Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Lake Bluff Christmas Home Tour

The second annual Lake Bluff Christmas tour is this weekend. Join us for a fun filled weekend that includes five homes decorated for the holidays. And as an added feature this year, two of the homes will be having boutiques that feature handmade and unique merchandise. The tour benefits the Lake Bluff History Museum and features homes with vintage charm. My home is the oldest one on the tour and today I share with you a bit of the dining area in my kitchen. Tartan and rhinestones are combined for the holidays. Glittered reindeer, velvet Santa's, rhinestone frames, are mixed with a combination of 2 different tartan plates. Monogrammed dishtowels are used as the napkins. We will be joining for Tablescape Thursday.
You can purchase tickets at the store or online at The event is December 2 and 3rd from 11 am until 3 p.m.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Tartan Christmas

Stockings of vintage throws and fur coats from Kimball and Bean.

An evening purse made from a vintage coat.
Hand made Santa riding a Victorian era toy on mantel in library.

Tartan wrapped packages.Tartan display at Romancing the Home. Love the handmade life size Santa dressed in tartan.

Tartan seems to be a big deal this Christmas season. And of course, we love to mix it with rhinestones, velvet, vintage fur and transferrware. This weekend at Kimball and Bean's Open House, a local artist was selling beautiful stockings of vintage tartan throws and vintage fur. I purchased several for my library. Placing small Santas on the back on the toy animals, we added a beautiful tartan bow to the mantel to add another plaid to the mix of fabrics in the room. A tartan display by the sink adds charm for the season. A plaid covered soap ( embellished with a rhinestone button), the newly acquired deer from the weekend filled with seasonal greens, and an vintage cruet, ready to fill with green dish washing liquid , sit on a mirrored tray by the kitchen sink. At Romancing the Home, we have a large tartan display of dinnerware, Santa's, and gifts. Tartan ribbon is available in gorgeous colors and of course we love it with rhinestones! It seems the more tartans mixed together, the more exciting the room becomes. Coming later this week, our tartan inspired breakfast table!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Kimball and Bean- A Delightful Outing

For the past four years, my friend Jill and I have continued our day after Thanksgiving tradition. As we both worked for major department stores for most of our adult lives, the last thing that we want to do is go shopping at the malls on the so called "Black Friday". So instead, we meet at Starbucks at 8:30 am and drive about an hour west of here. One of my favorite independent stores has a day after Thanksgiving open house that really puts you in the Christmas spirit. Kimball and Bean is an antique lovers dream staged in an old red barn. While garden elements are their main emphasis, vintage ornaments, fresh greens, handmade Santas and stockings abound, along with a delicious offering of appetizers, wine and desserts. We never fail to bring home special finds - this year a pheasant platter and serving dishes. I even found Jill's Christmas present for this year, a set of antique pewter tall water glasses with her initial engraved on them! Yes, I was so excited that I had to show them to her immediately- so no big surprise for her this year! I love the pewter stag with the small baskets. He will make a great centerpiece when his little baskets are filled with fresh greens and pepper berries. A complete set of antique pewter chargers was found, something that has been on my list for years to go with transferware. Jill bought a beautiful hinged silver serving piece to use as a centerpiece on her table, along with a gorgeous silver champagne bucket. Special artists were there with painted bowls, artisan chocolates, jeweled boxes, and handmade stockings. The stockings were spectacular - I'll save the details about them for tomorrow.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Brussel Sprouts- love or hate relationship!

Two of my sons and my husband hate brussel sprouts. One of my sons, my daughter, and I love brussel sprouts. So I am continually hunting for recipes that may appeal to everyone in the family . I almost did it - my son liked them and my husband liked the sauce! But I loved this dish and I think the sauce would be awesome over many things - ribeye steak, roasted chicken to name a couple of ideas.

1 lb. fresh brussel sprouts
4 strips bacon
1 large shallot, chopped finely
1/4 c. sherry ( can use cream sherry, it's just a little sweeter!)
1/2 c. heavy cream
salt and pepper to taste
olive oil

Wash and halve the brussel sprouts. Toss in a bowl with olive oil and then pour onto a baking pan and roast at 475 degrees for about 12-15 minutes. Salt and pepper to taste.

Meanwhile, fry the bacon in a skillet until crispy. Remove and set to the side. Add the chopped shallots to the bacon fat and saute until soft and translucent. Add the sherry and cream to the shallots and simmer until reduced by half. Place brussel sprouts in a serving bowl and toss with the crumbled bacon and sherry cream sauce.


Sunday, November 20, 2011

Chocolate Orange Squares from Southern Lady

I love Southern Lady magazine and always find great recipes in every issue.

Today I tried a new recipe from Southern Lady's November/December issue - Chocolate Orange Squares. They are kind of like a brownie with a cheesecake filling and an orange chess pie topping. So moist, they melt in your mouth. The only change I would make is to add a bit more orange zest to the topping and perhaps a drop of orange flavoring to enhance the orange flavor ( only because I love a chocolate and orange combination). The top is crispy and flaky , similar to the top of a chess pie. Perhaps a candied orange peel would be pretty on the top of each one- I'll remember to do that the next time! They look so pretty under the glass patisserie stand, a new item that we sell at Romancing the Home.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Thanksgiving Table by the Fabulous Linda Lee

My friend Linda DG has the most unbelievable talent for finding fabulous things. Her Thanksgiving table was set with the most beautiful vintage china that I have ever seen. Using a contemporary glass and acrylic dining table, she layered and layered and layered an incredible feast for the eyes. Petite velvet pumpkins were set on small gold maple leaves. Layered on antique napkins. venetian glass, gilded china, and accompanied by silver twig shaped flatware, it created this tasty mixture of organic with lux.

On the Swedish sideboard, coffee service was set out with an old crusty garden urn, white pumpkins, candelabra and the beautiful vintage silver pieces. I love the mixture of the worn finishes with the sparkle contrast of the silver and china as it creates an elegant contrast of timeless elements.

Down the center of the dining table, pumpkins were placed on moss covered wreaths. Votives and other natural elements were added to fill in the spaces between the wreaths.

Well done my dear Linda!

This is one of my favorite tables. We will be sharing it on Tablescape Thursday at

Monday, November 14, 2011

Christmas Decor for the Living Room

The mantel with the glorious beaded magnolias from the store - notice the tassels on the ends.
Love this vintage santa riding the wooden horse with its rhinestone saddle - an old dress cuff!

gold, white and platinum collection of ornaments on the Christmas tree.

Angel with the wonderful platinum Christmas tree from the store.

A collection of special ornaments, garland and candles gathered on a silver tray.

Vintage pins and millinary flowers arranged on a Christmas gift box.

More decorated gift boxes serving double duty as risers for the Santa with vintage shoe.

Here are a few pictures of the living room from last weeks Christmas Open House. I just got the antique gilded sofa reupholstered in the new Barbara Barry velvet- a sage, taupey color- very muted and it looks great with the aubusson carpet. A neutral color palatte was used for the Christmas decor in the room, complete with lots of glitter, rhinestones, and velvets. All of the floral pieces used in the mantel are available at Romancing the Home.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Mantels Decorated for the Holidays

Using icy branches, raspberries, and greenery from the store, Candy created this whimsical mantel on the stone fireplace in my family room. The gold and natural colored owl was the perfect element for the focal point in the display. I love the organic elements of the natural foliage balanced against the stone.