Thursday, December 29, 2011

GiveAway -- 3 Pearl Bracelets

The Today Show Occasionally Airs
Steals and Deals -- Hot Items at Discounted Prices.
From blankets to jewelry . . . .

 Love Where You Live is Giving Away These 3 bracelets!

I happened to be watching the morning The Today Show put up macraméd freshwater pearl bracelets by Jewelry Designer Anthony Dreyer. They were indeed a steal. And they are so sweet. I wanted to celebrate the upcoming New Year by sharing my score with one lucky Love Where You Live Readers. The bracelets normally retails for $50 each! 
 
Love Where You Live is giving away 3. As shown above and below.

The 3 bracelets will go to one lucky person living in the lower 48 states. (Sorry, international readers; I've got to find a giveaway for you all, as I appreciate your visits!! Darn those outrageous postage fees! I shall see what I can do.)  

Your chances of winning, by the way, are really, really good since this is a Love Where You Live-hosted GiveAway! No other site is involved.
 
To Enter:  
Please use the Rafflecopter form at the end of this post (it's easy, but if you do happen to have questions or experience problems, just give me a shout by emailing me).

The Rafflecopter will randomly select a winner on Thursday, January 19, 2012, at midnight EST. NOTE: Be sure to leave an email address so that you can be contacted should you win! 

The winner will be announced on Friday, January 20. Please, please check your email on that day. If we don't hear from you within 48 hours, another winner will be selected. 

Here are some more images of the bracelets. They tie in the back, enabling anyone to wear them.

 Good luck! 

It may take a few seconds the Rafflecopter form to load. 
thanks! (and thanks for bearing with me on getting this up and out!!)
*If you are on the home page and the rafflecopter form is not visible please follow this link --
GiveAway -- 3 Pearl Bracelets

Note: If you tweet about it more than once, come back and enter that you did -- so all that you do counts!

 

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

ANNOUNCING GIVEAWAY . . .

. . .Tomorrow, Wednesday, December 28. Yes, mañana! You'll have access then to the particulars. I think you're going to love it!

Hate to tease you now, but technical difficulties force me . . . .

My iPhone allows me this quick moment to touch base. We'll be back on track again soon!

Sam and I hope you enjoyed a wonderful holiday! We did!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Two Homemade Eggnog Recipes -- and an Edible Christmas Tree for the Table

Love Eggnog
But Not the Corn Syrup Used to Make 
the Grocery Store Brands.
So, for the first time, I made my own!

If you make one of the recipes (below) tomorrow, it will be delicious on Saturday and really delightful on Sunday. The longer it sits in the fridge, the better it becomes. (I did highlight "corn syrup" in the headline above to give you a link to the Mayo Clinic's write-up on the health concerns of high-fructose corn syrup. Loving where you live, after all, is about living well. And well translates into healthy.)  
 

 Cheers!

Eggnog

Alton Brown

Ingredients
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 1/3 cup sugar, plus 1 tablespoon
  • 1 pint whole milk
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 3 ounces bourbon
  • 1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 4 egg whites*

Directions

In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the egg yolks until they lighten in color. Gradually add the 1/3 cup sugar and continue to beat until it is completely dissolved. Add the milk, cream, bourbon and nutmeg and stir to combine.

Place the egg whites in the bowl of a stand mixer and beat to soft peaks. With the mixer still running gradually add the 1 tablespoon of sugar and beat until stiff peaks form.
Whisk the egg whites into the mixture. Chill and serve.

Cook's Note: For cooked eggnog, follow procedure below:

In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the egg yolks until they lighten in color. Gradually add the 1/3 cup sugar and continue to beat until it is completely dissolved. Set aside.

In a medium saucepan, over high heat, combine the milk, heavy cream and nutmeg and bring just to a boil, stirring occasionally. Remove from the heat and gradually temper the hot mixture into the egg and sugar mixture. Then return everything to the pot and cook until the mixture reaches 160 degrees F.

Remove from the heat, stir in the bourbon, pour into a medium mixing bowl, and set in the refrigerator to chill.

In a medium mixing bowl, beat the egg whites to soft peaks. With the mixer running gradually add the 1 tablespoon of sugar and beat until stiff peaks form. Whisk the egg whites into the chilled mixture.

NOTE: You could omit the bourbon and serve on the side. I also added the egg whites when the other mixture was still hot in order to cook the whites slightly. It came out just fine.

* Raw Eggs

*RAW EGG WARNING
Food Network Kitchens suggest caution in consuming raw and lightly cooked eggs due to the slight risk of salmonella or other food-borne illness. To reduce this risk, we recommend you use only fresh, properly refrigerated, clean grade A or AA eggs with intact shells, and avoid contact between the yolks or whites and the shell.

From the Food Network. 


Pumpkin Nog
created by Tony Abou-Ganim, Modern Mixologist

INGREDIENTS:

DIRECTIONS:

  • Whisk eggs and milk in large heavy saucepan.
  • Cook and stir over medium heat until the mixture coats a metal spoon.
  • DO NOT BOIL.
  • Remove from heat
  • Place pan in a large bowl of ice water and stir frequently 5 minutes.
  • Stir in Equal(sugar), pumpkin, vanilla and ground cinnamon.
  • Cover and chill eggnog mixture at least 2 hours before serving
  • Garnish with ground nutmeg just before serving.
  • Alcoholic Option: Add 3 cups spiced rum during step 3.
NOTE:  I used raw sugar rather than the artificial. Just my preference. And I usually put in less sugar than called for; that's for all recipes, actually. I also used cooked pumpkin.

An Edible Christmas Tree
 
 I saw this in a magazine called Family Fun
and had to share it.

Here's to good food and good health! 
 
Have a wonderful holiday -- Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa . . . We'll post again 
on Dec. 27.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Easy DIY Gift -- A Stylish Button Necklace

 Guest Blogger Kate Fox
Tells Us -- and Shows Us -- How to Make 
a Handmade Button Necklace
Styling and Giving = Good Living


Kate Says:
I love the idea of making presents, saving a little money, and showing friends and family that I took the time to make them something special and unique. It all seems like a win-win.  The only problem I have when it comes to DIY (do-it-yourself) projects is I can end up spending more than expected on something that looks handmade –- and not in a good way.  That is why I am excited to share with Love Where You Live readers a fantastic, easy and stylish DIY necklace! 
Kate modeling one of her button necklaces.
(Perhaps the final touch to entertaining at home, yes?!) 

She begins: Originally featured on marthastewart.com, I found this necklace while researching a stack for delicious.com (soon to be finished: Top Ten EASY and Amazing DIY Holiday Gifts).  The first thing I noticed was how cool the necklace was but as I read the instructions, I found them to be confusing and a little intimidating.  So, wary of spending my money and time on a fruitless project, I decided to try a different DIY project –- furry bracelets.  Since I am not writing this post about furry bracelets, I think you can guess how they turned out.   
Kate's try at making the "furry" bracelet.
And she confesses:  After the furry bracelet debacle, I contemplated giving up on the whole DIY presents thing –- especially since I was already $36 in the red, but I figured I would give it one last shot before I bought frozen cookie dough to bake and pass-off as my “homemade” cookies. 

I went to marthastewart.com and read the button necklace how-to, Googled slipknot and then reread the button necklace how-to.  Still confused, I just went for it.  First, I went to JoAnn’s Fabric and Craft Store to get the tools and materials needed for the project.  I am showing you what the marthastewart.com instructions called for in black and what I did in red: 
 Tools and Materials
  • Abalone-shell or pink mother-of-pearl buttons 
I found the abalone-shell buttons at JoAnn’s, each pack had 64 buttons – that is about one necklace.
Shellz Buttons 64 count $3.29
  • Beading String, cut to 40 inches
I did not find any string named specifically “beading string,” but I did find 3-ply bead thread and DMC Floss Group thread.  There are pros and cons to both types of thread.  The bead thread is stiffer than the DMC thread, which makes it easier to wield and thread through the necklace closure; however, because the bead thread is stiffer it does not fall as nicely as the DMC thread.  I also chose three different colors – black, brown and a neutral cream color, but I ended up only using black.
20 yards 3-ply bead thread, Black $2.99
  • Crimp Bead 
I found crimp beads on my second trip to JoAnn's, I should have Googled them to begin with so I would know what I was looking for – alas, live and learn.  As it turned out, the crimp beads I got were too small and seemed like quite a headache, so I got 3mm double cup connectors.  Let me first explain what crimp beads are:  They finish the end of the necklace and help create a loop for attaching the clasp.
48 - 3mm double cup connectors - $0.98 (on sale)

  • Necklace Closure 
At first I got a spring ring clasp but, after a few trials, I realized I liked the magnetic clasps much more.
8 – 5x11mm Silver Magnetic Clasps - $2.29

  • Needle-nose pliers 
The pliers are for the crimp bead/3mm double cup connector.  Apparently you can use crimping pliers to give a more finished look, but I just used basic needle-nose pliers – mind you, my closures are not the prettiest.
Already Owned - $0.00
  • One item that I think should be included is a good pair of scissors, a dull pair of scissors will cause your thread to fray and make it nearly impossible to thread through the necklace closures.
  • If you do not get a good pair of scissors, then you will need a lighter – the lighter will be used to singe the ends of the bead thread (I doubt this would work with the DMC thread).
 She explains:  After I got my materials, I sat down and stared at them for a good two days… then I got down to business.  I am giving you instructions for what I did on my third and final rendition of this necklace. It is the easiest and best looking. Again, I am showing you what the marthastewart.com instructions called for in black, and what I did in red: 
 Button Necklace How-To
1.     Fold the string in half, and create an end by tying two slipknots 2 inches down from the fold.

I have no idea why you would follow the instructions above – I just do not get it.  So instead, first I took one end of the string and slipped it through one button hole, then I slid the button down 8 inches from the end of the string.  To get the button to stay in place you will want to secure it with a slipknot.  To make a slipknot, make a small loop to the right of the button and pass the button through the loop and tighten – voila.  



Now you should have something that looks like this:
The right side should be much longer -- as shown in the picture.

2. Slip a button on one string. Tie another slipknot 1 inch from the previous knot. Repeat until you have 12 buttons on the string. (Sophie makes five strands for her necklace, but you can make as many or few as you like.) Trim the ends (not the looped end) 2 inches from the last knot.

Okay, slip another button on the string starting from the long end of the string – I made sure to face each button the same way, but I think it could also be fun to mix it up.  One inch from the first button, attach your second button the same way you did the first – with a slipknot.  I used my thumb to space out the buttons, you may want to experiment with how close together or far apart you space the buttons.  Repeat until you have 12 buttons on the string. I used 4 strands for my necklace, but I found that three would do in a pinch.  Now you just rinse and repeat. Do the same thing with three more pieces of string.

  
3. Gather all the ends together, and crimp in a crimp bead. Attach the necklace closure using a pair of needle-nose pliers.

Gather all the strands together and line up the buttons according to how you would like the necklace to look.  Trim to make the ends of the strings line up even with each other.  Take one end of your magnetic clasp and thread all of the ends through the opening, making a loop.    

If you are having problems with the string fraying and you are using the bead thread, you can singe the ends with a lighter to prevent splitting.  Once you have each end threaded through, use the 3mm connector to grab the necklace and the tail of the loop.  

 I know this is unorthodox, but I use my teeth to mash in the connector, and then I use the needle-nose plier to really mash it down.  
 By mashing the connector, you are ultimately fusing both sides of the loop together.  Cut off the rest of the tail, do the same to the other side and done!

I hope you enjoyed this project and do not be afraid to experiment. I did a wonderful one in a green/jade buttons, too.  -- Have a wonderful holiday! -- kate
* * * * * * * *
Kate is my daughter, and I fell in love with her necklaces. I thought you might like to try your hand at this, especially if you're looking to present a special someone something rather unique -- a piece made with love. Or make it for yourself!  You've got your home looking festive and pretty, now it's your turn. What do you think? 

If you have questions about the directions, I'm sure she'd be happy to help you. Just ask.

Merry! Merry!!



Monday, December 19, 2011

It's Beginning to Look a Little Bit Like Christmas

O Tannenbaum,
Oh Christmas Tree

from Country Home, 2008

Christmas tree, o Christmas tree
How loyal are your leaves/needles!
You're green not only
  in the summertime,
No, also in winter when it snows.
O Christmas tree, o Christmas tree
How loyal are your leaves/needles!

 from Traditional Home, 2007

O Christmas tree, o Christmas tree
You can please me very much!

from Country Home, 2008

How often has not at Christmastime
A tree like you given me such joy!

 from Country Home, 2008

O Christmas tree, o Christmas tree,
You can please me very much!

 from Traditional Home, 2007
 
O Christmas tree, o Christmas tree

 from British Home and Gardens

Your dress wants to
  teach me something:

from Country Home, 2008

Your hope and durability
Provide comfort and strength
  at any time.

from Country Home, 2008

O Christmas tree, o Christmas tree,

from Country Home, 2007

That's what your dress should
  teach me.


 

Saturday, December 17, 2011

3 Top Gifts -- for Home and Chocoholics

My Sister Shops Months in Advance . . . 
Darn Her!
But If You're More Like Me -- Still Scratching Off Names 
on Your List, Take a Look at Some of My Favorite 
Gift Ideas:
1. A Bayleaf-Rosemary Wreath
from:
 263455_Holiday Site Wide 10% Off Sale-Now At OrganicBouquet.com! Click Here! Good Thru 12/19!
Sale Ends 12/19 -- Hurry!
I have this exact same wreath (above) hanging in my kitchen. It's been there for a year! This is the kind of holiday gift I like: one that can bring cheer all year round. Something to think about for the cook in your family or the one with the green thumb. Or send it as a "thank you" after spending time with friends.
I I bought it from Organic Bouquet, because I liked the fact this company cares about the environment, and social and economic sustainability.
From their Web site: "Sustainably grown flowers are gentle on the earth and safeguard ecology, while sustainable, biodegradable, green packaging is innovative and stylish. All of Organic Bouquet’s products, from floral arrangements and gourmet gifts to unique home accessories, have been certified by third-party agencies, such as USDA, Fair Trade or Rainforest Alliance." 
For more information about who they are and what they stand for, please click here. 
2. Turn Your Photos into Artwork
The photos above are two that I sent to Easy Print Canvases to turn into artwork. 
Each came back on wrapped canvases, ready to hang. The first photo is of a friend of mine who just became a grandmother for the first time. I loved the moment, catching her looking adoringly at her own baby. I sent it to her as a gift. The second I snapped from my car window as we drove through New Mexico. It hangs in my bedroom. I love it because I like both the mountain states and, of course, I love the beach. It repletes me. 
I like the personable flavor of this gift idea. It captures a unique time. At this time, it might be a gift that welcomes in the New Year or says "thank you" for having us. Sign up for their newsletter for cost-saving discounts!
3. Make Your Own Chocolate Bars
from Chocomize 
As a big fan of dark chocolate (theirs is 73% cocoa), I was thrilled to come across this site and find that I could customize my own bars! I expect my order to appear on my doorstep sometime this week.  I couldn't wait to take a nibble, I wanted to share it now with all you choco-fans. They offer milk and white chocolates, too.
I filled my bars with all types of goodies.  You can choose from Nuts and Seeds. Fruits. Herbs and Spices. Candy. And other add-ons.  
For more shopping -- and ideas, go here.
What are your favorite gift ideas? To receive and to give?
Remember:  A few hours left to sign up for the Christmas Bear GiveAway. Go here for details. 
  

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

San Miguel de Allende Ribbon Curtains -- And a "Martha Stewart" Home on a Budget

First the New York Times,
Then The Today Show . . .
Both Featured a Couple Who Live off $20,000
a Year.  And in Martha Stewart Style!!

Artist Michael Flemming lives in Maine with his partner, Jennifer Wurst, whom he says can easily stretch a nickel into a dollar. And one dollar into five.  He told The Today Show in an interview this morning that the couple can be driving or walking down a street and Jennifer will invariably find something -- a treasure in her eyes -- on the side of the road. Of course, they pick it up to incorporate -- somehow --  into their clean but elegant decor.

The driftwood art on the left side on the dining room wall was made by the couple. They pay $600 in rent and everything in their home is re-purposed. If something breaks, then Michael fixes it. Their second highest expenditure, after the rent, is for groceries. They prepare all their meals, using fresh and healthy ingredients.

Jennifer says she feels they live well . . . purposefully and completely. They do have Internet, but they say no to cable TV.  They split wood to keep warm, and the state provides their health care. She doesn't expect their life to change; after all, they have it all -- including a toddler son.

If you'd like to see and hear the TV interview with this couple and be further inspired, please click here

For The New York Times slideshow, please click here

 The two photos shown on this post are from The NY Times.   
Credit: Trent Bell for The New York Times.

I thought the Maine couple -- two rooms of their home are pictured above -- offered a rich and inspirational message. One that seemed worthy sharing with you all. 


Ribbon Curtain Inspiration from San Miguel de Allende
  
My friend, Barbara -- recently sent me a couple of photos. She snapped them when visiting a mutual amiga.  That friend -- Jan, has a home in the Texas Hill Country and a keen eye for design and detail. (I featured her outdoor kitchen and entertaining arena in a past post. She can see and read about it, here.


Barbara says Jan got the idea for her new window treatment (above) when visiting San Miguel de Allende last year or so. 

The colorful ribbons offer such a fun and easy decorative solution for a door window that I had to share it! Install a rod and drap the ribbons over it. There you have it. You could tie them at the top, too. I might be inclined to do the latter. Then, anchor the ribbons with a variety of decorative beads -- as seen below.

 Tying beads at the bottom of the ribbons help keep them all in place. 

To create a festive mood for a party or occasion, you could also change out your windows with the seasons. Don't you think? Red, green and white for Christmas. Or how about gold, green and purple for Mardi Gras?

Thanks, Barbara -- and Jan!! -- this is such a cool idea!

Remember to Enter Our GiveAway.
A Few Days Left -- for a Handmade Christmas Bear!!
Go here for details.

Monday, December 12, 2011

GiveAway -- A Handmade Christmas Bear

The Owner of Patchy Bears
Wants to Give Away a Cuddly Bear
She Made From Quilt Scraps --
to One Lucky Love Where You Live Visitor.

DONNA MARIE HAS WON! 
Thank you all for participating!!

We're the only ones offering this GiveAway . . . which is Terrific news for you!!
It means if you live in the lower 48 states, you can easily enter. And, best of all, your odds of winning are really good!

Gretchen Hugen, owner of Patchy Bears, will give the winner the choice of ONE of the two Christmas bears shown below:





Who doesn't like a cute little bear? They're for all ages!  And because they're one-of-a-kind, they are heirloom perfect. Get ready to hand down this fellow from one generation to another!  Each are 18 inches tall and can be hand washed should they get smudged from too many hugs.

Gretchen began Patchy Bears almost 22 years ago, when she was pregnant with her daughter. You can learn more about Patchy Bears and Gretchen by visiting her Web site here.

She also makes custom bears for those who want to preserve a memory by turning old dresses or other materials into a keepsake bear. What a great idea for your great grandmother's handmade quilts! Or your child's first dress or big-boy pants.


How To Enter:
This Form May Take A Moment To Load
 

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Chairs that Brighten Your Day -- and a Happy Home Decorating Mantra Worthy of Sharing

My Friend Brenda Loves This Store:
Even though they're located in Denver, you still might find it fun to visit online.

Brenda lives in Denver but enjoys retreating to the high country with her husband for long well-deserved weekends. It's here at the foot of the Sawatch Mountains that she has created a personable home that fully embodies loving where you live. One way she ensures such a blissful ambiance is by selecting furnishings and accessories that make her happy. 

The table was designed and constructed by Dawn McEnany,a furniture maker living 
in Salida, Colorado. (She also made stools for their kitchen island.)


She had 5 Green Boxes paint the legs of her French-country chairs and then reupholster them in the company's trademark boiled wool. Their artisans also added the button-adorned appliques, neatly joined together to construct a nature-inspired design:


Another chair that caught Brenda's eye serves up more inspiration -- for those of you looking for the next DIY project, or others who seek ways to invite color and creativity into their own homes:



Brenda and her husband follow a certain "decorating" mantra, which they've applied in both building and furnishing their happy home. 

The first component: They try to buy locally as much as possible. Secondly, they infuse each room with art. They also like custom-made embellishments. And, finally, they appreciate using materials that don't deplete natural supplies. 

When Brenda hosted a small breakfast gathering recently, it all centered around her kitchen made of beetle kill pine. The main island and ceiling (pictured below) are made of the beetle pine kill. The floors are scored concrete. And the counter tops are granite. (Just in case you wanted to know.)


The lights above the couple's kitchen sink were commissioned pieces. Click here for information on Brice Turnbull, a glass artist living in Salida, Colorado. For a closer look:


When visiting Tuscan, Arizona, Brenda discovered the talents offered by Santa Theresa Tile Works. She hired them to do a custom piece comprised of handmade tiles, which she had set in her kitchen back splash:


I also wanted to show the fireplace, constructed of local rock. They allowed a few of the rocks to jut forward to serve as shelving:



If you want to try something delicious, go here for Brenda's yummy blueberry muffin recipe -- one that's been handed down by her family through various generations. (She's updated it a bit to ensure it's tasty as well as healthy.)




 

 
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