Our 4th of July celebration finds me taking a few minutes between festivities to wish you all a Happy 4th of July while I enjoy a cup of tea and some quality keyboard time. I love the lead up to the big celebration, but life, like decorating and design, is all about balance. We’re about to get this patriotic pops party started in bing, bang, boom fashion, and I bet you are doing the same at your own Happy 4th of July celebration.
Tradition rings red, white, and blue true in a patriotic color palette. Variations and creative interpretations of the patriotic color palette allow for fresh takes, takes primed for impressing the eye of the new traditional loyal.
Drum up the drama and set off the visual fireworks in shades, hues and tones of regal reds, shades of white, and brilliant blues. A space defined, detailed, and draped in an updated interpretation of the classic red, white, and blue color scheme pops the color in new traditional style.
Don’t shy from purchasing a lamp(s) with a shade that does not float your boat or without a shade at all. Celebrate your independence from the unremarkable, run-of-the-mill, and lackluster by creating a custom piece by replacing or purchasing a shade(s) suited to your taste, color preference and the canvas of the space.
The color combination of red, white and blue is synonymous with regal grandeur. Patriotic as well as impressive, the red, white, and blue color palette makes a bold design and home decor statement from floor to ceiling.
Pop the color, say cheers to the American spirit, and savor the flavor on this Independence Day. Place the spotlight on fun, an impressive party palette, and the snacks, the crackles and the pops that go with letting freedom ring. I think that’s a simple yet spectacular recipe for party success!
Spring blooms, seasonal snaps, and a heavy dose of Easter tradition ushers in Easter week at Places In The Home. What’s hoppin’ around your house this Easter week?
Red and pink beauties are beginning to bloom offsetting the brown and greenish gray color holdovers from winter’s grip.
From the I ♥ garden roses collection. I’ll enjoy the arrangements for another day or two, and then use the petals for rose petal ice cubes.
My brother dropped by yesterday bearing gifts of gardenias. The spring beautification process is a slowly but surely operation, but we’re getting there.
Dave the Builder’s latest pet project, the taming of the squirrel, is proving successful.
Maybe too successful.
This crazy thing perches itself on the main branch of the crepe myrtle tree right outside the kitchen window and peers through the window. Evidently watching me washing dishes is wildly entertaining. We are one wild and crazy crew, animals included.
I dug this photo of Dave, the Canadian snowbird and Cottontail the rabbit out of the Places In The Home archives. If you think the photo quality is horrible in black and white, you should see the color version. Mama Places In The Home snapped this circa 2005 pic with a throwaway camera. Annie Leibovitz she is not.
Here’s the Reader’s Digest version of the bunny backstory:
Dave and I were checking out the newly planted flower beds late one spring afternoon. I was in the color in bloom zone, laser focused on the budding design features detailing my mad lawn and garden skills. Dave on the other hand was channeling his inner Dr. Doolittle with the just discovered addition to our flower garden menagerie. Cottontail the baby rabbit hopped right up to Dave in are you my father fashion. We brought him inside that evening and set him up in a toilet paper box direct from the discard bin at the local Kroger. We lined the box with newspaper and grass clippings hoping to emulate a natural surrounding, and placed a water bowl and rabbit food over to one corner. Cottontail was in high cotton for the evening. The next morning it was back to the outdoors where he thrived and frolicked, nested in our yard and flower garden, adapted to the daily comings and goings of our schedules, and waited in the driveway each afternoon to greet Dave. As mysteriously as he appeared he disappeared, leaving a hole in our hearts. We got so attached to that silly rabbit, so much so that I cried for three days when he went away. Dave stills tears up when he talks about that silly rabbit.
My Easter Eggstravaganza centerpiece is a build upon canvas. Deconstructing the Mardi Gras King Cake centerpiece, it dawned on me that by adding to instead of taking away from the existing tulle a shimmering color rich nest effect would be created.
What nature does not provide, the Walmart-Michael’s-Hobby Lobby floral department will. Faux flowers serve the purpose in certain decorating for the holiday situations, and when quality stems are selected the finished result can be faux fabulous.
Easter week sets spring into motion. Another season, another wonderful reason for decorating, planting, entertaining, and gathering round dining and picnic tables of stylish tablescapes and delicious dishes with dear loved ones and great friends. Dave and I hope your Easter week, weekend and Sunday is one of blessings, love, laughter, and making wonderful traditions and memories time spent with family and friends who are like family.
With only five days until Christmas, it’s beginning to look, taste, sound and feel a lot like Christmas.
In the spirit and the groove of the season, visions of holiday food, fun and festivities dance in our heads to the tunes of classic, traditional, rock, jazz, country and instrumental Christmas music.
A moratorium on talk radio and smooth jazz is in place in favor of my ‘Tis the Season For Christmas Tunes playlist on Spotify. The sounds of the season window is short at best, so we go all in December 1st through New Year’s Day.
Ho Ho Holly Jolly Santa sits holds court in the Places In The Home candy kitchen. I wasn’t sure this particular holiday vignette would translate, but translate it does.
Fresh, fragrant and fa la la la lovely – Christmas smells so good! A tradition of sorts dating back to the days of Hopefully Classic, Dave the Builder picks up a fresh rosemary tree shaped in the form of a mini Christmas tree on his Black Friday run. Fresh orange slices, ground cloves and bay leaves brought to a boil and left to a simmer- divine!
With only five days until Christmas, things are heating up in the Places In The Home kitchen.
Candies and cookies, and dishes, oh my waistline.
We’ll count calories in January, but for now we’ll feast upon traditional and regional holiday dishes in traditional tastes and colors of the season.
No respectable Southern cookie, candy and cake plate is without Kentucky bourbon balls, the quintessential southern Christmas goodie.
Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups commandeered from Dave the Builders candy dish make a delicious addition to a cake mix sugar cookie.
Try, try as I may to deviate from a pastel palette of pink, French blue and winter white, the lifelong preference invariably wins out over traditional and new-traditional colors.
Walmart surprised and delighted the decorating and the savvy consumer side of my brain this holiday season.
I could not be more pleased with the presence and the price point of the tabletop pre-lit silver artificial tinsel Christmas tree and the Better Homes and Gardens holiday plate set.
We had a little “this never, ever happens here” excitement this week.
For a split second the Christmas Day forecast for Central Louisiana looked like we would need to break out the snow boots and snow booties.
Snow in Louisiana on Christmas Day?
Could it be that a miracle of snow on Places In The Home Street will take place?
Although it will not come to pass, the prospect of it could happen only adds to the excitement of a White Christmas.
I realize a gold picture frame with black and white zebras and a black and white photo of our son and his groomsmen does not necessarily qualify as a Christmas or holiday decoration, but leave it to me to find a way to incorporate it into an I’ll be home for Christmas theme. The Canadian snowbirds will not be home in Canada or Louisiana for Christmas, and for an excellent reason. The snowbirds are flying south as in the tropical south for a holiday honeymoon.
With only five days until Christmas I suppose I should push back from the keyboard if for only a day or three to enjoy all the season has to offer. May your holidays be merry and bright, safe and sound, healthy and happy and your heart always be Home for the Holidays.
beginning to look a lot like Christmas. Let’s take a look at the history of Christmas ornaments, shall we?
History shows the decorations used to trim and bedeck Christmas trees included white candy canes, fresh apples and pastries shaped in the likeness of flowers, hearts and stars. Garlands of glass beads, tin figures and the famous glass bauble made in Lauscha, Germany by Hans Greiner captured the eyes and the hearts of admirers. Artisans crafted the original ornaments in the shape of fruits and nuts.
William DeMuth created the first American-made glass ornaments in 1870. American businessman F. W. Woolworth discovered glass bauble ornaments on his travels to Laucscha, Germany in the 1880s subsequently importing the Lauscha ornaments to the United States.
The F. W. Woolworth Company went national in 1910 with 1000+ stores introducing glass Christmas ornaments into its inventory. Over the 20th century, Woolworth’s would import 200,000 Christmas ornaments and top $25 million in sales from Christmas decorations.
Over the last decade, decorating the Christmas tree has become more than strictly a holiday ritual and more of a trip down memory lane starring Christmas ornaments notably in what Christmas means to me magnificence.
Small in size, but oh-so-large in representation of our individual style, personal interests, defining milestones, landmark events, choice destinations, memories of yesteryear; Christmas ornaments become delicate, shiny, glittery and wonderful winter wonderland pieces to add to or start a these are a few of my favorite things collection.
East Tennessee is our second home, and even though we will spend Christmas at home in Louisiana, the GSMNP ornament will allow us to be home for Christmas if only in our Great Smoky Mountains National Park dreams.
I fell in love with the Dagmara landscape printed glass ball ornament at first sight. Monochrome topography fittingly depicts a scene reminiscent of the homes, buildings and churches along the parish roads and bayous of Louisiana.
Black Friday sales and Cyber Monday deals are an excellent vehicle for hostess gift ideas. The ’tis the season soiree and holiday dinner party highlights the festive spirit of the season, and is the most wonderful time of the year for the holiday hostess to pull out all the stops.
A gift of holiday hospitality expresses thoughtful appreciation to the hostess (or host). Entertaining what special token of ’tis the season appreciation to gift the merry hostess or host is a scroll away with the Places In The Home Hostess Gift Ideas Holiday Edition.
I sourced ginger jar ornaments and even went as far as to post the image, note the source, and hit the update button. That is until I checked out the clearance sale at Lamps Plus for a blue and white ginger jar lamp.
Turns out the ornaments are more expensive than the lamp. Ginger jar ornaments shine in the holiday hostess gift ideas spotlight for roughly 30 days. The Felicity Blue and White Double Happiness Table Lamp on the other hand shines 365 days in the hostess gift ideas~home decor spotlight. How’s that for hostess gift ideas holiday gift giving happiness?
The look and the taste of take me home Louisiana river roads and bayous is year round present in a Louisiana lagniappe gift trio of a rustic Cabin Canvas Art Print, River Road Recipes cookbook, and gold alligator salt and pepper set.
On sale and on trend, the Wood Curl Green Square Wreath from Pier 1 Imports hits the holiday high notes of year round indoor or outdoor color, pattern and texture style. Pop the holiday color with a fabulous bow for a super good look!
All things house that make a home becomes a smarter and easier proposition with the Amazon Echo Dot 2nd Generation.
Hands-free and voice controlled ability controls lights, electronics, thermostats, garage doors, and sprinkler systems. Call or message anyone hands-free with your Echo device. The built-in speaker works on its own as a smart alarm clock in the bedroom, the ultimate sous chef in the kitchen, or anywhere you might want a voice-controlled computer. Connection to speakers or headphones through Bluetooth to your preferred music library is the selling point for me.
Holiday gatherings with friends and gifts that express love, thanks and appreciation enhance the spirit of the season! The gift really is in the giving, and spending holiday times with good friends is always in season.
Culinary contemplation over how I could up my holiday side dish game brought me to a delicious conclusion. How ’bout pairing the highly holiday requested Southern Sweet Potato Casserole with the OMG as in oh my goodness of puff pastry. Southern Sweet Potato Puffs it is!
Impressing the palates of those who gather together is a part of the holiday dinner and entertaining equation. As someone who puts stock in the you eat with your eyes first approach to dining, the looks so good has to match up to the tastes so good. Let’s begin with the recipe for Southern Sweet Potato Casserole.
Preheat oven to 350° F. Lightly spray a 2 quart baking dish with cooking spray. Boil sweet potatoes under tender. Carefully remove from heat, drain, peel and mash sweet potatoes.
In mixing bowl, mix together the mashed sweet potatoes, brown sugar, eggs, melted butter, milk, vanilla extract, Southern Comfort, ground cloves and ground nutmeg. Spread mixture evenly in prepared baking dish.
In a separate mixing bowl, mix together brown sugar, chopped pecans, flour, and melted butter.
Spoon over sweet potato mixture. Bake for 35-40 minutes or until a knife inserted in center comes out clean.
Southern Sweet Potato Puffs
southern sweet potato casserole for filling
1 box puff pastry sheets
Allow the casserole to cool before using as the filling for the puffs. The reason I elect to fill the puff pastry with cooked sweet potato casserole is to work with a dryer filling. Baking off the casserole absorbs the liquids into the baked casserole, and makes it easier to work with a firmer filling. The next step in the making of Southern Sweet Potatoes Puffs brings puff pastry into the mix. I used the defrost in the refrigerator overnight method of thawing the puff pastry sheets. Unfold 1 puff pastry sheet and place on lightly floured countertop or large baking sheet. Roll puff pastry out using a lightly floured rolling pin. Lightly dust pastry sheet with flour. Using a knife, cut the pastry sheet into six (6) squares.
Spoon 1 tablespoon of the Southern Sweet Potato Casserole mixture in the center of each pastry square.
Pull corners of each square up over the filling and twist at top to seal. Repeat with the remaining pastry sheet. Place the pastry squares onto a large baking sheet that has been lightly sprayed with cooking spray.
Beat 1 egg and 1 teaspoon of water together in a small bowl with a fork. Brush each puff with the egg mixture.
Bake for 20 minutes or until puffs are golden brown.
Home bar styling ideas for a chic cocktail station go stylishly beyond a portable card table or kitchen counter space. The home bar serves up more than just cocktails when the spirits, wine, glassware, decor finds and beverage accouterments are displayed on a styled cart, cabinet, accent table, bookshelf, inside an antique armoire or atop a mid-century modern credenza.
Let me expand on that thought. A stylish home bar can begin atop a portable card table, kitchen counter or patio wall. The mix and the marvel is in the decorative details, proportion and placement. Styling a home bar works off the same principle applied to styling a coffee table. X marks the center spot- the prime location for a medium or low height object placement. The “outer” areas balance the method with graduated heights to continue the flow, theme and visual engagement.
Now for a little housekeeping and the disclosure portion of this post:
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Before many of us became smarter and healthier and the laws of the land changed, the ash tray was part of the cocktail bar landscape. A vintage ash tray repurposed as a cocktail spoon holders or cocktail stirrer discard bowl makes a great conversation piece.
Southern entertaining and the home bar go together like Tabasco and tomato juice. A proper Southern Bloody Mary bar is well stocked with silver trays, bowls and containers to house and hold the sauces, seasonings and spicy garnishes that kick up the flavor with just the right amount of c’est si bon zing.
The traveling Places In The Home duo is home sweet home, and as much as I love a good getaway, there is no place like home. Prior obligations and work schedules clipped our wings to a certain time extent, so our escape was of the closer to home statecation to North Louisiana variety. Making a vacation observation and sharing details of our summer getaway will be a two-parter with the first installment a celebration of the red, white and blue.
Vacation Observation #1
Don’t believe everything you read or hear about a decline in patriotism and the celebration of the American flag. Seeing is believing, and on our statecation getaway we treated ourselves to a self guided tour of the Historic South Highlands neighborhood.
Architecturally magnificent on all fronts, the homes of the Historic South Highlands neighborhood happened to be decked out not only in detail, but in 4th of July-proud to be an American style and colors. Here, let me show you.
I love the Southern comfort lives here ambiance and patriotic porch set for a red, white, and blue summer holiday.
Vacation Observation #2
North Louisiana mirrors the landscape of East Tennessee (another favorite vacation getaway destination). Tree-lined streets of the Historic South Highlands neighborhood wind and weave through a semi-hilly fashioned parkway. Mark this corner cottage in a dreamy creamy shade of yellow as a model of southern charm.
Several squeals of glee pierced Dave’s eardrums, more than a few oohs and aahs perhaps became a few too many, and an insane amount of unabashed architectural envy dominated the evening’s conversation.
What can I say?
Architecture is my thing.
Towering pines and oaks shade the yards and boulevards. Vintage street lights evoke nostalgia of days gone by.
Architectural juxtaposition promotes a dramatic effect and a desirable address.
Vacation Observation #4
An afternoon drive through a historic neighborhood between shopping destinations and dinner reservations inspired, confirmed and renewed. It’s not a day at the beach or one spent in the desert or the mountains, but it’s one of our favorite things to do at home or on vacation. The food, the landscape, the architecture, the terrain, the dialect-you can learn so much from your travels. Inspiration is everywhere.
Old Glory is once again displayed from the oak tree in the front yard of Places In The Home. The tree is cosmetically worse for wear since the tornado, but is still the optimum spot for the flag to be displayed. Patriotism with flying colors is alive and well at Places In The Home. Happy 4th of July to all of you. Celebrate in style and let freedom ring!