Flip a coin…

November 29, 2012

because you won’t be able to decide. Leucadendron and kumquat or Silvertree and succulent rosettes?  Both of these magnificent creations designed by Flora Grubb and Susie  Nadler of Flora Grubb Gardens will make quite a simplequietmodern  statement this Christmas whether you’re  keeping it for yourself or gifting it to someone special.  How much fun to inject some of this modern California artistry into a traditional mid-west or east coast setting?  With either of these choices it will be a  Christmas you ( or the recipient ) won’t soon forget.  I’ve got the quarter….OK , call it!


Skirting the issue…

November 26, 2012

here is never the answer. Neither is an old bed sheet tossed around the base of your Christmas tree.  Enter this woven tree skirt. It does the job of camouflaging the tree stand, and it does it with simple quiet style…especially if you are going the natural route. Around the base an untrimmed fir as illustrated…you are done and done. Or, if you must, dress it in simple white lights and a sprinkling of cones. Lovely.


“City sidewalks,

November 23, 2012

Busy sidewalks *… you know the rest of the lyrics.

But,  did you know that  “It’s OK to cross the street to avoid making small talk.”  ?  When time is at a premium and tedious chatter seems never ending this idea is simply good to know.

Check out Susan Cain’s complete manifesto here.   http://www.thepowerofintroverts.com/sixteen-things-i-believe/

* Silver Bells by Jay Livingston & Ray Evans


Brussels Sprouts?

November 20, 2012

Absolutely! Aside from being a nutritional gold mine, these “baby cabbages” are your perfect green vegetable to accompany the big bird this Thanksgiving. Before you scoff or turn up your nose, forget those “boiled to within an inch of their lives” Brussels Sprouts you may have been forced to choke down as a kid. These, simply oven roasted with a bit of olive oil and a pinch of coarse salt and ground pepper ( at 400 degrees for approximately 30-40   minutes, giving a quick toss halfway through ) are the ticket. In fact, even die-hard ” haters” have been known to polish off what’s left, so make sure to prepare enough. If you’re thinking that these might be too simple try tossing in a handful of toasted walnuts and a drizzle of boiled apple cider syrup to satisfy your need for complexity.

For the boiled apple cider syrup bring two cups of fresh pressed apple cider to a boil in a small saucepan. Reduce heat slightly and continue to cook, swirling pan occasionally until cider has reduced to 1/2 cup. Simple.

Double Duty

November 17, 2012

Thanksgiving dinner. The plates are barely cleared and the Christmas decorations are already being hung. That said, my suggestion for an effectively decorated Thanksgiving table are well thought out to provide not only the right look but shift into double duty in the following few days. Here I’ve started with a study in brown and white. Shapley Bosc pears with their rusty sueded skins… an assortment of walnuts, hazelnuts and brazil nuts providing their varied shades and texture and oak leaves and pinecones scavenged in the yard round out a simplequietmodern fall story. Perfect whether you’re dining in the afternoon or later into the evening with the addition of some candlelight… a couple of  handfuls for a table of four or a couple of arm loads to deck out a larger table for 12 or more…this look is very accommodating. Then as the weekend progresses, the nuts are for snacking when set around in bowls with a conveniently placed nutcracker and the pears can be poached or roasted and served up with gingerbread for an additional sweet treat…while you’re… umm…setting up the tree?

Where are my keys?

November 14, 2012

In this bowl…by the door. A  simplequietmodern solution to one of life’s great annoyances. Place this bowl from Manor Fine Wares …cut , hollowed and polished from a large river rock…on your entry table and the mystery is forever solved.  And, with plenty of room for your sunglasses as well. Done and done, a two-fer! Or, perhaps it could be put to use in your dressing area as a receptacle for your watch and  pocket change. Surely this would be a most welcome gift for someone on your list this Christmas so you might as well order up two. 


I don’t love brunch…

November 11, 2012

but I love the idea of serving a modern Salade Lyonnaise for breakfast or even whipping up a batch of pancakes for dinner.  Also known as Frisee with lardon and poached egg is where we’re going to start. Frisee, which runs neck and neck with my other green fave~ Arugula~ is the bitter green of choice. For a single serving you’ll need 1/2 bunch of Frisee washed and torn, a slice of hearty artisan bread grilled or toasted and rubbed lightly with a clove of garlic, a slice or two of crisp thick cut bacon ( from the Whole Foods meat counter preferably), a poached egg and a splash of warmed Maple Vinaigrette. To present, plate the grilled bread, top with the frisee that had been tossed with the Maple Vinaigrette, next the poached egg and finish with the placement of your bacon, coarse salt and ground pepper to your taste. Done and done. How easy was that? Add a bowl of clementines or pears and a pot of coffee and you might just want to entertain friends with this, eh?

The Maple Vinaigrette is simple: 2 Tablespoons General Use Olive Oil, 1 Tablespoon Apple Cider Vinegar, 2 Tablespoons Maple Syrup ( Dark amber Grade B preferred). Whisk it up…that’s it.

White Paper Packages

November 8, 2012

There is nothing like white tissue and jute twine in the simplequietmodern gift wrap arsenal.  Half the fun of opening the gift is the accompanying sounds of  crisp tissue, crackling cellophane or the snap of a glossy paper. If you start with the basics…a ream of white tissue…a ball of jute cord…and the free bits that Mother Nature herself gifts us…you are ready to settle into your night of distinctive gift wrapping. If there is an item that needs a bit of a special touch or simply needs to be addressed differently you can add a double-faced satin or grosgrain ribbon ( white, charcoal or darkest brown would be the way to go) or a roll of clear cellophane  for that icy gloss to your supplies. Best of all, most everything you’ve used is not only cost sensitive, but easily available and reusable or recyclable. It doesn’t get any more simplequietmodern than that.

Hindsight, as they say…

November 5, 2012

is 20/20 vision. If you could see that clearly you would have been gathering up the vintage glass ornaments and trims of years past from your wish list during the seasons where Christmas was the last thing on your mind. Now that  the “crunch” is clearly visible ,  time available to scour the local flea markets and antique shops is narrowing or non-existent. Enter Plan B, like this vintage inspired wreath from Terrain,  created from an assortmnent of ornaments that recall your fondest memories of Christmases that have come and gone. Perfect… the look you want…now, and an anchor for all of the new (old) pieces you’ll be scouting out starting in January. Right? Or are we going to go through this again next year?


Feeling a little Hollywood Regency?  These bottle brush trees can help you capture that…perfect for that MidCentury Christmas feel. Spot a few around, turn up the Dean Martin Christmas album and transport yourself to 1966. Ahhh, swanky.


Fall Back

November 2, 2012

Now we’re moving into the graying image that is Fall’s second act. Changing intensities of light, neutralized color,texture and material will be peaking my interests and guiding me creatively through the next two months. Turning the clock back an hour seems like a simple action, yet the very next day everything looks different…quiet somehow. A “palate cleanser” perhaps before we gear up for the holidays that lie ahead.

You might try a visit to these links for some additional Autumn inspiration.