Recycled Wrapping Paper Garland Christmas Tree Backdrop

My friend Liz is always busting my chops about my crafty adventures taking up waaaay too much of my time and requiring waaaay too much effort on my part.

Alright, you got me this time Liz.

I admit it: this little gem took waaaay too much of my time!  But I sort of love it anyway.

Paper Garland Christmas Tree Backdrop

I find I’m rather obsessed with having a Christmas tree backdrop after the pinwheels of last year.  The pinwheels hung around all the way through Oscar Party but they started to fall apart as the year wore on.  It seemed like too much effort to disassemble them and after weeks of nursing it along to stay on the wall, I didn’t feel like another repair.  So I took them down and put them in my guest room and closed the door so I wouldn’t have to think about it.

Time passed.

I forgot they were in there.

And then I finally had to make my guest room livable again.  Crap.  You would not believe what was in there when I opened the door.  A massive pinwheel wall hanging.  Dang it.

I still didn’t want to repair it.  And it seemed wrong to throw it away.  So I had to recycle.

So I started cutting circles.  LOTS of circles from the pinwheels.  I cut 1200 circles OK?  Yes, it took a long time.  But I had some bootleged season 3 Downton Abbey to watch while I was doing it so time passed quickly.

I then glued two circles together with fishing line between.  Repeat about 30 times and you have a garland.  Repeat a bunch of times and you can fill the space behind the tree.  That took a while too.

Paper Garland Christmas Tree Backdrop But I don’t regret it.

Paper Garland Christmas Tree Backdrop

I love the sparkle the back wall kicks off when the Christmas tree is shining on it.  And it has to hold up better than the pinwheels, right?



Lily’s Danish Almond Cookies

It is well known family lore that my Mother’s recipes can be somewhat difficult to follow.  There’s the classic at the bottom of the recipe, “oh and add ____” an ingredient which does not appear in the ingredient listing an is not mentioned until the very last step of the recipe, but it is KEY to a successful turnout.  There’s also the measurement standards she uses such a “one package of nuts” and one “cube of butter” and “add some extra flour”.   No mention of what size package of nuts or the fact that a cube of butter = 1 stick of butter or that “some” flour can be over half a cup….

But I gotta tell you, it makes for really fun recipe reading.  Where else do you get instructions like “Stir over heat until a full rolling boil.  You pretty much have to have a book to read since it needs constant stirring.  I also bring a chair over to rest one leg on it like in a saloon.”  Now, I’ve never made fudge in a saloon, but if I did, I would read a book while waiting for the sugar mixture to boil.

So this week when Heather wrote to try to decipher one of my Mom’s classics, I actually had to look up the recipe.  I figure I should put it on the blog so it will be easier for us to find in the future.  We had these Danish Almond Cookies every year when I was growing up and they are still a staple in my house at Christmas.
Lily's Danish Almond Cookies small


  • 1 C Butter
  • 1/2 C Sugar
  • 2 C Flour
  • 1 C Ground Almonds
  • 1/2 t Almond Extract

Cream the butter and sugar together.  Mix in remaining ingredients.  Separate into two sections and roll each into a log shape.  Wrap with waxed paper and refrigerate for 2 hours or freeze for 20 minutes.

Slice and sprinkle with colored sprinkles.  Bake at 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes.  These cookies don’t expand when you cook them so you can really cram a lot on one cookie sheet.  This recipe doubles well.  In fact, I almost always double it because they are so small and delicious, it’s easy to mainline about 10 before you realize what’s happened.

One year I had little helpers for the sprinkles and while distracted with some dinner prep, I turned around to find….

Sprinkle Cookies with Colored Sugar That there had been some very generous sprinkling.Whoops.  Too many sprinkles.

Generous sprinkling or the regular amount, they are delicious.


Austin Christmas Bucket List

This weekend I had Jack and Caroline over and I was trying to think up some fun Austin things to do with them.  We’ve pretty much run through most of my go-tos with all of our other Auntie Martta fun days so I decided we should try to do something Christmas-y.

It turns out there are tons of fun things to do in this town during Christmas that are totally, uniquely Austin.  So here’s the list I came up with… we didn’t hit them all this year, but we sure did make a dent!

Austin Christmas Bucket List

So what do you think?  Did I miss anything??


Christmas Bucket List

Yes, it’s 83 degrees and sunny here today, but that doesn’t mean I’m not transforming the place into a winter wonderland on the inside!  I’ve been putting up the decorations, getting ready for next weekend’s Gingerbread House Party and thinking Christmas thoughts.  So I thought I’d put together a Christmas bucket list – I gotta have a plan for the season!

Christmas Bucket List


Handmade Thanksgiving Place Card Turkeys

I had some free time with the kiddos this past weekend and with the Thanksgiving holiday this week, I thought it was time to get crafty!  So Caroline and a non-participating Jack created some adorable Thanksgiving turkey place cards for our table this year.

I’m sure you’ve seen tons of samples of these on Pinterest – I found this adorable one here from this source.

Non-participating Jack was NOT down AT ALL with putting his hand in paint so that was an utter fail right out of the gate.  Caroline however was a bit of a better sport and I was able to convince her to do all the hand print feathers.

But even Caroline cried “fowl” when I asked if we could paint with her foot.

No way.

So we called an audible and painted the turkey bodies with the side of her hand for more of a “profile” turkey look. 

Once the painted hands were dry, we cut them out and glued them to the back of the body with a glue stick.  I cut out beaks and feet to attach as well. Then I created a stand for the place cards by cutting strips of card stock about 3″ wide.  I folded the paper into quarters and glued two of the sides together to create a triangular stand.  Then I glued a stand to the back of each turkey.  Caroline wrote out each person’s name in festive Thanksgiving colors and we attached that as well as a goggler (whoops!  How did we forget that before!).  Done!

Now we’re all ready to be festive!  Happy Thanksgiving!


Oreo Owl Cupcakes

I Pinned it, and made it! Yes, I love Pinterest, and have thousands of Pins, but how many have I actually made? Maybe 20-ish. The teeniest drop in the bucket, when compared to how many Pins I’ve saved! I don’t think I’m alone in this either. So no judging, just do it!

My Mom actually emailed me this Pin, but of course I had seen it all over Pinterest… cutest cupcakes!! And because I am not so talented in the confectionary creation department, I go for the easy decorations. Frosted cupcakes, Oreos, and Reese’s Pieces? Easy.

Here is the Pin I saw…

Here is the original post from One Charming Party…

And here is my version… boxed cake mix, with homemade frosting… Yum!

Of course my kids had free license when it came to decorating, but I did strongly encourage they have normal owl eyes this first round. My son added yellow cheeks and a brown piece of hair, and my daughter went with two tufts of blonde hair for her sweet owl. Mine, of course is the boring one on top. 🙂

I used this recipe for the frosting, but made a couple of small changes. A whole stick of butter instead of the 6 Tbsp, and heavy cream instead of sweetened condensed milk. I recommend doubling the recipe if you want to cover a whole batch of cupcakes.

Here are a couple more pics, just for fun…

Make these with your kids, grandkids, nieces, nephews, or just neighbors and friends! They are so easy, and just plain fun!

Happy Fall Y’All, as they say here in the South. 🙂


America the Beautiful Printable

Finally wrapped up the last of the set of Americana printables and I’m all ready for the 4th of July!  After a bit of back and forth debate, I went with America the Beautiful as the inspiration for the final print in the set of three.  Hope you enjoy!  Check out the anthem and America versions if you haven’t seen them already.


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