Cheers!

January 2, 2023

Yes, we made it through yet another tumultuous year. So rather than looking back and revisiting or rehashing things we cannot change, I’m looking forward…armed with my usual supply of fresh Sharpies, a clean sketchbook and the best attitude I can muster. I’d like this to be a year of great joy and happiness, great health and prosperity, and unlimited creativity for us all. And, a  little Champagne never hurts. Happy New Year!

 

photos: gp

 

Midwinter ’22

December 19, 2022

Midwinter. Odd name for the Winter solstice which is actually the first day of the season. Call it what you will, it is absolutely my most favorite of days. It marks the shortest day of the year in terms of daylight but signals the slow, steady increase in daylight hours as we move into spring. Sure, it might not seem like a big thing to you but trust me, if you live anywhere near the Midwest, you will immediately notice that the sky has not gone to pitch at 4:45 in the afternoon. There is a feeling of hope…yes, that spring is just one season away. So, celebrate with me if you care to, with anything ( hell, everything ) that reminds you of spring… and relish every extra minute of daylight. Tradition would have us festooning the place with evergreens, lighting candles indoors, building a roaring fire outdoors and gathering together to embrace hope within the darkness. To follow are just a few of my favorite  ways to celebrate, from candlelight to a roaring fire to every and any white bulb flower mixed in with winter greens and other white seasonal selections. Something hearty and herby for dinner finished of with a lively Winter cocktail and the celebration is complete.

 

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Porcini and Farro Risotto

 

Brandy Stinger. The perfect Solstice cocktail. Equal parts Brandy and white Creme de Menthe on the rocks. Done.

 

photos: gp

 

Ya gotta start somewhere.

November 30, 2022

Today I’m starting with an armload of yellow twig dogwood and white pine boughs. This should fill out my large midcentury concrete bowls at my front door nicely. A few lights and done. Moving indoors I’ve selected pics from the last ten years that can take you from simplequietmodern and natural, to vintage shiny holiday combinations. Plus a few new floral ideas to compliment a modern mood and Christmas tree alternatives that offer a great bang for the buck. The holidays are upon us, so better get on this before the supplies run out. Maybe a smart cocktail and a visit to the simplequietmodern archives for the months of November and December will help kick start a fresh holiday tradition for you.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

all photos except 3,6,7,10,13,15, 19 by gp.

Credits given in respective post accessed through the archives.

 

 

 

In all things…

November 23, 2022

give thanks.*

 

 

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As I look through the last 10 years of simplequietmodern I think of some of my favorite holiday posts.

Top to bottom:

Free for the taking, perfect dried oak leaves to gather and scatter across your Thanksgiving table or attach later to adorn a holiday gift.

Locally grown and pressed apple cider. There is nothing like it. And, I like it even better with a shot of bourbon.

The best gathering table ever as seen on Gardenista. 

My favorite Thanksgiving table … rusty Bosch pears, gathered oak leaves and assorted nuts in their shells.

So much better than pumpkin pie, this roasted Hubbard squash pie. Trust me, it’s worth the added effort.

Cooking up a storm for the holidays needs the right equipment. The perfect start is this linen apron from Fog Linen.

Pink in the Fall? Yes, yes and yes. The perfect compliment to all of your assorted naturals and browns.

A step up from an apple cider and bourbon cocktail…the classic old fashioned.

Besides holding a warming Chai Latte, the Heath Ceramics Tall modern cup makes the perfect receptacle for a cluster of fragrant garden roses, like these Polo.

Pilgrim Modern anyone?  Yes.

Leftovers almost better the second time around. Assorted roasted vegetables topped with poached eggs hit the spot on the long holiday weekend.

What a simple weekend getaway for any of the winter holidays.

Elf has got to be playing or streaming somewhere. Wrap yourself up and settle in for the night. The guests have gone.

 

*Thessalonians 5:18

 

The Near Perfect October

October 26, 2022

Aside from the obvious sad notes, I can’t remember a Fall, an October, as beautiful as this. Just what we need to take our mind off of the madness that we have all been living through…shocks of intense color set against a bright blue sky or a dark and brooding one. Even if your don’t like Fall you can’t deny that the large swaths of reds, oranges and yellows, found around every turn, have lifted your spirit. And, the best part? The show is free. So my suggestion is slow down and take it all in while it lasts.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You can’t argue with free can you? So, fall color aside, imagine my surprise when I found this Bittersweet ” volunteer” winding it’s way through a crabapple in the yard. A few minutes of untangling and trimming and it was ready to be put to good use indoors.

Before the deer got to the last remaining Hostas, I managed to keep this going in a vase indoors until it dried to this sculptural perfection.

While I generally love a Hubbard Squash for a non-orange twist on a classic Pumpkin, a trip to the cider mill has shaken things up. Not only for the perfect midday break, but fresh cider, a few apples and some artisan heirloom Pumpkins that will eventually be recycled into a pie or Fall soup.

I’m constantly preaching about the necessity of a simple modern glass cylinder and here’s why. No fuss, no muss. Just a few cuttings from the yard dropped in. Boom! Done. This will most definitely take me through till Thanksgiving.

Photos: gp

 

Don’t Forget

May 8, 2022

Call your Mother. Happy Mother’s Day.

photo:gp

 

Ready to be put into use immediately is the Summer Seasonal Collection from Heath Ceramics. With Easter right around the corner it seems like a natural to get your order in now. This collection is available now but is sure to sell out quickly. I’m thinking the yellow pieces might be a great way to brighten the days while we’re waiting for Summer to finally arrive.

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top to bottom

A bit of forced rye grass with the addition of a cracked eggshell whispers Easter.

The Classic Heath Modern Cup in Sunflower

A bunch of pink hyacinths would feel right at home in that tall modern cup. And who wouldn’t love to receive the both as a gift?

Sunnyside Tea Towels will make cleaning up after Easter brunch a pleasure.

What’s Easter without the classic yellow Peep?

The Sunflower glaze on the classic Heath Budvase.

All Roads Grid napkins in Fuschia are part of the Heath Summer Seasonal Collection. These will surely get a workout from Easter through Labor Day.

Pink and Yellow. Something tells me with the way the last two years have been it’s a combination we might just be needing right about now.

Heath Plaza Dessert bowls and Sunnyside Napkins, also part of the Summer Seasonal Collection.

A big vase of forced Forsythia brings springtime right in to the table. It’s hard to beat.

All Heath Summer Seasonal photos by Heath Ceramics.

All other photos: gp

 

 

 

 

If it’s March,

February 28, 2022

then it’s time for Daffodils. There is no better way to pull us through to Spring than with a bunch or two of the most perfect yellow ever. Their familiar cheerful faces and gentle fragrance just can’t help to lift us up, especially now. Rising prices, foreign invasions, the continuing pandemic and the near end of a brutal Winter have us in need of a little something something. A bunch or two of daffodils are just the ticket even if the price is double what is was last year. While you’re at it, it would be a lovely gesture to pick up a few extra bunches and pass the sunshine around. The rewards are sure to come back to you ten fold. If you’d like to use the Daffodil as inspiration, you might try a few from the selections below from the simplequietmodern archives.

 

Bunches of cut Daffs. If it’s March that means that January and February are in the rear view mirror.

 

This particular Knoll pattern features three colors familiar to March… the yellow, gray and white.

 

Even lunch and dinner can feature a little sunshine. This pickled blend of cauliflower, onions and yellow bell peppers will certainly liven things up with very little effort.

 

Maybe a permanent swath of yellow twig dogwood to enjoy from every window, especially when rising from a blanket of snow.

 

Bright second fiddle, a bunch or two of forced Forsythia branches, sourced locally, online or free from a neighbors yard.

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Bright ceramic field tile will have you waking up to sunshine every day, no matter what.

 

daffodil photo: gp

 

 

Shifting Focus

February 2, 2022

From biting bitter cold to major snowstorms, we are sure to be glad that January is behind us. Now’s a good time to shift our focus to other beautiful forms of Winter White that aren’t as challenging. From a simple vase of forced spring branches to dreaming about a a coveted new addition to your home, a little distraction isn’t out of order as we try to keep warm until the thaw.

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Top to bottom:

For me, a fresh dump of snow is pretty for about 10 minutes. That’s it.

A bunch of white fringed tulips generally take the edge off all of that cold white stuff.

Planning ahead certainly guarantees some additional garden interest. This Blonde Ambition grass is certainly holding it’s own.

What do you mean you haven’t potted up that Amaryllis you received as a Christmas Gift? Get on it.

I know. Put it on your want list now. One large Saarinen dining table…six Saarinen Executive Chairs. You can’t go wrong with white on white, tone on tone. Photo: Knoll

Check that pantry and you might find the few ingredients needed to whip up a batch of this no-churn Bourbon Ice Cream.

Poke around the yard (or neighborhood)with a pair of pruners in your pocket. You could come home with a few flowering branches to force into bloom.

Too afraid to add that dining table to your want list?  How ’bout a more do-able side table? photo: Knoll

I can never have enough white tulips to pull me through Winter. This white Parrot variety is a particular favorite.

If you’re going to be stuck inside bingeing movies, how great would it be to do it stretched out on this classic Florence Knoll sofa dressed in creamy upholstery?

Shoveling is horrible. Period. But, a hot soak or scrub down afterword with some Birch scented bath salts? Lovely.

Winter White Cashmere. Now, that’ll keep you cozy till spring.   Photo: Naadam

 

 

Mixed Emotions

December 22, 2021

While I hate the coming of the first day of Winter, I do love what follows. Today marks the day of the year with the least amount of daylight…the Winter Solstice. Good news is that tomorrow will be another story. From this point on, each day will have an increased amount of daylight leading us directly to Spring. And, that my friends is worth celebrating. Tradition would have us festooning the place with evergreens, lighting candles in doors and building a roaring fire outdoors and gathering together to embrace hope within the darkness. A good idea once again while the newest Covid variant threatens to squash our holiday plans.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

From the top:

A simple votive candle placed in a bubbled glass vase casts a magnified and magical glow.

If you are lucky enough to find my absolute favorites, white tulips, buy them. There is nothing else like them to draw our thoughts to Spring. White Fringed and Parrot varieties are particularly special.

I do not need an excuse like the Winter Solstice to stoke up a bonfire, but it doesn’t hurt.

You might take a modern turn at using a supermarket Poinsettia as a cut flower. White for the Solstice would be my choice.  Photo: Gardenista

A hearty warming dish like this Farro Porcini Risotto Comes together quickly and would be a fitting addition to the celebration. I added a little shortcut to this already simple recipe from Martha Stewart, https://www.marthastewart.com/312975/farro-and-porcini-risotto, by using 1/2 jar of  Trader Joe’s Pesto Alla Genovese with the parsley and toasted walnuts and an additional splash of olive oil.

Doing appropriate double duty, this white Helebore variety will play nicely with your other seasonal decorations before being planted outdoors to grace the garden with the season’s first blooms next year.

The perfect finish to any Winter gathering might just be a classic Brandy Stinger… equal parts Brandy and white Creme de Menthe. In this case, on the rocks. Cheers!

except where noted all photos: gp