Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Have A Merry Day!

Whether or not you are celebrating Christmas today... 
I wish you a peaceful, beautiful, wonderful day!

birds watching for Santa.... ♥ christmas topiary...
via

I won't be blogging during the holidays; instead, I'll be enjoying some media-free time with my family.  
See you in 2013!

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Sweet!

We'll be seeing the Nutcracker today, and I am very excited!  What little girl doesn't dream of sugar plum fairies?  

All of that sweetness has inspired today's post about sugared fruit. It makes such an elegant addition to a party and it's so, so, so easy to do!  I sugared pears and grapes as part of a buffet for a holiday party we had in Munich a few years ago and they were a big hit.  Enjoy these beautiful inspirations!


sugared fruit

Sugared fruit--beautiful centerpiece

Sugared Fruit

sugared fruit
How gorgeous would that be for a winter wedding?

sugared fruit

Sugared fruit is great for Christmas but would also be very elegant for a New Year's Eve Party or a dinner party in January. Have you tried this before?  If not, are you inspired?

Also, I'd like to thank my wonderful Pacific NW-based blogging friends for participating in the Pacific NW Holidays series.  I enjoyed it so much and my readers did too. Thank you ladies!!!




Friday, December 21, 2012

Pacific NW Holidays: Marianne Simon Design


My last (but certainly not least!) post in the series on celebrating the Holidays in the Pacific NW is the lovely Marianne from Marianne Simon Design.  I have been so fortunate to have met her and call her a new, dear friend in Seattle!  Lucky me.  If you don't already know Marianne, you'll see why I am so glad I found her after you read her wonderful post!  I won't make you wait any longer...here you go!



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What an honor to be here today on Barbara's gorgeous blog.  I feel so lucky that we have become friends, not only in the blog world, but also in person.  I was thrilled when she asked me to do a post on what I love about celebrating the holidays in the Pacific Northwest.  So, without further ado, these are a few of my favorite things...

Pike Place Market
Always a fun place to visit any time of year, but the holidays seem to make the market a little more magical.





Bellevue Botanical Garden
This is a place you have to visit.  Not only do I go every year to see all of the beautiful creations, I actually took a class one day a few years ago at the garden and helped them make wisteria.  Every time I look at the display I'm reminded that I actually created some of the flowers there!




Pacific Northwest Ballet's Nutcracker
Always a festive way to kick off the holiday season!  Here's my favorite part...





Baking
Of course, it wouldn't be Christmas without one of our longest family traditions dating back over 75 years.  When I say we do a lot of baking, I am not kidding.  We typically make between 30-50 or more varieties of cookies and candies over one long weekend.  I swear this is harder than my day job, but the joy it brings to family and friends faces when we pass out our box of goodness... priceless!  Heres' a look at a few of last years creations.




Decorating
In my own house, I use a lot of fresh greenery and keep everything pretty neutral so it doesn't compete with my decor. 





Paperwhites
I always start them right around Thanksgiving so they'll be in bloom for Christmas.  I place them all over my house and the smell is intoxicating.  These were in my office last year.



Published
Here's my shameless plug for the holidays...  This year I'm celebrating my home being published in the December issue of HGTV magazine.  Truly a dream come true!



Family
Of course, the best part of the holidays is spending time with my family and friends filled with lots of laughter and joy!



Thank you again Barbara for including me!  Happy Holidays!



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Isn't she great?  I see that we share a love of paperwhites, the Nutcracker and simple greens for the holidays, among many other things.  Thanks for the beautiful post Marianne.  :)
And, how amazing is that about her being published in HGTV magazine?  Congratulations Marianne!!  I am so happy for you!

Thanks so much for your beautiful post, showcasing your great style and zest for living.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Pacific NW Holidays: I Dream Of

Today I'm thrilled to share a post from one of my new Seattle friends, whom I never would have met without blogging.  Jeanne from I Dream Of is here today to share her wonderful Seattle traditions with all of us.  Jeanne is a long time Seattle native and definitely "in the know" about all things Seattle - not to mention having great style and taste - so this is a post you don't want to miss!  Enjoy...

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Northwest Holiday Traditions: Ships and Shopping

Here in Seattle, where a Wet Christmas is far more likely than a White Christmas, we have our own bright and shining tradition--The Christmas Ships.

For the last 61 years, a flotilla of ships have sailed to the waterfront communities around Puget Sound--45 in all. Ship-board carolers sing to crowds of people who gather around bonfires on the shores. Christmas Ships parties are a tradition in the waterfront neighborhoods up and down the Sound and are always some of my favorite events of the season.




When the ships sail into our neighborhood, we can see their bright lights and hear the carolers as we walk out our door toward the beach at Madison Park on the shores of Lake Washington. We hold hands, said hi to neighbors and sing along. When flotilla sails on to their next stop, we make our way down the street to an annual party at a neighbors and spent time with friends who we just don't see enough of during the year. Our own kind of Northwest magic.






 
The treasure hunt that is Christmas shopping is another one of my favorite things about the holidays. Finding just the right gift to match everyone on my list is like putting together an elaborate puzzle.  And Seattle offers something for everyone - if you like shopping the big stores, the Flagship Nordstrom store has been in business since 1901, and sticks to a holiday tradition of not decorating until after Thanksgiving, which I love. 




But I think the best treasures can be found in the smaller shops around the city, from Pike Place Market, where you'll find Watson Kennedy and, a few blocks away, Great Jones Home. My all time favorite, though, for Christmas shopping -- for myself and for others --has to be in my own backyard of Madison Valley, home to Pam Robinson's Red Ticking. 









Granted, I'm biased because Pam is one of my dear friends, but the way she dresses up her store every year, the unique items she finds to complement her year round-stash of Christmas treasures...it just never seems like the holiday season until I pay Pam a visit.

This year, I got a sneak peak at The Ticking decor - homemade paper chains. I can't wait to see how it all comes together. 




Thanks Barbara, for asking me to share what I love about Christmas in the Northwest. I hope that you and your family create some of your own lasting traditions this year and that you feel that much more at home hear after celebrating with friends, neighbors and loved ones. 



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Wow - I don't know where to begin!  
The shopper in me wants to head to Red Ticking TODAY, but I am waiting until Jeanne and I can go together, so that I can get a guided tour.  :)  Thanks so much Jeanne for such a beautiful review of what makes the holidays in Seattle extra special for you!

Photo Notes:
The Christmas Ship photos are both from the Seattle Times -- the third not so good one is Jeanne's.  The Waiting for Santa photo is from the Seattle PI.  The Red Ticking Photos are all from a previous holiday season at the Ticking and an after-hours party Pam had for a few girlfriends, including Jeanne. The paper chain photo is from this season. 

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Venice Highlights

Today's post is the last about our trip to Venice last month, with just a few more things that I thought were worth sharing.  I hope you enjoy them!


My husband and I have been joking that now that we live in Seattle, we have to get a boat (we aren't really boat people).  I think I could be convince to have one of these though!  I fell in love with the gorgeous wood, sleek lines and elegant design...  I was dreaming that my boat like this would - of course- be stocked with fine Italian wines, cheeses, etc. to complete the experience!


We are also huge fans of Italy's Moretti beer, so this sign caught our eye. :)

Notice the gorgeous weather we had - a delightful surprise for late November.  
That didn't hurt a bit in making our experience wonderful.  :)



These creative doorbells caught my eye around town.

Many good meals were enjoyed too!


Have you been to Venice?  If so what was your favorite highlight?

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

The Merchants of Venice

I'm back today to share a few highlights from Venice, via the beautiful shop windows that we enjoyed while strolling down the cobblestone alleyways, hearing Italian spoken at every turn.  It was an enchanting visit, and really changed my opinion of Venice to fairly dismal to quite positive, I have to admit!  Here are a few of my favorite things that I spotted in the shops:

 One can't help but be inspired with markets like these!

 Venice isn't Venice without masks of every kind...

A more modern take on the Venetian mask.


More gorgeous greens...and it's almost December. 

Mmmm...salty olives! 


 More gorgeous produce.



Because Venice wasn't so overrun with tourists, we were able to observe how a city on water really works, with deliveries buzzing around in boats non-stop

The glass creations were the most impressive, with everything imaginable created. 

I hope you enjoyed our window-shopping.  More tomorrow!



Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Where I've Been...

Hi Everyone!

Did you miss me while I was away?  I missed all of you in blogland!  I tried to schedule some posts in advance, but in reality I was actually in Europe for the last few weeks!  

We had a good trip visiting family, which turned into an extended stay, but we also spent several days south of Munich.  On Thanksgiving I posted this, alluding to being somewhere unusual for Thanksgiving Day.  I'm happy to report that pasta was on the menu for us this year.  We were in beautiful Venice:


My husband and I had both been a few times before, but I have to say this was by far my favorite visit.  It was mostly empty of tourists (relatively speaking) so it felt like an authentic Italian experience.  It was lovely!
I'll be back soon with some highlights from our visit.  :)

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