Wednesday, December 29, 2010

A Year On the V Side

It's nearly over!
It's true what they say... "time flies when you're having fun" -
I've only been 'officially' blogging since June,
so it hasn't been an actual "year",
but I've had the most fun sharing with and learning from all of you!

In the spirit of Rhoda's "Best Of..." party, here's my "year" in review:

June brought the Princess Chair thrift store redo:

In July I made over this garage sale table to show off her great gams:

August brought the official "Fall-ification" of the house...

In September I shared my Chalkboard Cooler

and the serving tray I repurposed from a wine crate with some hardware and a bit of cork:

October gave us Miss L's Bow Board

And November was a busy month with the Drop Cloth Curtains

and creating a custom monogram pinecone "wreath"

And Oh, December.

and celebrated Christmas with the people I love the most.

So thank you for stopping by, for coming back, and for being so darn neat-o.

I'm looking forward to what fun and exciting things we'll create in 2011!


Tuesday, December 28, 2010

The Redhead's Christmas Dickey.

I guess it was my fault.
But in a smidge of my defense... Mr.V. is the one who actually dressed her.

Christmas morning, I left when The Redhead was going down for her morning nap, and popped over to Cool Sister's house (about 6 blocks away) to help get things ready for the day.
I had laid out her entire outfit... from the dress to the tights to the shoes, even the hair bow.
It was a fail-safe plan....  I thought.

Mr. V. and the kiddo showed up after naptime, and she looked adorable:

She was rested and happy and aside from a little bedhead, she looked like a little Christmas pixie.
But something wasn't quite right...

She kept itching her tummy. 
Then my mom noticed a bulge in the front of her dress.
Grandma investigated and....

Yep.  I had remembered to cut out the tags from her dress, but failed to clip the diaper cover that was hanging inside the dress.
(that's my mother holding The Redhead, howling with laughter)

Would anyone believe me if I said the dress came with a built-in bib?
So, I'm *that* mom.  That imperfect, which-way-is-up parent who only halfway succeeds at presenting the perfect image, and "perfect" child.

Oh well...
From here on out we will always have
"The Tale of the Christmas Dickey" to share for generations to come.
And THAT, my friends, is Perfect.  :)


Monday, December 27, 2010

The No Spend/Low Spend Christmas Table

Hey all!  I hope everyone had a wonderful, relaxing Christmas with family and friends - I know I did!

This year my sister was the holiday hostess with the mostess for the first time!  Everything turned out beautifully.  Since Christmas is a BIG holiday to handle hosting duties, what with all the cooking and the timing and such, I jumped on board to play Vice-President of hosting to give her a hand.
While she and my mom worked on the bird, I turned my attention to our table.

I wanted something beautiful, but accessible, but not over-the-top, and definitely budget-friendly.  
With some thoughtful "shopping of the house" and good old-fashioned sharing, this entire table setup cost a grand total of about $8.
No, seriously.  :)
Because we all know it doesn't have to be expensive (even though it may look like it is! :) )
to be beautiful!
Here's the breakdown:
- The tablecloth:
I purchased a few of these for Thanksgiving last year and they've been great.  Easy to wash, minimal pressing required, and white is so simple and crisp

- The runner:
Cool sister had this one hiding out in her stash and had used it for an earlier holiday get-together at her home.
It was the perfect shade of green.

- The Candlesticks and taper candles I bought at the beginning of the summer to use for an anniversary party we threw.
I wanted similar shapes, but not "matchy-matchy".  And different heights, too.
 They looked like this when I brought them home from the thrift store (at $4 or so for the lot):

And after a couple coats of glossy black paint:
So simple.  So cute!

The classic white dinnerware, flatware and beautiful stemware already belonged to my sister.
The simple black napkins my mom has had for years, and the beaded chargers have made appearances at many events and holidays in the past.

This is a great example of why I will never own everyday dinnerware that isn't white. 
Nothing beats the classic simplicity of a white plate, it never goes out of style and you can always, always "dress" it to suit your occassion.

My sister has these simple glass bowls, which we filled with a variety of evergreen.  
That's where our "major" ;) expense came in - she bought a bunch of evergreen at the grocery store and we just trimmed and arranged.  This could easily have come from pines outside... but people, it was COLD! :)  
We used the ornaments as placecard holders, and added the extras to the evergreen to tie everything together.

We used a similar setup for the secondary table (some will call it the "kids" table... we call it the "Outlaw" table.  Or  "The Refuge" :) )
 Leftover evergreen, a few ornaments, and pinecones for our placecards.  And a couple fun plates for our little peeps.

So am I a little biased?  Well sure. 
But I don't think 8 bucks ever looked so good. :)


Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Holiday Stress Relief

Feeling overwhelmed by the holidays? 
Too much baking/card addressing/gift buying/gift wrapping and not enough time? 
Don't stress. 
Take a breather.

For some comic relief, take a look at what life is really like On the V Side.

*     *     *

Actual conversation that happened in my house over Saturday morning breakfast:

Mr. V:  "I had a dream last night.  Well, maybe this was real.  I had a dream last night that I farted, and my butt was talking."

Me:  :: blink ::  ::blink ::
"What do you mean?"

Mr. V.: "Like, I would pass gas and my butt would say something"

Me: "So... what did your butt ...say?"

Mr. V.: "Well, it would just yell stuff like a quarterback.  Like "Blue 42! Blue 42!" and stuff like that.

Me:  "Pass the salt, please."

*     *     *

The Redhead was sick for a few days recently.  But even when she looked like this:

She could still rock out a "Superstar!" with gusto.

Even when on the mend,
my baby worked that bedhead.  ::two snaps::  :)

She will hate me for this when she's older.

BUT, did it work?  Feeling just a smidge more relaxed?

Good!  Now pour yourself a glass of wine before marching back into that kitchen. :)


Monday, December 20, 2010

Ice is Nice Part 3: Ice Serving Bowls

OK, today is the last post about cool things you can do with ice. 
Today I've got a new twist on serveware: a way to serve must-be-chilled foods and make your table sparkle!
With just a couple simple steps, you can create ice bowls decorated with herbs, citrus slices, flowers - whatever feels festive!
You'll need 2 glass or stainless steel bowls;
one should fit inside the other with about 1/2 inch to 1 inch between them.
Of course, you can see for the purpose of this tutorial I used some that fit much closer together. So it's possible to do, but it's better to have a wider gap - your ice will take much longer to melt.

I used rosemary, but the possibilities are really endless.

Scatter some of your filler in the large bowl. Place the smaller bowl inside, and tape so the rims are even. Pour water between bowls to 1/2 inch from top.
Add more "stuff" - it's easiest to arrange placement of things with a skewer.
Freeze overnight.
Let stand at room temperature, on a dish towel, until bowls separate easily.

Remove tape. Lift top bowl; invert bottom bowl to remove ice bowl. Then pop 'em back in the freezer until you need them.

If what you're serving needs to stay dry, set a glass bowl within the ice bowl. Place a dish towel underneath to catch drips.

These are great for all kinds of things...



Berries or other finger foods... you get the drift...


Friday, December 17, 2010

You Had Me at Free Shipping.

I love today.

It's Friday, sure, but it's also

Go to
to find the list of more than 1,000 retailers offering sitewide free shipping for orders placed today only.
Most of the links have a shipping code right there.
Easy stuff.  And delivered right to your door.
For Fah-REE.

I big fat pink puffy heart this day.  :)


Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Ice is Nice Part 2: Christmas Party Cubes

Are you hosting this year? 
It can be stressful wanting to make everything "perfect" for your guests,
but I've learned over time that it's not the big "WOW"-factor things that people remember the most... it's the little things.
And sometimes, those little, personal touches can be the easiest thing you do all day.
Today's project is just that:  Easy. As. Pie.  No.. Easier!
I started with this silicone baking tray from the dollar spot at Target. 
I'm going to try this out with Christmas cookies a little later,
but for now, it's all about ice.

In my family, we have cocktails at Christmas, and many of those tend to be garnished with lime or lemon.  This is a cute way to get your garnish on, and keep your drink cold, too.

I chose to work with lime (um, trees?  Green?  No-brainer :) ), so I just chopped up the pieces and laid them in the compartments.  Because the baker is silicone, I found it easiest to put it on a cookie sheet to help me keep things steady when I moved it to the freezer.

 Fill your trees with water.  Tip: I used a gravy boat to pour the water in and it worked beautifully.  Waaaay easier and far less messy than trying to hold the tray under the faucet.

The silicone tray makes it super easy to pop your cubes out once they're frozen. 
Your holiday Gin & Tonic will thank you. :)

And this is kind of a "duh" moment, but your drinks don't have to have alcohol in them - imagine these little trees frozen with lemon slices in your water goblets on the table for Christmas dinner?
I can hardly stand all the cute!

You don't have to use fruit, either - I froze one side of my tray using these sugar pearls

They came out solid white on the front, but then they start to melt, the pearls inside start to drop away and it's really pretty!  These would be great in a sweet Christmas punch.

Cranberries or pomegranate seeds would also be a festive addition to any beverage.
Just keep in mind that your garnish will eventually mix into your drink, so either freeze something that won't affect the taste (like cranberries), or choose something that pairs well with your chosen beverage (i.e. limes with coke, gin & tonic or rum & coke, lemon with water or vodka/tonic or club soda, etc.)


Monday, December 13, 2010

Ice is Nice: Outdoor Wreath

It's winter in the Midwest.  And surprise, surprise, it's cold.
But rather than spend my time complaining about the wind chill or the ice or the snow (Mr.V., I'm looking in your general direction here), I say embrace it.
Admire the beauty that Mother Nature gives us along with those cold temperatures, and above all, make it work for you!
With that in mind, I give you the easiest outdoor wreath ev-ar.

Start with a simple bundt pan.
If you don't have one, check your local thrift store.  I see at least 2 of these every time I'm at Goodwill.

Take whatever you'd like to be the "filler" for your wreath. 
I found cranberries on sale at the grocery store around Thanksgiving for 99-cents a bag, so I picked up a couple and tossed them in the freezer until a good project like this one came along. :)

I threw in my cranberries and added a few branches clipped from the cypress in our front yard.  Anything natural looks especially nice: acorns and pinecones with some evergreen tossed in for color, holly leaves and berries, mistletoe or juniper berries... you get the picture. 
You can also do non-natural elements (ornaments, ribbon, etc., but in my experience the cleanup with those ends up being more effort than I care to spend. So, take that for what it's worth).

 Fill the pan with about an inch or so of water.  What you put in there will most likely float, so by freezing layers you keep most of the "bling" toward the front where the colors will show through most vibrantly.

(And remind me later to ask Mr. V. why we can't seem to close boxes of frozen waffles.  Or why in the world I have root feeder...  In my freezer.  Oy.)

 Add water over the frozen layer, then get it back into the freezer before the 1st layer starts to melt.

When your stuff is frozen solid and you have appopriately freezing temperatures outside, take the pan out and allow it to thaw juuust enough so your ice ring slides out.

Tie a pretty ribbon around your ring and Voila!  A [virtually] free and easy wreath to brighten your view on a wintry day. 

And when it warms up, I'll just let it melt, remove the ribbon and leave the cranberries for the birds.
For now, the "wildlife" seems to enjoy it. :)

And it's pretty at night, too.  The [not so great] photo doesn't capture it, but the Christmas lights make it sparkle.

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