Friday, August 30, 2013

Shop + Nosh

A new series with two of my favorite past times!

Last Sunday we drove to one of the most charming towns in Connecticut: Westport. (Martha Stewart used to live here.) Located on the Long Island Sound the town is quaint and New England-y but also has some of the best shopping around. (Really, how many towns with a population of 26,000 has a Tiffany's?)

We strolled the town while popping into some my favorite home design stores.

I loved the Johnathan Adler store--didn't buy a thing but what inspiration!

We don't have a West Elm near where we live so I usually visit a store whenever I see one...
I did find that beautiful orange throw and a bathroom tumbler on the sale rack. They both look perfect in our new home!

The next stop was dinner at Kosh in Stamford with friends and family to celebrate my sister-in-law's birthday. (It ended in a zero so it called for a celebration.) Kosh is one of the few kosher restaurants in Connecticut and by far my favorite. Not only is the food great but it's also beautifully designed. 

The perfect ending to a great day.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Rosh Hashanah "Cake" Centerpiece

Instead of flowers this year, try your hand at creating this "map birthday cake". It's guaranteed to be a conversation starter at your Rosh Hashanah dinner table--after all, the world is one year older!
Today I'm over at where I show how to make this adorable cake centerpiece. The entire project cost under $15.00 and took me less than a few hours. To see the step-by-step on how to create it click here.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Ten Rosh Hashanah Hostess Gifts

Invited to a Rosh Hashanah dinner? Here are ten great gifts to bring your hostess will love!
From top left:
Flower centerpiece made up of pomegranates, tulips and roses, honey cake with almonds, honey soap, a set of honey in various flavors for tasting, hand washing towels.

From top left:
Beeswax Shabbat candles, kosher wine, fresh seasonal apples, honey jar, or put together your own basket with a little bit of everything.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Rosh Hashanah Dinner Placesetting

Rosh Hashanah dinner is all about the honey--we dip apples and challah into the honey with thoughts for a sweet year. So this place setting, incorporating wooden honey dippers with seating tags couldn't be more appropriate for the holiday.
These wooden honey dippers can be found at most kitchen supply and gourmet shops but if you're having a crowd and need to buy in bulk you can order them online here

For the tag, I simply cut some chevron scrapbook paper into a little flag shape and spelled out the guest's name with letter stickers.
Now, it's on to the menu planning!

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Black Painted Doors

Back in April I wrote a post about updating the doors in our new house. Over the summer I was hoping to replace all the door knobs and paint all the interior doors black. Well, here it is almost September and that still hasn't happened. There's still too much to do and I'm just not ready to replace all the door knobs quite yet--but yesterday I did paint two yellow doors in the den that were driving me crazy. 

Was it scary painting doors black? Oh yeah. All our other houses had white doors, but since these were flat and boring, I thought the black paint would make them look much richer and chicer. I think it does.

Here is how they looked painted yellow by the previous home owner...I painted the walls Benjamin Moore's Chelsea Gray in January but these darn doors have been staring at me all spring and summer.

Ideally, all the hardware should first be removed, then painted, and then installed with the new hinges and door levers. But this was a spur of the moment thing--I just wanted to get rid of that bad yellow.
We'll be replacing that old door knob so it was okay if I got some black paint on it.

We did install one new door lever for the powder room--I love how it looks so modern against the semi gloss black paint...
It's much improved but I'm not sure if they'll stay black or get painted the same gray as the trim color...what do you think?

Monday, August 19, 2013

New Years Cards with Honey Cake

It is a Jewish tradition to send New Year Cards before Rosh Hashanah, but why not take that one step further and send your message tied to a yummy honey cake? These cakes hold up well for days and they are easy to ship. If your recipient is making a holiday meal, they'll love receiving something extra to serve for dessert or just have around the kitchen for the family to nibble on.

Here is the clip art I used on my card...just copy and paste it onto yours.
The message was printed on yellow honeycomb paper I found at the craft store but solid yellow paper works too. I used a Word program and printed out sheets on a laser printer. After cutting out each message I glued it on to card stock cut slightly larger. The inside of the card is where we signed our names.  

Here is a yummy Honey Cake recipe from Epicurious, but if there's no time to bake you can order parve kosher honey cakes here.
Linked to:
creative jewish mom

Friday, August 16, 2013

Quick Fix for Ugly Stairs

I spent the day yesterday up in Massachusetts helping my daughter get settled into their new home. It's an older house that needs some TLC--especially the stairs leading up to the bedrooms. In less than one hour and less than $50 we transformed the stairway from shabby to chic!

Here is what we started out with...(the previous tenants were college guys--need I say more?)

My first thought was to stencil them something fabulous like this:
Or, maybe an ombre look like this:
But in the end there were so many factors to consider:
1. It's a rental.
2. They needed to use the stairs the same day.
3. Young children need some cushioning for comfort and safety.

Lowe's sells carpet runners by the foot--they simply cut the amount you need. Ours is a sisal look-a-like, normally $5.00 a foot on sale for $2.60 a foot. I attached it to the stairs with a staple gun.
Zelda approves!

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Marbling a Laminate Table Top

While browsing through Home Goods last spring I spotted an end table that was the perfect size and shape for the living room. As an added bonus, a corner of the table was slightly damaged and it was marked down even further! With all the company we had this summer it sat in a closet until this week--I finally got my hands on it and I'm thrilled with the transformation.

Here is what I started out with...

The first thing I did was unscrew the top and spray paint the base gold. My living room is primarily grays and I love the pop of gold against all the gray tones.
I found this wonderful gold spray paint at the art store--so much thicker and prettier than most golds at the hardware store.

Next came the marbling. There is nothing worse than a bad faux finish so I studied various techniques online until I found one that I was pleased with. Here's how I did it:
1. Spray the table top with an oil-based primer. Let dry.

2. Roll or brush two coats of latex white paint in an eggshell finish. Let dry.

3. Spray entire surface with water.

4. Mix some light gray latex paint: 20% paint and 80% water in a bowl. Using a brush, splatter paint onto surface. While it's still wet, using a fuzzy roller, soften the paint lightly. Do this again while it's still wet with another gray that is darker.

5. Mix yellow latex paint with water: 20% paint and 80% water. Put this mixture in a spray bottle and spray the surface while it's still wet. Roll lightly with fuzzy roller.

6. Pour a little denatured alcohol in a bowl and splatter some onto the wet surface. This is where the magic happens!

This is what you get! So cool, right? Keep spattering and rolling until you are happy with the results. After it dries, spray on some clear polyurethane in your choice of finish. I used a satin finish.

The finish seems to be holding up pretty well.

Looks so much more high end, right?
Linked to:
Miss Mustard Seed 
The Shabby Nest

Monday, August 12, 2013

The New Home Collection from H&M

If you shop H&M for their high fashion/low cost clothing check out their new Home Collection. The prices are great and items are oh-so-stylish. Here are seven of my favorites...
1. Cushion Cover   2. Soap Dish  3. Laundry Bag   4. Tray   5. Baby Blanket    6. Hook   7. Cotton Cushion Cover

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Rosh Hashanah Round-Up

You may be planning your summer vacation but it's time to think about Rosh Hashanah--it's the Hebrew month of Elul and that means the holiday is only four weeks away! (The first night is September 4th.) 

I'll be posting lots of new ideas for a beautiful holiday but here's a round-up of my most popular posts from the past.
Top: I created this Jewish New Year's Card with family photos last summer when Zelda was still a newborn. Left: Cut paper make up these apple New Year cards. Right: By reusing the wood numbers from the New Years card, a centerpiece was created for the buffet table.

Top: The bee skep centerpiece is a nod to honey. Left: Since you're serving honey on the table why not make it a honey tasting? Right: Easy and elegant--fresh apples to hold place cards.

Left: Your hostess will love this Rosh Hashanah gift basket filled with treats for the holiday. Right: My best apple cake--perfect for the season.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Cookie and Milk Party

While they were living with us this summer, our grandchildren attended a local day camp. Since camp ends this week and Moussia will be heading to her new house in Massachusetts, she asked if she could invite her "new" friends over for a milk and cookie party. I love throwing children's parties so of course I said yes!
Moussia is in the striped shirt--the youngest one since the others are older women: six and seven years old!

From top left: Invitations from templates I found online; Moussia made this welcome sign to hang on the front door; bottles of milk from Shop Sweet Lulu chilling in the fridge; decorated cookies were carried home in "bakery" boxes.

Some cookies were sampled at the party and the rest were boxed carefully in tissue and carried home. After
decorating their cookies the girls made door hangers to hang on the doorknobs of their rooms.
It was a fun party for all--especially for Moussia who was SO excited to entertain her new friends!

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Back to School: The Cutest Lunchboxes

Our granddaughter Moussia, is five going on fifth-teen...
It seems like she's been ready for school years ago but she is only starting kindergarten this fall. Since kindergarten will be all day she'll need a lunchbox so I put together some of the cutest picks I could find. If you're not in the market for Disney characters or Super Mario, these might be a good choice for your little one, too.

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