Monday, December 20, 2010

The Finishing Touches

The color schemes are tied together by the drapery treatments
Draperies are part of the finishing touches that make such a difference in a room.  It warms it up visually, absorbs the echo that occurs with all hard surfaces in  a space, and adds another layer to the room.  It is the details that make it special.
This swagged valance has beautiful trim with crystal beading and a custom medallion that was hand painted in metallic gold with an antique crystal button in the center.  The medallion truly customizes the treatment and adds such a wonderful detail, especially in the evening when the crystal chandelier is glowing.

The photo to the left shows how the foyer treatments are simpler, but lead into the library to the left.  This is an especially important area to have window treatments with the high ceilings, marble floors and all the hard surfaces.  This is an area that we are still working on.  I will be completing the accessories in this home after the first of the year, so be on the look-out for the completed project.
See how nicely these frame the view!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

How to Live a Beautiful Life: Quick & Easy Hostess Gift

How to Live a Beautiful Life: Quick & Easy Hostess Gift: "Everyone loves sweets, and we all need quick and easy. This recipe for Chocolate Pecan Toffee is both! Make it and then wrap in celo bag wit..."

Quick & Easy Hostess Gift

Everyone loves sweets, and we all need quick and easy.
This recipe for Chocolate Pecan Toffee is both!
Make it and then wrap in celo bag with a ribbon, or put in a small tin.  You and your gift will be a hit, I promise.

  • 2 cups butter
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 Tbl light corn syrup
  • 1  pkg 11 1/2 oz choc chips
  • 1 cup finely chopped , toasted pecans (or walnuts if you prefer)
Line a 15x10x1 baking pan with foil, extending over the edges
In a 3 qt saucepan melt butter.
Stir in sugar, corn syrup and 1/3 cup of water
Cook over medium heat to boiling, stirring until sugar is completely dissolved.
Be sure to scrape the sides of the pan.
Boil until the soft-crack stage, about 15 minutes.  The mixture will be golden brown.
Pour into prepared pan, spread evenly and cool 5 minutes.
Press chocolate chips and nuts into the toffee base.
Cool for several hours
Holding foil, lift out of pan.  Roll foil onto itself and crack the toffee.
Store in airtight container between sheets of waxed paper.

Share and enjoy!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

How to Live a Beautiful Life: Donna's Beautiful Garden: Donna's Beautiful Garden...

How to Live a Beautiful Life: Donna's Beautiful Garden: Donna's Beautiful Garden...: "Donna's Beautiful Garden: Donna's Beautiful Garden: Garden tours: 'Donna's Beautiful Garden: Garden tours: 'I think a garden gives you a gli..."

Size really does not matter!

Here we are, at the holidays, getting ready for family gatherings.  And just sometimes, it is something to be feared or dreaded.

This photo of my family, would not always have had everyone smiling in it.
Every family has at least one member who is too loud, an Uncle know-it-all, an Aunt over-the-top-out-do-everyone, etc,etc.  I am sure you know what I mean.  And with the economy as it is, we all need to cut back on our expenses or suffer the bills arriving in January.

Here are some helpful tips for a happy holiday season.
  • Make it from your heart...forget the past.  This is now, and what is past is just that! past.  Let it go and move on.
  • Avoid the scenario that brings out the worst in people.  If your brother drinks too much, maybe you should just serve a festive punch this year
  • Make it a casual day.  Everyone is comfortable in jeans, and there's less competition in dressing down for the day.
  • Ask everyone to bring their favorite dish for the meal.  Then compliment them on their efforts and accomplishments.
  • How about gag gifts this year?  My dad always used to ask us kids for socks for Christmas.  So one year I got him long, striped socks with 5 separate toes.  He sure was surprised, and we all got a good laugh.
I have found that the gifts that have meant the most to me in the past, have been homemade, gift certificates from my son promising to do something for me that I knew her hated doing, or a lovely card with a sharing note inside.  Maybe I am just a simple person, but sometimes it is the small gesture that means the most.

What was your favorite Christmas gift, and who was it from?  How old were you?

Do you have traditions in your family that you would like to share?  I'd love to hear them.

I wish you a very happy holiday season...Donna

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Monday, December 6, 2010

How to Live a Beautiful Life: Holiday decorating

How to Live a Beautiful Life: Holiday decorating: "Are you ready for all of your friends & family to arrive to share the season with you? Does it make you feel overwhelmed thinking everythin..."

Holiday decorating

Are you ready for all of your friends & family to arrive to share the season with you?  Does it make you feel overwhelmed thinking everything has to be perfect or expensive?  It doesn't have to be that way.  Here are some tips...
  • For table arrangements, use a low container that you already own.  It can be a plain footed container like the one shown below.  Fill it with greens, pinecones, and fruit.  Walk in the yard to see what you can find.  Magnolia leaves and berries from the nandinas would be wonderful.  Do you have a can of fake snow..spray lightly.
  • homesick for snow, I painted a window with winter scene
  • Do you have a small space or little time to spend?  Add a Santa to the tabletop and put some ornaments in a bowl or under a belljar like shown here.    
  • Add some winter artwork.  When I redo my mantle for the holiday, I usually add some Christmas artwork among the greens and candlesticks.  Using mirrors makes the arrangement look fuller and the lit candles brighter.
  •  This painted window was leftover from a remodel.  I missed having a window at the end of the hall, so I hung this for a 'view'
  • As you shop for your gifts, wrap them right away and use them as part of the decorations. You can put them in a basket, under the tree, or on a chair that is seldom used.  They could also line the staircase. Wouldn't that be festive? 

  • Another timesaver is to use different paper for the gifts.  All of the children could get red or green. Use the metallic gold or silvers for the adults.  That will make it easier to find when you are handing them out. 
My wish for you is to enjoy the season with all of your friends and family.  If you forget something, it doesn't matter.  No one else knew you were intending to do it.  JUST ENJOY!
a low arrangement allows for conversation with guests