Thursday, November 29, 2012

Christmas at Chateau Gahan

For those of you who follow me on Instagram, please forgive the double dose of Chateau Gahan in all her Christmas loveliness :-)

This year I went with a small tree. As much as I love a 8-9 foot tree regally soaking up the space of my two-story living room, it is quite the feat to get it up, get the lights on, then take it down come January and lug it off to the fire station recycling post. So I opted for a more manageable size.

I told the guys helping me at Lowe's that I wanted something more on the sparse side. Not a Charlie Brown tree, but one like you'd see in the forest. Know what I mean? One of the guys did. The other didn't have a clue what I was talking about. We went through a number of trees, before the guy who "got it" took me to the live tree on display festooned with lights. "This is it, isn't it," he said with a knowing grin. It was perfect. They got the lights off and hitched my storybook little tree to the top of my car, which as everyone knows, post Thanksgiving, wears a Christmas wreath.

Here it is straddling the space between the living room and the "study." The ball fringe trimmed tree skirt is a grandmother hand-me-down. I went with white lights, garlands of fake sugared gumdrops, and white beaded candy canes (a gift from my sister years ago); they remind me of white hobnail milk glass. Love 'em.

After 9 days of being boarded while we two girls headed up to Maryland for the Thanksgiving holiday, this little guy was happy to be home, curled up and sleeping in "mom's" chair.

Our nativity set, a Fontanini work-in-progress.

On the left is at-work decoration. A tacky lighted Santa. 
Christmas music playing from the time I arrive at work to when I leave; 
the selection of the hour is displayed. 
And on the right, a baby blue enamelware tub filled with pink poinsettias. 
Even the door to the cuckoo's house has a bottle brush wreath.

I wanted color lights somewhere, so my shelves of vintage floral tins got the royal treatment.

I really really really enjoyed the Christmas decorating this year. Not sure what made it different than in years past (of course, I always love doing it, but this year felt the best of all). I think it might have had something to do with the fact that I pulled out some things that had been tucked away for years; this was a result of giving the attic a good clean-up. More pix to come!

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Maryland, Mayberry and a Marriage

Here's a hodgepodge of a post.

Our trip up to Maryland for Thanksgiving was one of the most thankful happenings of the year. Getting to spend time with my sister and her kids, my sister-in-law and her girls, boyfriends and girlfriends, old haunts and familiar surroundings . . . it was all a blessing. Thanks to the Maryland gang for their hospitality. Perhaps a new tradition?

For the place setting namecards, I created Christmas keepsake ornaments. Inspired by pinecones my Mom brought back from the North Georgia mountains.

On the way home, we stayed the night in Mayberry, NC. Mt. Airy, NC is the birthplace of Andy Griffith, and so the hub of the town is named Mayberry and was just about as quaint as sitting on Aunt Bee's porch with a piece of blueberry pie.

A few pictures from a wedding Harleigh and Kasey recently went to. One of the prettiest weddings I've seen, and a testament to creating a beautiful and meaningful setting without spending a ton of money.
(Thanks to Karen, Kasey's mom, for the wonderful pictures!)

Home today after being gone a week. Let the Christmas decorating begin! 
My vintage floral tin collection gets some holiday lovin' with colored lights.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

More Pictures from The Unboundary Feast

Every Thanksgiving Feast needs toothpicks. 
Nothing like sitting back in your chair, cleaning your teeth, engaged in good gab, 
feeling full and blessed.

Don't skimp on nice dishware and serving pieces. 
My grandmother would have rarely used plastic at a family meal. 
Posters around the office reminded everyone of the dinner to come. This one on the fridge door.

When you can't find the right props to dress up the mantle, 
find them online, print them out, mount them to foamcore, easel-back them, 
and get to decoratin'.

The plates were the one thing I would not budge on 
when it came to being authentic to a Norman Rockwell meal. 
I really wanted them to look vintage AND I wanted disposable plates. 
So, with clear plastic plates as my canvas, a floral pattern cut from tissue paper, and ivory spray paint, 
I think I came pretty close to feeling as if Nana herself set the table.

OK, so I did go with plastic for the utensils. The silver above is a great fill-in for the real thing. 
And the plastic spoons and forks below were for dessert. 
But had to dress them up in a vintage tin on top of a grandmother doily. 
The butter was served on vintage saucers.

This year's theme really struck a chord with me. Now, on to thinking of The Feast 2013 . . . 

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Pattie Boyd

There are certain icons from the 60's that I admit having a thing for. I heart Dusty Springfield's music. And Davy Jones was a weakness when I wore knee-highs and those hard tortoiseshell headbands that made your temples ache. Old-school Andy Williams still makes me swoon when he sings Moon River.

Probably one of my most loved songs of all time is George Harrison's What Is Life. It's also in one of my top-10 fave movies Goodfellas. Here is a video link to the song (with Spanish subtitles; but it's one that I like because it shows images of George with his wife Pattie Boyd).  And that leads to my quasi obsession with Pattie Boyd. This English model led a life marred with trouble, but what I find fascinating is that she was the muse for two legendary musicians. She was the supposed inspiration for Harrison's Something. And for Eric Clapton (whom she later married) — Wonderful Tonite and Layla were both penned with her as the subject matter. Wow, and I was happy to get a mixed tape and an engraved silver-plated ID bracelet from a beau.

Here are some pictures of her with George and what she looks like today. Still so beautiful in a hippie kinda way. Don't be surprised if you see me coming into work with a flowing gauzy sheath of a dress and my eyes ringed with black eyeliner. And before you know it, some mop-haired chap will be writing a song about how doggone sexy I am when I misplace my readers and trumpet a piece of paper in front of my face in an attempt to make out the words.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Weekend Recap

So glad I went to Statesboro this weekend! Harleigh was getting baptized and asked me to be there. At first I balked (wear and tear on a car inching toward 200,000 miles; a dog to have boarded or babysat; gas and food expense; and with it also being Homecoming weekend, not a hotel room available for miles), but then I realized just how important it is that I be there.

-  First of all, she asked that I come. Enough said.
-  Second, I have a 20-year-old daughter who, from day one at college, became involved in and is now a vice president of a campus ministry.
-  Third, she found a church home, goes to church on Sundays, and is involved in church family life (everything from babysitting members' kids to teaching Sunday School to Bible studies).
-  Four, she's a good kid. I never have to worry about drinking, sex or bad behavior. She's happy and living her life in a way that I approve of and admire.

So off I went. And it was a blast. The Homecoming football game was made all that much more enjoyable with weather to die for. We won, too. Harleigh and Kasey sat on the student side of the stadium (where the kids stand for the entire game). I had reserved a seat on the other side amidst all the alumni. Kasey and Harleigh came over toward the end of the game and sat with me (since we were winning by such a huge margin, the stadium was clearing out). The lady in front of me started talking with Kasey and they wound up both knowing a ton of the same people. Kasey is one of those people who 1) makes friends with everyone and anyone, and 2) is bound to know someone that you do. It's crazy.

Then on Sunday morning Harleigh and I went to iHop for breakfast, and enjoyed gabbing over coffee and platters of pancakes, eggs and breakfast meats. Then off to church, a start-up congregation (an off-shoot of First Baptist of Statesboro) meeting at an area elementary school. Everything about this church is endearing. From the young pastor and his wife, to the way they transformed a school cafeteria into a warm and welcoming church home. They are "the little church that could" for sure.

After the baptism, we stayed for a spaghetti dinner served to raise money for missions. Then they had a cake auction, where they auctioned off 30-some cakes. They had a real auctioneer do it, and it was beyond fun. Here is a video of one of the cakes being auctioned off (if it doesn't load, here is the link). Harleigh and Kasey are in the right foreground. And I love how at the :11 mark, Harleigh leans over and kisses Kasey and then he leans down and showers her hand with kisses. So sweet.

Friday, November 9, 2012

"Google Images of Myself" Collage

I love to Image Google my name and see what pops up. Sorta like a mood board of my life. 
Here is the Dawn Gahan collage:

And the Harleigh Gahan collage:

Thursday, November 8, 2012

A Norman Rockwell Unboundary Feast

Usually my themes for our annual office Thanksgiving Feast are hatched a good year out from the event, but this year I just wasn't coming up with anything that seemed to have legs. It wasn't until a few months before that the iconic Norman Rockwell painting Freedom From Want came to mind.

This year's Feast fell quite early. What with people's vacation times and client workloads, we really didn't have a choice. So November 5 it was. I'll share more details in subsequent posts, but a few highlights . . .

  • All the girls wore vintage aprons, ones I've collected over the years and others newly purchased off of ebay.
  • For the boys, I made bow ties (thanks to a quite easy tutorial from A Beautiful Mess found here). Easy peasy to make, and by sewing on string to tie them into place, the boys could wear them with shirt collar and without.
  • I bought plastic smoking pipes. What better way to feel entrenched in a Norman Rockwell painting than by looking like Ward Cleaver in his study.
  • I really wanted vintage Grandma-looking plates at the table. I have quite a collection at home, but eegads, the dishwashing of real plates. So instead, I bought clear plastic plates and on the backs decoupaged cut flower patterns from gift tissue paper topped with a spraypaint coat of ivory.
  • Every year for the past 9 years we've served buffet style. But Grandma would frown on that. And so "pass the taters" it was. For 32 people, quite the feat. But it was so much fun. 

[A special thanks to Frank and Josie for their Instagram pix!]

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