For Harleigh's room I wanted to do a fun wreath. I suppose I could have bought one, but this idea came to me and I had to give it a try. I bought a styrofoam wreath and cut a very small section out of it. Then I slid on two cable-knit super-long knee socks from Target, twisting the heels toward the back of the wreath. I stuck a toothpick into the top, back of the wreath and slid on an ornament (which can be changed throughout the Christmas season), and hung the wreath from a nail at the top of the window frame using fishing line. I think it came out cute. An ivory cable-knit sock would look su-weet in a Shabby Chic room.
Only on the day after Thanksgiving does green bean casserole count as a breakfast food. So good.
I adore those hard icing decorations you put on top of cupcakes. For this evening's Hanging of the Greens at church I made these holiday cupcakes using decorations from last year. They last forever, so buying them on sale after Christmas and saving them for the next year works.
I was talking to my sister-in-law on the phone this morning, catching up, and sharing stories of our dogs. Getting Gideon was all about a pet for Harleigh. But I gotta tell ya, that boy has stolen a huge part of my heart. I can't imagine life without him. I feel safer under his watchful eyes. Comforted by his warm body snuggling on my lap (yes, he is a lap dog). Proud of his obedience and gentle ways (living at Chateau Gahan requires being careful around my collections and crafts).
Got Nana's cranberry salad done yesterday. Up early this morning to make the sauerkraut and kielbasa (a Polish standard in our Thanksgiving fare). Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade on the TV. Fresh brewed coffee . . . ahhhh. Heading over to Mom's at 12:30. Tomorrow is a busy day of cooking. Beverly and Clif from next door bring us a huge smoked turkey breast every year and I go crazy making all kinds of casseroles and soups to freeze. Have the Hanging of the Greens tomorrow evening at church with a big chili dinner to go with.
Yes, we are blessed. Happy Thanksgiving to you all!
Aren't these Christmas wreaths pretty enough to keep up all year long? I took off the sheer ribbon bow and hanger and used some ivory satin ribbon to hang them. Nailed the ribbon above the window frame and then tied a bow.
This year's Feast at my office was a super fun one. My theme of Modern Pilgrim netted black candlesticks, silver "trays" (which I cut out of silver posterboard), square plates and faux silverware. The plates and silverware are plastic and I think they looked really good. What a great find from bulk store BJ's.
But the best part were the hats. Over the weekend prior I had crafted Indian headdresses and men's and women's pilgrim hats. Working for a design studio allows me access to tons of paper, so I had all the white paper I needed. And then just dipped into my scrapbook paper stash for the feathers, the flowers on the bonnets, and the bands and buckles. Everyone wore one, we laughed and drank too much, ate until we leaned back in discomfort, and enjoyed the blessings of each other.
Enjoy the pictures (all courtesy of my favorite David Naugle).
This time of year, especially, I count my blessings. And I lose count.
And so when Molly asked me to come to a non-profit fundraiser for Luo: To Set Children Free From Poverty (founded by her two dear friends Gavin and Linsday; and Molly's husband is on the Board of Directors), I knew in my heart that I would go. Not only did I win one of the raffles (a lovely pair of earrings by jewelry designer Jen Boaz), but I wound up buying one of the canvases. I gravitated toward this particular one, done by a three-year-old named Precious, as its colors go so well with our happy home. The money I spent for the canvas will provide nutrition, medical care, Biblical curriculum and academic education for one child for one year. Every child deserves a happy home.
Here is the piece hanging in my hallway. I'm not sure that I'll frame it. I sorta like the raw edges; it says "child's art." And just look at her dear little footprint.
A busy busy weekend. And why, oh why, do I reach a Sunday evening and still have items on my TO DO list that have yet to be crossed off?!?!?!?! I long for a personal assistant, a maid, a cook. I wonder how so many women in blogland seem to get it all accomplished?? Are they (we) just posting the good side to all that we get done? I'm coming clean with y'all . . . there's no way I can keep up with all there is to do. So, I admit to a dusty house, loads of laundry yet to be done, craft projects yet to be undertaken (and usually the one thing that takes priority simply because they're fun), bills to be paid, paperwork to be filed, yard work to be tackled, a child to raise (the good, the bad, and the good), a job to go to 5 days a week (and thought about 7), groceries to be bought, meals to be planned and cooked.
Gideon has it good. And I love him for, on a daily basis, bringing me back to a place of simply . . . being me, and OK with all of the imperfections that I am, that surround me, and that he could care less about. Because he loves me for what I do, with smiling success, on a daily basis, without much effort at all . . . a meal, love, outside to go potty, and a good snuggle at the end of the day. Thanks, big guy.
Well, this really isn't a spread, but whatever the heck you call it, it has become my new holiday staple. The recipe came from co-worker, dear dear friend Molly. She served it as an appetizer at our Feast last year and it was a huge hit. I made a batch last year and a big one this year.
All you do is drain a jar of jalapenos of most of its juice, leaving just a tad. I cut up my jalapenos into smaller pieces but you can keep them sliced. Put the jalapenos and the tad of juice into a bigger jar (you'll need to do this because there is daily stirring to do). Keep refrigerated. Coat the top of the peppers with enough sugar so it's all white, then stir it in. Do this every day. I started my Thanksgiving batch on October 1.
You wind up with this sweet, slightly spicy mixture, that punches a little kick at the end. Put a small dollop onto a Wheat Thin. You can add a little slice of cream cheese too. Super easy to make. And great to put into smaller jars and take as hostess gifts.
Our office Feast is this coming Tuesday which means that this weekend I have to finish all of the tablescape items and shop for what I'll be cooking. Have set up shop in the study (with my Christmas music going!). The theme is Modern Pilgrim. I had high hopes for the fake snakeskin and silver buckle napkin rings, but they just didn't look good. So I'm OK with the napkin under the knife and spoon. I'm making hats for everyone - Indian headdresses, bonnets, and the standard men's Pilgrim hat – and in keeping with the modern idea, am using all paper with adornments out of scrapbook paper. Here are the headdresses: And the bonnets don bright ribbon ties and paper flowers and leaves: Only the men's hats to tackle. (and the cooking, and finishing spray painting the candlesticks, and cutting out the fake silver trays that will act as a table runner. Jeesh . . . a lot to do)
And here is my favorite little guy quite happy lying in paper.
Found this Relpo planter at Goodwill. It was actually painted!!! I carefully removed all of the yellow paint and this is what was underneath. So pretty. Harleigh saw it and fell in love with it for her room. Home found.
Carissa over at BrownEyedFox always has such wonderful ideas to engage her girls in the holidays (and really, life in general!). And her photography is . . . well, she makes me want a good camera so badly (I adore her images of home and family). Stop by her blog . . . so worth visiting.
She has a thankful ladder (and in the past has done a thankful tree). I loved the idea and started it two days ago with Harleigh. I wanted to post our "thanks" in a place that we see every single day, and that would be the door from the ken to the garage. So I pulled out color markers, these manilla tags, and ornament hooks (they hang perfectly on the airy lacy curtain). And we add to it every day. What a lovely idea, Carissa!
Was visiting Vintage Lily on Friday evening and she showed this wreath from Big Lots. I just had to have one, so I found the nearest one on Saturday and made a bee line for it. Got two. But also found this big plastic "ornament" which houses a little scene. It lights up, plays music (optional), and the people move around the ice pond. Charming hanging above my kitchen sink.
This year's Feast at work is in full swing preparations. I'm going with a totally different theme this year. Last year's was a very calming, subdued, vintage feel using my old tins and lots of white flowers. This year I'm doing a theme called "Modern Pilgrim." One aspect of it is taking all the old brass candlestix that I had amassed and painted white for Jenn and Jason's wedding, and painting them black. More details to come!
This Fall's Sheepie Day was the best attended yet. I counted at least 30 OES. We went for an hour, about as long as Gideon lasts before sitting next to one us and looking up as if to say, "I've socialized. Enough is enough. Let's get home to Chateau Gahan for some Christmas music, windows open with an unseasonal warm breeze, and a hardwood floor with my name on it."
Supposed to be beautiful here in the ATL this weekend. Hope to do lots of nesting this weekend with the sun pouring in the windows. Have the bi-annual Sheepie Day in the Park this Sunday. Gideon is excited to be amongst his peeps for a day of rollicking and butt sniffing.
My dear dear friend Ali is a photographer who has made me gaga over beautiful images. Aside from adoring all that she shoots (including my own dear Harleigh Girl), I can't get enough of this photographer from the UK. Ahhhhh, the colors, the books. The serenity.
My retreat every evening. To read. To do paperwork. Listening to Christmas music. A giant hairy dog at my feet. Surrounded by a home that despite all the dust bunnies and its daunting TO DO list of fixes, is perfect.
"Our house was not unsentient matter — it had a heart and a soul, and eyes to see with; and approvals and solicitudes and deep sympathies; it was of us, and we were in its confidence and lived in its grace and in the peace of its benedictions. We never came home from an absence that its face did not light up and speak out in eloquent welcome — and we could not enter it unmoved."- Samuel Clemens
I am probably the most content person you'd ever want to meet. I have a decent job working with people I like, a loving family including a swell Old English Sheepdog, a home where nesting and curling up on slipcovered sofas is required, and a life rich in creative crafting and daydreaming. I someday want a cottage at the beach where my grandchildren can bring sandy feet into the house, wet bathing suits can dry on the front porch and everything we need to get to is a bicycle ride away.