-Inexpensive mini ornaments (16 for $1 at the Target Dollar Spot)
To make my chocolate ornaments, I began by carefully removing the hangers from the mini ornaments that I bought at Target...
They came off very easily.
Next, I used a bit of hot glue to secure one to each chocolate ball. Hint: try to put the glue inside the hanger opening to minimize any glue from showing on the outside of the ball. Allow to dry and add a bow or loop of narrow ribbon to the hanger!
These would look so pretty scattered on your holiday table, hanging from a mini tree, or even adorning a holiday package. ***Please note that these are tiny (i.e., a choking hazard), so keep them away from the little ones!
I have been a serious admirer of world-renowned interior designer, Nina Campbell, for many years now. I just adore her gorgeous fabrics and wallpapers and her incredible sense of color and pattern. So, I was delighted to find out that she had a new book coming out. Nina Campbell Interiors showcases Nina's exceptional talent for combining different cultures and design genres.
While the book is filled with beautiful photographs (taken by Simon Brown), it is more than just eye candy. Nina does an excellent job of taking the reader through her entire detailed design process...from the planning stage and discussing the client's specific needs to the selection of a special fabric or the design of a custom rug.
The book features a series of Nina's more recent interior projects. You'll find everything from a small London flat to a hotel dining room. One of my favorite projects was a glamorous 19th century townhouse in New York City.
I also loved a new home that Nina designed for a client in China. She was able to seamlessly meld two cultures - English and Chinese - to create one truly stunning home. Just look at the drawing room!
Nina Campbell Interiors would undoubtedly make a lovely addition to your design library.
Nina Campbell Interiors by Nina Campbell (Photography by Simon Brown) is published by CICO Books and is available from www.rylandpeters.com.
I woke up really early this morning to start working on my flower arrangements for my Thanksgiving table. I decided on shades of pink roses this year, as I love how they look with my cream and brown transferware plates. They are arranged in mercury glass "vases" are from Target (this season).
They are actually candle and votive holders! The trick with these is to make sure to place a smaller glass inside each one to hold your water - otherwise all the "mercury" may wash away. :-) They are the perfect height for a table arrangement since they don't block anyone's view and they are small in size - so you can keep them on the table and still have room for all that stuffing and cranberry sauce.
I am hosting this year, but I am fortunate to have lots of help from my family - the husband makes the turkey and chocolate pecan pie. My Mom is famous for her sweet potatoes (with marshmallows) and my little sister is an excellent pie maker and always helps me with the made-from-scratch stuffing! And the girls are fabulous and creative table setters...especially if it means they will be rewarded with chocolate turkeys!
I wish you all a very, very Happy Thanksgiving! I am thankful for each and every one of you!
If you are celebrating Chanukah this week, then you may be in need of some "gelt" (chocolate coins). You can usually find it in the traditional gold or silver foil wrappers, but I found the prettiest, most beautifully colored gelt at World Market! Pink, aqua, purple, red, blue, mint green, etc...
LOVE it! And it makes a gorgeous (and yummy) centerpiece when paired with this chic gold tray from West Elm!
Just fill with the coins and you have a pretty and delicious centerpiece for your Chaunukah table!
OK, now I am off to get started on Thanksgiving! Back soon...
I can't believe how quickly the holiday season has arrived this year! With both Chanukah and Thanksgiving this week and Christmas and New Year's just around the corner, I feel as if I will hardly have time to catch my breath! Can you relate? Anyway, I am going to do my very best to fit in lots and lots of festive and creative holiday ideas!
Today, I wanted to share a super easy shortcut for making Sufganiot, the delicious jelly donuts that are traditionally served during the celebration of Chanukah. Nothing beats the real thing, but if you find yourself short on time and you're not in the mood to break out the deep fryer, these will do quite nicely. I begin by buying fresh donuts from a fabulous bakery in my neighborhood...you may of heard of it? Dunkin' Donuts? Yes, Dunkin' Donuts! I like to buy the little Munchkins (so cute) and I find that the plain vanilla glazed ones work the best (the chocolate ones, while yummy, are just too dense to fill). Using a pastry bag fitted with a good sized round tip, make a small hole in the bottom of the donuts and gently fill with some jelly of your choice (I like raspberry). Next, make up a quick glaze of powdered sugar and milk (it should be thick, but pourable) and dip the tops of the donuts in the glaze, allowing the excess to drip off. Immediately sprinkle with some colored sugar or sprinkles and place on some parchment or wax paper to set up. As you can imagine, these are an especially popular treat with the kiddies! And soooo easy and inexpensive (the Munchins are only about $7 for 50!). They make great holiday gifts, too....
As you probably know, I am not a traditionalist when it comes to Halloween colors. You see, the color Orange and I are not friends. We actually have very little to do with each other. Over the years, I have vacillated back and forth from barely tolerating Orange to shunning Orange completely. Obviously, this is kind of a problem when it comes to pumpkins. I've done my best to work around it though. I've used white pumpkins and pink pumpkins in the past and they both worked out pretty well. But this year, I thought I'd totally go for it and make some pastel colored pumpkins. I bought a bunch of tiny white pumpkins and used powdered food coloring to paint them. If you just mix up the powder with some vodka or clear extract, it makes a wonderful paint...
And I just love the finished texture - almost like a chalk paint...
...and you can mix up any colors you desire. I even used some sparkly gold for the stems!
Mini-mini-me and I were desperately searching for pretty ballet costumes for Halloween, when I came across some of the most beautiful tutus and dance costumes I had ever seen...
Tutu du Monde is the brainchild of Andrea Rembeck, a designer mom who couldn't find beautifully made tutus for her young daughter. Designed in Australia and handmade in India, Tutu du Monde's tutus and costumes are any little (or big) girl's fantasy...
Imagine silks, tulle, sequins, and dusty pastels...
This is the stuff that dreams are truly made of...
Fortunately for us, they ship to the U.S.!
And, while the prices reflect the incredible craftsmanship, luxe materials, and attention to detail, these are true heirlooms that could be passed down to generation upon generation.
A few weeks ago, we decided to take advantage of the beautiful Autumn weather and hosted a little picnic in our favorite neighborhood park. I had fun putting together all the picnicy elements. From vintage crocheted blankets to lounge upon...
...to pretty vintage trays for holding food and drinks...
I kept the menu simple. Delicious sandwiches in combinations like Brie, turkey, & apple and roast beef & swiss...
Pretzels and potato chips were the perfect picnic accompaniments and were served in fun vintage tins (washed and lined first!)...
For beverages, I served jugs of fresh apple cider. An old Coca Cola crate corralled a selection of sodas in old-fashioned style glass bottles...
I used vintage floral sheets as tablecloths. For centerpieces, I put pretty Gerbera Daisies in blue mason jars. Colorful striped paper straws were also a must!
For dessert (sorry, I was too busy having fun to take photos!), I set out chocolate brownies, my s'mores bars, and chocolate chip cookies. And favors were more of those chocolate-caramel apples that I showed you last week...
The park setting was a great place to host a picnic. The kids were able to run around and play...and the adults got to chat. The food was yummy, the weather cooperated, and everyone had a wonderful time. A perfect Autumn picnic in the park!
Looking for an easy and delicious Autumn treat? Look no further - these S'mores Bars are truly incredible!
They taste just like real s'mores, but come in a neat little bar version. I adapted the recipe from Ann Thorton's Spicy Smoky S'mores Bars. Hers are wonderful, but these are a bit more traditional. Here's what you'll need:
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Line the bottom and sides of a 9
by 13-inch baking pan with foil or parchment paper, leaving some extra overhang for lifting the bars out later. If using foil, grease well with some extra softened butter.
Place the graham crackers in a plastic bag and smack it with a rolling pin until the crumbs resemble a fine meal. You will need about 2 cups. In a large
bowl, combine your crumbs with the sugar, vanilla and melted butter.
The mixture should look and feel like wet sand. Set aside a heaping 1/2
cup of the crumb mixture for the topping. Press the remaining
crumb mixture into the bottom the foil-lined pan. Pop your crust into
the oven and bake until it is golden brown, 12 to 15 minutes. Remove the crust from the oven and
allow it to cool.
the milk chocolate - either in a saucepan over low heat or in the microwave, watching it carefully and stirring every 30 seconds until melted.
Preheat the broiler.
Pour the melted chocolate
over the cooled graham cracker crust. Spread the chocolate evenly over
the crust. Sprinkle the marshmallows over the
chocolate and press them lightly into the chocolate. Then, sprinkle the
reserved crumb mixture over and in between the marshmallows so that you
cannot see the chocolate peaking through the marshmallows.
bars 6 inches from the flame until the marshmallows are golden brown, about 1
to 2 minutes.
Refrigerate the bars until the chocolate is set and hard (2+
hours). Grab the ends of the foil/parchment and lift the bars out of
the pan in 1 piece. Move the whole thing to a cutting board and cut it into 24 squares.
Oh, and make sure to make lots of these, as I promise you they won't last long!