A few days ago my husband received the nicest package in the mail from his Mom…when I saw what she had sent over I could hardly believe my eyes. It was a box full of hand made gift bags, complete with tissue paper and gift tags to be used to wrap our gifts. It’s not often that people send and receive home made gifts any more, so when such a beautiful one lands on your doorstep it feels amazing. Now I know these bags were for my husband, but I am completely smitten with them. So much so that I had to share them with you!
Oh these gift bags, they’re so gorgeous! The work and detail and fabric that went into each bag really is amazing…even the inside of each bag is lined with beautiful fabric.
They are so beautiful, but it’s the time that went into each bag that is really special.
I mean, just look at the detail…all the different fabrics and ribbon on each bag.
Beautiful colours and textures…
I love them SO much I can’t bear to give them away, they’re just too special. So we will only be using them for gifts in our little family.
Hand made gifts really are the best. Just knowing that someone is taking time out of their lives to make you something, really means a lot. My husband was very touched at this gesture…as was I.
So if you ever doubt that your hand made gift for someone in your life won’t be appreciated or loved, think again. Whether it be homemade jam or cookies, a piece of art, a sewn treasure, just know that your gift is very special to the person you made it for, because of the love and time you took to make it.
Thank you so much Steph, for this gift!
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So this is where I sign off until the New Year! May your Christmas be full of love, great food and company! And thank you all again so much for reading along with me this past year…you make this blog journey so special!
Setting a beautiful table at Christmas doesn’t have to be hard! I’m sharing some simple ideas to make your table festive!
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I find when I’m cooking a meal for a big holiday or gathering, I tend to overlook the table setting then I’m scrambling last minute to make the table look nice. But I really like the table to look nice, so now I try to plan ahead of time. And over the years I have realized that the table doesn’t have to be complicated to look beautiful, in fact the more simple you keep things, the better. With just a few simple decorations your table can be beautifully set!
All of these place settings took me just a few minutes to put together, they’re that easy!
Gift tags are a great way to make a personalized place setting. There are many options that are so cute already that there really is no need to make your own! I used a gift tag for this setting and added a few of my favourite accessories of this season…bottle brush trees.
Cute and personal!
I used a bottle brush tree again for this place setting and added a simple kraft paper tag which looks great on the plaid cloth napkin (I found it at Chapters).
Make glass ornament place cards. I bought empty glass ornaments from Michaels, and filled them with fake snow, then tied on a little red ribbon and name tag. Easiest ever.
So simple and cute…and your guests can even take the ornaments home with them!
I’m sure it will come as no surprise that this place setting is my favourite…the checked plaid napkin and cracker…I can’t stand the cuteness.
I added a fresh sprig of evergreen and some pine cones for a pop of colour, then finished it off with another adorable gift tag.
If a subtle look is more your style, this type of table setting might work for you. I tied up the cutlery with some black velvet ribbon then added a little winter fruit decoration.
Just simple and pretty.
And while we’re talking place settings I also wanted to share the simplest idea for a centrepiece to go with your table. This DIY Mason Jar Snow Globe is the easiest craft I think I’ve ever made. It’s so easy it’s almost embarrassing. I just glued a bottle brush tree to the lid of a mason jar, added some fake snow and tied it up with some glittery white ribbon. That’s it. I like it.
The fun thing about putting together a Christmas table whether it be for brunch, lunch or dinner, is that there really are no rules. You can have each place setting match, or make each one different, just have fun with it and don’t stress.
Anyway, I guess the whole point of this post was to show you how easy it is to put together pretty place settings, no matter your taste.
Just shop around your home and use gift tags you have in your wrapping stash, dress up every day napkins with sprigs of fresh greens or berries, add ornaments to the place setting as a small gift for your guests, use pretty holiday ribbons to add colour to the table, add decorative pillows to the chairs…it’s easy!
I hope all of your holiday planning is going smoothly…this can be such a busy and hard time of year. I try to remember to not put extra pressure on myself, so I hope you don’t as well! xo
Here are 20 recipe ideas to make your Christmas morning delicious!
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We could all use a little extra help with breakfast on Christmas morning don’t you think? It’s one of those meals that really needs some thought and planning done ahead of time. For me, breakfast on the big day can be quite a conundrum because there is so much going on already! That and the fact that I need the recipe to be easy, uncomplicated and quick to get on the table. So this year let’s get ahead of the game and get Christmas morning breakfast planned ahead!
Here are 20 delicious recipe ideas for the big day! Just click on the text or the image for the recipe!
Thumbprint Cookies are a must for your Christmas treat plate! And double the batch because they’re going to get eaten fast!
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What is it about the Christmas season that just makes one feel like there needs to be dozens and dozens of cookies around? I’m not complaining because I love cookies almost more than life itself. I just find it fascinating that as soon as December hits it’s Christmas cookie madness all around. That’s ok, I’ll jump on board…twist my rubber arm. So now that we’ve decided that we must bake cookies, the biggest question is what kind? Whipped Shortbread? Rugelach? Turtle Cookies? Peppermint Kiss Sugar Cookies, Melt-In-Your-Mouth Sugar Cookies? These are all favourites, but I’ve been craving thumbprint cookies, I just love a melt in your mouth cookie with jam…SO good. So I made some.
These Christmas Thumbprint Cookies filled my craving and then some!
Actually these are the best Christmas cookies I have made to date. I’m not even kidding. This batch only makes 15 cookies, and I’m telling you that is not enough…this recipe needs to be doubled. They taste like butter and brown sugar with raspberry jam and the combination is intoxicating. I made a batch in hopes of being able to send them with the kids to school in their lunches, but the first batch didn’t even make it to the next day, they’re that good.
And I love that this isn’t a complicated recipe…there are no tricky ingredients or steps. You can make the dough and have fresh cookies ready in less than half an hour, all with ingredients you likely already have in your pantry.
Welcome to my holiday home tour! I’m so happy to have you here. xo
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The wait is finally over…I can finally show you my holiday home and I couldn’t be more excited! There are big changes in here! In fact, everything is completely different from last year, and it’s just the change I have been waiting for, for so long. Over the years I have yearned for more traditional Christmas decor and colours, and finally that is happened with help from Lowe’s! I’ve brought in reds, greens, whites, plaids, faux fur, and a lot of natural elements. It’s like a country Christmas in the suburbs!
The biggest change we made was with our tree. As you may remember from my last post, we decided to put up an artificial tree this year, which is the first time this has happened in my entire life. For real. I have always had a real Christmas tree, but this year we broke the tradition…but don’t worry, we are LOVING our new tree. It’s not just any tree, it’s a flocked tree.
I grew up in Northern Alberta where the trees really looked frosty like this in the winter, so this tree makes me SO happy. Actually, when I started decorating the tree, I loved how beautiful it looked just standing on it’s own and I almost didn’t want to decorate it! But I had a vision and I was going to make it happen.
This tree was so easy to put together…honestly it took me less than 5 minutes to put it up, plus it came all decked out with lights, so I didn’t even have to string them up! Now that the tree was up, it was time to bring my vision together. I started by tucking little red berries all throughout the tree.
Then I wrapped the tree in some beautiful plaid cloth ribbon which makes a perfect garland, and adds just the perfect amount of red. I love how it looks.
And now the real fun begins! I’ve decked the halls and I can’t wait to show you how it all came together. Shall we get started?
Welcome to my holiday home…it’s Christmas in here!
Let’s start with our tree because it’s the focal point of our living space and really sets the tone for the rest of our holiday home.
I am in love with our tree. IN LOVE. And I’m so relieved that our whole family loves it too. Part of me was afraid to change our decorations, because kids often dislike what they’re not used to. And to be honest, trying to convince the kids that we weren’t going to get a real tree this year was a challenge…that is until they saw how it all came together, and they love it too! This makes me more happy than I can say, because really, the magic of Christmas is about the kids.
I wish you could see what it all looks like at night! One of my most favourite things to do during the holiday season is to sit down at the end of the day with only the lights of the tree on. It’s so cozy and pretty. I always miss this part the most once Christmas has passed.
Our pup loves it too. This is Molly’s new place to sleep…I bet it’s cozy down there.
Once the tree was decorated, I turned my attention to the rest of our living room, and because the tree was so full, I wanted the decor in the rest of the room to be a bit more simple, especially the mantel.
So I decorated the mantel with very minimal decor and I think it balances the tree perfectly. I might even leave the mantel the way it is after the holiday decor comes down!
Ok, it also needed a pretty holiday arrangement! I love bringing the outdoors in, and this arrangement is the perfect way to do this…evergreen branches, birch logs and pine cones wrapped up in plaid. It also ties in with the tree really nicely.
This view from my couch is my favourite…all nestled in with cozy pillows and a perfect view of the tree.
Once the tree and mantel were complete I added more Christmas decor throughout my main floor.
I also hung up my simple evergreen wreaths with more of the same plaid ribbon found on my tree. I absolutely love the look of wreaths hanging on doors and windows, even indoors!
It wouldn’t feel like Christmas here without the staircases getting decked out as well! I hung new evergreen garlands on our staircases all decked out with white lights, red and silver ornaments and red plaid bows. So pretty.
I’m so thrilled with how everything turned out…I really am a classic Christmas kind of gal, and I’m happy to finally embrace it!
Thank you all so much for stopping by today to take a tour of my holiday home, it means so much to me to have your here. I hope you are having a lovely Christmas season!
Have a very Merry day!
And thank you to Lowe’s Canada for making this all possible for me! For more holiday inspiration and ideas, you can follow Lowe’s on Facebook,Twitter and Pinterest as well!
This Mincemeat Pie is the perfect Christmas dessert! Serve it up warm with a big scoop of vanilla ice cream…delicious!
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My friend Clare has been delivering mincemeat tarts, made from her family recipe, to our home every Christmas and we look forward to them every year. I hadn’t really been a big fan of mincemeat, at least that’s what I thought until I tried Clare’s tarts, and now I’m a convert. I mentioned to Clare that I wanted to share her recipe with my readers and I’m so happy to say that she agreed! The recipe that I am sharing today is the version that Clare makes, which varies slightly from the cookbook as you can see. You are in for a real treat with this recipe!
So this year, along with her festive mincemeat tart delivery of the season, Clare also brought her recipe book and tools of the trade that she uses to make her tarts. Clare makes her mincemeat tarts with a recipe that her Mom passed down to her, along with some treasured tart pans, a scale and a grinder. I felt very lucky to be able to document and share these treasures on my blog. Just look at them…that cookbook is so well loved, and those pans and weights oh my…history right there. I love it all so much.
Admittedly I was a little scared to touch any of these treasures for fear that I might break a family heirloom…that and the fact that I’ve never actually baked with a scale before.
It’s always been measuring cups all the way here for me…but I do have to say there was something quite freeing about adding ingredients to a scale. I think I might even try to bake more like this (I put a scale on my Christmas wish list this year, so we’ll see)!
Anyway, once I had this delicious recipe in my hands, I knew that I wanted to make it into a pie instead of tarts, because I had the perfect pie stamp that I had been dying to use! Ever since I made my apple pie and turkey pot pie with pie stamps for the crust, I had been in search of a Christmas or winter stamp. And lo and behold I found a snowflake pie stamp at Crate and Barrel that is absolutely perfect for this pie! What is more festive than mincemeat with a snowflake crust? I am in love with pie stamps…I mean how could I not be with how beautiful they make a pie look!
Here is what the crust looks like before it’s baked…so beautiful! And I’m telling you it’s SO easy to make. I actually prefer to use pie stamps over rolling out a top crust.
And here is what the pie looks like after it’s been baked. The snowflakes bake up perfectly! Beautiful AND delicious…a perfect combination. Don’t be afraid to cut into this pie either…it’s just pie, and you don’t want to miss out on its deliciousness! Serve it up with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and enjoy!
Mincemeat Filling (makes about 5 cups of filling):
1 lbs apples, after cored and peeled (about 5 medium apples)
1/2 lb raisins
1/2 lb sultanas
1/2 lb currants
1/2 lb suet (see notes)
1/2 lb sugar
juice of 2 lemons
1/2 nutmeg grated
Preheat your oven to 425 degrees.
Sift flour and salt into a bowl.
With a pie cutter, cut in the shortening until the particles are pea sized.
Sprinkle in the water, 1 tsp or so at a time, mixing lightly with a fork. Donât over mix or the crust will be tough.
Press into a ball. It is okay if it is crumbly. In fact crumbly makes for a tender, flaky crust!
Separate the ball into 2 balls: one for the bottom crust and one for the top.
Lay out a piece of wax or parchment paper, lightly sprinkle it with flour, then roll out one of the crusts for the bottom of the pie. Then press the crust into a 9" pie plate.
Time to make the filling.
Put the apples, raisins, sultanas, currants and suet through a grinding machine, or food processor. If you are using a food processor, grind the mixture until it finely ground.
Stir in the sugar, lemon juice and nutmeg, as well as a few whole currants. Mix well.
Putting it all together:
Add the mincemeat mixture to the pie crust. You may have extra filling, so you can put it in a container to store in the fridge for later and make tarts with it, or warm it up and serve it over vanilla ice cream!
Using a new piece of parchment paper, roll out the other crust for the top of the pie. If you are using pie crust stamps, use the dough for the top crust to make them. For this pie, I just randomly laid out the snowflakes, trying to cover as much as the pie filling as possible. If you are laying on a top crust (instead of using pie stamps) just make sure to cut ventilation holes into the crust.
Bake the pie for about 20 minutes at 425 degrees (this will ensure that you don't end up with a soggy bottom crust).
Then after this time, reduce the heat to 350 degrees and bake for about 35 - 45 minutes more. (Until the crust is lightly browned and the mincemeat mix is bubbling up from under the crust.)
Let the pie cool before serving...it's best served warm, but not hot.
You can find suet in the meat freezer section of your grocery store.
So many thanks to my dear friend Clare for letting me share her family recipe here on my blog. It means so much. Now you can enjoy this recipe as much as we do…and who knows, maybe it will become a treasured recipe in our family and yours!