gather ’round

Tabletop Allegro by David Patchen

For many of us, the holidays are spent together with family and friends. It seems that the center of such occasions is often a large, nourishing meal. Sitting down around the table brings everyone together to enjoy good food, conversation, and company.

Here are some tips on how to bring a festive atmosphere to the holiday table:

These Holiday Mugs by Vaughan Nelson are charming and whimsical, and would hold a perfect amount of hot cocoa. I collect mugs, and these would be a wonderful addition to my cabinet. I can just picture wrapping my hands around a hot cup on a frosty day, warming my fingers and soul.

My go-to hot cocoa recipe follows, and can be adjusted for taste by using less sugar or adding mint extract or flavored liquors:

3 Tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder

3 Tablespoons sugar

1/2 Teaspoon vanilla extract

16 oz milk

Whisk together the cocoa, sugar, and about 2 tablespoons milk in a small saucepan over medium-low heat until cocoa and sugar are dissolved. Whisk in the rest of the milk and heat it over medium heat, whisking occasionally, until it is hot. Stir in the vanilla and serve.

Holiday Mugs by Vaughan Nelson

This bowl from Louise Bilodeau (Lulu Ceramics) brings the important things in life to the forefront. Hand-stamped with the words family, love, memories, home, laughter, and cherish, this bowl is a visual reminder with each serving.

Celebration Bowl by Louise Bilodeau

  • Light can help set the mood. 

Christmas Confetti Glass Candleholders by Ed Edwards set a festive mood with colorful lighting. These would look lovely placed on top of a mirror, adding even more reflections of red, green, and white.

Christmas Confetti Glass Candleholder by Ed Edwards

These Gold Leaf Candlesticks by Dan Mirer are a dramatic, elegant addition to holiday decor. On a mantle framed with gold and silver stocking holders or pine boughs and cones, these candlesticks would give balance and height to the overall look.

Gold Leaf Candlesticks by Dan Mirer

  • An extraordinary centerpiece can take the whole table to new levels.

The Abundance Centerpiece in Nickel by Susan Woods is beautiful — whether it holds ornaments, oranges, or nothing at all. Such a versatile, neutral piece provides an opportunity for stunning contrast.

Abundance Centerpiece in Nickel by Susan Woods

The Grid Platter in Red and Cream by Heather Palmer brings holiday color to the table. Add coordinating ornaments in golds, reds, and creams to make a beautiful centerpiece. Placing some deep green foliage and red cranberries inside would also pull together a pretty holiday effect.

Grid Platter in Red and Cream by Heather Palmer

  • Let your food speak for itself.

Served on the Medium Provence Platter by Ivan Hull, this platter of cheese, bread, and pomegranate makes an attractive presentation. Find delicious menu ideas and recipes on our “a feast for the senses” Pinterest board.

Medium Provence Platter by Ivan Hull

Do you use any of these ideas? I’d love to see your holiday table!

By |December 17th, 2014|artful home for the holidays, articles|2 Comments

beyond the tree

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The first thought most of us have when we hear the word “ornament” is typically something involving a tree. However, ornaments can be so much more. Here are some ideas to take your ornaments beyond the tree, and even into year-round decor:

Hanging from the mantel, ornaments can replace stockings for an unexpected twist in holiday decorating.

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No room for the traditional tree? Use a tabletop ornament tree to display your most cherished ornaments.

tree ornament display

Why not use your colorful ornaments to add some cheer year-round? Hang them from a chandelier for a dazzling effect, letting the facets of glass ornaments catch and reflect the light in bright, beautiful colors.

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Hanging in a window, glass ornaments catch the sun and add an element of sparkle.

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When placed in a beautiful bowl or on a pretty platter, ornaments make a stunning centerpiece for your table.

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These are just a few of my favorite non-traditional ways to display ornaments. How do you present ornaments off of a tree?

By |December 11th, 2014|artful home for the holidays, articles|0 Comments

full house for the holidays

Nothing is more special during the holiday season than a house full of family and loved ones; having around you those people who mean the most to you and bring joy into your life. I look forward to this time of year and being able to entertain and welcome people into my home.

Each year I plan some special event to celebrate the season. Whether it’s a dinner for the whole family, a quaint brunch with friends, or a day of tree decorating with cocoa and snacks, it always starts with making sure my home is warm, friendly, and inviting for those who are visiting.

Objects made from wood and ceramics always help to create a warm, comfortable environment by their nature. They both seem to have rich tones which add that element of warmth to the table. And they seem to extend that warmth through touch. Whether it’s a serving dish or a beautiful mug, these materials enhance the good feelings of a gathering of friends. Add a dash of the glow of red and the spirit of hospitality shines bright through the holiday season.

Have a house full of people for the holidays? This great quiche recipe (borrowed from my dear friend Maggie who often has a house full of people) allows you to prep in advance and really enjoy the morning with your guests.

Crust

1 cup dry brown rice

2 cups vegetable or chicken broth

1 egg

1-2 oz gruyere cheese – shredded

Filling

2 cups vegetables of your choice (broccoli, spinach, zucchini, peppers)

1 cup milk

4-5 oz shredded cheese of your choice

4 eggs

salt

pepper

nutmeg

The night before, prepare the rice according to the package recommendations with the broth. Once made, the rice can sit in the refrigerator over night and save you a step in the morning. You can also pre-cook your vegetables the night before.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Mix pre-cooked rice, 1 egg, and gruyere cheese. Press mixture into a quiche pan to form the crust. Bake for 10-15 minutes.

While your crust is baking, make your filling by mixing vegetables, milk, cheese, and eggs. Season to taste with salt, pepper, and nutmeg.

Went your crust has completed its time in the oven, reset your oven to 375 degrees.

Pour filling mixture into the crust and pop it back in the oven for 45-60 minutes.

Being able to prep some of your morning meal in advance gives you more time to enjoy a cup of coffee and some quality time with your friends and family.

By |December 9th, 2014|artful home for the holidays, articles|0 Comments

10 unique new gifts

Sometimes choosing the perfect holiday gift can be incredibly difficult. For the creative and discerning recipients on your list, these handcrafted favorites are sure to delight.

1. Jewelry

Beautiful jewelry is always a good gift choice. Whether the recipient prefers more modern, minimalist styles or goes for the elegant, sparkly pieces, there is something for everyone. This gorgeous cuff turns heads with the polished gold contrasting with the oxidized silver.

Cut-Away Cuff Bracelet #1 by Elizabeth Garvin

Cut-Away Cuff Bracelet #1 by Elizabeth Garvin

2. Glassware

Glassware is a great way to express personality or accentuate decor. A holiday cocktail would look amazing in these martini glasses — something with champagne maybe, or peppermint and white chocolate…

Gray and Red Martini Set by Michael Hermann and Gina Lunn

3. Hats & Scarves

Fashionable accessories are always in style. Whether someone prefers a chic black and white wardrobe or would rather use loud colors to express themselves, a hat or scarf can be a wonderful compliment to their outfit. The bright apple green is a festive touch in this scarf.

Wool Shibori Scarf: Lines by Laura Hunter

4. Vases and Vessels

The right vase can be a useful, thoughtful gift to be cherished year round. Filled with seasonal flowers, river stones, or left empty as a sculpture, the choices are endless. This one in a vibrant red and rolled in gold leaf is a regal accent.

Gold Vase in Red by Scott Summerfield

Gold Vase in Red by Scott Summerfield

5. Sculpture

Sculpture can tell a story like nothing else can. It can be deeply personal, thought-provoking, or it can reflect on a memory of the person it was purchased for. This piece is beautiful in its simplicity, but still evokes the emotion of the couple.

The Two of Us by Yenny Cocq

6. Perfume Bottles

As varied as the fragrances they’re meant to hold, perfume bottles are exquisite creations that showcase an artist’s skill and imagination. Whether elegant or whimsical, simple or intricate, artist-made perfume bottles make excellent gifts or additions to any collection. Featuring a delicate dragonfly, this one is sure to please.

Dragonfly Bottle by Loy Allen

Dragonfly Bottle by Loy Allen

7. Ornaments

Ornaments are perfect gifts, unique holiday accents, and year-round decor. This vivid green ornament with swirls of amber, touches of red, and a flattened circular shape stands out in the crowd.

Deck the Halls by Angelo Fico

Deck the Halls by Angelo Fico

8. Chocolates

If you’re purchasing a gift for a true chocoholic, no ordinary chocolate will do. These decadent edible creations are truly works of art. With flavors like jasmine, passion fruit, espresso, honey lavender, Tahitian vanilla, curry, ginger, praline, hazelnut, lemon and mango, and many more, even a discerning foodie will be impressed.

27 Piece Box by DB Infusion Chocolates

27 Piece Box by DB Infusion Chocolates

9. Cups & Mugs

Whether filled with tea, coffee, hot cocoa, or any other beverage, a cup or mug makes a wonderful gift. These whimsical mugs feature animals riding bicycles, and are sure to be conversation starters in the office or home.

Animals Riding Bikes Mugs by Heidi Fahrenbacher

Animals Riding Bikes Mugs by Heidi Fahrenbacher

10. Paperweights

With all the beauty and technique found in larger works of art, these handmade paperweights are wonderful representations of technique and creativity in any medium. This paperweight is a wonderful choice for an avid paperweight collector, or a first piece to start a collection!

Oversized Marble with Dish by Michael Trimpol and Monique LaJeunesse

Oversized Marble with Dish by Michael Trimpol and Monique LaJeunesse

What unique gift would you most like to receive this year?

By |December 3rd, 2014|artful home for the holidays, articles|0 Comments

beautiful jewelry

Whether you look for simple and elegant, something more colorful and whimsical, or over-the-top statement pieces, there is something for you to fall in love with.

Personally, I’m more on the minimalist side. Here are a few of my favorites:

I am a huge fan of natural shapes in jewelry; things with a floral or animal silhouette strike me. This Aeonium Pendant by Moira K. Lime is so beautiful and feminine.

Aeonium Pendant by Moira K. Lime

She also creates these stunning Long Stacked Leaf Studs. I feel like they’d be a perfect addition to a little black dress for the holidays, with a flowing line to frame the face without distracting from the overall look.

Long Stacked Leaf Studs by Moira K. Lime

I’ve been absolutely drooling over Nancy Linkin’s work since I first joined Artful Home. Her forms are inspired by nature — new growth of plants, flowers, and leaves. I think they’re positively enchanting.

I love these Wrap Rings by Peg Fetter. I currently have one, and I find the contrast of the oxidized steel and shiny gold so striking and dramatic. Worn alone or in multiples, it’s a fabulous piece that can dress up or down.

Wrap Ring by Peg Fetter

Dagmara Costello’s work has been on my wish list since the first time I saw it. I can’t decide which of her amazing rings I would choose!

Between You and Me by Dagmara Costello

I think Gustav Reyes‘ wood jewelry is incredible. His bracelets are so light and comfortable to wear but still create a bold look. They definitely turn heads and catch people’s attention, even though they feel effortless.

Signature Series Organic Coil by Gustav Reyes

Melanie Casey‘s dainty stacking rings appeal to me. I would absolutely love one with a birthstone for each of my children, although a gorgeous stack of coordinating colors and stones would be beautiful as well.

Stacking Rings by Melanie Casey

I imagine this Large Wave Necklace with Diamonds by Lori Gottlieb looking incredible over a cream-colored cashmere sweater. Because who doesn’t need more diamonds in her life?

Large Wave Necklace with Diamonds by Lori Gottlieb

The intricacy and detail of Julie Powell’s beadwork is masterful. Her Delphinium Cuff is a gorgeous garden to wear on your wrist.

Delphinium Cuff by Julie Powell

 

I am a huge fan of turquoise, and if I’m going to add a pop of color to my outfit I will most likely add a piece of turquoise jewelry. These earrings by Hannah Blount are such a cheerful color, and would be perfect for everyday wear.

Teardrop Turquoise Vanity Studs by Hannah Blount

Jewelry is such a lovely way to add a little sparkle, a little personality, a little something special to any outfit or occasion. It’s a way to let yourself shine and express your inner beauty. I’d love to know — which pieces of jewelry are on your wish list this season?

By |November 28th, 2014|artful home for the holidays, events|0 Comments