Friday, December 14, 2018

Christmas Gifts For Myself That Cost Next To Nothing

Gifting Myself This Christmas

Welcome to my Christmas kitchen! Around this time each year I do a few special things that are just for me. Things that give me pleasure and recall happy memories. I call these things,"Christmas gifts for myself." They cost next to nothing and yet are priceless! How about you? Do you "gift yourself" at Christmas time?

One of the gifts I give myself is baking something yummy. I'm not a big baker, but it just doesn't feel like Christmas if I don't bake something. I tried a new really simple recipe for peanut butter cookies and the result was absolutely delicious! I can't take credit for the recipe. I got it from Julie Wunder's blog over at Running In A Skirt. Check out her post here to get this simple six ingredient recipe!

Not only are these cookies yummy but they are a bit healthier since the recipe calls for whole wheat flour and uses honey for sweetening instead of sugar. Yet another gift to myself, a healthier indulgence! And because I had all the ingredients on hand, they cost next to nothing!

Another way I gift myself is with some wonderful Christmas reading. I always choose a book or two around this time of year that has a Christmas theme. This year I found, "No Holly for Miss Quinn," by Miss Read on the shelf at my local library. I thought I had read all of the Miss Read books the library had to offer but somehow I believe I missed this one. I loved it! Miriam Quinn is a thirty-something career woman who decides to have a quiet Christmas re-decorating her new home until a phone call from her brother changes all her well laid plans. I was hooked from start to finish in this book and think I'll ask "Santa" for my own copy as a Christmas present. So, this book cost me nothing since it came from the library, but I guess "Santa" might have to pay a few bucks to get it for me as a gift! 

And, as a final gift to myself, I created a fun "drink station" using all of my Christmas mugs. Since the mugs are displayed on a tray they can be easily moved if the counter space is needed. I've noticed on several blogs that Christmas displays on counters are on a tray. It suddenly dawned on me that this makes the display movable so the counter can be used. Makes so much sense! Anyway, being creative with Christmas decor is something I find satisfying and is definitely a gift to myself. 

Do you find ways to gift yourself at Christmas? If not, try to think of something special to do just for you. I hope you will take a moment and leave a comment letting me know what you think about gifting yourself and what you do for the very special person that is you!

And, would you like to give me a gift? I would absolutely love it if you would follow my blog by email. Just type your email in the box on the right side of the blog and click submit. You'll never miss a post that way!

And, before you go, have a cookie!

Until Next Time,

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

How To Style Basic Outfits Different Ways

Which Outfit Looks Best? Help Me Decide!

lambswool sweater with fringed scarf

I'm a firm believer that fashion should be fun for the person wearing it. It's easy to get bogged down with styles and trends and forget that you still have to enjoy what you are wearing. So, since today is still a "snow day" at my house and the Mr. is having a teacher workday at school I'm playing with fashion. Trying on different tops and different accessories to see which looks I like best. You can play along with me, if you like, and help me decide which look you like best. 

I'm keeping certain basics the same in each outfit. The pants, by Onque, the black long sleeved tee and the black Skecher booties are the same in each pic. The top and accessories are what is changing. Here, I'm adding just the grey sweater, a lovely patterned and warm two button sweater by Horny Toad with a unique Aztec patterned front. This sweater is 100% lambswool and is super warm and soft. 

lambswool sweater by horny toad

Here, I've kept the sweater but added a black fringe scarf as an accessory.

I think the scarf adds a nice touch to the look. 

Now, I've changed sweaters to a solid black long cardigan which is Faded Glory brand. Wearing all black with no scarf or jewelry is a bit bland. 

cardigan sweater accented with pearl necklace

Adding a long tiered pearl necklace makes a big difference!

Here, I decided to belt the cardigan. I bought a new belt recently and it looks pretty and adds a different dimension to the look. 

cardigan ribbed sweater worn with a belt

The belt came from Walmart and has pretty embroidered flowers in a sort of gold/pink tint. It's pretty! Wearing the belt gives definition to my waist. (Notice the little photo bomber at bottom right!)

red and black plaid high low dress

And, finally, I'm still playing around with this red/black plaid number. I have styled it a couple times already here and here. I like how it looks with the pants and belted. 

So, this is the end of the fashion show! Now, it's your turn. Leave me a message and let me know which styling(s) you like best. I look forward to hearing your thoughts!

Until Next Time,

Sunday, December 9, 2018

Snowmageddon 2018 and The Christmas Cats

Let It Snow, Ho-Ho-Ho

For those who asked, here are a few pics of the "big snow" we are receiving as we speak. We are supposed to get another 3 inches. Time will tell! Don't forget to scroll all the way down and Cassie and Garden will give you a Christmas greeting! These pics are from our front and backyard this morning. 

These two cuties were not too happy with wearing the Santa hats! But, tradition calls!! Enjoy!

Until Next Time,

Saturday, December 8, 2018

A Little More Christmas Cheer Crafts and Decor

More Gingerbread More Decor and A Crafty Tree

Well, the great snow that was predicted has begun, so before the power goes off I thought I would share a little more Christmas fun with you. I continue to find cute gingerbread ornaments that I can't resist and am adding to the kitchen. These are my latest finds-a gingerbread family and a little gingerbread baby in a sleigh. They go well together, I think.

And they match well with the gingerbread snowflake ornaments! If you missed the other post about my gingerbread kitchen, you can catch up on the link. 

The lower foyer table holds several Santa's I have collected over the years. 

While the upper foyer table holds my ceramic Christmas tree. It's so pretty in the foyer which it is lighted. 

And, here is my pinterest-worthy front door wreath! I'm pretty proud of the bow I fashioned and the letter R in the center! I figured using this ribbon would extend the life of the wreath beyond Christmas and into winter. The pine cone ribbon is so pretty. A neighbor child sells green wreaths every Christmas season for a school fundraiser, so this is how I usually get my wreath. Then, I just embellish it!

And, this is my latest Christmas craft. I fashioned this Christmas tree today using one of those foam tree forms and some Christmas fabric that I bought a couple years ago and never used. This was a very easy craft! I simply cut the fabric in a triangle shape and wrapped it around the tree securing it in place with straight pins. 

I folded the fabric under the tree, securing it with straight pins and folded it back on the top, securing it with straight pins. Then I threaded the white ribbon under the top fold and tied it in a knot, then threaded the white Christmas ball through the ribbon and tied a bow. I did have to use a straight pin to secure the the white ball and then, for good measure, I wrapped the two red balls around using the green pipe cleaner that was attached to them. I think it makes a really cute tree! The little mouse seems to like it! If you have small children in your home, you may not want to use straight pins. You could use a fabric glue or something else to secure the fabric and Christmas balls. I'm going to keep an eye on little Miss Garden to make sure she isn't messing with the tree, either!

I hope you are having a wonderful weekend and are warm and safe if snowy weather is headed your way! Feel free to pin photos and hope you'll take a moment to leave a comment! I love hearing from my readers!

Until Next Time,

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Blue Fringe Top and Comfy Pumps

Blue Top With Fringe Benefits

*Not a gifted or sponsored post. All writing and opinions are my own.

I love a top with fringe benefits and this one certainly has the fringe! I don't think I've shown this top on the blog before. I've had it a few years and always enjoy wearing it. The blue color is one of my favorites and the fringe adds that "something extra" to the look. 

The material is soft and figure flattering and the fringe is great for hiding tummy problems. 

This top is by Melissa Paige and, like I said, I bought it a few years ago. But, I did find the exact top in an XL on Poshmark if you are interested. I have never purchased from Poshmark so cannot vouch for the experience of buying from there. The material is the soft viscose/spandex mix that so many tops are made from these days. It's machine wash and lay flat to dry which I love. I don't do dry cleaning!

I found a few other tops with fringe that you might enjoy browsing:

Waffle Knit Fringe Hem Layered Top

I like this dusty blue color!

Feather Fringe Crew Neck Top

And this black is certainly figure flattering. 

Why not check out this link where I found these tops? 

I came across these shoes the other day and am very pleased with the comfort level. I haven't owned Thom McAn shoes (that I can remember) since I was a little girl. In fact, these shoes remind me of a pair I got when I was young and allowed to choose a shoe with a bit of a heel on it. Remember, ladies, hearing your heels click on the floor and how it made us feel all grown up?! These heels don't click, though, as they are made of rubber and have a really nice cushion effect. They are a block heel, also, which gives lots of support. The cushioned insole is quite comfortable, the round front gives my toes plenty of room and since the shoe is real leather they should last. I was able to buy this Thom McAn shoe on sale at $19.99. I see the price listed here is the higher price. 

We have some snow blowing today and I am staying in and planning on doing a little more decorating, a little cleaning, some laundry and, hopefully, a little sewing project. What's on your agenda for today? Hope you will leave a comment. I love hearing from you!

Until Next Time,

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

My Gingerbread Inspired Tablescape and Kitchen

Gingerbread Kitchen Tablescape 

There's nothing like a little gingerbread love to put you in the Christmas spirit and today I'm sharing my gingerbread inspired kitchen decor. I use the term "inspired" because not everything you'll see is gingerbread but most is. The decor that's not gingerbread is still colorful and fun. Some items you have seen before in other tablescape designs. I love mixing and matching to create a cheerful Christmas kitchen!

The star of the show is this cute gingerbread table runner that I chose to place on the counter. Most of the time I show tablescapes at our round kitchen table. The truth is, however, that 99% of the time the Mr. and I eat our meals here at the counter. We love this space and our kitchen is the hub of our home. This counter is used not only for eating but for crafts, bill paying, lesson planning and is where the Mr. likes to sit and grade papers. So, it makes sense that I decided the runner would look great on the counter and serve as an anchor for the tablescape. 

My winter owl plates fit right in with the gingerbread ornament name tag and red napkins. The silverware is tucked inside the napkin so the name tag can show off on top.

And how cute are these Pepperidge Farm gingerbread people? I found these on the cookie aisle at the grocery store. 

I decided to continue the gingerbread theme throughout the kitchen. So, I added these gingerbread snowflake ornaments to our brick wall. These are Jaclyn Smith ornaments from Kmart. I think these look great on the brick and I really like the black and white plaid hangers. It gives me an idea for creating a black and white plaid wreath for the kitchen!

And, I also found these fun gingerbread kitchen towels at Kmart. They look great hanging on the oven door! 

I can't be 100% sure, but I think I bought the gingerbread table runner at A.C.Moore. It was either there or Walmart. I had to use a snowman for the other name tag, but that works well with gingerbread. 

I decided to try my hand at crafting these two homemade gingerbread people, but I don't like the result at all and think I'll take them down. I think I need to use either smaller buttons or something else entirely for the eyes. Any suggestions from some of you crafty folks?

I hope you are enjoying decorating and getting ready for Christmas. Let me know how your decor is coming along!

Until Next Time,

Saturday, December 1, 2018

Weekend Inspiration:Feeling Thankful At Sixty

Thoughts On Turning Sixty

Guess who's sixty? Yep, that would be me. Say it a few times and let it roll over your tongue....sixty, sixty, Debbie is sixty...

I wondered how best to approach this post and thought about all of the different ways I could describe the feeling of being sixty. You know, all the cliches about aging...finding greater wisdom, insight into life, etc. etc. But, to be honest, I don't feel wiser and I can't think of any great insight. Sorry to disappoint. I just feel like me, like Debbie, like I have always felt. I remember my mom talking about how she still felt like "herself in her 20's" as the birthday numbers kept racking up and I totally understand what she meant. It seems like when you reach "certain" ages, there should be some kind of special feeling to go with the age. But, nope, I still feel like me! 

To be honest, if I describe how I'm really feeling about this birthday, I would have to say I feel thankful. After all, it's a privilege to get here. Not everyone is given the privilege of turning 60.

I may have mentioned before that when I was in college there were four of us young women who were close friends. Teresa and I were roomates and Lynn and Mary Lou were roomates.  We called ourselves the "Czech sisters" and had great fun calling the local radio DJ trying to get him to play Steve Martin's "King Tut" song. He always laughed at our "Wild and Crazy Czech sisters" imitation we did when we called. Y'all did watch Saturday Night Live when Steve Martin was on didn't you? We laughed together, acted silly together, shared secrets and did all the silly things that college girls did in the 70's. We dreamed together about what life would hold for us after graduation. After college, we went our separate ways but continued to keep in touch across states with letters and phone calls. About three months after the Mr. and I got married I received a phone call from Teresa telling me that Lynn had died in a diabetic coma. She was 24. Fast forward twelve years to the time when I was back in West Virginia grieving the loss of my Mother. I had lost touch with Teresa over the years, but she contacted me upon hearing of my Mom's passing and shared that her own health had deteriorated and she was living in a nursing home suffering from MS. I heard she passed a couple years later. She was in her late 30's. Of the four original "Czech Sisters" it's just Mary Lou and me now. We are still close friends. And, Mary Lou just became a grandmother. 

Yes, it's a privilege to turn 60.....and I'm thankful for all the blessings of those years.

Psalm 92 speaks about aging with the following:

"They will still bear fruit in old age,
They will stay fresh and green"

I love the hopefulness of this scripture. Aging shouldn't mean becoming stagnant in my opinion. I want to continue to learn and grow and be useful. I want to bear fruit in my life....and for the Lord. I like the idea of staying fresh and green, no matter what my age may be. 

I have been privileged to know a number of women who set amazing examples of how to age. Their continued interest in life, their laughter, their can-do attitudes, their thirst for knowledge, their refusal to give in to the inevitable aches and pains are all examples to me of how to approach this birthday and aging in general. 

Psalm 90:12 says, "Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom."  Perhaps there is wisdom in being thankful....and it is with gratitude that I celebrate turning 60. 


*Your thoughtful comments are always welcome!