Sunday, November 13, 2011

Under the Sea; Ocean Themed Christmas Tree

   I always wanted a tree with fish on it but I was busy collecting ornaments from around the world including some really awesome Day of the Dead ornaments...and getting weird looks from family and friends!  Then I got married  and my husband wanted more traditional ornaments so I started collecting glass ornaments of all kinds.  Finally a few days after Christmas one year, I bought a fish ornament!  I  made some sea anemones and urchins and found more fish and so on…

My first ocean themed ornament I made was a super simple jelly fish  (right) made with cheap clear glass bulbs and hot glued iridescent ribbon. The "leg" ribbons have wire in them to shape. I made sea urchins with some ugly glass bulbs I had and glued some organic looking beads then spray painted them gold. (left)

Sorry, these starfish are real and I sprayed them with gold paint and sprinkled with glitter. You could easily make some out of fimo!

These sparkly sea urchins were a messy project! Start with some small styrofoam balls, glue craft sticks and toothpick spikes, let dry then spray silver and glue on the glitter.  Make more than you think you need because every year some of the spines break off!

This colorful anemone was made from yarn; I looped some yarn together  like a bow then hot glued "legs"

The scallop was just enhanced with colored pens and glitter! I also painted sand dollars silver and other shells gold and collected beautiful glass ornaments. My husband still wants a more traditional  tree and I agree, I want two trees this year,  I have so many new ideas!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

DIY Thanksgiving Ideas, Recipes & Decor


I love these tea lights placed inside gourds from Family Circle
I am so focused on the food I often forget about nice simple little festive touches like this.

Brussels sprouts are my favorite. Most everyone actually eats the sprouts when I make them! The secret is roasting and the maple syrup!  Try roasting parsnips and carrots with them : ) Here is the recipe and others from The New York Times

scalloped sweet potatoes
Maple Sage Scalloped Sweet Potatoes

This is another favorite Thanksgiving dish; Scalloped Sweet Potatoes with Maple and Sage. The recipe from Kathy Casey in the Seattle Times. I like to throw pecans on top too! For a "lighter" version you can substitute chicken stock for some of the cream with a couple tablespoon of flour and it is just as yummy

thanksgiving  apron
Thanksgiving aprons from Sew What Designs on Etsy

For a festive look while you are cooking you may want one of these aprons from Sew What Designs on Etsy.

These shimmery pumpkins would be smashing on a more formal table! How-to at

Here is a gorgeous centerpiece from There will be no room on my table for this but it would look great on the side table!

Last but not least the dessert! I love pumpkin tiramisu. I use a traditional recipe with espresso and all but add a small can of pumpkin puree to the mascarpone with pumpkin pie spice ( about 1/2 tsp)   I also add  1/3c each toasted hazelnuts or pecans, chopped candied ginger and dried cranberries.  I make sure to be generous with the shaved chocolate! Here is a recipe from Better Homes and Gardens  plus a bunch more yummy pumpkin recipes!