December 2013 - Dimples and Tangles


Well I can't believe it's already come and gone!  Last week was a whirlwind of fun.  I'm still taking some time away from the blog this week, but I wanted to share some Christmas photos, mostly for my benefit!

We started the week before with concerts and parties.  First, my little percussionist's Middle School band concert-

and then our last elementary school Christmas party ever!

We always host our family after our church's Christmas Eve service, and of course I forgot to take any pictures that evening.  I did get a good night time photo of the tree, though.

Christmas Morning at our house-

Next we headed out to Ray's parents' house. Nonnie always does some sort of Christmas play with all of the grandkids, and this year it was the ABC's of Christmas.

And, they all participate in a craft every year, regardless of how old they've become.  This year they made light bulb snowmen ornaments.

The next day we snapped the photo in front of our tree that we forgot to do the day before, 

and then celebrated Christmas at my parents' house.  Every year the grandkids get to sprinkle the snow on Bree's Snow Village.

I couldn't resist throwing in Ninja Boy...he totally owned it!

We ended the day with a game like Headbands but played with an iPhone.  Fun for all!

I hope you had a blessed Christmas!  See you later in the week...maybe!

P.S.  You may not have noticed, but lots of bloggers including me have been having problems with their search bar not working.  I loaded up a new version and now we're all set!  So, if you're looking for something in particular, try the Google search at the top of my sidebar.  I hope it helps!

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May your Christmas be full of grace and peace because of the Father's Gift to us, Jesus Christ.  Thank you for your ever-present support and encouragement.  I'll see you sometime around the New Year!  

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God.  All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being.  In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men.  The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.

And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.
-John 1:1-5, 14 (NASV)

O come, O come Emmanuel!

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Good Morning Friends!  It's almost here...are you ready?  I'm not quite, but we're close.

Just popping in today to share our fun new stockings with you.  I've always used my red tartan plaid, but this year they just didn't fit in.

I've never made stockings before, but I just used the old ones to trace around, put the right sides together, and stitched them up.  Then, I used some fur that I had on hand for the cuff on the top.

The fabric is Premier Prints "Togo", and has been discontinued most places online, but I found some at a fabric store in Dallas a few months ago.  It's the same piece I used as a runner on my Christmas Dining Room table, and hopefully I'll get around to making some pillows from it sometime soon too!

The kids' stockings will never change...I spent hours and hours making them, although I don't think Emily got hers until probably her 3rd Christmas.  Poor second child.  :)

I hope you're warm and cozy today as we prepare to celebrate the Savior's birth! 

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I intended to post this yesterday, but I know you all are just as busy as I am, and I chose to finish up some shopping rather than working on the computer. I spent Thursday evening cooking up a big batch of toffee to include with our teacher and neighbor gifts.  Years ago when I was teaching, one of my co-teachers would make us this amazing toffee each Christmas, and she was kind enough to share the recipe.  I've been making it almost every Christmas since!


2 cups butter (I used a mix of salted & unsalted, I don't know that it matters.)
2 cups sugar
1/4 cup + 2 Tbsp. water
8-10 Hershey bars, or one bag chocolate chips
chopped pecans

Speaking of pecans, have I ever showed you my cheater way to "chop" pecans?  I pour them in a plastic bag and pound them with something heavy, usually a ladle.  Works like a charm, it's fast, and there's no mess to clean up!

You will also need a candy thermometer.  I just picked a new one up at Target for $10, so they're relatively easy to find and a good kitchen gadget to have on hand.

Mix the butter, sugar, and water together and heat to boiling.  With the candy thermometer attached to the pot, heat until the mixture reaches 300 degrees.  I was working with a triple recipe and it took about 30 minutes to reach that temperature.  Stir often and be likes to splatter a bit and it's hot!

Here you can see the progression of the coloring-

when it reaches that caramel color it's ready!

Right when it gets to 300 degrees, remove from heat and pour directly onto cookie sheets that have been buttered or sprayed with cooking spray.  Allow to harden and cool, which took about an hour.

When toffee is cool, melt chocolate and spread on top.  Sprinkle pecans on top if desired, and I like to press them down a bit so they'll stick well once the chocolate hardens.  Allow chocolate to cool and harden.  If I'm in a hurry I stick the pans in the freezer for an hour or so to speed up the process.

When chocolate has hardened, use the tip of a knife or spatula to pop the toffee off of the pan, and break it up into smaller pieces.  That's it!  The printed recipe above is for a single batch, but I've tripled the recipe in these photos.  Just for reference, the triple recipe ended up covering 4 cookie sheets and a 9x13 pan.  So, a single recipe would make about a sheet and a half.   Fair warning - it's hard to stop eating!

* * * * * * * * * * 

The 12 Days of Christmas Tour of Homes has come to an end, but now is your chance to link up your own Christmas home!  I was so honored to be included with this fabulous group of ladies.  Here's the full list of tour links if there were any you missed!

And, head over to Evolution of Style here to link up your own home.  Many thanks to Jenny for organizing the entire tour, and to Lisa at Shine Your Light for making all of the darling chalkboard graphics to keep us all organized.

Happy Weekend, friends!  We're iced in again, so I'm planning more baking and crafting and hanging out with the fam.  Oh, I guess I'd better get to wrapping all of that stuff I shopped for all week, too.  Are YOU ready?

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First of all, let me say a big ol' THANK YOU for all of your sweet comments on my Christmas Home Tours!  I'm still working my way through responding to your comments, but know that your encouragement is very much appreciated.

After seeing Jen's sunburst ornaments here, I knew that I had to have some for my tree this year too.  She gave a great tutorial, but I made mine a little differently so I thought I'd share that with you today.  They are super simple, and only cost around $1 each!

Here's what you'll need:

unfinished wooden disc (Hobby Lobby), round craft mirrors, craft sticks, wooden skewers, gold spray paint, ribbon, and hot glue.  I used the plastic/cork coasters for a different one later in this post.

I started by hot-gluing my craft sticks to the back of the wooden disc.  They were all measuring or too much thought needed!  On some I used all craft sticks, and on some I mixed the wooden skewers (cut in half) with them.

After that was assembled, I used a base coat of gold spray paint and then a top coat of gold glitter spray paint.  That gave an extra sparkle that looks pretty on the tree!

After the paint was dry, I hot glued the mirror to the top and a loop of ribbon to hang by on the back.  All done!

I think I made a dozen and really like the statement they made on my tree this year.  I kept a lot of my filler ornaments packed away this year and focused on mainly the gold and silver ones, but since this is our only tree I still used some sentimental ones and my scrabble tile ornaments from last year.

While making these, my daughter made the remark that they looked like snowflakes, so I thought we'd go with some of those, too!  For these I used a 4-pack of coasters from Dollar Tree, but I also saw the same ones at Walmart.  The process was basically the same, but I glued a coaster to the back of this one too so the front and back would be the same.  After spraying it all silver, I glued a mirror in the center and added a plastic snowflake to the front. We hung those on the tree in her room.

I forgot the other day, but I wanted to show you my "tree skirt" this year.  I spread out my 3 faux Ikea sheepskins, and I'm loving them!  And, I don't think the top of my tree showed up in any of the photos, but I used a simple black and white striped deco-mesh bow.

Don't forget that The Twelve Days of Christmas Tour of Homes is continuing through this week.  My super stylish friend Pam at Simple Details shared her tour on Monday,

Click here to pin this photo please

Elizabeth from Little Black Door was up yesterday,

Click here to pin this photo please

and Oak Ridge Revival is up today.  I can't wait to see what she has in store for us!  And on Friday, get ready to link up your own tour!

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Duck the Halls!

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of Duck Brand provided by ShurTech Brands, LLC for SocialSpark. All opinions are 100% mine.

Most of us know that Duck® Tape projects are all the rage, but have you seen the Duck Brand® Holiday Tape designs?  They are so much fun for young and old crafters and the project options are almost limitless.

Over the weekend I played around with 4 holiday designs, and came up with some super easy projects to share to help you Duck the Halls!

I made 5 Duck® Tape projects with just a few common supplies:

Holiday Duck® Brand Tape, simple cording, ribbon, or jute, wooden skewers, and assorted gift bags.

1) Duck® Tape Pennant Bunting:  Cut your cord, ribbon, or jute to the desired length.  Then, simply cut a length of tape about 10" long.  Center your cord in the middle of the adhesive side and fold sides to stick together over the rope.

Cut the swallow-tail ends, and that's it!  If you want your pieces longer or shorter, just adjust the length of tape that you use.

Pssst...the gold stripes and dots are Duck® Tape too!  I made over this little niche in my hallway several months ago.

Aren't those little snowmen cute?

2) Decorative Pennant:  Add holiday messages to flower arrangements, potted plants, or greenery containers around your house by wrapping a strip of tape around a wooden skewer and trimming the ends in a flag shape.  A white address label affixed to the center helps your message be seen clearly.

3) Holiday Mirror Decoration:

We had some fun in the kids' bathroom and framed out some messages on the mirror.  Did you know dry erase markers wipe right off of mirrors, too?

My daughter came up with her own plan to frame out the spot above her sink.  She's adding her self portrait...

And if you're curious, I checked after the tape had been up for about a week, and it peeled off very easily leaving no residue on the mirror.

4) Buffet labels:  Have plans to entertain this holiday season?  Need some easy labels?  Use the same procedure as with the decorative pennant, but I cut the skewers in half for this one so they weren't as long.

5) Personalized Gift Bags: As much as I enjoy a beautifully wrapped (boxed) package, sometimes you just need to use a gift bag.  However, there's no reason a bag can't be just as creative and personal!  For the young cousins in our family, I made some kid friendly gift bag designs.

I simply cut strips and made a variety of designs on the front of the bag.  I also cut out some dots for my girly girl niece's gift.  To finish the bag off, I added a Duck® Tape bow.  It was so easy to make.  With a 8-10" strip, I folded both ends toward the middle.  I tried not to mash the ends down so the bow would retain a bit of shape on the loops.

Then, I pinched in the middle and wrapped a thin strip around the middle.  I left the top of the strip free to attach that onto the gift bag.

Do you have some great ideas for using Duck® Brand Tape?  Share them on Pinterest using the #DuckTheHalls hashtag.  You can also follow The Duck Brand on Twitter or Facebook for lots of other Duck® Tape crafting inspiration!

Disclosure: Duck Brand® provided the Holiday Tape for these projects and compensation for this post, but all words and opinions are mine.

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