"I do not claim that I can tell a story as it ought to be told. I only claim to know how a story ought to be told." -Mark Twain


New Year's Glitter

Yes, I realize it has been a week since New Years.....(as well as a week since I posted), so I'll claim both excuses as to why I am sharing a 
New Years mantel. 
I've included a bunch of pictures. I took all the pictures at night, so I tried so many different ways to show how pretty the mantel actually was. I took some with no flash, some with night time flash, some with only candle light, some with the side lights of the room on, some with the chandelier on......I tried everything. You will notice that as you (IF you) go through the pictures!!  
Besides explaining the reason for the different "lights" in the pictures, just a little about the mantel: I gathered together a variety of golds, silvers and whites. Obviously I used glass Christmas ornaments....Only they are not glass. I bought four big packages of these ornaments. I think there were 12 or 16 large ornaments in each package. All packages had a variety of gold and silver in different textures. I bought these several years ago after Christmas....and I paid $1.24 per box. Really. 
I bought the chenille garland at Nell Hills about five years ago. I wish I had bought more than one! Don't you hate that when you do that? Then it is too late to get more!

I bought the candles that look like damask at TJ Maxx several years ago. They are actually gold and creme colored. I paid very little for them, as they were on Maxx's clearance aisle. 

My son Fielding and his wife Kelly gave me the Pottery Barn platter several years ago. I like it all year long and I LOVE it at New Years. I sat it on a crystal wreath (also left over from Christmas). 
I threw in mercury glass candles and balls. I put in crystal and silver candle sticks. I used the bottoms to the glass "domes" my mother bought me for $2 each at a sale. I only used things I had. Not one item (besides the Pottery Barn platter) was even remotely expensive (yeah, since that was a gift!!) 

Those little antique crystal "salt-cellars" were my great aunts. Aren't they cute? 

The GOOD part of putting up mantels on the fireplace is that there is a great reflection from the huge mirror....Twice the candlelight!!
 The DOWN side of putting up mantelscapes is that the mirror is huge! ha! It really is a little out-of-control-huge. I am the only one that feels that way in the family apparently. 

I love the mix of silver, golds and cremes. I love the different textures. I love the mismatched collection. I love the irony that a bunch of cheapo stuff can look (kinda) elegant when grouped together. 

I know this picture is blurry, but I loved how it looked, so I included it! 

If you take the PB clock platter away, wouldn't his be a perfect mantelscape for a wedding or a reception? 
I hope this mantelscape shows what a person can do with very little money. Even when cheap not-so-expensive things are used, you can make them look nice when grouped. Nothing was purchased for the mantelscape. Isn't that the best kind? 
Linking with:


The Test of Time

I promise that 2013 is not going to be a year of
"Look what I did in 2012!"
BUT like yesterday, with the recipe highlights, 
these are highlights of projects I completed last year.
I've got lots more on the front and back burners for this year!
All links can be reached by clicking on the first words under each picture.

 BOOKS.BOOKS.BOOKS. The downside (or upside???) or being an English teacher. I was surprised at how many people were interested in me organizing a bookcase. Perhaps because you felt about yourself after seeing my (before) mess? 

 GOT GAME???  One of my personal favorites was this tiny sunporch that I transformed into a TV room decorated with vintage sports pictures and memorabilia. We lived here almost a year before I got the room together, but it was worth it. And the best part...I didn't buy a thing for the room! 

 FUNNEL FUN...Even though I had family members shaking their head over my funnel light, I still enjoyed taking a found funnel and making it fun. (English teacher alliteration). 

 SIGN OF THE TIMES...What do you do with an out-of-date table and a cool old sign?  Well put them together for one great conversation piece...and a pretty nifty table as well!

 EIGHT IS ENOUGH...Well this eight-legged table might be talking about how many times she has been painted in her life! 

 FLORENCE. Oh FLO..how I love thee. My daughter bought a complete bedroom set of the Frenchy furniture for her new house. As soon as I saw Annie Sloan Florence advertised I ordered it that day. Check out what we put under Florence. 

 COPY CAT of Pottery Barn. I took an old coffee table out of storage and painted it with my red chalk paint. I even post a picture at the end of the post showing you how I totally copy-catted (new word) PB. 

 ONE OF MY FAVORITES...What do you do when your husband wants to take (free) pieces to the dump because he can't stand them?  Well slap on the paint of course. You will love this make-over. 

MOTHER'S DAY 1982 is when I got this piece. My very first Mother's Day. If it weren't for that sentimental reason, I would have purged this piece long ago. I even surprised myself on this make-over. And I kept the inside old-school. That makes it even better. 

WHAT A BRIGHT IDEA!!  I (well Hubs and myself) took two old quilting-table pieces and made tri--pod lights out of them. I even scored cool lampshades on clearance that just make the lamps perfect. 

When I look back at some of my projects, I am reminded that every little bit makes it one step closer to what I envision my home to be.
Don't we probably all feel that way?

I have a piece in my kitchen right now that is turned upside down, waiting for some finishing touches.
It's always something!
Christmas break is over. I start back to school tomorrow. Second semester...I can do this! (That will be my sermon to the students too!)
Again, thanks to each of you for reading. It always amazes me!
Linking to:


Comfort Food

How about a "Best Of" Food Recap from 2012?  
I have said it before, but it is worth repeating. I cook all the time.
I have lots of children that still like to come home to eat.
I cook ....and rarely do I think about taking pictures of my food for the blog.
When I do think of it, the food is not "arranged" or "plated". 
I am just lucky to get a couple of pictures before it is devoured.
Keep this in mind when viewing the pics.
Just know...the food is good.
I have included the link back to each recipe.
Let me know when you try the recipes.
I love to hear what you think! 

SPASAGNA....one of my readers very favorite. So easy. SO good.

CHICKEN AND RICE...(and every thing nice. Creamy. Hmmm. Comfort food for sure)!

BEEFY ENCHILADA'S...My sons eat these faster than I can cook them..

CHICKEN ENCHILADAS...The delicious cousins to the beefy enchiladas....MMMMM.


MINI PUMPKIN CHEESECAKES...Another reader favorite. These were also featured on three other blogs. The funny thing is....I don't like pumpkin anything! ha! What do I know???

TURKEY COOKIES....SO much fun to make each year!

PINEAPPLE CREAM PIE....I always make two.  One is never enough. It. is. that. good!

 PINEAPPLE UPSIDE DOWN INDIVIDUAL CAKES!! Yes, I love pineapple. These are cute and fun. 

 BIRTHDAY TREATS.....Two big cookies sandwiched with icing and then roll the edges in sprinkles... These are a quick treat that looks like you spent a lot longer on them. They are a step above cookies, and they are great for all ages!  There is really no recipe except Cookies+Icing+Sprinkles= Happy Birthday Treats!!

 MEATBALLS...SO easy. SO good. SO fun to watch them disappear!

 MINI PIES and RED WHITE AND BLUE CUPCAKES...Both from the same link. Picnics never tasted so good!!

SMOTHERED STEAK...The ultimate comfort food and SO easy. I had a reader (and friend) write me and say that she uses "Golden Mushroom" soup on this and it is equally as delicious. I know I use Golden on all my roasts. Now I need to try it on Smothered Steak. You will love this. Assured!

 And...there is no recipe for this on my blog...but today we always eat black-eyed peas with ham....There is probably more ham than black-eyed peas...but it is good. ........And of course, the source of all good luck each year! Right???
I did have other recipes last year as well..
and of course lots of other recipes throughout the years. Look under "food" in my labels.
As always...be expecting more food this year too! 
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