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30 November, 2011

French Ticking and Burlap: My Christmas Wreath

033I want to give you a little peek at how Christmas is coming along at my house, so I am starting with my new wreath! I wanted to add some red this year so why not begin with my favorite…French ticking!

015 I have decided not to spend lots of money this year and recycle as many of my old decorations as possible...just add some inexpensive new twists. Sooo…I was thrilled when Baby Kitty reminded me that I already have a supply of French ticking on hand…the old curtains left over from my master bedroom! Yep…four floor length panels of fabric! Woo hoo!

006First, I wrapped a straw wreath form…$3.00 with a coupon at Michaels…with strips of the fabric and secured them with hot glue…easy, except for the hot glue burns! Ouch!

017 Then I made fabric flowers from olive green burlap and strips of an antique red sweater that I found at Goodwill for about $4.00. For detailed instructions for making the burlap and sweater roses, click here.

021I hot glued them to the wreath and added a few silver and glittery Christmas ornaments from Target’s dollar aisle last year.

028 And…taaa daaa…there you have it! I can’t let you see my mantel yet since it’s not ready, but let’s just say it involves more of that free French ticking! You will have to come back later for the reveal!

Thanks for stopping by! I hope you enjoyed a little peek at my Christmas decorations!  Please visit these wonderful bloggers and their beautiful blogs to see what they are up to and to find a list of this week’s participants!
Stephanie Lynn at Under the Table and Dreaming for the Sunday Showcase Party
Kate at Centsational Girl for the Holiday Craft Link Party 
Sarah at Thrifty Decor Chick for Before and After Monday (first Monday of the month)
Susan at Between Naps on the Porch for Metamorphosis Monday
Mary at Boogieboard Cottage for Masterpiece Monday
Marty at A Stroll Thru Life for Tabletop Tuesday
Beth at The Stories of A2Z for Tutorials and Tips Tuesday
Linda at Coastal Charm for Nifty Thrifty Tuesday
Kim at Savvy Southern Style for Wow Us Wednesdays
Judy at DIY by Design for Fall into Fall
Jill at French Cupboard for Voila!French Inspiration on Thursdays
Gina at The Shabby Creek Cottage for Transformation Thursdays
Sherry at No Minimalist Here for the Open House Party on Thursdays
Cindy at My Romantic Home for Show and Tell Friday
Courtney at French Country Cottage for Feathered Nest Friday
Honey at 2805 for Potpourri Friday
Diann at The Thrifty Groove for Thrifty Things Friday

Rachelle at Fingerprints on the Fridge for Feature Yourself Friday
Debra at Common Ground for Fabulous Fall Fun
Sherry at The Charm of Home for Home Sweet Home Friday
Jen at Tatertots & Jello for the Weekend Wrap-up Party
Donna at Funky Junk Interiors for Saturday Nite Special
See you next time! A la prochaine!

26 November, 2011

Pottery Barn Inspired Stocking Pillow...and More!

020I have a fun new Christmas project for you…a stocking pillow inspired by Pottery Barn! All you will need is a sweater that you are willing to sacrifice, some burlap, buttons and twine!

pb pillow2 As soon as I saw this one in Pottery Barn, I fell in love! But…$49 just for the cover was out of my price range. So  if you know me, you know my little wheels started to turn…

006 …and here is the result! Not too bad, huh? Theirs is a sort of linen fabric, but I couldn’t find it in the color I needed, so I used burlap. You just make a sleeve that is open-ended on both sides, slip in the insert (mine is down-filled for $4.00 from Goodwill) and close with big buttons! Easy! However, I don’t knit, so the little stockings were a challenge.

017 I finally found a cashmere sweater for $4.00 at Goodwill that had the texture and weight I wanted. Then I cut and sewed three little stockings from the sleeves, making a little hem at the top to finish them off.

016 Next, I added little ribbon loops and threaded the stockings on a length of twine which I stitched to the pillow. Finally, I added some fresh rosemary from the garden and…taaa daaa! But I still had the whole body of the sweater left over! What to do?…hmmmm

004 I made a simple sweater pillow and added another down insert from Goodwill…a $3.00 bargain…and then added a rose made from the leftover burlap!

002 It’s really easy! I just took a 45” by 4” piece of burlap and folded it in half so that it was 2 inches wide and then pressed it to make it easier to handle. Next, I tied a knot in one end, twisted the strip and curled it around, hot gluing at intervals to hold it, until it formed a rose.

sweater ornament And I have another idea cooking using sweaters…ornaments! I found this one in the French online magazine Marie Claire Maison. Don’t you love it? I wish I could knit!

020 And there you have it!  I was able to make both pillows for about $20 total, including the sweater, fabric, buttons and inserts! Woo hoo!

page And now for the magazine look-alike shot for the Magazine Copy Cat Challenge at Debbiedoo's Blogging and Blabbing!  That’s Pottery Barn’s version on the left and mine on the right! What do you think?

IMG_3841 And stay tuned…with the help of my lovely assistant Miss Isabella, I will have more pillows to show you later!

Thanks for stopping by! I hope you enjoyed a little peek at my Christmas pillow!  Please visit these wonderful bloggers and their beautiful blogs to see what they are up to and to find a list of this week’s participants!
Stephanie Lynn at Under the Table and Dreaming for the Sunday Showcase Party
Sarah at Thrifty Decor Chick for Before and After Monday (first Monday of the month)
Kate at Centsational Girl for the Holiday Craft Link Party
Mary at Boogieboard Cottage for Masterpiece Monday
Susan at Between Naps on the Porch for Metamorphosis Monday
Debbie at Debbiedoo's Blogging and Blabbing for the Magazine Copy Cat Challenge
Marty at A Stroll Thru Life for Tabletop Tuesday
Beth at The Stories of A2Z for Tutorials and Tips Tuesday
Linda at Coastal Charm for Nifty Thrifty Tuesday
Kim at Savvy Southern Style for Wow Us Wednesdays
Judy at DIY by Design for Fall into Fall
Gina at The Shabby Creek Cottage for Transformation Thursdays
Sherry at No Minimalist Here for the Open House Party on Thursdays
Cindy at My Romantic Home for Show and Tell Friday
Courtney at French Country Cottage for Feathered Nest Friday
Honey at 2805 for Potpourri Friday
Diann at The Thrifty Groove for Thrifty Things Friday
Debra at Common Ground for Fabulous Fall Fun
Sherry at The Charm of Home for Home Sweet Home Friday
Donna at Funky Junk Interiors for Saturday Nite Special
See you next time! A la prochaine!

Love Dogs and France? This Book Giveaway Is for You!

Just a reminder...there's a fun book giveaway going on right now on my blog! Chula the Sheltie, who has sniffed the lavender fields of Provence and shopped the flea markets of Paris, has provided me with a copy of her book Dog Trots Globe: To Paris and Provence to give to one of my readers! It's a multi-sensory book, accompanied by music, video clips and lots of wonderful photographs of France! Click here to read about the book and get the giveaway details! You don't want to miss this one! Be sure to leave comments on my previous post (here) to enter! Hey...dogs and France...how can you not love it? Just don't tell my staff and give them ideas!

25 November, 2011

Dog Trots Globe: To Paris and Provence...A Review and a Giveaway!

chula If you love all things French and you love dogs, have I got a book for you…Dog Trots Globe: To Paris and Provence! The author is Chula Wula D’Augue (pronounced dog)…simply known as Chula…a nine-year-old Sheltie who spends most of her time in California. The book, as barked to her owner Sheron Long, tells Chula’s adventures as she travels to France for the first time!

cafeYou will first see Provence through Chula’s eyes and check out the café and bistro scene, where well-behaved dogs are welcome in France!

baskets Chula takes us to some of my favorite places as we visit the markets in Provence. She kindly provides us with a list of her favorite market days and I was pleased to see my very favorite…l’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue’s Sunday antique and flea market… among them! The book is filled with wonderful photos that will instantly transport you to Provence!

lavandeOf course, Chula takes us to visit the picturesque little villages and the beautiful countryside! What trip to Provence would be complete without an opportunity to smell the lavender…

sheep …and to rub elbows with the friendly locals!

flea market paris And of course, you must top off your trip with a stay in Paris and an excursion to the fabulous marchés aux puces…the flea markets! Chula even attends the opening night of a Parisian art gallery. There’s so much to do in France for a curious and adventuresome dog, especially since France is a very dog-friendly country! And this book really takes you along, too, including lots of practical tips as well in case you decide to travel to France with your dog.
And here’s what I really like about this book…it comes with extra goodies! It has a wonderful music video of market day in Provence and a narrated video of a fun walk through the village of Saint-Rémy-de-Provence, as well as video clips from Chula’s visit to France!  (They are embedded in the enhanced eBook edition and included online for the print and standard eBook editions.) And…the book is absolutely filled to the brim with fabulous color photographs for the feeling of a little getaway to Paris and Provence!

book big And now for the fun part…Chula has been kind enough to supply me with a copy of the book…autographed by both Chula and her owner Sheron Long…to give to one of my readers!
You can win in one of five ways:
1. Leave a comment on this post. Be certain to leave an email address if you do not have a blog so that I can contact you if you win!
2. Leave an additional comment telling me that you are a follower or subscriber.
3. Like our page on Facebook (here) and tell me in another comment.
4. Become Chula’s friend on Facebook (here) by sending her a friend request and tell me in another comment.
5. Blog about this giveaway or take the giveaway button from the sidebar and post it on your sidebar and tell me in another comment.
That’s five ways to win! The giveaway will end on Thursday, December 1st at 7:00 pm Eastern time. The winner will be chosen at random. Be sure to leave an email address or contact if you do not have a blog so that I may let you know if you win! 



Is1 Please note that I have not been compensated in any way by the publisher or the author for this review. And…please do me a favor and don’t tell my staff about this book…it will give them ideas! Bonne chance! Good luck!

23 November, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!

002On this day of counting our blessings, I am counting you, my blog friends, among them! May you have a wonderful holiday filled with family, love, peace and happiness…and, of course, good food! A very Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours!

21 November, 2011

A Fun French Dessert for Thanksgiving...Pumpkin Mousse Verrines

pumpkin mousse verrinesAre you looking for something a little different for dessert for Thanksgiving…traditional in its ingredients but with a French twist? Then here it is…Pumpkin Mousse Verrines! What are verrines? Simply put, they are little glasses with pretty layers for yummy appetizers or desserts. They are all the rage in France, with entire cookbooks being dedicated to them. Special glasses have been created to serve them, but any small glass will do…such as shot glasses. Here, they are served in champagne glasses…elegant! I found this one at Made with a Twist. It combines pumpkin mousse with layers of caramelized pecans and whipped cream…yummy! You can find the recipe here or I have printed it below.

Pumpkin Mousse Verrines…from Made with a Twist
Makes 15-18 champagne glass-sized verrines
Pumpkin Mousse
1 (15-ounce) can pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling)
1/2 c. heavy whipping cream
1/2 c. sugar
1 t. pumpkin pie spice
1 t. maple syrup
1 t. cinnamon
Maple Caramelized Pecans
1 (6-ounce) bag pecan chips (1 1/3 c. chopped pecans)
2 T. brown sugar
2 T. maple syrup
Whipped Cream
3 c. cold heavy whipping cream
3/4 c. cold maple syrup
  • Place a large bowl and the electric mixer’s beater(s) in the fridge to chill for later use with the whipped cream.
  • For the pumpkin mousse, in a medium saucepan, stir the pumpkin, cream, sugar, pumpkin pie spice, maple syrup, and cinnamon over medium-high heat for about 5 minutes, or until heated through.  Transfer the mixture to a large bowl, cover with plastic wrap with the wrap in direct contact with the mousse mixture, and put in the refrigerate while preparing the other components.
  • For the nuts, spray a non-stick skillet with cooking spray.  Heat the skillet over medium-high heat and add the nuts, stirring constantly until they become fragrant.  Add the brown sugar and maple syrup and stir constantly.  When the pieces are all coated, remove them from the heat and let them cool on a plate.
  • For the maple whipped cream, remove the large bowl and beater(s) from the fridge.  Place the cold heavy whipping cream in the bowl and begin to whip.  When the cream is frothy (after about 1 minute), gradually stream the cold maple syrup into the cream.  Continue whipping until the cream develops soft peaks.
  • To assemble, measure out 4 cups of whipped cream and set the rest aside.  Remove the pumpkin mixture from fridge.  Fold the 4 cups of maple whipped cream into the pumpkin mixture until the streaks of white have disappeared.
  • If serving immediately, the pumpkin mousse, remaining maple whipped cream, and maple pecans may be layered into the verrines whichever way the host decides!  Sprinkling freshly grated nutmeg finishes the dessert nicely.
  • If serving later, fill each verrine 3/4-full of the pumpkin mousse.  Top with a dollop of maple whipped cream and place in the refrigerator to chill for up to 5 hours.  Top with maple pecans just before serving.
More links for verrine recipes can be found here and here. Enjoy!

19 November, 2011

French Advent Calendar Ideas to Try!

calendrier-avent-sachets-organdiI was so excited when  received my latest email from the French online magazine Marie Claire Idées because it was filled with fabulous ideas for creating Advent calendars…for both adults and children! So just in case you don't read it, I thought I would share these wonderful ideas with you.
The first calendars originated in Germany in the early 1800s as a way to mark the arrival of Christmas during the month of December. It has always been such a charming custom to me and we have celebrated it in some form each year at my house…generally with the Christmas pictures hiding small pieces of chocolate. However, I am thinking we will try something different this year! This one is so pretty…organdy pockets buttoned on burlap and filled with tiny gifts…love it!

calendrier-avent-bois This one stars pretty wrapped boxes stacked on birch logs..unusual!

calendrier-avent-cadeaux-tissus How cute is this one…not difficult to do with just some felt, gingham and yarn!

calendrier-avent-maisons-carton This one would be easy and fun! You could make it with milk or juice cartons and construction paper…love it!

calendrier-avent-tissu-triptyque If you are talented at handwork, this one is for you…stitched on muslin with button-on pockets and tags to update them each day. That’s an old Christmas card graphic transferred to the calendar.

imageboiteallumette This one is simple match boxes..painted and stacked and glued in the shape of a tree. Each box is filled with chocolates.

imagechaussette1 I love this one…socks and gloves appliquéd and hung in a child’s room!

imagedisque This one is more modern and is meant for the adults in the family. You could make it all of felt and use Velcro to attach the numbers each day….or do a traditional flannel board.

pochettes-perles-calendrier-avent Isn’t this one festive…pretty little drawstring bags to open each day filled with luxurious chocolates wrapped in gold foil!

imagetorchon You’ve gotta love this one…made on a vintage French dishcloth!

calendrier-avent-puzzle-rennes-noelThis one is a puzzle…with pieces in little numbered envelopes to open and assemble one piece a day. You can actually download this one here! Just scroll down and click on Téléchargez (download)  and print. There is a front design and a back with the lines for cutting it. Just mount both sides back to back on poster paper and cut with an Exacto knife. You can find little envelopes at an office supply store.

calendrier-avent-maison-papier-fenetres-noel This one is my favorite, but a little more involved to try. You can find it here. Just scroll down and look for the word Téléchargez (download). For this one, you will want to download the four parts labeled …maisons A4 and the two parts labeled …fenêtres. It’s pretty self-explanatory. Just piece the houses together and glue, then cut the windows and doors open with an Exacto knife. Next, add the little numbered pictures to the back of the calendar. You can add the calendar to poster paper to give it more body. The picture on the web site may be helpful.

calendrier-avent-anges-musique-aimants-noel And finally, this one can be found here. Just download (Téléchargez) and use transfer paper to create these designs on fabric. Then stitch, stuff and pop into little numbered sacks. Or you could also just print, glue to poster paper and cut, then stash them in little envelopes.
December first is fast approaching, so I had better get busy!

18 November, 2011

Woo hoo! My Pumpkins Are in Country Living Magazine!

I've been keeping a secret since September...my découpage pumpkins are featured in December's Country Living magazine!

 Yes, the editors spied my pumpkins on Facebook and asked to publish them in their Letters to the Editor section of the magazine! Hey...it's not much bigger than a postage stamp, but I am still excited! :-) I have been so tickled at the reception those little pumpkins have gotten everywhere and I want to thank everyone again for your positive and encouraging response! And...it's not too late to make some of your own for Thanksgiving if you haven't already. You can find a complete tutorial here. Thanks again so much for all the bloggy love!...hugs...Debbie

16 November, 2011

Pumpkins, Bittersweet and Mercury Glass...My Thanksgiving Tablescape

026 I have been playing with ideas for my Thanksgiving tablescape for a few weeks now and I think I have finally found a combination of elements that I really like…white pumpkins with bittersweet and mercury glass. Let me show you!

002 Miss Kitty will be assisting me today since Baby Kitty is taking advantage of the pretty weather to have a golfing vacation at Amelia Island. He will be back in plenty of time to enjoy the holiday with us!

008At the heart of the centerpiece…three white pumpkins surrounded by a variety of natural gourds and small pumpkins…all in shades of green, white and yellow.

020 You might recognize the pumpkins...faux pumpkins from Walmart that I painted ivory. I love the stem!

036 I wanted the center pumpkin to have more importance, so I wrapped it with bittersweet and elevated it. I just used an overturned tea cup topped by a saucer as a little stand.

005 I scattered votives among the gourds and pumpkins to add a little glow to the centerpiece. Even in the daytime, I think candles add so much ambiance to a meal.

011 I am using my Chris Madden Felice plates again this year…a Goodwill find of four place settings for $10…one of my favorite bargains!

023The silverware is my mom’s…in the Silver Flutes pattern by Towle. I love its wonderful patina! The acorn pattern napkins were a sale find at Williams Sonoma. I topped each plate with a little dumpling squash that complements the colors in the napkins.

013 I am using my Irish lead crystal goblets along with some Goodwill wine glasses that were about $1.00 each. I like to mix things up a bit! Can you tell?

021 On the table is my drop cloth tablecloth. I just used a drop cloth from Home Depot, washed and bleached it several times, pressed it and put it on the table. Easy...because it’s already hemmed. I topped it with my ruffled burlap table runner (Directions for making it can be found here.) I think they add a rustic element and I love the contrast in textures!

028 At each end of the table...my mercury glass candlesticks from last year. I like the look of them…just enough elegance without being stuffy.

039 On the buffet is the vignette I showed you earlier this fall…centered around an arrangement in my grandmother’s dough bowl. I decided to use traditional orange pumpkins instead of cream for a little pop of color.

040On the hutch I have just added a few pumpkins and some bittersweet to my blue and white collection. The colors on the table are neutral, so I thought that I would keep things as they are here. I like the contrast of the colors…a little unexpected in the fall. I have also added my Red Cliff ironstone tureen and tea service and some more mercury glass candlesticks.

044It will be small this year…a cozy family dinner since we will have already had the big dinner with our extended family. There will also be a high chair pulled up to the table…and next year the baby will be in a high chair, too! I think this is my favorite holiday…family gathered around the table making memories and enjoying each other’s company. I have a lot to be thankful for…among that my sweet blogger friends! So I would like to take this opportunity to wish a wonderful Thanksgiving full of love, laughter and much happiness to each of you!  Happy Thanksgiving, my friends!

Thanks for stopping by! I hope you enjoyed a little peek at my Thanksgiving tablescape!  Please visit these wonderful bloggers and their beautiful blogs to see what they are up to and to find a list of this week’s participants!
Stephanie Lynn at Under the Table and Dreaming for the Sunday Showcase Party
Sarah at Thrifty Decor Chick for Before and After Monday (first Monday of the month)
Mary at Boogieboard Cottage for Masterpiece Monday
Marty at A Stroll Thru Life for Tabletop Tuesday
Beth at The Stories of A2Z for Tutorials and Tips Tuesday
Linda at Coastal Charm for Nifty Thrifty Tuesday
Kim at Savvy Southern Style for Wow Us Wednesdays
Judy at DIY by Design for Fall into Fall
Jill at French Cupboard for Voila!French Inspiration on Thursdays
Gina at The Shabby Creek Cottage for Transformation Thursdays
Sherry at No Minimalist Here for the Open House Party on Thursdays
Cindy at My Romantic Home for Show and Tell Friday
Courtney at French Country Cottage for Feathered Nest Friday
Honey at 2805 for Potpourri Friday
Diann at The Thrifty Groove for Thrifty Things Friday
Debra at Common Ground for Fabulous Fall Fun
Sherry at The Charm of Home for Home Sweet Home Friday
Jen at Tatertots & Jello for the Weekend Wrap-up Party
Donna at Funky Junk Interiors for Saturday Nite Special
Barb at The Everyday Home for the "Better Late than Never" Fall Party  
See you next time! A la prochaine!
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