Merry Christmas To You!

Merry Christmas to you, my treasured friends.

farmhouse-christmas-entryway-plaid-packages

Country Living Magazine – Photography by Rikki Snyder

This Christmas collection of pretty pictures, delightful treats, and Christmas at home is a visual to you, from me gift that hopefully fills the eye and the heart with the most wonderful time of the year sights of the season.

Enjoy!

pink-white-green-dining-room-at-holidays

At Home in Arkansas – Photography by Rett Peek

christmas-treats-divinity

Divinity with Cherries and Pecans

December-poem

Christmas-wreaths-above-fireplace

Country Home Magazine

Christmas-tree-in-blue-white-porcelain-planter

House Beautiful – Photography by Peter Frank Edwards

Forest Beauty

Forest Beauty

gold-lantern-sconces-above-bed

Flower Magazine

Christmas-cookie-box-Curly-Girl-Kitchen

Curly Girl Kitchen

All is calm, all is bright.

pine-trees-covered-in-snow

Unsplash

angel-figurine-Christmas

Raspberry Almond CakeRaspberry Almond Cake

The Toy Store Window by Timoléon Marie Lobrichon (1)

The light in a child’s eyes is all it takes to make
Christmas a magical time of the year.

tree-gif

May the beauty of the season be bountiful in the spaces and places of your holiday home.

With much love to one and all,

signature

Taste of Thanksgiving Recipes

Taste of Thanksgiving recipes feed the hunger we crave and gives reason for the gathering season.

Julia Child quote tapestry

Pinterest

Gathering together to feast, family, and friend during the holidays or just because on a Monday in cozy spaces with good food (fancy schmancy or crackers and can cheese) is rooted in connection, love, and celebration of relationship.

country-kitchen-tim-moss

Houzz – Tim Moss

Speaking from years of experience, the kitchen is about to be a hot spot of holiday activity.  Music is a must, quality kitchen tools and gadgets essential, organization the sous chef to friend, and the taste of Thanksgiving present and accounted for.

country-kitchen-pantry-Tim-Moss

Houzz – Tim Moss

Holiday open houses at favorite antique shoppes result in treasured finds; among them platters O’Plenty perfect for plating birds baked, roasted, and fried.

vintage-new-thanksgiving-platters-1100-Barksdale (1)

Antique Shoppes at 1100 Barksdale

Louisianans do love to do delicious fried turkey when the weather turns cold and the good holiday times roll.

Deep-Fried Turkey Recipe

Country Living – Photography by Johnny Miller

Deep-Fried Turkey

Ingredients

1½ tbsp. kosher salt

1½ tbsp. smoked paprika

1½ tsp. garlic powder

1½ tsp. onion powder

1½ tsp. fresh ground pepper

1¼ tsp. cayenne pepper

1 (12- to 14-pound) whole fresh turkey

Peanut oil (about 3 gallons)

Directions

Stir together first 6 ingredients. Remove giblets and neck from turkey, and discard. Drain cavity well; pat entire turkey dry with paper towels.

Loosen and lift skin from turkey with fingers, without totally detaching skin; generously spread seasoning under skin. Carefully replace skin and secure with wooden picks, if desired.

Sprinkle and rub remaining seasoning inside cavity and on outside of turkey. Let turkey stand at room temperature while oil heats.

Meanwhile, pour oil into a deep propane turkey fryer 10 to 12 inches from top; heat to 350°F over a medium-low flame, according to manufacturer’s instructions (about 45 minutes).

Place turkey on fryer rod. Carefully and slowly lower turkey into hot oil with rod attachment.

Fry 35 to 45 minutes or until a meat thermometer inserted in thickest portion of thigh registers 165°F (about 3 minutes per pound plus an additional 5 minutes.  Keep oil temperature between 300°F and 325°F). Remove turkey from oil; drain and let stand 25 minutes before slicing.

Serves 10-12.

-Country Living

Louisiana-pecan-festival-pecans

Alex Orenczuk TV

Louisiana pecans harvested from area farms characterize the taste of home.

Cinnamon Candied Pecans​​​​​​​​
​​​​​
Ingredients

1 Tbsp unsalted butter

¼ cup granulated sugar

1 cup pecans

½ teaspoon cinnamon

​​​​​​​​Directions

In a cast iron skillet over medium heat, melt together butter, cinnamon and granulated sugar until the sugar starts to caramelize.  Add pecans and stir to coat; stirring often to keep from burning.

Pour candied pecans onto parchment or wax paper allowing to cool.

Louisiana-yams-pecans

Southern sweet potato casserole, candied sweet potatoes, and Dave the Builder’s requested favorite, sweet potato pie- Louisiana sweet potatoes are synonymous with Thanksgiving.

Homemade Sweet Potato Pie Recipe with Walnut Topping

Homemade Sweet Potato Pie Recipe with Walnut Topping

Taste of Thanksgiving Recipes

Candied Sweet Potatoes

Ingredients

3 large sweet potatoes, washed, peeled and sliced French fry style

1 stick butter, sliced

1 cup sugar

1 Tbsp water

Directions

Places prepared sweet potatoes in pot. Add sugar and butter slices. Add water and cover with lid. Cook on low about 40 minutes or until tender. Do not stir during cooking time.

Place candied sweet potatoes in casserole and serve.

-Cooking with Brenda Gantt

Asparagus With Crawfish Hollandaise

Asparagus With Crawfish Hollandaise

Ingredients

2 pounds green asparagus, trimmed

1 tablespoon canola oil

½ teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon ground black pepper

4  large egg yolks

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

½ teaspoon salt

⅛  teaspoon cayenne pepper

½  cup butter, melted

½ (16-ounce) package crawfish tails

Directions

Preheat oven to 350°.  Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil, and add asparagus.  Top with canola oil, salt, and pepper, and brush evenly with basting brush.  Bake until tender, 8 to 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, add water to a large saucepan, and bring to a simmer.  In a stainless steel bowl, add egg yolks, lemon juice, salt, and cayenne.  Hold bowl over simmering water making sure bottom of bowl does not touch water, and whisk vigorously until volume of egg mixture doubles.  Slowly whisk in melted butter until sauce is thick and combined.

Remove from heat, and stir in crawfish.  Serve immediately over asparagus.

-Louisiana Cookin’

Cajun-Country-rice

Scenes from home.

Cajun-Country-label

Regional ingredients rich in taste of home traditions star in our taste of Thanksgiving non-traditional side dishes.

rice-scoops

Wild Rice and Basmati Dressing with Sausage and Sage

Wild Rice and Basmati Dressing with Sausage and Sage

Holiday time is coming, and what better time to dazzle the gathered together than with one of these taste of Thanksgiving recipes.

cest-si-bon

Merry Christmas 2021

Merry-Christmas-2021

God grant you lightness in your step,

A smile on every face you meet,

Loved ones gathered at your hearth,

And at your door, good friends to greet

A holy hymn upon your lips,

A window candle burning bright

And may the Good Lord bless your heart

And come to dwell here Christmas night.

—Irish Christmas Blessing

From our house and hearts to yours, Dave the Builder and I wish you a very Merry Christmas 2021 filled with everlasting joy, peace, splendor, and love.

Darleen-signature-custom

 

 

Never Forget the Attacks on 9/11

Shall we never forget the fateful attacks against our nation on Tuesday,  September 11, 2001 (9/11).

Has it really been 20 years?

I remember it like it was yesterday, and as time marches on my memories surrounding that day remain crystal clear.

Katie Couric relating to the viewers details too horrific to imagine, too grievous to ignore, too important to forget.

Shared phone calls of disbelief.

Telling Dave the Builder I knew the towers would collapse based on the knowledge of detonation practices learned from studying Las Vegas hotel implosions.

Discussions with other parents of how to explain the events of the day to our children in an honest yet measured manner as not to scare and upset their hearts and thoughts any further than the attacks in the name of pure evil this morning presented.

Twin Towers NYC

We revere 9/11 as a day of remembrance and reflection; a day Americans  come together in reverent thought, solemn moments of silence, ringing of bells of remembrance and prayers for comfort and strength.

Life as Americans knew it up to that point forever changed on Tuesday, September 11, 2001 at 8:46 a.m. EST.

never forget twin towers after being hit 9/11

Biography

7:59 a.m. EST– American Airlines Flight 11 departs from Boston’s Logan International Airport bound for Los Angeles with 11 crew members and 76 passengers on board.

Five al-Qaeda terrorists hijackers on board are excluded from the total numbers.

8:15 a.m. EST– United Airlines Flight 175 takes off from Logan International en route to LAX with 9 crew members and 51 passengers aboard.

Five al-Qaeda terrorists hijackers are excluded from the total numbers.

8:20 a.m. EST– American Airlines Flight 77, en route to Los Angeles, takes off from Dulles International in Washington, D.C. with a total of 59 innocents on board; 6 crew members and 53 passengers.

The 5 al-Qaeda terrorists hijackers are excluded from the total numbers.

8:42 a.m. EST– United Airlines Flight 93 departs Newark Liberty International with 7 crew members and 33 passengers on the flight.

Four al-Qaeda terrorists hijackers aboard this flight are excluded from the total numbers.

8:46 a.m. EST– American Airlines Flight 11 crashes into floors 93 through 99 of the North Tower of the World Trade Center.

9:03 a.m. EST– United Flight 175 crashes into floors 77 through 85 of the South Tower of the World Trade Center.

9:37 a.m. EST– American Airlines Flight 77 crashes into the Pentagon.  The crash and the fire as a result of it take the lives of 59 passengers and crew and 125 people on the ground.

Pentagon during 9-11

9:42 a.m. EST– The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) grounds all flights.

9-11 from Jersey City

Flickr

9:59 a.m. EST– Fifty-six minutes after impact the South Tower of the World Trade Center collapses in a mere 10 seconds.  More than 800 people inside the South Tower and the surrounding area of the building perish.

10:03 a.m. EST– United Airlines Flight 93 crashes near Shanksville, Pennsylvania killing 40 people on board the aircraft.

The hijackers are not included in this number, and rightfully so.

passengers-crew-flight-93 (1)

Friends of Flight 93 National Memorial

10:15 a.m. EST– The outer ring of the Pentagon collapses.

10:28 a.m. EST– The North Tower of the World Trade Center collapses killing more than 1,600 both in and around the tower.

FDNY

Fear came to call not expecting bravery and resilience to answer back united we stand.

Our memories will forever be filled with the events of that horrific day in our history, and even though painful to remember we should choose to never forget the attacks on 9/11.

flag-911

We are the United States of America.

world-trade-center-city

We differ from one another on many points, views, and opinions, but when all is said and done we are one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.

Never forget.

DIY Fall Decor Project Ideas

Crisp air, nature’s bounty, and a hot glue gun is all the inspiration needed to get the DIY fall decor project ideas flowing.

apple-pear-wreath-candle-ring

The little apple candle wreath that could is falls into my PhD (Project half Done) studies.

Believe me, the faux apples are not as red as they appear in the images.

They’re red alright,  but not quite as bright red as seen in some of the images.

If I could get the lighting right on both space and camera, I’d be dangerous.

what-you'll-need

Styrofoam-wreath

apple-wreath-supplies-fall

DIY wreath projects need not be a complicated endeavor.

Where’s the fun in that?

For this particular project I chose a Styrofoam wreath form.

fall-craft-apple-wreath

Remnants leftover from the umpteen burlap bags used for everything from placemats to gift bags came together to base wrap the wreath in order to cover the Styrofoam.

scissors-burlap

Hot glue gun used for this step.

wreath-ribbon

Striving for a more polished look than that of the rustic burlap bags, I wrapped the entire form with burlap ribbon purchased from Dollar Tree, pinning the ribbon with a few straight pins to secure into place.

wrapped-wreath-form-burlap-ribbon

Grab a paper or download a Michaels coupon and let the DIY fall decor project ideas savings begin.

Let me let you all in on a little secret…

DIY projects can get expensive, so clip those coupons.

apple-wreath-materials

Place faux apples and pears around the form to get an idea of how you want the finished look to turn out.

fall-apple-wreath-form

Heat up the glue gun (use caution with these things), and once it gets hot glue the faux fruit in place.

making-a-wreath-for-fall

Spanish moss is not only decorative, it covers a multitude of gaps and DIY mistakes.

apples-stacked

There you have it.

apple-candle-ring-1

I absolutely love this sweet sweet DIY potpourri wreath from Sweet Something Designs.

potpourri-wreath-fall

Simple elegance comes to a door or chair frame near you by way of a bag or two of potpourri, a grapevine wreath, your favorite color, texture, and pattern ribbon, and the usual wreath making tools and glue gun to hold fall fabulous all together.

what-you'll-need

grapevine-wreath-medium

potpourri-mix-for-making-fall-wreath-1

Simple instructions of hot gluing potpourri pieces to wreath and topping off the look with a bow in your choice of ribbon.

fall-inspired-ribbon

Laura of Garden Answer posted another wonderful fall wreath how-to video giving us five different options to choose from.

How fall flipping cute is the owl wreath?

owl-wreath-Garden-Answer

what-you'll-need

grapevine-wreath-medium

Grapevine wreath.

Hydrangea.

Pine cones.

An assortment of fall leaves.

Feathers.

Small craft gourds.

Dried and/or fresh floral stems.

Seasonal blooms.

Decorative owl figure.

Laura uses echinacea, rose hips, hydrangea, clematis, sedum, vines, pine cones, autumn leaves, and a most darling owl.

wreath owl supplies

pheasant-feathers-Joann1

Jo-ann Fabric

Owl cute is this!

Pinecone Owl

Pinecone Owl

Magnolia tree flower and leaves

Flickr

fall-maple-leaves

Items sourced and found at Jo-Ann Fabrics on a free shipping Saturday afternoon signals the cart is full of DIY fall decor project ideas.

wreath-for-fall-2020

what-you'll-need

Jo-Ann-wreath

Purchased for this project list:

18″ Grapevine Wreath

Zucker Feather Products 12 pk Duck Gilded Feathers

Bloom Room Autumn 19” Millet Leaf Bush Yellow

Place & Time Fall Harvest Textured Ribbon 2.5″

Bloom Room Autumn Hanging Pinecone Acorn Natural

From nature:

Pinecones

Nandina

Hydrangea

Juniper

Fresh pine

natural-elements

Nandina berries  fresh pine and juniper

dried-stems-fresh-berries

Placement is ruled by where the bulk of the clippings and stems fit best without much effort in securing to wreath.

Why make things difficult?

wreath-embellishments

Undone paper clips help to secure stems to the wreath.

glue-gun-heating-up

I hot glued the pinecones and hanging pinecone acorn to the wreath with ease and great success.

placement

pine-cone-decor

Professional bow maker will never find its way onto my resume, but I can fake it till I make it with the best of them.

making-bow-with-green-ribbon

A trusty loop and twist method works, and pipe cleaners-stems looped around the center and twisted several times holds everything in place.

Once you decide where on the wreath the bow will go, feed the “ends” of the pipe cleaners-stems in an over and under method through a couple of the wreath twigs in that section.

Gentle pull up on the pipe cleaner-stem ends to pull the bow close to the wreath.

green-bow-for-wreath

Secure the bow in place, twist the ends together, tuck the stems into the wreath twigs to hide, and fluff the bow.

bow 1

Gold feathers tucked in visually strategic spots

wreath-goodies

wreath DIY fall decor project ideas

As time marches on the nandina is turning a stunning golden crimson.

So fall fabulous!

fall-colors-foliage

DIY wreaths naturally mirror the beauty of the season.

love signature

Curb Appeal Projects

What you hear about weather in the South is true- wait five minutes and it will change.

Turns out, the buckets of rain threatening the weekend held off making it possible to tackle a few curb appeal projects.

Curb Appeal Projects

Repainting the rockers on the front porch has been a long time coming.

Dave the Builder made the call, I selected the paint, and here’s rocking proof  of our current curb appeal project in progress AND that semigloss and gloss finishes do tend to dry darker.

wet-paint-rocking-chairCaution: Wet Paint

Behr Grassy Savannah is the current star of our curb appeal show.

The color is I see shades of gray-green-brown perfection.

grassy-savannah-behr-marquee-paint-colors

Behr Grassy Savannah N340-5 Semi-Gloss Enamel Exterior Paint

paint-formula

Soffit, facia board, and box end repair is the project Dave the Builder loves to hate.

Rotting (from tornado damage) soffit and facia is not only an eyesore and curb appeal deal breaker, it can allow squirrels and goodness knows what other varmints to gain entry into the attic.

soffit-repair

Dave won’t win any fashion awards, but what he does get is big time brownie points in the honey do division.

replaced-soffit

Now that we’ve got the boards replaced, it’s ready for paint time.

house exterior front

We are seriously contemplating a total exterior refresh beginning with painting the brick which will be a rather large project over many weekends.

I played with paint color wheels, charts, and swatches Friday night into Saturday morning.

If we do this, I’m leaning towards Benjamin Moore Simply White for the bricks, Behr Grassy Savannah for the cedar shakes, and Sherwin-Williams Pure White for the soffit, facia, and columns.

exterior-paint-colors-2019

Another change will be changing out the painted wood shutters for louvered vinyl exterior shutters.

Sanding, scraping, priming, and painting the existing louvered wood shutters every two to three years (Louisiana heat and humidity takes no prisoners) is becoming tiresome and expensive.

Vinyl exterior shutters can be cleaned with soap and water and can be painted when and if needed.

Tauba Copper Finish MailboxTauba Copper Finish Mailbox

Nine years in and I’m still happy with the copper mailbox and address plaque.

1-Line Wall Address Plaque

1-Line Wall Address Plaque

The mix of metals with classic design and form creates curb appeal wow factor.

2e Architects

2e Architects

Classic curb appeal notables include wicker furniture and Boston or Kimberly Queen ferns displayed in decorative urns and/or hanging baskets.

fern-rocker-dusty-miller

fern-rocker

The woven wonder that is wicker is one tough broad that gets better with age.

All Weather Wicker Capistrano Outdoor ArmchairAll Weather Wicker Capistrano Outdoor Armchair

modern French facade

Michael J. Siller Interiors

The shutters.

The lanterns.

The hardware accents.

The landscaping.

This is how we curb appeal.

And how lovely is the Spanish artichoke finial?

Spanish-artichoke

Spanish Artichoke

Patrick Ahearn Architect

Patrick Ahearn Architect

Jay Blue Sherwin-Williams

Jay Blue from Sherwin-Williams

monogram H door knocker

Monogram Letter H Door Knocker – Brass by Michael Healy Designs

Thomson Cooke Architects curb appealThomson Cooke Architects

outdoor-wall-mounted-lighting

I have it on good authority that a three day holiday weekend is upon us.

Three day weekends and captivating images come together to inspire curb appeal beautification projects.

Kadlec Architecture + Design

Kadlec Architecture + Design

Gorgeous!

Island Architects

Island Architects

Thomson & Cooke ArchitectsThomson & Cooke Architects

First impressions make lasting impressions.

Curb appeal projects lead the way to big returns, impressive results, and beautifully welcome style home.

love your style

Happy New Year 2019

Ringing out the old year and ringing in Happy New Year 2019 in style with a performance of Auld Lang Syne by the legendary Rod Stewart.

Talk about classic style!

Robert Burns’ Scottish poem written in 1788 and set to a Scots folk melody, Auld Lang Syne is the traditional musical ode to New Year recollecting events over the year, thoughts of old friendships, nostalgia, old times, and days gone by.

As seen in the video, the long standing Scottish tradition is to sing Auld Lang Syne just before the stroke of midnight with everyone sitting or standing in a circle holding hands, arms crossed so their left hand is holding the hand of the person on their right, and their right hand that of the person to their left.

Guy Lombardo and His Royal Canadians popularized Auld Lang Syne as it became the traditional song of New Year played immediately after the ball drop in Times Square.

Guy-Lombardo

My sister-in-law, a staunch New Year’s traditionalist, rings in the New Year with a Happy New Year phone call to us complete with Guy Lombardo’s version of Auld Lang Syne playing in the background.

Should old acquaintance be forgot, 
and never brought to mind? 
Should old acquaintance be forgot, 
and old lang syne?

For auld lang syne, my dear, 
for auld lang syne, 
we’ll take a cup of kindness yet, 
for auld lang syne.

Dave and I wish each of you a very Happy New Year 2019!

May New Year 2019 bring you joy, health, blessings, happiness, good fortune, inspired projects, and beautiful surroundings.

love your style

Let’s Get Growing: Spring Herb Day

Fairs, exhibitions and festivals benefiting the preservation of historic sights, homes and buildings spring up this time of year.

One such local institution held its spring herb day sale-a-bration over the weekend.

The scent of fresh herbs gets the spring herb day let’s get growing excitement going.

spring herb day

Get Outside by Robert Palmer is the tune of the day and a dandy one indeed to spring herb day to.

rosemary

My herb love grows where my rosemary, mint, and thyme grows.

fresh-mint

I’m discovering the many uses of mint past its herb status of required greenery in the Southern garden color palette and glass of sweet tea.




 

From Better Homes & Gardens:

Mint, Mentha

Type:
Herb, perennial

Light:
Part sun, sun

Height:
From 1 to 8 feet

Mint is easy to grow.  The fragrance of mint will vary with variety as will the taste.  Fresh or dried, mint is a broad range herb used to season beverages, desserts, soups, vegetables, and meats.

garden-herbs

Chives ~  Serata Basil  ~ Rosemary  ~ Dolce Fresca Basil  ~ Thyme  ~ Parsley

Rosemary, Rosmarinus officinalis

Type:
Herb, perennial, shrub

Light:
Sun

Height:
From 1 to 8 feet

Rosemary is an aromatic evergreen of Mediterranean origin, an herb that pairs well with poultry, pork, lamb, fish, breads, vegetables, tomato based sauces, soups and infused oils.  French and Italian dishes especially benefit from the robust seasoning.  Rosemary plants thrive in hot and dry climates.

I am seriously entertaining the thought of using this carrot planter as the focal point of my indoor herb garden.

Carrot+Flower+Plastic+Pot+Planter

Carrot Flower Plastic Pot Planter

The smell of fresh herbs goes well with the ooh la la factor, and is stylishly accomplished with a rattan wall planter.

Rattan+Wall+Planter

Rattan Wall Planter

Better Homes & Gardens gift the gardener an array of free garden plans.

I’ve selected three herb garden plans to share.

Click on the link below each image to download the garden plan of choice for your spring herb day planting needs.

classic herb garden plan

Classic Herb Garden Plan

colorful-herb-garden Colorful Herb Garden Plan

I used to have a friend who actually thought Ina Garten’s name was In the Garden.

In.

The.

Garden.

You can’t make this stuff up folks.

Ina does love her garden.

On a recent repeat episode of Barefoot Contessa Ina plans, prepares, plates and presents a surprise dinner for Jeffrey in the garden.

The principal of kiss, keep it stunningly simple, set the scene and the table.

Michael-Grim-florist

The Bridgehampton Florist  on Instagram

Nature Innovations Oak Log Planter

Nature Innovations Oak Log Planter

Clear glass hurricane lanterns, pillar candles, ferns from the garden, white garden roses, and planter  made a simple yet elegant garden style show.

How keep it stunningly simple is that?

Ina-Garten-garden-path

Ina Garten Garden ~ Pinterest

A search and source session for the hurricane lanterns Ina Garten uses came up empty handed, but look at what I did find.

Being born, raised and living the outdoor living life in Louisiana, the word hurricane typically is not equated with beauty, but this gorgeous hotel glass hurricane with rope and burned copper detail is a beauty!

Hotel+Glass+HurricaneHotel Glass Hurricane

Delicious dishes and stylish settings get the taste party started.

A sprinkle here, a dash of that, and a generous serving of it’s all in the details indisputably takes the look and the flavor from ordinary to distinctive.

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