Archive of ‘Holidays’ category

4th of July Fun

 

I love good old fashioned 4th of July fun.  Family, grilled food, fireworks and a red, white and blue color scheme make this one of my favorite holidays.  I know, I say that all the time.  I think I am in love with whatever holiday is next.  Celebrating pretty much anything is what I really love and yesterday that was the 4th of July!

fourthfood

The menu was full on traditional, grilled flank steak, BBQ chicken, corn on the bob, warm  potato salad with bacon and deviled eggs.  For dessert we had double dipped strawberries and red velvet cupcakes filled with cream cheese frosting.

fourthpotato

The warm potato salad is a favorite side dish around here especially with anything grilled.  It can certainly be chilled as other traditional potato salads but serving it warm is the way we like it the best.  Creamy with the crunch of bacon and a fresh burst of green onion.  Delish!

Potato Salad with Bacon & Scallions
 
This can be served warm or cold. Served warm it makes a fantastic side with anything grilled!
Author:
Recipe type: Salad

Ingredients
  • 2 LBS. New Potatoes, cut in half
  • ¾ cup Sour Cream
  • ¾ cup Mayonnaise
  • ½ cup Scallions, thinly sliced
  • 5 Slices Bacon, cooked and crumbled

Instructions
  1. Add the sliced potatoes to a saucepan and cover with water. Add salt.
  2. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer 12-14 minutes or until tender when pierced with a fork.
  3. Drain well.
  4. In a serving bowl mix sour cream and mayonnaise. Fold in potatoes and season with salt and pepper.
  5. If serving cold cover and refrigerate 1-2 hours or until chilled.
  6. When ready to serve fold in scallions (reserving some for garnish).
  7. Garnish with bacon and reserved scallions.

 

fourthstrawberries

I thought I would whip up a batch of the Pinterest favorite double dipped strawberries.  Fast, easy and quite tasty these little goodies are the newest addition to holiday menus around here.  I barely had a chance to even take a photo of them before they were gobbled up!

fourthtable

 

I hope your 4th of July was filled with family, food and fun!

French Toile Easter Table

french-toile-easter-table

Happy Easter!

It was a lovely warm and sunny Easter morning and we sat down to brunch just after opening our be-ribboned Easter baskets.  This French toile Easter table started with the chocolate brown French toile napkins.  I picked them up several years ago at Pottery Barn…I just wished I have purchased more!

french_toile_easter_table

The grass in the trough grew lush and green which is something I can’t seem to do in parts of my back yard…go figure.  I posted about planting the grass in the trough here.   I painted ceramic eggs in gold leaf type paint and burnt umber craft paint.   I didn’t get too worked up about how to do the designs…freehanded them mostly.  My favorite part of the centerpiece is the little iron bunny peeking out.  So charming.

French toile and easter really seem to go together for me…well, actually French toile and any holiday go together for me.  Red for Christmas, brown for Thanksgiving, Black for Halloween. I easily could have a post for each holiday, French Toile Easter Table, French Toile Christmas Table, French Toile Thanks….well, you get the idea.

Have a wonderful Easter!

 

 

Ribbon Trimmed Martha Stewart Inspired Easter Baskets

Ribbon Trimmed Martha Stewart Inspired Easter Basket

In the spring of 1991 I opened the mailbox to greet the latest edition of Martha Stewart Magazine.  It was the first year of the magazines publication and I couldn’t wait to each issue to arrive.  I was newly married and eager to try just about anything which graced the pages.  It was there I found instructions for ribbon trimmed Martha Stewart inspired Easter Baskets.

Ribbon Trimmed Easter Baskets Martha Stewart Living

There they were on page 56.  A (relatively) small article (4 pages) on Easter Baskets.  Not just any Easter Baskets…The Easter baskets of my dreams.  Up until that point I had never seen an Easter basket which wasn’t 10 shades of horrible.  The main event was what was inside…peeps, jelly beans, chocolate bunny, the good stuff.  The basket itself was usually either this strange plastic woven type (oddly trying to mimic something actually woven but in the most unrealistic way possible). Or an actual woven basket which looked like it was made from materials found by the side of a highway somewhere.  I won’t say road kill.  But close.  In the spring of 1991 that all changed for me. The basket which in itself WAS the main event.

Martha Stewart Living Ribbon Trimmed Easter Basket Article

Okay.  In retrospect those baskets were uber busy.  A white spray painted basket covered in bows.  Pattern on pattern on pattern.  I think the thing which struck me however was the colors.  Each basket had its own color way.  Everything in the blue basket was some shade of blue, the same for the yellow, etc.  Even the (overly to my eye now) decorated sugar cookies coordinated.  Now that had style.

Ribbon Trimmed Martha Stewart Inspired Easter Baskets I Nesting With Style

I set about to re-create this little lovelies.  One for me.  One for my new husband.  Cute tiny little baskets filled with similarly colored treats. I varied from Martha’s example by making a collar of bows around the top instead of bows scattered all over.  I used much more saturated colors than Martha.  Bright blue for him.  Raspberry Pink for me.  Cute.  I’m not sure how hubby felt about an Easter basket covered in bows but being a newlywed he didn’t say a word.  Good man.

Ribbon Trimmed Easter Baskets with Alpha Phi Letters I Nesting With Style

The following year when our daughter was born I gave her my little pink beauty and I made myself a purple one.  The mistake I made in the beginning was that I selected baskets which were far too small.  Not enough room for the Easter treats I wanted to fill them with.  I wasn’t a problem until the kids got a bit older and the little treats got well, not so little.  By the time we had our second I had re-made the baskets in a much larger format.  Pink for her, yellow for the next little nipper.  Blue for the third.  Green for the fourth.  I have even made them for my niece and nephews.  So far I think I have made about 10 of them and each one is unique.

Target Easter Eggs

I love that they look festive and party like even with nothing inside.  Each year I buy new eggs to add (after all those little plastic eggs don’t hold up forever).  The great thing is that the hues of the basic colors always change…so after 13 years of eggs they are all different shades.  I love that spectrum of color.  This year I added a pack of large and small from Target.  Beautiful colors.   But the addition I am most excited about are the glitter eggs from Target.  Haven’t opened one yet but they sure look great!

Ribbon Trimmed Martha Stewart Inspired Easter Basket with Chick

Each year I freshen the baskets up a bit.  In recent years I have added a glitter initial to personalize them even more.  I’ve also added little chicks tucked in here and there.  Add more ribbon and plump the ribbon already there.  It has led to an unexpected result.  They have, in effect, become little time capsules of the kid’s childhoods.  We called our #4 monkey when he was little….and so he has a bow with little monkeys on it on his basket.  Our daughter went through a butterfly stage and on hers there is a glittery butterfly. On each of the baskets there is ribbon from an article of their baby clothing.  Each has a snippet of ribbon from my Mother, who passed away and we all miss so much. I added darker more elegant tones of ribbon as they got older…ribbon which reflected their growing up.  These baskets now function like sentimental Christmas ornaments on a tree…each with its own story.  I especially love that it happened organically.  There was no plan to have it happen this way.  It just did.

Blue Ribbon Trimmed Martha Stewart Inspired Easter Basket

I’m done freshening them up for this year.  I added (three years tardy) my daughter’s sorority letters to hers and my son’s college ribbon to his.  Easter is three weeks from today and the baskets are all laid out…bunny ready.

Ribbon Trimmed Easter Basket Butterfly

Instructions for making these are as easy as it comes.

What you’ll need:

Glittered Monograms I Nesting With Style

  1. Make lots and lots of small bows
  2. Wrap a longer piece of ribbon around the handle, attach at the bottom with hot glue
  3. With hot glue gun attach bows around the edge of the easter basket, make sure the pattern in random
  4. For the monogram take a chipboard letter and paint a coordinating color
  5. Spread with glue and sprinkle with glitter.  I used Martha’s glitter either Tinsel Glitter or One of these gorgeous colors or Iridescent Glitter (I think I used iridescent on the blue C and the yellow C and basic colors on the A’s.

Pink Ribbon Trimmed Easter Basket with Alpha Phi Letters I Nesting With Style

Back in 1991 I don’t think Martha Stewart could have dreamed that a small 4 page layout on Easter Baskets would become the cornerstone of a family’s Easter tradition. Or maybe she just hoped it would.

Pink Ribbon Trimmed Easter Basket I Nesting With Style

Easter Centerpiece and Decoration Ideas

helleborus

I am ready to put an Easter centerpiece and decorations together.  Decorating for Easter is always fun for me…bunnies, lots of greenery and my cabbage bowls.  I know Easter is a month away but I can’t help but start on the road to easter decorating and the start is the Easter centerpiece for the diningroom table!

To kick it off I found these stunning Helleborus is a find from the grocery store.  I haven’t had much experience with these but it seems easy enough…shade, cooler temperatures and moist soil.  Sounds perfect for the diningroom.  The colors are perfect…pink and greeny-cream bi colored petals.  The red and white buds open to large, soft pink flowers which will eventually turn burgundy.  Best yet these are perennials and so if I can keep it alive long enough I’ll plant it outside.

On another front, I’ve started on a table decoration for the diningroom table for Easter.  I know it sounds early but I want to grow grass and that won’t happen overnight!

The plan is to plant grass in a long wooden trough and then insert flowering bulbs.  I’m also going to plant grass seed in little terra cotta pots for the kids table.  I am not sure what I’ll add at Easter…could be a little chocolate bunny a yellow furry chick or a decorated egg.  I’m waiting for that inspiration to strike.  But for now I know I want the base to be a mini Easter field.

First I layed out all the things I’ll need.

  • Wooden container ( found this trough at Home Goods a couple of years ago)
  • Mini Terra Cotta Pots and Saucers (I used 7)
  • Plastic to line the bottom
  • Miracle-Gro Potting Mix (I use Miracle Grow for containers, it has plant food in it)
  • Paper plates (to line the trough)
  • Grass Seed
  • Spray bottle filled with water
  • Large Bowl

First I put a layer of plastic grocery bags in the bottom of the wooden trough.  Next I cut paper plates to line the long openings.

eastercenterpiece

The soil needed to be moistened and I so I mixed it in a bowl with water to make it soft and moist but not dripping wet.

soil preparation

eastercenterpiece2

That went into the trough over the paper plates. Next a layer of grass seed!

grass2

I used a fork to mix the seeds into the very top of the soil layer.

grassseed

I misted the surface with water to get those little buggers moist.  Finally I moved the trough to a sunny windows to get the party started.  With luck, and watering, the mini lawn will be lush and green by Easter!

eastercenterpiece3

Easter Cadbury Creme Egg Martini

Delicious Easter Cadbury Creme Egg Martini  ~ Nesting with Style

One of my favorite Easter treats are Cadbury Creme Eggs.  I look forward to them appearing on store shelves a month or so before Easter each year.  It occurred to me as I gobbled one up last week that perhaps that yummy chocolaty, creamy taste could somehow be transformed into a cocktail. Thus this delicious Easter Cadbury Creme Egg Martini recipe was born!

My first attempt was to infuse vodka with those little chocolate nuggets.  I have infused vodka often with great success…pears, figs, vanilla beans and even allspice.  Yummy concoctions all.     The creme eggs however were a colossal failure.  Cloudy sludge filled liquid.  Not fit for human consumption.  Plan B was far more successful…the flavors of the chocolate treat deconstructed and reassembled in cocktail form.

Cadbury Martini ~ Nesting with Style

I garnished the glass with a gooey rim of the insides of a Cadbury Creme Egg.  This made the cocktail much sweeter than without.  I actually preferred the version without the gooey rim.  I was preferable  overall especially if the cocktail is to be enjoyed with appetizers.  If it is a stand alone at dessert time then the gooey rim is a must try…or do as we did, half with, half without.

Cadbury Creme Egg Martini I Nesting With Style

The base is vanilla vodka.  Added to that Godiva White Chocolate liquor and Creme de Cocoa.  The magic ingredient is the Effen Salted Caramel Vodka.  The depth of flavor it added transformed this from good to amazing.  Finish it off with a splash of heavy cream and you have heaven in a glass.  This is a potent treat…but really we are only having one…right?

 

Cadbury Creme Egg Martini ~ Version 1
 
Prep time

Total time

 

A delicious concotion perfect for Easter brunch!
Author:
Recipe type: Cocktail
Serves: 2

Ingredients
  • 4 oz. Vanilla Vodka
  • 2 oz. White Chocolate liquor (Godiva)
  • 2 oz. Creme de Cocoa
  • 2 oz. Salted Caramel Vodka (I used Effen)
  • Splash of Cream
  • 1 large Cadbury Creme Egg (or two mini)

Instructions
  1. Cut Cadbury Creme Egg in half. Spread gooey insides around edge of two martini glasses (if desired)
  2. Grate outside of chocolate egg onto a plate. Shake to distribute in a single layer and dip tops of martini glasses in shavings. Reserve leftovers.
  3. Mix vodka, white chocolate liquor, creme de cocoa, salted caramel vodka and splash of creme in a cocktail shaker filled with ice
  4. Shake until so cold you can barely hold the shaker…yes, it must be very cold!
  5. Strain into prepared martini glasses. Sprinkle with chocolate shavings.

Nutrition Information
Serving size: 2

 

St. Patrick’s Day Gift Jar

St. Patrick's Gift Jar ~ Nesting with Style

I do like to give little gifts to those who are special in my life.  What a great opportunity to say a thank you to those who make life richer.  I’ve put together this St. Patrick’s Day gift jar (with a printable).  This year my leprechaun list will include my son’s crossing guard (always helping to guide him to school safely in the midst of what, this winter at least, resembles a NASCAR race).  Also a few others who could use some St. Patrick’s Day shenanigans about now.  Actually, the word shenanigans is one of my favorite parts of this holiday.  What a great word…especially for Mother’s with sons.  The shenanigans never stop with my boys….those little rascals.  Find the St. Patrick’s Day Gift Jar instructions (and printable below).

rainbow jar

I started with a Weck jar.  I found these at Sur la Table which would also work perfectly!! Next came the good stuff.  I wanted a mix of candy and fun little surprises all in gold.  Silly and delicious…leprechaun sized goodies. The gold glitter nail polish was a fun find!

St. Patrick's Day Gift Jar ~ Nesting with Style

The rainbow label for the top came next.  I wanted it to be the rainbow leading to the gold underneath.  I printed it, cut it out and attached it to the top of the jar with double stick tape.  I ran out of sticker paper which would have been even easier.

I am happy to share what I created.  The label is approximately 3″ round.  The link is below.  This is one of the first downloads that I have done.  That is a nice way of saying I have no idea how well it will work.  But I am giving it a try and fingers (and toes) are crossed hoping it all works out well.  If not send me an e-mail and I will get working on it.

Finished off with a flourish of ribbon and my leprechaun gifts are ready to roll.

rainbow label 3

St. Patrick’s Day Jar Label

St. Patrick’s Day Mini Pots o’ Gold

nws_stpats

We love St. Patrick’s Day around here…after all, we live in Chicago where the river is dyed green each March 17th.  It won’t be long before the green day is upon us and the boys can’t wait.  They look forward to all the shenanagins assoicated with this mischief filled holiday.  And me?  I just love anything that involves the promise of gold and these St. Patrick’s Day Mini Pots O’ Gold certainly fill that bill!

I like to make these little pots o’ gold as we turn the calendar from February to March.

Materials:

  • Small terra-cotta flower pots (I used 5″ pots without saucers)
  • Black paint (you can use craft paint although the posts soak up lots of it, I prefer paint made just for porous materials
  • Foam brush
  • Pack of multi colored pipe cleaners
  • Green Easter grass (saw it at Target already)
  • Package of Rolos chocolates (or gold wrapped Hershey’s kisses)

I think you can see from the photo how to proceed…but I’ll tell you anyway!

  1. Paint little flower pots black, let dry
  2. Stuff Easter grass inside
  3. Bend rainbow pipe cleaners into a U shape and insert into pot
  4. Fill with the leftover Rolos you didn’t eat while waiting for the paint to dry*

*I buy two bags just in case there aren’t enough left after my snack to fill the little pots.

 

Valentine Typography

IMG_2928I have always been a big fan of typography.  There is something special about letters…perhaps because I have always loved to read and write.  But also because using letters and words can also bring a sense of whimsy to holiday decorating.  Especially if the letters are oversized. This year I thought I would combine my love of typography, oversize letters and Valentine’s Day for a Valentine Typography project…what resulted was a Valentine’s Day jumbo Faux finished silver XOXO Letters extravaganza!

The first order of business was the letters themselves. I wanted oversized…at least 12″ high, sans serif, in a font which had a modern graphic feel (not too chunky).  I had been working on Olympics Party decorations (more on that in a future post) and so was a bit behind in tracking down what I wanted.  Normally I can find just about anything I can dream of on the internet but because of my Olympic project it was too late to order anything.  Off to the stores I trekked.  I say trekked because it is very much like Siberia here.  Tons of snow and bitter cold.  But I digress…

Four stores into my journey I finally found what I was looking for.  Note to self, large letters = Jo Ann Fabrics.  The selection of letters was quite something, a whole aisle in fact.  There were even HUGE paper mache letters which had to be 3 feet tall.  Another note to self, figure out that to do with those enormous letters!!  Within that aisle of type I found the exact letters I had imagined.  Oversized, san serif, modern looking wooden letters.  I especially liked that there were very flat, it added to the modern appeal.

nestingwithstyle_xo

Standing in the “alphabet aisle” it suddently occured to me that I was in such a rush to find the perfect letters themselves that I neglected to finalize what I was going to spell.  I did have a short list but hadn’t pulled the trigger on what exactly it should say.  It came down to: LOVE, KISS, XOXO or I (some sort of large heart) U.  As I looked at the letter shapes it became immediately clear that XOXO was the winner.  There was something about the O’s that made me swoon. Oh shoot, that would have been a great one  SWOON.  I picked up two X’s and two O’s and off I went into the frozen tundra.

I knew I wanted something metallic looking, shiny, but not too shiny.  After a quick sanding and a base coat of white primer the letters were set to be transformed.  It took three coats of metallic Silver Craft Paint to cover them.  They were shiny.  Too shiny.  I dove back into the paint drawer and mixed up my go-to glaze of black, burnt umber and water.  The consistency should be of dirty water.  Nice image I know but that is what it looks like!  With a foam brush I covered a section of the letter and then wiped most of it away with a paper towel.  Work quickly here because the glaze dries fast.  In no time at all the letters had that patina I was looking for.

nestingwithstyle_shinyX

I love the way the letters look…especially with the contract of a huge red glittered heart between them. I could almost swoon.