Merry Christmas + a DIY + a Recipe

Merry Christmas, Heartwarmers! Feliz Navidad!

I was in Mexico in November and was delighted to see the early Christmas preparations. In Mazatlan, on a blistering hot day with off-the-chart humidity, I couldn't resist snapping a picture of a car with a Christmas tree tied to its roof.

I had no idea how that tree was going to hold onto its needles for more than a month, but I like to think it's now decorated and surrounded with gifts, creating a festive atmosphere in someone's home.

Two of my favorite things about Mexico were the food and the beautiful churches.

The Mission in San Jose del Cabo
The cathedral in Mazatlan
Beautiful lattice dome on a church spire in Puerto Vallarta
I arrived home at the end of November, just in time to begin my own preparations for Christmas, and the time has been flying by. I've managed to squeeze in another DIY project, though, and thought I'd share that with you. I found this wood-framed glass tea tray at a thrift store for $5. Score! I was so excited to get started on this project that I almost forgot to take a "before" photo.

I thoroughly cleaned the wood and gave it a light sanding, then taped the edges of the glass to keep them paint free. I used Annie Sloan chalk that I already had on hand.  The light mossy green color is called Versailles.

This was my very first attempt at stencilling, but it sure won't be my last. I'm already planning to use this stencil to paint a set of place mats.

This was a very quick project and I'm delighted with the outcome, and of course I'm looking forward to using it during the holidays.

Speaking of Christmas, I plan to add a little taste Mexico to our holiday feasts. Included in our tour of Puerto Vallarta was a "cooking" class at a charming little restaurant where we made our own salsa and guacamole, tostadas and enchiladas. I will never again buy prepared salsa or guacamole! Here's the super-easy how-to:


1 large ripe tomato, chopped
1/4 of a small cooking onion, finely chopped
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and finely diced
2 tablespoons of sliced cilantro
juice of half a lime
salt and pepper to taste

Mix all ingredients in a bowl and serve!


1 avocado
3 - 4 tablespoons of salsa (recipe above)

Mash the avocado, stir in the salsa and serve!

Thank you for joining me today! I wish you a very merry Christmas and a prosperous 2016!

Seasons greetings from Puerto Vallarta!
At "cooking school" in Mexico! Cheers!
Until next time!

To Catch a Wife (Harlequin Heartwarming, May 2016)
Now available for pre-order on Amazon!


  1. Oh, perfect timing. One of my goals over Xmas is to make home-made salsa. I'm from Nebraska originally and we think Taco Bell authentic. So, my question to you is… how do I make sure the salsa is mild?

    1. Pamela, I use a whole jalapeno and find it quite mild, but it may be too hot for some. Start with half a pepper or even a quarter, and be sure to remove the seeds! If a quarter is too mild, then add another quarter until you get to flavor you like. I also recommend using a very fine dice. If you find cilantro to be too strong, you can replace it with chopped fresh parsley. Bon appetit!

    2. I'm right there with Pamela. I love homemade salsa but have always been afraid to try it. Maybe not now... Thanks for sharing your trip with us!

    3. Merry Christmas, Liz. I was surprised by how easy it is to make salsa. Fresh just tastes so much better, and it's so quick and easy to make.

  2. You did a great job with your stencilling project, Lee. Thanks for sharing your salsa recipe. Homemade salsa is always the best.
    Merry Christmas!

    1. Thanks, Jill! The tray was a fun little project! Wishing you a very Merry Christmas, too!

  3. I have to try the salsa recipe, too. And I love the tray! I have a friend who teaches Annie Sloan classes and I may just have to try it.

    1. I've never taken a class, Patricia. I just dive right! I would love take a few classes, though. I'm sure I would learn lots of useful techniques.

  4. Fun, fun, fun. Love the tray. Merry Christmas!

    1. Merry Christmas, Beth! Thank you for stopping by the blog today.

  5. I loved the DIY project. I have a picture frame I found on the trash pile that I rescued and made usable. Each time I look at it, I think how satisfied I am that it looks so good.

    1. Shirley, your picture frame sounds wonderful! The desk I use as a sewing table was a curbside find. I love scouring second-hand shops and thrift stores for great finds, but free is even better!

  6. Replies
    1. It was a lovely escape from the damp and rainy Pacific Northwest, Sophia. Merry Christmas!

  7. Cynthia, just got to look at this post. The last of my visitors left today. Now it's time to regroup and get ready for Christmas. I'm happy you had such a wonderful trip to Mexico. Happy holidays.

    1. Thanks, Roz! I hope you have a wonderful Christmas!

    2. Sorry, I thought it was Cynthia's post---So, Lee, the same wish for you.

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