Entries in Christmas (5)


Holiday Felt Banner Garland

This is the first Christmas in the new house and I wanted to really spend some quality time decorating. Especially since this is Lady Paloma's first Christmas where she is involved and interested in what is happening. She decided to nap today so I am taking full advantage of this time - the dishes and laundry can wait. 

Over the years I have experimented with different themes and color schemes for Christmas but always seem to come back to a more traditionally influenced theme. Now I think I've settled on something that I can add to and really own. 

About 16 years ago I picked up a felt angel tree topper. I have always loved her and continue to want to keep her around. Something about her just feels right for me. The other piece I continue to go to every year is a hand felted mistletoe branch. I hang it with a piece of red and white striped ribbon. So these two items are the base of my holiday decorating schematic. 

I decided on a felt flag garland for another element to support this handmade felt look. I went to a local fabric store and had them cute me 1/2 yard of thick felt on a bolt in red, white and green. The felt on a bolt is thicker and comes in some great colors. You could use craft felt also or really any fabric you wanted. 

To hang it on, instead of just jute twine or a ribbon I picked up this slightly off white macramé cord. You also need scissors, a straight edge/ruler, straight pins, sewing machine, thread and a template. I made my flag template out of stiff paper. I am using a rectangle flag shape and want it to be the same on each side of the flag so cut one long template so the fabric pieces will wrap around the cord. 

Next I ironed the felt and cut all my flags out. I decided to cut the notch after cutting out the main body of the flag. 

I measured the cord to get the length of the area I was hanging the finished garland. I added 6 inches on each end for tying on etc. Then I folded each piece around the cord three inches apart and secured with a straight pin. 

Once I had them all in place I headed to my sewing machine. I chose red thread for contrast on some of the flags. You could use any color you like. The goal here is to secure the flag to the cord. So sew in a straight line from the notch in the flag over the cord. Then trim all threads. 

Now hang in your desired location. I made one for several doorways and over our fireplace. You can hang with tiny nails, pins or small clear Command Strips for decorating. I used these and just threaded my cord through them to keep them in place.


I really love how they turned out. They are a nice little touch to bring the whole house together. I hope you get are finding the time to get your home in the holiday spirit. 


Lebkuchen Bars

Thanksgiving is right around the corner and all I want to do is bake. The holiday season is my favorite time to be in the kitchen. I love the tastes of fall - pears, pumpkin, citrus and cranberries. The spices so rich - nutmeg, ginger, cinnamon and clove. With that in mind I thought I would begin baking some of my favorite holiday treats. 

Lebkuchen Bars are a a spicy gingerbread type bar hailing from Germany. They are a traditional Christmastime treat and would be delightful with a cup of tea after a cold day outside. Some recipes call for almonds, candied citrus peels or ginger. 

These bars are great the day they are made but only get better over the next couple of days - if they last that long!

Lebkuchen Bars

4 tablespoons butter

4 tablespoons vegetable shortening

3 cups all purpose flour

1 tablespoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspon cardamon

3/4 teaspoon ginger 

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup molasses

2 large eggs

1 teaspoon grated lemon zest 


1 tablespoon  lemon juice

1 1/2 cup confectioners' sugar

3 tablespoons whole milk

Preheat oven to 325. Set oven rack to lower middle. Prepare a 13x9 pan by lining it with foil or parchment and greasing it. 

Melt butter and shortening together and let cool slightly. 

Whisk together flour, cinnamon, baking soda, cardamom, ginger and salt together in a small bowl. 

In a large bowl, whisk granulated sugar, molasses, eggs and lemon zest loather, then whisk in cooled butter until combined. Stir in the flour mixture until just combined. 

Spread batter into prepared pan and smooth top. 

Bake 35-45 minutes - rotating pan halfway through baking. A toothpick inserted in the middle should come out clean. 

Let bars cool completely in pan on wire rack - about 2 hours. Lift bars out with parchment/foil overhang. Cut into 24 pieces. 

Whisk the Glaze ingredients in a small bowl and spread evenly over each bar. Let glaze set for 30 minutes before serving. 

Store in airtight container for 3 days. 


White Christmas

I had a magical childhood. Growing up in Bend, Oregon was a dream come true for a kid - full of freedom, clean air, mud pies and many a white Christmas. When I was in elementary school it was still safe to walk alone to school, ride your bike all day without checking in and candy bars cost a quarter. 

I loved the winter, especially the snow. Sledding, smashing icicles off the eves of the house and making snow angels. So much fun. Snow was even more magical on Christmas morning. I am not sure why - but on those mornings my brother and I were up earlier than our parents and the world seemed so quite and big. Pristine snow untouched by anything except the little birds hopping on the big drifts. Leaving little tracks where they had landed. 

This year I had the opportunity to go back to Bend and enjoy a white Christmas with my family. Mr. Ramon had never experienced a white Christmas so it meant so much to me to share this with him. I found myself giddy and excited just like when I was a child. 

We had 6 days with my family. Lots of food, fun and wine. With the big storm that blew in we had a hard time getting around. My brother drives a beast of a Jeep and it was so fun getting out in the snow in it. 

My family had gone out and chopped down the Christmas tree the day before Mr. Ramon and I arrived. It was covered in lights and all of our family ornaments. Slightly wonky and full of character our very own Charlie Brown Christmas tree.

Of course our little pups came with us. They love the snow and it is so fun to watch them running and playing in it. This was the most snow they have been in and the girls kept running into the drifts and getting stuck. Mr. Toby was a little plow in the snow and could make it through anything. 

What a great trip. A much needed break from real life. A very Merry Christmas for us all. 


Happy New Year

It's January 7th and I am still holding on to the holidays. Our little tree on the porch and wreath on the door are still showing off for the neighborhood - the stockings are still hung. I love the holidays and this year there were some challenges and changes happening in our little family that made these joyous weeks a bit tough.

My heart broke a little in early December when I made the hard decision to close my business. Immortal Dog was my pride and joy. The last 4 years I built a customer base that was more like family than customers. Helping people with their pets and making a difference in people's lives. It was such a big part of my life that it almost seemed a little like a death. The tough part now is dealing with the financial repercussions of a failed business. Stressful and exhausting. Every day I fight to get out of bed and work through the list of things I need to do. I am lucky I held on to my part time job. Every little bit helps right now as I try and figure out what is next for me. 

Mr. Ramon had his own change to go through. He has been a designer at Creature for 6 years. This is his other family. He loves the people he works with and so do I. Starting in mid January he will be taking a position at another agency in Seattle - Wong, Doody, Crandall, Weiner. This is an awesome thing - but leaving Creature is hard and he is moving into a new role that will challenge him - and that is scary. 

It seems like a lot of people I know are in the middle of transistions. I know these things happen for a reason and we will all be stronger when we get through them - but these things are hard. We are looking at this new year with great promise. 

So Happy New Year to you! I hope that you are eager for this fresh beginning and you have amazing things planned. 


Christmas Inspiration

Christmas is one of my favorite holidays. I love the entire Christams season. I don't get crazy with my decorating but I do love to come up with a new theme for our tree and other decorations every year. This could get expensive but we try and re-use and make as much ourselves as possible. Mr. Ramon gets to choose every other year and this year was my year. 

I felt really inspired by red and white. Classic and so clean. I wanted it to look homespun but with a modern edge. What set it all in motion was these adorable felt hearts from IKEA. They looked rather handcrafted but still modern. 

I decided to build around this a Scandinavian theme. Red and white, felted accents, white lights, reindeer and graphic patterns for paper and tree skirt. These are some of the images from my mood board. 

 Check back for a post of what our Christmas actually looked like!