Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Break out the Bubbly: New Year's Eve Champagne Truffles

No one really knows how champagne became the official drink of New Year's Eve, but in cultures around the globe this bubbly beverage, or an effervescent alternative is a must-have. 
While never one to turn down a flute of something sparkly, this year I thought I'd indulge my sweet tooth by adding this festive drink to some white chocolate truffles for a sweet confection before the healthful resolutions kick in.
Champagne Truffles
Label using image from the Graphics Fairy
There are many truffle recipes to be found online, most using a combination of white or dark chocolate, cream and butter as a base with a variety of add ins or toppings. I used this yummy one from a candy section of Aboutfood.com

I used a leftover mini bottle of champagne 
as the recipe only required 1/4 cup
I added festive silver sprinkles
You can pop truffles into flutes (glass or plastic) and print your own labels to make fun favors or add a name to use as place settings
or serve with fresh strawberries

Dollar Store Decor
After the creative hustle and bustle of the holiday season, and with Christmas decor still up and aglow, I like to keep New Year's adornments simple but festive. Some repurposed holiday ornaments and a few spruced up dollar store finds give a stress-free nod to the holiday without too much fuss or expense.
a top hat gets some flair thanks to scrap paper, printable and bling.
Hats and masks also make fun photo props for guests.
a $1 mask gets a quick makeover

Christmas balls in white and gold make whimsical "bubbles"

Make a toast and wait until midnight!
I nestled a small clock in snowflakes and stars under a cloche
 (a quick sub from last weeks Christmas village)

For more New Year's Eve DIY projects 
check out our past posts
ornament "bubbles" and noisemaker makeovers
from: auld lang syne
Pink champagne meringues
fromto sweet a New Year

Wishing everyone health, Happiness and prosperity in the coming year!

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Yuletide Tour: Winterthur Museum

 This March I received a delightful birthday gift from my Aunt- tickets to an exhibit of Downton Abbey Costumes at the lovely Winterthur Museum in Delaware. Turns out our scheduling conflicts and delays worked to our advantage as, visiting just this past week, we were also luckily able to catch the museum's festive Holiday Yuletide Tour. 
This vast elegant estate, formerly home of the du Ponts, boasts extensive gardens, fascinating collections of American antiques and a busy research library. Although my camera sadly was being uncooperative, I thought I'd share a few photos anyway, and to our Downton fans, I'll be including photos from the wonderful exhibit in a future post.
for more information on the museum and exhibits visit

The blue tree accented with daffodils echoes flowers on the grounds come spring

 An avid horticulturist, du Pont no doubt would have been pleased this floral tree brimming with hydrangeas and peonies

a sweet feather tree and tea by the fire

the "Downton" tree is adorned with pearls, crowns and little bells (shall we ring for Carson)
Gifts arranged in labeled individual baskets- such a charming idea

 Holiday music of the day
 a spot of tea
The soaring conservatory features a towering tree and pops of red poinsettias

Wishing everyone 
Joys of the Season

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Home for the holidays: Mason Jar Elf Cottage

While the wildly popular "Elf on a Shelf" has taken the world by storm in recent holiday seasons, his pint sized ancestors have been part of folklore in cultures around the world for centuries. From magical to mischievous, in a variety of incarnations and called by different names, these tiny friends seem to capture our imaginations especially around the winter holidays. 
So whether you share your home with a gnome, Nisse, Elf or Brownie or two, you can keep the wee folk warm and toasty this season in their own cottages fashioned from repurposed jars and basic craft supplies.
clockwise from top paintings by Swedish artist Jenny Nystrom
vintage Spanish Christmas Card found on Pinterest
Ein Apfelchen furs Rentier (An apple for the Reindeer)
Foto: Getty Images / Per Breiehagen

You'll Need:
Assorted jars, preferably with smooth sides
 multi surface (glass friendly) craft paint
clear or white glitter
faux wood contact or decorative paper
party hats
faux moss, snow, printables, accessories as desired
flameless votives
I first rinsed the jars and allowed to dry.
I then decided on a design and painted around window frames or any area I wished to remain clear first.
Then I filled in around clear areas with colors of choice (I chose frosty white with brown trim) this took two coats.
While paint was wet I sprinkled with glitter for a snowy finish.
I fashioned doors out of faux wood paper (Modge podged onto sturdy cardstock) but for larger projects you could opt for a popsicle stick elf door like the version I shared on my Scandinavian Christmas post
The roof was simply faux wood paper attached to party hats (left over from my Autumn Apple cones) or folded to form a roof shape.
Moss and a printable sign add the finishing touches.
Display with wintry props and forest friends
Pop in a flameless votive or two (I used salad tongs for the tall one)

Pennywise is now on Youtube: our elf cottage tutorial below

Wishing everyone the joys wonders of the Winter Season!

Don't Like to Paint?
I adapted this idea from a toadstool cottage -(a jar candle covered with polymer clay) I found online which is adorable. Unfortunately for me the instructions are in Chinese but the step by step photos are pretty clear.

Wishing everyone the joys wonders of the Winter Season!