Tag: Holiday (page 1 of 2)

Perennially Egg-squisite Decor

A symbol of new life, the egg is an important fixture in both Easter and Passover–a symbol that underscores the commonalities between different faiths.  In a time when more attention could be paid to our shared values (rather than our sensationalized differences), let’s take a moment to appreciate the egg–if only for its aesthetic properties and various applications in home decorating.  It’s a start.  Right?

Perennially Egg-squisite Decor | A collection of eggs is in displayed beneath a cloche in the entry of this Paris apartment

A Carrara marble Eros table by Angelo Mangiarotti marks then center of the entry of this Paris apartment, displaying a few treasures–among them a collection of variously colored eggs beneath a protective cloche.

Perennially Egg-squisite Decor | A steel-and-ostrich-egg mirror graces the living room of Lorenzo Castillo

In the gleefully eclectic and pattern-happy living room of interior designer and antiques dealer, Lorenzo Castillo, a steel-and-ostrich-egg mirror graces the wall.  Image via Elle Decor.

Perennially Egg-squisite Decor | Eggshell veneered wall panels

This painstakingly eggshell veneered dining room is the work of Eric Chapeau, commissioned by Studio Sofield and requiring 10,000 hours of work to achieve its elegant and understated crackle effect.

Perennially Egg-squisite Decor | Malachite carved eggs resting on a dining table in a home designed by Jean-Louis Deniot

In this Los Angeles dining room designed by Jean-Louis Deniot (a hero of mine and a name often alluded to on this site), carved malachite eggs rest ceremoniously on the dining table, echoing the green of nearby flora.

Perennially Egg-squisite Decor | An egg shaped outdoor bath

The egg must have inspired the sleek, modernist shape of this inviting outdoor bath.  Perhaps the shape was even chosen to impart and rejuvenating effect on bathers.

Perennially Egg-squisite Decor | A crystal beaded light fixture in the shape of an egg

This kitchen’s light fixture is strongly reminiscent of a Faberge egg with its tapered oval shape and glittering and gilded adornments.  The opulent gesture is a fitting (if not ironic) tribute in a room where (presumably) the model is regularly cracked and cooked.

Perennially Egg-squisite Decor | 1970s Venini egg sculpture in Allegra Hicks' Naples home

An oversize 1970s Venini egg sculpture acts as an amber beacon is the otherwise cool-hued Naples home of designer Allegra Hicks.  Image via AD.

May you have an egg-cellent rest of your day!

3 Ways to Decorate with Red

Red is a color often associated with love, passion, and intensity.  As such, it can be an overwhelming–or even intimidating–shade to decorate with.  But fear not!  Following are 3 tried-and-true strategies for decorating with red…

Make a Singular Statement

Decorating with red doesn’t have to be a full-blown commitment.  Sometimes, a single scarlet piece or coat of red paint will deliver the intended effect.

Decorating with Red | Motley Decor

A shiny, candy apple red staircase is all that is needed to make a statement in this home.

This traditional home benefits from modern touches–like these accents chairs: two cherries on top of the ice cream sundae that is this room.

Even amongst other vibrant hues, a cardinal skirted table imparts a cheery, impactful effect in this colorful Connecticut home.

This hallway is punctuated by red fretwork panels, providing the space’s only pop of color and stealing all of the attention.

Group Red Accents

Red pieces also tend to look good en masse.  A grouping of red furnishings or accessories will satisfy a more intense appetite for vermillion.

How to Decorate with Red | Group Red Accents | MotleyDecor.com

This entry by Christian Lyon features a red vignette, in which, layers of the shade–clustered tightly together–are visually greater than the sum of their parts.

Modern art, python skin, and watercolor blooms are unlikely companions, combined with enviable confidence in this space and united by a common rosy hue.

Ruby reigns supreme in this Dallas jewelry designer’s dining room.  From the curtains, to the seat cushions, to the various vessels; splashes of red keep the eye moving around the room.

Fabrizio Rollo is no stranger to color and here he takes on lipstick red.  While this is not a red room per se, red is certainly the dominant color.  The complex mix of neutrals and foils to the shade  make it all the more enjoyable.

Sheath the Walls and Bring in Neutrals

Unlike other hues, red can act as the main event and the backdrop, as evidenced by the rooms that follow.  What else do they have in common?  Restraint.  Red walls are the only instance of color in these spaces.  The furniture, art, and accessories are largely neutral.  This keeps the color focus on the rainbow’s top shade and simultaneously highlights the textures, patterns, lusters, and sculptural qualities of the rooms’ furnishings.

3 Ways to Decorate with Red | 3 of 3 | Sheath the Walls

This fire engine red foyer by Nick Olsen makes a stunning first impression, especially when paired with chic black and white.

Here, poppy-tinged walls beautifully offset an antique console table stocked with treasures.

And lastly, red lacquer walls are one of the few treatments that can withstand the drama of this room: an intricately carved mantel, cast peacock chairs, leopard upholstery, gold cocktail tables–these furnishings call for an equally intense envelopment.  Rather than competing on pattern, shape or shine; it’s a dose of crimson that answers that call.

Ready to start decorating with red?  Either way, Happy Valentine’s Day!

Champagne Flutes & Coupes to Ring in the New Year in Style

Champagne is nearly synonymous with New Year’s Eve.  Midnight toasts always call for bubbles.  And, truly, there is no better occasion for beautiful glassware.  Flutes are the usual choice, but champagne coupes are surely making a comeback.  As a glassware addict, I believe that drinking from stylish vessels can both enhance the flavor of your sparkling wine and cast a favorable glow over the entire evening.  In light of that, following are the prettiest and most unique champagne glasses that you can still pick up between now and Saturday night…

Champagne Flutes & Coupes to Ring in the New Year in Style | Shopping | Motley Decor

Black flutes from ZGallerie will add drama to your drinks table or bar cart.  A set of 4 costs less than $26.

Coupes are extra glamorous covered with tiny gold dots.  You can pick these beauties up at Walmart for under $100 for a set of 4.

Riffing off of a popular mid century trend, these flutes have a chrome-and-ombre effect.  The set of 4 will cost you less than $50.

A classic is revived thanks to West Elm.  These champagne coupes sell for $48 for a set of 6.

Oleg Cassini designed these lead crystal glasses, available at Bed Bath and Beyond where a pair runs about $50.

 

A tempting splurge: these emerald green crystal coupes are about $200/pair at Macy’s.

Stemless wine glasses have had their moment and now it’s time for stemless champagne flutes.  These playful pink vessels are only $3 a piece at CB2.

If you love pink, but still prefer a stem, try these handblown flutes by Sagaform.  The pair is about $25.

And last but not least, check out these chunky smoke gray flutes.  Singles are available for $10 each.

Torn by all of the options?  I’m with you and a proponent of mixed stemware myself.  This is partly because I cannot commit to a single style with so many gorgeous options to choose from.  However, it also creates for more interesting tablescapes with glasses of various heights, shapes, and even colors.  A mix of barware also serves two more practical functions.  First, it allows each of my guests to drink from a unique glass that he or she can easily identify–a sort of tracking system for drinks.  And second, I come from a long line of clumsy women.  Inevitably, each of my lovely glasses will break.  When one does, I just sweep up the mess and move on.  I avoid the hassle of trying to keep my matched set whole.  I’ll just pick up some other pretty glass to replace the broken one.  So, mix it up if you are so inclined.

Happy shopping and the happiest of New Years!

 

Any Port in the Snow Cocktail

Looking for a Christmas cocktail to keep you warm this Winter?  Try Any Port in the Snow…

Any Port in the Snow Cocktail | Motley Decor

As the name suggests, it’s heavy on port (wine that’s both more flavorful and has a higher alcohol content).  Slightly sweet, with a little kick at the end, tawny port makes a nice Winter libation.

Any Port in the Snow is also loaded with quintessential holidays flavors like cloves and orange–an irresistibly fragrant mix that always recalls the holidays for me.  A mild scotch delivers a larger kick on the tail  that warms from the inside out.

The flavor profile is not unlike mulled wine or even red sangria.  However, this is a cocktail that both soothes and packs a punch.  So, please be forewarned and enjoy responsibly.)

Perhaps, best of all, Any Port in the Snow couldn’t be easier to make, which makes it ideal for entertaining.  Here’s the recipe…

Ingredients:

1 oz mild scotch (I used Pig’s Nose)

2 oz tawny port

handful of whole cloves

Orange peel

Directions:

You can either infuse the port with a handful of cloves for 24 hours prior to serving or simply throw 3-5 cloves in each drink.  Then, mix the scotch and port, using a 1:2 ratio, stir gently, and add an orange peel as a fragrant garnish.

Ice is optional.  I prefer this warming drink at room temperature.

Happy Holidays!

 

Spiked & Spiced Apple Cider

What’s better than spiced apple cider on a chilly Autumn day?  Spiked apple cider on Thanksgiving!  Luckily, you don’t have to choose between the two.  This recipe combines the the tangy sweetness of apple cider with Fall-forward spices like cinnamon and cardamom with the family-holiday-coping properties of ale and vodka.  Just in time for those heated political debates that everyone is dreading this year after the  most contentious election in memory!  You’re welcome.

WARNING: this Spiked & Spiced Apple Cider cocktail/punch does NOT taste like alcohol.  However, it is deceivingly potent.  So, pace yourself and your guests–especially the teetotalers among them.  (Every family has one.)

Motley Decor's Spiked & Spiced Apple Cider Recipe

Here’s what you’ll need for the spiked cider:

32 oz mulled cider (see mulling recipe below)

2 12 oz cans amber ale

1 cup Absolute Pear (or other pear-flavored) vodka

the juice from 1 lemon

sprinkle of cinnamon

Just in Time for Thanksgiving: Spiked & Spiced Apple Cider Recipe

Mixing the punch…

Because this recipe contains beer, you’ll want to mix the cider in a large decanter with a stopper (rather than a punch bowl, for instance) to preserve the carbonation.  Aside from that one note, this recipe is extremely straight-forward.  You just  mix all of the ingredients and add cinnamon to taste.

If you prefer dryer drinks, add more beer to mellow out the sweetness of the cider.  If you feel like the vodka taste is too strong, an extra squeeze of lemon with balance it out.

Then, just set out the mixture  with some glasses for all to enjoy.

What to Drink This Thanksgiving | Spiked & Spiced Apple Cider Punch Recipe on Motley Decor

Mulling apple cider…

Ingredients: bottled apple cider, orange slices, cinnamon sticks, bay leaves, cardamom pods

Note: fresh ginger, anise, and cloves are also great for mulling (although I felt that they weren’t needed for this particular drink).  If you want to use them, just be careful with the cloves.  They can quickly become overpowering.   So, taste your cider often.

In a large pot on a stovetop–or even in a slow cooker–combine all of the ingredients and let them cook at a temperature just shy of boiling for about 20 minutes.  If you catch the cider boiling, just turn off the heat and let the liquid cool.

Once at room temperature, strain and funnel the cider back into the bottle and store it in the fridge overnight.  The next day, just give it a shake before concocting the punch recipe above.

All jokes aside, Thanksgiving is not just a glutinous holiday.  It’s an important one as it forces us to take inventory of all we are thankful for.  And, despite tensions in the country at the moment, we can’t loose sight of how lucky we truly are.  Whatever blessings you cherish most in this life, acknowledge them this Thanksgiving, express your thanks, help someone out if you can, and never loose hope.

Spiked & Spiced Apple Cider for Thanksgiving // MotleyDecor.com

How to Cure a Halloween Hangover

Halloween is by far my favorite holiday.  Wearing a costume, doling out candy, and partying like a pagan are activities that I relish each last day of October.  The only problem is, November 1st often turns out to be my least favorite day of the year.  Racked by headaches, nausea, and often embarrassment; Halloween hangovers are no joke.  Luckily, last year, I finally stumbled up on the cure…

In my experience, folks generally fall into two camps: those who starve a hangover and those who eat their way through it, devouring a smrogasbord of greasy, salty goodness.  If you belong to the former camp, I can’t help you.  However, if you belong to the latter, read on!

Halloween Hangover Cure

What you’ll need:

1 can of chili (I’m partial to either Stagg Ranch House Chicken Chili or Hormel No Beans)

2 cans of corned beef hash (it will shrink at you cook it)

1-2 eggs (per person you’re feeding)

A handful of sharp cheddar cheese, grated

A handful of scallions (or green onions), finely sliced

Optional: hot sauce

Preparation is simple (after all, you won’t be operating at your best when you make this meal):

Brown the corned beef hash in a frying pan, while simultaneously bringing the chili to a soft boil in a separate pot.  Make sure you leave one burner for a second frying pan.  When the 2 aforementioned items are almost ready, cook the eggs sunny side up.  Then, it’s just a matter of layering.  Place the corned beef hash at the base, sprinkling it with some shredded cheddar.  Then, ladle the chili over top–again–sprinkling more cheese.  Next, the egg(s), which are topped with scallions.  Hot sauce is optional–as is a bib.  DIG IN!

To your sober, healthy ear, this recipe may seem a little…unhealthy or even…unsophisticated.  Still, I guarantee you that your hungover self (and even your drunk self) will love it!

Of course, it never hurts to hydrate.  Plan ahead by drinking water all Halloween day before your ghoulish night activities.  Chug water before going to bed and leave a full glass (and a couple of Advil) on your nightstand.   Maybe even keep some coconut water in the fridge.

And poof!  Your hangover is cured.  You’re welcome.  Happy (early) Halloween!  Be safe.

7 Incredible Upcycles

In honor of Earth Day, let’s examine 7 incredible upcycles to–hopefully–inspire one of your own.  Following are a handful of projects that are both amazingly clever and undeniably good-looking.

7 Incredible Upcycles | Earth Day | Motley Decor

Instead of a kitchen island, designer Annie Brahler upcycled a large, vintage chest to occupy this cheery, light-filled kitchen.  To properly arm the piece for the job, she added additional storage and slapped on a marble counter top.  Kitchen-specific furnishings can often feel severe and sterile.  This chest-turned-kitchen island escapes that fate and is a charming companion to the fireplace, chandelier, antique chair, and other pieces that lend so much warmth to this space.   Found on House Beautiful.  

7 Incredible Upcycles | Earth Day | Motley Decor

This chandelier above boasts a traditional silhouette with cascading chains and festoons.  However, it is crafted entirely of used bike parts, primarily the chains.  The result is a tension between elegance and edginess that takes “statement lighting” to a whole new level.  Both ‘green’ and impossibly cool, these upcycled chandeliers by Facaro are receiving tons of attention in the design and art communities.

7 Incredible Upcycles | Earth Day | Motley Decor

We hear about “reclaimed wood” all of the time, but driftwood doesn’t seem to get its due.  Having spent many a summer of my childhood collecting driftwood from a nearby like, this strikes me as completely unjust.  Driftwood has infinite character with twisted curves and spiraled nubs and, as you can see from the vignette above (from AD France), it can be upcycled and fashioned into  some pretty fantastic-looking furniture.

7 Incredible Upcycles | Earth Day | Motley Decor

The origins of this dining room’s spectacular wall coverings may surprise you.  Those brightly colored, concentric panels are composed of discarded lottery tickets.  Was there ever a better example of “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure”?  Artwork by Ghost of a Dream (Adam Eckstrom and Lauren Was) and image via 1stDibs.

7 Incredible Upcycles | Earth Day | Motley Decor

Found objects often make for conversation pieces in a home.  This oversize letter “A” is no exception.  Presumably the remnants of some mammoth signage, the alphabet’s first letter now spends its days propping up this improvised architect’s table, who’s top is an old door.  Together, these two upcycled pieces are much more interesting than your average, run-of-the-mill desk.  I call that green synergy.

7 Incredible Upcycles | Earth Day | Motley Decor

Getting creative with headboards has long occupied DIYers and–apparently–architect Dmitry Velikovsky.  He repurposed the back from 19th-century Burmese monk’s chair to add some oomph to his otherwise streamlined bedroom.  Both the intricate carvings and sense of history make for a awe-inspiring focal point.  Found on AD.

7 Incredible Upcycles | Earth Day | Motley Decor

The plain doors of this closet get a Hollywood Regency-inspired upgrade with a little paint, new knobs, and…wait for it, wait for it…a pair of ceiling medallions!  Why didn’t I think of that?  This clever hack is courtesy of OKL.

Upcycling isn’t just a way to be green–although that is an enormous perk!  It can also be chic and sophisticated.  Furthermore, it’s an opportunity to showcase your cleverness and incorporate artifacts into your home that might not fit under conventional circumstances.  Are the wheels of creativity in your head turning?  Fortunately, Earthy Day has landed on a Friday.  So, you now have the whole weekend to DIY and upcycle.  Get ‘er done!

Orange Carrot Caraway Mimosas

This Easter, serve a unique Mimosa that tastes great and celebrates the Easter Bunny’s favorite vegetable, the carrot.  Orange and carrot juice combine to create an interesting and tangy nectar that’s elevated by the spicy addition of caraway.  And the little carrot garnishes look so cute!  Here’s how to make ’em…

Orange Carrot Caraway Mimosas, The Perfect Drink for Easter Brunch via Motley Decor

Ingredients:

1/2 bottle orange juice

1/2 bottle carrot juice

1 bottle dry or brut sparkling white wine

1/2 teaspoon caraway seeds

6 small carrots with the tops in tact

Directions:

The night before, combine the two juices in a carafe that fits in your fridge.  Using a mortar and pestle, grind the the caraway seeds into a fine dust.  Add them to the juice mixture, shaking or stirring thoroughly.  Cover and set in the fridge.  This will allow the flavors to really mix and intensify.  The next morning, rinse your carrots and trim away any brown or wilted parts of the tops.  With a vegetable peeler, remove the outer skin of the carrots, being careful not to take off the tops.  Place a skinned, trimmed carrot in each champagne flute.  Arrange them next to the chilled sparkling wine and carafe of spiced juice, advising your guests to mix the two 50-50.

Enjoy!  Happy  Easter!

The Perfect Drink for Easter: Orange Carrot Caraway Mimosas

P. S. If you like that art work, check out my DIY pop art tutorial and learn how to make your own.

How to Host a Stress-Free Easter Brunch

If you’re not a “morning person”, hosting brunch can be a task of Herculean proportions. But Spring (and especially Easter) beg for a late morning get together with eggs, pastries, and those few cocktails you can drink before noon without being judged. So if you’re going to brave hosting an Easter brunch this year, here are some tips for prepping the night before and saving yourself enough time in the morning to put on makeup before your guests arrive.

Plan your menu

Sometimes this the hardest part: deciding what to serve. Examine your guest list. Consider the occasion. And, most importantly, don’t make too much work for yourself. For my early Easter brunch, I had about 10 close friends, a handful of whom are U.K. ex-pats and one “sometimes vegan”. To be honest, I was stymied. Luckily, my husband had the idea to do our own version of a full English breakfast, which seemed both hearty and low maintenance. Here’s what we settled on…

Scrambled eggs (whipped up at the last minute in the microwave)
Baked eggs (in convenient ramekins)
Heinz beans (an authentic side that comes in a can)
Olive oil-brushed, grilled: tomatoes, potatoes, zucchini, sourdough bread, and sausages (sharing the workload with my husband who never turns down a chance to man the grill)
Roasted mushrooms and bacon (I just popped them in the oven with the eggs)

To round out the menu, I added a few extras…

Deviled eggs (because it’s Easter and it’s pretty much expected)
Fruit and pastries (which I purchased at the grocery store and simply arranged on platters)
A mixed herb, citrus vinaigrette (optional for the veggies)
Apricot jam & butter (for the grilled toast)

Easy peasy. Right?

How to Throw a Stress-Free Easter Brunch

Then there were cocktails. I mentioned earlier that there are really only a few you can get away with for brunch, most notably mimosas and Bloody Marys. But how could I make them a little more interesting?

For the mimosa, I took my cue from Peter Cottontail and decided to use carrot juice–in concert with the traditional choice of orange juice. To take it a step further, I decided to spruce up the juice with caraway, since it compliments carrots so nicely. I was also adamant that little carrots with their tops still intact be used as garnish. This proved a little difficult as most of the tops get mangled. However, I found a few in decent shape and then skinned the carrots to remove their less appealing skins.

For Bloody Mary inspiration, I thought about micheladas and decided that the most important compliment to a tomato-based cocktail is lime. What goes well with lime? Cumin. What else? I settled on celery for it’s fresh taste and ability to be used as a garnish.

2 Brunch Cocktails to Serve for Easter Brunch

With my menu and cocktail plan settled, it was time to think through the logistics. My strategy was this:

Do as much as you can the night before

So, I sliced up the mushrooms, zucchini, and bread. (I held off on the potatoes so that they wouldn’t turn brown and the tomatoes so that they wouldn’t release too much liquid.) For the deviled eggs–which were a mayonnaise-free, cheesy, lemony, herb-forward variety–I did everything BUT squeeze the filling into the egg white halves. I also blended up dill, parsley, chives, basil, olive oil, vinegar, lemon juice, and a pinch of salt for the vinaigrette. In short, anything that didn’t need to be cooked was ready to serve and anything that needed to be cooked was prepped and ready.

The only thing left to do was:

Style the space

How to Throw a Stress-Free Easter Brunch

Thankfully, this too can be done in advance. Since I was expecting to feed 10 people with a dining table that only sits 6, a more casual set up was in order. So, I dragged my dining table across the room and sat it in front of the fireplace to hold the food. This way, the spread became part of the room’s focal point. Then I arranged every chair I had into intimate clusters, using stools as side tables. I even placed a few cocktail napkins on each one so that folks had a place to set their cocktails.

Then, I turned to the serveware, arranging the platters and chafers I wanted to use for each dish on the table in a logical sequence. Hot items went on one side and cold on the other and I used sticky notes to remind myself which dish would go where in the morning. Next, I chose my glassware: water goblets, champagne flutes, and rocks glasses. Plates, napkins, and utensils were similarly laid out.

And last, but certainly not least, I created a few flower arrangements. One near the entry, another on the buffet table, and a few blooms in the empty vessels on my mantel.

Long story short, the morning was a breeze and brunch was a hit. I hope your Easter Brunch goes just as well and that one or two of these tips help in some way.

Cumin Lime Celery Bloody Marys

Bloody Marys are one of the few libations that are socially acceptable to drink before noon.  So, when it comes to brunch–especially Easter brunch–they are an obvious choice.  They also lend themselves beautifully to variation upon variation.  Here’s a version to try this Easter: Cumin Lime Celery Bloody Marys.  And they’re easy to make.  Here’s how…

Ingredients:

64 oz bottle of V8 Spicy Hot Vegetable Juice

Juice of 2 limes

2-3 limes, cut into wedges

2 stalks of celery, washed & chopped

4-6 celery tops for garnish

1 teaspoon of cumin seeds, ground

Vodka, chilled

Ice cubes

 

Directions:

Open the bottle of V8 juice and pour a little out to make room.  Add the lime juice, chopped celery, and cumin.  Shake well and let rest in the fridge over night.  In the morning, transfer the juice to a pitcher and stir.  Select your glassware and cut the remaining celery stalks to be 2-3 inches taller than your glasses are deep.  Place the trimmed stalks in the glasses.  Place everything in the area that you’ve designated for your guests to mix their drinks.

I also highly recommend having some kind of Mexican beer available.  (I like Tecate or Dos Equis.)  Bloody beers (or micheladas) are a great lower-alcohol-alternative to Bloody Marys that are easy to drink.  I made this option available at my last brunch and–surprisingly–the beer was a more popular choice than the vodka.

Enjoy!

If you’re hosting this Easter, don’t miss my tips for hosting a stress-free brunch.

 

 

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