Do you know about Christmas cards or gift tags that you can print out at home?

I’m sure some of you know all about this and have done it before but for those of you new to this, let me show you.

I have been busy with graphic designs these last few weeks. From my own artwork I have developed three collections of Christmas and Holiday gift cards. There are several sizes and shapes. All the designs can be viewed on your computer and printed for your use.

Here is an overview of the three different pages of designs:


Three different collections of graphic designs, each on it’s own sheet, ready to print out.


Each collection is on one sheet of paper…a standard 8.5″ x 11″…and each is saved as a PDF. Each page is ready to either download or print. I’ve given you cutting lines where necessary and instructions.


Some of the tools you will need: ruler, scissors and a cutting knife.


Collection #1
“For You”


 The finished product, above, and the downloadable file, below:

For You Square 2 x6 72

This is how it will look once you print it out. Click HERE to download and print the PDF.


Collection #2
“Holiday Dots”


This is the 3″ square, folded, card.


Square Dots Tag_wm

This is the smaller, 2″, one-sided card.


 And here is the sheet you will see, ready to print out:

Dot Card Sheet 72

Click HERE to download and print this design!


Collection #3
“Red Stripe Holiday”






And the full sheet, ready to print:

Holiday Stripe Sheet 72

Click HERE to download and print.


Here are a few suggestions and tips:

1. When you CLICK HERE, as instructed, you will see the file/page in Dropbox. That is where the file is “stored”. At the top you can simply click the printer icon and print the sheet; OR you can Download and then print. For some reason…I have no idea why….it has worked better for me to download and then print. Try it and see what you think.

You will not be able to print from an iPad: the PDF in Dropbox will be visible but not printable. You will need to do this from a desktop or laptop computer.

2. Regarding paper. I have found that glossy works best. You will get the most vibrant color with a gloss and not a matte. I have been using a 60# stock from RedRiverPaper. This is a wonderful source for all kinds of printing paper.

3. Please remember: these are copyrighted designs! Feel free to use them for any personal purposes, but they are not to be reused for any commercial purpose at all.

I’m hoping to offer more printables in the future, and probably as a seasonal design offering. Winter, and then Valentines, is next up. I would love to know what you think of these!




Want a great, simple, very tasty recipe for spiced cocktail nuts? Look no further. These are fabulous and so easy to make! This time of year we all need something new to try and to serve, right?

It’s from Giada DeLaurentiis: “Spiced Cocktail Nuts Recipe” 


Oh I love my mortar and pestle! I must have bought it, what 25 years ago? It doesn’t see the light of day very often, but it’s always there when I need it. Marble is the only way to go!
This time is was for Cardamom seeds which needed grinding.



I saw this recipe over at Classic Casual Home (take a look: you will love Mary Ann) and it now resides in my recipe notebook.


Waiting to go in the oven



The finished product!


I’m also trying something new here, so let me know what you think. I have installed a plugin (that’s geek talk for a new gadget in a WordPress blog…) that formats and organizes recipes. All you have to do is click “Print”!
So, do you like this new gadget?

Recipe type: Appetizer
Serves: plenty
  • Ingredients
  • Vegetable cooking spray
  • 2 egg whites
  • 2 cups roasted and salted almonds
  • 2 cups roasted and salted cashew nuts
  • 2 cups walnut halves
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons Madras curry powder
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 2½ teaspoons garlic salt
  • 1¼ teaspoons cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  1. Place an oven rack in the center of the oven. Preheat the oven to 250 degrees F. Spray a baking sheet, liberally, with vegetable cooking spray. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk the egg whites until frothy. Add the nuts and stir until coated. In a small bowl, combine the sugar, curry powder, cumin, garlic salt, cayenne pepper, cardamom, and cinnamon. Sprinkle the sugar mixture over the nuts and toss until coated. Arrange the nuts in a single layer on the prepared baking sheet. Bake for 45 minutes until golden and fragrant. Cool for 1 hour.
  3. Using a metal spatula, remove the nuts from the baking sheet. Break the nuts into bite- sized pieces and place in serving bowls.
I added more spices than stated here. Having made this several times, I felt it needed a little boost!
Also, cook for one hour minimum: you might need an extra ten minutes.

Here is a gift I just finished this morning. Looks good enough to eat, right?

Red canister from Container Store.



I use waxed tissue paper for packing any kind of food.

I hope you will try this appetizer/munchy. Believe me, you will be hooked on these yummies.

P.S. It is p-e-r-f-e-c-t to wrap as a hostess gift!




It’s not  “Friday Flowers” today…but since Christmas is on nearly everyone’s mind I thought I would share some of these elegant, pretty, sometimes petite, and very special……
Holiday Trees.

 Totally elegant in its traditional simplicity:

 to lots of sparkle:

to simple but contemporary:


 to fun, fun, fun:


 to whimsical:

There are times, and places, when a small tree is so perfect. Of course, if you live in a small apartment a tabletop tree is made to order. Or maybe you won’t really be celebrating Christmas in your house and yet want to have something to sparkle for the season. Or, you just do not want to expend the energy and time involved in buying, setting up, and decorating a large tree (Libby, is that you?)
Not to mention the fact that some of these trees are just plain pretty! How about that copper pot/container? Or have you ever seen a red and burlap bow look so elegant?
For more suggestions and eye candy, go on over to the sidebar where, as promised, I have a link to my Pinterest Board,
“Tabletop Christmas Trees”

I haven’t planned to do any “gift guides” or go too deeply into Christmas; you can see plenty of that all over the web.
But I will be posting a few more days of Christmas findings and general holiday decor!




Let’s keep it organized!

As you know, I write about several different subjects, and these vary from week to week. Only “Friday Flowers” has remained an absolute constant each and every Friday; otherwise I usually post on Sunday night for a Monday morning delivery to all email subscribers.

What’s the point here you may ask? Just to let you know that I have added a new “widget” to my sidebar over there on the right!

If you have searched for a specific subject, word, title etc. you have been able to find it here, on the sidebar:

Screen Shot 2014-12-01 at 8.20.16 PM

Search a word, a subject, a title etc.


But now you can also search, or just look around, a specific “Category”, again over on the sidebar:

Screen Shot 2014-12-01 at 8.22.46 PM

These are the main categories of subjects I write about.

And when you click on one of these “Categories” you will see a page with just excerpts of posts, not the entire post. This way you can more easily and quickly scan through the posts and pages.

As another aside, I am also trying to keep my Pinterest boards more up to date! I let it slide for many months but I’m back, pinning away each and every day. I’ll be posting, on the sidebar,  more of my Christmas and Holiday boards in the next week… and retiring the “Melamine” until the appropriate season. Of course some boards are seasonless, i.e., “Pearls.” Just trying to stay organized!

Let me know if you have any comments about this, or suggestions!




Container gardening is not just for summer!
I was going to wait until Friday for my weekly Friday Flower post, but decided this was more timely. You might want to do some last minute outdoor plantings for the holidays, using either some of my suggestions here and/or a combination of holiday greens. You can always add evergreen branches, holly, berries, magnolias or nandina to any of these suggestions!


This planter sits on our front step.


There are four essentials for creating a container garden for winter:

#1. The correct container:

If you live where the temperature falls below 32°, then you must be careful in what container to choose. A terra cotta container, set out in your garden, may well crack with a cold winter. So what kind of container is best? A synthetic, man made container is my recommendation: they are lightweight and can certainly withstand any kind of cold! Fiberglass, sandstone, vinyl, and galvanized steel are some ideas for cold-hardy planters.

Another idea is to use a ceramic glazed planter or pot. The glaze will help to protect the pot from cracking during very cold weather. I use these here in North Carolina and have never had a problem.

A fairly new kind of container is Hypertufa. Do you know about these? Made from a mix of cement, perlite and peat moss you then mold it in any shape you want. The result is a stone like, very strong and wonderfully textured container. You can find more information here and here.

#2. Soil

As usual, you need to get the soil right! I use a mix of high quality potting soil and add some Bio-Tone Starter. This should give the plants a nice start.

#3. Depth of planting and soil

If your plantIer is tall I find that it’s such a waste to fill the entire container with soil (and makes it very heavy.)  So I use an Ups-A-Daisy insert! I’ve written about them before, and again,  and use them in almost every pot I have. Very easy and practical.

#4. Your Plants

You need winter hardy plants! This will vary according to your climate. See below for some ideas, and what is doing well here in Zone 7b.


With the Ups-a-Daisy, all set to plant.



You can see the Bio-tone I use, in combination with potting soil.


The planter, finished. I used:
Flowering Kale: ‘Songbird Red’
Ajuga: ‘Silver Queen’
Ivy ‘Gold Child’






For the planter at top of post, and below, I used:

Creeping Cotoneaster ‘Tom Thumb’
Flowering Kale


Finally, I AM using these terra cotta planters below. I have them (won at an auction), they have been sitting idle and empty all summer, so I’ll risk a crack. Anyway, they are fairly protected…sitting right on my front steps where I can keep track of them.



Here are the supplies…


This planter also has:
Heuchera ‘Coco’ and ‘Sweet Tart’



Here is a good article on Choosing the Right Planter

If you want to see some really stunning outdoor holiday containers, take a look at Deborah Silver’s blog, Dirt Simple, and specifically at One Stem At a Time and At A Glance: One Stem At a Time.  Deborah runs Detroit Garden Works and does some of the most beautiful landscape and garden design anywhere. Her blog is a feast for the eyes! And yes, I’ve pinned many of these images!

I hope you’ve enjoyed, and learned from, this short visual tutorial. And I hope you will experiment with some kind of planting, whether large or small, outside for the winter.