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Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Surrounded by Santas

"Down the chimney St. Nicholas came with a bound!

He was dressed all in fur from his head to his foot
and his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot.

A bundle of toys he had flung on his back
 and he looked like a peddler just opening his pack.

His eyes how they twinkled! His dimples how merry!
His cheeks were like roses his nose like a cherry.

His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow
and the beard on his chin was as white as the snow.

The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth
and the smoke it encircled his head like a wreath.

 He had a broad face and a little round belly
that shook when he laughed like a bowl full of jelly.

 He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf, 
and I laughed when I saw him in spite of myself.

A wink of his eye and twist of his head 
soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread...

...and I heard him exclaim as he drove out of sight
Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good night!"

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Darling Dishtowels

Do you have time to go thrift shopping during the holiday season? No? I don't really either, nevertheless I zipped into my closest Goodwill after running errands to see if they had any fun Christmas decor left.
See what I found? Four holiday dishtowels, and yes, brand new with the price tags from a local boutique still attached!

 The toile towels are made by Waverly and the red ones are from TAG one of my favorite vendors. I also happen to have two bowls in the same Winterberry pattern to coordinate with the towels.
 Do you love dishtowels as much as I do?

I'll be joining

Monday, December 12, 2011

Christmas Pudding

While thrift shopping recently, I came across this charming vintage tin. It's in beautiful condition. Since I love to cook I also love collecting kitchen cookware and gadgets. 
Can you guess what it's for?

 It's an old pudding mold. Not the kind of pudding that Americans think of. But old fashioned English pudding that's full of fruits, nuts and spices that gets steamed for hours filling the kitchen with 
holiday fragrance. 

My mother used to make a traditional carrot pudding for the holidays so I dug out the old recipe and gave it a try. Didn't it come out beautifully? I filled the center with whipped cream and served it with warm lemon sauce 
for my book club today.

The Recipe

Carrot Pudding

1 cup butter                                                                                                                  
1 cup brown sugar                                                            
2 eggs beaten                                                                   
1 cup grated carrots                                                          
1 cup peeled and grated apple                                           
1 cup raisins                                                              
1 cup flour 
1 cup fine bread crumbs
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda 
 1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon cloves
1 teaspoon cinnamon

Cream butter and sugar. Add eggs and beat, then add carrots, raisins and apples. Stir in dry ingredients. Fill greased mold 2/3 full and cover with lid or foil and simmer 3 hours in large covered kettle filled with 1-2 inches of water. Remove mold from water, take off lid and turn upside down to unmold pudding onto large plate. Serve with whipped cream and lemon sauce.

Lemon Sauce
3/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1 1/4 cups hot water
3 1/2 teaspoons butter
4 teaspoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon vanilla
In a saucepan mix sugar, cornstarch and salt. Add water, butter, lemon and vanilla. Simmer until thick.  

Happy Holidays! 
I'll be joining
Masterpiece Monday
Open House Party
Tabletop Tuesday
Debbie's Newbie Party
                                            Tuesday's Treasures                                                  

Friday, December 9, 2011

Christmas Jars

This is a fun Christmas gift idea that some of my friends will be receiving. I recently read Christmas Jars, a novel by Jason F. Wright. It's a wonderful story about a family that "pays it forward" each year by collecting loose change and sharing it with others in need.  Rather than giving my friends a jar of cash (!), I got them each a copy of the book and made some 
Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookie mix in a Jar.

I'm sure most of you have made these cookie mixes before. 
They are easy to make and fun to receive!
 Here is my version:

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookie Mix in a Jar

  • 2/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup chocolate chips
  • 1 1/2 cups quick or old-fashioned oats
  • 1/2 cup Craisins

  • COMBINE flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt in small bowl. Place flour mixture in 1-quart jar. Layer remaining ingredients in order listed above, pressing firmly after each layer. Seal with lid .
    Beat 1/2 cup (1 stick) softened butter or margarine, 1 large egg and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract in large mixer bowl until blended. Add cookie mix; mix well, breaking up any clumps. Drop by rounded tablespoon onto ungreased baking sheets. Bake in preheated 375° F. oven for 8 to 10 minutes. Cool on baking sheets for 2 minutes; remove to wire racks. Makes about 2 dozen cookies. 

I'll be joining

Monday, December 5, 2011

An Abundance of Ornaments

I had three major events that I was involved in this past week! Nevertheless I have spent every spare minute decorating the house for Christmas. We have a large tree in the living room and after filling every branch with baubles, bangles and beads I still had boxes of ornaments! I know I need to "weed out" some, but honestly, how can I let any of these go? So I started filling platters, bowls and jars. 
I decided trying to chose your favorite Christmas ornament is like trying to chose your favorite child,
 you simply love them all!

I'll be joining

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Christmas Raffle Table

This week is the annual Christmas Idea House presented by the Desert Club of Mesa, AZ. 
My assignment this year was to put together a complete table setting for 8 including linens, centerpiece, china, crystal and silverware. 

 I decided to shake things up by choosing black, white and turquoise as the color scheme instead of the traditional 
red and green .

 I found these giant glittered bells last year and used them as the theme for the table "Silver Bells".

The entire table will be raffled off for only $5 a ticket. If you live in the greater Phoenix area come see the rest of the gorgeous house and pick up some holiday gifts for your friends, family or yourself!
         Check out our website for more information

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

We Whisk You...

My women's service group made these cute wire whisk favors to sell at our Christmas Idea House fund raiser. While I usually bake, I thought this year I would use them for  neighbor gifts. 

 Take a new wire whisk and stuff it with Hershey Kisses. Wrap in cellophane and bow it up. Add a cute tag and you're done! For a more elaborate gift you include a cookbook or set of mixing bowls for the cooks on your Christmas list.

I'll be joining 

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Very Thankful!

We went to my brother's house for Thanksgiving dinner.
He is a caterer and his wife is an interior decorator. 
Needless to say it was fabulous!

English transferware turkey plates by Johnson Brothers.

Look carefully, there's a little Pilgrim family nestled in the cornucopia!

The young adult table.

The kids table.

Mom's Thanksgiving hutch filled with pumpkins and Quimper.


I'll be joining

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Winter White

I usually do a very traditional Christmas tablescape in reds and greens and I probably will later on in the month. But I'm hosting Book Club soon and thought I'd go a different route with black and white and lots of silver and sparkle.

 I found all of these chunky glass candleholders at the Goodwill for about $3 each. I took a few of the candles and wrapped them in vintage sheet music and embellished them with some velvet ribbon and rhinestones. I used double stick tape so I can remove it all later if I want to.

 My son Josh gave me these black and white transferware plates a couple of years ago. He has very good taste! Even though the graphic is kind of summery I think they'll look fine for the Holidays.

 This is a sweet little vintage silver biscuit or cracker holder, but I've filled it with some of my favorite chocolates.

Thanks for stopping by!

I'll be joining the following parties
Treasure Hunt Thursday
Wow Us Wednesday

Nifty Thrifty Tuesdays
Tabletop Tuesday