Scott & I have been engaged for almost a year now and the wedding plans are coming along...LIE!  Actually there are not many plans other than we have our location, a family barn located in Michigan.  I did a little dress shopping and was "wedding inspired" a feeling I'm sure will quickly pass.  It's very odd how into other weddings I can get but when it comes to my own I want little to do with it.  The thought of everyone staring at me as I walk down the aisle makes me want to break out in hives.  Needless to say I found a cute craft on pinterest that I thought would look gorgeous in the barn and had all the needed materials already on hand.  Let the crafting begin!

Thank you to A Place For Us for providing the idea and instructions.  I followed her steps to the letter and it was a very simple process!  For an array of flowers I played around with the number of petals and the shape of each flower.  Instead of leaving them a natural brown I wanted to go for a more polished, antique look so I used a little gold spray paint.  The end result was beautiful.  I was amazed at how the gold spray paint looked on the brown paper bags, not too gold just a enough to give it a golden shimmer.  Since I've already started decorating for the holiday season I added these to my mirror.  The brown paper next to my lighted rustic JOY sign matched perfectly!
The wait is finally over my homemade vanilla is done and ready to use. It was so fulfilling to open those bottles and smell that sweet creamy vanilla smell.

I found a couple of free printable Homemade Vanilla labels online but wasn't able to make them work with really cute Martha Stewart labels I bought at Staples. Yes it's true Martha is now EVERYWHERE, grocery stores, office supplies stores, and craft stores. There was a huge selection of labels in her line at staples. Labels that were dishwasher safe and perfect for canning, removable adhesive labels, and an array of colors, shapes and sizes. I was beyond excited to find kraft paper labels, these were the ones I decided on. After many attempts at trying to make one of the pre-designed labels fit I finally chose my sanity over a trendy homemade vanilla label design. After a slight meltdown over wireless printers and printer cartridges I was able to complete my labels, and I love them. If you could have seen the care I took in cleaning each bottle before applying the label you would have died laughing. One thing remains clear...I need a life!  

Here is the link to my original post with instructions included, click here.

Vanilla beans from Beanilla
4oz amber bottles from Rose Mountain Herbs
Labels from Martha Stewart Office (available at Staples)

Note: I used 3 bottles of 750ml bottles of vodka and got 17 4 oz bottles of vanilla from them.  I did have to dump some vodka out when I put the vanilla beans in the jar.  Next time I would transfer the vodka and beans to mason jars.

Below are some links to the free labels templates I found:
Style Me Pretty
Marry This
Live Laugh Rowe
Simply Notable

This week I received a picture from my Aunt Barbara of her sparkly red nails all ready for Christmas.  Of course I was inspired and feeling the holiday spirit and decided to find some fun holiday nail art.  Now this weekend when you're getting ready to celebrate the holidays maybe you can squeeze in a little extra time for a manicure!
Aunt Barbara's glittery red nails!
And just because I couldn't help myself....doggie Christmas nailpolish.
It's the most wonderful time of the year, the time of year when I stop eating real food or meals and live solely on holiday treats and coffee alone!  I consider this my own personal Christmas tradition whereas Scott considers this me eating like a 5 year old.  He loves to remind me that his 4 year old niece does indeed eat better than I do.  What can I say, I'm a stickler for traditions.

Scott and I did all of our holiday baking this past weekend.  That's right, hold on to your seats kids because Scott actually offered to help me this year and I actually allowed him in the kitchen.  If you know us you know that the thought of Scott in the kitchen is enough to push me over the edge.  I can't stand watching him slowly fumble around as he tries to figure out how to do something.  It takes me about .5 seconds before I throw my hands in the air and shout "THAT'S IT..move move move..just let me do it".  Watching him stir the marshmallows for the corn flake wreaths this year took all of my will power, I was in constant search of my "happy place" for 5 minutes.  So much so that I am considering this my good deed for all mankind in 2012.  However he does bake a mean frozen pizza.  

I have included our baking list along with the recipes for each cookie below. 

Katie & Scott's Holiday Baking List 2012
  • Chocolate Sugar Cookies
  • Peanut Butter Blossoms
  • Corn Flake Wreaths
  • Buckeyes

Chocolate Sugar Cookies - Recipe

Chocolate Sugar Cookies
by Kraft

2 cups flour
1 tsp.baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
4 squares BAKER'S Unsweetened Chocolate
1 cup  butter or margarine
1-1/2 cups sugar, divided
1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla

MIX flour, baking soda and salt; set aside. Microwave chocolate and butter in large microwaveable bowl on HIGH 2 min. or until butter is melted. Stir until chocolate is completely melted. Add 1 cup sugar, egg and vanilla; mix well. Stir in flour mixture until well blended. Refrigerate 15 min. or until dough is easy to handle.

HEAT oven to 375°F. Shape dough into 1-inch balls; roll in remaining sugar. Place, 2 inches apart, on baking sheets.

BAKE 8 to 10 min. or until centers are set. Cool on baking sheets 1 min. Remove to wire racks; cool completely.

Peanut Butter Blossoms - Recipe 

Peanut Butter Blossoms 
by All Recipes

1/2 cup shortening
1/2 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
1 large egg
2 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 3/4 cup flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
Extra Sugar
48 Hershey Kisses

Heat oven to 375 degrees F.

Mix together shortening, peanut butter, brown sugar and 1/2 cup sugar. Add egg, milk and vanilla. Beat well.  Stir together flour, baking soda and salt. Add to creamed mixture. Beat on low speed until stiff dough forms.  Shape into 1-inch balls. Roll in sugar. Place 2 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheet.

Bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until golden brown.  Top each cookie immediately with an unwrapped chocolate piece, pressing down firmly so that cookie cracks around edge. Remove from cookie sheets to cool.

Corn Flake Wreaths - Recipe

Corn Flake Wreaths
by Kelloggs

1/3 cup margarine or butter
1 package (10 oz. about 40) regular marshmallows or 4 cups miniature marshmallows
1 teaspoon green food coloring
6 cups Corn Flakes
Red Sprinkles

Mix - Melt margarine in large saucepan over low heat. Add marshmallows and stir until completely melted. Remove from heat. Stir in food coloring.  Add corn flakes cereal. Stir until well coated.  Portion warm cereal mixture evenly by using a 1/4 cup dry measure coated with cooking spray. Using sprayed fingers and or spoon, quickly shape into individual wreaths. Top with red sprinkles.

Buckeyes - Recipe

by All Recipes

1 1/2 cups creamy peanut butter
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 cups sifted confectioners sugar
6 ounces semi sweet chocolate chips
2 tablespoons shortening

Mix peanut butter, butter, vanilla, and confectioners' sugar with hands to form a smooth stiff dough.  Shape into balls using 2 teaspoons of dough for each ball.  Place on baking sheet lined with wax paper and refrigerate.

Melt shortening and chocolate together in a metal bowl over a pan of lightly simmering water.  Stir occasionally until smooth, and remove from heat.

Dip balls into melted chocolate using a wooden toothpick.  Return to wax paper, chocolate side down, and remove toothpick.  Repeat with remaining balls and refrigerate for 30 minutes to set.

*Note: I doubled the  melted chocolate mixture to cover all of my prepared balls.
LCN is now selling these wire Christmas tree earrings in our shop.  Each pair of earrings are handmade using 22 gauge wire and adorned with five swarovski crystals.  Treat yourself to a cute new pair of holiday earrings or grab them as gifts for family & friends!  All earring purchases will ship USPS Priority mail to ensure a speedy delivery!

$12.00 - click here!
After seeing so many cute wrapping ideas on Pinterest I really thought about doing some fancy wrapping this year. Then December approached and like every other year things all of a sudden got crazy. I decided this year I did not want to stress about every little detail and instead wanted to have a much more "simple" approach to the holidays. Even when I was shopping I didn't spend hours wracking my brain for the perfect gift. Instead I just enjoyed walking through the stores and finding something that made me think of someone and something I thought they might enjoy.

I decided to use kraft wrapping paper with a simple design. Instead of ribbon I opted for using tulle. I've been a huge fan of tulle since I used it to make a bow on a wine bottle last year. For tags I grabbed some simple glitter tags from target, which I love and think add a little something to the "simple" wrapping. Needless to say I'm obsessed! I love the pop of color each package gets from the tags.

Cheers to enjoying the simple pleasures!