Simple Gifts...

pretty centerpiece...
via Pinterest
I have loved the Shaker Hymn, "Simple Gifts" since I was in elementary school.  I still remember the wacky substitute teacher with the crazy hair who taught it to us while old Mrs. Grushkin was out with a broken wrist. For some reason, the song has always resonated with me. Maybe it's just its own simplicity, but I think it sums up how I feel about Thanksgiving perfectly:

"Simple Gifts" written by Elder Joseph Brackett, 1848
'Tis the gift to be simple, 'tis the gift to be free
'Tis the gift to come down where we ought to be,
And when we find ourselves in the place just right,
'Twill be in the valley of love and delight.
When true simplicity is gain'd,
To bow and to bend we shan't be asham'd,
To turn, turn will be our delight,
Till by turning, turning we come 'round right.
via Wikipedia

I am grateful for so many things in my life, but it's the simplest of them all that seem to carry so much weight: 

Wishing you and yours the simplest of pleasures this Thanksgiving.



Favorite Things...

One of the things I love most about Thanksgiving is the idea of gathering with loved ones to share a lingering around the table kind of meal where there's no rush, where we truly catch up and appreciate the moment. It makes sense that this major feast ushers in a full month of eating, drinking and  merry making with our favorite people. Today I'm linking up with Saved by Suzy's Favorite Things Link Party to share some of my favorite things to help celebrate this season of thanks and giving. Just click on the links to find out where you can buy any of the items.

For the Kiddos:
Holiday Corduroy & Tartan Plaid

Holiday Corduroy & Tartan Plaid
These gorgeous monogrammed dresses, by Rarebits are a favorite of mine. I love them because they're beautifully simple and classic. Made by our dear family friends, they are handmade and often reversible and have great longevity. Neve wore her first Rarebits Dress when she was 18 months old and again the next two years with leggings: an heirloom in the making.

Candy Pink Rollneck

Chocolate Brown Rollneck
Rarebits also has these great monogrammed, rollneck sweaters that my kids love wearing. They are warm, well-made and great for a family Christmas card!

My friend Katie has built a great kid-driven business, KT Steppers, LLC,  creating these adorable, custom step stools for kids. Santa brought Neve this yellow one two years ago, and it still looks and functions as good as new.

For the host or hostess:
The Entertainer Sampler
We recently bought the Keurig Special Edition Coffee System.  Although I wouldn't consider myself  a huge coffee drinker, this thing has me hooked, and drinking more coffee than I have in years. This sampler pack would be great as a hostess gift or stocking stuffer.

Pinned Image
Pinned Image
My husband always includes a cheese course during whatever holiday we host. Although we usually pick up our cheese at a local Italian market, I did order some from Sur La Table once as a gift for him.  Some nice cheese, a bottle of port and a marble cheeseboard would be a great gift this time of year for someone who entertains and doesn't need more 'stuff'.

Monogrammable Grosgrain Mat Frame Ornaments
Each year after visiting Santa at the mall, the kids and I head into Pottery Barn and pick up this  ornament which comes with the year engraved on it. I put their picture in it as soon as we get home. I love looking at the collection of them growing on our tree each year and am always blown away at how quickly the time has passed. 

For nesting:
Thanksgiving and Christmastime mean one of these two Yankee Candles are usually burning in my kitchen anytime we're home. Love, love, love them. Yankee Candle often has great discounts and coupons, too for both in-store and on-line purchases.

These beloved Peanuts classics have been a staple in our house, long before we ever had kids. Luckily for us, they enjoy them as much as we do. Walmart seems to have the best prices around for this collection.
lands end home chenille blanket
This comfy looking blanket from Land's End might just make it onto my wish list. It looks perfect for enjoying  a long winter's nap.

What are your favorite things for celebrating and gift-giving?  
There are some great ideas for holiday shopping and gift-giving over at Suzy's blog, so please drop by!

Have a great day and good luck to all of you who are in preparation mode!


Mood Board Monday

Mood Board Monday
Today I'm joining 
Sarah's Mood Board Link Party at Pewter+Sage.
I've been watching from the sidelines for a while, but decided to 
join in when I saw today's task: a dining room inspired by 

While all the options were beautiful, I fell hard for the "Dhara collection" by Phillippe Deshoulieres. Its rich colors and elegant patterns seemed the perfect jumping off point for a dining room worth lingering in. Dhara is inspired by the side designs of a poetry manuscript from Saadi and its colors are inspired by the traditional saris from Penjab and Cachemire. This exotic, Eastern influence definitely inspired the eclectic space I envisioned. 

Drawing from these colors and patterns, I found my rug from ABC Carpet and Home which drove the rest of the design. Keep in mind, this was a wish-list, budget-free sort of day-dream for me. I believe the rug was on sale for about $6000. The colors echoed the china perfectly and I loved its pattern. It set the tone for where I headed in terms of color, pattern and furniture and led me to elements with a rustic sort of old-world feel.Ultimately, I tried to infuse the imaginary space with a balance of bold color, pattern, texture and subtle ethnicity. I wanted to imagine myself in a room that enveloped me and felt collected over-time, but still cohesive.

For some reason Polyvore and I had some difficulty sharing images from Etsy, so  the artwork from Sarah Giannobile  I chose is below.  I wanted something simple in black and white that referenced the patterns in the china, rug and fabrics. I thought these abstract drawings worked nicely.

Living Form / mandala print archival print  fine art  black and white abstract drawing

So, although I obsessed just a tad on figuring out how to put a moodboard together, it really was a fun, creative exercise for me.  Thanks to Sarah at Pewter + Sage for inspiring me to try something new and to Holly at West Pear Avenue for introducing me to Mood Board Monday! Be sure to check out the other inspiring collections and the creative boards put together by some really great bloggers. 

How would you envision a similar space?  


Ikea Majby
$80 - ikea.com

Padma's Plantation Tables
$863 - carolinarustica.com

Philippe Deshoulieres "Dhara"
$100 - bloomingdales.com

Decorati | Quiet Moments by Benjamin Moore


Memory Lane Trick or Treat Bags

I am always a sucker for celebrating photos of my kids. Last year I decided to showcase their photos on simple canvas tote bags I found at Michael's.  After sharing my photos of the kids with family and friends yesterday, I got a lot of requests for instructions on how to make the bags. It really is such an easy project and quick to update each year.

  • cotton/canvas tote bag
  • puff paint
  • iron
  • dish towel or pillowcase
  • iron-on transfers (I used Jolee's Easy Image, purchased at Michael's)
  • scissors
  • your favorite Halloween photos of your kids

1. Pre-wash/dry your bag. Be sure to iron all the wrinkles out.
2. Set up a clean pillowcase or dishtowel on top of a hard, heat-resistant surface, not your ironing board.  I used a dishtowel on top of my stove. 
3. Iron the towel or pillowcase to create a wrinkle free surface.
4.Following the directions enclosed with the transfers, print your favorite picture on a transfer page. 

 5. Cut the transfer out in the size/shape you like.
 5.Remove the backing.

 6. Place the transfer on the bag, covered by the parchment paper that is included with the transfers.

7. Using firm pressure, hold the iron for about 10-20 seconds all over the picture until the entire image has adhered. Be sure to check that the entire image has transferred, especially the edges. 

8. Let your kids decorate the handles and edges with puff paint and voila, a trick-or-treat bag that has you strolling down Memory-Lane every year.

Please email me or leave a comment if you have any questions!
Linking this post to:


Halloween fun...

I hope you all had a fantastic Halloween. 

We had a blast carving jack-o-lanterns

while watching the snow fall?
 We walked the dog
and watched parading Kindergartners
 totally get the hang of trick-or-treating.
 They humored me by posing
 and again
until they couldn't hold out any longer.

Time to hide the loot from Mom and Dad ; )

How did you celebrate?