Happy Easter! ūüźá

Easter is one of my most favorite holidays.

Firstly, it is in my birthday month and I take extra special pleasure in thinking others all around the world are celebrating with me.

Secondly, it is, for me, truly the beginning of spring. It meant that winter in Kentucky would soon be wrapping up and longer days were on the horizon! The whole world was decorated with pretty pastels, which were hard to find colors the rest of the year, and a particular favorite of mine. It meant cute little sheep and multi-colored rabbits and chick-a-dees were speckled around the neighborhood (don’t judge, it was a different time).

Thirdly, it meant the cutest little Easter dresses for church, with adorable little ruffle socks and either bonnets or Easter hats dyed to match. This is a tradition I have, unfortunately been unable to share with my children who look at my suggestions of bonnets and derby hats as ghastly old-fashioned. Bah! As a kid who didn’t have much, I loved my brand new Easter dress and my brand spanking new dress shoes. No hand me downs, but MY VERY OWN <— very important when you are 7 or 8 and your closet can only be defined as hand-me-down fashionable.

Fourth, the candy! Good Lawd the candy! Other than Halloween it was a rare reprieve from the spinach and Brussels sprouts! Especially those tiny little bubble gum eggs… oh, and the peeps! No matter what you say, those things are amazing!

This year, our Easter plans were almost ruined by a thief who stole $1000 from our account. A $1000!!! It seems a bit overkill if you ask me. But luckily we were able to get the money back in time for me to go Easter shopping the day BEFORE Easter. Have you ever went shopping at Walmart the day before Easter? If Walmart existed during the time of Jesus scripture would have said something like this: “verily, verily I tell thee, if thou wait until the day before, you will truly spend thou time in line praying.” Over 45 minutes y’all in line to check out. I tell ya, by the time I was through that line I was praying all right!

Despite our unplanned Easter at home we have had a fabulous day! My brother came over for an impromptu Easter fest, and we started a new tradition in my house. While the girls dyed Easter eggs I read and held up resurrection eggs. I had been wanting to start this tradition for a couple years now but always seemed to miss out on buying the resurrection eggs from the store. Ironically, I found them this year! I had thought for sure that they would be sold out since I had to wait so long, but it must have been meant to be!

If you’ve never seen resurrection eggs, each egg has a symbol or icon from the story of Christ’s resurrection. There’s a book included with scripture and story info, so you don’t need to look up each scripture reference yourself. I found mine at Hobby Lobby for $19.99, with 40% off!

For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son, that whosoever believe that in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. –John 3:16

What a wonderful holiday! We’ve been so blessed with so many wonderful things: family, a home, fur babies, a successful business, friends, a wonderful church family, and gorgeous weather!

Easter truly is a time of renewal and counting of blessings!

Love,

The Colourful Teacup

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First crochet of 2018!

Well it is officially 2018 and I am ready for my first crochet project! For the next six weeks I will be crocheting along (aka CAL), following Lucy at Attic24. And I love, Love, LOVE her! I’ve been following her blog for ages and she has inspired me to keep going no matter how tough the project!

Yesterday was the kickoff of her Woodland Ripple Afghan. And this time I was totally prepared! I gathered my Stylecraft yarn in all the delicious colors, grabbed a few erasable Frixion pens in a yummy rainbow palette and snuggled under my heated blanket to crochet the night away!

Speaking of heated blankets- Someone has moved Florida to the arctic because jeez Louise has it ever been cold!!! I had to leave my faucet dripping night before last! Dripping y’all! I am in balmy Central Florida. We don’t have insulation on our pipes and our pipes are in the foundation of our houses. That means if it freezes and busts they will have to jack up my whole floor! Nope. Nope. Nope.

It has been so cold I’ve resorted to using both a heating pad AND a heating blanket. And- you better sit down for this- I had to turn on my heat! So for a full fifteen minutes it smelled like the house was on fire as it slowly heated up and brought us up to over 73 degrees, where God intended humans to live.

Your loving ice cube,

the Colourful Teacup

My favorite things

Oprah is the best. ¬†No, really, she is! ¬†Every year I love looking at her “Favorite Things” and imagining a world in which I could actually own a fourth of that. ¬†I mean, Oprah’s great, but she’s also filthy stinking rich. ¬†Am I right?!?! ¬†I deserve nice things too. ¬†Just not so sure that includes a Faux Fur Hat for $125.

Faux Fur hat
House of Fluff Explorers Hat, Amazon.com 

I mean, I know I’m worth it, but that’s some major moola to keep my ears toasty in 80 degree weather. ¬†Maybe if it was real fur. ¬†And if it washed the dishes or something. ¬†But $125 for something WHITE, when I know my kids are gonna outgrow their last pair of shoes in .5 seconds- no thank you! ¬†And let’s not get started on the fact that this is labeled as an explorer’s hat. ¬†A white explorers hat. ¬†Made of fake fur. ¬†Ain’t nobody got time for that nonsense when you are out exploring the world! ¬†Hand me that stick of rhino jerky and let’s get this exploring started! ¬†#richpeopleproblems

Now don’t get me wrong, Oprah is the gold standard for all things awesome, but, I wonder, could I do something better for moms everywhere? ¬†Could I create a- GASP!- mom’s favorite thing list? ¬†Uh, heck yeah!

For this endeavor I enlisted the help of my friend Katy over at¬†I like to cut and paste. ¬†We’ve each come up with a small list of our favorite things, that we just can’t live without. ¬†Check them out, and maybe they will inspire you to “live in the moment” as our Oprah would say, and discover your treasures just in time for sharing for the holidays!

Without further ado!

The Colourful Teacup’s 2017 Mom’s Favorite Things!

  1. ¬†Pioneer Woman 6 Quart Crockpot, $25. ¬†I think this goes without saying, but Moms are busy y’all! ¬†Like, honestly overwhelmed all the time. ¬†How could you not like something that helps you cut out slaving over a hot stove all evening? ¬†This crockpot is an upgrade from my last one that was just too small for my growing family. ¬†It’s available in a bunch of yummy colors that are just irresistible. AND my¬†Pioneer Woman Cake Stand with Glass Cover, $27. ¬†All of her products are beautiful. ¬†And this cake stand was love at first sight for me. ¬†It came out right after I saw an article in Martha Stewart Living (the magazine) about Jadeite dish-ware which featured a jadeite cake stand. ¬†Obviously this isn’t a jadeite original, but it’s lovely enough to be vintage and it holds all those baked goodies where your husband can see them when he walks through the door, solidifying your position as grade ‘A’ wife material ladies. ¬†Seriously. ¬†It also helps when you don’t have to tell your kiddos for the millionth time where the dessert is, what the dessert is, what color is the dessert, and on and on and on. ¬†An evening with this crockpot and cake stand and you’ll be making Martha Stewart jealous in no time!
  2. Rapid egg cooker, $12-20. ¬†I was made fun of mercilessly over buying this for myself on my birthday last year. ¬†But it is impossible to make deviled eggs without loosing half of the egg when you live in Florida. ¬†I don’t know if its the eggs, the heat, the humidity or what, but it is impossible. ¬†NO, IT IS! ¬†Enter in this lovely little gadget (that my husband uses now practically every day- who is laughing now punk?) and you can have hardboiled eggs in 15 minutes with no need to find and clean a pot. ¬†It’s magic!
  3. Happy Planner, $10-40.  If you like to obsess over planning every minute of the day, you homeschool, or make lists non-stop, then a Happy Planner is a must!  I also have the hole punch so every thing I have gets shoved in there.
  4. FRIXION erasable gel pens, $11 for a set of 10. ¬†Remember what I said about planning every minute of the day? ¬†Well, I do it using these glorious pens that my friend Esther introduced me to. ¬†I use a different color for every type of activity (church, Girl Scouts, Home, Work, 4-H, etc). ¬†Best part? ¬†They are ERASABLE! ¬†I’ve been told that they work wonders for quilters too, as the ink disappears after ironing.
  5. Bath and Body Works Spray, $14.50. ¬†When it comes to scents, nobody beats Bath and Body Works. ¬†And when it’s Christmas, that means they have released their seasonal scents, which are simply irresistible. ¬†My fav? ¬†Winterberry Wonder.
  6. Our Own Candle Company 13oz Mason Jar candle, Lemon Pound Cake, $7.99. ¬†No Mom’s favorite things list would be complete without a special candle to help alleviate some of those aggravations. ¬†These candles carry a high scent load which means one candle is strong enough to make the whole house smell like Grandma is cooking!
  7. My tea. ¬†Tea is serious business in this house. ¬†And I have a few things that I regularly use that every tea drinker should consider purchasing. ¬†First up, my¬†IKEA 365+ Pitcher with Lid, $7.99. ¬†This pitcher is tempered glass, which means that when I am brewing my own iced tea (it is the South y’all!) I don’t have to worry about pulling out my cast iron tea pot. ¬†It also holds the same amount of water as my electric tea kettle. ¬†Although I love iced tea, I couldn’t live without a good tea served hot. ¬†Because I homeschool, my voice is often gone by the end of the day. ¬†There’s a lot to be said about the healing powers of a good cuppa tea with local honey drizzled on top. ¬†My favorite teas are¬†Zhena’s Gypsy Tea, $8, and¬†Ahmad Cardamon Tea, $15. ¬†I love Zhena’s Chai teas, especially Chocolate Chai. ¬†Chocolate and Chai? ¬†What’s not to love? ¬†The Ahmad Cardamon Tea is a nice robust Middle Eastern tea, which is perfect with a bit of cream. ¬†It is one of my husband’s favorite teas and reminds him of the cups he had while deployed in the military.
  8.     
  9. Godspeed, Voice of the Reformation devotional by David Teems, $12.37. ¬†Have you heard about David Teems yet? ¬†Well if you haven’t you need to find out more! ¬†I recently received this as a gift from my friend Laura when David last visited our church. ¬†This devotional celebrates the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation and features the words of people notable during that time period. ¬†David Teems is a man of many talents, including being a wonderful historical writer, and an extremely humble and kind man. ¬†I was already a huge fan of his work from his other books, so I was really looking forward to getting this one. ¬†I must admit, I was so excited I already read a few days worth (sorry 2018). ¬†¬† ¬†
  10. Boye Aluminum crochet hooks, $9 for a set of 6, size E-J. ¬†These hooks really take a beating! ¬†I’ve tried several different brands made of various materials (wood, plastic, etc) and these have proven themselves to be worth their weight in gold. ¬†The smoothness of the aluminum means that they do not snag on my yarn. ¬†And, unlike plastic hooks, they do not make little “squeaky” sounds when I’m crocheting. ¬†If you crochet, you know EXACTLY what I’m talking about.
  11. And last, but certainly not least, is my most favorite item of all. ¬†Stylecraft Special DK Yarn, $2.07 for 100g. ¬†I love this yarn so much that I actually just bought 15 more skeins tonight! ¬†It’s more lightweight than most of the yarn you buy here in America (perfect for Florida summers) and when they ship it to you from Wool Warehouse (in the UK) they send them in these net bags that are perfect for keeping your WIPs dust free and all together to grab on the go.

How amazing is all that stuff?  I hope my favorite things list has inspired you to reflect on all of your favorite things!  In the season of gifting and receiving, it is a real blessing to be able to reflect on what you already have and pass that love on to others.

Oprah’s Favoite things are conveniently listed on Amazon for your purchasing. ¬†And, joking aside, there’s some great items on there that are actually affordable. ¬†You can start shopping here: ¬†Oprah’s Favorite Things

Happy Holiday Shopping!

The Colourful Teacup

A Country Living Addiction

Pinterest really has done a number to the magazine industry. ¬†Well, at least I think so. ¬†The whole reason us gals purchase so many magazines is to look at all the pretty houses, recipes, decor, children, etc., and somehow try to emulate it all. ¬†Magazines are the original “Pinterest-fail”.

I have HUGE albums on Pinterest! ¬†(It’s true! ¬†You can see for yourself, and follow me at:AmberMRay) ¬†It’s an addiction I have no intention on trying to get rid of anytime soon. ¬†I mean, Pinterest really gets me. ¬†Those suggestions are spot on every time! ¬†If Pinterest were a man we would be a power couple! But I digress…

Despite my scandalous love affair with Pinterest, My original love is Country Living magazine.

Oh, Country Living! ¬†The things you do to me! ¬†You can’t EVEN imagine! ¬†That’s how much I love this magazine. ¬†So imagine the “squee” shoppers at the local Dollar General had to endure when I discovered this upcoming month’s edition. ¬†Oh my friends! ¬†I have to share with you all the deliciousness found within these hallowed pages!

I mean, can I get an amen on how much this cover encapsulates the hopes and dreams of all us hardworking women all over America just struggling to have it all?! ¬†The collies, the sweet little house, the reliable and vintage cute automobile (that we no longer make payments on and is so old that it’s fashionable-ness has circled by around). ¬†And snow. ¬†Oh snow! ¬†I miss snow. ¬†It really is the blessing and the curse of living in Florida.

Let’s talk about those wreaths too! ¬†In this picturesque image, the husband has lovingly climbed his adorable little rumpus up onto that roof and lovingly (always lovingly) hung that wreath “just so” on that cute little window. ¬†Did he complain… no! ¬†(Although, that’s gotta be a bear in the woods type of thing. ¬†If a husband complains but no one is around, does it really happen?). ¬†He risked life and limb to climb up there and make all your holiday dreams come true! ¬†I’m getting off topic, let’s move on…

You can’t find articles like this on Pinterest. ¬†I mean, you probably can if you feel like clicking off a million ads and going to the next page after every. single. IMAGE. ¬†This article is a real jewel! ¬†Not only are the ideas in here amazing, but they are all affordable. ¬†Well done editors of CL, well done!

Ll caught my eye!  Look at it in all its nerdy glory!  Ugh!

Anyone who has been to my house knows how I feel about this next image. ¬†If there is anything other than our Lord and Savior that screams Christmas to me, its gotta be… TARTAN! ¬†Ooh, I love it in every pattern and every color! ¬†I have it from my tree to my table top, and Country Living just gave me a million more ways to incorporate into my home at Christmas time.

Not that I needed any more excuses to bring in Clan MacRae.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As you might imagine, at this point of my magazine perusing I have definitely decided to sell it all and start over somewhere North, in the cold, and preferably in a hunter’s cottage. ¬†¬†

 

 

 

 

 

And then, enters Texas! ¬†Seriously, does it get any better than this? ¬†Look at that adorable pickup truck! ¬†And look, men in wranglers and a big ‘ole star on the tippy top of that tree! ¬† ¬† ¬†It’s too much to take in! ¬†I’m flipping those pages like the next lottery ticket numbers are somewhere in there!

And then I find this treasure! ¬†Brace yourselves! ¬†It’s absolutely spectacular!

A Vintage Christmas Cactus!  Swoon!

I wonder if a vintage Christmas palm tree exists?  The quest for Christmas perfection continues!

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you would like to get your very own subscription to Country Living, Check out their website at:Country Living.

Loads of Season’s Greetings from,

The Colorful Teacup

Ornaments: Round 2

I told you I wouldn’t be able to control myself! But seriously, how could a gal possibly resist this delightful addition?

It’s so trendy for 2017! Cactuses are everywhere. I mean they are on everything from shoes to wallpaper. FYI, wallpaper entrepreneurs, cactus wallpaper would be FABULOUS! Seriously… get on that! I’m not sure where I would stick it, but I doubt, if today is any indication, that I would be able to resist a purchase!

Bonus points: more pink in my tree!

You might find yourself asking, “why, dearest teacup, would you purchase a cactus for your Christmas tree, when you live in Florida?” Well, unnamed interviewer, we here in Florida don’t really do Christmas like the rest of the world. We are… ahem, different. We like to celebrate the birth of Christ in quirky, creative ways. I mean, it’s a b-zillion degrees here in December! Seriously, true measurement.

Side note: there are “pet” cactuses 🌵 here, and, believe it or not , there are some species of cactus native to Florida, even though most people are not aware of that. We are more known internationally for all our palm trees 🌴, which we have no difficulty decorating in a variety of ways for Christmas.

(This is one of the local shopping areas. We call it the loop because it’s a bunch of shops in a loop around a parking lot. They are in the Christmas spirit like me. No Bah Hum Bugs in the shopping industry!)

Merry Christmas 🎄 y’all!

Very merrily yours,

The Colourful Teacup

Hello Advent season!

Halloween is over and you know what that means folks! Christmas is right around the corner!

In my house we have a tradition. Every year I head out to the store with my gals (sometimes dragging them kicking and screaming), and pick a few new ornaments for our tree. I love glass ornaments and no ornament is too gaudy, too over the top, too… dare I say, ugly! to find an honored place upon my tree!

I only have a couple of rules. First they must be glass. Second, they have to be unique. And last, but not least, they can’t be mean spirited or offensive. Bonus points if they are traditionally Christmas-y, and/or religious.

When I found myself conveniently next to a Michaels we ventured in for a quick peek at the ornaments.

So, without further ado, I introduce the Ray gals 2017 ornament choices! (Well, full disclosure, there will probably be more. Maybe we should call this round 1!)

First up we have this lovely, cute little church. I love it from its clock tower, down to its adorable little stained glass windows!

We were all 100% in agreement that it’s rightful place is on our tree! I mean, just check out these cute little windows:

And can we talk about how delicious that little Christmas tree is nestled there by the door?!?!

Our second choice was a bit controversial. We liked it, we laughed at it, we made references to it being Jesus’s birthday and in the end we bought it cause we just couldn’t stop taking about it.

Meet Carl (the 8 year old named him), our new special guest for the tree!

What is better than a pi√Īata for the biggest, best birthday party ever?!?! Even though the 11 year old states that this is merely the latest Disney star ruined by drugs. Bah ha ha! Maybe just a little too much egg nog.

Check out how colorful he is!

He’s amazing!

Until next time…

Very truly yours,

The Colourful Teacup

Nan-ghan

I can finally share with you a huge project I started as a present to my hubster’s nanny. I call it nan-ghan!  It is a modification of a paid pattern available from  Kim Miller.  

The pattern called for using 12 balls of Lion Brand Wool Ease thick and quick yarn.  But I needed a bright red afghan for Nan, so I used about 6 skeins of Hobby Lobby’s I Love This Yarn in red.  

And because I needed it to be much wider (and because this yarn is considerably thinner than the Lion Brand Wool) I started with chain of 142 rather than the 72 indicated on the pattern.  

The length was likewise adjusted, and worked out to 141 rows, including the “sweatered” bottom and top rows.  

I am not accustomed to using such a large hook (it called for a size N), but I am very pleased with how plush and thick the finished project was.  And, most importantly, I think Nan was pleased as well. 

Yours,

The Colourful Teacup