home my cottage projects book club shop featured my buttons advertise

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Country Living Christmas

The Rest of the Story
source: Country Living: Merry & Bright

Yesterday, I showed some tattered wallpaper and stockings.
One reader thought it was a staged photo but I knew I'd seen this whole room before.
So I did a search and found it.
The complete dining room that went with this photo.
source: Country Living: Merry & Bright
I don't know maybe it is staged. That room looks pretty dilapidated. 
See the ceiling?
This was in a past issue of Country Living but it's also in this book -
source: Home Companion
Love this sweet little fireplace. And this stocking is great inspiration too.
I still miss the magazine "Home Companion", don't you?

I'll have mantel photos later today.

Stockings will not be included.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Christmas Stockings

All in a Row
I love this photo...the long felt stockings and the tattered wallpaper, the hydrangeas, chandelier, 
turquoise chairs, crystal and china. 

I'm hoping to get my Christmas mantel up today to show over at 
She's having a Christmas Mantel party.
I am also working on my dining room furniture. 
I can't wait till its done and I can pull that room together.
I also did a little thrifting last week which I rarely do and found some cool stuff
that I'll show later in the week.

I'm now thinking I need to make some new stockings for the fireplace.
I'm tired of the ones I have.
I need four...one for each dog of course.

I went searching for stocking inspiration.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Industrial Windows

Not Just for Business
Lately, I'm finding myself drawn to rooms with factory style windows.
as a room divider
source: Veranda
source: Remodelista
as a shower door

as a mirror

Friday, November 26, 2010

Thanksgiving 2010

Let's Recap
It was a beautiful day at my friend, Shannon's house.
The table was set just so.
She had fifteen for dinner.
This is the dessert buffet.
I didn't take a photo of the dinner buffet but it included anything and everything 
you could ever want for Thanksgiving.
We had...
Two kinds of stuffing
sweet potatoes
mashed potatoes
broccoli and rice casserole
green bean casserole
grilled asparagus
corn pudding
home made rolls
assorted cheeses and fruit
cranberry fruit mold
red velvet cake
pumpkin cheese cake
chocolate cake
chocolate french silk pie
pumpkin pie
pumpkin roll
fluffy pink stuff

if you notice
my wild rice salad is not on the list

I made it last night while I talked on the phone.
I usually go to the Heath Food store to buy my wild rice.
But I didn't want to make an extra trip.
So I bought a mixture of wild rice, brown rice and texmati rice.
I often do half brown and half wild so I thought it would be ok.
And it probably would have.
But I talked for 20 minutes with my sister and then said I'd check the rice in another 10
and it should be fine.
Well, it wasn't. It was mush.
Turns out this rice I'd never used before was quick cook rice.
I always use regular rice.
This rice was done in 15.
So it was a mess.
I went ahead and mixed it all together hoping it would still be good.
It wasn't. By morning...it really was horrid.

So I ended up only taking asparagus.

I learned my lesson.
An inexperienced cook needs to pay attention to what she is doing in the kitchen.
We didn't need it any way. 
No one missed it.

So maybe I'll try again at Christmas.

I said it wasn't about the food but that IS why we were all gathered.
There was football watched.
Not by me.

There were furry friends underfoot.

I sat at the kid's table.
Kid's table.

These photos show the dining room I painted this past summer with Shannon.
It's not my style at all but look how great it looks with her things.
We should just call her house "Holiday House" because it does look so pretty 
all dressed up for the Holidays.
She had the back bedrooms already decked out for Christmas and will be doing 
the entire house this weekend.

I'll probably go by to see how it is coming along.
I'll take photos when it's all up.

When she is done, it looks like Santa himself lives there.

I hope your day went as planned.

sharing at

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!!!

It's not the food, its the company...
Does not matter what you eat
It might be something as simple as
and toast
Perhaps a pretzel and a jelly bean
What matters is who you share it with.

I hope you are sharing your Thanksgiving with those you love.

My family used to have huge Thanksgivings centered around my paternal Grandmother.
After her death in 1997...gradually everyone scattered.
But when she was with us on Thanksgiving, just after we all sat down to eat but before we
COULD eat...she'd make each of us go around the table and say what we were thankful for.
My father and uncles hated this.
One of them would always say,
"I'm thankful this year wasn't any worse".

That's how this year has been - not a lot for me to be thankful for..it's been a rough one...
and yet it could have been worse.

 Thank you to all of you that read my blog and offer encouragement and pick me up in spirit
when I'm feeling like no one cares about the stuff I care about.
You care.
I'm more thankful than you could ever possibly know.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Thinking of Christmas

Christmas Dreams
I don't decorate for Christmas till after Thanksgiving.
I think it's just wrong to do before.
Thanksgiving is a wonderful holiday all it's own and 
I hate how it gets lumped in with Christmas and doesn't get paid enough attention all it's own.
However...even though there are no decorations out in my house,
I am thinking about it.
I am getting anxious to pull out all my storage bins full of my vintage ornaments.

After this Thursday I'll feel panicked that I don't have my outside lights up.

But I just try not to think about it till Thanksgiving is over. 

For me Christmas is all about the decorating and pretty much nothing else.

I'm obsessed with it. 
How I'm decorating.
How my friends are decorating.
How the decorations look around town.
I know there is a deep reason for the season...
but I just care about how it looks.

I'm shallow like that.

Really, I'm not shallow but how things are decorated is of the utmost importance to me.
I'll forgive anything but a poorly decorated Christmas tree.

My Christmas Tree Decorating Rules
follow these rules for an extraordinary tree

1. Lots of lights and they need to go up and down the branches if your tree isn't already lit. 
Get them by the trunk and work out towards the end of each branch.
(this isn't as big an issue as it used to be since most trees come prelit these days)

2. Big balls go towards the bottom and tucked inside the tree towards the trunk.

3. Put balls inside the tree, near the trunk. this gives the tree depth. 
Balls all up and down each branch
(pet peeve of mine is a tree with all the balls out there on the tips...no...no...no)

4. If your ornament collection is of all different types of ornaments in all kinds of colors...
go buy several boxes of plain colored balls to disperse throughout the tree. 
Like 60 red balls sprinkled throughout or 60 silver ones. It will tie the whole tree together. 
I love a tree with special ornaments on it collected over the years....its very special...
but when you add a unifying color...the whole tree will come together suddenly 
and not look hodge podge.

5. You'll need smaller ornaments to put at the top of the tree

6. You need way more ornaments than you think you do. 
My tree limbs will be drooping under the weight of it's ornaments.

7. Oh..most important...use floral wire to attach your ornaments to the tree. 
I have a white tree so I use white wire.
Using wire you can make the ornaments closer to the branch and vary how much ornaments hang down.
This looks so much better than hooks.
And you can leave the bits of wire on when you put the ornament away. 
They'll be all set to use next year.

8. Use something unusual as a tree stand. I use a large urn which is my favorite but I've also used
large galvanized buckets too which look great. 
Fill the urn or bucket with white rock or I'm currently using those glass pebbles that all craft
stores sell with the floral stuff. Walmart has them for the very cheapest.
Cut a pvc pipe that is larger in diameter than your tree post and put it in the center of the container
andfill the pebbles around it. Then your tree pole just slides into that pvc pipe.
Then I cover the top of the pebbles with faux snow and white glitter.

sharing at

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Wild Rice Salad

Wild Rice Salad
with Cranberries and Orange
(my favorite thing to make for Thanksgiving)


Serves 8 to 10
  • 3 cups wild rice
  • Salt
  • 4 blood oranges, or navel oranges
  • 3 tablespoons red-wine vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons sherry vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 6 scallions, cut into 1/8-inch rounds
  • 1 cup dried cranberries
  • 1 bunch flat-leaf parsley, leaves finely chopped (1/2 cup)


  1. Cook wild rice in a large pot of salted boiling water until just tender, about 40 minutes. Drain in a colander.
  2. Meanwhile, cut away peel and pith from oranges; holding oranges over a bowl to catch the juice, remove segments from white membrane; place segments in the bowl.
  3. Combine vinegars, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, and pepper in a bowl. Slowly whisk in olive oil.
  4. In a large serving bowl, combine rice, scallions, dried cranberries, parsley, and orange sections and their juice. Drizzle vinaigrette over the salad, gently toss, season, and serve.
From Martha Stewart Living, December/January 1995/1996

Read more at Marthastewart.com: Wild Rice Salad - Martha Stewart Recipes 


I don't cook very much but I have a few things that I make that are sure fire hits.

I'll be spending Thanksgiving at my friend, Shannon's house. 
I was told to bring a vegetable.
I always bring this.
It is the very best Thanksgiving salad.
Works great for Christmas too.
Sometimes we have it at Christmas scooped into the center of baked acorn squash.

I actually, never measure anything when making this salad...except the rice.
And many times I'll do half rice, half barley or something like that.
Orzo is good too.

I just pour and dump what seems right. You really can't mess it up.

I always use canned mandarin oranges instead and I always put some sort of nut in it too. 
Pine nuts or pumpkin seeds, both are good. 

I pour in orange juice too.
I make it the night before because the longer it sets...the better it gets.
It's even better on day three.

I first had this salad at Dean and Deluca's in New York City. 
I didn't have the recipe so I guessed at what was in it. 
The first time I made it with fresh cranberries...that was a mistake...of course...
I had to dump sugar in it. It really was not good. 

But then I found this recipe on MarthaStewart.com and it works beautifully.

The dried cranberries are really what makes this so tasty. 
After it's set in the refrigerator over night...those dried cranberries plump up
and seem like they are fresh...when they are not.

This makes such a beautiful salad...I put lots of parsley in it and serve it in a silver bowl.

Update Dec. 10, 2010: 
I'm sharing this recipe at
"Your Favorite Christmas Recipe"