Jingling Jewelry for the Holidays

If you're looking for something sparkly for your someone special (or yourself) this holiday season, be sure to stop by Rappaccini's Garden on Etsy...

There's still time to get a pretty piece shipped before Christmas, and be sure to stop by the Rappaccini's Garden facebook page for a special 15% off coupon code!


Stockings Hung with Care

Our apartment is sans fireplace, which means that Santa's going to have to find an alternate point of entry, and I had to make do without a mantle. I hung our stockings with fleur de lis picture nails on a bare wall in our living room. They were shimmery and festive, but something was missing...

They needed a personal touch, but I'm not handy enough with needles and thread to take on embroidery. Instead I drew out petite banners on black paper and scribbled in all of the WarLock family names...

Now it's perfectly clear where all the coal should go!

We're sharing with the kitties, so most of the stocking stuffers will be catnip treats. Matilda loves unwrapping her own presents (last year she even retrieved them from under the tree), and we figure that Phinney will be thrilled to have paper to shred and new toys to play fetch with. There will be a few presents for Adam and I as well, and since I'm doing the shopping, I already know I love them!

We're looking forward to two more sets of thoroughly stuffed stockings when we go home to Washington for the holidays. Adam has a large family, and this year each person is responsible for contributing some goodies to three other stockings. Everyone will end up with a fun assortment! My family saves the stockings until very last, to be emptied and giggled over as we finish our coffee. 

Are stockings part of your Christmas tradition?


What Do YOU Want for Christmas?

All I want for Christmas is $100 to spend at mydeco boutique... so I entered a moodboard in the mydeco + Rue Magazine "All I Want for Christmas" contest!

My moodboard entry, A Curious Christmas is a room full of dare-to-dream items (like a beaded chandelier and the rug that would look marvelous in my living room). Of course, if I were to win that $100, maybe one of these dreams could become a reality!

Have you entered yet?


How to Make Perfect Paper Snowflakes


Being a Flake...

You were promised a snowflake tutorial today, but the weather simply didn't cooperate... yesterday was rainy and my photos turned out equally dreary! I staged a re-shoot today and I'll post the full how-to first thing tomorrow morning.

It's dry today in Berkeley, but tomorrow's forecast calls for snow!


Adding Holiday Sparkle

Remember the acrylic crystals that I used to accessorize my tree? They're adding sparkle to the rest of the apartment as well! I strung crystals of different sizes on fishing line (using cheap sparkly beads to hide the knot) and hung them wherever they'd catch the light.

It's always important to me to make my little apartment look as sophisticated as possible, and that can be tricky with all of the kitschy holiday red and green out there. I limit my color scheme, because too many colors in a small space can be a visual assault. I scatter matching pieces so that each room refers to the others. By using a few recurring themes, like these crystals, even Christmas decor can look polished!

There is one crafty winter tradition that I insist upon: paper snowflakes. Each year I make a flurry of them for my windows and keep them up through January. And, this year I'd like to share them with you- I'll be posting a paper snowflake tutorial this Thursday, so have your scissors ready!


Our First Christmas Tree!

After 5 Christmases spent moving, traveling, in tiny apartments, or in separate states, Adam and I finally got to bring home our very own tree. We chose a noble fir that's just my size. Really- just over 5 feet tall! We tucked it into a formerly dark corner of our kitchen & dining room, where it can be appreciated from all over the apartment. Doesn't it sparkle?

We haven't yet acquired any sentimental ornaments, but luckily I had a stash of simple bulbs purchased at post-holiday sales- small and gold, vibrant chartreuse, and huge crackled silver. Instead of hanging them with wire, I used little snippets of green and lavender ribbon to add more color to the tree. Sprigs of glittery leaves catch the light, and acrylic crystals are a glamorous (yet cat-safe!) adornment. I topped off our tree with a curious pair of wintry owls.

I might shop for a few collectible ornaments to add as we get closer to Christmas, but for now the tree is decorated entirely in things I already owned. Affordable, easy, and a perfect fit for my existing color palette!


Here & Now: Our Living Room

I don't know if you can tell from this photo, but energy levels are pretty low here today.

I find myself in the mid-holiday doldrums, and since we polished off the last bits of Ferdinand last night, I can't blame it on the tryptophan! After a lively weekend with my family, I'm downright exhausted. But, before I add a shot of espresso to my hot chocolate and start lighting this place up for Christmas, I thought I'd give you a few peeks at our living room.

I used my family's visit as an excuse to shuffle the furniture, and I'm pleased with how it turned out! As you might remember from my Where We Blog From pictures, my desk used to be situated by the window, an arrangement that wasn't terribly welcoming to guests. I switched the positions of my workspace and our petite sofa, and finally the living room looks just right. My desk is now nestled into a corner with our bookcases, creating a snug home office. The settee now has a better angle on the television and the perfect vantage point for our busy street view. There's more floor space for Phinney's antics and more wall space for art!

If you're an astute observer, you'll notice I've got new art on the walls. The large piece is actually...

My beloved feather placemats, aka my blog header! Daily use had caused them to molt heavily, and they were looking pretty pitiful on my table. The frame and matting was a freebie from an old job, and I'd never found artwork that was a good fit- but I loved the antiqued gold edge on the frame, and it was the perfect focal point for my new gallery wall above the couch. So, I simply layered in the placemats for an abstract look that compliments my soft neutral color scheme!

I'm using a neutral palette for my holiday decor as well, with lots of silver and gold. Adam and I are getting our very first Christmas tree tonight, and I can't wait to show it off!


The Best Spoons (and the Best Mom!)

If you're a House Beautiful reader, you probably delighted in this spread of Sabre frosted acrylic spoons in the November issue.

We spotted them at Maison d'Etre in Oakland and my Mom surprised me with a little burgundy spoon! (Did you think I was kidding about my Goodies from Mom theme this week?)

It's cheeky, but I think it will play nicely with my more formal white dishes.

There's a color to please everyone (22, to be exact), and the salad server sets would be an excellent hostess gift... definitely an idea to tuck away for the holidays!


Still Giving Thanks

So many thanks to my family who came down from Seattle to spend Thanksgiving with us! We had a busy weekend sharing our favorite shops and sights, being the only 5 people in Berkeley pleased to see the Huskies beat Cal, and feasting upon Ferdinand the turkey.

Mom apparently had Thanksgiving and Christmas confused, because she arrived bearing gifts (who was I to correct her?). This week's blog posts may have a "wonderful thing my Mom got me" theme! For instance, she brought me this charming little pitcher, which not only had the perfect sentiment for the occasion, but also matched my table setting. How does she do that? 

Ferdinand turned out to be the most marvelous turkey I've ever eaten: tender, fragrant, and slightly apple-flavored thanks to his cider and Calvados brine. We'll be enjoying him on sandwiches and in soup for several more days, along with leftover mashed red potatoes, sourdough & green apple stuffing, cinnamon-spiced cranberry sauce, and pumpkin pie!

I got a bit caught up in family and food and forgot to take pictures of my Thanksgiving table, but my bouquet of roses, cabbage, and feather sprays is still looking lovely and reminding me of all of our holiday fun. Mom, Dad, Drew (and Ellie & Paige), I miss you already!

I swear I'm still feeling the soporific effects of all of this sumptuous fowl, so I'm spending the day with the Nutcracker ballet and a pile of December magazines. Can it be time to decorate for Christmas already?

How was your Thanksgiving?


Ferd the Bird

The blog may be quiet this week, but my apartment is certainly not! Adam and I are hosting a Thanksgiving feast, and the preparations have definitely thrown my OCD switch. Totally normal to rearrange your bedroom furniture in expectation of dinner guests, right?

We finished our grocery shopping this week, and Adam and I spent more time interacting with potential turkeys than we did with potential new kittens (Phineas was an easy choice, obviously). After a lot of weighing and examining, we chose a hefty young bird, toted him home, and named him Ferdinand. I'm training him to be delicious.

Ferdinand is being brined, so I keep peeking to see how he's enjoying his salty apple cider bath. Every time I take the lid off our pets appear, eagerly sniffing.

Isn't that the most gloriously full refrigerator you've ever seen? 
The cats agree. "If we pull this off, we'll eat like kings!"
Tildy the Cat is dying to get her paws on Ferd the Bird.
LOL. "I can haz Tanksgivins?"

Okay, back to work. Pies to bake, cranberry sauce to make, a linen closet to reorganize (hey, it's possible that someone might look!). 


Beautiful Bounty in Edmonds, WA

Here's a special Christmas shopping word to the wise for my Western Washington readers: try downtown Edmonds for nostalgia, twinkle-lights, and one of my new favorite shops.

Bountiful Home resides in a little old house just off of Main Street. If you pass through its arbor and down the garden path, you'll find yourself on a welcoming porch arrayed with potted plants and rusty finds. Once inside you'll understand how Bountiful Home gets its name. Special things sparkle all around.

The shop is an homage to all things old-fashioned and lovely, from vintage glass bottles and snail-mail stationery down to the creaking floorboards. Forget about just wanting to buy something- you'll want to move in.

Definitely the place to go for romantic holiday trimmings and memorable hand-picked gifts!


"Like" Rappaccini's Garden?

Did you know that Rappaccini's Garden has a facebook page? Click "Like" for updates when new pieces are posted. Facebook fans will be the first to know about holiday sales and special offers at Rappaccini's Garden!


Dare to Dream: Crowning Glory

Discovery of the weekend: editing html comes about as easily to me as calculus. There's a certain college math professor out there who gets that joke, and we're both grimacing. Actually, one of us is crying a little bit.

I'm comforting myself with a brief online window-shopping break. Because that's what comes easily to me. One might even say that I rule at it. Take, for example, the ceiling lamp that would look divinely right in my living room...

The price is (surprisingly) much less outrageous than the shape, but I'm still putting this on my "Ha, I wish" list. Today's true dare to dream? A professional to straighten up the royal mess I've made of this poor blog...


Anthology Launch Party Wrap-Up

We made it to the Anthology Magazine Launch Party! We sipped, mingled, and saved! We stood like, an inch away from Victoria and Grant K. Gibson! We basked in the design glory!

Okay, I'll be honest. I shopped a little for me too. Congratulations to the brilliant women behind Anthology! The party was incredible, and I'll be poring over Issue I allllllll weekend.

As you probably noticed, Shock the Bourgeois is undergoing a little makeover. I'm finally shaking some of the recurring problems that came with my old design, and aiming to make the blog more readable (and welcoming to new followers). I'd love to have your feedback! Shoot me an email anytime at shockthebourgeois@mac.com

Happy Weekend,

xoxo Elizabeth


Anthology Launch Party

I woke up this morning to the pounding of a truly ferocious headache. Ouch. The plan is to take it easy until this evening, when I will rally, put on something fabulous, and dash off to the Anthology Magazine Launch Party at West Elm in Emeryville.

Will I see you there?