want it now: tim burton’s playing cards

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There are a few necessities I carry around with me during Chicago winters: tissues, an extra pair of gloves, and a deck of playing cards. Go ahead, check any of my purses. The playing cards really are for practical reasons — you never know when you’ll be delayed thanks to an incoming winter storm or a fun, on-the-town sort of night dissolves into a “Let’s just stay in, my eyeballs will freeze if I leave the apartment” sort of night. A good game of cards can pass those blustery hours. My new favorite deck of cards is a souvenir from the wildly successful Tim Burton exhibition currently at MoMA. Each card features a different Burton creature, part adorable and part terrifying. They’re an inexpensive treat at only $5 ($4.50 for members). — Katie D.

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want it now: sarah finn’s wood placemats

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Placemats are hard to get right. The market is flooded with floral prints, boring woven varieties, and kitschy quilted disasters. On the other hand, these gorgeous wood veneer placemats, found on A+R Store, hit all the right notes — they look like high-end art pieces with the delicate feel of lace. Designer Sarah Finn brought a century-old German woodworking business into modern times with laser cutting techniques. The placemats are available in blonde maple or red mahogany veneer for $25 each. — Katie D.

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making a cake? make cake stencils

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I spend just as much time flipping through wedding cake portfolios at bakeries as I do Vogues at the hair salon. I’d love to make my own masterpieces, but I have neither the skills nor the equipment — mine are more Cake Wrecks than Cake Boss. That’s why I like cake stencils, a foolproof way to decorate without steady hands, a drawer full of piping tips, or years of experience! Bonus: a lightly sugared topping is a nice antidote to a heaviness of a slathered-with-frosting cake. Martha Stewart makes a beautiful set. But if you’d rather give cake stencils a try for free, check out this this Canadian Living article — it has downloadable templates so that you can make your own. — Katie D.

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not martha cookies: home is where your mug is

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How did I miss this incredible idea from Not Martha?! These tiny gingerbread houses are made to be perched on the edge of your mug of hot cocoa (or whatever you may be drinking). These are too cute to put away for a whole year, so I was thrilled to see Not Martha had success making these houses out of sugar cookie dough as well. While gingerbread screams holidays, sugar cookies are welcome in my house all year round. — Erica P.

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spring wedding? try appetizers in the garden

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Update: We believe in credit where credit is due, so please pay a visit to the creators of the fabulous spread above, Dahan Caterers in Washington, DC. They specialize in creative, kosher catering!

There are a lot of things I love about weddings: watching the always gorgeous bride walk down the aisle, the touching exchange of hand written vows, the opportunity to dance the Horah (so fun!) and the cute little appetizers that make the rounds during the cocktail hour. This past summer, two of my very stylish friends had a very posh wedding on Baltimore’s waterfront. The culinary highlight was this beautiful appetizer table made to look like a summer garden in full bloom. Guests could pick their own bouquet and dip the edible flowers in the yummy spreads planted in terracotta pots. The watering cans held extra skewers for the veggies filling the picnic baskets — yum! Spring brides, take note! — Katie D.

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