Thursday, December 14, 2017

Sweet, Homemade Christmas Basket


Courtesy of DK Books - Greener

Happy Holidays Friends,

Try a few of your favorite holiday recipes, and package them in holiday tins to create delectable Christmas gift baskets full of homemade treats your friends and family will eat up.

Give a variety of sweet, homemade produce as a gift: package up chocolate brownies, a ginger cake, nougat treats and fruit jam in airtight tins, pretty boxes and decorated jars, and arrange them in a decorated, medium-sized basket. Add greenery, twine and ribbon for an extra holiday touch.

Truly a sweet, delectable basket you would be proud to gift to family and friends...

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Live well,
Yvonne

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Christmas Brunch: Spinach and Sausage Strata Recipe


Courtesy of Mick Telkamp

Happy Holidays Friends,

Put your winter garden spinach to good use in this savory casserole. Christmas morning is always delightful lunacy. Kids tearing through the house to see what Santa has brought, wrapping paper flying like confetti, searching for a Phillips head screwdriver small enough to install batteries (not included). The cacophony is both maddening and sublime. It’s all one can do to sneak away long enough to put the coffee on, much less spend the morning trying to prepare a delectable holiday brunch for a hungry throng of merrymakers.

Fortunately, we planned ahead.

A sort of savory bread pudding, strata is an egg casserole perfect for brunch during the holidays when time is at a premium. Layers of bread, cheese and various meats or vegetables are blanketed in eggs to create a dish that is somehow simultaneously gooey and crisp. Strata is very easy to make, but even better, it can be prepared up to two days in advance, freeing up your Christmas morning for more festive pursuits.

Our delicious fresh spinach strata uses spicy sausage, but vegetables like broccoli or mushrooms may be substituted for a meat-free version of this brunch favorite.

Spinach and Sausage Strata
  • 1 pound spicy breakfast sausage
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 10 ounces fresh spinach
  • 8 cups French bread, cubed
  • 2 cups sharp cheddar, grated
  • 1 cup Parmesan cheese
  • 10 eggs
  • 2 cups half and half
Directions
  1. In a deep skillet, brown sausage over medium heat and transfer to a paper towel to drain.
  2. Using the same skillet, sauté onion and garlic in butter until soft.
  3. Add salt, pepper and paprika.
  4. Return sausage to skillet and add spinach.
  5. Stir until spinach wilts and remove from heat.
  6. In a buttered casserole or baking dish, place 1/3 of bread cubes in bottom of dish.
  7. Cover cubes with half of spinach mix.
  8. Combine cheddar and Parmesan and spread 1/3 over spinach in dish.
  9. Add another layer of bread crumbs, remaining half of spinach and 1/3 of cheese.
  10. Cover with remaining 1/3 of bread cubes and top with remaining cheese.
  11. Allow to rest 30 minutes or cover and refrigerate up to two days.
  12. Bake uncovered in a 350 degree oven for 55-60 minutes (until golden brown).
Allow to rest 10 minutes before serving.

Remember, Spinach and sausage strata can be prepared up to two days in advance.

Bon Appétit...

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Live well,
Yvonne

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Christmas Dinner Recipe for the Novice Host


Courtesy of Kristin Guy

Happy Holidays Friends,

Is it your first time hosting Christmas dinner? Impress your in-laws and other guests with this Hard Cider Roast. This roast will be the star of the table. Easy to prep and filled with unique aromatic flavors of cider and sage, you'll be wishing for leftovers before the dishes are even washed. Here's the recipe>>

Ingredients

Serves 6-8 guests
  • 3 pounds chuck roast
  • 1/2 large yellow onion, roughly chopped
  • 3 shallots, roughly chopped
  • 1 bulb garlic
  • grape seed oil
  • 2 bunches of fresh sage
  • 2 cups hard cider
  • 2 cups beef stock
  • 2 bunches of heirloom carrots
  • 2-3 pounds small- or medium-sized heirloom potatoes
  • salt, pepper and olive oil to taste
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. On the stovetop, heat a cocotte or dutch oven on medium high heat with 2 tablespoons grape seed oil. Brown all four sides of your chuck roast, approximately 2-3 minutes a side, and set aside on a plate.
  2. Saute onion, shallots and 6 cloves of garlic in the same pot until golden.
  3. Place chuck roast back into the pot on top of the sauteed vegetables with 1 bunch fresh sage scattered around.
  4. Cover with 2 cups hard cider and 1 cup beef stock (reserve second cup of stock as needed). Roast at 325 degrees F for 4 hours or until center temperature reaches 145 degrees F, checking on the hour to see if more liquid is needed.
  5. Before roast finishes, place whole potatoes, carrots, a few sprigs of chopped fresh sage and 4 bulbs of roughly-chopped garlic on a separate baking sheet or roasting dish. Rub with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast for 30-45 minutes until soft.
  6. Before serving, drain any extra liquid and a small portion of cooked onions into a bowl for the gray, and lay roasted potatoes and carrots around the roast. Top with roughly chopped fresh sage, and serve directly from dish.
Bon Appétit...

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Live well,
Yvonne

Monday, December 11, 2017

Peacock Feather Wreath


Courtesy of Iridescent Peacock Feathers
Photography by Lori Ann

Happy Holidays Friends,

Welcome holiday guests with a wreath that shimmers. Iridescent peacock feathers add a sophisticated shimmer to this fanciful wreath.

Materials and Tools:
  • 5 peacock sword feathers
  • 5 peacock eye feathers
  • 1-2 green chandelle or turkey feather boas
  • loose green feathers
  • foam wreath form
  • green spray paint
  • spray adhesive
  • wide purple ribbon
  • Peacock Feather Sword Detail


NOTE: Peacock "sword" feathers form the sides of a male peacock's tail.

Steps:
  1. Paint wreath form green and allow to dry thoroughly.
  2. Coat wreath form with spray adhesive and attach feather boa (or boas) while glue is still tacky. Fill in with loose feathers until all parts of wreath form are covered with feathers. Note: Depending on fullness of feather boa, more than one may be needed to cover wreath completely. Peacock Feather Eye Detail
  3. Tuck peacock sword feathers and eye feathers into feather boa, pushing the quill ends into the foam wreath form to secure them.
  4. Wrap top of wreath with ribbon to create a hanger.


NOTE: Peacocks molt their feathers once mating season has ended. The peacock eye feather, shown above, makes up the majority of a male's characteristic fan.

Be inspired with these easy-to-follow instructions so you can create your very own iridescent peacock feather wreath; it will impress your family and friends...

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Live well,
Yvonne

Friday, December 8, 2017

Sea Glass Christmas Ornaments


Courtesy of Michelle Aleff

Happy Holidays Friends,

Shatterproof Christmas balls get a beachy update with the addition of sea glass in an array of watery colors. They're easier to craft than you may think and are a fun project to tackle with help from the kids.

Materials and Tools:
  • clear shatterproof Christmas balls
  • sea glass (found on beach or available at craft stores)
  • clear silicone adhesive
  • glitter spray
  • tile nips
Steps:
  1. Attach sea glass to ornaments with clear silicone adhesive. It's best to attach the glass in sections, allowing time for the glue to set up in one area before moving on to the next. Tip: If ornaments will be hung, secure the caps with a drop of heavy-duty glue before adding sea glass.
  2. Continue adding sea glass to ornament, using tile nips to create small pieces, when necessary, to fit tight spaces.
  3. Add the finishing touch by lightly dusting finished ornaments with glitter spray.
To create these ornaments, Michelle followed the same steps but substituted glass gems for sea glass.



These glass chips and gems in watery colors bring a seaside touch to your holiday decorations; don't you agree?

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Live well,
Yvonne

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Christmas Tutorial Collection by Jones Design Company


Compliments of Jones Design Company

Merry Christmas Friends!

In honor of the upcoming holiday season, Jones Design Company created a collection of projects they call the Christmas {tutorial} collection.



Emily and Nonna have had such fun creating these projects, decorating the trees and getting into holiday mode, even if their tree is up a month earlier than normal!.

The entire collection is in download form with instructions for wreaths, garlands and ornaments perfect for decorating your home, your tree or giving as gifts. Also included in your download are images and inspiration for three uniquely decorated trees that will encourage you to think creatively when decorating your home this holiday season. The projects use inexpensive materials (things found at the thrift or craft store) are simple to create and are great ideas for crafting with a group of friends or alone while watching your favorite Christmas movie.

Download Christmas {tutorial} collection instructions HERE.

Enjoy, and thanks again to the Jones Design Company for sharing this awesome Holiday tutorial with us, the perfect gift...

Happy Holiday decorating...

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Live well,
Yvonne

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

JDC Christmas Printables


Compliments of Jones Design Company

Merry Christmas Friends!

Emily of Jones Design Company has been generous in sharing these Holiday templates to make our lives easier, during the busiest time of the year, without compromising style and thoughtfulness.

Thank you Jones Design Company!

Click HERE to download BHG Christmas Tags template


Click HERE to download Woodland Christmas Tags template


Click HERE to download Classic Christmas Tags template


Click HERE to download Christmas Shopping List template


Click HERE to download Holiday Invite template


Click HERE to download Holiday Note Cards template


Click HERE to download Holiday Gift Tags template


Click HERE to download Christmas Wish List template




Happy Holiday shopping, wrapping and decorating...

Check back for more great Holiday recipes and decorating ideas from your friends at Interior Design.

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Live well,
Yvonne

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

More FREE Printable Christmas Templates


Courtesy of The TomKat Studio

Merry Christmas Friends,

We've got your party covered in Holiday red and green. These FREE printable templates are stylist for any Holiday gathering. Your family and friends will enjoy the festive atmosphere.

Red and Green Banners


Gingerbread Favor Boxes


Gingerbread Food Labels


Merry Christmas" Circles


Have fun...

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Live well,
Yvonne

Monday, December 4, 2017

FREE Printable Christmas Templates


Courtesy of Snapfish

Merry Christmas Friends,

Create a beautiful Christmas brunch or holiday tea with these vintage-inspired party decorations. The slightly muted red and gold colors combined with the craft paper "texture" of the design gives this party set a sophisticated flair that's ideal for an elegant holiday affair.

Click the items below to be redirected to the FREE printable versions:

Banner
Cake Bunting
Centerpiece Kit
Cupcake Kit
Home Decor
Napkin Rings
Paper Chain Banner
Party Tags
Tent Signs
Wine Glass Tags

Enjoy the Holiday parties...

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Live well,
Yvonne

Saturday, December 2, 2017

10 Apps to Get You Through the Holiday Season


Courtesy of Erica Reitman
Eva Katalin Kondoros, iStock | Graphic By: Erica Reitman

Happy Holidays Friends,

Make holiday shopping, hosting and traveling much easier with these apps.

There's really no way to avoid it: the holiday season is stressful.

With all the gift shopping, parties and overnight guests it might start to feel like the walls are closing in. But whatever your struggles or challenges are over the next couple of weeks, chances are there is probably a smartphone app that can help you through them.

Here are some apps to help you and your family make it through the holiday season more organized, prepared, relaxed and happy. Scroll...and breathe.

1: Shopping Apps

Most retailers these days have a dedicated shopping app. If you're a big fan of a particular store or brand, definitely check the App Store to see if they have one. Plus, there are often extra deals if you download it.

Some top picks are:

Cartwheel by Target: It delivers specific coupons and in-store saving opportunities tailored just for you. Available for IOS and Android.

Amazon or Prime Now: This is key for all of your Amazon shopping. Available for IOS and Android.

Tradesy: This is ideal for gently used luxury clothing and accessories. Available for IOS and Android.

2: Flight Tracker

If you have out-of-town guests coming in on different days and at different times, this app is a great way to monitor their arrival and departure. You can avoid circling around at the airport and be there to pick up your family and friends right when they land. Available for IOS and Android.

3: Pandora Holiday Stations

If you’re a holiday music fan, then you need to make sure you have Pandora on your phone. It has so many incredible Christmas music stations, your head will spin. Stations like: '80s Christmas, Kids' Christmas, Smooth Jazz Christmas, Hipster Holidays and R&B Pop Holidays. There is even a Hanukkah music station. Available on IOS and Android.

4: TaskRabbit

If you’re feeling overwhelmed with your to-do list during the holidays, TaskRabbit is the perfect solution. You can hire a "tasker" to help you with any number of things: gift-wrapping, picking up items (or returning them), housekeeping services or even putting furniture together. It’s a great option if you need an extra hand for an hour or two. Available on IOS and Android.

5: Headspace

When you need to take a moment to de-stress during the holidays, Headspace has guided meditations for you to listen to. It’s a great app for anyone who is new to meditation, and it offers many that are only 10 minutes long. Available on IOS and Android.

6: TeuxDeux

There are a lot of to-do apps available, but this one is my favorite because it's so simple. There aren’t a lot bells and whistles, but it’s a stylish, easy-to-use app that will keep track of all of your tasks during the busy holiday season. Available on IOS.

7: Parabo Press

Parabo Press allows you to take photos directly off your phone and have them turned into prints, cards or even posters. If you’re looking for an easy, no-fuss option for your holiday cards, this app is key. Available on IOS and Android.

8: Happy Cow

If you have guests in town who are vegans or vegetarians, this app is for you. You can search for restaurants in your area that offer vegan and vegetarian options, making those "where do you feel like eating tonight?" negotiations much easier. Available on IOS and Android.

9: Food Network In the Kitchen

If you’re entertaining this holiday season, you’ll definitely want this app at the ready. You can search through a giant recipe database from all of your favorite chefs, like Bobby Flay, Rachael Ray, Alton Brown and more. You can also save recipes by TV shows, and find anything you might have seen on one of your favorite shows. Available on IOS and Android.

10: Waze

With overscheduled days a common occurrence during the holidays, the last thing you want to do is to get stuck in traffic. Waze helps you avoid that by directing you to your destination based on the route that is fastest and free of gridlock. You can even choose from different voices to help you navigate, including some notable celebs. Available on IOS and Android.

Now, go start your stress-free holiday planning...

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Live well,
Yvonne

Friday, December 1, 2017

FREE Printable Advent Calendar Templates

Courtesy of Kayla Kitts

Hi Friends,

As a child, one of my favorite ways to count down the 25 days leading up to Christmas was to make a construction paper chain-link advent "calendar." Each day I'd (impatiently) tear off a chain until 24 green-and-red strips of paper lay in the floor, letting me know it was time for Santa's arrival. If you want to keep it ultra-simple this year with construction paper and glue, then more power to you (I always loved ripping off those paper links). But we have two chic and creative advent calendar ideas - one modern and one traditional - that are sure to make this holiday season memorable for the entire family.

We often picture an advent calendar strung up the banister or across the mantel. But, what about as a centerpiece? Jessica Wilcox of Modern Moments Designs covered sweetly wrapped gifts, ribbons and ornaments with a vintage chicken-wire cloche dome and attached printable Christmas tags to represent the 25-day countdown. Each day, let the kids remove a tag from the dome and open a gift. With each tag removed, simply replace with the next consecutive number. The interactive display will make dinnertime even more exciting during the holidays.

Download and Print Christmas Countdown Tags in Blue, Pink, Green and Teal

Traditional:

For those who love traditional charm and vintage style, we have the perfect advent calendar that looks especially lovely wrapped around the Christmas tree or up the banister. To create this holiday countdown keepsake, print 24 different, antique-inspired images onto fused linen and freezer paper and paint a number onto the bottom corner of each to represent the days of Christmas. Sew pockets into each image to hold treats and surprises for each day, and then tie each pocket together to create a long banner. Get the full how-to for the Vintage Garland Advent Calendar below:

How to Make a Vintage Garland Advent Calendar

Linen, ribbon and vintage printables come together in this advent calendar, which is sure to become a family tradition.

Materials Needed:
1 1/2 yards cream linen
all-purpose coordinating thread
sharp scissors
rotary cutter and mat (optional)
freezer paper
iron
ruler
pencil
computer and printer
photo editing software
sewing machine
graphics or pictures
10 yards grosgrain ribbon
no-fray glue
acrylic paint
1.0 artist liner brush

Cut Linen
Using a piece of standard printer paper as a template, cut out 13 pieces of linen and 13 pieces of freezer paper. Tip: Freezer paper must be used for this project, not wax or parchment paper.

Iron Fabric and Paper
Place one piece of linen face down on ironing board. Put the plastic coating of the freezer paper face down onto linen. Press paper onto fabric using an iron set on high until they are fused. Trim any overhanging freezer paper or fabric, if necessary. Repeat with 12 other pieces of linen and paper.

Edit and Print Graphics
Save 25 different vintage holiday graphics as jpg files. Make sure photos are either all vertical or all horizontal. Use photo editing software to crop all graphics to 3-1/2" x 5". Print each graphic on one page set at 3-1/2" x 5". Place fused linen and freezer paper into an ink jet printer oriented so the graphic will print on the fabric side. The image should be printed on the top left corner. Flip the fabric to print a second image on the bottom right corner. Note: All graphics used in this project are available for free at www.graphicsfairy.blogspot.com.

Cut Pockets
Using scissors or a rotary cutter, cut each piece of linen into four equal parts (4-1/4" x 5-1/2"). Trim pieces to center graphics, leaving at least a 1/4-inch border. Pair the printed pieces of linen with blank pieces of linen.

Paint Numbers
Mix equal parts red and burnt umber acrylic craft paint. Use a 1.0 liner brush to paint numbers 1-25 in the corner of each pocket. Allow paint to dry. Tip: Sketch numbers lightly with a pencil prior to painting.

Glue Raw Edge
Apply no-fray glue to the top edge of each pocket. Fold down the freezer paper to act as a stand as the glue dries. Tip: Some no-fray glues can cause ink to run. To prevent this, pour glue onto a paper plate and dip very top edge of each pocket into the glue for a more controlled application.

Sew Pockets
Separate the freezer paper from the linen. Assemble pockets with right sides facing out. Cut 50 lengths of grosgrain ribbon to approximately eight inches each. Insert ribbon between two pieces of linen in the upper right corner. Sew along the graphic, ensuring ribbon is sewn into the pocket as well. Rotate the pocket and sew the bottom. Rotate again and sew up the left side. Insert ribbon at the upper left corner and finish sewing the pocket.

Fray and Trim Pockets
Gently pull threads from pocket edges to create a frayed border. Trim excess threads. Apply no-fray glue to raw edges of ribbon and allow to dry. Fill the pockets with candy and small presents to build the anticipation of Christmas day. Tip: This advent calendar can be used in a variety of ways. Tie on new pockets each day to increase the length of the banner or start the month with a full banner and remove the pockets at the end of each day. Since it's a long banner, it's ideal for wrapping around a Christmas tree or draping along a banister.

Want to see more? Below are more easy advent calendar ideas you can make at home before December 1.

Christmas Treats

For this year's Christmas countdown, give your family daily surprises they'll devour. Using a sweet, holiday-inspired fabric, create miniature sacks to fill with delicious treats. After filling, add a corresponding countdown number, tie twine around the top to seal the sack and hang from the tree. Each day will leave everyone waiting in anticipation for another scrumptious Christmas treat.

Ornamental Additions

This advent calendar idea is simple and perfect for last-minute crafters. Melaine Thompson of My Sweet Savannah stenciled 24 numbers onto manila shipping tags and added glittery adornments. Each day, as Christmas draws closer and closer, the kids take off an ornament and place it on the tree.

Repurposed Holidays

Share My Craft user Cathe Holden reused vintage thread spools to create a one-of-a-kind holiday advent calendar in her home. On each spool she added a numbered wrap with a special note or a clue to a hidden gift. Cathe, a passionate crafter and designer, displayed her Christmas countdown on a vintage, modified spool holder. Cathe also suggests creating individual, numbered spool ornaments for the tree, or stringing the entire set together to create an advent calendar garland.

Countdown for the Kids

This traditional, felt advent calendar is the perfect addition to a child's bedroom door over the holidays. By using simple and inexpensive materials, each child can have a calendar of their own. Try to create different holiday-inspired shapes to form the background - a classic Christmas tree, snowflake, mitten or Santa Claus hat.

Share your Advent Calendar ideas...

Happy Holidays from your friends at Interior Design!

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Live well,
Yvonne

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Natural Christmas Card


Courtesy of DK Books - Greener

Happy Holidays Friends,

Inexpensive to create, this organic holiday card will delight friends and family. If you want to mail a homemade three-dimensional card, choose flat embellishments. For cards you hand-deliver, use chunkier, more textural options.

Materials Needed:
  • recycled card stock
  • scissors
  • found objects such as seed heads, twigs and leaves in different sizes, dried flat
  • X-acto knife
  • ruler
  • spices such as star anise and cinnamon sticks
  • dried ingredients such as bay leaves
  • glue

Step 1

Cut a piece of recycled card stock to the correct size. Score lightly down the middle of the card in a straight line using an X-acto knife and ruler.

Step 2

Fold the card in half along the scored line, which will ensure a clean fold down the center of the card.

Step 3

Arrange and stick a dried leaf onto the front of the card using small dabs of glue.

Step 4

Glue two smaller leaves onto the larger leaf and attach one star anise at the base of the leaves. Set aside till glue has fully dried, then add your holiday greeting to the card's interior.

This is a special card for the special person in your life - enjoy creating it...

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Live well,
Yvonne

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Silver Spoon Christmas Ornament


Courtesy of HGTV

Happy Holidays Friends,

Create sparkling ornaments with vintage silverware and a bit of bling.

Materials:
  • vintage spoon
  • metal primer spray paint
  • silver spray paint
  • hand-held drill
  • drill bit created specifically for metal
  • craft glue
  • faux gems
  • ribbon
Steps:
  1. Spray spoon first with primer, covering the entire surface front and back. The primer will allow the spray paint to properly adhere. Once primer is dry, spray-paint spoon, front and back, with silver spray paint. Allow paint to thoroughly dry.
  2. Using a drill bit created specifically for metal, drill hole into end of handle.
  3. Embellish bowl of spoon with faux gems attached with craft glue. Insert ribbon through hole in handle and tie to create a loop for hanging ornament on Christmas tree.
Gives a new meaning to born with a silver spoon...

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Live well,
Yvonne