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Winter Wonderland Tablescape 2015

Last year we created a cozy warm burgundy Christmas decor to welcome home our Evie who had been in the hospital for 4 months. We wanted it warm and inviting as a big welcome home. This year we went in a completely different direction, creating a winter wonderland look full of frosty snowflakes and sparkling silver.

Both the table and the sideboard are decked out with pine bough garlands, with silver balls and snowflake accents. We spent forever polishing every piece of silver in the house so that everything would sparkle in our frosty wonderland.(Once again, please ignore the empty picture frames – two professional artists in the house and we have empty frames – yep- cuckoo birds!)

The snowflakes have been carefully placed to appear as though they have just randomly fallen from the sky and landed around the house.

 

 

Mr. and Mrs. Clause are a cherished family heirloom that come out every Christmas. This year they have taken center stage as our Christmas table centerpiece.

 

We placed a few Christmas balls in silver candlestick holders. An elf seems to have photo-bombed our decorating photo shoot! So fun! Such an awesome trick for taking ADORABLE pictures of your pets, kids, grand-kids or even some whimsical selfies. 

Check out how it’s done here: 

 

These gorgeous silver ornaments are actually salt and pepper shakers. Its quite a rare delight when form and functionality meet like this.

 

 

Here’s the table place settings with baroque silver charger plates and baroque silver candy dishes on top. The candy dishes will be filled with candy for Christmas day. 

 

Our sideboard/buffet has got a cascading sheer cover that has an embroidered lace pattern that subtly mimics snowflakes.

 

At night, this look really comes to life with white twinkle lights everywhere!

I’ve just realized there are no pictures that include the tree or any other parts of the house. More pictures to come!

Thanks for stopping by, and have a Merry Christmas, Happy Holiday and Joyous Season!

Here is a look at last year‘s cozy warm burgundy decor.


Last Christmas! Check out more pictures here:
Christmas 2014

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Super Easy Trick: Adorable Christmas Pics

A Super Easy Trick for the Most Adorable Christmas Pictures!
Facebookpreview ChristmasPhotos2 

I was photographing some Christmas decorating ideas when a little elf photobombed my pictures! The results were so adorable that I immediately knew I had to share the idea.

All you need is an adorable baby, an adorable child, adorable pet, or your adorable self and a shiny reflective Christmas ball for the cutest and silliest pictures or video you’ve ever seen.

The giggles will abound and the memories will last a lifetime.

SPECIAL TIPS! If the Christmas ball is on the tree you’ll have a lovely pine background, but you can also place a Christmas ball in a candlestick holder making it easier to take the picture in the best selfie (or elfie) lighting!

If you have some antique heirloom ornaments this would be an even more sentimental picture. Taking these pictures every year as a family tradition would be a great alternative to a more serious family portrait, and they would look great on your own custom Christmas Cards!

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Above: The Christmas ball is hanging on the tree.

Instagram WinterWonderland4a

Above: the Christmas ball is placed in a silver candlestick holder making it possible to take the picture in the best selfie (or elfie) lighting!

Instagram WinterWonderland5a

You can sneak the camera in over their shoulder and hide behind them for a solo portrait, or you can both squeeze into the shot together for a unique holiday couples portrait.

Have fun with it, and let me know how your pictures turned out in the comments section below!

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Facebookpreview Thanksgiving 2015

Thanksgiving Table: The Spendor of Autumn

This Thanksgiving I used all my restraint to resist the urge to let our Christmas decor arrive early. So often I cannot resist that urge and we end up with a Thanksgiving/Christmas fusion. 
 
Everything stayed well within the Autumn color theme this year without even a hint of Christmas!
Burlap has always been an inexpensive fabric mostly used for making things like potato sacks or for wrapping shrubbery for the winter, but somehow it has become very popular in decorating as well.
It does offer a nice warm neutral base and lots of texture so it makes sense that decorators would be bringing this into their designs. 
 
What does NOT make sense is that this traditionally inexpensive fabric is now carrying a designer fabric price tag! I had to shop around a bit but finally found a nice large bolt of burlap at Walmart for a reasonable price.
 
So, on with the show… The table and the buffet are both topped with the above mentioned burlap. Burlap is a fairly open weave, so pairing it with a nice pumpkin colored table cloth really worked well together.


Gold beaded charger plates and white china (retired pattern Alsace by Farberware) with the salad plate swapped out for a lovely leafy pattern plate that harmonizes well with the autumn theme.


I know right now that tree slices as chargers is all the rage in decorating, but for me this is a sentimental accent. These tree slices are from the tree in our yard. 

I grew up with this tree and when a hurricane took it down I was heartbroken and I requested some mementos in the form of tree slices. I had no idea what I would do with them, but all these years later and they have finally found a home on our Thanksgiving table.


I fell in love with these white porcelain pumpkins. I’ll admit I am a bit pumpkin obsessed, but these just sent me over the moon. I want more! Here they are sitting on some silk autumn leaves and my beloved tree slices.


See that silverware? Yes, I do too. I swapped it out for gold flatware, but not until after discovering the error in this photo shoot. Details, details!

 

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Halloween 2015

This Halloween we wanted to create a spooky haunted forest but still keep it light and playful enough that it was still warm, inviting and not too gloomy.  

Some dead tree branches from the yard were perfect for making a huge impact – and the best part is that they cost NOTHING!


When you bring lots of natural elements into the decor everything falls into place. Sea shells, leaves, branches, pine cones and any other natural element can cover your decorating schemes for all the seasons and holidays.


“Creepy Cloth” is a very loose weave gauze-like fabric that can be draped from almost any surface to create a delightfully creepy look. Here we have draped it on our picture frames (two professional artists in the house and we have EMPTY picture frames….we’re cuckoo!).


A simple branch in a flower pot with some floral foam and a centerpiece is born!


Birds perched in random places makes it feel as if they have landed there themselves, and that we are being quietly outnumbered by some spooky guests.

 


Orange and black is such a traditionally Halloween color scheme, but it can feel a bit tacky at times. With the right balance and some natural elements some Halloween elegance can be attained.

A bird and some silk leaves on each place setting helps tie the buffet decor to the table. We found our birds at Dollar Tree.

We like to bring out the ornate silver charger plates and accessories for a Halloween look because it feels like they could be right out of an old haunted mansion!


We found some lovely salad plates with a subtle embossed leaf pattern covering the entire surface of the plate. The natural leaf pattern makes them ideal for autumn decor and because they are plain white instead of fall colors they will fit in beautifully with Spring and Easter decor as well.


Here is a look back at last Halloween with our buffet in burgundy and black. 

As always, thanks for stopping by! Likes, shares, pins, follows and comments always greatly appreciated!

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Return of the Light. Lessons from the Eclipse.

I don’t mean to wax poetic about the waxing moon, but I just wanted to share a little moon moment.
 
One quick glimpse at social media and the flurry of blurry photos of light blobs on black backgrounds and you know that there was some sort of lunar event.
 
There was also ample warning leading up to the eclipse that made sure we all knew that there was yet another once-in-a-lifetime sight to see in the sky.
 
But imagine life before technology.
 
Imagine a time when instead of our little glowing phone screens, the only thing to light our night was that big comforting ball of cheese in the sky.
 
Imagine how terrifying it would have been when that big ole’ cheese-ball suddenly and unexpectedly turned an ominous shade of crimson, and we had no idea why — and we wondered if it was the end of the world.
 
Now we’ve got google and iflscience to light our way and explain these mysteries to us, so it isn’t scary. We know our beloved cheeseball is safe and sound and playing hide and seek in our shadow — it will be right back and as bright and beautiful as it ever was.
 
If only all of life was that simple.
 
For me, this eclipse was a little reminder lesson about when we enter the dark moments in our lives. We have no control, and we don’t know if the light will ever return.
 
We don’t have a magical website that explains the reasons behind the dark and scary moments in our lives –we don’t know how long they will last. We don’t have that same reassurance that like the eclipse, it is natural and normal and everything is going to be alright. We don’t know for sure that it is not the end of the world until we start to see the return of the light.
 
Above is the picture I took as the September 2015 Blood Moon eclipse event was coming to a close. The moon was just beginning to free itself from the darkness. 
Don’t worry ’bout a thing, because every little thing is gonna be alright.

It is the return of the light.
 
Hang in there… 

I took this picture (above) of a ‘supermoon’ in its full glory a year or two ago.
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St Patricks Day – Potato Soup

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

With an Irish name like Hickey, people kind of expect us to celebrate good ole St. Patty’s Day.

After discovering that the ‘traditional’ St. Patrick’s Day dinner of Corned Beef and Cabbage may NOT even be a traditional Irish dish, we decided to explore the alternatives.

Continue reading “St Patricks Day – Potato Soup”

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Groundhog Day Celebration

Happy Groundhog day!
 

This year is the first time we are attempting to ‘celebrate’ Groundhog day.

So here we go!

To start with, we made Coco Krispy Groundhogs!

It’s just the standard Rice Krispy Treat recipe only we swapped out Rice Krispies for Coco Krispies so that our groundhogs would be brown.



Here’s the recipe:
——————————————
INGREDIENTS
3 tablespoons butter
1 package (10 oz., about 40) Marshmallows
OR
4 cups Miniature Marshmallows
6 cups Coco Krispy Rice cereal

DIRECTIONS
1. In large saucepan melt butter over low heat. Add marshmallows and stir until completely melted. Remove from heat. 

2. Add Coco Krispy Rice cereal. Stir until well coated.

3. Release your creative side and start forming groundhog shapes!
——————————–

We had some candy eyes left over from Halloween baking, and the teeth are made from mini marshmallows cut to shape and size with cooking sheers.

As you can see in the picture, we tried several approaches to the overall design of the groundhog. Let me tell you, when you look up at this motley crew of slightly deranged looking weather forecasting rodents, it makes you giggle.

We used a piece of a green plastic tablecloth for the ‘grass’ and some dry Coco Krispies around the base to simulate a dirt mound around the groundhog burrow hole.

Clearly Coco Krispies and marshmallow do not create the most cooperative sculpting medium, but this is not meant to be fine art.

Creating them was a fun and silly break from reality and they taste dee-lish!

On the absolute MUST-DO list for today is to watch Groundhog day! 

Unfortunately it’s not available for streaming on Netflix. If you don’t have the DVD, Blu Ray or digital copy, it’s on AMC several times on Groundhog Day so fire up those DVRs!

Here is the schedule:

Monday February 1st at 10:00 AM
Monday February 1st at 12:30 PM
Monday February 1st at  3:00 PM
Monday February 1st at  5:30 PM

Enjoy!

UPDATE:
I added links below for The Groundhog Day Blu-Ray, DVD and Digital Download, respectively. 

I also added a link for the CUTEST stuffed groundhog! I want to buy him and put him right in the middle of our dining room table as a centerpiece next year!


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Superbowl Party!

So, here’s an embarrassing confession. Up until a year or so ago, I had NO idea that people celebrate Superbowl Sunday! 

I have made it my mission to celebrate every moment, so to discover a new ‘holiday’ was a jackpot for me!

Last year was our first Superbowl Party. All we knew was that guacamole was the official snack of the Superbowl, so we bought guacamole and seven layer dip and called it a day.

This year I amped it up a little bit. I decorated! 


I imagine that the way I decorated is unusual and odd to most – probably because I know NOTHING about football, or Superbowl parties, or any of the teams playing. 

I just looked at all of it from an artist and decorators point of view. A nice green color astro-turf, a nice brown color for the football. Then I assumed there must be some sort of trophies involved so I brought out the silver and twinkle lights for some razzle dazzle.

This is probably the girliest football party ever, but I don’t mind.

I know the standard fare for these parties is usually things like chicken wings and beer and other manly options that involve meat and alcohol, but again I went a different direction.


To start with, we made COOKIES shaped like footballs!


..and Coco Krispy Treats shaped like footballs!

..and Chicken salad with Montreal Chicken Seasoning on Croissant sandwiches …that vaguely in the shape of footballs!

For dinner we feasted on Hot Dogs, Steakhouse seasoned baked beans, and our traditional family recipe for Macaroni Salad and Potato Salad – always a crowd pleaser (all of which was gobbled up before I could even think of pulling out the camera).


We watched the half time show, on the couch with warm cuddly blankets while munching on hot buttered popcorn and drinking hot coco with mini marshmallows left over from the coco krispy treat ingredients. 

We even tried watching some of the game, and Peggo cried during the ‘like a girl’ commercial. What a girl! hee hee


There are about a million Superbowl Party ideas that floated around my head that I just never got around to completing in time.

My avocados did not ripen in time so my guacamole dreams were dashed! I was going to spread the guacamole in a sheet pan and pipe on the yard-lines and numbers in sour cream. 

The obstinate avocados also put an end to any hopes of a respectable seven layer dip.

Oh well, there is always next year!

As much as I’d like to say we spent the whole day celebrating Superbowl Sunday, I have to admit that we spent a good part of the day laughing hysterically as we worked on a project for tomorrow’s big event, Groundhog Day! Check back tomorrow to see what sort of mischief we got into!

Here is a sneak peek  at what we were working on that gave us a serious case of the Groundhog Day giggles.

 

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Pomegranate Perfection


Do you imagine that Pomegranate juice comes from a magical wonderland where the fluffy Pom Pom trees grow? – a place where Kale and Quinoa prance through fields of whole grains while Acai berries and Avocados frolic and giggle under the shade of dark green leafy vegetables?


No? Me Neither. That would be crazy.

I am one of those people who, until recently, had never popped open a fresh pomegranate.

When I finally gave it a try, I was amazed at how beautiful they are inside! They are chock full of sparkling rubies! –  juicy, tasty, edible rubies!

Though I am no pomegranate expert, I took some pictures of my pomegranate adventure to share with everyone who may be interested.

There are lots of different ways to open a pomegranate, but I really like the method that uses a bowl of water. 

Step by step guide below!

Step 1. Put some water in a bowl.

Step 2. Carefully cut off the top of the Pomegranate. I suggest a very shallow cut, because if you cut deeper than the skin of the fruit you’ll be popping open all the juicy little rubies inside (the seeds are actually called Arils, but I can’t stop calling them rubies).

With the top off you can see how thick the skin is and adjust your cutting depth as you score the circumference of the Pomegranate so you can pry it open.






Step 3.  Pull it open into two halves, and feast your eyes on a ruby haul that even the Seven Dwarves would envy.

Step 4. Gently massage the little rubies loose from the membrane while holding the pomegranate over the bowl of water. 

As the rubies pull away from the inner membrane, let them drop into the water. Be gentle so you don’t break the jewels – the delicious ruby red juice will escape!







Step 5. The rubies will sink to the bottom and the membrane will float to the top. Scoop the pieces of membrane off the top of the water and discard.

Step 6. Drain off the water and strain the rubies out, or scoop them out with your hands if you don’t have a strainer.







Step 7. Enjoy!

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Holiday Home Tour 2014 – Better Late than never!

As I mentioned in a previous post, home renovations and stressful events had delayed the start of our holiday decorating until mid-to-late December.

We’ve got our Evie Bird home now after a nearly 4 month hospital stay. 


Though most people have taken down their Christmas decorations by now, we’ve extended the season a bit so that she can enjoy that home-for-the-holidays feel a bit before we move on to the next holiday.

So, though it’s late for a holiday home tour, we’re on our own holiday schedule this year and it’s still Christmas at our house!

With the snow coming down for Winter Storm Juno, I am definitely enjoying the extra cozy feel of still having Christmas decorations. 

Come on in from the cold and blowing snow and stay a while!



Pictured above is our Dining Room Table and Sideboard set with deep red brocade table cloth and napkins. 
The centerpiece is a white china cake pedestal with dried pomegranates and vintage silver salt and pepper shakers shaped like ornaments on an oval silver tray. The centerpiece is flanked by mistletoe kissing balls mounted on silver candlestick holders.

The sideboard is covered in deep red poinsettia patterned brocade fabric with sheer white draped fabric, and pine boughs adorned with sparkling snowflakes and white twinkle lights.


Each place setting is a pure white china set atop silver baroque charger plates. 

Matching baroque silver nut dish added on top for some extra sparkle along with cloth napkins that match the table cloth, wrapped in silver napkin rings with crystal accents.


Our dining room french doors are decked with pine boughs covered in pine cones and little white twinkle lights. 

On the french doors you’ll find two matching pine wreaths covered in deep red poinsettias, over-sized snowflakes and a single white candle in the center of each wreath with a flickering flame bulbs.









Our tea cart is set with our freshly polished silver tea set resting on cheery Christmas tartan tea towels, and the most adorably whimsical plush gingerbread men that look like they are related to the Fraggle Rock Doozers!


Our silverware caddy has been re-purposed for the season as a candy cane caddy. So that we are always ready with a fresh candy cane for every cup of eggnog or peppermint chocolate milk.

A small gingerbread creation station has been set up with some candies in small clear bowls on a silver tray, and a small decoration station has been set up with spare Christmas ornaments on a silver tray.
Here is a blurry picture of most of the above items all together in one shot, along with our Christmas tree.
Want to find out how I created this entire opulent Christmas look with practically no decorating budget? Check here!(article and link coming soon)
China pattern: Alsace by Farberware
Silverware Pattern: Baroque by Godinger
Silver Chargers and Nut Dishes: silver plate baroque style – unknown discontinued line.

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