Sunday, November 30, 2008

A time to celebrate...

Happy 23rd birthday, Amanda!!

(click photos to enlarge)

This is last year's cake, but as you know, I'll be making you the same kind this year! (It's Amanda's favorite and the one she asks me to make for all her birthdays - super easy and soooo good! Recipe at end of post)...

Just look at those chubby cheeks on you at 12 weeks old! You were the sweetest baby! (Was it really 23 years ago?)

And you were always the 'bestest' big sister...

I love how you are so gentle and loving with animals! Here you are with your sweet little Sooshi, your BIG surprise for Christmas, 1990. Just look at the two of you - love at first sight... (Several weeks before Christmas Amanda had "wished upon a star" that Santa would bring her a real dog. Since her dad & I had been thinking of getting a dog anyhow, we figured we'd look, and if it was meant to be, we'd find one... We were so fortunate to be able to adopt this little guy, who was 2 years old, in such a short amount of time - he was an absolute sweetheart of a dog!)

And just look at you and your Tiger on the very first night we adopted her. I remember going in to check on you before I went to bed, and this is what I saw. Of course I immediately ran to get the camera so I could capture this precious moment forever!

Well, here it is 15 years later and not much has changed! Tiger still sleeps right next to you each and every night. (And she is soooo happy you're home from college!)

I love your sensitive nature and the way you care about all God's creatures. Ms. Giz and Mr. O'Malley's lives were made so much better because of all the love you showered on them... Every pound dog should be so fortunate to find someone like you...

We always have so much fun on our little excursions! Here you are in Amherst at the cemetery where Emily Dickinson is buried. Remember how muddy it was and how you ruined your shoes because of it that day? And look - you still smiled!

(Central Park, New York City)
So Happy Birthday honey!! Enjoy your special day... We are so proud of you!!
Love, Mumsy
Black Forest Cake
1 chocolate or devil's food cake mix
1 can (21 oz) cherry pie filling
4 oz cream cheese
2 tsp lemon juice
1 can Creamy Vanilla frosting
CAKE: Bake two 8" round cake layers according to directions. When cool, split each one into two thin layers. FROSTING: Beat softened cream cheese and lemon juice until smooth. Fold in vanilla frosting. Spread frosting and cherry pie filling between each layer and on top of cake. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!!!

(photo found on Design O'Blog)

Sammy and I want to wish all of you a safe and joyous Thanksgiving holiday, filled with loved ones and the making of wonderful memories...

See you after Thanksgiving!


Quick & Easy Pasta & Salad...

Most of the meals I prepare are very quick and easy (as I've mentioned many times before, a good cook I am not!)....

This pesto pasta dish is so easy and sooooo good! It's just whole wheat thin spaghetti tossed with pesto and then topped with sauteed garlic, yellow squash, zucchini, black olives, and diced tomatoes....

And the salad is my version of John Harvard's Mediterranean Hummus salad... It's just mixed greens, grape tomatoes, and feta cheese with capers (rinsed really good) arranged around the edge of the salad (I usually add artichoke hearts as well, but didn't have a can in the cupboard the night I fixed this salad). I use Kraft Greek Vinaigrette (with feta cheese & oregano) for the salad dressing... And there's a surprise ingredient hidden beneath the salad that really makes it out-of-the-ordinary (and good!)...

A layer of hommus is the base of the salad. I just buy ready made hummus at the store (there are so many good flavors to choose from).

So there you have it - a quick and easy supper, and that's my favorite kind (especially for Thanksgiving week!)


Monday, November 24, 2008

Can you hear the ocean?

I can, whenever I look at this painting...

(click to enlarge any photos if you'd like to see the painting better)
Even though we live within an hour of the ocean, I don't really decorate with a beach theme or decor...

... with the exception of this oil painting...

It gives a pop of color to an otherwise (somewhat bland) white-on-white bathroom.

I just have it propped up on this storage cabinet. I love the added charm of the unfinished stapled sides...

I wanted to share it on Blue Monday because of the incredibly beautiful blues in the sky and ocean... (which definitely vary depending on my camera setting and the natural light/overhead light)...

I can't make out the signature, only the year 1979.
Thank you for letting me share my Blue Monday item with you. Please stop by Smiling Sally's blog to see her post and to find a list of all the other Blue Monday participants!

Happy Blue Monday!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Our little cottage mouse...

This is our sweet little cottage mouse, all dressed up in her soft pink angora sweater coat...

Just like me me, she is quite fond of artificial flowers (a big decorating no-no, but we like them anyhow!)...

Normally cats and mice don't get along, but she and flea market cat definitely have a thing for each other! As a matter of fact, they hang out together all the time!

Now cottage mouse thinks you should all scamper over to visit Beverly at How Sweet the Sound to see her pink post and a list of all the other bloggers participating in Pink Saturday!! Have a great weekend, everyone!


Friday, November 21, 2008

The Glitter of Christmas...

Gather up some friends and/or family and have fun with this simple DIY project, creating glitter ornaments and gift tags for the holiday season!

Be sure to treat everyone to a mug of hot chocolate topped with marshmallow and a candy cane before you start! It's sure to put everyone in a festive mood!

Well, Spotty says we've lingered over hot chocolate long enough and it's now time to get to work! (Any photos can be enlarged if you want to see more detail.)

This is a great way to recycle old Christmas cards that you've received, or the few that are left in the box after you've sent your sout. (I cringe when I think of all the beautiful ones I've thrown out over the years!)

I think these two chickadees are perfect for this project.

And I think I can get two out of this beautiful card (I'm just using a small frame to see what I want to cut out). I definitely want the dad and boy decorating the tree as well as the mom and baby sitting next to the nativity set... So let's start cutting these cards!

Once you have your card designs cut out, it's time to make them fabulously sparkly! First, brush Folk Art Gems Diamonds over the entire design (this gives a subtle glitter); while wet, sprinkle Twinklets Diamond Dust over the areas where you want incredible texture and glitter (for this project, more is better in my book!). I painted this angel with Gems Diamonds, and then sprinkled a generous amount of Diamond Dust on her wings... Hold the card sideways and tap the excess Diamond Dust back into the jar (use a paper plate or lid under the jar to catch any spill over so you can easily put it back into the jar when you're done).

Then set them aside to dry. This little chickadee got full coverage of both Gems Diamonds and Diamond Dust for an all over sparkle... I love how he came out!!

I wish the camera truly captured how glittery these cards actually are...

Just imagine how these ornaments will sparkle and shine with the reflection of your Christmas tree lights!

Oh, good - they're all dry. Now it's time to punch or poke holes into the cards and attach hangers if you're planning to use them as ornaments or gift tags. My ornaments are very simple, but you could get really creative and add trims or buttons or whatever your heart desires..

Done!! Since I don't have our Christmas tree up yet, I hung them from some bare branches to show you the finished product. I hope you enjoy this fun & simple project!


Thursday, November 20, 2008

Yippee! The Christmas Fair is Tomorrow!!

Just a reminder that the Christmas Fair, being hosted by Karen at A Scrapbook of Inspiration, is tomorrow! Be sure to stop by her blog for a list of all participating bloggers!

And if you'd like to share a part of your Christmas, be it celebrations, traditions, a craft, a story, a decoration, pictures, a recipe - anything at all - go to Karen's and sign up on Mr. Linky (already up on her blog) and then put your Christmas Fair post up tomorrow! You can read much more about it on Karen's blog!

See you tomorrow!


Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Storage issue solved!

I love using chenille scatter rugs around the house; some vintage, some new. My problem has always been where to store them. I thought baskets might be a good solution (in a small house, you need to get creative about storage space)...

... so I measured my rolled up rugs, measured the space under our sap bench/coffee table, and set out for Home Goods.

I found exactly what I was looking for! These two baskets are the perfect size for my chenille scatter rugs and they fit underneath the sap bench perfectly! If I'd had something custom made it couldn't have worked out better! While at Home Goods, I also picked up some baskets for my bookshelves (another organization project I'll share in a future post).

And I have to tell you about this new little rug and the incredible deal I got on it! It's just a 5'x8' indoor/outdoor rug but for $4.99 I couldn't pass it up!! I found it at The Christmas Tree Shop (a chain of stores here in the northeast). When I got it up to the register the cashier said, "This rug rings up at $49.99." I said, "Oh, I thought the tag said $4.99!" to which she replied, "It does. Let me call a manager." So the manager came over, looked at the rug, looked at the price sticker and told her to give it to me for $4.99 even though the price was actually $49.99! Then he told me I got the buy of the year! Thank you, Mr. Manager! "Don't you just love a bargain?" is the jingle for their commercials... Yes, I do!!


Monday, November 17, 2008

Cherubs and Flowers and Birds - Oh My!

We've had this rocker for over 22 years now (ever since our oldest was just a baby)...

When I switched from prim to cottage several years ago, I started looking for new chair cushions that matched the lighter colors I was starting to use...

I found these reversible rocker cushions on eBay... robin's egg blue (as well as peachy-pinks), perfect for the new 'cottage' decor...

The fabric design is bursting with flowers, vines, cherubs and birds... And I love that both pieces are reversible so I can mix & match them on a whim... I just love this shade of blue!

Be sure to stop by Smiling Sally's blog to see her Blue Monday post, to find a list of other participating blogs, or to share a bit of your own favorite blue!


Thursday, November 13, 2008

And the winner is....

Patience is here to reveal her new look - and to announce the Giveaway winner!
(click any photos to enlarge)

It seems as though the majority of you thought the free flowing ivy was just the right look for Patience, and I agree... (Although, as several of you pointed out, it's wonderful to be able to change her 'do' so easily!) Thank you all for taking the time to share your favorite look and for entering the contest!

And now, Patience would like to announce the winner of the Sensible Chic book and a $20 shopping spree at Cherry Blossom Cottage (with free shipping provided by Cherry Blossom Cottage - thank you, Ronda)!!

(Click on logo to enter the Cherry Blossom Cottage shop)

The winner is.......................
Congratulations, Kady! Please e-mail me your address so I can get your book in the mail!! I'll also be in touch to tell you how to place your order with Cherry Blossom Cottage!
Again, thanks to all who entered... I wish I had prizes for everyone!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

A tisket, a tasket...

... the perfect peanut basket!

Most of you know that I love giving little treats to the beautiful furry and feathered friends who visit our yard... But this bag of peanuts is an eyesore, sitting by the patio door...

Bingo! A large bag of peanuts fits perfectly into this beautiful lined basket that my friend from Ohio gave me last summer (back then it was overflowing with goodies she brought me from Amish country!)...

A little quilted placemat on top and voila! The perfect place to store peanuts! (I imagine I'll feel a bit like Little Red Riding Hood when I take that out to the backyard with me!)
Thank you, Jill - see how pretty the peanut stash looks now? And I owe it all to you!!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Lights... Camera... Action!

Back in September when our youngest daughter headed off to school in Boston, I shared some of the beautiful homes in that area with you....

This one in particular, with its lush gardens, is just gorgeous... And you might be seeing it in a film next year!

It's near my daughter's dorm, and it's where they just finished filming some scenes for Mel Gibson's upcoming movie, Edge of Darkness. (The word among the students is that he was very nice - always a wave and a smile... Poor daughter never got to see him as she was always in class or at her job when he was around)...

When we went into Boston to have dinner with our daughter a couple of weeks ago, the whole area was ablaze with lights as they were filming some night scenes for the movie. Having never seen a movie in production before, it was quite exciting to watch!

The girls posed for this picture back in early October when we all got together for lunch in Boston. That's the John Hancock Tower in the background.

But this is what it looked like during our evening in Boston - the exact spot where they were standing. Off to the left of the photo is the movie canteen truck... Too bad we didn't wait around for a while.. Maybe Mel would have come out for a donut during a break in filming!! The movie will be released next year.. it will be fun to see all the familiar streets and houses up on the big screen!