December 30, 2011

2011: A Year of Loving Photography

When I think back over the past year, there aren't really any special decorating or craft projects that come to mind, rather the thing that sticks out most to me, in terms of my blog anyway, is how I've really come love photography over the last twelve months.  I can see how as the year progressed so did my photo I've learned to use my camera, work with natural light and improve my compositions, as well as my editing. When I look through some of my earlier posts, I cringe, thinking I'd love to delete them, but then figure that it's all part of the journey...right?

I've mentioned a time or two that I have a special fondness for photographing food.  It's more than a fondness actually, I really love it.  Maybe it's because I can eat the fruits of my labor when I'm all done, you can't do that with a craft project...usually anyway :)  I talked about food photo love in my Artful Blogging article, as well as in a post I did last summer called A New Little Love, which is where I showed you these first two pictures.

Coming in a close second to my love affair with food photography, are taking pictures of flowers and little vignettes, with a few shots of my house thrown in the mix.  I wish I could add snapping photos of my kids, but sadly they're not too accommodating and I usually have to resort to bribery.  I've got my fingers crossed that the coming year will be better though.

I thought I'd take a little stroll down memory lane, highlighting a few posts from 2011.  There's a link to each accompanying post in case you're a new reader or you missed something and want to check it out.

I want to thank you all for your friendship and kind comments throughout the past year.  I hope 2012 brings you only joy and blessings.  Have a safe and wonderful New Year's weekend!

xo Tricia

December 22, 2011

Christmas Cherries and Snowflakes

Hello, hello!  So happy you're here! Amidst all the hustle and bustle this week, I'm really feeling the Christmas spirit and have put together a red and white holiday post with a few snowflakes thrown in.

A few weeks ago, when my daughter turned five, one of the things I made were cherry-topped cupcakes.  They turned out so cute and it occurred to me that they'd be perfect for the holidays too.  I know cherries don't really scream Christmas since they're more of a summer fruit, but their vibrant red color sure is right for the season, especially when paired with some whites and a few fun things like pretty cake wrappers and striped straws.

I was a total cheater when I made these.  I didn't have time to whip anything up from scratch, so box cake it was.  This particular cupcake turned out so perfect I could hardly believe it!

I made some chocolate and snowflake-topped cupcakes too.  The snowflakes are so easy to make and I think they add a nice festive touch.  I used candy melts, which I found at JoAnn's, melted them in the microwave, put them into a frosting bag and using a tiny little frosting tip, piped out a few snowflake designs.  It doesn't take too long for them to harden and then you can use them to decorate your cake, tart or cupcakes. 

Well, there you go lovely people, my easy, yummy and pretty Christmas food ideas.  Oh boy, do I need to be done with the sweets for awhile...I think I see some healthier eating in store for next week :)

I hope you all have a wonderful Christmas, enjoying time with your families and celebrating the birth of our Savior.

♥  Tricia


December 15, 2011

Cookies and Cafe au Lait Cups

Hello to you!  Hope your week is going well.  Are you all prepared for Christmas next week?  Me...not so much.  I still have a few gifts to buy and I haven't wrapped one single thing yet.  Oh, and then there's the Christmas cards.  Ugh.

In the midst of all my preparations, I've been eating a lot.  So much so, that I went and joined the YMCA this week.  I want to eat whatever my little heart desires, in moderation of course, so I'm going to have to ramp up the exercise to make up for it.  One of the things I've been enjoying a little too much of is cookies.  I made one of my favorites last weekend, Peanut Butter Blossoms.  Mmmm, chocolate and peanut butter...a delicious combination.

And what's the perfect pairing for a sweet and tasty cookie?  Well, okay, I'm sure some of you are saying coffee, but since I don't drink that, how about hot chocolate, especially in these super cute cups?  I found them at Garnet Hill and it was pretty much love at first sight.  They're basically a big bowl with a handle.

If by chance you don't have a recipe for these yummy cookies, here's the one we like to go with...

Peanut Butter Blossoms
  • 1/4 cup of butter, softened
  • 1/4 cup of shortening
  • 1/2 cup of peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup of sugar
  • 1/2 cup of brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla
  • 2 tablespoons of milk
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • 1 teaspoon of baking soda
  • 1 3/4 cup of flour
  • Chocolate candy kisses
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Blend butter, shortening and peanut butter together in a large bowl.  Add the sugars and continue to beat until it's nice and creamy.  Add vanilla, milk and egg and continue to mix.  Then add the salt, baking soda and flour.  Roll dough into balls of about 1 inch in size and then roll each ball in some sugar.  Place on an ungreased cookie sheet.  Bake for approximately 10 minutes.  Immediately after removing from the oven press one candy kiss into the center of each cookie.

Make sure they're good, so eat about a half a dozen.  That's what I do anyway ;)

Well, I have lots to do, so hope you all have a great weekend!

xo Tricia

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December 13, 2011

Our Christmas Kittens

This year, my daughter decided she would write a letter to Santa in hopes of getting a few special things her little heart most desired.  It was a short list, only two items, but things that in her eyes would make a life changing world of difference...a bunny and a baby sister.  Yep, you read that last one right, a baby sister.  She has asked me for one over and over, day after day, for months and months.

Oh, what to do?!  It makes me so sad when she begs me for a sister, since I don't really see any sweet little babies in my future, but then a thought came to me, granted it's not quite the same thing as a the kinship of a sister, but maybe two babies, of the meowing, fluffy, kitten sort might bring her some happiness...for the moment anyway.  Both she and my son love cats as much as I do, so I figured this seemed like a good plan.  I searched and searched and search some more and finally found this darling duo.

Aren't they adorable?! I have to tell you though, the addition of these two cute little babies to our family feels a bit bittersweet. On one hand, I have visions of my children's happy little faces and all the fun they'll have with two new furry we're making wonderful memories.  But then, my eyes well up with sadness as my thoughts drift each day to the loss of my sweet kitty, Tucker, and how much I miss him. I can barely even talk or write about him without crying.

I tell myself that over time the sadness will subside and everything will be alright, especially as I look at the cute little faces of my kids and of Maisy and Milo, our silly and crazy new kitties.  I grew up always having kittens around, but I had really forgotten how much mischief they can get into, particularly when they have a sidekick.  My son just laughs and laughs at their antics.  It almost seems like we've adopted monkeys rather than kittens, they keep us so busy!

When my children laugh and see the happy look in their eyes, I know they're the perfect early Christmas gift...little bundles of joy.


December 09, 2011

Christmas in the Living Room

Hello!  Happy Friday to you.  I hope you've had a wonderful week.  I thought I'd show you my living room today, since I finally got it all decorated for Christmas.  I went with kind of a natural look, using a neutral color palette of mostly ivory with touches of copper, yellow and green.

I tried to use items I already had when decorating my tree...a big copper star that I had gotten from Sundance a few years ago, which I love, love, love, along with some copper picture frame ornaments that I filled with old photos, wooden snowflakes, a few pear branches and a little of this and a little of that.

Now that I'm thinking about it, I did buy a few new things, some little wooden bird ornaments and these big wool felt snowflakes from West Elm.  Oh my, it was one of those things where the minute I saw them I had to get them...I hardly ever love anything that much.  I can't believe I'm so giddy over something so simple.

I decided to try making stockings this year.  I'm not much for sewing, but they turned out okay.  I used a natural-colored linen and then since I really like things with texture, I thought I'd add a faux fur cuff.  I designed it so that it I could take it off in case I get tired of it...might as well be versatile.  My son told me they make him think of a caveman, which I didn't really like hearing, so making the fur removable seems like it was a good decision on my part.

It's so hard taking photos of this room since it's so small and gets awful light.  Apparently, I was so focused on my bad light that I overlooked a few details.  As I was looking through my pictures, I noticed that I had this poinsettia turned in the direction where the dog took a bite out of the leaf...nice.  Actually, the whole plant probably has missing chunks like this since there were little pieces all around it when it was sitting on the floor.  By the way, I had to check and see if they're poisonous and it seems the answer is no.

Don't you love candy canes?  They're so yummy and Christmasy.  I've filled that bowl with them three times this week already.  It seems like every time someone walks past it they take one...including me :)

Well, that's my living room...thus far anyway.  I always feel the urge to change things, especially the mantle.  I really wanted to paint up a winter-themed picture, but well, you know how it is...there never seems to be enough time to do it all.

Hope you have a great weekend.  I'm doing something exciting today!  I'll tell you about it next week.  Here's a hint, okay?  It involves something cute and cuddly.  Any ideas?  :)

xo Tricia

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December 01, 2011

Oh My Stars!

Hello.  Happy December to you!  Doesn't it seem like Christmas is just right around the corner?  I've been so busy this week trying to get my house all ready for the holidays.  I want everything to be done so that I can just sit back and enjoy it all.  I doubt it will happen though since it seems like I say that every year!  I'm kind of going for a clean, yet rustic feel, for my decorating this Christmas with lots of white, some copper and maybe a little bit of red.  My tree is pretty much just needs a little more of something.  I haven't really decided what that something is yet though.

Today, I made these little clay stars to decorate the tabletop trees that I put up in the dining room and in my kids' rooms.  Obviously, I used them on this little rosemary plant too...this isn't one of my tabletop trees :)

I thought they turned out so cute...nice and simple.  I bought some of that Sculpey clay and then because it seemed so sticky I rolled it out between two sheets of parchment paper.  I used one of my daughter's little toy cookie cutters for the stars, then I removed the leftover bits, slid the parchment paper on to a cookie sheet and baked them.  Ta da.  All done.

I have a few other Christmas crafting projects planned, one of which is to make a few stockings for the fireplace.  Hopefully, I'll whip it all together this weekend and then I can show you my holiday living room next week. 

Best wishes for a wonderful weekend!

♥ Tricia
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