Monday, December 29, 2014

Spicy Toasted Pumpkin Seeds (Pepitas)


These spicy toasted pumpkin seeds, or pepitas, are one of my favorite snacks, and they are super easy to make. They are delicious sprinkled on top of a bowl of creamy soup or chili, or on top of a salad. Or they're perfect to snack on with cheese and wine. In fact, they'd make a nice addition to a New Year's Eve party spread. Just be sure to double, triple or even quadruple the recipe. Once your guests start snacking on these spicy treats, they won't want to stop.

Spicy Toasted Pumpkin Seeds

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a bowl, combine 1 cup raw pumpkin seeds (do not use roasted pumpkin seeds) with 1 teaspoon chili powder, 1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt and 2 teaspoons fresh lime juice. Stir well until all seeds are coated with the spice mixture.

Spread seeds in a single layer on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake in the oven until the seeds are browned and puffed, about 1o minutes. Remove from oven and let cool before serving.

 


On a separate note, I bought this cute black and gold candle holder at a lovely little gift shop the week before last while I was doing some Christmas shopping. I bought one as a gift and one for myself (I couldn't resist). I love how the gold interior glows when the candle is lit. The outside is matte black and provides a nice contrast to the shiny interior. I may have to see if the shop has a couple more of these. Three of them in a row would look so pretty down the middle of the dining table!



Before I sign off for the year, I would like to wish everyone a very happy New Year! Thank you for visiting My Little Bungalow. I can't  believe I've been blogging for four years now! I am so very appreciative to all of you who follow me regularly, and especially grateful to those who leave comments. Your feedback and interaction make it all worthwhile. To those of you who visit often but have never left a comment, please do! I'd love to hear from you and get to know a little bit about you. Have a safe, happy and healthy 2015!
 

Monday, December 22, 2014

Paper Snowflakes and Cinnamon-spiked Hot Cocoa


 




I'm sharing another great Etsy find! I purchased these handmade paper snowflakes from Paper Cuts Studios, and they look lovely and whimsical in our dining room hanging from the chandelier. Cut from pearlescent white card stock (they also come in silver and gold), the snowflakes would look pretty hanging in a window or on a tree. 

My dining table display hasn't changed much from previous years. I added glass candle holders and green tapers for a touch of color. Wax candle pine cones, real mini pine cones, white candle trees, and a silver faux bois candle are nestled in "snow" on a silver tray.

Wintry nights -- and mornings -- call for yummy hot beverages, and hot chocolate is one of my favorites. I found a delicious dairy-free hot cocoa recipe online, then tweaked it slightly by using dark cocoa powder and adding a pinch of cayenne. I enjoyed a mug of it the other morning with breakfast. Delicious!

Cinnamon-spiked Hot Cocoa

Ingredients:
1 tablespoon dark cocoa powder
1 tablespoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
Pinch of cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
2 tablespoons plus 1 cup almond milk

Directions:
In a mug, stir together cocoa powder, sugar, cinnamon, cayenne, vanilla and 2 tablespoons almond milk to form a thick paste.

Warm 1 cup of almond milk in a small saucepan until steaming hot. Pour over chocolate mixture in mug, stir well and enjoy.

Friday, December 19, 2014

Nativity

Last year I ordered this six-piece nativity scene from Willow Tree. It is such a lovely reminder of what the Christmas season is truly about. I had been looking for a nativity scene for some time, but wasn't finding just the right one for our home. When I saw this one, I knew it was perfect. I love the simplicity of its design and its muted colors. 

This side table is the only place in our small living room where I can display it. If I had more room, I'd buy the three wise men and the shepherd and stable animals as well. I do like the their new small-scaled Holy Family set, which might be a nice addition to our dining room during the Christmas season.
 



I hope you are enjoying a peaceful holiday season.
Thank you for visiting My Little Bungalow. 

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Paperwhites


Bit by bit I'm adding touches of Christmas to the house. We've gotten a slow start this year because my husband has been sick, and all the Christmas decorations are in the attic and only he can get those big boxes down the narrow pull-down stairs. But I have added a pot of flowering narcissus and a pretty red poinsettia to the living room, an evergreen wreath on the front door and a boxwood wreath on the garden gate. Simple, but festive.


I have to admit, I cheated this year and purchased a pot of already started paperwhite bulbs at the market. But I did get to see them grow taller and bloom. I tried the pickling advice that Cindy referenced on her blog, A Curious Gardener, by adding one part vodka to seven parts water, but they still grew to be lanky.  I staked them and tied a ribbon around to keep them from falling over.

I put the paperwhites in an antique copper pot, one of two that my parents brought back from their trip to France in 1967. I like the way the copper and the white flowers look against the matte green tile of our 1922 fireplace. The metal grate in front of the fireplace is something we bought many years ago at a wonderful garden and housewares shop. It's an old piece, and I'd love to know its history and where it came from.

Next up, a Christmas tree! I can't wait to unwrap all the vintage ornaments and hang them on the tree while listening to our favorite Christmas songs on Pandora. I also have some wonderful paper snowflakes I bought from an Etsy artist in California that we need to hang. I'll share pictures with you soon.

I hope you're enjoying a peaceful holiday season. For some inspiration, check out my Christmas board and Winter board on Pinterest!

Friday, December 12, 2014

More Calendars for the New Year

I just had to share another calendar idea with you (and please note, this is not a sponsored post, just sharing products I like). As I mentioned in my last post, I am a bit of a calendar addict. I've always wanted to create a personalized calendar, but I'm not very savvy about these things, and so I  never got around to figuring it out. When I discovered Pinhole Press through another blog recently and saw all the wonderful products they offer, I decided to give it a try and create a 2015 calendar using my own photos. It couldn't have been easier!


In less than 20 minutes I had put together a custom calendar and placed my order. The site lets you choose the color of the outer cover (I chose grey, one of my favorite colors) and any text you'd like to put on the cover. Then you upload your photos and drag them into the month of your choice. The program automatically crops the photo to fit the space, but you can make adjustments to the positioning of each photo as needed.


I received my order in less than a week and am thrilled with the quality of the heavy paper stock and the printing. I was considering wrapping the calendar and putting it under the tree (once we get a tree!) as a surprise for my husband, but I just couldn't wait. I tore into it last night, anxious to see my creation and share it with my husband. He was very impressed and liked my choice of photographs!

One thing I really like about this calendar is that it has space for each day of the month where I can jot notes, like when to give the the dogs their medicine, which days are recycling collection days, and reminders about volunteer duties. This calendar will go on the wall in the mudroom opposite the side entrance, which is the door we use most, and above the dogs' water bowl -- a good place for daily reminders.


The images I chose are a combination of original photographs from my blog and photos of our beloved pups, past and present. The photo below is one my husband took at the lake where he swims and canoes. It's one of my favorite photos of his; it's also framed and hanging in our bedroom.


While we're still on the subject of calendars, I wanted to share some photos of the cheery work of ModernPrintedMatter, an Etsy shop I told you about in my last post. I have two botanical desk calendars on order and will be receiving them any day now. 






ModernPrintedMatter photos used with permission.

Thanks for visiting My Little Bungalow!

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Calendars for the New Year

As 2014 draws to a close, I'm beginning to think about which calendars to purchase for the new year. Calendars are one of my favorite things to buy. When I was younger, I gravitated toward glossy travel calendars with romantic destinations like Paris or tropical islands. Now I prefer simpler handmade calendars with bold graphic designs that reflect the beauty of nature, especially birds and flowers. I also like supporting artists and small businesses.

Last year I purchased a small desk calendar from ModernPrintedMatter through Etsy. The calendar comes in a plastic jewel case that folds back to act as a stand. I have really enjoyed the simple botanical illustrations printed on each month's card. I'll be buying one of their 2015 desk calendars for myself and a couple as Christmas gifts. ModernPrintedMatter also has lovely wall calendars with botanical and nature designs.

Yesterday I searched Etsy for 2015 calendars and an artist named Rigel Stuhmiller caught my eye. Her work can be purchased through her Etsy store, Drenculture, or her website. Her designs are beautiful, from colorfully printed note cards and art prints featuring birds and flowers to kitchen towels hand screen-printed with bold vegetable and fruit designs.

You can learn more about the printmaking process here. I took a printmaking class years ago and made (or tried to make) a block print by carving into linoleum. I found it very difficult and frustrating, so I really appreciate the skill level of this art form.

I'm a bird enthusiast, so the 2015 Garden of Birds wall calendar below is one that I will be purchasing. It would brighten up any space, don't you think? Look at the colors!


I also love these raven cards for both the design and the subject. I'm fascinated by ravens and crows, which are very interesting and intelligent birds; the common raven is a larger bird than the common crow, but they look very similar. (If you're interested in learning more about crows, watch this PBS Nature show, which I thoroughly enjoyed.) Stuhmiller sells an 8 x 10 print of this raven illustration through her Etsy store. I think it will end up in my shopping basket along with the birds calendar!


Here are some of Stuhmiller's adorable designs for dog lovers (she also has a cat series). The holiday card assortment is so cute! The naughty beagle card reminds me of our Ella, and look at the face on that Chihuahua wrapped in Christmas lights. Precious! 




Stuhmiller's studio will be open this weekend and each weekend until Christmas as part of the Berkeley Artisans Holiday Open Studios event in which 100 artists and craftspeople open their studios and galleries to the public. Visitors can shop for unique, handmade holiday gifts while getting to know the artists. If you live in the Berkeley, Ca., area, check it out. Wish I could!
 
 Photos: Rigel Stuhmiller (used with permission)

Any of these items would make thoughtful Christmas gifts, don't you think? So tell me, do you purchase things through Etsy? What are some of your favorite Etsy shops? 
 
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