Archive | November, 2010

DIY Advent Calendar

30 Nov

This fun, DIY Advent Calendar, was featured on Twig & Thistle (link below).  You can download a PDF of the numbers to make your own — but hurry as December 1st is upon us! 

 Fill tins with small candies, toys, cute paper clips, whatever will fit and your family will enjoy!  You just need magnets, glue and metal tins with a glass top. 

You can arrange the calendar into any shape you want — or an evolving shape as you get closer to Christmas.

My mirror must-have

29 Nov

Dear Santa, all I want for Christmas is this mirror that I can’t even come close to affording and can only be delivered to a UK address.  If I had all the time in the world, Santa, I would spend my days scouring the auction houses for fun, vintage mirrors and I would make one myself.  Oh well, in the meantime, maybe you’ll keep it in mind for me next year after it goes on sales? I promise I’ll be a good girl.

West Texas

28 Nov

I guess, because it’s Thanksgiving weekend and a time when a lot of my family will be together, I’ve been thinking a lot about West Texas.  I grew up in the Dallas area on the East side of Texas but West Texas will always hold a special place in my heart.  I went to college in the Panhandle and I’ve been going out to this part of the state for holidays for over 20 years (since I was nine, hee hee).

When I was “home” last Christmas, I took a boatload of photos — as I usually do!  Here are some of my favorites that capture the feeling of small town Texas to me.

Honey bee table and chairs

27 Nov

My sister, Stacy, is the principal of a Kindergarten through second grade school in West Texas.  The school’s “mascot” of sorts is the honey bee.  Last Christmas when I was home in Texas, Stacy asked me to help me paint a set of table and chairs for her office.  As principal, she meets with a lot of parents throughout the week and often they bring young children in tow.  Stacy thought it would be great to set up an area of her office for the younger kids to hang out and read or color during the meeting. 

So we tackled the table and chairs in a day — and while this photo doesn’t show the final result, it gives you a good idea of how they turned out.  The chairs have little flight trails and bees hidden up the side on the leg and the table says “Happy learning wherever you may bee” – sweet. Most importantly, it was fun to work with my sister on a crafty project for the day.

FSI Photoshoot

26 Nov

I, coincidentally, did a little photoshoot for Food Services Ireland yesterday of some lovely dishes from genuine Irish food products made up by chef, Derry Clarke and his team at L’Ecrivain.  I say coincidentally because it happened to be on Thanksgiving and my colleague and I got to taste all the beautiful dishes after the shoot was complete. 

I can’t tell you how yummy this was!  My favorite dish was the sausage in curry which surprised me because it’s so simple but it was lovely.  And don’t be shy about black pudding — it’s yummy! 

Happy Thanksgiving!

25 Nov

Happy Thanksgiving, all!  Since I’m working, I won’t be celebrating until tomorrow, but I’ll be thinking of all of you friends and family in the U.S. eating turkey and watching football!

For today, I thought I’d highlight a couple of fun centerpieces — both of which are pretty easy.  The first is made up of pumpkin-colored mums with a bit of “garnish”. 

The second idea is even simpler — just take a bag of cranberries and some candles and float them in a bowl of water — simple and beautiful.

Asymmetrical Quilting

25 Nov

 I ran across this quilt in a magazine the other day and I thought it was really fun.  I love the asymmetry of all the blocks and the use of color looks very haphazard but based on most of the quilters I know, I’m sure it was very intentional.

My mother helped me with a quilting project last year for my friend, Jessica’s son.  We had Jess’ friends and family send in a swatch of fabric which my mother and I subsequently made into a baby quilt.  I was thinking that the asymmetrical quilt would have been a fun twist on the project — lots of parts and pieces of fabric from special people.  But I also love the way our final quilt turned out and it was nice and simple!

My favorite home fabric shops

24 Nov

I love fabric — especially fabric for home interiors.  One of my favorite New England-based spots is Zimman’s in Lynn, Massachusetts.  So…the location isn’t so great but the fabrics are to die for and they also have some interesting furniture for sale on the upper levels of the store as well.

Another favorite spot is one that Molly introduced me to — Les Tissus du Chien Vert (the green dog) in Brussels. Before Molly lived in Brussels, I wasn’t aware that it’s, in essence, the fabric capital of Europe.  This shop and its sister Les Puces du Chien (the dog’s fleas) are just magical.  The environment is beautiful and boy, do they ever have a lot of fabric to choose from!

Francine Zaslow Photography

23 Nov

I had the good fortune of working with Francine Zaslow years ago on a catalog shoot.  She was phenomenal.  We probably had 100 different shots to capture that day from food to clothing, to jewelry to bedding…she was really versatile and fluid in her work and she managed to get everything we needed and then some.

Imagine my surprise when I’m back in Boston visiting my gang and, on a stop for brunch at Henrietta’s Table in Cambridge, I come across her work once again.  She’s a very talented photographer and I would hire her again in a heartbeat.  Check out Francine’s portfolio at

Amanda Nisbet Design

22 Nov

I came across this interior designer, Amanda Nisbet, recently and I really like her work.  She loves color and mixes up pieces in unusual ways – yet her approach is still clean and stylish.