Wednesday, November 30, 2016

A FEW ITEMS FOR CHRISTMAS DECORATING

I've come across a few cute Christmas items while surfing around the Internet. I thought I'd pass them along to you today in case you're thinking of adding to your decorations this year. 

A pretty door wreath from L L Bean

Wreath

H and M has tons of cute holiday pillows and cushion covers for under $10.00. This one is just $5.99. See the others here.

Pillow

I ordered this one with tassels, but they are sold out of it now. :-(  I only tell you that to say even though the prices are low on these holiday pillows, the quality is good. 


This holiday mug set from Target will look great with any color combination, and you know your guests will enjoy their coffee more from these pretty cups.

Mug Set

If you still need ornaments of the smaller size, here is a great set from Pier One.

Ornament Set

I know this one looks like a necklace, but it's actually garland from Wayfair.

Garland

You have to use your imagination for the next one. I know at first glance it doesn't say "Christmas", but if you have a farm house motif or a rustic style, this would be perfect. It's only $7.99! (Also from H and M.) Several of them together would be perfect filled with ornaments, Christmas greenery, or even Christmas cards. It measures 4 3/4" x 4 3/4".

Wooden Planter

Let's review...

WREATH  //  PILLOW  //  MUGS

Happy Decorating!

Kathryn

Friday, November 25, 2016

MACARONI AND CHEESE WITH A TWIST

I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving!

If you're looking for a "new" or "different" dish to share with your friends and family this holiday season, I have one you might like. It's easy to put together and only a few ingredients. My friend Amanda, who has been doing my hair for years and years, gave me the recipe at my last appointment. I carried it to two Thanksgiving gatherings with our family and it received good reviews both places.

Ingredients:

2 cups of mayonnaise
2 cans of cream of mushroom soup
2 cups of sour cream
1 - 16 oz block sharp Cheddar cheese
1 lb cooked penne pasta (mini)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cook pasta as directed. Combine the first three ingredients in a large bowl. Grate cheese and add it to mixture. Mix well.




Spread in a 13 X 9 baking dish. Cook until bubbly and browning. I cooked it for about 40 minutes total. It's really rich and creamy with a yummy unexpected flavor.


It's just as good (or better) on day 2 or 3 also. I hope you like it.

Kathryn

Thursday, November 17, 2016

AN ART LESSON AND SOME OLD FAVORITES

When I was in high school, one of the classes on my schedule my senior year was called American Studies. The class captured me in ways very few others did. We left the high school by bus each day and were transported to a building downtown where we spent about half the school day. We learned the basics: English, science and social studies, but we learned extras, too.

Our class met in a historic building known as the "old jail." It served as the county jail from 1856-1890. It's one of the oldest buildings in town. It's a two-story, brick building that is unfortunately now on the "places in peril" list.

Image Source

One of the "extras" we were introduced to in the old jail was art, specifically impressionism. I loved everything about it: the colors, the subjects, the serenity, the classic look and style it adds--all of it. Here are a few of the painters I met in my American Studies class.

CLAUDE MONET

My favorite from Monet is Chrysanthemums. I had a giant print of it framed and over my couch for years. I'd actually forgotten about it until I was getting this post together.

Image Source

EDOUARD MANET

This is The Railway by Manet. The shades of blue and the simple scene are what stands out to me. For a little more insight, here is a short video I found.


This is another work of Manet.  A King Charles Spaniel.


MARY CASSATT

Mary Cassatt is probably my favorite. Her subjects were often people, usually women and children.


Other than three of the finest teachers in education at the time, the best part of American Studies was our field trip to Washington, D.C. I still have such vivid memories of the trip, even though it seems like a lifetime ago. I'm thankful and grateful my parents were able to send me. While there, we visited the Metropolitan Museum of Art and saw the works we had studied in class. It was wonderful to see them up close and personal. I bought the previous three prints as souvenirs.

When I became an "adult" and had a place of my own, I had the prints framed. I've been using them since.


The frames need to be updated, but the prints still look great and hold significant sentimental value. They've traveled the house--bathroom, bedroom, and they currently reside in the living room.


Thank you, Mrs. Ward, Mrs. Crowder, and Mrs. Sloan for making me think, learn, and love all things American Studies.

Now I'm curious. What's the oldest thing you are using to decorate in your house?

Kathryn

Friday, November 4, 2016

DECORATING WITH RED FOR FALL

I don't really go "all out" for fall, just a few touches of darker reds and browns here and there--I can only do orange in small doses. Replacing blue and white pieces with fall colors or rearranging a vignette is about our only hope in Alabama for feeling the change in the season. The thermometer hovers around ninety degrees until mid November, and sometimes we are still wondering in December if our boots will see the light of day. I haven't even worn fall clothes to work yet.

I thought I would show you how I did fall this year and suggest a few things for you to try if orange is not in your color wheel either (One of my favorite lines from The Blind Side.).

Here are a few places I added some red--not fire-engine red, just a muted, darker red that implies fall.

I swapped out the basket and topiaries on my breakfast table for a cake stand and decorative woven wooden spheres.


I brought out my reddish vases and at the time I took this picture, there was just enough greenery left in my yard to complete the look--for a few days anyway.


I created a place setting with some different dishes. I haven't collected enough of the red and white for an entire table yet, but when I do, it will look something like this...


Pillows and lamps are my favorite way to update a room, a corner, or a vignette. For this spot, I put away the summery green and white pillows and added red. This one is from Home Goods a few years back.


And speaking of pillows... I borrowed the small cheetah print, Euro sized pillows from my daughter's room for my bed.


In the living room, I added some natural elements to the mantel (antlers and pine cones) in the place of my blue and white, and I swapped out the gold mirror for this darker one.


And that's how I did fall in my house this year...

Red, brown, a couple of trips to my yard, and a little flip-flopping of accessories. How do you do fall at your house?

Enjoy the weekend!

Kathryn

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

LAYERED MEXICAN CHICKEN

Mexican has been the theme around our house lately. It all started with the taco ring a little over a week ago, and it shows no signs of stopping...


Today I'm sharing an easy Mexican chicken recipe. If you cook the chicken ahead of time, it can easily be a work-week meal.

Ingredients:

5 chicken breast cooked and chopped
2 cans cream of chicken soup
2 cans of Rotel tomatoes (I use mild, original)
12-16 slices of Velveeta cheese
1 package of large tortilla shells

Directions:

Lightly spray the bottom of a 13 X 9 casserole dish with a non-stick spray. Line your dish with half of the chopped chicken. Open the tomatoes and drain one can. Combine the two cans of soup with both cans of tomatoes. Spread half of the soup mixture on top of the chicken. Add 4-6 slices of Velveeta.


Fold and tear the tortillas into strips. I use a pizza cutter. Arrange over the cheese to cover the dish.    


REPEAT. Add a layer of chicken, soup, cheese, and tortilla strips. Bake covered at 350 degrees for about 45 minutes. Remove and turn the oven up to 375 degrees. Add 4 more slices of cheese. Return to the oven for 10-15 more minutes to melt the last layer of cheese and to make sure the dish is nice and bubbly. Don't cover it this time, but watch it to make sure the top doesn't burn.


Serve it with the side of your choice. I serve it with a shell and a green salad. It's one of my husband's favorites! 


Here are a few other chicken dishes you might like.


Happy (still hot) November...

Kathryn