I grew up where every holiday meant a Hallmark greeting card. There is nothing wrong with a store bought card, but why not make them? This year I saw that Dunkin Donuts has new premium teas and one called Hibiscus Kiss. I purchased a box and then got out my watercolor paints.
Once the paper was dry I went back and in some blank spaces added the Happy Valentine’s Day message. I used this pen in a very narrow tip kind of like I did here.
I use a fiskar’s paper cutter to trim the card and a heart punch to make watercolor hearts. Each one is unique. You can move the heart punch around the paper to create your little abstract painted heart.
Put a packet of Dunkin Donuts Hibiscus Kiss Tea, a watercolor note and some hearts in an envelope and send to your Valentine. I used envelopes that I already had and so each “card” was less than a dollar. Way less than a store bought card and you really put your heart into making them! Add an address label from tinyprints and a love stamp and pop them in the mail.
Honeycrisp Hasselback apples. Need I say more? Hasselback potaotes were my favorite, but now it’s Hasselback apples. We used Honeycrisp apples because we LOVE them. Granny Smith apples would be good too. We made individual ones in these cute Anchor Hockingmini pie dishes because everything is better when it’s in its own dish, right? Super easy to make and not so much of a recipe as much as a combination of ingredients. The amount of course depends on how many apples and how healthy you want them to be. So we took a less is more approach with the syrup, brown sugar and butter.
National Shortbread Day? Who knew that was a thing? I only know because I saw it on World Market’s Social Media this morning. We were hoping for a snow day or at least a delay, but no luck. Not enough snow.
Shortbread cookies are the easiest thing to make with just a few ingredients. Butter (obviously), sugar, flour, vanilla and a tiny bit of salt. I call these Lorna’s Shortbread cookies because my friend Lorna would always make the dough and shape it into long rectangles and carefully wrap in plastic wrap and then leave them in our freezer. Whenever someone came over I could take one out and slice and bake. They are perfect with a cup of tea. I think I’ll make these for my friends at Valentine’s Day, but instead of baking them I’ll give them just like Lorna left them in our freezer. That way they can make them whenever they feel like having a treat. They save for months if placed in a freezer bag. Here’s an old post that you can find here. You can also find the recipe here.
Make a DIY pomegranate bird feeder in just a few minutes. Madeline and I made ours with a few bruised pomegranates we had left over from the holidays. We see quite a few cardinals in our yard and I thought a bird feeder might make them stick around a little while longer. Now I realize we are probably feeding more squirrels than birds—but we are going to give it a try.
Slice the pomegranate in half and scoop out the flesh leaving a thick edge to support the cord or twine. Then pierce four holes about 1/2″ from the top with a sharp object. (we used the tip of a meat thermometer). String the cord through one hole to another and tie at the top. Repeat with the second two holes. Fill with bird seed, hang from a branch and wait for the birds to discover it. This post inspired by the Orange Bird Feeder my friend Sheri Silver made a few years ago. Thanks Sheri, you always inspire me!
If you’ve come over from our Serena & Lily Giveaway on Instagram–welcome! Here’s how I use my new South Seas Side Cart and keep reading to see how Brooke and Cait use theirs! Around the holidays I love to have people stop by–day or evening I can easily prepare a coffee or drink station with my new bar cart from Serena & Lily. Having a designated piece of furniture that can be moved from one room to another and not have to worry about clearing something off, makes it easy to quickly assemble for a gathering. I set up a coffee and tea bar using my nespresso for the coffee and a large S’well bottle holds hot water for tea. A few homemade goodies or even store bought treats from Trader Joe’s makes it festive. In a small house it’s easier to have drinks set up in one room and food on the kitchen island.
When I have bloggers over I use my custom stamps from Casey Rubber Stamps for a latte to go. It’s the little things.
Chocolate Crackle Cookies–I’m pretty sure we called them Chocolate Crinkle Cookies, but whatever you call them they are an old time favorite. I love to give a small plate of cookies to neighbors and these seem perfect this year. You know what makes them even more special? Giving them on a festive plate from Anthropologie. This recipe from Martha Stewart is so good. Just don’t over bake! You want them to be chewy and soft. What’s your holiday favorite from childhood?
When we bought our current home we knew it was a bit of a project. We began with the detached garage and yard. It desperately needed attention. The entire yard was overgrown. The existing garage was an eye sore that took up a big chunk of the backyard. The first thing we did was remove the overgrown shrubs and trees. Our goal was create a real yard with enough room to play. The next thing we did was paint it black. It took one weekend and instantly it transformed the look. To take it to the next level, my husband built a portico over the side door making it look more like a cottage. The only thing missing was an exterior light.
We went with the Atomic Industrial Guard Sconce from Barn Light Electric. We are so happy with the look and quality of the sconce. You are able to customize your light with several options. We really wanted the Galvanized Finish against the black, but there are 30 different Finish options to choose from. This makes it a great option to use not only for outdoor, but in bathrooms, hallways, playrooms, mudrooms to name a few. You can also select between three different guard options and six different glass options. And these are options just for the Atomic Industrial Guard Sconce. Barn Light Electric has so many lighting options for any type of home or commercial project. I’ve been seeing Barn Light Electric on Pinterest for quite some time and have loved everything from the Original Warehouse Gooseneck to their new Machine Age Lighting. The more I read about Barn Light Electric and their commitment to quality, the more I love this company. They are based in Titusville, Florida where everything is made, in the USA. It started as a passion for vintage lighting fixtures by owners Bryan and Donna Scott. I think if you watch their story, you’ll see why I love this company and their products.
A look at before when we bought the house a few years ago and today. The yard is still small, but considered large for an in-town property. Due to the size of the yard we almost always have at least one broken window–my husband has become quite proficient in small pane window repair. Now all we need is a big wreath on that black garage. In the next few weeks I’ll post some photos of how we made the portico and how we decorated this space for Christmas.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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?