Wow, I can’t believe I am saying this but have you seen the new JCP (JC Penny)?
They have made some major changes in terms of design and style. I might even go as far as to say they are down right cool! I am so impressed they have hired/licensed: Jonathan Adler, Martha Stewart, Michael Graves and Sir Terence Conran to transform their image…and it worked!
Here are my favorites from Jonathan Adler
Conran designs back for the masses!
Michael Graves…more than just Target!
Are you impressed? I know I am. I understand things have been a little upside down at JCP over the last few years, but it looks like they have landed on their feet!
I hope you enjoyed this post! Let me know your thoughts on the new JCP, do you like what you see?
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On New Year’s Eve I planned, decorated and executed a wonderful wedding. We had a white winter theme and it was truly magical. I would like to take all the credit but I had a very talented team working with me on this event. Carol Hiltebeitel of www.cocodesigncompany.com did an amazing job on the flowers and The Portland Country Club, our venue, did a fantastic job with the food and service. The Big City band (www.bigcityweddingband.com ) was rocking, and finally, the guests were lovely.
We hung these globes filled with flowers, fake snow and candles from the windows.
If you are a fan of Celia Bedilia you have seen my bird vases before. I love these vases and we used them to surround our charity tree. The bride and groom asked that guests donate to the Center for Grieving Children, in lieu of gifts. We created a table of branches, wooden trees and flowers to welcome the guests and remind them to donate to this wonderful cause.
Carol did an incredible job with the flowers and plants. She planted mini cedar trees in my bark covered vases and created fabulous birch bark lined vessels for other mini trees. She is such a talent and I feel blessed to have her on my team.
We rented the leather furniture from Minots www.minotts.com in Portland, ME. Thank you Sam!
I ordered these fantastic snowflake lanterns (www.lunabazaar.com) which hung in the windows and the LED lights inside of them created such a lovely glow.
Mercury glass votives twinkled throughout the room…we had loads of candles and it was just beautiful. Carol combined Amaryllis, Dusty Miller, Roses and much more to make these fantastic arrangements.
We wrapped the columns in birch branches, and hung votive candles from the branches. Fearful of fire hanging from branches suspended above the dining guests, we opted for battery powered votives.
The chairs were rented from One Stop Party Shop.
We also got this set of three silver birch vases from Home Remedies, Portland Maine. These arrangements were the centerpiece in the ceremony space. It was also the backdrop for the wedding photos.
The bride loves hot pink so Carol added a pop of color to her bouquet…so romantic!
This was a superb event, created by a team of professionals. Thank you all for helping me pull this off in just 4 weeks! Special thanks to Ray-Ray, Jonny O’ & Kate (who came in on her vacation), & Alex who let us use the Clubroom.
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I love Faux Bois it is fabulous! The trend of faux bois everything is right up my alley. I adore anything faux bois or bois for that matter. I have picked a few of my favorite items to share with you and the resources to purchase them if you so desire!
Wikipedia definition: Faux bois (from the French for false wood) refers to the artistic imitation of wood or wood grains in various media. The craft has roots in the Renaissance with trompe-l’œil. It was probably first crafted with concrete using an iron armature by the inventor of ferrocement, Joseph Monier. In 1875, Monier designed the first bridge of reinforced concrete, crossing the moat at the Chateau Chazelet, in France. It was sculpted to resemble timbers and logs. 
And this is my favorite example, my dining room fireplace. It is sheet rock and trim painted by decorative painter Deb Hides to look like wood! $50/hour and it took her about 6-7 hours…what a deal! http://debhides.tumblr.com
Do not forget Faux Bois for the holidays! Here are birch candles from Pottery Barn lovely for any decor.
Faux Bois is fun and fabulous. Try to incorporate some into your home! There are all kids of vintage Faux Bois pieces to collect, look at yard sales, flea markets and etsy for great buys.
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I like many creative do it yourselfers, am referred to as being like Martha Stewart. I flip-flop between being flattered, and being annoyed by this comparison. I am my own creative personality, and Martha although I respect the heck out of her, is a corporation of creative people.
I am currently getting ready to host Thanksgiving for 25 of my favorite in-laws. My husband is the youngest of five children, all of whom are married and many of whom have several off spring…and this year we have the first grandchild. So we are a big group.
We all enjoy a party and a well made meal. This group also likes to drink, and I am providing only Pine State Trading wine, beer and spirits as this company’s owners are responsible for keeping my business afloat! If I have to be spending money I like to stay local!
Naturally, when I am four days away from Thanksgiving, I wish I was Martha. I could use a staff of trained professionals at my beck and call. I am a one woman show, my husband has been very helpful but most of the work still falls on my shoulders. I would kill for a housekeeper right now, between cleaning for house guests and the holiday, I am swamped with chores. I have a four page to-do list.
Today was shopping day, I hit the grocery store, Trader Joe’s & Wholefoods…magically my debit card kept accepting the charges.
My plan was also to set the tables today. I have turned into my mother. I can’t believe it! I used to joke that my mother set the table a week before an event, and here I am setting my tables Sunday for a dinner on Thursday. Professional chefs use the term Mise en plas, meaning putting in place. The idea is do not start cooking until you have everything in place. I am taking this to the extreme and putting everything for Thursday in place…today. I have a business and family to run as well as a holiday and guest quarter to prepare. I better get started!
If you are a follower of my blog you know that earlier in the week I was looking for centerpiece ideas that could be done ahead and perhaps even reused next year.
I came up with this for the main table…Pottery Barn pumpkins and gourds, a pheasant I found last year at Dwellings In Falmouth, Maine and flameless candles leftover from the wedding I did in October.
The two smaller tables have flameless candles and orchid arrangements. Here is a photo of the arrangement. You need orchids (I got mine at Trader Joe’s for $5.99), a container, sheet moss, and curly willow. These are fantastic arrangements and they last for months!!!!
After the tables are set, it is time to move into the kitchen. To begin the festivities, I am offering shrimp cocktail, nuts and a vegetable crudités.
The main course will include two turkeys, one will be honey glazed and one will have a sage butter under the skin. I am debating about using brine…what do you think? Is it worth making brine for turkey or not?
I think I have everything under control…wish me luck!
I hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving. I am thankful to have such wonderful friends, a great family and you readers! I hope you enjoyed this post. Let me know by commenting or liking the post! Also if you don’t already follow my blog sign up now!
I love planting inside gardens, even in the summer. I like to find ways to reuse items in my home. Today I am using mason jars. As you know if you are a loyal reader (thank you if you are a loyal reader), I love mason jars. You can plant in almost anything so be creative and have fun!
Plants in Mason Jars
1 ½ cup Mason Jars
Small plants-herbs work very well
Step One: Add a layer of pea gravel to the bottom of the jar
It’s easy to see why the popularity of succulents has skyrocketed in recent years. The plants look modern and require little maintenance — just several hours of sun and not too much water. To showcase their beauty at home, go beyond the terra-cotta pot with this display idea.
Sprinkle an inch of cactus soil in a clean glass bottle. Divide the succulents into single-stem plantlets, each with roots. Using chopsticks, place the plantlets in the bottle one at a time. Use the chopsticks again to nestle each plantlet into the soil. Once the plants are situated, keep them indoors and out of direct sunlight. These desert plants require only a drop of water every two weeks or so.
I love summer. It is my favorite season. Summer evokes memories of picnics, barbeques, beach trips and family time.
When I think of this season in terms of decorating I think of white, sea glass blue, & aqua paint colors, linen, cotton, and organza fabrics, distressed, reclaimed & drift woods and bare, painted & cotton rug covered floors.
Bringing the outside in is the name of the game in winter and spring but making outdoor rooms is the summer mantra! In New England we live for summer and living life outside for a few months. I grew up in Washington, DC, and although I loved summer, it was hot and sticky. We can all enjoy planting flowers, vegetables and herbs in summer, in fact those of you down south have two opportunities to plant during the season. When planting flower beds I like to keep height, color and scent in mind. Mixing herbs in with flowers make a pretty herb garden and a more fragrant flower bed! I also like to add lighting to flower beds, candle light adds romance to a garden patio or deck.
Finally, I love to cook, entertain and eat. Summer means picnics, barbeques and fun cocktails. I do not like to use my oven from June-August. It heats up my entire house, which is lovely in the cooler months but sweltering in the summer.
I grill vegetables, pizzas, meats and event desserts and serve them with salads. Clean your grill, replace parts on your gas grill, or purchase a new coal chimney. Here are some yummy recipes from The Food Network.
Cook potatoes in salted water until fork tender; let cool and cut into 1-inch chunks. Place potatoes and the vegetables in a shallow dish or container. Pour marinade over vegetables. Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours.
Preheat an outdoor grill to medium heat.
Remove vegetables from the marinade, reserving marinade. Thread vegetables onto skewers, alternating colors. Cook skewers on grill until vegetables are lightly charred all over, about 10 minutes, basting with reserved marinade and turning occasionally.
Whisk together the oil, vinegar, basil, onion, salt, peppercorns, and garlic in a bowl. Transfer the marinade to a gallon-sized sealable plastic bag with the chicken and shake to combine. Refrigerate for at least 3 hours and up to 12 hours.
When ready to cook, build a charcoal fire or preheat gas grill.
Remove chicken from the marinade. Grill the chicken, turning once, until browned and just cooked through, about 4 minutes per side. Transfer the chicken to a platter and garnish with the basil sprigs.
Picnics are such fun. Preparation is the key to a great picnic. Pack a bag or basket at the beginning of summer with good quality paper plates, a roll of Viva paper towels (they are the best), plastic flatware, a small light cutting board, a good small knife, trash bags, zip lock bags, wipes, plastic cups like Solo (they can be reused), a Sharpie pen (to label cups), bug spray, sun screen, and an old blanket or table cloth.
1 can (15.5 ounces) cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
1 garlic clove, roughly chopped
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 pound mortadella, prosciutto, or thinly sliced deli ham
1/2 cup fresh parsley leaves
1 cup marinated artichoke hearts, drained and quartered or sliced
1/2 cup shaved Parmesan (1 ounce)
1/2 cup pepperoncini, drained and halved if large
Sprinkle a double layer of paper towels with salt and place zucchini on top. Sprinkle with salt and roll up like a newspaper. Let sit 10 minutes to draw out excess liquid.
Over a low gas flame or under the broiler, roast bell pepper until skin is charred, 10 minutes, turning frequently. Place in a bowl and cover tightly with plastic wrap. Let sit 10 minutes. Rub bell pepper with a paper towel to remove skin, then core, discard seeds, and slice flesh into strips.
Pull out about 2 cups bread from inside loaf halves. In a food processor, combine beans, garlic, lemon juice, and oil and puree until smooth. Season with salt and pepper. Completely cover inside of both bread halves with an even layer of bean puree.
Arrange zucchini on bottom half of bread. Top with mortadella, parsley, roasted pepper, artichokes, Parmesan, and pepperoncini. Sandwich with top half of bread and wrap tightly in plastic. Place on a baking sheet in refrigerator. Place another baking sheet on top and weight with several heavy cans. Let sit at least 3 hours (or up to overnight). To serve, unwrap and cut into wedges with a serrated knife
Farmers markets are a great place to shop in the summer. Go to your local market and meet the farmers who grow your food and ask them their favorite way to cook what you are buying. These people are experts, believe me their families eat a lot of the items they grow…they will have multiple suggestions.
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Oh my I have waited to tackle this project. My desk was in need of an overhaul. I have been putting this off because the weather has been so beautiful here that I have been outside racking up my lawn. My lawn and garden are in need of my attention but I am trying to stay on track and finish the inside first. So here we are, desk organization day. I have already walked the dogs twice, gone to meetings and drafted a photo shoot timeline all to procrastinate the desk/office organization.
Before starting this project I went to Staples and purchased everything I could find by Martha Stewart to organize my life. My thought process behind buying Martha’s line was that she seems to have her act together and I would like to be more like her. In fact I would love it, a house in Maine and estate in New York lots of helpers and wonderful dogs…and the money to pay people to keep your life orderly…sign me up!
If you are reading this blog you are stuck with my take on organization…make what you have better, the best is not only not necessary, but also not in my budget!
Before starting you will need a vacuum, cleaning supplies, trash bag, bulletin boards and containers to organize your stuff/life with. I vacuum the room before starting the actual organizing, more procrastination!
1ST step: you need to do is clean off your desk. I move items on to the floor and stack them in piles or groups. Bills, magazines, kids’ paper work, etc.
2nd step: you need to wash off your desk, filing cabinets, bookcases etc. When doing your bookcase read spring cleaning day one for ideas.
3rd step: Look at your empty surfaces and enjoy it while you can! Add the boxes, containers, file holders etc. Look to your walls for space to help you get organized. Could you hang bulletin boards, hanging file holders, dry erase boards and shelving to help you in your quest for order? Shelving helps to free up valuable desk space…in turn making you more productive…or so they tell me. I will let you know how this all pans out.
4th Step: Take a look at your space; what do you need it to do? Is it set up to help you do whatever you need to do there better than it was before? Can you put everything you have removed from the desk area back into a designated spot or container? Have you labeled the boxes/containers to help you stay organized and to help others find things easily if you share your work space? As a designer I have lots of magazine pages that are given to me by clients. I use bulletin boards and magnetic boards and label them by job. Each job might also have a hanging folder and a box for samples. This helps me both visually and physically to keep each job on task.
5th Step: Weed out the items you do not need. Make up boxes to store tax information, children’s records & art etc, and other business that you need for reference but is not current.