Tuesday, December 14, 2010

All Wrapped Up

Good day friends! How goes the Christmas craziness in your neck of the woods? It's full swing here in my world. Today's task was gift wrapping. I only got a few done but at least now I have a "look" to work from for the rest of the packages.

My inspiration? Macaroons. Yes, you read that right.


I'm in love with these fluffy little treats and their perfect pastel colors. And I thought they would make a great starting point for a lush palette of Christmas presents, with silver thrown in for some sparkle.




I mean, how could you not love these little beauties? Perfection on a plate!





The sad thing is, I've never actually eaten one. Would macaroon-making make for a good blog post in the near future? I'm thinking yes : )


Anyway, here's how my macaroon-inspired presents turned out...






All the wrapping is from Michael's. I just used plain white craft paper as the wrapping paper, and found this glorious scalloped ribbon in aqua and silver.


The ornaments are in perfect macaroon shades, and I especially love the glitter doves. They were chipboard cutouts in a pack of 5 for $1 and I just smeared them with some Elmer's and went mad with the glitter. Festive, no?




You'll recognize the little tags from my vanilla sugar post. I really like the shape of them, especially with the bitty alphabet stamps.



Well, that's all for now folks. What do your Christmas gifts look like?

{live beautifully}
Courtney
P.S. My lil $20 gift is being featured over on My Uncommon Slice of Suburbia today! I'm beyond flattered! : )

I'm linking to the Tuesday's Treasures party at My Uncommon Slice of Suburbia.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

My Favorite Things: Winter Edition

You know that song from The Sound of Music, "My Favorite Things?" Well, while I love the song and the movie, I've never considered it a Christmas song. For some reason though, it seems like it's become a Christmas classic ... maybe that line about snowflakes that stay on my nose and eyelashes. Who knows?


Anyway, when I first started blogging I did a weekly feature called Favorite Things Friday. Since then my blog has changed and morphed a bit and I haven't posted on that topic in a while. But in the spirit of the holidays and Julie Andrews hopping on a bed singing to children, I thought I'd update you on what I've been loving this winter. So here goes...

1. Dr. Hunt's Rosewater Glycerin Hand Creme


This hand lotion is sooo soothing during the cold winter months and smells absolutely divine!

2. Anthro




Well, that's a year-round love affair, but they always make things that are my favorite. Now if they just weren't so darn expensive...

3. Tea Towels



I have no idea why, but I have a slight obsession with tea towels. They could be so ordinary but so many of them are works of art. I've even made curtains out of them.

4. Lavender


Again, a year-round love but I happen to have a lot of dried lavender and several bars of lavender soap being stored in my room while I'm living with my parents and I love walking in and smelling the heavenly scent!

5. Orange Leaf


If you haven't tried this amazing self-serve frozen yogurt GO GET SOME! Seriously, the best stuff ever in tons of unique flavors, low to no fat and a whole entire toppings bar. My favorite is red velvet yogurt with cheese cake bites and slivered almonds.

6. Decorating with white


I just can't get enough. Ever.

7. Waxing Poetic necklaces


These beautiful hand-stamped charms are so lovely. I wear my "C" stamp necklace almost every day.

8. Cake stands



Always on my favorite things list, and perfect to spice up holiday decor/centerpieces/baked goods.

9. My snuggly boots

You've already heard about how much I love them, but seriously, they are amazing!

Well that's what I'm raving about this winter. How about you? What are your favorite things? I think bloggers have the best tips and new products, so please share!

{live beautifully}
Courtney

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Vanilla Sugar


Happy Christmastime everyone! I've been a merry little elf making more wonderful gifts. This time I wanted to make some fun, easy little hostess gifts for a few of the parties I'm going to. When I saw this vanilla sugar recipe, I knew it would be the perfect thing.



Here are the materials you'll need to make your own vanilla sugar:

1. Vanilla beans (I had a bit of a time finding these, but they are in a little glass bottle in the baking spices section, and it looks just like all the other spice bottles. I was thinking they'd be in a box or something so I had a hard time seeing them. Also, just a fair warning they are a tad bit pricey, but not terrible.)
2. Sugar
3. Mason jars or pretty glass containers
4. Various cute wrapping things like hanging tags, ribbon, baubles, etc.



Directions
1. I used a pint jar and put in 1 1/2 cups of sugar


2. Cut the vanilla bean in half lengthwise
3. Cut each half into three sections so you have six pieces
4. I used three pieces in each jar, but the more you use the stronger the vanilla flavor
5. Put vanilla in sugar, close lid and shake around a little


6. Tie on baubles and present to hostess


Soooo easy but so fun and tasty! For the tags, I wanted to stamp "vanilla sugar" onto each but my stamps wouldn't fit on the little tags, so I stamped them with just a little star and then hand wrote the rest. Pretty cute huh?



Vanilla sugar is great for anything regular sugar is for. Put it in your coffee for a little extra flavor, bake with it, sprinkle it on toast, etc, etc.



Also, I LOVE these mason jars. I was just running out to buy some when I spotted Rie's post at Home and Harmony about Better Homes and Gardens jars from Walmart. They were just what I had in mind. They have a beautiful aqua tint and a pretty lattice pattern.


I tied on cinnamon sticks and a little ornament on mine, but you could do any creative thing your little heart desires. Mini pinecones, berries, greens, flowers, lavender stems, little nests, and on and on.

Well, I'm off to the next project! Have a sweet day!

{live beautifully}
Courtney

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

The $20 Gift Challenge

Hello friends! I have been on a shopping adventure today! I have a Christmas party coming up and it includes a gift exchange with gifts worth no more than $20. Now this got my little head spinning. I knew I could do your usual mug and Starbucks gift card. Or do a pair of sparkly earrings or a bracelet. Or even get some cute home item for $20. But you all know I'm a thrifty shopper. I knew I could make that $20 go a long way, and make it look like a whole lot more for whatever girl would be the recipient. I know I love to get a pretty present I actually enjoy, so I wanted to do the same for someone else.

Where else to start but my bargain-hunting headquarters, TJ Maxx! I had a rough idea of what I'd do in my mind, so I went in to find just the thing. Target and the Dollar Tree also came in handy. Here's what I ended up with.


Some pretty good loot, huh? Here's the cost breakdown:

- apothecary jar: $10 at TJ Maxx
- distressed frame: $4 at TJ Maxx
- silver glass ornaments: $3 at Dollar Tree (3 boxes of 7 for $1/box)
- silver tray: $1 at Dollar Tree
- white pillar candle: $1 at Target (well, it rang up $2.99 but the shelf was marked as $1 and they gave it to me for that price)
- mercury glass votive holder: $1 at Target

Aaaand here's the finished product...





I didn't count the wrapping in the cost, but it was 50 cents for the celo bag and $1 for the sparkly silver ribbon, both from Dollar Tree.

So there you go! The $20 gift challenge conquered! Would you like to get this gift at a party? I sure hope so! : )

{live beautifully}
Courtney

I'm linking up to the Tuesday's Treasures party at My Uncommon Slice of Suburbia.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Thanks, TJ Maxx

Hello there everyone! How has your week been? I've been pretty busy getting back in the swing of things after Thanksgiving, and also running around gathering random/fun/pretty/dumb gifts for all the various Christmas parties I have coming up.

On one of those recent trips I headed to TJ Maxx, where I spotted a lovely little glass milk bottle.


It says "absolutely pure milk" on one side and has a dairy cow on the other.


For just $4.99 I couldn't resist bringing it home with me. (Remember, I'm on a spending-hiatus for the wedding so this was a rather large splurge for me and I had to debate a full 30 seconds before putting in in my cart ; )




Matt looked at me with his usual "what have you carted home now?" look and asked, "Are we really going to put milk in it?" I assured him that of course we wouldn't really put milk in it ... fingers crossed as I said it. Can't you just see it with lovely white milk sitting for a chill in your fridge. I think it will make pouring a glass or having a bowl of cereal so much more fun : )

Aaaaannnndddd the best part? I found the exact same bottle at shopterrain.com (love this site) for $15! Yep, my dear friend the Teej saved me $10!


Thanks, TJ Maxx!

Now I just have to convince Matt we obviously cannot live while drinking milk from silly old supermarket plastic jug....

: )

{live beautifully}

Courtney
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