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Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Apple Cider Cookies and Christmas Crafts

We are just two days away from the busiest and best month of the year. Christmas gatherings are about to start filling up calendars and decorations are about to adorn homes in full glory of the season. With temperatures dropping and a surprising snowfall in parts of Tennessee, I'm feeling the Christmas spirit already. I came home from my Thanksgiving holiday and decorated my tree only in silver and gold and kept things sparkly and neutral this year. I had trouble parting with a handful of beautiful red ornaments, but I packed them away for next year and embraced my sparkly tree (post to come).
After our Thanksgiving meal, we always do a little Christmas craft. In the past we have made countless gingerbread houses, gingerbread ornaments and Christmas gift tags. This year we opted for some Christmas ball ornaments that we each personalized. My mom had the idea and, even though we all grumbled about putting paint on our hands, they turned out really cute.
The idea is to create snowmen out of your painted handprint. All you have to do is get a set of colored ornaments, paint your hand white and grasp the ornament. Let the paint dry (acrylic is best and dries within minutes) then using Sharpie markers or paint pens, decorate your snowmen as you please. Here is how ours turned out:

All of our ornaments together.

Please let me call attention to the lone finger snowman on the left ornament. He's wearing a blue cap and bears a striking resemblance to an angry Yankee baseball player...this is my grandfather's creation. I had to include it in the photo lineup.

My ornament is on the left!

I promise you will love these cookies. Unless you don't like apple cider, caramel, or which case, how do you live with yourself? These are so perfect for fall/Christmas. I still love apple cider well into the Christmas season and caramel never goes out of style. I found the recipe on Pinterest and made it with my mom last weekend. I'm going to have to make another batch very soon. These were a hit. You can find the recipe here.

Thanksgiving Recap

I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday! My grandmother makes the best food, as most grandmothers do, and always has the best holiday decor. We always have a very large spread of food that I have to exercise off the next day. Here's a look at what we were thankful for:

Our menu was delicious!
Grandaddy's grilled turkey & ham
Twice-baked potato
Mashed sweet potatoes with pecan topping
Dressing with chicken
Deviled eggs
Broccoli casserole
Corn casserole
Fresh rolls
Cranberry relish

Just a little insight into a well-designed and thought out Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 28, 2011

Cyber Monday Sale!

I am continuing my sale for Cyber Monday! Check out my Etsy shop for cards. If you buy more than two packs of cards, each is $10 rather than $12 apiece. Continue your after Thanksgiving shopping today and get started with your Christmas shopping. Send out glad tidings to family and friends with a card. Everyone loves to receive snail mail, especially if it's a festive greeting!
Click on the link in the top left to go directly to the Etsy shop.

Source: via Laurie on Pinterest

Source: via Laurie on Pinterest

Source: via Laurie on Pinterest

Source: via Laurie on Pinterest

Source: via Laurie on Pinterest

Source: via Laurie on Pinterest

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Family Photos

With all this Christmas card talk going on, it has me thinking of Christmas photo ideas. I ran across a website with funny awkward family photos the other day and wondered, do people really do this? Do people really think a photo where they are being beamed up into a space ship is ok? I can't make that up, by the way. It's a real thing.
Since Thanksgiving is a pre-cursor to Christmas and a good time for your family to take a photo for Christmas cards, I've rounded up some cute and some not-so-cute Christmas photo ideas for you to do and for you to definitely not to.
Let's get started because some of these are a real doozy. By the way, I don't know any of these people.

If it's just you and your husband/wife it's cute to take a picture somewhere you frequent in your city. Think of a coffee shop, a park, even your porch or in front of your home if you've just purchased one. Dress for cozy winter weather-don't match but have a cohesive look that allows the tow of you to blend together. I love the idea of holding up a garland of good tidings like the cute couple did below:

If the two of you have a furry child, it is fine to include little Sparky in the photo. Just do it in a classy way. Here's what NOT to do with your poor pet:

Source: via Laurie on Pinterest

I know this photo is a lot to take in with the awesome Christmas sweaters (awesome=awful in this case), blurred dreamy lights and that minty ballerina tutu she has on. Did you notice the lovely little goat with the Santa hat on? I didn't at first. I like goats, they are cute. I'm sure they make lovely pets since they can eat all your leftovers and prevent you from having to mow frequently. However, DO NOT INCLUDE THE GOAT IN YOUR CHRISTMAS CARD. This entire photo is just a big Don't.

Ok, this clearly is another Don't. Don't use a celestial background, Don't wear patterned shirts (it dates you, although in this couple's case it just doesn't matter), Don't include Fluffy if she's going to go all risqué kitty on you. My cat does this sometimes and I have to remind her to be a lady. This is not ok in any way, shape or form. Besides, most people don't like cats enough to be excited that you included the kitty in your photo. There are so many other Don'ts in this photo, I'm just going to stop here.

This is a good example of a classy way to include a pet.

Source: via Laurie on Pinterest

If you have added a little guy or gal to your family, it's a fun way to show off their cuteness. Make your kid the focus of the photo for a fun take. A sweet kiss on the cheeks is an adorable way to make him or her laugh, which results in a good smile while not putting the focus on you as parents but still including you in the photo.

What not to do in this situation? Hold your child upside down as if she is a terrible misbehaving brat. This just says bad parenting. I understand that this photo is meant to be funny and cute, and it does have a fun factor to it. I just think this could be taken the wrong way really quickly. Do you want someone calling child services on you? Just keep the kid in an upright position. It can still be a funny, cute photo.

Using a simple background, a cute kiddo and Christmas lights or ornaments is always precious. I like this guy.

Most families consist of more than one child and if you want a full family photo, I love this photo where just the kids coordinate. Use a simple background like the woods, a field, or a snowy hill. Again, I love spelling out a Christmas tiding like Peace, Joy or Love in big letters.

Please please please DO NOT incorporate costumes into your family photo. Just don't. Save it for Halloween next year.

Also, just never do this. Ever.

Source: via Laurie on Pinterest

If you have a big family or want to include grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins go for it! I love this snowy photo in black and white.

I do not love this redneck crazy family photo. I'm thinking this was a joke, in which case it's hilarious. Let's imagine this was for a Christmas card though, even in jest...not ok.
There is a trash can in your photo. A trash can.

You don't have to have a professional take your photo for Christmas, just be sure it is framed well and is a good clear photo. If your skills are proficient in Photoshop, use it to crop out unnecessary spaces and to eliminate debris in the background if there is any. If you don't have proficient skills let a professional do it for you.
I know it is easy to take your photo somewhere like Wal-Mart or Walgreens to get one of their designs. However, everyone is going to do that probably and the quality is not as good as it should be. There are so many great websites with unique designs you can use that no one else will have. is a great site for this. Let professionals do it, you won't regret it. Most places are running specials now anyway.
If you want to contact me about personalized Christmas cards, I would be delighted to create something festive for you. My designs are exclusively yours, no one else will have them. The starting price is $40 + cost of paper. If you want to see some past designs go to the gallery page of Fanciful Ink. Or purchase one of my Christmas cards in the Etsy link on the top right.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011


Poor Thanksgiving is starting to get overlooked. Target went from Halloween to Christmas so fast. I am guilty of that as well considering I jumped from a lot of fall-related posts to Christmas card posts.
I'm sorry Thanksgiving, I do like you I promise.
I found some pretty decorating ideas for the quickly approaching Turkey Day...and I'm loving a rustic elegance for this holiday. After all, it is about harvest, and when I think of that I think of what comes from the earth and what is made from it.
Take a look:

I love purple incorporated into fall colors. This is a great way to reuse your Halloween pumpkins before you toss them.

Of course, I love white. Especially when it is rustic and unexpected for an otherwise warm-hue holiday.

Pops of green glass on a farm table? Perfection.

Such a simple way to add a name card to a table if you have pretty handwriting and a of course, a pear (or an apple or small pumpkin)

Add a menu to your table this year. Ceci New York provides a free download for you to type out on and print or handwrite, which I think is prettier.

I put together this outfit idea for you Thanksgiving fashionistas

I REALLY want to try this recipe: Apple Cider Caramel Cookies

I made this Sweet Potato with Blue Cheese & Pecans from Epicurious for our potluck at work and liked it a lot:

Sweet Potatoes with Blue Cheese and Pecans
3 pounds sweet potatoes (about 6)
3/4 cup (1 1/2 8-ounce packages) cream cheese, room temperature
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, cut into 1" cubes, room temperature**
Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper
1/4 cup mild blue cheese
1/4 cup store-bought candied pecans***

Preheat oven to 350°F. Roast sweet potatoes on a rimmed baking sheet until tender, about 1 hour. Let cool slightly.
Remove skins and transfer sweet potatoes to a large heavy saucepan over low heat. Add cream cheese and butter. Mash until well blended and creamy. Season with salt and pepper. Stir over low heat until hot.
Spoon into a warm serving dish and garnish with cheese and pecans.

**I found a brown sugar butter (Land O' Lakes I believe is what it was) and used 1/4 cup of that
***I couldn't find candied pecans in the store so I bought a bag of fresh locally-grown pecans that were chopped already and tossed them in butter, cinnamon and nutmeg.

I think next time I might use feta or goat cheese or something similar. I'm not crazy about blue cheese, even though it was good in this dish.
The dish is more savory than the expected sweet taste of a sweet potato. I also spread my mashed potatoes on the bottom of a casserole dish and sprinkled the cheese in a layer on top, then the pecans, so modify as you like it.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Special Announcement!

I just returned from my first set-up at a craft fair, the Red Green Market in Corinth, MS. The overall experience was good and I sold several packs of Christmas cards. It was a windy, chilly day but I enjoyed meeting people and telling them about my products and getting feedback.
I won the "Most Festive Booth" award and was excited about that. Check out the photos below.


As we all know, the craziest day of the year is upon us. I'm talking about Black Friday of course. I have never participated in the insanity that I know Black Friday is...however, with the trend of Cyber Monday as well, I have decided to offer a special in my online store. This past Saturday at the Red Green Market, I offered a discount when people bought multiple packs of cards-$10 per pack instead of $12. Since there are 10 cards and 10 envelopes in 1 pack, that's $.50 per piece! So for Black Friday through Cyber Monday (Friday, November 25-Monday, November 28) I am offering this discount again. If you buy 2 or more packs of Christmas cards, each pack is $10 apiece. If you are in the Selmer, Tennessee area your shipping is waived and I can bring the cards to you!
Contact me by commenting below, using the contact form on or by emailing me at

Friday, November 18, 2011

Weekend Wonderment

It's that time again! Weekend Wonderment-the random things I have found and want to pass on to you...
Here we go!

Something to gaze upon-beautiful eyes and color

Something to marvel-grains of sand magnified

Something to make-table fort

Something to read about-Whale Rescue

Something to remember-good punctuation

Something to consider- others

Something to spark imagination-oh, Harry Potter

Something to make-paw print turkeys

Something to laugh at-if you watch Game of Thrones this is funny. Even if you don't, this is still a cat with a diaper on its head which is funny anyway

Source: via Kelley on Pinterest

Golden Gifts

Source: via Laurie on Pinterest

The final Christmas card feature is on the Gifts of Kings design. I used this antique gold paper for a 50th wedding anniversary card recently and loved the paper. It is so rich looking and very chic. I had the Point of Grace Christmas song One King in mind when I made this card. I think it's a beautiful song describing the gifts of the magi and the gift of the one and only true king, Jesus. To me, it says that the riches of this world are of no comparison to what they will be beyond this earth and our time here. Material things look pretty small next to a lifetime of hope and an eternity of life after death. I have ended the features on cards with this one because ultimately, this is what Christmas is all about and how it all began: the birth of a Savior.
Here are a few beautiful nativity items as well as some gold decor ideas to look at as you ponder the true meaning of Christmas*:

*If you would like to know more about the Christmas story and season or "rediscover" it as we approach Christmas, You Version is a good source for reading.

I LOVE my Fontanini nativity collection. The details are so incredibly beautiful.

This is another nativity, but a simpler version made out of olive wood. Read more about it in the link.

Source: via Laurie on Pinterest

Gold makes your decor a little more lush. Find small gold Christmas trees or decorate with only gold ornaments for a glitzier look.

Source: via Laurie on Pinterest

Gold and black is very elegant as well. This look can carry you through all the holidays-Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years.

Source: via Laurie on Pinterest

Use a Christmas song as a placemat for a neutral backdrop to a gold place setting.

Source: via Laurie on Pinterest

Keep a gold wreath simple and eye-catching.

Source: via Laurie on Pinterest

Garlands of gold ornaments can embellish your mantle for some shine.

Another mantle decorating idea is to use the nativity scene through illustrations arranged in a banner form.

Source: via Laurie on Pinterest

Gold Christmas lights create a warm glow on your tree.

Source: via Laurie on Pinterest

Don't forget to gild your packages too! I think this tape is amazing and would be beautiful on craft paper.

Source: via Laurie on Pinterest


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