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Happy Thanksgiving!

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When I count my many blessings tomorrow, I will
include all of you - I appreciate the time you take
to come here and read my nonsense and seek
my design advice.  This blog has given
me so many opportunities to indulge
in all my design dreams! YOU are helping
to make that happen.  I am so 
grateful for the support I find here
and in blogland.

I hope each of you is able to pause
and count your blessings in the 
company of those you love.

I will be back Monday with my usual
sporadic posting......

Christmas Ideas 2013 - What momma wants........

Christmas Ideas 2013

I learned long ago that it's best if I give my family
suggestions for what to give me for Christmas - makes
life easier and happier!  This year, as in past years,
I put together a collection of suggested gift items.
Obviously, I like monogrammed and cozy/warm items.
Oh, and I could use a new wallet.
Have you seen the Kontex towels
made in Japan? They had me at 'gingham'.
And I might want to show my love for my
beloved Oregon.

And lest you think I am spoiled - this collection is
sort of like the list my 11 year old creates to send to 'Santa' -
10 pages of items created as
the holiday catalogs arrive in the mail......
It's become her holiday tradition despite not really getting anything
off the list.  However, she is happy with anything she is given
and is one of the most generous and
enthusiastic gift givers.

A girl can dream, right?

Do you have an Ellen connection? Can ya help get this family to Sochi?

Ok, some facts about yours truly:

* I was born in Wisconsin
* I am half Swedish, half Norwegian
{with some other stuff thrown in for good measure}
{and yes, I know that makes me more than 100% a person}

* Curling is a legit sport among my 'people'
* Some of my 'people' may even be
Olympic curling athletes -
true story.

Actually, my cousin's sister-in-law has been a member
of the USA Women's Curling team the last three
Olympics.  AND, she just qualified
to go to Sochi and represent the United
States in her FOURTH Olympics!
{Michael Phelps has nothing on US Women's
Curler Debbie McCormick!}

My cousin is a school teacher and her husband has
his own lawn care business.  They would love to be able
to go to Sochi and cheer on Aunt Deb! However, flying to
Russia and staying there for two weeks for a family of
four is quite expensive. Soooo......they are
getting creative and humbly asking for help.

My cousin
has some cute kids and they made a video
trying to get the attention
of Ellen DeGeneres, cause she nice, and funny,
and generous, and nice, and funny, did I mention funny?
(did I mention generous?)

Well here is the cute video.........

So readers, if any of you happen to know Ellen, or Portia, or 
their gardner, housekeeper, chef, mailman etc....could you
pass this cute video on?  This family would love her help!
And wouldn't Carter make the cutest correspondent?

And this is Aunt Debbie, doing what she does best.

And just because I am Scandinavian, don't think, for one
second I know a thing about

And finally, dear readers, if you are so inclined and would
like to donate to get this sweet family to Sochi,
they have set up a site to accept donations.......

Here is the link! Just click on the image below:

I realize this is the time year we are all asked to
contribute to worthy causes, if you find it in your
heart to help this wonderful family fulfill a dream,
please accept my sincerest gratitude!

Go Team USA!!!!!

Tomato Basil Soup.....

We are heading into the holiday season which means lots
of rich foods and sweet treats.  And while I love to indulge as 
much as the next person, I also like to weave in some 
healthy, lighter dinners for my family during the season.

This tomato-basil soup recipe is a favorite!
I serve it with cheese toasts and a caesar salad.

Tomato-Basil Soup
{adapted from Portland's Palate - Junior League cookbook}

1/4 cup butter, plus 2 tablespoons, divided
5 tablespoons fresh basil, chopped and divided 
1 large yellow onion, coarsely chopped
6 garlic cloves, minced and divided
3 {28 ounce} cans Italian plum tomatoes
Salt and Pepper

1 1/2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
2 cups chicken broth

In large saucepan over medium heat, melt 1/4 cup butter.  Add 3 
tablespoons basil, chopped onion and 4 cloves garlic.  Cook until tender,
about 15 minutes.  pour in tomatoes and their liquid.  Simmer
uncovered for 30 minutes.  Season with salt and pepper.

* Now - use either an immersion blender {THE best kitchen gadget}
or food processor to puree tomato mixture.  Return mixture
to saucepan {if you used a food processor}.

In small saucepan over medium heat, melt remaining 2 tablespoons
butter.  Add remaining 2 tablespoons basil, garlic and Italian seasonings
and saute for 5 minutes.  Combine sauteed herbs with chicken broth
and tomato mixture.  Simmer until heated through.

I am having a hard time getting my head around the fact
that next week is Thanksgiving! It really is my
favorite holiday.  I love the pause, the time
with family, the food........but geez, isn't it still September?

Happy Thursday!

Around my home....the November version....{aka} the holiday 'before'!

Almost 2 years ago, I dropped my good 50mm camera
lens and it broke.  I was so frustrated with myself, I put
the lens in a drawer and tried to forget it.  However, the 
photos of my home that I was taking and putting on the blog
were harsh reminders of how much I missed that 
sweet lens....the one lens that helped me take beautiful photos
despite my lack of camera knowledge.....

Last week I sucked it up and went and purchased a 
new 50mm lens and have since been enjoying
taking photos around my 'November' home.

Let's consider these the 'before' photos for the forthcoming
'after' holiday version photos, shall we?

My paperwhites are doing what they do best this month and
sprouting happily on my kitchen window sill.

See that pretty rusty metal olive bucket?  She's gonna have 
a skinny natural tree in her by mid-December....

Whenever I show a photo of this table I get lots of questions
about where it's from....It's a big vintage pedestal
table I bought at a Farm Chicks Show about 3 years
ago.  I bought it within the first 5 minutes of walking into
the show for $120 - I know a bargain when I see it.
This is EXACTLY how it looked when I bought it.
It's super hard to find good BIG round tables.

The photo in upper right corner of this collage outs my growing vintage cane collection.
For some things there is no explanation.  But this I do know -
when me and hubs are in need, we will be well stocked!

And this photo above is of my 'little fiddle leaf fig that could'.
I am proud this original Ikea plant is still going strong!
It has potential to be big and strong one day.
My pooches got haircuts {they are both mini-goldendoodles} and
momma has gone with a black and white pillow arrangement on the
couch - {alert the media, people!}

The French hatrack could use some attention, but I am enjoying the 
view of my new grain sack stockings that will make their 
debut on my mantel this year!

Paperwhites.....what can I say, their growth is MY advent calendar.....

I apologize for my lack of blogging lately....I felt bad enough that
I put together this one big, fat, juicy post.  I hope you enjoyed it.


Holiday Cards......a giveaway from Minted!

It's that time of year to clean up the kids, dust off
your husband, give the dog a bath etc.......
and take the perfect family photo for your holiday card!

If all of the above leaves you - not so 'merry' and 'bright' 
 Minted makes the rest EASY-PEASY!

Minted has the cutest, most beautiful Christmas, 
holiday, Hanukkah and even New Years cards 
and greetings!  Minted really has a design to fit
every family. There website makes it easy to 
upload your photo, customize your card and order -
all from the comfort of your cozy home!

{No one will ever know that the kids complained
about their outfits, the husband was late for the 
photo shoot because of a meeting, the dog had
a bad case of flatulence.....}

I have assembled just a few of my favorite designs here - I can't
imagine which one I will choose for our family's 
Christmas card.........

Minted has graciously offered a $150 credit towards 
a holiday card order for ONE lucky Forever*Cottage reader!

Go HERE to enter this generous giveaway!

The giveaway closes on 11/17 - enter NOW!!!


Making a grand entrance....

My clients, a young family that just moved into a large house with a large
entry way,  have asked my help with filling it in a way that is functional
and balanced while embracing the casually elegant style they
want for their home.  I created the design board above for them as
a start.  The room {it's large enough to be considered a room} is
a tad asymmetrical so the pair of demilune tables on either sides
of the living room doorway helps to provide some symmetry. 
The curved staircase is the perfect place to tuck a large round
table with a couple stools underneath.  The round sisal makes
the space feel casual.

Below are a couple casually elegant entry spaces from my 
Pinterest 'Entry Styling' board that I used as inspiration.


Yowza!  I love the red lantern below!


Happy Friday, it's November, can ya believe it?
I actually bought a few Christmas gifts this week!
Have a wonderful weekend....


Life, in photos.....

* Beautiful fall drives

*my freshman girl went to her 
first Homecoming dance {with a BOY!}

* A friend is building a gorgeous home 
that I can't wait to show you

*Above mentioned freshman girl got asked to play with the 
varsity soccer team for the state championship playoffs!

* I ate WAY too much candy last week

*and just maybe had a few too many empty wine glasses.....

It's all the good stuff, but a whirlwind 
nonetheless.  Mix in fun clients with projects
that require uber amounts of creativity and
you pretty much have my life
in a nutshell......
So what's new with you?

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