I was in a store the other day that had a bunch of Mackenzie-Child's Christmas decorations. One was this adorable checkered truck. The one above is the real deal. I painted one last year for a client, but I wanted one for myself. So I found a similar truck painted red in a home store and decided to check one up for myself.
I forgot to take a before picture....so just picture a red truck above and then the checkered truck! :)
Here she sits in front of my little Mackenzie Ribbon tree.
I hope you all have a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New year!
For the last couple of years, I've asked this question to my children and the response is usually, something to the tune of "I'm not sure" or "I don't know...let me think about it." The days of having a list of things you'd like to have and actually waiting until Christmas are over.
I saw this on Facebook a few months ago and thought...ya know, our family is already blessed with so much. Why not make the holidays more enjoyable and keep things manageable this year? Let's focus on doing things together and on the meaning of Christmas instead of shopping December away.
So I asked each of the children to send me something they would like for each of the categories above and to keep it reasonable. :)
They have totally jumped on board with their "want, need and wear." Two of them have tried to swap the "read" for something else....but other than that, they are totally on board.
It's amazing how a little structure makes life so much easier.
“I have just three things to teach: simplicity, patience, compassion.
These three are your greatest treasures.” ~ Lao Tzu
I love caramel. Just something about it. It's creamy and sweet and salty. It just hits the spot when you want something sweet and it's not as dense as fudge. But if you make this beware...it's kind of like a potato chip cuz you can't just have one. I was looking for something different to make the other day and I stumbled across these at Le Creme De La crumb. All I can say is.....YUM. Enjoy!
¼ cup granulated sugar
1 stick butter (8 tablespoons or ½ cup)
1¼ cups flour
1 tablespoon milk
1½ sticks butter (12 tablespoons)
½ cup granulated sugar
3 tablespoons light corn syrup
1 14-oz can sweetened condensed milk
1 tablespoon coarse sea salt
Preheat oven to 350 and line an 8x8 inch pan with parchment paper or lightly greased nonstick foil.
First prepare the shortbread crust. In a medium bowl combine the sugar and butter and cream together until smooth. Add flour and mix. Stir in milk. Mixture will resemble crumbs. Press into the pre-lined pan and bake 20 minutes until golden. Remove and allow to cool.
While crust is cooling, prepare the caramel layer.
In a medium sauce pan melt 1½ sticks of butter with ½ cup sugar. Add corn syrup and condensed milk. (Continue to stir throughout the entire process) Bring to a rapid boil over medium-high heat, and then decrease to medium heat (should still be bubbling) 6-8 minutes or until mixture achieves deep golden color, stirring constantly. (I recommend a whisk! - see note)
Pour caramel onto cooled shortbread, sprinkle immediately with coarse sea salt. Allow to sit at room temperature 1-2 hours or until caramel has cooled and set. I have had success with placing in the fridge to cool to speed up the process. Cut into squares and serve or store chilled in airtight container.
If your caramel starts to separate (the butter pools on top of the caramel in the pan), remove from heat and whisk whisk whisk like crazy til it comes back together. Then return to heat and continue to whisk until golden color is achieved.
This year, I want the family to really focus on why we are celebrating the gifts under tree. Think about what is going on around us right now. People are decorating Christmas trees along with the inside and outside of their homes, businesses are putting up lights, Christmas music is playing on the radio in every store you walk into and people are buying lots and lots of presents. Why? Why did the magi bring gifts to a little baby in a manger over 2000 years ago? Why are we emulating this and celebrating Christmas day every year?
Please understand that this post is not to pass judgement on any other holiday that is celebrated. I'm not writing to upset those that believe differently. I'm not writing about all "holiday's" so that everyone is included and everyone feels warm and fuzzy. I'm writing today about Christmas, it's meaning and why we have the Christmas season.
Let's be clear about one thing. Without Jesus, there is no Christmas. Without Jesus, this whole season of celebration and wonder would not exist. You can't take "Christ" out of Christmas. It doesn't work. I'm not going to brush the reality and meaning under the table of why we put so much effort into the season anymore. We celebrate "Oh come all ye faithful, Joy to the world, Away in a manager, Hark the herald angels sing and Silent night, holy night.....for one reason and one reason only.
We celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior for who He is. Just as He identified Himself to Moses in Exodus 3:14 as "I AM WHO I AM" and he identified Himself to the Jews in John 8:58 again as "I AM"...... Jesus is God. He came down to earth as the son of God so all can know him. Why is it important that you know who Jesus is? Jesus said "I am the way, the truth and the light. No one comes to the father except through me. John 14:6.
Simply said....Jesus is the reason that we celebrate the Christmas season.
I hope this Christmas season, people will stop and spend time understanding the true meaning behind Christmas and why it is celebrated in mass, all over the world. All over the world.
I received quite a few questions on the wreath I posted last week here. Making a wreath is simple. Gathering goodies to put in your wreath is easy. But yes, you need to have a few things on hand to put the wreath together; floral wire, wire cutters, glue gun and then your goodies.
Goodies alone....can be expensive. This is Mackenzie-Childs ribbon that you can find here. It's not cheap but it's beautiful ribbon and it's what makes the wreath so pretty. So yes, if you went out to buy all of these things at one time it's pretty pricey. That's why you let other people make them for you. :)
I hope you have a fabulous week decorating and preparing for this holiday season.
As I get ready for the holiday season, I am reminded of how truly blessed I am. But I also hear the worry and anxiety that is so prevalent today with those I talk with. The truth of the matter is that we cannot control it all. At some point, we have to stop worrying and trying to fix everything so that it fits into our image of what "should be" and allow life to happen. We do our best to help, support and guide our circumstances but the reality is that we cannot control all that happens or what comes our way.
We are a control generation. We have learned to take the bull by the horns and plow our way to the top to reach our goals. And when things don't work out the way we want them to, there is this running dialogue of what isn't working and what happened or what we need to do because something didn't turn out as planned. Sometimes the lesson is that we don't always get what we want and maybe the lesson is that we need to learn to handle things differently. And maybe, just maybe... we need to let go and let life happen. Deal with our circumstances or outcomes the best we can and move on.
I am learning to let go. It's actually easier to let go than to get all knotted up and stress over what is out of my control. Take the actions that you can to help fix or resolve an issue and then let go.
Let go and surrender. Surrender to what will be and watch life work out.
I've been busy working on wreaths and ornaments and all kinds of holiday decorations the past few weeks. I want to show you a recent project I finished for a friend of mine that brings me all kinds of things and says...."do whatever you think will look good." Those are the best kind of projects... :)
I've told you before that you can paint anything you find that doesn't have the colors you want or maybe doesn't have colors at all. Walk through any home or craft store and use your imagination. Here is a train she found that she wants to put under one of her trees. It so happens to be a tree filled with Mackenzie-Child's ornaments.
With a treated metal surface, I think it's always best to either prime the piece, or paint it with chalk paint, which basically acts like a primer. You have to test out a small area before you paint your entire piece, or you might be sorry if the paint doesn't adhere.
The train got its stripes and checks and the wheels were painted gold.
Then I worked on a cute little cut out and began painting the train with pops of holiday colors.
Such a cute decoration that went from blah and fairly unnoticeable to cute and whimsical. You really can paint anything you want to. Find something with good form and paint away!
My Mackenzie-Child's Christmas Magazine came in the mail the other day......uh huh...you know where this is going... I was looking at her Christmas wreaths and they are just beautiful! But, I can't spend $550 on one of her wreaths and ever expect to come home again. I can't ever imagine spending that much money on a wreath so I decided to make my own. Now I've never made a wreath before so I did some studying on wreath making.... :)
Start with a plain wreath.
Then go get some wreath goodies; fruits, ribbons and extra greenery....
I did splurge on Mackenzie-Childs original ribbon. It's beautiful! Here's the thing..... The ribbon is expensive. Making a wreath is kind of like making a cake. The better the ingredients, the better the cake. I wanted a really nice wreath with nice ingredients. :)
Start by placing greenery and fruits around the wreath.
Then start adding your ribbon throughout the wreath. I hot glued the fruit and used greenery wire for the ribbon.
Then place pine cones and berries where it balances the wreath. You can keep going with the add ons if you want. You can add nuts and ornaments, little animals...whatever your wreath fancy.
Didn't she turn out pretty?
Doesn't she look cozy on her wreath stand? I'm excited because she turned out so well.
Let me know if you are interested in one. I'm making a few more. :) You can email me at email@example.com.
Look at these fabulous candlesticks. They are made out of a heavy wood and stand 41" and 35" high. A friend asked me if I would paint these with a Mackenzie-Child's like parchment check.
These candle sticks were awesome as is, so I was a bit hesitant to paint them. But once I did....I was so happy!
I started with some stripes and then added checks.
My friend wanted to add a little bronze to the color scheme and it really made the sticks pop!
I think they turned out stunning. It adds just enough whimsy and fun to any room and the parchment pattern goes with just about anything. I liked these so much, that I ran out to buy a couple more for me!