Querkles, Color By Number For Adults

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Lately I’ve been unwinding by doing Thomas Pavitte’s 1,000-dot-to-dots. (I know, I’m a wild woman.) The next logical step is clearly his Querkles, color by number for adults! At first glance they’re nothing but a random arrangement of overlapping circles, but hidden within each one is a famous face waiting to be revealed. You can keep it simple and use one pen or pencil, or you can go colorful with markers or paints. Not sold? There’s even a free download!

 

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Happy Weekend

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This week on Design Crush:
Johan Barrios makes graphite and watercolor look better than could ever be expected.
Crushing on ENTLER‘s ceramic lighting collection in a big way.
Yung Cheng Lin explores female body modification through this digitally manipulated series.
Get in my kitchen cupboards, Cosmic Diner Collection!
Lorna Simpson‘s latest work touches on interactions, relationships, and experiences in contemporary America.
It’s time to pack your modern backpack!
Amanda Happé‘s bright mixed media pieces are just what the doctor ordered.
I *finally* got the office in shape and am so excited to use it more!
Check out these 11 apps you need in your life.

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Drink Rocks Set

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This Drink Rocks Set is doing it for me. Reason 1 is that drink rocks are amazing for not watering down whatever libation you’re sipping on, reason 2 is that the varied shapes and colors act as an identifier if more than one person is drinking the same thing out of a similar glass.

 

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8 Portable Speakers

The most indispensable item when entertaining is a solid portable speaker. I love being able to grab it to take along wherever the action is – dining room, deck, park, you name it. Not so long ago consumers were limited to one or two quality sounds, but these days we have not only our choice of brands but color and design as well.

 

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ROW 1: Beloit 15 // Helsinki // Tube Audio
ROW 2: Zipp Airplay // Nixon Mini Blaster Speaker
ROW 3: Bose Soundlink // Boombot REX // Solar Powered Radio

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Creating a Holiday Candy Buffet

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It’s holiday party season – are you organizing one this year? I’ve been having a few friends over here and there, which I much prefer to one grand shindig. More quality time to talk and just hang out at the speed I prefer. I wanted to pull together a little takeaway for each gathering and came up with this candy buffet in my dining room as a sweet treat to end the evening.

 

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I used the metallic tones I tend to gravitate towards during the holidays as a starting point. Lots of glass jars of different sizes, small porcelain bowls, gem-cut mercury glass bowls, a metal hammered gold bowl, and a few pieces that I already had tucked away round out the spread nicely.

 

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Layering different heights adds visual interest that pulls you right through the buffet as you gather your goodies on the go. I stuck to a palette of silver, blue, red, and green candy and was sure to include lots of different types – chocolate, fruit flavored, chewy, hard – lots of different textures and flavors to satisfy even the choosiest visitor!

 

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The main focal point is a group of three paper trees I made a few years ago, a sweet white ceramic stag head, and several tea lights in small mason jars to add lots of sparkle and shine to the surface. A flocked wreath hanging in the overhead in the window added some extra holiday spirit.

 

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Of course we couldn’t forget the most iconic Christmas classics – candy canes and peppermints. Miniature candy canes are perfect for adding to a cup of hot chocolate. Use one as a stir until it dissolves for a twist on the old standby.

 

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The buffet is easy to replenish as things run out between get togethers and looks pretty enough when not in use. Hope your holiday season is stress-free and sweet!

Shop the buffet: Ceramic Stag Head // Small Gold Metal Hammered Serving Bowl // 18″ Flocked Wreath with Blue Ornaments // Assorted Porcelain Dip Bowls // Silver Mercury Glass Cereal Bowl // Small Frosted Gold Mason Jar // Medium Frosted Silver Mason Jar // Medium Frosted Gold Mason Jar

 

This post is sponsored by Target. Shop Home Décor for modern luxury made easy.

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you’re invited to: Christmas Brunch

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A few years ago my family switched to having a Christmas Day brunch in place of dinner. While I miss the big dinner with all of the trimmings, this seems to suit us all just fine. It’s always at my Grandma’s house, but if it were at mine it might go a little something like this. Lots of brights and metallics and an air of fun about it all. Lots of carbs to pick at while each person opens their gifts. And of course dessert and some alcohol to lighten the mood. Wanna come over? (Imaginary Christmas 2013, Imaginary Holiday Appetizer Party)

 

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Adorn Wooden Ornaments // Christmas Scent // Decorative Sisal Trees // DIY Fancy Paper Chain //
Flaneur’s Pocket Geometric Wooden Ornaments // DIY Paint Chip Wreath // DIY Paper Pinecones //
Tinsel Tree Wall Decoration // DIY Paper Mistletoe Kissing Ball

 

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Fig and Black Pepper Lattes // Nutella Hot Chocolate // Pear Nectar & Thyme Mimosas

 

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Herbed Cocktail Meatballs with Honey Mustard Sauce // Miso Deviled Eggs //
Rosemary Spiced Mixed Nuts

 

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Blomster // Branch & Twig Cocktail Picks // Cloched Greenery // Confetti Platter //
DIY Dip-Dyed Placecards // French Wine Glass // Glittered Cocktail Stirrers //
Pearl Place Hi-Ball Set // Red Birds Plate

 

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Earl Grey Orange and Medjool Date Scones // Easy Breakfast Roll Ups //
Easy Fluffy Eggnog Cinnamon Rolls // Eggnog Steel Cut Oatmeal // Garlic Parmesan Roasted Potatoes //
King’s Hawaiian Waffles with Pumpkin Syrup // Maple Molasses Muffins //
Sweet Potato Pomegranate Salad // Vanilla Maple Baked Stuffed Apple Parfaits

 

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Apple Cake // Carrot Gingerbread Cake with Cardamom Frosting and Ginger Fries //
Chocolate Peppermint Bundt Cake

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Making Dessert Count: Dense Bittersweet Chocolate Cake

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Dessert is a big part of the holidays, in fact I think it’s a big part of any successful get together. It’s the time when it’s okay to indulge a little and let the conversation flow. Some of my favorite times have been spent gathered around a table – dining or coffee – with friends and family at the end of a delicious meal. So when Target asked me to share just what makes holiday entertaining special – that sweet finish worth lingering over – I couldn’t resist.

 

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To me dessert isn’t just about what’s on the plates, it’s just as much about the ambiance. You want to create a relaxed atmosphere that makes your guests feel comfortable and happy. In my home that means lowered lights, candles, and quiet music in the background that doesn’t overshadow the conversation.

 

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This is one of my favorite holiday desserts that’s a year round classic doesn’t say “holiday” at all. (But no fear, it can easily be dressed up with some whipped cream and red berries to make it so!) I prefer to serve this Dense Bittersweet Chocolate Cake with a dusting of powdered sugar and coffee. A thin slice is all that’s needed, and it isn’t the sort of sweet that can’t be eaten quickly, it’s meant to be savored – inviting the conversation that makes the holidays so wonderful. . These mercury glass plates spotlight the not too sweet slices quite nicely, while a gold charger easily doubles as a serving plate for the cake itself. My favorite mood lighting continues to be tea lights, they’re so easy and sparkly set in a few small frosted gold mason jars. Hours of talking and memories await!

 

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Dense Bittersweet Chocolate Cake
serves 10

Ingredients
• 12 oz fine bittersweet chocolate (not unsweetened), chopped
• 1 1/2 sticks (3/4 C) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
• 1 1/2 tsp vanilla
• 1/4 tsp salt
• 3/4 C sugar
• 5 large eggs, separated and brought to room temperature
• 3/4 C flour

Place oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 350°F. Butter a 9-inch springform pan and line bottom with a round of parchment or wax paper, then butter paper.

Melt chocolate and butter in a large (microwave-safe) bowl in the microwave set at 50% power for 3 to 4 minutes, stirring once every 60 seconds. Cool completely. Whisk in vanilla, salt, and 6 tablespoons sugar. Add yolks 1 at a time, whisking well after each addition. Whisk in flour.

Beat whites with a pinch of salt in a bowl using an electric mixer at medium-high speed until they hold soft peaks, then add remaining 6 tablespoons sugar a tablespoon at a time, and continue to beat until whites hold stiff glossy peaks.

Whisk one fourth of whites into chocolate mixture, then fold in remaining whites gently but thoroughly. Pour batter into springform pan and spread evenly.

Bake until a toothpick or skewer inserted into cake center comes out with moist crumbs attached, about 35 to 40 minutes.

Cool cake in pan on a rack for 10 minutes, then remove side of pan and cool cake completely. Invert cake onto rack and remove bottom of pan, discarding paper, then invert cake onto a plate. Enjoy!

This post is sponsored by Target. Shop Home Décor for modern luxury made easy.

Disclaimer: This post sponsored by Target. All words and opinions are my own as always. Thank you for supporting the brands that help keep our content fresh!

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you’re invited to: Thanksgiving

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Pulling together our daydream Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s get togethers is one of my favorite sets of recurring posts all year. It’s so much fun to imagine the ideal holiday, food, and festivities surrounding each. This November I’m imagining lots of natural elements – wood, clay, DIYs, etc – and a few touches of metallic to add some interest to the Thanksgiving decor. Take a look at our version of the holiday from warm welcomes to full-bellied goodbyes, and let us know what you’re planning for your table too! (If you’d like to see our Thanksgivings past, here’s 2012 and 2013.)

 

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Fallen Feathers Wreath //  Homemade Simmering Spices // DIY Pumpkin Lantern //
Basket of Birch Logs // DIY Menu Pumpkin // Linen Fabric Bunting Banner

 

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Cranberry Cider Smash // Salted Lemon Sage Cocktail // Slow Cooker Apple Cider

 

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Cranberry Baked Brie Puffed Pastry Bites // Crispy Brussels Sprout Chips //
Sea Salt, Lavender & Caramel Popcorn

 

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Sparkle Trimmed Tumbler // Macedonia Trivet // Corso Flatware // Etched Metal Vase //
Ceramic Salt Cellar and Gold Spoon Set // DIY Dyed Napkins // Farmhouse Pottery Turkey Platter //
Copper Plated Mixing Bowls // Metallic Taper Candleholders // Stockholm Serving Bowl //
Wheat Sprig Place Card // DIY Apple Stamp Table Runner

 

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Sage Butter Roasted Turkey // Roasted Red Pepper + Gouda Soup // Chopped Brussels Sprout,
Kale + Chard Salad
// Zucchini Rice // Wild Rice + Butternut Squash Salad // Popovers with
Gruyere and Thyme
// Roasted Garlic Mashed Potatoes // Salt and Vinegar Roasted Cauliflower //
Mini Sweet Potato Gratins // Sweet + Spicy Jalapeño Cranberry Sauce

 

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Grapefruit Pie // Earl Grey Chocolate Truffle Tart // Pumpkin Spiced Buttermilk Layer Cake

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