Tasty Treats for a Weekend Full of 4th of July Fun

When I was little, it was always my job each year to make a patriotic red, white and blue dessert… I don’t know how this little tradition came about but as a 12-year-old I loved taking on the daunting responsibility of baking my own treat for two dozen or so family friends! Thinking back to those years {and after oohing & ahhing over these photos} I’m thinking it might be fun to tackle the job again.

Our 4th of July now is typically reserved for a long day at the beach complete with volleyball, fireworks and marshmallow fights (true event – the whole beach brings bags of marshmallows for tossing across bonfires as soon as the night ends. It’s innocent and fun but what’s it like to wake up with melted marshmallow in your hair? gross).

Here are a few mouth-watering desserts that are catching my eye this year. Thanks BHG for all of the lovely inspiration! From Berry-Lemon Nepoleans, Raspberry Custard Brulee to Cheesecake Parfaits and Panna Cotta di Casa there are too many choices…

I’m tempted most by the Berry Pudding Cake, above, but might resign to a more beach-friendly alternative like Poundcake and Strawberries shaped like stars or pre-made plastic cups full of Red, White & Blue Parfait. Oh yum.

Mouth is watering… maybe I’ll have to make one each night until the big day…

Rooms Inspired by the Month of June

Once again this month’s post comes all too late! But since we have one last day in this beautiful month {hoping it’s not June Gloom where you are} here is a bit of inspiration pulled from the soft blues, turquoises, indigos and cobalts that remind me of June.

I love the use of both contrasting and complimentary colors in rooms that favor the cool hue. How great is that yellow at the top, or the layers of soft blue at the last picture in the bottom right corner (that quatrefoil chair is pretty amazing too).

This wallpaper is gorgeous!

Teals and turquoises bring a coastal feel to any space and the solid walls are a beautiful backdrop to accessories like the gold bamboo coffee table, chinoiserie pillow cases and backless sofa above.

Blue bedrooms are one of my favorites… I’ve always been partial to warmer colors in living rooms, dining rooms and kitchens, but I can’t get over how great a blue bedroom looks.

Here’s a darker take on blue. Bringing in a strong navy, cobalt or indigo can be a great substitutes for black and dark brown in rooms.

That’s my June blues round-up… to see more ‘Rooms Inspired by the Month’, click here.  Happy Wednesday, everyone!

Images: House Beautiful on Flickr and DecorPad

A Dream Retreat: Cabin-Turned-Victorian Cottage

Have you ever dreamed of a retreat, a respite far in the woods where you can {in perfect luxury} get away from it all? On many occasions I’ve imagined my little cottage in the middle of the forest where I could write, read, drink hot tea on the porch and look over the hills completely undisturbed. Ahhhh, heaven.

But it exists! Sandra Foster turned a Catskills hunting cabin into the romantic Victorian cottage she had always dreamed of. Every detail of the studio is as intricate and beautiful as the next – Sandra used thrift store, vintage and even Target finds to remodel the 9-by-10-foot room on a strict budget. Photos and story by NY Times.

The shabby-chic cottage doesn’t have a bathroom or a kitchen, but it is a dream of Victoriana: stacks of Limoges china with tiny rosebud patterns; refashioned cabinets piled high with hard-cover books; chandeliers covered in crystal; billows of tissue-paper garlands. Many of the furnishings, like the $15 chandelier hanging over the sitting area, were flea market finds.

What began as a brown and green backwoods cabin slowly turned into a luxuriously soft and feminine cottage. Sandra gutted, repainted and replaced most every feature – including doors, shelves, windows and even the willow tree trunk supports at the front of the house for which she completed all of the carpentry work herself.

Sandra lives with her husband, Todd on 14 acres of property in the New York Catskills Mountains. She calls a 1971 trailer home and has built more than one retreat site on their extensive land. One includes a modified shed that houses a big screen TV, boxes full of videotapes and cooking equipment.

A river bed separates the Victorian cabin from the rest of the property and any furniture or tools had to be lightweight enough to traverse the land and stream.

Above, Sandra makes flower-like garland for the cottage out of tissue paper.

The chandelier over the bed is from Target, as is the bedding from Rachel Ashwell’s Simply Shabby Chic line. Cabinets were built from reclaimed French doors and now house Sandra’s beautiful collection of Limoges china, a set she’s been adding to for years. Yard sale mirrors and furniture received fresh coats of paint to match the all-white cottage.

Sandra calls the cottage her ‘refuge’ and spends much time in knee-high pink rainboots adding white petunias to her window boxes or relaxing on her refurbished porch (which she framed out herself). She grew up in Long Island and after losing her home as a child had always dreamed of building this perfect cottage – I’m deeply impressed with the couple’s story AND their fabulous new getaway!

PS I just received this link from Sandy’s husband – check out her cute blog!

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