Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Halloween Around the House

Good grief -- I realized it was nearly Halloween. And while I had shown you some early fall decorating, I wanted to post the few extra Halloweenie touches. Preferably before the witching hour but who knows...

So join me for a peek into the magic of Halloween!

A friend has given me so many wonderful Bethany Lowe characters, each holiday I bring them out and hate to put them away!

The Wizard of Oz gang are decked out for the holiday.

And so, too, are the wee trick-or-treaters in Bethany's world.

Three favorite china cats must make an appearance. The flowers have since been replaced by a small pumpkin.

A stuffed "Jack" has his own seat in the house...

...but the Black Cat has to make do with the book shelf.

Meanwhile, a trio of Anna Lee cat witches keep watch over the Great Pumpkin.

Remember the Greeting Angel? Well, she has been joined by a Jack o' Lantern and a sweet card from a friend in Japan.

Take a closer look -- it folds out into a magical autumn scene.

In the family room, a tower of pumpkins and a china "Jack" have joined the mantle.

Meanwhile, Lizzie's dining area also has it's scary "Jack" poking out of a vase filled with beads and lights.

Even the bedroom has a bit of Halloween with a vase full of gourds.

And if you are on the way out, you'll notice that the cotton boll wreath has a new adornment.

Of course, all of this will be down in a few days...

But until then, I'll love every minute!

This post is being linked to Share Your Cup and to Thoughts of Home on Thursday, where you will find many delightful links to visit.

Southern Exposure Pail of Plenty

Those of you who have followed Marmelade Gypsy for a long time know that my favorite place in the world (well, at least the U.S.!) is Southern Exposure Herb Farm, a series of restored farm buildings and gardens where each spring and fall workshops, preceded by a dinner or lunch, are offered.

My first visit was last week and the project was "Pail of Plenty," a metal container filled with fresh herbs and plants.

My friend Jan and I always arrive early to walk through the gardens -- especially during the fall workshops when it is dark by the time we leave. This week was no exception.


Going to Southern Exposure is a multi-sensory experience. The gardens are impeccably maintained and all the little touches, like flowers in the bird baths, make it extra pretty and special.

One of my favorite areas is the greenhouse. The light in this very small, enclosed space is perfect for photographs.

It's a mix of "things on the table" and carefully staged vignettes that look like they just "happened."

They hydrangeas are, of course, fading, but they were still sharing their colors with us.


The dessicated skeleton leaves were exquisite.

They reminded me of a quote about Tinkerbell: "“There was another light in the room now, a thousand times brighter than the night lights…but when it came to rest for a second you saw it was a fairy, no longer than your hand, but still growing. It was a girl called Tinker Bell exquisitely gowned in a skeleton leaf, cut low and square, through which her figure could be seen to the best advantage." (J.M. Barrie, Peter Pan)

The kitchen garden had loads of flowering kale and was nestled in a bed of nasturtiums that took my breath away.

(If anyone knows what those tall, spiny plants are behind the kale, let me know. Chard? Some kind of collard greens? It's clear I don't know my greens all that well! But I do know flowering kale!)

The chickens were waiting for us -- but alas, we had nothing to feed them!

A picket fence surrounded by holly, reminding us that winter isn't all that far away...

...a clever posting of gourds on the peaks of an iron fence...

...a small, plant covered gazebo...

...a folly with chairs to rest in,,,

...a pear tree (hold the partridge!)...

 ...handsome pumpkins. All combining for a beautiful experience!

Wee cement sculptures,nestled in hostas and almost hidden under a path of pine.

We finally heard the dinner bell and went inside where we enjoyed a beef stew served in an acorn squash bowl, a salad with end of season berries, colorful carrots and parsnips, bread and wine, with pumpkin roll for dessert. Then it was on to the craft tent for our project.

The beauty of a project at Southern Exposure is that truly, anyone can do it -- and fairly quickly. They do much of the advance prep and have the supplies divided so we simply have to sit down and create!

In this case, we received a beautiful metal pail already filled with dirt. Our guide, Micah, shared with us details on prepping soil with mulch and straw for better insulation and highlighted the plants in our project -- rosemary, curry (yes, that rosemary-looking plant that is a bit lighter is curry!), kale and an edible viola. There was also broom corn for visual interest and faux autumn leaves were available as well.

Then it was just a matter of putting them in the pot in a way we liked and "garnishing" with the leaves.


We also received a pumpkin of our choice to take home. 

It's one of the prettiest and easiest of projects we have completed (if you search Southern Exposure on the right rail above, you can see posts from other workshops). I still keep playing with my faux leaves. I suspect I will take out even more of them in a day or two! Can't stop fiddling!


Our next workshop is in November -- Ice Berry Wreath. I can't wait!

This post is joining in on several blog parties this week. I hope you will visit Share Your Cup and Thoughts of Home on Thursday to check out the other beautiful links!

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Magic Moments and a Step Into the Past

I am such a sucker for a fabulous theatre.This passion began years ago, when I saw movies at the now-demolished Michigan Theatre in Lansing, Michigan. It was designed by John Eberson for the Butterfield Theatre chain.

The memories I have of this theatre are deep and all good. A fourth grade birthday party where my friends and I saw Judy Holliday and Dean Martin in "Bells are Ringing." High school dates in the balcony. Enjoying Audrey Hepburn movies with my mom.

I would walk through the beautiful arcade where a selection of shops tempted my parents, buy popcorn at the concession stand and crawl into the cushioned red seats, ready to be enthralled by "Pollyanna," cry at "Old Yeller" or scream at "Wait Until Dark." The lights would dim, the stars on the ceiling would appear, I would be transported.

My mom's experience with the theatre went back far longer than mine. When it was called The Strand, she and her friends would go to the early movie and stay all day long. Money for the movie, a nickel for a candy bar. All the magic you could stand.

The Eberson atmospheric theatres were designed by John Eberson and in cities across the country including Dallas, Wichita, Tampa, Houston, San Antonio, Shaker Heights, Louisville, Chicago, and countless others from 1905 to 1950. Many of those theatres, like the Michigan, have since been demolished, making way for other businesses, unable to support their costs with crowds flocking to mall multiplexes.

Now, for some lovely background music, click on the video below!

Recently I had the opportunity to attend a concert by the ethereal Loreena McKennitt at another Eberson-designed theatre, the State Theatre located in downtown Kalamazoo.

I walked in and it was like walking into my past. Elaborate ceiling work in the lobby.

A small but busy concession stand. Classic signs indicating the Ladies Room.

The auditorium was spectacular -- well preserved and elegant. As I recalled from the theatres of my youth, stars twinkled on the ceiling and the ornate pillars and decor transported me to another world.

There was a powerful Moorish feeling to the setting. Sculpture was found in inset nooks on the walls and the gold was plentiful.


Everything was beautifully lit -- dark enough to be mysterious, light enough to see the fabulous details.

The large and steep balcony (that's where we were sitting!) offered a terrific perspective for the stage and a great view of the entire space.

Add to this McKennitt's powerful Celtic music, filling the space with her clear voice and small but very effective musical trio who played cello/recorder, bass, fiddle with McKennitt on harp and piano.

It was a performance and evening to remember -- remembering both the evening itself and all those wonderful times long ago in another theatre that was much the same.

 Vintage photos in this post are from the sites Water Winter Wonderland and Cinema Treasures.

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