Tuesday, December 30, 2014

The Clock is Ticking....Farewell 2014!

Hi Everyone!

It is hard to believe that is in time for another "year in review."  I am approaching my three year blogiversary.  I have really enjoyed my humble little blog and feel that I have grown and improved over the years.

I have a  long way to go and I am not even close to how I would like my blog to look, read or feel.  It has been a kooky three years with several health roadblocks that prevented me from really sharpening things up. While I am not planning to take the blog world by storm, I am interested in putting together quality posts with quality pictures to go along with it.  In that direction, I have purchased a Canon Rebel and have had fun these past few days playing around with it.  My photos won't become artistic works any time soon, but they will be a vast improvement over the old point and shoot! I also have more time to devote to projects,  posting, blogging and corresponding - all those things that are so important to being a good blogger.

Thank you to the many friends who have stuck with me during these three early years.  Sometimes I wonder if it is worth the time, but it always comes back to yes.  And with that, my 2015 Bluebird 1959 new year's resolution is to be the best blogger I can be.  That doesn't mean the best blogger. Just the best  I can be.  I hope you will join me for the ride!

Now on to my top five viewed posts:

Who would have thought a cheap little picture from Wal-Mart would be my top viewed post of the year?!  See the full post at I Fell in Love at Wal-Mart.

Found an olive bucket knock off at Wal-Mart for a song.  Check out how I transformed it to mimic the real one on the left at You Put the Suds in the Olive Bucket.

I found some cool old crates to use as storage in my newly created nook.  Read about them at Vintage Crates.

In a related and popular post, check out the nook Mr. Bluebird created for me. Look! A Nook!

These were so easy to make and I just love how they turned out.  Sadly, the two cats both passed this year, one just a few weeks ago. See how you can make your own Pet Silhouettes.

Again - and as always - thank you from the bottom of my heart for choosing to be a part of Bluebird 1959.  There are many, many blogs out there to read and I am humbled and grateful that you have made time to visit mine.  Happy New Year to you and yours.

Thanks for stopping by,

Cheers! Let's Have Champagne!

Hi Everyone!

I am back today with a really fun and easy entertaining idea, courtesy of my daughter who blogs at Bows for Justine. She is a twenty-something beauty, fashion and lifestyle blogger.

We were hosting a large, extended family Christmas gathering this past Sunday and the idea of a champagne bar just seemed to fit the occasion.  Little Bluebird took over and prepped, styled and served....she did an awesome job and I am so excited to share it with you!

 We purchased some two dollar champagne flutes and "fancied 'em up" with vanilla candy melts and gold & white sanding sugar on the rim.

Such a pretty detail and so very easy!  Simply melt the chocolates, dip the rim in the chocolate and quickly dip into the sanding sugar.  Elegant, with a total time investment of less than 30 minutes for twelve glasses.

We put a few bottles of "the bubbly" on ice in a Pottery Barn Rye Ice Bucket, then put out chunky, vintage glass pitchers (both Goodwill snags years ago) filled with orange and cranberry juices.  Then we placed assorted frozen fruits in a divided Nora Fleming dish. (Side note: Have you ever seen Nora Fleming's serving pieces? OMG, they are so cute!  They have a hole where you can change out the embellishment to suit the occasion.  I received this dish from a special friend and I can't wait to add more to my collection.  I have several of the embellishments, but for our party I chose the little gift.)

The fruit and juices could be added as each guest desired to customize their champagne.

We also had a bottle of sparkling, non-alcoholic  cider for those who were either too young or who preferred the non-alcoholic alternative.

I really love how it turned out and I couldn't be prouder of Little Bluebird for spear heading the idea and making it a reality.  I have been so busy with Christmas prep and helping Mr. Bluebird with his knee replacement surgery recovery - this fun, elegant touch would not have happened without her.

If you would like to see her post about this, please hop on over to her blog - I know she would love to have you visit and maybe even follow!

I think this champagne bar would fit a lot of occasions, especially New Years.  It is also a great budget saver, not to mention how fun it is to have a "signature" drink at your party.

How do you plan to ring in 2015?

Thanks for stopping by,

plastic champagne flutes ~ Wal-Mart
paper straws ~ Wal-Mart
Rye Ice Bucket ~ Pottery Barn
white tri-divided serving dish - Nora Fleming

Linking with:

Monday, December 29, 2014

Mmmm....The Sweet Smells of Christmas

Hi Everyone!

I don't know about you all, but I have started to take down some of my holiday decorations.  They have been up for a long, long time - and although I love them, I find myself pining (pun intended!) for a clean, less cluttered house.  I am also excited about taking things down because I have decided to completely re-organize my Christmas storage and will be starting over with all new coordinating bins.  I picked up nine of them today for starters.  I am looking forward to the neat, tidy rows on my basement shelves and hope this will streamline next year's decorating and take down.  Hope to share some photos as I go!

About a month ago, Debbie over at Debbie-Doos had an amazing Yankee Candle giveaway and lo & behold, yours truly was the lucky winner! And when I say lucky, I mean LUCKY!!!!

Holy cats! I didn't win one full size Yankee Candle, not two, not three, not even five.  I won SEVEN. Yes, I said seven full size Yankee Candles!!!!! What's more, they came in seven incredible holiday scents - my favorite genre of candle scents.

Right now, I am burning the Candy Cane Lane jar candle - mmmm, love the peppermint and vanilla scent.

Two of the candles were the wood wick style; this one is called Crackling Christmas Candy and let me tell you, it is heavenly!

This was quite the prize package and right up my alley. So thanks again to sweet Debbie.  Have you ever been over to Debbie's blog? She is one crafty lady and talented decorator, please check her out here and tell her I sent you.  I think you will love what she does!

Time to get organizing and packing away the Christmas goodies.  How about you?  How long do you keep the decor up - or have you taken it down already?

Thanks for stopping by,

Linking with:
Amaze Me Monday
Boogieboard Cottage
Metamorphosis Monday
Inspire Me Tuesday

Friday, December 26, 2014

Christmas Wrap Up (and a Yummy Recipe)

Hi Everyone!

Whew!!! It has been a whirlwind around here the last few days.  Mr. Bluebird had total knee replacement surgery last week, we had to say goodbye to our 17 year old cat as he lost his battle against cancer, and of course, we also celebrated the birth of our savior. Stress, sadness, and great joy - all wrapped into one. So goes life!

We live in a two story home and with Mr. Bluebird being unable to navigate stairs, we currently have a twin bed set up in the living room....not a decorator's dream this time of year, but of course, comfort is key - and really is what home should be all about.  I have jazzed it up with some Christmas plaid flannel sheets - trying to make the sow's ear into a silk purse!!! 

I just have a few pics to share today of our Christmas wrap up - cookie making on Christmas Eve (Have you seen the all ready rolled sugar cookies?  What a time saver!! I also have to say that I have never found a good sugar cookie recipe - ever - so I am happy with this product!)

All ready for the oven!  The horse and Scottie dog shapes are made from cookie cutters my mom used when I was a little girl, so although not Christmas-y, I would never think of leaving them off my annual holiday tray.

The three of us spent a low-key Christmas Eve at home, so after the cut out cookies, my daughter and I assembled a fun gingerbread house kit.  I think these things are pure genius - and it was only $7.98!

We did learn that, even with an easy kit, we are by no means cookie decorators, lol!  But I love the charm of it and it was fun to work on together.  Lots of laughter went into the making of this house!

We dined on lobster tail, bacon wrapped tenderloin, and wine.  We finished the evening off by watching, "It's a Wonderful Life."  Before we knew it, it was time to fill the stockings, lay out the presents, and head to bed.

We had my dear mom over for Christmas day lunch.  I filled my pretty pottery vase with burlap poinsettias and holiday greens.

I like to use my old Currier Ives winter plates for at least one holiday meal each year.  I like how they look with the poinsettia runner and table cloth.  The salad bowl favor is just a $2.00 ornament from Wal-Mart.

Sweet treats to nibble on.  I also served spinach artichoke dip with pita chips as an appetizer.  Yum!

Our main course was garlic roasted chicken with twice baked potatoes, but the biggest hit of the meal was this yummy salad.  I just found this recipe in the Milwaukee Journal last Sunday and I am so glad I decided to try it.  So easy to make and such a colorful salad for this time of year.  I am including the recipe below in case you would like to try it.

Spinach, Pear, and Pomegranate Salad
1/3 cup walnut pieces - toasted
3T apple cider vinegar
2T olive oil
1T Honey
1t Dijon mustard
1/4t salt
1/8t pepper
8 ounces baby spinach
2 ripe pears, cored and sliced
1/2 cu pomegranate seeds

Whisk together vinegar, olive oil, honey, mustard, salt and pepper. In a large bowl,  combine spinach, walnuts, pears and pomegranates. Add dressing to taste and toss gently to mix and coat well.  If desired, top with bleu cheese. Serves 4.

Milwaukee Journal 12/21/14

Lastly, a picture of myself and my partner in Christmas crime!

We are hosting a large party on Sunday for my extended family, so preparations are underway for that.  I have a super yummy main dish sandwich recipe to share with you all in the coming days - it's what I will be serving on Sunday.

For the most part, I am pretty sure this is the last of Christmas posts for me....2014 is in the books and I am turning my thoughts to the New Year.  Oh, I might sneak a Christmas pic or two yet....but then again.....!

Thanks for stopping by,

Linking with:
Pieced Pastimes Saturday Sparks

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Christmas Blessings

Well......the last package has been wrapped, the decorating is as done as it's going to get, the shopping frenzy is over. Christmas is finally here!

For me, I will be quietly celebrating with Mr. Bluebird and our daughter today. Tomorrow, we will host a small dinner party, and then on Sunday we will open the doors for a large extended family, full on party and Packer watching extravaganza!

I want to wish you all a wonderful, joyful Christmas. Thank you for stopping by my blog and spending time with me. I appreciate every visit!  I am hoping to have more time to devote to my blog in 2015, starting with a complete page design overhaul and improved photography, courtesy of my shiny, new Canon Rebel!  It will be awhile before I figure out all the nuances and capabilities of this camera, but I will get there! (I hope...)

Merry Christmas to you and yours - may God bless you,


Sunday, December 7, 2014

Nostalgic Ornaments

Hi Everyone!

Hope you all enjoyed the "getting close to Christmas" weekend!  I put the finishing touches on our main Christmas tree yesterday.  For this tree, I don't have a theme or a look or a style. I suppose you could call it nostalgic.  

It is filled with the sweet and precious ornaments our family was acquired over the years.

This cute kitty  peeking out of a basket is a favorite.....

The reindeer came from McDonald's, circa 1976! (I was still in high school!!!)

Mr. Bluebird's favorite.  A gift from one of my sisters-in-law, many years ago!

This is a cute idea made by the mom of a classmate of my daughter when they were in elementary school.  Just a plastic spoon and some other bits glued on to make an angel.  The fun part is, the back of the spoon had a Tootsie Roll Pop attached to it when they gave these away to all of their classmates.  Too cute!

Any ornament that says "mom" on it is okay in my book! Also, the most precious and beautiful ornaments on our tree are the ones made by the little fingers of our daughter when she was a little girl.  The puzzle piece ornament was a Christmas craft done with her Girl Scout troop.

And......any ornament with "dad" on it is also okay in my book, too -  lol! Of course, a cute Big Bird in a nest is also worthy of a distinctive spot on the Bluebird tree.

Love this little wooden snowman....made by someone who once designed and sold items to Gooseberry Patch. They only sell cookbooks now, but I remember when they had all kinds of great merchandise! Any of you remember those days?

A tattered felt stocking from Walgreens, holding a picture of our daughter in her Christmas Eve pj's.  In the distance, you can see a sweet "It's A Girl" ornament.

A mini Barbie case.....I am pretty sure I had the real deal growing up!

This ornament came from a very special friend in the late 80's.  Do any of you remember the Kitty Cucumber line?  I loved that silly little cat!

Santa coat - reminiscent of a dance costume my daughter once wore!

A now politically incorrect ornament made from a metal McDonald's ashtray! My daughter made it in kindergarten.  Love this!

One of my most special ornaments, picked out with a friend back in our high school days.  Every year ,hanging it on the tree, I feel like I am sixteen again.

This silly guy, Looney Tunes' Yosemite Sam, reminds of the summer I played him at Great America in Gurnee Illinois!

A headless gingerbread man....another precious ornament made by my daughter way back when.

A juice can lid turned ornament, also by our daughter years ago.

To some...a crumpled piece of foil with a blob of blue glue on it.  To me, one of the most beautiful ornaments I own.

Just a glimpse of the show stopping tree in our living room! While I love all the themed trees, the perfectly planned and primped trees, I don't think I could ever change the way I decorate this tree in our home.  The stories, the memories......it just feels right to open those precious bits and baubles each year and put them in a prideful, loving place.  Yes, I am a sentimentalist and my mash up of a Christmas tree fits me perfectly!!!

How about you? Do you do a theme tree or do you decorate with a collected over time look?

Thanks for stopping by,

Linking with:
Monday Funday
Amaze Me Monday
Coastal Charm Show & Share
Metamorphosis Monday
Boogieboard Cottage
Inspire Me Tuesday
Party in Your PJ's

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Sweet Christmas Dreams

 Hi Everyone!

I added a bit of Christmas to our master bedroom today.  I usually don't go too crazy decorating the space, but I do like to add a few touches.  Today I am showing you the bedding.

I keep the white, cotton matelesse on the bed most of the year.  I added my Pottery Barn,  black toile shams and matching comforter at the foot of the bed. The pattern is called Matine, and although it is still available in other colors, the black is no longer available.  I also bought the red and white quilted king shams from Pottery Barn at a deep discount (they are also no longer available).  Love the pop of red this time of year. I could not get the white background to photograph correctly, but they are definitely a white, not a khaki...they are very crisp looking in person.  While we are talking Pottery Barn, the burlap "jingle" pillow is also from there and was a gift from a dear friend last year.  (Good news! It is still in their holiday lineup this year!)

The large print is from Kirkland's and used to hang in our living room for several years.  It had been in the garage for year or so, waiting to be taken to Goodwill.  I decided to bring it back in for the winter - the colors are perfect for a cozy, Christmas look   The plates are from T J Maxx and add some interest.  They are just simple cocktail plates, and each pattern came in a set of four for 3.99 - can't beat that! I have had them in my stash since last spring and finally found a place for them...for now!

I will have more master holiday decor to share in the coming weeks.  How about you? Do you only decorate the public areas of your home or do you add some holiday bling to the private spaces too?

Thanks for stopping by,

Linking with:
Imparting Grace
Amaze Me Monday
Wow Us Wednesdays

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Christmas Sprinkles

Hi Everyone!

Oh my gosh, December 2nd! I am still having trouble wrapping my head around how fast the last part of this year is going.  Hallmark Channel is already advertising their Valentine's movie.....say what?!!

I have really gotten off to a good start with all my Christmas prep, so I am enjoying these days despite how fast it seems each day goes by.  I hope you are feeling good about where you are at also and are taking time to enjoy the season!  I sometimes get so caught up in all the trappings of the holiday, trying to make things "perfect,"  and come December 26th, I find myself asking, "Is that it?"  This year I have vowed to live the season to the fullest, to be present in the moments with my family and friends.  The perfectionist in me says I should do this or do that, but I am going to try very hard to loosen up and lighten up some of my self-imposed holiday burdens and really enjoy the true blessings in my life.  Now that I've gotten THAT  off of my chest.......................

Today I just wanted to show you a "sprinkling" of this year's Christmas decor.  Hope you enjoy!

The Foyer

French Drying Rack in a Kitchen Corner

Vintage Bottles From Local Companies in a Longaberger Basket

Hope enjoyed the "sprinkles!"  I will be back soon with more holiday cheer, but right now I am going to enjoy a cup of hot chocolate and admire our tree.

Thanks for stopping by,

Linking with:
Coastal Charm Show & Share
Creative Country Mom's Christmas in the Country
Wow Us Wednesday
Party in Your PJ's