Monday, December 29, 2014

Golden Trees

While doing some after-Christmas shopping with Precious Daughter, I found these pretty salad plates on sale at William Sonoma. 

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Merry Christmas!

From our home to your's ...

We're wishing you a very blessed and happy Christmas season!

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Mom's Pressed Cookies


One of our family's special Christmas traditions was enjoying Mom's Pressed Cookies.  She used her own spritz cookie recipe and an old Mirro Cookie Press.  After 60+ years of making these delicious treats, her press wore out.  We bought several newer models trying to find one that worked as well but none made them just the way she liked.  She passed away after the Christmas of 2010. 

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Silver Forest

Kathleen, of Cuisine Kathleen, has given us another tablescaping challenge just in time for Christmas.  This time we are to create a table that was inspired by one we saw on Pinterest.  My inspiration is from Susan at

When I saw her table using these lovely trees, I knew I'd found my inspiration! 
Susan said she got several of these trees at Pottery Barn but I found mine recently at Sam's Club.  

Monday, December 1, 2014

A Wreath for Favorite Son

Our son and his friends enjoy skeet shooting.  Last Christmas, I saw a shotgun shell wreath at a local craft fair and thought Favorite Son would like having this at his apartment for the holidays.

This was an easy and quick project!  All it took was a $2.49 wreath from Wal-Mart, some burlap ribbon from my stash and some spent shotgun shells.  I had the guys pick some up after one of their get togethers.  (well, they're supposed to pick them ALL up when they're done!)
 After fluffing the wreath a little, I tied five pieces of burlap around the wreath. 

Since this is a "Guy's Wreath," I didn't want to overdo the decorations.  The red shells were the perfect pop of color!  lol
I hotglued the shells in bunches around the wreath ...

and then added a dark red burlap bow.  That's it! 
The perfect décor item for a college farm boy!!
Thanks for stopping by!

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Counting Down to Christmas

 Whew!  They're done!!!  I can't decide if I had trouble finding inspiration, if I'm a procrastinator or a little of both but I finished them with a few days to spare!
All year, I've wanted to make an Advent Calendar for each family of our young relatives.  Our own kids enjoyed the Hallmark calendar we've had for years and knew these children would too.  It would also be a fun keepsake for these little ones from our family.
After looking all over the internet for something I thought I could handle, I happened upon this pattern from Homemade By Jill  from 2011.
Back then, she had a "Sew Along" encouraging others to make their own versions of an Advent Calendar and post their photos each week in November.  Another blogger, Brooke Reynolds (who previously worked for Martha Stewart Living and MS Kids!) also posted in 2009 about making her family's calendar on her blog, Inchmark.
Sooooo, Halloween evening, I got started on my project!
It's been fun deciding which ornament designs to use and how to decorate them.  The only real problem I had was there were EIGHT (yes, that's 8) calendars I needed to make!  Between Wonderful Hubby's family and mine, we have eight families with little people so everything I made had to be multiplied!
They were all over the house!
I decided to make some with a white background and some with red. 
I'm not sure which I like better.
After figuring out the size I wanted the finished product to be, I had to determine the size of each pocket and ornament.  Fortunately, Brooke, from Inchmark, included some templates in her post.  They were great inspiration.  I'm pretty happy with how they turned out.
Yes, I cheated on a few and bought a couple of ornaments, but only four!
I did personalized an ornament for each of our nieces, nephews and cousins.
Precious Daughter helped by stamping the numbers.  I'd never be able to stitch all of those numbers by hand.
We hope our little relatives have many happy memories of our
2014 Christmas gifts!  This year, they're getting their presents at Thanksgiving so they are ready for December 1st!


Sunday, November 16, 2014

Placemat Pillow

This is such a quick and easy idea, I just had to share it! 
Last fall, I read about making pillows out of placemats on several DIY blogs.  I've made several since then, including these two. 
I purchased these tapestry placemats from
Wal-Mart and Dollar Tree and used drop cloth for the backing. 

Simply cut the drop cloth just a little wider than your placemat.  With right sides facing each other, stitch the two fabrics together.  Leave an opening for stuffing.  Add your stuffing to the desired plumpness and whip closed.
That's it! 
You have a gorgeous seasonal pillow for your home. 
They also make lovely hostess gifts!  
...all for about two to three dollars!
 Thanks for stopping by!

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Amaze Me Monday 

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Cranberry Coffee Cake

The November Challenge from Kathleen is to feature our Bundt pans in our posts.  For me, that means coffee cake and since it's November, I'm making my cousin's delicious Cranberry Coffee Cake.
We first experienced this delicious moist cake at one of our Apple Butter making weekends.  My cousin brought this to share for Saturday breakfast.  She graciously shared the recipe and I'm including it below.
I think we received this Bundt pan at our wedding shower over 26 years ago.  It gets used infrequently but I do make this recipe every fall.

I actually turned the coffee cake out on a pretty cake stand to get a photo before cutting.  Wonderful Hubby wanted to take a (rather large) slice of it to work before I had a chance to get the picture.  It still looks pretty tasty, though!

Diane's Cranberry Coffee Cake

Mix together and set aside:
  2 cups flour
  1 tsp. baking soda
  1 tsp. baking powder
  1/2 tsp. salt

  2 eggs
  1 stick of butter
  1 cup sugar
  1 tsp. almond extract
  1 cup sour cream
  1 8 oz. can whole cranberry sauce
  1/2 cup chopped nuts

Cream butter and sugar.  Add eggs.  Add flour mixture alternately with sour cream.  Add almond extract.  Put 1/2 batter into greased and floured round Bundt pan.  Spoon1/2 of the cranberry sauce.  Repeat with remaining batter and cranberry sauce.  Swirl.  Sprinkle with nuts.  Bake at 350 degrees F. for 50 minutes.  When cool, drizzle with the following topping.
  1 cup powdered sugar
  1/2 tsp. almond extract
  2 Tblsp. water

*This cake freezes well.

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Sunday, November 9, 2014

Michigan 2014

We had a great trip to Michigan earlier this fall.  There were lots of wineries, lake views and local landmarks to enjoy.

We drove along the coast of Lake Michigan from the southwest side of the state to Escanaba on the west side of the Lake, then south through Wisconsin. 

The western part of Michigan must be great for grape growing because there were LOTS of wineries!   

The wines were very good and we enjoyed learning all about the different types and tasting several. 

Wine wasn't the only thing available in Michigan tasting rooms.
One of the tasting rooms was a chocolate garden!

What a great idea!!

These purses have one purpose - to hold your wine bottle when you travel!

Enjoying Michigan wines together!

We took a side trip to Grand Rapids and visited the Gerald Ford Museum

I had to include a tablescape from the Ford Museum

Grand Rapids was also home to LOTS of microbreweries.  We found several that we thought were very good.  Here was WH enjoying some fine ale!

Several days were spent in the Petoskey area.  There were wineries, golf courses and even some bike riding!

One of the golf courses Wonderful Hubby wanted to play was The Bear near Traverse City.  He was paired with a nice man, Al, who was a retired doctor.  His wife, Arlene, and I drove our golfers through the course.

Petoskey was a pretty town with shops, eateries and LOTS of great lake views.

Our motel had a lovely view of Lake Michigan.  The sky was cloudy most of our time there but it didn't rain much.

We played another golf course, Springbrook Golf Club.  This was a quaint but pretty little course.

It just happened that the county fair was in town while we were in Petoskey.

 We HAD to stay for the cattle show!

Beautiful scenery on our bike ride along Lake Michigan.

As we traveled north from Petoskey, we happened upon this roadside organic farm.  Besides fresh fruits, vegetables and meat, it also had a winery and brewery. 

Someone suggested we take a scenic drive through the Tunnel of Trees on Michigan Hwy 119.  Although these photos were taken from the car, this highway was one of the prettiest drives we made!

Near the northern end of M-119 we discovered a quirky Polish restaurant, the Legs Inn, at Cross Village.  It's unusual décor, gorgeous outdoor seating and delicious authentic Polish cuisine made this place a true gem!

I have no idea what this is supposed to be!?

This grape vine was painted to look like a snake.

An unusual piano bench.
We opted to eat outside in their beautifully landscaped garden.
Continuing the quirky décor to the gardens, there was a divider that displayed the seven continents of the world.  Isn't it pretty?
A lovely place to dine!!
We crossed the Mackinac Bridge and drove along the southern part of the Upper Peninsula.  This area was more rugged than the lower part of MI. 
Our plans didn't include staying in the Upper Peninsula this year so we drove to Escanaba, MI for the evening.  The next day, we entered Wisconsin and enjoyed driving through dairy country!  Actually, we got lost looking for one family dairy but enjoyed the detour!  Yes, we ended up finding it and bought several different types of cheeses including those famous cheese curds!
Oshkosh was on the sight seeing list so we headed to this fun and interesting city.  Our first stop was the EAA Airventure Museum which featured many examples of experimental aircraft.  This huge museum traces the history of aircraft development and houses many of these actual planes.  This would be a great place for a school field trip!!
Next day, we toured the Oshkosh Public Museum, which is housed in Lumber Baron Edgar and his wife Mary Jewell Sawyer's home.  This beautiful Victorian home is situated on Oshkosh's Historic District and is listed on the National Registry of Historic Places.  The museum features history about local Native Americans as well as European immigrants.
The gardens outside were gorgeous.
The home itself had several surprising features.  Lovely fireplace mantels,
The beautifully carved Apostils' Clock
which puts on quite a show every hour,
an ornately carved staircase
 an stunning Tiffany interior windows!  The first one, at the landing of the staircase
and this one, which has been moved to the entrance area. 
 Such treasures!
Later that day we continued South to Madison and toured Wisconsin's state capitol.  Hourly tours helped us enjoy the beautiful building's history and artwork.
Here are some of the highlights.  The capitol has lots of stained glass skylights.  Even thought it was a cloudy and rainy day, they helped lighten the halls. 
This place was another Wisconsin treasure!
After all that touring, we needed a snack!  We found this great Irish pub just outside the capitol and enjoyed this plowman's lunch.  Wonderful Hubby like the ale so much (New Belgium's Wild Dubbel ale), I think he's getting some for his birthday!
We finished our vacation watching a minor league baseball game in Beloit, Wisconsin!
Unfortunately, the Snappers lost to the Quad Cities River Bandits 5-2 but we had a fun time and even came home with a bobble head honoring a local supporter, George Spelius!
Here are a few extra photos.  Another great trip!  Wonder where we'll go next??