Happy New Year

We're fortunate enough to be celebrating the arrival of the new year at Mr. DD's brother's lake house in Wisconsin. Only a 3 hour drive from our home, it's the perfect retreat to rest and relax (as much as possible with 4 kids under 4) as we ring in 2012.

Happy New Year to all!

Until next time, 
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2011 Goal Checklist

Ok, it's officially time to double check the goal list of 2011. I guess I can't put it off anymore. So, how did I do? I'm curious.

Let's start with the positives.

Completion and Reveal of the Big Girl Room - check!

Create easy, no sew window treatments.

Check - in the breakfast room, guest room and master bath.

Update the kitchen.

We had actually planned on a much smaller project, but as sometimes happens, once the ball got rolling so did the project!

Design, plant, and maintain an elevated garden.

Definitely a check off the list - it worked, we loved it, and can't wait to do it again next year!

Give new life to vintage pieces.

Yes, but only a couple - living room armoire, nursery armoire; had hoped for more. 

Moving on down the list, here are the semi-completed projects.

Spruce up the guest bedroom. 
Started, but certainly didn't finish!

In fact, I only completed the hallway, some minor bathroom updates, and new window treatments.

Create a wine cellar - demo only!
Definitely a lot more to do on this project.

And now the negatives.

Spruce up the home office didn't even think about it
Spruce up the family room/playroom - not so much!

Well, what can I say? I'm pretty happy with that considering we added some unexpected projects like, um, I don't know, having a baby and, of course, updating her nursery.

At any rate, looks like I've got some projects to roll into the new year. Speaking of, I'll be back with that list soon enough...just enjoying what's left of the year for now.
Hope you are too!

Until next time,

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The Best of 2011

I hope everyone had a very Merry Christmas this year!

Now that the holiday has passed, it's time to settle down a bit and enjoy what's left of 2011. 
It's also a great time to look back and take stock of the year. 

So here are some of the highlights from 2011, Designing Domesticity style.

Best Overall Project:

Best Home Improvement:

Best Baby Project:

Best Big Girl Project:

Best Outdoor Project:

Best Furniture Paint Project:

Best Sewing Project:

Best Accessory Refinishing Project:

Best Knock-off Project:

Best Craft:

This list certainly makes it seem like we got a lot done in 2011.
 But how did I do compared to the dreaded goal list?

Think I'll save that cold, hard truth for another day.

Until next time, 

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Merry Christmas

From my family to yours, 

wishing you a very Merry Christmas.

Until next time, 
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A Cookie Exchange

Our annual, neighborhood cookie exchange came and went last week.
 Not wanting to miss out, but having little time on my hands 
(what with our newborn and what have you!) 
I opted to go the simple, yet stylish route this year....with a twist.

What's that mean exactly? 
7 layer bar, of course. 
Their SO good and so quick you really can't go wrong.

Everyone and their mother's brother's sister has a recipe for one of these bad boys - but I'll share mine anyway. Why not, right?

Gather your ingredients:

1 stick butter, melted 
2 cups graham cracker crumbs (or enough to cover the melted butter) 
1 -8 oz bag chocolate chips 
1-8 ox bag butterscotch chips 
2 cups coconut (or however much you want) 
1 small bag chopped pecans or walnuts 
1 can eagle brand condensed milk, drizzled over the top 

layer in 9X13 inch pan 
bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes, until golden 

Parchment lined pans is a must, by the way.
(fyi:I doubled the recipe, hence the two pans)

Go ahead and enjoy a little release of that holiday stress while making your graham cracker crumbs!

Pour melted butter into the bottom of the dish, cover with graham cracker crumbs.

Layer on your chocolate and butterscotch morsels.

Followed by the coconut and nuts (I used walnuts).

Drizzle over the condensed milk and bake.

So yummy; but let's face it, not exactly festive, are they?

Time to pull out that star cookie cutter and start cutting.
Yeah, it's a messy, sticky job, but the results couldn't be better. 
It takes this everyday cookie to the next level - at least I think so!

Until next time, 
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'Tis the Season of Giving

Looking for something a bit different to give this year? 
How about the gift of health and wellness? 
That's right, I'm talking about Shaklee. 

This year, I'm giving my family one of Shaklee's best products - Basic H
(to read more about this great product check out this previous post)
Because I use it, love it and believe in it.

Wanna see how I am wrapping it?

Yup, with brown paper lunch bags - these are the giant size from Target.

Who needs expensive gift bags!

Punch a couple of holes.

Tie it up with some raffia.

Add a bit of pretty ribbon.

And you're good to go!

Feeling a bit awkward about giving people cleaning supplies? I hear you. 
That's why I'm giving Shaklee's Hand Wash Concentrate as hostess gifts this year.

This hand wash is excellent. I'm still on my first bottle and I've been using it in all my bathrooms for the last 4 months! A little definitely goes a long way.

Loving how the brown paper bags are coordinating with my brown paper packages!

For more information about Shaklee, check out my online store

(sorry in advance to friends and family, for ruining the surprise of one of your gifts this year.)

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Until next time, 

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Ham Hock Terrine

The holidays are coming, which means the parties are too! 
Are you looking for something to serve/take that's just a bit different this year?

If you like ham, try this Ham Hock and Mustard Terrine, from BBC Good Food Magazine.
 (of course)

 2 small ham hocks (2+lbs each)
500 ml cider
2 carrots, chopped
2 celery sticks, chopped
1 large onion, chopped
2 bay leaves
6 thyme sprigs
6 whole peppercorns

Cover ham with water and set over high heat. Bring to a boil, reduce to simmer for 3 hours or until meat falls off the bone.

At which point, it will look something like this.

Allow the meat to cool in the stock.

Meanwhile, grease the inside of a 1 liter (9x5x3)
loaf pan then line with cling film. 

Once the meat has cooled, remove from the stock. Strain the stock through a fine sieve and set aside.
Shred the ham, removing as much of the skin and fat as possible. 

Combine with: 

2 Tbs whole grain mustard
small handful of parsley, chopped

Press into the lined loaf tin.

Bring the stock back to a boil and reduce by half. 
(you'll need about 1 pint of stock)
Remove the stock from the heat and add one packet of gelatin, stir well. 

Pour enough stock into the terrine to just cover the ham mixture. Tap the terrine against a solid surface to remove any air bubbles. Cover with cling film. Refrigerate 4-5 hours over or overnight.

Turn the terrine out onto serving platter. 

Serve with capers, toast and mustard.

People will be seriously impressed with the look and sound of this dish - it'll be our secret that it's so easy to make!

Until next time, 
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A Christmas Welcome

Nothing says Christmas like a well decorated front porch (or stoop or door or whatever you may have).

That's why I've done it up this year.

From garland to wreaths to pots to planters - I've got a little bit of everything. 

Throw in a reindeer and a vintage sled and I really have covered it all!

My planter is a combination of greens, both cedar and fraiser fur, eucalyptus, red dogwood twigs and pinecones. 

Keeping with my rustic elegance theme, I kept the bows and bling to a minimum this year - opting to leave the bows off the garland and decking the wreath with only a bit of ribbon and raffia.

The wicker planter costs were kept to a minimum by working with what I had on hand, namely: vinca vine, coral bells, decorative kale, eucalyptus, red boxwood twigs and faux greenery.

In fact, the only thing I purchased for this planter were two bundles of greenery trimmings, which were actually split between four planters. 

Moving on to the back door...

In the winter, our screened-in porch doubles as a makeshift mudroom. So this year, I decided to give it a little Christmas cheer as well. 

Remember those four planters I mentioned earlier - here's number 3. Just a combination of greens dressed with a simple bow. Perfectly paired with another vintage sled and a trio of lanterns.

The utilitarian side of the porch is accented with a vintage water bottle stuffed full of greenery.

This is the door that I frequent the most and now I smile every time I use it!
Happy Holidays!

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Until next time, 
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