Photo by A Lion's Rohr on Flickr
You can always count on Martha to get the holidays going. Here are some Easter decor ideas from her site. She is really working those egg shells this year. My centerpiece of choice? A bouquet of pastel Peeps.
Some delicious-looking Easter treats from around the world including UK, Russia, the Middle East from The Notebook Magazine.
In honor of St. Patrick's Day...a cute play on the traditional Guinness stout - cupcakes from Nigella Lawson. Recipe here.
Just in time for Valentine's Day - D*S has a great posting (with pretty pictures) explaining what different flowers and colors mean. Different flowers indicate different intentions (Floriography). Of course, this all started with the Victorians and their ridiculous amount of free time.
Every year the SF Chronicle awards a Santa Tantrum award to the best reader-submitted photo. These are pretty funny. My favorite is the "Santa be damned, I'm going to cheer" photo. Although the one where the siblings are serenely standing by as their toddler sister has a nuclear meltdown is pretty hilarious, too. Check out the progression of terror below...
Charities are really feeling the pinch this year. There are SO many great ones, but here are a few that do amazing things and could really use some help:
The Make A Wish Foundation, whose goal is to "grant the wishes of children with life-threatening medical conditions to enrich the human experience with strength and joy".
Direct Relief International is a non-political, non-sectarian organization that provides assistance without regard to race, ethnicity, political or religious affiliation, gender or ability to pay. They provide medical assistance to improve the quality of life for people victimized by poverty, disaster and civil unrest at home (U.S.) and throughout 140 other countries in the world.
NEADS (National Education for Assistance Dog Services), also known as Dogs for Deaf and Disabled Americans, was established in 1976 to train and provide rescued dogs and donated puppies to assist people who are deaf or physically disabled in leading more independent lives at work, home and school. NEADS has trained way over 1,000 assistance dogs from all states.
Keep America Beautiful is an oldie but goodie. Formed in 1953, KAB engages individuals to take greater responsibility for improving their community environments. KAB is guided by the princples of education, individual responsibility, public-private partnerships and volunteer action. It uses education with hands-on stewardship to make America's communities cleaner, greener, safer and more livable.
Your Local Symphony Orchestra. All arts programs are feeling the squeeze right now, but symphonies have to compete against movies, video games, computers, you name it. Most orchestras have their own website with details about concert dates, music played, how to donate, bios of musicians and usually tickets can be ordered online. Even if you can't afford to make a donation, if you bought a symphony ticket instead of some movie tickets, you'd go a long way towards preserving your local culture. I personally am a fan of the really talented, but slowly fading Columbus Symphony. Special call out to the oboe section!!
Holiday decor is always way over the top (and that's the fun of it!) I'm just as guilty as the next person of purchasing nutcrackers and shiny ornaments and Santas and the whole enchilada. Here are some pretty photos of a pared-down, minimal holiday aesthetic.
Every year the SF Dining by Design showcases designer table arrangements and room settings for charity. The SF Gate article checks it out for ideas to try on holiday tables at home.
It's down to the wire, home chefs. If you're in a complete blind panic right now, click here for recipes and inspiration for the season! Recipes such as fingerling potatoes with dried figs and sweet potato gratin with ginger and orange zest await.
For a limited time from DWR Limited. Created by hand using traditional wood block printing and made in Japan. $175 for set of 10.
Since we are in the process of moving/construction, we have to get creative for the holidays. Here are some interesting takes on Christmas trees. The first is a vinyl sticker from Artware Editions. The decorations are freaking me out, though. The second is a 3 foot tall recycled cardboard tree from Cloud Gate Design. It comes flat-packed and includes pop-out decorations.
MS has some spooky looking cupcakes and sweets for Halloween. Massively creative, as always! See them all and get recipes + instructions here.
Martha has a great photo gallery of Halloween decor ideas to get you in the spirit. So crafty.
Hostess With the Mostess has two cute mother's day party themes...orange & chocolate, and lavender, lilac & lime. Go the site for menu ideas, recipes, resources, etc.
Orange & Chocolate
Lavender, Lilac & Lime
Giant fortune cookies rock. We got one from my BFF for Christmas and it was huge, personalized, and actually tasted GOOD. Sumo Cookies make enormous gourmet fortune cookies with personalized messages. They even provide some stuffed with candy. Another great alternative for Valentine's Day.
Instead of chocolates, why not these great cookies from Eleni's? Beautiful, hand-iced sugar cookies for around $60 a tin.
These unusual and beautiful bouquets from Portland shop Ink & Peat would be a nice change from pink carnations and baby's breath this Valentine's Day!
Some cute pink gifts for Valentine's Day from Robin's Egg Blue. Felt cupcakes, English Garden Gift Set, and Valentine's Bird Seed Scarf.
Check out these cute Valentine's Day sweets for kids from Parents Magazine. Recipes for: Be Mine Butterflies, Strawberry Sandwiches, Hugs + Kisses Cookies, Petite Sweets, Stacking Hearts Cake and Lovely Lollipop are available here.
The perfect poster for the holidays. I know many people who could appreciate this one right now. Available through ReForm School for $22.
So many great charities are out there and need help at holiday time. Here are a few of my favorites - The Nature Conservancy, 826 Valencia, Habitat for Humanity and the Make-A-Wish Foundation.
This is a really neat way to give to a charity at Christmas. Kids (or adults) will love the Adopt-A-Reef or Adopt-An-Acre. The Nature Conservancy's mission is to preserve the plants, animals and natural communities that represent the diversity of life on Earth by protecting the lands and waters they need to survive.
Since its founding in 1976, Habitat for Humanity International has built and rehabilitated more than 150,000 houses with families in need, becoming a true world leader in addressing the issues of poverty housing.
The Make-A-Wish Foundation was founded in 1980 after a little boy named Chris Greicius realized his heartfelt wish to become a police officer. Since its humble beginnings, the organization has blossomed into a worldwide phenomenon, reaching more than 144,000 children around the world.
This party dress tree carpet from FLOR is so cool, and better yet - made from 80% post-consumer recycled polyester with a stain resistant finish. I love the green one. Designed by Laura Guido-Clark, L G-C Design for $59.99.
Sure, you're used to seeing all these neato mosquito items. Here is a new post: worst gifts for children and/or families EVER. I found some of these on a fun parenting blog a little while ago. I got a huge chuckle out of them.
"Deep Thoughts" Burpie Cloths
People...this is for spit-up. We don't need to get embroidered and fancy while congratulating our husbands for actually looking after their own child. I'm just sayin....
You thought I made that name up, didn't you? NO...this is a company that sells "Baby Bling" for the (and I"m not making this up)..."have and have mores". At the risk of sounding preachy...I think you are setting your child up for a Paris Hilton existence if you start with a be-dazzled $300 pacifier.
The Perfect Gift for the Cup-less Person in Your Life
You can't just use a cup or a pitcher? You need to actually purchase a $9 special container for your little angel because she needs a specially molded cut-out for her forehead?
A Hat Guaranteed to Send Your Offspring Into Therapy
Are you sitting down? Good. Thudguard is a lightweight, soft helmet meant to protect your kid from bumps to their soft skulls. I mean, I know some kids have to medically, legitimately wear these things. This company IS NOT for those kids. I was pretty overprotective (all my relatives are nodding their heads and snickering right now), but something like the Thudguard never crossed my mind. Kids bump their head sometimes. If you want them to hit their noggins and look bizarre at the same time, here ya go.
Del Boca Vista
When I saw this, I thought of Seinfeld's mom at her retirement community. I know animal prints can be cute in moderation, but I think I would call child services if someone I knew put their child into this velor tracksuit. Did I mention it was $160?
This doll freaks me out. I was so traumatized, I felt the need to book a massage and a facial after seeing it.
I have been a negligent mommy. We have not made holiday cookies yet. I am being reminded of this on an hourly basis. The Washington Post has a Holiday Guide with beautiful photos and recipes for cookies. One of my favorite cookie sources is Eleni's in NYC. She makes gorgeous cookies for just about every occasion (her designs are featured at the bottom of the post). Here are just a few photos of gorgeous cookies...sigh. Mine will be much uglier.
Our household is in a serious Rudolph phase right now. Here are some cute reindeer-themed gift items all from Chasing Fireflies. Shown are Rudolph Soft Shoes ($32), Personalized Reindeer Stocking ($78), Holiday Pop-Up books ($27), Rudolph Limited Edition Ornament($115), and "Rudolph Rocks" long sleeved T $26).
Now THIS is a gingerbread house! Available for $78-$88 from Red Envelope:
"Every bit as edible as the original, this isn't your grandma's gingerbread house. We gave the classic holiday treat a mid-century makeover, complete with garage and rock garden. An unique gift and sure-fire conversation piece, it comes assembled and ready to enjoy. Once unwrapped, it should be eaten within 30 days. Left as decoration, it will keep for up to 12 months."
I thought this was a great idea. A perfect solution to bow fatigue and you don't need to worry about it getting squished when you mail it...Available at Atypyk for $12.60.
I thought this was so neat...$48 from Chasing Fireflies.
"For children who've been very, very good...a special treasure from Santa himself! A tiny bell from his sleigh has been magically placed inside this antique glass bottle, which dates from 1880 to 1930. Has a handwritten and hand torn label, too. Imagine discovering this after Santa's visit! 7" high."