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?
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!
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!
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.
“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.
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
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
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.