Wednesday, December 22, 2010

I'm such a slacker!

Common wisdom tells us that blogs with pictures get more hits and have more loyal followers. Why? Well, people like to look at pictures, me included. It gives us a small window into someone else's life, and inspires our creativity.

Although I love reading blogs with lots of well-shot photos, I hardly ever post any of my own. I'm hoping to remedy that this weekend. For now, you'll just have to contend with a fuzzy BlackBerry photo of our new puppy, Izzy (Huntfield's Isabelle Bracken, to be exact).

She decided to join me in the bed after I had a long day at the dentist. I was tired and my whole face hurt, so I retreated to the bedroom with a pain killer and my laptop. Contrary to appearance, I did not give the dog one of my pain pills.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Cookie Fest 2010 - Part I

Every year I make dozens of cookies to give to my family and friends, and this year will be no different. Cookie Fest 2010 will begin next week! I have a couple of days off to prepare and will probably bake the day before Christmas Eve. I've already stocked up on basic ingredients, so I'm good to go there. I need to get nuts, dried fruit, trail mix, jam, chips and baking squares and I should be finished.

I also buy Christmas themed tins in the weeks following Christmas. They are usually marked down anywhere from $.50-.75 so I stock up for the following year. Cupcake liners or parchment paper keep them from getting broken or sticking together.

Here is the preliminary list:
  • Chocolate chip
  • Mixed nut with white chocolate chip
  • Trail mix
  • Black Forest crinkle (these are my little brother's favorites!)
  • Chocolate with peanut butter chips
  • Spritz cookies with colored sugar
  • Turtle brownies
  • Linzer star tarts
  • Cinnamon roll coins
In looking at this list, I believe I will need more butter! I probably won't make all of these, but I like to be a slightly ambitious with my list so I don't forget anyone.

What are your favorite cookies for holiday baking?

This is my go-to cookie recipe book.

The Ultimate Cookie Book (Better Homes & Gardens Cooking)

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Small space decorating

I live in a fairly small house. It's just under 1400 sq ft and the living areas are all open. There isn't much wall space for decorating in the living room, dining room or kitchen even though the ceiling is vaulted. My biggest pain is the dining room. It's actually a dining area since it's open to the rest of the house. The light fixture is badly positioned and I like the table to be centered under the light. Doing so makes it feel cramped, and I need a solution. I also don't have room for the large china cabinet I have, so I'm looking for a smaller curio type cabinet.

I've thought about raising the light fixture a bit so I can move the table without the danger of us banging our heads on the globes every time we stand up. There is also a chest high bar between the kitchen and dining area as well as a large bank of cabinets on the other side of the table. I love the extra storage space and the counter top makes a nice buffet. It just doesn't leave many options for decorating or rearranging the furniture.

I've searched for small dining room decorating ideas, and the spaces some decoraters consider small is laughable. Most of the "small" spaces showcased are the size of my bedroom with lots of open wall space. I also cannot remodel every two years. Not helpful.

I don't live in a "rambling 19th century farmhouse with an unused room just off the kitchen that I can turn into a butler's pantry/breakfast nook." Really? Decorating magazines are so out of touch with real life! I want to live a life where unused rooms are available in bulk.


(I really want to provide you guys with pictures of my dining room, but I'm working on a quilt right now and the table is covered in fabric and sewing paraphernalia...)

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New Cottage Style : Decorating Ideas for Casual, Comfortable Living (Better Homes and Gardens)
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