Thursday
Nov142013

Thanksgiving Decor & Tablescape: Tips, Tricks and DIY Ideas

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Thanksgiving holiday decor....for the DIY inspired, using what you already have on hand (for the most part). I swear.

DIY Decor: When tapped to host the holiday for the first time last year, I was low on supplies and low on inspiration and time, having only just moved into our new house a few months before. What to do? I took to the yard. I gathered inspiration from all the fall colors and foliage, literally out my back door. Pine cones collected from the yard. Pine branches that had fallen in an early storm, all collected and dried out. Get creative with the pine cones...why not spray them white? Gold? What ever your color scheme is, they don't discriminate.

Centerpiece & Table Decor: I also have a growing collection of mercury type glass (scored from Homegoods), which easily passes for year round decor, or holiday chic in a hot second. I hate investing in things that are 'Thanksgiving' (ie turkey patterned) or 'Christmas' (ie branded with holly), that can only be taken out when that time of year rolls around. Invest heavily in gold, silver, white, decor that says holiday without screaming it from the mountain tops. Toss a few platters, candlesticks, bowls, fill with persimmons, tangerines, pine cones and flowers for a gorgeous centerpiece that sprawls all the way down the table center. Toss a mini pumpkin or gourd in the mix. Sprinkle them on the mantle. Fill a bowl or clear vase with them.

Place cards:  I also love an excuse to craft place cards. Admittedly a bit formal but sometimes easier when people are looking for a place to sit, or plate to grab a plate for the buffet! I decided to make a faux bois type more festive by finishing in orange ink- over a plain white place card. Allow to dry and channel your inner calligrapher. The owl place card holders are quirky and not turkeys. Done and done. 

Chargers & China: Another formal aspect of your tablescape that deserves some attention, our friend the charger. Yes, they are in investment, but they frame and layer your china beautifully. I purposely invested in plain white china, in order to mix and match with chargers and other china patterns. The idea of investing in pricey porcelain with a only a few color options? Abhorrent. I pick up vintage patterns, mix and match old sets, and swap out chargers when I need a change. 

Linens: Why not opt for a tried and true pattern- like the Marimekko Lumimarja print, in a festive fall color? I used this same print in pink and white at my wedding. It is an excellent multi-tasker and a timeless selection from the archives of Marimekko. When it comes to the napkins I usually opt for something from my discount friend Homegoods or TJ Maxx. They are stain absorbers, why spend big bucks? I like a complimentary pattern and deep tones, which disguise any errant spills or colors post meal.

Odds & Ends: Napkin rings are your friend. You can make your own- think rosemary springs tied with wire, faux flowers, bracelets, or as I did here, white birch. Etsy is an unbelievable source for crafted items at a budget friendly price (the only way to get it past husband!). 

Where & How: I source most decor items from the same place on repeat: Homegoods, TJ Maxx, H&M Home, Zara Home, Etsy, Crate and Barrel and Pottery Barn. Make sure you start the shopping process armed with measurements! And, start to shop early to take advantage of friends and family and holiday discounts, or take into account shipping (delays) from online only sites like Zara and H&M. Last but certainly not least, shop your own house. Silver owl piggy bank from the bookshelf? Perfect to tie together the place cards and silver glassware on the table. 

 

Shop these items:

William Sonoma Eclectique Dinnerware
Pottery Barn Mercury Glass Vases
PaperSource Owl Stamp
Crate and Barrel Prescott Charger
Anthropologie Petrified Wood Trivet
PaperSource White Placecards

BHLDN Owl Placecard Holder

 


Sunday
Nov102013

Knit (ware) it Up 

Above: H&M knit sweater, Warby Parker glasses, Jerome Dreyfuss Carlos tote, & Zara leopard pennyloafers (check out this fabulous pair of leopard penny loafers from Rockport!)

 

Little secret. I wore this outfit pretty much all weekend.

That being said, there is really only about 1-2 hours a day that require me to dress up! Hah! But I am proud I manage to do it for at least some tiny part of the day.

I had a chance to tour and sneak a preview of the new Intermix at The Street in Chestnut Hill on Friday. Be very excited. It is jammed with all the designers you know and love....better yet, in the burbs- pics below!. I would have gladly left my wallet there buying a new post baby wardrobe but lucky for me, they didn't have the registers up and running on Friday (though they will be open for business officially tomorrow!). They were also sold out (already!!) of the new J Brand photo ready jeans. I have been dying to try them out, apparently the greatest thing to happen to denim since.....ever, so I gave in and ordered some online. I don't usually cave to the hype but these sounded like just what the doctor ordered for the new mama- aka, denim with spanx-like infusions that make you look like a million. What's not to love?!

Husband and I also also hosted a dinner party for my mother in law this weekend- who retired! It was a great chance to get creative with some decorations and flex some underused muscle in the kitchen. My newest obsession is this All Clad slow cooker. I have used it every weekend for the last three weeks. Likewise, perfect for the new mom- pop everything into the pot when baby is napping in the AM, and voila, dinner is ready by the time husband gets home. Up next, some home made chicken stock.

 

Thursday
Nov072013

CSA Cooking: Spiced Zucchini Bread Recipe

 

My CSA cooking series is back in business. While the farmshare never stopped, my ability to actually do anything other than roast veggies did!

This delicious spiced zucchini bread is worth the effort it takes to bake. I have tried a lot of zucchini bread recipes over the years but never found one that was worth sharing. Until now.

This recipe was adapted from Smitten Kitchen. It doubles your baking pleasure by yielding two loaves. They freeze very well when wrapped in tin foil and then sealed in a large freezer bag.

Spiced Zucchini Bread

Ingredients:

3 eggs

1 1/4 cup vegetable oil

1 cup sugar

3/4 cup brown sugar

2 1/2 cups grated zucchini (about 3 medium sized)

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

3 cups all-purpose flour

3 teaspoons cinnamon

1/8 teaspoon ground cloves

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon grated orange zest

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup chopped walnuts

1 cup combination dried cranberries  


Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour two loaf pans.

In mixer, beat eggs. Add oil, slowly, to not deflate eggs. Next, add sugar, zucchini, orange zest and vanilla in mixer.

In a seperate bowl, combine remaining dry ingredients: flour, spices, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Stir in walnuts and dried fruit to coat (and keep them suspended in loaf while they bake).

Add dry ingredients to wet and manually combine with spatula. Divide mixture between both pans and bake for about 1 hour + 5 minutes, or until a knife inserted comes out clean.

 

Check out other recipes from CSA Cooking here:

Strawberry Creamcheese Bread

Cherry Streusal Pie