Thursday, December 22, 2011

Traditional Christmas Decor

For a warm comfy Christmas choose traditional decor. Create a gorgeous atmosphere by decorating your home with a fresh pine garland and big red velvet bows. The flower mart in downtown Los Angeles offers a multiple array of garlands, wreaths and sprays. The garlands sell for a dollar a foot or fifty dollars for 75 ft. I needed only 15 ft for my patio. I bought the bows from Walgreens but you can also find them at Michaels and Target.

Candles illuminate glistening reindeer and silver glittered leaves. The best Christmas candles are from Bath and Body works. My favorite scent from Slatkin&Co. is Fresh Balsam. Your home will smell like fresh pine on a cold winter night. The reindeer is from Target and the bells are from Bed,Bath and Beyond.

Venetian Christmas

I love the opulence and sophistication of Venice, Italy. This Christmas I was inspired by the theatrical flourish of the Venetian Renaissance period. Venetian masks are a centuries old tradition in Venice. The masks I chose are called The Columbina which is a half mask and often highly decorated with gold, silver, crystals and feathers. It is held to the face by a baton or tied with ribbon as with most Venetian masks. I purchased these masks at Pier 1 imports but if you prefer authenticity I recommend Venetian Mask Society.

Create a holiday fantasy by decorating a brilliantly  lit, lush green tree with sparkling ornaments. I've been collecting large, painted glass bulbs over the years. Target, Pier1,
Pottery Barn and Costco are my favorite stores to pick up reasonably priced elegant Christmas baubles. I once stood in line at Saks fifth Avenue in Los Angeles the day after Christmas and boy was it worth it! Last but not least for the most dazzling collection of Christmas ornaments you will ever see you must go to Frontgate.
Add a bit of Venetian splendor to your tree with stunning masks and a ruby red beaded garland. Garland can be purchased at either CVS or Target.

Hanging a mask on the inside of your front door in lieu of a wreath will add a touch of romance to your theme. I added gold bells which I purchased from Bed, Bath and Beyond.

St. Francis of Assisi is credited with creating the first nativity scene in 1223 at Greccio, Italy, in an attempt to place the emphasis of Christmas upon the worship of Christ rather than upon secular materialism and gift giving. I would be lying to you if I told you I was that good. I think it is so much fun to give and receive gifts at Christmas! I happen to find nativities very beautiful and they remind me of Italy. The nativity shown below is a Kirkland signature from Costco.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Happy Holidays!

Wow, has the year flown by. Thanksgiving is in just two days and my next favorite holiday is right around the corner. Yes, you guessed it, it's Christmas! It is so lovely to receive a card in the mail around the holiday season. My favorite website for Christmas, Hanukkah, New Years or just Happy Holiday cards is Very Inviting.
Not only do they have the most beautiful selection of personalized stationary, note cards, wine labels and luggage tags  they also offer a fabulous array of great gifts . My friends are always tickled pink when I give them personalized stationary from Very Inviting. The designs and colors are stunning and there is a uniqueness that you won't find anywhere else.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Haunted House!

Grinning, ghoulish jack-o-lanterns get
Halloween off to a screaming start. I always throw a little pumpkin carving
get together two nights before my party.
It is such great fun: good wine, yummy food, wonderful friends and lots of creativity!
Decorate your house in the spirit of the theme with creepy indoor decor.
Transform your living room into a witches coven by hanging wall posters and spooky silhouettes.

An elegant dinner table is shockingly sophisticated. Add glittered synthetic pumpkins and gothic candle sticks to evoke a bygone era.

Inspired by Edgar Allan Poe

This eerie dark candelabra and crow silhouettes are another way of setting the mood for a truly vintage Halloween. (left)

Sunday, October 23, 2011


My favorite holiday is Halloween. As soon as October 1st arrives I start decorating. My neighbors think I'm nuts but I can't help it I just love this time of year! For the last four years I've thrown a spectacular, themed sit down dinner for twelve of my very close friends. This year the theme is witches. I'm a big fan of Martha Stewart and I've been collecting her Halloween decor for a few years. Michael's Crafts on 4th Street in Santa Monica carries a large selection of Martha Stewart merchandise including silhouettes of bats, rats, spiders and crows. Scary wine labels, window decals and pumpkin transfers are just many of the fun exciting crafts that help to create the ambience for a fantastic party. For all of you Halloween lovers I also recommend visiting Not only do they offer the most amazing vintage items, the quality and customer service is exceptional. I promise you won't be disappointed! I will be posting pictures soon and tomorrow I will talk about the menu and wine.

 Grandin Road is also having an up to 60% off sale on already marked down items such as gothic tombstones that look, feel and even sound real. I bought one a few months ago and I was very pleased with the authenticity and the quality. I also purchased a vintage costume from the Victorian era and when it arrived I was pleasantly surprised by the accurate fit and of course the quality. There is something for everyone at Grandin Road. Oh and that lovely funeral wreath that you see.....I made it! I can't take the credit for originality because Martha Stewart had it on her Halloween website a few years ago.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Martha Stewart Halloween Decor

Creating the spooky effect...

There is nothing that says, " Halloween" like glowing jack-o-lanterns as your guests come up the walk way to your haunted house.

Some Enchanted Evening

The Halloween history dates back to 5th century B.C. in Celtic Ireland. In those days the year ended with the end of summer which officially used to end on the 31st of October. This day was called Samhain. The custom of Halloween came over to America in 1840. My Halloween dinners are always traditionally Irish or English. Last year I prepared a pork loin in a fig and port wine sauce. This year I'm planning to serve a rack of lamb with mint sauce and homemade gravy along with harvest vegetables, yorkshire pudding, roasted potatoes, mushy peas and colcannon which is a traditional Irish dish of mash potatoes with chopped kale, green onions with a bit of milk and lots of butter. A full bodied red wine preferably a cabernet compliments a soul-satisfying meal on a dark and stormy night. My favorite store to pick up English goodies is The Continental Shop and for wine BevMo on Wilshire in Santa Monica has a great selection and great prices. If you become a member of BevMo they will send you emails letting you know of their special monthly sales. They often have "buy one get the second bottle for 5¢" deals which can be a real saver.