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Saturday, December 27, 2014


As a winter bride myself, I'm partial to a winter wedding.  So, when Katie approached me about making some modifications to her dress for her December wedding, I was thrilled to help.  She had tried on a rhinestone belt at the bridal shop and liked the look, but not the price.  Unlike the traditional belt, she actually wanted the embellishments sewn to her gown mainly due to the corset back on her gown.

After chatting some more about her vision for her wedding, I started 'window shopping" on the internet to find just the right pieces to make her a one-of-a-kind look.  I was so tickled when I found a beautiful trim, and even more delighted when I actually found something when I googled "rhinestone snowflakes"!   I chatted with Katie about my ideas to use the trim, snowflakes and pearls for just the right winter inspired belt and shared pictures as my ideas took shape (we were working from two different states).  It was a great collaboration.



I laid out the trim and began strategically placing the snowflakes and pearls.  I was so pleased with the way it turned out.  She looked absolutely stunning!

I was also honored to make her garter set, two flower girl baskets, and a haircomb that she wore during the reception.  I continued to use the pearl and snowflake theme throughout all three pieces. So much fun!

It snowed the night before the wedding adding a beautiful winter wonderland feel to the day and despite the frigid temps....Katie, her groom, and the wedding party braved the cold for some unique outdoor photos that only a winter wedding can have.   Congrats!

Tuesday, December 16, 2014


I decided to try my hand at adding a new Christmas cookie to my annual assortment.  I realized just about every cookie I make has chocolate in it.  So when I ran across this recipe and every review was positive,  I decided this could be a keeper.  And sure is!
These babies melt in your mouth, a true tribute to their namesake....and a cookie with cream cheese frosting, really?  How can you go wrong?
The house smells so wonderful while these are baking, the smell of peppermint fills the air....put on some holiday music and you're instantly in the Christmas spirit!


*Cookie Dough:
1 cup unsalted butter
½ cup powdered sugar
1 tsp. peppermint extract
1 ¼ cup flour
½ cup cornstarch

*Peppermint Cream Cheese Frosting:
1 (8oz.) pkg. cream cheese
½ cup salted butter, softened
1 cup powdered sugar
1 tsp. peppermint extract

Crushed peppermint candies or candy canes

*The ingredients for the cookie dough makes about 24-26 cookies, however the frosting makes enough for a double batch of cookies.  I would say, you're going to love these so much, you'll want a double batch!


In a small bowl, combine flour and cornstarch; set aside. In another bowl cream the butter and powdered sugar.  Add peppermint extract.  Slowly add the flour and cornstarch mixture to the creamed butter and sugar.   Combine well and refrigerate for an hour.

After the dough has chilled, preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Roll the dough into 1-1 ½ inch sized balls and place them 2 inches apart on a parchment lined baking sheet.
Bake for 10-12 minutes in the oven until the edges start to lightly turn brown.  Remove from the oven and let cool completely.

To make the peppermint cream cheese frosting, cream together cream cheese and butter.  Add peppermint extract and slowly add the powdered sugar.  Frost the cookies and garnish with crushed peppermint candy canes, or Wilton has already crushed peppermint sprinkles!  

This was my first attempt using a pastry bag.....I felt like I'd watched enough cooking shows that I might be able to add a dollop to the top of each of these cookies.  Success!!! 

Who knows, if I'm feeling brave soon, I may have to try frosting some cupcakes next.  


Recipe c/o Taste of Home

Thursday, December 11, 2014


As with everything in life, the more projects I attempt (notice the choice of words? ..... I still make a lot of mistakes, and learn each and every time I make something) with my Silhouette Cameo machine, the more comfortable I become.

This year's gift card holder steps outside the conventional rectangular pocket to a circular shape.....
The design was actually in the Silhouette library .... so I don't get any points for the design, but I do get points for turning the design into a gift card holder!

I started with red cardstock as the background and the Elf lettering....

The actual design I printed on white cardstock using my computer printer, then used the Cameo to cut the circular shapes and the "elf".

I left an opening at the top, glued the rest of it together and then topped it off with some green beads for a little Christmas bling.

Last step?  Place the gift card inside, and slip it into a certain somebody's Christmas stocking and wait until 12/25!

Merry Christmas!

Sunday, December 7, 2014


I asked for this recipe from a friend I worked with many years ago.  She had brought a pumpkin roll for a bake sale/bake-off that we had one year.  If I'm not mistaken, this recipe came in as one of the winners!

It's not too heavy or overly sweet, with a cream cheese filling that works any time of the year...but for me, I love it as either a Thanksgiving or Christmas dessert.


¾ cup all purpose flour (I always use Hungarian flour in Colorado)
½ tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. cinnamon
½ tsp. ground cloves 
3 large eggs
¼ tsp. salt
1 cup granulated sugar
2/3 cup pumpkin*
powdered sugar

1 (8 oz.) pkg. cream cheese
1 cup powdered sugar
6 Tbsp. butter or margarine
1 tsp. vanilla, or almond, or lemon extract (whichever flavor you prefer)

*you'll have enough in a small can of pumpkin filling to make two rolls; or use the leftover for something else.


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Spray a 15"x10" jelly roll pan with non-stick cooking spray; line with wax paper. Spray the top of the wax paper with non-stick spray.

Combine flour, baking powder, soda, cloves, cinnamon and salt in a small bowl.  Beat eggs and sugar in a large mixing bowl until thick.  Beat in the pumpkin.  Stir the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients.  Spread evenly in prepared pan.  Bake for 13-15 minutes or until the top springs back when touched.  
While the cake is baking, sprinkle a thin cotton kitchen towel with powdered sugar.   When the cake is finished baking loosen and turn it face down onto the towel.  Carefully peel off the wax paper.  Roll the towel and cake together into a loose roll.  Cool on a wire rack. 

Mix filling; unroll the cooled cake and spread the cream cheese mixture over the cake.  Re-roll the cake. 

Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least one hour before serving.  Dust with powdered sugar prior to serving. 

I love the look of it pretty and professional looking...but, it's not too hard to pull it off and look like a world class pastry chef for your friends and family!     Enjoy!

Monday, December 1, 2014


I've had this idea in my mind for a long time, and this year, I finally followed through on it.
I started early since all of the Christmas items were available at Hobby Lobby before now that it's finished, it can be on display all season long.   I have a thing about making sure Thanksgiving and Christmas are separate events, so my Christmas season doesn't start until after the Thanksgiving holiday is over.

J and Y cardboard letters from Hobby Lobby
2 sheets of Christmas crafting paper
Mod Podge
wood base
spray paint (I went with a bright red that I already had on hand)
fake snow (Snow-Tex)
miscellaneous decorations (your choice)

First, use the Mod Podge to secure the craft paper to the letters. When dry, apply two finishing coats allowing the first coat to completely dry before applying the second coat.

Next find that special something that you want to use for the "O". This was probably the toughest part of the whole project....making the decision on what to place there!   I was looking at big jingle bells, snowmen, you name it.  But I settled on this beautiful little ceramic Christmas bird that I found at Gordman's at a very reasonable price.   I chose to nestle him onto a piece of an Aspen tree limb from our backyard (we unfortunately had to remove nine trees from the yard since they were dying).

We had the perfect leftover piece of wood in the garage that I could use for the base.  A coat of red spray paint gave it some holiday spirit.

The evergreen sprigs are made from a single "pick" from Michael's and the majority of the pine cones came from our front yard.

Since the bird had a dusting of snow on him, I chose to add a bit of snow to the evergreen sprigs, the top of the "Y" and the wood base.

The Snow-Tex is comes in a small jar and you scoop it out with a palette knife and apply it where you want it.  As you can see, you can pile it up to make it really three dimensional.

Happy "JOYFUL" holidays!

Thursday, November 27, 2014


These particular cookies have been a Christmas staple for as long as I can remember.  I've continued this tradition since my Mom passed keeping a couple of her "go to" Christmas varieties in my assortment over the years.

These are super easy to make and taste oh so good!  Similar flavor to Almond Roca.......

1 cup butter or margarine
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
2 cups flour 
1 cup chocolate chips
1 cup chopped walnuts


Cream butter, brown sugar and vanilla.  Mix in flour, 1/2 cup chocolate chips and 3/4 cup nuts.  Press into the bottom of a greased *15 x 10 inch pan. 

Bake at 350 degrees for 23-25 minutes, or until light golden brown.  Immediately sprinkle with 1/2 cup chocolate chips.  When soft, spread with a knife to frost.  Sprinkle with 1/4 cup nuts.  Cut into squares while warm.  

* I remember my Mom struggling getting the cookies out of the pan and having a very crisp perimeter edge that she would cut off every year.....Once I took over I ran into the same this year, I finally figured out some solutions...First, I cooked my batch for 23 minutes (versus the 25-30 minutes the recipe called for); Second, you can see from the pan, I chose to line it with parchment paper.  I didn't lose a single cookie this year and they came out of the pan so easily!  

I sprayed the pan with cooking spray first, then put the parchment paper down, then lightly sprayed the parchment again before pressing the dough into the pan. 


Sunday, November 23, 2014


I made this particular ornament for my daughter and son-in-law, although I have to say I liked how well it turned out, I can see making these for a wedding gift or bridal shower.
This piece of wood will have a little bit of sentimental value for my daughter; it comes from a limb of an Aspen tree from our backyard....the yard that she grew up in (or maybe I'm the sentimental one).

Anyway, I've been playing around with wood burning....I haven't tried anything too intricate yet, but this particular design lets the beauty of the wood shine through.

It was sprayed a couple of times with a clear protectant finish and left to dry before I added the holiday cheer.

I added a little red bow, some holly leaves and berries and used a  piece of jute as the hanger.

And there you have it, a pretty little Christmas ornament that commemorates their anniversary and something which can be enjoyed for years to come!

Monday, November 10, 2014


I think I may have mentioned before that I really need to work at eating veggies. I know they're good for you, but other than salads, I really am not a huge fan.   So, when I find a veggie recipe that I really enjoy you know I have to share it.

By-the-way, I apologize for the pics.  It was late when I was making this, and due to standard time the sun was already down meaning the lighting in the kitchen was sad, so I just grabbed my cell phone.


3-4 medium potatoes (unpeeled and cubed)
1 zucchini, choppped (I went with 2 small since the recipe didn't indicate a size)
¾ cup onion, chopped (I went with green onions)
¾ cup mushrooms chopped
½ cup chopped red pepper
1 cup asparagus chopped into chunks (I left this out, I really dislike asparagus)
1 shredded carrot (I went with 2, because I felt bad about being an asparagus hater)
1 tsp. pepper
1 tsp. kosher salt
1 ¾  cups-2 cups mayo
1 cup shredded mozarella/parmesan cheese mixture


Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.  Cut up all of the veggies, place in a large bowl and add the salt and pepper; toss lightly.   Pour the veggies out into a 9 x 13 pan   Spread the mayo over the veggies (it doesn't have to be perfect); I actually measured as I went, and it truly amounted to about 1 ¾ cups to lightly cover the veggies.

Place aluminum foil over the top of the dish and cook for one hour.  Remove from the oven, sprinkle the cheeses over the top and place back into the oven for approximately 10 minutes, allowing the cheeses to melt and slightly brown.

The flavor is so yummy!  Must be the mayo.....and the veggies were so dang moist.  

I can see lots of options with this recipe in terms of playing with different herbs and/or different combinations of veggies.  Oh so yummy!!

(thanks for the recipe)

Wednesday, November 5, 2014


WOW!!! This project was the definition of trial and error.  Honestly, I almost gave up on this, but after four attempts, I finally figured this out.   So please, if you plan on making some, let me share my experiences with you so that you don't have the failures along the way that I had.
 I love the finished product though don't you!  I don't know of many gals who don't like a good soak in the tub...and bath fizzies make that soak that much more fun.

First, let me share the final recipe since I tried a couple of those and this is the final version which includes some grapeseed oil for moisturizing (which many recipes don't have).

3/4 cup baking soda
1/4 cup citric acid (I found this at my local natural food grocer)
2 tsp. grapeseed oil (I put this in my sugar scrubs too)
1/2 tsp. water
1/8 cup of epsom salt (I went with a scented version)
*essential oil (if you don't use a scented epsom salt)
a few drops of food color
plastic candy mold ($1.99)
When you mix the ingredients together it will make 12 mini-fizzies and 4 ice cubes; so double the quantities if you want a larger batch.  

Place all of the dry ingredients into a bowl and mix together, removing any lumps.  Whisk as you add the liquids; most recipes tell you if it starts to fizz you're adding the ingredients too quickly....frankly, with all four batches I did get some reaction, but you can quickly stop it by whisking vigorously in that spot.  It seemed to me when I eliminated some of the water from the recipe and substituted the grapeseed oil, I saw less fizzing.  

silicone mold - LOVE THIS!!
The mixture will be just slightly damp when you've finished mixing the ingredients together and it will clump nicely when you press some between your fingers; similar to damp sand.  You're now ready to press the mixture into the molds.  Try to make them as even as possible across the top the mold.

For my molds I picked up a cheap ice cub tray at Walmart and a plastic candy mold from Hobby Lobby.  I first tried the round plastic globe which comes in two parts to make large snowball size fizzies, and I gave up on those since they fell into two parts.  As I was reading some forums on the web...they seem to be a challenge for many folks and I just wasn't having any fun so I moved on to other molds.   

Now, let me share some valuable tips with you:

1.  Let the fizzies dry in the mold approximately one-two hours; then unmold.  If you unmold them immediately as was indicated in one set of instructions, they start to expand as they dry and lose their fun little shapes (my little yellow guys did that....I was so bummed!)

2.  Do not leave them in the mold too long or you will never get them out!  After my first trial (unmolding immediately), I decided I would make sure they were good and dry and left them overnight....I literally cracked the mold as I was trying to get them out.  Again,  1-2 hours of drying time is perfect.

3.  I switched to a silicone candy mold which I absolutely loved.  Because it's pliable it was super easy to unmold the fizzies.  The trade off is they come in single shapes if you want to have a couple different types, you'll have to invest in more than one mold.  They're pretty reasonable though ($2.99).

4.  Everything I've read said they need to be used fairly quickly or they'll lose their fizzability (I just made that word up).  No more than six don't plan on making a ton and doling them out for birthdays throughout the year.  

For packaging, I picked up some glass jars and then made a label in Microsoft Publisher using Avery shipping labels.  Yay!  I'm so excited to gift these this Christmas season.    Fortunately for me, I have some "duds"  (the yellow guys that deflated) so those are for me to enjoy.  :)

Monday, October 27, 2014


I don't think I've ever met anything chocolate that I didn't enjoy, and this recipe is no exception! Moist chocolate muffins with semi-sweet morsels in the mix.....yummy.  The recipe is fairly simple too...


2 1/3 cups flour
1 cup sugar
¾ cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa
2 tsp. baking powder
¾ tsp. salt
 1 cup ricotta cheese
2 large eggs, slightly beaten
1 1/3 cups milk (2% or whole)
1 tsp. vanilla extract
¼ cup canola oil


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray muffin tin with cooking spray, or use muffin liners.   
Mix the flour and the next five ingredients (through salt) in a large bowl.

Place the cheese in a medium bowl.  Add the eggs, one at a time beating well after each addition. Whisk in the milk and vanilla until blended.  Fold the cheese mixture and oil into the flour mixture until just blended.

Spoon the batter into the muffin cups and bake 25 minutes. 


Thank you ( for the recipe.....

Tuesday, October 21, 2014


Last year around this time I shared some photo coasters that I made using simple bathroom tiles, Mod Podge and photos that I'd taken.  I totally loved the way they turned out and have heard from the person that I gifted them to, that her family absolutely loves them.  In fact, her three kids "fight over" which one they're going to use.  They're from the Midwest and really enjoy the various pictures of Colorado scenery I put on them.   Sounds like I need to make them some more! :)
Anyway, I decided to try the same methodology using birch rounds as my base.   I had scavenged a grove of birch trees that had been felled in preparation for a residential building site.  It was perfect, there were all sorts of different lengths and diameters that I've used for decorating around the house.

I asked my husband to cut 1/2" widths from one of the pieces, since it was the perfect diameter for coasters.  He ended up getting five slices from that piece.   From there, I went to work prepping the slices by applying two coats of Mod Podge to the bare wood, drying thoroughly between each coat.  I wanted a good base sealant for the wood.

Then I followed the same steps to attach the picture and coat it with Mod Podge as I did when I made the tile coasters last year; one coat to adhere the photo to the wood and two coats right on top of the photos.

Finally, a spray of clear coat for additional protection and some cork circles for the bottoms and voila', a beautiful set of rustic coasters!

This specific set is for a housewarming gift for a young I thought the wood version would be a bit more masculine and appropriate for his new digs.

So cool!  If I didn't already own plenty of coasters, I'd make a set for myself.

Sunday, October 19, 2014


This was my brain child, but I couldn't have pulled it off without the help of my husband; he's the woodworking/sanding/drilling expert and this project definitely needed that skill set!

The idea came about close to a year ago and I've been saving up the pieces that are the cornerstone of the design ever since then.  We made it for our son-in-law.....not only does he enjoy wind chimes, but it showcases his company (Vemma) at the same time,  so I knew he would like it.
There are a couple of Vemma products that I drink regularly, one is the basic liquid antioxidant that I have every morning; it is loaded with 90+ nutrients.  It comes with a 2 oz. shot glass which is the recommended daily dose.

I decided the shot glasses would make a cool focal point for the wind chime.  They are actually clear, but I knew I wanted them to be the signature color of the company which is orange. So I bought a little container of craft paint and coated the inside of each of them.

A long tube from Home Depot was cut in varying lengths (I definitely did not do that step) for the chimes and then two wooden circles were cut, sanded and stained; one for the base and the other for the striker.  I chose a bronze spray paint color for the tubes; I thought it would look sharp against the wood tones and the orange.

Finally, a triangle of wood was cut for the center weight and I chose to burn his surname initial into the wood; I remember one of my brothers having a wood burning kit growing up (wonder what happened to that thing?) and I thought it was totally I picked one up and went to town on the wood.
We bought the string/cord at Hobby Lobby,,,,,they have a ton of different colors and weights to choose from. The tubes are actually strung with fishing line .....while I originally wanted to use colored string, my husband was concerned that over time the sharp edges on the drilled holes would fray the string/cord so we opted for a more durable option.  I have to tell you that was the third option.

It took us three attempts to get to the fishing line.  The first attempt we used coated picture hanger wire; it was way too stiff and the chimes didn't hang nicely. Then we tried brass chain link--now that looked really sharp; but it negatively impacted the sound of the after "googling", I found that many folks used the fishing line approach.

So those are the components.... this truly was a "his and hers" project through and through.  I think it was fun (my husband might have a few other choice adjectives), I learned a lot about the mechanics of the wind chime that's for sure.

All-in-all, for the first attempt at a wind chime, I think it looks awesome!  Even better.....the gift was a total hit with our son-in-law!!

Tuesday, October 7, 2014


Okay gang....we can all thank Betty Crocker for these babies!  ..... and just like the title, they are truly RICH peanut butter much better than the conventional variety that we all grew up on.
Peanut butter chips are the secret flavor boost in these little puppies....I promise you that you won't stop at just one.


1 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened
fresh from the oven before I devoured three!
1 egg
1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
3/4 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1 cup peanut butter chips
granulated sugar


Heat oven to 375 degrees.  In large bowl, beat brown sugar, peanut butter, butter and egg with electric mixer on medium speed until creamy; or mix with spoon.  Stir in flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt.  Stir in peanut butter chips.

Shape dough into 1 1/2-inch  balls.  Dip tops into granulated sugar.  Place balls, sugared sides up about 3 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheet (do not flatten).

Bake cookies 9-10 minutes or until light brown.  Cool 5 minutes; remove from cookie sheet to wire rack...then promptly to a plate with an ice cold glass of milk.....enjoy!