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Now, for the Show N Tell for the week - - -

I have this one special area in our home that is decorated for the certain season or holiday. For the past couple of months, it's been barren. And as most know, when we moved about three years ago to the state of Texas, prior to that, I donated all my craft projects [mainly huge wreaths, grapevine mostly] to Goodwill as we were downsizing for the packing and such. Well, now that we're completely settled once again, I've been trying to reestablish another collection of holiday/seasonal wreath projects. This past couple of weeks I've been working on something patriotic in theme for our Independence Day that will be here in less than a month.

And if you don't know this by now, I've nearly become a vegetarian. And I've lost several fatty pounds in weight while doing so. Some of my clothes no longer fit properly, so I have slowly packed them in a box with intentions of donating them. When I took them to our donation center, I walked through and found this cute little ratty ol' thing that would be perfect for my 'special' area. I bought it for fifty cents and brought it home, got out my acrylic craft paint box and started cleaning it up and painting it!

The star was quite dirty and brown, natural wood color. It's wicker, wire and wood. I painted some white stars around the blue wooden section [trying to evenly space them around], painted the wicker red. Then while the white painted stars were still wet, I sprinkled some white frosty glitter for a festive touch.

After that was done, then thinking of what to add for decoration. I have had this Patriotic Beany Baby Teddy Bear perched on a shelf for months and I figured he'd be perfect to glue into the one corner on the left. And as always I ended up at Hobby Lobby this past week in search of some sparkly goodies to add! I purchased a flat miniature wooden USA piece the shape of the states. Painted it frosty white and again added the white glitter. I bought two inexpensive red white and blue streamers, and curled some of them to represent fireworks. I found a small bird house painted in patriotic colors and glued that beside the bear. And then for the finishing touch I sewed his right paw to make a 'loop' and stuck an "American" pinwheel to have it 'look' like he's holding it! And then the final step was to add a miniature red cardinal flying out of the birdhouse portal. Done! And hanging in the view of all who walk by!

Here are a couple close-up photos [with captions on mouseover]...

- - -

If you were here for my Thursday meme, you'd know I didn't have the opportunity to be online much after the 8 a.m. shift for construction workers; they cut cable by accident. Okay, then...if you also read I had some of the most tasty toffee at the mall. And that I came home and the cable still wasn't repaired, so I ended up making MORE toffee here at home. Boy howdy, is it good. I searched and searched online for a recipe that DOESN'T use butter. Since it's loaded with fat that I don't necessarily need anymore, and try to avoid at all costs.

I couldn't find one, and all the ones I did find said butter..."No substitute"!!

One I found on the Food Network I thought I could improvise a bit on it. It also called for water. Well, what is margarine [the 98% fat free kind] but rubber flavoring and WATER? Right? So, I figured I could just eliminate the water from the recipe and it'd be a 'go'! So I poured the sugar and the margarine into the pan, and began melting and stirring...stirring at a full boil for about 10 minutes. Then, since I rarely make homemade candies, I have no candy thermometer, and ended up using the cold water in a cup method to make sure that it had cooked long enough for it to be the 'crack' stage.

By that time, it was a rich golden brown, and ready to pour into the prepared cookie sheet. I had covered the sheet with waxed paper for easier handling after it hardened/cooled. In the meantime, I took my bag of chocolate chips [in my case, I used milk chocolate], and melted them in the microwave and added a teaspoon of canola oil to keep it smooth and creamy. Once that was done, I poured the melted chocolate over the toffee and added the crushed pecans on top; covering the nuts/chocolate with another sheet of waxed paper so I could press the nuts into the chocolate.

After cooling for a few hours, I brought the pan out of the 'fridge and used a paper plate [nothing fancy and no dish to wash afterwards] and cracked the finished toffee into pieces. Yummy. The elimination of water and substituting real butter for margarine worked fine!! I think the trick of it all is to make sure it's boiled to the fine crack stage on the stovetop!! Really good. And a treat that really shouldn't be on the menu at all around here, but much needed for the psyche sometimes!!


  1. That candy looks magnificent - and without a thermometer? Mine never turned out that nice even with a thermometer. The butter must have made it heavenly!
    I used to have a pine cone "tree" a Xmas redecoration that I'd put seasonal decorations on for every holiday - after reading this I might resurrect that! Thanks.

  2. Anonymous6/05/2008

    the candy looks great,the decorations are great also.
    I hope that you had a great day today,That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

  3. Anni,

    Oh, I LOVE your Independence Day star. You certainly did a great job on it. Imagine turning something all brown and dirty into a lovely decoration. You have such talent for this type of thing and a great imagination. It's perfect.

    Your candy looks and sounds delicious. I used to make candy from scratch but haven't done it in years. I'm so glad it turned out and is a tasty treat for you and Bud.

    Well, it's off to bed for me. Jack and Melissa couldn't come today, so are coming tomorrow instead.

    Talk to you soon.

  4. Hi Anni, Your home made Toffee looks so yummyI just added a couple of ks to the waist line looking at it.
    your decoration for 4th july looks great and all you stated with was a brown frame...

  5. Nice things you have already collected. We don't do such decorations for National Day. (it's June 21) there is a parade and some people hang flags out but not very much. Of course the king and his family show up too and there is a big feast in the park in front of his castle. Firework at night.
    We too eat less and less meat. Don't know even why.

  6. I simply love your Independance Day star including the bear (so cute!). Your creativity amazes me because it even includes the kitchen (a room I only like because of the fridge, microwave, and coffeemaker, lol)!! Your candy looks fantastic!

    Thanks so much for your kind words on my blog, Anni. Unless otherwise noted, all pics are mine and the projects give me a chance to review old shots in my archives. Have a lovely Friday.

  7. Yum me has to get my hands on some toffee today.. reading your blog this morning really shook the nerve in my sweet tooth. ;) Have a great day and btw.. you got great taste in films. Many of my favourtites are in your list! :)

  8. You have been very creative and busy this week! The decoration is absolutely adorable, and the toffee looks good enough to eat!!

    Have a wonderful week-end!

  9. I like your craft project! It's funny how I did more of that when my kids were so much younger and I had more demands made upon me. Now that I'm older and they are less needy, I don't feel like I have the time (maybe it's actually the energy! Ha Ha!) Cute idea! I have some cute patriotic decor but haven't trotted it out of the rubbermaid containers yet! What am I waiting for?

  10. Annie,

    I think I have that little red white and blue birdhouse. :) Love your wreath!



  11. I love patriotic things. I have mine out now till the 4th of July.

    Your star and other finds are great.

  12. Anonymous6/06/2008

    You are very talented. I like it. I have just the spot for it. :) LoL

  13. Oh Yum!! I am at work at Curves and just worked out so I could have a piece!! You would share I just know it..smilin'

  14. Your star turned out great! And your candy looks yummy! Have a great weekend!

  15. Hi Anni,

    Beautiful! You are SO creative!!!!

  16. What a great job you did on that wreath. It is wonderful!!!

  17. I love your crafty stuf, Anni. Thanks for sharing.

  18. Hi Anni,
    Love your patriotic decor and how you restored your Goodwill "find"
    I need to start getting mine out of the storage shed and decorate a bit too.

  19. The star looks great! Congrats on the weight loss.

  20. I love the decoration you made. How very talented you are. I've never seen a bear like that.

    The candy looks yummy! You said the fat free margarine was only water and coloring. The kind I used to buy contained cellulose which is none other than plastic. I thought surely that couldn't be good for us. Now we just use butter, only less of it. Mostly on the weekend in eggs and biscuits.
    Mama Bear

  21. Your new header is gorgeous, Anni! I'm not participating in Show and Tell but I just want to respond to your comment on my blog: OBAAAA-MA, OBAAAA-MA! lol! We're going all the way!

  22. You made me want to ditch my diet!
    I love what you did with the star.
    Great post


  23. Your toffee looks yummy! Love the star "wreath"! Patriotic is my favorite. Very clever!

  24. so glad to see such Patriotism!!! tahnks for sharing. hey congrats on losing those pounds... have a happy weekend. Hugs, Mica

  25. How creative you are! That is a great decoration!

  26. Hope you still have some of that toffee cuz I'm comin' right over!! hehe Oh Anni, it looks soooo delicious...I'm a fudge and toffee addict you know! lol

    I so love the patriotic wicker star you's gorgeous! You are so talented!!! Don't you wish whoever donated that star to the thrift shop could see it now?? hehe

    Have a simply wonderful weekend my friend. It's very humid here at the moment and I'm wilting already...hopefully the air conditioner will get put in this weekend!! xoxo

  27. you changed your blog again!!! I like this one thought. and your candy does look very tempting. thank you for posting on my blog....

  28. Good job on your patriotic wreath, Anni! It's lovely.

    And that toffee looks delicious! If I hadn't just eaten a peanut butter sandwich I'd love to have some of that toffee to go with my coffee.

    I make toffee but I do it the sinful way with real butter. However, I'm not crazy about chocolate so I leave it off mine and have it plain. I do add the chocolate and pecans or almonds for the rest of the crowd.

    I love your new patriotic template! I'm working on a new Summer theme for mine but I'm not happy with my first effort. I'll keep plugging away at it until I get something I can live with.

    Have a great weekend, my friend! :o)

    Love and hugs,


  29. Anni,

    I love your new "Independence Day" look. It is awesome. Please drop over to my Writing Nook and pick up a little something I've left for my friends and visitors. You can also find out what progress we made today. ;-)


  30. I love that star! I need to get my 4th of July stuff out. I love this holiday! We live in a little town that does it up big and it is so fun! Your candy looks fabulous!

    :0) Sharon

  31. Anni~ You are just ALWAYS so creative and fun! I LOVE THE DECORATIONS!!!! Wanna come visit and help a poor girl like me who has NO CLUE on how to do anything crafty or cute? :) The candy sounds and looks delicious, although I'm pretty sure I couldn't do it without a thermometer! Oh and I LOVE THE NEW BLOG look! I really enjoy how you change it up from time to time :)

  32. Anonymous6/07/2008

    You have done a great job. And your blog has a new template too, right?

    Have a nice weekend!


  33. Dear Anni ~~ Love your Independence
    Day wreath - you have done well.
    The toffee looks delicious too, but be careful or those pounds will creep back on. You have done well to lose
    them. Thanks for your comments and I am glad you enjoyed the jokes and the visit. Take care, dear friend, Love, Merle.

  34. I love your new did a great job! The bear beanie baby is the perfect touch!

  35. P.s. Your link idea sounds good to me!

  36. I love holiday decorations, I read
    your meme. Halloween is too a
    holiday, celebration of giving or
    receiving candy. LOL- My fav also,
    just a totally fun day for young
    and old alike. You are reminding
    me about getting my Independance
    Day things out-- don't forget Flag
    day is June 14th!! Have a nice day!

  37. I love the wreath! Everything looks just great! :)

    Join me every weekend for "Weekend Decorating" on my blog: if you would like to. Hope to see you there!

    Have a great night!

  38. Hi, Annie! Thanks for stopping by this mornig. I love your patriotic site! I'm really in the mood for summer now and the 4th of July which will be here beffore I can shake a cat's tail! HAHA! I'm copying your recipes! Yum!!