Last year Churchmouse yarn shop had wonderful paper and tartan plaid cones filled with balls of yarn. We wanted to recreate these. Normally we make a wreath for this mirror but a garland worked better.
First we made cones from roofing paper (I LOVE this stuff. Everyone should own a roll of it). Then covered it with plaid fabric, velvet ribbon and old mother-of-pearl buttons.
The only change we made was to added pine and holly from our garden. I actually pinned each cone to the ribbon with a straight pin. I found it easiest to arrange the cones on the ribbon and you cannot see the pins. I am really happy how this garland turned out!!
As we made a list of what we wanted make for our Churchmouse theme, we had to make felted gingermen (here is the ravelry page for the pattern). You knit a round, then felt it and creat a fabric of sorts that you use to make you gingermen/woman! These were fun to make. Cutting them out I would say was the hardest part.
We also hung tea bags, which I have to say look really cool at night with the twinkle lights making them glow. We tore tartan plaid fabric into strips and ties them on for bows. Lastly we used left over cones (which I will share about next) as tree toppers. These trees turned out really sweet!
Our theme this year is ... TaaaDaaa, A Churchmouse Christmas! Which will probably does not mean much to many of you ;-) On Bainbridge Island is the most charming yarn and tea shop ever. This is the kind of store you walk in and all cares fall off of you. The kind of store you wish would rent you a cot in the corner for the weekend. Full of beautiful wool yarns, Emma Bridgewater ceramics, French linen for embroidery and needlepoint, Smith tea, transferware, English antiques and much more. We are forever inspired by Churchmouse and decided to make it our Christmas theme this year.
We assembled a list of what we thought encompassed the shop. Along with past years ideas from the shops Christmas decor this is what we came up with.
Tartan plaid, in soft muted shades of brown, moss green, red, blue and black
antique silver and chrystal
deer antlers, transferware, English china
live greenery, plants and white flowers
wool and knitted items (we threw in antique crochet too, as in trying to use what we already had).
(no glitter, bright colors, plastic, wire rimmed ribbon. Only real stuff)
Today I am sharing our whisky/port bar for it was the first thing we set up. Last year the Churchmouse had a beautiful Christmas window display. There was an antique English table with chrystal decanters of whiskey (well we are guessing it was whiskey ;-) I pulled out my beige crochet tablecloth made by my great grandmother and ran a length of wool fabric as a runner. Stole bits and bobs from the bar in the library. Cut some greens and add some bone spoons. Just before Christmas, I will cut some holly from our holly tree. Even though there is very little red and a lot of brown, it still feels quite festive. Next I will share the little trees and our gingermen we made!
ps. sorry for the quality of photos. It has been so black and rainy. Makes it hard to get good photos. If the sun comes out. I will share better ones!!
I confess I am a Christmas girl. I love everything about it, the good and the bad. I hear all about the commercialization and pressure of Christmas. And it is true but I think it is about what one focuses on, where we put our eyes. I encourage all of us to focus on the joy, the love, the little things that makes Christmas so special: candy canes, a child's excitement, fresh holly, twinkle lights, the birth of Christ.
Ones health is very important. Having goals and keeping them is crucial but there are days when ones need to just let go and splurge a bit. Have that slice of cake (or pizza). Really, truly, enjoy it. And if you truly for your health cannot have a slice of cake, then redefine what cake is to you. The point is take a day off now and then, just enjoy. Even if it is not good for your health because it will be good for your soul and that is still a good thing l!
Every Thanksgiving I make a small gift for each of my guess, as a reminder of that year. This years gift is wood spoons. I have painted them red and stamped them with the saying "stir up thankfulness". In the past I have made acorn cross, bronzed pine cones, paper feather, book apple and cups. I think I will add a tag so each person can write what they are thankful for this year.
You will need wooden or bamboo spoons with a flat handle. Acrylic paint, painter tape, alphabet stamps and a stamp pad. You could paint over the stamped side of the spoon with some kind of sealer, I did not.
Start by taping off the spoon, so you can paint the back and sides of the spoon. I found I only needed one coat of paint and then just a touch up in spots. Also I filled the hole with a little ball of painters tape. Tip, if you get paint on areas of the spoon you do not want, I found it easy to sand off with fine grit sandpaper.
Finally stamp out your saying. I suggest you practice a few times on paper first but do not go for perfection. This is a heartfelt token to remind one of their blessings and that is what counts.
ps. even though I checked the spelling, you can see I misspelled thankfulness. Sighhhh but yet perfect because that is me. Dyslexic, misspelling me!
LOL, well can you tell I am loving my roasted winter squash? I have been putting it in everything, even soup. Even though I am not suppose to be eating bread, we do have pizza night once (or twice) a month. I have tried some alternative pizza crust but really did not like them. So how I handle pizza crust is first to not have it a lot, duh ;-) Second to make myself a small pizza, like the size of a dessert plate. Lastly, I eat all the topping and about half of the crust. My family is thrilled to finish off my homemade crust for me. This seems to be the best solution for me. Luckly I can have small bits of bread and it does not send me into a bread craze. Actually I think small bits now and then keeps me from feeling deprived. There are foods that if I get a taste of (like TJ mango gummys) I cannot stop. I crave them so bad, so I just do not eat them but bread is different for me. This low carb thing, is such a day to day walk.
When we do pizza night, it is make-your-own because we all want something different (I usually make some weird pizza for myself) This pizza is my fall fav right now. The combo of salty proscuitto, creamy mushroom brie and sweet roasted squash is heavenly. I have added spinach, which is good but usually have a spinach salad on the side instead. Pizza's are such blank slates, so play with your flavors combos!
Roasted Delicata, Mushroom Brie, Proscuitto Pizza
(I am not giving amounts because it is based off what size pizza you are making and what you like).
roasted delicata squash, cut into small cubes w/ skin on (or any winter squash but if you are using other squash, then remove skin before roasting)
mushroom brie (if you cannot get mushroom brie, then plain brie will do)
thinly sliced mushrooms
grated parmesan and mozzarella cheese, combined
Pre-heat oven to 450˚F
Roasted some delicata squash, cubed in 1/2" squares (skin on) earlier in the day or about an hour before you will bake the pizza.
If I have the time I make the piazza dough that rests 48 hours and uses 00 flour. Letting the dough sit a day or two really makes a difference. If you know you will be having a pizza night ahead of time, I encourage you to try this recipe.
Cover rolled out pizza dough with olive oil (no red sauce w/ this pizza). Lay pieces of proscuitto on crust, then sprinkle the roasted squash over proscuitto. Arrange large chunks of brie and sliced mushrooms. Then top with parmesan and mozzarella cheese. Bake 20 minutes or so. Enjoy!
I love this quote because I think it speaks to the kind of beauty that is not obvious. You know how you look at something and then keep thinking about it? it slowly reveals itself to you. The longer you look at it the more beautiful it becomes, until you think how did I not see that in the first place? That is because true beauty lies within our hearts and it takes time to see that kind of beauty!
This salad was born out of me trying to like cauliflower. It is such a healthy and cheap veggie. I really wanted to embrace it. I LOVE roasted veggies, so I started there. I roasted both cauliflower and delicata squash (which I love because you do not have to peel it). I really like how the sweetness from the squash rounds out the salad. Then I made a yummy vinaigrette with kalamata olives. My thinking was their strong flavor would basically cover up the cauliflower flavor I was trying to get use to. I served the veggies on a bed of fresh spinach. This is now my favorite fall salad. A dinner all on it's own or a great side dish to a grilled steak. I have to say after enjoying this salad I now love roasted cauliflower and eat it plain as a side dish or snack. Next is to get used to mashed cauliflower with cheese ;-)
2 cups delicata squash, cut into cleaned ½“cubes (I do not peel it becuase the peel is edible)
3 TBL (or so as needed) of oil, (I like avocado oil)
1 TBL sea salt
Kalamata Olive Vinaigrette
You can garnish the salad with feta or parmesan cheese, sun dried tomatoes, roasted peppers, fresh herbs, toasted pumpkin seeds, etc.
Pre-heat oven to 400◦F. Line a pan with parchment paper. You want a pan like a jelly roll with sides and roomy enough for for cauliflower and squash. You do not want them squished together on the pan. Coat the cauliflower and squash with enough oil to cover the veggies. Arrange them on the parchment and sprinkle a generous amount of salt on top. Roast 40-50 minutes. I like them very crispy, so I roast them longer. Let the veggies cool about 10 minutes before putting your salad together.
Toss either just the spinach or all the veggies in the vinaigrette (see my notes about this). Start with half the batch of vinaigrette and then add more as needed. If you do not have enough vinagrette, just toss in a bit more oil. Garnish as you like and enjoy!
½ cup olive oil
3 TBL (or more depending on what you like) of balsamic or red wine vinegar
1 garlic clove
8 whole but pitted kalamata olives
Salt and pepper to taste
With a blender stick or in a blender, blend all ingredients together. Taste and adjust as needed.
1. I found braking the cauliflower into very small pieces helps and really roasting them. They taste deep-fried then. A little dried garlic is good too.
2. Dressing the salad. I prefer to dress just the spinach but you can taste the cauliflower more that way. So if you are trying to cover up the flavor, dress all the veggies.
3. Roasted green beans, asparagus or tomatoes would be good in this salad too.
4. I like to eat my roasted veggies soon after I roast them, so they stay crispy.