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He’s Baaaaaack…..


As the More is More Mom®, I’m all about……having more of a full house! In the eight weeks since we’ve dropped Nick off at college, Chuck, Amanda, Wrigley and I have settled into a new, if not quieter, routine; all of which went by the wayside this past week when Nick was home for fall break.

 

While Amanda and I were out stocking up on orange juice (we haven’t consumed a single drop since Nick’s been at school), cookies and snacks, Chuck zipped out to rendezvous with Nick’s carpool home. We were all “Wrigley excited” (there’s excited, then there’s Wrigley excited; drool induced tail wagging and body wiggling) to see him. When he stepped through the door he looked taller, more mature and even more self assured than before he left. Not to worry. He’s still the same boy he’s always been; he kicked off his shoes, flung his baseball hat on the island where he dropped his keys, wallet, cell phone, scorecards, golf balls, tee’s, souvenir’s from the course he played in French Lick, IN, and slung his pullover, slacks and shirt (inside out) over a stool at the counter. I’ve missed my boy.

 

The race was on; squeeze in all the visiting, sleep, and normalcy that could be had in eight days time. Number one on his list was to catch up with the fellas that were also home for break and those that go to school nearby. College Town, USA is sorely lacking in civilized dining, so Nick’s first stop was Chipotle. He was in Heaven playing pick-up basketball, golfing and popping in to see his friend’s families. In fact, while visiting at Miguel’s, his mom measured Nick on the family wall, just as she has done since he was in grade school. Apparently he’s grown an inch and a half since he left for school in August (Nick was thrilled!).    

 

What a great week. We all got a little Nick time, even lunch and dinners with both sets of grandparents. The best parts though, were the time we spent just the five of us. Truly, I didn’t even mind the near fist fights between Frick and Frack at the health club over who performs the exercises better.

 

It’s funny how we slipped right back into sync; family dinners, our Modern Family marathon and snuggling Wrigley. But all good things must come to an end, at least for now. Sunday, we all piled into the car; clean laundry, golf clubs, back pack, retainer and Wrigley, headed back to school. Amanda finally got to visit campus, on a private brother/sister only tour with Nick, while Chuck and I were relegated to meandering around on our own with Wrigley. After introducing Amanda to the famous garlic burgers at Marvin’s, we squeezed Nick one last time and hit the road; homeward bound. Fortunately, Thanksgiving is just four weeks away.

 

More returning to normal, more family moments, more time with Nick……. 

To schedule an Interior Design appointment, a Life Style consultation or a speaking engagement, please email me at moreismoremom@aol.com

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The Fabric of Our Lives…..


As the More is More Mom, I’m all about………more fantastic fabrics!

 I was reminded the other day of the importance of “Home”. My Amanda was sitting on the stairs in our foyer, chatting about her day with my mom on the phone, and it struck me; these are the moments that she will remember most, being in our home, connecting to the important people in her life. When the kids were little, I was always mindful about creating memories of their childhood. Of course there will be colorful memories of me ranting and raving like a lunatic about them picking up their rooms, finishing their homework and their lively bickering, but I hope that other memories will prevail.

We love to plug in our I-Pods and sing along together when we’re in the car. In the years to come, I hope they smile and remember those moments fondly when they hear our favorite songs on the radio (Justin Bieber on the oldies station?). When they smell vanilla, I hope they’ll remember coming home from school to fresh baked desserts and, when they get a whiff of pine, I hope they happily remember Christmas.

Our memories are triggered by words and conversations, smells and how our surroundings look and feel. Decorating our homes is one of the many wonderful ways that we can create a sanctuary to nurture our families.

A beautiful selection of fabrics contributes enormously to creating a warm, cozy and welcoming home. Inspiration typically starts with a favorite color, a beloved object or an amazing fabric. The inspiration needn’t be the focal point, just the element that coordinates with and connects everything else.

I had some work to do for one of my design clients at the Merchandise Mart the other day. While I was at Robert Allen (the beautiful fabric house), I thought it would be fun to pull together an example of how to select and coordinate a great combination of fabrics.

Three of the most important elements to consider are color, pattern and texture.

 

Take for instance my inspiration fabric, Floral Medley in Butterscotch. It’s a very interesting fabric with beautiful color and depth. It’s a great floral, with a big scale, so it would really set the tone for a room, be it as sofa, chair, ottoman or window treatment. What gives it greater dimension is the background; a tone on tone stripe paired with a light Swiss dot. Remember your inspiration piece doesn’t have to be the focal point. It may merely serve as that thread of continuity for the other fabrics in your room.

 

Once you have one element in place, the other choices become simpler; your color palette has been defined and the scale has been determined. For me, the next logical selection would be a good solid base fabric. I loved this rub red velvet, Reverence Pompeii. The color pulls out the darker tones of the flower in our inspiration piece.

 

When we’re adding fabrics to strike that pleasing balance, a good rule of thumb regarding scale and pattern is small, medium, large, solid, texture, whimsy. The fun part is putting the pieces of the puzzle together to determine which element is best served where. I found this treasure of a small patterned fabric from Beacon Hill. Tummel in Golden Henna is delightful with its rich, warm golden background and tiny flowers in green and deep raspberry. The little flowers play nicely against the large floral in our inspiration fabric.

 

Stripes are fun and playful! The linear nature of the pattern is a natural contrast to the free flowing floral. Halesworth in Hibiscus has it going on; coral, warm yellow and green, pulling the dominant tones of the grand floral. At this point, a medium scale pattern adds balance. What I liked particularly about the Flowercrest in Bonsai is the dual purpose it serves. The diamond pattern is reminiscent of a trellis, which provides an easy transition for our large floral, but what makes it more interesting is the small floral motif that accentuates each point. I also like that this fabric, in a subtle khaki tone, offers some much needed relief from all of the pink and gold.

 

The last fabric I would add, while simple, has great depth. The texture of the Kosoff in Kelp has a great, woven and organic quality. Its applications are absolutely endless. It would be to die for as a fabulous ottoman or drapery panels, dripping in trim.

 

What I love about design are the endless opportunities to tell our personal stories and create beautiful spaces to live our lives and make special memories for our family and friends.

More beautiful fabrics, more possibilities, more fun, more family memories……

To schedule an Interior Design appointment, please send me an email moreismoremom@aol.com

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Who Doesn’t Like a Rack (of Lamb)?


As the More is More Mom®, I’m all about…..more delicious Halloween Dinners! Forever and ever, we have had a gaggle of kids and their parents in our home for cocktails, appetizers and dinner. What better way to bring families and friends together? But, our kids are big now; Nick hasn’t dressed up in years, and Amanda and her pal, Rosebud, decided just last night, on the fly, what costumes to wear. Long ago are the days where we planned and plotted their costumes for weeks on end, visiting fabric and party stores, my mom and I turning our basement into a sweatshop with dueling sewing machines. No, this year was quiet, so I decided to cook a special dinner: Rack of Lamb.

Lamb is such a treat and is really very easy to prepare. The Cabernet Sauce is perfect for a cool and spooky night. I think you’re going to love it all autumn and winter long!

Roasted Rosemary Encrusted Rack of Lamb, with a Shallot and Cabernet Sauce:

There will be approximately 24 ribs, 3-4 ribs per serving, 6-8 servings

Pre-heat the oven to 400°

Spray a roasting pan with non-stick spray

Place 3 racks of lamb in pan (I always have good luck at Costco for my meat, and the lamb is no different)

Salt and pepper both sides

In a medium size bowl, mix:

1-½ cups of fresh, white bread crumbs (about 6 slices chopped in the food processor)

 3 Tbsp chopped rosemary

8 cloves if garlic minced

1 stick of butter, softened (not melted, for a nice, spreadable consistency)

 

Coat the tops and sides of the racks with the bread mixture

Roast for 25-30 minutes or until a meat thermometer registers 125-130°

Remove from the oven and place on a cutting board

Reserve the pan juices for the sauce

Shallot and Cabernet Sauce:

I found that the pan didn’t have that many juices, because of the bread crumb mixture, there were more brown bits. I placed my roasting pan directly on a burner over medium-high heat.

 

Add;

½ stick of butter

 

Once melted, add;

¾ cups finely chopped shallots

Cook until tender, 2-3 minutes

Add;

1 ½ cups of Cabernet

For about 2 minutes, and reduce

Stir in;

12 oz beef broth

1 Tbsp Dijon mustard

2 Tbsp unsalted butter

Cook on medium-low heat until heated through and liquid starts to reduce

Through a mesh colander, filter sauce into a sauce pan

Bring liquid in the saucepan to a boil, to continue the reduction process

To thicken;

Add 1-2 more Tbsp of softened butter

Turn off heat

If the sauce needs to be thickened further add a few Tbsp of flour and stir

Slice racks into ribs

Serve with sauce

Such rich, amazing, flavorful goodness!

What better to accompany the beautiful rack of lamb than mashed potatoes and roasted green beans?

Everybody knows how to make mashed potatoes. If you don’t, please email me at moreismoremom@gmail.com

Roasted Tomatoes and Green Beans

Pre-heat oven to 400°

Line a large rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil

Prepare;

3 lbs greens beans, ends trimmed (or purchase them that way at the grocery store)

2 pints of grape tomatoes, rinsed

 In a bowl combine;

2 Tbsp olive oil

2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar

1 ½ tsp salt

In a large bowl, toss;

Green beans

Grape tomatoes

Vinaigrette

 

Place coated veggies on baking sheet

Sprinkle;

2 Tbsp mustard seeds

Roast 20 minutes, until veggies are tender

Plate and serve…

 

More family meals, more trick-or-treating, mote elegant Halloween suppers…

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Halloween Hostess Gifts…


As the More is More Mom®, I am all about…more parties! What better way to catch up with your gal pals than with a Witches Night Out and a little ghoul talk? More of everything is always better! Completely out of the blue, I had two fun parties to attend Thursday evening. So many cocktails, so little time……

 

When I’m invited into someone’s home I always like to bring a thoughtful treasure. Gift giving is truly an art form. Take for instance cocktails and appetizers in my neighborhood. A few weeks ago, I was chatting with my neighbor, Mrs. Lilly, and she was lamenting that with her youngest away at college this year there was no reason to put out her beloved Halloween decorations. Always one to be thinking (about parties) on my feet, I suggested she decorate as usual and invite the neighbor girls over for wine and snacks to enjoy her spooky best. And she did! Now I know how much Mrs. Lilly treasures time with her family, so I found for her a great picture frame, with “Trick or Treat” embroidered on the fabric mat. I thought it would be the perfect place for a photograph of her grandson enjoying Halloween.

 

Because I love everything, I’m sure it comes as no surprise that I also love ribbon. I have bin after Rubbermaid bin full of it in my storage room. Whenever I’m at a fabric or craft store I always stock up on bright colors, fun patterns, and holiday themes. For these gifts, I grabbed a spool of 1/2” white ribbon embellished with black skulls. To add a little color and dimension to the presentation, I also used a very thin orange ribbon with white polka dots. Now, I hate to be a cheapie, but I typically don’t like to spend money on greeting cards (except that I am a total sucker for Hoops and YoYo those funny fellas from Hallmark). I prefer my vast collection of note cards and gift tags. Often times, I will even use a place card (they come in packages with very large quantities), punch a hole in the corner, lacing the ribbon through and tying a nice bow. The most important part is the endearing message you write to your hosts, thanking them for their generous hospitality.

 

Now, my second stop is at the home of my super fun and generous girlfriend, who is a theme girl too. Tonight, everyone must dress up as a witch! How fun is that? Witches brew and bat stew for dinner. I can’t imagine anything more delicious! She has a beautiful home, each nook and cranny lovingly decorated, so I knew at once when I had found the perfect gift for her. The petite footed, domed cake plate has so many possibilities. I’ve also have cookies for her family to enjoy, but you can get so much more creative than that. It’s a fantastic place to feature other decorative treasures. It would be darling with a collection of favorite, delicate Christmas ornaments or a bed of moss with a little birds nest with speckled eggs. In the summer, it would be fun to showcase an iron figurine inspired by nature, or even decorative rattan, grapevine or moss balls. The possibilities are endless!

More gifts, more girl time, more merry making….

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