Friday, December 31, 2010

White Christmas

White Christmas!

I don't know that I have ever dreamt of a white Christmas, but one way or another, that's what we got this year. We woke up Christmas morning to soft flakes falling and the yard blanketed in white.

It afforded us an absolutely classic photo op though:

Friday, December 24, 2010

Twelve Days of Ornaments--Day Twelve

My First Ornament

To get the full scoop on my family's traditions surrounding ornaments, see Day One

For the last day, let's look at the ornament that started this all. Pink, saccharine sweet and everything I would steadfastly avoid were I buying it today, nonetheless, it holds a special place in my heart. We didn't hang it this year, since the hook is pulling out and needs to be repaired, and we didn't quite make it that far.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Twelve Days of Ornaments--Day Eleven


To get the full scoop on my family's traditions surrounding ornaments, see Day One

The first year my husband and I were dating, we bought a tree and set it up in his aparment. Five or six feet tall, it wasn't a little tree and it wasn't until we had it set up that I realized all my ornaments were back at home. Between the barren tree and a bit of over zealousness for the holiday, our intent to purchase an ornament each turned into a rather impressive collection. Ooops.

One of my favorite purchases that year was a set of six small spikey glass ornaments with colored spikes. The next quarter, I used them and a piece of pine printed fabric as the basis for a project in one of my painting classes. I cut six 3"X3" squares of Masonite, and painted the ornaments on the pine fabric at varying scales. I glued strands of silver cording to create hanging loops, the length indicating how zoomed in the pieces were. I hung the whole thing in a roughly Christmas tree shaped display for our critique. I don't remember how the project went over, but I do still have the paintings. : )

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Twelve Days of Ornaments--Day Ten


To get the full scoop on my family's traditions surrounding ornaments, see Day One

This ornament was a gift from my mom a couple of years ago. But it's so much more awesome than that, you see, this ornament was also handmade by my mom. She's an amazing toll painter. With the exception of the button, wisp of thread, and the ribbon at the top, all those details you see are painted on. The edging on the wood. The "fabric" heart in the middle and it's stitching. The cream ribbon. All paint and wizardry. You can see some of her other work here (what I've managed to snap pictures of anyway) but it's all brilliant and I am so proud to own some of her pieces. : D

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Twelve Days of Ornaments--Day Nine

His and Hers

To get the full scoop on my family's traditions surrounding ornaments, see Day One

Growing up there was a little gift shop in a shopping center we often went to. Named Whimsical Wares it was stuffed full of all sorts of tiny little collectibles and cute trinkets. I loved that shop and could spend hours browsing through everything they had. It was a favorite spot for shopping for gifts and a number one stop near the holidays. As soon as I saw these cute little ornaments, I knew where they had come from. You see, not only were there matching his/her ornaments (which my mother bravely bought us before we were even engaged) with our names, they came in an adorable miniature gift bag which matched the ornaments. (We still have that and each year, they return safely to their nest.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Twelve Days of Ornaments--Day Eight


To get the full scoop on my family's traditions surrounding ornaments, see Day One

I don't know if anyone else remembers these, but back in the late eighties/ early nineties Carl's Jr would do a holiday promotion where they put ornaments in their kids meals. It played off their star mascot, but dressed up in various holiday costumers--I most strongly remember the reindeer, mouse, and a snowboarder. Since Carl's Jr was my mom's go to fast food place (at the time they had a salad bar!), my brother and I would try to collect them all. I don't have tons of them now (not sure what happened to them all) but this little guy makes me smile every time I see him on the tree.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Twelve Days of Ornaments--Day Seven

The Littlest Dragon

To get the full scoop on my family's traditions surrounding ornaments, see Day One

My new ornament for this year arrived in the mail this week! Custom made by the talented Rainabedaina on Etsy, I am so in love with this little critter. I requested this after seeing a similar dragon with teddy bear in her shop. It was simply too perfect. You probably realize I am in love with dragons. What you likely don't know though is that, growing up, my mom referred to our family as "The Bear Family". And we all have "Bear" names. (Oh, like your parents didn't give you embarrassing pet names.) Clearly, a dragon/bear combo was meant to be mine. : ) I have yet to date and label this little one, so he isn't up on the tree just yet, but he will be soon!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Twelve Days of Ornaments--Day Six


To get the full scoop on my family's traditions surrounding ornaments, see Day One

This ornament is a clear example of the odd ebbs and flows in memory. I absolutely 100% remember this Gus ornament. I have no idea, however, of when we got him or if he was part of a set or who bought him or why. But I remember him being on our tree year after year. : ) Part of the family ornaments that became mine when my mom did her great clean out, I love his earnest little face and his Einstein inspired hair.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Twelve Days of Ornaments--Day Five


To get the full scoop on my family's traditions surrounding ornaments, see Day One

This ornament was a gift from one of our new neighbors at our housewarming party last year. I'm sure they had no idea about our ornament tradition, but since we managed to completely forget to buy an ornament to commemorate our new house, I'm glad someone else thought of it. : )

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Twelve Days of Ornaments--Day Four


To get the full scoop on my family's traditions surrounding ornaments, see Day One

It seems that most people I know who "do" holiday decorations pick a theme--stars, santa claus, angels, etc. For me? It's snowmen. They are so cute! And so when the S'Mores ornaments came out awhile back, it was love at first sight. My mom got really into getting them for me and one year, after Halloween, bought me a full set of Halloween themed s'more ornaments. The mummy and ghost we left off the tree this year, but the vampire is always welcome. You see, I LOVED vampires as a kid. I was a vampire every Halloween for 3 or 4 years until my mom made me pick something else. And this little guy reminds me of all the fun I had with capes and fangs. : )

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Twelve Days of Ornaments--Day Three


To get the full scoop on my family's traditions surrounding ornaments, see Day One

When I graduated high school, my mom and I joined a tour group touring through England and Wales. It was my first (and so far only) international experience and I was quite taken with all the lush greenery in the countryside and the dreamy accents everywhere. I don't remember where we saw these first, but my mom and I noticed these amazing ornaments at the historical sites (Shakespeare's birthplace and the like) and began collecting them.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Twelve Days of Ornaments--Day Two

Abby's Ornament

To get the full scoop on my family's traditions surrounding ornaments, see Day One

Last year a good friend sent us not one, but two, very cute ornaments--one for each of our cats. She had even had the seller, Nicole Porcelain, personalize each one with our cat's names and the year. Too cute.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Twelve Days of Ornaments--Day One

Rob's Ornament 2010

Every year, when I was growing up, my mom would have my brother and I each pick out an ornament. This was a very solemn decision with much angsting--it had to be just right. And each year my mom would dutifully label our ornaments with our names and the year. The promise was always that this way, when we were big and moved away, we would have a box of ornaments to start out tree with.

My second Christmas with Rob, I introduced him to the tradition and we went out to buy ornaments to hang onvthe tree we had bought for his apartment. An ornament each turned into quite a bit more than that and the tree was comfortably, if sparsely, ornamented.

The Christmas before Rob and I got married, my mother sat me down with a box and we sorted through the ornaments--big and small, marked and unlabeled. My mother (as she is wont to do) took the opportunity to clean out her ornament boxes, so in addition to my ornaments I also packed up ornaments made by family members and the old angel tree topper I had grown up with.

This year is the first year that we have a Christmas tree in our forever house--last year we skipped due to travel. Pulling all the ornaments out of their boxes this year made me nostalgic and happy, so for the next 12 days I'm going to take you on a mini tour--of the ornaments on the tree and why they are so precious to me.

Today's ornament is our newest addition--a sweet gingerbread man from Astrausa on Etsy. His worried expression and missing appendages are cute more than morbid and were a quick favorite with the hubby who decided to adopt him.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Of Wreaths and Berries

Holiday Wreath

I came home from work earlier this week to find a Harry and David's box. From someone whose name I didn't recognize. Inside the box was this beautiful wreath and an note from my parents. : ) We had already picked up one for the front door at the Farmer's Market, so today we bought another wreath hanger and got this one hung up on the door to the sunroom.

Friday, December 03, 2010

Lacey Hashbrowns

hash Browns.

The hubby and I found these earlier this summer in my copy of Breakfast, one of the cookbooks in the Williams Sonoma Collection. Easy and delicate, these have become our go-to hash brown recipe.

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Dark Chocolate Brownies

Dark Chocolate Brownies

Recently, we had a coworker leave our office to move on to bigger and better things. Happy for him, sad for us. Naturally, this meant he needed some sort of sending off treat. Knowing that he wasn't a fan of overly sweet things I asked him what he liked best. His response--rich, fudgey brownies. And so I turned to Joy the Baker for her Dark Chocolate Brownies.

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

French Bread And Corn Bread Stuffing/Dressing


I grew up eating StoveTop stuffing. So for the past few Thanksgivings, that's what the hubby and I have made. But this year, with our attempt to eat fewer processed and prepackaged foods, we went the "make it from scratch" route, adapting The Pioneer Woman's Thanksgiving Stuffing recipe. And although we did cheat just a tiny bit and use a box mix for the cornbread I was exceedingly happy with the results.

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