Serena & Lily Giveaway

Monday, December 19, 2016

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.

Serena & Lily Giveaway

Serena & Lily Giveaway

Serena & Lily Giveaway

Serena & Lily Giveaway

When I have bloggers over I use my custom stamps from Casey Rubber Stamps for a latte to go.  It’s the little things.

Here’s how Brooke from Nesting with Grace styled hers two ways:

Serena & Lily Giveaway

And here’s Cait’s from Pattern me Pretty:

Serena & Lily Giveaway

 

 

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Holiday Photo Cards + Tinyprints

Friday, December 16, 2016

I worked with Tinyprints again this year for our Christmas card. They have the most beautiful holiday and Christmas photo cards.  Tinyprints makes it so easy to upload your photo to see how it would look with the cards you like.  I’m always pleased with the options they have.   The last few years we used  Letterpress. This year I went to the site completely open minded.  I used a photo from Summer vacation–and I never do that, but it did make the whole experience a lot less stressful.  Tinyprints lets you upload your photo, personalize the message and then get a proof.

Holiday Photo Cards + Tinyprints

You can play around with photos and really feel like you are designing your card with all the options they offer. Options I chose for our card:   Rounded corners, Premium DoubleThick Matt and  photos on both sides. Remember the days when you had the perfect vertical photo, but the only cards you liked were cards for a horizontal photo?  Tinyprints has a card for every photo and every budget.

Holiday Photo Cards + Tinyprints

Holiday Photo Cards + Tinyprints

Even the envelopes are a standout at tinyprints.  I went with this one with a return address on the back in the same lovely handwritten font.  To make the envelopes extra special we chose to add a liner.  If you haven’t ordered your cards yet, tinyprints is offering 30% off everything with the code:  HOLLYJOLLY.  And if you order today and select expedited shipping, you can get your cards by December 23rd.

Holiday Photo Cards + Tinyprints

To display our cards I used a birch branch and a Vintage Clip Display Chain from Terrain.

 

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JORD Wood Watches

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

I’ve talked about JORD Wood Watches before and, you know what, we still love them.  Madeline and I have the Fieldcrest Series in Maple.  Mine is slightly larger and Madeline’s is a small watch, perfect for women.  I tend to like to wear a larger watch.  Both watches have held up beautifully.  This time I decided to let my son choose one.  He was actually way more interested that I thought.  I guess I don’t give him enough credit.  He chose the Reece Series in Walnut and Navy.  And to make them even better– Jord is offering engraving on the back of the watch or on the really cool wood box.  We went with the engraving on the back of  the watch.  It makes it a great gift.  It arrived just in time to wear to a few college interviews and I think it gave him a little extra confidence.  There’s something old school about a watch and an interview.  This watch looks great with a nice starched shirt–or with t-shirt.  So here’s your chance for a gift card towards the purchase of a Jord Timepiece.  And–there’s still time to have it engraved.  Not a lot of time remaining, so hurry!  Check it our here!

Jord Wood Watches

Jord Wood Watches

JORD Wood Watches

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Chocolate Crackle Cookies

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

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 AnthropologieThis 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?

Chocolate Crackle Cookies

Chocolate Crackle Cookies

Chocolate Crackle Cookies

Chocolate Crackle Cookies

Chocolate Crackle Cookies

 

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Black Garage + Barn Light Electric

Friday, December 9, 2016

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.

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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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