Friday, November 30, 2007

Marshmallow World

Last night, my Mom & I hosted a table at church to celebrate the beginning of the holiday season. Our theme was "A Vintage Christmas" and our little winter village looked so cute after a marshmallow snowstorm. We served hot tea and iced petit fours and our table of eight laughed and talked all night. We had such a fun time planning this. My Mom's favorite part? The little skaters on the frozen pond...can you see them?

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Advent Calendars

Advent Calendars are a sweet way to countdown to Christmas. This photograph shows mine from last year - a paper diorama with numbered windows around the border. Saturday is December you have an advent calendar for this year? When you are out running errands this weekend, Cost Plus World Market has advent calendars from around the world - some include chocolate! This year, I am making an advent house from a Martha Stewart crafts kit at Michael's. Go find yourself a wonderful advent calendar and then tell me what you found!

Monday, November 26, 2007

Somerset Collection

The 2007 Somerset Collection Holiday Magazine includes a wonderful feature article about my family baking tradition. Every year, our 7 nieces and nephews spend a snowy Sunday afternoon with us baking & decorating sugar cookies made with my grandmother's recipe. We sort through my 150+ cookie cutters (including the heirloom cutters hand-forged by my great-grandfather) and get lost in a day of cookie dough, sprinkles and relaxed family fun. The article & photographs do a wonderful job capturing our home and style at the holidays - if you have a chance, pick up a copy...and flip to pages 116-118!

Cyber Monday

On a day when internet sales are whirling about, I want to highlight my most popular online gift...a 3, 6 or 12 month subscription to DELIGHT.
A subscription to DELIGHT brings her a surprise in the mail every month. Little things that are pretty, fragrant, delicious, fun…adding whimsy to life one package at a time. You know she'll love it...

Friday, November 23, 2007

Vintage style ornaments

I am designing a host of new ornaments for my Christmas tree this year - some inspired by the vintage ornaments in this photograph. They will revolve around antique shades of mint, pink and pale gold. I'll use glittter, paper, felt and sequins to add some holiday sparkle. I want to display them on a table in an old fashioned cardboard ornament box. I can't wait to see how it turns out! Give me about 10 days and I'll show you the result. We are getting our tree tomorrow...
You can see some of my creations here.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

A Moveable Feast

Today is the day that I cue up my Tivo and play the Martha show back-to-back on my kitchen television while I cook.
*Yams with pineapple, mandarin oranges & spices
*Classic Green Bean casserole
*Mini-Cheddar biscuits (new)
*Cranberry jello mold with apples & cream cheese
*Corn Pudding (new)
*Fresh Cranberry Relish
*Ham & Cheese breakfast casserole
These dishes comprise what I call my "salute to the 50's" Thanksgiving and I make them every year. It makes me happy & tastes delicious. I also love to grocery shop the week of Thanksgiving - it is the one time of year that everyone has the same items in their grocery cart - many variations on a theme. Why "A Moveable Feast?" - I am taking all but the breakfast casserole to my parents house tomorrow. I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving...

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

A Little Black Dress...

I wanted to share this delicious Tiramisu Cheesecake with you. So perfect for any holiday party, it is the recipe equivalent of a little black dress. I have been making it for years and it is always a great success.
Tiramisu Cheesecake
2 (8 oz) pkg cream cheese
1/2 c. white sugar
1/2 t. vanilla
2 eggs
2 T. brandy
2 pkg. Lady Fingers cookies
3/4 c. strong black coffee
1 container Cool Whip
Fresh nutmeg to grate
Mix cream cheese, sugar & vanilla with mixer on medium speed until blended. Add eggs & brandy and mix. Butter pie plate (I love Emile Henry!) and arrange lady fingers across the bottom and up the sides. Pour coffee across lady fingers and allow a minute or two to soak in. You may want to dip the lady fingers that make up the sides to ensure that they are coffee soaked. Pour cream cheese mixture over lady finger crust and bake at 350* for approx 40 min. until center is almost set. I recommend lightly covering with foil to prevent lady finger crust from browning too much. Cool and refrigerate 3 hours or overnight to allow flavors to meld. Garnish with cool whip puffs (use a pastry bag or Easy Accent decorator) and a dusting of nutmeg.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Field Trip

I'm going on a field trip to a General Store in Ohio today to shop for vintage style Christmas ornaments...

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Winter Medallions

Winter Horticulture 2007! I finished the medallion for my front door today. It looks very dramatic from the street and is way more interesting than a typical wreath. I built it on a styrofoam disc and used greening pins to keep the fresh evergreens, silk larkspur & wild blueberries in place. The focal point is a flowering kale surrounded by fresh juniper with it's signature dusty blue berries. Check out my Nov 4th post to read about how I first came to love winter medallions.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Wrap It Up!

Are you looking for inspiration? I love the books by Carolyne Roehm. She has an eye for combining color, texture and scale into lovely moments. Be it a wrapped package or a table scape, I always find myself commenting aloud when I look through her books. What do I say the most? "Oooohhhhh..." Shown here is one of my favorite books, Presentations: A Passion for Gift Wrapping. As you sift through the rolls of holiday gift wrap this year, consider taking on a color scheme under your tree. Cream & Gold? Cranberry & Evergreen? Red & White? It requires nothing more than a plan and the results will be so pretty.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Daley Center Christmas Tree - Chicago

A vertical forest.

I happened by Chicago's Daley Plaza last weekend and saw the city's official Christmas tree being constructed. Hundreds of live trees fastened in tiers to create one amazing showpiece. I thought you'd like a behind-the-scenes look at how they do it. I am including a link to the tree lighting and lots of other holiday events in Chicago. Be sure to pack your holiday calender full of fun.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Christmas Decorations

Imagine my delight when I walked into the Walnut Room at Macy's and saw full-size replicas of my favorite Martha Stewart ornaments surrounding the Great Tree. I love these pastel houses and every year I showcase mine as a little village on a plate rack in my family room. After the tree lighting ceremony, my friend, her daughters and I enjoyed lunch at the foot of this magnificent tree. What did we have for dessert? A delicious Martha Stewart Mini-Gingerbread Bundt cake, of course!

Monday, November 12, 2007

Martha Stewart lights Macy's Centennial Great Tree

November 10, 2007 was a magnificent day in Macy's historic Walnut Room on State Street in Chicago. Martha Stewart and Macy's Terry Lundgren spoke about the joy of holiday traditions in this photo just before the tree was lit. I promise to tell you all about this glorious event, but for now, take a moment to enjoy this spectacular Christmas tree.

Thursday, November 8, 2007


You know how I love & collect magazines for inspiration. One of my favorites is back on the newsstand this month, Victoria. It is different from other shelter magazines in that it is dedicated to beauty in this world. Beautiful linens, flower arrangements, holiday vignettes. There are no projects, instructions or changes you need to make after you read is published to be enjoyed. This photograph in my foyer looks like Victoria to me. Look for it...

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Christmas at Macy's

My wonderful neighbor (mother of the garden club girls) is taking me on a field trip! The four of us are driving to Chicago to see Martha Stewart light the Macy's Christmas tree on State Street. I am so excited. A weekend of holiday shopping, Christmas cheer and Martha - I'll be in "girl heaven."
I thought you might like to see a picture of me with Martha Stewart in 1992. There were 200+ women in line for a book signing at Kmart, and Martha was there without an assistant. I could see that she could use my help, so I took photographs for those who had brought their camera and thanked people for coming etc. Basic hostess stuff, but it let me stay up front where the action was. Just as it was winding down, I had Martha sign a copy of Martha Stewart's Pies & Tarts for me and got my picture taken. She was lovely and thanked me for all of my help.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Turkey 101

A year or two into my marriage, I casually mentioned to my friends that my in-laws were coming from Texas for Thanksgiving. I was 25 and had never cooked a turkey before and the more we discussed what went into a full Thanksgiving meal, the more they started to panic. They insisted that this was a make or break meal to show that I was succeeding as a new wife. Hmmm... Did I have the right serving pieces? What about a tablecloth that fit the dining room table? All good questions. So what did they propose? We hold a Mock-Thanksgiving in October. They would make & bring the key side dishes (and the recipes) and I would try out my first turkey on them. It was brilliant idea. I was able to do a dry run for everything from arranging the centerpiece to polishing the gravy boat (I managed to find it among the wedding gifts in the basement). The meal was a success, which made the real Thanksgiving dinner relaxed and perfect. I learned so much. #1 The perfect turkey can be achieved with Turkey 101 from Martha Stewart, #2 Polishing silver takes longer than I thought and #3 I have the best friends ever.

Winter Horticulture

In 1998, I read an article in Traditional Home magazine about the art & practice of "winter horticulture" in Coopertown, NY. The members of the Clark Foundation dress the town in nature-inspired lawn ornaments and topiary. I thought the medallions made from dried fruits and flowers, winter greens and natural materials like bark & pepper berries were simply beautiful. I was inspired and made this medallion for our front door. Well, it is 10 years later and that medallion is long gone, so I decided to make a new one today - wish me luck.

Friday, November 2, 2007

Association of Collegiate Entrepreneurs

The Michigan State Alumnae newsletter has posted an online article about me titled "Spartan Wins Entrepreneurial Honor" and I have been receiving emails from Spartans around the country.

Back in 1990, I was the only girl in the Association of Collegiate Entrepreneurs chapter at Michigan State. Remember what I said about things coming full circle? It is very fun.