy.

Oh and one floral pick with glittered apples and berries and a little holly to Christmasify the wreath.

Then I hung it back on the door and for about $2.00 I had an entirely different look to welcome visitors into my house for the holidays. See how simple it is to go from this:


to this:


So, if you've got access to a glue gun, load her up and morph that season into the next for very little cash but it will still be oh so cute.

Wishing you all, a Happy Holiday Season.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Button Wreath - DIY Ornaments

I grew up in a family with nine kids so Mom was always recycling, reusing and repurposing...before it was cool. One of the things I remember is Mom's button tin. When we wore things out - and I mean threadbare, holey, ripped and torn beyond recognition - then Mom would cut off the buttons and save them for later use.

I used to love to sit at the kitchen table and go through her buttons. It was like looking for buried treasure, searching for something beautiful in a pile of "usual" and "ordinary".

Today I still have a love for buttons. So when I was sitting home with a cold, I pulled out the pipe cleaners and started stringing buttons. Nothing special, just simple, ordinary buttons but I thought they looked pretty enough to hang on a tree. So I twisted the pipe cleaner and tied a ribbon on the top. . .

Now, I'm just waiting for Christmas so I'll have someplace to put this :D

"Sew" simple and yet it brings back old memories.




Three - Day Holiday Weekend Rolling In - Veteran's Day

It's not just a weekend to go shopping in the malls. There's some real history behind having Monday off from work. It's the 11th day of the 11th month...

History of Veterans Day

World War I – known at the time as “The Great War” - officially ended when the Treaty of Versailles was signed on June 28, 1919, in the Palace of Versailles outside the town of Versailles, France. However, fighting ceased seven months earlier when an armistice, or temporary cessation of hostilities, between the Allied nations and Germany went into effect on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month. For that reason, November 11, 1918, is generally regarded as the end of “the war to end all wars.”

I hope you all have a happy holiday weekend and that you get time to spend it with family and friends and take a moment to remember the heroes. 

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Nail Addiction - Thanksgiving Nails


So, I'm trying different styles until I come up with the look that I really like for the holidays. And it's not easy because I've always been a bit of a Tomboy.  My husband laughs when I try different things and thinks I go a little far off the realm of average for style...maybe because I don't really have one...a sense of style that is. But it doesn't matter because I have fun playing around with the polish, paint and ...yep, glitter.

Today I took out the glitter pots and started painting. The first coat was a simple orange color that would be perfect for the Thanksgiving Holiday all on its own but, as is my motto, I always say why leave a good thing alone...?

Just ask my kids. They always say I work hard to come up with a good recipe and then when I do, I ruin it, by trying to make it "better". But, believe me, when I do make a recipe better...it is the BEST. So, I keep at it...playing around and trying to improve upon good enough. Things won't always work, not everything is going to be better, but nothing risked is nothing gained...right? And this is one easy way to make the holidays sparkle ;D


Tuesday, November 5, 2013

More Holiday Nails - Thanksgiving

I wanted to try some new nail designs so this is how I did it.

First I painted a topcoat on my nails.

And then I started painting them white.

Then I tried a couple different applications. One I used tape-strips to create a striped effect.

The others I painted each nail a different color and then I did my little turkey.

Of course the googly eyes make it :D

And my daughter thought it looked like a penguin...so it helps if you have better art skills - but I thought it was fun.




Monday, November 4, 2013

Tuesday Thanksgiving Nails

So I guess I jumped a season ahead and went straight to Christmas without giving Thanksgiving its due. That's the reason I started searching the internet for ideas about Thanksgiving Nails.

Here's what I came up with:

Aren't these little turkeys cute? If you want to read more about them, click here

Or here's another idea:


Or yet still another:


Now, I want to come up with my own... I'm thinking....

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Christmas Countdown has Begun - Holiday Nails

Christmas is coming the goose is getting fat...won't you please put a penny in the old man's hat?
If you haven't got a penny, a half-penny will do, if you haven't got a half-penny God Bless You!

That's an old poem I remember from my childhood. I still love to celebrate every holiday and even more I love to decorate. So, I begin with my fingernails. Red and white...candy cane nails is easy to do.

First I paint my nails red.

Then using French manicure white polish, I paint a little line at the top.

Then, if one line is a little too thick, I touch it up with a little more red...it's fun, it's easy and it reminds me of the upcoming holiday.



Friday, November 1, 2013

The Morning After

Halloween has come and gone again . . . I always feel a little depressed the day after.

It's not just taking down the decorations and putting away the costumes, it's also having a bit of a stomach ache from eating some of the leftover treats...what am I talking about...? There weren't any leftovers, I just ate them before anyone got to them.

And now, we start into the real holiday season...or the gift giving frenzified time of the year. I'm going to try to make some of my gifts. So, knitting, baking, and sewing here I come...

How bout you? How do you feel after Halloween?