Saturday, October 25

New Blog Look & A Blessed Day

Good Morning! Well, It feels a bit strange, here. For those of you who are new, I have just radically overhauled the look of my Blog! And, for those of you who have been with me for quite awhile, what do you think?

I have received more than a few comments and/or e-mails that Shoestring Elegance's "old" blog background was dark, and perhaps very difficult to read, especially for those of you who were viewing from Mobile devices. So, I dived in and changed to a lighter background with dark print. 

I'm feeling a bit like a fish out of water! Very new and different for me to get used to. With that said, I'm not sure I am done yet! The trials of being an OCD'er!  I would love your feedback about the change. It is far more for your reading pleasure than for me, personally. 

None the less, today is a wonderful day! Yesterday and today I have been honored and Blessed with the task, of once again, handling Decor for my church's Baptismal Celebration dinner!! So once again with great pleasure, I got to play with roses, I mean, arrange some absolutely beautiful roses for the tables at the celebration dinner! Aren't they stunning? Who would not want to play, ahemm, arrange such beauty?!!  

I hope you you all enjoy the new look, here! Please let me know in the comments.  I am off to finish up with my decor for the celebration. I hope you are all enjoying a beautiful Saturday! Oh my goodness, I almost forgot to tell you, IT'S RAINING, here, this morning!!! Gonna definitely have to do some dancing it, while I can! :)
Many Blessings to you all, and much gratitude for you taking time to come over for a visit! I appreciate you all so much!

Sharing with:

By the way, if you were wondering, the beautiful new header on my Blog was created by and offered free, from the extremely talented Linnea, at Vintage Made For You.

Friday, October 24

Shoestring Is Under Construction! Please be Patient!

Shoestring Elegance is getting a new, and hopefully, Reader-friendly look! 

"Under Construction"

Please be patient with me, while I turn a few more screws and make some adjustments.

Thank you,


Thursday, October 2

Dipped Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies "Peanut Butter Bash"

Good Morning! I was recently asked if I was interested in joining a cooking challenge group.  The challenge was,  to join a Peanut Butter plus an additional ingredient recipe link up event.  I love to cook and enjoy a good challenge, so I thought, why not? This, now, from this point forward, will be  called "The Peanut Butter Bash". I get to ink up with some other awesome Blogging ladies and cook and share what we made. Kind of exciting! So, here is the hitch: the additional ingredient! This month, I must say, was fun for me, because I picked "CHOCOLATE" to be the additional ingredient for the month. We are going to be doing this on a monthly basis. Every month, on the first Thursday, Peanut Butter and another ingredient. Wish me luck , My Friends.

Each of us wrote a normal Blog post, sharing a recipe with you! The difference this time was to all agree on a theme, and we did! I think you will Love to know that all of our recipes include Peanut Butter and Chocolate! Yumm!  I have worked on and fine tuned a recipe that I think you will really enjoy. I like it. My family & friends enjoy it, too. I hope that you will enjoy it, too!

I make these Soft Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies several times every year, it has become a Family favorite for us. I don't really remember how I got it to this recipe, other than to say, I probably started at some point with a recipe that I wasn't completely happy with and just change amounts and removed and added some ingredients until I came up with this. I hope you enjoy them!

So you start of with creaming
1/2 cup of butter (I prefer unsalted, but that's up to you)
3/4 cup & 1 Tablespoon of Chunky Peanut Butter (Natural or Organic works real well here, but it's not necessary)
I cup packed Brown Sugar
1/2 cup White Granulated Sugar
Get this well combined and add
2 Large Eggs, one at a time
then, add 1 Teaspoon Vanilla
2 Tablespoons of Corn Syrup, I use Karo's (this seems to help the cookie stay a little chewier, as         opposed to crunchy)
2 Tablespoons Cold Water
Blend on Medium for about 90 seconds, scraping your bowl a couple of times.

In a separate bowl, Combine 2-1/2 cups of All Purpose Flour (I use Gold Medal, but again, you can decide for yourself on that)
1/2 Teaspoon Baking Soda
1 full Teaspoon Baking Powder
& a small pinch of salt, if you don't think your peanut butter is salty enough

With your mixer on low, add 1/2 cup of your dry ingredients, until well incorporated. Save the last 1/4 to 1/2 cup flour mixture to add 1-2 cups of chocolate chips (depending on your personal preference)  I use a cup and a half in mine.

Especially, these ones, because I am going to dip one side in Melted Chocolate. Yep that's what I said, even...more...Chocolate!

When your batter is complete it resemble the picture to the left. Cover it with Saran wrap and place in the fridge for 30-45 minutes.

Once they've chilled, roll approximately 2-3 teaspoons of batter into  ball and then roll in granulated sugar.  ( Don't you love that little picture of the ball of dough in the sugar? I don't know why, but it just makes me smile) Back to the recipe.
Put on cookie sheet and press flat to about 1/3 of an inch thickness.  For this size cookie,
I like to bake them on a parchment paper lined cookie sheet @ 350-360 degrees F.

                                                                 The end result  should look something like this!
 (Can't you just taste them?!)

If you want to dress them up, or just push their yumminess over the edge, you are gonna want to dip

them in Chocolate!

This is much more easy than most people think. But, it certainly will give them that wow factor if you are taking them somewhere or serving them for dessert.

Melt 1 cup chocolate chips and 1 teaspoon Crisco or other non-tasting oil, in a pyrex bowl over a low heated pot of water. Make sure you stir right away, because it really only takes a minute or two.

So, after all your hard work, I hope you will be quite pleased to have something like this to show from your Labors!  I know I always am.  Just make sure you have plenty of people around to help you eat them or you could get yourself in big trouble! So, that's it for me! I hope you enjoy this recipe and will give them a try! But, If they are not your cup of tea, you may want to pop over to one of the other ladies entries.

Thank you so much for spending time with me here today.
I Hope you are having a wonderful week and looking forward to a great weekend!
Blessings, Always,

Do you want to join in the Peanut Butter Bash fun?  If so, email Miranda at and request to join the Peanut Butter Bash facebook group! The first Thursday of each month we post a dessert with peanut butter and a mystery ingredient. This month’s ingredients were peanut butter and chocolate. Lots of fun and lots of calories!

Here are the other peanut butter and chocolate creations!

I'll also be sharing this recipe with:
Pamela @ From My Front Porch To Yours     Nici @ Posed Perfection Savvy Southern Style Imparting Grace    Moore Or Less Cooking    French Country Cottage    The Life of Jennifer Dawn  All Things With Purpose   Rooted In Thyme   Nancherrow's Fridays Unfolded   My Romantic Home The Charm of Home   DIY Vintage Chic   Create With Joy    The 36th Avenue   Nifty Thrifty Things It's Overflowing   Treasure Box Tuesday with Yesterfood

This Recipe was Featured By the Incredibly talented Gator Mommy, here!
Weekend Recipe Link Up Party

File under: Chocolate, cookies, peanut butter, dessert. sweets, treats, Nestle, toll house, baking, #pbbash #chocolate dipped #peanutbutter #cookies 

Tuesday, September 30

How To Make A Beautiful Fall Harvest Bushel

Have you ever noticed when you start doing crafts, or celebrating the Seasons more, around your home,  that you find inspiration everywhere? Things that you may not have looked at or thought about twice before now come to life in your imagination?  I certainly have found that to be the case for me & I love it.  

Autumn is such a wonderful time of the year, for me. I enjoy the shorter, cooler days with baked goods in the oven and soups on the stove.  So, for me, It is imperative that my home celebrate that love of the Season, too. That being said, What do you think of my beautiful Fall Harvest Bushel? Yes, it's a full bushel, not a half and certainly not a peck! I'm laughing as I type this. I learned more about bushels in the last couple of weeks than I am sure I will ever need to know!
I don't know if you have anything like this where you live or not, but here in Sonoma County, California we have a wonderful Facebook group, called 

"Sonoma County Antique, Chic, and Unique" Don't you just love that name?! It is a fantastic resource for great finds of all kinds!  From higher-end Antique pieces of furniture, to your very basic "just cleaned out the barn, come and get it" kinda buys. The latter is my favorite!  Something like what I lucked out on in the picture below.  I bought a fantastic, truly antique, old crate (that I love), my unfinished, raw bushel and  cute little tray, that the seller had, actually, begun to paint with her own homemade chalk paint awhile back!  Score! That'll save me some time, I hope.
So, the big question, How much did these treasures cost me?...   I paid a whopping $15, for all three! Can you feel my smile?!
My mother often says to me, "now, don't you feel guilty for paying so little?" My answer is always a resounding, "Nope, not one bit!"  Here are the truly, still dirty, "befores"!

As you can see, I still had apples and pears, from my crisp baking, with more to make!

I'll be sharing more about the crate and tray with you later. For today, I want to tell you about this bushel! I fell in love with it immediately. It's not an easy to find one with the wooden handle on it, like this one.  The handle that I knew, in my mind instantly,  was going to be painted red! So, here is what I started with. Isn't it cute?
In my minds eye, I could see it in a darker wood, filled with blossoms and fruit and berries and mini pumpkins!! Full of Fall's Harvest! A little something like this!

But, alas,  it didn't come that way! So, what did I do to get it like this? That what I'm, going to share with you today! You know those old oak barrels that look so gorgeous with a beautiful dark stain and shiney finish?  I was convinced I could achieve the same look with this little Bushel! I think I came pretty close.  Close enough for me, anyway.  First, the color.  After some looking around I settled on none other than, Red Mahogany stain and seal from MinWax. I thought that would work out perfect!

I began, with some extra, durable gloves and a great old rag! Little by little rubbing the stain in, filling in all the little nooks and crannies. (I also used a foam brush to get into all the little hard to reach spots)  Finally,  I saw the color I was looking for.  Once I had, I continued with it inside and out, top and bottom,  until there wasn't a hint of its former color.  I love how the simple addition of a stain brought out the grain of the wood,  like I had hoped it would. Once done, it had to sit for a day or two to absorb and dry. When it was completely dry I covered it completely with a couple coats of Polyurethane, to give it that nice sheen. 
The end result was this! It was exactly what I had hoped! I pondered whether I should paint the band around the center or the top red, but decided against it after seeing the way it had dried, I was quite please with the dark wood look of it.
But one thing was for sure, I was painting that lovely wooden handle Red!  Seen here, below, with  red bow tied around it while (I was still deciding on the trim) and something like this helps me get an idea of how it would look.
I picked up some of the cutest little pumpkins for putting in and displaying in front of the Bushel. Aren't the adorable?  One of the easiest and funnest parts of putting this together, was being able o use the beautiful leaves, from the grapevine, that lines my driveway. 
They are so gorgeous. I couldn't buy anything as beautiful as the colors that these are right now. I picked the varying colors I wanted to used and laid them on the table and just smoothed them out or 'polished' them a little with a clean rag.  

Someone told me, a long time ago, and I don't remember why, that if you want your leaves to stay, and dry beautifully. to take a hammer and hit the end of the stem.  As I said, I don't remember exactly why, but I do it and it seems to work quite well.

I put a few different kinds of fresh apples, that I had on hand, on the end of bamboo skewers and incorporated them into the blooms, leaves and hypericum.

I, generally, don't like pictures taken with a flash at night, but I absolutely loved the way the colors looked in this image. So, I kept it in.
Once I had it just how wanted, it was time to pour myself a cup of tea and enjoy the display. I know I've said this before, but I really do think this is one of my favorite before and afters!

As much as I love the tablescape this made and enjoyed looking over it. The ultimate question of 'where will it live when I need the table' was in my head. And, honestly, God just gave me instant inspiration on this one! I just finished taking the final images I wanted to share with you here,  and I looked over at my ladder display & thought to myself. " that will need to be redone for Fall " & right then, I  realized where my little bushel was going to live! So there it sits, first thing one sees when coming through my front door. 
I removed the Hypericum and some of the fresh elements so it won't require regular tending. I hope you are enjoying the beginning of the new Season and celebrating it in some way at your house, as well!
 What a wonderful way to bring the outdoors in and welcome all to your house, saying I care and I decorated for you! ( For me, too, but that's just between us) 

Happy Autumn 2014! This will only happen once, so let's all make the most of it and enjoy!
Many Blessings to you all for this beautiful, colorful season upon us!

All be sharing this post with:   
This post was Featured by the very wonderful and talented, Joy @ Yesterfood.


File under:
Fall decor, Autumn love, DIY, Autumn Colors, Fall Tablescapes

Saturday, September 27

Just a Fun Saturday Morning Share!

I don't usually post quick little fun Daily things, here.  I share them over on Shoestring Elegance's Facebook page!

But, that being said, this was too much fun for me not to share with you!

I'm always so excited to see a store go all out with their decorations! (especially, if its actually the right Season)!

So you can imagine my delight, when I popped over to our local Safeway, yesterday and came upon this display!

What a truly pleasant surprise!

I imagine it's good for business, but I think it was so Family friendly and innovative, that who really cares?!

Go take a peak around your town today and see what's out there that makes you smile! This sure did for me! 
Happy weekend blessings, Friends!

By the way, I am in no way affiliated with or speaking for Safeway.. My joy and opinions are my own!

File under: Halloween, Fall colors, Harvest, decor, #trickortreat #safeway

Saturday, September 20

Welcoming Autumn & It's Not A Wreath!

Happy Autumn!! Well, it will be, actually, Autumn, the day after tomorrow, for those of us, here in the United States. I think I long for this Season all year long!  The beginning of cooler days and nights, blankets, baking, sweaters and, of course, Lots of decorating!! Fall seems to be the kick off for all the wonderful celebrations ahead. What can I say, I'm a sucker for traditions. Even if they're new ones. Which kinda brings me to this post. I have welcomed Autumn for the past 2+ years by sharing with you my Autumn Wreaths. I have loved everyone of them. 

Here's the teaser I posted on Shoestring's Facebook page.

This year, however, I was drawn to decorate my front door in a different way to 'Welcome the Fall Season' in.   Ready.....??   It's a broom!  Well, not a broom you could sweep with, but just the same a broom! I love it. I haven't seen many others and thought it would be a wonderful change and a thrifty way of using all my old and still beautiful blooms and leaves (with a few new ones). If you don't know me, I'm all about less cost, for highest beauty. So here it is!  What do you think?
This wonderful broom, that serves as the base for this door hanging, was all of $2.99 @ Michael's & I got 50% off, so, yeah, a buck fifty! I did by one new group of stems that were regularly $6.99 but they were 60% off,  and this awesome Red edge-stitched cloth ribbon (for the bow), that was also 60% off of $6.99, I believe I can very easily say that in all total, this Autumn Door Decor still came in under the $10 mark!

After removing the tags, It was just as easy as this. I attached my hanger to the back and then laid the foundation of Fall leaves down, attached them and then just added from there, until I had what I was hoping for.

Don't you just LOVE the stitching on the edge of the bow? As soon as I saw it, I knew this was exactly what I had been looking for.

Here it is last night hanging on my open front door, while I was finishing up the final little tweeking

And..... here it is this morning,in all its glory hanging on my front door to greet all who enter. The days weather here, in Northern california, is playing along with me, (for today, anyway) It is cool, the wind is blowing and really is beginning to feel like a Fall day!! I'm not looking at the forecasts anymore!

I hope you have found a fun way to welcome Autumn/Fall into your home. For yourself,  and your guests!  I always think it's a nice way to say, "You are welcome here" & "I even decorated for you!" Plus, it makes me smile! There really isn't  a price tag for that! I hope this will Inspire some of you to embrace and welcome the Season, your friends & family, with some of the Beautiful colors of Fall!
Many more colors of the season to come! 
Thanks you for taking the time to pop in on me and let me share what I've been up to with you.

I'll be sharing this post with:

Thursday, September 11

There are NO words.

Today, Let us all pause in Remembrance.

God save us all from such a day. My heart and prayers are with those personally touched, in any way, by the events of September 11, 2001.

Monday, September 8

Finally, Signs of Autumn!

Good Morning and Happy September!! As you may already know, I am in love with the Autumn/Fall & Winter seasons!! I just can't wait! I know some of you are still clinging to the last days of summer, but I am anxiously looking forward to Autumn!! You may even recall, one of my most read and featured posts, here, with you was "Anxiously Awaiting Fall"! You can see that one
Great Bread pudding recipe!

Well, It's that time of year again, where I CAN NOT wait!! I am so excited that the first sign of Fall's arrival are starting to show up around my home!  In Northern California, that mean that the grapevines lining one side of my driveway are starting to turn those Beautiful shades of RED!!

And the pathway, in my rose garden, (on the other side of the drive) are beginning to be littered with dried rose petals and leaves!! I love the way it looks so much, I haven't had the urge to sweep them up just yet!

This is looking back down my driveway from the carport!! LOVE! Do you enjoy this time of year, too? Or are you clinging tightly to the last days of Summer? 

 With all that said and pictured here, I must tell you, that I still have the random, beautiful rose blooming here and there!! It's the best of both worlds, right now! What a beautiful feast for our eyes the Lord provides. I am so abundantly Blessed!
,So to celebrate this "in between seasons," yesterday I baked up a batch of both, Pumpkin-Chocolate-chip muffins and some wonderful Apple Cinnamon ones!  Are hey ever a hit! Both of them!
I made the Apple Cinnamon ones with Applesauce, in place of oil, and I chopped up a whole Golden Delicious Apple to throw in the batter! I love those chunks of fresh fruit!

This morning I have started peeling and seeding a couple small Butternuts to make some of my "Roasted Butternut Squash Soup"! You can find that recipe Here
I hope you are enjoying your weather, whatever it may be,  and finding a way to enjoy and celebrate it, before the bigger changes of the Season begin! 

Many Blessings to you all, Always..

Wednesday, August 20

All Because 2 People Fell In Love~

This is In Honor of My Parent's 57th Wedding Anniversary!
Two More Loving People you will never meet.
Congratulations Mom and Dad! I hope you enjoy this! We sure enjoy you!

All Because Two People Fell In Love!

        Did you ever Imagine this?!!

Yes, It keeps going!


And, then
 Mustn't forget 

And, I'm certain not last and that I've probably missed someone, so not least!

We Love You So Much! Thank you for being you!
God Blessed You and Continues to Bless us all with your Love.

~Theresa (with the consent of my sisters, Ha!)

Sharing with Create With Joy's Wordless Wednesday