Saturday, October 30, 2010

Lots Happpening Next Week!

Our Christmas Open House and the debut of our new book- two big things happening next Thursday night. We will close the store on Wednesday and Thursday to get ready for our party! We will re-open at 4 pm on Thursday with all of Christmas 2010's glory. From natural to opulent, we have gathered a magical collection of Christmas decor. Many surprises are being held just for the event, from handmade Santa's to our collection of special boxes for display around the tree. Here is a peak at some of the handmade boxes- gold and silver, purple and glitter, and more to come. We will have copies of our new entertaining book for sale during the event and will be tasting recipes from the collection in the book. So bring a friend and enjoy the fun. rsvp 847-615-1900

Saturday, October 23, 2010

From Sunrise to Sunset - A Book is Born!

A spectacular sunrise over Lake Michigan and a sensational full moon over Lake Michigan in the same day - is that an omen of good things to come???? It was yesterday morning- I left my house to go the the airport to pick up Lynda as the sun was rising. As I looked at the lake, the sunrise was unbelievable and I had to stop and get a picture. It was going to be a good day ; our book was finally going to press! Lynda flew in from Atlanta to go with me to our publisher's plant and watch our book being printed. We were excited. Our fantastic account manager and "teacher of how to and sell a book", Jean, met us at the door. They were ready for us. The metal plates were lined up on the huge press, ready to be attached to the rollers. As each of the "forms" ( a grouping of 12 pages) were printed, we had the luxury of fine tuning the color. Tyrone, a veteran of over 25 years in the printing business, worked his magic on each of our pages by increasing or decreasing the various colors of ink. And the pages look awesome-sharp and perfect colors. Once the forms were approved, the copies of our pages rolled off the press, and were placed on palettes, ready for the binding process. On Monday, the dust jacket and book cover, along with the final pages of the book will be run- and then binding will begin. As we drove home last night from Milwaukee, and drove into Lake Bluff, we saw a stunning full moon over the lake. A magical beginning and ending to an exciting day! A book had been born!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Fall Dinner Party for Eighteen

Fall is a wonderful time to have a dinner party. Greeting your guests with a fall display of mums, kale and pumpkins at the front door makes a welcoming impression. Fall flowers of hydrangeas, roses, bittersweet, thistles and berries were the center of the buffet table and made for me by Twigs, our incredible florist located in Lake Bluff. I love the old rusted egg filled with fresh flowers for the coffee table. A simple display of artisan cheeses with baguettes slices, figs and prosciutto, Mexican corn dips and shrimp with salsa and tortilla chips was prepared for the appetizer course. To keep the preparation of the meal simple, we roasted a platter of fresh vegetables the night before, and served them at room temperature with a cherry balsamic drizzle. Little ramekins of macaroni and cheese with prosciutto were made the evening before and cooked on the day of the party and kept in the warming drawer. Leaving only the beef tenderloin to prepare the day of the party kept the stress to a minimum! A dessert buffet of miniature banana puddings, peach cobbler, and chocolates was prepared the evening before. My friend Marlene had told me about a fantastic peach cobbler recipe that she had found on a blog http:// and she was right - it was delicious! The topping on this peach cobbler is home made cinnamon swirls. A large silver bowl held miniature Hagen Daz vanilla ice cream cups to serve with the cobbler. I purchased the pretzels, chocolate pumpkin and chocolate cornucopia from Grahams Chocolates in Geneva, Illinois. The cornucopia was filled with fresh raspberries, drizzled with raspberry liqueur and rolled in sugar and left to dry on wax paper. The banana puddings were served in square votive holders. Planning a menu that can be made the day ahead, in addition to purchasing some of the desserts and appetizers, makes it less stressful to entertain. Our upcoming book, Romancing the Home ENTERTAINS, shares many other stress free dinner parties with you. Call the store to order your copy.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Morgan's Mountain Wedding

One of the most beautiful spots in the world, the Blue Ridge Mountains , was the location of my niece's wedding this past weekend. From the location of the ceremony to the old Packer that transported the bride, everything was gorgeous. The ceremony took place on an overlook on top of Wintergreen Resort. While the guests witnessed a beautiful bride stepping out of the old Packer, escorted by her son and Dad, tears were already flowing from the eyes of many. Morgan was stunning in her formal wedding gown, worn with PINK UGG BOOTS- how cool was that! The table escort cards were displayed around a tree of paper mache created by the bride's aunt. Intricate hand made flowers, tucked in a bed of fresh moss, were used to assign the table for each guests. As the guests entered the dining room, bouquets of hydrangeas, gerber daisies, white tulips, and ranunuculus created a magical room. But I think the favorite thing of all , except the bride, of course, was the exquisite candy table. My sister, Nancy, had gathered an unbelievable assortment of pink, brown and white candy. My daughter Julie, and sister Kathy, helped me display the confections on a round table topped with a ribboned chocolate taffeta tablecloth. Children especially, but plenty of the adults, circled this table several times during the evening. As people danced away the evening, warm memories were made, family reconnected, and the bride and groom smiled. What more could you want!