So if you know me at all, you know that Madeline is studying abroad and will be home in time for Christmas. This weekend while my husband is visiting her in France, I’m sort of re-doing her room. Madeline never really liked that I chose pink for her sunroom door and the collage wall was always sort of a mess. (You can see it here) After talking to Madeline about what she wants to see in her room, I went to work. Since it’s her room, I completelymostly kept everything, but just sort of re-arranged it. She wanted everything to be neutral. Really?
The “M” is from Anthropologie and even her Tory Burch and Rebecca Minkoff bags color coordinate to her new neutral room.In a small room, everything has to have double duty. The armoire is from Ikea and we used fabric on the glass doors to hide her stacks of sweaters. The hutch on the right is from Room and Board and she also wanted fabric on the doors to hide all sorts of things from makeup to chargers. I used trays from Terrain for everything from her perfume to her supplies on her desk.
These shelves would have given anyone a headache. I simply took everything off and started to put it all back by color. The Literary art prints on each side of the televsion are from Obvious State.
We use Edison style light bulbs like this one exposed and in lamps and pendants because of the nice warm glow they provide.
Faux Sheepskin pillow covers and throws from Pottery Barn make it cozy and comfortable. I have at least eight of these pillows around our house and they are so soft. Every sunroom needs at least one big plant. I splurged on this one from Terrain. The marble top twig table has been in every room of our house and only recently ended up in her sunroom. I hope she loves all the little changes!
When we purchased this house Madeline and I never even saw it until we relocated from Southern California. Her room in our California house was also a little suite, so you can imagine how thrilled I was that she would again have an extra little room. Here’s a link to her California suite.
I have created an advent calendar for the last six years. I almost didn’t make one this year because Madeline is away, my kids are big kids, and I thought I was out of fresh ideas. Then I happened to take a pass through the dollar section at Target and was immediately inspired and decided to make one and give one!
I’ve displayed our advent calendar all over the house, but this year the red and white checked bags on the black and white stairway with a few sprigs of fresh boxwood was just too easy to pass up. I recently “met” Amanda (@smallacornsamanda) who started the hashtag #botanicalforagersunitedsocietyinc She uses foraged botanicals all over her house and her shop. Did I mention her shop is is New Zealand? I’m dying to visit Small Acorns, but for now I’ll just be inspired by Amanda –even though our seasons are complete opposites. She’s currently enjoying peonies while I have Juniper and boxwood.
This sweet little painting is an original by Kiki and Polly called “Winter Coats.”
I used small cloth bags in red and white check, (these would work too), a spool of twine and packages of chalkboard clothespins. It was just too simple to pass up and since everything was in the Dollar Section at my local Target store, the price was right. I also packaged one up in a box that I spray painted the inside gold and will be sending this to a dear friend. Are you making one this year?
Here’s a glimpse at our advent calendars for the last six years. There’s so many on Pinterest too!
Everyday I am inspired by my surroundings…nature, architecture, things I read, see on the streets, etc…Pinterest is also a huge source of inspirtaion…everything, but when I really think about the one person who inspired my love of design, it’s Mrs. White. Mrs. White was the mother of my best friend in the second grade and she has no idea that she has inspired me. Susy, my sister and I were the best of friends from the time we moved to Denver until middle school when we grew apart. But Mrs. White’s style left an imprint on my own. She was from the south and was the most elegant woman I had ever met. She wore gloves to protect her perfectly manicured hands when she did the dishes, she wore impeccable clothes and drove a BMW when most moms drove station wagons. She had the most beautiful penmanship. This is what I remember about her house. It had dark hardwood floors at a time when wall to wall shag was the “in” thing. The dining room consisted of a light gray lacquered parsons table with beautiful Thonet bentwood chairs. I recall going along on a shopping trip to look for grosgrain ribbons to match the velvet jewel toned cushions. She had the brick on her fireplace painted white and the inside painted black. Something I continue to replicate as close as possible in all of our homes. She had a little arrangement of art cards neatly attached to assorted colors of wool felt and they were hung on small wall in the living room. She loved daisies and had an inspiration board long before anyone called it that. It was behind her yellow wrought iron bakers rack in her kitchen. She wrote notes and pinned them to the board along with photos and cards. She was a woman way ahead of her time. This was 1970. So thank you Mrs. White for inspiring me for all these years to love design and to pay attention to the little details…..because they add up. Who has inspired you?
Whenever I add something to my inspiration board, I think of Mrs. White, and for that, I am grateful.
Last month I had the opportunity to meet artist, illustrator Jeanne McKay Hartmann. I met her through another friend, artist, illustator Patrica van Essche. I can see why they are good friends. I feel so fortunate to have been in the company of these talented women. I was beyond touched when this popped up on instagram just a few hours after I posted our front porch. It astounds me how much detail Jeanne captures in her sketches. Like the leaves on the porch, the fact that the flag is not quite long enough for the glass door. ….I love that she notices everything! Thank you Jeanne for making our front porch your Daily Sketch – Day 310 today! I think she lives up to her caption…”Artist, illustrator, dreamer. Looking for the beauty in everyday life.” You can see more of her work on her instagram (idreamofjeanne) and her paintings are at Watson Kennedy in Seattle.
I’ve posted this recipe before, but I get a lot of emails asking “What do you do with the shallot confit?” Everything! Seriously, shallot confit makes everything better. On Monday we had sautéed green beans. Right before I took them out of the pan, I added a scoop of shallot confit….delicious. I’ll add them to a green salad every night or on a homemade pizza with a cheese like fontina. Today….I’m recreating a meal we had at Buvette in Paris. The first course was toasted or grilled whole grain bread with a thick smear of duck pate and on top, yes, shallot confit. I’m not sure what they call it in Paris, but it was so good.
Since I make this for the week, I use about 10 shallots, depending on size. I peel and then slice them pretty thin and put into a heavy pan. Add a glug or two of olive oil and stir for about 10 minutes until they are really soft. They will start to get golden in color….watch carefully at the point so they do not burn. Remove from the heat once they are golden and let rest in pan, cooking a little more in the hot pan and getting a little darker in color. Then just scoop them into a jar and let cool. Cover with an air tight lid and store in the refrigerator up to a week….if they last that long. Enjoy!
I have discovered the best thing about Madeline’s study abroad program….meeting her in Paris! Okay, true, that’s my perspective, but what a beautiful time to be in Paris. We had amazing weather which made it perfect for walking all over the city in search of coffee and other delicious things. One of our first stops on Saturday morning was the newly opened cafe at Shakespeare and Company. As soon as we walked in to order we noticed Nichole Robertson’s book Paris in Love! Nichole was one of the first people I followed when I started reading blogs. Her charming books filled with beautiful photographs invite you to see Paris and (almost) everything in an entirely new way. It’s always been about the little things and Nichole has a way of bringing that to light. Whether it’s a photograph of graffiti, a door, or gold lettering on a window….she captures Paris in a way that makes you feel present. Walking down the streets and through gardens on our way to museums and restaurants with Madeline in the fall was a moment in time I will cherish forever.
I can hardly wait until it is time for Madeline to return. In the mean time I’ll be dreaming of Paris and learning a word of French a day from these instagram accounts. French Every Day actually gives you an audio pronunciation.
We love the idea of backyard entertaining, but I think we may have had our last dinner party outdoors until next year. This past summer we made a table that comfortably seats 10. We used Hairpin Legs and followed instructions from theses clever girls.
We loved the industrial look of the Fold Leg No.1 from Hairpin Legs and used the 28″ length. The top was constructed much like Elsie’s and of course we stained it black. I wrote about the chairs here and they were painted the color which Farrow & Ball calls London Stone. We wanted the whole look to sort of blend in with the surroundings and the black garage and white house.
All you need for a great backyard dinner party is a beautiful evening, perfect lighting, music, delicious food, and a great table with comfortable seating.
We were so happy with the way the table turned out, we really didn’t want to cover it up completely with a tablecloth. We used white linen runners and napkins from H&M Home and all white dishes from Williams-Sonoma. The silver soup spoons have been collected over time from flea markets from California to New York and a few from France and Italy. (My idea of souvenirs) We use herb bouquets or farmer’s market flowers in jars to keep it simple.
Lots of candles, a stack of blankets when the evening starts to get chilly and always extra glassware for when you forget where you put down your drink.
A bench serves as extra space for the soup, bread and extra glassware.
Hopefully we will get in one last gathering before the cold weather sets in….it may have to a be a brunch or late lunch during the warmest part of an autumn day.
I love autumn in New York City and I love architecture. Walking through the city in the fall and seeing how people decorate their little piece of outdoor real estate or their front stoop is one of my favorite things to do. So many of the buildings in the city are perfect for autumn colors and Halloween decorations.
Wouldn’t you love to trick-or-treat at this building off 5th Avenue?
Another thing I love about this time of year is that anemones are in bloom from Central Park to Washington Square Park. I love these delicate white flowers and after seeing them last fall, I planted several in my garden last May. It will be a while before they look like these, but eventually…. I’ve never been a patient gardener.
We haven’t tried Mary’s Fish Camp yet, but I love the look of it and of course those bright orange pumpkins caught my eye.
A trio of pumpkins along side summer barrels of coleus adds a nice touch at the Ralph Lauren shop on Bleecker Street. Enjoy the season, wherever you are!
Brown Butter Pumpkin Madeleines—Doesn’t that just sound like fall? I love Madeleines….probably because I have a Madeline, but also because they are the perfect little cake or cookie and they are super easy to make. I usually make Lemon or Honey, but this is October…we need pumpkin. So when I saw this recipe, I knew I had to try it. Something about the combination of brown butter, pumpkin, and all those fall spices makes this the absolute perfect Madeleine!
Brown butter Pumpkin Madeleines
Preheat oven to 350º – Recipe makes exactly 24
You’ll need at least one Madeleine pan. I have one and almost every recipe makes exactly two pans. It’s really not a big deal to make them in two batches, but if you have two pans, you’ll be done in 10 minutes….just enough time to clean up the kitchen!
1 stick (8 ounces) unsalted butter, plus a little more for brushing on pans.
Melt butter in a small heavy sauce pan on very low heat. It will take about ten minutes for the butter to begin to brown. Once it starts to take on a golden color, watch it closely so it does not burn. Remove from the heat and allow to cool a bit.
In a medium bowl, sift the flour, baking powder, salt and spices. Set aside.
Place the eggs and brown sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer with the whisk attachment. Mix on medium-high for about five minutes until it becomes light and creamy. Add the pumpkin and vanilla and mix for a few seconds until combined. Slowly add in the flour mixture and mix just until combined. Gradually add the slightly cooled melted butter and mix. Use a rubber spatula to make sure all ingredients are combined with no pockets of flour mixture.
Use a cookie scoop with a release attachment to get the same size each time. After each mold is 3/4 filled, gently tap the pan several times so the dough spreads evenly into each mold.
Bake each pan in the center of a 350º oven for 5 minutes, rotate the pan and bake for an additional 5 to 6 minutes. The little cakes should bounce back when pressed gently with the tip of your finger when they are done.
Allow pan to cool for a few minutes before turning the pan over onto the wire rack releasing each little cake. Dust each with a little confectioners sugar and enjoy while warm!
Tinyprints makes it easy to get ready for Halloween night which happens to falls on a Saturday this year! Our town is always the place to be for trick-or-treaters and since we live on an “in-town” street we will get a lot of foot traffic. Once again I used treat sacks from The Container Store sealed with custom gift tag stickers from tinyprints.
This year tinyprints has custom beverage napkins that are perfect to use or give as a hostess gift. They come in a beautiful box so it’s almost like they are already gift wrapped.
Using custom labels has introduced us to many new neighbors. Just that little seal with our name makes it more personal. We still give out all those fun size candy bars, but filling treat bags makes it seem more special…if you ask me! I was featured on the tinyprints blog today! Check it out right here!