Happy New Year!

We are saying good-bye to 2011 and welcoming in 2012!

Thanks for joining me here at Blue Clear Sky this past year. I look forward to visiting with you in the New Year.


A Ruffled Drop Cloth Pillow

I snuck in one more project before the end of the year.

I used some leftover drop cloth fabric and a simple envelope style back to make a pillow slip, adding a loosely gathered ruffle detail. This time I left the ruffle edge raw. I had both the down insert and the drop cloth on hand, so this was a freebie project.

The chair is one of three I picked up recently with a lovely round oak pedestal table. I was going to paint the table for our kitchen but it was too big for the space, so I sold it on kijiji for more than I paid for all four pieces. That left me with three very sturdy chairs that I plan to paint. I would love to try some chalk paint on these, probably white.

We have had several days of snow since Christmas and I have been busy tidying and organizing, and blog hopping of course! Time to get out for a nice walk with the dog. So as this year draws to a close, I was wondering if you think using drop cloth fabric for projects is here to stay a while, or will it be a '2011' thing? I personally love that it is not only neutral, but so affordable and easy to wash with kids and a dog.

I'm joining in at the following link parties...

Air Your Laundry Friday #47 at Freckled Laundry



Confetti Squares Recipe

Looking for a sweet and fun dessert for a New Year's celebration that both adults and kids enjoy? Try confetti squares, our family favourite.

Now, this presentation and these photos are a bit rushed, but I have to cut quick and snap photos fast when confetti squares are in our house. Visiting family and my kids/hubby inhale them. I end up making them at almost all family get togethers or face the sad faces. Warning: super sweet and it is hard to eat just one. And not nut free the way we make them either.

This is not my original recipe, my mil has been making them for years.

Note: I always make a double batch by doubling all ingredients and chilling in a 9x13" glass baking dish (our extended family is numerous.) The following recipe below is for a single batch and would be in a 8 or 9" square pan.
Confetti Squares
1/4 cup butter
1/2 cup smooth peanutbutter
1 package butterscotch chips
3 cups coloured miniature marshmallows

Place butter, peanutbutter and butterscotch chips in a pan on medium-low heat. Stir CONSTANTLY until melted and smooth. Remove from heat and let cool 20 minutes. After cooling, stir in miniature marshmallows. Pour into a butter greased 8 inch square pan, plastic, or glass container. Chill in fridge until firm (a few hours.) Cut into squares (not too big as they are quite sweet) and serve. They freeze okay too.

This is what the ingredients (minus marshmallows) look like when melted, nice and smooth. Melting doesn't take long so keep stirring for a couple of minutes and to avoid burning, keep stirring anddon't walk away! They are quite quick and easy to make. Remove from burner and let cool before adding marshmallows. I've shared this one before, but thought it wouldn't hurt to share again (plus I had a moment to snap some blurry photos.)

I'm sharing this with....
Frugal Friday at The Shabby Nest


Best of 2011 Projects

Welcome to my year of favourites post. It has been fun looking back at projects completed this year (and a bit overwhelming seeing projects that still need to be completed) and deciding on my favourites. You know how it goes, if you want to see more details click on the link to the original posts : )


Thanks so much for stopping by and for the many kind comments I have received this year.

I'm joining the fun (and looking for inspiration) at the following parties...


My Favorite Post of 2011 Party -Dairy Inspired Cloche

I'm joining Home Stories A to Z 's My Favorite Post of 2011 link party tonight, with my favourite post of 2011, Dairy Inspired Cloche.

Here it is reposted, from November 1, 2011:

Most of my readers know we are a bit farm and cow obsessed at our home, in the nicest way of course ; )

With the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair starting this week in Toronto, Ontario, I was inspired to create a dairy themed cloche centerpiece for our kitchen. We have always attended 'The Royal' (Canada's most prominent agricultural event held indoors for two weeks every November) but it is even more fun for us now because our oldest son participated in the dairy show last year, and will be participating in the beef show this year.

For this centerpiece, I used a black wire cloche on a white platter. Because the cloche is tall, I added a vintage wooden spool to raise the old milk bottle with the embossed 'Brampton Jerseys' label. A white Holstein Dairy show ribbon and vintage brass cow tags, and a trio of little milk/cream bottles complete the centerpiece. My son thought it was crazy that I wanted to use a white ribbon because white ribbons are 3rd place, when I could have used 1st place red ribbons. It's all about the colour, baby.

We have put away all our Halloween decorations and I'm enjoying this simple look in the kitchen. This centerpiece, the Keady Livestock and Farmer's Market sign, and my barn photos will be the backdrop to many conversations our family will have around this farmhouse table in the next few weeks. A bit of farm love in suburbia!

Thanks to the many blogs I read, including Marty's A Stroll Thru Life, I had the courage to attempt this little arrangement using items I already had on hand quickly after work today. Marty said just about anything could go under a cloche. If you question your decorating skills, as I often do, or think you don't have the items it takes to put together a little vignette, you may miss out on the pleasure of adding some personality or seasonal fun to your home. Look around your home, take inspiration from others, and just go for it. Happy November!

Thanks for stopping by and I hope you are enjoying this time between Christmas and the New Year. Thanks to Beth from Home Stories A to Z for hosting.


A Year In Review ~Vignettes

I enjoy changing the decor on table tops and shelves for the seasons and today I am sharing a look back at some of these vignettes.

The two little shelves we added to the end of our upper cabinets in our kitchen are frequently changed for the seasons. I love that I can easily add seasonal decor and colour to our otherwise neutral kitchen with these display shelves.

The farmhouse table in our kitchen has also seen many centerpieces and 'photo shoots' this year, from flowers, to baked goods and new finds. The light from our patio doors and skylights usually make this the best spot for photos, even on darker days.

My vintage aqua mason jars and galvanized sap buckets are favourites to use in displays.

I use lots of whites in dishes, textiles and flowers and shades of whites usually show up in most of my photos.

I shared my authentic design style post here, and I love making changes to our home and decor that better reflects the style I love. Our home, like many, is constantly evolving but I love that with a mostly neutral background I can add seasonal pops of colour, like red at Christmas, to keep things interesting.

I hope you enjoyed your Christmas and thanks for taking time out of your day to visit.


Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas!

Wishing you a Christmas season blessed with God's gifts of peace, joy and love! Thank you for stopping by this little corner of my world. I have been blessed to meet so many good people, and brightened by your kind comments.


Merry Christmas!

Christmas break is finally here!

I finished work this afternoon and will be off for the next two weeks. Hooray! We have been busy tonight cleaning our home and getting ready for guests (think chocolate Lab, white slipcovers and piles of dog hair two days after vacuuming, just keeping it real.) With the help of my sister and family, we will be hosting Christmas Eve after Mass and Christmas day. Lots of loved ones and lots of food and I am so looking forward to spending time with family.

Merry Christmas!

Wishing you a Christmas season blessed with God's gifts of peace, joy and love! Thank you for stopping by this little corner of my world. I have been blessed to meet so many good people, and brightened by your kind comments.


Our Christmas Village ~2011

Our living room tree has been moved over to make room for a Christmas village. Again.

Last year I shared our Christmas village and how my plans to keep it in storage changed.  Plans and memory making for our boys trumps my plans for more simplified decorating once again and tonight our almost 15 year old son got a plank from his grandfather's old sawmill out of the garage, and two little night tables from the basement for a makeshift display table. {We seriously need more horizontal display surfaces in our home.} I love the rustic wood and that this display is waaaay narrower than the farmhouse table he used last year.

Our miniature Christmas scene has a farmhouse, barn and outbuildings, a Victorian home, and a Church, school and gas station. Villagers, lights, a bridge, lots of bottle brush trees and kids tobogganing add some charm.

The farmhouse and farm were the first pieces I collected before kids. Our youngest son (almost 13) was rushing out to his hockey game tonight with Dad and only added a few people and trees, but I'm sure by tomorrow part of Josh's huge collection of farm vehicles will be added.

This is what Kyle came up with for a display surface. I love this weathered and rough sawn wood that was from my fil's old sawmill. We have several pieces and I think in the New Year Kyle and I will have to make something cool with them. He's my tool guy. Actually, both our boys ask for tools every Christmas.

Kyle wants to know which version my readers prefer....Our Christmas village 2011(keeping in mind tractors etc. might be added) or....

our Christmas Village 2010 (below)?

Thanks for stopping by during this busy week! If you have a spare minute Kyle would really appreciate your opinion (they are busy making plans to expand for next year.)

I'm sharing this with...


A Simple Christmas Dining Table with Faux Grainsack Runner

Going for a simpler and more rustic look, I added a faux grainsack runner and a smaller arrangement to our dining room table.

When I shared our Christmas dining room tablescape here, I knew that to use our table for dining, something simple and lower would be more practical. I loved seeing this as I walked by many times each day, but the height will make it a bit more difficult for conversation and there will be lots of great-nieces and great-nephews around over the holidays. I already had one casualty, a candlestick not a kid ;)

On Saturday I had to pick my niece up from her volleyball practice in a nearby city so I stopped into Fabricland. This tea towel fabric has been on my 'want' list for a while and this weekend it was on sale for 40% off.

Blue stripes came home with me but it also comes in red, green and yellow. For $12 I have the the look of grainsack and although not as rustic as vintage grainsack, this was an easy and affordable project. The ends could be left raw or frayed, but I chose to simply hem them.

From the original Christmas centerpiece I kept a piece of burlap ribbon, a birch kissing ball, large and small pinecones and mini glass ornaments in blue, silver and cream.

For votives I used mini canning jars with tealights nestled in table salt (epsom salts are on my shopping list.)

Sisal twine wrapped around the jars makes them a little more rustic and, I think, cuter. I have seen this done in so many pretty homes I have visited with all the Christmas party link ups and if I get a chance before Christmas I may add some cute numbers or such to each one.

For actual dining purposes (and so I can put a place setting at the ends of the table) I will probably cut the burlap in half and use a shorter version, with the extra going to our farmhouse table in the kitchen. I have a large family and we usually overflow several tables. I plan to wait and add sprigs of fresh greenery to the tables on Christmas Eve so they don't dry out before then.

And because I still love seeing my china cabinet arrangement, I am sharing a link to Christmas in our dining room and our Christmas home tour. Thanks for stopping by, and to my new followers from the Christmas tour, welcome! As I'm sure many of you are facing, this week will be especially busy but I am making a real effort to not sweat the small stuff and to enjoy this last week of Advent. I have a few gift certificates to pick up after work tomorrow, and then some wrapping left to do. What about you?

I'm sharing this with...

 Tabletop Tuesday at A Stroll Thru Life

Tuesday's Treasures at My Uncommon Slice of Suburbia

Wow Us Wednesday #45 at Savvy Southern Style

White Wednesday #131 at Faded Charm

and the 200th Grain Sack Inspired link party at Party Junk hosted by Funky Junk Interiors