Thursday, November 30, 2017

Modern and Mod Christmas at Southern Exposure

Sometimes it is just what you need. After all, it's been a rough few weeks. Political turmoil; Korean missile tests; sex scandals out the wazoo. One gets nervous turning on the radio, telly or checking social media or the newspaper. Friends and family members of friends seemed to all die in the same two-week period. I'm nervous about my biopsy and while my lip is healing, it's taking its own sweet time about it and is still pretty darned tender. It's felt like a pretty dark path with only a bit of light along the way.

I told members of my book club I just wanted to read shallow books, biographies or mysteries, watch Hallmark movies and decorate my house. I want pretty. I want light. I want a rest.

In other words, I need a little Christmas, right this very minute!

So, Jan and I headed with great anticipation to Southern Exposure for our workshop, Modern and Mod.

We knew decorating a tree would be involved and that was really all we needed to know, because after all, we were at Southern Exposure, which wipes away stress like a long, clean shower or like sitting on a pool noodle in the middle of a lake on a perfect, calm summer day.

We got there early enough to take some photos. It was getting pretty dark but somehow it made it seem all the more peaceful.

And of course, there was the gift shop! They have the loveliest things and we had a 20 percent discount which makes it all the more enticing.

I was pretty good -- just a string of small lights. But there were numerous temptations!

And to be honest, that bed in the bride's dressing room looked pretty inviting, too! I'd gladly move a wreath or two.

But no! Shopping, then dinner awaits.

This wreath reminds me a little bit of a previous winter project! 

On the way into dinner we got a sneak peek at our "modern and mod" project -- a small flocked tree.

Then after, it was on to the craft tent. Our trees greeted us...

...along with our supplies.

The trees are done on a wire frame and the flocked branches and red berries were prepared for us. We added a string of lights, silver ornaments, sparkly snowflakes and a cheery red bow. Here's Jan's.

Of course, the Southern Exposure chickens were on hand to socialize with the guests. Southern Exposure not only rescues animals (including these chickens), it also provides over $30,000 a year to their region's humane society through a portion of each workshop registration fee and two fundraisers they hold.

Rick noted that "the trees look just alike," as he saw photos of both my tree and Jan's. True. Each project is made very easy -- but you can change it up a bit if you like when you get home. I will probably replace the silver balls on mine with smaller ones, possibly red. But I'd be happy with it as is.

All in all, a grand time and, I think, one of my favorite projects. It felt practically perfect in every way.

Now, if only we could get the rest of the world in a practically perfect place.

And so, I'm off! On to decorating the house, getting ready for some holiday festivities and more. Hope your days are being merry and bright!

Monday, November 27, 2017

Long Weekends are a Good Thing

There are those who say that when you are retired, every day is part of a long weekend! But not everyone is available to play at will much of the time. Long weekends are different!

But ours actually began the week before when Ilya Kaler, a violinist now from Chicago, and Genadi Zagor, a pianist now living in Lansing (both men hailed from Russia) visited Lansing.

Rick invited them to dinner and after, Ilya joined amateur musicians Rick and Byron for some music making. It was delightful!

Our official Thanksgiving weekend was like many of yours -- filled with friends, family and celebrations. First up was Thanksgiving. My friend Kate welcomed us for a wonderful  non-turkey dinner (thank you, Kate!) and it was fabulous!

She let me bring my turkey plates and I made the place cards. Remember this image from Southern Exposure's Decorating on a Shoestring?

Well, with some pretty paper, watercolor pens and a Jack-be-Little, we had our placecards!


Kate's photographer husband, Mike, and I had to have dueling camera shots!

And after dinner, a mini-concert by Rick!

We were all in a jolly mood, especially Zeke who was presented with some catnip!

On Saturday, my Cork Popper pal Barb and I hit the market for flowers and Joann's for other bits. Barb was recreating the wedding bouquet of our Cork Popper friend Meredith for her 50th anniversary to Roger.

It was a terrific occasion and a wonderful venue.

Their party was held at the R.E. Olds Transportation Museum and that is a post in itself. Let me just say that I wanted to drive out with about six of the terrific cars there. And I'm not really a car fan!

Our other Corkies were there too, so of course there was much celebration as we saluted Rog and Mere.

Then on Sunday, Thanksgiving Number 2! (How many Oberles does it take to truss a chicken for a rotisserie?)

We had much for which to give thanks this year, but at the top of our list was this little guy.

He's nearly walking. He can make it around the house with his little musical mower (and let me tell you, those songs are getting old!) but still hasn't been able to let go.

We brought him a Christmas book that makes sounds (because we are grandparents and bringing things that make obnoxious noises like "ho, ho, ho" and sleigh bells when pushed is just what we do).

There was time for play. Right after this photo was taken, the pillow was hurled across the room, causing a bit of consternation and a spill on the clean carpet. And no, our Baby Grand can't throw that far.

Molly made these cute placecards from corks. I love cork art! So versatile!

And of course, we enjoyed having the newest member of the family at the table.

All in all, good times with terrific people! Now, onward to Christmas.

(Guess who might be walking by then!)

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!

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