Our Dining Room at Christmas

We are having some family over for dinner this weekend which is the motivation I needed to  finish putting a few holiday touches in the dining room.  My decorating had stalled  after the initial burst of getting it done early.   Is there such a thing as decorating fatigue?  Yes, I think it’s a thing.

But there is nothing like having company to get me going again.

The greenery on the mirror is new this year.  Having that swag on the top of the mirror does draw your eye to this side of the room.

 

And the centerpiece on the table varies from year to year.  This one is more simple than in the past.  I used faux greenery with some pillars and ornaments.  I  dried the artichokes back in the fall which is pretty simple to do.  You basically just leave fresh artichokes out on a counter and they dry, retaining their shape perfectly.  When the Christmas season rolled around it seemed that they needed to be spray painted gold.  What a budget friendly item they have turned out to be!

My sister gave me this Spode Christmas china.  I look forward to using it every year.  Traditions give us the continuity and unity of the past.  But I do like to update and tweak too.

Honestly I did not have much going on over here on the sideboard.  But I decided it would be a good place to stage my dessert plates.  I usually use this area for wine and side dishes when we have guests over.

The chandelier is always the same.  I found that hanging ornament at TJ Maxx a few years ago and this has always been the perfect spot for it.  I keep those gold spray painted hydrangeas from year to year.

 

And here is another new variation: some greenery and lights on the armoire.  This end of the room is always dark and it finally occurred to me that a few lights up here would remedy the situation.  I might just leave those up year round.  I don’t think it would be weird.

What’s on the menu, you ask?  I am making Jamie Oliver’s recipe for lamb shanks.  It’s really good!

Ten days until Christmas!  Are you ready?

Linking with Remodelaholic.

 

 

 

 

Christmas Decorating So Far

I thought I would share a little of my decorating so far.  I noticed as I was decorating this year that doing less might require more effort than doing more.  It certainly requires more thought and discernment.

I mentioned earlier that my mantel looked unfinished.  To fix that I brought out some mercury glass containers and filled them with greenery from my yard.  That seemed to do it.  What do you think?

I experimented with various options but many seemed just too much.

And now, on to the tree, which is kind of the centerpiece of the whole shebang.  This is the view from our front entry hall.

It took me a few years to decide that I didn’t have to put up all of the homemade Christmas decorations from back in the day.

And here is the view from the kitchen.

I like to set up little vignettes to display some of my quirky finds, like this caroling Santa.  I’m sure he must have been part of a set, but he was all by himself when I found him.

He’s just singing his heart out.  Kosher salt makes good snow, in case you are wondering.

On this table which is the second part of our front hallway that leads into the family room I added a few more reindeer. Those spikey looking items are my dried artichokes which I spray painted gold.  Have you ever noticed you can spray paint just about anything gold and it becomes a Christmas decoration.  Cheap decor you can throw away!

I am still working on my dining room.  I hope I will see you back here for the rest of the tour  next week!

 

Gifts For Her

Just in case you need some ideas for that special female someone!

 

 

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The Noonday Collection has such lovely and unique items.  And you get the added gift of feeling good about your purchase since all items are fair trade, benefiting the artisans who make them. The jewelry here is a tiny fraction of the collection.  In addition, the site offers apparel and art, all handmade from the finest materials.

I love so many of the Molton Brown line of body washes and lotions.  Right now I am enjoying the Pink Pepperpod fragrance.  It is a subtle and elusive scent that will delight your senses.

I love the Kiehl’s lotions as well.  I have never actually used this whipped body cream, but there were 145 reviews that raved about this product.  It costs more than I would normally spend but I am intrigued by the devoted following.

The mohair throws from Pottery Barn would be perfect in any room, from bedrooms to living rooms.  I like the slim profile and the gorgeous colors.  Peacock would look perfect in our family room, in case you were wondering.

We need new stainless flatware.  Ours is 37 years old and it looks it!  Pottery Barn flatware has a nice heft and the price is reasonable, especially if it lasts another 37 years.

I finally admitted that my old booties were killing me and put them in the donation bag.  I really like the look of these shoes from Kork-Ease and the reviews confirm that they are very comfortable.

So, what’s on your list?  I’d love to hear!

Some items are affiliate links, meaning I may get a commission if you click on the link.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Christmas Decorating

It’s early December  and I already feel like I am  behind on everything Christmas.  Partly, well mostly, it’s because I am comparing myself to other more organized types whose house is decorated and shopping is finished.  Well, my house is partly decorated, but the shopping has not started.

However, I was excited to start decorating in the living room because I purchased this new reindeer.  Something new  is often a motivator for me.   He adds a slight modern vibe to my traditional decor and I wanted to see how he would fit in.  Just fine I think.

I’ve never been one of those people who go overboard on Christmas.  With a small house, it would be overpowering.  But I do like a festive atmosphere so each year I try to find that balance.  It seems to always come down to balance doesn’t it?  Not only in decorating but other areas of life also.

The plant is called a “frosty fern” and I found it at the grocery store.  I like to tuck moss around the top of houseplants so that you aren’t looking at dirt.

Then across the room on my console table I added a few more natural elements.  This area needed a little more something so I added some dried berries in a julep cup.

I also collected some magnolia leaves.  They are so plentiful here in Virginia, neighbors and friends willingly share their bounty.

I place them in water to prolong that rich glossiness.  As you probably know magnolia leaves dry well and are still beautiful in arrangements.

My mother-in-law needlepointed this Santa picture for us.  Sometimes I put it by my front door, but this year I thought this corner needed some extra color.

 

I am still working on my mantel.  I was going for simplicity, but this seems a tad sparse.

 It’s good to get started.  I hope to have a full house tour later in the week.

Great Ideas for Leftover Turkey

There have been years where I had little to no leftover turkey, and that was very disappointing because I look forward to the leftovers almost as much as the actual feast.  When I am faced with no leftovers I resolve to buy an extra turkey next year.  Here are a couple of reasons I love my leftover turkey.

One of my favorite recipes is for Turkey Gumbo.  I have tried several variations over the years, but  my favorite is one that I have adapted from America’s Test Kitchens.  I love their roux and the flavor baseit gives the gumbo.  In my turkey version I use turkey (or chicken) stock and turkey instead of shrimp.  Additionally, I use a little less stock, more like a quart which is half what the recipe calls for.  Otherwise it is too much liquid for me.  Also, add 1/2 teaspoon of thyme.  Find the recipe here.

Another favorite meal for my leftovers is  Turkey Pot Pie, which remains a favorite for my family.  I use this recipe, although I don’t usually add potatoes.  What a bonus that you can make two pies and freeze one (or send one home with your adult son).

If you don’t want to make the usual turkey sandwich (using dressing, cranberry sauce, etc.) you can perk it up with other additions.  I love adding avocado slices to ours for that extra creaminess and flavor.  Bacon is an obvious go-to.  And for the spread try a remoulade like this one.

Do you have some favorite recipes for leftover turkey?  I’d love to see some new ideas.

A Relaxing Thanksgiving

This year will be the first in awhile that I have not hosted Thanksgiving.  Is it okay to say I am thankful for not hosting?  Don’t get me wrong.  I have usually enjoyed putting on a big celebration and having family and friends around the table.  There is a lot of satisfaction to planning and pulling off an event like Thanksgiving.

But it’s also nice to have a year off.

Because I did not have to have my dining room in Thanksgiving mode I was able to bring in just a little Christmas.  Just a little.

Just adding a few gold leafed magnolia leaves and my red wine goblets there is a touch of the season awaiting  around the corner.

But I am keeping the wheat and the pumpkins  a little bit longer.  I worry that if I get the Christmas decor out too early I will be tired of it long before Christmas Day.

With a few colorful branches on my table, I haven’t jumped ahead too quickly.

 

Do you sneak a few Christmas decor items in before Thanksgiving?  It kind of helps if you can get an early start on things, doesn’t it?

Have a Wonderful Thanksgiving!

 

Thanksgiving Links: From Roasting the Turkey to Decorating the Table

When you have hosted as many Thanksgiving dinners as I have, it is easy to get stuck in a rut and do the same things you always do.  However, I have found that  a little creative boost helps me get more enthused about the process, the work that is involved in making a memorable day for everyone.   That’s when I sit down at my computer to find inspiration and ideas that spice up my usual dinner.

These two links were so thorough that I didn’t need to go any further.  I hope they help you too!

The New York Times has an entire section of helpful tips for the novice and the experienced cook  here.  From How to Roast a Turkey to How to Plan the Menu, you will find a comprehensive guide for your Thanksgiving meal.  Even though I have hosted Thanksgiving more times than I can count, I  am always interested in new ideas for recipes and tips for making the preparations  go more smoothly.

This article had so many ideas for making your table festive.  From simple to elaborate you will find something you like.

Happy Planning!