Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

In the last minutes

Here we are down to the last minutes before the big day. My decorating is much later than normal this year. We put together various evergreen branches to hang on the front door. I put some magnolia leaves and feathers in with the greens. I had already run magnolia leaves up my staircase at Thanksgiving, so I added greens to both to tie them together. We hung the stockings from the stairs so they are out of reach of this. Seems like this sort of thing is going around.

Monday, December 22, 2008

The Gift of Gab

One of the traditions my kids count on for Christmas is peppermint ice cream that we make ourselves. It is extremely easy (can you see a pattern here) and everyone always wants to know what "brand" it is. Simply take some candy canes or peppermints. I use these, but you could get some good ones at a natural food store.

Put them in a double sealed bag and let the kids pound away at them. Maybe this part is why they love the tradition so much. You want the chunks to be pretty small. If the peppermints are really hard....and some of the good ones are.....just put them in the blender. Then add the peppermints to some vanilla ice cream. I put the ice cream in a big bowl to melt while the peppermints are being crushed so they are easy to mix together. After you have stirred them together, scoop the ice cream back into its original container and put it back into the freezer. We like to serve it in chocolate bowls like the one in the photo (just ignore the mousse). I have seen the bowls at specialty food stores or they are easy to make yourself with some chocolate and balloons. Find the instructions here. Sprinkle some extra peppermints on the top and around the plate for presentation. A delicious tradition if you ask me! What are some of your holiday traditions?

Friday, December 19, 2008


What I am about to give you is perhaps the best and the easiest scone recipe I have ever tried. This is one of those recipes that you hesitate to share. Only because people might find out they really weren't a big deal after all. I make these Christmas morning every year. I don't remember where or who this recipe came from....I have had it and used it for years. If you are going to a party, put them on a plate and wrap it in cello for your host. Match the style of the plate to the host's personality. You can even include some clotted cream and jam.


2 c. flour

1/2 tsp. salt

1 T baking powder

1/4 c. sugar

1/2 c. currants or raisins

Add 1 1/4 c. heavy whipping cream. Stir lightly. Flour board. Dump mixture onto board and knead 7-8 times. Shape into a pie. Pat down. Score into pieces and cut. Line baking sheet or grease. Place the sconces individually on the baking sheet. Melt 3 T butter. Cover top and sides of each scone. Sprinkle the tops with sugar. Bake in a 425 degree preheated oven until tops are golden. ABOUT 12-15 minutes. Makes 8.

photo via Martha Stewart

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Thank you, Merci, Gracias, Danke, Takk!

Wow. Thank you. From someone who isn't usually short on words, thank you. Thank you for this and thank you for this. They mean a lot. Did I say thank you?

photo credit

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Simple Entertaining Tips part 3

Here are a couple more simple hors d'oeuvres ideas that have big impact.
Roll a goat cheese log in chopped sage, italian parsley, chives, and rosemary.
Marinate a block of feta in with some chopped rosemary and olive oil for 3-4 hours.
Serve either one with fruit and crackers.
Can't go wrong with rosemary....especially, at this time of year.
More great photos by Matt Armendariz of

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Simple Entertaining Tips part 2

Here is another simple idea that has strong visual impact.

Soak either green or red seedless grapes in white wine and some lemon zest overnight. Take them out and place them directly on the cake plate or compote right before serving. Sprinkle with sugar. You can place them near the alcohol station or even use them as a centerpiece. Just be sure everyone knows the grapes are "drunk".

Monday, December 15, 2008

The Gift of Gab

Since so many of us are entertaining these days, I thought I would show you a little thing I like to do that is hospitable for my guests, but also makes it a little easier on me. Fill empty lemonade bottles with water. Then put some fresh mint in with the water. You could also use raspberries or anything small enough to fit through the bottle neck that matches your decor. Make them ahead of time and have them in the fridge so the flavors can work their magic. Place them throughout your table so guests can easily refill their water glasses and so you don't have to jump up and down throughout your dinner.

Friday, December 12, 2008

The Gift Guide is Finished!

It's done...all 18 pages are available now and can be found in the next post. I hope you have enjoyed the journey and I hope it has provided the inspiration you were looking to find. Since I am writing this post ahead of time (it's actually Thursday night), I'm off to watch my all time favorite Christmas cartoon.....The Year without a Santa Claus. I wait for this one every year...always enjoy those Miser brothers. A close second favorite would be Santa Claus is Comin' to Town. You know, the one with the BergerMeister MeisterBerger who bans toys. I love the drawings they show in the Kringle book and in a couple of other places throughout. Which Christmas cartoon is your favorite? You know....the one that you can't miss or it just wouldn't be Christmas. I'll get back to the guide now. Keep reading below and don't forget about the little gifts in there just for you. See you Monday with your regular scheduled programming...The Gift of Gab.

The Complete Holiday Gift Guide 2008

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Holiday Gift Guide

I've added for friends today. Tomorrow will wrap up the "magalogue" with for you....yes, that is for YOU. Two pages of gifts from us to you. See you then.

The issue is below. The html doesn't always work if I add any words to the post.

Holiday Gift Guide 15 pages

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

and the winner is.....

This morning on the way out to school, this sweet little face

drew the winner for this sweet little face.

Congrats Courtney! Thanks to everyone who signed up and to everyone for reading. I have received some amazing emails from people who are enjoying the gift guide and I just want to say thanks. I'm glad you like it and I hope it is giving you the inspiration you need this challenging holiday season. I'll be uploading for friends tomorrow!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

To: You

We are getting to the end of the gift guide. I will be adding for friends next. There will also be a little gift to you included in the guide. "Sea" has drawn gift tags that we want you to use any way you like. You can print them and use them on your packages or even tie a bunch together and have a little gift for a friend. Here is a sneak peak at one of them.
Don't forget to leave a comment on yesterday's post so you will be included in the giveaway to celebrate the etsy opening. Today is the last day to have your name included.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Etsy Opening & Giveaway

We are thrilled to announce the opening of sea's etsy account. We are having a giveaway to celebrate the occasion. Here's the rules. Just go here to take a look at her etsy shop. Then come back and comment by telling me the name of your favorite item in her shop. Then you will be registered to win this cute little mouse. He is made of hand painted and hand dyed mohair. Fittingly, his name is Nicolaus. His Santa hat and ornament are removable so after Christmas he can hold the piece of cheese that comes with him. Nicolaus is about 5 inches tall. We will put all the names of people who comment together and draw on Wednesday morning. Oh and yes, you international readers are welcome to participate.

When you are done commenting here, keep reading below. I have uploaded the next 2 pages in the guide. Today you will find for clients and corporate gifts.

Holiday Gift Guide (includes corporate gifts...13 pages)

Friday, December 5, 2008

Friday, Photos, and for Friends

Enjoy your weekend. I'm working on photos today for the etsy opening. Be back Monday with another 2 pages in the guide. In the meantime, here is a nice little gift idea for teachers, friends, or even the person who delivers your mail. (Yes, this is also included in an upcoming page.)

If you can't read the tag, it says...

Place a ginger thin in the palm of your hands. Then make a wish. Using the index finger of your free hand, tap the cookie in the middle. Tradition states that if the ginger thin breaks in three places, your wish will come true. If the ginger thin does not break in three places, you'll just have to savor the cookie in smaller portions. Our wish for you is a holiday season filled with joy.

I have also used these as party favors. Just change the last sentence to whatever is appropriate for the occasion.

Thursday, December 4, 2008


I saw this word yesterday somewhere and thought it fit the guide perfectly. Today's pages include for the kids. I hope you are enjoying it. Keep reading below for the latest issue.

Holiday Gift Guide 2008 (11 pages)

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Holiday Gift Guide 2008 for him

Today's issue includes for him. Come back tomorrow for kids.

Monday, December 1, 2008

coming soon to an etsy shop near you

I'm giving myself a gift today. A gift of another day to edit the for him pages in the gift guide. There were A LOT of unexpecteds yesterday, so I will be posting the next two pages tomorrow.

As you know, the sea in sea and jae is an artist. What you don't know is that she is also extremely gifted when it comes to designing and creating all sorts of little "things". Very soon we will be announcing the opening of her new etsy shop. Her creatures and other creations have had a very loyal following for years. The other thing you don't know about us is that we had a very successful retail store for 8 years. She had people from all over come to our shop to see and collect her creations. She also taught classes there on how to make some of her things and to teach people how to design their own. People ask me all the time if she is still creating and where they can find her things. It is for these reasons and more, that we are thrilled to have such a widely respected and collectively talented forum such as etsy to house a little shop so fitting for her creations. The opening of her shop is coming VERY soon. Stay tuned as we have an amazing giveaway planned for the announcement. To get an idea of her designs, I quickly photographed a couple of things she has made for Drew and Lily. (Not the greatest is completely overcast this morning)

See you tomorrow with the for him pages added to the guide.


Good Morning. I hope you all had a very nice Thanksgiving weekend. Ours was filled with family and friends and Christmas. Yes, Christmas arrived a little early in our house. Meet the newest member of our family. His name is in Sir Isaac. He came from an animal shelter and all we know is that his mom was a pure bred beagle. As far as his dad goes, that is any one's guess.


A boy and his dog....both a little tired from all the excitement.

Continue reading below for the next two pages in the gift guide.

Holiday Gift Guide

And now, what you have been waiting for...the next 2 pages of the Holiday Gift Guide. Today, I've added for her. Enjoy!