Monday, December 31, 2012

2013 New Year's Resolutions

I hope you all had a wonderful holiday!  I had a bit of an unannounced break, traveling down to Missouri with family.  But I'm back just in time for the new year, and want to share my resolutions with you!

1)  Become lead climbing certified. I am truly addicted to and in love with climbing. It's a great combination of strength and endurance, and it's both physically and mentally challenging.  I love the progress I've made so far, and I want to keep growing as a climber. Lead climbing requires you to clip yourself into the wall as you climb. The falls are bigger and scarier, but I bet the rewards are all the better!

2)  Re-learn French. This made the list last year, but never materialized (oops!). This year, I have yet another reason to drive my study: France has some great climbing locations!

3)  Keep up my workout motivation reward jar. It's been fun so far!  I'm not at 100 workouts yet, but browsing workout clothes has been great motivation! 

4)  Keep up this blog and keep in touch with all of you, my lovely readers.  (are there any posts you're dying to see?)
I'll also be staying organized with these monthly moleskin planners :)

What are your resolutions?

Monday, December 24, 2012

Merry Christmas to All!

Our Christmas tree this year

Merry Christmas Eve!  I hope you all are having a wonderful holiday season.  I absolutely LOVE this time of year.  Here's a peak at some of our Christmas decorations around the house:
Our floating shelves decked out for Christmas
This is one of my favorites: an ornament holder and Christopher Radko ornament
Ho ho ho!
My new ornaments from Crate and Barrel.
hey are clear, colored glass shaped like old fashioned light bulbs!
Candles in the windows!

Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night!

Friday, December 21, 2012

Painted Packages

Plain paper is pretty, but using touches of paint can add a lot
The third and final post in my week of wrapping is the simplest way to dress up a gift.  If you're low on time but want your gift to have an extra special touch, this fits the bill!  All you need is paint and a wrapped gift.

Simply paint whatever areas of your present you want.
Use puffy paint for a fun texture
Use a glitter paint for a touch of sparkle
Paint on a few accents
Or paint in entire areas
So easy!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Strings and Things

Today's post for my week of wrapping focuses on different ways of tying up your gifts with ribbon, string, and homemade bows!

First is one of my favorites- it's super simple, but looks so pretty and has almost limitless variations.

You will need string or twine and a wrapped gift.  Simply wrap your string around the gift several times.

Then, wrap the ends of the string around the center, tying all the loops together in a small knot in both the front and back.

All that's left is to spread the strands apart!  The looser you wrap the string at the beginning, the wider apart the strings will stretch.  I think this looks especially sweet with white string on brown paper packages.

Second is a couldn't-be-easier way to tie a bow.  All you need is ribbon and a package to tie.

Form a peak with the ribbon at the top and center of the gift.

Bring the ends of the ribbon down to the corners of the package, wrapping them around the back.

Thread the ends of the ribbon back through the peak at the top.

Tie your bow, and you're done!

Finally, you can make your own bow!  All you need is scrap book (or any other) paper and tape.

Cut the paper into strips.

Form the strips into loops, securing each loop with tape.

Nestle the loops together, then fan the loops out on each end, keeping the center pinched between your fingers.

Secure the bow by wrapping tape around the center.

You can disguise the tape with another piece of scrapbook paper wrapped around the center.

Then, simply secure the bow to your gift with a tape loop or a piece of double sided tape.

Happy wrapping!!

Monday, December 17, 2012

DIY Monogrammed Gift Toppers

Now that you have made a bunch of ornaments (here, here, and here) and whipped up lots of goodies (here, here, and here), it's time to wrap them up to give to your loved ones!  This week is devoted to fun ways to dress up your holiday gifts.  To kick the week off, I'm going to show you how to make cute beaded monograms to top a package.

This is very similar to the beaded ornament DIY from two weeks ago, but the effect is so different!

You will need:
  • Silver or gold wire
  • Glass beads (I used silver and blue)
  • Needle nose pliers
  • Round nose pliers
  • Wire cutters
First, form the wire into the shape of the letter you want to top your gift either by hand or using the needle nose pliers, and trim the wire with your wire cutters.  Some letters are easier than others (I had a bit of a time with K...), but it's worth the effort to get it just right.

Now, if your letter doesn't have a nice spot for a ribbon to slide through, be sure to include a little loop at the top.

Next, make a little loop at one end of the letter to prevent the beads from sliding off.

Then, simply string the beads onto your letter.  You might need to undo the letter's shape slightly in order to string the beads on.  If you do, just reshape the letter as you go along.
Once the letter is loaded up with beads, add one more loop at the end to complete the letter.
I made four this year for the mothers and sisters (-in-law) in our family
Finally, string your letter onto a gift as an extra Christmas goody for your recipient!

Friday, December 14, 2012

Pumpkin Cookies

The third and last of the week of Christmas goodies, these cookies are like eating pumpkin clouds they are so light and fluffy!  I'm finding it hard not to gobble them all up :)

This recipe took some interpreting- there is no oven temperature listed AND it doesn't say how long to bake the cookies, haha!
 You will need:
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup dark corn syrup
  • 1 cup canned pumpkin
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup raisins
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.  In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg.

In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar.

Stir in the corn syrup, then pumpkin, egg, and vanilla until well mixed.

Gradually add in the dry ingredient mixture, stirring until smooth.  Then, stir in the raisins and pecans until well incorporated.

Drop spoonfuls of the dough onto a greased baking sheet two inches apart.  Bake for 12 minutes, or until the bottoms are beginning to brown and the cookie springs back when touched.

Let cool on a wire rack. Store in an airtight container.


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