25 December 2014

Merry Christmas from Shoestring Elegance

"....For behold, I bring you good news of great joy which will be for ALL people; for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign for you; you will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger."  And suddenly there appeared with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, "Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace....." 
Merry Christmas to you all. Many Blessings, I pray for you all, today & everyday.  

"What to do Weekends" will return next Thursday! I hope to see you then.

23 December 2014

Nova Scotia Style Shortbread Cookies for Your Recipe Box

I make these wonderful cookies every year, These are my personal favorite cookie. Truly, very "Nova Scotia style" Shortbread Cookies. As I did last year, this year. I made both the plain and the ones with some chocolate drizzle for my friends that are not real use to a cookie without alot of sugar. I hope you enjoy them!
I want to tell you that, for me, this is "The Most Wonderful Time of the Year"! Even as January creeps closer. I love this holiday time, celebrating the Birth of Jesus, and having "special time" to spend with my Loved ones. I truly believe, and wish people would have a little Christmas in their hearts all year long, present company Included!!
Last year, I called all my Sisters, Nieces, Grand Nieces, In-laws.... basically, every female member of my family to start things off with a "Begin Ladies Baking Day!" the Saturday after Thanksgiving!! (it was a Smashing success, by the way!) I want to share some of the things we made with you! Some of the decorations and arrangements I've been working on with you over the next month. I simply can not, prepare, decorate and post Holidays and occasions a month ahead of when they actually are! There! I've said it! Most Bloggers do this to help provide Inspiration! They all do a wonderful job at doing just that! For me, however, it is not practical (and I feel like I miss out on the here and now).

I have been doing alot of baking, decorating and spending time with friends and family! I can think of no better way to spend my time!!
I am my Blog's photographer, writer, creator, and editor. It takes a bit of work and time to share these things with you and I love doing it! But, I often find myself doing or making something fun and thinking I should have took a picture of that "before" so I could show you how to get the same end result. What can I say, "I am doing my level best!
Sorry, back to the Baking Day!! Every year My mother, I and a sister here and there make a Bounty of Christmas Cookies, Breads and Candy! This year I wanted to start our "Baking Day" as a means of having and cherishing time with my Family, but also to alleviate the pressure of all these goodies from my Mum's list of to do's! We make A LOT!

In the last couple of weeks, I made these yummy "Shortbread Cookies", that are, wonderfully, commonplace for most of my Canadian Family and represent special memories, for me, of my Grandmother. Shortbread Cookies are not really as enjoyed here as much as others, and I wanted to do something about that!! I made a beautiful batch of these Traditional Nova Scotia-style Shortbread Cookies, the day before my families baking day to be decorated and include in what we all have to share.

This week, I made another batch. This time, with a little more dimension, to share at a Christmas Tea with my Women's Group from Church. So here's the simple trick I did to make them more appealing to most!
They usually are a very basic 3 to 4 ingredient, no frills, delicious buttery cookie. That, in my opinion cannot be beat to have with tea! But to make them universally appealing and festive, I simply melted some chocolate in a double boiler, about 1/2 cup of semisweet chocolate and about a teaspoon of flavorless oil (like canola) The oil helps maintain the nice color and shine!
Then, you just take a fork, and on a wire rack OVER wax paper, have fun drizzling the chocolate back and forth over your shortbread, it couldn't be easier!! But what a difference! They were a big hit at my Christmas Tea and with friends and family.
(Note: I never work on drizzling more than 6 cookies at a time, or you lose the beautiful way the chocolate overlaps the side of your cookie)
Here's the recipe. I hope you will enjoy it with your friends and family, as well.
Recipe: Traditional Nova Scotia Shortbread Cookies
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, room temperature
3/4 cup powdered sugar, sifted
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. Vanilla ( not traditional, but I love vanilla!)
2-1/3 cups All purpose Flour, sifted twice
Wrap and chill dough at least 1 hour, 2 is better
Roll to 1/4 inch, make sure to fork your cookies well, or you get air pockets (which really does ruin the cookie)
Cut cookie as you like!
Bake in a slow oven, 300-325F/just until the edges get a very light golden, no brown here.
Cool on rack & enjoy or finish with chocolate or raw sugar.
Many Blessing to you all.

Today I'm sharing with: 


File under: traditional Nova Scotia Shortbread Cookies,  Shortbread cookies, Christmas cookies, basic shortbread  Foodies Cookies 

18 December 2014

What to do Weekends #103 and Our Features

Yes, It is in fact that time again!  I can't wait to see what you've all been up to!
  Before we get on with the party, I'd like to share with you  Mine and Linda's Picks to be Featured this week! Although, we have pinned many. We decided that we would each pick two of your wonderful projects to Feature here!
So, on with it, right?
My picks  here @ Shoestring Elegance, were:
The Lou Lou Girls Beautiful Newspaper Wreath

Thrift Share Thursday! She really Scored with some of her wonderful decorations! I especially like these
Linda @ Crafts a la Mode Features were
Adorable Cupcake Paper angels
Salt Shaker Snow Globes
If you were featured Feel free to Grab our new Feature button for your blog!

 We have Pinned all the Features, as well as several others! Please follow common courtesy of the Party and Follow and/or Link back to us in some way! And, don't forget to visit your neighbors with some Blogland Love.

Now, let's see what you have for us this week!

What I've Been Up To ~ Birthday & Christmas 2014

Hi, Dear Friends. I am sorry I haven't shared more with you since the "What to do Weekend" Party. I've been a little busy. I'm pretty good at multitasking, but this week, was a lot even for me. I hope you follow me on Instagram Here
or on Facebook. Then you may have a little idea of my week.

First of all, and not all that important, but it kept me busy, I celebrated my 49th Birthday on Monday. Well, actually, we started celebrating on Sunday! My brother and his wife traveled to town as did one of my nieces, both of whom live quite a distance away. My Mum & Dad, Sister and the wonderful out-of-town family had a wonderful celebration on Sunday, before they had to head back to their respective homes. The celebration continued on through Monday, including a manicure in the morning and a wonderful lunch out. So, here's a terrible picture of me being a goof on my Birthday!

The nice thing about getting older, is you care much less about looking like a goof in pictures! Atleast, I had some makeup on and my hair was slightly done, after the storm did it's job on it, that is.

While the birthday celebrations were going on and after they finished, I had very precious little time to get my shopping, decorating and baking done.

So, I got to work!
First on the list was to start getting the baking knocked out! 

I started with my Toffee Squares, pictured below (which I subsequently needed to make an extra 5 dozen for a cookie exchange!)  Than these 4 dozen for my family and friends.

Next was the Rocky Road 

and then on to Fudge! (All 5 Pounds of it!) 

  Now, next, but certainly not last, tonight (after braving the stores during a rainstorm) I have just finished one of my family's, and maybe your's, favorites! Whether you call them snowballs, mexican wedding cakes, or like us, Betty Crocker's Russian Teacakes these little cakes are always a must in our household.

As tonight comes to an end, I am just going over my list, one more time. It looks like a few more batches of cookies and some breads, one more gift to get, the wrapping to do, and the house to ready and I should be set!  Would you believe me if I told you, that "I love this!?" Every single moment is a treasure to me! I have Christmas tunes playing in the background, tonight I was listening to White Christmas playing on the television. I'm starting to get word from family on their arrivals to town and so excited to see and enjoy them all so much. 

I will be back to co host "What to do Weekends"
 with Linda tomorrow, but that's all for now. Thank you for popping in on my Christmas preparations. I hope you are finding the Joy in these days leading up to the celebration of the birth of Our Lord. 
Many Blessings to you and your Family!

Sharing with:
Katherine @Katherines Corner   Cindy@ My Romantic Home Courtney @ French Country Cottage

11 December 2014

"What to do Weekends" #102

This is my first time joining forces with Linda @ Crafts a la Mode to co-host her wonderful Linky Party, "What to Do Weekends"!! I'm excited and a little bit scared. However, I'm sure it will be Great! We want to see what you all have been up to! 

If you haven't already been to Linda's Blog, you can pop over right here:Linda @ Crafts a la Mode's "What to do Weekends"

Feel free to grab our party button and proudly display it on your own Blog! (just copy and paste the button somewhere on your blog!)

If you can link back to our Blog's or follow us in some way, we would truly appreciate it! 
We'd love to have you follow us on our Facebook pages, too, so you won't miss out on all the highlights!
You can Like and Follow Linda on her Facebook page @ Crafts a la Mode:Here
Me @ Shoestring Elegance: Here

 I hope you are enjoying this Christmas Season! You all know me, I need to share some little Christmas Bling before we get started.
I just love these rose mercury balls!

Many Blessings,

Now On with The Party!

We love to hear from you, won't you leave us a comment.

09 December 2014

Anything Can Be An Elegant Centerpiece~2 Christmas Edition

Awhile back I shared a post with you all, entitled "Anything Can Be An Elegant Centerpiece" you can view the original post here. It has been the MOST read, viewed and pinned post I have ever shared with you. The funny thing is, it's still true. Every day, in my home I use the same things to make every little part of my home a little more "elegant" a little more "special" for me, my friends and family. It appears that you like that, too. 
Therefore, I wanted to give a Holiday update to that, so that maybe it will inspire you to create something elegant in the little corners or centers of your homes! 
You may think this is a bit familiar. You first saw it like this:
It is so special to me, that I still fill it with Baby's Breath when it is readily available. If you didn't see what this little rummage sale find looked like before, be sure to click on that link above and take a look.
The point of that post and this one wasn't that you needed to find a great piece with metal lace on top or spend a lot of money, it was that almost anything on hand, when put together nicely and with love, can be the Perfect Centerpiece for you and for pennies!
Here's an example of one of my favorites from the last few weeks, that, consequently has done very well on Instagram
As a matter of fact, this little arrangement doesn't even look the same today! I brought down some more of my decorations and these lovely little mercury balls got some company!
I love having fun making my house more beautiful for all that visit, but for myself, too! Courtney @ French Country Cottage was one of the main reasons and Inspirations for why I started blogging, and she held a party every Friday, called, appropriately "The Feathered Nest". So, what do you do to Feather your nest? It doesn't have to take much as you can see. I enjoy sharing with you all so much, you have helped enrich my life by your lovely comments and likes. Thank you so much for visiting me! 
May you have a wonderful week and be blessed.
Where I'm partying this week:

04 December 2014

Peanut Butter~Chocolate Krispy Bites

Happy December to you all!!  Thanks for popping by! It's finally here!! Yes, I am doing my Happy Dance. I know I make some people a little sick with my "all-things-Christmas" excitement! But I just can't help myself.  

Did you all get to check out my Holiday Apron transformation for under 10 bucks?! I have to say I am pretty proud of that one and yes, I am wearing it, while I bake!  Like my Grandma use to say, "if you're not going to use it, what's the good in having it?!" I try to live by the example she left, in that respect..

Now that I have my apron and my baking ingredients stocked up, it's time to start some serious baking!  I love that it has been cold and rainy here.  Just exactly the right weather for putting on Christmas music, a pretty ruffled apron and getting to work in my kitchen on all our Christmas Goodies to share!