Friday, December 16, 2016

PERFECT LITTLE CHRISTMAS COOKIES

Merry Christmas TLB friends!

It's that time of year when the kids start arriving home for the holiday. The house is decorated inside and out, and the kitchen is filled with delicious smells of the season!

Today's blog was inspired by a creation of Ree Drummond, talk about smells of the
season ......The Pioneer Lady really knows her stuff!

Here's a peek at these beautiful little dollops........called CHRISTMAS CHERRIES.
For many years my Mom made a cookie with candied cherries on top. As I recall they were a chocolate cookie.....I wonder if Mom will give these a try?



These little cookies are simple and dress a platter beautifully! The citrus flavors and the shortbread like texture are a perfect compliment to a nice cup of coffee! 

If you're searching for a new recipe that's delicious and colorful you might want to
give Ree's Christmas Cookies a try.



WARMEST OF HOLIDAY WISHES TO YOU AND YOURS!

Kathleen




Tuesday, December 6, 2016

HOME FOR THE HOLIDAYS

It's that magical time of year when we "Deck our Homes!" Come on over.... 



Foyer's give us the first glimpse into a person's home. They actually say a lot about us. It doesn't matter if the space is large or small there's always a way to create something beautiful giving that lasting first impression.

By adding a simple golden branch (Pier One Imports) to an existing vase and a twiggy sleigh trimmed with fur (World Market) filled with a simple Poinsettia (Walmart) gives our foyer a festive feel. I placed my new  favorite Christmas at Designers Homes Across America book (Amazon Prime) at the top of stack to help elevate the vase to the proper height for the vignette to be balanced.



Across the hallway sits a simple ivory Bergere chair draped with a colorful plaid Christmas afghan and Noel pillow, a perfect holiday punch of color.


On the buffet are two silver candlestick lights with a beautiful festive tie on ornament accent, a gift from my niece. The Vietri platter is the perfect shade of ivory to hold a strand of tiny white lights. I placed the quaint little church on a clear cake tray, and  surrounded the tray with silver trees. The "Merry Christmas" sign, that lights, was a find in Homegoods this year. 





"Slim Jim" as our daughter's fondly named our foyer tree, fits nicely in his new home in the curve of the staircase. The woodland and ice theme on the tree glistens in the glow of the the lights. The red pinecone ornaments add just a touch of festive color. 

The woodland and ice theme is carried to the staircase along with the addition of icy sprigs and red poinsettia and berry pics.



Underneath our tree is the nativity that I painted many, many years ago and has become a family treasure.



Across from the staircase is the dining room. Since every room is open to one another, from the foyer to the living area, I decided to carry a touch of red into every room. There is just something about "red" at the holidays! Hubby just loves it!

The china cabinet holds simple white ceramic pieces with a splash of red in the form of goblets or ornaments. The snowy branches are a simple reminder of holidays past.



Speaking of holidays past, I painted the ceramic Santa below in 1975, around the same time of the nativity. Unfortunately, Santa was broken in the move, but hubby worked his magic and brought Santa back to life. Every year he holds our Christmas cards from family and friends. Gotta love my hubby for saving this memory for me!!




It was a year of change in many ways this year. With some of our Christmas decorations missing from the move, and some that had seen better years, it was time to replace a few things. 

I was shopping in Pottery Barn and came upon this table runner. The color was outstanding and it was just too beautiful to pass up. The embroidered detail gives it a vintage feel. I added a simple white wreath with silver pinecones in the center. The Ethan Allen vessel is filled with snow, pinecones and red ornaments. There's that red color again!






 I found this cute little "stick plaid deer," and couldn't resist him at Pottery Barn.



The stockings were hung by the chimney with care. And take a look at that fire...so inviting on a cold evening keeping Santa and his reindeer nice and toasty!


The 2-story family room has cubed windows above adding some much needed extra light. Did you notice the mirror above the fireplace? Yes, it's the same mirror from our last "4" homes. A Pottery Barn purchase from the days we lived near the Palisades Center in NY. A neutral mirror is always a good purchase to hang above the fireplace mantel....the proof is here!

We wanted a fireplace stone that was indigenous to the area, so we chose to use Austin Stone bringing the look of Texas Hill country to our home. It adds a warmth to the high ceilings in the room, making it feel a bit more cozy!

The lanterns on the mantel were a purchase from Pottery Barn this year. I had Lumiere candles from my past fireplaces that I love....no matches required just a remote! They certainly look real don't they? (They are now sold in Bed, Bath and Beyond)



 View from the living room toward foyer and dining room.


Looking from the family room into the kitchen the sofa acts as a divider. I chose not to add a sofa table to keep the walkway open between the rooms. The floors downstairs are hand scraped solid oak with a Medium Brown stain color. They were another selection choice because of their popularity in Texas.

With a bit of maneuvering of our sofa the Christmas tree squeezes into the living room nicely. The live 10 ft. Balsam Fir tree can be seen as you enter from the front door.


The kitchen has a few festive touches sporadically placed. I found this little ceramic vintage truck at Wal-Mart. I just couldn't resist him. Over the years my collection of Christmas cookbooks has grown to quite a few as you can see.




A few more festive touches....









The glass doored display cabinets get a Christmas feel by using a Christmas platter and a wooden reindeer.



I hope you enjoyed your visit today. From my family to yours we wish you a very

"Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year."

                            Kathleen


Tuesday, November 8, 2016

ELEGANT THANKSGIVING TABLESCAPE

Welcome to Tuesday TLB friends!

I'm so glad you stopped by today. Now that we've officially changed our time to "Fall back," it means Thanksgiving will be upon us before we know it!  I can almost smell my Mom's turkey baking. 

But first things first, I've got a beautiful Thanksgiving place setting to share with you today. Come on over to my table.......




Thursday, October 27, 2016

DREAMY NEW KITCHEN

Welcome TLB Friends.......

It's been a journey that continues to unfold as we finally settle into our new home. As many of you know or have experienced yourselves, the building process, can at times, be quite stressful. I can honestly say that this build (our 7th) has presented the most challenges. But with only one room left to be completed on our 60 day warranty list, the end is near.

Stop over for a tour of our dreamy new kitchen......

Friday, October 14, 2016

APPLE PIE BARS

Welcome to Foodie Friday friends!

It's not Fall without a delicious Apple Pie or maybe an Apple Pie Bar. What is an Apple Pie Bar? Just feast your eyes on these.....


Thursday, October 13, 2016

SILVER SPOOKY HALLOWEEN MANTEL

BOO!

It's that time of year when ghosts, goblins and jack-o-lanterns are everywhere! Stop over to the blog today as I replace traditional orange with sparkling silver, and add ghostly touches to my Halloween Mantel. 



Friday, October 7, 2016

COMPACT AND COZY FALL PORCH

Good Morning TLB friends! 

Thanks so much for stopping by.

Have you been bitten by the Fall decorating bug yet? I've planted a few planters and urns, and added clusters of mums to our front landscaping. 

COME ON OVER AND CHECK OUT THE PROGRESS......


Wednesday, October 5, 2016

DIY FALL WREATH TRANSFORMATION


Good Morning TLB friends!

I hope you are all well and are enjoying a little cooler temperatures. Finally we've had some nice days here in Texas in the low 80's, and my creative bug hit me bad!

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

THROWBACK---PRESERVING PUMPKINS AND GOURDS


Good Morning TLB friends,

As I am starting to decorate the exterior of the house for Fall, I thought I would re-share one of the most visited blogs I have written. It was appreciated by so many of you as you prepare for your own decorating......here ya go!




HAPPY DECORATING & PRESERVING!


Kathleen
Just click on the link below:

http://thelavenderbouquet.blogspot.com/2014/09/preserving-pumpkins-gourds.html

Friday, September 23, 2016

EMBRACING FALL ON FOODIE FRIDAY

It's hard to believe yesterday was the first day of Fall. With temps remaining in the 90's here, I decided to stay inside a nice cool air conditioned house and bake for you!

Welcome to Foodie Friday friends.........

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

CLOUDY GLASS DILEMMA

Wow----it's Tuesday already!

We spent the weekend in Chicago with our youngest daughter. Hubby had a convention to attend on Friday, so my daughter and I had a grand ole time during the days with daddy joining us on Saturday! I'll be sharing our adventures in an upcoming blog.

Today is all about "my cloudy glass dilemma."  

Friday, September 16, 2016

HORS D'OEUVRES IN A JAR---HOW FUN!


Welcome to Foodie Friday friends.....

I've been spending my evenings recently searching for Italian appetizers that would be something I could serve our guests on our "Napa Patio." It looks like the completion of my patio vision will have to wait until Springtime to be finished, but hey, it just gives me more time to plan, and pick out just the right selections!

Since we'll have to carry everything from our outdoor kitchen, across the pool deck, and down a short flagstone walkway, I thought today's recipe might be a good choice because of its portability. These little jars are called.... POLENTA JARS WITH ITALIAN SAUSAGE AND RED WINE MUSHROOMS.


Tuesday, September 13, 2016

EMBRACING OPEN CONCEPT LIVING

Welcome to Tuesday friends!

I love the changes of seasons with Fall and all of it's glory being one of my favorites. In the north the first bite of cool air is a welcome relief after the warm summers and in Texas it is much the same. The difference is right now it's high 80's to low 90's during the days, and low 70's at night. How divine!

Friday, September 9, 2016

FOOD AND FRIENDS

Welcome......

One thing that moving makes you do, is sort!! As I was perusing my old cookbooks, I came across a tattered, paper spiral bound cookbook, that was gifted to me in 1992 from "my Ohio bestie" Pam. 

We moved to Ohio from Western NY in 1988, and became neighbors with Pam and her family who had moved from Illinois. We were two of many transplants in Springboro that bound together, forming the greatest circle of friends, with many of us remaining friends to this day!



Tuesday, September 6, 2016

COFFEE BAR WITH A UNIQUE TWIST

 Welcome to Tuesday TLB friends!

I hope you all had a great Labor Day weekend. Hubby and I welcomed a much less hectic schedule and enjoyed some down time. Our neighbor hosted a small party for those of us that have moved into our homes with about 6 couples attending. It's nice now to be able to put a name with a face as everyone passes by.

Leading up to the weekend I had been focused on organization. It was terrific to get things out of boxes and into cabinets, however, where I place things while unpacking is not necessarily the best place to store them. I do a lot of rearranging once we start actually living in our home. Certain traffic patterns and convenience dictate where items will end up.

I started in the kitchen and defined a Coffee Bar area as quickly as we moved in. When my sister unpacked all of the coffee mugs we designated the cabinet above the area their space. But after living here for a bit I decided to try something new......


Friday, September 2, 2016

WHAT IN THE WORLD IS A HATCH CHILE?

It's all the buzz right now in Texas! This northerner thought, "what in the world is a Hatch chile," and why is our supermarket having a Hatch Chile Palooza?



Wednesday, August 24, 2016

IMPROVISE WITH PERSONAL CREATIVITY

Hello TLB friends!

Things continue to be busy at the new house. We accomplished two major "pains taking projects." Hubby and I spent Saturday walking the house first filling out our claim form for issues with our belongings stemming from our move. I always hate that list. Even though for the past 17 months our goods were in climate controlled storage in NJ, we paid handsomely for, and they were crated, I am sad to say we still sustained heat damage and handling issues to some of our most prized possessions. 

Sometimes the sadness of seeing things than mean so much to us being ruined or destroyed can be overwhelming to say the least. But as those of you that move know, this is the reality of relocating. On a positive note, our moving crew was the best we have ever experienced. None of the issues we sustained were anything stemming from them!

The other list that needed to be completed was our move-in list of "to finish" for the builder. We have 60 days to complete this from the time of move-in, so we decided to knock off both in the same day.......boy that was fun..not!


Friday, August 19, 2016

JOANNA'S HOMEMADE BANANA BREAD

Welcome to Foodie Friday friends,

I've been sensing a Fall movement afoot. How is this happening? With my head being stuck in boxes, I've completely gotten side railed with my blog calendar and the fact that Fall 
DIY projects, recipes and home decorating are everywhere!

Since it's Foodie Friday I've decided it was a great time to turn on my oven and bake something comforting and Fall like.......

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

CREATING BEGINS WITH INSPIRATION

Hello TLB friends!

I hope you all had a great weekend. While I've been arranging and rearranging furniture I haven't really taken the time to even think about inspiration....meaning looking around and finding those pieces/things that inspire my creativity and deciding where they should be placed. 
READ MORE.....

Friday, August 12, 2016

FOODIE FRIDAY--Mediterranean Chicken

Welcome to Foodie Friday friends,

I've found a great new "go to" recipe for a quick healthy dinner....Mediterranean Chicken.The recipe calls for chicken thighs, however, I substituted them by using chicken breasts instead. I also browned the chicken a bit in a pan with a touch of olive oil, salt and pepper, and then transferred it into a casserole dish instead of using a crock pot. I have made this recipe both ways and my family prefers the old oven casserole version!

Ingredients like canned plum tomatoes, kalamata olives, capers, onion, fresh rosemary,
fresh parsley and lemon are added to create this easy dinner. Some like to serve the chicken over mashed potatoes or basmati rice, however, I chose to serve it accompanied by fresh green beans. I added a little extra virgin olive oil, garlic powder, pepper and red pepper flakes for a little kick. YUMMY!

Take a look at how delish this looks......



If you are looking for a light, healthy dinner, at 220 Calories per serving this is a true winner!

You may find the recipe here:
http://www.myrecipes.com/recipe/mediterranean-chicken

 Have a wonderful weekend!

                           Kathleen




Tuesday, August 9, 2016

LIVE FROM TEXAS....THE LAVENDER BOUQUET

Hello TLB friends, it's so nice to be back!

As I sat in church on Sunday, my head was filled with so many thoughts. No matter how joyous or sometimes difficult our journey has been, you, our family and friends have been there for us with your support and enthusiasm as we begin to build our new life. Strong foundations begin with support of family and never wavering friendships. We
are fortunate to have an abundance of both! THANK YOU ALL! 

My hubby laughed at me when I told him I wanted to bring a statement to our new porch. I think he was afraid that it might cost him some money. (ha,ha) Instead I surprised him by planting my urn with summer grasses and flowers, and strategically placing it in plain view from the street. I really missed my Buckingham porch and my Spring/Summer plantings this year, but darn it, even though the temps top 100 degrees these days, there was going to be an inviting urn on our porch with the message...

"WE'RE HOME.... COME ON IN!"



So WELCOME FRIENDS AND FAMILY 

as we sink our roots into the "red clay soil" of Texas!



 FONDLY,
Kathleen

P.S. Our front door is knotty Alder wood from Texas stained Ebony. It has knots in it much like knotty pine and has bit of a rustic feel. It's color and graining are much like cherry. I chose this wood because it reminded me of the knotty pine cabinets my Dad made for our kitchen when I was growing up back in WNY!
                                                    












Thursday, August 4, 2016

NEW HOME SNEAK PEEK

So glad to see you again TLB friends!

Sorry for the absence. I've been working hard behind the scenes trying to get the new house settled. I am so fortunate to have the greatest sister and daughters who helped me with endless laundry and the unpacking of 600 boxes!

Please join me Friday, August 12th as TLB returns! Until then...here is a sneak peek of our
new open concept living room/kitchen/dining room/foyer. See you next week!

Kathleen



          

Friday, July 1, 2016

SUMMER PIZZA PASTA SALAD

Summer salads are a must in our house. Our meals are always a bit lighter and much more healthful. Today I have a Pizza Pasta Salad recipe that received such rave reviews from hubby, I thought it was a must share. I know my brother is going to love it too!
Take a glance at that color.........



Wednesday, June 29, 2016

GET RED, WHITE & BLUE READY

The days are flying by and the July 4th holiday is quickly approaching. Are you looking for some tablescape ideas or how about a unique way to season those grilled veggies?
Stop on over....maybe I can help!

Friday, June 10, 2016

IT'S BEGINNING TO LOOK LIKE HOME!

We are finally beginning to see our vision come to life...stop over for a peek! 

Our closing date will be firmly set by the end of next week. We originally were supposed to close the end of May, beginning of June, we are now looking at the end of July. The Texas rains have not been our friend delaying some of the outside work, but the past few days have been rain free so we now at least have a driveway and sidewalk poured.

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

AMAZING MASON JAR CREATIONS!

My niece and I were recently channeling one another, not consciously...unconsciously. She recently attended a class dealing with healthful eating making Mason Jar Salads; and I just purchased Gwyneth Paltrow's new book, IT'S ALL EASY  where I made Noodle Pots. Ironically we were both creating new healthful meals that are made in good old fashion Mason Jars! Stop over and check this out.......



Friday, May 27, 2016

PRECIOUS PEONIES

One of my favorite long time perennials are Peonies. Their beauty, fragrance and longevity make it a good choice for flower gardens with sunshine and well drained soil.

When we moved to our NJ home, my mother gave me several root ball plants off many of her perennials, one being Peonies. It was Fall when we were moving in, so hubby and I dug some dirt holes and just stuck the plants in the ground. Fortunately, they survived the brutal Winter. In the Spring hubby made me this bed (below) along the back of our home, and we planted them in their new permanent home.

We did not have blooms the first year, but this is a photo of our 2nd year of June blooms......




Wednesday, May 25, 2016

LAST MINUTE RED WHITE & BLUE DESSERT

WOW....Memorial Day is upon us.....it's picnic time! Did you just get asked to bring a dessert to Monday's picnic....here's a sure fire way to appeal to the masses!


This Berry Trifle recipe has been my go-to for picnics for quite some time. It's particularly delish during fresh strawberry season and the lemon curd twist gives the tastebuds a nice tart surprise. 

I've also noticed that the strawberries I picked up in my grocery store grown in California have been outstanding lately. Why not give this recipe a try!

Link to recipe:


Wishing you a safe and sunny Memorial Day weekend!

Kathleen

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

DECORATING WITH COLOR ON THE PATIO

Get Summer ready!

I've got a couple of quick change ideas for your patio furniture and easy planters that may inspire you this year....

I called my color scheme "Fiesta." Using the reds, purples, golds, and a touch of white in my flower selections. Then I pulled a few pillows that I had previously used in a different area of our home, and added those to our chairs for just the right splash of color that completed the patio. Notice how the red from the pillows takes your eye to the red in the planter?
 

Friday, May 20, 2016

CAULIFLOWER CHOWDER

Welcome to Foodie Friday!

I'm always in search of a good chowder recipe. This isn't your normal chowder, it's made with cauliflower! 

My favorite recipes are those that don't require a lot of prep, and that are basically a good healthy choice. I like to have these recipes stashed away for those busy nights or just when we want something light.

We had a builder meeting that ran late tonight, and I wasn't really interested in making a big meal. I decided this would be a perfect night to try this chowder. I grilled up a couple of chicken breasts for a little protein fix, and our quick dinner was served.

Today's recipe....Cauliflower Chowder.



Tuesday, May 17, 2016

WOW STAIRCASE INSTALLED

Hello Tuesday friends!

It's time for another house update. After receiving the news that our closing date will now be in July, we were a bit deflated. This means we not only had to extend our apartment lease, we also had to change the pool installation dates, and the delivery of our household storage goods from NJ. On a positive note.....because, let's face it, this is not a life threatening event......we're kind of thinking it will be like "Christmas in July!" 

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

RESTORING OUR MARBLE FLOOR

Our Princeton, NJ home turned out to be the largest renovation project we have ever undertaken. There was something about this beautiful Georgian Colonial that just screamed to us...."make me loved again!" 

Sunday, May 8, 2016

HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY!


Wishing you a very HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY! May your day be filled everything that makes you smile!


Fondly,


Kathleen

Friday, May 6, 2016

KENTUCKY DERBY PIE BARS

I've never been to the Kentucky Derby! It is something that hubby and I have on our "bucket list." Each year there are so many festivities surrounding this event. Steeped in tradition, from the extravagant hats, to the beautiful Garland of Roses, and then there's always the original Mint Julep.

Just because we aren't attending the Derby doesn't mean we can't enjoy some of the derby favorites. I've found a recipe with a twist on an old derby favorite, Chocolate Bourbon Pecan Pie. It's very close, but without the Bourbon, they are Kentucky Derby Pie Bars. The melted chocolate and chopped pecans are delightful!





The recipe has a graham cracker crust that is baked first. Then the addition of some sinful ingredients like; corn syrup, butter, pecans and mini semisweet morsels.... makes the bars quite decadent. 



You may find the recipe link here:
http://www.southernladymagazine.com/celebrate-the-kentucky-derby-in-style/3/

Whether you are attending the derby or not, this recipe is a sweet treat that can be enjoyed anytime!


    Wishing y'all a wonderful weekend!

   Kathleen

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

TABLESCAPE FIT FOR A MOTHER

I love the endless possibilities of creating tablescapes! From glamorous to simplistic each has it's time and place. 

For Mother's Day this year I've decided to keep it simple with a color palette that is reflective of the Spring days that are upon us. This is for you MOM, sure wish I could be with you......


After a recent trip to World Market I just had to buy these napkins. I am in LOVE with this
Aqua Blue..



The tablecloth is a soft golden linen cloth which makes a beautiful foundation for all of the color that I have added both in the linen napkins, and flowers. My plates and coffee mugs are porcelain and can be found in Williams Sonoma. Since most of my fine china and crystal are still in storage, my wine glasses were a beautiful find in the Dollar Store!


I learned a long time ago from Martha Stewart, that a CARNATION packs a powerful, yet inexpensive punch! Don't be afraid to use them.....they are one of my favorites!


On Sunday, May 8th, make Mom's Day special for your Mom.....


 HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY to all!

                           Kathleen



Friday, April 29, 2016

THOUGHTFUL DIY MAY DAY GIFT

May Day signifies Springtime to me!  It's a great time to surprise a friend or a neighbor with a little something tied to their front door. Of course I love to make it an anonymous gesture, but they seem to always know who the culprit was!

I made a trip to the Dollar General store near me and picked up some bright cheery little boxes, grabbed a few bouquets of flowers from my grocery store, and this is what I made with them.....



All you need to make these....

2--vases that fit inside of the boxes
2--decorated Springlike boxes with handles
Flowers to fill each vase
Small tags 
Small clothespins

Assembly is easy: Place the vases inside of each container. I add a tiny bit of water. Cut flower stems to the appropriate length and fill the vases quite full with color. The more color the better!

Fill out your tag to say Happy May Day, and attach it with a small clothespin to the box.
(I purchased my colorful clothespins and tags in World Market, everything else I purchased in Dollar General.)





Below is my 2015 May Day gift for my neighbors. I tied Basil plants on doors for a change. The pots were from the Dollar Store at that time. The plant fit quite easily into the can, and I tied the ribbon around the handle of the can, made a bow and attached it their doors.



It's easy, it's fun, and brings quite a smile to my neighbors faces! Sometimes the smallest 

gestures of kindness is exactly what someone needs!

ENJOY!


Kathleen