December 18, 2017

Last Minute Holiday Shopping Ideas

We are less than a week out from Christmas and if you haven’t already started your shopping yet, you better get a move on it! As a public service, I have a few last minute ideas for your consideration.image

One of my long-time favourite places to get last minute gifts is museum shops! Each and every museum on earth (practically!) has a museum shop generally featuring an array of goods which reflect their mission. Our local historical society has re-purposed an old store-front to use for their shop, which features a selection of consigned goods including old silver and china, and some antique furniture.image

Does your town have a fun and funky shopping street? Baltimore’s Hampden neighbourhood, close to where I live, is four blocks of small independently-owned shops. I love shopping at these little stores because their merchandise is always unique, and I know that my money is staying in the community, and not going off to some mega-corp somewhere else. image

Another great idea, but maybe one that’s too late for this year, is the local craft/maker shows that are so popular. One here in Baltimore, the Holiday Heap o’Craft is held in an old church and is absolutely packed with makers and buyers!image

A very simple gift is a few paper-white narcissus bulbs, along with some stones and a glass container. Garden centers and big box home improvement stores usually have the bulbs and you can pick up glass stones and glass containers from the dollar store. In the depths of January and February, it will be nice to have some blooming flowers!image

Food is always welcome, especially if you make it yourself. Fellow blogger, Pinecones and Acorns, had a great seasonal recipe which I can’t wait to try out. It’s an easy Cranberry-Apple Chutney, which would be beautiful paired with a soft goat cheese and a box of water crackers, bundled on a fun cutting board. Click the link for her recipe. She also has a few other quick and easy last minute food gifts. image

In the past, I’ve made caramels, imagemy father’s lemon curd, image

candied grapefruit peel, image

and puff pastry palmiers or elephant ears from Ina Garten’s recipe. image

Finally, a trip to your local antiques mall or auction house can yield a unique gift or two. I like to pair an great tea-cup and saucer with some elegant teas. image

Or a single plate loaded with some good cookies. image

Or an elegant knife, paired with some exotic cheeses.image

Regardless of what you choose, the main thought is to keep the recipient in mind.

December 13, 2017

Holiday Decorating

Traditionally, I don’t do too much decorating at my house, mainly because I am almost never home, and the dog really doesn’t appreciate my hard work. I put up a few flameless candles which actually look pretty good and won’t burn down my house. I burn my favourite Thymes Frasier Fir candle which makes my house smell amazing. I also have white lights strung on my huge gardenia which is looking rather pitiful after I left it outside too long and most of the leaves turned brown.

I love looking at other people’s decorations and appreciate the work that goes into making them beautiful. I adore white fairy lights, and the new tiny bee lights and think they can look magical.


The holidays are a time to be totally outrageous and over-the-top with your decorating, using items like these oversized bows!image

This is a super minimalist decoration that could actually be used all winter. I might add a few shiny red balls on the mantle.image

My favourite shop in London, VV Rouleaux, has a wonderful oakleaf spray that can be used for a range of decorations. image

And here are some holiday decorating pictures from VV Rouleaux’s owner’s house in the English countryside. (article here)image





Even if you just use some glass balls and sparkly lights, you can bring the spirit of the holidays into your home.

December 6, 2017

Picking A Wreath

For many years, I made my wreaths by hand, picking magnolia and boxwood branches and trying to fashion them into an amazing artistic expression. Mostly, it went okay, but with much sweating and swearing. My ambitions and aspirations are great, but my talent is limited.

I think that this was a cheapie wreath from Ikea with a ton of boxwood tucked in behind it.image

My friend, Andrea, is a master of wreath-making!image

I bought a bunch of pheasant feathers last year, and think they make a great addition to a wreath.image

I did this one year. I collected tons and tons of vintage ornaments and glue-gunned them to a wreath form. Hung it on my front door.
Then it rained, all the glue dissolved and the ornaments fell off. I was broken-hearted.image

I really love magnolia leaf wreaths, but I might embellish this a little more.image

Like this one with some gilded leaves and a few tiny lights.image

In a fit of insanity one year, I made this cranberry wreath. It was gorgeous but I don’t know if the glue-gun burns were worth the effort.image

It’s always fun to collect pinecones on a fall walk in the woods. image

Last year, I bought Williams-Sonoma’s jingle bell wreath. This year, I think I will re-visit it with some sprigs of boxwood surrounding it.image