Tuesday, December 31, 2013

things are a changing...

With the New Year upon us, life continues to evolve and change.  There are times when you feel things shifting. Though nothing is physically happening, you can feel it in the air around you.  

Vision board for 2014...

 Via....Planet Natural



Via...Source Unknown

Via...A Cup of Jo


Via...The Lisa Porter Collection

So here is to stepping forward in 2014 and going after what you want.
make it happen...dream big...create your life

Happy New Year! 

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

a collection and a Christmas award for you!

This is the time of year where I like to take it all in.  The little joys of the season.  The wreaths and bows that people hang to remind us that there is a common thread that ties us all together.

I wanted to thank Evi from Sexta-Feira for honoring me with this fun Christmas Award!   

1.   A Christmas Memory...

As a kid we would go every year to cut down a tree.  One year we picked what we thought was a big tree but were second guessing ourselves when the owners of the tree farm were laughing at us and were a bit beside themselves when the tree we picked broke their netting machine when putting it through.  Still confident in our decision, it was roped to our car and we were off.  The tree was in place at home and once cut, it took up the whole width of the room minus a foot or two.  It would not stand up straight so my dad enlisted the help of neighbors to come on over to rope the thing up to the ceiling and upper banister.  Mr. White with cigarette in mouth, came in laughing at what he saw.  "Geez Jer"  was all I remember him saying.  But my dad was determined and with a little help that tree was stabilized and ready for the season.  The funny thing is when some of our neighbors went to get their trees the workers at the tree farm were still talking about our tree being the biggest they had ever sold!

2.  Favorite Christmas Song...

This was a hard one for me because I do like every old Christmas song out there.  Sinatra to Bing Crosby... they all take me away to Christmases of the past.  But this one always gets turned up loud!

3.  All I Want for Christmas...

I want great memories for the beans.  As my dear friend Cara would say, just to have them look back when they have their own families and think "WOW that was awesome!" would be the best present.

4.  A Wish for 2014...

To continue to grow as a person.  For my family to be healthy.  And grow lots of stuff!

I wanted to take a minute to thank you all for coming along on this blog journey with me.  I know I've said it before but I have really enjoyed getting to know each and every one of you.  Wishing you all the happiest of holidays in the days to come!  

And because I couldn't just choose a few of you I am passing this award on to all of you!  


Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Christmas bits

We are getting blasted with cold in the Chicagoland area but that hasn't kept us inside completely!  

We were able to take the beans out to the Metra for a fun Polar Express train ride to the city.  Caroling, Santa, candy canes, and jingling bells made for a festive experience!

 One of our favorite things to do is go for night walks.  On this particular night it was completely quiet as the snow fell.  We made fresh tracks with our sleds and took in the Christmas lights around our neighborhood before coming in for hot cocoa!  

 Though all of my shopping is not completely done we have started our baking.  We feel really lucky to have been blessed with wonderful neighbors.  I made a big batch of peppermint bark, cut it up and put it in mason jars.  After loading the beans in the wagon we delivered the jars to our friends.
This recipe was inspired by my sister Christy's peppermint bark...she is a talented baker!  

Peppermint Bark...
~12oz of semi-sweet chocolate chips
~12oz of white chocolate of almond bark
~6oz of wrapped peppermints
~1/2 cup of whipping cream
~1 teaspoon of peppermint extract

The first thing you want to do is chop your peppermint candies.  We used candy canes so either will do.  In a homemade double boiler (bowl placed over pan with water) melt the semi-sweet chocolate with cream and mint extract.  Line a cookie sheet (one with sides) with foil.  Pour in the goods!  Sprinkle half of the candies over the chocolate.  Place in fridge for 30 minutes to set.  While this is setting melt your white chocolate over the same double boiler.  When this is finished pour it over the chocolate and sprinkle on remaining candy.  Pop it back in the fridge for a good hour and then break it up by hand or with a knife.  It freezes really well so you can make a bunch ahead of time!  

Linking up with my friend Sarah for Tea Party Tuesdays!!!

Grab button for CHANTILLE FLEUR

Wishing you a wonderful WARM Wednesday everyone!

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Christmas on Clyde

Sometimes all it takes is something small to pull everything together.  My grandmother's glass Christmas beads tell a story all their own.

Christmas in a richly layered home while the cold wind blew on a festive Chicago night.  Colorful bubblers lit the Christmas tree as the gold tinsel sparkled.  The color throughout her home was pure magic for me.  The sounds of clinking teacups as the adults discussed events and happenings.  As we ran from room to room in our winter pajamas trying desperately to sneak more homemade apple pie and chocolate eclair cake without a care in the world.

My grandma was gifted.  Gifted in so many areas....baking, rose gardening, painting and sewing to name a few.  Her passion for design has truly influenced my life.

my grandma and grandpa when they were first married

Our Christmas home is a tribute to the past.
Gram's glass beads were all the inspiration I needed.

We have a small house so we don't own many Christmas decorations.  It's a fun challenge for me to use what we have or find things from the garden to create new vignettes.  I use my art or crafts that the beans have made to add color.  And with our real tree in the living room, I just cut branches from the underside to use throughout our home for extra greenery.  

Fresh greens for the door and sprigs for the winter planters.  

Our mantel is all fresh greens.  Boxwood and arborvitae sprigs from the garden, my repurposed trees and my grandma's glass beads. 

Berry branches add a bit of color to our tiny library nook and a mini wreath made from some Christmas tree branches.

tissue paper ornaments made by the beans

My cardinal art, repurposed tequila box, and a thrifted one dollar gold vase.

I have a thing for bottle brush trees!

I finally refinished the chair that I rescued from the curb! It is now a happy coral color.

pictures of Christmases gone past

Vintage throwbacks on the bookshelf.

Paper circles to decorate sprigs cut from the Christmas tree and my prized cow bells from my mom.

I repurposed this picture frame to make into a chalkboard.  My vintage Shiny Brites and Gram's candlestick holders.

I think the natural desire of us all is to recreate that magic we felt when we were young.  The beauty that I have seen across all of your blogs inspires me to believe that there is an awesome movement taking place.  One of positivity, giving and creativity.

Wishing you the merriest this holiday season friends!

Linking up with...
Fishtail Cottage
Liz Marie Blog
The Shabby Nest

The Patriotic Pam