Wednesday, December 5, 2012

A Winter Mantel.....Without the Mantel

Well the blog-o-sphere has been alive with Christmas decorating. So I figured it was time for another installment of Seasonal Mantel decorating without the mantle. This time we decided to expand a little bit. Instead of just decorating the top of our $3 cabinet we decorated the top of the bookshelf right next to it, too. But the real star of our (yes, Andrew even got in on the arranging) decorating is my wall of Snowflakes!

The whole idea came from Sherry & John Petersik's Young House Love book. If you haven't read their blog  yet, you have been missing out. Go check them out at They are a young married couple who are in the process of making their house more them. They have painted cabinets and furniture, built furniture, laid a brick patio, installed counter to ceiling tile as their kitchen backsplash and laid cork floor, plus so much more.

Well, they released their first book, Young House Love: 243 Ways to Paint, Craft, Update, & Show Your Home Some Love, last month and I had to have it.

On page 187 there is a project called Add a bunch of 3-D Butterflies. I thought it was the perfect fix for the blank wall above my Christmas display. But butterflies weren't going to work. It had to be SNOWFLAKES! They are so easy to make. To get a little color, I decided to use a cosmetic catalog that I got in the mail. It was filled with a bunch of red and gold pages.

Step 1: Choose your page and fold it in half the short and fat way, not long and skinny.

Step 2: Fold it in half again so it is almost square.

Step 3: Fold the folded short edge down to the long folded edge. Now it looks kind of like a cone.

Step 4: Fold it the same way as step 3 so now it is an even thinner cone.

Step 5: You'll notice some of the paper is longer than the rest. Cut it down so it is even and then you can start to cut all kinds of designs into it to create your flake. The wide part of the cone shape is the outside of your flake.

Step 6: Unfold and check-out your snowflake.

This one wasn't one of my favorites so I decided to make a different one to show you a better design. Here it is still folded.

And now laid out flat so you can see the repeated design. So pretty.

Then I just rolled some small pieces of tape, stuck it to the backs and spread them out on the wall. Here are a few close ups of some of my favorite flakes.

As for the  actual "Mantel" display, the only thing new is the Silver Owl. I bought him at TJ Maxx for $9 this past weekend.

He is so cute and looks a little bronzey in some of the photos but he is really silver. I popped him up on a empty box to gain some height in the center of a pre-lit Christmas wreath.

On the bookshelf, I have the Christmas rocking horse that my Grandpa & Grandma gave me, my Lenox Belle (found on clearance at Hallmark a few years ago) and my apothecary jars ($8 for the set at a garage sale 2 years ago) filled with ornaments, beads & tissue paper. I think all I need to finish it off is some pine foliage to fill in around the figures and hide that cord. And I'll end this post with some detail shots.

The Lettered Cottage

Saturday, December 1, 2012

House Hunting International

Someone is house a whole different land. No not us.

The Toons are out and the Princesses are moving in. Ariel and Belle are taking over Fantasyland. They have a whole section dedicated to my favorite princess, Belle from Beauty and the Beast.

I love Disney World and can't wait to go back. Especially now that they have been working on the all new Fantasyland. Fantasyland is mostly made up of the Enchanted Forest which includes Maurice's (Belle's Father) cottage, Gaston's Tavern and of course Beast's Castle. 

Enchanted Tales with Belle

The first stop is Maurice's Cottage where you will find Enchanted Tales with Belle.

Enchanted Tales with Belle
Your journey begins in Maurice's workshop, where an enchanted mirror becomes your doorway to an unforgettable experience. After stepping through the mirror, you'll find that you've been transported to Beast's magnificent library, where Belle and Lumière invite you to become part of a lively retelling of the "tale as old as time."

Belle and Beast decided to do a little house hunting to find some new digs.

In Beast's Castle you will find the Be Our Guest Restaurant. I can't wait to go.

Be Our Guest Restaurant
The flavors of France are served with a smile and song at Be Our Guest Restaurant inside Beast's Castle. You can dine in 3 magically themed rooms that will take you straight into the story of Beauty and the Beast. Whether you chose quick dining service by day or table service by night, you'll have a delicious dining experience like none other. Just ask the dishes. -

Looking for a quick bite to eat and some great atmosphere - Gaston's Tavern located in Belle's Village.

Gaston's Tavern

Gaston's Tavern

Satisfy your sweet tooth in the manliest of manly places—Gaston's Tavern, a quick-service restaurant in Belle's Village New Fantasyland at Magic Kingdom park! Discover a unique blend of machismo and magic as you enjoy a break from your day in a place inspired by the Walt Disney film Beauty and the Beast. -

Next to Belle's Village is Under the Sea-Journey of The Little Mermaid found at Prince Eric's Castle.

Under the Sea ~ Journey of the Little Mermaid

Under the Sea - Journey of The Little Mermaid
Enter Prince Eric's stunning castle, board a giant clam shell and get ready for a musical adventure! During your journey, you'll behold a world teeming with color and characters as you enjoy high-energy songs and incredible effects that take you inside scenes from the animated Disney film The Little Mermaid. -

And next on the list for completion is the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train. Which won't be open until 2014. 

The Seven Dwarfs Mine Train

Seven Dwarfs Mine Train
 A swerving, swaying train of mine cars takes you on a wild ride through the diamond mine. As you travel along the twisting, turning track, you'll weave in and out of the mine and through the countryside—with animated figures, glittering gems and playful surprises at every turn. Your journey ends at the Dwarfs' cottage for a musical celebration with Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. -

All photos not cited are from

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

We Are The Champions!

So I had planned on posting a bunch of photos from some window shopping trips to Target and possibly some other stores. But I haven't dug up all the photos. Instead I figured I would share some photos of my niece and her High School volleyball team. My niece, Jessica, is a senior at the same high school that my husband and I graduated from almost 10 years ago. This was her second year on the volleyball team. Last year she was on JV but this year she made Varsity!

So I thought we would start out with a shot where you can actually see what miss Jessie looks like. Most of the others are action shots.

Every year they have a senior night (which not to honor the elderly) to honor the girls who are graduating this school year. Jessie and two other girls were the only seniors on the team.

We went to almost all the home games and then as the team made it to ECC's and the State Championship games we did a bit of travelling. Jessie's birthday happened to fall on the same day as one of their games. So, my sister made about 90 mini Panda cupcakes. Aren't they cute? They were delicious.

This was the first time LHS has ever made it to a semi-finals game for State's. Our girls won that and went on to the State Championship game. If you aren't familiar with the scoring for indoor volleyball. Each game is best of 5 sets. A team must score 25 points to win a set and must win by 2 points. If each team wins 2 sets then the 5th game only goes to 15 points. Now that you know that let me tell you that at the State Finals we(ranked 3rd) beat the 1st ranked team in the first 3 sets. It was crazy.

That girl can really get some air on those spikes. This was from the 3rd set but she also spiked a ball during the 2nd set for the winning point. She even got interviewed by one of the local papers after they won. Yes mister tie-dye shirt is a writer for the paper.

LHS had their first State title and Andrew and I were there to cheer the girls on. My sister wasn't able to make it because she had to work and my Mom and Dad were meeting Grandma, who was in-town on a bus trip. They would have gone to the game but it was on the other side of the state.

We were so excited to be there and see our girls win. Each girl received a metal and they gave a plaque to the coach and the MVP. Then of course we had to take the obligatory #1 team photo.

Congratulations LHS Girls Volleyball!!!

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving!

I hope everyone had a very Happy Thanksgiving. We will be enjoying our Turkey with a few of my husband's Aunts and Uncles on his father's side this year. Enjoy your meals and remember everything you are thankful for today. And don't forget the stretchy pants.

I promise I have some posts coming. I have tons of photos from a few window shopping trips that I just need to load and size. Plus a bunch of photos of my niece. She is a senior in high school this year and was on the varsity volleyball team. This year they won the State Championship. It was the first time Ledyard has ever won the State Championship.

Friday, November 2, 2012

A Fall Mantle ... Without the Mantle

So I've had this project done for a couple weeks now.I know I'm way behind with this post. Everyone else in the Blogosphere has done their Fall Mantle posts. But Whatever.

 I wanted to decorate a little bit for Fall this year. However, I've never really had any Fall decor and I don't have a mantle to decorate. Luckily, this year my loving Hubby bought me some pumpkins that I had be crushing on at HomeGoods.

I blogged about them in this post. But of course that was a month before my birthday. So when we went back to HomeGoods to pick them up they only had the Oil Rubbed Bronze one. I was kind of sad at first because the white one was my favorite. But my Hubby is a quick thinker and remembered that HomeGoods, Marshalls and TJ Maxx are all owned under the same parent company and tend to carry similar items.

So we hopped over to Marshall's which was in the same shopping plaza. No dice. They didn't have it either. So we ran a few more errands and then swung over to TJ Maxx on the way home. If they didn't have it we had one more TJ Maxx that we could check out. But lucky us they only had 2 left. So we headed home with my two new ceramic pumpkins and then they sat in the dining room wrapped up for a few weeks.

I had originally planned on putting them out on our dining room table in our new house. But that plan fell apart when we ended up not buying said house. So on to plan B. We have a cabinet in our living room. Fondly referred to a the $3 cabinet. That is because we got it for $3 a the ReStore. I love you ReStore. It is one of those cabinets from like the 80's or 90's with the big glass door that people used to put their VCR and other components in. So it had all these cut-outs in the back panel for cords and junk. We pulled that off and had my father cut a piece of wood-grain laminate, that he had in his basement, to size. A bunch of finishing nails latter we had a much better looking piece of furniture. By no means is it beautiful but at lease you can't see right through it anymore. I decided that I'm going to make the top of this $3 cabinet my seasonal decor spot. I used it last year for my Christmas display. Here is the before:

Pretty plain. Just a couple wedding photos, a wax burner, a painted pony (I collect them) and my Husband's Grandfather's flag. I started by taking everything off except the flag and the photo on the wall. Then added in my pumpkin, a Fall themed pony, and an apothecary jar filled with leaves I gathered from our yard. Add a few more leaves to surround the items and a few pine cones and it was good to go.

Here is a little detail shot of the leaf jar and my Apple-oosa pony.

I thought it was great for my first try. I did try one alternative look. Instead of my white pumpkin I tried the ORB'ed one but I think it just looks too dark and almost like a black hole in the display.

So there it is all done, or so I thought. While Andrew and I were out this weekend we found a cute little addition. He adds a little more Halloween to the display.

Isn't he cute. He was only $3 at Target. Here is a little closer look.

Perfect now I can't wait to change things up for Christmas/Winter!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Friesians & Fried Kool-aid

Hello all,

So I know I've disappeared for a while. With Andrew losing his job and us pulling out of the house deal I've kind of shifted my focus to family and supporting my husband in this difficult time. We were able to get out of the contract on the house with most of our money. The only money we were unable to get back was the $395 that was paid for the appraisal done by our lender. Having Andrew home a lot more has been good in some ways. I think this is the most caught up on dirty dishes we have ever been. Every dish gets washed daily. It is fantastic! Andrew has also been listing items on craigslist and going through stuff to see what we can get rid of. He has also cleaned up a lot of other places that get overlooked during the day to day cleaning, like the top of the fridge or the nook where we store extra toilet paper, Kleenex and paper towels.

So this post is a little late but we had planned prior to Andrew losing his job for us to make the trip up to The Big E in Massachusetts. Well that trip was planned for the day after we received the bad news. We decided to go ahead with our plan since we had already paid for the tickets. For those of you who don't know what the Big E is, I'll fill you in. It is a whole lot of Awesome!! The Big E is a large fair that is for all of New England. There are rides, 4H competitions, tons of booths with home products for sale, a horse show, FOOD and of course the State Houses. There is one State House for each of the states in New England. Each building is full of items that come from that state.

Every year we try to go when the Friesian horses are at the horse show. My horse Rhia's daddy was a Friesian. I never got to meet him but I bet he was as beautiful as this one.

Rhia's tail can get this long if I keep it braided up when she is outside, but for some reason I have never been able to get her mane to grow any longer. I love watching the Friesians, Morgans and Saddlebreds. The horses that compete at the Big E are some of the nicest I've ever seen in person.

They also have two sets of Clydesdales. One the traditional Budweiser Clydesdales and the other set is the Halmore Clydesdales. I didn't get any pictures of the Budweiser horses but Andrew took some of the Halmores. Here they are getting hooked up for the daily Mardi Gras parade.

And now for a few pictures of the the parade floats.

Yes the people on the floats are throwing beads. No you don't have to flash them. Let's move on to the yummiest part of the Big E. The FOOD!! We have our usual stops. Corn on the cob in New Hampshire, baked potatoes in Maine, whoopie pies in Maine. Then there is this one food truck that sells yummy chicken pitas. This year we decided to try something new - fried pickles. They were so yummy. Andrew was skeptical but he like them too.

 Last year the new item we tried was fried kool-aid. It is like fried dough with cherry kool-aid mixed in. They are the best when they are fresh and still warm, Delicious!!!

We decided to get the fried kool-aid just be for we left for the night. A great way to end the night. I can't wait to go again next year.