Monday, July 30, 2012


Baby Zelda is two weeks old--that means my time staying in Massachusetts at my daughter and son-in-law's house is over (for now)!  On my drive home last Friday, I decided to take a little detour to explore one of my favorite towns -- Northampton. 

Northampton, MA is renowned as an arts and entertainment destination in Western Massachusetts, and was named “Number One Best Small Arts Town in America.” It is also home to Smith College.

Walking down the small streets here feels almost like I'm in Greenwich Village in New York City! With charming sidewalk cafes and great shops, it's a fun place to spend an afternoon.

Here are some of my favorites, starting with a little shop called Essentials...
It's hard to describe this shop...part stationary store, part children's clothing/toy store and gift shop all rolled into one. Here are some things I loved...
Great paper bags to use a favor bags, beautiful old fashioned twine--perfect for tying home-baked goodies, and beautiful ribbons.

I'm trying to decide what to make with the cool map printed the mini banners for a birthday cake and the sweet old fashioned children's alphabet game.

Unusual stained wood salad spoons, the pretty black and white plate would look great hung on a wall, love the felt birdhouse and red, white and blue pottery.

My next stop was another favorite, the Ceder Chest, located in the Thornes Mall.
Because of time constraints, I never made it passed the first floor, but that's fine since it was bursting with the most beautiful items for the bath...

Can one get excited over shower curtains? I can! The Ceder Chest has the best selection of beautiful shower curtains around.

Exquisite hand-made soaps, linen monogrammed guest towels, fabulous soap dishes and wonderful creams.

My last stop was Urban Outfitters. I know it's a chain store but this one opened in an old building that used to be a bank so it's extra cool. 

I'm really too old :( to wear most of the clothing, but I adore their home furnishing merchandise.
Wonderful bright bedding--I especially love the black and white chevron pillow, they have the best jewelry stands--always imported which makes them interesting, and I can't seem to get enough globes to use in decor!

Friday, July 27, 2012

Chanukah in July!

I've been working with a photographer shooting an upcoming Chanukah feature that will debut in a magazine this December! No peeking behind the curtain...
Stay tuned this winter for all the details. (By the way, it is not easy finding Chanukah props in the summer!)

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Using Ball Jars to Organize

During my stay in Massachusetts (helping out with the new baby) I couldn't help but notice my daughter Ariel's dry goods drawer. I couldn't find a thing in there since all the bags of rice and nuts were packed on top of each other. It was like the bulk aisle in Whole Foods gone wrong. She also had multiply bags of many items since they were all hiding on top of each other.

 The solution? Ball Canning Jars!
Although they are sold for canning summer produce like pickles and such, they are cheap and air tight which make them perfect for a project like this.

Here is the before picture. Brace yourself, it's scary.

I bought a pack of twelve large Ball jars from the supermarket.

The labels are from Staples--Martha Stewart's line of Home Office Supplies. These are dishwasher and freezer safe.

Here is what her drawer looks like now...
The whole project cost less than $20.00 and makes a huge difference!

Monday, July 23, 2012


There is an easy way to add a simple, elegant touch to anything fabric around the house. It looks upscale and expensive, but will make merely a modest dent in your wallet.


By adding letters or words to anything from towels, canvas tote bags, pillows and more in the color of your choice, you can make them look fabulous for not much money.  Some stores like Pottery Barn will monogram items for you for a small charge--as low as $7.00. Many malls will also host monogram kiosks that allow you to merely walk up, pick a color and font, and watch them make it right there. Monogram shops are also located in most cities--and if you can't find one locally you can order from online shops.
These tissue box covers from Pottery Barn  look SO much more sophisticated than the cardboard box hidden underneath.

I bought these hooded bath towels from Pottery Barn Kids for Moussia and Yosef last Chanukah and they refuse to use anything else for bath time!

By choosing a contrasting color for the thread, this monogram totally transforms a plain yellow/green pillow I found on Pinterest.

Your guests will be very impressed when they sit down to dinner with your family's initials on their napkin.

These pinstriped pillows with the simple font for embroidery from West Elm are simple and preppy.

These are not embroidered but I love the clean look of these black and white pillows with "scrabble" letters from Etsy.

This beautiful challah cover from Yair Emanuel is already embroidered in Hebrew saying "Shabbat and Yom Tov."

What did I inspire you to monogram?

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Friday, July 20, 2012

A Glimpse into my Week

Baby Zelda is one week old today! My week in Massachusetts flew by with not enough hours in the day to do everything that needs to get done. Here's a little peak of my life this week...

Have a nice weekend and a Good Shabbos!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Kosher Delights: S'Mores

If you read my last post you know that I'm in Massachusetts helping my daughter after she gave birth to our new granddaughter. We're having a wicked heat wave here  in the Northeast, and since I'm the "chef" this week I try to grill outdoors whenever cooking comes in to the picture. Who can think about turning on an oven when it's 98 degrees?!

What's the perfect parve dessert for a summertime cookout?  S'Mores! They're not only delicious,  but the kids love getting their own marshmallow to toast.

 All you need is a hot grill, sticks, marshmallows, chocolate and graham crackers.
By choosing parve ingredients (parve means contains neither dairy or meat) like the dairy-free chocolate and graham crackers, it's the perfect summer kosher dessert following a meat meal.
The hot marshmallows melt the chocolate--the perfect blend of sweetness and crunch!

Monday, July 16, 2012

A New Baby!

As of Friday, we have a new member in the family: Chana Zelda! (Chana means grace and Zelda means happiness. We'll probably end up calling her Zelda).
I am in Massachusetts for a few weeks cooking, shopping, acting as au pair for Moussia and Yosef, and enjoying Zelda. Don't worry, blog posts are still coming, including some exciting do-it-yourself projects and an awesome furniture makeover.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Gift for a New Home

Friends of ours recently moved into a new home. As a housewarming gift I followed the age-old Jewish custom of bringing bread and salt as the first items into the house.
I put them in a pretty tea towel along with a bottle of Extra Virgin Olive oil and nestled everything in a matching bowl.

It is also recommended to bring some Jewish books and a charity box into the home even before the movers bring the rest of the boxes. This establishes the Jewish flavor of the home--which will hopefully be a haven of study and kindness.
No box required--simply wrap it all in clear cellophane, add a pretty bow and it's ready to give.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Washi Tape

If you've never heard of washi tape, allow me to introduce you: it's beautiful colorful tape that originates from Japan and has taken over the craft scene by storm.  It feels like masking tape — very pretty masking tape, but it's made of paper.  It comes in patterns, designs and varying widths to allow you to create some fun and intricate washi tape designs.

Washi tape is typically made from natural fibers, such as bamboo or hemp, but most commonly from the bark of trees that are native to Japan — the mulberry, the mitsumata shrub or the gampi tree. Most washi tapes are strong (as strong as duct tape in some cases!) and functional as well as pretty, making them wonderful for both everyday and decorative use.

I have several projects planned for the upcoming holidays but here are a few I found to inspire you to try washi tape yourself.
Kira from Her New Leaf covered a laptop keyboard with colorful washi tape.

Escort cards from the haystack needle

 Washi tape journal from etsy seller RuthBleakley

Covered glass candle votives from Japanistic

Covered clipboard from gingersnap crafts

Favor boxes from Martha Stewart Weddings.

Rainbow bunting by Poppytalk

Retro inspired vase from How About Orange

Did I inspire you to use washi tape for your next project?

Monday, July 9, 2012

Bar Mitzvah Centerpieces: The Second Time Around

There's almost nothing that makes me happier than when a reader of my blog takes an idea and makes it their own. This is what happened when I posted this story in January. For my friend Barbara's son's Bar Mitzvah party, we took fallen tree branches and spray painted them with silver metallic paint. Then we hung photos of the Bar Mitzvah boy from the branches. Here's what they looked like on the tables:
Susan, who lives in the Boston area saw my post and decided to try the same thing for her son's Bar Mitzvah...
Although it's a simple project it does take a fair amount of work so getting friends to lend a hand can be very helpful.
Guests love to look at the pictures...they become an instant conversation piece!
Great job Susan!

Friday, July 6, 2012

Pouf Parade

I jumped on the bandwagon and finally bought a pouf!

If you follow home design you already know that poufs are all the rage. If you've never heard of them they're a bit like an ottoman but softer (kind of like a bean bag) and often croucheted or covered in fabric. Here are a few of my favorites.

A Knitted blood orange pouf from CB2...

A Moroccan gold leather pouf from
Kilm covered square poufs from West Elm
A fabric covered cylinder pouf from the etsy shop anitacasa
I've had my eye on the poufs from the Privet House line at the Shops at Target.  I've been waiting for them to go on sale and last week it happened--they finally went on sale!

Will anyone actually sit on this? I'm not sure. Did my husband give me a funny look when he saw it? Yes he did. But I love the texture and vibe it adds to the room!

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i should be mopping the floor

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Baby Gift

It must be baby season--our daughter, Ariel is due any minute with baby number three (!) and two of my dear friend's daughter's recently had babies, one day apart.
I bought these custom birth announcement prints from etsy to give as baby gifts. They are 8 x 10 ready for framing and custom made with the new baby's information, colors and choice of graphic.  It's a one of a kind keepsake!

There are many to choose from on etsy--I bought mine from Mosie Posies which you can find here.  How sweet will these look framed and hanging in the nursery?
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