Friday, November 24, 2017

A Trip to the Greens Market!

For the past I-don't-know-how-many years, my friend Jan and I have made the trip to the Northville Greens Market, the weekend before Thanksgiving, our official start to the holiday season. So, join me and the elves for a day in Northville!

Northville is a charming town about an hour from us and among its charms are our favorite store, Gardenviews, a delightful Walt-Disney-like feel and a nearby Trader Joe's. We always wrap our visit with a visit to Guernsey's, a restaurant with broasted chicken to die for.

We have experienced the Greens Market in a number of meteorological conditions -- sunny days, brisk but dry, subzero temps and windy. But we have never been there in a deluge.

Normally, I would share photos with you like this:

Or this:

But today it was just pouring rain, grab-and-go. So grab we did and then we headed for shelter at Gardenviews, which was a Christmas wonderland.

And it was a wonderland, filled with lots of pretty trees...

...tempting ornaments...

...adorable little glittery houses...

...and snowy branches of loveliness.

There were vintage Kris Kringles...

...and slightly more traditional Santas...

...and the right jolly old elf himself.

But most of all, it was warm, cheerful and dry!

And despite the rain (and later snow) it was glorious fun.

And a wonderful start to the holidays!

Thursday, November 23, 2017


Ever grateful for family, friends near and far, sweet black-and-white cats with an attitude and big purr (or rather, one in particular!) and for the gifts I am presented with each and every day -- some large, some small. All beatiful.

I wish you a lovely Thanksgiving.

Monday, November 20, 2017

Visit the Gypsy Caravan!

Some of you have asked if I sell my cards and such online and I don't have an Etsy page yet but I do have a little Gypsy Caravan, which you can always find on the menu bar at the top of my blog page. Well, finally -- at long last, I've updated the Gypsy Caravan page.  Caravan -- just in time for Christmas!

 It includes note cards from my photos and watercolors, 5x7 cards, silk scarves and original framed watercolors.

Small Note Cards are available individually at $2.50; six for $13. If I have all the same, you can have a set of look-alikes or you can mix and match. Just tell me the ones you like (see the Caravan page for availability) and I'll put it together for you.

Large Note Cards are $4. Again, just say the ones you are interested in and off they go.

I base postage on what it costs but on the average, 12 small note cards with postage and handling adds another $4.50. Less if you order less!

Original Watercolors in these frames run as follows:
8x10 with mat -- $30 plus postage
5x7 with NO mat -- $25 plus postage
4x6 with NO mat -- $20 plus postage


You may upgrade to a somewhat more contemporary frame for an additional $5. All frames up to 8x10 may be either hung on a wall or "stood" with the backing stand.

How to pay? Well, I haven't started paypal yet, so it's all check or money order. You tell me what you want; I figure out the postage/handling and let you know; you send me a check and it's in the mail!

If you're interested in anything on the site, either leave a comment on the page (be sure to include a way to contact you if you are a no-reply blogger) or email  Cheers!

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Decorating on a Shoestring, Part Two

Welcome back to Christmas Decorating on a Shoestring at Southern Exposure. If you missed the first post, check it out HERE. We have two more rooms to go!

This is the Corn Crib. The photo above reminds us that small pieces of vintage luggage or a trunk can be filled with lights and greens to make a lovely decorating statement. And the one below I thought this one was good for outdoors, especially for those of us in heavy-winter states -- stack three pots and fill them with rock salt. Embellish with lights (corded or tea lights). You can use it all winter when you get some snow and ice.

This was another fun one -- put your used wine corks to work by inserting a skewer. You can use them to label cheeses on a cheese tray or for many other purposes.

I wish I'd photographed the rake that have been cut off mid-handle. It's triangle shape looked like a tree and on it were hung small ornaments. It would be perfect in a country kitchen/home setting or even on the outside of a potting shed (should you be so lucky to have one!)

A few other ideas from the Corn Crib: Use stick-on gems to bling up your wine glasses for New Year's -- they come off easily; use strips of lace, burlap or fabric as a swag (I wasn't sure about this at first but the more I looked at it I saw the potential -- I might add a little something like a vintage holiday medallion graphic at the knot on the top.)

And if you're having your guests put their coats on your bed, "welcome" them with lighted stars or another piece.

lf you collect lace rounds, try showing them off in embroidery hoops. I think these are a little large for the size of the tree but you get the idea -- and note the mirror and how it adds to the light of the room.

Then it was on to the Main House. The owners of Southern Exposure live here and for about four weeks, they have to keep the downstairs of the house ready for guests to walk through! (Molly asked if there was a kitchen upstairs. Nope. They just have to be neat!)

If you have a piano, rolled up Christmas music or music cut into strips and added to a vase can highlight the music of the season.

The Music Room also found us looking out the windows with lighted snowflakes found at goodwill and large glass vases filled with red balls and battery candles.

The Parlor included featured a child's chair filled with gifts, moss topiaries (you can stick them into an old flower pot that is painted), and greens tucked behind mirrors and pictures.

I loved the dining room! I just wanted to sit down and dine here everyday with its cozy fireplace! Candles were placed in wineglasses, a tea service filled with florals, and a table that had seasonal dishes and glasses from the Dollar Tree.

I loved the silverware in the small stockings, which could be party take-aways.

Lighting your china cabinet can shed new light on beautiful things. Add an ornament or greenery and it's even more festive.

And then there was the kitchen. I could live there, too. I don't think I'll be putting greenery in my kitchen sink but I loved the idea of filling the trifle bowl with oranges.

I'm going to give this a try too -- hanging greens from the top of the cupboards with wire and anchoring them inside with tape. I loved this look. Note the little bells on the cabinet doors, too.

If a cookie cutter tree doesn't do it for you, maybe this cute one with decorated spoons would look cute in your kitchen. You probably have the spoons already!

Scott also offered some good tips for outside. I don't have pics of those but a few of the ideas included turning a large piece of tumbleweed into a snowman with a scarf, bits for the eyes and a hat. I know this is hard to visualize but for my Western friends, you might get it! Fill an urn with Red Twig dogwood or spray other branches red or white. Tie up that old sled with ribbon. If you have minnow buckets at hand, they make a great luminary. Try using an obelisk or one of those wire frames you can find at Hobby Lobby for the garden and hang a birdseed bell in it. (Molly said she might try that one for her porch!)

And, if you have garden statuary, don't forget to light it.

We went home loaded with great ideas -- far more than I was able to share here. And we arrived home to this...

... Grandpa Rick lost Carson's pacifier (well, we think Carson lost it but it's not to be found yet!) and somehow he managed to get him to sleep without!

Hopefully you've found an idea or two in these posts that you can take into the season! Let the merriment begin!

Linking to: Share Your Style   Share Your Cup  Pink Saturday  

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Christmas Decorating on a Shoestring at Southern Exposure, Part One

I skipped the last two years of Christmas Decorating on a Shoestring at Southern Exposure because the time just got away from me. But this past weekend, Miss Molly and I headed to Battle Creek to check out this year's edition!

Decorating on a shoestring does not include a project, like our other Southern Exposure visits. Instead, after our dinner we walk from one building to another, gloriously decorated for the holiday season. When you leave, you have a packet of about 100 tips for reasonably priced, fun decorating. (And are very full.)

But first you dine! And what a lovely dinner!

The menu reflected the season with an early "Thanksgiving" feast, starting with a cranberry spritzer cocktail and ending with a lemon Italian cream cake. And of course the table was beautifully set, as usual.

We started out getting our decorating on a shoestring ideas in the Milking Parlor of this old hog farm, now the main dining room.

The Southern Exposure team is very big on two guiding rules -- use what you have if you can and before you spend a lot of money at a decorating store for new things, check places like Goodwill, Salvation Army, yard sales throughout the year and discount stores like Dollar Tree and Big Lots.

I guess there's a third rule -- don't forget spray paint! For example, the photo below has the terracotta pots we may all have hanging in our garage or potting sheds sprayed gold and filled with inexpensive seasonal floral picks, which you might even have from last year.

And remember, where you put something matters. If it is higher up, for example, where people get the impression more than the six-inches away look, you can get away with picks that may be of lesser quality than those on a table centerpiece.

In the photo above, the trees on the mantle were made from scrap wood using a jigsaw and painted. The rule of thumb is that anything triangular could become a tree and anything round a wreath. Maybe you have an architectural medallion (the kind you see on a ceiling) or an old bicycle tire. With a little paint and glitz, they could make a great wreath.

Some of the other ideas we got here were using fleece scarves from the Dollar Store as chair decor (you can see them on the chairs in the photo below). I loved this idea and it's really cute on my Hitchcock chairs at home. Other tips included displaying wreaths inside metal scrollwork decorative pieces or empty frames (if you look at the photo of Molly above, you'll see a bit of the red berry wreath in a frame of scrollwork art); using chalkboard paint to spray those small "silver" trays from Dollar Tree to use for signage or other ways; wreaths made from old vintage books or music (I know lots of you have done this!), simply adding ribbons to lamp bases and much more.

Then we moved to the Hog House. This is my favorite of the public buildings and Angie was our guide here. Right off the bat I saw something I may do -- check out the chairs.

Those are cloth gift bags from the dollar store used as chair covers! (Actually, I bought some yesterday and they called them chair covers.) So, if I can't find the checked scarves, I'm still good to go!

Another tip that was a fun one involved a mirror. The one they featured here was one of those long back-of-the-door mirrors, bought for a song after the back-to-school dorm sales were over. It makes for a pretty tray for a buffet table, reflecting the lights from above or to display a Christmas village. You could paint the border if need be. And if your table isn't big enough for a long mirror, any framed mirror you might have could do. The more elaborate the frame, the better!

In the photo you will notice a little antique wooden tool box. Those baskets inside are simple berry baskets and a fun way to serve something like popcorn at a party. Or, you could put a few treats in the basket, along with a napkin and utensil if needed. Or, if you had take-away favors, like cookies or maybe a few trinkets, display them that way near your door. Using a child's chair or stool to elevate (maybe with plates tucked underneath) is an idea if you are using your mirror as a serving buffet.

Here's a case where you might want to upgrade your floral picks -- using a single hydrangea or blossom in a low vase with a seasonal pick tucked in for height. (These were not inexpensive picks and I'm still trying to decide if I want to get one or two when I return for my next workshop!)

A few other ideas here: put greens in cute shoes -- baby shoes, wooden shoes, Mary Janes -- and display on shelving or hang on the fireplace; use a tree branch or two anchored in a vase and hang Christmas cookie cutters with ribbons; don't forget that vases are pretty with lights inside. If using a lot or for extended periods of time, cord lights are less expensive -- run the cord down the back of a vase or conceal it with a ribbon.

This post is way too long! So please come back very soon for a look at the ideas from the main house!

Linking to: Share Your Style   Share Your Cup  Pink Saturday  

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