Christmas Brooch Art

Christmas Brooch Art
Before there were statement necklaces, there were brooches. They were not just for the sweet little older ladies wearing their Sunday best; everyone seemed to wear them. I have several brooches in my jewelry box...some are mine and others belonged to my mother-in-law. I found some really pretty holiday pieces that I thought would be perfect to turn into Christmas Brooch Art or even ornaments.
Christmas Brooch Art
Here's what I used: Christmas tree brooch, small white frame, burlap and my trusty glue gun. (and ribbon for making a hanger)
Christmas Brooch Art
I started by removing the glass from the frame. Then, I covered the cardboard filler pieces with burlap and secured with my glue gun.
Christmas Brooch Art
Next, I inserted the pin part of the brooch through the burlap and fastened it.
Christmas Brooch Art
I placed the burlap covered insert back into the frame and fasten the back.
Christmas Brooch Art
That's it! I may add a ribbon to the back for a hanger to put it on the tree or I may just leave it out and work it into a vignette. Either way, I have a blingy new piece of Christmas art and a memento of a dear lady who loved celebrating Christmas as much as I do.

So, many of us have these holiday brooches sitting in our jewelry boxes, never to see the light of day again. Well, I say, bring them out! Put them on display. They are far too pretty to stay locked away. They may be pieces passed down from sweet ladies in your life. What a special way to remember them during the holiday season!

I'm linking up at some of these great parties and

Happy Thanksgiving!

I couldn't let today go by without wishing you a Happy Thanksgiving. Your presence here in the blogosphere is a blessing to me. Thank you for your kind words of encouragement and your gracious comments. They truly put a smile on my face each day. I  hope your Thanksgiving day is filled with sweet times with family and friends, lots of laughter and joy, and a heart overflowing with gratitude to the One who makes this gift of life possible. Blessings to you today and always!

All Things Thursday Blog Hop #21 and Features

Hey, hey, hey! It's Thanksgiving Day! (well, almost) Welcome back to another All Things Thursday Blog Hop! We are so thankful that you choose to spend part of your week with us, linking up your best posts and being inspired by others. I've still got lots to do to prepare for the big day, so I'll keep this short and sweet...here's a glimpse at what inspired me from last week (I start to rhyme when I'm stressed):

clockwise from top left
Turkey Sugar Cookies by Frugal Coupon Living
Canvas Print to Chalboard by Little Brags
Caramel Pecan Turtle Cookies by Random Thoughts from an Incoherent Mind
Thankful Tree by Yesterfood

Keep up the great work! I am amazed each week by your creativity and the heart you put into each of your projects. If you were featured, I'd love for you to grab a button!
All Things with Purpose
Okay, it's time to link up those awesome projects you've been working on! We can't wait to see what you've brought to the party. Don't forget to visit some of the other links. Everyone loves a sweet comment!
All Things Thursday Blog Hop

Brown Sugar Cut Out Cookies

Brown Sugar Cut Out Cookies
Just in time for holiday baking, I thought I'd share a great recipe for cut out cookies.  Perfect for gift giving or serving on a platter at your parties, these Brown Sugar Cut Out Cookies are sure to be a hit.

I have had these adorable acorn and leaf-shaped cookie cutters for the longest time and I finally busted them out this weekend. We had a get together with our small group again and I took a batch of these along. My favorites are definitely the acorns with the Heath Bar toffee pieces. They remind me of Pepperidge Farms' Milano Cookies, but I didn't feel as guilty eating 10 of them. You see, I didn't need to get rid of the evidence (empty Pepperidge Farm bag). I will only feel bad when I can't button my jeans ;-)
Brown Sugar Cut Out Cookies
Brown Sugar Cut Out Cookies

2 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 pinch of salt
1 stick butter, softened
1 egg
1-2 Tbsp. half-&-half
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
3/4 cup brown sugar
flour for rolling surface
colored sugar for sprinkling
melted chocolate chips
Heath toffee pieces

In large mixing bowl, cream together butter and brown sugar. Beat in egg, vanilla and half & half. In smaller bowl, combine flour, baking powder and salt. Slowly add to butter/sugar mixture until fully combined. Add in a little more half & half (1/2 tsp. at a time) if the dough is too dry. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. On floured surface, roll out dough to 1/8 inch thickness and cut with cookie cutters. Place on parchment lined cookie sheets 1 1/2 inches apart and sprinkle with colored sugar, if desired. Bake for 8-10 minutes or until a light golden color. If you didn't use sprinkles, spread on some melted chocolate and top with toffee pieces.
Brown Sugar Cut Out Cookies
By themselves, the cookies are not very sweet. They definitely need the sprinkles or chocolate to make them shine. We'll be ramping up our traditional Christmas Cookie baking soon and I plan on adding these to the lineup. When do you start baking for the holidays?

I'm linking up at some of these great parties and


Hoopy Holidays Snowman

Embroidery Hoop Snowman

Happy Monday before Thanksgiving! Hope you had a great weekend. I was a little quiet here on the ol' blog last week. Ever get stifled by clutter and things you "have" to do? Well, I was not able to concentrate on anything creative until this weekend. I finally got around to making this Hoopy Holidays Snowman that's been rattling around in my head for quite awhile.
Embroidery Hoop Snowman
I love looking through old holiday issues of magazines, particularly Southern Living. As I was perusing the December 2009 issue recently, I came across this adorable snowman made from embroidery hoops and sweaters. I dog-eared the page and have just been waiting to re-make it with my new obsession... drop cloth.
Embroidery Hoop Snowman
Here's what I used: 3 hoops in ascending sizes (yard sale find), drop cloth, various buttons, orange sweater scrap (or orange felt), and remnant of striped fabric.
Embroidery Hoop Snowman
Start by cutting pieces of drop cloth slightly larger than the embroidery hoops. Press to remove any wrinkles. I've still got tons of this inexpensive cloth from when I did my stenciled pillows.
Embroidery Hoop Snowman
Place the fabric over the bottom hoop and snap the top into place, tightening the fastener as needed. Trim the excess fabric off the back.
Embroidery Hoop Snowman
Now it's time to make the face. I hot-glued a couple of large black buttons for the eyes, several smaller ones for the mouth and a small scrap piece of my well-used-up orange sweater for the carrot to the smallest drop cloth-covered hoop.
Embroidery Hoop Snowman
For the buttons in the middle section, I layered shiny black ones with some fun crocheted ones I found on clearance once in the scrapbooking section of a craft store.
Embroidery Hoop Snowman
Finally, every snowman needs a scarf. I found a remnant of striped jersey knit recently and just knew it would be perfect for this project. I hung the snowman in sections with thumbtacks and arranged the scarf around his "neck"
Embroidery Hoop Snowman
This guy is hanging next to my entryway table, where I'll be creating a little winter wonderland with my snowman collection. Hubby brought home the cinnamon scented broom from Trader Joe's not too long ago, and I figured it was the perfect accessory for my Hoopy Holidays Snowman. (BTW, how fun  are those PicMonkey accessories?)

My decor is decidedly indecisive at the moment, as I haven't brought the Christmas boxes down from the attic just yet. Since we are hosting Thanksgiving at our house, I want to keep the fall vibe going just a while longer...even though the weather is most definitely acting like winter ;-) So, did you pull out your Christmas decorations yet? Or are you waiting until after Thanksgiving?
I'm linking up at some of these great parties and



Food for the Soul ~ The Doxology

This week, as we celebrate Thanksgiving, may we all tune our hearts to sing His praises! There is much to be thankful for, even when things look bleak. When things don't go our way, when we don't understand our circumstances and when our faith is small, He is faithful and we can all find something for which to be grateful. Look for those things. Praising God today for all the blessings He has so generously given me. I'm thankful for you, sweet reader, for coming by here and supporting this little blog. I pray that your heart is encouraged and your joy is increased this week. Blessings to you!

All Things Thursday Blog Hop #20 and Features

Hi there! So glad you could join us for our All Things Thursday Blog Hop! You know, when you link up to our party, you're getting 4 x the exposure. It's been so fun to watch this party grow, and seeing all the fun posts you link up keeps me inspired. You've probably noticed that I haven't been doing a separate features post anymore. I'm hoping that your posts are getting noticed more when the features are at the beginning of the party. Here are some of the ones that caught my eye last week:

clockwise from top left
Toasted Almond Russian Tea Cakes by What Meegan Makes
Rustic Thanksgiving Vignette by Upcycled Treasures
Thanksgiving Blessing Mix by Handmade in the Heartland
A Unique & Special Thanksgiving by Simply Suzanne's
Apple Sauce Day by Church Street Designs
Pottery Barn Holiday Pillow Copycat by Our Home Away from Home

Keep up the great work! I am amazed each week by your creativity and the heart you put into each of your projects. If you were featured, I'd love for you to grab a button!
All Things with Purpose
Okay, it's time to link up those awesome projects you've been working on! We can't wait to see what you've brought to the party. Don't forget to visit some of the other links. Everyone loves a sweet comment!
All Things Thursday Blog Hop

Everyone's Favorite Sloppy Joes

Everyone's Favorite Sloppy Joes
Remember your parents cracking open a can of sauce to pour over some ground beef for that all-too-wonderful, quick and easy dinner...sloppy joes? I can remember it like it was yesterday. The commercial is forever etched into my memory too. "A sandwich is a sandwich, but a Manwich is a meal!" Sometime in my early married life, I started making Everyone's Favorite Sloppy Joes from scratch. My MIL frequently made sloppy joes for large casual gatherings, and I took her recipe and tweaked it to accommodate whatever I had in my pantry.

Everyone's Favorite Sloppy Joes

1 lb. lean ground beef
1/3 cup finely chopped onion
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 can tomato sauce
1 Tbsp. Worcestershire Sauce
1 tsp. mustard
2 Tbsp. BBQ sauce of choice
1-2 Tbsp. brown sugar
salt and pepper to taste
buns

Saute onion in olive oil until soft. Add in the ground beef and cook until no longer pink and drain. Stir in the tomato sauce, Worchestershire sauce, mustard, bbq sauce and brown sugar. Cook until heated through. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve on a hamburger bun.
Everyone's Favorite Sloppy Joes
No need to panic anymore when you don't have the Manwich can in your pantry. You probably have all the ingredients you need on hand to make your own sloppy joes. I have to warn you, though. Once you make your own, you won't want to buy the canned stuff anymore. It's that good. Not only is it delicious, but you can customize it according to your family's tastes. Need a side dish to go along with it? Try Memaw's Pea Salad or my Sweet Mandarin Salad. Enjoy!
I'm linking up at some of these great parties and

Newlywed Keepsake Ornament

Newlywed Keepsake Ornament
As much as I would have liked to start getting into my Christmas boxes this weekend, I was not able to do it. I don't think I'm quite ready to decorate for the holidays, but I am eager to start crafting for them again. Today, I wanted to share this Newlywed Keepsake Ornament that I made for our nephew and his bride last year. It's a beautiful way to help them reflect on the happiest day of their new life together.
Newlywed Keepsake Ornament
Here's what you need to make one for the special couple in your life: 1 clear glass ball ornament, 1 program from the wedding, glitter, and ribbon

Start by cutting the program into strips where the words/names are visible (my strips varied in size according to what wording I was trying to preserve). Remove the top/hanger of the ornament and set aside. Using a skewer, begin rolling up the strips tightly and one-by-one put them into the the glass ornament. As you place the rolled up strips in the ornament, they will unroll slightly. Fill the ornament with the rolled up strips, then pour in a small amount of glitter. Replace the top of the ornament and tie a decorative ribbon to the top.
Newlywed Keepsake Ornament
This is the perfect way to remind the happy couple of all the details of their big day...from the friends and family that served as their attendants to the music that played while they lit their unity candle. All those details are wrapped up in a delicate little package to be brought out year after year and placed on their Christmas tree. Do you have any friends or family that recently got married? If you still have the program from the wedding, this is a thoughtful (early) Christmas gift they'll cherish for years to come.

I'm linking up at some of these great parties and

Food for the Soul ~ Psalm 143:8

Ever feel like you have so many options and don't know which way to turn? I find myself in this predicament a lot. How about feeling so burdened by deadlines and responsibilities that you can't make headway? His Word encourages us to seek out His unfailing love each morning and ask Him which way we should go. If we have truly given our lives to Him and asked Him to be Lord of our lives, shouldn't we go to Him first asking Him to direct our paths? Why, oh why, do we insist on doing it our own way, which causes anxiety and strife?

His word says that He has prepared good works for us to do. Wouldn't it be so much better to ask Him to show us what those things are rather than fumble around overloading our schedules and our lives with things that have no eternal value? In this season of Thanksgiving and soon Christmas, may we all take refuge in the Lord and ask Him to show us the way to go. Blessings to you, sweet friends. I'm so glad you stopped by for a visit!

Cranberry Orange Crumble Bars

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of Carton Smart for SocialSpark. All opinions are 100% mine.

Cranberry Orange Oatmeal Crumble Bars
I love the holidays. Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year's Day are all opportunities for me to bake up some goodies to share with family and friends. Although I enjoy any kind of pumpkin treat, today, I'm using another favorite holiday ingredient...cranberry sauce. I recently whipped up a batch of these Cranberry Orange Crumble Bars for a get together and they were a big hit. They would make the perfect addition to your Thanksgiving dessert table.
Cranberry Orange Oatmeal Crumble Bars
Here's what you need: jellied cranberry sauce, rolled oats, flour, brown sugar, melted butter, orange zest, cinnamon, chopped pecans and white chocolate chips.
Cranberry Orange Oatmeal Crumble Bars
Start by combining the oats, flour, brown sugar, melted butter, orange zest, cinnamon and chopped pecans with a pastry blender.
Cranberry Orange Oatmeal Crumble Bars
Press half of the mixture into a 13x9 inch glass pan lined with parchment paper.
Cranberry Orange Oatmeal Crumble Bars
Spread the jellied cranberry sauce evenly over the surface. 
Cranberry Orange Oatmeal Crumble Bars
Sprinkle with 1/2 cup white chocolate chips.
Cranberry Orange Oatmeal Crumble Bars
Layer the remaining crumb mixture onto the cranberry sauce and sprinkle with the rest of the white chocolate chips. Bake at 350 degrees  for 35-40 minutes, or until golden brown. Cool completely, then cut into squares.
Cranberry Orange Oatmeal Crumble Bars
Cranberry Orange Crumble Bars

2 1/3 cup rolled oats
3/4 cup flour
3/4 cup melted butter
1 3/4 cups brown sugar
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
zest of 1 orange
1 can jellied cranberry sauce (15-16 oz.)
3/4 cup white chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In large mixing bowl, combine oats, flour, melted butter, brown sugar, pecans, orange zest and cinnamon with a pastry blender. Press half of mixture into 13x9 inch pan lined with parchment paper. Spread cranberry sauce evenly over the surface. Sprinkle with 1/2 cup white chocolate chips, then pat remaining crumble mixture over the top. Sprinkle the rest of the white chocolate chips over the top. Bake for 35-40 minutes, or until golden brown. Cool completely and cut into squares.
I'm always looking for ways to add the best ingredients to my dishes. This year, I was happy to switch out my regular cranberry sauce for Pacific Foods' Organic Jellied Cranberry Sauce. Not only does the #CartonSmart Tetra-Pak packaging process preserve the flavor and nutrients of the foods, but the space saving cartons are easy to store in my small pantry {perfect timing, as the shelves fill up with holiday entertainment staples like these}. 

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Also, the cartons are easy to open, recyclable and re-closeable, so you can use what you need and save the rest for later. With so many options of products, you are bound to find exactly what you need to make your holiday dishes both delicious and nutritious. 
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I plan on adding more of these Carton Smart products to my pantry for the upcoming season of parties and baking.
Cranberry Orange Oatmeal Crumble Bars a la Mode
 Which holiday staples could you switch out to be more #CartonSmart this season? Need some ideas? Tweet @CartonSmart for more inspiration to Become Carton Smart and Follow #CartonSmart on Pinterest too!

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