November 25, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving!

I remember visiting the Norman Rockwell Museum for the first time in the early 90s. My soon-to-be-husband and I toured the museum and ended up purchasing The Four Freedoms for his father, a now retired minister. I know my mother had several of his prints. In fact, there are two of hers now hung on my office wall. And in the upstairs hallway, we hung up his painting (Christmas on) Main Street in Stockbridge (we bought it on our honeymoon :)). His paintings represent Americana in the best sense. I love his Saturday Evening Post covers....especially the ones that showed off his wry sense of humor. It was only fitting that I include a picture of a Norman Rockwell Thanksgiving to celebrate this most American of holidays.

May you be with the ones you love this Thanksgiving. I will be counting my blessings all day long.

It's not too late to put up your version of the The Thankful Tree.

I hope you'll consider practicing these 10 Little Things from here on.

And lots of Thanks & Giving.

My first Thanksgiving turkey involved a pair of rubber gloves and a disgusted look. Read this essay from one of my favorite writers.

Do you know what a relish tray is?

Be creative with your Thanksgiving Leftovers.

I'll be back on Monday as I take a nose dive into another holiday. I bought extra lights this year!


November 24, 2014

Free Holiday Planner

If you're holiday planning has already begun, my free printable planner can still help. It includes:
  1. A Christmas/Holiday check list
  2. A Christmas/Holiday card list
  3. A Christmas/Holiday gift list
  4. Holiday meal list
  5. Grocery list
  6. Activity/Event planner list
  7. Tips to get organized for next year
Please email me for the download.

Pine Cone Cheese Ball

Holidays and entertaining go hand in hand. Even if you're only entertaining for two, you still want to put a little effort into presentation. This simple, elegant cheese snack is perfect for just about any holiday coming your way. Add a few frozen cranberries to the plate for color. How about slices of citrus? And whatever cheese you decide to use, just make sure it can keep its shape. (Find the recipe here.)

November 21, 2014

Have a Great Weekend!

I've been to Gillette Stadium for everything BUT a football game. I attended a few Patriots games at the old stadium....the last one was almost 25 years ago! However, this Sunday we're headed down to Foxboro to watch my first game at the new stadium and the girls' first game ever. I think that pretty much says we're in for a fun weekend!

I hope you enjoy whatever you have planned. Here are some links that you might enjoy.

Thanksgiving dinner recipes, just in case you're in a jam.

Get your hot glue gun out and make your holiday gifts.

27 make ahead Thanksgiving recipes, so you're not slaving over a hot stove.

Don't show up empty-handed: 25 great hostess gifts.

10 turkey treats for the dessert table.

11 creative (easy to duplicate) table settings.

Painting by Mark Waitkus

November 20, 2014

What do You Want to Know? My Take on Writing

Paper. Pen. Pencil. Just a few tools you may need when writing something, anything down. Writing comes easy to me but it's also very hard. It really depends on what I'm writing about. I can knock off a post about decorating in minutes. I can start an essay in about thirty. The act of writing is easy, it's everything that comes before, during, and after that's hard.

"You can make anything by writing." - C.S. Lewis

Sometimes I begin with a photograph when I write a blog post and other times I just grab my notebook and write. When I write an essay, or something larger, my method is a bit different. That blank page can be awfully scary, and when I first began writing professionally I would sit and stare at that blank page for a long time. Now when I pick up my notebook (or pull up a document) I just start writing. It may start off as gibberish, but the more I write, the more ideas, words, and sentences start to fill my head and spill onto the page. I keep on writing. Then I look back and start to rearrange thoughts and sentences. I might switch out a word or two (but the first one that comes to mind is usually the best one), and then I do it all again. Writing involves a lot of repetition.

"The beautiful part of writing is that you don't have to get it right the first time, unlike, say, a brain surgeon." - Robert Cormier
I don't think you need to actually publish anything to call yourself a writer. Sometimes I get paid to write and sometimes I don't. That doesn't make me any less of a writer. Blogging, journaling—these outlets have merits of their own. You can simply decide to keep your writing to yourself, share it with the world, or something in between. It's the act of remembering, recording. It can be wonderfully cathartic....and extremely frustrating. 


I prefer black ink. I like to write in pencil. But both need to be thinslender casing, fine point. I write long-hand first, type, print, and edit by hand. Then repeat. I prefer a desktop to a laptop. I need to type on a real keyboard. I own dozens of journals and notebooks. I hate making mistakes (spelling, grammar), but I always make them. I have re-written thousands of pages hundreds of times.

No matter what your process is or which tools you prefer to have on hand, just get it on the page.

Tell your story any way you can.

"Keep a notebook. Travel with it. Eat with it. Sleep with it. Slap into it every stray thought that flutters up into your brain. Cheap paper is less expensive than gray matter, and lead pencil markings endure longer than memory." - Jack London

Thank you Julie who emailed me this question for my series What do You Want to Know?

You may also like Mistaken Identity, You Are What You Read, and Some Thoughts on Writing.

Photo: Fredrik Rubensson

November 19, 2014

Thanksgiving Leftovers

I'm a bit of a purist when it comes to putting together Thanksgiving leftovers. I eat my Pilgrim sandwich the old-fashioned wayturkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce, and gravy in between two pieces of a white doughy dinner roll. (Extra gravy on the side for dipping.) I think it tastes better almost as good as the meal itself.

However, there is more than one way to slice a turkey. Here are some delicious ideas for your Thanksgiving leftovers.
  1. To the above sandwich, add mashed potatoes.
  2. Turkey and Swiss Panini: Turkey, cranberry sauce, chopped pecans, fig or apricot jam, Dijon mustard, bread and butter.
  3. Stuffed Croissants: Turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, green beans, mashed yams, and cranberry sauce.
  4. Thanksgiving Grilled Cheese: Turkey, pepperjack cheese, provolone cheese, homemade cranberry sauce, bread and butter.
  5. Turkey Hand Pies: Turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce, gravy, pie crusts, egg.
  6. Waffle Melts: Turkey, avocado, brie, cranberry sauce, waffles (bacon and eggs optional).

Photo: Kristen Taylor

Coral Reef

Sherwin-Williams announced their Color of the Year this week and here it is: Coral Reef (SW 6606). I have mixed feelings about this color. First of all, if you've been reading this blog, you know I love the color orange and the color red, so this mix of orange, red, and pink should be right up my alley. However, after viewing some of the photographs over on the SW site (having never used this color myself), I wasn't too thrilled. I love it in small dosesin a lamp, on a vase, a pillow, a chair, but walls are a harder sell. The folks over at Thistlewood Farms got it right. I love this accent wall they did in their office. And to me that's the key. Use it as an accent in your home and it won't disappoint.

Jackie Jordan, the director of color marketing says:

“Coral Reef embodies a cheerful approach to design that we’re seeing for the coming year. Its unexpected versatility brings life to a range of design aesthetics, whether traditional, vintage, cottage or contemporary.”
What do you think?

November 18, 2014

Done and Done: Instant Wreath Decoration

Oh, what a little spray paint can do... If you have a tired looking wreath hidden in the bowels of your basement or collecting dust in the attic, go get it. It could be dried, plastic, made from pine conesit doesn't really matter. Clean it off the best you can and then hit it with a good dose of gold paint. Voila! Now you have the perfect wreath for Thanksgiving and Christmas. 

Color Inspiration: Fall Leaves

My favorite colors always fall into the fall/winter category. This photograph of fall leaves was my inspiration to create this palette.

Color Inspiration
Behr 390F-6 Tate Olive, SW 6423 Ryegrass, BM 488 Mountain Lane, BM 482 Misted Fern,
BM 2160-40 Roasted Sesame Seed, BM HC-8 Dorset Gold, SW 6129 Restrained Gold, RL TH13D Edwardian Gold, SW 6109 Hopsack, BM HC-17 Summerdale Gold, BM HC-75 Maryville Brown, RAL 8011 Nut Brown