Friday, December 27, 2013

Annual 'Nom Nom' recipe.....Caramel covered Bugles

I'm one of those people who does NOT appreciate the recipes that take up the second half of Decorating  magazines.  I like to eat, sure, but I really don't like to cook.If I wanted a cooking magazine, I'd have bought a cooking magazine! So I know this is a design/art/painting  blog...but I do from time to time share a recipe that is so good it just HAS to be shared. But I keep it to a minimum of ONE.PER.YEAR. You're welcome!

Here's this year's Nom Nom.   (This recipe is originally from "My Crowded Kitchen" blog, but I made a few changes.


Caramel Covered Bugles

1 bag Original Bugles
Pecan halves (you can use a lot or a little or leave them out all together, I've seen other recipes that call for a can of mixed nuts, it's up to you.)
1 cup butter, unsalted
2 cups brown sugar
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon (optional)
You must have a candy thermometer to make this.

Spray Pam or other non stick cooking oil onto cookie sheet, then spread out the Bugles and nuts.
Preheat oven to 250 degrees.
In a heavy duty sauce pan, combine butter, brown sugar, corn syrup,vanilla,cinnamon and salt. Place on medium heat, stirring until butter is melted and sugar is dissolved. Continue to boil (low boil) until candy thermometer reads 'firm ball'. (This takes about 10 minutes).
Remove from heat and add baking soda. Sprinkle it in, instead of dumping it in. The caramel sauce will foam up. Make sure to stir in the soda thoroughly.

Evenly pour mixture over Bugles and nuts. Gently toss with a spatula to cover the Bugles and nuts.

Bake at 250 for 45 minutes total, re-coating and turning the Bugles after every 15 minutes.

After 45 minutes, remove to parchment paper and let cool.  Try to spread out the Bugles as much as you can because as they cool, the caramel will harden and stick together. Try to make small clusters of 1, 2 or 3 Bugles but don't worry if you don't, you can just break the hunks apart after they cool.

This recipe is easily doubled, however I usually end up with more Caramel than I need.

Nom Nom! 

Monday, December 23, 2013

Merry Christmas.....a 'mini' house tour

Happy Holidays to my readers and people who pin my photos!
I have had an extra-ordinarily busy holiday season with new business...being in love and trying to squeeze in as much time with my sweetie....I FINALLY got some photos of this years' holiday decor in my home.  My little sister has started a blog you may want to check out...she is very very very crafty in a good way and will be posting directions to her numerous projects. If you like working with fabrics and stuff that has to be mathematically figured out, well you'll love her bloggie poo.   Anyway, she shamed me  I was inspired to  put the wine glass down and write!

I try to mix things up each year, even if I am using primarily the same stuff. This year however,  I painted a couch my neighbor gave me, which didn't match our decor AT ALL but was in decent shape. We really wanted a couch in the sunroom and so I figured I had nothing to lose by painting it. It was free, so why not? I painted it SW "Antique White" with Textile Medium added.   I placed it in front of the fireplace for 2 reasons: our fireplace doors are hideously ugly, and we can't have a fire until I have the chimney swept, and I"m kind of a cheap bastard so we aren't having a fire anytime soon.  Anyway...I tried to keep my holiday decor a little less crazy, I love the whiteness of the sunroom and I am a bit obsessed with that right now, and wanted to incorporate some simplicity to my holiday decor. (And by simplicity Imean 'tons of disco balls everywhere').

Painting a couch does make it a bit crispy, but it's really not that bad and honestly THIS IS A DOG COUCH, so I'm glad that I can just wipe it down with bleach.
I kept the mantle pretty simple this year and just used my pink glitter trees, some real everygreen garland, some disco ball garland and tiny twinkle lights. My sparkle reindeer and lots and lots of fake snow finish it off.

I go a little crazy with the faux's kind of everywhere. But it just vacuums up so I don't mind the mess. Hello there cute little birdie!

Also this year I painted the old walnut piano bench/coffee table with 2 colors of Van Gogh Chalk Paint. The basecoat is "Diva" and the overcoat is  "Van Gogh". I LOVE VanGogh chalk paint, it's so easy to work with and I love the beeswax topcoat. I heavily sanded back the "VanGogh" (which requires very little elbow grease) to reveal lots of the "Diva" Color.

                                                   completed VanGogh Chalk Paint finish

Each of my kids have a very beautiful handmade stocking....which I could not stand to look at this year. Haha! I'm not even kidding! I'm so over the whole 'red/green' Christmas thing...I didn't even bring them down from the attic. My favorite find are these 6 dollar white fuzzy stockings from Wal-Mart with pom pom edging. I hung them from silver hologram curling ribbon tacked just above the window frame.

I also decided to put all of my vintage Shiny Brites in a big galvanized tin bucket with a black and white striped bow.

Another Wal-Mart find ( I know, I am so ashamed....) are the softest Muppet blue blankets that I snagged for 15 bucks. Our sunroom is all cozi-fied now and we spend a great deal of time there.

I added this little table top tree to a newly painted end table. Remember how I told you my clients give me furniture all the time? Well this octogon table was given to me FOR FREE!! and it was really ugly, dark wood colored with peeling veneer before. Now it's all limey goodness. I used Van Gogh chalk paint on it too. I've had this tree for a long time and it's not particularly high I added a ton of ribbon to cover up the cheesey-ness.

Adjacent to the sunroom is the dining room (aka 'laundry folding situation').  I have blogged about my black and white striped dining table at least a dozen times, but I just love this Merry snowman Chimenea plopped in the middle of it!  As much as  I love shiny, silver, modern-y things....I dont' think EVERTHING should be any one way. I like this little bit of rustic in an otherwise not rustic room.

The faux mercury glass balls and stars hang down from my chandelier with more silver curling ribbon.
 Over in the corner is a little chair no one is allowed to sit on, and my vintage silver garland wreath! Love this little corner (have I mentioned my disco ball obsession?)

One easy inexpensive way to give your tree a big impact, is to wrap the presents underneath it in a very planned out, coordinated way. I used black and white cheveron, polka dots, houndstooth, green chevron and some hot pink French Bulldog paper.  Another trick of mine is to wrap presents for certain families or events in a specific paper to make finding them under the tree so much easier.  I loved the way the papers looked just leaning against the hutch, so I left  them there.

You might notice the stars hanging down from the top of the hutch as well as around the door opening to the main foyer, and one is my tree topper. They were 4 bucks a piece and I plan to reuse some of them for an upcoming big event in my life, but it's bad luck to discuss it. Wink, wink.

I bought them not knowing what I would do with them, and perhaps this isn't the 'perfect' situation, but it will do for now. 

Looking into the dining room from the hallway you can see my pine/cedar garland that I draped over the bifold doors.  I added some silver jingle bells and my collection of groovy stars. It's kind of funny, but everyone hits their head on that lowest star and to be honest, it's pretty painful.

For probably 15 years, I have had this tall skinny tree. I love it, it has some sentimental value for me now and every year I do something different with it. This year I added a boat load of silver tinsel and faux snow that I wish I could remember where  I acquired, because I'd love to get some more. I've never seen it before or's like itty bitty cotton balls that stick together. So sweet. I also recycled my pom pom yarn garland from last year ( yarn...from Hobby Lobby...which they don't carry anymore. The nerve!!!) 

This is the only place I have traditional red Christmas going's on the kitchen hutch, which as some gigantic red knobs.  The sparkle Peace sign I made last year and then secretly hoped I wouldn't sell it, which I didn't. I went through a Peace Sign phase and I have a big one on the outside of my house too, above the mailbox in a not very effective attempt to keep bad news (bills) away. 

One fun thing I did this year for my kids was to convert the top draw of our  hot pink kitchen buffet into a hot beverage station. 
(that wall isn't green anymore..TG) 

It was really bittersweet cleaning out the top drawer, which was previously the girls' craft supply station (which has now taken over the entire basement). They seem to love the variety of hot chocolate and Sleepy Time tea though, so I think I'm off the hook. 

This is my odd sofa table that lives in the main hallway. It's kind of a tray on legs. I filled it up with various colored balls and a snowman I've owned for years. I've got a thing for balls, which sounds all kinds of wrong.

I kept the rest of my foyer pretty much the same way I decorate it every year....but I changed my front door wreath to this simple strip-ey goodness.  

Here is my "Merry Christmas to me" present, which is hanging in the foyer.   I ordered this from etsy....and I think it sums up mine and Mike's view of life and how we found each other...where we've been and where we are going.  I was going to give it to him, but he told me it was a bit girlie for his house, so it became my present to me! 

I hope you had a great  2013 , but that 2014 is far far better!