Holiday Gift Guide Update…My Latest Faves!!!

Happy Monday Everyone! There are fifteen days until Christmas so I’m guessing that MOST of you have at least STARTED your shopping?  Lately I have been sharing lots of gift buying ideas and I have heard from many of you that they are ACTUALLY helping you with your shopping this year! I’m so excited!

I find myself jotting notes down all the time when I think of things I particularly love, or that others ask me about, so that my old lady brain remembers to write about them for you all! If you haven’t read my previous posts containing gift buying guides then I encourage you to do so if you are struggling with ideas!!

First and foremost, I have been dying to share this very special necklace with you all, as it is a HUGE part of the inspiration I received for starting my blog in the first place! I received it as a birthday gift from my friend, Kelly.  Not only is Kelly an amazing gift giver, but she is THE person who encouraged me to start a blog!!! A year ago I didn’t really know what a blog was.  Kelly got me hooked on following a couple of bloggers and I became very intrigued!

https://amzn.to/2EarVJo

Not only has Kelly been my biggest cheerleader in this blogging adventure, but, as the summer progressed and I began writing and seriously thinking about putting myself out there into the blogging world, we brainstormed for ideas and, ultimately, for a name to identify me and my content.  That’s where Kelly’s husband, Tim, came into play!  One day he just casually threw ‘Pershing Road’ out there and I was sold. Alas, I received this beautiful necklace and I just love it so much!

You all know my love of monogramming by now, if you have been reading my blog or following me on Instagram or Facebook.  I truly think that personalized gifts just have that extra special feel to them! My next gift idea is one I have shared with you before on Instagram. I bought it plain and then personalized it with my monogram.  There are many sites that sell these bags. I bought mine right from the manufacturer because I have the ability to personalize myself, but if you would like to give one as a gift with someone’s name or initials I will also link some sites that do that!

https://www.ebags.com/product/cb-station/weekender-bag/318080?productid=10452309&lastsearchterm=cb+station+weekender

The is the CB Station canvas weekender bag and I love it!  It’s such a classic-looking, sturdy bag. I ordered mine from ebags.com, where they offer twelve different color combinations. Mine was $59 but some color choices are more.

You can also find them on amazon.com. They call them the ‘Sunshine Satchel.’

https://amzn.to/2QtkFji

There are also some Etsy sites that offer them personalized. The personalization and shipping are extra on the site below but I think it’s worth it!

https://www.etsy.com/listing/649900365/monogram-weekender-bag-personalized?ref=pla_similar_listing_top-3

Now for another beauty product that I really feel the need to share with you!  You may all remember the lash/brow enhancement serum that I shared in a recent post?

 

https://www.amazon.com/Rapidlash-Eyelash-Enhancing-Serum-0-1/dp/B00GWTQSI6

I mentioned that my esthetician asked if I got lash extensions and/or my brows tinted.  Today I got my teeth cleaned and my hygienist went on and on about my long eyelashes, too! Even though both my lashes and eyebrows are growing like gangbusters, and my brows have gotten much thicker, I am finding that some brow hairs are turning grey!  Aye, Yai Yai!!!  Middle age stinks I tell ya’!  These little grey fellas tend to ‘go rogue,’ if you know what I mean?  They’ve got a direction all their own!!

I wanted to find something that didn’t make me look like many females I see with that ‘painted on’ brow look!  I don’t wear much make-up as it is, so if I attempted that look it would have really stood out! (Think Faye Dunaway in Mommy Dearest!)

Those are SOME brows!

 

Enter my youngest, Grace, to the rescue! She introduced me to ‘Gimme Brow,’ a volumizing eyebrow gel that has a slight tint to it that grabs onto the hairs and tames them into place.  It comes with a tiny little brush and I think it’s virtually mess and mistake proof!  It’s water-resistant and very natural looking.

https://www.ulta.com/gimme-brow-volumizing-eyebrow-gel?productId=xlsImpprod14191015&sku=2529256&cmpid=PS_Non!google!Product_Listing_Ads&cagpspn=pla&CATCI=aud-297352281988:pla-195116003550&CAAGID=24669606870&CAWELAID=330000200001380741&catargetid=330000200000766262&cadevice=c&gclid=Cj0KCQiAurjgBRCqARIsAD09sg-v1zp4dgmnUPFjgVXljo2OlA5221iBoboTpWE9tXgGfMBjCNHW3SoaAt5KEALw_wcB

 

Above is the link to purchase from Ulta, where I purchased mine.  It is also available at Sephora.  Amazon.com also sells it, (https://amzn.to/2SzlmE2) but I encourage you to pop into either Ulta or Sephora and have them test it on you to choose the correct shade!  I took my mom to Ulta and they did a great job! Trust me, you will love this product!  It is very natural looking and so easy to apply!

Last, but certainly not least, I have a delightful item for the foodies on your list!!!  Again, I was introduced to this little gem by my friend Kelly.  She is always the hostess with the mostest and she serves this frequently at her gatherings and we all devour it like hounds!!!

https://amzn.to/2Ef3mLv

This magical glaze is similar to pepper jelly and I read somewhere that the dip recipe that comes along with the bottle is a tailgate favorite in the south.  I recently had a holiday get-together and this stuff was polished off and the dish was practically licked clean!  The recipe involves cream cheese, cheddar cheese, mayo and bacon…’nuff said!!! AED machine sold separately!!!  It would also be fabulous as a glaze on ham or other meats and I’m planning on using a bit on my roasted Brussel sprouts!

 

So there you go, some more ideas to consider as your shopping progresses this holiday season!  Hopefully the links I provided will work for you, because if you’re anything like me, you will be doing a lot of shopping from the comfort of home! I truly hope you are all enjoying the season and please let me know if my posts are helpful to you!

Favorite Finds To Add To Your Holiday Shopping Lists

Happy Monday everyone!  I hope you all had a wonderful weekend! December is officially here and, if you weren’t feeling it before, you’re sure to be feeling the hustle and bustle of the holiday season all around you now.

My weekend started out with a super fun wreath making party on Friday night. You know I love a DIY project! A friend of mine started this tradition a while back and it’s so fun and a great way to get into the holiday spirit!  A bunch of friends hanging out surrounded by fresh smelling greenery and gabbing the night away!  Each and every wreath turns out unique and beautiful and it’s so neat driving around our quaint little town seeing them on each other’s doors!

I love how my front door looks with my new wreath!

 

I am brand new to the blogging world, just starting out and ‘flying by the seat of my pants,’ you might say!  Except for my family, I’m never sure if anyone is going to read my content, or even care to.  In order to have a blog you really have to put yourself out there, and being the private person that I am, this can be pretty nerve-wracking!  So, the best feeling in the world is when readers leave comments on my posts, either just acknowledging that they’ve read it or letting me know that they found it interesting or helpful!

In the past couple of weeks I have received  many compliments and quite a number of readers have told me they’ve enjoyed my posts on gift ideas. This makes me so happy!  I am constantly jotting down notes on items that I love and think others would like, too! So, guess what?  I’ve got another list of ideas for you!  I can’t help sharing when something is just that good!  Here we go:

 

I shared this tray in an instagram post this weekend because it is beautiful, inexpensive and it makes me happy!  It is a sturdy, fairly heavy tray that can be used in so many ways!  I actually bought it for my bathroom vanity to put my containers of make-up brushes and hair doodads on, but I now have it in my kitchen by my coffee station. I think it’s such a great gift!  If I was traveling for the holidays I would for sure give this to my hostess as a thank you. You could add a cheese knife set to it or cocktail adornments for party time!

Better Homes and Gardens Bhg Marble Tray $19.94

 

 

Bunny Eyez Reading Glasses

 

I saw these when Hoda Kotb featured them on the ‘Today Show’ this summer and I love them so much! The website (bunnyeyez.com) offers a variety of styles, and they help you decide on the best style for your face shape.  They now offer ‘Guyz’ styles too and sunglasses(Sunnyz) with or without lens power.  They are so cool!  You can wear them as you would normally wear your readers, or you can tilt the frames downward if you are trying to see your screen while looking up for regular vision.  The sides also bend down, ‘opera glass’ style, so that you can still read while lying on your side or you can use them while at the hairdresser and still see your phone or read your magazine!

The regular readers, offered in different styles, are $27. The Guyz styles are also $27.  The Sunnyz, like I said, are offered with or without reading lenses, and run $40-$45. I would not buy these for the people I know that lose their readers several times a day, but for the more responsible people on your list these would make such a great gift! I love my pink ones the most, but I am sure to carry the tortoise ones when we go out since my husband looks kind of funny in restaurants when he has to borrow them!

 

Marleylilly Monogrammed Plaid Tote

 

My plaid obsession of the week!  I LOVE THIS BAG!  This website(marleylilly.com) is fabulous!  Adorable gift ideas and their prices are so affordable!  Their motto is “IF IT’S NOT MOVING, MONOGRAM IT!” Amen to that!  They currently have a list up of $20 and under stocking stuffers for the preppy people on your shopping list. Shipping is quick, too! ( I may or may not have also ordered myself a plaid monogrammed baseball hat!)

 

Feetures Athletic Socks

These are the ONLY running socks I will wear!  I was introduced to them several years ago at a specialty running store, fell in love, and the rest is history!  They come in a few different styles, no cushioning to light to extra cushioning.  I have some of each type and love them all. Each pair has a left and a right and they feature lycra bands built-in that hug your feet and give you added support and helps to avoid that sock movement that causes blisters.  My sister doesn’t like them and the way they form to your feet but I can’t wear anything else!  I encourage you to try them if you are a runner or active at all and like extra support! They can be found in most stores that sell running shoes.  I’ve gotten them at Fleet Feet Sports, Dick’s Sporting Goods and Athleta. Amazon carries some styles, too.

 

Northern Nights Wrinkle Defense 100% Cotton Sheet Set

My friend Julie introduced me to these sheets years ago, another great discovery that I learned about while chatting away on a long run!  She is a QVC enthusiast, as is my Mom, and she swore by them!  I do see some of their styles on amazon, also!  They are super sturdy, soft and really wrinkle free!!!  I have had many other sheets that I didn’t like half as much that are more expensive and need to be ironed around the edges because they wrinkle so much. Not these babies!  I wash in bleach and hot water every Sunday and they last forever!  They come in many different thread counts and a few different materials. Check them out and sweet dreams!

 

The Stationery Studio Personalized Note Pads

I love these note pad sets!  I gave them as teacher gifts years back when my kids were little and their teachers loved them, too!  The website(thestationerystudio.com) offers so many different items, as well as personalized stationery in any style you can imagine.  They have a fast turn-around time and there are several affordable offers going on now!  I encourage you to check it out!

 

So there you go, a long rant from me, again, on some ideas to hopefully help your holiday shopping experience!  Let me know if you decide to purchase any of these products and what you think about them!  Happy shopping!

 

How I Make Holiday Gift-Wrapping Fun!

Now that all of that Black Friday and Cyber Monday shopping is over, there are many packages arriving on  my front porch each day! It’s time to start wrapping because I hate the look of our tree with no gifts underneath! In years past I would wait until all of my shopping was done before I started to wrap anything, I don’t know why!  It would stress me out so much and I would be cramming it in the last few days and nights before Christmas.  This year I am much more organized with my shopping, so I want to get the majority of the wrapping done before I start all of my holiday baking because then things get really crazy around here. I do A LOT of baking for the holidays!!

I do all of my wrapping in the dining room. I keep my bins of wrapping supplies in there for easy access. First, I remove everything from the big farmhouse table.

No, I do not wrap on a white linen tablecloth, I just put it on for picture purposes!  I lay out all of my wrapping supplies so they are handy and easy to grab.  I put all of my ribbon together, gift tags in one place, pens for writing out gift tags, cutting supplies and tape so the whole process runs fairly smoothly. Then, I fire up my Amazon Echo and ask Alexa to crank some Michael Bublé and Pentatonix holiday tunes while I pour a nice glass of chardonnay and wrap the night away!

There are so many aspects of the holiday season that can cause stress on us, so as I’ve grown older I try my best to find joy in each little thing.  My children are grown now, but to those of you still in the throes of sleep-deprived nights, tantrum-filled days, multiple class holiday parties and celebrations, I encourage you to embrace every bit of it! Take every picture you can as long as they’ll let you, because believe me, the day will come when they won’t let you anymore and that is truly heartbreaking! Make every event and tradition a special one!

Happy gift wrapping to you all!!!  Rock on and enjoy the moment!

 

Holiday Gift Ideas for Your Family

I’ve been making many lists and checking them twice, trying to organize my shopping for my people! I would say that I am actually about 75% done with my Christmas shopping, and it’s not even December yet. Yay me!!  I enjoy going out on a few different occasions to shop in stores and listen to the carols and see all the beautiful, festive, seasonal decorations. However, if I’m being honest, I really love sitting in my jammies with the fire going and sipping my coffee out of a Christmas mug and watching the ‘Today Show’ (if it’s the morning) or sipping a glass of wine and watching a Christmas movie (if it’s the evening) and ordering away on my laptop!

I follow a lot of bloggers that have been sharing their gift picks online and I can say that I’ve actually gotten a lot of great ideas!  Soooo, I figured I’d share some of my gift picks with you in the hopes that it may help you, too!

Here are a couple of ideas I have in mind for my husband:

 

L.L. Bean Wicked Good Scuffs

 

These are his favorite slippers and our dog, who rarely chews anything other than his own toys, just had them for a snack!

 

 

 

Ace Hardware Work Gloves

 

Wells Lamont Men’s Cowhide Leather Heavy Duty Work Gloves. He wears the heck out of these and I get him a new pair every year!

 

 

L.L. Bean Rangeley Paddling Shorts

He paddleboards most mornings in the summer and these are quick-drying, have SPF and a waterproof cellphone pocket!

 

 

For the teen/young adult son:

 

Yeti Cooler

 

L.L. Bean Sherpa-Lined Scotch Plaid Flannel

Timberland Boots

 

For the teen/young-adult daughter:

 

IT cosmetics ‘It’s your top 5’ collection

This set is offered on so many sights at great discounts and they are all full-size products!

 

Apple Watch

 

Apple AirPods

 

For your parents:

 

L.L. Bean outdoor furniture

My siblings and I got a set of this all-weather furniture for our parents last year and they spent countless hours on their porch enjoying it!

 

 

Chatbooks

So easy to make by just uploading images from your phone! We have made so many of special holiday gatherings and family trips! (chatbooks.com)

 

Simple Canvas Prints

So easy to upload from your devices and they have great promotional price breaks, too! I have been making most of our photos into canvases in recent years, so much easier than framing! (simplecanvasprints.com)

 

For Teens and tweens:

 

Charge cords

I put these in everyone’s stockings last year. They are nice and long! No more people stealing my cords! (chargecords.com)

 

 

Video Games

 

L.L. Bean flannels

Everyone loves these!

 

 

For your Mother-in-law:

 

Hot Water Bottle

Boden USA Fun Hot Water Bottle (bodenusa.com)

 

 

Cozy Blanket

Nordstrom at Home Kennebunk Bliss Plush Throw (nordstrom.com)

 

For the person in charge of mountains of laundry:

R&b wire laundry cart

This baby has been a game changer in my laundry room! It sits up high, is on wheels and holds TONS of laundry! I also bought the hanging bar to go across the top for hanging up my ironing. You don’t have to bend over into your laundry basket anymore! (R&b wire products amazon.com)

 

 

For your furry companions:

 

L.L. Bean Happy Dog Toy Set

 

Our dog loves these! Super durable and hollow to stuff with treats.

 

 

L.L. Bean Plaid Holiday Bone

 

YETI Boomer 8 Dog Bowl

 

 

Just a few ideas that I hope will help you with your shopping during the crazy chaos we call the holidays!   In addition to these I also like to give as many gift cards to local establishments as possible!

Please share your go-to ideas with me! I’d love to hear whatever tips you may have!  Happy Shopping!

My Christmas Wishlist

I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday week full of food, family and fun!  We were so lucky to have all of our kids home safe and sound and this momma slept contentedly every night knowing we were all together, at least for a short time!  I definitely ate and drank too much and didn’t work out enough, but that’s what the holidays are all about, am I right?  Today is a new day and time to get back on track!

I have been doing some holiday shopping here and there over the past couple of weeks.  Most of my favorite bloggers have been producing gift guides and wish lists galore which make it easier to think of gifts for all of my favorite people. Today I thought I would share a few of my faves that I have placed on my own wish list. Maybe I’ll find out if my own people are reading my blog???

KitchenAid Citrus Juicer Attachment

This hooks right onto your KitchenAid to juice your favorite citrus fruits!  Could have used this last week when making all of my clementine recipes!

 

Talbots Slippers

 

L’ange LeReve Flat Iron

Straightens and curls in no time at all!  Two tools in one!

There have been deals on this flat-iron online lately and there are many YouTube tutorials on how it works.

 

Chappy Wrap Plaid Throw

I couldn’t love the plaid on this throw more and they are the best blankets!  I need this on my couch NOW!!!

 

L. L. Bean Fair Isle Sweater

I wore sweaters like this all through my adolescent years and I love that this style is still so popular!

 

L.L. Bean Scotch Plaid Flannel Pajamas

I have had several pairs of these pajamas through the years and they are the best, so soft and comfy!

 

Bauble Bar Signet Ring

Another thing I wore for years while growing up, think its time for one with my married initials!

 

Tuckernuck Tortoiseshell Clutch

This clutch is so cute for girls night out or date night!  It is 30% off now at Tuckernuck but I found a less expensive version at Nordstrom, too!

Plaid flats

 

These J.Crew Factory flats are right up my alley!!! You could wear them with dresses, skirts, dress pants and jeans!

So there you go, a few of the things I’ve got my eye on for Christmas!  Most sites have amazing sales going on right now so if any of you have a middle-aged mom to buy for, maybe she would like these items also!

 

 

 

Our Top Ten Favorite Holiday Movies

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving, can you believe it?  Wasn’t it just the Fourth of July?  Every year time seems to speed up more and more.

This happy momma slept soundly and peacefully last night with all my people under one roof.  I drove to pick up our oldest daughter yesterday and survived spending the day on the Mass Pike!  Our son and his girlfriend were supposed to arrive today but surprised me and got home last night also!  Happy, happy, happy…!!!

Our family has so many holiday traditions that it is sometimes hard to keep up.  One of my faves is sitting down together on Thanksgiving night, after all the cleanup is done, and watching ‘ELF.’  You can’t fight getting into the holiday spirit with Buddy the Elf around!!!  This movie always makes me happy, and we all can recite every line in the movie; quotes we use year round, actually!!! I thought I’d share my Top Ten Favorite Holiday Movies with you in case you haven’t seen some of them!

‘ELF’ starts off the season

We watch ‘FRED CLAUS’ while we decorate our tree

My husband has to see ‘IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE’ with all of us together so we can get a good cry on!  I can’t believe that I never saw this movie until we started dating, it’s his favorite and has now become beloved to us all!  So many great messages and good feels!! It has been colorized but we prefer the black and white version.

Santa Clause 2  We love all the movies in this series, but this one especially!

 

‘A Christmas Story’  Who doesn’t love Ralphie?

 

‘HOME ALONE’ This movie is on TV about a thousand times during the holiday season!  A John Hughes classic!

 

‘THE POLAR EXPRESS’  Every time we watch this movie with our surround sound on the house shakes!!! Great movie, amazing music!

 

‘CHRISTMAS VACATION’  “You serious, Clark?”  Another one we recite the lines of year round!!  I couldn’t love this movie more!!!

 

‘THE HOLIDAY’  This one is on TV a lot also!  Lots of great actors and it makes me want to spend the holidays in England and LA equally!!! Nancy Meyers movies always have the most beautiful sets!!!

 

‘THE FAMILY STONE’  We love this movie so much!  It has tons of great actors and you’ll want to move into their beautiful home and spend the holidays with them!  Sidenote:  Have some tissues nearby!

So there you go!  It’s not ALL of our faves but the ones that we love the most and watch on repeat between Thanksgiving and Christmas.  Do you love any of these movies?  What are your favorites?  I’d love for you to leave comments below and share your traditions!

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!  I hope you all have a fantastic day surrounded by loved ones and delicious food! Get your fat pants ready!!!

 

Recent Finds and Must-Haves for the Holidays!

Today I want to share a bunch of random holiday thoughts/ideas/tricks with you.  My brain is on holiday overdrive right now, as I’m sure yours are too!  I feel like all I do is make lists on top of lists of all the things I want/need to get done.  Tomorrow I will be driving most of the day to pick up my daughter at school to bring her home for Thanksgiving, my son and his girlfriend will be arriving on Wednesday.  This means I basically have today to get things around the house ‘just right’ before the house fills up!  There is no greater feeling for a mom than to have everyone under her roof together!!!

I am truly my own worst enemy with all of the traditions I keep. For example, I always have my Christmas wreaths on my windows, window candles glowing, and exterior holiday lights ready to go for Thanksgiving night.  I start using my Christmas dishes and coffee mugs for the first time for Thanksgiving dessert.  We play Christmas music all day and watch ‘ELF’ for the first of twenty times on Thanksgiving night. Then, on Friday, I will decorate for Christmas, we will put up our tree and watch ‘Fred Claus’ while we hang ornaments!

Today I will make my pie crusts and get them chilling then complete my grocery shopping for the rest of the necessary items for turkey day.  My husband already bought our turkey and got lots of recipe ingredients at our local farmer’s market on Saturday!  Somehow I also have to get my Christmas lights on my outdoor trees as our weather of late hasn’t been very cooperative. I usually try to get it done earlier in the season so I can actually feel my fingers throughout the process!

This past Saturday I spent most of the day putting up our holiday windows at the office.  The downtown holiday celebrations are coming up so those needed to get done before the craziness of this week!  I’m pretty happy with the way they turned out!

 

Most of the lists I am making involve Christmas gift ideas. I’m going to throw some things at you that I hope, in some way, may help you through this crazy process! Here are a few things I love and would prefer not to live without:

Redken 01 Shine Brilliance

This anti-frizz product is magic!  The difference it makes in my hair is amazing!  I have not always had frizz problems, for most of my life my hair was pin straight and thick. Since having children, and getting older, my hair has a lot of wavy, coarse texture to it.  I don’t think this product would be enough for super frizzy hair but it is delightful for mine!!! I despise the feel of product in my hair, this stuff is light and never leaves a residue or greasy feel! Kind of pricey but I always stock up when I have a CVS coupon or when the salon at Wal-Mart has their BOGO sale on Redken products.

Body Glide

Okay, I know this may seem like a weird one, but, believe me, once you find this you’ll thank me!  Many years ago I discovered ‘Glide’ when training for a half marathon.  It seems like so many people I know can run for hours without experiencing any chafe or blister issues.  Not this girl!  When I’m training and running distances anywhere from 8 to 26.2 miles I get blisters on my feet and chafe burns wherever a seam on my clothing isn’t agreeing with me.  If it’s very hot and I’m sweating more than usual or if it’s raining out the chafe and blister issue can double!  I put the ‘Glide’ on my toes, sides of my feet and around my heels and then anywhere else that may chafe, usually underarms and some waste bands on certain workout pants. It makes all the difference in the world!  I also have to put it on my arm where I carry my phone in an armband because that can irritate my skin on long runs.

What some people may not know is that ‘Glide’ also works miracles when wearing new and/or uncomfortable shoes.  Sometimes new flats or loafers take a few wearings to break in, and those heels that you wear on certain occasions can ruin your day!  Not with ‘Glide!’  You can find it most places that sell running shoes, I buy it at Dick’s in the sneaker section and Amazon also carries it.  Get some!

Rapid Lash Eyelash Enhancement Serum

I just bought this lash serum at Ulta a few months ago.  I have been reading about some others that some of my favorite bloggers swear by, but they’re so expensive!  I thought I’d try a less expensive one to see if I would see any change.  This one is $49.99, which may still not seem cheap, but others run well over $100.

I have always had fairly long eyelashes but my eyebrows have thinned so much in recent years.  I’m not religious about remembering to use it every night but I am totally shocked at how long my lashes are and how filled in my brows have gotten. I never knew I had lower lashes either, if I put mascara on them now I look like a kewpie doll.  I recently had a facial and my esthetician asked me if I got lash extensions and if I was having my brows tinted, no joke!!!

Hallmark Wrapping Paper

In my opinion, Hallmark wrapping paper is the very best! It’s the perfect thickness and most come either double-sided or with a grid on the back side making cutting so much easier!  I buy these multi packs every year, if you keep an eye on them they have great sales!  I am happiest when the gifts under my tree are wrapped in various plaids and brown craft paper.

Scotch Paper Cutter

THE BEST PAPER CUTTING TOOL!  I use them year round. They glide through the paper like a dream! You can find them in most stores near the wrapping supplies.

Scotch Pop-Up Tape Handband Dispenser

This baby makes your wrapping experience a million times easier!  It contains easy pull tabs of pre-cut tape. They also sell table top dispensers.  I can usually find these in most stores with the wrapping supplies, but no one seems to sell the refills anymore! But, as with most things, you can get the refills on amazon!

I don’t know about the rest of you, but we’ve only had our heat on for a couple of weeks now and my lips and hands are already in full-on winter chapped mode!  I have tried every product I could get my hands on over the years.  Some worked okay and some were a huge waste of time and money. I would go to bed most nights with multiple layers of lip treatment on and greasy hands stuffed into night-time moisturizing gloves.

O’Keeffe’s Working Hands and Lip Repair

Two words…GET THEM!  They work!

So there you go, a random little post full of the scattered thoughts running through my busy holiday brain!  I only hope that some of these ideas may find their way into your busy lives to make your holidays a little bit easier and more enjoyable!  Now off to my pie crusts and exterior illumination!

If any of you have any favorite things you’d like to share to help us get through this crazy time of year, please scroll down and leave your comments; I’d love to hear them!

Signs, Signs, Everywhere a Sign!

Those of you that have been in my home, or know me well, know that I have kind of an addiction to sign making!  My home is full of signs that I have made and I also like to give them as gifts.

This ‘EAT’ sign behind my range is one of my favorites, but I DID NOT MAKE IT!!!  I bought this sign for my husband several years ago because, fun fact, the other side says ‘SKI.’  It was meant to go in our ski house, but when he opened it on Christmas and realized the other side said ‘EAT’ he stuck it behind our range. It looked so good we decided to keep it there until we went up to Maine to ski next.  Well, it grew on us, and just seems to belong where it is, so we never seem to take it with us to Sunday River!

It seems like most people that come to our home comment on how much they love this sign, and many of them say to me,”You could make that!” I finally decided to give it a try, thus beginning my sign making adventures!

I have purchased many signs over the years to decorate my home and give as gifts.  I have a favorite local gift shop, The Fox and The Chicken Coop, where I have found numerous great items, new and old. The couple that own the shop are buyers, pickers and repurposing geniuses!  It is always an adventure to wind my way through their amazing displays, and I always leave with something fun, not to mention major crafting inspiration! I usually find my way to their wood scrap bin, where most pieces are $1-$3. I have made a ton of signs from pieces out of that bin!

This box, that I repurposed as a shelf, is also from their shop!

 

The DINE sign and the shelf were other creations made from scrap pile finds!

 

Wood from scrap pile, sign made by me

 

I also purchase great items for sign making from Joann Fabrics, Tuesday Morning, Hobby Lobby and Wal Mart.  Here are some more examples of my sign addiction/obsession…

The other items are made from wine corks, which I may, ahem, have a few of lying around!!!

My nephew, Sullivan, can sometimes be found hanging with me in my craft room!  You could consider him my intern, as he also  likes to help me when I decorate the seasonal windows in our office building. Well, that is, until he loses interest and disappears to visit the various candy jars the ladies in the office have on their desks! Here he is making a sign for himself last year.  He also made signs for each of his teachers as gifts!

But wait, there’s more…

My sign making obviously requires the use of stencils, which I have purchased hundreds of through the years.  Last year I finally splurged on the purchase of a Cricut Explore Air 2.  I bought it when I saw a major sale and I now make most of my own stencils, as well as hundreds of other crafts, but I’ll save those for a later post!!!

Cricut Explore Air 2

 

Do any of you have any crafting obsessions/addictions?  I always love to hear new ideas! Please share with me!  Most of these signs, that aren’t already hanging on my walls, are available for purchase. Message me privately for prices if you are interested, local pick up only!

Holiday Gift Buying Guide: Favorite Cooking Essentials

I have been seeing a lot of Instagram stories and blog posts lately with holiday shopping guides and favorite finds.  So I thought I would start putting together some of my favorite things that I use most often and couldn’t live without! Today I want to share my favorite kitchen items with you all.

Farberware Percolator

We brew our coffee every morning in a percolator.  We have had many different kinds of coffee pots through the years but, in my opinion, the taste of percolator coffee can’t be beat!  My brother and his wife have always used a percolator and now my sister and her husband do too!  Try it, you’ll love it!

Lodge 10.5 inch Cast Iron Griddle

I saw this pan for the first time at my sister in law’s years ago and bought one right away!  It truly never gets put away in our house, you will always find it sitting on our stovetop. We use it to heat our tortillas on taco night, making grilled cheese, eggs, toasting rolls etc.Parchment Paper

We use parchment paper pretty much every time a cookie sheet is used.  I also use it to line bread pans for easy removal.  If baking cookies you do not need to spray the pan if you have parchment. It can also be used to make “packet meals” where you place all the ingredients to a meal (protein and vegetables) inside and wrap them up so they all cook together. I go through this stuff like crazy! It just makes cooking and baking so much easier!

LeCreuset Dutch Oven

Hands down the best pot ever!  My parents bought this for us several years ago for Christmas and this puppy gets used so much!  You can cook on the stovetop or in the oven.  It heats so quickly and cooks evenly and we love it!  I think my parents appreciate all of the meals we feed them out of this!  Soups, stews, risotto, roasts, you name it.  Totally worth the price!  It comes in several different sizes. I have the 5.5 quart and the 7.25 quart.  We use both but definitely use the 7.25 quart the most as you can fit a good sized roast and most soup recipes in it.

 

 

Kitchen Aid Stand Mixer

I couldn’t live without this mixer.  Well, I probably could but I don’t want to!  It has changed my life!  Another purchase made by my parents several years ago.  Gee, notice a tend here? My parents sure like to buy me things that make delicious food for all! I use it so much that I always worry  it’s going to break down on me in the middle of a big baking project!  When we had our kitchen renovated 14 years ago I had a special cabinet installed just for my mixer!!!  I love it that much!

 

OXO Softworks Cookie Scoops

These cookie/ice cream scoops are a great tool with multiple uses.  I have them in a couple of sizes and I use them for scooping cookies onto sheets, dropping muffin batter, scooping ice cream and making meatballs, to name a few. They enable you to make things uniform in size!

Flexible Stainless-Steel Slotted Spatula

I just got this spatula a couple of years ago, basically because I see everyone on Food Network use one!  I believe they’re meant to be used to cook fish but I use it for everything! It’s great for tossing roasted vegetables which I am constantly making!

Cooking Tongs

These tongs are put to use everyday in our house for so many things! Serving, scooping, flipping, you name it!

 

 

 

OXO Softworks Rolling Pin

I have a few different wooden rolling pins that I use on occasion but I use this one the most because I love anything that can go in the dishwasher!!! I’ve had it for years and put it in the dishwasher every time I use it and it’s like new!!!  Other than cast iron and teflon pans I rarely buy things that cannot go in the dishwasher.  I never feel like things are truly clean unless washed in there!

Pampered Chef Skinny and Classic Scraper

Again…dishwasher safe!  I hate rubber spatulas with wooden handles, I just don’t get it? I have these on my Christmas list because I use them so much that, even though they are still in perfect shape approximately 10-15 years after buying them, they’re always in the dishwasher!!!  I have bought several different rubber spatulas over the years but these are hands down my fave!!!

Pampered Chef Smooth-Edge Can Opener

Another amazing tool that I have had forever.  Extremely easy to use and it cuts the lids off of cans so that the edges aren’t sharp! Genius!!

 

I hope this list of my kitchen favorites will help in your holiday gift giving for the cooks in your life! Happy shopping!

DIY: PILLOW-MAKING-MANIA!

A few months back I stopped into my local Tuesday Morning store to peruse the shelves for a new ginger jar.  Every once in a while I check in there because they tend to get some good ones and they’re at a great price point!  On this particular day I couldn’t find any that I liked but for some reason I left the store with two 4-packs of linen napkins and two 2-packs of linen dish towels.

Why, you may ask? I don’t know! I wanted to come home and set a nice new jar on my living room shelves but instead I came home and spent three days making new pillows out of napkins and dish towels. I have this problem a lot.  When you have a crafty, diy type personality the mind never rests!  This is why my laundry/sewing/craft room/office is always a disaster!  At any given time I will have anywhere from one to five projects in the works.  Many of them eventually get finished but, admittedly, there are some that don’t!

These four-packs of napkins were $7.99 each and I was able to make four pillows out of them.The two-packs of tea towels, $4.99 each, made two larger pillows.

I then decided I was a little bored with my den pillows and wanted a pop of blue in there as well!

 

I found this four-pack of napkins at TJ Maxx and loved the pattern so much that I decided to make some pillows out of them!

I was satisfied for a while but then @ballarddesigns had a sale and I finally ordered the euro monogrammed shams I had been wanting for our master bedroom!  When they finally arrived and I put them on our bed it just seemed like there was something missing.  I wanted another pop of color and/or pattern, but when I started shopping around for king decorative shams the prices were ridiculous!!!  I like to change out our shams and throw pillows with the seasons so I certainly could not justify the $80-$179 prices I was seeing everywhere!

I hit up Hobby Lobby with my weekly coupon and found this adorable, preppy navy check and bought some kelly green ric rac to decorate the edges with.

I then set to work making the shams with an envelope closure in the back to easily change them out with the seasons!

King pillows measure 20″x36″. In order to be able to make the envelope closure you have to cut the fabric in a way that allows overlap. I cut the front pieces 39″x23″ because I waned a one inch decorative flange around the edges (which accounts for the extra 2 inches) and then I used a half inch seem allowance(which accounts for the 3rd extra inch.) For the back pieces I cut two pieces 23×24.5.

I then ironed the center edges, where the envelope pieces will flap over each other, into a one inch seem and stitched down.

Lay all pieces with right sides facing and pin all around the edges.  Then sew together with a half inch seem allowance.

Turn sham right side out and iron.

I then sewed the ric rac all around the sham, one inch from the edge, to form the decorative flange.  If you do not want a flange edge, you can eliminate the additional two inches we added when we cut the fabric and your sham would be complete at this point!

Loving the finished look!  Sorry about the poor lighting, it has been grey and rainy for the last 1,000 days, or so it seems!

BUT WAIT, THERE’S MORE!  In the meantime I finally taught myself how to sew zippers so that the pillows can be removable covers and changed out for the seasons!!!  I do like the pillows that I chose when we got our new family room furniture this past year, as they have just about every color of the rainbow in them and give a lot of options for changing decor, but  have always wanted a fall-ish plaid or pattern to use on them.  Once again I scoured the internet for pillow covers inexpensive enough to justify changing them with the seasons.  They’re just so expensive and I really didn’t see anything I loved.

I happened to be in Target one day looking for a new table runner for Thanksgiving and found this tablecloth!  Alas, my new pillow fabric was found!

Teddy is thrilled with the new decor, can you tell?  I found some coordinating fabric in the sale bin at JOANN Fabric (@joann.com) to make covers for the smaller throw pillows.  The best part is that I was very strategic when I cut up the tablecloth to make the four plaid pillows so I also made a table runner for my dining room table!

If you are interested in more details on making your own pillow covers please comment below!  I need to get back to my sewing room because this just happened…

Christmas pillows coming soon!