Getting into the spirit

Sunday, November 28, 2010 | | 15 comments
I wanted something new for our front door this Christmas season. This year I want to keep it simple and classic.While shopping over the weekend I picked up a few goodies. This afternoon I laid them all out on the dinning room table to create a wreath for my front door, swag for the mantel and accent pieces for on top of the entertainment center.

When all was done and said, I was very pleased with the outcome.


This is my sad attempt at a tutorial {you've been warned} ...

Begin with a basis plain evergreen wreath.

Add a wreath that has potential but looks a little sad all by its lonesome.

Secure it to the evergreen wreath with wire. Whatever you have on hand will do just fine.


Select a few holiday picks. This was one that I turned into three individual holly. I used wire cutters to separate the flowers.


I thought a little more dressing up for the big day was in order.

These picks remind me of tiny ice crystals and sparkle rather nicely when the light hits them. They are really silver and clear but the flash added the additional colors.


I love it when a project turns out even better than envisioned. I can't wait to hang it from our front door to welcome our guest during the holiday season.


The mantel swag is waiting for the paint to dry. In the process of selecting colors and a designing my holiday sway, I decided that the mantel was due for a fresh coat and new color of paint. Much to my husband's chagrin, I dedicated a portion of my afternoon to painting. I love the new color and can't wait to dress it up for the holidays!

Are you getting in the spirit?

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Sunday, November 21, 2010 | | 27 comments
Annual Oktoberfest

I'm still trying to play catch up {compliments of Bentley} so please be understanding while you sit back and enjoy the very long string of photos :)

It was a crazy busy few weeks but in the end, it was totally worth it and all the hard paid off. The smiles and laughter of our friends and neighbors was the greatest reward.

There is nothing better than decorating with natural decor from our yard and the surrounding wooded area.


I love white pumpkins. They were very hard to find this year. Apparently the pumpkin crop wasn't successful this year due to all the rain.

Glowing candles dress up just about anything. These were placed on the stairs to provide just the right amount of light in the hall.

My hurricane lamp wrapped in Indian corn on the wine table.


This is one of the two soups that I made. The other was a tuscan white bean. I put them in crock pots on the patio. These hearty warm soups warm you up on a chilly autumn evening.


I purchased this tub at Target over the summer. In its former life it was white. It needed a little dressing up for the party. I spray painted it copper and then added our monogram with my Cricut machine.

It was the perfect size {and disguise} for the keg which was placed on the second level of our patio.

Our fun neighbors and my husband's golfing buddy.


Nothing makes me happier as a hostess than people who hadn't met prior to the party, laughing and having fun as if they'd know each other for years.

Notice the shirt Kathy? :)


Another fabulous and fun neighbor.


Lots of good friends.



My dear friend and confidant and me. When I grow up I want to be just as sweet and kind as her!


A welcoming banner in our family room.

I've been dreaming of this since I was laying on the beach this past summer! It's a Smores bar ~ oh so yummy. I took this photo later in the evening so there are a few ingredients missing but you can get the overall idea. I printed up a few "recipes" but our guests were welcome to create there own masterpieces. I got a ton of compliments on this and several requests for its return next year.

I pulled out the copper spray paint for a repeat performance. The foam pumpkin {from Michaels} just wasn't the right color so I gave it a quick cover then used an ail to make the holes. I secured the marshmallows, then placed the ends in the pumpkin. It was grab and go from there. The patio fireplace was right next to the table.

My favorite: chocolate graham crackers, white chocolate square, raspberry jam and marshmallow. Amazing! You must try.


As our guests departed, they were sent home with a bottle of water and pumpkin whoopie pies.

I made the bottle wraps myself ~ not difficult at all and really added a special touch.



Until next year ...
Autumn blessings

*Thank you Fran for taking a few shots of the evening.

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Holiday tips with Eddie Ross

Thursday, November 18, 2010 | | 16 comments
I went on a little field trip to Rye, New York to kick off the holiday season. I spent some time with Eddie and Jaithan. If you're not familiar with Eddie Ross he has an impressive background working with Martha Stewart and House Beautiful. The focus of this event was stylist's secrets to holiday decorating and entertaining.

The day was encapsulated with meeting a few fellow bloggers, lunching with lovely ladies that were not only kind but witty. The presentation was interesting and I'm looking forward to putting some of Eddie's idea into play in my own home. I learned a few non decorating lessons today that will serve me just as well as those that Eddie provided.

 The morning began with perusing through many wonderful treasures from Eddie's Etsy shop. It was sensory overload and my brain couldn't think fast enough as to what I *needed* and where to place it in our home. I know, thinking shouldn't have been an option. Oh the pressure! :)

These are a few of the lovely items I parted with. I had to laugh at all the milk glass items. When my mother passed away we sold her very extensive collection. At the time I didn't care for the pieces and carried no appreciation for the plates, platters, vessels or their designs. I was in my late 20s at the time. Clearly I had no sense of taste. Now there is great regret as her collection was amazing and I've developed a fondness for its beauty.


On my way home to Connecticut, I stopped at one of my favorite shops in Old Saybrook where I found this sweet little creamer. I'm going to keep it by my sink to place my jewelry in while I'm cooking. I think my favorite find of the day is the salt and pepper shakers on the little tray.

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Festive decor

Tuesday, November 16, 2010 | | 14 comments
Our new power cord has arrived so I now have access to my picture files and Bentley no longer has access to chewing the cord so we are back in business and I'm trying to play catch up.

This is one of my favorite decorations that I created for our Oktoberfest this year. Since my creation, I've seen other Indian corn candle decorations ~ who new I was so cutting edge? I am SO kidding on this one! The rest of our party details will be arriving soon.


I really like the simple beauty of this table decoration. It was easy to create and I had all the necessary materials on hand.

* Glass hurricane
* Indian corn
* Twine
* Candle

To prep the corn for wrapping, I looped the twine around the husk to secure it together. Once that was completed, I laid the hurricane on it's side and wrapped the corn around it. For a little added security and rustic touch, I went around it a couple of times with the twine. I trimmed the tops of the husk so that they were level with the top of the hurricane. 

For our party, I placed it on the wine table. It added just the amount of color and decor without getting in the way. Currently, it's displayed on my antique ice chest in our dinning room with baby jack pumpkins surrounding it for the Thanksgiving holiday.

I don't have a photo of it with the lights lowered so you can see the glow of the candle so you'll have to trust me that it was stunning.

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Birthday fun!

Monday, November 15, 2010 | | 13 comments
Thank you for the sweet birthday wishes. It was very kind of all of you! We had a wonderful  evening out with our friends celebrating our birthdays.

My husband surprised me with an ice cold dirty martini while I was getting ready. I don't have these often but when I do it's a real treat. My motto is the dirtier, the better and with extra olives ~ this coming from the girl that use to drink pickle juice. Oh yes I did, and loved every drop! This act appalled my mother and she would fire back that I would bloat like a dead cow if I drank that salty juice{her grand parents were farmers hence her comment}. This didn't phase me in the least. In case you're wondering, I have experimented with pickle martinis. I don't think you'll be seeing them on a menu anytime soon.


My {non} photographer husband was in charge of the camera for the evening. This is his attempt at capturing us opening our gifts. While it is lovely, it might have been just a tad more memorable if our faces were in the shot and he {and Mike} weren't talking and watching the game. At least Bozley was intrigued. I think he has added a Brie Baker to his Christmas list. He was really eyeing Marilyn's.
{Per Kevin's outfit planning I am wearing a black wrap shirt, grey skirt and I also had on my ruffle jacket and riding boots. I was very impressed with the selection! }

The photos of the restaurant did not turn out at all! It was really dark inside and we were more engrossed with our conversations than taking pictures. Kevin made reservations at a new spot. It's called Water Under the Bridge. The atmosphere is very entertaining and we all enjoyed our meals.

Along with a very sweet card, Kevin had a box all wrapped in pink. It was the sample of the granite that we picked out months ago. We have slowing been redoing our kitchen. The counters are one of the last items on our list to complete. The night before, we discussed finishing a few projects around our home and those would be our gifts to one another. Perfect gift selection! This isn't the best picture but it gives you a general idea. The bright spots are from the chandelier. The back of our home doesn't get much sunlight so I'm forever facing the challenge of brightening up the rooms.


Bright and early the next day he called up the stairs to me that round two of my birthday gifts had arrived. I didn't hear the truck come up the drive so I was a tad confused my this announcement.

Big truck means big gift ~ right?


Or it means the delivery of your two new best friends.

Is it wrong to be in love with appliances?
Well, I am and you would be too if lived in our home. For the past couple of weeks our dryer would go into a high pitched whistle/squeak noise cycle. It was unbearable! Bentley and Bozley would run under the table and put their paws over their ears. I would escape to another level of our home.


Let me just tell you that silence is golden!

I love my new besties. Their friends the pedestals will arrive next week. My husband informs me that this will make doing the laundry easier. Umm, I doubt that. Laundry would be easier if someone else did it for me.

As with everything in our lives, this simple act of buying a new washer and dryer involved a project. My husband decided we needed to strip the popcorn ceiling, remove the shelving, put up cabinets and a drying rack. I'll share those photos with you when it's completed.

My birthday celebration continues this week. I'm being treated to a mani/pedi with a friend and I'm going out to dinner with a group of girlfriends.

I'm a lucky gal!

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Birthday blessings

Saturday, November 13, 2010 | | 22 comments

Today is my birthday. I'm 29 {again}, thank you for asking :)
My special day began with an unexpected treat. We lost power just as I was getting out of bed. One forgets how much they depend on electricity until their morning coffee isn't available ~ not a pretty sight!

Not long ago my husband asked what I'd like for my birthday. I seriously could not come up with any ideas. Sure there are things I'd want but nothing jumped out when asked. When he asked again a few days ago, I had the same answer ... I don't really need anything.

This got me to thinking about how fortunate I really am ...

~ A husband who loves me
~ I want for nothing - food, clothing, shelter
~ If there is something I want, I usually purchase it on site {within reason}
~ My basic needs are more than fulfilled
~ We have a lovely home
~ My son is on the right track in life and doing really well
~ My family loves and supports me
~ I have amazing friends
~ I have a job that I love and enjoy those I work with daily

 Given the state of the economy, I think I'm a lucky birthday girl with many blessings!

My real gift this year is that my husband is home. He has been away for the past 4 years on my birthday. He has always done something special for me in his absence but it's just the same as having home to share it with me. 

My good friend Marilyn's birthday is 2 weeks before mine and our guys are taking us out to celebrate. Kevin and Mike have been scheming and won't share any of the details. Kevin picked out my outfit {I didn't know what to wear because he won't tell me where we are going}. They are meeting us at our home. Cocktails will be served at 6 pm and we are leaving promptly at 6:30pm for dinner.

I'll fill you in on all the details tomorrow but for now I'm rushing off to shower!

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Is this a sign ...

Monday, November 8, 2010 | | 28 comments
of our winter ahead?

I had a completely different post planned to share with you this morning. I guess our fun weekend outing with friends will have to wait until tomorrow. Oh the suspense! :)

First snow 11-10 (3)

However, I wasn't aware that I would awake to a fresh coating of ice mixed with sleet. In fact, if it hadn't been for the bright blue ticker tape at the bottom of the TV screen, I'd be in the shower right now. My morning routine is to turn the news on first thing in the morning to get a brief update of what's transpired over night {doesn't that sound impressive? Honestly, I just need the weather report to confirm my wardrobe for the day} It was quite the surprise when I saw that we have a 90 minute delay due to this overnight surprise. Gifts come in all size and varieties!

Bentley had a rude awakening as well when his little paws greeted this white, cold, wet stuff.

I think the look on his face says it all ~ so NOT happy!

First snow 11-10

We were rather excited by our early winter treat. Bozley tried to play with Bentley. Not happening!
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Bentley was on a one way path back to warmth. News flash buddy *** we live in the north, you'd better buck up! ***
First snow 11-10 (2)

By the way ~ why is it that you wake up "tired" but once you find out you have some unexpected free time on your hands, you have tons of energy and can't wait to start the day?

I'm using my gift of time to start a batch of soup for our supper this evening ~ the season of cozy has arrived in our home :)

Hope you're enjoying a fun start to your week!

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Going Nuts

Friday, November 5, 2010 | | 14 comments
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Our Halloween decor has been safely packed away and replaced with Thanksgiving Pilgrims, cornucopias and turkeys. I've been perusing my recipes, old and new, for our Thanksgiving feast only a few short weeks away.

My sweet friend Kathy shared with me her famous sugar cookie recipe. Not only are they tasty, they pop easily in your mouth as your passing by the island :) In the past few weeks I've made two batches of these delicious delicacies. I made a platter for an event I had to attend, and took some to school to share with my teaching staff.

These little acorns are so sweet packaged in cellophane bags and tied with festive ribbon to share with your friends. I'd love to show you a picture but Bentley was a little hungry and nibbled on the desktop power source. Of course this is the computer that has all my photos and because he is so talented, he managed to do this while my husband is on travel and I don't handle technology issues {as you already know.} So for now, you'll just have to take my word for it :)

Have a fabulous fall weekend ~ anything fun on your docket?

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Lions and ...

Tuesday, November 2, 2010 | | 17 comments
well, total chaos!

I tried to dress "the boys" up as lions this year. I made their manes with great hopes that they would greet our neighborhood trick~or~treaters dressed up as lions.

Instead ...

Bentley was SO excited to attack Bozley's inviting mane attraction {sorry, couldn't resist}

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Fine, I'll look at you but I'm not going to pose or look cute ~ can't you see I'm busy?!
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Seriously you humans, I have papers to prove I'm a bulldog not a lion. I need a lawyer!

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I'm not looking at you, therefore, you can't see me.
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This is so embarrassing. I had better be getting a BIG treat worthy of this degrading costume. Whose idea was this anyway?

It took all of us to get these ridiculous photos ~ hmmm... this could be a theme for next year.

No animals were harmed, and they both were given extra attention and treats for being so accommodating :)

Hope you all enjoyed lots of Happy Halloween treats!

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