Sunday, December 28, 2008

Bird D-O-G Doogie

Dumb old pigeons! They are like flying rats! I don't like them and they really bug me!! They get into our chimney and root around making their "cooing" sounds which really bother me while I attempt to lounge on mom and dad's couch. If I sit here long enough, perhaps one will fly out so I can chase it!
I hear them.....
....listen.....can you hear them, too?
They leave nasty bird poop on our pool deck and it makes my momma really angry, especially when she gets the gooey stinky stuff wedged into her toes. She goes wicked crazy when that happens!
For now I will make my rounds and let them know that I, Mr. Doogie Bird Dog, am on watch now. As Clint Eastwood would say, "Go ahead, make my day!"
Ya hear me birds?
That's right...I am the Bird D-O-G Doogie P. - ya betta watch out!

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Remember my post on "to the moon Halloween?" That post I shared with you some of the Halloween collections of our friends Barry and Tammy. Well, their Christmas collections are just as fabulous! They had us over for dinner a few weeks ago (yummy!!) and afterwards I walked through their lovely home and took a few photos - (just snippets) of their amazing pieces. I know, I know....Christmas is over but I just had to share these with you. You can click on the pictures to enlarge them. Barry and Tammy display their pieces perfectly.

An old fish aquarium filled with decorations. See that little red bird lamp on the back left side? Love it!!!

Here gnomes, toadstools and a chenille pinecone Santa hang out in a darling vignette. The little cottage in the background is a gnome cottage.
Inside the built in wall cabinet is a vast collection of Christmas dishes - many of which are German. See the little walnut candle holder in the front? So cute.

I spy the cutest gnome!!
The church is an old candy holder.
Little German gift tags are displayed in place card holders. The little girl on her skies is an old Snow Babies piece.
The little Christmas trees are chenille.
Just one of many cloches in the house that hold sweet vignettes.

This cabinet is filled with old Celluloid Santas.

More snow babies displayed amongst bottle brush trees and deer.
One of my favorite pieces is this German piece of a boy on his skiis. Barry and Tammy find a lot of their collections on eBay and antique stores. Their favorite pieces are the 20's and 30's European pieces that are from Czech, Prague and Germany.

Ok...I am now on a mission for one of these little skiing boys!

Have a lovely day!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Best Wishes Being Sent Your Way

With all of the hustle and bustle of shopping, wrapping, decorating and baking, a girl can get pretty tired. Nothing beats a little R and R under a cozy and oh-so-soft blanket. Can I just stay here a little longer, please? Ok, off I go to finish things up.

I added a few angels to a shelf in our bedroom...
and a little white feather tree with mercury glass beads and ornaments sits next to the bed.
I had three of my friends over for lunch last week and I got the table all ready the night before.
The white crocheted tablecloth is very special to me as it was made by my late Grandma Katherine, who made the most gorgeous crocheted pieces.
Duhgall and Socks got in a little R & R action. Duhgall loves to look out the window and this particular day he was fascinated by the falling rain.
Even Miss Socks enjoys the Christmas tree.
I love the house at night with all of the lights on as it is so peaceful.

"Duhgall," I say to my little Scotty boy. "Harrum?", Duhgall says.

"Can you do me a favor and wish all of our visitors a Merry Christmas?"

"Why certainly", says Duhgall.
We wish you all a blessed Christmas and a most joyful and safe New Year!


GOD BLESS OUR MILITARY AND SERVICE FAMILIES AND FRIENDS!!! Thank you so very much for all of your sacrifices. Be safe ~~ in God's speed.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Homemade Caramels - A Wonderful Treat!

Ahhh heck, why not post another SWEET treat to make!? In the last minute flurry of putting together gifties for everyone, why not don your apron and whip out your pot and candy thermometer!? You won't be sorry - trust me! I keep telling myself, as I give a little pinch to my "muffin top" waist, no more cookies, cake or candies! But hey, I will be the FIRST to admit that I love indulging with the season's finest sweet treats and will search that See's candy box for that Bordeaux with my name written all over it. Give this little recipe a whirl and hopefully there will be enough left of these tender bites to give out. I also want to thank Sharon at Red Geranium Cottage for sharing this recipe last year! It is the bomb!

Homemade Caramels

2 cups sugar

1/2 cup butter

2 cups heavy whipping cream

3/4 cup light corn syrup

Waxed paper

Butter the bottom and sides of a glass 8 inch square (2 quart) baking dish. Note: I used a rectangular Pyrex dish that was a bit larger and it worked.

In a heavy 3 quart saucepan, heat all ingredients to boiling over medium heat and stir constantly. It will take a bit of time for the mixture to come to boil but don't walk away - keep stirring. Now when it comes to a rolling boil, boil for 35 minutes - and it is spot on with the time. Stir frequently when it reaches the rolling boil. When the candy thermometer reaches 245 degrees F immediately spread the caramel mixture into your buttered dish. Cool completely - about 2 hours. I cover my caramel with plastic wrap and put in the fridge overnight to harden. Before cutting, let it sit out in your kitchen for an hour to soften up enough to cut nicely. Cut into 1 inch squares and wrap individually with wax paper.

For gifts, simply add the caramels into a sweet container and maybe tie on some ornaments with a little ribbon.
I found these pitchers at Marshall's for 2.99 this year. They are super cute to give filled with all sorts of goodies.
Now get busy!!!


Sunday, December 21, 2008

Homemade Granola ~ A Healthy Christmas Treat!

This is a fabulous homemade granola recipe that I got off of the Food Network Channel (Ina Garten's recipe) last year and made more up this year to give as gifts to friends and neighbors. It is a healthy alternative to cookies and candy - of which I love and will pay for later! The cost to put these together is relatively inexpensive as well:
.10 per glass jar - a garage sale find (just clean them really good).
.25 ornament - I bought 2 dozen at Marshall's for 6.00
1 Fat Quarter (for fabric tops) - .99 at Joann's (makes 4 tops) = .25 per jar
.20 - Ribbon or cut up scrap fabric to make a bow
Granola - approx 2.50 per jar (depending on cost of ingredients)
.15 hang tag
total: 3.50 per jar
4 cups old-fashioned rolled oats (don't use the quick oats)
2 cups sweetened, shredded coconut
2 cups sliced almonds (note: I used 1 1/2 cups and you can subsitute walnuts or pecans)
1 1/2 cups dried cherries - chopped (I leave mine whole)
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/3 cup good honey
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Toss the oats, coconut and almonds together in a large bowl. Pour the vegetable oil and honey over the oat mixture. Add the cinnamon and stir with a wooden spoon until all of the oat mixture is completed covered with the oil/honey. Don't leave any dry. Pour onto a LARGE baking sheet that has a RIM on it. Put the pan on the second to bottom rack inside your oven. Bake and stir with a spatula about every 3 minutes. Don't let it burn along the edges. Bake approximately 20-25 minutes - until a golden brown. Remove the granola from the oven and allow it to cool on the baking sheet. Give it a little stir now and then as it cools. The mixture will dry out as it sits there cooling off. Now I add my fruit at the very end to the cooked mixture. If you bake the fruit it becomes hard and can burn. You can even put your fruit in the last two minutes of cooking time if you like and it won't burn.
Note: instead of cherries, you can use raisins, craisins, cranberries, dried apricots or any other dried fruit you have on hand. You can also reduce the amount from 1 1/2 cups to just 1 cup.
If you don't have a large baking sheet you can use two regular size cookie sheets - just be sure that the sheets have an edge on them otherwise the granola will fall off the sheet and make a mess of your oven.
When measuring the oil and honey use a 1 cup measuring cup. First measure out the oil and then measure out the honey by pouring the honey into the oil. This way the honey won't stick to the measuring cup.
The granola is delicious served on top of vanilla ice cream, yogurt or served with milk.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Christmas At 3 Friends' Homes

What is so wonderful about blogging is to have the opportunity to be treated to the unique individual styles of all the women who open their doors to us. I am so grateful to all of you who have been so generous in sharing your decorating ideas and your homes - but most of all, your friendship. I appreciate each and every comment and email that you left at my Cottage Christmas post. You are all so very sweet and kind! ((a hug for you))

Today I am sharing three homes of my friends - Geri, Sonia and Wave. Each friend has their own personal style and are so creative and artistic in putting the final touches that make their homes so very special and beautiful. It is a real treat to be invited over to experience all of the wonderful decorating and to see, first hand, all of the amazing touches - from a gorgeous ornate swag to a simple bowl of pine cones with a snippet of fresh holly and berries.

First stop! Welcome to Geri's English Cottage Style Home! Geri is an artist, gardener and floral designer. Her home is reflective of her colorful and loving personality. Geri and her husband were also featured on HGTV last year on the show "What You Get For The Money."

Come on in to this sweet home.....
Her front parlor....
...and her back den ~ a cozy little English style retreat with a definite feminine and whimsical flare.

One of Geri's Christmas trees that sits on a little table in her den.
eri painted the roses over the buffet.

Such a sweet village atop yet another buffet in her parlor.
I wonder what he is thinking?
Jeri created the swag over the dining room mirror. Warm gold walls really make this room rich and cozy.
Table for 8, please!
What makes her home so special are her sweet paintings that adorn the walls in each of her rooms. This one is my favorite and perfect for the Holidays! I could not quite sneak this one out without her knowing. She also has a vast collection of adorable stitched cottage samplers.
The afternoon light streams softly through the windows casting light onto the charming floral bouquets on the sofa.
Gorgeous Spode dinner plates.
And you guessed it...Geri painted the ceiling, too. Amazing...

Now welcome to Sonia's darling Hansel and Gretel cottage! Sonia's style is French Country and is so very classy with beautiful touches all throughout. Sonia is a sweet and soft spoken woman and her home is reflective of her elegance and grace.
The front room is inviting and so elegantly decorated. Sonia makes the most amazing needlepoint pillows. Each one takes her over a hundred hours to stitch. She is also an accomplished seamstress and has about five seasonal changes for her bedrooms.

I love this room! It is like wrapping yourself in a favorite warm sweater - it just feels great! The 13 foot ceilings really draw your eye up to her wonderful collections of European artwork.

Her sofas showcase her needlepoint pillows.
A sweet corner in her formal dining room. Sonia has lovely Majolica pieces and quite a menagerie of Roosters in her home.

This sweet tree is in her living room with a few of her sheep figurines that she collects. Sonia lived on a dairy as a child and she is fond of sheep and cattle - figurines and artwork are found throughout her home.

Aren't these old pajama bags fabulous!?
Sadly, the photo of her large tree did not turn out, however these
of her ornaments did. Her husband hand carved these ornaments and Sonia painted them. Aren't they fantastic?
It is the sweet and personal touches that make a house a home.

An All American Santa bids you adieu and wishes you a Merry Christmas!!
Next stop is to my friend Wave's wonderful Scottish Cottage home. As soon as your step foot into this classically styled Scottish Hunting cottage, you will feel a sense of ease creep into your inner being. Her hospitality and warm heart makes you feel as though you could sink into an easy chair and read a good book all day by the fire.
Sweet old vintage stockings add a pop of color to her cabinet.
Care for a spot of tea?
Happy Birthday to our Lord Jesus Christ. A lovely nativity scene is simply displayed on an on English sideboard.
Her Christmas tree is full of wonderful ornaments and a 20 year old swag of popcorn - and it is still intact..yes indeedy.
There are two adorable Scottish Terriers, Bonny and Maude, who occupy the home as well - along with the loving and gentle Golden Retriever, Hank. Wave made the Scotty ornaments for her tree. She also gives them to friends...ahem...I am now a lucky recipient of one.
Old Scotty toys attempt a risky maneuver to seek out what is atop the table.
But wait, there are more! I do believe that the race is on.
Below the table she has arranged antique toys, books and other Christmas pieces for a nostalgic display.
An old silver tray provides a base to display her antique celluloid deer collection. She added some ground up sea salt for the snow and some old bottle brush trees.

Plaid ribbons, feathers and pine garlands are used throughout...
....over pictures...
...and tucked in with the old squirrel nutcrackers.

(...oh no! a mouse!.....)

An antique Dresden piece atop a small tree on the breakfast nook table.
Old Christmas postcards are displayed by tucking them inside ribbon that wraps around a topiary tree that have little red cardinals perched at the top.

The little feather tree graces the center of the table with old German figures, dogs and old metal fence.

Thank you Geri, Sonia and Wave (and to their wonderful husbands) for allowing me to capture glimpses of your lovely homes. They are truely remarkable and filled to the rafters with love and grace.