Sunday, December 28, 2014

Washington Duke Inn During the Holidays

Hi There,

Hope you had a wonderful holiday and were able to spend time with family and friends.

Here are some photos that I wanted to share with you from my visit at Washington Duke Inn, Durham, NC.

It was so beautifully decorated for the holidays.  I hope you enjoy!

Washington Duke Inn

   This is one of my favorite hotels to visit in the RTP area.  We enjoyed a beautiful lunch there too!

We were able to go outside and relax in Adirondack chairs watching some golfers put6 on the green nearby!

I hope you have a wonderful New Year's too!

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Happy Holidays!

Thanks for visiting my blog during the year!  I really appreciate it!  Happy Holidays to you and your family!


Sunday, December 21, 2014

Gingerbread Houses

Have you ever made a gingerbread house?  I have and it was so much fun!  I actually designed my only template and made my own gingerbread.  No, I did not use a kit!  I have to say is takes time and patience but was well worth it!  I think the best part was decorating the house.  This is where you can be so creative in buying the edible candies for the house.  

My family use to have holiday parties with a gingerbread competition.  It was so much fun. While packing up my photos in my last home in Beaufort, I did come across some of my photos of the gingerbread houses.  Well it is too late to do this year, perhaps next year.....*Ha!)

In the meantime, I wanted to share some inspirational photos of some lovely gingerbread houses that I found recently.

Well are you all ready for the holidays?

Happy Holidays to you and your family!

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Tara's Annual Cookie Exchange Photos & Chalkboard Crafts

Hi There,

Have you ever hosted a holiday cookie exchange?  My sister, Tara has hosted them for over five years now in her home.  I loved going to them and finding a great recipe to share when I lived back in PA.  Her home was always so inviting and it always got me in the holiday spirit too! I also loved it when I came home from the party with so many assortment of cookies.....

At the exchange, there are actual "cookie judges" that judge the cookies.  Yes - the party is so much fun.  My sister has different categories that a cookie can be placed in.  There are winners in each category -- prettiest, most creative, best tasting, and so on....

The winners of the categories go home with a homemade gift too!

Here are some photos that I wanted to share from the cookie exhange.

Upon entering her side entrance of her home, she made this below - it is a dress form of a chef (Baked with Love) with apron made with fresh greens and holly.  I just love it!  Do you see the spatula handing from the red ribbon?

She also set up a vintage table with an red and white runner and made a chalkboard welcome sign for her guests.  Can you see the rolling pin too?

Here is a wreath adorned with cookies in her kitchen over the sink.

A chalkboard tray for holding all of the homemade cookies.....

I also wanted to share some of the cute chalkboard crafts that she has added to her holiday decor in her home, too!

Homemade chalkboard name tags she made for her dining room table.....

A simple evergreen swag with a chalkboard "snowflake" frame.....

Table vignette with cardboard homes and vintage bottle brush trees......

Tis the Season chalkboard and frame.....

Tara's  tree even had homemade chalkboard frames tucked in the boughs.....

I hope you enjoyed some holiday peeks from my sister's home.....

Thanks for your visit!

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Easy Candied Walnuts

Hello There,

Are you almost finished your list to do for the holidays?  I am finished and now can enjoy the true meaning of Christmas.

During the holidays, I always enjoy having homemade goodies around my home.  I wanted to share a simple recipe for you today.  I am sharing one of my favorite snacks, Candied Walnuts.

They are super easy to make and oh so delicious.

All you need is:

2 cups walnut pieces
2-3 Tablespoons Sugar
2 Teaspoon Cinnamon
3-4 Tablespoons butter, melted

Preheat oven to 375.  Layer a cookie sheet with foil wrap.  Arrange walnut pieces onto foil.  Add melted butter, cinnamon and sugar.  Toss so all walnuts are covered.

Bake for 10-15 minutes and let cool completely.

**I usually double the recipe.

While baking these, my kitchen was smelling so divine.  I love making these each year.  They can be placed in tins, or Weck caning jars that I used in the above photo.

They are great ideas for teacher gifts, neighbors,  or friends!

Hope you have a lovely week.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Popcorn and Cranberry Garland Christmas Tree


I can't believe it has been a week since I have posted anything.  Well I guess everyone is very busy during the holiday season!  

This year, I made a homemade garland for my tree with popcorn and cranberries. Yes - it was very time consuming but I love how it turned out and looks on my tree.

Homemade Cranberry Garland

I collect ornaments each year and when I go on vacation I always add a ornament or too from where I visited.

Here is Pinocchio that I bought back from my trip to Italy last year......

I even have some vintage ornaments that I have added on my tree this year.....

One of my favorite ornaments from Anthropologie.....

I even have one from Big Ben - our London trip....

And here is the final touches to my tree!

Thanks for your visit!

**After taking tree down, I will feed the birds the popcorn and cranberries.  I understand mockingbirds and blue jays love them!

I am also linking to:

Sunday, December 7, 2014

My Simple Holiday Centerpiece

Wow, it is cold here in NC!  Thought it would be a good day to make a simple, holiday centerpiece for my table.

So here is what I used for the centerpiece.  I used Cedar clippings (from the tree behind my home, hee!  hee!) and placed them in the center of the table and placed some three white pillar candles among the clippings.  While at Trader Joe's (one of my favorite stores), I picked up a bag of mandarin oranges and placed them around the centerpiece.

So there you go, a simple yet pretty centerpiece for the table!

I guess I better get moving and go pick out our tree next!  Hope you are enjoying your day!

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

My New Kerisma Poncho

Today I am sharing with you one of my favorite ponchos.  When I was visiting Beaufort back in early November, I bought one of these ponchos from My Favorite Store in historic Beaufort.  They carry an assortment of colors and designs.

Since the color blue is one of my favorites, I had to have a blue one.  These ponchos are lightweight with a wool blend and make a lovely layering piece in any kind of weather.  The feel of the fabric is so soft and comfortable and drapes so nicely when wearing it.

Below are images on showing how to wear this piece.  It can be worn with about anything whether you want to dress casually or dress up an outfit!

This photo above shows the poncho worn to the side of the shoulder....

This photo shows wearing it with the V neck in the front......

You can also wear it as a scarf as shown above.....

Oh I just love my new poncho and I am so glad that I have added this to my wardrobe!!



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