Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Christmas, Casually Elegant

















Food styling: Todd Foster






































My Zuzu!





Here we are as in olden days,
Happy golden days of yore.
Faithful friends who are dear to us
Gather near to us once more.

from ‘Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas’ by Blane & Martin


I borrowed props for this feature and spent four months shooting (the pink and blue themes were shot in this period as well).  Doing Christmas up like this is rewarding, but shall we say a little tough to achieve in real life?!   All you really need is:

Family and friends
Cute pets
Chocolate
Evergreens
Candles
Coarse German glass glitter
Vintage glass ornaments
Faux fur accents
Holiday music
More chocolate
A wish for peace on Earth and goodwill to everyone.

The time involved doing well in graduate school and the time involved blogging with all my heart are incompatible if either are to be done excellently.  Sadly, I must go on a sabbatical from blogging. 

I wish I could gather each of you, my gentle readers, in a big group hug.  Then have hot cocoa by a bonfire in the snow with music under the stars.

I will drop in on you for that virtual cup of cocoa we share in our community.

I wish you a very happy holiday season and a new year where all your dreams come true.


Until next time, stay shabby!



Sharing with:

Blissful Whites Wednesday at Timewashed  

Favorite Things Thursday at Katherine's Corner 

Feathered Nest Friday at The French Country Cottage  

Farmhouse Friday at LaurieAnna's Vintage Home 

Show & Tell Friday at My Romantic Home 



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Monday, December 24, 2012

An Ultra Fancy & Romantic Tabletop for Holiday Dinners





















Quot estis in convivio - all who are feasting together
Servite cum in cantico - serve it while singing 

from The Boar’s Head Carol (traditional)



Sometimes you feel like busting out the Cambridge stemware and tablecloth for holiday dinner celebrations.  Christmas falls after a weekend this year so there may a ghost of a chance to spend a day making your table special.

Ideas for pull-out-the-stops elegance:

  • Glass sparkles in candlelight so load it on the table
  • Use taper candles – the height of their light flatters the table
  • Spray evergreens with aerosol adhesive and dust with 70 grit German glass glitter
  • Place vintage ornaments along the evergreens
  • Cinch huge napkins with a small length of silver chenille (pipe cleaner)
  • Use chargers or larger plates under the dinner plates
  • Print French handwriting graphics on two pieces of paper, tape together, cut the edges with pinking shears, and write a loving message to your guest

Avoid hurrying around by setting up as far in advance as possible.  The candles clipped onto the plates is a photo shoot anachronism.  In real life they'd make too much of a mess at dinner (where does one put it after it's blown out?).  It’s more important you relax and enjoy your guests than having everything perfect!

Sources:
Antique French handwriting graphic: Etsy
Napkins: Pom Pom Home
70 Grit German glass glitter: Etsy
Chairs: disegno Karina Gentinetta


Until next time, stay shabby!



Sharing with:

Blissful Whites Wednesday at Timewashed  

Favorite Things Thursday at Katherine's Corner 

Feathered Nest Friday at The French Country Cottage  

Farmhouse Friday at LaurieAnna's Vintage Home 

Show & Tell Friday at My Romantic Home 


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Sunday, December 23, 2012

Easy Lactose and Gluten Free Christmas Breakfast




















Let's deck the halls with holly
Sing sweet silent night
Fill the tree with angel hair
And pretty, pretty lights
Go to sleep and wake up
Just before daylight

All these things and more, baby
That's what Christmas means to me my love

Stevie Wonder


What do you do for a yummy breakfast when you’re gluten and lactose intolerant, or a guest has these dietary restrictions?  Make French toast!

Ingredients:

Gluten free bread (found in the organic section or in the freezer by the pizza in markets)
Almond milk
Eggs
Cinnamon

In a shallow pan, crack one egg per person.  Add an equal volume of almond milk.  Lay slices of bread in it on both sides and cook in a skillet.  Sprinkle with cinnamon, dust with confectioner’s sugar (for a pretty garnish) and serve with warmed maple syrup!





Until next time, stay shabby!

Sharing with:


Favorite Things Thursday at Katherine's Corner 

Feathered Nest Friday at The French Country Cottage  

Farmhouse Friday at LaurieAnna's Vintage Home 

Show & Tell Friday at My Romantic Home 


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Saturday, December 22, 2012

Shabby White Holiday Outdoor Decor and Easy Scandinavian Style























I'm dreaming of a white Christmas
With every Christmas card I write
May your days be merry and bright
And may all your Christmases be white

Irving Berlin




If you like all-white holiday décor in your home, why not try it outside your home?

Use white ribbon on your evergreen garlands and wreaths.  The inexpensive polyester/plastic kind is ideal because it holds up in fierce weather.

The skinny single wire wreath is made from small branches of boxwood wired around it.  It look a fraction of the time it takes to do full wreath.

While collecting evergreens from the woods for your flower boxes, look for branches on the ground with lots of lichen on them.  They fall from the tops of older trees and lie there, waiting for their beauty to be shared.  The green-gray rosette shapes and craggy branches are a lovely contrast to the soft forms of evergreens.  So very restful by compare to excessive displays in my opinion!



Until next time, stay shabby!


Sharing with:

Blissful Whites Wednesday at Timewashed  

Favorite Things Thursday at Katherine'sCorner 

Feathered Nest Friday at The French Country Cottage  

Farmhouse Friday at LaurieAnna's Vintage Home 

Show & Tell Friday at My Romantic Home 







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My Jeanne d'Arc Living Story





My favorite layout.




Many more pages and other inspiring ideas in the print copy 






















My little Zuzu made it in!



The holly and the ivy
Now both are full well grown,
Of all the trees that are in the wood,
The holly bears the crown.
O the rising of the sun
And the running of the deer
The playing of the merry organ
Sweet singing of the choir 

Traditional/Cecil Sharp



I am embarrassed how late this thank-you is posted.  I got a 98 for the semester in graduate school, and part of that was achieved by ceasing “distractions” like Facebook and blogging.  It's like coming out from under a rock.  I found out Kathleen at Faded Charm anointed Timewashed with White Wednesday two months after the fact. 

My humble thanks to Lonnie and Vivian at Jeanne d’Arc Living for even opening the email I sent to consider my story.  My heart skips a beat as I recall the moment I received a reply from my very favorite magazine reciting they were interested.

The weekend I dug into my first copy of Jeanne d’Arc Living (December 2010) I remained gobsmacked.  I stared, and stared and stared, at every picture and read every word. 

It is very rare I am transfixed, but this self-published magazine did it.  Its core value: simplicity.  The fact it’s Scandinavian has much to do with its sweet minimalist elegance.  Their Christmas culture is beautiful and exotic, involving things I was vaguely aware of like cardamom, marzipan, and Advent.

Carina’s (Made In Persbo) story showed her pulling cardamom cake out of a wood fired Husqvarna stove.  Dorte Palsgaard’s marzipan candies were shaped with common kitchen utensils.  A suggestion of giving gifts of time instead of money.  The idea the holidays could be affordable yet beautiful sold me immediately.  The promise of rest over running around was a plus.

At that time my agent was peddling my book idea around New York, but I guiltily became more interested in doing a Jeanne d'Arc Living shoot.  Notes were scribbled, props were made, evergreens cut.  Between December 2010 to early April 2011 on every weekend with snow I shot.  A yummy blizzard blew in and I took a vacation day just to shoot.  I kept holiday music on my iPod hoping its spirit would infuse the April photos, exposed so the windows wouldn't show the lame patchy snow outside.  I took my camera with me on errands in case “serendipity” happened.  We are rewarded with the shot of the deer in the woods because I “expected the unexpected”.

That kind of unexpected is good.  I expected “good” when this story was printed.  I'd be reading it by the woodstove surrounded by my dogs and family.  That house burned down.  I haven’t had the money or time to visit family or dogs and I will celebrate the holidays after I get paid on the 31st.  Two years later most of my styling looks stuffy and overdone.  Ironic when I was going for simple.  That's life.  Gotta deal.

Sometimes, bad stuff happens and good comes of it.  In November I had an issue with my landlord and wanted out of the room I rented.  If it never happened, I wouldn’t have looked for the cottage I rent now.  I can see a sliver of the Long Island Sound from my bedroom window through the winter woods.  In it I will spend four blissful days with nothing to do but catch up with old friends, reading, sleeping, and blogs (yes yours old friend). 

BLISS!

Visit the sellers and/or creators of vintage & handmade props in this story:

Lavender glass bottles: Dreamy Whites
Napkins: Pom Pom Home
German glass glitter star: Rachel Ashwell Couture
70 grit German glass glitter: Etsy
Reproduction mercury glass candlesticks: The Sheep’s Nest



Until next time, stay shabby!



Sharing with:

Blissful Whites Wednesday at Timewashed  

Favorite Things Thursday at Katherine's Corner 

Feathered Nest Friday at The French Country Cottage  

Farmhouse Friday at LaurieAnna's Vintage Home 

Show & Tell Friday at My Romantic Home 




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Thursday, December 13, 2012

Review of "Belle Blanc Merry Christmas" by Mira & Bianca






Belle Blanc Merry Christmas
by Mira Schnepf and Bianca Aurich
Hardcover, German, approximately $50 USD































 O Tannenbaum, o Tannenbaum,
wie treu sind deine Blätter!
Du grünst nicht nur
  zur Sommerzeit,
Nein auch im Winter, wenn es schneit.
O Tannenbaum, o Tannenbaum,
wie treu sind deine Blätter!

Traditional



Mira and Bianca thrilled me soon after Belle Blanc For The Love of White was released with the news there would be a holiday inspiration book to follow.  At last it is here.  Join me as I share a few pictures of the copy Mira & Bianca signed for me.

Belle Blanc Merry Christmas is full of holiday ideas with a German accent, such as the sweet Zimtwaffeln butter rum cookies made in a mold of fancy shapes.  There are pre-printed labels to tear out and use on homemade gifts, and templates for sewing Mira's vintage-style teddy bears.  Never-seen-before floral arrangements and tabletops make the tableaux traditional and exciting.  Also, never-before-seen reds come in the vignettes with great success.  A feeling of coziness wraps around the reader as we see teddy bears and children in the pages, too.

Share more at their blog.  You're in for a treat if you've never visited Belle Blanc.


Until next time, stay shabby!



Blissful Whites Wednesday at Timewashed  
Feathered Nest Friday at The French Country Cottage  




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Monday, December 3, 2012

Vintage By Nina Christmas Book Review






I want a kakelugn so badly.

































Contact these retailers for a copy ($70).
If they're sold out but receive enough pre-orders 
they may be able to order another batch.







Angels we have heard on high
Sweetly singing o’er the plains,
And the mountains in reply
Echoing their joyous strains.

Traditional French Carol translated by James Chadwick, 1862



I am not disappointed in the least for this heavenly holiday book.  Written in both Swedish and English, it is full of the most casually elegant French-Nordic ideas for decorating and entertaining.  It's going to come out of my bookcase and be read every November for inspiration.  And to think Nina and Maria-Isabel didn't even want to do a Christmas book at first!


Until next time, stay shabby!




Sharing with:

Blissful Whites Wednesday at Timewashed

Feathered Nest Friday at The French Country Cottage  




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Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Romantic Homes: A Nutcracker Ballet Christmas












It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas;
Soon the bells will start,
And the thing that will make them ring is the carol that you sing
Right within your heart.

Meredith Willson



Very special thanks are due to Jacqueline de Montravel and the staff of Romantic Homes magazine for featuring my "Nutcracker Ballet Holiday" story in the December 2012 issue!

Interested in some of the ornaments?  My friend Roberta Comeau is selling them in her Delhi, NY shop Whispers from the Past. She's taken a few and crafted lovely wreaths out of them already.  We're decorating a tree for the annual holiday auction to benefit The Heart of the Catskills animal shelter with the rest of the ornaments.



Until next time, stay shabby!
 


Sharing with:

White Wednesday at Faded Charm 
Feathered Nest Friday at The French Country Cottage  







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Friday, November 9, 2012

Sanselig Jul: A Christmas For All The Senses by Franciska Munck-Johansen




















It's a marshmallow world in the winter
When the snow comes to cover the ground
It's the time for play, it's a whipped cream day
I wait for it the whole year round.

Dean Martin


My dear author/editor/photographer friend Franciska Munck-Johansen published her second book!  Titled Sanselig Jul (A Christmas For All The Senses in Norwegian), it is a fascinating trove of simple yet elegant holiday decor and recipes.   It is published in Norwegian but the pictures more than make up for what you may not be able to read.


If you like the ornaments on the tree, gentle reader, you may be able to buy some from Whispers of the Past in Delhi, NY.  Roberta Comeau may offer a few of my ornaments and glitter houses in her shop.  She donated a tree made of some of my holiday collection to the Heart of the Catskills' annual raffle to benefit homeless pets.

My humble thanks for Franciska and Roberta for including me in their creative worlds.


Until next time, stay shabby!




Sharing with:

Blissful Whites Wednesday at Timewashed
Feathered Nest Friday at The French Country Cottage  


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