Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year, friends! I'll be off playing in the snow for a few more days, but wanted to pop in to say thank you for following along in 2014 and to wish you all the best for the year ahead. Hope 2015 sparkles for you and that there's plenty to celebrate! XOXO

Monday, December 22, 2014

Wishing You the Happiest and Merriest

Hi, everyone! Hope you are enjoying the most wonderful holiday week and that you're sharing it with the ones you love most. I'm going to take a little time off between now and the New Year to enjoy friends and family, but wanted to make sure to send you the warmest wishes for a beautiful season.

Our card this year took on a Scottish theme thanks to wonderful photos snapped in Edinburgh from Flytographer and my illustration of Castle Doune, which we visited last fall (and which you might recognize from Monty Python and The Holy Grail, Game of Thrones and Outlander)

Thanks so much for stopping by, for your comments and all the connections. Happy and merry to you all! See you in the new year! XOXO

Friday, December 19, 2014

Have a Sweet Weekend!

Happy Friday-before-Christmas! Are you getting all dressed up for some fa la la, or staying in to help the elves get everything wrapped up?

I've been hanging out in the kitchen with a few friends, getting some baking done and packaging up sweet treats to share. There were even a few left over for the tree...

I'm ready to eat up all the festive fun the next few days have in store! How about you?

Hope your weekend is full of just the right amount sugar and spice! XOXO

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

I'll Have A Blue (White and Red) Christmas

Who says that red, white and blue should only be for the Fourth of July - or that bleu, blanc and rouge are just for Batille Day? This color combination looks just as festive in December as it does in the middle of summer. Red ilex berries in a blue and white ginger jar, vintage red ornaments in a favorite blue bowl from les puces... or the stars and stripes wreathed in evergreens at Red Ticking -- all make the season bright.

What's your favorite color palette for the holidays? XO

Monday, December 15, 2014

Christmas Time in the City

December 15th already, can you believe it? Have you made your list and checked it twice? Are you an online shopper or do you like to get out to the shops? The web makes everything so much easier, but one of my favorite holiday traditions is an afternoon out for some serious present hunting, Seattle-style.Why don't you come along with me this year?

Admittedly, shopping the bigger stores in the malls or the downtown retail core can make me pretty crabby, but Pike Place Market on weekday in December, with smaller crowds and the stalls decked out in their holiday best, is much more magical...

Pigs can fly...

 Dogs can drive...

Even the fruits and vegetables are in the holiday spirit!

Santa could completely fill up his sleigh with goodies from some of Seattle's favorite stores...

I could spend hours at Watson Kennedy Fine Living, where there's always a treasure to be found  - and that heavenly scent that hits you when you walk in the door (a heady blend of all the luscious bath products and candles this location stocks) is something that can't be duplicated on the Internet. And if you don't finish your list there, just walk down 1st Avenue... 

Taking in some of the gorgeous sights along the way...

And wrap everything up at Watson Kennedy Fine Home in the landmark Holyoke Building, which predates the great Seattle fire of 1889. While the Pike Place Market store focuses on bed and bath, this larger location takes care of the rest of the house... 

C'est fini? It's time to celebrate with a glass of bubbles and a little lunch at Le Pichet, as close to Paris as you can get in Seattle without jet lag.

Here's to the Santa in all of us, making the season bright, and shopping fun!

How do you tackle your holiday gift list? XO

Friday, December 12, 2014

Home for Christmas

Happy Friday, all! Welcome to our house. Come on in, and I'll show you how we've decked the halls...

Many of the elements stay the same year over year. Plenty of greens (lots of boxwood this time!) and other bits of flora....

This year, it was fun incorporating a few things from the Champagne Party into our holiday decor. Longtime favorite bird ornaments from Red Ticking and Watson Kennedy found new branches to perch on...

Vintage ornaments are everywhere - my favorites in the bowl that used to always sit on the dining room table at my parent's house...

More casual and homemade in the family spaces...

Even my desk got decked!


The tree is much the same, I love bringing out old treasures, but there are always a few new friends, too... 

I'm so glad you could pop by - wish we could sip some champagne by the fire and chat awhile.

Hope all your holiday fa-la-la ing, etc., is coming along, but most importantly that you are having fun in the moment. My sweet friend Elizabeth said the best thing the other day, about taking time to "Notice the Magic" - even if that means seeing the Christmas lights decorating the construction cranes while you're stuck in traffic, or hearing that one song that makes you smile this time of year while you stand in line at the grocery store... 

Here's to a wonderful weekend of noticing the magic around us! XOXO

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

An Invitation to Dream of Grand Gifts

How is it possibly the second week of December? The holiday season is flying by so quickly! And since it's the second Tuesday of the month, that means it's time for By Invitation Only, the monthly blog party where a group of international bloggers chats about a topic suggested by our hostess, Marsha from Splenderosa.

The question? In the spirit of the season of giving, what in the world would you give to the people you love most if price or practicality weren't part of the equation?

For my wonderful husband, I'd love to wrap up a hall pass that would give him license to shrug off responsibility and take his much dreamed of "Ski Bum Tour," skiing his favorite mountains up and down the spine of the Rockies - and of course, I'd throw in some heli-skiing here and there...

For one of my dearest girlfriends, who is about to start a major remodel on her gorgeous Norman-style tudor home, I'd take her to France for a Brocante Tour led by Sharon Santoni from My French Country Home. We'd scour country fairs and brocantes in Normandy and the flea markets of Paris. We'd fill up a container of antiques and vintage finds for her project. We'd meet the famous Gibson and Ghetto and I'd ask the person who organized my Giverny painting excursion to pull some strings so that my friend and I could paint in Monet's garden while it was closed to the public.

Of course, we'd have to stay in Paris a few extra days (I'm sure her husband wouldn't mind). We'd rent a big enough apartment so that the friends of her choice could join us, too! 

And speaking of Paris... my Mom and I used to talk about taking a mother-daughter trip there someday. One of my biggest regrets in life is that we never had that adventure. Unfortunately, I think the chance to do so has passed because of my Mom's health, but if anything was possible this Christmas, I would turn back the clock a bit and off we would go! A dream come true...

So if there was no limit to the gifts you could give, what would be on your list for friends and family?

Be sure to stop by to see what the rest of the By Invitation Only crew has to say on the topic. You'll find them all at Splenderosa.

And for more gift ideas and holiday favorites, you'll find me on Wednesday oops make that Thursday at The Enchanted Home where the lovely Tina has invited a few of her blog friends over to guest post... Hope to see you there! XO

Monday, December 8, 2014

Dreaming of a Blueandwhite Christmas

 Our tree

Did you have a good weekend? Ours was festive! Fa la la with friends, favorite traditions and decking the halls (and loving every minute of it). Now thoughts are moving on to gift giving, such a fun and rewarding part of the season. There is the hope that you match just the right gift with the right person, and that you give them something they will enjoy for years to come....

So it was such a thrill this weekend when my friend Dana posted a photo to Instagram of the blue and white ornament from Harriet Damave that I had given to her years ago....

Do you know Harriet Damave? I think it was Anna Spiro of Absolutely Beautiful Things who introduced me to her...

Her handcrafted Delft ceramics -  each one a work of art - are an inspiration. Perhaps I love her so because of the blue and white...  and perhaps it is because of the appreciation for anything made by hand with passion and love. Or maybe it's because Harriet finds inspiration in colbalt oxide, which reminds her of "painting with watercolours on rough and absorbing watercolour paper."

Love that she is now selling in gift sets - sure to be heirlooms...

Photos from Harriet Damave 

Just one or a few... perfectly matched to that person on your list who is dreaming of a blueandwhite Christmas... especially if that person is you! 

How is your Christmas shopping coming along? 

Happy Monday! XO

Friday, December 5, 2014

A Perfectly Imperfect Christmas

December is a month of visions of sugar plums - or visions of perfectly decorated trees with just-right presents wrapped beautifully and stacked under them. Of cookies baking in the oven and homemade hostess gifts at the ready. All by the first weekend of the month, so we can sit back, sip champagne and enjoy the season.

But at our house, decorations are still strewn across the living room in boxes. The wreaths and garlands are on the porch where Fed Ex left them. Gifts? Cards? Not so much. 

But you know, that's okay. You hear a lot about "simplifying" during the holidays, which is a lovely idea, but I'm not so good at it. I really do love all the little projects and to-dos. This year, though, I'm trying to settle back, enjoy the process and not fret about being finished. The season is a work in progress - but the progress is fun! So why worry that things aren't done or "perfect"? 

The holiday season goes so fast. Here's to finding joy in this very moment and all its imperfections! 

Happy Weekend, everyone! XO

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Making it Rosy: A Topiary How-To

Happy Wednesday, everyone! As promised, a little "how-to" for making the rose topiaries and a few other Champagne Party details. Actually, they came together fairly easily...

INSPRIATION: The trick was that the party was two days after Thanksgiving, so something Christmasy was in order, but there was no time to get a tree up and decorated. I spotted a photo (here) on Pinterest, that looked festive and not too tough to duplicate...

CONTAINERS AND COLOR: This vintage champagne bucket was added to the collection months ago. They're easy to find - Ted Watson of Watson Kennedy has a fantastic stock of them at his Fine Home store, and occasionally they'll turn up on One Kings Lane. Paired with silver julep cups (found on Amazon) for the smaller topiaries, and containers were checked off the list. Add pink roses and you have the perfect color palette for a champagne party - pink, gold, and silver.

The TOPIARIES were found on One Kings Lane and at Seattle's Ravenna Gardens.

FLOWERS: To make the topiaries bloom, I used mostly spray roses and a few larger ones (all from the grocery store), put them into florist tubes (also on Amazon) and carefully poked them into the ivy. The champagne bucket topiary needed a little moss to fill in, fortunately that also was on hand, thanks to Amazon.

The whole process took not much more than an hour.

LAST MINUTE ADDITIONS: The table and mantle both seemed in need of lower groupings, so the day before the party I wandered into our neighborhood florist and gift store, Martha Harris, and spotted the mercury glass containers and some gorgeous garden roses. Silver candles caught my eye, too.

ICING ON THE CAKE: The metallic print table runner came from One Kings Lane and matched the champagne bucket perfectly. The napkins added just the right finishing touch of cheer (custom ordered from For Your Party).

CHEERS: A few of you asked which bubbly won the night - the most popular bottle was the 2004 Roederer Cristal (which interestingly enough placed last in 2013). Most polarizing? The 2003 Krug, which had as many haters as people who chose it as their best in show.

But when you're drinking champagne are their really any losers?

What would you like to raise a glass to this holiday season? XO


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