How to Sugar Fruit for Decorations

I like to decorate with nature during the holidays. It can be surprisingly elegant!
Frosted fruit on a glass pedestal
surrounded by candles makes an
elegant dining table Christmas centerpiece
I like to frost fruit, evergreens and laurel leaves to place in garlands on my mantel and centerpieces in the dining room. It's very easy to do, and so beautiful. Here's how...

I like to add dried hydrangeas and votive candles in mercury glass holders among the sugared fruit. Try frosting the fruit on a wreath; I've done it after the fruit was on the wreath and it turned out great!

Sugared fruit ready for decorating
There is nothing as satisfying as making a homemade Christmas. From decor to food, it is from the heart and makes the holiday season memorable.
One of my  many feather trees placed throughout the home

From our family to yours,

Candy Cane Crafts

I love decorating my kitchen with Christmas sweets during the holidays; garlands of cutout cookies, mason jars lined up, filled with red and green candies, and bottle brush trees on the side board with foil candy kisses all around. There are also plenty of nostalgic candy canes to make their way into kitchen decorations and cups of hot chocolate. I found the following cute ways to use candy canes. My nieces and nephews will like some of these! 
(Click on the description to go to the links that tell how to make all of these goodies)
Candy Cane Reindeer
Candy cane sleighs

Candy cane white chocolate climbers
Candy cane, marshmallow and chocolate kiss snowmen
Candy cane theme decorations

Rice Crispy Cookie pops
Snowball pops
Candy Cane Cake
Yummy Cupcakes
Christmas dessert table by Amanda's Parties to Go

Quiet Days of Winter

"Snow Nancy" and "Snow Glen"
The first hard freeze is here this week, firmly closing the door on autumn and kick-starting winter. Last weekend I scurried to cover the root crops, ready the well house and mulch the perennials. Containers were placed into the protection of our porches and fountains were covered to keep ice at bay.
Our home covered in a blanket of snow
One night in the 20's and autumn was rushed off the stage. Now, the temps fight to reach above freezing during the day and are in the low teens at night. The wind chill places temps below zero...ouch! The pond is completely iced over and our walks are on forest floors that crunch from heaved, frozen ground.
icicles decorate our eaves
Today was our first snowfall of the season, so we made a huge pot of homemade chili and are ready to snuggle in the sunroom as we watch the flakes fall.
A winter wonderland just outside our door
The hustle of the holidays turns my attention away from gardening, but my love of all things garden-y make their way even into the decorating. Donning my winter garb, I have a hot drink in one hand and pruners in the other as Cotton (our yellow lab) and I stroll down our woodland paths. I cut berries, pines and sprigs of boxwood. How satisfying to walk with God in the crisp, clean air on such beautiful mornings!
Even my Christmas decorations are all
things "nature and garden-y"
Time for cutout cookies and hot cocoa. 
Happy holidaying!

Easy, Wonderfully Scented Cinnamon Cutouts

The Thanksgiving turkey hasn't been completely devoured, yet I'm ready for Christmas decorating! 

Forget fighting the crowds at the mall, I'm gathering holly, pines, dry hydrangea blossoms and rose hips from our woods to start putting the jolly into my holiday.
My favorite oldies-but-goodies carols are loaded on the iPod and I'm ready to make home smell as wonderful as it feels. I make these cinnamon ornaments every year. 
So many uses...add jute or a ribbon (I like torn fabric) and hang them on the tree or garland, put them in a wreath, add them to a gift bow or toss them in potpourri. Place them anywhere you want a homespun look with the smell of cinnamon.
You can paint them with white "puffy 3-d" paint from the craft store if you want them to look like gingerbread.
Have fun making these and enjoy the scent of the season for weeks!