I Could Totally Make That: 2012 Version

 Last year, I threw together a group of products that I thought were inspirational for the handmade artist.  Well that list went CA-RAZY last year.  I couldn’t even tell you how many people have stopped by to check that guy out.  I was/am shocked.

I love and purchase from all of the stores that provide these decorations, but sometimes it’s fun to be inspired by them for our own crafting at home, right?  Right.

Here was the 2011 round-up:

I did end up making a Nutcracker last year:

You can find my tutorial here.

I did manage to get a manzanita branch a few weeks ago on a hike so maybe I can pull off the branch candelabra.  That would be awesome.

This year, I thought I’d round-up some new ones for us to play around with.  Who knows?  Some of you might find something to buy while others might run to the craft store to get supplies. It’s fun to look at dreamy holiday decorations either way.

1. Succulent Wreath found on redenvelope.com, $80

 I have seen many tutorials for this kind of wreath, but Martha has a very clear one here that would be easy to follow!

2. Cloth advent bags from landofnod.com, $49

I bought these same bags from amazon earlier this year for PENNIES compared to this price tag.  You can find them here at $6.99 for 25 drawstring bags.  From there, you would only need to apply an iron on transfer for the numbers and you are golden!

3. Charlie Brown Christmas tree from target.com, $14.99

For such a cute tree, that price is not that bad. However, imagine of you could make it for free?  Oh, yes!  If you go to your local Christmas tree farm, chances are they will let you take discarded Christmas tree branches home for FREE.  You could either drill a hole into the base of a tree-stump cast-off and glue a branch into it, or find some scrap wood to make and “x” with and drill a hole through both of those and the bind them together with glue.  Then, you need only find a very inexpensive red ornament and you have a sweet little Charlie Brown Christmas tree.  Be sure to hunt down a piece of light blue cloth for Linus’s blanket while you’re at it.

4. Felt Charger from target.com, $19.99/for 4

I happen to have a few yards of red felt in my craft closet from a project I never completed, but if you don’t have that stashed away, you can find it at any fabric store.  If you add a coupon, you are really in business.  You will most likely have to spray it down with a glue or fabric stiffener so you are not constantly straightening it out.  Ideally, you would be best off using a thicker felt but you’d probably have to order it online and it would be harder to cut.  After you have your felt, download a snowflake image from google images (I go for the copyright free ones) and blow it up to the size you want it to be.  cut out the template, place it over the felt, and cut away!

5. Gilded pine cones from westelm.com, $2

Again, these are a pretty good price, but for $2, you could buy almost a whole can of gold paint and be able to make a LOT of them.  Plus, it’s always fun to collect the memories along with the pine cones and you could even tag them with those memories when you hang them.

6. Woodland Snow Globes from redenvelope.com, $29.95

Snow globes have been very popular the last 2 Christmas seasons.  DIY’s are popping up everywhere!  We all have our favorite techniques and glues to share.  You could totally pull these off with a few bottle-brush trees from the craft store and some jars out of your pantry (after you eat the food in them of course).  Last year I put LEGO guys in our and the boys loved it.  I love the look of these ones.  There are a few different looks which are fun and new (beyond your basic baby food jar), including putting jewelry in the snow globe.  How lovely, right?

7. Branch Christmas tree from anthropologie.com, $

This DIY could be a little trickier but totally worth it.  The tree would require strategic placement of branches starting with a wire base, most likely.  You have to be pruning constantly  but the result could stay in your holiday decor for years to come.

Have you seen any other decorations that have inspired you?

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Cozy Morning + a Hobbit

“If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world.”

J. R. R. Tolkien

“The Hobbit”

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Holiday Cocktail: Maple Bourbon Twist

You have no idea how excited I am about this drink.  My friends and family know me by now as a crazy cocktail dabbler.  I can’t help it.  I just love mixing flavors and following trends of my own changing taste in food and drink.  When I pick a flavor, I pretty much stick to it for a while and it will appear EVERYWHERE!


I made a cocktail, cookies, and soap.


replacing every sugar product I can with it.


I made many different cocktails (some with grapefruit), cookies, and also just ate it candied.

Five spice:

It went in chicken, soup, and cookies.

The next one is definitely bourbon.  I have had this trend in the past, but I am definitely using bourbon whenever I can at this point.

I love it so.

This cocktail is very special to me because I really love it.  If you asked my husband if I am happy with the food and drink I create, he would say no way!  I can’t help but want to improve upon things and make them better.  This drink, however, I just really love as it is.  The maple syrup really holds down the bourbon, making it nice and smooth.  I love the sweet finish of apple brandy and our homegrown apple slice on top.

Introducing my Holiday 2012 cocktail:

Maple Bourbon Twist

(thanks to Brianne and Kristin for helping me name it)

1 oz. Bourbon (I prefer Knob Creek or a small batch bourbon)

3/4 oz. maple syrup

3/4 oz. lemon juice, fresh squeezed

2 small splashes of apple brandy

Combine all ingredients in a shaker and shake for 1 minute.  Serve in a martini glass with an apple slice.  This can easily be made into large batches. Add a little club soda if it’s too strong for you!

C H E E R S !

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Can you put a smile on my husband’s face?

(photo by Kristin Rogers)

Some of you might not know this, but I’m married to an amazing man.  Not only is he a fabulous husband and father, but he’s an incredibly gifted writer.  Up until a few years ago, he was a F-18 pilot in the USMC.  He decided to pursue a new career so that he could spend more time with us, his family.  Such a kind and gracious gesture.  Since then, he has dabbled here and there and landed in some pretty successful ventures.  Most recently, he became an Amazon best selling author for his book, “How To Turn Clicks Into Clients”.  He works so hard for our family and has really found such a lovely balance between his life in business and at home.

I’m so thankful for him.

This week is a big week.

This week, he is putting up his new book, “Warrior”, on Amazon.  He feels that God is sending him in a new business direction and this book is the beginning of that.  Here is how he describes his book:

“As Christians we are called to fight because God has given us something to fight for. We have been given the true Kingdom. We are seated with Christ at God’s right hand in glory, and we rule and reign with him. Thus, the God of ages and the kingdom of heaven wait for us to crush evil and claim a final victory. The future of the entire world rests in your answer to this one question: Will you fight? If you run, you’ll live (for a while). But if you fight, you will win. This book is about what it takes to win.”

He would really love to have this book be #1 on the best seller list but we need your help!  Please GO BUY IT!  After you buy it, please share with everyone you can and together we will put the biggest smile on my man’s face!

Can we do it?

Click the picture below to buy and then be sure to share!

“Warrior” by Ed Rush

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Room Made Lovely: My Kitchen

So excited to be finally sharing my kitchen over on Heather‘s “Room Made Lovely“!

I’ve had so many requests so I was glad when Heather asked me to give a tour for her series because it made me set a deadline. :)

Share some love over on her adorable space Life Made Lovely.

You will find great inspiration there!

*update* I added the full post below but don’t let that keep you from checking out Heather’s lovely space.

We have lived in our house for 4 years and have been gradually changing it from not cool 1975 colors, to a fresh and clean look.  We remodeled our kitchen a few years ago and I feel so blessed to be able to design it the way I wanted it.  We definitely splurged on a few things but I do cook almost every meal we eat in this space so it’s a little more justified, right?  That’s what I tell myself, anyway.  I wanted open shelving for easy access to my most used items and to give the space a more open feel.  I also chose most of my lower cupboards to be mostly deep drawers instead of doors.  I love being able to find things better than reaching back into the dark corners of a cupboard.  I also was able to get the oven of my dreams: the double WOLF oven.  So thankful for this piece.  I use both ovens almost every day.  The top of the range also has a french top which is perfect for canning things like strawberry jam in my HUGE pressure cooker.  I highly recommend this range!

I have been collecting fun vintage things for as long as I can remember.  My mom taught me a lot about finding good deals.  Whenever my husband is out-of-town, we still love to go estate sale shopping together on a Friday or Saturday.  I like a mix of handcrafted things and old-time-y, sweet things that carry stories and reflect upon a time that is no more.  My most favorite items have memories or family attached to them somehow.  I use my grandpa’s old clay pot for my utensil storage.  The owl seen in my school area pictures below is one of his creations, along with his brother, for their company, Twin Winton.  I was never able to meet him so these items are very special to me.

A few things and where they came from:

  • If you are a fan of Liberty of London, you probably notice that it’s all over my kitchen.  I went a little crazy when they finally released their prints through Target.  It was a line to remember, for sure!
  • My sink is another favorite.  I was so excited to get the deep sink so it can hide hold many dishes.  (Shaws Sink)
  • My pot rack came from Ebay.  I bought it from a sweet older couple who took salvaged barn pieces and made them into lovely things like pot racks (couldn’t find it online).
  • Block prints from Pike’s Place Market and Victory Garden of Tomorrow
  • My favorite soap product, Caldrea, is always found next to my sink.
  • My most used pans are Le Creuset and All Clad Copper Core
  • Most used olive oil and balsamic vinegar come from St Helena Olive Oil Company
  • old spool for kitchen twine
  • kids drink area marked with washi tape.  They keep their cup on their color :).
  • I re-finished an old door for my pantry door.  I kinda love it a lot, especially the handle.

 When I think of my home, I think of comfortable.  I have always wanted my home to be a place where many gathered.  I like people to feel comfortable, loved, and for their hunger to be satisfied.  Some favorite foods of my guests have been Shepherd’s Pie with GuinnessOatmeal with Browned Butter, Cheese-its, and the always popular, Monkey Bread!  Food definitely brings people together and I am so happy this happens on a regular basis in my home.  I know cooking can be intimidating, but don’t let it stop you from inviting people over!

You won’t regret that time, even with all of the hours of cleaning it may bring.

Now, for the school area across from the dining room.

We have this random space that has become our school area.  The room isn’t its own distinct space, but more of a walk-through area between our dining room and side patio area. It was too far to walk from the kitchen to put the table there so it sat empty for a while.  Last fall, I started homeschooling and became thankful for this random space.  We have filled it with our nature hike finds, our maps, and our favorite vintage encyclopedia set that we use ALL the time.  The banner serves as our history timeline which has worked out really well.  I’m not a fan of plastering my wall with random papers.

I’d love to keep this party going!  Come find me on my blog, A Golden Afternoon or Instagram:

I’m @agoldenafternoon.

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