Friday, December 31, 2010

Great Memories in 2010

2010 was an amazing year for us.  We made so many new friends, attended several great events, and opened our own company.  Here's just a quick look back and some of the more memorable moments from this year: 
I had the pleasure of meeting Lucinda Scala Quinn, author and host of "Mad Hungry."  She came to the area to promote the release of her cookbook, "Mad Hungry."  We had 'tweeted' with each other prior to meeting, so in many ways it was like meeting an old friend. 

Lucinda signed my copy of Mad Hungry, addressed to my Twitter name. 

My favorite Aunt celebrated her 75th birthday.  I was honored when asked to create her celebration cake. 

There is nothing better than having dinner with friends during the middle of winter.  After meeting Jackie Purcell at the first Harvest Festival in Sharon Springs, we decided to meet for dinner in February.  It was the first time we met Dave Purcell and our family instantly grew.  Jackie and Dave have since became two of our dearest friends.

Sometimes the best moments are those that mean nothing to others.  Capturing our youngest cat, Sirius in a quiet moment with "Daddy Dave" is always priceless. 

Our friends Matt and Marcie tied the knot this year.  These two are made for each other in every way. 

My cake business seemed to turn into the cookie business this year.  Several orders for "cookie pops" came in.  They really are easy to make and a great alternative to cakes and/or boxed cookies.

We are always happy to be in Sharon Springs with our friends Brent and Josh.  We attended the world premiere of their new show, "The Fabulous Beekman Boys" on Planet Green.  The village turned out with great support. 

Josh and Brent spoke to those in attendance during the premiere.  The auditorium was PACKED. 

Getting sniffs, hugs, and nudges from Polka Spot is always wonderful.  She loves the camera!

For my birthday, we spent ten days at the Beekman.  Now mind you, a 'vacation' at the Beekman is a working vacation.  Here, I'm cutting the grass right before I planted 20,000 sunflowers. Helping out at the farm isn't like work..  It's more like contributing. 

Bubby, the head barn cat at the Beekman is one of the most delightful animals on the farm.  We bonded. 

In conjunction with the world premiere of the "Fabulous Beekman Boys" Josh Kilmer-Purcell released his new book, "The Bucolic Plague."  Josh signed copies of the book for friends and fans on the porch of the Beekman 1802 Mercantile. 

During our spring visit, I had the opportunity to help out at the Mercantile.  (after cutting the grass, planting sunflowers, helping in the garden..) 

In my own gardens this year, the hydrangeas were just gorgeous and never ending. 

There's no better way to beat the heat than to be in Port Washington, Wisconsin.  It's a beautiful place. 

During our visit to Port Washington, we shopped at the Saturday morning Farmer's Market.  Many great finds!

We visited with our friends Jackie and Dave.  They have welcomed us into their lives like family, and mean the world to us.  This picture of Jackie represents what we do a lot when we are together... laugh.

I think we drove Dave crazy sometimes.  Such a good man. 

August always means the "Woodward Dream Cruise" in our area.  We attended this classic car show and jotted our thanks to Jerry Hodak, who was retiring from our local ABC affiliate, WXYZ-TV Channel 7.  Jerry did the weather in our market for 40 years! 

After months of 'tweeting' with each other as part of the #EarlyRisers, WXYZ morning anchor Alicia Smith and I finally met face to face.  She is one of the nicest people I have ever met. 

After meeting at the Dream Cruise, David and I were invited to drop by the station for a visit.  We brought a cake and gave the morning team #EarlyRisers t-shirts.  It was a dream come true for me to sit behind the anchor desk. 

We were back in Sharon Springs for the second annual Harvest Festival.  Here, David and I are spending a few minutes with Farmer John and Jason in the barn. 

David and I produced a series of Beekman t-shirts and sold them during the Harvest Festival.  They were a hit! 

Josh and Brent have a mass appeal to people of all ages.  During the Harvest Festival, the sidewalks were filled with people wanting a moment with the fabulous pair.  And to think I knew them when...

More WXYZ moments when we attended the first #EarlyRisers/#backchannel Tweetup.  Here we are with morning anchor Vic Faust.   Vic gets my vote for the best hair in local news. 

Throughout the year, we met so many great people, it would take the entire blog to mention them all.  It's been a fantastic year.  Sending best wishes and warm thoughts for an inspiring and wonderful New Year!

Welcome 2011

Wishing you a safe and Happy New Year! 

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Martha Stewart Weddings Features A Special Wedding

The newest issue of Martha Stewart Weddings (Winter, 2011) is on the newsstand and full of great inspiration for brides and grooms to be. 

I was taken with the story " Celebrating at Aunt Martha's" which featured the wedding of Martha's nephew, Christopher Herbert and his long-time partner, Tim Long. 

Those of you who have followed Martha for any length of time may remember a  young Christopher, from his numerous appearances on the original Martha Stewart Living television series. 

Christopher, an incredible classical singer met his partner, pianist Tim Long while auditioning in Aspen, Colorado.  Two years later, Christopher and Tim met once again at the same festival and they both knew love was in the air.  After two years of long distance dating, the couple moved in together on New York City's Upper West Side.  Four years later, Christopher and Tim broke the news to "Aunt Martha" that they wanted to get married.  Martha gleefully responded, "Let's do it at my house in Bedford." 

The story is a delightful and inspirational look at the celebration enjoyed by friends and family of the happy couple.  The outdoor service was held in front of Martha's stone-crafted horse barn, which proved to be a beautiful backdrop for the special day. 

During the planning, Christopher and Tim made it clear to wedding planners Ann David, Nicky Reinhard and designer David Stark, they wanted the event to feel like a casual afternoon hanging out with friends - no rules, no formalities.  Working with the Martha Stewart Weddings team, the afternoon was just that. 

Guests enjoyed three square buttercream cakes - one chocolate, one vanilla and one marble to symbolize the new union.  The cakes were simply decorated, reflecting the casual feel of the celebration.  I'm always taken with the beauty of the cakes featured in the magazine. 

To see more of Christopher and Tim's special day, pick up the latest issue of Weddings at your local newsstand.  You can also enjoy more online at Martha Stewart Weddings

Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas To All.. and To All A Good Night..

As I sit here to write this post, I'm enjoying the wonderment and magic of Christmas Eve.  I've always loved this night... the world calms down at just about 6pm and we spend the evening at home, with a nice dinner, last minute wrapping, and waiting for Santa's arrival. 

The cookies are baked.  The presents are wrapped.  The cats are trying to get into their stockings.  It's Christmas. 

To my friends, my family, and all who happen upon this small place called "House Blend," I wish you a very Merry Christmas and my best wishes for an inspiring, Happy New Year.  See you in 2011!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Martha Gets Animated

Tune into the Hallmark Channel on Monday, December 20 to see Martha like you've never seen her before. 

Martha gets animated in the new series "Martha and Friends" which follows the adventures of a young Martha and her friends Hannah, Kevin, and Lily.  The series premieres with a Christmas special, "Martha and the Christmas Tree." 

It’s a snowy Christmas Eve and Martha and her friends, Kevin, Lily and Hannah are running late, very late. Tonight is Bedford Falls' annual tree-trimming contest and Martha and her friends have worked tirelessly all year in preparation for the magical event. Time is of the essence. But with every attempt to decorate, an emergency arises among their friends, taking the kids out in to the cold night air and away from their tree. Can they help their friends and still finish in time?  You'll have to watch the show to find out  (something tells me our animated heroine will prevail).

Martha Stewart Living Craft Furniture

Recognizing that every good crafter needs a well organized and functional space, Martha Stewart Living is introducing a new line of craft room furniture, available exclusively with the Home Decorators Collection. 

Each craft room collection includes everything the serious crafter would need to keep their supplies in order and within easy reach.  Storage, work desks, and counter height work islands are the basic pieces found in each collection.  Additional accessories are also available. 

The craft furniture line will be available through the Home Decorators Collection beginning December 21.

Other Martha Stewart Furniture lines (available through Home Decorators) include bedroom, home office, dining, living room, and patio. 

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Break Time!

So.. looking at my blog, I realized that I haven't updated since December 1.  That was quite some time ago, eh? 

I'll be posting this weekend.  I have a few things up my sleeve.  :-)

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Holiday Cookie Inspiration

Every year, I traditionally make oversized, decorated sugar cookies for family, friends, and guests during the holidays. I was inspired to take on this tradition after watching Martha Stewart bake and decorate sugar cookies on her television show in 1994. 

In 1995, the first of the oversized copper cookie cutters were made available through Martha by Mail.  The Moon and Star cookie cutter set, was one of the most popular sets ever produced for the company and is the most sought after set by collectors today  (Martha by Mail ceased operations during the first quarter of 2005).

For the last two years, I've made oversized snowmen cookies.  This year, I'm inspired by the 20th anniversary of Martha Stewart Living and the very first set of copper cookie cutters, the Moon and Star.  My original set of Moon/Star cookie cutters will be put to good use this year as I create 'anniversary' celebration cookies perfect for the holidays. 

In her second Christmas book, "A Handmade Christmas," Martha featured the moon and star cookies as a theme for a well decorated tree.  To this day, the tree is one of the classic images I remember most from Martha Stewart Living.

What will you be baking this year?

Monday, November 29, 2010

Martha Stewart to Accept Lifetime Achievement Award

Advertising Age magazine has announced that Martha Stewart will accept the Media Vanguard Lifetime Achievement Award, on November 30 at the Ad Age ME conference. 

According to Ad Age, when the MVA judges and editorial staff from their publication discussed who would be the recipient of the award, it was hands down unanimous:  Martha Stewart. 

Throughout her career, even in the early years, Martha understood and mastered multimedia.  From her first book, "Entertaining" to her PBS video series and regular appearances on the Today Show, Martha took advantage of multimedia to become one of the most familiar American icons to date. 

In 1997, Martha took her company public, with a full out "Omnimedia" approach to the ever growing library of how-to content.  Books, television, merchandise, Internet, and digital all have their place with a single project.  The approach is recognized as one of the most brilliant business platforms.

The Lifetime Achievement honor comes just as Martha Stewart Living magazine starts a year long 20th anniversary celebration. 

Congratulations, Martha!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Less is Merrier - 2010 Decorating

For years, Christmas was EVERYWHERE in our home, beginning the day after Thanksgiving (sometimes even a bit before..) This year I decided that it would be a bit different. Less is more, and less is merrier.   Here is a quick look at some of the holiday decorations for this year: 

Every year, one of the first ornaments I put on our tree, is an ornament given to me by David's Mother.  Prior to her illness and eventual passing, we would share the joy of the Christmas season.  Hanging this ornament on our tree each and every year, always reminds me of her unselfish love.  How I miss her...

Our tree is pretty much red/white/silver (I know, Mike... SO last year..).  A mix of vintage ornaments, and newer ornaments cover the tree.  With my love of all things retro, I found some plastic icicles from the late 50's that just hook over the tree branches.  I spruced them up a bit with a fresh coat of fine white glitter.  I love them! I remember my Mom and Dad having those same icicles years and years (and years) ago.

Another treasure that was found this year.. glittered pine cones.  These pine cones were 'decorated' (and a couple painted teal green) by David's Mom, years ago.  David found them recently while cleaning out a  few things.  These have to be at least 20-30 years old.  I placed them in a beautiful metal basket I bought during our trip to Sharon Springs last spring. 

Making it merry, but keeping it simple.  Since the color scheme is red/white/silver, I decided to take this antique red/white pitcher, place it on a white square plate, fill the plate with faux cranberries and VOILA! Festive, but subtle.  As we get closer to Christmas, I'll fill the pitcher with fresh evergreen boughs.

I have these large canisters in my kitchen and one always seems to stand empty.  I filled it with blue/green ornaments. 

We inherited Davids Grandmothers Hoosier cabinet a few years ago.  Here, white cake stands, red/white holiday plates, and a large white casserole are displayed.  I'll be cutting pine boughs for decoration in the casserole.  It makes a wonderful display piece!

Shades of blue ornaments fill apothecary jars on our mantel shelf in the kitchen eating area. 

In honor of Martha's 20th anniversary, I pulled out the Jadeite cake stands to create a nice centerpiece for the kitchen table.  The snowmen were purchased at Kmart several years ago (Martha Stewart Everyday) The tablecloth is a vintage (50's) table cloth with a beautiful retro print. 

Except for adding some fresh greens (likely next weekend) the house is ready for the holidays.  Now, I need to start working on the over sized decorated sugar cookies!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

A Brief Delay

My usual routine of having the house converted to a Christmas wonderland in a day has been slightly delayed.. (so much for tradition, eh?)  I'll be posting photos soon!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving

Wishing you and yours a wonderful Thanksgiving.  I'll be back on Friday with holiday decorating 2010!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Beatles Music Library On iTunes?

Rumors are swirling after Apple made the less than subtle announcement that the company had something to share at a news conference Tuesday afternoon. 

The Wall Street Journal and other news services are reporting that after years of negotiating, Apple and EMI Records have come to an agreement to sell a library full of Beatles music through iTunes.  The one gap in the Apple extensive music catalog has been the missing Beatles library. 

Apple currently sells more music than any of the large retailers such as Wal-Mart and Amazon. In the last several years, CD sales have declined as digital music services have become more popular.

Apple is scheduled to make an announcement at 3pm, Tuesday, November 16th.