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Thursday, December 13, 2012

Busy Christmas - Bread baskets coming along!

Yesterday, we started once again our yearly tradition during the Christmas season--The twelve days of Christmas. We chose a family whose son is friends with my oldest two children. He is the funniest kid, and we know his family struggles a little bit financially, so we thought it would be fun to add a little bit of wonder and mystery to his life during this time. =-) 

This is how we do it: We leave treats, starting on the 12th of December, on his porch, and the best part is that one of my kids gets to ring the doorbell, the other one gets to place the treats on the floor, and then they both run like maniacs back to the car, as the driver (me!) takes off with the lights off in the middle of the night trying not to get caught (well, it was only 9pm, but it sounded more dramatic that way!). We do the same thing every night until the 24th, and on that night we leave something more meaningful, with a Christmas message and anything we may think of adding at the last minute. But the fun part of it all is this: they will never know it was us!! My kids love this tradition, and I kind of wanted to, mmm, skip this year, since I have sooo many baskets to put together and my life is a little caotic right now. But as the 12th day approached, my daughter Sofia was kind enough to remind me: "we need to think of what family we are doing this year and what we are making". Of course I could say no to that, which means I will be baking more than 40 loaves of bread in less than two weeks, plus coming up with ideas every night to surprise our chosen family! Yikes! Just thinking about it makes me tired! But it is a good tired, if there is such a thing!
 Here is a sneak peak to what I have been up to lately. Pumpkin chocolate chip breads ready to be taken to my neighbors. I used disposable paper/cardboard pans (from Amazon). You bake in the paper pans, decorate, place inside a clear treat bag and done! There is no need to oil the pans either. You should try them out.
 Honey butter for my Christmas bread baskets!
 My assembly line for the baskets. OMG'sh that's a lot of baskets!

 And the final result! Lovely.

I am out of bread knives right now, but if you want me to put something together with just bread and honey butter, let me know! I will be happy to do that for you Rexburg procrastinators. =-) Until next time!

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Loving the Christmas season!

 Christmas is here! I hope this has not taken anyone by surprise!! I am sure we have all been seeing Christmas decorations at the stores since the end of October! Yep, it seems like every year the beautiful displays of Christmas decor are being set up earlier than the year before. I don't know about you, but when I see Christmas decorations at the stores and Halloween has not even passed, I get a little bit of anxiety. =-) I know here in Idaho, however, it is probably a good idea to have those Christmas displays up early.

 Most people start decorating the outside of their homes as early as October. Can you guess why? (This is a trivia question for my fellow arizonans) You guessed it! To avoid hanging up lights when the weather has already gone down to 20 F!

 I have some pictures of my Christmas decor that I wanted to share. Maybe someone will get inspired to do a little bit more decorating (I know, I am really late posting all this, but maybe for next year!) My son told me that our tree this year looks really "hip". Mmm...must be the leopard print on the ribbon I used this year. Our white dove, Natalias favorite, has been on our tree for many Christmases.

 Now, I went to Pier 1 Imports some time in October and they had these cute lanterns along with their beautiful Christmas decor. I have a thing for lanterns, and when I saw them, it was love at first light! I only got three, but as soon as those babies go down in price, I am going back for more! They look lovely on my Christmas tree.

This rustic star with some glitter and little berries scattered here and there, is from Pier 1 Imports as well, and when I got it, I was planning on putting it on the front door. But then I thought my foyer mirror needed some dressing up and I actually like how it looks!

My three wisemen sit just below the star. They are handmade pieces from an artisan in Puerto Rico. I just love their cute faces!

 This little tree we set up in our dining area every year. So fun to look at. It has all of my kids handmade ornaments they made when they were little. Brings back too many good memories!

Here are some pictures of my buffet area. This year I added a berry wreath to the mirror (you gotta love command hooks!) and used my decorated garland at the bottom of the mirror. I have had this garland for quite some time. It was a Relief Society project and I really love the sparkle it brings to the buffet area. The candle  holders are from IKEA.

I chose to keep my mantle not as cluttered as last year--the tree stands right next to the fireplace, and in the past I had put a long decorated garland across the mantle. This year I thought it was a little too much, and with the new mirror from IKEA, my lantern from, yeah, you guessed it, Pier 1 Imports, as well as the snowman and the big rustic star, I thought it had enough bling. The beaded garland is from Ikea as well, and the stockings I made a couple of years ago. I love the white, fuzzy fabric that I chose for the top of them. And I even took the time to line the inside and everything. I know! Fancy.

 These are some of the things I have decorating my entrance. This cute little rustic snowman, from Target, has always been part of my indoor decor, but this year I put it outside. It has had a rough time though. The wind up here is so strong, that the poor thing has fallen too many times. And then there is me picking him up again and again. We'll see how long I can keep up with this!

I had a rough time hanging this garland. I used command hooks that are see thru and removable, but a couple of them have come apart, and even though it does not show, this thing could come down on its own before Christmas. Oh well, if it comes down, I am not putting it back up! =-) I know, I probably WILL put it back up.

 I hope you enjoyed the pictures! Pretty soon I will be posting a baguette style bread recipe (I know, white flour!). This is a bread similar to the french bread you all know about, but oh, so much better. mmm! It is a recipe of the type of bread sold at every bakery in Puerto Rico. I am trying it first, and if I am successful, you will know about it! Hope you have a wonderful Christmas among the people you love the most! 'Til next time!

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Wing back chairs finally finished!!! Take a look at the final results!

 Well, I really could not believe my eyes...the chairs are finally done! Yesterday I was moving my old chair out of my bedroom to make room for my newly transformed wing back chairs, which by the way look lovely right in front of my bay window. It has been quite the project--I got the chairs back in June (yes, June!!!), and since that day, my laundry room/craft room has been a complete disaster. =-) Needless to say, my family is very pleased with having the laundry room back for what it was intended to be! lol!

The piping was probably the hardest part of the whole project. I had done piping before, but it is a little time consuming, and you have to have all of that done before you actually start sewing your pieces together.

 The legs I just sprayed with some antique bronze spray and nothing else was done to them. Initially I wanted to change the legs completely, but I could not find any replacements online that would work, and so the spray paint was my only option. It really brought them back to life!!!

The pleats turned out really nice and even--just perfect!!!

Now, just a quick reminder of the BEFORE picture:

 They were actually in really good shape, and the fabric was nice and thick, but not the color that I wanted. For $50.00 a piece, I think I got a decent deal. The fabric was only $2.00/yd, and I bought about 15 yd for both. Then I got some cording (for the piping), which was about .15 cents/yd. The total cost per chair was about $75.00. Not bad, huh?

I hope some of you got inspired to reupholster a chair in need of TLC. It may be sitting in one of your rooms, or you may find the perfect one on Craig's list for that empty corner in your front room. Either way, I hope you have fun through the journey and enjoy your new creation (if you decide to go for it!). Thanks for stopping by and I will see you next time! I will have lots to show you really soon!!! 

Friday, November 9, 2012

Christmas baskets are here!

        It is funny how sometimes life takes you on different paths--some of them are really easy and almost unreal, and then there is a sudden turn that comes, almost unexpected, and the path you end up on is one that you never thought you would experience. We lived in Arizona for 11 years, and it had definitely become home for us. Little did I know that the Lord would be leading us in a different direction. To leave our home, our families, and our friends, and head on north to Rexburg, Idaho, was not an easy path for us to take, especially for me. But I must say that as I see my children enjoying the area, enjoying their new friends, and loving the small town feel, I have started to "warm up" to the area (even though it is 32 F as I am writing this post!).

        Changing the subject, I know some of you have shared with me your desire to help out Natalia in her efforts to compete in gymnastics for the first time.  Just recently we sold 50# bags of potatoes to the few people we know in the area.  We are so grateful to all of you who bought potatoes! We raised $210.00 dollars that will go into her account and will cover about half of her meets and coaches costs. So again, thank you so much! I know some of you were interested in helping out, but not necessarily by buying potatoes (selling potatoes in Rexburg is almost like trying to sell popcycles in Alaska!), and this is where the Christmas Bread baskets come in. I will be selling these cute Christmas baskets on a per order basis during the first week in December. They cost $25.00 and will include the following: 

  • a yummy 2 lb loaf of whole wheat bread (for info on bread ingredients go to my website,
  • cute wooden cutting board,  
  • bread knife,
  •  homemade cinnamon-honey butter (it tastes delicious!!) in a small glass jar (not a canning jar), 
  • a festive Christmas mug with two hot chocolate packs, 
  • and a Christmas ornament (not all the same). The bread will be placed in a small basket with tissue paper and the whole thing will be wrapped in cellophane with a big, festive bow, and a gift tag.

        I think you will like it, and the fact that I have gone all around town and in Utah to get all these items will save you all the trouble! If this is something that would interest you, email me at and let me know how many baskets you will need before November 30th. My goal is to sell 30 of these baskets, and if I do, Natalia will be covered! Uff! I hope that when she is older she remembers all the trouble that I went through to keep her in gymnastics. =-) Although to be honest, I don't mind doing it--after putting together my first basket last night I thought, "aaahhh, it is so cute", so I think I will still do these every year if they get a good response! My camera is not the best, and the pictures don't it justice, but at least you have an idea of what to expect. If there is a specific color you want me to use, please let me know. The mugs that I use may be different from the picture, as well as the ornaments and wired ribbon. But they will still be beautiful--I could not sell something that I would not want to get for myself! 

The cup will have some shredded paper inside it too.

I am planning to label the cinnamon honey butter and include the recipe as well!

I am using the cutting board as the base for all my other items. 

What do you think??

      If you know of anyone who would be interested in getting a couple of these (these are great gifts for coworkers, your boss, teachers, doctors, etc.) feel free to forward my blog address to them. Again, you are all so wonderful for your support since I moved to this area. And to my Simply Wheat customers, a special THANK YOU for trusting your family with my baking!! 
Have a wonderful weekend!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Wing back chairs makeover!

Ok, so I finally finished one of the wing back chairs that I got from Craig's list. Let me just say that I truly respect anyone in the reupholstering business--it is not easy!!! The worst part is probably the removal of the old fabric. It is important to remove every section as intact as possible, label each piece with a number and what part of the chair it covers (you may not be able to tell once the pieces are all out) and attach every new piece in the reverse order you took them off. The fabric sections you may use as patterns, although there were some pieces that were pretty square and are shaped as they get stapled unto the chair. Pulling off the old fabric, like I said, was a NIGHTMARE!! I think I removed over a thousand staples. But once the hard part is over, the fun part starts. I must admit that for not having reupholstered anything in the past, I started with a rather complicated project, but now I feel capable of doing any other project that comes my way!!! I did it and I am so proud of myself...especially for saving a good $500.00 in reupholstering fees! I am posting the before pictures now...stay tuned for the after pictures (I am working on my other chair this week). Have a great week!

Monday, October 29, 2012

My Porch for the Fall Season

I always love to decorate my front door for the Fall Season. The colors all around me inspire me to have a beautiful welcoming entrance--it is the first thing my guests see prior to entering my home, and I like it to make a simple, but elegant statement. I uploaded the pictures I took of my front porch, dining area, and mantle. Enjoy!

White pumpkins flank the entrance. I sprayed them white (I could not find real white ones!)

My son and I went to get some branches from a pile on the side of the road, and then I hot glued a few fall leaves here and there to make it pretty.

Our house does not have outdoor lamps, and I thought a lantern by the door would do the trick. I bought a battery operated candle (it flickers like the real thing!), and I turn it on when I know guests are coming.

The black wooden cat merges my fall decorations with Halloween just beautifully!

Raffia and fake fall leaves dress up my cute white pumpkins!

I spray painted these unfinished candle holders in a flat white and placed small pumpkins on them. Very simple but so unexpected!

I wanted to make topiaries like these ones since last year, and this year I was able to work on this. Loooove them on my mantle. The pumpkins are from Michael s,  the pots from Joann, and the leaves, corn husks, berries, etc. I just had from previous years.