Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Give Away at $5 Dinners.com

Hey y'all there's a great give-away going on over at $5 Dinners.com. Click on over there to win a free copy of Erin Chase's new "The $5 Dinner Mom Cookbook". Erin is giving away 10 copies of her new book every day for the next 2 weeks. Yeah, you heard me right!
Good luck!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Christmas At My House This Year

OK, y'all - I'm hooking up with 50 billion other people over at The Nester's today for The Christmas Tour of Homes 2009.

I, like so many of you, did not put out every piece of Christmas paraphernalia that I own. It is what it is - and my house is pretty tiny. I would feel severely claustrophobic if I put it all out right now. I think I'm bordering on clutter as it is. But, I shall share anyhow. *Disclaimer - please ignore dust, glitter, crumbs and dog hair should you see any of the above. :0) Are you ready? OK! Let's go!

This is a shot of my living room - not that you couldn't figure that on your own or anything...I'm just sayin'. Obviously, we have a red, gold, and silver thing going on here. Do you think I might want to think about a larger tree skirt? You can hardly see it under there with that one lone present. Which, incidentally, I can't put out any of my kiddos presents at all. Period. He just can't take the temptation. And I just can't take all the begging and pleading that comes with it! He used to end up opening most of his presents before Christmas even rolled around back in the days when we used to put them all under the tree. Evidently, Chris and I have the backbone of limp spaghetti where saying no to gift opening is concerned. So, we wised up. We just don't put them out. Problem solved. OK, so we have a tree and a garland on top of the armoire. The garland is much prettier in person 'cause it's stuffed full of pretties. But, I didn't get a close up of that, so you'll just have to believe me.

Alrighty, I'm going to have to do this picture out of sequence because, well...I'm me. And if you ever read this blog, you'll just understand. Mkay? Are we clear as mud? Moving on then...This is looking from my dining room into the kitchen. I have a few doo dads on the bar(ish) part and then above the kitchen sink I hung a simple garland. I'm using it this year to hang my Christmas cards from with teeny tiny clothes pins. I thought about spray painting the pins red, but I'm too lazy busy for that. There are also some snowflakes hanging from the can lights above the bar.

Back to the living room...On each of my end tables I have these matching urns that I keep out year round and fill them differently depending on the season. Right now they're full of pine cones - and I tied a red and gold ribbon on for good measure. Actually, the red ribbon is stamped with gold pine cones - but you can't see that either. I'm not a very good tour guide, am I? I also hung that little angel on this lamp. She was given to Uncle Gene at the hospital to hang above his bed before he died. I love angels at Christmas time.

This is a view of my dining area, and the back of my sofa - because I live in a matchbox and all. I do love my little matchbox, though. Anyhoo...I draped a garland over my chandy and tied some red bows on each arm. I also draped some silver cording on it and tucked 2 cardinals in there. I finally get to use my Christmas dishes that I got at Goodwill back in the Spring. Since I didn't have an entire set - I mixed and matched. The 2 ends of the table are backwards from the 4 sides.

My succulents are also a year round fixture. They sit in a wicker basket tray that is lined with a piece of burlap. I added pine cones and these round, spiky things that fell off of the neighbor's tree for Autumn. Since it's now Christmas time I threw in a beaded garland, some miniature ornaments and a mini tree topper that I'm not using this year. Easy peasy.

The bar again...a silver Goodwill tray holding 3 Goodwill candlesticks that I spray painted. More pine cones and round spiky tree thingies, and a few ornaments.

Mini ornaments added to my Rosemary plant.

A closer view of the snowflakes. These are really pretty if you have different types of snowflakes. Mine are all the same, but whenever I see some different ones I plan on grabbing them.

I'm not going to show you pictures of the outside lights simply because it's daytime. I don't think they would show up too well. :0)

This concludes my Christmas tour. If you need some decorating inspiration this year - or if you're just nosey, head on over to Nesting Place .

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Plant Cuttings And Chalkboard Pots

It's been a while since I've posted. Seems like I'm staying busy, busy, busy lately. So, I'll give a quick update before I get to the main part of my post. Thanksgiving was wonderful. We spent the first part of the day with family. Then, in the evening we had our best friends over for a great night of eating (again!), playing Wii and just hanging out together.

We unfortunately had a death in the family - my husband's uncle. The service was this past Sunday. I wonder why it is that sometimes it takes something as tragic as a death in the family for all of us to get together? Even still, it was nice to get to see family we haven't seen in a while - and for me to get to meet some that I had never met before. Did I mention we've been married 14 and a half years? LOL!

We've also been busy getting the house decorated for Christmas. I love this time of year! It really makes me want to hunker down and nest. We are supposed to be getting our first snow of the season this week! I'm dreaming of a white Christmas... I will post pictures of that soon.

OK. Now to my main post. I like to try to be frugal whenever possible and I also like the satisfaction of doing things myself. At the end of summer I just hated to see my beautiful geraniums die out, never to be seen again. So, I did some research. Evidently, if you took a cutting off of your geranium plant and put it in a pot of water it would send out new roots. You can then pot them and overwinter your new plants inside. Then, when Spring time rolls around, you can put your new plants in the ground and it didn't cost you a penny. The same thing is supposed to be true for many plants. I have successfully tried this in the past with rosemary and pothos or philodendron.

So, I did what I just explained to you with some geranium clippings and lemon balm (which smells divine BTW). I was happy to see it was a very successful experiment, as you will see here in a minute. But, I wanted a way to keep track of which clippings were which and didn't want to use the typical marker stake. I decided to paint out my el cheapo terra cotta pots with chalkboard paint.

You'll need your own el cheapo terra cotta pots, rubber gloves, a foam brush and a can of chalkboard paint for this project. Krylon makes it in black and green. I just happened to have a can of black on hand from a few other projects.

Following the directions for dry time, give your pots and saucers 2 coats of chalkboard paint. I didn't paint the entire inside because it won't be seen once my plants are in there. Now, you can either paint the entire pot, like I did - or you can just paint a square to write on. I have done it both ways. Just make sure that after your final coat of paint has dried and cured, that you 'break' the surface by rubbing the side of your chalk all over it before writing on it.
Check out the roots on that lemon balm!
Here I am taking one of the rooted geranium plants and potting it.
Viola! New, free plants that can go into the ground in the Spring and pots that keep track of what's in them. Or, you can shake it up and write a seasonal or inspirational message on them. It's up to you.

Now, I just need to figure out where to keep these bad daddies all winter long!