Monday, November 30, 2009

Deck the Halls…Welcome to Our Home

I have been so excited about Deck the Halls and I hope you have been too! I can hardly wait to get a glimpse into your homes and your holiday decorations. Christmas is a magic time for so many reasons. I like to think that my outward decorations are just an expression of the joy in my heart. So, I’d like to invite you into our home.


Welcome! We are a pretty traditional family when it comes to decorating for Christmas. We do have one running controversy however. Beloved wants RED and green not gold and green. I did wreaths with red ribbons in all the windows at the last house. This time it’s my turn :)


I love the gold ribbon with gold and silver ornaments on the wreath. I think it dresses it up a little…and you are “front door” company! But don’t stand outside. Come on in!CIMG0772

The foyer holds my very favorite Christmas decoration—A Fontanini nativity. This is the first thing to go up every year and the last thing to be put away. The Bible is opened to the book of Luke, the story of the first Christmas. Although I sometimes read other versions for clarity, I still love the language of the King James version of the Bible.


The House of Fontanini was founded in 1908 by Emanuele Fontanini in a small village in Italy. Each figure is exquisitely detailed and can take up to two years to create. Today Fontanini is still directed and operated by the fourth generationCIMG0762

The figures are crafted of resin and the wooden stable has natural fibers to make it more realistic. This is on my daughter’s Christmas wish list. Every member of the family has cherished this for a long time.


The bannister is done, but you can’t go upstairs. I haven’t decorated up there yet :). Come into the living room. This is the room my family calls my room. It has “my” Christmas tree in it.


This tree in the living room is all gold and crystal. I have been collecting these ornaments for years and try to add one or two each Christmas. The children know an ornament is a gift I will love. CIMG0744

I fill in with shiny gold poinsettias and wired fish net ribbon entertwined with the white lights, ornaments, and gold bead garland.CIMG0789

This tree has beautiful crosses…the reason for the season.CIMG0747

There is an assortment of crystal angels..some with harps, some cherubs, some with beautiful wings. I love the way the lights shine through them.


There are whimsical ornaments too…reindeer, ballerinas, Santa, doves, snowflakes.


A candy cane poinsettia in my grandmother’s crystal bowl carries out the red theme in the room. Early birds got these poinsettias at Home Depot for $1!!!..My early bird daughter picked them up for me. The limit was ten :(.CIMG0787

I filled this crystal trifle dish with leftover gold baubles. Sometimes when it is quiet at night, I like to come in here and just enjoy it. I hope you enjoyed coming to “my room” too. But, I know, it’s getting late. W e’re all still recuperating from Thanksgiving.


Don’t worry. I’ll invite you back next Tuesday. If you are participating in Deck the Halls add your permalink, not your general blog address, below after you have actually published your post. Don’t forget to copy and paste the Deck the Halls logo. Thanks for participating. I look forward to visiting you.

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Friday, November 27, 2009

Welcome to Christmas

Thanksgiving is over. The leftovers are in Tupperware and zip locs, the good china is back in place, and the relatives are packing up. It’s time for a trip to the attic! Let the decorating begin!n1177400599_30189498_1966475-1-1-1

My sweet little niece (in an earlier picture from the spring) has a passion for all things pink and spent the holiday with us. She gravitates toward pink like a bee to honey. While we were out shopping, she found a pink Christmas tree and I started thinking. Wouldn’t it be fun to let our “inner pink child” loose on Christmas decorations?! The front door might look like this.


or this


or this


I love this one made with vintage tinsel and ornaments. The front door is our first opportunity to say “welcome to Christmas”. I’m already working on mine!


I hope you will join me for Deck the Halls this Tuesday, December 1 and every Tuesday until January 5! I’ll be hosting a fun party to show off our decorations, those we’ve visited, or simply those that inspire us. The rules are relaxed—it’s a casual party :) I’ll be posting Mr. Linky on Monday night by 8:00 p.m. central time. I hope you will make plans to join the fun!

Join Beverly at How Sweet the Sound for more pink fun. Thank you Beverly!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Tables of the Past

With food, family, friends, football, and parades competing for our attention, there may not be many out and about in the land of Blog today.  Susan, our faithful hostess, continues to invite us in no matter what the calendar says.  I thought I might show you a few tablescapes from the past.  Hope you are having or have had a joyous Thanksgiving filled with an abundance of the love of family and friends.









Thanks for strolling down tablescape memory lane with me.  Don’t forget “Deck the Halls” on December 1. Mr. Linky will be up on Monday night! Click on the TT button to join Susan at Between Naps on the Porch!320597529_6c21476212_m

Deck the Halls

Tuesdays, December 1-January 5

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

My Thanksgiving Wish for You


I grew up in a time when variety shows were popular and never more popular than at holiday time.  I remember watching Perry Como as a child.  Perry was eighty one years old when this was recorded.  His song is my wish for each of you and your families.  Happy Thanksgiving!   Don’t forget to turn off the music in the playlist at the bottom!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Let’s Give Them Something to Talk About….Dessert


Funny, that Bonnie Raitt’s song popped in my head when I was thinking about this post. But let’s face it. Thanksgiving with lots of extended family can be stressful. Lots of planning, cooking, and cleaning. Throw in a few strange relatives and you’ve got stress. Serve this dessert and this is ALL your guests will talk about! It is a showstopper—delicious, pretty, and best of all made ahead of time.

Creme Brulee’ Bundt Cake

3 cups sugar, divided

4 cups heavy cream, divided

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

6 large eggs

1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk

2 egg yolks

1 (3 oz.) package cream cheese, softened

Sprinkle 1 cup sugar into a medium skillet. Cook over medium heat, stirring often, until sugar melts and turns a light golden brown. Quickly pour into a 12 –cup Bundt pan, tilting to coat the sides of pan about 1 1/2 inches up sides. This may crack as it cools. Stir together heavy cream and vanilla in a large bowl. In a blender, process 6 eggs, next 3 ingredients . and 2 cups sugar until smooth. Stir this into cream mixture. Pour over caramelized sugar in Bundt pan.


Place in a large roasting pan in a preheated 350 degree oven. Pour hot water into roasting pan to a depth of 1 inch. Bake for 1 hour and 30 minutes or until a knife inserted in deepest part comes out clean. Remove pan from water and chill on wire rack for 1 hour. Cover and chill at least 8 hours. Loosen edges with a thin knife and invert onto a serving plate. Garnish with remaining whipped heavy cream, sweetened to taste.


I served this for the birthday dinner (here) with green salad, Rett’s (from The Gazebo House) individual beef Wellingtons (recipe here), twice baked potatoes, and creamed spinach and artichokes. This meal gave everybody something to talk about!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Stuffing or Dressing?


Ahh..Thanksgiving always brings up one of life’s eternal quandaries. Is it stuffing or dressing and is there a difference? As a southerner, I have always called the Thanksgiving staple dressing. I believe the term stuffing is more prevalent above the Mason Dixon. Some say the base of dressing is cornbread, while the base of stuffing is white bread. Others say stuffing is “stuffed” inside the bird, while dressing is baked in a casserole dish. Which ever name you use, most of us will find it on our Thanksgiving tables. Several years ago, a dear friend who was living without family in NYC called and asked me how to make dressing. Although I did not have a written recipe, I figured it was a good time to measure and put one in writing..for her and posterity. Last year the Commercial Appeal newspaper published my recipe in a column titled “Tasteful Dressings”. It has been said that the Mississippi Delta begins in the lobby of the Peabody Hotel in Memphis TN and ends on Catfish Row in Vicksburg, MS. Since I am intimately acquainted with both, I call it

Delta Dressing

4 batches of corn bread (recipe here)

1 quart homemade chicken stock

4-5 bunches green onions, chopped with tops

5 stalks celery, chopped

2 pieces of white bread

Salt and pepper

Place broth, onion, and celery in a deep skillet. Cook until celery is soft. Meanwhile, crumble cornbread completely in a large bowl. Add broth mixture. Tear and add white bread. Mix all well. Get in with your hands if you need to. Add salt to taste and LOTS of black pepper. (I just taste it until I like it). Put into two 9X13 greased casserole dishes. I usually reserve a small amount to mix with oysters and oyster broth. Bake at 350-400 degrees for 30-40 minutes.

Notes-Use homemade stock. Don’t shortcut here! Homemade broth makes a big difference. This can be done in advance and the broth frozen. Boil a whole chicken with an onion, celery with leaves, and a carrot. Add salt and pepper. Cook until the chicken is done (the leg will move easily). Remove the chicken and strain the broth. This recipe is not for sissies, but definitely worth the effort! I make the cornbread on Monday, chop celery and onion on Tuesday and put the dressing together on Thanksgiving morning. You could do it ahead, but I like the way the kitchen smells while watching parades.

****This is exactly the way I emailed it to my non-cooking friend :)—hence, the detailed instructions. Call it what you like…just call me when it’s ready! I wish you and yours a Thanksgiving filled with the blessings of family and food. Nothing says that more than this Norman Rockwell picture.


Click on the Foodie Friday button for more fun and recipes! Thanks to Michael at Designs by Gollum!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Birthday Tablescape…Where the Deer and the Antelope Play

Susan, our gracious hostess at Between Naps on the Porch has invited us once again. As someone else pointed out: I don’t really think she naps :)! I know everyone is neck deep in Thanksgiving plans…cleaning, cooking, or a lucky few packing. But we are have a double celebration before the big holiday. First Born and our new son in law (hereafter known as Shug and pronounced like the first half of sugar :) are both celebrating birthdays! First Born is celebrating a milestone one and it is Shug’s first as a member of our family. He proposed to Sunshine on his birthday last year. It calls for a celebration—and a manly one!


This antelope started it all. A friend had it left over from a garage sale. He was originally an ash blonde color. The tablescape wheels starting turning in my head and with a can of gold spray paint he became my centerpiece.


We are usually an informal family more prone to barbecue on the deck than formal sit down meals—but this one is special and required a special table setting.


Glenda at A Dab of This and That tipped me off on these large faux acorns at Cracker Barrel. Perfect and 40% off to boot—thanks Glenda!


It’s hard for me to set a table without flowers no matter how manly it is. Since I had a gold theme going, I spray painted these Dollar Tree candle holders with the same gold spray paint. The roses (always from Kroger) are yellowish with burnt orange tips to pull out the colors in the china.


I used my grandmother’s Lancaster by Haviland—a great pattern for autumn. One of the things that I love most about this china is what it represents to me. This china was not a wedding gift to my grandparents. My grandmother, a career woman, bought every single piece on layaway—that thing people used before credit cards. She had a great appreciation for beautiful things and was willing to work for them. I found these great gold napkin rings at Old Time Pottery recently for $1 each. The sterling is Burgundy by Reed and Barton.


I dressed up the Lismore by Waterford with wired gold ribbon. Each person will have their own little crystal salt and pepper set.


No one but my grandmother would have ever dared to wash this covered dish…we were all afraid we’d break it :)


I am serving Rett’s (from The Gazebo House) individual beef Wellingtons and the gravy boat will be perfect for a horseradish sauce or bearnaise


Butter pats for the rolls will hide inside here. I usually use this china for Thanksgiving, but this year we will be eating with my daughter—my first time to be a guest in over twenty five years. The Thanksgiving torch passed directly from my paternal grandmother to me…so I had to get out her china….I hope you’ll enjoy sharing it with me.


Click on the TT button on the sidebar for more tablescape with Susan! Don’t forget Deck the Halls will be on Tuesdays beginning December 1. I hope you’ll join in the fun and grab a button! For details click here320597529_6c21476212_m

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Metamophosis Monday…New Look for the Nook

I almost never get to “play” on Met Monday when Susan at Between Naps on the Porch hosts her party, but I’ve been working on a project for a while now….and it’s time I invited you in to see! If you visit my tablescapes, you’ve seen this table and this view frequently.


I bought this table several years ago at an estate sale—just a pedestal table. I’m not sure of its age, but the size was right. Our farm table from our previous home did not fit the new space comfortably. This table had lots of “character” from it’s previous owners. I loved that it was well worn and obviously had its own stories to tell, but I was never really happy with it. The window treatments were in the house when we bought it. Again, I appreciated having them, but they nagged at me after a couple of years. I find some of my best inspiration in catalogs. I love browsing through Ballard Designs. I saw this table and an idea was born.


You talented bloggers have introduced me to the wonders of furniture rehabilitation! I’ve always been a spray painter, but have never ventured far out of my comfort zone of small items and deck furniture. But you gave me courage to try! SOooo…I waited until Beloved went out of town; I went to the hardware store; I showed the man a leaf from the table and asked his advice on painting it. “You gonna ruin this antique?” was his reply. After I recovered, I answered, “Yep, so you might as well help me do it”. What is it with men and wood? :) I painted the table and six chairs in two days….just in the nick of time before Beloved got home.


The Windsor chairs were a previous purchase and needed an update too!


I think it looks like the Ballard table. I can take out two leaves to make it round, but the larger size suits us most of the time. Hershey in the background is not impressed :) Next, it was time to get rid of the window treatments. The metamorphosis stalled in the pupa stage! But while I was catalog browsing, I saw these curtains in the Country Curtains catalog.


The photo makes it hard to tell, but they are a small tan and black check….love the fabric. The style is just a little much for the breakfast area….but the wheels started turning again. Five fabric stores later, I had a coupon, a seamstress, and a plan.


I picked them up on Friday and Beloved and I hung them on Saturday. I must tell you that this is a miracle in itself for several reasons: 1) Beloved did it . 2) He did not use words that make sailors blush. 3) We are still married.


I like the way the table and the window treatments complement the colors in this picture. I had to replace some decorative plates to go with the new color scheme. I found these at Hobby Lobby. They will do for now, but I’m still looking.


The back entryway need a little sprucing up too. The door has the same window treatment. I bought this rug on clearance at a local rug store and another one at Big Lots for beneath the sink. CIMG0626

I had always thought the little breakfast alcove needed a rug to define and warm up the area. I had a black and tan sisal rug in mind, but completely reversed directions when I found one on clearance at the same rug store. I think it added the color and texture this area needed.


Now, I never told you what Beloved said when I painted the table, or changed the window treatments, or added the rugs. Beloved is a man of few words. He took one look all around and at the rug in the kitchen and said,CIMG0603

“Why do we have a New Orleans Saints rug?”. I love that man :)

Click on the MM butterfly on the sidebar for more transformations at Susan’s.


Don’t forget the Deck the Halls party will begin on December l. For details click here! Hope to see you there!