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December 2010

A Year Of Storybook Woods 2010

Before I head into the new year, I like to look back at the old one. A list of my favorite post for each month, hopefully they will inspire you again xoxo

Instant vanill  

January: Instant Vanilla Sugar

Sleeping cap 
Knitted Sleeping Cap

Chcoc rocks 
Chocolate Rocks

Choco sunsine 
Chocolate Sunshine

Broken necklac 
Broken Necklace

Chanel candel 
Chanel Inspired Candle

Parmesan Baked Shrimp

Outdoor kitchen 
Outdoor Summer Kitchen

Come Read Wren Bay

Maple pudding cake 
Maple Pudding Cake

Russian cover 
Russian Mixer Cover

Pierre, The Thread Snowman

Made With Loving Hand

Cameo girls 

Okay warning braggy mom alert!! My girls choose this year to make almost all their gifts for Christmas. I had no idea what they were making (I just supply what I am told is needed) and I was sooo impressed with what they made. I had to share. They made me silhouettes.

Chloe sewed Auberne`, Kirby from Nintendo. He is soo  dang cute.

Birds nest 

Auberne` made everyone little birds nests. Acorns caps filled with moss and little blue beads. Charming!!

Chloe tree 

Chloe made me a blinged out Christmas tree on burlap, LOVE it but we need to glitter the frame ;-)

Cassette necklaceSoda earings 

Auberne` made her sis a cassette necklace and earrings. She cut purple cardboard to look like a guitar pick, found blue soda tabs and added a rhinestone. So clever!!


This is Henry, the Christmas Bacon. Auberne` made him for her dad. His even has his own song Chloe sang (sung to the tune of Santa Baby)

Santa bacon, please hurry up and cook yourself for me, oh please!!!

You know I like you nice and crispy,

Santa Bacon, so hurry up and cook for me!!!


Henry made us all laugh, we loved him. Well done girls, I am soo impressed and proud of you. Love Mom

Joyeux Noël

Joyeux Noël 

I want to wish each of you dear readers a Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays. I pray it is full of joy (and yummy things ;-). I know for some, Christmas is a bittersweet time. I hope you can still find joy during this time.

We are having our Christmas early because hubby works on Christmas, so I will be taking the week off. I have not wrapped a thing and have lots of cooking to do.

Remember to look for the magic and little blessing all around you during this time of jubilation. For this is a time of love, giving, celebration xoxo

PS. I know I said my theme this year was not traditional French but I thought it would be fun to at lest have a little something French, so this is my cake plate of Eiffel Tower's. Also I still have more to share but it will have to wait until after Christmas!!

Book Angel

Book angel 500 

I have to say the blessing of being sick was, I was able to sit around and craft (and make up for the past year ;-). I had seen these angel wings somewhere, (pooh, I did not save where) and loved them. But I did not need something to hang on the wall but I need a vignette for my coffee table. I wanted it neutral to go with my no-sew burlap runner. I will be honest, this was a pretty time consuming project but I had lots of time and movies to watch while I worked.

Book Angel 200 

I am not sure how Simple Joys made her wings. I rolled and glued a bunch of pages from an old book, I had cut into small squares. I cut a shape of wings I wanted out of cardboard and glued the paper cones one at a time to the cardboard, until I liked the look. Printed up my favorite word and glued gathered, old lace behind it Then I glued the whole thing to the wings. I tore strips of linen and wrapped it around a foam tree. Pinned the wings on and a mother-of-pearl button to the top,waalaa. I am so happy with my little impromptu vignette. You never know when creative opportunities will happen A month ago I was worrying what I would have form my theme this year and now look at me ;-)    xoxox

Book Angel 400 

Candy Jar

Candy jar 00

Well I will be honest, I am NOT happy with my china-cabinet but I am sharing it anyways. I was brainstorming what I had or could use that was cheap to bring on some pink and blue. I thought candy would be a great idea. But after redoing the cabinet a dozen times, I decided to just let go and accept it. Here are few glimpses.

Candy jar 00 

(I know this picture is upside down, see the footed bowl on the bottom, well top here)

One thing I am thrilled with is my pedestal candy jar I made. The top is a jar I had and the bottom a pedestal bowl turned upside down. It is held together with the tacky wax (but be supper careful, it is barely held together. I do not touch it. Just admire it from afar!!) I also love the red flocked Target wrapping paper for the background. I need to get some more!! I am off to dip pretzel sticks in dark chocolate and crushed candy canes, as Eloise would say, I absolutely loveeeeeeee Christmas xoxo

Chrst cabnit collage 

French Christmas Menu

Christmas menu 2010 

I thought with my French Marie Claire Idees theme, I should do a classic, elegant French dinner. This was a bit of a challenge because classic French cooking is time consuming and a bit fussy (in a good way  ;-)     but I am responsible for Christmas eve, Christmas morning and Christmas dinner, so I had to simplify. If I do not get better soon, I will have to simplify this menu even more  ;-o     I tried to capture the flavors and textures of classic French cusine. I have my trusty Mastering The French Art Of Cooking cookbooks at my side (although I am not sure if Julia would approve of my menu). C'est la vie, so what are you cooking ??  xoxo


Fish Mousse  Chive oil I plan on making this the day before.

Sorbet I will purchase at Mora

I am just making up the sauce as I go, the same w/ the endive.

My mother is making the green beans and cake

Simple salad of greens with fresh oranges and bits of brie w/ orange vinaigrette

Dessert is a simplified version of Julia Child's Los Gato's Gateau. This is am amazing dish, I made it about 26 years ago. I can still taste it but it is a lot of work. I just do not have the time w/ all the other cooking I am doing. So my plan is to layer meringue (bought from Trader Joes) with toasted hazelnuts and almonds, pastry cream and the apricot filling!!! I will let you know how it was!!

Plus on Christmas eve, I am making fish stew with lemon/garlic aioli, pasta, simple salad and bread. I am still planning Christmas breakfast. So that is my plan!!


image from graphics fairy


Pleated Tree

Pleated Tree 00

I was inspired by Tatertots and Jello ruffled tree but I did mine a bit different. I wanted something neutral to go with Pierre and a book angel I made, I will share soon. I have to say I love the fayed edges and the rows of little silver pin heads.  It was very easy to make!!

1. Took plain linen and tore it into long strips about an inch wide.

2. I used a foam tree form. Instead of gathering the strips, I would make three pleats (pinched) in the fabric and used a sliver flat-head pin and pinned the tucks into the foam tree. One strip I pleated the fabric in one direction, then the next strip the other direction. I started with one strip and pinned around the tree, then I kept pinning a strip, going on each side of the center (instead of going one direction all around the tree) until I filled in the tree.

3. Glued (well I actually used tacky wax, so I can take it apart after Christmas) an antique cut-glass candle holder to bottom and inserted (with some glue) a wooden final to the top.

Click on picture below to really see the details.

Pleated tree collage 


Pierre, The Thread Snowman

Thread santa 20 


This is Pierre: he loves long walks by the Seine River in the winter moonlight, Espresso gelato, crocheting and Champagne, very chilled!! His is still looking for the love of his life, the soul to freeze his heart. He is looking for a snowwoman who has a fine palette, a sunny (but not too sunny!!) disposition and a sense of flair to match his own. And, when he meets this love of his life, he has a crocheted snowflake he carries with him for her. Pierre believes in being ready for love because it happens when you least expect it !!!

Thread snowman 6 

Pierre is simply large spools of thread, two twigs and three ball pins. I left the orange nose out a bit. He is not even glued together. I have to say Pierre has melted my heart xoxo

Thread santa 400 



Big Christmas Flowers

M C flowers00 

M C flowers 200
Instead of a traditional centerpiece for my dinning table, I decided to hang huge paper flowers over the table. They are a Martha Stewart kit. Again very Marie Claire to me, just simple paper but makes a huge statement. Red and pink, that we painted the edges silver. I think they are fun.I have to hand it to Chloe, she was the only one brave enough to get on the high ladder and tape these flowers to our 10 foot ceiling's. Thank you sweetie, they are rocken. I will be back tomorrow, unless the rains flood us out xoxo

Check out this Marie Claire blog for inspiring ideas!!


Marie Claire Wreath

MC wreath 00 

So what is my Christmas theme this year?Let me say I picked this theme about 3 days before last Christmas. I dreamed about it, I know I am weird. My theme is Marie Claire Idees, you know the French craft mag. I did not want to do a "French" theme persay but what I think of is hallmark of this magazine. To me what Marie Claire does best, is to take simple things like a twig or a tin can and dress it up, take to the next level BUT knowing when to stop. Not too over the top. So that is my goal this Christmas. My colors are naturals (white, brown, black, silver) with punches of red, hot pink and peacock blue.

MC wreath 200 

Two weeks after last Christmas I made this wreath. It is about 350 cup-cake liners (a tip, cooks warehouses are a great place to buy a lot of liners, cheap). I pinned (but gluing would have been easier) them to a wreath form. Add a gorgeous ribbon, a vintage rhinestone pin and you have a classic.

MC wreath 4400 

I confess I had much more planned but then Wren happened,crafting sort of got set aside. But I have been able to create some of what I envisioned. Each day this week I will share a corner of my home and hope it inspires you xoxo

Salted Caramel Chocolate Cookies

Salt caramel

I was searching the net for a new, fun cookie recipe for Christmas and came across this salty chocolate caramel turtle cookies, brilliant recipe Jessica. Of course in my usual way I tweaked the recipe but just a bit. I wanted to add some whole grain, was afraid the recipe might be a bit to sweet for me and I liked the idea of a crunchy, salty top. Here is my version which was a BIG hit with my family. Do you have a cookie recipe you would like to share with me?  xoxo


Salted Caramel Chocolate Cookies

1 cup butter, at room temperature

1 cup sugar

2 eggs

1 tsp vanilla

1 cup all-purpose flour

1 cup whole wheat pastry flour

1/2 cup cocoa powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp. sea salt

1 cup dark chocolate, chopped or chips

1/2 cup chopped pecans, toasted

8 caramels, chopped into fours*

Course sea salt to sprinkle on top


Cream butter and sugar together till creamy. Add eggs and vanilla, mix, scrape down sides and mix again. Sift together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, salt and mix with butter until combined. Add pecans, caramel pieces and chocolate chips. Roll into balls about the size of large walnuts. See note **

When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350. Set frozen cookies on parchment paper, about 1" apart and bake for 9-12 minutes. Let cool and drizzle with caramel sauce and sprinkle course sea salt on top.

Caramel sauce: melt 20 caramels and 1/8 cup of heavy cream in a sauce pan, stirring till melted.

. Notes:

* A trick to cutting the caramels, since they are sticky and hard to cut. Spray your scissors with pam. Also I cut the pieces more than Jennifer calls for, after I cut all the caramels into fourths, I cut all those pieces into halves.

** In Jennifer’s recipe she talks about refrigerating the dough so the caramel pieces do not sink to the bottom and stick to the cookie sheet. But a simple way to handle this is to cook the cookies on a parchment sheet, which I HIGHLY recommend (or greased foil). BUT it is important for the butter to re-harden so the cookies will not spread. See my cookie above, how flat they are? That is because I did not have time to re-chill the dough. Do not do what I did!!

Take the rolled cookies and set them close together on a pan and set them the freezer for an hour or two. Then bake them off frozen. Still use the parchment paper because caramel can be such a mess to deal with.

Paper Cup-cake Oraments

Cupcake ornament00 

I had leftover the prettiest paper cup-cake liners from my book signing party and I wanted to do something special with them, so Chloe and I came up with these simple ornaments. Then I found Cath Kidston Christmas paper napkins and knew they would be perfect for our little tree. We fashioned little cones and a tree-skirt from the napkins. With some narrow red and white ribbon and Millie, I think it is a very Cath Kidston tree. I love this tree at night because the paper ornaments seems to glow from the lights. I will share my Christmas theme this year and what I have been up to soon. So what have you been up to??  xoxo

By the way check out the Christmas fun at Tatertots and Jello

Cupcake orn4 

Cupcake orn 

1: Take a paper cup-cake liner and make several pleats around the circle. The center will still be bumpy.

2: Start pinching and pushing in the center. Flatten out the sides with folds remaining. Do this a few times and you will have a flat, ruffly circle. Glue a button in the center to covering the gathered paper. Add ribbon or a hook to hang on the tree.

Cupcake ornament22