Cowgirl Up Party Host... Yee Ha!

*There has been a change for the 'Tis The Season Holiday Home Tour'.  To link your holiday home decorations see Stacey @EmbracingChange.  The link on my page is for the Cowgirl Up Party.  You are welcome of course to link at both!

Ranch, Porch, Cottage.   
The style of these is a feeling, not  muddy boots every day, but it also wouldn't be too far fetched at my Ranch to see a dirty pair plopped at the door.
I have always liked a rustic style, just about as much as I like all white or a French style, but I haven't perfected how to marry those looks together. 

The Cowgirl Up ladies however have figured it out. They've got comfortable style partnered with just the right amounts of color and clean white and I've yet to see any muddy boots laying around at their Texas homes!

And guess who's a guest host for the Cowgirl Up party this week?  Me!  
I'm the grey one on the right.  Really.

Welcome to Week 47
The Cowgirl Up! Link Party!
1 Party, 5 Blogs   

Needless to say I'm quite honored to be guest posting for the Cowgirl Up party gals.  They all have a style that I could get comfortable in... sipping coffee, a glass of wine, or just cracking open an ice cold beer.  You can find me sipping and blogging around our ranch.  It sits on 25 acres with a lake at one end, woods and field on the other and a house in the middle.  
It's a little bit country.....
Heading out of the driveway
And a little bit rock 'n roll.....
Son's Free Dresser Project
You can find a blend of crisp white .....
Master Bedroom
Along with sticks......
Family Room & Burlap Pillows
And stones.....

I do a photo project or two....
Kodak Moment Dresser re-do
And when we aren't covered in snow you can find me sipping something out here in the cedar porch....

Hey Buckaroo don't forget to link at the Cowgirl Up party.

Link up your cool awesome stuff, because I know my followers have the best stuff to strut.
 On to this week's features chosen by Anita of   Cedar Hill Ranch  
Uncommon Designs shared a No Sew Burlap Tree Skirt 
White Whimsy shared Christmas in a cloche
The Lily Pad Cottage showed off her festive front porch
Redhead Can Decorate shared her kitchen reveal. 
and Swede Dreams made these scrumptious Chocolate Truffle Tarts
Now about this week's party... You link up on my blog and your link shows up on FIVE blogs.
More exposure, less time.
We are looking for the latest and greatest projects, tutorials, ideas, crafts, recipes, decor, and inspiring stories. Anything that you are proud to show off.
Cowgirl Up! is the link party that saves you time and brings you inspiration.
What blogs will your link appear on? Check us out below!
Linsey with The Farmhouse Porch
Anita with Cedar Hill Ranch
Amanda with The Ivy Cottage Blog
Samantha with Crafty Texas Girls *PLUS our Special GUEST HOST:  Bliss with Bliss Ranch
The four of us are all Texas bloggers, but you don't have to be Texas, country, western, or own horses to participate in Cowgirl Up! You just need that "can-do", cowgirl spirit!
Cowgirl Up! Link Party Guidelines
(Please read the guidelines before participating)
* When you link with Cowgirl Up!, your link will automatically show on four different blogs. Awesome!
* Please follow your host blog before linking up on GFC (and if you have a linkyfollow account, then please follow that way too.)
* You may link up decor, DIY, crafts, guest post, recipes, giveaways, sewing, inspiring stories, and anything that you feel related to the listed categories.
* You may link as many links as you want.
Be sure to include the Cowgirl Up! Button or text link to Cowgirl Up in your linked post, (mine can be found on my sidebar.) Mandatory to be featured!!
* Be courteous and visit the two links before yours. Several projects will be featured each week!
* By linking up you are agreeing that the photos are yours or that you have permission to use them,  that we may use those photos to feature your project in a blog post, on Facebook, Pinterest, or Twitter with a link back to your blog of course. 
*If you pin a project shown here, please, please pin from the original source.

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Recipes with Dear Emmeline

Just let me make this very clear.... I am not a food blogger, do not enjoy documenting cooking progress nor do I like to rewrite recipes or take pictures of food. 

I do however enjoy eating, and I know good when I taste it.

This weeks link party is recipes hosted by Dear Emmeline and she is cooking up foods with holiday leftovers.

 I have been trying for 10 years to perfect or find a chocolate caramel recipe that is as good as my butter caramel recipe.  Last year I gave yet another recipe a try.

It was "the one".  The one that is now in the lineup of favorite holiday treats to make year after year.  The one good enough to end the yearly search for a chocolate caramel recipe.

With just the perfect creaminess and a distinct chocolate flavor.  I found the recipe here at Epicurious.  It is a salted caramel recipe that I love, but my family doesn't like the salt on top so I leave it off.  The caramels do look more gourmet with the salt flakes, but I haven't had anyone feel slighted without it.

The only change I have is to NOT cook it to the temp they call for in the original recipe.  The original recipe calls for cooking to 255* on a candy thermometer.  I find cooking to that temp makes the caramel too hard.  I recommend 252 and no higher for perfect ones, at least in my kitchen.  Cook it right at 252 and when it starts to go above that, turn it off.

Unlike my butter caramels this one is a two step boil process.  A little more work, but after a 10 year search for the perfect tasting chocolate caramels, I'm not messing with it because the outcome is excellent.  I doubled the batch this year without any problem.

I use Ghiradelli 60% bittersweet chocolate baking bars.  I won't use another brand because these give me the taste I was going for.  Yummmm.......

Remember to stop in at Dear Emmeline's and link up a holiday recipe.  For the full chocolate caramel recipe/tutorial, head over to Epicurious .... they don't mind writing out tutorials.  I like to just get right to the best part....... the eating.  And these are excellent eating if you want to indulge.

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'Twas the Night Before

 It's the most wonderful time of the year for more reasons than one.  We have lots of traditions here, but one of the oldest takes place before bed on Christmas Eve.

If you look closely there is no baby in the manger.  Jesus wasn't born till Christmas Day, so for over 20 years on Christmas Eve when all is still, I or one of the kids lay Him in his bed. 

The stable was a gift from child #5 when he was about 10 years old.  He made it for me because he knew I wanted one the right size for our nativity.  I love it.

The stockings are hung, the treats are made, most of the presents are wrapped, and the last of the homemade gifts are waiting for their finishing touches.  

All is quiet.  Well not really, it's rarely quiet here! 

Faux Crate Tree Stand Cover  see here
  Merry Christmas

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Tongue In Cheek Tuesday on Thursday

Reminder...... Tis The Season Link party this week Christmas recipes at Alderberry HillCome on, I know you got some recipes, so get your festive self over there and link up! 

        Tongue in Cheek Tuesday

Kirby from KirbAppeal suggested a day set aside from projects and seriousness to poke fun and asked if Dani from SiloHillFarm and BlissFromBlissRanch (that's me) wanted in on it.

Of course I said yeah, because I am pretty capable of poking fun at myself or anyone else for that matter.

Lets start with a definition from WiseGeek:
Tongue in cheek:
When described as “tongue in cheek,” it means it should not be taken seriously. Tongue in cheek humor is often wry, subtle, and sometimes difficult to catch, in contrast with more blatant forms of humor.

I might have trouble with this, I am usually blatant and I also had to look up wry.

Or this one from Wikipedia, (who also wanted a donation while I was there reading):
Tongue-in-cheek is a phrase used as a figure of speech to imply that a statement is humorously or otherwise not seriously intended and it should not be taken at face value.

So if I have it correct a good example of tongue in cheek would be:  "helll yeah I want to donate money to Wikipedia, I can't think of any place that deserves my cash more".

Or maybe that's just a lie?  Whichever. 

For the kick off to Tongue in Cheek Tuesday, that may or may not happen regularly and might not even be on Tuesdays, I decided to just poke fun at myself with out any tongue in cheek because sadly the story you are about to read is true, blatantly true.....

Last night I rushed around to get ready for a Christmas party of a committee I am on.  I got all dolled up, Brawn wore jeans without holes, and we loaded ourselves up in the cold and headed out.  We showed up promptly at 7:05, cream cheese pepper dip and homemade caramels in hand.  Ummm mmmm, yummy. 

In fact we were the first to arrive.  Odd no one else was on time. Brawn said he didn't recall ever being first to a party. 

Ding dong went the doorbell.  The hostess answered in a festive red sweater but she really didn't look all that happy to see us.


You read that right we showed up to someone's house for a party on the wrong damm day. 
Four.     Days.     Late.  

I apologize now to my oldest daughter..... these people travel in your circle and you will probably have to endure jokes at my expense.  Please don't let my son in law agree with them, defend me.

Of course I won't live it down at home either.   Child #6 has already threw it back in my face.  I told him he has basketball practice on Thursday and he said he didn't think so.  I said authoritatively, well it's written on my calendar, I got that info from somewhere!

And the little brat said.......
"ohhhhh.... just like that PARTY was written down on your calendar?"

I had pepper jelly dip for breakfast today.  And lunch.  And snack.

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Shelf Elf

It seems everyone has an elf on the shelf.  Ours came to live with us over 20 years ago and I thought it was a novel idea then.  Not one of my friends had one. He doesn't look the same as yours.  His tag said that he was a shelf elf, so that's his name Shelf Elf, but we say it as if it is all one word... Shelfelf, we never thought of giving him a real name.  But like everyone else's elf, he came to observe our behavior and report back to Santa on Christmas Eve.

Never ever did the chief mom elf ever think to pose him doing hilarious things like the elf's these days. Did I just not get that memo all those years ago? I feel like we missed out, or maybe our elf is a slacker?

While in college daughter #2 was a nanny for a little girl and wanted to give her an elf like ours - to her a shelf elf looks like our elf.  She couldn't find one.  So she made one.

She has some mad skills in all areas of art.  But she wasn't painting this elf.  She wasn't sculpting it out of clay.  She wasn't designing it on the computer.  No she said "I'm gonna sew one".  I thought... 'sure you are honey'.  Doesn't she know she is my daughter and my daughters don't know how to sew because their mother doesn't know how to sew?

She said she was going to make a girl elf, only asking me if we had some green thread.  Yeah right.  Helloooo, we have the basic colors for emergencies, no thread in creative colors.  So she took beige.  'Alllllrightttt dear'  I mumbled in a disbelieving tone thinking there was no way she could sew an elf.

Her elf was made from an old sock and some fabric scraps. The arms are made from valances from my oldest daughters room.  Really not sure where she got the green.  She stitched this little elf for a special little girl.  She packaged it up, mailed it off with instructions from Santa.

She got word that they love it..... and that behavior has been top notch this December.

I'm sure glad she didn't listen to me when I all but told her she wouldn't be able to sew one.

Linked the little elf up to the All Star Party @FullCircleCreations

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Radio Flyer Wagon Centerpiece

Sometimes when I get ideas they don't work.  Surprise!

I wanted to take the wheels off this old wagon and use them on a willow coffee table so I could roll it out of the way to vacuum.  And because I thought it would look cool.

The wheels are rubber.  And if you push hard on black rubber it makes black marks.  And the carpet is some shade of white wool.  So no wagon wheels because I have enough marks on whatever that white shade of wool carpet is.

Tell me... what is that silhouette riding in that wagon?  
A bear?  Frumpy middle aged woman?  Someone wearing a gas mask?
Sure doesn't look like a little kid to me.  
And is it just me, or does the handle part look like someone watering the lawn?

The wheels might not have worked, but I had a perfectly good (in a junk sort of way) wagon top to use. Brawn attached the brackets from the bottom of the wagon to the inside and put a silver pipe carrying handle on it, to turn it into a wagon tote.  It showed up on the table just in time to decorate for Christmas.

Ball canning jars with twine, and the left over junk from my Christmas bins fill the wagon because I couldn't find my big bag of pine cones.  It will turn up for Easter I'm sure.  For safety, dollar store battery candles top the batting stuffed jars that mimic snow, and for only the $1.00 cost of those candles I have a unique centerpiece that glows softly.  In a big sort of way.... it's size is 36"x17".

 Seriously what is that logo *thing* riding in the wagon?  It has booobs!
(Typo on purpose so people that google that word won't find my blog)

Also pulled my wagon over to the party at:
Salvaged Junk Candles@FunkyJunk

My Uncommon Slice of Suburbia

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Silver Bells Sign

One day a couple weeks ago daughter #2 sat down and started painting some signs.  As she sat with some La Craie paint sample pots in front of her I asked what she was doing and she told me making signs.  (Duh huh?)

When I pointed the camera at her she gave me that evil death glare.  I said "it's only your hand!".
In the corner of the room sat the unopened box containing my new Silhouette Cameo.  I suggested she try it out.  Neither of us wanted to read the directions so she just went about her business and lettered by hand.  She is much more tidy than I - I needed to use the Silhouette for the copy cat challenge candy cane crate.

 Have yourself a merry little Christmas

Red dogwood branches became the frame,
and it received a dusting of fine multi colored glitter.
She gifted one to her big sister and one to her sister-in-law for their homes. 

Then she started on a third one.

When I walked by I asked who that one was for; "it's for the mantel, you can't look at it".

So of course as she painted I stood over her and read it anyway.

Then tears started to run down my face.

With just a touch of disbelieving OMG in her voice, she looked up and said "are you crying?" then she hugged me and with a more sympathetic tone said "ohhh mamma".

I asked if she knew why I was crying; "well yeah, it was gramma's favorite Christmas song" she said confidently.

My sweet thoughtful daughter.  Yes I will forever hear my own mom singing it.

But my reply.....
"No that's not why I'm crying".... "I'm crying because you remembered".

The words that she painted are special no doubt, but more special to me is the fact that she knew they would be special.  Usually a person says 'it's the thought that counts' when they want the effort to be recognized and not necessarily the gift.  Not in this case.

In this case I received a gift I love and it really was the thought that counted.

Don't forget to link up to this weeks Party hostess - The Ironstone Nest - with your outdoor decor.  My decor got snowed on!

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