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Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Christmas Open House 2009

Welcome to my Christmas open house. I have pictures of my town followed by some from my home.
First, let's start off in downtown Huntington Beach. This is a pedestrian bridge acrosss Pacific Coast Highway connecting the Huntington Beach Hyatt to the beach. The picture of the lantern is also in front of the Hyatt..  Let's go to my home. For the past several years we have put this painted wooden nativity in front of our home. I love it's simplicity. Nativities are a major part of our Christmas decorations. We have several dozen. We have everything from nativity washcloths to ornaments. Here is a sampling.

Finally, we'll end with a picture of our Christmas tree. We love to pack it full of ornaments. They all have special memories attached.
Thank you so much for visiting my open house.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Apple Pear Sauce Tutorial

This year we made sweet potato latkes with apple pear sauce and sour cream. I thought you might enjoy making your own apple pear sauce. It's really easy and yummy.

Apple Pear Sauce
2 apples
3 pounds of pears
2 Tbs. juice (apple, cranberry, lemon, or grape)

Peel, core and chop apples into 1 inch pieces. Cut off each end of pear. Cut in half and using a melon baller or spoon, scrape out the vein and seeds. Leave the peel on the pears.
Your pile should look like this with peel-on pear halves and peeled and chopped apples.
Now, place your fruit in a medium saucepan with the juice. The pears are mostly water so you don't need any more than 2 Tbs. of juice. It's really just in there to get you started.

Cover and cook on the lowest setting on your stove.
After about 20-25 minutes, lift the lid and check your fruit. You should be able to chop the pears in half with a wooden spoon and there should be a lot of liquid at the bottom of the pan. Cook for another 15-20 minutes on low or increase the heat to medium and cook another 10-15 minutes but you'll need to watch it closely.

When the pears easily break apart with a wooden spoon, turn off the heat and let the mixture cool for a few minutes. It should look like this:
Using an imersion blender, blender, food mill or food processor blend the mixtures until it is smooth. The pear peel will disappear. Serve cold or at room temperature. Store in the fridge in an airtight container. Enjoy!

Thank you Tim Holtz

Thank you Tim Holtz for all the inspiration during the 12 tags of Christmas. I loved every tag and I will be using many of the techniques that you shared throughout the upcoming year. And, thank you for helping me create a wish list for my family. But, most of all, thank you for sending me an early Christmas present. It was so lovely, all wrapped in army green tissue and neatly placed in a clear zip bag. I love it!

Friday, December 11, 2009

A Personal Note

I think it's always a good time for a love card. This one is for Dean. When we were dating 10+ years ago, we exchanged cards often. When we got married, the cards came less often. Sometimes, when we got in an argument, I would make him a love card and hide it. When he found it, he would give me a kiss and say, "I'm sorry." Unfortunately during the 5 years we were married the cards, kisses, and apologies came less frequent. We were divorced 4.5 years ago.

Two months ago we decided to put the past behind us and move forward. We are even talking about getting married again. So, I made him this love card to celebrate our new beginning.

I know you are busy getting out your Christmas cards but I hope that you take the time to send a love card. It's always a good time for a love card.

Details on my card:
Pattern papers: Bo Bunny
Stamps: Stampin Up!
Cardstock: Prism
Brad and ribbon are from my stash
I was inspired by this week's CPS sketch. CPS145.
Thank you for stopping by.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Countdown to Christmas

I love the Christmas season. Every year our family celebrates the upcoming Christmas holiday with advent calendars. We have several. I'd love to share them with you along with some other ways that you can count down the days to Christmas.

For those of you who do not know, I'll define advent. Advent (from the Latin word adventus, meaning "coming") celebrates the days leading up to the celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ. The calendar counts backwards (usually from 24 to 1) or, it fills in the 25 days of December until Christmas.

I made this first calendar for myself with a black cookie sheet, ribbons, scrapbook paper and lots of fun things from my craft box. The calendar starts off with a blank grid and then I put one of the magnetic numbers on every day.
The next calendar is my niece's. It is made of felt, buttons and glitter. Every day she takes a little roll of paper from a heart. She is given instructions for that day. Today she needs to do something special for someone. This next one is really fun. I was in an advent calendar swap. Each of us made 2 numbers and we swapped them. I made the cookie sheet background very similar to the first calendar. Next up is my mother's calendar. It has 24 little windows. In every window there is a magnetic character from the Christmas story and a piece of chocolate. It is fun to watch the scene be built throughout the month. Lastly, we have a fun "24 Chocolate Days 'til Christmas calendar that was given to my niece this year.

There are lots of other ways to countdown to Christmas. Here are a few I found on the internet:

How do you celebrate the days leading up to Christmas. Do you have a calendar or do you do special activities? I'd love to know (and see pictures.) Thank you again for allowing me to share my ideas with you.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving

It's time for another open house. Please enjoy these images from my home. Let's start with the front door. My sister painted our Grow pumpkin. Once you come inside you are greeted by Paris. I don't think he likes his pumpkin costume.

Let's go in the kitchen. This is the shelf above the sink. The turkey in the middle was created by my niece when she was in kindergarten. It's part of a series.

Then, above the front window hangs the banner I sewed this year along with a welcome sign painted by my sister.

All of the glass cupboards have pumpkin ephemera inside.


Let's go in the dining room. We have china we only use for Thanksgiving. The wheat plates were from my mum's mum. Later, we'll put the Thanksgiving serving pieces out. They are from my Dad's mum.


I am really excited about my new project this year. It's a "stuffed" turkey. I saw it on the V and Co blog and I knew I had to make it.

I made little pumpkin place cards for everyone with a gingerbread cookie mix and melted orange chocolates.


This is a funny pillow that sits on our living room chair.


Here's the top of the piano. My niece worked her magic there.

That concludes our Thanksgiving open house. I hope that you have a wonderful Thanksgiving. I'm grateful for you.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Tour de Wales

We interrupt this craft blog to give you some images from my recent 10 day trip to Wales. I think a lot of people are unfamiliar with Wales so I'm hoping that you will enjoy a little cultural geography from me. First stop: St. David's. The cathedral is named after the patron saint of Wales. It lies in the adorable city of St. David's. The city lies within the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park.All of those windows are beautiful stained glass. The inside is so much more beautiful than the exterior.It is still at active church. They are having a Handel's Messiah Christmas concert next month. I bet that will be amazing. Back up. On the way to St. David's, we passed a sign that read, YMCA Camp 1 1/2k. I had to check it out. And, I happened to be wearing my YMCA thermal. This Y was awesome. They go kayaking, surfing, rock climbing. I almost applied for a job there.
Here I am with the huge ropes coarse/rock climbing wall in the background. Super fun. Next stop: Castle Carreg Cennan. This is my view out the window as we drive to Castle Carreg Cennan. The castle lies along the Black Hills on the border of the Bracon Beacons National Park. Before going to the castle, you have to stop at the farmhouse. We had a traditional Welsh soup called Cawl served with buttered bread and a slice of Welsh cheese. Our version was vegetarian. I tried to take a really cool foodie picture but the cloudy scenery out the window wasn't cooperating. There is a hike up to the castle with lots of sheep along the way. I'm goofing off in this thingy. Here's the view from the castle. Underneath the castle there is a long, natural cave. I explored it alone. Spooky. Next stop: Tenby.
Tenby is an old seaside village in south Wales along the Pembrokeshire Coast. On the way we made a detour in the town of New Hedge to shop at a county market. I took this picture of the Heather they were selling for 1 pound 99. I also had the yummiest almond croissant of my life and bought two loaves of bara brith.
This is the harbor at Tenby. Tenby has beautiful beaches, great shops, lots of B & Bs, and restaurants. The homes and shops are very colorful. The whole town is surrounded by a stone wall.

Here I am standing against a wall, overlooking the beach and a couple of islands. Another view of the beach at Tenby. I don't know what this is called but I thought it was pretty. I did some shopping in Tenby at the 1 pound store (think 99 cent store.) I stocked up on silicone baking things. I also found a Cancer Research thrift store. I love a bargain.
This is Tesco, a place I where I spend a lot of my time in Wales. It's like Target Greatland. I think I went there 5 times while I was over there. I stocked up on the Welsh version of Airborne.

One can't do Britain without a little culture. We saw a ballet/modern dance at the Millennium Centre in Cardiff (the Welsh capital.) During intermissions, the Welsh eat ice-cream. Welsh ice-cream is very creamy and thick. Mmmm.
So, needless to say, I came home with some extra pounds and I'm not just talking about currency. Wales is a beautiful country. The people are very friendly. The food is yummy. I love it.
Thanks for letting me share. Have you been to Wales?


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