Sunday, December 28, 2014

Enjoying the last bits of Christmas...

Since I have to return to work tomorrow, I am spending today enjoying the last bits of Christmas before I have to take it all down next weekend. Do you do that, too? All the lights and candles are lit and their glow warms the house. It’s nice to have some quiet time to play with my gifts and do a little puttering about the house. Now I’m off to enjoy my new book and a cup of tea.
Wishing all of you a happy Sunday...

Photos by The Art of Living Beautifully

Simple shortbread cookies...

Scrolling through Pinterest yesterday, I came across this recipe for shortbread cookies. It looked good, so I thought I would try it. I made a few slight modifications to the recipe ~ for example, I used blackberry preserves instead of raspberry jam, added a tiny bit more almond extract, and I had to bake my cookies slightly longer. I also omitted a glaze the original recipe called for ~ I just didn’t think it was necessary.

The cookies turned out great and were quite a hit so I thought I would share my version below. The original recipe can be found here.

Just a quick note ~ while these cookies mix together quickly, they do require about an hour in the fridge to chill, so be sure to allow for that in your planning.

Almond Shortbread Cookies

1 cup butter, softened
2/3 cup granulated sugar
3/4 teaspoon almond extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup seedless red raspberry jam (or blackberry or strawberry ~ whatever you prefer)
sugar for sprinkling

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a medium bowl, beat butter at medium speed for about 30 seconds. Add the the 2/3 cup granulated sugar and almond extract. Beat until well combined. Beat in as much flour as you can with an electric mixer; if necessary, use a wooden spoon stir in any remaining flour. Dough will be crumbly; cover and chill for 1 hour or until dough is easy to handle.

Shape dough into 1-inch balls. Place balls about 2 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheets. Using your thumb, press an indentation into the center of each ball. Spoon about 1/2 teaspoon of the jam into each indentation and then sprinkle with sugar. Bake about 10-12 minutes or until edges are light brown (note – depending on how big your dough balls are, it might require more baking time). Cool on cookie sheets for 1 minute. Transfer cookies to wire racks to finish cooling.

Makes about 3 dozen.

Wishing all of you a lovely week...

Photo by The Art of Living Beautifully

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

The soft glow of Christmas...

Sending you wishes for a wonderful holiday, from my home to yours. Thanks for reading.

Merry Christmas & Happy New Year ~


Photos by The Art of Living Beautifully

Monday, December 22, 2014

The beauty of the family Christmas tree...

While I love Christmas trees ~ we have four of varying sizes ~ the tree in the dining room is perhaps my favorite. It’s our family tree, the one with all the ornaments that have been given and collected since we were children. The room is in the center of the house, so it suits that this tree should be there. Even my little nativity set was a gift, hand-painted by a relative.
Since this tree is in the dining room, I’ve chosen bright colors to decorate with ~ reds and blues and greens ~ because they seem to work best. It’s a pretty and festive room at the holidays and I love it.

Wishing everyone a very Merry Christmas...

Photos by The Art of Living Beautifully

Friday, December 12, 2014

Snowmen love...

I absolutely love snowmen. So much so I have turned over my hall/library to them at the holidays. They just seem to fit in here amongst all the books.

I did add a couple to my collection this year, including this adorable doorknob hanger and this lovely giant snowman below (he was a gift). The big guy is actually brightening up the TV room because there wasn’t any place for him in the other room. But he works perfectly in that corner. 

Wishing all of you a lovely weekend...

I am linking to Pink Saturday at How Sweet the Sound.

Photos by The Art of Living Beautifully

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas...

This past weekend I finally had time to finish decorating for Christmas. I love it when the house is scrubbed clean and decorated just so, don’t you? It makes me feel settled and peaceful and blessed when I look around.
I’ll give you a tour of all my decorations over the next week or two, but I thought I would start in the living room, which is my favorite, and all decorated in pinks and metallics. This room has another mini tree, but I’ll show you that in another post.
Wishing all of you a lovely day...

I am linking to:
Home and Garden Thursday at A Delightsome Life
Homemaking at Hope in Every Season
Home Sweet Home at The Charm of Home
Pink Saturday at How Sweet the Sound
A Return to Loveliness at A Delightsome Life

Photos by The Art of Living Beautifully

Friday, December 5, 2014

The beauty of pansies...

Happy December, everyone. I simply can not wait for the weekend to get here ~ I am dying to clean my house and finish my Christmas decorating! Winter has definitely arrived at my house, with temps dipping below freezing and finishing off my lovely plants for the season. All except for the pansies, of course, which are blooming away merrily. I love how bright and cheery they are, no matter how cold the winter days and nights get.
Wishing all of you a lovely day...

Photos by The Art of Living Beautifully