a thankful holiday season

 

 
thanksgiving table setting

thanksgiving name cards

 

tis the season for wonder and splendor and beautiful tables and warm meals and blues and greens and reds and silver and gold all around. here’s wishing you and yours a beautiful start to a love-filled holiday season. cheers!

thank you message

 

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terrariums terrariums!

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what a lovely night it was, last week, at the gorgeous both sides space, making little terrariums (although, at the time, it was still a bit in shambles before we’d hung the second fridays art show).

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i spent the morning and afternoon at sprout home, picking through their newest shipment of tiny, adorable succulents and cacti, choosing soil, lava rocks, charcoal, sand and rocks. i must say, they are incredibly  wonderful, helpful people, and the store itself is lovely and full of so many plants that i wanted desperately to adopt as my own.

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from there i traveled to blumgarten, a new florist shop that just opened up on halsted and 18th, across from the gallery, in the chicago arts district. they have such a wide array of glassware; it was such fun picking out little vessels for the succulents. with delicious veggie and port pasties from bridgeport pasty, and handmade plant-inspired jilly ink cards, the tables looked inviting and well laid out.

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the workshop was a success, and culminated in the cutest little terrariums that everyone took with them at the end of the night. special thanks to alexis buryk of lexi b photography for taking these perfectly lit photos.

 

i loved sharing this newfound love, and look forward to holding the next one in september! stay tuned, and if you’re in the chicago area, i’d love to have you at the next workshop!

halloween treats

happy halloween everyone!

 

copyright jillian schiavi 2010

 

such a good turnout for costumes and treats this past friday night.  here’s what we had on tap:

 

copyright jillian schiavi 2010

 

the people: lollipop princess, medieval wench, monkfish, the windy man, annie hall, flapper, fireman, a banana within a banana, the oil spill, the late devil, sam adams, a bag of leaves, pulp fiction, general washington, art and gym, the sex pistols, gypsy, hermione granger and the nerd, the garden of eden, hamburger helper, the cat burglar, holmes and watson

 

copyright jillian schiavi 2010

copyright jillian schiavi 2010

 

the food: bacon brownies, savory puff pastry palmiers, pumpkin whoopie pies, cheddar-herb biscuits, cheese plate, curried butternut squash tart, apple crisp

 

copyright jillian schiavi 2010

enjoy the gorgeous weather and the rest of your haunting halloween weekend!

 

pumpkin carving and baking

 

copyright jillian schiavi 2010

 

it’s a very very windy day here in the windy city, so to warm things up a little, here are a few photos of a loaf of pumpkin chocolate chip bread i baked this past weekend for my brother’s pumpkin carving party:

 

 

 

copyright jillian schiavi 2010

 

wish me luck in not blowing away!

 

 

copyright jillian schiavi 2010

 

 

 

 

 

sunday ceremonies: family matters

this week’s sunday ceremony is very near and dear to my heart.  last night my beautiful cousin michelle married her longtime boyfriend and soulmate in all things love, life and cooking (he’s quite the mister julia child in the kitchen) at a little church outside of boston.  their reception was held at les zygomates, a cozy french restaurant tucked away in the back streets of the city behind south station.  we had the entire horseshoe-shaped place to ourselves, complete with two bars, three dining rooms, and a raised piano from which the bride’s uncle tinkered out old-fashioned melodies all night.

it was gorgeous.  the whole night, from the endless passed hors d’oeuvres (mini crab cakes, lamb lollipops, roasted beets with goat cheese on crostini, firecracker shrimp, bacon-wrapped scallops) to the french food-themed buffet stations of chicken and lobster crepes, mixed green salad with gorgonzola and pear, and then perfectly seasoned and cooked steak-frites, was absolutely magical.  throw in some well-concocted cocktails, good conversation, friends and family and a few well-worded toasts, and i would say this is a night my (now married) cousin won’t soon forget.  congratulations michelle and chris, and i cannot wait to see the far more professional photographs!

{all images by jillyink}

tea time

my apologies for the delay in posting – this past weekend absolutely flew by.  if only i had had the time to photograph the delicious (six!) pizzas my roommates and i made for a dinner party/get together we held friday night, i’m sure you would have agreed that the weekend started off on the right foot.  or the right tastebud, i suppose.  not to mention the perfect meyer lemon cheesecake that only took 3 hours and 5 blocks of cream cheese to make.  if any of you are wondering, i followed thekitchensink’s recipe over here – it is absolutely fool-proof, and you won’t be able to resist eating the leftovers for days afterwards.  now i just have to figure out what to do with all that lemon curd i have in my fridge.

what with the past few gloomy/rainy days we’ve been having in new york, i’ve been craving the afternoon tea time i used to share with my mum and younger sister when i was growing up.  whenever i go home (and there’s not some sort of party – there always seems to be one), we still follow the same ritual: two red rose tea bags in my mum’s blue tea pot with the red and white circles painted all around the outside.  three tall, slender mugs (much different from the coffee mugs, to be sure – tea must be drunk from a thin-rimmed vessel) filled to just below the top, lightened by a splash of milk and sweetened with a teaspoon of sugar.  of course, when my sister and i were younger, we’d sneak spoonful after spoonful into our cups while mum turned her back to put the milk back in the fridge.  and of course, mum knew exactly what we were doing the entire time.  perhaps she figured we’d grow out of it.  or perhaps she thought a little extra sweetness in life couldn’t hurt us, not at tea time.  sometimes freshly baked cookies, sometimes packaged ‘nice’ cookies or chocolate covered les petits ecoliers were piled high on a dish between all of us, and as we sipped and nibbled and chatted and savored the syrupy sludge of sugar awaiting our tongues at the bottom of our cups, we would feel the day brighten just a notch.  being at work all day now, i unfortunately cannot recreate those moments, although i do have a little stash of red rose tea bags in case i need to catch just a slight whiff of that orangey aroma  of those afternoons.  and whenever i want the real thing, all i have to do is travel on home and put the kettle on.  and sometimes, every so often, i sneak in an extra sprinkling of sugar.

{photos: spherical sight, 100 layer cake}

event lettering

jeepers, two posts in one day? i’m on a kick, and i can’t help it. plus i’m smacking myself upside the head for not yet sharing with you the hand lettered hors d’ouevres signs i created for the random house holiday party this past december.  my dear friend kate requested my services, and i was only all too happy to oblige (ecsatic really; spending hours with a ruler and fine tip sharpie made me a very cheerful girl).

wonderful party-planner that she is, kate decided to name the hors d’ouevres after some of the amazing, hilarious and award-winning books that little random published in 2009.  see if you can guess any of the real titles below:

 

copyright jillian schiavi 2010

 [olive kitteridge]

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[official book club selection]

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[‘f’ my life]

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[hotel on the corner of bitter and sweet]

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[the sweetness at the bottom of the pie]

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[let the great world spin]

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[i am the new black]

 

and the two vendors we used:

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[perri’s plates]

copyright jillian schiavi 2010

 

 

[carlei estates]

i had so much fun creating these, and would love to do more in the future! 

ps. happy birthday to my roommate megan!

new year, new post

snowy day in massachusetts

oh dear dear dear.  i can’t believe i’ve let it go so long without posting anything, and so for the very few of you who read this from time to time (or who just accidentally click on the link in my gmail status every so often), i apologize profusely.  i could blame any number of factors: the endless holiday parties; the trips to chicago, massachusetts, and, um, manhattan; finishing and panicking about grad school applications; general laziness; etc.  the truth is, i’ve been a horrible and non-diligent blogger.  but, as the expired calendar hanging on my wall has been reminding me for the past few days, it is indeed a new year, and so what better time to begin anew than now?

since it’s been so long, here’s a quick update on what’s been going on:

the holidays were absolutely wonderful.  spending an entire week at home with family and friends, hosting and attending parties and small dinners, shopping for last-minute gifts and finding spontaneous adventures in the wound-about back alleys of boston was truly the only way i could have wanted to escape work and any droplets of stress not yet wrung from the past year.  i love going home.  i love that my parents’ fridge is always stocked with orange juice, half and half and about five different varieties of cheese.  our living room, with its wall of windows looking out across our backyard and the trees that line the stone wall where kasey (our late faithful and mangy and beautiful german-retriever dog) is buried, is admittedly a much more serene view than the projects that fill the windows looking out of my brooklyn apartment.  and there are always people about the house, engaged in various activities, talking to each other from across rooms or up stairs, preparing meals, wrapping gifts, annoying each other with the choice of television show until finally mum announces that it’s dinner time.  there’s really nowhere else i’d rather be, especially at the holidays.  our house glimmers, it sparkles, it glows from inside and out.  our big blue spruce, the pride of my father, done up with hundreds of colored twinkle lights, becomes a beacon of cheerfulness to all who drive up to our house between the months of november and march.  when i think of the home that i’ll someday build with my own family, it’s hard to stray any further from the example that’s been set there.

applications are just about complete; as soon as my portfolio is tweaked a bit and recommendation letters are put in the mail, all i’ll have left to do is wait and send positive energy out into the world until april 1st.  waiting is always the hardest part, but in the meantime i remain hopeful and more determined than ever to promote good change in my professional life.  well, in my personal life too.  it never hurts to try everything.

and speaking of professional and personal life melding, i’ve decided to apply for the yoga to the people teacher training program in february.  this is something i’ve been wanting to do for a long time, perhaps when i started practicing yoga there three years ago.  i’m incredibly excited for the opportunity to become more in tune with the physical, spiritual and emotional aspects of this practice, and i know it will end up being an exhilarating and eye-opening experience.  hopefully you’ll be reading more about the process come february when the training begins!

ok, i think that’s enough for now.  i know everyone’s been in a very reflective and reevaluating mood as of late, and so to prolong the trend, i’d like to offer up some resolutions, or general guidelines that i hope to keep in mind as 2010 moves ahead.  i will strive to seriously not sweat the small stuff (life is far too short for that).  i will take more initiative with my life and where i want it to head (no one else is going to do it for me).  i will cherish my family and friends, and will do whatever i can to come to their aid when called upon (i know that they would for me).  and lastly, i will have more fun, more laughter, more silliness and spontaneity in my life.  what’s the point in going through the day-to-day if there’s nothing enjoyable about it?  i refuse to be pulled down into the muck, and i hope that you all do too.

best wishes for a safe, happy and healthy 2010.  much more to come soon!

cheers,

jilly

bon appetit!

just a quick plea that everyone run right out tomorrow and go see ‘julie and julia’, the meryl streep/amy adams masterpiece that weaves the illustrious and expansive life of julia child with the somewhat sniveling and snarky, yet still redeemably adorable events of the year in which julie powell succeeded in cooking her way through mrs. child’s legendary book, ‘mastering the art of french cooking’.  i have always been in love with julia.  i can remember gathering around the television with my whole family on sunday mornings to watch her charming and quirky cooking show (followed, of course, by the frugal gourmet – another of my favorites!).  is it any wonder then that whenever i decided (or decide – i still do it to this day) to put on a ‘live cooking demonstration’ in our kitchen myself, i found myself not only attempting to mimic julia’s extensive knowledge of culinary finesse, but also her incredibly recognizable falsetto?  i love the power she held on screen, even in her later years when she would simply stand by and watch other master chefs who’d been invited to cook with or for her.  her presence was undeniable.  she was unapologetic both in cooking and in life, and i can only hope to possess the amount of unfailing confidence and ‘courage of conviction’ that guided her through foreign lands and trying times.

 

the movie was absolutely lovely.  both meryl streep and amy adams were perfect in their roles.  and the food.  oh the food.  thank goodness nora ephron hired herself a phenomenal food stylist, because i’ve been harboring a massive craving for anything with butter and cream and a side of light and crispy french bread.  dinner tonight is much anticipated. 

 

bon appetit!

jilly