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Holidays

Wednesday, November 21st, 2012

Hosting Thanksgiving Dinner? Give a Little Back This Year

Becky

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I assume many of you are wrapping up your work as quickly as you can, facing traffic jams and long airport security lines today. No matter what a pain it is to get home, we all seem to deem the Thanksgiving holiday totally worth it. We’re thankful for our family and friends, for what we do have even during these tough economic times, no matter the outcome, we’re happy the election is over, we’re thankful for the big meals we’re going to overindulge in.

image from bricabrac blog

While you look around and think of all you’re thankful for, please remember those in need. In my family, we all bring books to donate to the Bristol Connecticut Boys and Girls Club, an organization that was very close to my late grandparents’ hearts. Why not make helping others a traditional part of your joyous gathering? If you are hosting a group, shoot out a quick text or email letting everyone know you’ll have a big box or two out and ready on Thanksgiving. Have your guests bring things that are most needed this time of year. If you’ll be too exhausted to do a drop off, enlist someone else, or simply pick a charity and collect cash donations.Here are some easy ideas:

Gather non-perishable goods to a local food bank. Simply search “food bank” and your city’s name to find out what they need.

Extra warm coats and/or blankets are needed so much this time of year. Make sure these are in good shape and clean before donating.

For those old towels and blankets  that aren’t in such good shape, donate them to an animal shelter.

If you are visiting a loved one in the hospital, give blood while you are there.

Supplies for teachers at a local school. Many school budgets are so stretched that teachers need to bring their own supplies.

Many victims of Hurricane Sandy still need help. If you live close by, Gothamist has a good list of ways you can help with Thanksgiving donations. If you don’t live close by, support The Red Cross. If you know a victim personally, they may not say it, but what they probably need most is cash. Think about taking up a collection for them at Thanksgiving dinner.

Please add any of your own charitable suggestions and giving traditions in the comments section.

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Friday, November 2nd, 2012

Switching Up Your Fall Tablescape

Becky

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It’s officially November, which means those $8 billon worth of Halloween decorations Americans bought need to come down and it’s time to start thinking about your fall-to-winter tablescapes. Whether you’re hosting a large group of family and friends for the big day or are just looking to switch up your look for the fall/winter transition, here are some ideas for dressing your table and serving your guests.

Get woodsy with some faux bois:

Chilewich Rectangle Faux Bois Placemat, set of 4

Mix your metals. Here, a pitcher with a brassy-gold patina reflects the silver placemats. The simple arrangement of colorful leaves ties everything together:

Modern Twist Studio Placement Grain – Silver on Gray

Bring in the cranberry reds! This is a color that will take you from autumnal tablescapes to holiday tablescapes with ease. A rich red runner and/or placemats can stay on the table while centerpieces and place settings are switched out for different occasions.

Chilewich Basketweave Runner

Get a little tipsy: Freak your friends out with these swirling liqueur glasses that oxygenate as they rotate.

Sempli Cupa – Shot 2

Make sure you have platters in an easy-access spot. Grab fun seasonal ones for passing out those hors d’oeuvrs and sugar cookies:

notNeutral Season Serving Plate

Let there be (candle)light!  Whether you like simple tea lights, Grandmother’s candelabra, hurricanes or something more whimsical, candlelight is the final touch for party ambiance, especially at the dinner table. Right now I’m enjoying the modern lines of these bronze plated steel candlesticks, and their unexpected heights; they range from 15 inches to 58.5″:

DESU DESIGN Parallel Stem Candle Pedestals

How will you be dressing your table in November? Please share with us in the comments section!

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Tuesday, October 30th, 2012

Spooky Architecture

Becky

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All of this Halloween brouhaha and the terrifying Haunted Houses of today have me longing for good old Norman Bates and his dear old mom. My friend tried to tempt me to join him at one that was “Hostel meets Saw” last week and believe I’d prefer a Thai prison. Anyway, here’s my list of favorite classic spooky homes from TV and the movies. I’m afraid this will really show you my age. Please let me know any you would add in the comments section!

The Munster’s House. The Munsters also had that cool creepy font, and a kid with the best widow’s peak of all time, Eddie Munster.

Next we have The Addams Family. The show gave us a theme song that you can’t get out of your head once it’s in there. On a related note, it told us “their house is a museum…” Yes. A museum full off all kinds of weird stuff, like a fish with a leg sticking out of its mouth:

Of course, no list would be complete without the aforementioned Psycho House, which sat atop the hill from the Bates Motel.

I never actually saw The Amityville Horror but I remember Eddie Murphy talking about it in his stand up. This lovely Dutch Colonial doesn’t exactly scream “Get Out!” Well, except, you know, it screams “Get Out” literally.

More recently, I could see why any uninformed buyer would be interested in the fabulous house from American Horror Story, though once you move in, you never leave. I suppose it’s a bit Hotel California in that way. I haven’t given the new season a try yet, as I like being able to sleep with the lights off.

So those are 5 of my favorites. Please help me add to the list in the comments section, and have a fun and sugar-fueled Halloween.

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Tuesday, October 23rd, 2012

Extreme Halloween Decor

Becky

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This weekend I was heading over to take a walk on the newly paved Atlanta Beltline in Inman Park and passed by this insane Zombie house in the Old Fourth Ward. I stopped dead in my tracks, part scared, part in awe:

The way they were positioned, I felt I could practically see them staggering. Is this an homage to a famous scene in a zombie movie? Is the homeowner in charge of makeup or special effects for The Walking Dead (filmed here in A-town)? No one was around to ask, but I was seriously impressed.

The costumes were rather remarkable as well – they clothes are ragged, dirty, and not exactly stylin’.

I really don’t know what that gross red guy is about – some sort of tribute to Vlad the Impaler? The cast of  The Vampire Diaries only live a hop skip and a jump from this house, but this looked gorier than that show ever gets.

Where does one acquire all of these parts? The irony is, this is such a contemporary, unadorned, streamlined minimalist house; I imagine they have way more things in the front yard right now than they do in the entire interior!

I don’t think there’s any way I could go knock in this door if I were a trick-or-treater – could you?

How nuts do you go with the Halloween decorations? I have to admit I don’t even have a pumpkin going on at the moment. Do you have any houses in your neighborhood that can compare to this one? Let us know in the comments section!

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Tuesday, November 15th, 2011

Decorating for a Modern Holiday

Becky

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It’s time to start planning decorations for a modern holiday. One of my favorite Thanksgiving posts of all time was written by Dwell Studio’s founder, Christiane Lemieux awhile back. You can revisit it here. Here’s a little teaser:

Since I didn’t grow up with all the trappings of an American Thanksgiving, I felt free to create my own tradition. On this holiday, the meal itself will be the center of attention, so you don’t need to do much in the way of decorating. The rich cranberry red, the warm orange of pumpkin and sweet potatoes, the perfect honey brown of a crisp turkey — it’s already a gorgeous color palette.

She let the food be the star of the show by using beautiful monochromatic linens. It’s such a nice balance:

Thinking ahead to Hanukkah, how happy are you with your menorah? If you’re looking to break with tradition and try something more modern, there are tons of options out there. I love this organic one from Flickr member Less&More:

I also love the simplicity of this understated menorah by Josh Owen:

Thinking ahead to Christmas, we’re finding inspiration from our Fresh New Spaces Group on Flickr. Thanks to Flickr member citrusandorange for switching up our ideas about sticking with red and green:

Branches and beautiful vintage ornaments in unexpected colors make for beautiful vignettes.

Speaking of vintage, Flickr member Electica Miamiadded ths fun vignette, which makes me feel nostalgic for my old Flexible Flyer:

Flickr member Peezeth knows how to keep things minimal, sleek, and subtly festive:


Flickr member 1richtungsblog kept things limited to gold and white, adding sophisticated holiday style:

How will you be decorating for the holidays? PLEASE share your photos from the past and present with us in our Fresh New Spaces Group, or share links in the comments section to wherever you have them posted online.

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