Well, we're getting down to the wire, my friends, aren't we? I'm done obsessing, finished stressing. You have to give it up at some point. Que the music, "Let it go..." I've had fun creating some vignettes for my home and I'm going to share some of those. I relied on a lot of spruce from my local nursery and then I just pawed through my bins for berries and ribbon and such. I love the simplicity of this jar with a few stem of blue spruce.
I have this festive little enamel bowl on my coffee table. I've been tucking the Christmas cards in around the edges so everyone can have a peek at them.
I am still in the candle making groove, and always looking for ideas for Mason jars. This time I used a layer of rock salt, or ice cream salt which you can find at your grocery store. Another layer of fresh cranberries and a tea light candle. Thanks, Jody, from Rooted In Thyme, for the rock salt idea.
You saw a few peeks of the stockings I had going on this year. I wanted to include my kid's partners, I love them all. The stockings were made by Southouse Designs. Their handiwork is incredible. These are not massed produced stockings and I chose different fabric, trim and buttons for each one. They are all lined so beautifully. The little cedar rounds were an idea from KariAnne at Thistlewood Farm. I had The Husband drill the holes, and attached them to the stockings with twine. Everyone loves them! When the kids were little, I would fill their stockings with donuts, juice boxes and oranges...that was breakfast Christmas morning!
Some different views of the tree. This was the year I tried ribbon, a burlap with gold wire on the edges. Emily gave me detailed instructions thankfully. I used floral wire at intervals (about every ten inches). The spacing and consistent "poufing" can drive a perfectionist like me crazy but I think I'll get better with each year. And the type and color of ribbon is so endless. Very fun!
My precious pups. We also have ornaments like this for Shadow and Edmund. Sniff. I would take the kids to the church/school bazaar when it was held every December, I don't think we missed a year until Abby moved on to high school. The crafts were very much like these ornaments, as well as a lot of knitting and cross stitch, crocheted baby blankets,,,and we always bought lots of fudge and chocolate/caramel turtles (some call them pixies). Remember these events? Seems like it was another lifetime for me.
Remember when Emily and I hit up the vintage goods at a woman's house a few weeks ago? She advertises on Facebook. You can read about it here. This is an old wooden wagon I picked up for a song, Emily and I nearly arm wrestled over it. She then found an old wooden rocking horse and was content. I like it festive like this and I think I'll have fun with it year round.
I found this rusty old scale, too. I've always wanted one. Sorry about these pictures...I'm using my phone. Major problems with my camera right now. I would have blurred out that darn toaster and the rest of the clutter if I could have! But focus on the scale. LOVE!
Also on the island in the kitchen I have a cute Charlie Brown tree I found at the garden center/grocery store at the lake. It's adorned with simple little painted glass pinecones. Hello, lone banana in the back. :)
I saw a garland made with these little tags (and I forgot the source). I decided to do something different.
Lest you think I do nothing but fiddle with Christmas decorating, I made wonderful homemade pot pies last week. It is a fantastic dinner to make as you can use ingredients you might have on hand, especially leftover turkey (for an after-Christmas leftover meal), or chicken, even a rotisserie chicken from the store. Very simply:
Shred 2 cups of cooked turkey or chicken. Set aside. In a large saucepan saute 2 cloves of garlic and 1 small onion, finely chopped, in 2 T of butter. When onions are softened, about two minutes, add 1 1/2 cups of frozen peas and carrots, stirring occasionally for about 5 minutes. Sprinkle in 1/3 cup of flour, gently stirring for about a minute. Add 1 cup of chicken broth, 3/4 c milk or heavy cream (I used half milk, half cream) slowly, whisking as you go along. As it thickens add 1 T each dried thyme and tarragon and salt and pepper to taste. Add your cooked turkey or chicken and let simmer 2 minutes. Remove from heat and cover. Gently roll out 1 sheet of puff pastry, extending about an inch on all sides. Slice the sheet in four pieces. Spray 4 ramekins, I used these soup bowls, with oil. Ladle in the hot chicken/veggie mixture. Top with puff pastry, pressing sides down around the edges of the ramekin. Brush lightly with a beaten egg. In a preheated oven at 375 degrees, bake for 30-35 minutes, watching so tops don't brown too much. Serves 4.
I think the spices I used were absolutely on the money. The proportions of flour to liquid made for a very rich creamy sauce. You can make the filling ahead of time, I'm sure, and put it all together in about 5 minutes (heat up the filling a bit first). Keep this on file for an after Christmas treat. :)
I had another sheet of puff pastry left over. So tonight I took a round of brie cheese and topped it with about 5 thin slices of apple. I dotted it with butter (about 1 1/2 T) and laid it on a sheet of pastry.
Now, fold up the corners to make a little pouch. Brush with an egg wash and bake on a baking sheet for 1 hour. Serve with crackers or thin slices of toasted bread. Where is my picture of the finished creation? Son Jeff came over and dived in along with Abby and The Husband. A big thumbs up from all. Simple and tasty. :)
When I last posted I told you that Milo had a respiratory infection. Well, little Layla was at the vet the next day with the same thing. Does she not look "sick as a dog"? It's been 5 days and they are both still coughing. They have a few more doses of the antibiotics but if they aren't better on Monday I am going to get them into the vet again. To hear them go into coughing fits is very scary. And I wonder how available the doctor's will be come Christmas.
I have wrapping to do and baking and that is very calming and happy to me, a really relaxing and indulgent activity during the last few days before Christmas. I went to the mall on Friday and finished everything up. My son, Jeff, expressed surprise that I wasn't shopping online. Although I have a lot in the past I told him that in the past few years I've found that I have the Christmas spirit a lot more if I actually get out there. I know, it goes against our grain...the commercialism, the crowds, the people who turn into Grinches. For myself, I just can't give up on the human race. We need to get out there, smile at others, spread some cheer. I know, I'm being Pollyanish again, but I have done the online shopping quite a bit and Christmas shopping seemed to turn into a desk job with a To Do list for buying gifts. Sorry, I love the music, the bright colors everywhere, the inspiration I get seeing items I can touch, and the feeling of that light bulb going off when I know a gift is perfect for someone. And really, the store people are very sweet and helpful. On Friday I was in a shop and I was weighted down with bags in both hands. A salesgirl actually insisted on taking my bags while I searched for some candles for my girls. In another store, I couldn't reach a shirt hung up high along a wall. I looked around frantically, spotted a teenage boy (very tall) and asked if he could help me. He smiled and blushed a little and came over to help me. It's a warm feeling when we do for others (or they do for us), and share the joy of the holidays, put the frustrations behind. Anyway, that's my little message today. :)
I'll be back after Christmas with some pictures of our family celebrations, some of the pretty tablescapes I'm sure I'll see, and a little bit about the brunch (with a recipe or two) I'm having here with The Husband and our huge family of ten. Life is good.
Merry Christmas and love to all of you, my dear friends.