Friday, January 2, 2015

A HAPPY HOLIDAY BREAK

Happy New Year! With the start of a new year, I always have such high hopes of making it more productive than the previous one. So I started 2015 by waking up early to get a head start on tidying my fabric stash, which was in need of some organization as you can see from this photo. I did make some progress but am not finished with my task yet!


I found this adorable long-lost cat (and dog and koala) fabric nestled among the fabrics. I wondered where it had gone! I guess it really does pay to organize your stash once in a while!


Then I decided to rearrange my collection of wooden peg dolls on my piano. Do any of you have one of these dolls? The one that started my collection was the one in the little black dress. Each one has been relatively inexpensive (The most expensive one was $40 and I found several for $20 or less). I found two of them for a song from a Missouri museum that was liquidating their collection.


We had a couple friends over for lunch. I served this healthier version of chicken salad made with broccoli and cherry tomatoes on a small bed of butter lettuce leaves (I was happy to find butter lettuce from a local farm at my grocery store). This was also the perfect opportunity to use these darling vintage green glass leaf plates that I found at Winterset's annual city-wide garage sale.


The dressing is made with assorted seasonings, herbs, mayo (I used reduced-fat mayo with olive oil and less than half of what the recipe called for) and two different mustards. For the latter, I used a combo of Dijon and whole-grain. I like the Dijon kind that is thinned down with a bit of white wine. 


For dessert, we had my sugarless and flourless pumpkin cookies. This time, I processed the oats finer, giving the cookies a smoother texture, but I think I like the texture of them when the oats are coarser like the cookies I featured in a previous post.


I also served some assorted snacks by Graze, which sends you a box of nutritious snacks every week, couple weeks, or month—depending on your preference. Since I am one who loves to snack throughout the day, it couldn't be a more perfect snacking solution.



I don't know about you but the week between Christmas and New Year's was a whirlwind. We spent the holiday with my family, came back that night, then went back out of the town the following day. The day after that, we spent time with my hubby's brother and his wife who were home briefly to visit my hubby's parents. The day after that, we ventured over to Cedar Rapids to visit my friend Anne who lives in Alabama but was home visiting her mom and family. Anne's sister was also home and had brought her adorable dog, Butterscotch, pictured here with Anne. Isn't she a cutie? 


Anne loves to shop for clothes, so after lunch, we headed to the local mall where Anne convinced me that I had to get two dresses, a plaid wool skirt, sweater, red gloves, and a black-and-white houndstooth Calvin Klein coat—all on sale (Are you chuckling as you read this? I am!). It seemed like everything I tried on she wanted me to get and she would enthusiastically suggest other things that I could wear with them. However, she is also good about letting you know when something doesn't work as well (She's worked in upscale clothing stores since she was in high school and feels it's important to be honest yet tactful when customers ask for her opinion). Shopping with Anne is like have your own personal shopper—as my blogging friend Jan noted in her comment! You might be surprised to hear that my hubby took it all in stride as he knows Anne knows her fashion. One of the things I was glad to find was this pair of gloves. For about a year now, my hands have always been extremely cold—to the point where I have to wear gloves until May. A couple months ago, they literally turned purplish blue—not just sort of blue but truly dark purple/blue and it was my entire hands, not just my fingers. It was rather startling. It literally looked like someone had beaten them up! I'm not sure if that happened because they were literally cold or if it was something else but if you've ever experienced this, please email as I would be curious to know what causes this. I've been tested for diabetes and that isn't it. In fact, my blood sugar is low. But I digress! Anne loved the tiny leather bows on these red gloves (40 percent off at Talbot's) and suggested I get them to wear with my new black-and-white coat. Knowing nothing about fashion, I would never have thought of that but it really does work! Their only drawback is that even though they are the smaller size, they are a little too long for my short fingers. Still, they should keep my mitts quite warm during the harsh Iowa winters!


During my holiday antiquing adventures, I found this timeworn yet pretty quilt block that has seen better days. Since it was only $2.50 and I'm not one to feel a quilt or quilt block has to be perfect to be beautiful, I decided to get it but now what to do with it? Any suggestions? I thought about maybe framing it or making it into a pillow.


On Monday, I enjoyed a girls' day out in West Des Moines with my mom-in-law, shopping some of the after-Christmas sales. Even between the multiple holiday shopping trips, I could not have imagined I'd come home with this much loot (below) but some of the sales were just too good to pass up. I normally don't shop at J. Crew or Talbot's because they're too expensive for my budget but even they had some unbelievable bargains. 


Being a bag lover, my favorite stop of my multiple holiday shopping excursions was the Kate Spade store where everything was 60 percent off.


With so much eye candy to take in, it was visual overload! I seriously pondered this black, pink, and white bag but ultimately settled on something more practical that I thought I would get more use out of. Hubby made my day when he said to pick out three bags. Decisions, decisions! The apple purse (below) was interesting but not very practical so I passed on that but wanted to share a pic of it since it was so cute.



I hope you all had a terrific holiday break whether it was spending it relaxing at home or out and about with friends and family. Here's hoping that 2015 will be a brighter year for all! 

8 comments:

  1. Sounds as if you've had quite a busy time, cooking, visiting and shopping....I do love those red gloves with their little bow, very cute!......can't really help about the cold blueish hands, could be poor circulation due to the cold, I grew up in a very cold place and as a child used to get chilblains on my toes and fingers - hate the cold and now live in a more temporate climate....the vintage block is a beauty...it would look good in an old frame, I guess it depends on how fragile it is, but it definitely deserves to be on show......Butterscotch is such a sweet dog, love the expression.....too too cute!!!! Wishing you a peaceful and fulfilling 2015!!!!!

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  2. What fun to go shopping with you vicariously! Wonderful to have your own stylist, too. You've mentioned how you don't really enjoy shopping for clothes, so this seems perfect for you.

    The quilt block you found is so sweet. I love the look of a single block framed, as Merilyn suggested.

    Have a wonderful New Year, filled with kindness and peace.

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  3. When my hands are cold during the winter (even with gloves) my finger nails turn blue. My Dr. says, just the cold with poor circulation and not to worry unless they turn white. When I come in from the cold I warm them slowly under some warm water and the normal color returns. Love you block, a pillow would be nice.

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  4. fun photos! I love Kate Spade. I got her polkadot tumbler for Christmas from my daughter.
    Happy New year

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  5. Glad you had such a fun holiday season! It looks like you found some great buys on your shopping excursions. I love the quilt block - it would look beautiful in a frame.

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  6. I would love to have the recipe for the sugarless flourless pumpkin cookies. I'm prediabetic and also love anything pumpkin, so these would be ideal.
    kellam.susan@yahoo.com

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  7. Sounds like you had a lot of fun shopping!
    I have had two friends you have had problems like you describe with your hands. I'm not saying this is what you have, but it might be worth checking with your doctor about. Here is a link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Raynaud%27s_phenomenon

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