City of Lights: St. Augustine, FL

City lights, St. Augustine, Florida by designerssweetspot.com

I love Christmas lights. I am probably the only one in town who dreads putting the lights away for another whole year. I could keep them up all year long, but then the neighbors might think it was a bit odd.

This year I may just put some up after the New Year, because I never got around to putting them up before the holiday. For now, I have to admire everyone else’s’ display.

This is the city of St. Augustine, Florida. St. Augustine has a world famous Festival of Lights nor the holiday season from November to January. Rated by National Geograhic as one of the top ten best light displays in the world, it will not fail to impress. There are 2.5 million lights in the city, can you imagine? They are a sight to behold. I pity the poor soul who has to find that one light bulb that is out!

The city is built around an old town square with loads of beautiful shops, galleries and restaurants. It would be easy to spend your days on the beach and explore the city at night.

There are lots of interesting Windows to shop at after dark, I love,this stained glass window in an old church on the square. There were lots of people taking in the lights after dark, so be sure to go early and find a place to park. You can also take a trolley ride around town to see the lights for $12.00 per person.

All for now, it’s time to get back to the beach!

Enjoy your New Year!

 

Silver and Gold Holiday Decor

 teal sectional sofa and christmas centerpiece

This post is sponsored by Gordman’s. Any opinions given are completely my own.

The last minute decorating is done. The last minute shopping is done. Time to kick back and relax for the beginning of the holiday week. Can you believe it’s here already?

I did my last minute shopping at Gordman’s this year. It was fun to pick out a few new Silver and Gold accents for our home.

Actually, I picked out more Gold than silver.

 

gold pillow and center piece

This season, gold is the color for me!

I loved this huge gold and red gazing ball. It’s not really a Christmas decoration, but I love how it reflects warm light around the room in this big bowl of greenery on the coffee table.

gazing ball bling #designerssweetspot

The sunshine comes in the window and hits the gazing ball, it warms up the entire room with it’s gold, orange and red tones. I must admit I completely underestimated how much I would love this ball, I think it will stay on the table well past the holidays!  In the spring, it will find a new home out in the garden. I love things I can re-purpose!

Moroccan Ginger candle table display #designerssweetspot

I was thrilled to find this Moroccan Ginger candle, I love the gold mercury jar that it came in.

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When the candle is burning, it sparkles and the light reflects off the gazing ball and the jar and the other ornaments in the bowl. I will definitely find a home for this beautiful jar after the holidays! Did I mention that the candle smells amazing?? AMAZING!!

Well, it does.

gold ornaments with bling #designerssweetspot

The gold ornaments came from Gordman’s, too. I love ornaments that are non-breakable. They are pet proof and child proof and work great for a million reasons. Mostly, I love them because they are sparkly and full of bling. And they look fabulous in the candlelight.

We all need a little bling during the holidays!

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I snatched up this gold printed pillow for accent on the sofa. I love it! It works great with my hand knit afghan.I also couldn’t resist the gold polka dot notebook.

“Happy Thoughts” was exactly what I was looking to focus on over the holiday season. Sometimes we need a little reminder of the season to focus our mind on. I love these inspirational notebooks for writing down New Year’s resolutions and goals. I fill several notebooks a year with my writing and notes, but it just seemed right to start the New Year with a new notebook! Goodman’s had lots of coordinating gold desk accessories, I may need to go back and stock up after the holidays!

My last find at Gordman’s was in the kitchen isle, I spotted these stemless Champaign flutes and loved them immediately. They are swirled with gold trim around the glass, and I think they would even make pretty vases for a flower or two after the holidays.

For now though, they hold champaign. Dipping into the bubbly already, can’t wait for a holiday celebration!

Thank you Gorman’s for sponsoring this post!

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

 

Hand Dipped Biscotti

Biscotti is my all time favorite holiday food. Years ago my friends and I would gather for a special holiday gathering and each year one of my friends would make Hand Dipped Biscotti. She would wrap each piece like a gift and we would relish every single bite until we got more the next year.

Hand Dipped Biscotti|Designers Sweet Spot|www.designerssweetspot.com

Hand Dipped Biscotti is easy to make and so rewarding! It makes a great gift for any time of year.

Hand Dipped Biscotti|Designers Sweet Spot|www.designerssweetspot.com

Hand Dipped Biscotti

I make Biscotti each season, it’s easy and fun. Our kids love biscotti as well and often help me in the kitchen. They eat more than they make, but I love having them in the kitchen. It is a fun family activity.

Hand Dipped Biscotti|Designers Sweet Spot|www.designerssweetspot.com

Here’s what you will need:

Hand Dipped Biscotti

Hand Dipped Biscotti

Ingredients

  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp. Baking powder
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 tsp. Grated lemon zest
  • 1/4 tsp. Salt
  • 1tsp. Vanilla
  • 2 eggs
  • 3/4 cup chopped almonds
  • 2/3 cup dried cranberries
  • 12 oz. chocolate chips

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix dry ingredients and set aside. Combine butter and sugar, mix well. Add lemon zest, eggs and vanilla. Add dry ingredients, combine. Fold in nuts and cranberries. Turn out onto slightly floured counter, kneed slightly. Shape into rectangle, about 3" wide. Place on large cookie sheet and bake for 40 minutes. Remove from oven, cool for 30 minutes. Cut into slices 1" thick. Place slices on their side on cookie sheet. Bake again for 20 minutes until golden. Cool completely. Meanwhile, heat chocolate in double boiler until melted. Dip cooled biscotti pieces into chocolate, covering them half way. Place dipped biscotti on cookie,sheet until chocolate has hardened. Wrap pieces individually in wax paper or parchment to store.

To package your biscotti, wrap them in waxed paper and tie with pieces of bakers twine. You can also layer them in a cookie tin with parchment paper between the layers. Add a to/from tag and a copy of this recipe for a unique handmade gift!

 

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Tea Towels with Appliqué

 I know it’s early for Christmas projects, but I find that I am suckered in my the beautiful images all over Pinterest. These tea towels are a one hour project, fast, inexpensive and easy to accomplish.
Tea Towels with Appliqué|Designers Sweet Spot|www.designerssweetspot.com
tea towels with tree appliqué #designerssweetspot.com
The stores are full of holiday merchandise, and this is my favorite season to shop. I love being in the stores before the crowds and Christmas carols are blaring.
tea towels with appliqué #designerssweetspot

I have had these little Tea Towels in mind for a while, I am inspired by simple Holiday patterns and fabrics.

 

The towels are sold as “blanks” in the craft store in a set of three. They are pre made and ready for you to add the finishing touches to. I pre washed my towels before sewing them. You could use them as they are, but what fun is that?

I drew out my tree design with a pen and ruler on scratch paper. I cut out the design, then made a second and third tree design 1/2″ smaller on all sides for variety.

 

 

The trees were cut from pre washed holiday fabric in different patterns. I used three fabrics and cut several of each size tree.

After the trees were cut I cut pieces of Wonder Under adhesive the same size. Then I ironed them onto the back of the trees. Be sure to use a press cloth so you don’t get any adhesive on your iron.

I payed the trees out on the towels in different designs until I found one I liked. Then I peeled the backing off and ironed them to the towels.

 

After the trees were ironed in place, I top stitched around the edges of the fabric with a blanket stitch. You could also use a zig zag stitch. The iron on adhesive keeps everything in place so that it doesn’t move during sewing.

tea towels with tree appliqué #designerssweetspot

 

These are a quick, easy gift idea with a nice personal touch. Great idea for hostess gifts, or just to decorate your own home. It is very satisfying to accomplish an entire project in an hour, makes me want to sew some more!

 

 

 

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Christmas in the Country Home Tour

Glad you could stop by for the Christmas Home Tour! There are more than 40 bloggers participating, be sure to check out some of the other links at Creative Country Mom.

Wreath Lead

I have been working on decorating for a while, it feels good to finally have everything in place!

This is the back door, a Rustic Wooden Wreath says “hello”.

Red coop

The view from the back door is of the chicken coop. Our sweet Delaware chickens have gone to live with friends for the winter, but I couldn’t resist decorating the coop.

I have always wanted a barn to decorate, this coop is as close as I have ever gotten to owning a barn!

Timepiece display

The back porch has a few fun Christmas touches, this old mail box and jingle bells make for a unique coffee table vignette.

The Timepiece Ornament was one of my recent sewing projects.

side view-4

The back wall of the porch is full of beautiful rustic barn boards. It’s my favorite thing in this entire house. I love how the barn boards look with my DIY Gold Snowflakes.

Painted tree

The porch also is the home to our Spray Painted Christmas Tree.

I love the grey color, it’s very subtle.

I love it even more with silver, grey and blue ornaments.

Monogrammed ornament

The ornaments look rather mysterious on it. This monogram is chalk paint on a DIY ornament globe.

I still have more of them to paint. Perhaps I will finish before the holidays!

I love the beaded ornament hangers from Hobby Lobby, they make the simplest ornaments look special!

Reindeer

I have collected white reindeer ornaments for some time, they look so right on the “frosted” tree!

Snowman

Speaking of Frosty… he’s my son’s favorite orament.

Kitchen tour

I didn’t decorate a lot in the kitchen, but I did put together this mason jar display with bottle brush trees and snow on the pantry shelves.

The wooden Merry Christmas Banner above it is from Target. I bought it especially for this tour, but totally failed to get it in the picture.

Sorry folks.

I will redeem myself instead with more Gold Snowflakes.

You can never have too many jars, or snowflakes as far as I am concerned.

Kitchen tour-5

The master bedroom got a special treatment, more DIY Gold Snowflakes were added to a boring white wall with the help of Command Strips. I love those things!

I had a ball stringing up the lights and vintage ornaments over the bed.

Kitchen tour-7

The vintage ornaments were hung on twine with mini-clothes pins. They are completely charming and are mostly handmade.

I also added some jingle bells on silver clips to the lineup.

I find the little white lights very soothing, not to mention romantic.

Kitchen tour-2

I prefer all white bedding, it makes me feel like I am sleeping in a cloud. The only extravagance here is the furry white pillow.

The gold mirrors around the room were antiques that my mother gave me. They are very old.

They are some of my favorite things in the entire world.

I absolutely never tire of them.

Kitchen tour-3

The bedside table sports some bottle brush trees displayed on a cake plate and a little matching wreath.

I fell in love with the vintage baby shoes and filled them with ornaments, rosemary twigs, and more jingle bells.

The Amaryllis will be blooming around Christmas, I can’t wait until it opens.

baby shoes-2

Merry Christmas baby!

Kitchen tour-4

More gold mirrors here.

I found the gold reindeer at a thrift store.

The mauve bottle brush wreath adds a bit of color to the room and keeps it from being too white.

Kitchen tour-8

On to the dining room!

I just painted the buffet yesterday, so glad I did!

I love how it looks with the silver and grey ornaments on the tree.

The wool fabric is a leftover scrap from a cape I am making.

Kitchen tour-9

Kitchen tour-10

The room is very small and a little tree is all that’s needed to brighten up a dark corner.

The big mirror over the buffet helps to brighten things too!

Kitchen tour-12

Our little dining area is not at all fancy. I found the tartan place mats last year at Target.

The table cloth is a piece of grey suiting fabric. I am into suitings this year for some reason.

No, I didn’t iron the fabric table cloth. I am rebelling against ironing this season.

Wrinkles are okay with me! They make the place look lived in. Ha!

Kitchen tour-11

The make shift center piece is a crystal bowl filled with battery operated lights, glitter and glass ornaments, and a set of silver angels my husband gave me on our first Christmas together.

I tucked a small round mirror in the bottom of the bowl to make it brighter.

Yarnball Wreath-2

Last but not least, is the Yarn Ball wreath on the front door.

Hope you enjoyed the tour!

Have a Merry Christmas!