Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 25, 2015

Red and Green Christmas Appetizers

Sunday, December 6, 2015

I don't think you can ever go too over the top, so if you're going to set out a spread of Christmas appetizers why not make the spread red and green themed?
Here are a few that look easy and delicious:
1. Sparkling Cranberry Brie Bites
2.Spinach Roulade With Smoked Salmon
3. Marinated Cheese
4. Christmas Roll-ups

DIY Vacation Ornament

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Since we got married we've always had a snowflake themed Christmas tree to go with our holiday decor.  While collecting snowflake ornaments I've also collected meaningful Christmas ornaments, including ones from our vacations.  When we were in Aruba last year I couldn't find any ornaments I liked so I decided to bring back some things to make my own.

While walking on the beach we collected a bag of sand and some shells.  When we were in town I bought a small turtle that said 'ARUBA' to put in the ornament as well. When we got home I picked-up some glass ornaments, stickers, and ribbon to make my own ornament.

I used a funnel to get the sand inside of the ornament and dropped in some shells.

Using scrap booking letter stickers I wrote 'Aruba 2015' on the outside of the ornament.  Tape worked well as a guideline.

I kept the box the glass ornament came in for storage, and to hold the extra glass ornaments until I get back from more trips!

DIY Vacation Souvenir for the Home

Sunday, November 22, 2015

We're not really 'Souvenir people', and judging by all the sombreros and coconuts at Goodwill I don't think most people are. Although we forego the typical tourist junk, I start every vacation by saying, "It would be neat if we could find something cool for the house", and every trip I'm disappointed with what we find.
 A couple of years ago we were in Cabo San Lucas where I was on the hunt for otomi napkins.  I was able to get a great deal on one that went great with our decor, but there was only one. I bought it anyway, and when we got home I turned the lone napkin into an accent pillow for our living room.  I love that is's a reminder of our vacation without screaming souvenir. Now when we go on vacation instead of looking for a perfect piece that doesn't exist, I look for things that I can use in less obvious ways to remember out travels.

How to Level Furniture Overlapping a Rug

Sunday, November 15, 2015

 We recently purchased a larger area rug for our living room. I love that it fills up more of the space and defines the sitting area, but most of our furniture now sits half-on/half-off the rug. Since the rug is over 1" thick it created a real issue ( think of red wine on an unbalanced end table!)

After failed attempts to re-arrange the furniture, I turned to these felt furniture pads to extend legs that fell outside of the rug.  I had purchased a huge package of them at Costco when we changed to dark floors to avoid scratches.

I love using the felt pads because you can keep stacking them to get the height needed.  In my case, every foot outside the rug needed two pads.

Since our floors and dark and the pads were light, I colored them with black permanent marker so they wouldn't show.

DIY Wood-Burned Cutting Board Gift

Sunday, November 8, 2015

My parents recently remodeled their house so I thought it would be fun to burn a picture of their new house on a cutting board.  I figured it would be fairly easy since a house is straight lines.  It turned out so well that I made one for myself and my sister-in-law!

I started with an inexpensive cutting board from Home Goods.

The rest of the process is similar to the deck step I wood burned a few years ago. First, take a photo of the house and use powerpoint to make it the desired size and print.

Rub the back of the paper with oil pastels to turn it into 'tracing paper'.

Place the photo where you like on the cutting board and use tape to secure in place.

Use a pen to trace the outline of the house.

The oil pastels will transfer to the board on the lines traced. Use various wood burning tips to fill in the lines, and that's it!

Here is a close-up of the finished product. It was so easy to make a such a custom piece.  This would be a great gift for a house warming or any occasion!

Fall Themed Brunch

Sunday, November 1, 2015

This Fall we hosted a group of friends for a weekend brunch.    I wanted to incorporate some Fall flavors, but I also wanted to take some shortcuts since the weeks before and after were crazy! Here is a simple Fall Brunch Menu and shortcuts/items to make it easy yet seasonal!
Fall Brunch Menu
*Sausage Links with Maple Syrup
*Baked Oatmeal
*Harvest Salad
*Pumpkin Danish
I found a pumpkin Danish and Harvest Salad kit at Trader Joes.  They always have a great selection of seasonal items.
Although I try not to serve a lot of frozen foods, these mini quiches from Whole foods were fancy and no-mess!
I kept the décor simple with Fall leaf napkins and Fall floral arrangements.  I used our copper Moscow Mule mugs to hold the silverware. They were the perfect color!
This simple menu would be great to serve around Thanksgiving as well--one less meal to make from scratch!

Halloween Gift for Guys

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

I like Halloween even more than Christmas, which means I give Halloween gifts! Guys can be tough to buy themed gifts for, so rather than waste money on Halloween junk I chose to go with orange and back snacks and some Halloween themed and Oktoberfest beers.  It's amazing what you can find when you look outside the holiday aisle for holiday treats--jerky in a dark charcoal and black packaging looks creepy if you want it to!

Halloween Dessert Cake

Sunday, October 25, 2015

 When serving an entire Halloween dinner, make one portion easy on yourself and buy a round cake from your favorite bakery with white icing and draw a spider web on the top using a tube of black icing. Simple and done!

Halloween Appetizers

Thursday, October 22, 2015

We served these 'Stomach Turning Appetizers' at spooky dinner  last year.  Not only are they spooky, but they taste great too!

Stomach Turning Appetizers:
-DEVILED Eggs -Deviled eggs with an olive on top to make them look like eyeballs
-Giant Lice with Blood Sauce-Cocktail shrimp with cocktail sauce
-Witch Finger Bites -Not pictured, but a frozen Trader Joe's Pesto flatbread cut into long strips to create the 'witch fingers'

Presentation can also help make ordinary foods into great Halloween apps. Drape Halloween cloth over a serving stand, put plastic spiders on the serving tray, or serve next to candle light with the lights turned off.

Halloween Bar Cart and Drinks

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Creating a Halloween themed bar or bar cart is easy and fun to put together whether you're entertaining or not! Here are a few details to help bring an average bar to a haunted bar.

Themed napkins in an elegant holder helps takes the cheesiness out of halloween for an adult bar cart

Labels easily transform ordinary beer and wine into festive beverages

Small lighting accents help guests navigate the bar area with main lights off

These crystal wine gobblets from Goodwill help add a 'haunted mansion' feel without being 'Halloween themed'

Fake bugs on a serving tray make everyday entertaining pieces scary

A few small strategically placed Halloween accents allow guest to discover something spooky in ordinary places

DIY Scary Halloween Branch Decor

Thursday, October 15, 2015

This Halloween branch decor not only looks spooky and has a big impact, but it's basically free to make and doesn't need to be stored--just throw it away and make a new one next year!

I got the twigs from some brush in our backyard and spray painted them black with some paint we already had and put them in a vase
......added some fake spider web
...added some fake spiders
.....added this fake raven from the $ store and that was it!
Here it is on our Halloween bar cart. Is that spooky or what?!?

Fall Snack Mix

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

This peanut/candy corn snack mix is perfect to set out for company during the Fall, and it's so simple to make!  Just mix a bag of candy corn with peanuts (I use honey roasted).  It's festive and is great to munch on while watching football games.

Happy Fall!

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