Monday, December 20, 2010

-- Dare to... Have Traditions --

This is the final week of the Dare to DIY Party that Kim is hosting over at the NewlyWoodwards.  This week is titled - Dare to Have Traditions and if there is something my family does at Christmas, its traditions!  From Chinese food and Game Night on Christmas Eve (after attending a candlelit service) and shopping for our real tree (both of which I talked about last year) we are sticklers for our traditions which have only multiplied since our family traditions merged.  The tradition that I want to share here though is that on every trip we take, we pick up a Christmas ornament or two and enjoy decorating the tree while remembering our vacation - here are some of the ornaments we've acquired over the last few years!

Winter 2008 - Oahu, Big Island and Kauai, Hawaii

Spring 2008 - Tucson, Grand Canyon and Sedona, Arizona


Summer 2008 - Bar Harbor, Maine

Winter 2009 - San Francisco, California

Winter 2010 - Acapulco, Mexico

 Summer 2010 - Cape Breton, Nova Scotia

Oh - and by the way - we still haven't settled on a game for Christmas eve this year so recommendations would be very welcome.  We are thinking of options like Taboo, Rook... What's your favorite game?  

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

-- The DIY Project that Hasn't Quite Happened --

So its my favorite week for the Dare to DIY party that Kim is hosting at the NewlyWoodwards - Dare to Deck Your Halls Week (see my projects from last year here).

But, the main project that I've been planning to share hasn't quite made it to a completed state yet.  In our hallway we have a collection of frames where we usually display recent travel photos.  My plan for this Christmas this year was to switch out some of those pictures with holiday related typography art.  I've created all the art, but have yet to get them in the frames.  I'd love to say that I've got in my list for later this week, but the reality is that I may not get to it until next year :(

Since I was so excited for this project I want to document it on the blog too.  If you see anything you like, just email me and I'd be happy to share the file with you...

Here is a mock-up of the wall of frames.  The empty areas were destined to have a sweet red and white snowflake wrapping paper in them that I found recently.

Here are the screen captures of the individual items that I had printed.

These ones are sized for an 8x10 opening:

The rest are sized for a 5x7 opening and I was able to print 2 per page of photo paper:

These ones are my favorite - I took inspiration from a few pieces I've seen floating around blogland lately.
Anyways, I feel bad that I can't show any pics of the completed project, but I've been swamped and haven't had the chance to switch out so many frames :)

One project I have completed though is my mantelscape (top of piano).  If you check out my post from last year, you'll see that this year's piano top is quite different, I love the sparkle though!

Next Week is Christmas traditions and I've got an interesting one to share :)  Can't wait!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

-- CWC Coasters --

The results are in folks and the winner of the CWC coaster set is Megan from Girl Meets Life!  

Congrats Megan and Merry Christmas!
Megan,  just email me with your address and I will be happy to send your coasters out to you.  Don't know that they will make it for Christmas, but they will certainly be on their way!  Congrats again!!

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

-- Jonathan Adler does Starbucks --

While at Starbucks over the weekend, I spied my new favorite item!

I scooped it up immediately and hugged it for a while.  So pretty!!

If you are a Starbucks fan, a Jonathan Adler fan - or just really enjoy a pretty travel mug you should definitely check it out.  I'm definitely in love :)

Monday, December 06, 2010

-- Dare to... Give Homemade Gifts... to Your Reader(s) --

I can't believe that we are already on Week 4 of Kim's Dare to Do It Yourself Challenge!

I think the point of this week is to share the homemade items that we are giving to friends and family this year.  But, too many of my family members actually might read this post and because of that, I'm can't give away the surprise.  Instead, I'm sharing some of the gifts we gave last year... AND a special little item that I am hoping to giveaway to a lucky someone who reads this blog - stay tuned til the end of the post for that one :)

For my mom last year, we made a knife block.  Inspired by one we say at Lee Valley, Lucas made this out of left over pieces of walnut and bamboo skewers from the Dollar Store.  While he went a little wacky with the corner joints, I think it would look equally nice with a simple box construction.

Also, 1 000 000 points to the person who can guess how many bamboo skewers it took to fill this baby up :)

Last year we also gave a couple end-grain cutting boards.  These seem to be a favorite for family and friends. We also give them as wedding gifts a lot :)

We gave my grandparents a little tray last year.  It was super quick and easy to make and for the handles we picked up a couple simple cabinet door handles from Home Depot and attached them to each end.

We made the tray long and skinny - just the right size for 4 mugs and my grandmother says that she uses it almost every night.

Ok, now this gift from last year was NOT simple and featured no involvement from me.  But, I think its beautiful so I wanted to share.  This is a coffee table for Lucas' sister and is stained pine with a walnut accent band.

And for the grand finale - A gift for one of you lucky readers!

I've got a set of 4 Zebrawood coasters up for grabs (similar to the sets below, but the wood has a stripe-y pattern - like a zebra).
For a chance to win just leave a comment on this post and tell me your favorite Christmas song (my playlist could use a refresh).  For a second chance to win, visit the Clark Wood Creations website, take a look through the portfolio and leave a second comment here telling me what item(s) you like best :)

I'll draw for the winner on Saturday morning and contact him/her by email to get the details on where I can send the package!!

Saturday, December 04, 2010

-- HD TV --

Lucas and I just got finished watching the Victoria Secret Fashion Show (we recorded it earlier this week).

About 2/3 of the way through he turned - looked directly at me and said - and I quote:

"I have NEVER been so happy we have high definition TV"

I figured I could be mad - but instead I just laughed :)

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

-- Eat More Cookies --

I've been meaning to give the Rice Krispie cookies that April blogged about a try for quite some time now. So today, while 'working' from home, I gave them a try.

If possible, they were even easier than Rice Krispie squares and they are super good.  In 10 minutes flat, I had a fresh snack :)

I took other, more close-up pictures as well, but honestly, these cookies taste better than the look and up close wasn't exactly pretty :)

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

-- Dare to... Eat Cookies --

Though I missed last week, and am definitely a day behind for this week, I am still thinking about and trying to participate in Kim's Dare to Do It Yourself Challenge.

Dare to DIY

This week's challenge was (and lets just say, its one of my favorite :):

"As we begin to attend holiday parties, share your favorite cookie recipe for all to enjoy. It’s like a digital cookie swap. Share the recipe and a review of the cookie. If you can, add a picture. And don't worry about the extra calories. At Christmas, cookies are calorie-free."

For me, I feel you can't ever go wrong with a chocolate chip cookie and around our house, they are a favorite.  But, I do like them hot from the oven.  So, what I do is make a double batch, form all of the cookies and stick them in the freezer between strips of wax paper.  That way, when the mood for a cookie strikes, I can pull out as many as we are planning to eat that evening and stick them in the oven.  


We use a very simple chocolate chip recipe:

Blend: 1/2 cup shortening
            1/2 cup white sugar
            1/2 cup brown sugar

Add:    1 egg
            1 teas. vanilla

Incorporate:  1 1/4 cup flour (sometimes a little more, sometimes a little less)
                      1/2 teas. baking soda
                      1/2 teas. salt

Mix well and then incorporate 1/2 bag of dark chocolate, chocolate chips.

Bake at 325 for 14 minutes


I've got to admit though, my luck with cookies has not always been the greatest.  Usually they would burn on the bottom by the time I got them fully cooked in the middle.  But, that all stopped when I found these little babies:

These look just like a silpat liner, but they seem to do a different kind of job.  The cookies bake perfectly even and they are soft and chewy in the middle.  Its like magic!  Last year I bought one for every female in my family because I love them so much and now they also rave about them.  I got mine at Canadian Tire for less than $10.  Best cookie-related invention ever!

Next week's Dare is to give homemade gifts.  I have considered doing a little bit of a giveaway at the same time as next week's Dare post, but I'm not sure that there are that many people actually reading.  If I could guarantee that at least 10 people would be part of the giveaway, I could easily find myself giving a homemade, Clark Wood Creations gift to one lucky blog-friend :) Who wants to see a little CWC giveaway?

Monday, November 29, 2010

-- O Christmas Tree Farm --

Our day at Will's Christmas Tree Farm - in pictures.

A day of corny signs...

Family time...
Evelyn, Purdy and Jeff

Hey - do you like this one?

A unique method of marking our favorites... :)

My mother-in-law Nora

Jeff and Evelyn by their tree of choice.

Picking and choosing until we each found "The One"...
And then the massacre that followed :)

Tree baling and shaking...

Ornament shopping...

Loading the trees and heading home.

Loading ours up with 1200 lights.

Now - must find some time for the actual decorating.
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