Monthly Archives: October 2012

I was country when country wasn’t cool.

… If any of you remember that song, I think you’ll relate well to my story.

I'm grateful for country music

Photo from Pinterest.

As I sit and watch TV, the commercial for the upcoming Country Music Awards (CMA)  show comes on.  Memories flood into my head.  I grew up in a small country town with sidewalks, doors unlocked, and mom’s 5 o’clock daily whistle  (which was our cue to run home from playing at a friend’s house).  I had a small hometown life — quaint and safe.

During my childhood, my parents would listen to Hank Williams Jr., Bobby Darren, Johnny Cash, Loretta Lynn, Conway Twitty, Porter Wagner, Dolly Parton and George Jones.  The music was slow, soothing, and told a story.  Granted, it usually was a sad story, yet when I hear one of the “oldies” today, I smile as I am transported back to my childhood.

Although the great icons of country music were part of my youth, it wasn’t cool to tell anyone you listened to country music in the punk rock and pop era. I did listen to Top 40, and a few of my favorites are Steve Winwood, Rick Astley, and Toto.  But my heart belongs to country music and I found myself always reaching for the radio dial and changing the station to  country Q100.

couple cuddling

Cozy up and watch the CMAs!

I want to ask all country music fans, like myself, to take a moment on November 1 when the CMA show is on and give homage to the icons of country music.  The voices of yesterday lit the walkway for today’s stars to SHINE.  Those stars of yesteryear made the country music foundation strong and sturdy.  That foundation supports the versatility of music that falls under the country music umbrella of today.

On November 1, curl up under a cozy throw and enjoy the CMA show.

-Marlene     #1 Fan of Alabama

Categories: Blanket, Throw & Sheet Commentary | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment

Year-Round Yellow

Corn stalk

Bright yellow corn found in a corn maze in New England.

If color inspires you, New England is the perfect place to be in the fall.  The trees are so vibrant you’ll wish you could freeze time, and every day is breathtaking whether you’re taking a walk through the park or stuck in traffic during your morning commute.  When autumn arrives, I feel so lucky to live in New England and experience the changing of the season.

This time of year always provides great inspiration for home décor, but I often struggle with making my ideas practical enough to last throughout the year.  This year, I was determined to find new trendy ways to use my favorite color of fall – yellow!  Here are some of the ideas I found that would be great in any season.

This painting is the perfect accent of yellow in a reading nook.

This painting is the perfect accent of yellow in a reading nook. From Pinterest.

 

Choosing a mustard yellow color can spice up a room, but still keep it somewhat neutral.

Choosing a mustard yellow color can spice up a room, but still keep it somewhat neutral. From Pinterest.

Whether a room is feminine or masculine, yellow curtains can be a great touch!

Whether a room is feminine or masculine, yellow curtains can be a great touch! From Pinterest.

Blue and yellow is not a combo you see very often, but this room looks fabulous.

Blue and yellow is not a combo you see very often, but this room looks fabulous. From Pinterest.

This is a nice simple addition of yellow in a neutral room, and I love how the throw blanket is under the chair cushion!

This is a nice simple addition of yellow in a neutral room, and I love how the throw blanket is under the chair cushion! From Pinterest.

How do you use unique colors to accent your home? We would love to see photos!

 -Nicole

Categories: Blanket, Throw & Sheet Commentary | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment

A Day at the Pumpkin Farm

Lace pumpkin

Printed lace pumpkin. Found on Pinterest.

The smell of fall was in the air this past weekend, and the pumpkin farm was calling my name! I jumped in the car and went on my usual fall hunt for the most unusual and quirky pumpkins I could find to decorate my new apartment.  In the past, once I have claimed my pumpkins, my excitement has overwhelmed me and I immediately started carving them. They never end up lasting until Halloween.

After spending much too long hunting for my pumpkins in all shapes, sizes, and yes …colors, I decided to research new and exciting ways to decorate my pumpkins. Take a look at the following photos I gathered as inspiration to decorate my pumpkins in a non-traditional way! Stay tuned for photos of the techniques I choose to decorate my own pumpkins.  Do you have any special technique/creative ways to decorate pumpkins that you could share?

-Emily

Pumpkins with plastic vampire teeth!

Pumpkins with plastic vampire teeth! From Pinterest.

Candy Corn painted pumpkins

Candy Corn painted pumpkins, how cute! From Pinterest.

Lace covered Pumpkin.

Lace covered Pumpkin for a very gothic feel. From Pinterest.

 

Silhouette Painted pumpkin

Silhouette Painted pumpkin with added tassel trim. This one is my favorite! From Pinterest.

 

Categories: Blanket, Throw & Sheet Commentary | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

Halloween Costumes Just Got More Cuddly

Cow Cuddly Buddies Throw

During the fall season there are many holidays I adore. My favorite holiday is Thanksgiving.  But before we get to that holiday there is another holiday I also adore;  all hallows eve.  We know it more familiarly as Halloween, the night of trick or treating.  Each year my daughter, Del, and I plan months in advance which character, movie star, or creature she will be.

Till now, my favorite character that Del has been is the demented veterinarian.  Now… this was no easy costume to put together.  Locating a lab coat and finding the appropriate stuffed animals to sew on to the coat along with the fake stethoscope took months to locate.  It was quite the undertaking, but I loved every minute of the collaboration with my daughter.  What I did not like was the stress of trying to find the right items to create the perfect costume.

Last year we planned on going dressed up as Lady Gaga. We did the usual pre-planning and had the costume all ready to go, including the face mask, make-up,  and wig.  We were going to be STYLING!  Sadly, we did not get to go out as Lady Gaga.  If you remember last year in Massachusetts we had a horrible snow storm right before the holiday.  The weather was unseasonably cold and SNOWY. The town we live in decided to delay Trick Or Treating by one week.   Even then, the sidewalks were not cleared and there was ice and snow everywhere the children had to walk.

Del decided to use her Cuddly Buddies® Cow as her costume. The Cow allowed my daughters face to be unobstructed so she could watch her step carefully… and best of all the plush fabric kept her warm!

Del received a lot of compliments on her costume.  She looked great — she was warm, and best of all, she got LOTS OF CANDY!

Check out our website to browse Cuddly Buddies for your child’s costume this year! Choose from a dragon, unicorn, kitten, puppy, duck, monster, monkey, frog, ladybug, or koala!

-Marlene

Categories: Blanket, Throw & Sheet Commentary | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

Apples, Apples, Everywhere!

Apple muffin trays

With fall comes many warm and delicious dishes that fill your house with inviting smells. I recently went apple picking with some friends and came home with a heavy bag of delicious apples. I have taken a few to work for snacks for me and my coworkers, and I told my parents to do the same, but we haven’t made a dent! So, I thought I should try baking an apple dish. There’s the traditional apple pie which everyone enjoys, but I wanted to try something different this year.

When I say I am not a baker, I can assure you it’s the truth. I can make a simple cake or cupcakes but that’s about it! Searching online, I found a recipe for apple muffins that seemed pretty easy for an amateur baker. I’ve had apple muffins, but they were always from stores, never homemade.

Here is the recipe (courtesy of Pamela from http://www.food.com/recipe/ernas-apple-pie-muffins-57629):

Topping

  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup flour
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted

Batter

  • 2 1/4 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup buttermilk (or use 1 tsp vinegar in 1 cup milk)
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 1/2 cups packed brown sugar
  • 2 cups diced apples

Directions:

  1. Topping-mix all together, until mixture forms crumbs.
  2.  Batter- Whisk together egg, buttermilk, butter, and vanilla.
  3.  Stir in sugar.
  4.  Without mixing, add flour, baking soda, salt and apples.
  5.  Stir just until combined.
  6.  Do not over mix.
  7.  Spoon into muffin cups.
  8.  Sprinkle with the topping.
  9.  Bake at 375 degrees F for 20 minutes or until firm to the touch.

The preparation was easy to follow, but it took me a little bit longer to prepare because I was a little bit rusty. As the muffins were in the oven, I kept catching myself sniffing the air when I was cleaning up and listening to a football game on TV. The smell of apples and brown sugar made me check the timer every few seconds hoping the time was almost up.

Finished apples

Finally, time was up, and I was so excited to take them out of the oven. After carefully placing them on the cooling rack and letting a few minutes go by for them to cool, my mom and I dove in to do a taste test. This was an easy and yummy recipe, definitely one that I will hold on to and hopefully make again and again. Go ahead try it! Let me know what you think!

-Jenna

Categories: Blanket, Throw & Sheet Commentary | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

Teacups of Yixing: Colors of China Part 2

teacup 1

Within China there are towns and regions that boast “the best of.” The best long-life noodles, powder white fluffy buns, or teapots. On my trip I happened to visit Yixing, which is known for its famous teapots!

The soil is rare and can only be found in that particular area. Combine the soil quality with the generations of potters that artfully create these teapots, you get an everyday useful household item that is a true work of art to be admired and used for generations.

The’ colors of the teapots range from a plain, matte red earthen ware to deep chocolate-brown with a light dewy gloss, or full color with an artistic picture. And some have one meaningful image skillfully painted in gold. They are micro in size for a small personal cup or very large to enjoy a steaming pot in the afternoon with friends.

teacup 2

The ritual of making tea is an art in itself. The plants are grown in the correct climate under the watchful eye of the farmer, who knowingly harvests the plants at the precise time. He is proud of his leaves, for he knows that the leaves and a knowledgable brewer will create the perfect pot of tea. The leaves need to steep at a certain temperature and time to create the perfect cup.

A perfect and timeless gift from China is a bag of tea leaves. I am currently loving jasmine pearl tea and a beautiful crafted teapot. I know it will be a gift my mother will enjoy and think of me every time she sips the warm perfumed tea out of her new teapot from Yixing.

-Maryellen

Categories: Blanket, Throw & Sheet Commentary | Tags: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Blog at WordPress.com.