Monday, December 31, 2012

My Top 12 of 2012

January started out providing 5 of my top 12.

Larissa Hill Designs

Larissa Hill Designs

Larissa Hill Designs

Larissa Hill Designs

Larissa Hill Designs

February brought favorite #6!

                                                    Faux Sew Pillows

Larissa Hill Designs

I completely fell off the map through July while focusing on Boobapalooza!!!

In July, I started Painting For Charity once again, #7.

Larissa Hill Designs

I was back creating garters with love for my niece, Natalie.  I also designed a wedding card box and a wedding keepsake album for my sister-in-law,               #8, #9 & #10.

Larissa Hill Designs

In November, I reinvented an old family heirloom, #11.

And then followed it up with a handmade Military Wreath, #12!

I'm looking forward to sharing more repurposing, refinishing and recycling with you in 2013!!!

Let me know what you think....


Sunday, December 30, 2012

2012 Year In Review

As I look back on this past year, I think the best place to start is my          
  1. Complete the projects that I start!  Well, I managed to complete some of them but to be honest with you, I'm seriously ADD and multi-tasking is a part of my being.  Needless to say, I did not get all of my projects finished but I did manage to complete some of them.  And, you can find them at  Completed Projects.
  2. My second goal was to redesign my blog!  Once again, I managed to achieve this goal and given that I'm technologically challenged, I feel pretty good about adding borders, redesigning my header and introducing a blog signature.  WOOHOO!!!
  3. 3rd on my list of resolutions was to start a LINKY party and I did it!!! I feel particularly good about hosting Season's Eatings however silly it may seem to seasoned bloggers.  A special thank you goes out to the bloggers who participated.
  4. #4 on my list was to take an Art class.  It didn't happen!!!
  5. And finally, my most aggressive goal was to run a 5K.  I still can't believe I put this on my list.  Well, I tried my best but these old hips just aren't meant for running!!!
And so it goes, 3 out of 5 ain't bad and I think I can almost say 4 since I tried to run.  

This year, I've decided that my one and only resolution is to do my BEST in life, in love and in DIYing!!!

Have you set any goals or made any resolutions for 2013?  I'd love to hear them!


Thursday, December 20, 2012

Merry ChristmasTime!!!

Last year at this time, I shared a photo of our family table in my post Our Christmas.  In my tablescape, I included treasured photos of loved ones who have passed away, as a remembrance of their love and presence in our lives.

These photos included a picture of my mother and father (deceased), my in-laws, paternal and maternal grandparents and photos of our closet family friends.  These pictures brought much joy to our holiday gathering and we delighted in sharing stories about our loved ones.

This year especially, please hold your family and friends close.  Too many families will have an empty seat at their table this Christmas.  Remember those who have gone before us and celebrate their lives as you share in your Christmas dinner.

 Vintage Christmas Card

Merry Christmas!!!


Wednesday, December 19, 2012

ChristmasTime Pretzel Bites!!!

As long as I can remember, we have made Pretzel Bites for all the children in our neighborhood.  And believe it or not, some of those kids are now 20+ years old and still requesting them.

The recipe is so quick and easy to prepare that even little ones can join in.

The basic ingredients include pretzel snaps, candy melts in various colors and Christmas M&Ms.

Line your baking pan with parchment paper and cover it with pretzel snaps. There are no rules with this recipe. Next, place one candy melt on the top of each pretzel and place in the 250 degree preheated oven for approximately 2-3 minutes.

Remove them from the oven and place your Red & Green M&Ms on each candy melt. Some people are pretty particular when it comes to the placement, always placing the M down but everyone eats them so quickly, it really doesn't matter. Now, set them aside and let them cool.

I love to use printed boxes of all shapes and sizes that I line with plastic bag. It is after all the presentation that matters, even to the little ones. I then toss in my Pretzel Treats and tie them up in a coordinating ribbon.

Close the box and add your tag and they are ready to delivery to the 'little' and 'big' ones in your neighborhood!!!

Another quick Pretzel recipe idea is to purchase chocolate covered pretzels, and drizzle them with your choice of melted candy discs as shown below.

Place them in your favorite container, wrap them up and deliver them to your favorite person!!!

Let me know what you think....


Sunday, December 16, 2012

An Open Letter To Teachers by Allison Hepworth

Today, I would like to share a letter by Allison of House Of Hepworths that I received today as a subscriber and it is simply a message from her heart that I feel everyone should read.

An Open Letter To Teachers

I sent the following letter to my kids’ teachers and all of their past teachers (that I have contact info on). I have been thinking about the Newtown tragedy since it happened and have shed many tears over it. I can’t do much to help the people of Newtown, but I can thank my children’s teachers for all they do and let them know I appreciate them. Hug your children extra tight this weekend, and thank your children’s teachers for all they do. A simple thank you goes a long way.
I have been deeply affected by what happened in Newtown on Friday. I can’t help but think “What if that were my child in their situation”. I wanted to run to school on Friday and bring my babies home early and never send them back.
As a parent, I want to keep them safe and out of harms way. However, I have been reminded through learning more about this tragedy that each of the teachers at their school love their students. You love your students. You teach them. You worry about them. You laugh with them and play with them. You stay up at night thinking about them. You protect them.
I just wanted to take a minute to thank you for caring about my kids and loving them. For worrying about them. And for teaching them. For helping them to be the best they can be.
I want you to know that I am grateful for you and for teachers like you. I want you to know that I know my kids are in good hands while in your care each day. I know you will protect them and keep them safe.
Thank you for all you do. I appreciate you. I’m sure you don’t hear this enough. I need to say thank you more. So Thank You. Thank you for not only teaching, but for caring about and shaping the lives of these little people.
I still remember each of my elementary school teachers fondly. As an adult I have even gone back and visited them in their classrooms. They are forever imprinted on my heart, as you will be on my child’s. You may not feel it every day, but you are making such an impression that these children will carry with them forever. Thank you.
As much as I want to keep my kids home and safe, I will send them back to school Monday because I know that they are safe and loved in your care. I trust that they are in good hands. It comforts me to know you are watching out for them and care about them. One thing I have learned from the Newtown tragedy is how much these teachers cared for their students. They didn’t flee and abandon the kids. They protected them. Some even took bullets for them. This tragedy has reminded me how lucky I am that my kids have such wonderful people caring for them. They are in good hands with you. Thank you.
My children do not know about the Newtown tragedy. I was going to tell them but couldn’t find the words. I don’t want them to be scared to go to school. I don’t want to steal their youth and innocence by having them worry that they might be gunned down during math class. If there is any way you can keep a lid on this at school I would greatly appreciate it, as I’m sure most parents would agree. If you have any pointers for talking to my children about this please let me know. I just can’t think of any way to present this without them being afraid of going back to school and being attacked by bad guys. Maybe it’s wrong of me to not tell them. I don’t know what the right way to handle this is. Telling your child that two classrooms of kids were murdered while at school is not something you’ll find in the parenting handbook. Please keep that in mind as you overhear chatter on Monday.
Again, thank you for all you do. We need more people like you in the world. Thank you for giving me comfort in knowing that my babies are loved and cared for while in your hands. Thank you for not only teaching them, but for being a role model to them. They say it takes a village to raise a child. Thank you for being part of my village. I couldn’t have asked for anyone better.
Allison Hepworth
edited to add: After some gentle prodding from you guys, I told my kids this morning about the tragedy. My 5th grade son already knew! Apparently a friend at a party we were at last night told him. My 3rd grade daughter was horrified. After a few minutes of discussion she is now fine. My kids didn’t want to talk about details of the attack, they only wanted to talk about all the safety measures at their school and how they will be safe if something bad happens at their school. I felt comforted knowing they have some pretty good lock-down measures in place. Thanks everyone for your encouragement. I do feel better now that they know.
xoxo, Allison
  HoHnew1 copy
Thank you, Allison

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Gift Wrapped!!!

What do you get when you combine a monogrammed travel mug, homemade biscotti and a Macy's gift card?

Larissa Hill Designs

You get the perfect gift for your hairdresser, your babysitter, your secretary, your child's teachers etc....

Add a touch of crinkle paper, cellophane, decorative Christmas ribbon and a mercury glass ornament and voila....

Let me know what you think...


Tuesday, December 11, 2012

These Are A Few Of My Favorite Things!!!

This is truly the best time of year for creative DIY ideas so I thought I'd share a few of my favorite DIY Xmas Things with you!!!

Sleigh Bells Ring by Censational Girl is absolutely sensational!!!

diy sleigh bells craft
Censational Girl

From Our Unexpected Journey, Adrienne created this gorgeous holly monogram wreath!

Christmas Wreath DIY

I'm loving this DIY Rustic NOEL Decor by Melissa @ The HappierHomemaker

rustic noel wood block decor
The HappierHomemaker

In 2009, Matt & Becky shared with us this stunning ornament wreath. This EASY and affordable tutorial was worth resurrecting and sharing with you.

And last but not least, I had to re-share with you one of my very own favorites, Musical Santas!!!

Larissa Hill Designs
Let me know what you think....


Sunday, December 9, 2012

Seasons Eatings & My 1st Linky Party!!!

One of my favorite SNL skits is NPR's Delicious Dish Schweddy Balls with Alec Baldwin from "Seasons Eatings".  I laugh harder each and every time I watch it.

I believe it is a tradition in the bloggersphere to feature a favorite holiday recipe at this ChristmasTime!.  So, I thought I'd share one of my bite size treats, Homemade Biscotti that I gift to friends and family at Christmas.

I found this 'semi-homemade' recipe years ago in our local paper. I call it 'semi-homemade' because it uses a box of cake mix as its base. The original recipe from Duncan Hines is very simple.

Lemon Cranberry Biscotti
1 pkg Duncan Hines Moist Deluxe White Cake Mix
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup butter or margarine, melted
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 cup chopped, dried sweetened cranberries
1/2 cup chopped nuts
2 tblspn grated lemon
chocolate chips optional 

Basic Directions
Preheat oven @ 350
Combine cake mix, flour, butter, eggs and vanilla and beat at low speed
Mix in cranberries, nut and lemon rind until well blended.
Divide dough in half and shape into 2 12" x 2" logs.*
Place on baking sheet lined with parchment paper.

*I divide  my dough into 4 sections and place in loaf pan for smaller biscotti.

Bake for 30 - 35 minutes.
Remove from oven and cool for 15 minutes.
Using serrated knife, cut logs into 1/2" slices.
Arrange slices on baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes @ 350.

Cool completely and if desired, dip one end of the biscotti in melted chocolate.

Through the years, I have used various cake mix flavors to create different flavors of biscotti. 

These include combining Spice cake mix with whole wheat flour and substituting lemon rind for orange rind.  I also toss in chopped toasted pecans.  This Pecan Spice Biscotti is probably my most requested biscotti.

I also prepare a Brownie Biscotti using a brownie mix instead of a cake mix.  I fold in dark chocolate chips and walnuts and then dip in chocolate.  Delish!!!

Orange and Cranberry Biscotti is also another favorite of friends.  I use a yellow cake mix as my base and then substitute orange extract for lemon.  I include chopped cranberries and orange rind and devour.

Voila...ready for friends and family!!!

Let me know what you think....

I would love for you to share your Gourmet Gift ideas at my 1st Linky Party. Please grab my 1st Linky Party button.  Hope it works!!!!

Larissa Hill Designs Seasons Eatings
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Link up your blog post at "Add Your Link",click and follow the instructions on the page that you are redirected to.  I can't wait to see all of your Gourmet Gifts!!!  I'd love for you to Follow Me too.

Friday, December 7, 2012

ChristmasTime Outdoor Decor!!!

While searching for exterior ChristmasTime decor inspiration, I stumbled upon 5th And State and discovered wonderful DIY Ideas for Winter Containers created by Debra Phillips, blogger and designer extraordinaire.  

So, I thought I'd share a few with you....

I love the simplicity of her No Fail boxwood wreath that is filled with red twig dogwood.  So simple, so stunning!!!

5th And State

Another boxwood wreath is topped with a Tree Topper and pine cones placed at the base in a sophisticated urn.

5th And State

This stunning planter is spilling over with faux oranges, leyland cypress, long needled pine, yellow twig dogwood and so much more.

5th And State

And finally, the Show Stopper....

This urn is overflowing with fruit, berries, twigs, magnolia leaves, pine cones, faux greens, faux berries, faux apples and more and I love it!!!

5th And State

If any of these beautiful ChristmasTime planters inspire you to create your own, Debra's 5th And State Winter Urn Tutorial is brimming with even more creative ideas and detailed instructions.

With Debra's detailed and easy to follow instructions, I selected these elements to incorporate in my containers.

Long needle pine
Douglas fir
Birch Sticks
Plastic Holly Berries

I was lucky to find a pre-wrapped selection of greens at Home Depot.  The boxwood and spruce came from my garden and the birch sticks from Michaels.

Finding plastic berries to for outdoor use was more difficult. I wanted plastic because most berries now sold at craft stores are made of styrofoam and they explode in the cold. I finally located plastic holly branches at Walmart.  I stripped them of their leaves and voila.....I'm really happy with the pop of red they provide.

I chose to include the vertical elements of birch and different textures and colors of greenery along with my red berries.  Here they are with accents of Max and lights for my ChristmasTime containers at night!!!

What are you planning for your outdoor decor? I'd love to hear from you.

Let me know what you think...


Fridays Unfolded

Thursday, December 6, 2012

And The Winners Are!!!

Thank you to each and everyone of you who posted comments on the Camouflage Giveaway.

Larissa Hill Designs

This was a very difficult decision and the winner is......

Shelley of Piggy In PolkaDots!!!

This is what Shelley wrote,

"This is the sweetest!! I would never have thought to put a wreath together like this. Very cute! It is kind of surreal that I am finding this post on the Creative Me Linky party today because today is my sister's husband's first birthday since he passed away serving in January. They have a precious 3 year old son together. He was 2 when his daddy passed away... just a couple of weeks before his 3rd birthday. This wreath would be really special to them. I am sure my sister would hang it in her son's room or on his door all year long. It has been a tough year for them but she has been so strong and positive. Let me give you the link to a Facebook page she made for her husband whom passed:"

I hope the wreath brings Shelley's sister, Christie and her son some joy at this difficult time.

I am also awarding my DIY wreath, Lions and Tigers and Bears, Oh My to Melissa at The HappierHomemaker who is "collecting donations to go towards raffle prizes for a military family Holiday event at Fort Bragg."  Good luck with your Military Family raffle!!!

Wishing all military families a holiday filled with much love and happiness.

Let me know what you think...


Tuesday, December 4, 2012

ChristmasTime Mantels!!!

The very first area I decorate for the holidays is always my fireplace mantel. My mantel is most often overflowing with real and faux greens, faux fruits, pine cones, hurricanes and of course, our family Christmas stockings.

SO, since I am NOT decorating this year, I thought I'd share some inspiration from a few of my favorite home decor magazines that are brimming with mantel ideas for the holidays. I absolutely love Midwest Living sharing 48 Gorgeous Holiday Mantels, Southern Living has Dressed- Up Christmas Mantels, Better Homes & Gardens shares Pretty Christmas Mantel Decorating Ideas and finally, Traditional Home is Decorating Holiday Mantels.  Here are my favorite ChristmasTime Mantels....

Sophisticated & Natural
Southern Living
great display of garland!
Christmas mantle decor....
MidWest Living
a silver tree mantle....
Traditional Home
o holy night
Holly Mathis Interiors
For more inspiration, visit Larissa Hill Designs Pinterest Christmas Mantels!!!

Let me know what you think....