With Thanksgiving so late this year, the lead up to to the holidays seems particularly truncated.
There’s so much to do!
First and foremost, Charlotte and I had to pull out our favorite holiday decorations and get our merry on.
It’s so much fun pulling out treasured decorations every year.
I usually start with my wreaths
and I always love to be reunited with some of master crafty genius Laurie Romanaggi’s creations every year.
Laurie is such a lovely person and a real visionary with thousands of fans and friends on Instagram and the blogosphere.
I have quite a few of her pieces and I scatter them throughout my house.
Aren’t they so sweet?
All her creations use vintage materials and her whimsy and creativity continually astound me.
I’d be hard pressed to pick a favorite of hers in my house.
Can you blame me?
Do you live in the Portland area? Laurie will be back at Crafty Wonderland tonight, tomorrow and Sunday and you won’t believe the goodness you’ll find at her booth.
Back to getting our holiday on.
I have a lot of vintage Gurley candles that I scatter throughout the house.
I especially love this Santa on my dining room table.
I also really enjoy taking out my vintage stockings.
I have a handful of them and I never tire of their cheery images.
I’m also really smitten with one of this year’s newest additions– a little angel of a gal I rescued from the Goodwill Bins.
She cost me less than twenty cents and I originally bought her thinking that I’d put tiny buds in her but a micro-fracture meant it was leaky (perhaps why she was dumped?). Good news is that gumdrops don’t mind the tiniest of cracks, and I love looking at her on my kitchen counter as I sip my coffee in the morning.
What else can I show you?
How about these wonderful treats my dear pal Kate sent us?
And speaking of treats, I have to remind you of these cookies I told you about a while ago.
They were good before but yesterday I found a way to improve them with the addition of dark chocolate wafers and crushed candy canes.
Here’s how they looked yesterday fresh out of the oven.
I made them for Charlotte’s school. They do a really wonderful thing at this time of the year; dozens of parent volunteers bake for a makeshift pop up bakery that’s set up. All the teachers and staff are then given an empty box and they fill it with anything they’d like from the lovely array. Isn’t that terrific?
Hate peanuts? Gluten-free? Crazy for peppermint? Grab whatever suits you.
For that latter group, this cookie will be a hit.
Here’s what the dough looks like chilled.
Imagine a Mint Milano and the chewiest sugar cookie you’ve ever had — and now you’re getting close.
I had to make several dozen, so yesterday was a big baking day.
I wrapped each one separately in wax paper so they’d be easy to distribute and grab.
(I liked skipping the Andes mints in the initial recipe and boosting the chocolate but next time I’d add a bit more peppermint extract and green food coloring to make it look even more festive.)
So lots of baking going on over here.
When David and I went to his immunotherapy last week, I made an enormous batch of one of my most favorite holiday treats, Salted Caramel Bars.
These bars are always showstoppers
but if possible I made them even more special with a festive Providence Cancer Ward delivery.
You see, two weeks ago I found a vintage ornament box (missing the plastic window) at the Goodwill Bins, and I decided that it was the perfect vehicle for this salty, crumbly, sumptuous treat.
I passed around the Love Box
and this box of gooey bars, and not surprisingly, I made friends everywhere we went.
Gerard (on the right) is an artist in Portland (and a former NFL wide receiver) and I loved spending time with him and his son Tyler who was turned down for treatment that day because his white blood count was too low.
That’s the thing about cancer.
It’s not just a dreadful disease and setbacks are common, but as I think I’ve shared before, a cancer diagnosis is also an instant, all-access pass to a really resilient, loving community.
Yes, I always try to spread cheer here, but I’m also lifted up every time by the smiles, hugs, encouragement and compassion I see in those treatment rooms and lobby.
Okay, I have so much more to show you — like these be-dazzled cupcakes I made for a pal (a Smitten Kitchen recipe)
and just a glimpse of all the holiday cheer seemingly everywhere I look
but that’s a wrap for now.
I have so much to do this afternoon (I’m making more cookies for another cancer patient and I’m hosting seven girls tonight for a sleepover!).
Last word. Do you want a jump start to your own holiday?
Bake something for someone new and drop it off.
Holiday baking mustn’t be a lost art, and surprising someone (like Jessie, a parking enforcement officer I met this week!)
is a great way to spread holiday cheer and will most likely make their day — and in turn, your own.
So happy holiday run-up to you, too, dear friends.
I send you love and minty cookie goodness.