Welcome to December! Come with me to take a look back at what interested me during the past month. 

Design and decor

I'm going all out for a silver and white Christmas this year. I think it will be relaxing and yet glam. I'm getting inspired by this board on Pinterest. Between all the mercury glass, rhinestones, metallic fabrics, snow flocking, and pearls, there's no shortage of easy-to-duplicate ideas!

I think these sheets from Pottery Barn are perfect for the season. 

The ceramic Christmas tree my Aunt Hilda made in a ceramics class 60 years ago comes out of the box every December in our house. She would be astounded to see these 15 stylized versions that today's designers are offering. 

We tend to regard English interior decor as rather stuffy and even chaotic, but this English home manages to combine traditional and contemporary design perfectly.  

In the kitchen

After reading this fashion blogger's post about aprons worn in the kitchen, I was surprised to learn from reader comments that apron-wearing is quite popular today, and not just something our grandmothers wore. I have a few aprons that I will wear if I think things will get messy, but I've decided to purchase a new one.  

Every Christmas my mother used to make little cookies called Coconut Gems and I do the same. They are unusual because they have a certain crispness due to the use of a leavening agent called ammonium carbonate. This powder was used in old-fashioned cookies before baking soda became the norm. Here is a recipe called Princess Gems that is similar to the one handed down in my (Norwegian ancestry) family. The recipe lists sources for ammonium carbonate.

There's no shortage of outrageously delicious ideas for party foods on this list of 100 no-touch finger foods to serve this season when everyone is being covid-cautious. How do beef curry puffs, zucchini fritters, mini beef wellingtons, prawn and chorizo gazpacho shots, goat cheese quiches, tiny gingerbread cheesecakes, and strawberry mousse cups sound? 

If you have a cook on your gift list, you'll most likely find the perfect book for that person on Bon Appetit's list of the best 2021 cookbooks to give. 

If you are at all interested in food's role in history, you might enjoy this article. Five food historians describe how sandwiches like peanut butter and jelly, tuna salad, the club sandwich, and others evolved during the 19th and 20th centuries. You'll learn that something called the chow mein sandwich was invented in Emeril  Lagasse's hometown, and that most of the world's population thinks Americans are crazy to eat peanut butter and jelly together.

The club sandwich, today considered a fairly hearty affair, 
was originally designed as a dainty snack for ladies
lunches. Photo: Alena Haurylik via The Conversation 

Holidays ahead

Kylie Harris is the creator of The How To Mom blog, and she is passionate about making wreaths -- all kinds of them. I liked the way she showed how to make three versions of a ribbon wreath. I know I'll follow her easy tutorial to make at least one Christmas ribbon wreath this month. 

Kylie demonstrated the bubble method, the push up and twist
method, and the cut and bunch method of ribbon wreath making.

This season would not be complete without a holiday home tour, either local or online. Here is one blog hop of seasonally decorated homes that begins at one of my favorite content creator's home. Be sure to scroll down Michael's Inspired By Charm page to see the links to seven other beautifully decked-out homes.   

"Inspired" is definitely The Word at Michael's blog.
I love the way these stockings are so casually set 
at one end of the mantel. Photo: Inspired By Charm 

If you fancy the look of a jam-packed, overstuffed, full-on-decorated Christmas tree, you'll find some inspiring ideas on this post from Decorator's Warehouse in Texas. 

It's fun to choose a simple color scheme for Christmas
decor, and just run with it! There's no reason to stick
with the traditional colors. Photo: Decorator's Warehouse

Parade Magazine put out a list of the best Christmas songs for 2021, some long-time classics and some new ones. I have my favorite collections, including any of Harry Connick's three albums, which I listen to first off, as soon as I start baking cookies after Thanksgiving. Parade's list includes Kelly Clark, Seth MacFarlane Gwen Stefani, Laine Hardy, Dolly Parton, jazz musician Micah Edwards, and more. Of course there's always the old reliables -- Elvis, ole' blue eyes, Eartha Kitt, Nat King Cole, Charlie Brown, and The Nutcracker. 

Feel good

A woman invented an ingenious device for people who miss their dog and want to talk to him while they are at work all day. 

A scientific study of what kind of music people prefer at different times of the day led to the surprising finding that the 1983 song "Every Breath You Take" by The Police hits all the bumpers, that people enjoy it literally morning, noon and night. That explains what has made it last such a long time in our pop culture. I prefer this is live version from a 2008 concert in Tokyo. 

At 69, Sting is still performing. Photo: Evening Standard

The book I've been nibbling my way through during November is The Healing Powers of Chocolate. I have to note that the author is a little repetitive, but it's still a good read for a chocoholic like myself if for no other reason than we can stop feeling guilty of our indulgence...as long as we can be moderate about the amount of chocolate we eat. You'll find the book as a paperback, new or second-hand, and also in Kindle format. 

Have a wonder-full December!