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December 2012

A Storybook Wood's Year

Sweet 16

    Happy New Year's eve!!! Before we step into a new year, I always like to look back. This was a year full of big changes. Chloe turned 16, Auberne` 21 and I turned 50. This has been a hard year for me personally and I am not sure how to processed into the new year but processed I must, one day at a time. I know this up coming year will be full of challenges and blessings. Thank you for letting me share my life with all of you. My hope, as it has always been since I started this blog, is I add something useful and hopeful to your day xox

Chloe on her 16th birthday

Auberne` at a steampunk party


January Italian Pumpkin Meatball Soup

February Jewelry Candle

March From Skirt to Shirt and Back Again

April Double Pepper Italian Jar Salad

May Homemade Shampoo

June Prosciutto Topping

July Cabinet Redress

August Peach Melba Salad

September Cabinet Makeover

October Apple Cider Marinate

November Apple Themed Thanksgiving

December Snow and Ice Christmas

Christmas Dinner Menu

Ice candle2

    Good day, this is our Christmas dinner menu. As you can see I am in a veggie mood!! For dessert we are having a Torron (Italian almond/hazelnut candy) semifreddo; I love semifreddo's because they can be made ahead and kept in the freezer. Here is an interesting post about what is a semifreddo. I hope you are feeling good and prepared for the holidays, so you can enjoy it all xox

Ice candle1

First course

White Bean Soup, made by my sis


Cedar Grilled Whole Salmon

Parmesan Risotto

Jerusalem Artichokes w/ Sage Butter

Braised Cabbage w/ Fresh Chestnuts

Tahini Cumin Roasted Carrots

Pomegranate Orange Salad

Roasted Asparagus


Mascarpone Torrone Semifreddo, this is an egg free version
Peppermint Chocolate Macaron, brought by my mother

More Ice & Snow Christmas


Well I save the best for last; or at least my favorite thing!!


I have been moving furniture around, trying to give my space a fresh feel. The one thing I do not love about my cottage is it has no separate, formal dinning room. So I moved a taller cabinet behind the couch trying to create a buffet.


The tall topiaries help give a feel of a wall, sort of ;-)  I wish the photos showed it off better.


We hung glue gun and foil icicles to the small trees. Also small clay snowflakes like the large ones at each place setting. They are made by rolling out clay, cutting the clay with snowflake cookies cutter and then pressing pieces of old lace into the clay to emboss it. 


What really makes the whole this is vignette work is the tiny glittered bunting. We used silver and gold pre-glittered paper and glued the flags on a silver thread. It is funny how those little touches add sooo much more. 


Now about the clay we used; thanks to all my flubs I will save you money! At first we used porcelain clay, then fimo both did not work well. They did not hold the imprint and dried weird. What worked great was stone clay, that dries overnight. It was easy to work with and held the pressed lace image well. These are cool and I want to make more!!


Adding That Little Touch!!

Blinged match

I bought this beautiful candle for a dear friend but I wanted to give her some matches to go with it. I decided they needed a bit of bligging up! I just dipped the ends in some glitter paint and after they dried tied them up with some silver thread. Sometimes it is those little extra touches, that make a gift!!

PS, she loved it!!

Bling match

Snow and Ice Place-setting

Ice table

I am really loving my snow and ice Christmas theme this year. I was afraid with all the gray weather, it would feel dark and depressing!!

Ice table1

But it does not; it feels warm, sparkly and glow'y.


As I do every year, each guest has a gift at their place setting. This year is a lace embossed clay snowflake. I will share more next post!!
I think I will be keeping a lot of this years theme out even after Christmas. A good way to add glow to winter!!
Ice tabl3

Rosemary "Crack"er Candy

Rosemary candy

    A couple of years ago a friend had me try a candy made from saltine crackers with a toffee like topping, milk chocolate and toasted almonds. It was great but of course I wanted to bling it up a bit :-)

    One of my favorite things is rosemary italian crackers. I thought rosemary might be a fun twist to this candy. Add some dark chocolate and toasted hazelnut and you have perfection. I have been told by my girlfriends who had this the other night, it was perfect (and could I write the recipe). Enjoy!!!

Rosecracker Collage

Rosemary "Crack"er Candy

Keeps 3-4 days in a container with a tight lid

Italian Rosemary Cracker, I used 6 Trader Joe's brand crackers

1 cup butter

1 cup brown sugar (I used coconut sugar)

1 cup bittersweet chocolate chopped or chips

1 cup (or more depending how much nuts you want) toasted, chopped hazelnuts


Pre-heat oven 400˚F.

Line a jelly roll pan with foil. Make sure there foil going up the sides of the pan. Cover the bottom of the pan with crackers.

In a sauce pan boil together butter and sugar for 3 minutes. If using coconut sugar only a minute or if you start to smell the sugar burn (which is what happened to me!!). Pour a some of the caramel over each cracker. Then spread caramel over the crackers with a heat proof spatula. Bake 5 minutes exactly. Pull pan out of the oven and sprinkle chocolate over crackers. Wait 5 minutes, the chocolate will have melted. Spread melted chocolate over the crackers. Then sprinkle chopped nuts. Let cook and then brake into large pieces. Store in a tight container.


Upcycling a Garland


    My mother has been deep cleaning, which means she was getting rid of some wonderful items. I was looking through her Christmas stuff and spotted two red and gold garlands.


     The problem with them was they were on this stiff, heavy wire. Which looked great when wrapped around my evergreen hanging over my kitchen sink.


    But made it hard to use elsewhere, so I restrung a smaller garland onto heavy coat thread, which allowed the garland to have the drape I wanted.


   I still had some of the red garland left, so I made drop ornaments of what was left. I have to say I so happy with how it all turned out. It is nice to have the same garland in different three spots. It gives my kitchen decorations some continuity.


    So moral of the story next time someone is getting rid of some Christmas stuff (or you are sick of yours) see it you can take is apart, paint, glitter, restring or upcycle it!!

Christmas Eve and Morning Menu


Hello, I am busy planning my meals. I am still working on Christmas dinner but will share soon. Here is our Christmas eve and breakfast menu. As you can see since I am cooking a lot of food, I lean to things I can cook ahead. I find I do much better this way. So is there anything you are cooking for Christmas that you are excited about??


Christmas Eve

Pomergranate Margaritas

Tamales, which I will be honest with you I am buying at TJ

Cochinita Pibil, I will make several days before.

Drunken Beans, also made ahead of time

corn and flour tortillas

salas, avocados, veggies, etc.

cookies and candies made or given to us


Christmas Breakfast

Christmas tea

Fresh Potato Casserole, assembled the night before. Potatoes baked a few days before.

Fresh fruit

Meyer Lemon and Cranberry scones, made ahead and kept in freezer, ready to bake off frozen.



Snow & Ice Christmas


    Well this year's Christmas theme is snow and ice! Lots of white, cream, silver and gold. I have to say my house is pretty perfect for this theme and I love the way my living room shimmers and glows. Today I am sharing my china cabinet.


    My girls always tease me because I pick up pretty wrapping paper but will not let anyone use it. I save it for down the road. This snowflake paper in cabinet is one of those purchases I made a few years ago. It is perfect, I am glad I did not let anyone use it ;-)


    We made a few crafts but our favorite is the glue gun icicles. These are really hard to photograph but in person they just glitter and sparkle. We also made some of my friend Bella Dia foil icicles too!


Isn't Pierre looking dashing?


 Soon I will share more of our snow and ice theme!!

Shabby Apple Winner


    Hello, I wanted thank all of you who entered the Shabby Apple give-away. Sadly you cannot all win but the winner is Jennifer! I will e-mail you. Remember for another two weeks you can save 10% just enter the code storybookwoods10off

    By the way I have exciting news I have been asked to be a regular writer for Gathering Magazine. My first article with some great recipe comes out after Christmas. I will let you know when but until then I am linking Liz Loves Vintage, she has links to all the contributors!!