With the holidays approaching, I've been crushing on red. Not so much bold, vibrant red, but rather, soft, subtle red that feels warm and cozy, or pops of cheery red in small doses, especially in stripes.
Image 1 and 6, House Beautiful; Image 2, HGTV; Image 3 and 7, Pottery Barn; Image 4, Coastal Living; Image 5, Caccoma Interiors via Decor Pad.
I made a lovely sangria using some of the season's best - organic pomegranate cranberry juice, a few juicy orange slices, fresh cranberries, and the subtle spice of cinnamon sticks.
2 cups red wine (I used Cupcake Red Velvet)
2 cups cran/pom juice
1-2 oz simple syrup (use more or less, depending on how sweet you like your sangria)
2 oz triple sec
garnish with sliced oranges, fresh cranberries and cinnamon sticks
I made these pretty coastal decorations with inexpensive clear plastic ornaments from Michaels craft store and I filled them with some sand from the beach. I used iridescent bronze, pearl and gold acrylic paint to add palmetto trees, hibiscus flowers, starfish and anchors to the ornaments.
Happy December! Does anyone else have about eleventeen different projects on the go? I am both super eager and non-committal all at once. So many projects. All exciting. None finished. I can't help but laugh at myself while I enjoy my creative scatter. A collection of my holiday decorating inspiration is below.
A coastal wreath adorns the back of a chair. I love using decorative items in unique and unexpected places.
Red wool scarves folded over the backs of dining room chairs add colour and warmth.
Christmas tree decorations inspired by the sea.
Sea glass filled hurricanes and fresh garland brighten this stairway and banister. Can you imagine the incredible aroma every time you walked the stairs? Mmmmm!
Branches embellished with hanging ornaments. Simple and beautiful.
Images 3, 5 and 6 from bhg.com All others from Coastal Living
So……. I'm already feeling festive. I guess this is why local shopping malls sparkle with Christmas decor by mid-October - for people like me who love the feeling of Christmas. For my holiday table, I picked up Kirkwood plaid napkins from Pottery Barn. Please tell me I'm not the only one who has started with holiday stuff.
And even though I love the Christmas holidays, I'm still a summer beach girl at heart. Just for fun, take Coastal Living's quiz What's Your Beach House Style?
This is a rich and creamy fall dessert - the perfect marriage of New York style cheesecake with spiced pumpkin pie. Pumpkin cheesecake is one of my all time favourites. This simple, luscious dessert is worthy of being added to any Thanksgiving holiday menu.
2 cups graham cracker crumbs (I used gluten free graham squares)
2 tbsp organic cane sugar
1/4 cup salted butter, melted
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1 3/4 cups pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filing)
4 packages (8 oz each) cream cheese, softened
1 cup packed brown sugar
2/3 cup organic cane sugar
2 tbsp cornstarch
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1. Preheat oven to 325 F. Grease a 9-inch springform pan with butter.
2. Pulse graham crackers in a food processor until they resemble fine crumbs. In a small bowl, mix graham crumbs, melted butter, 2 tbsp sugar, 1 tsp cinnamon and 1/2 tsp nutmeg. Press the crumb mixture into the bottom of the pan. Bake for 8 minutes or until set. Cool on a wire rack at room temp.
3. In another bowl, mix pumpkin puree, remaining cinnamon and nutmeg, 2 tbsp cornstarch and set aside.
4. In a large bowl, beat cream cheese, 1 package at a time until smooth. Beat in sugars, then gradually beat in eggs, one at a time. Add the pumpkin mixture and beat until smooth and creamy.
5. Slowly pour the cheesecake filing over the crust. Bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes. Cheesecake should be set but still a little jiggly in the centre when the pan is moved. Turn the oven off, and open the door 4 inches. Let me the cheesecake remain in the oven for another 30 minutes, then remove and let cool in the pan on a wire rack. Refrigerate for several hours before serving.
If you really enjoy the graham crust on cheesecakes, double the crust ingredients for a thicker graham crust.
Whether you live steps away from the shore or miles away from the seaside, a beach inspired front porch brings the feel of a coastal retreat right to your front door. Our front porch make-over was inspired by the colours and textures of the elements. Below is a collection of my inspiration.
1. Decorative accessories that add a coastal touch and create a sense of calm - nautical lighting, colourful weatherproof cushions and a hammock for afternoon siestas.
2. Comfortable seating - adirondack chairs, rocking chairs, or loungers in natural wood or wicker/rattan.
3. Colour reminiscent of the sea, sand and lush palms.
Collage: ceiling fan and white nautical light, Lowes; lantern and black port side light, Destination Lighting; blue cushion collection, Restoration Hardware; lanterns, hammock and remaining cushions, Pottery Barn