Tuesday, December 8, 2009

The Simple Touch of Pomander Balls to Bring in the Scents of Christmas

I love the smells of Christmas goodies baking in the kitchen! It makes things so warm and cozy with the aromas of cinnamon, nutmeg, anise and cloves wafting through the air. But with the busyness of the season there might not be enough time to bake as much as we like. Adding pomander balls around the home is a way to bring in the same scents without turning on the oven!

Pomander balls go all the way back to the 15th century when they served as natural air fresheners for closets and drawers. Here are the items needed and steps below to create your own pomander balls.

  • Any citrus favorite...oranges, lemons, limes, or grapefruit
  • Toothpicks
  • Whole cloves
  • Ground cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, anise, lavender or rosemary
  • Resealable plastic bag
  • Ribbon for hanging

1. Use a toothpick to punch holes in your fruit. Fill the entire space or create a design to make things festive.

2. Push the whole cloves in the holes you just created.

3. Once the fruit is studded with the cloves, place ground spices and pomander ball in the resealable plastic bag and shake until fruit is coated. You can even add powdered orris root to encourage quick and even drying.

4. Remove fruit from the bag and tie on ribbon to hang in hallways, on the tree or in closets. You can also place the pomander balls in bowls to create scented displays.

These wonderful creations also make great gifts! Not only will your loved ones cherish a gift handmade by you, but you'll also be filling their home with scents to enjoy the whole season and beyond.

Friday, December 4, 2009

5 Favorite Handmade Finds

Etsy is my favorite place (: A magical wonderland filled with handmade goodies from all over the world. For those of you who are new to Etsy, it's so worth checking out! Their mission is to offer a marketplace for all things handmade enabling people to earn a living making things and to reconnect makers with buyers. With approximately 170,000 shops worldwide you can come back over and over again and never see the same thing twice! With the holiday season fast approaching it's the perfect place to shop!

Here are a few of my favorite handmade finds that might help you begin your holiday shopping...

This lovely pendant designed by Color Shop Stained Glass Studio reminds me of an elegant stained glass window in a grand Victorian. A must for the 5 favorites list! It's made with iridized amber glass and handcrafted using the copper foil method and Silver Lead Free Solder.

Round Stained Glass and Filigree Pendant

Oh so cute and one of a kind from Sewn Natural! These baby gnome dolls are handcrafted of all natural and upcycled fibers that are durable and natural. Any one of them would make a perfect friend for your little one. With a vintage vibe, they are carefully crafted with beautiful details. Safe for baby or a wonderful treat for an older child.

Gnome Baby Upcycled Doll

Village Clayworks has a wonderful collection of pottery inspired by nature and this bowl is one of my favorites (: Teal is my color so I couldn't pass this one by, but there are so many fun pieces making it hard to choose just one!

Who doesn't remember playing bingo as a kid? Seems the vintage cards have more style and function than the mass produced ones of today. Bring the magic of years past to the present with these whimsical sketchbook journals from Soma Venus!
Recycled Vintage Bingo Game Sketchbook Journal

Lirola is one of my favorite designers and this top just makes my heart sing! Pair it with a long sleeve black top and it's warm and cozy for the winter, but then when summer rolls around this top doesn't have to leave the closet because of the short ruffle sleeves! So versatile yet so chic.
Romantic Wrap Top with Short Ruffle Sleeves

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Thank Your Local Protectors

Usually I begin Christmas decorating on November 30th, but this year things have been moving rather slowly. On one of many errands to gather Christmas decorations this evening I came across several accidents with fire trucks and rescue crews racing to the scene. While sitting in traffic I began to pray for those involved in the accidents as well as those rushing to offer help. Thankfulness for those who put there lives on the line embraced my heart. Thankfulness for the families who send their loved ones out each day, not knowing if they will return.

This season offer a gift of thanks to those in your community who help keep you safe...fire fighters, police, service men and women, the crossing guard for your local school, etc. Reach out and let them know they're appreciated. Make it a family affair and get the kids involved. Bake cookies and decorate handmade cards. It doesn't cost much, but a handmade gift means more than you would ever imagine. Contact your local USO to see what items they might need for the troops and put together care packages for service members. Christmas cards written with notes of thanks for their service would mean the world too!

We have a fire station close by our home so I'll be dropping by with a basket of cookies to let them know someone is thinking about them. Doing little things like this throughout the holiday season brings the true meaning of Christmas closer. It's not about presents or glowing Christmas lights, but it's about sharing the gift of love with those around us. So begin thinking of ways to give thanks this season and get creative (:

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Small Kitchen? - IKEA is the Answer!

If you have a tiny kitchen the easiest way to get more space is to take things up! Up the walls, on the sides of things, on top of kitchen cabinets and refrigerators. We have a tiny kitchen and there has never been enough space for our pots and lids. Storing them in the oven got to be a bit much! The answer? IKEA!

Ah...one of my favorite stores (: This particular rail and basket series is BYGEL and only cost me $36. I looked everywhere for a wall system and couldn't find anything less than $250 for an entire unit. This system gives double the storage than any of the units I found and you can't beat it for under $40!!! Plus it allows space underneath for my rolling recycling bins. Here's a list of the items chosen and the cost: