Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Movin' on...

...to Christmas! Let's start with family and friends.
 My favorite cousin, Chrissy, sent me these pictures of her Christmas plates.
 She does them all a little different. I love the greens and ornaments. The snowflakes make perfect napkin holders.

Chrissy made this wreath for me last year. I love the earth-y-ness of it with the little owl, pinecones and little birds. The big feather is just perfect and the finishing touch! I have it hanging on the pantry door.

Moving on to Connie's house. She emailed me before Thanksgiving and said, "I have a favor to ask you. If you don't want to do it, that's okay. But if you do, I'll buy you lunch. Would you decorate my table?"

OMGosh! This is how I responded, "OMGosh! I would LOVE to do your table. In fact, I'll take YOU to lunch for letting me!" We set it up for Saturday after Thanksgiving---when we got back from Charlotte. I was excited and looking forward to it all week long. We touched down at 10:30 and I was at her house by noon! She said she didn't want to spend a lot of money. We spent nothing!! I used just what she already had. The results:
I started with asking her how many "events" she was going to have where she would be using her dining room table this holiday season. You would not want a table setting like this if you have to move it a lot to change the tablecloth. If you do plan several "dining room" meals, then you can just use your table with placemats---no cloth that needs replacing.
 She has a lot of really cool and interesting things. I love using books to make "levels."

I had to use this needlepoint---one of my favorites. When I finished this one for her last year, I told her I enjoyed it just as much the second time around! We had started this one as a class in 2009. She said she couldn't finish it because she hated the beading. Well, anyone who knows me, knows that if you whine long enough, I'll do it for you! Here's the thing---she tricked me in to thinking all she had left was the beading. She had barely started it! It was really fun to stitch. And now I was glad to have it to use in her tablescape.

 I try to make sure that it's interesting from all angles.
I put her needlepoint train on the mantle to fill the blank spot from where I took the books. I think it  is so awesome to have a fireplace in the dining room.
I have loved her wallpaper forever! Too bad I didn't take a picture of her rug. I've actually had dreams about that!

*Update: I had Connie send me a photo of her rug. I still love it. I'd say we found it about 18 or 19 years ago. It still looks like new:
 I'm not big in to "oriental rugs" so this type is more to my taste.

So, one thing leads to another. I noticed two gorgeous---huge---cross-stitch framed pictures. One is an angel and the other is a bride. They were gifts to Connie's daughter, Malinda---made by Connie's sister. Malinda had them in a closet, so Connie took them. She didn't know what to do with them. I suggested that we re-arrange the pictures in her hallway to accommodate them. We did. They look great! I'll get a picture.
And here is a long shot of what will become a gallery wall. The other side has some of her grandchildren's pictures that we re-arranged and moved. With the exception of the christening gown (that also belonged to Jack) the rest is needlework.

Get ready, more Christmas to come!

Monday, November 28, 2016

Tea for Two...errr, Make That Eight!

I love high tea. There is a really nice hotel---the Ballantyne in Charlotte. They have a lovely tea. Sandy and her girls go every holiday season. I went with them last year. This year, I wanted everyone to go since Jordan and Morgan have never had a proper tea. I love tea and all the pomp and circumstance that goes with it.

Sadly, there are no tea rooms left---at least not in Nashville or the surrounding area. There are tea shops where you can buy. There's even a place that serves "bubble" tea--whatever that is. But there are no tea rooms where you can relax with a proper cup. Luckily, this one suited me just fine.
 The set up is really nice. The tea tables are strewn with rose petals.
 I love the dainty china. Each napkin was a different color. Of course there had to be some trading around.

I can't believe I didn't take a picture of the tiered tea cakes and sandwiches. There was a little of everything. It was all so good. My favorite (always) are the scones with "clotted" cream. They called it Devonshire cream as "clotted" is an off-putting word to some (Mindy). They also served raspberry jam and lemon curd with the scones. It was all delicious. But not nearly as good as what my British friend, Diane served me---okay---book club, not just me. I'm pretty sure I appreciated it the most!

You can check out that post here in case you missed it. Here are a few of those photos:

Diane's tea is still the BEST I've ever had!! She had everything you could possibly want. I can't wait until she hosts book club again! In the meantime, I'll take high tea wherever I can get it!

Friday, November 25, 2016

The Thanksgiving that Almost Wasn't

The day started off great! We had all the food made except the dressing and corn pudding. The turkey was in the oven. Nicky made the bloody Mary's and we were watching the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade---we love that. It looked like it was cold in NYC while it was very nice here in Charlotte.

Sandy put up the grateful tree and told everyone to put what they were thankful for on a leaf. Of course there had to be "rules." You couldn't just say family, or spouse---too generic. You couldn't mention sports teams or a particular athlete. This was supposed to be thoughtful and from the heart.

My post on the tree also became my post on Facebook. I am thankful for my sons-in-law who are so good to my girls! Who could ask for anything more?
Getting the whole gang to stop for pictures is nearly impossible. I'm pretty sure that most families have a hard time getting everyone together.

 The grands aren't little anymore. Victoria, Morgan, Jordan, Elizabeth and Mitchell.

 Mitchell brought a girl, but she's just a friend---or so he says.

With 15 people, we had to use paper plates. Our plan was to eat at noon. Around 11, the electricity went out. The turkey was finished, but the rest of the casseroles had just gone in the oven. We waited for a half hour to see if the electricity would come back on. It didn't. Greg called and got the recording that they hoped to have it back on by 4 p.m. We only had two casseroles that actually had to cook. The others just had to heat through. Greg got the bright idea to use the gas grill. That did the trick. We ended up being able to eat by 12:30.
Greg was not able to use his electric knife, so Justin did the carving. He's found a permanent job! You can't tell by this picture, but he made it look all fancy on the platter.

We had turkey, dressing AND stuffing, cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes, gravy, carrot casserole, green bean casserole, sweet potato casserole, corn pudding, spinach casserole, squash casserole and yeast rolls. I think we covered all the food groups!!

After dinner, we couldn't really clean up, so we napped. Games after that. The electricity finally came back on around 6 p.m.---luckily, as it was getting pretty dark. The night went on. We had leftovers and pretty much wiped out ALL the food! 

It was a great day and we are truly blessed. We thought about all the families whose dinners were ruined. We're glad we eat early or it would have been us!! 

Oh, and there wasn't any football either!

The Day Before the Big Day, Part 2

On Wednesday, the plan was to have a family bowling day. It was TERRIBLE! I haven't bowled in over 20 years. It was bowling that brought Butch and I together 45 years ago. We both were pretty good. Anyway, it was absolutely no fun doing something that I used to be really good at, but now am very bad at. Proof:
 I don't think my very first game as a child was ever this bad!
 We bowled two games. I improved---but very little!

 Butch struggled too, but at least still had his good form!

After the bowling, we went to a sushi restaurant for my very first time! I've only had the sushi from the grocery store.
 We just followed the "kids" lead and ordered what they said was the best.

 It was so delicious! I'm totally hooked.
While we were waiting for our food, we tallied up the bowling scores. This family doesn't do anything without a bet! Everybody put in $2.00. The winner got $10.00, 2nd place got $4.00 and 3rd place got their $2.00 back. It's always in good fun. But no one was happy with these lousy scores! Butch and I are the only ones that used to play on leagues when we were young. He carried over a 170 average while I carried a 148 average. So this was pretty depressing for us. Of course, my main goal was to just not fall down! In that way, it was a very successful day!

When we got home, we had a short rest and then started the food prep for the Big Day. It was amazing how fast it all went with so many people helping.

The rest of the family arrived later in the evening. We ordered Chinese for dinner and stayed up late. It was the first of our fun days.

Tomorrow---about our Thanksgiving that almost wasn't!