Christmas Home Tours

 

The joy and the beauty of the season are upon us!

I have never tried this before, but one of my friends ( and fellow blogger) and several  others  linked up to share their holiday decor. (I hope I have you linked up correctly)

These homes are really fun! They are very creative, some simple and some over-the-top. But these are women who love decorating for the season and are willing to share with all of us.  I couldn’t wait to pass this along to my readers, as well.

Grab a cup of Christmas tea ( or a bottle of holiday cheer), sit back and enjoy the tour of these Christmas homes just as I did. The tour begins with a blog called Cottage and Vine.

Enjoy the beautiful labor of love you are about to see.

 

http://cottageandvine.blogspot.com/2011/12/welcome-to-room-by-room-christmas-tour.html

 

 

I have mentioned this before but I believe it bears repeating; there is no other time, or season, or event where people decorate everything! And we do it, simply because it is beautiful.

We do it for beauty’s sake!

 LOVE that!!

Merry Christmas !

Dianne Ross

Interior Designer / Phelan’s Interiors

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The beautiful child in the Christmas photo above?

 My Grandson.

Variations of a Candy Cane.

CANDY CANES!

From Wikipedia: “The Candy Cane was first manufactured in the 1920’s when Bob McCormack in Albany, Georgia first started making them as Christmas treat, giving them out to children, family, friends, and co-workers.

(phot0  from room envy)

Candy Cane production was a labor intensive process, done only by hand, until the candy cane machine was invented in the 1950’s by Bob McCormack’s brother in-law, Gregory Keller, who was also a Catholic priest.

 This machine made it possible to ship candy canes and it made the production of the traditional Christmas treat a lot easier. The candy cane machine transformed Bob’s Candies Inc. into the largest producer of candy canes in the world.”

Today the Candy Cane pattern is used on very non- candy, non-typical things.

Interior designers love it!

The house of Hanna shows us this understated, but festive, candy caned colored foyer.

Or, how about investing $80.00 for your little Christmas toddler’s Candy Cane feet?!

Oh what fun it is to  –  see this playful take  on a teen bedroom.  (From ideasBest)

Packages wrapped in white never get tired when they have the energizing zing of candy cane color.

 Or, if you dare –  you could try your personal kitchen variation on the candy color scheme.

OR, for some real Christmas cheer, you could pretend that you are me . . .

Okay, maybe that’s not really me.

But the candy cane phenom is real!

Enjoy as many variations as you can think up!

Dianne Ross

Interior Designer / Phelans Interiors

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Month 2 of a love affair with pumpkins – Let’s eat!

  

 

We have now entered the second half of pumpkin madness in the USA! The illuminated version of the pumpkin – Jack o Lanterns, which I love , are gone and now we can get down to the serious business of eating pumpkins!  I think I love this tradition even more. 

 

We have carved out pumpkins and decorated with them, so what does November offer?  We eat them!  Today and maybe next week I am going to share delicious ways to eat pumpkins, aside from  the iconic pumpkin pie.

This is Pumpkin Bisque.  All I am going to say is, “Yum.”

Pumpkin Bisque Cooking time:25 minutes

 2 tsp (30 mL) olive oil

 1 small onion finely chopped

 3 cloves garlic, minced

 1 small sweet potato (about 6 oz / 170 g), peeled and thinly sliced

 2½ cups (625 mL) water

1 can (15 oz / 416 g) pumpkin purée

1 tbsp (15 mL) light brown sugar

1 tsp (5 mL) salt 3/4 tsp (3 mL) ground pepper

 ½ tsp (2 mL) rubbed sage

1 cup (250 mL) fat-free half-and-half

 2 tbsp (30 mL) grated Parmesan cheese

 4 pinches cracked pepper

 Directions 1.Heat oil in large nonstick saucepan over low heat. Add onion and garlic, and cook, stirring frequently, until onion is tender, about 5 minutes.

2.Add sweet potato and 1½ cups (375 mL) of the water to pan. Bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, cover, and cook until sweet potato is tender, about 10 minutes.

 3.Stir in pumpkin purée, brown sugar, salt, ground pepper, sage, and remaining 1 cup (250 mL) water, and bring to a boil.

 4.Reduce to a simmer, cover, and cook until flavours have blended, about 5 minutes. Working in batches if necessary, transfer to food processor and purée until smooth. Return to saucepan and stir in 3/4 cup (175 mL) half-and-half. Cook until heated through, about 2 minutes.

5.Spoon into soup bowls. With a spoon, drizzle remaining half-and-half over soup. Use the tip of a knife to create a pattern.

6.Sprinkle Parmesan and cracked pepper on top. Serve with Italian breadsticks and follow with roast poultry and steamed spinach.

On a personal note, I ate a version of this in New Orleans at Emril’s and he added bourbon. Bam!

Let’s hear it for the pumpkin!

Next week I’ll share a fabulous “pumpkin pie” cake recipe. You’ll thank me.

If you have an unusal, tasty pumpkin recipe please send it to me!

Let’s spread the joy!

 

Dianne Ross

Interior Designer / Phelan’s Interiors

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Katharine Hepburn Style: Bold Simplicity

What a phenomenal photo!

Katharine Hepburn didn’t make or endorse furniture but when you hear her name, inevitably the word style comes rushing at you.

For reasons unknown to me, today she is on my mind.

 

So, here is a bit of Katharine and a bit of my mental wanderings.

The  photo, video, and quote below can be visited on-line . . .

“Katharine rarely granted interviews (even in her early career, she refused to sign autographs) but when she did grant interviews, she wanted them done her way. In 1973, Katharine was a guest on The Dick Cavett Show and she decided that she didn’t like the arrangement of the furniture. So what does she do? Rearranges it to her liking of course!”

 

She wore men’s slacks because they were “practical” and suddenly women everywhere decided they were oh-so-glamorous.

She rearranged furniture on a set to make it more functional and intimate for a personal interview.

And she gave us one of my favorite quotes:

“Trying to be fascinating is an asinine position to be in.”

 

Thanks, Katharine.

 

It leaves me wondering what kind of furniture line she would have a passion for. If you are feeling especially self-confident today, add your interpretation, Katharine Hepburn style, to your interior design life!

Keep it simple in form and keep it bold in emotion.

 

Dianne Ross

Interior Designer/Phelan’s Interiors

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Edible, beautiful design, featuring summer berries

Because we have waited sooo long for summer to arrive this year I wanted to change the focus here a bit.  Instead of interior design I’m in the mood for another recipe and another take on design.

The delicious images you are seeing are all different takes on how to “design” a berry trifle. Inspirational flavors are always a great blend with inspirational presentation.

It’s all the same in the design world – instead of using furniture and accessories, today we are using berries, whipping cream, lemons and glass vessels. . . edible design.

mmmm

Each  “designer” has her unique way to mix the ingredients and to display   them. More summer inspiration for you!

 

The Recipe

as published in Kravet Inspired . news magazine

 

BERRY TRIFLE WITH LEMON CURD – serves 12

1 pint blueberries

1 1/2 pint raspberries

1 pint strawberries, halved

3 TBS sugar, adjust for the sweetness of the berries

1 1/2 tsp cornstarch

1 tsp vanilla

4 TBS sugar

1 quart whipping cream

10 ounce jar of lemon curd.

Pound cake loaf sliced to your personal specifications.

Cook the berries, 3 TBS sugar and cornstarch slightly in a saute pan just until the berries start to burst. Some sauce will start to form.

Beat the vanilla and whipping cream until soft peaks form. Gently fold in the lemon curd. FYI – I lovelovelove lemon curd!

Start layering  in your  favorite glass bowl: 1/4 whipping cream mixture, 1/3 pound cake pieces, 1/3 berries. Continue to play. 

 

 

Continue to design,

display,

 

devour.

 

 

Dianne Ross

Interior Designer / Phelan’s Interios

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Kate’s dress designer BLEW IT!

 

Not that look-alike nuns are necessarily unsightly, but when one is young, vibrant and drop-dead gorgeous, it makes me think the Royals are already attempting to make Kate look as rigid as a nun. Or an aged queen.

They should have done much better. Let’s start analyzing how I came to these conclusions. . . beginning with the whole Grace Kelly thing.

Does this dress look familiar?

As for looking like Grace Kelly – maybe. Except  Grace Kelly had a  keener designer.  I am NOT a fashion designer, but just look at the consideration given to Grace Kelly’s body type. The banding around her ribs and the ‘bell’ shape to her skirt were carefully executed components, that  probably should have been copied, also!   What?  It’s my rant!

 

Next on my list of  “how to make a beautiful woman look like a plain Jane” was the thought that maybe the castle needed the masses to see her as appropriate (plain), which could translate to humble. 

Because one question that begs to be asked is, what was up with her hair?

It wasn’t allowed to be Kate’s real hair which is free-flowing and the absolute definition of healthy hair extraordinaire.

Nope. Pin it back nice and flat, like a nun. Remember, she is not a REAL princess so she could not have  a REAL princess tiara. Next, plop  one of those snooki-bun-thingies on top of her head so the tiny, but oh so sentimental tiara, could have a resting spot. What were they thinking? 

 Me? Thanks for asking.

I would have designed a dress more body-appropriate for a beautifully shaped young woman. Not a  dress with the silhouette of an any-age nun.  I would have certainly eliminated that nun head-dress. 

Look at this dress worn by Gene Tierney in the film Razor’s Edge. Much better choice to copy for Kate, according to me.

 It’s elegant, modest, and youthful. Okay.  Let’s analyze some more.

Kate’s hair should have been less starched so it could move with her natural grace.

 But here’s where I really take issue with her entire ensemble. I would have put her in a bigger tiara, or made a bigger statement with that one by making it more visible and complimenting Kate’s God-given regal hair. Come on, it’s a Royal wedding for crying in my crumpets! 

Again, see photo above.

Perhaps, that too, was seen by the Royals as not humble enough for Kate’s image? I’m just trying to figure it out because . . .

 

Here’s a newsflash for the Palace:  YOUR PEOPLE WANT A STAR.

 

They miss HRH Diana.  During the past few weeks as many wedding programs were about Diana as were about all the other Royals combined.

Right or wrong,  the public is praying that Kate will step into Diana’s shoes.

They want it and they are eagerly awaiting  it. It’s a shame that during the world’s biggest wedding, the Royals tried to hide the most beautiful, the most engaging, and the most endearing  parts of Kate.

Well, they tried.

She was a stunning bride, after all. I am just of the mind that she wasn’t allowed to be Kate and to naturally wow the world and,

 take names . . . if you know what I mean.

 She’s got what it takes.

And, I think it scares the HRH out of them!

So that’s my wedding day rant. And, yes, I realize I went out on a limb here because I haven’t heard ONE person express anything but ooohs and ahhhs about the dress, the tiara, or her mane.

Maybe it’s just me. Opinions?

 

Dianne Ross

Interior Designer / Phelan’s Interiors

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Tiaras, Crown Jewels and THE wedding!

 
 To my readers – this is a first for me – I am asking you to read someone else’s blog. The name of it is:
 
 “This is glamorous”
 
Timing is everything and today she posted the most interesting research on historical royal tiaras. Her photo selections are equally as stunning.
 
As the wedding countdown mania begins, educate yourselves with her          glittery documentary! 
 
‎* and finally, the longest it has ever taken [in {this is glamorous} history!], to compose a post . . . http://bit.ly/i2z4mD

If this doesn’t get you there, please go to {this is glamorous}

 

Me?

Thanks for asking.

I am taking the day off, staying in my pajamas, donning my favorite rhinestone tiara, and snuggling into my bed with cup (quart) of coffee, all the while enjoying the pageantry on T.V.

 

I love a parade!

 

 Make your weekend sparkle – where ever you are!

Kiss someone on both cheeks!

Dianne Ross

Interior Designer/Phelan’s Interiors

363-9634