Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Our Advent Calendar

This is what I'm using for our Advent Calendar this year.  I wish I could say I made it - you certainly could with a little bit of effort - but no, I go this one on clearance for 90% off last year at Garnet Hill.  The plan is to fill each pail with a package of three peanut M&Ms or Hershey Kisses - one M&M or Kiss for each child each day.  Then have a little slip of paper with an Christmas activity for the day.  

 I'd love to incorporate the sure-to-be-wonderful Advent reading Betsy and her husband are coming up with...but this is our first year {I know, so sad} to do any kind of Advent calendar so we'll see what we can happily manage.  I'm excited to be doing something.

So far I just have the pails hung up. :)  So you can picture me today going to Target for candy, wrapping it up in tissue paper and brainstorming simple, but hopefully fun, ideas for the kiddos and our whole family to do together.   Sister helpfully reminds me that I don't technically have to come up with 25 ideas all today.  I could always slip a few ideas into the pails later on.  

 Here's what I have so far:

1. Go to library and check out Christmas books {that I already placed on hold}
    Come home and read them all.  {Julia compiled a great list here}
2. Make muffins and take them to a neighbor.
3. Family Christmas Movie & Popcorn together with Popcorn {maybe Veggie Tale's Christmas?}
4. Drive around and look at Christmas lights
5. Go get the final member of our Hallmark Peanut's Band {Snoopy}
6. Go shopping at Target for $1 gifts to give Daddy and our cousins
7. Wrap our Christmas presents for cousins
8. Make and Decorate Christmas Cookies {take some to a different neighbor}
9. String Popcorn Garland for Tree
10. Make a Christmas Craft
11. Family Game Night
12. Make Christmas Cards for Grandparents
13. Have Aunt, Uncle and Cousins over for a little Christmas Party Dinner
15. Go over the river and through the woods for a day with Nana
16. Make hot cocoa with marshmallows
17.  Picnic Dinner in the Living Room

 Whew! Still eight more to go.
Praying for inspiration and a memorable Christmas season for our family and yours too! 

Sunday, November 27, 2011

It's the Little Things - Christmas Edition

Oh, such a busy weekend!  I unwisely decided to start Christmas decorating before doing some basic clean-up and the result was quite the train-wreck of Christmas decor and Thanksgiving decor with dirty dishes, dusty furniture and laundry thrown in.  Anyway, we managed to pull it together somewhat in time for dinner with some good friends who stayed overnight on Saturday, which was lovely fun.

Tried to look about today and enjoy some of the little things - telling signs that Christmas is indeed coming. :)

English breakfast tea in my Brown Betty this morning.
{little hand helping to pour}

 Finally got new seasonal pictures in my easy-switch photo gallery. 
They make me happy.


 For me, this scent from Crabtree & Evelyn is the perfect smell for Christmas - perfectly piney.

I got some of these for a candy dish because they were appropriately green...
and I personally love at least a little chocolate after dinner.

And some pine-scented hand-soap from Mrs. Meyer's.  It smells wonderful.

What about your weekend?  
What little things have you been enjoying lately?

Friday, November 25, 2011

It's That Time!

We have the Christmas music on {willing away crankiness in kiddos who stayed up too late}, pumpkin bread from Nana for breakfast, and a Christmas candle burning.  It really is a pretty wonderful time of year.  About to ask my sweetheart to pull out the Christmas decor storage tubs out of the garage before he goes to work.  Don't have much of a vision for decorating this year - I'll just see what I have and go from there! 

Here's a little random inspiration from here and there to get me in the decorating spirit!  Hope you all had a most lovely, thankful Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

A Granny Square Pincushion

Eleven years ago I had just learned how to crochet, but all I could manage was the granny square.  I was making lots of granny square blankets, crocheting around and around the square.  My abilities were limited, but I loved being able to create something with that little hook and a ball of yarn.

Then one day in November 2000, I was leafing through the coveted, new Martha Stewart magazine in the grocery aisle and remember my wonderful excitement when beheld these granny square pincushions. They seemed so beautifully exquisite to my eyes then, and all you needed to know...was how to make a granny square.  I could do that. 

I never bought magazines, but that one came home with me. 

I went to the  little yarn shop in our neighborhood.  And the sweet old ladies who worked there helped me pick out some cotton pearl thread. 

And a size 8 crochet needle.

I went to work making these miniature little granny squares, stitched them together and inserted a little cotton pillow I managed to sew on the machine, stuffed with sawdust.

That year I gave them as Christmas presents to anyone I thought would care to have such a thing.  It was such a new and wonderful joy for give something lovely I had made with my own hands. 

So now in November 2011 I thought I'd share this old Martha idea with you as Christmas approaches.  If you already know how to crochet, you'll be delighted with how quickly you can whip one of these together.  If you don't know how, there is no time like the present to enlist a kind, crocheting lady to teach you, or go {here} for a wonderful lesson in the basics, and {here} for the granny square in particular.

Hope you are enjoying a lovely week.  And happy Christmas shopping...or crocheting to you. :)

{Linking to Just a Girl}

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Guest Post from Holly

Today I doing a happy post-swap adorable Holly at Life as a Thrifter.   Her blog is always so cheerful and  full of great, thrifty ideas - be sure to pay her a little visit today!


Hello! My name is Holly, and I blog over at Life as a Thrifter. I am most thrilled to be guest posting today on Everyday Lovely! My blog is all about repurposing a great find, so I thought I'd share a cheap and easy project from a past thrifting hunt. I hope this simple monogram project brings you a bit of inspiration!

I found this large embroidery hoop at a thrift store for $1.
Next, using a Word Doc. stencil (much like I did in THIS project), I traced our monogram on a piece of burlap . . .

. . . then painted it with black fabric paint.
And, finally, simply put the burlap in the hoop.
So easy, y'all!  
Thanks again, Cailan for allowing me to share today!  Feel free to pop on over to Life as a Thrifter for more fun thrifting ideas!

Happy hunting, everyone!!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Three Rounds of Party Time

Last week was one of the fullest weeks I can remember - business reports were due, got our own family pictures taken, worked with sweet Jenna on a new blog logo {reveal later this week!}, re-setting up the yellow bed photo shoot for a {surprise!} request...and my husband threw in a few unexpected job interviews in the evenings.

Then this weekend, we had three rounds of parties here at our home.
Round 1 was a Baby Shower Friday Night. {Double Baby Shower for two sweet friends}.  I kept it pretty low-key and did a Cookie Bar {with milk of course}.

And threw in the "Double" theme with "Double"-type cookies.

Also had shortbread for "Double-Dipped" but I ran out of time to get the dipping done...

 And the slightly predictable party favor.

My Sweetheart's birthday was Saturday.  He didn't expect anything since it was busy but I knew he wanted this cake, so I tried to make it.   I saw the prep time for the cake was 4 1/2 hours, but thought "no-way it'll really take me Four and 1/2 hours", because I have super-cake-making powers... apparently.  

Anyway, they weren't joking about the 4 1/2 hour part.  So about one-hour to party time I had to make some major recipe adjustments (used a completely different filling recipe), and owing to the fact that I was rushing the whole time, when I was ready to make the chocolate glaze I opened up the microwave to put in a little butter to soften and discovered a bowl of already melted butter - the butter that was supposed to go in the cake.  

So yeah, the cake was a little rubbery - a fact that wouldn't have bothered me a bit about 10 years ago in my obsessive low-fat days - but was a substantial bummer yesterday, when I really wanted rich, fatty chocolate cake. 

Here it is.  Candle placement compliments of little kiddos, but I'm responsible for the rest - how impressed are you right now?

 The Finale came Sunday, when all my side of the family gathered here for the first time ever and Sister and I served a birthday dinner in honor of my Grandma's birthday.  It was a wonderful treat to have all the family together here.  

 Here's my grandma, looking so lovely on her birthday.
I love how her eyes always twinkle when she smiles.

{party hats, compliments of Sister and National Geographic}

I didn't really take any food pictures, which was a pity as it did turn out fairly well....except for the chocolate tarts, which I left 1 cup of 1/2 & 1/2 out of {shhhh, don't tell}. And that was after remaking the tart shells that Sister had made but left the eggs out of.  
Are we noticing a trend here?

 Anyway, Sister made this soup, which was absolutely divine.  Wish we had a picture as the swirl of the yellow pepper and tomato soups was so pretty, but here's a picture of my dear Uncle and Aunt eating said soup.  Such a treat to have them here from Walla Walla.

So we're kind-of partied out, and ready for the weekend...which appears to be over.  Thanksgiving, here we come! :)

Hope to be more "present" around Everyday Lovely this week.  New logo will be up, have some homemade gift ideas to share and will be trying to switch gears from party to Thanksgiving mode, which really is a party too, after all.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Family Photo Session: The Treat's

Last weekend I got to photograph this lovely family from Estes Park.  
Here are a few of my favorites from our session.

And a little apology for those of you who didn't think they were signing up for updates on my photography when they subscribed to my blog.  After the new year I hope to set up a separate photography site, but for now thank you for sticking with me and for your very kind encouragement!

It was my first time to photograph a family with older children - a very fun change-up. 
These guys and gal were so great to work with.

 So cute.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

More Pillow Talk

This is my pillow I found early this fall.  I like it very much.

I first showed you it here on my couch.


And then here on the little yellow bed.

For me, this little little pillow takes the couch and the bed to a whole other level of lovely.

Today I thought you might like to know from whence the cute little pillow came.

I know! Really had no idea I would find cute little pillows in this place, and what do you know? you can get this pillow in all sorts of happy colors.

There are even more colors available. Mine is the Dusty Blue color (not the Turquoise that is also offered).

Wouldn't these make a merry Christmas present? 

And Urban Outfitters is offering free shipping on $50!  That would mean you would need to buy two - one for a lovely friend and one for you. ;)

Here is the link.