12.02.2016

"The children were nestled all snug in their beds, While visions of sugar-plums danced in their heads..." Yummy Sugared Cranberries


While these are not "sugar-plums", they are yummy, incredibly simple to make, and stunning. Making them the perfect holiday snack, gift, or dressing up desserts!


If you've never made or eaten them before, you're in for a real treat. Sugared Cranberries make a beautiful garnish on cakes, pies, holiday sides or in drinks. They also make a delicious sweet treat as a snack for your holiday. 


They look stunning and very festive served in this dish as a snack.


Or for the perfect gift they look delicious in a glass jar tied with a bow. Let your friends know they can be enjoyed as a snack or as a garnish. How fun to receive such a stunning garnish as a gift!!


Next week I'll be teaching a tutorial on making bows like the pros. Aren't these glass jars great? They are Libby Flat Lid Cylinder Storage Jars. The lid seals tight and they are really great quality glass jars. I found mine at Michaels.  Here is a LINK

 
Let's get started with this incredibly simple and easy 2-ingredient recipe:

INGREDIENTS:

2 cups sugar, divided
1 (12-ounce) bag fresh cranberries


DIRECTIONS:

1.  In a medium saucepan combine 1/2 cup sugar and 1/2 cup water. Stir continuously over medium heat until sugar is dissolved, about 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in cranberries until the cranberries are coated evenly with sugar syrup. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to a wire rack over parchment paper or cookie sheet to catch drippings; let dry for 1 hour.

2.  Place the remaining sugar in a large bowl. Working in batches, roll cranberries in remaining 1-1/2 cups sugar until well coated; let dry for at least 1 hour.


Store cranberries in a lidded container in the fridge.
 
 
So whether you'd like to make Sugared Cranberries to use as a garnish...


a snack or gift, this 2-ingredient recipe is incredibly simple, easy, and delicious!


XO,

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12.01.2016

On The First Day of Christmas...Ideas For The Perfect Christmas Tree


Welcome December!!
For many, the weekend after Thanksgiving is officially the time when families begin preparing and decorating for Christmas. If you're like me the first item on the list is the Christmas tree. Today I'm sharing ideas to help you achieve that full, showroom look as you decorate your Christmas tree.
(Sources for my Christmas tree listed at the bottom).


There are several ways to give your Christmas tree that perfect classic look, but before I share my ideas my only rule is to be true to yourself and to be yourself. You may want that "department store" look, but remember to make it fit your home and style. 


Have you ever read the children's book, "Why Christmas Trees Aren't Perfect" by Richard H. Schneider?  It's the sweetest story about a perfect little tree named Small Pine.  Small Pine lived in a land far away and hoped to maintain its perfect form and be selected by the Queen as her Christmas tree. But as the warm-hearted little tree gave shelter to birds, rabbits, and deer in the forest, its branches became damaged. Fortunately, the Queen had a different idea of perfection! 
Love what you do. Do what you love. Don't compare. Have fun!! Someone else's idea of perfection may not be your idea of perfection!

Let's begin...


Theme

 The easiest way for me to approach decorating for Christmas, whether for myself or clients, is to begin with a theme. This can be based on anything: colors, whimsical, toys, snowflakes, snowman, Santa's, beachy, trips, places, memories, sentimental, candy canes, nostalgia, vintage, old school, art deco, modern, etc...

This year I wanted a more casual look in red and white, with touches of black and silver. 


Fillers

I am often asked how to get that full, showroom look. I'm sure that every decorator has their own tips. I tell people, "fillers". Fillers can be anything from garland, ribbon, branches, twigs, picks, fabric, mirrors, faux furs (any fire safe product), that adds volume. Think outside the box and be creative.

In my tree this year I've used two pine garlands with berries, two frosted red berry garlands, 6 red berry picks, and 8 flocked picks with cranberries.  In addition, I used three different ribbons (1 spool/10 yards of each). Although, I did purchase an extra spool of the red and silver ribbon for other uses.


I add the ribbon and fillers first (after the lights, of course). My tree is pre-lit with two sizes of lights: regular mini-lights and large globe lights, which I love!

Here is a link to a prior post for adding ribbon to your tree: O Christmas Tree, O Christmas Tree 

Ornaments

Depending on what you would like to achieve, consider varying sizes, textures, and styles of bulbs, florals, gadgets, stockings, toys, etc., in the colors or theme you've chosen. I like having large bulbs for impact.

 
Statement/Impact

Subtle or not so subtle, I always like to have what I call statement or impact ornaments.  You really only need 2-5 depending on their size. This is one of my family's favorites trees. It's a fun, whimsical tree that reminds everyone of The Grinch!

 
On this tree I only have two bird cages, of course there is a lot of other fun going on all over this tree!


In this tree I've incorporated the nativity as the statement of the tree. I've seen people use anything from huge paper flowers to a large sleigh -- think outside of the box. In fact, using cool boxes would be a great idea!!


And remember, if your style is simple and country then maybe the the element of simplicity is your impact. Sometimes more is not always better!!
 

Tips for Hanging/Placing Ornaments

I like to sort my bulbs and other decorations, and then working with one group, say all red bulbs, place them evenly over the tree, including a few close to the trunk. I love to see little snippets of color poking through the branches!! Then I place the next group, spacing each type evenly over the tree, trying to achieve a good overall balance of color and spacing. 

As you're adding your ornaments, think of it as layering. Don't just place your ornaments on the surface of the tree.  Place a few deep into the tree and place other more colorful and ornate ornaments towards the ends and tops of the branches.


A few tips to remember: 
Vary the shapes and sizes of your ornaments.
Vary the color tones, using shiny ornaments along with matte and textured finishes.
Adding solid color ornaments will help ground the tree and create an element of consistency within your theme.
For added impact, try clustering small ball ornaments together with a wire and hang them in groupings.

 I rarely (okay, never) use wire hooks unless they're decorative. I use a thin gauge wire, loop it through and wire it onto the branch. IT'S EASY!! 

 
Just wind it around twice clockwise (always), and when you take them off you quickly unwind them counterclockwise.  Easy peasy!  Righty-tighty, lefty-loosey. It's fast, secure, and I do this so I can place the bulb either on top of the branch or right up tight underneath the branch. It gives a nice professional look!


Another fun look is to string multiple bulbs on the same wire.  I usually put either two or three bulbs together, tighten the wire and then wire them to the tree.  


Fill-In's

Fill in with the picks or other items you may have, such as gingerbread men, pine cones, etc.


Tree Topper

Many of you like to use a traditional angel or star tree topper - I often do, too. But I also like to consider the tree and choose something that goes along with the theme.  Let your tree decide what it needs to finish the look. 

In keeping with my casual feel this year, I left it plain and just used one of the flocked cranberry picks.


This tree screamed, whimsical!!


I usually use a traditional angel on this tree, but instead I made angle wings from fur for something a little different and as a symbolic reminder that while we can't see them, I do believe there are angels watching over us.


Skirting

Unlimited ideas (period)!!! I've seen people use so many different darling ideas from galvanized cans to sleighs to glamorous fabrics and elaborate quilted shirts. And I love them all. Again, choose something that goes with the style and theme of your tree. 

This year I used this long hair lap throw. It worked perfectly!


I hope you find these ideas helpful to inspire your perfect Christmas tree.

Sources to get a similar look to my tree (I'll be sharing sources for this room over the next 12 Days of Christmas):








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11.29.2016

Tuesday's Tumblr Favorites - A Change of Season


Happy Tuesday, friends! Here in northern Utah it's truly "a change of seasons".  Snow has been falling all day long! It's beautiful!
I'm putting the last few decorations up for Christmas and I'll be sharing them with you beginning this week. I'm using a lot of red and white with touches of black and silver this year and I'm excited to begin sharing ideas.  I have this sneak peek for you today.  Have a great day!






Warmest regards,
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11.28.2016

Post-Thanksgiving Organization Tips

American families celebrated Thanksgiving this past week and the weekend after Thanksgiving is a time when many families begin preparing and decorating for Christmas.  Although the big meal is over, there are a few easy tips you can incorporate in your planning that will help you improve your hosting skills each year.



Tip 1:  Hosting dinners like Thanksgiving requires a lot of work and organization. To keep myself organized, I keep a copy of all the recipes I use in a plastic folder, together with a typed list of the ingredients I will need for groceries. The week before Thanksgiving I take an inventory of non-perishables in my pantry that need restocking, and cross off anything that I don't need to purchase.


Tip 2:  I make versions of my Thanksgiving dinner two or three times a year. We usually have turkey at Christmastime, and perhaps once or twice more during the year. Regardless, it's not often enough to remember what works and what doesn't. I keep a little notebook with my plastic folder to keep notes, or I'll make a note on my recipe when I've made an adjustment.  For example, I like to brine my turkey and last year I found a brine at my local grocery store (Harmon's) that called for soaking the turkey for 24 hours. However, I felt it was too salty so I made a note to reduce the time to soak to 12 hours. It turned out much better this year!!


Tip 3:  Part of what I cherish about Thanksgiving is the time-honored traditions of family, and that means making grandma's dressing, yaya's yams, Tess's flapper pie, etc., but I also like to add my own personal flare. This year I baked my dressing in an angel food cake pan and it looked beautiful as well as tasted delicious. If you see or think of presentation ideas make a note, rip out a picture from a magazine, or take a picture, and put it with your folder for future reference.


Tip 4:  No need to panic if you need an appetizer in a hurry. Here is a tip for a quick and delicious appetizer that looks as beautiful as it is tasty. Fill celery sticks with a prepared green onion cheese ball with almonds purchased from your grocery store. No need to stir or mix it, just use a butter knife to slice a small section and spread it across the celery sections.


Tip 5:  So before you get too involved with preparing and decorating for Christmas take a few minutes to gather copies of your recipes together and put them in a folder, and jot down anything you'd like to remember for next year. Remember to put your grocery list in the folder - it really saves time!


Here are a few more pictures of my table for Thanksgiving this year. I didn't get a picture of the kids' table, but they had a great time together!







And that fast it's over...


and on to the next.  I have my Christmas decorations up and will be sharing them this week. 

Have a great week!

Warmest regards,

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