Natural Christmas Decor Inspiration

I'm dying to start decorating for Christmas, but I'm bogged down with school work as we round out the final two weeks of the semester. So during a little break from reading 1000+ page textbooks, I compiled some beautiful and natural Christmas decor ideas.

Poinsettias in vases - Large ones can be displayed on the floor, small ones on tabletops.
Rosemary tree - Looks festive and smells wonderful. Also can be used after the holidays for cooking.

Mixed herb wreath - Another festive and functional decoration

Holly berry - displayed in a tall vase or incorporated into the tree or wreath.

 Pomanders - Classic Christmas decor, these oranges are dotted with cloves for a bright, natural scent.

Vine Topiary Cone - Can be displayed as is or covered in ribbon, twine or garland

Cranberries as a vase filler or garland

Pomegranates displayed in a bowl or pedestal or as a place card holder

Burlap as a table runner, rustic Christmas tree skirt or made into stockings.

Image 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9


Woodland Nursery

I've been hiding this from you. This is the nursery that I dream about for our future little one. A soothing, gender neutral, not too over the top woodland nursery. No I'm not pregnant, but there are whispers in the air about when we'll get down to business. I'll be done with school next May so I'll be looking for a job and we're still trying to move home. But a year from now? Early 2013? Maybe.

1. Branch Bookshelf - Oliver Dolle - I think this could be DIYed
2. 3D wall stick birds - Urban Outfitters
3. Short Drum Pendant in Natural Linen - West Elm
4. Baby Deer - The Animal Print Shop by Sharon Montrose
5. Tree of Life Art Print - Degree
6. Grey Sparrow Crib - Ouef NYC - I found a similar and more affordable one at Walmart!
7. IKEA flokati rug - No longer available
8. Diabolo Bed Bumper - Smallable
9. Ceramic Branch Table Lamp - West Elm
10. Mercury Owl -  West Elm
11. Lyrical Branches Window Curtain - World Market
12. Dupioni Grommet Curtain, Metallic Silver - World Market - I liked both 11. and 12. and couldn't decide.
13. Amish wood rocker - Baby Eco Trends - Could definitely be thrifted, we have one waiting in my in-law's basement.
14. Knitted Camo Pouf - CB2
15. Swaddle Blanket - Aden + Anais - Pattern no longer available
16. Mid Century Modern Dresser - Can be found on Craigslist and in thrift stores
17. Mushroom Stool - VivaTerra


Still Here

Things have quieted down a bit around here due to my constant stream of 10 hour clinicals, exams every other week and ubiquitous busy work.

Only one semester left.


French Onion Soup with French Dip Sandwiches

I'm working my way through my French inspired meal plan and it was time for French Onion Soup. I made this version with a slow cooker, and I have to say it was disappointing. After smelling it cooking all day I was expecting a delicious complex flavor but what I got was a bland echo of real French Onion Soup. Then I remembered the last time I made French Onion soup on the stove using this recipe from Smitten Kitchen, which I included here for you. This recipe really gives you the rich, deep, savory flavor that you expect from French Onion Soup. Don't forget the sandwiches, together they make a filling, hearty meal perfect for cold and windy fall evenings.

French Onion Soup via Smitten Kitchen

1/2 lb (about 5 cups) thinly sliced yellow onions (a mandoline works well for this)
3 tbsp unsalted butter
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp sugar
3 tbsp flour
2 quarts (8 cups) beef stock
1/2 dry white wine
sliced baguette

Melt the butter and olive oil together in the bottom of a 4 or 5 quart saucepan or dutch oven over moderately low heat. Add the onions, toss to coat them in oil and cover the pot. Reduce the heat to low and let them slowly steep for 15 minutes. 

After 15 minutes, uncover the pot, raise the heat slightly and stir in the salt and sugar. Cook onions, stirring frequently, for 30 to 40 minutes until they have turned an even deep, golden brown.

After the onions are fully caramelized, sprinkle them with flour and cook, stirring, for 3 minutes. Add the wine then stock, a little at at a time, stirring between additions. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Bring to a simmer and simmer partially covered for 30 to 40 more minutes.

Preheat broiler. Arrange six ovenproof soup bowls or crocks on a large baking sheet and divide the soup among the six bowls. Add 1/2 teaspoon raw grated onion and a tablespoon of grated cheese to each bowl. Stir to combine. Float a slice of baguette on top of the soup and cover with grated Gruyere or Swiss Cheese.

Place the bowls under the broiler for about 5 minutes or until the cheese is melted and bubbly.

French Dip Sandwiches via Everyday Occasions

1/4 of a baguette
1/2 lb sliced roast beef.
1/4  lb sliced gruyere or swiss (left over from soup)
Dijon mustard

Slice baguette down the side to create and opening. On the bottom side top with cheese and sliced beef. Place on a baking sheet under the broiler for about 5 minutes until the cheese is melted and bubbly. Slater on mayo and Dijon mustard on top half of baguette. Cut in half.


Link Love

Happy weekend! A friend of mine in Michigan just started her new blog Kiss my Smash. Ashley represent every girl who surfs the internet and drools over all of the wonderful food, crafty, DIY and fashion blogs and dreams of putting together all of those spectacular projects. So head on over and check it out!


 Check out some other great links from around the web

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