A Fresh Start....My goals for 2014

I love new beginnings....new years, new weeks, new seasons.   For me, a new beginning means a fresh start.  And I am in need of a fresh start.






My Favorite Recipes of 2013

Friday I shared my favorite DIY projects of the year, and today I thought I'd share some of my favorite recipes.  Which one is your favorite?

My Favorite DIY Projects of 2013

I can hardly believe that I have been blogging for over seven months now.  It has really become a part of my life and I am so excited about what 2014 will hold for anderson + grant.  With the new year beginning in just a few days, I thought I'd share my favorite DIY projects I've posted since May.  Enjoy!

Some of my favorite Christmas ideas


Great ideas really seem to explode during the Christmas season in blogland, don't they?  Here is a little of what I found creative this season....


While it's not a new idea, I just love seeing all the toy trucks and cars with trees strapped to their roofs.  Over my Black Friday shopping weekend, I saw one at a consignment shop that used a vintage bottle brush tree with a vintage toy car (and you know my love of vintage!).  But, I didn't buy it and now regret it....I always regret what I don't buy.    This display from A Cultivated Nest is a great version of the idea, don't you think?  I'm loving the old looking truck.

Chocolate Covered Pomegranates


Covering something in chocolate makes just about anything taste better, don't you agree?  Being someplace where there is a chocolate fountain is just about like heaven for me.  Last year, I made a recipe  from  Pinterest for chocolate covered pomegranates and they were delicious!  I made them again this year with a little adjustment and thought I'd share the idea with you.


Very Berry Double Chocolate Cookies


I love having new and different cookie recipes to try for my Christmas baking.  These cookies use two of my favorite ingredients.....berries and dark chocolate.  The recipe has been created from a couple of different cookie recipes and I think that the finished product is delicious.....almost like a brownie.  You'll love them!



17 Ideas for Your Christmas Place Cards


Adding place cards to your Christmas table is a simple way to make your guests feel special....especially if the place card is something that they can take with them after the dinner is over.  Even if you have only a few guests and even if they have "their chair" where they always sit, adding their name to a space at the table makes them feel welcome.  There are so may ways to create unique place cards at Christmas incorporating nature, icons of Christmas like Santa or reindeer, photography, or ornaments.  




Painting a Merry Christmas Sign


At a yard sale over the summer, I purchased a tall wooden box that has a latch.  I'm not sure exactly what the box's original purpose was but I bought it figuring that I would figure out what to do with it later.  Since it was so skinny, I decided it would work well to turn the box on it's side and paint it like a sign.

Gingerbread Waffles


On Christmas morning, I like to have something that is really easy to throw together for breakfast.  Who wants to be trying to prepare a meal when there are gifts to open?!??!





I wanted to find something with a "Christmas" taste, and thought what is better than gingerbread?  And one of the easiest breakfast foods to prepare is waffles.  They can even be made the night before and placed in the oven for about 10 minutes to warm in the morning.

Nature Inspired Christmas Display





Has anyone else seen the Pier1 commercial featuring the little deer talking to his mother in the store?  If not, here is the YouTube video....go ahead and watch it....I'll wait.

Creating a Hand Painted Snowman Pillow


Pottery Barn is always a source of inspiration for me.  I saw a painted snowman pillow that they have for sale and knew I wanted to do something similar.  Their pillow is made with a plain, neutral background, but I wanted something a little more eye catching.





Jo Ann Fabrics has a great red plaid print in the bolts of home decor fabric that I knew would be perfect.  Home decor fabric holds up better and makes a nicer pillow than regular weight fabric.

Winter Inspired Mantel


The other day, I shared my Christmas tree that is decorated in silver, clear, and steel blues.  Since the mantel is right beside the tree, I wanted the two to coordinate.  In addition to sticking to the same colors, I also used silver German glass glitter and pinecones in both places.  Repeating different elements helps your theme to look cohesive between two objects.



Creating Primitive Candy Canes


Candy canes are one of those "symbols" of the Christmas season that can fit into any decor.  I've created this great ornament that can be made very primitive or be left clean and modern.  They have an little added sparkle with a dusting of mica flakes.







Winter Wonderland Decorated Christmas Tree


For me, the Christmas tree is probably my most important Christmas decoration.  If I did no other decorating at Christmas, I would still need to have a tree up.  I'm happy adding some garlands and a few meaningful decorations around my space, but the tree is a must have.







As I mentioned before, I like to do something different with my Christmas tree each year.  I was really torn with how to decorate it this year, though.  I finally opted to do a wintery tree inspired by the wrapping paper I purchased for my holiday gifts.  The tree actually ended up silver and clear, if you can consider clear a color!

Country Christmas Tablescape


Yesterday I shared the steps I take to create a perfect centerpiece.  I was creating it using a country Christmas theme and I'd like to share how I finished off my table with the same theme.




Tips for Creating the Perfect Centerpiece


Last month, I shared tips with you about how to set the perfect table.  One of the most important parts of the perfect table is the centerpiece, so now I'd like to take you step by step through how I create one for my table.  And a centerpiece doesn't just have be for dinner around the table.  If it is done correctly, a centerpiece can look beautiful anytime!





I was in the mood for a little bit of country for my Christmas table.  It is easier to decorate a table if you have a theme in mind.

Old Fashioned Ginger Cookies



With all the fabulous, creative cookie recipes out there, sometimes I still like to go traditional.  And what is more traditional that a ginger cookie at Christmas?  This recipe makes delicious, chewy cookies that I think you'll love!

Repurposed Log Carrier Bag




I'm always on the lookout for unique items that I can paint pictures on.  I was at a sale and found this great old log carrier bag.  It has been used and shows some wear but was a perfect surface for adding a snowman.

Decorating a Vintage Sled for Christmas


Last November, I found a vintage sled at an antique store and bought it to decorate for Christmas.  I purchased a swag of greenery that had berries, pinecones, and snow from Hobby Lobby, as well as a big spool of plaid ribbon from Michaels.  Right after Christmas I put it all together knowing that it would be perfect to sell at my open house almost a year away.  It turned out beautiful and was super easy to make.


Using Jars to Create Fabulous Christmas Gifts






Libbie, one of my friends from college, contacted me about collecting some ideas for her that involved using recycled bottles for Christmas gifts.   She has a lot of gifts to give to her family and likes to find an inexpensive way to give each person a little something.  When she brought up the suggestion, I had no idea how many great ideas I'd find!

Making Oven Baked Corn


One of my favorite side dish recipes is for baked corn.  It has a pudding like texture when it is done and is a good old-fashioned recipe.  Plus, it's a breeze to create and can be made using just one dish!





Normally this side dish is made in a large baking dish and all the ingredients can be mixed right into that dish.  I wanted to do something a little special, though, and decided to bake the corn in individual ramekins.  They turned out perfectly and the only change I made was that I mixed the ingredients in a separate bowl and poured the mix into the ramekins.










To make the baked corn, you'll need:

1 can cream style corn
4 egg yolks
2 Tablespoons sugar
1 Tablespoon melted butter
1 cup milk
2 Tablespoons flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 beaten egg whites




Combine all the ingredients except for the egg whites.




Fold the beaten egg whites into the rest of the ingredients.



If you are making the corn in ramekins, pour the ingredients into the individual dishes.  They could have actually been filled a little more than I did in the picture above.  The corn will puff up a bit as it bakes, though, so don't fill it to the top of the dish.




Bake the corn in the oven at 300 degrees for one hour.  Oddly enough, the baking time was the same for the ramekins as it was for the large baking dish.  When the baked corn is done, it will be firm in the center and will start to pull away from the edges of the dish.





Serve the baked corn straight from the oven.  It can also be reheated in the oven or microwave.





So what do you think?  Will you try this for your Christmas dinner this year?


OTHER RECIPES YOU MIGHT ENJOY:








Making A Snowman from a Screwdriver


I am always on the lookout for something old and beaten up that I can turn into something totally different.  These snowman screwdrivers do just that!





I was shopping at a store called Surplus City, outside of Altoona, PA.  They have an enormous amount of craft supplies, home decor, and tools. (Perfect store for husbands and wives to shop in together!!!!)  I was wandering through the tool section and came across a whole bucket full of rusty vintage screwdrivers.....3 for a $1!!!   Who could turn down that deal?  I bought a bunch and immediately my mind was going trying to figure out what I could create.

23 Amazing Christmas Trees


Every year, I try to do something different with my Christmas tree.  Last year, the tree had kind of a woodsy theme to it with a brown and green color scheme.  It was decorated with mercury glass acorns, some twig branches, and a rustic angel with grapevine wings along with a bunch of other brown and green ornaments.



25 Days of Christmas


Now that Thanksgiving is over, I can officially start my Christmas season.  I am the type of person who likes to take one holiday at a time and don't enjoy seeing holiday layaway commercials in October.  Not a single red or green decoration appears until I've enjoyed my turkey.  And that day has come....bring on the music, the decorations, and the presents!


32 Inspiring Thanksgiving Tablescapes



Last week, I shared my tips for setting the perfect Thanksgiving table with you.  I've been seeing a lot of inspiring ideas out there in blogland and thought I'd share some of my favorites.  Have you decided what you are going to be doing with your Thanksgiving table yet?

The Best Pumpkin Pie French Toast






One of my favorite flavors of the fall season is pumpkin and there are recipes out there for just about everything you can think of.  I'm always looking for great ideas to serve for breakfast and came up with this delicious recipe for pumpkin pie french toast.  It is adapted a bit from here and I totally love the taste.

Tips for Setting the Perfect Table


Thanksgiving is one of those times of year that I think people try a little harder to set a beautiful table.  As I said with my fall tablescape, one of the ways you can make your dinner guests feel welcome is to put a little extra effort into setting a beautiful table.





Rather thank just show you my Thanksgiving table, I thought you might enjoy seeing the steps I take to create a tablescape.

Creating Leaf Shaped Butter


It's no secret that I love the little details when entertaining.  I'm always trying to find unique things I can do to make the meal special.



A few years ago, I started using tiny cookie cutters to shape the butter for the Thanksgiving table.  It's one of those little things that you can do that really shows you've put some time, effort, and thought into making your meal special.  And it is so simple to do!

DIY Turkey Painting on a Board


I've been really trying to think up a good Thanksgiving craft that I can share with all of you.  One of the "symbols" I associate with Thanksgiving is a turkey.




There are people out there who are able to paint a beautiful, colorful turkey, but I am not one of them.  (Well, I may have the capability, but not the desire or patience!)  I realized that I could paint the outline of a turkey, however, and remembered I had a sketch I drew many years ago from a drawing a friend had made.

Cranberry Jello Salad

One side dish that is always on the table for our Thanksgiving celebration is Cranberry Jello Salad.   Cranberry sauce is one of those Thanksgiving staples that everyone seems to have for their family and I think this jello salad is a great twist on having the basic sauce.  It is another recipe passed down through the family from my grandma and couldn't be easier to put together.




My mom helped me out by making the salad for this post....it was so nice to be able to stand back and just be the photographer for a change!  Thanks Mom!

Transforming a Fall Display for Thanksgiving

The decorations used in the fall can really last for so many months with just a few changes.  I decorated in September for the season, and while I didn't decorate for Halloween, much of what I used could have been updated for the holiday with the addition of a few jack-o-lanterns, witches, crows and cobwebs.  The same is true for Thanksgiving and I'd like to share with you how I took my fall mantel and turned it into a Thanksgiving showpiece!





I don't think a lot of people decorate for Thanksgiving.  Unfortunately, in both decorating and celebrating we pass from Halloween right on to Christmas.  Partly, I think, because there really aren't a lot of great Thanksgiving decorations out there.  I'm not a fan of cutesy stuff and that is really all that is easy to find.  If you search hard enough, though, you'll find some great pieces.  Hobby Lobby and Kirkland's both have great decor for Thanksgiving.

Easy Distressing Technique for Painted Furniture

Looking back through some old posts, I realized I had shown you a stool I picked up from a yard sale promising to show you the finished stool the next week.    That was months ago and I never showed you the completed project.  My apologies, but here it is now.





This stool had a lot of character to it that could only be achieved from years of wear and tear...lots of chips and nicks in the wood and spatters of multiple paint colors.  The stool was obviously handmade......probably just thrown together using some scraps of wood and was likely never intended to be a decorative piece.  I love finding old pieces that were made out of necessity but can now serve another function.

Serving Individual Appetizers to Your Guests

While shopping at Boscov's a few weekends ago, I spotted these cute Mini Cast Iron Pans.  I can easily be talked into buying things that will make a statement when I'm entertaining.  They were originally priced at $10 each, but were on clearance for 50% off, so I had to have a few.





Now what to do with them.....

Custom DIY Curtains Made from a Tablecloth



I wanted to share with you the fabulous DIY curtains my mom made using a tablecloth from Target.  We couldn't find fabric we liked anywhere, but were drawn to the pattern on the tablecloth.  She purchased it knowing somehow she could use it to make curtains.  Unfortunately, she was also only able to order one (and the nearest Target is an hour and a half away), so her DIY skills were really put to the test.

26 Creative Decorating Ideas for Halloween

I've said in the past that I do not decorate for Halloween.  I am not really a fan of all the scary things like skeletons and mummies and I would much rather take my time putting out fall decorations and enjoying them rather than having to take those things down after a month to decorate for Halloween.  There are some great creative ideas out there for decorating for the holiday, though.  It almost inspires me to go the store for a few things!


Staining Painted Wood with Coffee



Not to long ago, I picked up a great piece with three shelves to hang on the wall.  I believe it was probably handmade and is a nice sturdy, well built piece with a beadboard backing.  It also had a great stained finish.  I debated whether or not to leave it alone, but ultimately decided to paint it.  (Who wants to read a DIY blog post about a piece of furniture I bought and didn't do anything with?!?!)

Chicken and Stuffing Bake


I love a dish that can come together quickly and easily for supper.   This Chicken (or Turkey) and Stuffing Bake is one of those dishes.  With just three ingredients, you can make a meal that is creamy and delicious.  Plus, it uses up your leftover chicken!







Whenever I have leftover turkey or chicken, I break it into small pieces and put it into a container in the freezer.  When I have enough meat, I pull it out and make this dish.  You don't even have to thaw the meat to use it.....if it has already been broken into pieces, the chicken or turkey can just be emptied into the bottom of your baking dish.  It will thaw as it cooks.

Another Fall Display

Thank you so much for all the amazing comments you've been sending my way about the mantel display I put together.  It means so much to know that the thought I put into creating the display was worth it.  Adjectives like "breathtaking" have really thrilled me!



Setting a Table for Fall

As I've said in the past, fall is my favorite season for decorating and that includes setting a lovely table.  I enjoy using nice dishes and vintage silverware, and adding some special touches to make my guests feel like I've taken the time to make their evening enjoyable.




Setting a nice table is no different than decorating a home.  You need a mixture of new and vintage, fancy and a bit more casual.  You also need a mixture of colors, patterns, and textures.  I enjoy an eclectic mix of elements that all come together for a cohesive look.

Distressed Pumpkin Crate for Fall

A few weeks ago, I participated in a blog swap with Lisa from Mabey She Made It.  Yesterday both of our projects were featured at Lil' Mrs. Tori from a party Lisa linked up to....isn't that crazy?

It is so exciting to be able to share my creation with a new audience, but I wanted to make sure that all of you saw what I painted, too!  After a recent email request, I'm also including a little bonus here for you, my loyal readers.....keep reading to the bottom and see what it is!




Decorating Fall Cookies

To celebrate the first day of fall, my mom and I baked some cookies and decorated them for the season.  I love putting a little extra effort into decorating my cookies.  Even though I know they will be eaten and my hard work will be gone, it makes me feel good to see a nicely decorated cookie laying on the plate!





I used a "secret-family-recipe" that I can't share with you, but to me, it doesn't matter what recipe you use (you can even buy Pillsbury sugar cookies in a can to decorate!).  The important part is just taking the time to make your cookies special, especially if you do it with your family.

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