Tour a Whimsical Holiday Home

This gorgeous space will put you in the Christmas spirit.

Shabby French Christmas table video tourStylist and photographer Janet Coon of Shabbyfufu knows what it takes to make Christmas enchanting and lovely. Take a peek inside her holiday home with this video tour.






Royal Icing Basics

Master this traditional (and simple) icing technique and have incredible holiday cookies every time.

Royal Icing Technique
Water down the same recipe used for the outline to “flood” the inside of the design.

Seen around pretty much every holiday, royal iced cookies are particularly popular at Christmastime. From delicate intricacies to creative versatility, the art of royal icing is easy to pick up and rather difficult to perfect. This hard-drying icing is one recipe used in two different stages to create amazing and delicious edible cookie art.

Basic Royal Icing

Prep: 2 minutes
Makes 1 cup

2 cups confectioners’ sugar
1 egg white
1/2 teaspoon water
Food coloring (optional)

  1. In a large bowl, combine all ingredients. Mix until icing is thick and smooth.
  2. Stir in food coloring, adding small amounts at a time to make your perfect shade.
  3. Adjust the consistency with small amounts of water to thin or powdered sugar to thicken.

Royal Icing Holiday Cookies
These vintage knit patterns are anything but “ugly Christmas sweater.”

To Decorate Baked Cookies

1. Mix up a thick batch of icing (recipe follows), making an easily piped icing to outline the design of your cookie. Let it set completely.

2. Gradually add water to the thick icing until it is a more liquid consistency. Using a spoon, “flood” the inside of the outline with the icing.

3. From here, you can add swirls of color to the wet icing, or let the icing set completely before piping designs on top with colored thick icing.

4. Royal icing works well with sprinkles of all types as well, so get creative and let your cookies shine!



The Best Pumpkin Pie Topping

Top things off with the classic fall dessert: pumpkin pie.

Pumpkin pie with bourbon caramel topping and gold dragées.
Want to skip the bourbon and go for a classic caramel flavor? Swap it out with 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract.

It’s pumpkin season! As you savor your pumpkin spice latte and make your pumpkin soup, don’t forget to top things off with the quintessential fall dessert: pumpkin pie. We could have kept it unadorned for a classic look, but instead, we opted for decadence with bourbon caramel topping. Even better? You’ve got options! This sauce is only one of four recipes for elevating a store-bought pie with home-made flavor!

Roasted pepitas give this decadent pie a rustic look and a hint of salty flavor
Roasted peptitas are an excellent alternative to gold dragées. Choose these for a hint of salt with your caramel and a more rustic look to the pie.

Pumpkin Pie with Bourbon Caramel Topping

What You’ll Need:

  • ½ cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons (¼ stick) unsalted butter, cut into ½-inch pieces
  • ¼–½ teaspoon Kosher salt (depending on salt preference)
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • ¼ cup bourbon (optional)
  • Pumpkin pie, homemade or store bought
  • Gold dragées, for decoration or roasted pepitas
Rich flavors call for thin slices.

What You’ll Do:

  1. In a large saucepan over medium, heat the sugar, butter and salt until the butter melts and the sugar darkens around the edges, 3–4 minutes.
  2. Whisking constantly, slowly stream in the cream until well combined (some sugar will seize at first). Let the mixture simmer until it begins to thicken, about 10 minutes.
  3. Whisk in the bourbon and simmer until the mixture is just below the soft-ball stage (200–225°F) on a candy thermometer, another 10 minutes. Remove the mixture from the heat and let it rest for 1 minute before pouring it on top of the pie, tilting to spread the caramel to the crust.
  4. Let the caramel set for 5 minutes; then sprinkle on gold dragées or pepitas. Let pie chill for 1 hour before serving.

Decorate Your Dining Room with Mismatched Pieces

A mix of furnishings can give your home a fresh and unique feel.

Where once it was the height of refined decorating to outfit your home in perfectly matched sets of furniture, today more and more homeowners are finding the best way to reflect their personal style is with mismatched pieces.

Whether blending different styles, colors or materials, using a mix of furnishings can give your home a fresh and unique feel. Mastering this look requires a bit of finesse, simply placing any chairs around any table won’t necessarily yield stunning results.

Photography by Bret Gum
The black and white gingham pattern accentuates the color-coordinated scene on each chair’s back rest.

If you want your dining room to feel more curated than slapdash, a thoughtfully collected space as opposed to catchall student housing, take styling cues from these four elegant and eclectic rooms.

In this French-country-inspired dining room, the homeowner and decorator paired a traditional dark-wood dining table with chairs updated with black lacquer paint and check and toile fabrics.

The formality of the large table is tempered by the styling of the chairs, which can easily be used elsewhere in the home when extra seating is needed.

This dining set has a fun, garden-inspired feel thanks to a set of dining chairs painted in complementary floral tones.

The paint job highlights the detailing on each chair, making each curve pop against the contrasting dark table. White cushions further tie the styling of the chairs together.

Photography by Bret Gum
Photography by Bret Gum

In this dining room, a two-toned table is matched with six walnut-stained chairs to complement its top and two whitewashed chairs to complement its legs and base. All eight chairs have the same seat upholstery unifying the warmly rustic look. Remove a leaf and pull back the whitewashed chairs for a new look.

Photography by Bret Gum
Photography by Bret Gum

This look can be carried through to your outdoor dining spaces. Here, a chippy green vintage table is set with fresh white Adirondack chairs for a casual and inviting spot perfectly suited for lazy summer breakfasts.


Icy, Creamy, Healthy, Sweet

Your ultimate guide to healthy frozen treats.

Last week, we posted a couple ice cream recipes to help you beat the summer heat. We’ve got a few more icy treats for you today, from Christine Chitnis’ new book, Icy, Creamy, Healthy, Sweet. Not only are Christine’s recipes delicious and refreshing, but they use healthy ingredients too. “What I’ve found is that there’s simply no reason that desserts cannot be healthy and nutritious,” she writes. “Once you begin playing in the kitchen, experimenting with making sweets that are as healthy as they are delicious, there is no limit to where your creativity can take you.”

Here are a couple for you to try.

Frozen Yogurt Bark

Makes 10–15 pieces of bark

Icy, Creamy, Healthy Sweet: Frozen Yogurt Bark
Yogurt and berries make this bark a healthy treat for keeping cool

This bark is a take on traditional chocolate bark, and it works perfectly as a fun-size frozen treat. The yogurt base is simple—plain whole milk yogurt sweetened with a bit of honey and a dash of vanilla extract—and from there this recipe is open for experimentation.

You can simply throw in a couple cups of berries or chopped peaches, or you can get fancy, combining fruits, even adding nuts, chocolate chips, or seeds for crunch. Just be sure the mixture is spreadable—that’s the key!


  •  2 cups plain whole milk yogurt
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups fruit of your choice (such as blueberries, strawberries, cherries, raspberries, chopped peaches)


  1. In a large bowl, whisk together the yogurt, honey, vanilla, and salt.
  2. If the fruit you’re using is large and has pits or stems (such as strawberries, cherries, or peaches), prepare the fruit by pitting/hulling/peeling and roughly chopping it. Raspberries and blueberries can be used whole. Gently stir the fruit into the yogurt mixture until just combined.
  3. Pour the yogurt onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, using a spatula to spread it out smoothly and evenly. Give the fruit a bit of a press with the spatula to even out the surface. Freeze the baking sheet overnight and, when ready to serve, cut or break the sheet of yogurt into pieces. Store the yogurt bark in a lidded freezer-safe glass container with the layers of bark separated by parchment paper in the freezer for up to 2 weeks.

Icy, Creamy, Healthy Sweet: Green Monster Pops

Green Monster Pops

Makes 10 pops

When it comes to getting my daily greens, I’ll try just about anything. While I love big, crunchy, straight-from-the-garden salads, I also love blending my greens into smoothies. Sweet, creamy, and refreshing, it only makes sense that a blended green smoothie would work perfectly in pop form. Feel free to experiment with the greens: I prefer spinach because the taste is very subtle, but Swiss chard and kale also work well, though their flavors are a bit more distinct. I love the sweetness of freshly made pineapple juice, though you can feel free to substitute ready-made juice. If you’re serving these to kids, play up the cool green color, and before long, they’ll be slurping up their daily serving of health-infusing greens!


  • 1/2 pineapple, peeled, cored, and chopped (or substitute 1 cup pineapple juice)
  • 2 bananas
  • 1 cup peeled, cored, and chopped mango
  • 1 cup full-fat coconut milk (from one 13.5-ounce can)
  • 11/2 cups baby spinach


  1. Put the roughly chopped pineapple chunks through a juicer. Measure 1 cup of pineapple juice (or use store-bought pineapple juice) and add it to a blender with the bananas, mango, coconut milk, and baby spinach. Blend until smooth.
  2. Carefully pour the smoothie mix into pop molds, insert sticks, and freeze for at least 3 to 4 hours, until hardened.

Icy, Creamy, Healthy Sweet

Icy, Creamy, Healthy, Sweet by Christine Chitnis, Published by Roost Books, an imprint of Shambhala Publications, Inc., © 2016;

We All Scream for Ice Cream!

In her book Lomelino’s Ice Cream, Linda Lomelino shares the secrets to delicious, homemade desserts.


As we enter the heart of summer, you’re probably looking for a new treat—something to cool your hot skin and tickle your taste buds. In her book Lomelino’s Ice Cream, Linda Lomelino shares the secrets to delicious, handmade icy treats. “Fact: Ice cream is one of the best treats in life,” she writes. “Another fact: The best ice cream is homemade.” Here are two of her recipes to cool you off this season.

Lomelino's Raisin Ice Cream
Chopped rum-soaked raisins dot this sweet ice cream

Rum Raisin Ice Cream

Makes 1 pint

For the Rum Raisins:

  • 2 2/3  oz. raisins
  • 6 tablespoons dark rum

For the Ice Cream:

  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 2/3 cup milk
  • 6 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons dark rum

Preparing the Rum Raisins:

  1. Combine the raisins and rum in a saucepan, bring to a boil, and simmer 2–3 minutes.
  2. Pour the mixture into a bowl and let it cool for at least 2 hours.

 Making the Ice Cream:

  1. Lightly beat the egg yolks in a bowl.
  2. Mix the milk, sugar, and salt in a saucepan and heat to the boiling point. Slowly pour the hot milk into the eggs, whisking constantly. Pour the egg/milk mixture back into the saucepan and heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens.
    3. Pour the cream in a bowl and place a sieve over it. Strain the egg/milk mixture into the cream. Blend it in. Stir in the rum raisins and the rum. Refrigerate until it is completely cold.
  3. Process the mixture in the ice cream machine until ready. Pour the ice cream into a chilled bowl and freeze.


Lomelino's Plum Sorbet
Sorbet is a lighter and sweeter alternative to traditional ice cream

Plum Sorbet

 Makes 1 Pint

  • 17 ½  oz. plums with skins on (about 9 fruits)
  • 1 tablespoon light brown sugar
  • juice of ½  lemon
  • 6 tablespoons water
  • about ½ cup granulated sugar (to taste)
  • 2 teaspoons vodka
  1. Heat the oven to 350°F. Split the plums and remove the pits. Place the plum halves on a baking sheet and sprinkle them with the brown sugar. Bake in the oven on the center rack 30–35 minutes. Let the plums cool.
  2. Mix the plums with the lemon juice, water, sugar, and vodka and process to a smooth puree in a blender. Refrigerate the mixture until it is completely cold.
  3. Process the mixture in an ice cream machine until the sorbet is ready. Pour it into a chilled bowl and freeze.


Lomelino's Ice Cream

Lomelino’s Ice Cream: 79 Ice Creams, Sorbets & Frozen Treats to Make Any Day Sweet by Linda Lomelino, published by Shambhala Publications, Inc., © 2015;

Tips to Heat Up Your Elegant Summer Dining

Bring the party outside and enjoy the season. Here's how to create a little elegance outdoors.


Weather permitting, elegance can be accomplished no matter the surroundings. On the patio or in that curious little corner of the backyard, you can create an entertaining space fit for family, friends or simply enjoying coffee amongst the critters. There is always a way to make it pretty. Roll up your sleeves. Here comes your inspiration.


Select an easily accessible and safe location. Summer brings a plethora of insects to your backyard, which must be managed for any outdoor gathering. You don’t want to be known for sending your guests away with mosquito-bite-filled ankles as parting gifts. Surround your space with citronella candles or torches. Individualized insect-control options are available.





Every set of outdoor furniture needs a clean and pretty canvas to get the party started. Choose a basic white, colored or print tablecloth; and don’t be afraid to layer one on top of the other. Welcome a little more elegance into the space by using cloth napkins and decorative rings. Yes, you and your guests are worth bringing out the good stuff.





You don’t have to be a prize-winning table-setter to create an elegant setting. Colored glass dishes are a great choice, especially if you have a beautiful tablecloth underneath. This provides a fun peek-a-boo at every glance. Choose coffee cups that fit your décor, and size should be considered if space is limited. Shining and placing your utensils provides the final balance to your arrangement.





Keep in mind that your food will be exposed to the elements, which may melt your perfect butter sculpture or crumble the moistest baked items. Setting your butter plate in a bowl of ice will sustain a proper temperature. Serve your food in covered containers when possible to ensure freshness throughout your event. Urging others to take seconds, quickly, will eliminate any concerns you have about optimal culinary conditions. Pour beverages with prestige straight from the bottle, or use a sterling coffee carafe or water pitcher. Feel free to clip a few flowers from around the yard for your centerpiece. This will meld your special area with the beautiful surroundings.





The intent of creating an outdoor entertaining space is to enjoy your natural surrounds with friends and loved ones. Whether you desire a relaxing, romantic vibe or a more ruckus affair, the time you spend and the care you take to make things pretty will be time well spent. You deserve to experience summer at its best. So get outside, find your special spot and get busy.





5 Ideas for a Vintage Easter Party

Surprise everyone this Easter with these fun and creative holiday favorites.

Add vintage charm to your Easter table with these helpful hints.

It’s time to start thinking about your Easter celebration! Here are 5 spring-inspired party ideas to help you get going.



Add vintage charm to your Easter table with these helpful hints.


1. Use an egg as your centerpiece. This beautiful giant egg is the perfect size for an Easter centerpiece—it catches the eye but isn’t too large or tall to block views or take up food space on the table. Set on a nest of wildflowers, the combination of the egg and blooms is a show stopper. If you can’t find a giant easter egg, dye some regular-sized eggs and create a nest full of them on the table.



Add a burst of spring flowers to your Easter table.

2. Add flowers to your cake. Whether you’re serving cookies, brownies or cake for dessert, decorate the top with fresh cut and washed flowers. This will bring the bright bloom of spring to your table. Try a combination of roses, pansies, daffodils, carnations and poppies to create a colorful splash.



Add vintage charm to your Easter table with these helpful hints.

3. Use a vintage element. No party or decoration is complete without a vintage element. In this pretty sideboard setup, a vintage vase with fresh daisies graces the dessert spread. You could even add a vintage statuette or figurine, such as this rabbit, to the dessert tray itself. This will add height and depth to your display.



Add spring charm to your Easter table with these helpful hints.

4. Serve rabbit food. Alongside your roasted chicken and deviled eggs, include some rabbit-friendly eats such as carrots, beets and greens. You could even pair the greens with rabbit-shaped tea sandwiches. Simply construct the sandwiches (egg and chicken salad work well) and use a rabbit-shaped cookie cutter to create your desired shape. Include a few pb&j sandwiches, and the kids at your table will be delighted!



Add vintage charm to your Easter table with these helpful hints.

5. Surprise your guests with a take-home favor. Make or buy a small favor for your guests to take away from the day. Even if you’re serving other homemade desserts, a beautiful decorated cookie wouldn’t go amiss as a party favor. You can set one cookie at each place, which will delight your guests and add an extra element to the tablescape.


For more on Diane Sedo, visit here.

Warm Up Your Afternoon with Biscuits and Tea

Nothing is more classic than a sweet and crumbly biscuit and a steaming cup of your favorite tea. Warm up this afternoon with a relaxing tea break befitting a Dickens tale and let these two cookies steal the show.

Oatmeal Raisin Cookies
Use tea and cookies as an excuse to bring out your favorite china pieces, such as this simple Haviland tea set.

Oatmeal Cookies
Basic yet classy, these traditional oatmeal raisin cookies are the perfect complement to a steaming up of Earl Grey.

Prep: 20 minutes
Bake: 8-10 minutes

Makes 48 cookies

½ cup plus 6 tablespoons (1¾ sticks) butter, softened
¾ cup firmly packed brown sugar
½ cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1½ cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon salt (optional)
3 cups oats (quick or old fashioned, uncooked)
1 cup raisins

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  2. Using an electric mixer in a large bowl, cream together butter and sugars on medium speed. Add eggs and vanilla; beat well.
  3. In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt; mix well.
  4. Add dry ingredients to the butter mixture and stir. Add oats and raisins; mix well.
  5. Drop dough by rounded tablespoonful onto 2 ungreased cookie sheets. Bake 8-10 minutes or until light golden brown.
  6. Cool cookies 1 minute on cookie sheets, then remove to a wire rack. Cool completely and store covered tightly.



Jelly Thumbprint CookiesJelly Thumbprint Cookies
Sweet and buttery cookies with dollop of red raspberry preserves make cheery companions to white or herbal teas.

Prep: 15 minutes
Bake: 12-15 minutes

Makes 36 cookies

1 cup butter (2 sticks), softened
½ cup granulated sugar
½ cup packed brown sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2½ cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
¼ cup raspberry preserves
⅓ cup confectioners’ sugar, to serve (optional)

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease 2 baking sheets; set aside.
  2. In a mixing bowl, cream together the butter and white and brown sugars. Beat in the egg and vanilla.
  3. In a separate bowl, mix together the flour and baking powder.
  4. Stir the flour mixture into the butter mixture and mix well.
  5. Form dough into 1-inch balls and place on the prepared baking sheets. Using your thumb, make an indentation in each cookie and fill with raspberry preserves. Bake for 12-15 minutes. Let cool completely and sprinkle with confectioners’ sugar to serve, if desired.

Tip: For a fancier look, place the dough in a cookie press and bake up some cute or classic shapes. Just make sure to add the traditional thumbprint indent and the raspberry preserves before baking.