You Can Do IT – Take off the limitations

I have talked to so many people who feel as though they have nothing to offer the people & the world around them. I don’t believe that! I want you to know, that I am a firm believer in the fact that everyone has something to give…something uniquely them…something that will bless the people around them if they will only take the time to share.

Lynda, a good friend of mine from Happy Little Homestead, shared this amazing video with me, and I knew that I had to share it with you.

Here are a few questions to ask yourself…

1. Why are we living with limitations?

2. Why do we go through life feeling like we have nothing to give because there might be someone who does it better?

3. Why do we value the gifts & talents of others, while feeling like we are bankrupt in that area?

STOP!!!

You are unique ~ You have something to give ~ You are special ~ You do not have to live with self imposed limits anymore!

Take a few minutes to watch, listen to Diane’s story, and be inspired to see what you can “give back” of your talents & treasure to the world around you!

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How To Eat An Artichoke

Artichoke? What’s that?

Seriously though, it wasn’t until the last few years that I had ever really eaten an artichoke. My family was from the south, and we usually stuck with your everyday “normal types” of veggies, so believe me when I tell you, that I wouldn’t have been able to tell you what an artichoke was if you had asked me!

Skip ahead to the last few years…

I LOVE ARTICHOKES!

My husband & I have raised our family smack dab in the middle of Italian country, and let me tell you, they love their artichokes! But even with my new found love of this veggie from heaven, I still have never been brave enough to buy them from the store & cook them myself… until now!

If you’re anything like me, you love the great artichoke recipes that you have out in your favorite restaurant, but haven’t braved the “cook your own at home” scenario yet :)

So… I’ve decided to share a few GREAT resources that I have recently come across, that I think will help you uncover the mystery of cooking artichokes at home. Even though there are several different ways to prepare artichokes, they are delicious any way you slice them!

How to Eat an Artichoke Video:

artichokes-trimmed

Click Here for a great step by step how to article, including detailed pictures

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Primitive Country Decorating

I love January!

New beginnings, new possibilities, garden planning, white winter nights, snow covered landscapes, and rides through the country with the love of my life. One of my favorite things to do during these slower paced winter months, is to find new little shops to visit when Dan & I are out on one of our afternoon dates.

One of our absolute favorite shops to visit is called “Persnickety”. It’s filled to the brim with wonderful primitive country decorating goodies! Not only do they have great things to shop for, but the owner also allows customers to walk through his private home, so they can glean decorating ideas to use in their own homes. When we went for a visit this week, I decided to take some pictures so I could share them with you. They also have a brand new facebook page on which they will be adding lots of new pictures, coupons, and primitive country decorating ideas.

I hope you enjoy this peek into a lovely primitive country home.

Primitive Living Room

Primitive Country Home – Slideshow:





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Christmas Wreath – How to make a beautiful Christmas wreath for $7 or less

Christmas Wreath

Nothing seems to say “welcome to our home” during the holidays like a beautiful Christmas wreath!

I can’t tell you how long I’ve dreamed about this, and needless to say, I have been so excited about the possibilities!

You see, because we have been in the process of carving out our little slice of heaven deep in the woods, we have had many projects to complete. I know you know the feeling, so you can probably relate to my excitement right about now. We’ve had trees to remove, ground to move, grass to plant, gardens to grow, a stacked stone terrace to create, a forest to care for… not to mention a home to build! So… the finishing touches are sometimes the last things that you get to focus on.

My husband has worked so hard over the last several months, trying to get things completed before winter. One of those projects was my Christmas gift! Of course he didn’t think of it as my Christmas gift, but I quickly claimed it as my own!

For the last 4 years of the building process, and many years of dreaming before that, I had a vision of being able to decorate the front door area of our home for Christmas. So, for the last few months, Dan has been creating a stone walkway that leads from the top of the stone terrace steps, to the front door (here is the previous year’s stone terrace cottage garden project that we did, and here’s what the cottage garden project looked like only 3 months later), the stone entrance, and all of the paint, moldings, and finishing touches that had to be done to the entrance before the snow started.

Well… he finished it…and what a beautiful job he did! Now it was up to me to decide how to decorate the space. Because this is our first year being able to decorate outside, as well as the fact that I like to find a way to have what I love for the lowest amount possible (for example, all of the work done & materials needed were paid for by our siding company…but that story is for another day), I needed to find a way to have something beautiful for little cost.

I knew that I wanted a Christmas wreath to start with, but everywhere I looked, they were at least $20 or more…and that was for little “homely” wreaths. I wanted a nice full wreath to welcome our holiday guests.

I did think about making my own, but the snow came “in a big way” before I was able to go out & collect evergreens, so I decided to find a way to buy something I loved, while not paying much in the process…you know how I love to find creative ways to do that ;)

After going to several places to find the perfect wreath, we finally gave up & decided to go over to Lowe’s and pick up our long needle pine roping that I had spotted there last year. Thankfully, they had it again this year… and… it was only $6.97 for 20ft of roping! Other places I had gone where charging almost $3 per ft!

In the checkout line, while looking at my new beautiful roping and being quite happy with myself for snagging such a deal, I was still saying to myself… I sure wish that I could find a wreath that would match this long needle pine garland. Then the idea hit me like a ton of bricks! Why not buy another 20ft section and turn it into my wreath? After all, it’s only $6.97!

So…we checked out with 3 rounds of roping instead of 2, and I rode all the way home with the biggest smile on my face! I tell my husband all the time… “Aren’t you glad that it doesn’t take much to make me happy!”

Here’s a picture of the long needle pine roping, that I will use for both our garland & the wreath for our front door.

Long needle pine roping

It comes bundled up in these nice manageable little rounds. Then, you simply cut the ties and unwind the roping.

To Make Your Wreath

– Decide how big you want your wreath (make sure it will fit on your door & allow it to open & close properly)

– Start by making a circle with one end of the garland and securing it with wire (don’t cut the roping)

– Continue to wrap the roping around the circle securing it to the initial circle every several inches

– As you tie continue to tie the wreath together, try to secure it “under” the long pine needles to keep the wire from showing

– Have someone hold the wreath up for you & turn it, so you can see what part should be the top

– Add a wire for hanging

– Decorate with little bits of decorations that you already have, or little things that you collect from the garden

– You could decorate with, pine cones, twigs, ribbon, bow, rusty bells, holly twigs, berries, or anything that you love

Here is my wreath after it was hung & ready for some finishing touches.

Christmas Wreath

And of course, here is what the garland and wreath look like all finished.

Christmas Decorations

I hope you find a way to have the front door of your dreams, and a wreath that says “welcome to our home” this holiday season, while saving alot of money in the process!

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Decorations at Christmas – Small spaces, small budgets, no problem!

I wanted to share some different creative decorating ideas with you, as you consider your decorations at Christmas.

Festive Branches

The simple idea that I want to share with you today is not only gorgeous, but it also comes in at ZERO cost = FREE!

Not only is is free, but it’s also a fun way to decorate your space throughout the whole year.

When considering the focal point of traditional Christmas decorations, the first thing that comes to mind, is the big… beautiful…fresh cut…evergreen Christmas tree. No matter how much you’d love to have the typical Christmas centerpiece, maybe you don’t have the room for it in your small space. Or, perhaps your budget won’t allow it. Maybe you or a family member has allergies to evergreens. If you’re like me, you might just be in the mood to try something new, or add to your growing line up of holiday decorations. Whatever situation you find yourself in, I want to help open your mind to the countless ways there are for you to decorate for the holidays!

You may even decide to keep this simple centerpiece up all year, and use it for every holiday, every celebration, and every season, no matter how much space you have, or what kind of budget you have to work with… remember we’re talking FREE here! (I have lots of ideas for this below!)

The idea begins with a simple tree branch, then expands into beauty that is only limited by your own imagination!

Before I explain further, take a peek at a few examples of how some people have already used this idea in their homes.
(click on any picture to see different sizes, or their other pictures)

Christmas branch

Charlie Brown branches

How to display the branch
– Hang over a table
– Put in a vase
– Stick into a flower pot
– Hang on wall

How to keep the branch sturdy in it’s container
– Sand
– Crumbled newspaper
– Fabric
– Beans
– Rice
– Rocks

Decorating the branch itself
– You could keep the branch natural
– Spray paint it white, gold, silver, light blue, pink, etc.
– You could sprinkle glitter on the branches while the paint is still wet
– Wrap each section in fabric
– Wrap with white or colored lights
– Wrap with ribbon

Christmas decoration ideas to hang from the branches
– Christmas ornaments
– Pictures
– Birds
– Mittens
– Mini stockings
– Pinecones
– Bird nests
– Buttons
– Bells
– Felt balls
– Keys
– Feathers
– Ribbons / bows
– Hearts
– Bead garlands
– Christmas cards
– Paper snowflakes
– Stars
– Tinsel
– Cookies / gingerbread men
– Anything you can imagine!

Idea: Dress it up even more!
When cutting things out of paper, think about using some sort of paper that will bring even more interest to the item that you are creating. Here’s an example of what I mean. Instead of white paper, you might want to consider; sheet music, wrapping paper, pretty napkins, cards, copies of old letters, scrapbook paper, construction paper, etc. You can find lots of pretty things to download online.

Theme Ideas

Have you ever wanted to add a theme tree to your decorations, but couldn’t bring yourself to leave out your traditional family tree? Well, this is the perfect way that you could have both! As a matter of fact, why not have 2 or 3 different displays around your house!

Many times a theme can be communicated through color or collection. In the “color” theme, you would decorate the whole display using different items, but all of the same color. When using a collection, everything can be different colors, but the same types of items. Example: all vintage mittens, vintage baby bonnets, all bells, all snowflakes, all miniatures, all birds, etc.

Look at these other beautiful examples

Christmas Vignette

Branch Tree

Christmas garland decor

Pretty little felt trees

Christmas branch

my tree full

Pastel Branches

Christmas tree decor

The twinkling tree

First Christmas decor

Red window with garden view

Where can I get a tree branch?
– Your backyard
– Your neighbor
– From a friend or family member’s backyard
– Curbside (other people’s yard debris, can be your gorgeous decor)
– A walk in the woods
– A logger

How big should my branch be?
– This is totally up to you! How big of a branch can your space handle, and what kind of look are you going for?

How else can I decorate my centerpiece throughout the year?
– Winter decor – birds, paper snowflakes, pom-pom snow balls, snowmen
– Valentines Day – hearts, candy, red/pink paper chains & flowers
– St. Patrick’s Day – paper clovers
– Spring – flowers, paper mushrooms, birds, nests
– Easter – blown out Easter eggs
– 4th of July – anything red, white, and blue
– Summer – pictures of vacations, paper butterflies/lady bugs, flowers
– Birthdays – yearly picture of birthday person, paper numbers
– Anniversaries – wedding pictures, hearts
– Autumn – dried leaves, acorns, moss, mini pumpkins
– Anything you can imagine!

Who knew that a simple tree branch could be so beautiful!

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Thanksgiving Blessings

Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving to You All!

I hope you have a wonderful day of celebration with your family & friends.

I have so many things to be thankful for, my wonderful husband, my 4 amazing children, my loving parents, my brother & his family, all of our extended family, our church family, and everything that God has blessed us with.

My heart is full of gratitude, and this beautiful old hymn rings in my heart…

Great is Thy faithfulness, O God my Father;
There is no shadow of turning with Thee;
Thou changest not, Thy compassions, they fail not;
As Thou hast been, Thou forever will be.

Summer and winter and springtime and harvest,
Sun, moon and stars in their courses above
Join with all nature in manifold witness
To Thy great faithfulness, mercy and love.

Pardon for sin and a peace that endureth
Thine own dear presence to cheer and to guide;
Strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow,
Blessings all mine, with ten thousand beside!

Great is Thy faithfulness!
Great is Thy faithfulness!
Morning by morning new mercies I see.
All I have needed Thy hand hath provided;
Great is Thy faithfulness, Lord, unto me!

Here are a few articles that you may enjoy for your special dinner!

How to Carve a Perfect Turkey

My Favorite Stuffing!

Candied Carrots

Many blessings to You!

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