Glad to Give: Clearing the Clutter
This post is sponsored by Glad Products Company. As always all opinions are my own.

Now that the dust has settled from the holidays and the decorations have been packed away, I’m beyond ready to declutter every room in my house. During my time as a blogger, I’ve amassed an amazing amount of “stuff.” And while I can justify some of it for work, there comes a time when a major cleaning and clearing needs to happen. That time is now.

Typically, I tend to toss things because I find doing so much easier than coordinating a sale. However, over the past couple years, I’ve found that donating is much better. Though I can no longer use this stuff, I know there is someone out there who can. This past fall, I cleared a lot of furniture out my garage and attic. Instead of selling or trashing it, I moved all of it to my front yard and posted an ad on Facebook inviting anyone who needed something to come and take it, no charge. I kid you not, all of the furniture was gone within 30 minutes. Later in the afternoon, one woman came back to thank me and explain how much she needed some of these items. My goal was to help people in need, and hearing from this lady just added to the experience.

While this system works great for larger pieces, it’s not ideal for smaller items, such as clothing, books, and trinkets. That’s why I decided to team up with Glad and their “Glad to Give” program. Glad believes that communities are built around human connections and giving back, when possible, to those around you. The company also feels that sharing stories of giving inspires others. After what happened last fall, and reading about others’ experiences, I tend to agree.

Glad sent me some of their yellow bags to help in my donation efforts. They realize the role their products play in giving around the country and are excited to lend a hand in a bigger way with their Glad to Give program. You don’t need lots of money to make a difference. Just give what you can. Everything helps.

Glad to Give: Clearing the Clutter

With my bags in hand, I started in my bedroom and sorted through all of my clothes, shoes, belts, etc. Anything that no longer fit or was no longer being worn (but was still in excellent condition), got put in a bag. Within thirty minutes, I had filled two bags.

Glad to Give: Clearing the Clutter

Glad to Give: Clearing the Clutter

Glad to Give: Clearing the Clutter

Once my closet was decluttered, I walked around other areas of my house, including my living room and quickly filled another bag with pillows, books, a wreath, and other odds and ends.

Glad to Give: Clearing the Clutter

With several bags full, I popped them into the back of my car and dropped them off at our local Goodwill. In less than an hour, I not only cleared the clutter, but I was able to give back to my community and those who need these things much more than I do.

Glad to Give: Clearing the Clutter

With dozens more bags to fill, my goal for the year is to continue to go through my home for items that I no longer need and then pass them on to someone who does.

Glad to Give: Clearing the Clutter

For more information about giving, head on over to GladtoGive.com. Not only can you read some Glad to Give stories, but you can schedule a free pick-up through Donation Town to a local charity of your choice. It really doesn’t get much easier than that. Thanks to Glad for pitching in and making incredible things like this possible.

And remember, one act of giving inspires another. I hope that you’ll consider donating a few of your unwanted goods. What are you glad to give?

 

 

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Glad Products Company . The opinions and text are all mine.

This post is sponsored by Glad Products Company. As always all opinions are my own. Now that the dust has settled from the holidays and the decorations have been packed away, I’m beyond ready to declutter every room in my house. During my time as a blogger, I’ve amassed an amazing amount of “stuff.” And while […]




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Sweater Weather Sugar Cookies | Inspired by Charm

This week has flown by in the blink of an eye. As I explained in a previous post, January is typically a quiet month around here, but that’s not going to be the case this year. I think the waters have finally settled for a bit, however, and I can get back to the business of blogging.

Despite my intent to shed holiday pounds in January, I always seem to get the urge to cook and bake. I suspect the colder weather brings on the need to turn on the oven and stay cozy with comfort food.

Sweater Weather Sugar Cookies | Inspired by Charm

Earlier this week when I was preparing my home for the photoshoot with Better Homes & Gardens, I decided I wanted something on hand to represent my love of food and baking. For me, those things are an important aspect of home. They’re also part of who I am and what I do.

So, I tapped into my “quirky” side and whipped up these fun and delicious Sweater Weather Sugar Cookies.

Sweater Weather Sugar Cookies | Inspired by Charm

Sweater Weather Sugar Cookies | Inspired by Charm

I found this sweater cookie cutter on Amazon and thought it’d be perfect for Christmas and also the colder months here in PA (January through March).

 

It’s challenging to avoid the post-holiday blues as the tinsel and lights come down, so why not continue the fun with winter baking that’s still colorful and tasty but not holiday themed?

Sweater Weather Sugar Cookies | Inspired by Charm

Thankfully, the folks from BHG loved the cookies and snapped a shot for the magazine. I assumed I’d have to wait until the release of the issue later this year, but I was given permission to share these cookies now which thrilled me to no end. (I have a hard time keeping secrets.)

Sweater Weather Sugar Cookies | Inspired by Charm

Sweater Weather Sugar Cookies | Inspired by Charm

Despite their complicated look, the cookies are simple to make. (They do require a little time and creativity.)

Start with the basic sugar cookie recipe that I’ve shared below. This is the recipe my mom has been using for years, so it comes highly recommended. You’re obviously going to need a sweater cookie cutter. I used this one.

Sweater Weather Sugar Cookies | Inspired by Charm

Sweater Weather Sugar Cookies | Inspired by Charm

With the cookies baked, I chose a variety of colors for the frosting to represent the winter season. Blues, teals, and greens were obvious choices. I also opted for red, pink, and white. I’m thinking these cookies would be an amazing and unique Valentine’s Day surprise!

Sweater Weather Sugar Cookies | Inspired by Charm

Sweater Weather Sugar Cookies | Inspired by Charm

I filled several piping bags with frosting and got to work.

Using a small star and round tip, I created a variety of patterns for my Sweater Weather Sugar Cookies. As you can imagine, the possibilities are endless. Feel free to copy some of these designs or have fun with your own creations.

Sweater Weather Sugar Cookies | Inspired by Charm

Sweater Weather Sugar Cookies | Inspired by Charm

They are pretty adorable, right?

Sweater Weather Sugar Cookies | Inspired by Charm

So, if you’re looking for a unique winter treat, something quirky for Valentine’s Day, or just an excuse to bake, give these Sweater Weather Sugar Cookies a try!

Sweater Weather Sugar Cookies | Inspired by Charm

Sweater Weather Sugar Cookies

makes about 4 dozen cookies

Here's what you will need:
5 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup vegetable shortening (Crisco)
2 cups sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup buttermilk

Frosting
3/4 cup vegetable shortening
1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
7 cups (2 pounds) confectioner's sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
2-3 tablespoons milk (as needed)
Gel food coloring
Piping bags and tips (small star tip and round tip)

Begin by preparing the cookie dough. In a large bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.

In a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, cream together the vegetable shortening, sugar, eggs, and vanilla. Once combined, add half of the dry ingredients. Begin to mix and pour in the buttermilk. Then add the remaining dry ingredients and mix until just combined. Refrigerate the dough for at least four hours or overnight.

After your dough has chilled, preheat your oven to 375 degrees F.

On a well-floured surface, roll out about a quarter of the dough to a 1/8 - 1/4-inch thickness, depending on your preference. Cut out the dough using a sweater-shaped cookie cutter. Transfer each cut out to an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake 8-10 minutes or until the first sign of browning appears on the surface of the cookies. Remove from the oven and transfer the cookies to a cutting board or your counter top to cool completely.

While the cookies cool, prepare your frosting*. With a mixer, cream together the vegetable shorting and butter. Slowly add the confectioner's sugar, one cup at a time. Mix in the vanilla extract. Add milk as needed for a smoother consistency. Divide the frosting into smaller bowls and add gel food coloring to achieve the desired colors.

Place the frosting in a piping bag with the desired tip. A small star tip is great for the sweater texture, and a round tip is recommended for details and dots.

Once your cookies have cooled, use the prepared piping bags to create designs on your sweater cookies.

Allow the frosting to set before packing and storing the cookies in an airtight container.

*I like to use a variety of colors when creating these cookies, so I double this recipe. Typically that will leave me with extra frosting, but I'd rather have extra in order to have fun with my designs without fear of running out.

Print

 

Sweater Weather Sugar Cookies | Inspired by Charm

Pretty and simple, right?

Sweater Weather Sugar Cookies | Inspired by Charm

Sweater Weather Sugar Cookies | Inspired by Charm

While the piping does take some time (and your hand may cramp up a bit), the results are totally worth it.

Happy Baking!

This week has flown by in the blink of an eye. As I explained in a previous post, January is typically a quiet month around here, but that’s not going to be the case this year. I think the waters have finally settled for a bit, however, and I can get back to the business […]




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What's the Tea | Inspired by Charm

Well, friends, let me officially wish you Happy New Year! If you’ve been following IBC for a while now, you know It’s always a bit of a challenge for me to return to blogging after the holidays. I try to give myself a short break this time of year, but that often makes it harder to get back into the swing of things.

However, after sharing a few 2016 recaps and a new playlist, I think I’m about ready to put my work cap back on, pull out my camera, and create exciting new content for IBC. Woot. Woot!

Most years January is a fairly quiet month for me, but this year is just the opposite. This week some folks from Better Homes & Gardens are coming to my house (Yes, I’m freaking out.) They’re going to shoot my home for the 2017 issue of their Christmas Ideas magazine. So, even though I was on a little “break,” I really wasn’t.

What's the Tea | Inspired by Charm

What's the Tea | Inspired by CharmI’ve actually been busy redecorating my home for Christmas. While some things are similar to my 2016 Christmas decor, I did change up all three trees, switch around color schemes, wrap dozens of fake presents, bake delicious things, etc. I also completed a couple back-burner projects that were long overdue – my guest bedroom and bathroom. And because I’m weird, I touched up some paint, cleaned every room (with the help of my mom. Thanks, Mom!), and threw away / donated a bunch of “stuff.”

Although it’s been a stressful couple of weeks, it actually couldn’t have come at a better time. The upcoming photoshoot has forced me to do some essential cleaning, decluttering, and finishing of projects. So, “YAY!”

What's the Tea | Inspired by Charm

After BHG’s visit, I’m headed to NYC for a few days with my friends at HomeGoods. As a blogger for their Design Happy blog, I’ve been invited to a blogger day to learn about home trends, blogging tips, and lots of other fun stuff. And I get to hang out with some fellow blogger friends, so that’s always a treat.

What's the Tea | Inspired by Charm

Then, shortly after I return from NYC, I’m going on another Carnival Cruise! I’ve been working with Carnival Cruise lines for a few years now, and they have invited me to continue the collaboration in 2017. My mom is going along with me again on this cruise (She accompanied me on my first one.) We’ll be sailing on the Carnival Vista (their newest ship) through the Caribbean. Given that it’s the dead of winter here in PA, we couldn’t be more excited!

What's the Tea | Inspired by Charm

As you can see it’s going to be a busy month. I’m also planning to keep things moving here on IBC amidst all of this, so there will be new recipes, decorating ideas, and other good things.

Speaking of what’s coming on IBC, I’m thinking about doing Breakfast Week again for a few days this month. Who doesn’t love some delicious breakfast inspiration? As you may have noticed, last year I totally neglected my “A Year of…” series, but I’m hoping to bring it back this year. You might remember that in previous years we had A Year of Yeast, A Year of Pie, and A Year of the Skillet. I think I’ve finally settled on a theme for 2017. Here are a few hints: It’s one of my favorite foods, but I’ve never made it from scratch. Plus, there are almost endless recipe ideas. Stay tuned!

What's the Tea | Inspired by Charm

I think that’s about it for news from around here. As I continue to put together a posting schedule and new ideas to share, please let me know in the comments below if there’s anything you’d like to see here on IBC. I love hearing your ideas. Many time they spark creative things for me to share.

Have a fabulous week!

Well, friends, let me officially wish you Happy New Year! If you’ve been following IBC for a while now, you know It’s always a bit of a challenge for me to return to blogging after the holidays. I try to give myself a short break this time of year, but that often makes it harder […]




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Tuesday Tunes / 20 - Hello, 2017 | Inspired by Charm

For the past month or so, I have listened nonstop to Christmas music. I’m not kidding. I normally get tired of playlists pretty quickly, but after creating four holiday Tuesday Tunes playlists, I had plenty of variety to carry me through til the new year.

Now it’s time to pack those playlists away and listen to a few fresh new tunes and old favorites. That’s why I put together this playlist called, “Hello, 2017.”

I don’t know about you, but as usual, I’m not quite ready for this new year. The past couple weeks have been challenging for me for personal reasons (new ones and those I’ve bottled up for a while). As some of you know, this time of year is usually pretty challenging for me, but this year seems even more so. I guess it’s just hard to move forward when your feet are stuck in the mud. But at least it’s mud, and not concrete, right!?

Tuesday Tunes / 20 - Hello, 2017 | Inspired by Charm

Anywho, this playlist is just a happy, reflective, mellow mix. Whether you’re packing up Christmas decor or flipping through a mag as you sip a glass of wine, I hope you’ll find these tunes to be the perfect audio backdrop.

 


 

You can listen to this new playlist using the player above or go directly to Spotify by clicking here. You are also welcome to follow my Spotify profile to access all of my favorite tunes and upcoming playlists.

No matter where you’re at as we start another year, I hope love fills your heart and peace comforts your soul. Happy 2017, my friends!

 

TUESDAY TUNES LIBRARY

For the past month or so, I have listened nonstop to Christmas music. I’m not kidding. I normally get tired of playlists pretty quickly, but after creating four holiday Tuesday Tunes playlists, I had plenty of variety to carry me through til the new year. Now it’s time to pack those playlists away and listen […]




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Best of 2016: Entertaining | Inspired by Charm

This week I’ve been recapping favorite posts of 2016 here on Inspired by Charm. We’ve looked back at tasty recipes, beautiful interiors, and creative DIYs. Today I’m wrapping up this IBC look back with some of the best 2016 moments in Entertaining.

However, I should mention that there’s more to Inspired by Charm than recipes, interiors, DIY projects, and entertaining. As a big fan of music, I created over 18 playlists as part of my Tuesday Tunes series. I also gave you a closer look at my own life in What’s the Tea with IBC. I even shared some of my travel adventures, such as my trip to the Kentucky Derby and visit to Napa Valley. Finally, don’t forget about the four seasonal recipe cards I created that you can download for FREE and print to use or share.

As we begin 2017 tomorrow, I’m so excited to welcome another year and a fresh start. I hope you are, too. I also hope that you’ll continue to stop by Inspired by Charm, be it daily, weekly, or whenever you get the chance. The best way to follow along (and to make sure you don’t miss a thing) is to sign up for the IBC Mailing List. I typically send 2 or 3 emails per week with links to new content on the blog. You can also find me on social media using the icons at the top of this page.

Now, with all of that out of the way, let’s move on to a few of my favorite entertaining moments from this past year.

We kicked off the season of entertaining on the blog with a big Cinco de Mayo party. I shared ideas for decorating for the occasion and included two cocktail recipes (Vanilla Pineapple Margarita, Jalapeño Paloma) along with a recipe for Tequila Lime Chicken Kabobs and Mini Margarita Cheesecakes. Plus, I created a DIY Piñata Box as a special favor for guests. It was quite the celebration!

Best of 2016: Entertaining | Inspired by Charm

Best of 2016: Entertaining | Inspired by Charm

Best of 2016: Entertaining | Inspired by Charm

Before heading off to the Kentucky Derby, I whipped up DIY Horse Drink stirrers. They are so simple to make and still one of my favorite projects.

Best of 2016: Entertaining | Inspired by Charm

In the summer, I let my creativity run wild with my Come As You Are-ty. To go along with the caticorn theme, I baked cupcakes and presented them in colorful cat-topped mason jars. I also provided a free printable to remind you to believe in yourself (as any caticorn would do.)

Best of 2016: Entertaining | Inspired by Charm

Best of 2016: Entertaining | Inspired by Charm

We also partied outside and dined al fresco with a stylish tablescape and Sangria Verde!

Best of 2016: Entertaining | Inspired by Charm

Best of 2016: Entertaining | Inspired by Charm

As summer turned to fall, football season kicked off on IBC with a pizza themed tailgate that included custom pizza servers, football helmet drink stirrers, gridiron graphic napkins, and free printable garland.

Best of 2016: Entertaining | Inspired by Charm

Best of 2016: Entertaining | Inspired by Charm

I also hosted a Halloween party. With bat-embellished glassware, creepy crawlers, and more custom drink stirrers, it was spooky chic at its finest. The haunted gathering concluded with a chocolate skull cake that was to die for. Literally.

Best of 2016: Entertaining | Inspired by Charm

Best of 2016: Entertaining | Inspired by Charm

For Thanksgiving, I got crafty and created fall leaf table decor out of cork. These multi-functional pieces can be used as a table runner, trivet, place mat, or simply a touch of fall color.

Best of 2016: Entertaining | Inspired by Charm

To wrap up the year and welcome the holidays, I invited you into my kitchen for a festive (and pink) yule log treat.

Best of 2016: Entertaining | Inspired by Charm

And that’s it, my friends. We crafted, we ate, we decorated, and we entertained. With over 160 posts to inspire (and hundreds more from previous years), I hope that IBC sprinkled your life with happiness and inspiration in 2016.

While blogging has become a full-time career for me and creating and sharing sponsored content is how I’m able to make this all possible, this little corner of the internet would be nothing without all of you. The reason IBC exists is because of your positive response to my passion for creating, sharing, and (hopefully) inspiring. And while I can’t promise you’ll love everything (nor should you), I do hope to see you back here in 2017 and beyond!

As always, if you have constructive ideas to make IBC better, please reach out to me at inspiredbycharm@yahoo.com. I’m not the best (or quickest) about responding, but know that your feedback is valuable and important. While this blog is mine, it’s for you.

Lots of love and here’s to the happiest of new years!

This week I’ve been recapping favorite posts of 2016 here on Inspired by Charm. We’ve looked back at tasty recipes, beautiful interiors, and creative DIYs. Today I’m wrapping up this IBC look back with some of the best 2016 moments in Entertaining. However, I should mention that there’s more to Inspired by Charm than recipes, […]




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Best of 2016: DIY | Inspired by Charm

This week I’m recapping the best IBC posts of 2016. Over the past couple days I’ve shared my (and your) favorite recipes as well as some beautiful interior inspiration from the past year. Today I’m back with the best DIY projects of 2016.

Here on IBC, the term DIY covers home-related projects as well as crafty endeavors. Although I didn’t tackle any major home projects in 2016, I did post lots of beautiful, creative, and functional ideas to enhance the look of your space. Let’s dive in.

I kicked off the year with one of my favorite projects: these Brushstroke Painted Plates. What I love about them is that you can choose colors to go with your home decor or any special celebration.

Best of 2016: DIY | Inspired by Charm

Later I got quirky with my Beach Bum Terrarium. These miniature train figures make this tabletop garden something especial.

Best of 2016: DIY | Inspired by Charm

This was also the year of the serving tray as I created two DIY varieties. Trays add both function and style to a space, so I couldn’t resist. For the first tray, I quickly embellished it with a fun, coffee-themed stencil.

Best of 2016: DIY | Inspired by Charm

The second tray was born from just a piece of wood and paint. Its bold color and unique design make it extra special.

Best of 2016: DIY | Inspired by Charm

I also helped you get organized with these DIY Felt Cable Organizers. I still use mine any time I travel. Not only do cables stay neat and tidy, but finding the right one is no longer frustrating.

Best of 2016: DIY | Inspired by Charm

If you’re a traveler like me, you might also like this no-sew passport cover. You’ll never guess what it’s made from.

Best of 2016: DIY | Inspired by Charm

I already have visions of spring flowers in my head, and it’s still the dead of winter. This Vertical Herb Garden (made from an office organizer) was an IBC favorite.

Best of 2016: DIY | Inspired by Charm

Looking to relax more in 2017? Try whipping up a collection of these homemade bath bombs. I couldn’t believe how many visits this post got over the holidays. They obviously make a great gift, too!

Best of 2016: DIY | Inspired by Charm

As autumn approached, I was excited to share creative seasonal projects. This tag banner from my Fall Home Tour is super simple to make and can be used for any season or celebration.

Best of 2016: DIY | Inspired by Charm

And I had fun stamping on fabric. I made these adorable snack and tote bags, plus custom stamped napkins for fall. Lots of IBC readers made their own versions.

Best of 2016: DIY | Inspired by Charm

Best of 2016: DIY | Inspired by Charm

Speaking of fall, these Halloween Paint Can Decor ideas were an instant hit! I think “I’m here for the boos” was the most popular! It’s clever and functional.

Best of 2016: DIY | Inspired by Charm

For the holidays I wrapped up my DIY projects with this wood bead garland. What I love about it is that by simply changing the color of a few beads, you can make this unique decorative piece work all year long.

Best of 2016: DIY | Inspired by Charm

I also had fun using a new product, Shapecrete, to make these modern ornaments out of concrete!

Best of 2016: DIY | Inspired by Charm

That’s a wrap on 2016 DIY! I hope you enjoyed all of these crafty ideas I shared here on IBC throughout this year. Did you try any of these projects yourself? Which was your favorite? Also, what are some projects you’d like to see me tackle in the coming year?

This week I’m recapping the best IBC posts of 2016. Over the past couple days I’ve shared my (and your) favorite recipes as well as some beautiful interior inspiration from the past year. Today I’m back with the best DIY projects of 2016. Here on IBC, the term DIY covers home-related projects as well as […]




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Best of 2016: Interiors | Inspired by Charm

During the week between Christmas and the new year, I like to take things easy. In fact, there have been times when I’ve taken several weeks off at year’s end. Managing this blog and business on my own can be exhausting. After the craziness of the holidays, I sometimes want to throw a blanket over my computer and not look at it until all the ornaments are packed up and put away.

However this year, I thought I’d carry on by looking back at some of my (and your) favorite IBC posts from 2016. Yesterday we focused on the best recipes of 2016, so today we’re moving on to interiors. These are definitely standout moments from this past year, and I’m excited to revisit them with you.

To start off 2016, I showed you how I fixed up my fireplaces with the help of paint. They were looking a bit dated. To avoid a major remodel, I simply used paint to clean things up.

Best of 2016: Interiors | Inspired by Charm

Instead of doing a major Spring Home Tour, I just shared my home space by space. Even though I only got to my living room and office, you still got a look at my home for the new season.

Best of 2016: Interiors | Inspired by Charm

Best of 2016: Interiors | Inspired by Charm

I also finally made progress in my guest bedroom with new bedding, lamps, and artwork.

guest-bedroom-design-712x1024

One question I’m often asked is how to decorate a blank wall. That’s why I started a mini series called “Ideas for Decorating Your Walls.” In these three posts (here, here, and here), I shared more than 15 ideas for tackling wall decor.

Best of 2016: Interiors | Inspired by Charm

In the early spring, I was so honored and excited to visit the 2016 HGTV Dream Home in Florida. Talk about major interior inspiration!

Best of 2016: Interiors | Inspired by Charm

Following that visit, I returned home to the summer season and put together this rustic charm tablescape for my friends at HomeGoods.

Best of 2016: Interiors | Inspired by Charm

Shortly thereafter, I gave you a look at my entire home along with lots of seasonal decor ideas in my Summer Home Tour. (With the holidays over and snow currently failing outside, I’m kind of missing summer.)

Best of 2016: Interiors | Inspired by Charm

Everyone’s design style is different. One of my design tips is to always include something unique or odd in your space. These are some ways to keep it quirky.

Best of 2016: Interiors | Inspired by Charm

As summer turned into fall, I got my outdoor deck ready for the season with these fall deck-orating ideas.

Best of 2016: Interiors | Inspired by Charm

The home tour fun continued with two Fall Home Tours! The first fall tour had an entertaining focus and the second was a more traditional look around.

Best of 2016: Interiors | Inspired by Charm

Best of 2016: Interiors | Inspired by Charm

With lots of recipes and DIY projects in between, I blinked, and it was the holiday season. Naturally, that meant another Holiday Home Tour (which has become one of my favorites) along with a visit to my kitchen to see it decked out for Christmas

Best of 2016: Interiors | Inspired by Charm

Best of 2016: Interiors | Inspired by Charm

And with that, 2016 is a wrap.

I’m excited to tackle more interior upgrades in 2017. I already have several ideas brewing. What interior projects would you like to see on IBC in the new year?

During the week between Christmas and the new year, I like to take things easy. In fact, there have been times when I’ve taken several weeks off at year’s end. Managing this blog and business on my own can be exhausting. After the craziness of the holidays, I sometimes want to throw a blanket over […]




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Best of 2016: Recipe | Inspired by Charm

Merry Everything! I hope you had (and are still having) a joyous holiday season. I feel very blessed to have been able to spend a lot of time with my family over the past week.

With the end of another year upon us, I think it’s a good time to reflect. Over the past couple weeks I’ve noticed many folks on social media looking forward to a fresh start in 2017. It seems that 2016 wasn’t a great year for many. Given my own trials and tribulations, I tend to agree. 2016 was a tough year in some respects. However, in an attempt to focus on the positives, I thought I’d use the next several days to reflect on the delights of the past year. Here on Inspired by Charm, I created over 165 posts filled with delicious recipes, beautiful interior inspiration, creative DIY projects, effortless entertaining ideas, and more. Sometimes you don’t realize how much ground you’ve covered until take a moment to look in the rearview mirror.

Whether you are new to Inspired by Charm, have missed some of this year’s posts, or just want to take a trip down memory lane, this series will focus on the Best of 2016. This look back is based on your comments, social media shares, and my own personal favorites, so I hope you enjoy it. Let’s start things off with IBC’s Best Recipes of 2016.

I kicked off the year with Breakfast Week. One of my favorites in this series was Mixed Berry Stuffed French Toast. Paired with my recipe for Brown Sugar Bacon (plus my tips for cooking it without the mess of splattered grease), it’s a hands down winner. For a quick breakfast, try my Overnight Oats!

Best of 2016: Recipe | Inspired by Charm

Best of 2016: Recipe | Inspired by Charm

Best of 2016: Recipe | Inspired by Charm

Anything that you can mix with sprinkles is another winner in my book. That’s why this Funfetti Coffee Cake will probably always be a favorite of mine. It’s not only fun, but also totally delicious.

Best of 2016: Recipe | Inspired by Charm

Filled with thoughts of spring, I taught you how to make this Trio of Herbed Butter. It’s great mixed with mashed potatoes or pasta. It’s equally delicious served with homemade bread.

Best of 2016: Recipe | Inspired by Charm

For St. Patrick’s Day, I had a blast creating this Leprechaun’s Kiss Martini complete with a rainbow sugar rim. Serve it with Lucky Charms Cupcakes for a magically delicious combination.

Best of 2016: Recipe | Inspired by Charm

Best of 2016: Recipe | Inspired by Charm

Two pasta salad recipes stole the show on Pinterest. My easy and inexpensive Ramen Noodle Salad is a fan favorite, and this BLT Macaroni Salad is a tasty twist on a classic.

Best of 2016: Recipe | Inspired by Charm

Best of 2016: Recipe | Inspired by Charm

For seasonal cocktails, I experimented by infusing liquor with fruit to create these Fruit Infused Cocktails. I also taught you how to make Apple Pie Moonshine at home.

Best of 2016: Recipe | Inspired by Charm

Best of 2016: Recipe | Inspired by Charm

And just before the summer ended, I created this colorful and flavor-packed Avocado Panzanlla Salad that still makes my mouth water just thinking about it.

Best of 2016: Recipe | Inspired by Charm

Fall Cookie Week returned for its fifth year! With six new cookie recipes, you’re bound to find a couple you’ll love.

Best of 2016: Recipe | Inspired by Charm

For more fall treats, these Pumpkin Cheerio Treat Bars were an easy no-bake dessert.

Best of 2016: Recipe | Inspired by Charm

Also, this Caramel Apple Cream Cheese dessert went crazy on Pinterest. It was one of the most pinned IBC recipes for 2016!

Best of 2016: Recipe | Inspired by Charm

The cocktail excitement continued during the holiday season with three popular recipes: Salted Caramel White Russians, Cranberry Bourbon Cocktail, and my holiday extra special holiday creation, the Ornamentini! These were my three go-to holiday drinks. It sounds like they were favorites for many of you, too!

Best of 2016: Recipe | Inspired by Charm

Best of 2016: Recipe | Inspired by Charm

Best of 2016: Recipe | Inspired by Charm

Finally, the year wouldn’t be complete without a holiday dessert. My Gingerbread Village cakes and Pink Velvet Yule Log were not only a treat for the tummy, but for the eyes, too. I love when a dessert gets the response, “That’s almost too pretty to eat.”

Best of 2016: Recipe | Inspired by Charm

Best of 2016: Recipe | Inspired by Charm

And that concludes our little walk down IBC recipe memory lane. Were any of these your favorite IBC recipe from 2016? Did you have a “best IBC recipe nominee” that I overlooked? Let us know in the comments below.

Happy 2017!

Merry Everything! I hope you had (and are still having) a joyous holiday season. I feel very blessed to have been able to spend a lot of time with my family over the past week. With the end of another year upon us, I think it’s a good time to reflect. Over the past couple […]




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Five Tips to Keep Your Home Cozy This Winter | Inspired by Charm
This post is sponsored by Honeywell. As always all opinions are my own.

With several months of winter still ahead of us, knowing how to stay warm is a must. Living in the Northeast, I’ve been through my fair share of chilly winters. In fact, we’ve already seen temperatures below zero this year. Because winter is unavoidable, I thought I’d share five tips to keep your home cozy throughout this chilly season.

For this post I’m teaming up with my friends at Honeywell who sent me their new Lyric T5 Wi-Fi Thermostat to test out and keep my home temperatures just right this winter. (Apparently, they are tired of me complaining about the snow.)

Five Tips to Keep Your Home Cozy This Winter | Inspired by Charm

The Lyric T5 is so much more than a thermostat. It’s the ability to have a comfortable, connected home no matter the season, schedule, or location. So cool, right?

Now, let me walk you through those tips for staying warm this winter.

1. Add Seasonal Blankets
During this time of year I can’t get enough blankets. Even if you’re not using all of them, there’s something comforting about having them nearby. In the winter, I recommend faux fur, cable knit, tweed, or quilted for the ultimate in coziness. Drape one over the back of your sofa, add another to a chair, or tuck a few more in a basket in the corner.

Five Tips to Keep Your Home Cozy This Winter | Inspired by Charm

Speaking of textiles, adding area rugs (small or large) to places like the bedroom, kitchen, and bathroom will likewise keep your feet a bit toastier on cold days.

2. Set the Temperature
Having a thermostat that works with and for you, especially during the winter months, is key. Thanks to my friends at Honeywell, I recently updated to their Lyric T5 Wi-Fi Thermostat. I’m loving it. Not only can I create a schedule to regulate my heating (and cooling) needs, but I can adjust the temperature with the touch of my finger using the Lyric APP.

Five Tips to Keep Your Home Cozy This Winter | Inspired by Charm

I can even use a voice-controlled device like the Echo, to change the temperate without lifting a finger. Turning up the heat without having to leave the comfort of your couch might be the best thing ever. Now I just need a device that will refill my wine glass.

If you’re looking to upgrade your thermostat, you can read more about the Lyric T5 and all its great features here.

3. Light a Fire / Candle
There’s something about the glow of a flame that makes things seem warmer and, depending on the size of that flame, it might actually be warmer, too. If you have one, light your fireplace for the ultimate glow and warmth. If you don’t have the luxury of a fireplace, candles can give the illusion of one.

Five Tips to Keep Your Home Cozy This Winter | Inspired by Charm

Although I have a fireplace, mine’s not functioning. To compensate, I drilled holes in logs and filled them with tea lights. While I don’t get much heat (obviously), I do get the comfort of a flickering flame.

4. Keep the Twinkle Lights
Right now, thanks to the holiday season, our homes are decked out with lots of things to make us feel comfy-cozy. However, come January, when all the sparkle comes down, things are likely to feel a little less inviting. While it’s nice to be rid of some of the “clutter,” it’s hard not to miss the warmth and magic of twinkle lights. If you feel the same, you have my permission to leave a strand or two up.

Five Tips to Keep Your Home Cozy This Winter | Inspired by Charm

I don’t take the larger bulbs hanging across my mantel down until March. The glow they give my living room during January and February is just enough to keep the space feeling cozy without making it look like I forgot to put away some of my holiday decor.

5. From the Inside Out
I could not put together a list about being cozy at home without including food. Now, I know that January is the time to shed those holiday pounds, but you can still do that while warming up from the inside out. Things like my White Chicken Chili or One Pan Chicken Apple Sausage Pasta are great options.

Five Tips to Keep Your Home Cozy This Winter | Inspired by Charm

You could even celebrate on the weekend with an Apple Cinnamon Hot Toddy. Comfort foods can keep you feeling cozy in your home during the winter months. While you may not love the winter (I don’t blame you.), I hope these simple ideas will help you to enjoy it a bit more and stay warm while doing so.

Five Tips to Keep Your Home Cozy This Winter | Inspired by Charm

Now grab a blanket, turn up the heat, and enjoy a bowl of chili. That’s what I’m going to do.

This post is sponsored by Honeywell. As always all opinions are my own. With several months of winter still ahead of us, knowing how to stay warm is a must. Living in the Northeast, I’ve been through my fair share of chilly winters. In fact, we’ve already seen temperatures below zero this year. Because winter is […]




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Tuesday Tunes / 19 - Contemporary Christmas | Inspired by Charm

Well friends, Christmas is almost upon us. After a busy 12 Days of Christmas series, much gift wrapping, lots of cookie baking, and many holiday gatherings with family and friends, things are likely to be quiet around IBC for the next couple weeks (as they usually are this time of year.) However, I can’t completely step away, so I’ll be popping in now and then. As promised I have another collection of Christmas tunes to share with you. Today’s playlist: Contemporary Christmas.

Tuesday Tunes / 19 - Contemporary Christmas | Inspired by Charm

You know how I much I love new things or a twist on a classic, so putting together a playlist with a mix of modern Christmas music and fresh takes on old favorites was a must. I found myself going to this playlist when I needed a little pep in my step but still wanted a bit of holiday jingle. It includes many contemporary favorites: Kelly Clarkson’s “Underneath the Tree,” Britney’s “My Only Wish,” and Ariana Grande’s “Last Christmas.”

And yes, there are a few reflective and slower tunes, such as “Mary, Did You Know?” by Pentatonix and “River” by Sarah McLachlan.

I think it’s a fun playlist. If you’re tired of your own holiday mix, give this a listen for some variety.

 

You can use the playlist above to spread a little holiday cheer or play the tunes directly on Spotify by clicking here. (Hey, that rhymed!)

 

For more of my holiday (and everyday) playlists, check out the Tuesday Tunes Library below or subscribe to my Spotify profile here.

Enjoy this new playlist!

 

TUESDAY TUNES LIBRARY

Well friends, Christmas is almost upon us. After a busy 12 Days of Christmas series, much gift wrapping, lots of cookie baking, and many holiday gatherings with family and friends, things are likely to be quiet around IBC for the next couple weeks (as they usually are this time of year.) However, I can’t completely […]




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Winter Recipe Card and Gift Tag Printable | Inspired by Charm

Well friends, we did it! Another 12 Days of Christmas is complete! But not without a little yuletide treat from me to you.

Winter Recipe Card and Gift Tag Printable | Inspired by Charm

For this final day of the series, I wanted to go back to something I said at the very beginning. Beyond the opportunity of creating lots of festive content to share, I love this series because it gives me a way to say, “Thank you!” It’s because of you that I have this blog and a chance to do work that brings me so much joy.

Even though I can’t gift all 1 million of you (Yes, 1 million! IBC just hit a record for ONE MILLION page views in a 30-day period!) with a VISA gift card or fancy bar cart, I wanted to find a way to give something special to each and every one of you.

One of the new things I did this year was share seasonal recipe cards. Today, I’m debuting the fourth and final card for 2016.

Winter Recipe Card and Gift Tag Printable | Inspired by Charm

Winter Recipe Card and Gift Tag Printable | Inspired by Charm

Isn’t she a beauty? (I think it might be my favorite!)

As a little present to ALL OF YOU, you can access the free printable HERE. And there’s a bonus: links to the other three recipe card printables from 2016 as well.

Winter Recipe Card and Gift Tag Printable | Inspired by Charm

Whether you decide to print out some to jot down new recipes over the holidays or make multiple copies of the entire collection to give to someone, I hope you enjoy the cards. Download them HERE.

Winter Recipe Card and Gift Tag Printable | Inspired by Charm

Winter Recipe Card and Gift Tag Printable | Inspired by Charm

I know it’s not much, but it’s small touch of IBC from me to you.

Winter Recipe Card and Gift Tag Printable | Inspired by Charm

Winter Recipe Card and Gift Tag Printable | Inspired by Charm

(I also wanted to give a shout out to Mike over at Dash Creative. Using my vision and creative direction, he’s the one who brought these cards to life! Thanks for your top quality work, Mike.)

Winter Recipe Card and Gift Tag Printable | Inspired by Charm

And because I’m a “go-big-or-go-home-kinda guy,” while we were at it, I put in an order for some matching gift tags.

Winter Recipe Card and Gift Tag Printable | Inspired by Charm

I fell in love with the festive filigree on the recipe cards and wanted another way to use it this holiday season. And even though I already shared some printable gift tags, I figured a few more couldn’t hurt. ‘Tis the season for giving, right? (You can download the gift tags HERE.)

Winter Recipe Card and Gift Tag Printable | Inspired by Charm

Winter Recipe Card and Gift Tag Printable | Inspired by Charm

Given the variety of colors in the design, I think they’ll look great on almost any gift. You can download them HERE.

Winter Recipe Card and Gift Tag Printable | Inspired by Charm

 Winter Recipe Card and Gift Tag Printable | Inspired by Charm

I hope that you like and can use all of these printable goodies. Merry Christmas!

Winter Recipe Card and Gift Tag Printable | Inspired by Charm

Now, to finish off this 12 Days of Christmas series, we have one final giveaway. Let’s get to it.

Winter Recipe Card and Gift Tag Printable | Inspired by Charm

Since the Amazon giveaway got so much response (It had the most entries by far.), I thought we’d do another one of those. But in a bigger way.

So, in today’s giveaway, one lucky IBC reader will win a $500 gift card to Amazon! (How’s that for going out with a bang!)

Winter Recipe Card and Gift Tag Printable | Inspired by Charm

To enter to win, use the entry form below. (Those viewing this on a blog reader may need to visit the actual post by clicking here.)

 


 

This giveaway is open to readers worldwide. You must be 18 or older to win. Void where prohibited. This giveaway will end at 11:59 pm ET on Friday, December 23. The winner will be randomly selected, contacted by email, and announced at the top of this post.

Good luck on this final opportunity to win!

As always, if you missed anything in the 12 Days of Christmas 2016 series, you can find the posts linked up below.

Wishing you and yours the happiest of holidays and all the best in 2017!

 

12 DAYS OF CHRISTMAS 2016

Well friends, we did it! Another 12 Days of Christmas is complete! But not without a little yuletide treat from me to you. For this final day of the series, I wanted to go back to something I said at the very beginning. Beyond the opportunity of creating lots of festive content to share, I […]




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Salted Turtle Candies | Inspired by Charm

There’s something sweet in store for Day 11 of the 12 Days of Christmas. Welcome back!

Salted Turtle Candies | Inspired by Charm

Other than the Pink Velvet Yule Log, we haven’t celebrated with a sweet treat during this year’s 12 Days of Christmas. To rectify the situation, today I’m sharing a recipe for these super easy Salted Turtle Candies!

Salted Turtle Candies | Inspired by Charm

You know I liked to mix things up here on IBC, but when it comes to Christmas cookies, I’m a big fan of the classics. Last year I shared the recipe for Cream Wafer Cookies, my absolute favorite. As I may have told you, if they were the only cookies I had for the holidays, I’d probably be OK with that. Of course, sometimes I do crave a frosted sugar cookie or a peanut butter blossom or a cornflake wreath. Because I stick to tradition, it’s rare for me to share Christmas cookie recipes here. (If you’re looking for unique cookie recipes, check out Fall Cookie Week. That’s where I like to get creative!)

Salted Turtle Candies | Inspired by Charm

With all that being said, I do try to make at least one new cookie every Christmas. And while these Salted Turtle Candies technically aren’t cookies, they’re my something new for this year.

What I love about this recipe is that you get all the flavors of a turtle candy without all of the work. Sprinkled with a little flaked salt, the flavor combination is on point.

Salted Turtle Candies | Inspired by Charm

Salted Turtle Candies | Inspired by Charm

But don’t worry, if salt on a cookie seems odd to your family, sprinkles work just as nicely and add a pop of color.

Also, this recipe calls for semisweet chocolate, but if you prefer milk or dark, use that instead.

Salted Turtle Candies | Inspired by Charm

Salted Turtle Candies | Inspired by Charm

For this recipe I opted to use the standard square candy caramels. However, if I was making these again, I would use the Lancaster soft caramels because I prefer a softer caramel. The only thing to note here is that if you do use the Lancaster caramels, you may need double the number of caramels since they are smaller.

Salted Turtle Candies | Inspired by Charm

Salted Turtle Candies | Inspired by Charm

Not only are these a delicious “cookie,” but they will add visual impact to your cookie tray. Mixing different shapes, sizes, flavors, and textures when presenting your cookies is always a great idea.

Let me walk you through the recipe.

Salted Turtle Candies | Inspired by Charm

Salted Turtle Candies

Makes 25 pieces

2 1/2 cups pecan halves (75 total halves)
25 wrapped caramels, unwrapped
12 ounces semisweet chocolate (or milk chocolate or dark chocolate)
2 tablespoons vegetable shortening
Flake sea salt and / or sprinkles

Begin by preheating your oven to 350 degrees F. Then line two cookie sheets with parchment paper.

Place three pecan halves in a Y-shape on the parchment paper- lined cookie sheets. Repeat with the remaining pecans.

Then, with your fingers, flatten each caramel and place one in the center of each pecan Y. Bake for 5-6 minutes until the caramel is just melted. Remove from the oven and allow the caramels to cool on the pan.

In the meantime, add the chocolate and vegetable shortening to a microwave safe bowl. Microwave in 30-second intervals, stirring in between, until the chocolate is melted.

Spoon the chocolate on top of the caramel. Let the chocolate stand for about 2 minutes, then sprinkle with sea salt flakes or sprinkles. Allow the chocolate to set completely. Pack and store in an airtight container.

Print

And that’s it. Homemade turtles don’t get much easier than that, right?

Salted Turtle Candies | Inspired by Charm

Salted Turtle Candies | Inspired by Charm

I’d love to know what your favorite Christmas cookie is. What new cookie recipes have you tried that have become a yearly must-make for you?

Now, in the spirit of baking and cookie making, let’s talk about today’s giveaway.

Salted Turtle Candies | Inspired by Charm

One of my favorite stores to visit during the holiday season is Williams-Sonoma. There’s something about that store this time of year that always puts me in the mood to cook and bake (and buy all new kitchen supplies). Today, I thought a $200 Gift Card to Williams-Sonoma would make a fabulous prize!

That’s right, one lucky IBC reader will win a $200 Williams-Sonoma Gift Card.

Salted Turtle Candies | Inspired by Charm

To enter to win, use the entry form below. (Those viewing this on a blog reader may need to visit the actual post by clicking here.)

 


 

This giveaway is open to readers in the United States. You must be 18 or older to win. Void where prohibited. This giveaway will end at 11:59 pm ET on Wednesday, December 21. The winner will be randomly selected, contacted by email, and announced at the top of this post.

Good luck and happy baking!

See you back here tomorrow for the final day of the 12 Days of Christmas.

 

12 DAYS OF CHRISTMAS 2016

There’s something sweet in store for Day 11 of the 12 Days of Christmas. Welcome back! Other than the Pink Velvet Yule Log, we haven’t celebrated with a sweet treat during this year’s 12 Days of Christmas. To rectify the situation, today I’m sharing a recipe for these super easy Salted Turtle Candies! You know […]




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DIY Oversized Wood Bead Garland | Inspired by Charm

Welcome back to the 12 Days of Christmas here on Inspired by Charm. ‘Tis the season to DIY!

DIY Oversized Wood Bead Garland | Inspired by Charm

That’s right. For Day 10 of this series, I’m sharing a fun and colorful DIY that you can use to decorate your home for the holidays and beyond. Check out my DIY Oversize Wood Bead Garland.

DIY Oversized Wood Bead Garland | Inspired by Charm

For the past year or so, I’ve been seeing these wood bead styling strands pop up on some of my favorite blogs and in home decor magazines.

DIY Oversized Wood Bead Garland | Inspired by Charm

In essence, the strands are oversize wood balls on a string that you can use to decorate a shelf, style a coffee table, etc. Because of their size and shape, they add texture and movement to a vignette. And during the holidays, they can double as a beautiful garland. On their own or tucked in pine, they bring a rustic modern element to your decor.

DIY Oversized Wood Bead Garland | Inspired by Charm

DIY Oversized Wood Bead Garland | Inspired by Charm

Typically, these wood bead styling strands are left natural. However, because I like more color in my life, I decided to paint a few of the beads to give the strand a little holiday spirit. I was also itching to paint because my friends over at Fusion Mineral Paint sent me samples of their new color collection. The Bayberry, Fort York Red, and Cranberry were just begging to be used in my holiday decor. (Stay tuned to find out how you can enter to win a collection of paints from Fusion Mineral Paint.)

I’ve been a big fan of their paint after using it several times this year for projects like my Coffee Tray, DIY Serving Board, and Fall Colorblock Cork Table Decor.

DIY Oversized Wood Bead Garland | Inspired by Charm

DIY Oversized Wood Bead Garland | Inspired by Charm

So, with all of those ideas spinning around in my head, I got to work. Let me show you how I put this together.

DIY Oversized Wood Bead Garland | Inspired by Charm

For this project you will need:

Round wood ball: 2-inch, 1.50-inch, 1.25-inch1-inch
Square wood cube: 1.5-inch
Leather cording
Drill
3/16″ drill bit
Scrap piece of wood
Gripping pliers
Sand paper
Fusion Mineral Paints
Paint brush

To begin, gather a variety of wood beads. (The ones I used are linked above.) You can use any combination you like. My finished strand was five feet long and contained 49 wood beads.

DIY Oversized Wood Bead Garland | Inspired by Charm

Next, drill a hole in each bead. Grip the bead with a pair of pliers and drill into the center using a 3/16″ bit. Use a piece of scrap wood below the bead to protect your surface.

DIY Oversized Wood Bead Garland | Inspired by Charm

(This drill bit makes a hole that allows the cording I used to slide through nicely. However if you choose a different cording, you may need a different size drill bit.)

With all of your holes drilled, use a piece of fine grit sand paper to clean up any rough edges.

DIY Oversized Wood Bead Garland | Inspired by Charm

Now, you’re ready to paint. I selected four coordinating seasonal colors from Fusion Mineral Paints. They include Bayberry, Fort York Red, Cranberry, and Lamp White.

DIY Oversized Wood Bead Garland | Inspired by Charm

For easy painting, I threaded the beads on a wood skewer and then inserted the skewer into the side of a cardboard box. This allowed me to paint the entire bead without getting paint all over my hands.

DIY Oversized Wood Bead Garland | Inspired by Charm

I gave each bead two coats.

Once the beads are dry, string them on your leather cording. Again, you can choose any order you like. I made a repeating pattern with the smallest beads at the end. The painted beads are evenly spaced on the garland.

DIY Oversized Wood Bead Garland | Inspired by Charm

Once the beads are strung, leave a couple inches of cording on both ends and finish off each end with a knot. (The extra cord will ensure that there’s some give in the strand so that it’s flexible and easy to shape.)

And with that, your project is complete!

DIY Oversized Wood Bead Garland | Inspired by Charm

Now, you can enjoy styling the garland all over your home.

DIY Oversized Wood Bead Garland | Inspired by Charm

DIY Oversized Wood Bead Garland | Inspired by Charm

As I said above, it looks great strung on the mantel, just lying on the coffee table, or spilling out of a bowl.

What I love about this project is that when the holidays are over, you can easily replace the colored beads with ones that fit the new season or your everyday decor.

DIY Oversized Wood Bead Garland | Inspired by Charm

This is a decorative piece that easily transitions from season to season, allowing you to use it all year long.

Plus, with dozens of wood bead shapes and sizes and lots of colors from Fusion Mineral Paints, the options are endless.

DIY Oversized Wood Bead Garland | Inspired by Charm

What do you think? Will you give this DIY Oversize Wood Bead Garland a try?

If you do, you’re going to need some paint. That’s why my friends over at Fusion Mineral Paint were super excited to join in on the 12 Days of Christmas fun!

DIY Oversized Wood Bead Garland | Inspired by Charm

Today I’m giving away a $250 credit to Fusion Mineral Paint to one lucky IBC reader! That will make for quite the paint supply, don’t you think!?

DIY Oversized Wood Bead Garland | Inspired by Charm

To enter to win, use the entry form below. (Those viewing this on a blog reader may need to visit the actual post by clicking here.)

 


 

This giveaway is open to readers in the United States and Canada. You must be 18 or older to win. Void where prohibited. This giveaway will end at 11:59 pm ET on Tuesday, December 20. The winner will be randomly selected, contacted by email, and announced at the top of this post.
 

Best of luck to everyone!!

Don’t forget – there are two more days in this special holiday series. See you back here tomorrow for more festive fun!

 

12 DAYS OF CHRISTMAS 2016

Welcome back to the 12 Days of Christmas here on Inspired by Charm. ‘Tis the season to DIY! That’s right. For Day 10 of this series, I’m sharing a fun and colorful DIY that you can use to decorate your home for the holidays and beyond. Check out my DIY Oversize Wood Bead Garland. For […]




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Personalized Holiday Gift Wrap Ideas | inspiredbycharm.com
This post is sponsored by Tiny Prints. As always all opinions are my own.

It’s time to wrap all those gifts you’ve bought. Welcome to Day 9 of the 12 Days of Christmas!

Personalized Holiday Gift Wrap Ideas | inspiredbycharm.com

I couldn’t let this series go by without talking about holiday gift wrapping, right? (You can check out previous gift wrapping posts here and here.) That’s why today I have some Personalized Holiday Gift Wrap Ideas for you.

For this post, I’m teaming up with the fine folks over at Tiny Prints. Not only did they hook me up with awesome wrapping paper, stickers, and holiday cards, they are joining in on the 12 Days of Christmas giveaway fun today by offering $100 credit to two lucky IBC readers! How great is that? First, let’s talk gift wrapping; then, we’ll get to the giveaway.

Because Tiny Prints has so many ways to personalize anything from gift wrap to stockings, I thought it would be a fun focus for this post. And, because time is precious during the holiday season, all of these ideas are pretty simple to put together.

1. Stick with a Color Scheme
Although I’ll be showing you wrapping with a variety of colors, I often find it helpful to have sort of a color scheme when it comes to gift wrapping.

Personalized Holiday Gift Wrap Ideas | inspiredbycharm.com

If you’re anything like me, it’s easy to be tempted by all of the pretty papers and ribbons. Having a color scheme gives you a focus and eliminates a lot of decision making when you’re selecting paper, ribbon, etc. This will save you time and stress.

2. Add Personalization
Did you know you can personalize wrapping paper with your name!? Tiny Prints sells fabulous gift wrap that you can customize with your very own holiday greeting.


Personalized Holiday Gift Wrap Ideas | inspiredbycharm.com

Personalized Holiday Gift Wrap Ideas | inspiredbycharm.com

While all of your paper doesn’t need to be personalized, it’s one way to add a unique touch to your gift giving.

3. Layer Ribbons
As I’ve said in years past, my go-to ribbon for gift wrapping is satin. Nowadays, you can find it online in almost any color and width. To get the best buy, I recommend purchasing a spool of 50 yards. (If there is extra, you can use it year round for gift giving. I do!) A single satin ribbon looks classy, but also try layering a couple ribbons for depth and contrast.

Personalized Holiday Gift Wrap Ideas | inspiredbycharm.com

Personalized Holiday Gift Wrap Ideas | inspiredbycharm.com

I’m clearly not the only person obsessed with ribbon. The array of ribbons at home stores and super stores today is crazy. I’ve been buying them up all season. (My mom thinks I have a problem. There might be an intervention soon.)

Personalized Holiday Gift Wrap Ideas | inspiredbycharm.com

Again, work within your color palette, and you can’t go wrong. Pick a ribbon with a touch of metallic, and you’re likely to get the “this -is-too-pretty-to-open” response. (Congratulations, you just won Christmas.)

One more thing about ribbon: When trimming the ends, take a few extra seconds to make a V cut. Just fold the end of the ribbon in half lengthwise and make a diagonal cut from the folded edge out. It’s that simple, and it gives a finished look to the entire presentation.

4. Gifts on Gifts
What’s better than one gift? A gift on that gift. Last week I shared festive ideas for creating holiday gifts in clear glass ornaments. Why not add one of those to the top of your gift? Not only does it make the package look amazing, but the recipient will be super excited to receive a bonus gift.

Personalized Holiday Gift Wrap Ideas | inspiredbycharm.com

5. Add an Ornament
This year my sister-in-law decided to change up her tree. As she was contemplating donating / tossing the outdated ornaments, I suggested that she keep them for embellishing presents.

Personalized Holiday Gift Wrap Ideas | inspiredbycharm.com

Adding an ornament to a wrapped gift is probably one of my favorite ways to personalize it and make it extra special. Not only does the ornament make your gift stand out, but it’s something the recipient can hang on his or her tree and remember you by throughout the season and for years to come. (Or, they can do what my mom does and save it for next year to tie onto someone else’s package. Ha!)

Personalized Holiday Gift Wrap Ideas | inspiredbycharm.com

Recycle ornaments that no longer suit your decor or, if time permits, DIY a few. Check out my Concrete Ornaments, Wood Slice Photo Ornaments, or Painted Scallop Ornaments for inspiration.

6. Don’t Wrap
I get that many of you might not be as excited as I am about wrapping. That’s okay. Thanks to fabulous boxes and stickers, you don’t have to be.

Personalized Holiday Gift Wrap Ideas | inspiredbycharm.com

Personalized Holiday Gift Wrap Ideas | inspiredbycharm.com

Here, I used a plain black box tied with ribbon, and embellished with a personalized sticker from Tiny Pints. That’s it. No wrapping required. How easy is that? Thanks to the sticker, you get that personalized touch sans paper.

Personalized Holiday Gift Wrap Ideas | inspiredbycharm.com

Personalized Holiday Gift Wrap Ideas | inspiredbycharm.com

And yes, you can still get creative. Here I used a kraft paper Chinese take-out container to achieve the same look. With a simple ribbon, the adorable gift tag becomes the star of the show. (You can find the stickers I used here and here.)

7. Bring on the Twine
For years, I’ve been using baker’s twine as the piéce de résistance when wrapping gifts. Although it does take a bit more time, wrapping a simple piece of twine around a package is a beautiful finishing detail. The twine can double as a way to tie on an ornament, gift tag, piece of pine, etc.

Personalized Holiday Gift Wrap Ideas | inspiredbycharm.com

Personalized Holiday Gift Wrap Ideas | inspiredbycharm.com

I’m especially loving the twine with metallic thread, but with the huge variety of options available, you’re sure to find something to suit your style.

8. Gift a Card
Sometimes the right gift during the holidays is just a card. That works for me. Whether your sending this festive greeting by mail or handing it to someone in person, Tiny Prints has hundreds of options to make it special and personal.

Personalized Holiday Gift Wrap Ideas | inspiredbycharm.com

For the past several years, I’ve tried to keep my cards personal, and this year was no exception. Since I don’t have a family to feature on my card, I opted for several of my favorite holiday images from last year.

Personalized Holiday Gift Wrap Ideas | inspiredbycharm.com

A picture of my dining room worked well with this letterpress design. I paired it with printed envelopes for the perfect combination.

Personalized Holiday Gift Wrap Ideas | inspiredbycharm.com

My marshmallow wreath is the star of my second holiday card. I wanted a card to go with these “special delivery” envelopes, and this looked great. The red foiled “Merry Christmas” was the perfect greeting.

Personalized Holiday Gift Wrap Ideas | inspiredbycharm.com

As you know, I like to embellish my cards, too. Holiday stamps are a must. And a simple strip of washi tape seals the deal (envelope).

Personalized Holiday Gift Wrap Ideas | inspiredbycharm.com

Whether you have a picture of your dining room to share, an image of your pets, or dozens of family photos, Tiny prints will have a card option to suit your taste.

Personalized Holiday Gift Wrap Ideas | inspiredbycharm.com

And that’s it! Another round of fabulous, festive, and personalized ways to gift holiday cheer.

Now, let’s talk about that giveaway!

Personalized Holiday Gift Wrap Ideas | inspiredbycharm.com

Thanks to my friends over at Tiny Prints, two lucky IBC readers will each receive a $100 credit to Tiny Prints!

Personalized Holiday Gift Wrap Ideas | inspiredbycharm.com

To enter to win, use the entry form below. (Those viewing this on a blog reader may need to visit the actual post by clicking here.)

 


 

This giveaway is open to readers in the United State. You must be 18 or older to win. Void where prohibited. This giveaway will end at 11:59 pm ET on Sunday, December 18. The winner will be randomly selected, contacted by email, and announced at the top of this post.
 

Best of luck!!

The 12 Days of Christmas continues through the entire week, so be sure to stop back every day for more inspiration. If there’s something you’ve missed, catch up on all the posts linked up below.

 

12 DAYS OF CHRISTMAS 2016

This post is sponsored by Tiny Prints. As always all opinions are my own. It’s time to wrap all those gifts you’ve bought. Welcome to Day 9 of the 12 Days of Christmas! I couldn’t let this series go by without talking about holiday gift wrapping, right? (You can check out previous gift wrapping posts here […]




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O Christmas Tree | inspiredbycharm.com

Happy Monday, and welcome back to more holiday fun on IBC’s 12 Days of Christmas!

O Christmas Tree | inspiredbycharm.com

It’s Day 8 of the 12 Days of Christmas series, and today I thought we’d take a closer look at two of the Christmas trees I shared during my 2016 Holiday Home Tour. Since there was so much happening in that post, I wasn’t able to give them the attention they deserve.

(If you’re interested in more details about my flocked tree, you can check out that post here.)

Let’s start with the small tree in my living room.

O Christmas Tree | inspiredbycharm.com

This tree came about more or less by accident. One of my friends on Facebook posted a picture of a beautiful slim flocked tree. I got the source from him and ordered one. (You can find it here, in case you’re interested.) However, because I sometimes do not pay close attention, I did not realize how slim the tree is. My intention was to use it in my office (where my other flocked tree is), but it looked completely out of place. It was just too small.

O Christmas Tree | inspiredbycharm.com

However, my mistake proved to be serendipitous. I had long wanted a tree in my living room, but could never find one that worked in that space.

O Christmas Tree | inspiredbycharm.com

That is until this tree came into my life. It fit perfectly!

O Christmas Tree | inspiredbycharm.com

I tried a variety of ribbons and ornaments on the tree before settling on the final design. Much of my inspiration came from these wood ornaments from Tree Hopper Toys. I’d never heard of this brand until I saw one of their ads on Instagram a few days before Thanksgiving. I clicked on over and immediately picked out my favorites.

O Christmas Tree | inspiredbycharm.com

O Christmas Tree | inspiredbycharm.com

I especially like this #SantaSelfie ornament. You know I love a little quirky in my decor, and this ornament gives me that and more.

O Christmas Tree | inspiredbycharm.com

And I couldn’t resist the Log Cabin Puzzle to match.

O Christmas Tree | inspiredbycharm.com

You may also have noticed the wood trees and stars as well as the clear ornaments with gold trees. They’re from H&M. In fact, I ended up picking up a lot of holiday decor at H&M. Their selection is killer, and the prices are hard to beat. My tip: They sell out quickly, so gobble up the good stuff whenever you see it.

O Christmas Tree | inspiredbycharm.com

The rest of the ornaments were ones I already had on hand. I strung ribbons vertically to add softness and tie it all together.

O Christmas Tree | inspiredbycharm.com

It’s wonderful to have the glow and warmth from this tree when I’m cozied up on the couch watching TV.

Over in the dining room, I tried to go a bit more rich and modern which is why I opted for gold and black. That’s one of the great things about having four trees, I have a chance to try new things and have fun. (The downside is the amount of money I spend on tree ornaments.)

O Christmas Tree | inspiredbycharm.com

The first thing I put on the tree was a faux fur garland I picked up at Pier 1. Even though I loved it, it proved to be a design challenge. Because the tree is dark, the white garland created too much of a contrast. Since I refused to get rid of the tree or the garland, I decided to add white flocked pine branches I found at a local home store. Along with these white marbled ornaments I got at Target, they really brought it all together.

O Christmas Tree | inspiredbycharm.com

O Christmas Tree | inspiredbycharm.com

With that part complete, I packed the tree with black ornaments and a variety of gold and copper ones. I also brought in some green for a bit of color.

O Christmas Tree | inspiredbycharm.com

O Christmas Tree | inspiredbycharm.com

O Christmas Tree | inspiredbycharm.com

These gold sequined unicorns (from Target), coupled with a feathered owl tree topper, were perfect for an unexpected touch of whimsy.

O Christmas Tree | inspiredbycharm.com

For a tree skirt, I used this plaid sequined beauty from CB2. As I mentioned previously, this Designer Lit Tree from Grandin Road has over 6,000 mini LED lights. When lit, the sequins on the tree skirt sparkle like you wouldn’t believe! It’s pretty stellar!

O Christmas Tree | inspiredbycharm.com

O Christmas Tree | inspiredbycharm.com

All in all, I achieved the look I was after with this tree. I think it works well with the rest of the details in this space.

O Christmas Tree | inspiredbycharm.com

Sidenote: Since we’re in my dining room, I wanted to let you know about a post that I just put together for my friends at HomeGoods. In it, I talk about my place settings and tablescape. The holiday decor in this space was partially inspired by this stunning dinnerware I found, so it couldn’t go without mention. Head on over to the Design Happy blog to read more about how I styled the table.

O Christmas Tree | inspiredbycharm.com

And that’s it, my friends! Now that you’ve had a closer look at all of my trees, which is your favorite?

Since we’re already halfway though December, I realize that changing up your entire tree this year might not be an option. I also know from experience that buying all new ornaments can be ridiculously expensive.

That made me think that a $250 Visa Gift Card might come in handy for shopping those after-Christmas sales in order to deck out a new tree next year.

O Christmas Tree | inspiredbycharm.com

So for today’s giveaway, one lucky IBC reader will win a $250 Visa Gift Card from me.

O Christmas Tree | inspiredbycharm.com

To enter to win, use the entry form below. (Those viewing this on a blog reader may need to visit the post by clicking here.)

 


 

This giveaway is open to readers worldwide. You must be 18 or older to win. Void where prohibited. This giveaway will end at 11:59 pm ET on Monday, December 19. The winner will be randomly selected, contacted by email, and announced at the top of this post.
 

Best of luck to all, and happy tree trimming!

 

12 DAYS OF CHRISTMAS 2016

Happy Monday, and welcome back to more holiday fun on IBC’s 12 Days of Christmas! It’s Day 8 of the 12 Days of Christmas series, and today I thought we’d take a closer look at two of the Christmas trees I shared during my 2016 Holiday Home Tour. Since there was so much happening in […]




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Christmas in the Kitchen | inspiredbycharm.com
The giveaway has ended. Congrats and Happy Holidays to the winner, Suzy R.!

The 12 Days of Christmas is back. Today we’re celebrating Christmas in the Kitchen with holiday decor ideas and a sweet yuletide treat.

Christmas in the Kitchen | inspiredbycharm.com

I’m so excited to be joining the Blogger Stylin’ Holiday Home Tour for Day 7 of the 12 Days of Christmas. Lindsay of The White Buffalo Styling Co. has invited me back for another year, and I couldn’t be more thrilled to join in the fun. If you’re currently on the tour and coming from Megan Pflug Designs, welcome! I’m so happy to have you. If this is your first stop on the tour, and you want to visit all of the bloggers’ homes, you can click here to start at the beginning.

Christmas in the Kitchen | inspiredbycharm.com

Last week I was honored to share my Holiday Home Tour with you (You can find it here in case you missed it). If you’ve been following IBC for some time, you probably noticed that a few rooms were missing from the tour. Today, I’m going to give you a look into my kitchen. Plus, *sings* since I knew you were coming, I baked a cake! Well, not a cake exactly, but a Pink Velvet Yule Log. Wait ’till you get a closer look at this beauty!

Now, let’s get this tour started!

Christmas in the Kitchen | inspiredbycharm.com

Before we head to the kitchen, I thought you might want to see my front entryway. I don’t use this door much, but I felt it needed a touch of the season.

Christmas in the Kitchen | inspiredbycharm.com

I decorated my coat rack with a bit of holiday bling and and some scarves.

Christmas in the Kitchen | inspiredbycharm.com

Christmas in the Kitchen | inspiredbycharm.com

On the opposite wall, I decided to tuck new artwork into my mirrored frames. I found these snowy pine tree prints on Etsy and thought they’d be perfect not only for Christmas, but for the entire winter season.

Christmas in the Kitchen | inspiredbycharm.com

I also replaced my colorful bench with a more neutral piece I picked up at HomeGoods. With a few seasonal pillows and a throw, this space is looking quite welcoming.

Christmas in the Kitchen | inspiredbycharm.com

Over in the kitchen, I kept things simple with just a few colorful touches for Christmas.

Christmas in the Kitchen | inspiredbycharm.com

I don’t think I told you that I purchased a real tree so I could cut greens from it to decorate my mantel. The top of the tree looked so perfect that I decided to chop it off, put it in a vase with some water, and set it up in my kitchen. It wasn’t that I needed a fourth tree in my house; I just couldn’t let that top go to waste.

Christmas in the Kitchen | inspiredbycharm.com

Christmas in the Kitchen | inspiredbycharm.com

On my bench I added this Merry and Bright pillow (For details about it, visit Shop IBC.)

Christmas in the Kitchen | inspiredbycharm.com

Christmas in the Kitchen | inspiredbycharm.com

Just behind it on my windowsill is one of my favorite Christmas decorations. These little plastic deer are from my grandma and hold lots of beautiful holiday memories.

Christmas in the Kitchen | inspiredbycharm.com

Above the cabinet which hides my microwave, I added modern wood houses I found at HomeGoods. I also tucked in lots of adorable tea lights from Finding Home Farms around my kitchen for an evening glow. The little jars are just too cute, and I love the Joyeux Noel scent.

Christmas in the Kitchen | inspiredbycharm.com

Christmas in the Kitchen | inspiredbycharm.com

Christmas in the Kitchen | inspiredbycharm.com

Christmas in the Kitchen | inspiredbycharm.com

The cabinet next to my bench, which houses all of my white servingware, is adorned with mini lights and a few bottle brush trees.

Christmas in the Kitchen | inspiredbycharm.com

Christmas in the Kitchen | inspiredbycharm.com

Christmas in the Kitchen | inspiredbycharm.com

Sidenote: If you are new to IBC and are wondering why I have old cabinets and pink formica countertops, you can check out this post here. It’s where I talk a bit more about my vintage kitchen.

Christmas in the Kitchen | inspiredbycharm.com

Christmas in the Kitchen | inspiredbycharm.com

Christmas in the Kitchen | inspiredbycharm.com

On the opposite side of the room I added a few mini wreaths to my DIY pegboard organizer which pairs nicely with a Buddy the Elf print from Lindsay Letters.

Christmas in the Kitchen | inspiredbycharm.com

Christmas in the Kitchen | inspiredbycharm.com

Elsewhere in the kitchen, Santa mugs, peppermint sticks, and pine give a seasonal touch.

Christmas in the Kitchen | inspiredbycharm.com

My DIY marshmallow wreath also made it’s way into the kitchen this year. I can’t believe this is three years old and still looks as good as new!

Christmas in the Kitchen | inspiredbycharm.com

Christmas in the Kitchen | inspiredbycharm.com

Christmas in the Kitchen | inspiredbycharm.com

As you can see, in this space, pops of bold reds bring it all together.

Christmas in the Kitchen | inspiredbycharm.com

Christmas in the Kitchen | inspiredbycharm.com

I’m still loving the lighted Christmas ball and pine garland on my banister.

Christmas in the Kitchen | inspiredbycharm.com

Christmas in the Kitchen | inspiredbycharm.com

It’s quite the showpiece! You can see more of that here.

Now, I don’t know about you, but all this home touring has worked up my appetite!

Christmas in the Kitchen | inspiredbycharm.com

Thankfully, I’ve prepared a Pink Velvet Yule Log to fill our bellies and warm our hearts. Let’s eat!

Christmas in the Kitchen | inspiredbycharm.com

If you can believe it, I’d never made a yule log before. I’m certain I broke all of the rules with this pastel pink version, but I couldn’t stop myself.

With a swirl center, piped “bark” frosting, chocolate “mushrooms,” and a lot of sprinkles, this is a festive and magical treat. It actually turned out much better than I ever expected.

Christmas in the Kitchen | inspiredbycharm.com

What do you think?

Christmas in the Kitchen | inspiredbycharm.com

For more details on this Pink Velvet Yule Log and the recipe, I’ve created a Bonus 12 Days of Christmas post! You can check that out and get the recipe here.

Christmas in the Kitchen | inspiredbycharm.com

However, before you go, it’s a tradition in the 12 Days series that we have a giveaway, so let’s do that!

Christmas in the Kitchen | inspiredbycharm.com

My friends over at ZWILLING were feeling super generous and have provided a ZWILLING Pro 7-piece Knife Block Set for me to give away. I actually have a set of their knives and love them. (Did you see the knife block in my kitchen!?) In fact, I used one to slice up my yule log.

Christmas in the Kitchen | inspiredbycharm.com

For today’s giveaway, one lucky IBC reader will win a ZWILLING Pro 7-piece Knife Block Set.

To enter to win, use the entry form below. (Those viewing this on a blog reader may need to visit the post by clicking here.)

 


 

This giveaway is open to readers in the United States. You must be 18 or older to win. Void where prohibited. This giveaway will end at 11:59 pm ET on Friday, December 16. The winner will be randomly selected, contacted by email, and announced at the top of this post.

 

As always, best of luck! Thanks again to ZWILLING for being so amazing and offering this knife set to the winner of this giveaway.

 

Thank YOU for joining me today for Christmas in the Kitchen. Again, for that Pink Velvet Yule Log recipe, click here.

Christmas in the Kitchen | inspiredbycharm.com

Also, I’m the final stop on the Blogger Stylin’ Holiday Home Tour. If you’re looking for more holiday inspiration, you can visit all of my 12 Days of Christmas posts linked up below.

 

12 DAYS OF CHRISTMAS 2016

The giveaway has ended. Congrats and Happy Holidays to the winner, Suzy R.! The 12 Days of Christmas is back. Today we’re celebrating Christmas in the Kitchen with holiday decor ideas and a sweet yuletide treat. I’m so excited to be joining the Blogger Stylin’ Holiday Home Tour for Day 7 of the 12 Days […]




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Christmas in the Kitchen | inspiredbycharm.com

Happy 12 Days of Christmas! I love you all so much, and my Christmas spirit is soaring so high, that I decided to add a bonus post to the series with this Pink Velvet Yule Log.

Pink Velvet Yule Log | inspiredbycharm.com

Inspired by my Christmas in the Kitchen tour, I thought we needed something sweet to celebrate.

Pink Velvet Yule Log | inspiredbycharm.com

Since I’d never made a yule log, but had long wanted to do so, this seemed like the perfect opportunity. And, since nothing can be typical around these parts, I wanted a yule log with a twist.

Pink Velvet Yule Log | inspiredbycharm.com

With touches of pink all over my kitchen (including my fabulous pink countertops), a pink velvet yule log only made sense. To make it feel festive and sparkly, I added lots of sprinkles, sugar pearls, and coarse sugar.

Pink Velvet Yule Log | inspiredbycharm.com

I’d say we have something worthy of Suzy Snowflake. Right?

Now, if you’ve never made a yule lug, it can be a bit time consuming, given all of the ornamentation. However, despite how it looks, I kept things pretty simple.

Christmas in the Kitchen | inspiredbycharm.com

To start, you’ll prepare two pink velvet Swiss rolls. The cakes are baked thin on a large sheet pan lined with parchment paper.

Pink Velvet Yule Log | inspiredbycharm.com

Once out of the oven, they are immediately rolled in a confectioner’s sugar-dusted towel to cool. Doing this prevents the cake from cracking when it is filled with frosting and rerolled.

Pink Velvet Yule Log | inspiredbycharm.com

After the cakes have cooled, they are spread with a cream cheese and white chocolate frosting and are rolled back up.

Pink Velvet Yule Log | inspiredbycharm.com

Pink Velvet Yule Log | inspiredbycharm.com

Once they’ve set up in the refrigerator, you’re ready to assemble them. The reason you’ve baked two of these rolls is to make the main yule log and have extra pieces to create branches. You can see how I’ve sliced my cake up below.

Christmas in the Kitchen | inspiredbycharm.com

You’ll have to slice the cake with some curves so they fit somewhat snuggly to the main roll.

Pink Velvet Yule Log | inspiredbycharm.com

However, don’t worry too much. The nest step is using more of that wonderful frosting to pipe lines all over the cake to create a wood grain effect. (I used white and pink for a bit of variety.) During this process you can also fill in any gaps where your cake pieces connect. Once your yule log is complete, you won’t notice the joints. Frosting covers a myriad of mistakes.

Christmas in the Kitchen | inspiredbycharm.com

Now you’re ready to decorate. Traditionally, yule logs are adorned with meringue mushrooms. However, I don’t have much meringue experience, so I just created mushrooms by piping white and pink melted chocolate onto wax paper. Sprinkled with sugar and candies before the chocolate sets, no one will even miss the meringue mushrooms.

Christmas in the Kitchen | inspiredbycharm.com

(I also piped trees, but they didn’t work as I thought. However, I did tuck them around the base of my yule log to mimic leaves.)

 

Once all of that was complete, I just sprinkled the entire thing with more coarse sugar and sprinkles to create a festive and heavenly confection.

Pink Velvet Yule Log | inspiredbycharm.com

It’s the perfect pink holiday treat.

Pink Velvet Yule Log | inspiredbycharm.com

Pink Velvet Yule Log | inspiredbycharm.com

For my first yule log, I’m pretty pleased with how it turned out. I also had a blast putting it together.

Pink Velvet Yule Log | inspiredbycharm.com

However, with all that work behind me, I think it’s time for a taste.

Pink Velvet Yule Log | inspiredbycharm.com

Pink Velvet Yule Log

Serves 20-24

Here's what you will need:
2 cups all-purpose floor
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
8 eggs
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1/4 cup canola oil
1/4 cup buttermilk
2 teaspoons white vinegar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon almond extract
Pink gel food coloring (about 4 drops)
Confectioner's sugar for dusting

Filling / Frosting:
3 packages (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened
3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon almond extract
3 cups confectioner's sugar
15 ounces white baking chocolate, melted
Pink gel food coloring

You will also need:
Sprinkles, sugar pearls, coarse sanding sugar
Additional melted white chocolate (in white and pink) piped into mushroom and tree shapes

 

Begin by preheating your oven to 350 degrees F. Grease two 15x10x1" pans with baking spray, cover with parchment paper, and then spray again.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the eggs on high for 3-5 minutes, until pale in color. Continue beating as you slowly add the sugar. Once combined, add the oil, buttermilk, vinegar, vanilla extract, and almond extract. Beat to incorporate. Add pink gel food coloring to achieve desired color. Mix to combine. Finally, beat in the dry ingredients until just combined.

Divide the batter evenly between the two prepared baking pans. Tilt the pan (or spread with a spatula) to even out the batter.

Bake for 12-15 minutes or until the cake springs back when touched.

While the cakes bake, lay two tea towels out on your countertop and sprinkle each towel with powdered sugar.

When the cakes are done, immediately invert them onto the prepared towels. Remove the parchment paper and then roll the cake in the towel starting at the narrower end. Set on a wire rack to cool completely. (This step is important because it will prevent your cake from cracking later when you reroll it after it's cooled.)

In the meantime, prepare your filling. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the cream cheese, butter, and salt until smooth. Add the vanilla and almond extracts and beat to combine. Gradually beat in the confectioner's sugar and white baking chocolate until smooth. Divide this frosting evenly into three bowls.

Once your cakes have cooled, unroll them. Using two of the three bowls of frosting, spread one bowl over each of the cakes to within 1/2 inch of the edge. Roll them up again, without the towel. Place both onto a large platter seam side down and refrigerate until the filling has set. This will take about 2 hours.

Once the cakes have cooled, trim of the edges of each cake. Set one cake onto a platter, then cut the second cake to create branches off the first. Trim the cake branches so they fit snuggly.

Divide your final bowl of frosting into two bowls. Use a touch of pink gel food coloring to dye one half pink; leave the rest white. Put each frosting into separate piping bags, cut off the tips, and pipe lines onto the cake to resemble bark. Fill in any areas where the cake connects.

Garnish the yule log with sprinkles, sugar pearls, and coarse sanding sugar for sparkle.

To create chocolate mushrooms, put melted white chocolate (one white and one dyed pink) into two piping bags. Pipe the desired shapes onto wax paper. Sprinkle with coarse sanding sugar or add sugar pearls to the mushrooms before the chocolate sets for added interest. Allow the chocolate to cool completely, and then tuck them into your yule log.

Print

Tada!

Christmas in the Kitchen | inspiredbycharm.com

Christmas in the Kitchen | inspiredbycharm.com

Yes, creating a yule log is a process. However, if you enjoy baking, it’s fun, and the results speak for themselves.

Pink Velvet Yule Log | inspiredbycharm.com

Pink Velvet Yule Log | inspiredbycharm.com

I love how mine turned and may have just started a yearly tradition. What do you think?

Christmas in the Kitchen | inspiredbycharm.com

Now, this is a bonus 12 Days of Christmas post so there is no additional giveaway. However, be sure to visit today’s official post, Christmas in the Kitchen, and enter to win a set of ZWILLING knives!

For more 12 Days of Christmas festivities, check out the posts linked up below.

 

12 DAYS OF CHRISTMAS 2016

Happy 12 Days of Christmas! I love you all so much, and my Christmas spirit is soaring so high, that I decided to add a bonus post to the series with this Pink Velvet Yule Log. Inspired by my Christmas in the Kitchen tour, I thought we needed something sweet to celebrate. Since I’d never […]




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Join the conversation.






Very Merry Ornamentini | inspiredbycharm.com
The giveaway has ended. Congrats and Happy Holidays to the winner, Lizzy F.!

We’ve made it halfway through the 12 Days of Christmas! That deserves a cocktail.

Very Merry Ornamentini | inspiredbycharm.com

Welcome to Day 6 of the 12 Days of Christmas here on IBC. I’m so happy to have you with me for this merry series. In celebration of reaching the midway point, I thought a cocktail was in order. Today we are making a Very Merry Ornamentini. Plus, there’s a spectacular giveaway thanks to our friends over at Grandin Road. (If you’ve been dreaming of adding a bar cart to your home, then this is the giveaway for you!)

Let’s start things off with the cocktail.

Very Merry Ornamentini | inspiredbycharm.com

As you can imagine, it’s a lot of fun to brainstorm ideas for this series, but it can be a bit stressful, too. (You can read more about my creative thinking process here.) When planning 12 Days, I knew I wanted to include a cocktail. With the success of my Jingle Juice Holiday Punch last year, I had some big glasses to fill. Literally. My initial thought was to make a Hot Cocoa Martini, but a quick web search revealed that it had been done many times over.

Then, as I was putting together my clear glass ornament gift ideas a few days ago, it hit me. Why not make a holiday martini, but serve it in a glass ornament!? I loved the idea, but wondered if had been done before. After a quick Google and Pinterest search, I was thrilled to see it hadn’t been tackled. #winning

Very Merry Ornamentini | inspiredbycharm.com

Following some experimentation and decision making, the perfect seasonal martini recipe was born. Thus, I present to you the Very Merry Ornamentini!

Very Merry Ornamentini | inspiredbycharm.com

Tell me that this isn’t one of the most festive and fun martinis ever. I’m certain Buddy the Elf would approve.

Very Merry Ornamentini | inspiredbycharm.com

First, let’s talk about the actual cocktail. I opted to create a variation on a classic cosmopolitan. With vodka as the base, I added cranberry juice, cherry juice, orange liqueur, and a splash of freshly squeezed orange juice.

Very Merry Ornamentini | inspiredbycharm.com

Very Merry Ornamentini | inspiredbycharm.com

Very Merry Ornamentini | inspiredbycharm.com

Adding cherry juice and substituting orange juice for lime juice is what makes this drink different and seasonal. The cherry juice gives it a beautiful deep red color and the orange juice suits this time of year. The resulting flavor combination is deliciously classic with a twist.

Garnished with a few of those sugared cranberries I taught you how to make here, plus a sprig of fresh rosemary, this martini is Christmas AF.

Very Merry Ornamentini | inspiredbycharm.com

Now, you’re probably wondering how to serve this.

You could pop a straw in the ornament or drink directly from it. However, I don’t love either of those ideas. That’s not how to enjoy a martini.

Very Merry Ornamentini | inspiredbycharm.com

My suggestion is to serve the cocktail in the ornament and invite each guest to pour the cocktail over the cranberries into a glass. Or if you’re hosting a dinner party, you can present it and pour it for your guests.

Very Merry Ornamentini | inspiredbycharm.com

Sidenote: As you can imagine, ornaments weren’t designed for pouring liquids. What I’ve learned is to only fill them about 90% full and to pour slowly into the martini glass. This will help prevent spills.

These martinis do take a little longer to prepare, but they can be made in advance. Mix up the cocktails several hours before your party (or the morning of) and portion them into the ornaments. Pop them in the refrigerator and pull them out when it’s serving time. That way there’s no fuss during the actual gathering.

Very Merry Ornamentini | inspiredbycharm.com

Very Merry Ornamentini | inspiredbycharm.com

Christmas cocktail perfected. What do you think?

I’d recommend these for a party of up to 10 people. If you’re serving a crowd, definitely check out my Jingle Juice Holiday Punch.

Very Merry Ornamentini | inspiredbycharm.com

Very Merry Ornamentini | inspiredbycharm.com

Let’s shake up a few!

Very Merry Ornamentini | inspiredbycharm.com

Very Merry Ornamentini

Makes 4 martinis

Here's what you will need:
1 cup vodka (I prefer Tito's.)
1/2 cup orange liqueur (I prefer Cointreau.)
1/2 cup cherry juice*
1/4 cup cranberry juice*
1/4 cup orange juice, freshly squeezed with pulp removed
Sugared cranberries (recipe HERE) and fresh rosemary sprigs to garnish

*Use 100% juice. I found mine in the juice aisle at Walmart. It should be readily available.

Pour all ingredients into a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake vigorously.

Using a funnel, pour the mixture into four 3-inch clear glass ornaments that have been rinsed. Replace the topper on each ornament.

Add sugared cranberries and a rosemary sprig to four martini glasses. Set the ornament in the glass to serve. Before drinking, slowly pour the contents of the ornament onto the cranberries.

Print

Very Merry Ornamentini | inspiredbycharm.com

I know I say this a lot, but this might be my new favorite thing. I vow not to drink a cocktail this holiday season unless it’s served in an ornament. Haha!

Very Merry Ornamentini | inspiredbycharm.com

Cheers, friends!

Very Merry Ornamentini | inspiredbycharm.com

Throughout this post, I hope you’ve also been admiring my new bar cart. I shared it with you in my Holiday Home Tour, but wanted to give it a little more attention today. (Hint. Hint.)

Very Merry Ornamentini | inspiredbycharm.com

Very Merry Ornamentini | inspiredbycharm.com

It’s the Oak Park Bar Cart from Grandin Road. It’s definitely a big upgrade from my previous bar cart which was an old metal stand I picked up for $8 at Goodwill many years ago.

Very Merry Ornamentini | inspiredbycharm.com

Very Merry Ornamentini | inspiredbycharm.com

Naturally, I filled it with some seasonal and staple liquors as well as lots of fun accessories, trays, glassware, and holiday touches. I even found room to hang a plaid and sequined stocking that matches my tree skirt. (I’ve linked up a few of my bar cart accessories like the cocktail shaker, brass pitcher, and ornaments on SHOP IBC. Click here for links.)

Very Merry Ornamentini | inspiredbycharm.com

Very Merry Ornamentini | inspiredbycharm.com

All-in-all, I’m loving the change and rich look it gives my dining room. My friends at Grandin Road thought it looked pretty fabulous too and have generously offered to allow me to give away an Oak Park Bar Cart (valued at $599) as part of the 12 Days of Christmas! Yay!

Very Merry Ornamentini | inspiredbycharm.com

That’s right, today I’m giving away an Oak Park Bar Cart to one lucky IBC reader.

Very Merry Ornamentini | inspiredbycharm.com

Per usual, to enter to win, use the entry form below. (Those viewing this on a blog reader may need to visit the actual post by clicking here.)

 


 

This giveaway is open to readers in the United States. You must be 18 or older to win. Void where prohibited. This giveaway will end at 11:50 pm ET on Thursday, December 15. The winner will be randomly selected, contacted by email, and announced at the top of this post.

 

Best of luck to everyone!

I hope you enjoyed this unique and festive cocktail and are as excited as I am about today’s giveaway. A big thanks to Grandin Road for being so generous.

Very Merry Ornamentini | inspiredbycharm.com

Join me back here tomorrow for Day 7 of the 12 Days of Christmas when I’ll be showing you around my holiday kitchen and sharing a delicious sweet treat.

 

12 DAYS OF CHRISTMAS 2016

The giveaway has ended. Congrats and Happy Holidays to the winner, Lizzy F.! We’ve made it halfway through the 12 Days of Christmas! That deserves a cocktail. Welcome to Day 6 of the 12 Days of Christmas here on IBC. I’m so happy to have you with me for this merry series. In celebration of […]




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Holiday Gifting with Clear Glass Ornaments | inspiredbycharm.com
The giveaway has ended. Congrats and Happy Holidays to the winner, Diana P.!
This post is sponsored by merci. As always all opinions are my own.

The 12 Days of Christmas continues with some ideas for Holiday Gifting with Clear Glass Ornaments.

Holiday Gifting with Clear Glass Ornaments | inspiredbycharm.com

Welcome to Day 5 of the 12 Days of Christmas here on IBC. For those of you who are new to the series: I’m sharing 12 festive ideas along with 12 fabulous giveaways over the span of 12 days. Check out the end of this post for links to all of the merriment!

Holiday Gifting with Clear Glass Ornaments | inspiredbycharm.com

Today, I’m teaming up with my friends at merci® (and their delicious chocolate) to give you some holiday gift ideas for the people in your life who you’re especially grateful for. By giving merci (“thank you” in French) you are truly saying “thanks”! #givemerci

Holiday Gifting with Clear Glass Ornaments | inspiredbycharm.com

In case you haven’t heard of merci, they’ve been making rich, European chocolate from the finest ingredients since 1965. Their slim, stylish boxes (featured below) contain eight unique, individually-wrapped flavors: Milk Chocolate, Coffee and Cream. Hazelnut-Almond. Hazelnut-Créme, Marizpan, Dark Cream, Dark Mousse, and Praline-Créme. Yum!

Holiday Gifting with Clear Glass Ornaments | inspiredbycharm.com

merci has made gift giving easy this year by providing a merci List that easily allows you to check off people on your holiday gift list. merci also offers custom holiday inserts for stylish and custom gift giving. Who doesn’t love a free printable!? Visit givemerci.com to download them. (There are coupons there as well. Win-win!)

Holiday Gifting with Clear Glass Ornaments | inspiredbycharm.com

 Holiday Gifting with Clear Glass Ornaments | inspiredbycharm.com

Inspired by merci, I immediately thought about those individuals in my life who provide a service – the mailman, the girl who cuts my hair, the server at my favorite restaurant, etc. I so appreciate their excellent service throughout the year. During the holidays, I’m always looking for different ways to thank them rather than just handing them cash in a card. I prefer something a bit more personal.

Holiday Gifting with Clear Glass Ornaments | inspiredbycharm.com

That’s why today, I’m sharing six clever and cost-effective ideas for creating a unique gift using a clear glass ornament. There’s no doubt that the recipient will feel appreciated with your extra effort and creativity. Paired with a box of merci, your gift truly says thank you. Let me show you what you might do.

Holiday Gifting with Clear Glass Ornaments | inspiredbycharm.com

We’ll begin with the basics. What goes better with chocolate than more sweet treats? Try filling up an ornament with small candies. Your recipients will think of you every time they shake out a little snack.

Holiday Gifting with Clear Glass Ornaments | inspiredbycharm.com

Holiday Gifting with Clear Glass Ornaments | inspiredbycharm.com

Need a small gift for the baker in your life? Then fill an ornament with sprinkles. Folks who enjoy baking can’t get enough of them. Trust me, I know.

Holiday Gifting with Clear Glass Ornaments | inspiredbycharm.com

For an added festive touch, tie on a seasonal cookie cutter!

Holiday Gifting with Clear Glass Ornaments | inspiredbycharm.com

Sidenote: To get your goodies into the ornament, use a funnel. It makes things a breeze. Also, these clear ornaments are available in glass or plastic. Use what works best for your application.

Holiday Gifting with Clear Glass Ornaments | inspiredbycharm.com

If your recipient leads a busy life or has a stressful job, these next ideas are for you.

Pick up some of your favorite bath salts (or make your own) and add them to an ornament. Pair it with a small sponge-on-a-rope and chocolates, and you’ve given the gift of relaxation!

Holiday Gifting with Clear Glass Ornaments | inspiredbycharm.com

Holiday Gifting with Clear Glass Ornaments | inspiredbycharm.com

Looking for another gift for someone who needs to unwind? Try filling the ornament with loose leaf tea. Tied up with a mesh tea ball, the recipient can enjoy your gift cozied up on the couch with chocolate and a Christmas movie. Who wouldn’t love that?

Holiday Gifting with Clear Glass Ornaments | inspiredbycharm.com

Holiday Gifting with Clear Glass Ornaments | inspiredbycharm.com

And for those hard-to-buy-for people on your list – lottery tickets.

Holiday Gifting with Clear Glass Ornaments | inspiredbycharm.com

To get them in an ornament, roll them up and tie them with a piece of twine. Tuck a few inside, add tinsel, and you’re set!

Holiday Gifting with Clear Glass Ornaments | inspiredbycharm.com

Last but not least, double the chocolaty goodness by giving the gift of hot cocoa!

Holiday Gifting with Clear Glass Ornaments | inspiredbycharm.com

Funnel a few servings into an ornament, top with marshmallows, and your gift is ready! (If you’re looking for delicious homemade hot cocoa recipes, click here.)

Holiday Gifting with Clear Glass Ornaments | inspiredbycharm.com

Pretty, fun, and unique ideas, right?

I hope you’re feeling inspired to recreate one, two, or all six of these ornaments this holiday season to thank those special people on your holiday list.

Holiday Gifting with Clear Glass Ornaments | inspiredbycharm.com

Holiday Gifting with Clear Glass Ornaments | inspiredbycharm.com

For more information about merci or to grab the free printables visit givemerci.com

To help your gift giving efforts even more, I have another giveaway!

Holiday Gifting with Clear Glass Ornaments | inspiredbycharm.com

Whether you have a specific gift in mind or want to pick up supplies to create these filled glass ornaments, I thought a $200 Amazon gift card could come in handy. Plus, in the spirit of giving, I’m throwing in some delicious merci chocolates.

Holiday Gifting with Clear Glass Ornaments | inspiredbycharm.com

That’s right, one lucky IBC reader will win a $200 Amazon Gift Card and an assortment of merci chocolates.

To enter to win, use the entry form below. (Those viewing this on a blog reader may need to visit the actual post by clicking here.)

 



 

This giveaway is open to readers worldwide. You must be 18 or older to win. Void where prohibited. This giveaway will end at 11:59 pm ET on Wednesday, December 14. The winner will be randomly selected, contacted by email, and announced at the top of this post.
 

Wishing you all the best of luck and a delicious holiday.

IBC’s 12 Days of Christmas continues tomorrow with more holiday fun!

 

12 DAYS OF CHRISTMAS 2016

The giveaway has ended. Congrats and Happy Holidays to the winner, Diana P.! This post is sponsored by merci. As always all opinions are my own. The 12 Days of Christmas continues with some ideas for Holiday Gifting with Clear Glass Ornaments. Welcome to Day 5 of the 12 Days of Christmas here on IBC. […]




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Tuesday Tunes / 18 - Folksy Christmas
The giveaway has ended. Congrats and Happy Holidays to the winner, Tracey R.!

“The best way to spread Christmas cheer is singing loud for all to hear!” – Buddy the Elf

Welcome back to the 12 Days of Christmas here on IBC! I hope you’re enjoying the series this year. I’m having a wonderful time sharing the joys of this holiday season with you.

Tuesday Tunes / 18 - Folksy Christmas

For Day 4, I have more holiday tunes to keep your spirits bright. Plus, in today’s giveaway, I’m excited to be gifting a collection of my 15 favorite holiday albums so you can enjoy more of the sounds of the season in your home this year.

During the past couple weeks, I’ve been sharing some of my favorite holiday songs as part of my Tuesday Tunes series. We’ve covered Classic Christmas and Country Christmas. Today, it’s my favorite Folksy Christmas tunes.

If you’ve been following along with my music selections over the past year, you know that while I love a variety of sounds, there’s something about the folksy singer-songwriter style that will always have my heart. Think artists like Brandi Carlile, Mumford and Sons, and The Lumineers. With this style of music being near and dear to me, naturally I had to put together a playlist of holiday Tuesday Tunes.

Tuesday Tunes / 18 - Folksy Christmas

Although it’s not necessarily a Christmas song, one of my favorite tracks on this list is “Winter Song” by Sara Bareilles and Ingrid Michaelson. I love a song that can somehow make you feel both happy and sad at the same time. Other favorites include “River” by Sarah McLachlan, “Christmas Time is Here” by Shawn Colvin, and anything by She & Him.

I hope this playlist allows you to feel the spirit of the season as you reflect on the year.

 


 

You can use the playlist above to listen to these festive tunes or play them directly on Spotify by clicking here.

I have two more holiday playlists to share this season. You can get a sneak listen to them (and lots of other music) by subscribing to my Spotify profile here.

 

TUESDAY TUNES LIBRARY

 

Now, on to that giveaway I was talking about.


Tuesday Tunes / 18 - Folksy Christmas

I thought it would be fun to have a unique and personal giveaway this year. That’s why I’m excited to give away 15 of my favorite Christmas albums!

Tuesday Tunes / 18 - Folksy Christmas

While I plan to keep a few of the albums a secret, the giveaway will most definitely include, A Very She & Him Christmas, Wrapped in Red: Kelly Clarkson, That’s Christmas to Me: Pentatonix, The Hotel Cafe presents Winter Songs, Gold and Green: Sugarland and more! They are truly great albums you are sure to love!

One lucky IBC reader will win all 15 holiday albums. This giveaway is open to readers worldwide. (The winner will have a choice of CD or digital album.)

To enter to win, use the entry from below. (Those viewing this on a blog reader may need to visit the actual post by clicking here.)



This giveaway is open to readers worldwide. You must be 18 or older to enter this giveaway. Void where prohibited. This giveaway will end at 11:59 pm ET on Tuesday, December 13. The winner will be randomly selected, contacted by email, and announced at the top of this post.
Best of luck to all! Feliz Navidad, my friends!

Good luck!!

I’ll meet you back here tomorrow when the 12 Days of Christmas continues!

 

12 DAYS OF CHRISTMAS 2016

The giveaway has ended. Congrats and Happy Holidays to the winner, Tracey R.! “The best way to spread Christmas cheer is singing loud for all to hear!” – Buddy the Elf Welcome back to the 12 Days of Christmas here on IBC! I hope you’re enjoying the series this year. I’m having a wonderful time […]




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Sugared Cranberries and Gingerbread House Cake | inspiredbycharm.com #IBCholiday
The giveaway has ended. Congrats and Happy Holidays to the winners, Heart Spun Creations and Louise F.!

Welcome back to the 12 Days of Christmas here on IBC. Before we dive into a new week and a new day, I want to thank you for all the love and kind words about my Holiday Home Tour. I cannot express how much your comments (both on the post and social media) mean to me. From the bottom of my heart, thank you!!

Sugared Cranberries and Gingerbread House Cake | inspiredbycharm.com #IBCholiday

The 12 Days of Christmas continues with a festive and tasty little treat. I know I’ve been teasing you with it for a week or so, but today I’m finally going to share the details on my Gingerbread House Cake, plus teach you how to make Sugared Cranberries.

Sugared Cranberries and Gingerbread House Cake | inspiredbycharm.com #IBCholiday

Back in October I stumbled across this gingerbread house bundt pan at HomeGoods. (If you don’t have a HomeGoods near you or can’t find the pan in your store, you can also get it here.) After having so much fun with a similar skull cake pan for Halloween, I had to give this a try for Christmas.

That’s exactly what I did.

Sugared Cranberries and Gingerbread House Cake | inspiredbycharm.com #IBCholiday

Using a delicious gingerbread cake recipe packed with seasonal spices like nutmeg, cinnamon, clove, and ginger, I got to work baking up a beautiful gingerbread house cake. And because one was not enough, I also purchased this pan and made some smaller houses, thus creating a little gingerbread village.

Sugared Cranberries and Gingerbread House Cake | inspiredbycharm.com #IBCholiday

To keep the look simple, I opted to just add green cream cheese frosting to the trees and dust the entire house with confectioner’s sugar.

Sugared Cranberries and Gingerbread House Cake | inspiredbycharm.com #IBCholiday

Sugared Cranberries and Gingerbread House Cake | inspiredbycharm.com #IBCholiday

For a few seasonal touches, I brought in gingerbread men and candy cane icing decorations.

Sugared Cranberries and Gingerbread House Cake | inspiredbycharm.com #IBCholiday

To finish off the cake, I tried my hand at making sugared cranberries. I’d seen these sparkly beauties floating around the internet over the past few years and finally had to whip up a batch myself.

Sugared Cranberries and Gingerbread House Cake | inspiredbycharm.com #IBCholiday

Sugared Cranberries and Gingerbread House Cake | inspiredbycharm.com #IBCholiday

Sugared Cranberries and Gingerbread House Cake | inspiredbycharm.com #IBCholiday

Used as a garnish for my gingerbread house cakes, they added a delightful candy-coated touch of red.

Sugared Cranberries and Gingerbread House Cake | inspiredbycharm.com #IBCholiday

Now, if you want my gingerbread cake recipe for these houses, plus a few more details on how I put them together, head on over to the HomeGoods Design Happy blog. Every month I share two posts on their blog, and this Snow-Covered Gingerbread Cake Village is my latest. You can find it here.

Sugared Cranberries and Gingerbread House Cake | inspiredbycharm.com #IBCholiday

I also wanted to show you how to make the sugared cranberries.

Sugared Cranberries and Gingerbread House Cake | inspiredbycharm.com #IBCholliday

Not only are they great for decorating gingerbread houses, but they have other uses around the holidays as well.

Sugared Cranberries and Gingerbread House Cake | inspiredbycharm.com #IBCholiday

Sugared Cranberries and Gingerbread House Cake | inspiredbycharm.com #IBCholiday

To start, they are delicious on their own served in a bowl alongside your holiday cheese board. The sugar coating perfectly complements the tart cranberries, making them a tasty snack. Serve them up with a plate of cheese and pepperoni and you’re in business.

Sugared Cranberries and Gingerbread House Cake | inspiredbycharm.com #IBCholiday

Sugared Cranberries and Gingerbread House Cake | inspiredbycharm.com #IBCholiday

They also make a shimmering addition to your holiday cocktail. I like to slip a few on a wood skewer and set it on top of the glass. As you might expect, the sugar will dissolve when it comes in contact with the cocktail. This method allows them to shine. I think they would look especially wonderful with my Cranberry Bourbon Cocktail or Jingle Juice Holiday Punch!

I most recently used them when I made my Very Merry Ornamentini!

Very Merry Ornamentini | inspiredbycharm.com

Sugared Cranberries and Gingerbread House Cake | inspiredbycharm.com #IBCholiday

Sugared Cranberries and Gingerbread House Cake | inspiredbycharm.com #IBCholiday

Beyond those ideas, you can use them to garnish your cookie tray or any seasonal appetizer. Let me show you how easy they are to make!

Sugared Cranberries and Gingerbread House Cake | inspiredbycharm.com #IBCholiday

 

Sugared Cranberries

Here's what you will need:
2 cups sugar, divided
1/2 cup water
1 (12-ounce bag) fresh cranberries

In a medium sauce pan over medium heat, combine 1/2 cup of sugar with 1/2 cup water. Stir until the sugar is dissolved (2-3 minutes). Remove from heat and stir in the cranberries until they are well coated. Using a colander, drain the liquid from the cranberries. Transfer the cranberries to a wire rack and let dry for at least an hour.

Working in small batches, roll the cranberries in the remaining sugar until they are well coated. Let them dry for at least one hour on a wire rack.

Store the cranberries in a bowl without a lid. Enjoy as a snack within two days or use as decor for up to two weeks.

Print

Sugared Cranberries and Gingerbread House Cake | inspiredbycharm.com #IBCholiday

Sugared Cranberries and Gingerbread House Cake | inspiredbycharm.com #IBCholiday

Pretty simple, right? It’s easy to see why these little guys make the perfect holiday garnish. Now you’re ready to tackle the holidays with a delicious dessert recipe (that doubles as an adorable and festive village), plus some sparkly cranberries you can use in a variety of ways.

With all that yumminess out of the way, it’s time for today’s 12 Days of Christmas Giveaway!

Sugared Cranberries and Gingerbread House Cake | inspiredbycharm.com #IBCholiday

Inspired by my love for all things HomeGoods, today I’m giving away two $100 Gift Cards to HomeGoods. Yes, TWO lucky IBC readers will each win a $100 Gift Card to HomeGoods.

Sugared Cranberries and Gingerbread House Cake | inspiredbycharm.com #IBCholiday

To enter to win, use the entry form below. (Those viewing this on a blog reader may need to visit the actual post by clicking here.)



This giveaway is open to readers in the United States! You must be 18 or older to win. Void where prohibited. This giveaway will end at 11:59 pm ET on Monday, December 12. The winner will be randomly selected, contacted by email, and announced at the top of this post.
This giveaway is not sponsored by HomeGoods.

As always, good luck and Happy Holidays!

Sugared Cranberries and Gingerbread House Cake | inspiredbycharm.com #IBCholiday

IBC’s 12 Days of Christmas fun continues tomorrow! In case you’re just joining us, catch up on the fun by visiting more of the 12 Days of Christmas below.

 

12 DAYS OF CHRISTMAS 2016

The giveaway has ended. Congrats and Happy Holidays to the winners, Heart Spun Creations and Louise F.! Welcome back to the 12 Days of Christmas here on IBC. Before we dive into a new week and a new day, I want to thank you for all the love and kind words about my Holiday Home […]




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Lowe's Gift Card Giveaway | inspiredbycharm.com
This post is sponsored by Lowe’s Home Improvement. As always all opinions are my own.

Hope you are having the happiest of holiday seasons. Welcome back to the 12 Days of Christmas here on Inspired by Charm! In case you missed the start of this holly jolly series, you can click here for Day 1: Holiday Home Tour.

Fun, Festive, and Flocked Christmas Tree | inspiredbycharm.com

For Day 2, I’m so thrilled to be back today to give you a closer look at the Fun, Festive, and Flocked Christmas Tree in my office. While you got a little peek at it yesterday, you didn’t get the full experience of this tree, so that’s what I wanted to share today. Plus, I’m going to pass along some of my tree trimming tricks. Let’s get to it.

Fun, Festive, and Flocked Christmas Tree | inspiredbycharm.com

As you may have noticed, flocked Christmas trees have become increasingly popular in recent years. It’s easy to see why. You get the look of a Christmas tree (obviously), but it also has a magical snowy white glow. Plus, flocking on a pre-lit tree covers the lights, making them and the wires almost undetectable when it’s not lit. It’s genius.

Fun, Festive, and Flocked Christmas Tree | inspiredbycharm.com

Fun, Festive, and Flocked Christmas Tree | inspiredbycharm.com

This year, I decided to invest in a quality flocked tree. This is the GE 7.5 ft. Pre-Lit Alaskan Pine Full Flocked Artificial Christmas Tree from Lowe’s. I saw it in-store around Halloween, and then when Lowe’s asked me to decorate a tree for them, I knew this was the one I had to get. (It also has a surprise feature, but we’ll get to that in a second.)

Fun, Festive, and Flocked Christmas Tree | inspiredbycharm.com

Once I had the tree set up, I added colorful plaid ribbon. A couple tips about ribbon: First, get more yardage than you think you’ll need. For this tree, I used about 25 yards. Second, start at the top and let the ribbon flow as you work it down and around the tree. In some spots, tuck it in, and in other places, let it billow out. Twist the ribbon as you work around the tree to give it some dimension. Work in a pattern around the tree, but let the ribbon do its thing. This will give you a much more natural look rather than having horizontal stripes across your tree.

Fun, Festive, and Flocked Christmas Tree | inspiredbycharm.com

Fun, Festive, and Flocked Christmas Tree | inspiredbycharm.com

For ornaments, I began with the beautiful collection of faceted ornaments from allen + roth. I used the White Finial Ornament, White Ball Ornament, and the Red Finial Ornament. The minute I saw this collection from allen + roth, I knew I needed them all. (I even used the copper ball ornament on my dining room tree.)

Fun, Festive, and Flocked Christmas Tree | inspiredbycharm.com

Fun, Festive, and Flocked Christmas Tree | inspiredbycharm.com

With those ornaments on the tree, I pulled inspiration from the ribbon and my office space to fill the tree with beautiful color. I’m a fan of glass ornaments, and Lowe’s has almost any color you could want. From their Holiday Living collection, I ended up using the Pink Ball Ornament Set, Blue Ball Ornament Set, Green Ball Ornament Set, and Red Ball Ornament Set. For a tree this size, I used three packs of each color.

Fun, Festive, and Flocked Christmas Tree | inspiredbycharm.com

I finished things off by adding a few ornaments from my personal collection and a felted ball garland.

Fun, Festive, and Flocked Christmas Tree | inspiredbycharm.com

Fun, Festive, and Flocked Christmas Tree | inspiredbycharm.com

To say I’m in love with this tree would be an understatement.

Fun, Festive, and Flocked Christmas Tree | inspiredbycharm.com

I also picked up a few other items at Lowe’s to decorate the rest of my space, Including these Holiday Living Tabletop Trees (two small and one large) and this Holiday Living Pink Mercury Ornament Set.

Fun, Festive, and Flocked Christmas Tree | inspiredbycharm.com

Fun, Festive, and Flocked Christmas Tree | inspiredbycharm.com

Okay, so we covered festive and flocked. What about the fun? Are you ready?

Tada!

Fun, Festive, and Flocked Christmas Tree | inspiredbycharm.com

Fun, Festive, and Flocked Christmas Tree | inspiredbycharm.com

This tree has color changing LED lights! Surprise! It goes from warm white to multi-colored with a click of a button.

Fun, Festive, and Flocked Christmas Tree | inspiredbycharm.com

Even though I’m usually not a fan of colored lights on a tree, there’s something about the tone / hue of these lights with these decorations that I’m totally digging.

Let’s have a look at that color changing action one more time.

Fun, Festive, and Flocked. Mission accomplished!

Fun, Festive, and Flocked Christmas Tree | inspiredbycharm.com

I hope you enjoyed this colorful tree and got a few ideas for decorating your own. You can grab everything you need to recreate this look at Lowe’s.

Now, before you run off, since this is 12 Days of Christmas, CLICK HERE to get all of the details on today’s giveaway. (Yep, I’m making you work a little bit harder to today’s giveaway.)

Fun, Festive, and Flocked Christmas Tree | inspiredbycharm.com
click-here-to-enter

I’ll meet you back here on Monday for Day 3 of the 12 Days of Christmas. I’ll be teaching you how to make a beautiful and tasty treat for the holidays, plus I’ll be sharing all of the details about those gingerbread house cakes you’ve seen in my posts.

Fun, Festive, and Flocked Christmas Tree | inspiredbycharm.com

See you then!

 

12 DAYS OF CHRISTMAS 2016

This post is sponsored by Lowe’s Home Improvement. While product has been provided to create this magical winter wonderland, all opinions are my own.

This post is sponsored by Lowe’s Home Improvement. As always all opinions are my own. Hope you are having the happiest of holiday seasons. Welcome back to the 12 Days of Christmas here on Inspired by Charm! In case you missed the start of this holly jolly series, you can click here for Day 1: […]




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