Monday, October 25, 2010

DIY Match Boxes

You have probably seen the match boxes you can purchase at cute little boutiques that have fun prints on them.  I absolutely love collecting matches, whether they come from a bar or purchased at a shop.  I thought I'd take the idea and put my own twist on it. I'd try painting them.  I also did a decoupage one..
How nice and 'thrifty' to make a small gift for someone.  Just add a candle with your match box creation.. instant one-of-a-kind gift!  Great idea for hostess gifts....

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Glasses, glasses

Thanksgiving seems to be the holiday that I choose to run around and stress about what I am going to use to set the table.  In the past I would wait til the last minute to realize that I never had enough glasses to set a 'perfect' table for my company/family.  I would then choose to run around in search for the mega box o'glasses that are usually  stacked in aisles or on tables in large box stores for people in the same situation. Unprepared losers.. I manage to get thru the table setting disaster only to find out that I will soon approach yet the same problem the following year. How did I always end up with only 5 of the 12 glasses?

 I needed to become creative and yes, thrifty and begin to 'collect' stemware/glasses.  I would scour thrift stores, garage sales and antique markets.  I came to realize quickly that the glassware they were trying to sell were only sold in sets of two, three, five... etc.  Sometimes  I would only find one... the ONE I always fell in love with of couse.  Other people were in the same situation I was and were trying to pawn off their cast offs.
And voila, creative solution:  Buy sets of two or four and mix n match! Yes... I have since become addicted to searching out fun and colorful glasses to set for the holidays or even simple get-to-gethers.  So when a glass magically disappears or accidentally breaks.... I don't freak out, it just gives me an excuse to find new ones.  Ha!

With the holidays quickly approaching, here are a couple of my favorite warm drinks to serve in your new found glassware:

3/4 cup water
3/4 cup sugar or honey
1 to 2 cinnamon sticks
1 orange w/10 whole cloves inserted
1 bottle cheap red wine
warm over stove and serve.  if you don't wanna be martha stewartishy...i buy premade mulling spices and put in cloth tea bags...

Hot Buttered Rum
1 cup sugar
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 cup sweat cream butter
2 cups vanilla ice cream (softened)
boiling water
combine sugar, b sugar and butter in saucepan. stir til dissolved
in bowl w/mixer combine mixture with ice cream and beat til smooth
store refrigerated (up to 2 weeks)
for each serving, fill mug with 1/4 mixture, 1 ounce rum and 3/4 boiling water, sprinkle w/nutmeg
You may want to play with the different levels..more mixture with less water...rum...etc.  Of course the non adults love this without the rum. 

Tuesday, October 19, 2010


Fall has set in to lovely Northwestern Montana.. and one of my fondest Fall memories from childhood were roasted chestnuts. Walking around the Holiday Markets in Germany with warm chestnuts in a simple paper cone. And the fragrance..spellbounding. My dad's large fingers peeling them for me so as to not have to take my mittens off. To this day I still try to find that smell in store bought candles.

One brisk morning my son and I ventured out on a quick stroll with the dog, and to my surprise we found some of the lime green/brown spiky pods on the ground, surrounding a tree, a chestnut tree! We started pulling apart the fleshy covering to expose our treasures. I was so excited! My son thought I had lost my mind when I explained that you roast and eat these 'nuts'.

I realize that I should have taken the time and roast them outside on our fire pit, on coals or over a gas range in a perforated cast iron pan so that the flames engulf the shell and they get slightly blackened.... but I went ahead and 'googled' how to do it inside.. the oven. Yes, it would be easier to have a street vendor hand you over a bag or paper cone of fresh, warm chestnuts, but the smell and experience I had with my son will hopefully remain with him. And maybe he will be on a stroll with his children someday and stumble upon a chestnut tree...

*preheat oven to 425

*with a paring knife, cut an x on each

*arrange on baking sheet with x pointing up

*roast 15-25 min, til tender and easy to peel

*peel while warm

Enjoy the rich, sweet tender chestnuts with a beautiful red wine.
Make sure they are not horse chestnuts! You can't eat those..