Archive for December, 2010

Time for Another Round.

It’s the time of year where celebrating seems endless. I always try to find something unique and interesting (but lasting) to accessorize a get together and will of the wine and beer that’s been opened this past month at the events I’ve had the pleasure of attending, I thought a gift that keeps giving was right on target to share the eve of the eve of New Years! These are the coolest bottle openers and perfect as a hostess gift for that New Years day dinner! However, I gave my honey the classic wall bottle opener last year as a gift and as a permanent fixture in the kitchen, it’s gotten a good workout, and continues to be the most discreet and useful appliance in the room.

Recommended by Food and Wine magazine, this brass crescent shape bottle opener is designed by Oji Masanori, and is equally beautiful in the hand as it is on the table. Plus, its popularity puts it on Sold Out status until mid-January.

Round Brass Bottle Opener, $55 | Lekker

Round Brass Bottle Opener, $55 | Lekker

As a decorative item to your bar, this brass claw bottle opener is sure to start a conversation. I love the antiqued gold and feeling of antiquity.

Brass Claw Bottle Opener, $24 | Jayson Home & Garden

Brass Claw Bottle Opener, $24 | Jayson Home & Garden

Polished stainless steel with a wishbone likeness, this Alessi bottle opener puts the classic Budweiser bottle opener to shame.

I think this one is adorable and makes a great gift for a nature lover and carefree best friend. The bird wingspan bottle opener is hand-engraved of nickel-plated brass and a tiny touch to the apres-dinner affair.

Wingspan Bottle Opener, $16 | Anthropologie

Wingspan Bottle Opener, $16 | Anthropologie

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Glam + Moodboard = Love it!

Just slapped together a few pieces and accents in this living room scheme for an eclectic friend looking to glam up her life a wee bit. I am loving the contrast between deep rich velvet and a brushed gold right now. Are you? =0)

The Christmas Table in Review.

It’s been a crazy week – as I am sure is the case for many of you readers. I’ve been running here and there, wrapping, shopping, cleaning, creating, unwrapping, celebrating, and cooking for a Christmas dinner with family. I needed an inexpensive centerpiece for my round Room and Board dining table. The vision started with my love of a rich red accent color at this time of year and a simple white vase from Ikea (which I’ve been using as a pen cup). I bought some red roses and some simple greenery on a grocery run to Wegmans. I found blue painters tape in the closet and tore small strips to create a grid on the top of the vase to hold stems evenly in place.

ikea vase and blue painters tape make a perfect set up for a floral arrangement.

I then trimmed the roses and greenery and started creating the casual yet elegant and festive centerpiece for my holiday table. A few bunches of Nandina berries from my small urban ‘yard’ added that glossy and smooth texture against pointy greens and velvety red roses.

A simple collection of planting from your own yard can work wonders for any simple and pleasing floral display.

I placed the finished centerpiece on my new Ralph Lauren Veranda paisley tablecloth (which I love love LOVE!). The tablecloth is a subtle paisley pattern in sand and white that is a beautiful neutral background for gold and silver accents. Plus, it only cost me $14 at Home Goods. I also got eight matching napkins for $10. Score! The antiqued mercury glass votives were finds from Target and the silver striped votives were finds at Michael’s. These can be used any time of the year for a touch of sparkle to your home.

Centerpiece in place.

I have eight mother of pearl and silver napkin rings that were a gift from a friend in 2002. It’s been years since I last used these and was glad to find them and display their beauty for each place setting.

Mother of pearl and silver napkins rings were a gift from a friends visit to the Philippines.

BTW, sorry for the yellowed images here – my white balance was off on my Nikon D60. Pffft.

To the table, I added my crystal Waterford goblets and wine glasses, Pottery Barn white dinner and salad plates, Crate & Barrel bamboo flatware, and rolled Ralph Lauren Veranda paisley dinner napkins. The Christmas tree as a backdrop made the room even more spectacular. Almost done!

In the final stretch.

It’s Christmas evening, we’re tuckered out, however, the guests are about to arrive, so we pour a bottle of a dry Chateau de Beaupre Rose from Coteaux D’Aix en Provence, light the tea lights, fill the water goblets, and get ready for the started course of a tomato cup salad – a specialty of ‘chef” Greg’s.

Greg pours a Rose we brought back from Aix in the Provence region of France.

The first course.

Dinner has begun, the table is absolutely gorgeous, and I’m in a great holiday mood! Next up, a delicious rib roast, Gruyère potato gratin, green bean lemon casserole, almond glazed onions, and good times! Fa la la la!

Espresso on The Go. Expresso.

I found this nifty gift idea for you caffeine lovers {and Europeans dying for your small cup of java while on these long American work commutes}. It’s the Handpresso 16-Bar Hand Pump Portable Espresso Machine. Under $100 and brimming with four-star ratings, this drink master makes cafe-quality Espresso, Cappuccino, Americano, and latte’s. Just grab some hot water {may be the challenge}, and the E.S.E. coffee pod, and voila!

Oh Christmas Tree.. Where is your new star?

This place is a disaster. I have empty and unruly Christmas storage boxes strewn about the halls, rooms,and  staircase since I pulled the six rather large green and red bins from storage two weeks ago. I have not had the time to return the boxes stuff to my rental box so they remain scattered about the house. {not for long} The annual tree decorating occurred last Sunday and my Frazier Fir beauty is still awaiting it’s newly purchased electric star tree topper {had a golden tinsel one as a kid that was all the rage in our household}. The skirt went off to the dry cleaners and spread out wrinkle-free around my red painted iron ‘old school’ base. Here is my slo-mo decorating process. Fully dressed Fir to come. Fa la la la.

Step One. Take off the twine and hope those branches look good when it opens up!

Step One. Plop that baby into it's base and fill with water. Pronto!

Step Two. Make sure they thing is straight - any bricks, books, and paint stirrers will do. Whew.

Step Two. Make sure they thing is straight - any bricks, books, and paint stirrers will do. Whew.

Step Three. Off comes the twine and out comes the "Please stay up straight".

Step Three. Off comes the twine and out comes the "Please stay up straight".

Step Four. Make sure that baby drinks well and full. This is a great way to fill it without squatting down or laying under the floor.

Step Four. Make sure that baby drinks well and full. This is a great way to fill it without squatting down or laying under the floor.

Step Five: Load her up with shiney balls, crystal garland, and treasures from childhood and years past. And try not to break one. =0)

Step Five: Load her up with shiny balls, crystal garland, and treasures from childhood and years past. And try not to break one. =0)

Step 6. Step back and enjoy the beauty of the holiday. Still waiting for my new star. This crystal Pottery Barn is beautiful but needs a tarnish removing..

Step 6. Step back and enjoy the beauty of the holiday. Still waiting for my new star. This crystal Pottery Barn is beautiful but needs a tarnish removing..

 

Trompe L’oeil Fireplace Slip Cover.

For those of you with a drab fireplace that is starving to be the center of attention, drape it in this Handpainted Trompe L’œil Fireplace Slipcover. At $475, it’s quite a pricey gown for your heat box, but it’s much less then a a real one that looks like this! Draped in boxwood garland and hurricane candles, its the life of your holiday party. Just be ware that it might be flammable – so make sure to undress it before starting a spark.

Hand painted trompe d’oeil canvas slip cover, $475

Hand painted trompe d’oeil canvas slip cover, $475

Tabled Hints of French and Asian Flair.

I forgot all about Bunny Williams line of home goods and remembered her jewel piece of a table – the Hourglass Table for Beeline Home. It ranks in one of my top ten everyday and everything tables. It’s perfect as a hall table, small dining table for two, or an end table near that deep charcoal velvet sofa. The octagonal pedestal base is made of hand applied reeded wood and can be finished in either an old gold or silver leaf patina. I’ll take either. The top is a honed fossil stone cut to mimc the shape of the base. Perfect proportions. Off to France and the Far East…


Just a Thought.

"A person should design the way he makes a living, around how he wishes to make a life" — Charlie Byrd

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