Monday, February 09, 2015

Making Our Homes Cozy as Winter Continues

My cat, snoozing happily away in our kitchen

What makes you feel like your home is cozy? I keep thinking about my friends back East suffering through multiple snowstorms in a row. How they must look forward to returning to their homes after venturing out into the cold and snow! Besides the obvious (shelter, warmth, electricity) benefits of returning home, what makes you and your household anticipate returning?

Today I'm doing small tasks to ensure my home remains a cozy place that myself and my houseguests look forward to enjoying in the evenings after our wintry workdays.

QUICK THINGS TO DO TODAY:

  • Make meal plans for the week ahead if you didn't yesterday; create grocery list
  • Need to order any flowers sent for Valentine's Day? If not to your sweetie, to yourself? Your mom, sister, grandmother, maiden aunt? Single girl friend who might not get any flowers this year? Gay best friend who would appreciate such a gesture?
  • Are there any Valentine's Day crafting projects or card signing you need to help your school aged children with?

TODAY'S PROJECT: Making Home Cozy

Caravan Gem Hanging Lantern, from Pier 1 Imports

I'm going out to dinner tonight, so my project today will have to be a brief one. I think I'll prioritize making (and keeping) my home a cozy haven to return to.

When I'm home in the evening and houseguests are returning from a long day of work or sightseeing, I like to welcome them by always, always having candles lit. Plus a fire in the fireplace if it's a rainy day! A cozy home is a clean, tidy home, for starters, so I'll whisk away any clutter that has gathered on table tops, stairways or in the front entryway.

Some suggestions for keeping your home cozy this week:

  • A cozy home is well stocked with firewood (or a natural gas fire is lit on cold evenings) whenever the budget allows
  • A cozy home should smell pleasant - litter box changed frequently, trash cans emptied, fragrant candles, oils or home spray utilized if no housemates have allergies
  • Freshly laundered fluffy throws await on clutter-free couches.
  • Well trimmed candles burn merrily from lanterns; or colorful lamps light a guestroom you pass by on your way to the bathroom or another part of the house.
  • The pantry is well stocked with the makings for hot tea, hot cocoa, hot coffee, or a warming bourbon.
  • Television remotes can be found easily and aren't scattered about.
  • A freshly made bed, with recently laundered sheets to snooze on.
  • A recently-dusted nightstand with a book waiting to be read at bedtime.
  • Throw rugs are neatly in place to catch wet shoes on your way in.
  • Bathrobes and slippers are available as needed
  • A vase of fresh flowers or a blooming houseplant sit cheerfully on the dining table or side table
  • The kitchen is warm and bright, clean and smelling of freshly baked things or home cooking - whenever possible!

What small chores might you do (sweeping? Tidying? Laundry? Candle lighting?) to ensure a welcoming home?

LOVELY BLOGS: Domestic Gothess

Hannah lives in Birmingham in the UK. I've been enjoying her tasty looking, beautifully photographed recipes. Recently she's posting about chocolate cherry challah, darling mini chocolate raspberry cakes for two, raspberry meringue kisses, and an Esterhazy torte. Besides all the lovely desserts, she blogs about savory foods too, such as this spinach ricotta pasta with butternut squash.

http://domesticgothess.com/

LOVELY BOOKS: Home Made Beverages

This quaint 1919 book might be just the thing for all my snowbound readers, baking and playing board games and getting thirsty! If you have the right ingredients on hand (it might be hard to get to the store in snowy New England right now!) the book will teach you how to make punches, sundaes, phosphates, syrups, beers and pop, frappes, ciders, wines, and grape juice. Might be a nice project to while away the cabin fever!

Home Made Beverages, at Archive.org

LOVELY FOOD: Leone Candies

Look at these darling vintage-inspired boxed candies from Italy! I propose I should be the type of "fun aunt" who always carries a box or two of these in my purse to dole out to nieces and nephews. Flavors include cinnamon, violet, tangerine, lemon, raspberry, blueberry, dark chocolate, wild berries, strawberry, red currant, ginger, and green tea.

Some of the candies even come packaged in darling retro tins, such as this one filled with cinnamon pastilles.

Leone Candies, on Amazon

LOVELY FOOD: Pierre Marcolini Chocolates

I have not tasted any of these gourmet Belgian chocolates. I'm just sitting here in awe of the stunning packaging and enjoying playing with the website. I'm pretending to customize a four-tray box of these heart-shaped chocolates. I won't be able to actually afford to order any of them, but I can dream. See what you think! Oh boy am I in trouble if I ever find a US-based retailer for these!

http://www.marcolini-eboutique.com/

LOVELY HOME: Williams-Sonoma's Citrus Shop

I'm not necessarily going to replace my current kitchen decor (a mishmash of my favorite color, turquoise, and the mismatched blue kettle, red Dutch oven and red-and-white dishes). But I love, on a dreary, rainy winter day, looking over these citrus kitchen towels, lemon candles, key lime quick bread mixes, citrus dishes, a lemon citrus loaf pan, and lime margarita mixes. This time of year, citrus seems so refreshing, clean and crisp to me! A nice break from the reality of my muddy dog-pawed floors, ashy fireplace that gets used every night, and heavily curtained windows. So far I've contained myself and just browsed happily, I've not yet bought anything!

http://www.williams-sonoma.com/shop/new/new-featured-citrus-shop/

LOVELY SHOPS: Fresh Pastry Stand

Here's a delightful Etsy shop selling charming vintage retro home decor: tea towels, beeswax and soy candles, and lovely pastry stands for tea parties. I love how unique the candle shapes are: there are candles shaped like milk glass vases, Kewpies, and even like old apothecary poison bottles.

My favorite thing here is the brightly colored Melody cake stand.

https://www.etsy.com/shop/freshpastrystand

LOVELY LINKS FOR TODAY:

Angel Hair Pasta with Broccoli and White Beans (See Hatsie)

Brussels Valentine's Day Shop Windows (Paris Breakfasts)

Care for a Slice of Vintage Sweet Story Cake? (Chronically Vintage)

Cheddar Parmesan Savory Biscotti (Lemony Thyme)

Corn, Chile and Potato Soup (The Wednesday Chef)

Creamy Broccoli Soup (Annie's Eats)

Frozen Mini Red Velvet Cheesecakes (Chelsea's Messy Apron)

Italian Chicken Cheesy Bread (Crunchy Creamy Sweet)

Laduree Notebooks and Journals (French Chic and Shabby)

Mini German Chocolate Cake for Two (Chocolate Moosey)

Mini Heart-Shaped Red Velvet Lava Cakes (Bake at 350)

Mini King Cake Recipe (Mommy Upgrade)

Nutella-Filled Merveilleux (Bakingdom)

Slow Cooker Portuguese White Bean Stew (Tasty Eats at Home)

Sofa Makeover Tricks That Work Every Time (PopSugar)

10 Ways to Squeeze a Little Extra Storage Out of a Small Pantry (Apartment Therapy)

Valentine Party Decorations (Skip to My Lou)

Vanilla Bean Pots de Creme (Alexandra Cooks)

White Bean and Sausage Stew with Wilted Greens (Eating Made Easy)


--Copyright 2015 Lovely Living

www.lovely-living.com

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