Remember these plates I made for Christmas presents? My mom had the great idea of doing the same thing with our unity candles from our wedding. They had been sitting at her house for the longest time because we really had no use for them. The large brown plate is also from our wedding so it has sentimental value too. The glass plates are from Target's after Christmas sale. I'm excited to have a nice momento from our wedding!
and with our pound cake for New Year's Eve Dinner...
and this one is being used as a butter dish for New Year's Eve dinner...
As some of you know I work at a sleep center. Most of the time I don't get to use my creativity when I'm there but this is the one exception. We recently decided to give the lab a little facelift. I was asked to redo the lobby and the bedrooms. We were definitly in a time crunch and needed to stay on a tight budget. Here is what I came with over the course of a couple days. I would have loved to do more but maybe as time goes by we can gradually add more things. I don't have before pictures of the bedrooms but I do have a couple of the lobby.
Here is the lobby BEFORE...
and AFTER, eventually I would like to paint the lobby a different color to make it stand out but for now this will do...
love these lights from IKEA!
this table was in the lobby before and the mirrors were in some of the rooms I just grouped them together to make them look more contemporary and added a new lamp and some vases....
and here are the bedrooms, in here we just added new lamps, some pictures and I upholstered the headboards. Before, they were just plain wood headboards but they had become damaged over the years. I followed the same instructions that I did for the padded headboard here but I used OSB board because it's cheaper and used 1/4 inch foam instead of two inch foam because I didn't want it to stick out much. Then I just drilled holes in the existing headboard and screwed them in place. You can't see the damaged places at all now. The material I used is actually vynil made to look leather. It is very practical in this situation because we just wipe it off daily.
I found this great piece of milk glass at the Goodwill the other day. I just love it! I don't collect milk glass but this just caught my eye and it's in perfect condition. For $2.99 it was a deal I couldn't pass up. I found the perfect place for it in our office.
This is truly a recycled wreath. I had all the things I needed to make it around my house. Someone was actually going to throw away the wreath but I asked if I could have it because I knew I would find something to do with it. The bark came from pottery barn. It was $0.99 marked down from $10. I didn't know what I was going to do with it when I bought it, but it was such a good deal and I loved the earthiness of it. The moss was leftover from another project (I bought it at the dollar store) The pincones were actually leftover from some potpouri that lost it's scent and the ribbon is some that I use to wrap gifts with. I gave this to my sister as part of her Christmas gift because I thought it would go nicely with her house.
I have been wanting to make a caramel cake for a while now. I tried making one several years ago and had trouble getting the icing the right consistency. With Christmas approaching, I thought it would be nice to give it another go and maybe try a different recipe. It turned out great and was super easy! We are planning on eating this tomorrow at Christmas dinner but my husband and I sampled the icing today and it was delicious. The only substitution I made was, I used half & half instead of heavy cream because that's what I had on hand. There are so many recipes out there but I turned to Paula Deen because her recipes normally turn out great for me! (anything with that much butter has to be good, right?) I didn't use her recipe for the cake or filling. I just made a yellow cake and used the icing for the filling between layers. Here is the recipe for those who are interested....
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, at room temperature
2 cups granulated sugar
3 cups sifted self-rising flour
1 cup milk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
For the filling:
1 cup (2 sticks) butter
2 cups packed light brown sugar
1/4 cup milk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
For the frosting:
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
1 cup packed dark brown sugar
1/3 cup heavy cream, or more if needed
1 (16-ounce) box confectioners' sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup chopped nuts, optional
For the cake:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour 3 (9-inch) cake pans.
Using an electric mixer, cream butter until fluffy. Add granulated sugar and continue to cream well for 6 to 8 minutes. Add eggs 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Add flour and milk alternately to creamed mixture, beginning and ending with flour. Add vanilla and continue to beat until just mixed. Divide batter equally among prepared pans. Level batter in each pan by holding pan 3 or 4-inches above counter dropping it flat onto counter. Do this several times to release air bubbles and assure you of a more level cake. Bake for 25 minutes or until golden brown.
For the filling:
While cake is baking, in a saucepan, combine butter, brown sugar, and milk. Cook and stir over medium heat for 3 to 5 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla.
Remove cake layers from oven and allow cake to remain in pans as you prepare to stack and fill. Remove first layer and invert onto cake plate. Pierce cake layer with a toothpick over entire surface. Spread 1/3 of filling mixture on cake layer. Top with second layer, repeat process. Top with last layer and repeat process again.
*Cook's Note: As I stack layers together, I stick them with toothpicks to prevent cake from shifting.
For the frosting:
Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat and stir in brown sugar and cream. Bring to a boil, and transfer to a mixing bowl. Add confectioners' sugar and vanilla. Beat with a handheld electric mixer until it reaches a spreading consistency. At this time it may be necessary to add a tablespoon of heavy cream, or more, if frosting gets too thick. Just be sure to add cream is small amounts because you can always "add to", but you can't take away. Frost cake and sprinkle top with chopped nuts, if desired.
Here is a last minute Christmas ornament idea. I made these to tie on some presents as a "bonus" gift! You can buy these glass ornament balls pretty much anywhere (mine came from the craft store) and they are really inexpensive. The paint is about $0.99 and comes in all different colors. I just used the paint I had but you can do any color combination. I like the way it looks with a little metallic paint mixed in too, gold and silver look nice. However, I didn't have any of these on hand. You could even add a little glitter too! I thought of that after that fact but will definitly try that next year! The sky is the limit! All you do is remove the metal hanger from the top pour in the paint colors you want to use and then cover the hole with your finger and shake the paint around, making sure it covers the whole thing. The more you shake it the more your colors will mix and the more swirls you will get. You could even use a gold or silver Sharpee to write "Christmas 2009" or anything you want on the front of it. Here is what I came up with using what I had on hand...
This one is for my mother in law, she loves black and white...
and all together...The green, blue, and orange one was supposed to just be orange and blue for the Florida Gators but the orange and blue mixed together and made green...oh well, it kind of looks like a globe?
I found this grapevine wreath at the thrift store for about $5. I loved the size of it. I added a little silver spraypaint and some silver, sparkly picks from the craft store ($0.60/each). The poinsettia is a clip on ornament from my tree that way after Christmas I can take it off and use it throughout the winter. I've always wanted to hang a wreath over a window too, it just looks classy to me. It was hard to get a good picture of it but here it is...
I can't believe Christmas is less than a week away! I just finished up a few more projects that I am doing for Christmas presents but I will have to wait until after Christmas to show you so the recipients don't see them on here. :) Here are a few more rooms in our home all decorated for Christmas.
Remember the tree I did for the centerpiece at the ladies brunch? Here it is in my dining room...
I love how all the wreaths on the windows have ornaments too. After Christmas I am going to scoop up some sale ornaments so I can attempt to do that next year. Right now I have wreaths on all my windows but they only have bows on them. I think the ornaments add a nice touch and make them a little more unique. Now if only I could have some of that snow for my front yard too... :)
These are so simple and inexpensive to make and they make great gifts! I am going to put Christmas goodies on them and give them to my neighbors and coworkers. My husband took some to the ladies in his office on Friday and they loved them.
Old candle holders from the thrift store ($0.49-$0.99) +
I was recently asked about some holiday gift wrapping ideas and thought I would share them with you all. All of the supplies I used are from either Walmart or the dollar store. Gift wrapping is one of my favorite things to do. You can get creative and not have to spend a lot of money on it. I vowed this year to not buy anymore wrapping paper until I had used up what I have and here's what I came up with.
This one has cinnamon sticks on it to give it a little holiday flair, and they smell good too!
This box came from the dollar store and the best part about it is you don't even have to wrap it! The silver snowflake also came in a pack of three from the dollar store...
another box and snowflake from the dollar store...
These little pinecones come in a pack of about 25 from the dollar store, they are great for craft projects...
These little bells also came from the dollar store in a pack of nine...