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October 29, 2015

Thanksgiving Collection | Simple Centerpieces, Pewter, Brass & Transferware Classics

The Thanksgiving Collection

Thanksgiving is so special to me.  As a home entertaining enthusiast, it is a holiday that embraces all of the elements I absolutely love - traditional recipes, classic decor, a cozy wood-burning fire, a big table filled with family in a warm home.  We are hosting this year, the first in our new house.  My mind is brimming with ideas for making it a special (yet simple) holiday for our family.  I want to make sure our house is filled with traditional accents - piles of cloved oranges, bittersweet branches, pumpkins and gourds, lit candles everywhere, and of course, delicious aromas of the feast.  I think about all of these elements when I put together this collection.

I really focused on finding simple ways to set of beautiful table for our family celebrations.  You'll find versatile items to use all year long with seasonal touches, restocked linens and lots and lots of candles : )


Two years ago, this "Thankful" card became a tradition for many of you.  The first year's read "I Am Thankful For" - but last year I changed it to "We Are Thankful" to really reinforce the Thanksgiving spirit.  It is such nice way to be greeted as you sit down to a feast that is all about bounty and thanksgiving.  Sometimes knowing (and seeing) that someone is grateful to have us in their lives is all we need to be fulfilled - feeling this love just might encourage them to spread that love to others.  I like that it brings the real point of the Thanksgiving holiday into focus.  Having it right there on the table helps everyone remember what the holiday is all about.

These cards work great as Place Cards or as Gift Tags tied on a present or hostess gift.

The card is a natural, creamy cardstock printed in the a warm chocolatey brown.
Pewter & Glass Hurricane, $88

As you all know, I'm a big fan of Taper candles.  I think there is nothing more elegant or classic than a hand dipped taper candle on a mantle or on a table.  Typically, when I come across hurricanes they are for pillar candles.  When I saw this pewter hurricane base for a taper candle paired with a tall thin glass sleeve I knew it would the be the perfect thing for our Thanksgiving table.  
It is a little bit modern with its super tall clean glass, and a lot classic with the pewter base and taper candle.  I envision it paired with bittersweet trails and gourds on Thanksgiving, and maybe filled with cloves and cranberries for Christmas morning.  I love, love, love these.

They are special, to be sure.  We received many pewter serving pieces for our wedding.  I use them for almost every occasion from casual to elegant - they seem to match any occasion.   

Shop the Pewter Hurricane >
One of my favorite things to do now that the weather is getting quite chilly is to wake up early in the morning before anyone else is awake.  I come downstairs and I light this single taper candle before I turn on any other lights.  (This particular candle is a Bayberry Candle, below, and smells like earthy, warm, natural spice.)  
There is something so primitive and luxurious about using the light of a candle in the early morning to make your coffee or tea, or to read a book. 
This early American antique style candlestick is meant just for that.  In fact, it is called a "Library Candle Holder."  Made from pewter with simple, yet elegant design.

I have been so excited to get these candles back in stock. Only available during the holiday season (the candle company only makes one batch!) they are my favorite hostess gift to give during the holidays.

The natural scent that these candles have from the Bayberry is warm, earthy and just a bit spicy.  If you've ever visited Nantucket, the scent of the Bayberry shrubs greet you as you get off of the fairy - completely nostalgic and comforting. The candles were among the most prized candles in colonial America because of their clear, consistent light and warm scent.

The card that is enclosed with the candles tells the history of using Bayberry Candles at Christmastime :
"These tapers are handcrafted using the purest bayberry wax.  Bayberry wax is the rarest and most prized of all candle waxes, and has a warm, earthy, spicy aroma.  According to tradition, to bring good luck, you must burn a Bayberry Candle on Christmas Day.  If the flame burns bright and the light shines clear, then heaven will bless you throughout the year." 

I don't think there is anything as classic and lovely as transferware.  Popularized in 18th century England, it seems to never go out of style and look great and fresh every season.  These planters are so versatile.  They can be used for display on a mantle or a shelf, or on a table.  I plan to plant paperwhite and amaryllis bulbs in mine and give them away as hostess gifts this year.  
I also love them going down a table filled with various things - piles of clementines, nuts or gourds.  
Set of 3 : Small 4", Med 6", Large 8"

Transferware, Brown & White Round Planters, Set of 3, $24.50

I used this round set of planters in various ways, creating a clustered centerpiece.  I used some as as candle holders by inserting foam into the base.  They were very simple to make and can easily change with the seasons.  Others simply hold piles of cloved oranges.

Here, I've used the medium Brown & White Round Planter to make a gift for a teacher.  It features a planted paperwhite bulb - one of my favorite gifts to give for Thanksgiving. 

I think they look equally as charming on a mantle, too.  Now you know why I went so crazy with the transferware - so many ways to use them!

Hand-Dipped 6" Taper Candles, $6

These are a new addition to my candle collection (addition? obsession?).  I recently saw these in an issue of a magazine and thought, oh aren't they so cute!  Then I saw the packaging and realized they were made by the same company that makes mine... right down the street from my house.  Of course, I had to have them.  Since Thanksgiving is all about the ultimate family meal, what is more appropriate than these cute, classic candles for your table.  

Transferware, Blue & White Round Planters, Set of 3, $24.50

Seasonless and classic, Blue & White is one of my favorite combinations - and a new one for me to collect.  You might remember seeing these on our hearth room mantle!

Transferware, Blue & White Square Planters, Set of 4, $28.50 
Brass Planter Box, $14 

A couple of years ago I had an old wooden box that sat on our kitchen table.  Each season I found more and more uses for it.  I loved the linear shape and how it so easily lend itself to a line of planted bulbs (paperwhites or amaryllis) for the holidays, or daffodils in the spring.  I used it filled with herbs in the summer and piled with mini gourds in the fall.  It worked great on our old, more rustic table (which was on a porch), but now I found myself looking for a more refined vessel. 
Last year, our friend Tessa (Nine and Sixteen) featured an oblong metal planter on her Holiday table with candles going down the center and greenery tucked all around.  Brilliant.  It is one of those images that stuck in my head.  I searched and searched for the perfect shape and patina (this unlaquered brass will age over time) to duplicate the look in our home this holiday season.  I hope you can do the same : )

Turkey Copper Cookie Cutter, $15

I can't wait to have these waiting for Emma and my nieces on Thanksgiving day.   I'm still debating on using them as yummy placecards, or have the girls enjoy decorating them while the adults enjoy pie!   

These cookie cutters are extra special, as they are handmade in the US from copper - the most traditional metal for cutters.  They are a truly heirloom quality cutter that can be passed down for generations.  I love collecting copper cutters - and I love thinking that Emma will be using them with her kids and grandkids as they make holiday memories as I did with my Mom and Sister.
Maple Praline Syrup, $8

I have a special recipe for a Pecan Pie that uses this syrup, giving it an amazingly deep taste!  Stay tuned  : )    This makes a great gift, along with a bag of pecans and the recipe.
12 oz.

Windowpane Plaid Throw, $88

With its warm colors and traditional colors, this stately throw is just the perfect thing for your home.  It will transition beautifully from fall to the Holidays with the mix of warm camel, brown and red.
I can't tell you how soft this is!  It is definitely a throw you will want to actually use. 

Linen Collection 

Of course, nothing completes a table like linens.  I've restocked all of the most popular linens from the Fall Collection, including this Provence Tablecloth and these checked tea towels.  Shop all of the linens >

I hope you found something that inspired you and will help you make your Thanksgiving simple and special for your family.


October 28, 2015

Thanksgiving Collection Preview | Coming tomorrow!

Tomorrow morning I will share my Thanksgiving Collection full of simple centerpiece ideas, homemade (but a sinch to make) gifts, and traditional accents.  The entire collection is designed to make it easy for you to enjoy your holiday and make it special for your family.  I'll meet you here tomorrow morning at 8 a.m. EST : )


October 22, 2015

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October 14, 2015

Mike's Library Design Board & Inspiration

We are finally furnishing the last empty room in our house.  With so many house decisions to be made, we decided to wait a while to do Mike's Library/Office.  For the last couple of months the wood paneled room has been completely empty, collecting dust (and random toys, junk, etc.).  Mid-October is here and I'm swimming in swatches of tartan plaids and wool; the timing couldn't be more perfect to outfit this warm and cozy room.  It would've been hard to furnish a handsome library properly in the middle of May : )

Above : The photo above is not Mike's Library.  It is Ralph Lauren's... so, not even close to Mike's.  Each time we've been into a Ralph Lauren flagship store (New York, Aspen, Chicago & East Hampton), we both love the design and feeling of warm spaces.  He always walks away saying, that is exactly what I want someday.  

This is his dream : a warm wood-paneled room full of collected books, sports mementoes (golf flags), Mizzou paraphernalia and tufted leather chairs.  However, his room will not feature an over-sized oil painting, but a flatscreen TV instead ; )  

With Mike's vision taking the lead, here is what I've come up with : 
On the design board :  Ralph Lauren's Study, Restoration Hardware Churchill Chairs (we ordered them in Antique Whiskey), Red Tartan Plaid Throw, Camel & Grey Throws from my store, Antique Rug (we purchased last weekend!), Green & Navy Tartan Plaid Pillow, Brass Picture Lamps, Herringbone and Nailhead Ottoman (debating...).

This colorful and rich world is all new to me - and fun.  I've always been a very neutral appreciating person, but have also loved Mike's vision and feeling of those masculine spaces.   

We have most of the pieces in place, except :

Ottoman : While Ralph layers lots of different patterns, my neutral loving instincts would like to ground the room with this camel and brown herringbone ottoman to help it fit in with the rest of the house.  Thoughts?  Another option is this Kilim Ottoman from local shop, Nell Hills.  It would create more of a gathered and eclectic feel.  Hard to tell in the photo, but has browns, ivory and red.

Window Treatments : I've ordered some linen Roman Shades that will mimic grasscloth.  I would like to also do drapes, but again not sure how neutral I should go.

I'll set you up for how the room fits in our house : 

In this photo, the front door is on the left - this is the front foyer.  Behind me is our natural linen filled living room.

The chairs arrived yesterday - I'm so relieved that they fit nicely.  I was terrified that they would be scrunched in here.  As always, stained wood is hard to photograph; it appears yellowish here, but doesn't read that way in person.

The rug is about 5'x7'.  We found it at Art & Antiques in Rocheport, Mo. over the weekend.

We were drawn to this rug because it has navy and a rusty red with caramel and browns - hard to find.

My spode woodland dishes have found a home here.  I've updated the bookcases from this photo to add some actual books, too.

This is where the TV will go.

This desk was a find of all finds.  It is called a Shipmen's desk.  It has a leather top and was a Bargain and a half, thank goodness.  It is one of my favorite pieces in our entire house.

I'm also planning to reupholster the desk chair - a vintage walnut and leather desk chair from the 70's... another decision to be made.   I'm happy to have it sort of disappear for the moment with a throw draped over until I can decide.

Now, I'm off to file through this Pinterest Board I created on my ipad to hunt for more inspiration while I have lunch on the back porch.  I love October.  And I love furnishing warm and cozy rooms with lots of colors.  Who knew?! 

October 13, 2015

This Week | Menu & Projects

I'm pretending today is Monday... I have no idea what happened to yesterday, but it was a quick one.  I wish October days crawled by as slowly as August ones.  They are going too quickly - I can hardly believe it is already (almost) half over.  Time, please slow down.

Last week's checklist got partially completed - very partially.  I did accomplish Emma's 1-2 year-old book, so I'll call it a win!

Another big "win" was the after school Caramel Popcorn (recipe here).

A side not about making actual (non-microwave) popcorn : I haven't had real stove-top popped popcorn since we got a microwave in 1985.  It was such a treat.  Emma and I were both amazed that just a small scoop of kernels filled the pot!  We enjoy our fair share of treats (Emma's slightly obsessed with Starbucks cake pops...), but I do love being able to show her how food is made - and that it doesn't have come out of a package to be a treat.  I really do try to avoid things that coming in fancy packages (kid yogurts, snacks, etc.) because I like her food to look like food instead of a fun toy/treat.  So, "homemade" popcorn is going to be a new favorite... especially topped with caramel.

The entire recipe was very simple and easy.  I added a lot of extra sea salt and we both gobbled it up.  I plan to make this often - and might throw in some cashews next time, too.  Yum!

I've been getting requests for more unedited photos and snippets of our home.  I love the idea of that - and it is actually much easier than staging anyway.  I took my camera around this morning a captured a couple of favorite moments happening in our home this October.

I love this pumpkin!  From one side he looks green and from the other he looks orange.  Very pretty in our hearth room.  Clearly, Mr. Darcy couldn't care less.

These little gourds were supposed to be made into vases for the mantle to house bittersweet, but they've moved right into their spot on the counter and I don't think they are going anywhere.

Emma and I've been collecting leaves for a new project.  Last year when we didn't have a house (ok, that's a little dramatic - we were living with Mike's parents while our house was being built), I would dream about all of the projects and crafts we would do to decorate each season.   I love seeing our real life strewn about the house.  It might be a pile of leaves, Emma's "notes" she's been writing or a stack of thank you notes received.  I feel like all of these signs of life make a home feel so good.  Did you spot that playdoh creation in the background with the copper cookie cutter?  A playdoh cupcake topped with a My Little Pony - a house specialty.

This is our leaf project.  I bought a foam wreath form and wrapped it with Gold Ribbon (2" grosgrain from my store).  We'll collect favorite leaves throughout the fall and pin them on the wreath as we go.  I'm always up for activities that will help engage her in nature and changing of the seasons.  Whatever I can do to avoid requests for shows/ipad... the never ending battle.

By Thanksgiving I hope to have a wreath full of leaves to hang on our door.  Emma loved using the pins - now she wants to start sewing... eeeek!

Our dining/kitchen table has evolved from apples a couple of weeks ago to mini pie pumpkins.  I've also been lighting these bayberry candles I had left over from last year.  They will be back in the store in a couple of weeks.  The scent is so earthy and everything I love.  Usually I don't burn scented candles at the table - and these aren't really "scented."  They are naturally fragrant because of the bayberry wax used.

Shoes, two by two, on the stairs.  I buy Emma the same pair of shoes every year in the same color - Navy and Pale Pink.  I'm so glad she still loves them and picks them out to wear.  I dread the year she no longer wants to wear her leather Mary Janes.

*my flats are from j.crew.
*emma's are L'Amour found here.

We made our first "real" rug purchase over the weekend - an antique persian for Mike's Office.  I love the colors.  Normally, I lean toward warm neutrals, so this is a big departure.  I'm hoping to add a rug like these to each room of our house - especially to use during the colder months.    It will take some time to collect (and be able to afford...) them and I look forward to the hunt.  The next on my list is a runner for the kitchen.  I'm hoping to find one that is well worn and a steal, since it will take a beating between my stove and the sink.

Now that we have the rug, I'll be sharing the design board for his Office/Library tomorrow - the chairs are arriving today.

I'm so glad that we left some of the original hardware in the house when we re-built.  Many times my builder and Mike tried to talk me into a new door and new hardware for the front entry.

 But then, I would've missed moments like this that show some age and life.  Stick to your guns.

Some pumpkin piles from last weekend and leaves beginning to pile up, too.  Mr. is using all of his restraint not to dart out of the front door.  I still need to fill my basket.  I'm hoping to find some branches of leaves this week that will fit the bill.

I'm obsessed with these little "copper" salt and peppers I found at target last week.  Just this tiny bit of copper color gives the kitchen a warmer feel.  And they were a steal.  I don't know if they are "heirloom quality" (maybe plastic/copper?), but they do the job.

This week's menu :

Braised Beef & Vegetable Stew

I am sure that I sound like a broken record when it comes to recommending this stew, but it is my absolute favorite.  It is also my go-to for delivering to friends with new babies... as we did yesterday for a friend with new twin girls.  It is just so, so good.

I had to reach way back into the archives for this one.  I have been in the mood for really yummy gravy and mashed potatoes.  Maybe I've been looking at too many Thanksgiving inspiration photos.

Because I can't avoid pasta for more than a couple of days in a row : )  This was also from many years ago, and I always forget about it.  It is a great dish for fall because the roasted red pepper cream sauce makes it very hearty and comforting.

Ginger Spice Cookies

I'm looking to experiment with these this week - maybe a cross between this recipe and a snicker-doodle.  If I fail, at least the kitchen will smell amazing : )

Happy Week,

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