Friday, December 30, 2011

Goodbye 2011!

For us the biggest event during 2011 was building our front porch.  I first posted about it here back in January. I am so thrilled this worked out for us to build this year.  I truly feel lit really transformed our house and I couldn't be happier with it.  Each time I pull into our driveway I smile.  Our builder (Mark Glennie) did a fabulous job and we'll likely work with him again this year to 'beef up' our garage.


I look forward to decorating the porch for the seasons during 2012 and beyond!  

What are we looking forward to during 2012?

I want to do more crafting.  I have a fabulous craft room that I don't use nearly enough.  I also want to try some new mediums to work with (fused glass) and I'm excited about that.  

We need to get the landscaping done around the porch.  The walkway doesn't line up and the side stairs don't match the granite steps down to the garage anymore.  We need to fix that, hopefully in the spring.

I'm also taking a photography class this spring!  My husband works for the local community college so I can take classes for free.  I figured I might as well take advantage of that.  Starting mid-January I'll be in class two nights a week.  That should be interesting, I haven't been in a college class in a LONG time!  I'm really looking forward to it though.

That might be about it...if I think of anything else noteworthy I'll post about it!  

Here's to 2012!

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Merry Christmas!

Our tree this year.  I love it in this corner of our living room and I'm 99% sure this is where we'll have it each year.

Every year Pat and I go to the tree farm on the hunt for the perfect tree to cut down.  We found this one pretty quickly this year and it might be my favorite tree so far.  There aren't quite enough lights on it for me as we had some strings that were out and we decided not to replace them this year since we plan on buying LED lights after Christmas.  So more lights for next year!

I hope you all have a very merry Christmas!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Homemade Vanilla

It was almost a year ago that I knew I'd be making homemade vanilla extract for this Christmas.  That's a long time to wait!

I had originally saved this blog post to go by, but ended up mostly following this one.  I bought the vanilla beans at Olive Nation and they were AMAZING.  Excellent prices, fast shipping and plump awesome vanilla beans.  I will definitely purchase from them the next time I make vanilla!

I basically cut the vanilla beans into a 'V' shape and dropped them into a fifth of vodka.  I bought fairly cheap vodka as everything I read said it didn't matter at all.  After I was done I just put them in my cupboard for a few months and then bottled them up!  I made two fifths of extract, so I have enough to last me and my gift recipients quite a while!

Here are some pictures of the process:

I was amazed how quickly the vodka turned brown.  It smells heavenly!

I wrapped a ribbon around the bottle and attached a label to them.  I think they look pretty cute!