Sunday, November 21, 2010

Less is More in this home for the holidays

The following photos are the talented work of  Mary McDonald as shown in Veranda Magazine

One of the most visited pages on my web site, New England Fine Living,  is the PEACOCK WEDDING and Party page, so I was thrilled when my eyes caught a glimpse of this New England style room with the simple peacocks, fruits, ornaments, and greenery surrounding the entryway to the dining room of this magnificent home.   The bright and stately colors show beautifully against the wood and guilded furniture.  This look could transition easily from pre-Thanksgiving right through to New Years Eve. 

The mansion by my home, Turner Hill Mansion, has a peacock as it's logo.  The previous owner used to raise them on the property (they have a stuffed one inside that I was told was one of the "original" peacock pets), so the first masquerade ball I styled there, for the Ipswich Rotary Fundraiser, had peacock wreaths and candles as the dining table centerpieces.  I even took the peacock statue from my garden and added him to the front entryway of my store. 

The two pictures above look as if the wood has been whitewashed or pickled which is setting off the stunning greens just as much as the dark wood in the first photo. I can't help but wonder if this home is in New England due to a lot of the styling shown in side.

In the dining room, what looks like cedar and fir evergreen takes center stage with just a few touches of white and clear baubles and white flowers, showing us that less really can be more.    You can find more information and photos of other New England style entertaining ideas on my web site, New England Fine

Friday, November 19, 2010

Making a New England Farm House Country Wreath

I am having so much fun creating items for several holiday parties that I have been hired to style.  One of them will be for a large corporate/friend/ New England house warming party in a private home, and the theme throughout the whole house is " New England Farm House Country".  I will be decorating the mantles with faux greenery (so that they will have their creations year after year) and pine cones, the tree with stars, burlap ribbon (if it works out as planned), an old sled on the dessert station, a red, white, and green candy buffet, and several wreaths.

Here is a wreath I created today for over the kitchen sink.
I first visited many of the local New England flea markets and New England antique stores to find small kitchen items from years gone by and some country theme ribbon.  I will post the finished party pictures next month. 

Creatively placing the items on the wreath with wire, then highlighting the items with small bows and cranberry colored berries were the finishing touch.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Enchanted Entertaining

Designer Mary McDonald - Photo Veranda Magazine

Below is part of an article I wrote for North Shore Living magazine several years back, and I thought I would share it with you.

The guests have arrived, and as they cross the threshold they are greeted by the soft, sweet sound of holiday music and the beauty of the seasonal decoration.  The family evergreen, recently adorned with treasures from holidays past, fills the room with a calming scent that brings back wonderful memories.  As guests make their way down the hall to see the holiday table, they are awestruck my what they see.

At each seat are small gifts wrapped in silver and gold which contain a gleaming keepsake ornament, napkins have been folded and adorned with ribbons and bells.   The wax dripping from the flickering flame of white candles creates lace patterns as it trickles down the side, and the fresh flowers of the centerpiece add another incredible scent to the room.

Visitors feel like children again as they wonder what is inside the little packages.  Better yet, they feel the warmth of knowing that you took the time to welcome each and every one of them into your home.  Little do they know that you were able to achieve this look with just a few stolen moments, and while you were relaxing.

A fantasy scenario you say... Can I possibly find the time?  The only fantasy here is what your holiday presentation will look like.  If you were able to find the time to relax and read this article, you can find the time to add those extra magical touches that will make your holiday gathering memorable.

Whether you decide to decorate in an early colonial style or an ultra-contemporary look, the following ideas will help inspire the decorating diva in you.  Remember, there are not rules - and no decorating elves looking over your shoulder - so create some time alone, make yourself a cup of tea or coffee, play your favorite holiday music or movie, and start creating your own magic.  To read more on my list of ideas, please visit the Enchanted Entertaining page on my web site. 

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Enchanted Forest Wedding and Party Ideas

A trend that I found coming this spring, through my internet searching, is the “Enchanted Forest” wedding theme.  This is a theme that is close to my own heart because over 15 years ago, I created an enchanted forest for a children's expo I promoted. I had trees brought in from a local nursery, paths were created, woodland animals were added, but for a wedding, nothing says romance more than beautiful flowing wedding dresses, tall trees full of twinkling lights and birds perched tucked into the branches, rich earthy tones such as greens, browns, and creams.

Katie, a blogger for Wedding Paper Divas, says that the key to achieving this ethereal look is to keep everything soft and rustic, with understated hues and a blend of earthy branches, leaves and blooms punctuated by the heavenly glow of outdoor chandeliers.
For many more photos and information on Enchanted Forest Weddings, please visit my web site.  Enchanted Forest Wedding Ideas
Information found and modified from Wedding Paper Divas.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Rotisserie Chicken Caesar Salad Wrap

Rotisserie Chicken Caesar Salad Wrap
If you are looking for a delicious and healthy quick meal, here is a rotisserie chicken wrap that can be made in minutes.  Purchasing prepared rotisserie chickens at the grocery store is a once a month must for me.   I don't always have time to cook or prepare a lunch for myself.  Lately it has been peanut butter sandwiches that I have been quickly slapping together before I fly out the door to leave for a clients or the store.  I think I will make a couple of these wraps and have handy for the next day or two.   I bet they would taste great with a little cucumber in there too!  For more recipes, entertaining ideas, decorating tips, you can visit New England Fine

Serves 2, < 300 calories
2 ½ oz shredded rotisserie chicken, only breast meat
1 oz romaine lettuce, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons shredded fresh carrots
2 tablespoons low-fat Caesar dressing
½ teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons low-fat Parmesan cheese
2 La Tortilla Factory Smart & Delicious SoftWraps™
1.    In a small bowl, combine the chicken, lettuce, carrots, dressing, pepper, and mix well.  Divide into two portions.
2.    Place 1 portion of the chicken mixture and half of Parmesan cheese onto a SoftWrap and fold the sides over the filling and roll-up into a wrap.