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Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Ice Berry Wreath at Southern Exposure

"So, what is an ice berry wreath," a friend asked, when I said I was going to Southern Exposure to make one.


"I don't know," I replied. "I'll find out when I get there, but whatever it is, it will be pretty."


And with that thought, my friend Kate and I were off to an evening at Southern Exposure (for past visits, put "Southern Exposure" in the search box over on the right!) Every visit includes a fabulous dinner, a lovely craft project and -- weather permitting -- a walk around the terrific gardens, followed by a trip to the gift shop.


Well, despite a glorious and relatively warm (for late November) evening, we had to skip the garden walk -- it was too dark! But that didn't stop us for enjoying plenty of beauty.


After our first stop in the gift shop we headed to the dining area and were handed a rosemary martini. We found our name tags on a Christmas tree attached with cute red clothespins with a half-cork glued on them. (Remembering that idea!)


We wandered around before going to the dining room. There were beautiful arrangements and vignettes, all designed to get one in a holiday mood!


At Southern Exposure you don't only look around...


You look up!


The designers know how to make the best of every available inch of space and the top of a cupboard is another platform for pretty!


A long table is staged with greens, lights and candles.


And this giant rocking horse (one of two) took center stage. I thought of blogger Elizabeth when I saw that!


And from this covered area outside the dining room you could peek inside to see what was in store!


The dining room is in the old Milking Parlor of this farm but it is hard to imagine cows in this warm and beautiful room! Tables are set elegantly.


I particularly liked the idea of placing a vintage photo under glass at each setting over an ivory tablecloth.


Of course, every bit of space was used there, too, from buffet chests...


...to the chandeliers!


The staff is introduced and dinner is served!


I loved how the butter was served on a rose petal.


Our dinner included wine, roasted acorn squash serving as a bowl for a sausage and rice mix, salad and pumpkin pie. I loved the little rose nosegay on the plate!


It was very festive and we were very happy!


After enjoying dinner, we headed over to the craft tent, where instructor Micah talked about the history of the wreath and described the various kinds of pine that we would add to our ice berry wreaths. White pine, scotch pine and the one I can't remember!


We each had a basket of pine to add to our wreath which was already filled with beautiful red berry branches.


And then, it was just a matter of inserting the pine in the direction of the berries!


This group of about 60 left with a beautiful project and a lot of wonderful memories.


I'll share mine when we do the Christmas walkthrough at home! Meanwhile, 'tis the season so don't forget to look up!


And don't forget to believe!

Happy to be joining Share Your Cup, Sweet and Simple Fridays and Pink Saturday today! Trust me -- glorious eye candy awaits!

Monday, November 28, 2016

After Thanksgiving

So, what do we do after Thanksgiving? Well, if you're anything like me you a) clean the kitchen b) start decorating for Christmas. Oh yes, and celebrate another Thanksgiving!


We started the day with brunch with Greg and his girlfriend, Kim. We had only met her once at Kevin and Molly's wedding two and a half years ago. Then she moved to Boston. So it was extra fun to have her at the table and learn more about her. And yes, we liked her very much.


Our dinner on Thursday was lovely -- just the two of us. Our main course was shrimp and grits. (I recommend this recipe by Bobby Flay -- and use lots of shrimp because it's just as good the next day! Rick brought his delicious bread, made fresh that morning.)


Should I ever be executed, please remember that Shrimp and Grits is my first choice for a last meal.


I went off the grid and did something one should never do on a holiday -- make something I'd never made before. But since it was just us, I thought, "Why not?"



So, I made collard greens to go with the shrimp and grits. We had no idea how we'd like it but they were surprisingly good, even as leftovers. Also new on the menu was acorn squash in the crock pot with just a bit of brown sugar and pie spice. I know I got that from one of you and thank you. I'd link to your blog if I could remember which it was!


We rounded that off with cranberries and vanilla-caramel ice cream with baked apples for dessert.


I was up early the next day to start decorating for Christmas. As much as I want to do this and love to, I'm a little slower than I planned. I think I just want to get it right -- all the "same" but with a different twist. My newest furniture purchase was this hutch, a Hitchcock Fenwick step back cupboard. It was a great deal at the antique store and it matches my mom's Hitchcock chairs perfectly! Stay tuned for the Christmas reveal!


Meanwhile, on Saturday it was Thanksgiving II! This time with turkey!


We were joined by Greg and our friends Byron, Joe and Jeaneen.


It was Joe's birthday! Let them eat cake!


Byron, Joe and Rick are part of a classical music trio, so the time together included a little practice, too!


It wouldn't be the holidays without a Lizzie photo -- she's loving the wheat grass I brought her home from the store!


And check out my geranium! When it got cold, I brought it inside. I've heard you can weather them over the winter by withholding water and putting them in a dark place so as soon as it dries out and I can actually lift the pot, it's going downstairs!


Here's to the holiday season! Let's start celebrating!


We need a little laughter!

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Giving Thanks

The year after my mom and aunt died, we had our first Thanksgiving as a family without them. My three cousins -- they are like a brother and two sisters to me -- and my dad and uncle at Martin's home in Cleveland. We have a lot of smiles in this photo. Happy faces.


We're all pretty good with the camera. And with learning how to manage Thanksgiving dinner without the moms who did most of the heavy lifting.


It was a tough year, missing the moms, getting used to new holiday routines without them. Remembering and smiling and laughing -- but there were tears too. I don't think that at the ripe old age of 25 and younger that any of us could have seen how Thanksgivings would change over the years. We would grow up to have families and living far apart, those days of celebrating together became a thing of the past as we set our new traditions.


And yet, I think of that year when perhaps the thing for which we were most grateful was to be together in a time of sadness and regrouping, holding tight to traditions and each other.

These days, we celebrate Thanksgiving in different places, on different days. Rick and I will have a Thursday Thanksgiving table of shrimp and grits. Maybe we'll be joined by friends, maybe not. On Saturday, we'll have a bigger table, turkey and the trimmings. It won't matter the day, not really. (Maybe a little!) The main thing is being thankful. And being with people you love.


So, in a few photos, some of the things for which I give thanks this year and always...like beautiful sunsets at the lake.


A world of nature.


Letters and cards that come in the mail, breaking up the normal fare of catalogues, magazines and things that come in window envelopes!


Sweet Lizzie.


My family of birth and all the family they added to my life (this photo was taken in 2005 at Uncle Marty's 90th!).


Rick, sweet wonderful Rick who has been more of a support that you ever could imagine.


My extended family, courtesy of Rick -- Kevin, Greg, Molly and thankful for Baby Boy KevMo, coming in February!


If I had a photo of all of you dear blog friends and my "family" of real-life friends, too, I'd put it here. Instead, a bouquet for you!


Happy Thanksgiving, from Rick and me.


And onward! Let the busy season continue!

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