Connecticut Christmas Cottage

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Jennifer Rizzo Linky Party

I’m linking up to Jennifer Rizzo’s Holiday House Walk.  Pop over for a visit!  I’m sharing our Connecticut Christmas Cottage– I think you’ll recognize my little square–it’s our front porch!

Decorating for Christmas brings back so many memories.  I’ll always mix in a few new things, but mostly I use decorations that we’ve had for years.  I buy fresh greenery and wreaths and snip a few branches for vases throughout the house.  This year I loaded up on pine cones.  You would be hard pressed to find a single pine cone in New Canaan, Connecticut! 

Connecticut Christmas Cottage + Home Tour

There’s a few of those New Canaan pine cones covering the soil on our front porch topiaries.  I added a little Christmas wish and some snowflakes with a water-based Sharpie paint pen.  How did I live without a glass front door before moving into this house?  It might be my favorite thing.

Connecticut Christmas Cottage + Home Tour

My favorite room at Christmas is the kitchen.  Really, anytime of year, but especially at Christmas.

Connecticut Christmas Cottage + Home Tour

Connecticut Christmas Cottage + Home Tour

Connecticut Christmas Cottage + Home Tour

Connecticut Christmas Cottage + Home Tour

Connecticut Christmas Cottage + Home Tour

One of our holiday traditions is to get our tree together as a family.  We’ve never chopped one down.  I see all those cute photos on Instagram of families picking out their tree and dragging it back to the car with little ones “helping”—no—that’s never been us.  We head to Stew Leonard’s, pick one out in about three minutes and then they put it on top of the car and we head for home.  For such outdoorsy people, we are a little lazy when it comes to getting a Christmas tree.  But, Madeline won’t be home until mid December so our container that Brooke helped me find last year is empty until then.  On top of the armoire is a galvanized bucket filled with all their ornaments just waiting….

Connecticut Christmas Cottage + Home Tour

Connecticut Christmas Cottage + Home Tour

Fresh cut pine branches and little angels.  Our Bose speaker is playing Michael Buble Holiday right this very minute.

Connecticut Christmas Cottage + Home Tour

Connecticut Christmas Cottage + Home Tour

Connecticut Christmas Cottage + Home Tour

Sources –

Front Porch- Galvanized planters from Ikea, House Numbers from Home Depot, Paint – Cloud White By Benjamin Moore.  Porch Lanterns original to the house.

Kitchen- Lighting by Schoolhouse Electric, Sink by Shaw, Faucet by Rohl, Kitchen Island from Williams Sonoma, Cake Stand by Minted, Enzo Mari The Apple & The Pear Poster, Saarinen Table by Design Within Reach, Tucker Chairs from Serena & Lily, Christmas pillows from H&M Home, Nespresso Machine, Glassybaby, Heritage Hill Jar from Anchor HockingSugar Jar from Williams Sonoma.

Dining Room- Bose Speaker, Brass Ring Lamp from Serena & Lily

Living Room- Pine Cone Garland from Terrain, Felt Garlands from Minted, Stockings from Etsy, Pillows from Pottery Barn

Stairway- Little original painting in black frame by Kiki and Polly, Dip-Dyed Stools from Serena & Lily

While decorating the house I made simmering scents.  My house looks, sounds and smells like Christmas! I used everything I had in the house–cinnamon sticks, whole cloves, whole allspice, lemon rind and bay leaves.  Hope you are enjoying the season! xo annie

Connecticut Christmas Cottage + Home Tour

 

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Hello December

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Hello December

After two days of rain, it’s bright and sunny on this first day of December.  For the last several years on December 1, I would post our Advent Calendar.  I haven’t run out of ideas, but my kids are 22 and 17—and sadly they’ve sort of outgrown it.  It was so much fun through the years.  Below are links to most of them.  And this one from Design Mom is adorable.  I love the colors and she has a free printable.  So if you’ll be counting down, here’s a few options.

Brown Paper Bag Advent Calendar

Metal buckets on the mantel in California

Twigs, take-out boxes, bags & white lights

Red & white checked mini bags on the stairway

Literary inspired Advent Calendar

White paper bags on chalkboard

White paper bags on painted stone fireplace with pink and red theme

The beautiful felt garland is from Minted.   The pine-cone garland is from Terrain and of course I just used a water-based Sharpie paint pen to write on the window.

This post contains affiliate links.  Thank you Minted  for supplying the felt garland for this post.

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DIY Advent Candle {Wreath}

Monday, November 21, 2016

Okay, so this is not exactly an Advent Wreath, but it’s our version of an advent wreath.  We are still keeping an important tradition, but with a new twist.  Every year we make a similar version using things we have around the house, plus numbers from the hardware store.  I buy the traditional three purple and one pink candle.  Growing up I never knew why the pink and purple, but this explains it.   Is this one of your holiday traditions?  You can see another version we did here.

DIY Advent Candles

DIY Advent Candle {Wreath}

You can use coffee mugs, candle holders and mailbox numbers from the hardware store.  First, cover the candles with potting soil and then with moss.  We found the moss on our rock walls, but you could could buy it or cover with rocks or sand.

DIY Advent Candle {Wreath}

DIY Advent Candle {Wreath}

DIY Advent Candle {Wreath}

DIY Advent Candle {Wreath}

DIY Advent Candle {Wreath}

DIY Advent Candle {Wreath}

Thank you Madeline for helping with this project!

 

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Thanksgiving Table

Thursday, November 10, 2016

One of my most popular posts ever was a holiday post about decorating with old familiar things.  For our Thanksgiving table I am going back to that idea and using most everything that we already have, but in a fresh way.  I did add napkins that I bought on sale last summer at Serena & Lily and four copper candle holders from Terrain.  Everything else we either made (the birch tree place card holders that I wrote about here) or have had for many years.  I’ve been collecting old silver trays, but have never used them as chargers.  Smaller ones work perfectly with salad size plates for kids.  The more traditional size silver trays work well with a regular size dinner plate.

Thanksgiving Table

Thanksgiving Table

Thanksgiving Table

Thanksgiving Table

My mom just sent me the glassware.  I grew up with it on our table and she mentioned she was getting rid of things….I was happy to take them off her hands.  The silver soup spoons are all different.  I love to look for them at flea markets and tag sales.  Going to flea markets with friends and finding  silver soup spoons is like a memento that reminds me of the day for years to come.

Thanksgiving Table

Thanksgiving Table

I’m hoping we have a nice warm Thanksgiving day…When we lived in California and Arizona we always enjoyed our Thanksgiving on the patio.  Living in Connecticut, it’s not likely, but you never know!

Thanksgiving Table

I have been inspired by Janet of the Gardener’s Cottage to use simple things and fresh herbs for a Thanksgiving centerpiece. I filled my copper vessel with fresh herbs from our garden like rosemary and sage.  To make the place cards I used watercolors inspired by the copper color napkins and candle holders.

Thanksgiving Table

Watercolor paper is a good weight for place cards and a paper trimmer helps get a clean edge.  You could have your kids paint and you could cut them using this paper trimmer.  We painted both sides of the paper so that it looks nice on the table from all angles.

Thanksgiving Table

So there you go…now we just have to get the menu in order.  Our sweet friend is bringing pies from Flour Bakery in Boston.  The rest of the menu will be a combination of old recipes and a new one from our new favorite cookbook, Small Victories by Julia Turshen.

So what are your Thanksgiving table and menu plans? Or will you be traveling?

 

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Studio + Garden Tour + Frances Palmer

Sunday, November 6, 2016

A perfect Autumn Sunday in Connecticut.  The weather is brisk and the foliage is at its peak.  As I scrolled through Instagram this morning I came upon Frances Palmer’s beautiful feed and an announcement.  Today and today only Frances Palmer was holding a Barn Tour and Sale.  We live only seven miles away so I knew I had to jump at the chance of seeing the studio, gardens and her gorgeous pottery.  She has been making pottery for almost 30 years.  You’ve probably read about her in Martha Stewart or Design*Sponge.  Her No. 2 Picasso Vase graced the cover of Architectural Digest.  I am drawn to her Pearl Collection.  They are dreamy white pieces and rimmed with white beads.  I love her Terra Cotta pots and urns too.  While her gardens of dahlias are past their prime, it was still fun to walk among her flower beds that have taken over the tennis court.  It is easy to see how her environment inspires her to create such beautiful objects.

 

Studio + Garden Tour + Frances Palmer

Studio + Garden Tour + Frances Palmer

Studio + Garden Tour + Frances Palmer

Studio + Garden Tour + Frances Palmer

Studio + Garden Tour + Frances Palmer

Studio + Garden Tour + Frances Palmer

Studio + Garden Tour + Frances Palmer

Studio + Garden Tour + Frances Palmer

Studio + Garden Tour + Frances Palmer

Sweater by Vince

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Happy Halloween

Monday, October 31, 2016

Happy Halloween!  I spent the morning baking Madeleines and then off to Providence for a college interview with my son and home in time to answer the door for trick~or~treaters.  When you live on an in-town street and you have a front porch…you kind of have to participate!  it’s brisk, but no rain in sight!

Happy Halloween

Happy Halloween

The clear glass pumpkin jars are from Anchor Hocking and the recipe for Brown Butter Pumpkin Madeleines is right here. 

Homemade Salad Dressing

Monday, October 31, 2016

Make homemade salad dressing with three simple ingredients in less time than you think.  Start with Dijon mustard and add in a little balsamic vinegar.  Slowly whisk in a little olive oil and whisk until it emulsifies.  It’s that easy!

Homemade Salad Dressing

Homemade Salad Dressing

Homemade Salad Dressing

homemade Salad Dressing

Homemade Salad Dressing

Homemade Salad Dressing

I often start dinner hours before we actually sit down at the table.  I can make salad dressing in the bowl that I’ll serve it in by adding in crisp Butter Lettuce that sits on top of the dressing and then I’ll add in the more tender baby lettuces.  Cover and store in the refrigerator.  Toss your salad just before you are ready to serve dinner.

You can also make this salad in individual jars for a party like we did recently for a baby shower at work.  I found these great jars at The Container Store.  Each jar has a serving of salad dressing at the bottom topped with salad.  Shake to mix.  They are easy to make and travel well.

Homemade Salad Dressing

 

 

 

Snail Mail + Madewell Bag Tags

Thursday, October 27, 2016

“Mail…it’s called mail. “ Remember that quote from You’ve got Mail?  While email is good—in fact most of us can’t even imagine a world without it, mail is better. Real mail, snail mail is always fun to send and receive.  I still love it when there’s a handwritten envelope in my mailbox.  It’s about the little things, right?  When I saw these cute bag tags with palm tree emojis at Madewell I knew I had to buy a few for some California girls we know.   They may be living in other places attending college, but they’ll always be California Girls.  The little leather bag tags with embossed palm trees are perfect for backpacks, luggage or a tote bag.  I’m sending them in the little bag that Madewell so kindly gives when you buy small items.  I added a handful of Hershey’s Kisses and a home-made water color tag.  I sent them in kraft mailing tubes with real stamps!  The Diamond return address labels are from tinyprints.

Snail Mail + Madewell Bag Tags

Snail Mail + Madewell Bag Tags

Snail Mail + Madewell Bag Tags

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Apple Pomegranate Fizz + Fall Drink

Thursday, October 20, 2016

A festive fall drink and no alcohol involved!  Apple Pomegranate Fizz is perfect for Halloween night. Scroll to the bottom for the recipe from West Elm & Whole Foods Market.

Apple Pomegranate Fizz

Apple Pomegranate Fizz

Apple Pomegranate Fizz

Apple Pomegranate Fizz

1/4 cup sugar

One small piece fresh ginger.  Peel the outside skin off with a potato peeler and then peel thin slices of ginger to make about one tablespoon.

Two cups unsweetened pomegranate juice

One bottle chilled Sparkling Cider

Combine 1/2 cup water, sugar and ginger in a small sauce pan and bring to a boil. Lower heat and allow to simmer for three minutes.  Remove from heat and let cool.  Strain out the ginger; you should have about 1/3 cup syrup.

Pour two teaspoons ginger syrup and about 1/3 cup Pomegranate juice into each glass. Top each with sparkling cider and a thin slice of apple if you wish.  Enjoy!

For more simple recipes from the collaboration of West Elm and Whole Foods Market go here

 

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Halloween Mantel

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Haloween Mantel

Our house is black and white which makes it perfect for holidays–especially Halloween.  I decorated our mantel with a few bats, pumpkins and our new Letterfolk board with a simple Boo to match the message on our front door.  The bats are made using this simple pattern and black construction paper, but that wasn’t always the case.  Twice we’ve had had the real thing flying around!  Our house was built in 1900 and we have only lived in it for four years, so it must have happened before, right?  The prior homeowner is a veterinarian, perhaps she’s not as unsettled about a bat in the house??  The first time it was about 10 o’clock in the evening and as soon as I saw it, I called my friend to report.  You know how you have that friend that always picks up and always has a solution—this time was no different.  My friend actually has a “bat guy” in her contacts.  Of course she does!  After it happened again a month later, we had a cap added to our chimney.  Problem solved and now I can almost laugh about it.

Boo! in Sharpie on Glass Front Door.

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