Coming Home

It was good news to hear that our daughter who lives away from Houston would be coming home to spend a few days with us before Christmas.  The last few months have not been easy for her, so my thought was to make her visit as warm and cozy as could be.

With its red walls, her old room is an easy one to make look season friendly.  A winter throw is tossed on the bed and Santa will watch over her.

Like so many other things I have, Santa has been around for a long time and has a wonderful memory attached.  I had gone to Oklahoma with a friend.  On the return to Houston we made a journey of several hours stretch into the night by stopping at any and every place that looked of interest.  If you guess that Santa came from one of those stops, you’d be right!

A few more little touches and the room is ready.  Greenery and berries add touches of color among the birdhouses.  

These two are part of my rather large collection but are too big to be displayed with the rest.  

That’s OK because they are right at home sitting on a quilt, one of many made by my grandmother.

Speaking of quilts, so many made by different family members have ended up with me.  Like with other textiles, I can’t bear to leave them wrapped in a closet and find ways to have them out.  Somehow I feel they are a significant part of my heritage.

Getting back to preparing the room, there is a present or two left on the bed in the hope there is something there that will brighten the daughter’s day.

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Diggin’ It & Dishin’ It

Simple Touches

Linda  064Walking up to my friend Pam’s front door, I could almost smell and taste Christmas. I know that inside it will be cheerful and that she will have added her special creative touches to every room.

Christmas decorFirst thing I notice is her mantel (remember I have mantel envy) which is a repeat of the garland treatment at the front door.  In an understated way, it gives the room a perfect holiday feel.

Christmas decorNext, my eye is drawn to a table top where there is a wonderful painted gourd surrounded by a bowl of clementines and a vase of dried hydrangeas.  Again, so simple, effectively demonstrating that less is more.

Linda  059As we move to the kitchen where Pam is preparing for company, a little Christmas tree surrounded by packages stops me.  Somehow its smallness   seems so right.

Christmas tableThere’s never a time when Pam’s table is lacking, and her guests tonight are in for a treat. She has cleverly arranged an assortment of elements to create a centerpiece that is a winter potpourri.

tablescapeEach setting combines seasonal green, red and white,

tablescapecolors that are repeated differently in the table runner.

Christmas tableWhat I like about being in this home is that from the front door to the kitchen, everything ties together in a style that is most warm and cozy.  Even the color on the walls seems to say Merry Christmas!

Don’t you admire people who, without a lot of fuss, can make everything seem just right?  What a wonderful skill that is and this gal has it in spades!

i so appreciate your visit and the comments you leave behind


Let’s Dish

Tablescape Thursday

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Favorite Things Thursday

Ideas Aplenty

Christmas decorIf you want to get lots of ideas for holiday decor, drive around your neighborhood or go on a home tour to see what others are doing.  That’s what I did this weekend, and it was a real eye opener.  Some people must spend weeks readying their homes while others are happy with simpler statements.

WreathsWreaths, suspended on doors and sconces, are common to holiday decor.  Each one of these is different in style but share the use of natural elements.

GarlandsGarlands abound inside and out, and whether simple or fancy, they make such a statement about the home.

ChandeliersIn some homes, chandeliers become more than a source of light during the season.  I have none so it is fascinating to me to see how they transform into works of art.

As much as I appreciate the elaborate decorations, I must confess to being more drawn to those understated creations that I can actually imagine doing myself.

Christmas decor

What could be simpler than an evergreen surrounded by a few sprayed pine cones

Christmas decoror a container filled with flocked ones?

Christmas decorTrees, adorned only with white lights, add such friendly welcome to a porch (yes, those are azaleas blooming in December)

Christmas decoras do red ribboned reindeer bearing a load of poinsettias.

Christmas decorNo ordinary mailbox is this but it becomes part of the season festooned with red and green and with its backdrop of richly colored cyclamen.

Christmas decorNo holiday decor would be complete without nutcrackers

Christmas decorand Santas and oh what a treat it is to see them presented in such fun ways.

I can tell you that after seeing all this, I felt a real need to go home and decorate, but then I got to thinking about having to put stuff away after the holidays and thought maybe not!  Well, maybe a little…..

i so appreciate your visit and the comments you leave behind


Metamorphosis Monday

The Scoop

Wow Us Wednesday

Feathered Nest Friday

Moving On!

No sooner do we get through Thanksgiving than we have to move right into the holidays with an entirely different decor.  I know some of you are already ahead of the game, but I just can’t get started with Christmas until we’ve polished off the turkey!

Christmas tree 1For our first holiday table, I decided to get a little crafty and wrap cones with diminishing lengths of fabric cut on the bias, sewn together and finished with decorative stitching.  All done they are funky little trees in not so traditional colors that are better suited to our Houston home.  On the table, they are going to nestle on open weave muslin mimicking the softness of fresh fallen snow, not something we are likely to have!

Christmas tablePlaying off the black in one of the fabrics,  I’m using chargers so dark green they appear almost black,

Christmas tablea nice contrast for white plates.

Christmastable2Now comes the fun part.  I found stems and salad plates at Pier One that are not only playful but have similar off tones of red and green.

Christmas tableCranberry napkins trimmed in gold are gathered into napkin rings that remind of presents and ornaments.  So far so good, and the setting is complete except for the flatware.  

Christmas table3Deciding on flatware was a bit of a challenge, but I couldn’t resist using this bought last year at Ross.  Yes, it is the more traditional red and green, but it blends and adds an unexpected touch that I always like on a table.

Christmas tree 2The combination of color and texture on the table is satisfactory, but something’s missing.  The center is kinda blah with nothing but the muslin beneath the trees, and I kept scratching my head wondering how to give it a little pop.  A forgotten bag of ornaments provided just the right answer.

Christmas tableAll done, the table, with a fanciful flair in keeping with its surroundings, is ready for the first dinner of the season. 

Modani tableIf it were possible to have the perfect table for every tablescape, this time I’d replace my glass topped one with the Philippe design from Modani, a very fun line of modern furniture.  The style is modern without being too sleek, and the deep black tone is a great background for the colors I have used. Too, the legs remind me of icicles hanging from eaves.  Hey, you have to have let your inner child run away when you are creating!

i so appreciate your visit and the comments you leave behind


Centerpiece Wednesday

Thursday Favorite Things

Tablescape Thursday

From Dream to Reality

Finishing Touches

Thanksgiving is the only holiday the hubby and I still claim as ours as it is the one time of year when most of our immediate family gathers under our roof.  Some things about this day don’t change.  Everyone makes part of the meal, cornbread dressing and giblet gravy just like Mother made are a must, the same dishes and dryer hose pumpkins are a traditional part of the tablescape.

Thanksgiving tableThe trick with the pumpkins is figuring out how to present them a little differently from one Thanksgiving table to another. This year they  spill out of an old wooden box, special because it belonged to my mother-in-law.

Thanksgiving tableThe box is on a piece of burlap tied at each end with ribbon that has not only the colors of fall but tones complementing those in the painting.  I always like having the table look like it belongs in its space.

Thanksgiving tableLittle turkeys roam the table expecting to cast a soft evening glow, and that’s it, a simple centerpiece.

Thanksgiving tableIt wouldn’t be Thanksgiving without Della Robbia dishes,  the very first ones I bought when I moved into a Houston apartment more than 40 years ago.  Amazingly, not a single piece has been broken.  I had enough burlap and ribbon to make a few placemats that alternate with another set.

Thanksgiving tableNow, orange stems gotten several years ago at Pier One and  new flatware from Ross are added to the mix.  At the time I bought the flatware, I wasn’t thinking about the Thanksgiving table, but it is a fun touch perfect with the Della Robbia.

Thanksgiving tableHelping out with the finishing touches are the girls who are tying napkins with twine and putting their specially made name cards at each place.  

Thanksgiving tableSo, there it is, an uncomplicated Thanksgiving table, full of tradition, around which we will share gratitude for all that blesses our lives and the joy of being together.

Now, it’s off to the kitchen where the girls will make adorable pumpkin rolls from a recipe found here.  My job is to get started on the dressing and season the turkey.  Thinking about all the food that will be on the table  tomorrow reminds me that today I better eat light!

Happy Thanksgiving to all of you who take the time to read and comment here.  You are among my blessings.

A Few of My Favorite Things

Christmas decorThe door is open so come on in for a few of my favorite things.  No, they’re not whiskers on kittens or snowflakes on mittens but some things that hold special memories and make me smile.

nativityThe piano has become a display of nativities all gathered together for the first time in several years.

nativityThis was my very first one bought early in my marriage from a store long closed.  I loved the simplicity of this one, just some wooly sheep protectively gathered round a baby.   If you look closely, you will see that the dog liked it too as the sheeps’ legs are lovingly chewed!

nativitynativitynativityThe collection is eclectic (surprised?), mostly from numerous holiday shows in which I showed my handwoven pieces.

nativityNone are large, but this one is particularly small with the figures being about the size of a finger joint.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAMoving from nativities to angels, I’m laughing out loud wondering how many years ago I made these gals and what I was thinking when doing their faces.  They have been in a closet for a very long time, but I’m so glad to have rediscovered them as they definitely add quirkiness to the season.

Christmas decorAnd then there are the Santas sitting on the breakfast table.  I’m a sucker for clever ideas and love that gourds took on a whole new look.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERANow, in case you are wondering about those white pumpkins that have appeared here and there since October, here they are!  I had thought to paint them, but why bother when they are fine just the way they are?

i so appreciate your visit and the comments you leave behind


Metamorphosis Monday

Make the Scene Monday

Make It Pretty Monday

All Things Christmas

Share It

Open House Party

Inspire Me Tuesday

The Real Challenge

Living roomWithout question, the most difficult place to decorate in my house is the mantle, which is more an architectural detail than a functional space.  As you can see, the ceilings in the living room are very tall (28′) which makes scale a challenge, and the mantle, if you can call it that, is actually a ledge that is a bit wider in the recessed area.

christmas decorDespite the challenges, I’m going to attempt creating a bit of holiday feel.  Since burlap has been my material of choice this season, let’s see what can be done with it here.  No way can it lay flat so it’s bunched up to fit the space.   These holly trees haven’t been used for some time, but they seem just right with the burlap.  As for the needlepoint stockings, they are always hung with care.

That’s about all that can fit here, but it looks a tad blah.

Christmas decorChristmas decor christmas decorThankfully, there is lots of green in the yard, including holly fern and leather holly.  Don’t those seem a good match for the holly shaped leaves on the tree?  Hmmm, I’m starting to like this a little better.

Christmas decorWith his rustic and woodsy look, this Santa feels right at home.  I just hope he has something in his bag that will fill the stockings!

Christmas decorLooking down, it makes me happy to see a bit of Christmas here.  Maybe that will get me started doing whatever decorating is going to happen!

i so appreciate your visit and the comments you leave behind

P.S.  If you have any idea for how to treat this challenging space, pass them on.  I’d love your suggestions.


Show and Tell Friday

Feathered Nest Friday

Show and Tell Saturday

Pink Saturday

A Challenged Table

Cuisine Kathleen does like to challenge her blog friends from time to time to get their creative juices flowing.  This time she wanted us to create  a table inspired by one we had seen in a magazine, on Pinterest, another blog or wherever.

Christmas tableThis table is one I had pinned from Sweet Something Designs and it made me think of my now Farm Girl daughter in that it’s somewhat country and somewhat French.  It is simple, a table for a family to comfortably gather round for the evening meal.

Christmas tableSince I don’t have the daughter’s farm table, I improvised, covering a table with a quilt and adding a piece of burlap for a backdrop to the centerpiece.  Believe it or not, the hardest part about making the arrangement was getting the darned candy canes to stay in place.  Maybe a little glue would have helped!

SantaThe Santas are handpainted creations made from cypress knees.  I got them once upon a time when I was participating in a holiday market in Louisiana.

Santa platesWith the centerpiece done, these Santa plates begged to be part of the fun.  If they aren’t used during the holiday season, it’s lost opportunity, so set on a dark green charger, on the table they go.

Christmas tableCompleting the setting is a plaid, ever so popular this season, napkin tucked into a Santa napkin holder and candy striped flatware which I found at Ross.    I was so excited to make this my one holiday purchase at a price of $12.99 for four place settings.

Christmas tableAll finished, the table is my interpretation of the one that caught my eye for its artful simplicity suitable for any meal.  In addition to it making me think of Farm Girl, I know my grandmother would be shaking her head at one of her quilts being on a table.  That probably didn’t happen at her house!

SantaAnd, as I was finishing up, look who just happened to drop by.  I’m going right in to bring him a little of what I am sure is much needed refreshment.

Christmas table

I’m betting this eggnog latte will perk him right up!  Hey, I’ll make one for you, too.

i so appreciate your visit and the comments you leave behind


Let’s Dish

Centerpiece Wednesday

Wow Us Wednesday

Tablescape Thursday

Open House Party

Reassuring Words

The last turkey sandwich has been eaten, visiting relatives have returned home, Thanksgiving goes into the memory bank.  Right behind it is the craziness of Christmas, only 23 days away.  Those 23 days will be filled with decorating and parties and food and shopping and present wrapping.  While there is much joy to the season, it can also be stressful and sometimes a little sad as we think about people who are no longer with us or family members who will be celebrating the holidays away from home.

As I was thinking about the days ahead and hoping to keep them in perspective, I came across these words saved and then forgotten in the bottom of my purse.    

I believe in the sun, even when it is not shining.

I believe in love, even when feeling it not.

I believe in God, even when God is silent.

Somehow they gave me comfort and reassured me that no day is one we cannot get through.  I hope the same is true for you no matter how you spend the next 23 days.

i so appreciate your visit and the comments you leave behind

Getting It Together!

Crazy as it seems, we are rarely home on July 4th, so I haven’t collected much in the way of red, white and blue.   Deciding to have a few people over meant  trying to get something together that would be holiday appropriate.  

July 4 tablescapeResources here are limited, but WalMart and TJ Maxx saved the day.

July 4 tablescapeWhen the hubby saw plastic and paper on the table, he was amazed as he thought the days that I’d use such were long gone.  Hey, sometimes you do what you gotta do!  At least the flatware and the glasses are the real thing and the plastic plates are sturdy enough to be washed and used again.

July 4 tablescapeWith little to work with, the centerpiece is a challenge, but  some red candles tied with ribbon, paper napkins flared in little white vases and a 99 cent thingy from WalMart are making the table look a bit festive.

July 4 tablescapeNow, I know that traditional fare for July 4 is hamburgers, hot dogs and apple pie, but folks here in Maine don’t get a lot of good TexMex so that’s what we’re having.  Carnitas, black beans, rice

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAand all the trimmings will make for a happy 4th 

Sangriaas will sangria with lots of fresh fruits and juice. 


I hope everyone saves room for one of my all time favorite desserts,  Flan de las Cinco Leches

flanwhich is flan made with five milks. Try it….I think you will like it.

Flan de las Cinco Leches

2 c. sugar, divided

1 1/4 c. milk

1 12 oz. can evaporated milk

1 14 oz. can condensed milk and coconut milk

1 c. whipping cream

10 eggs

1/2 t. vanilla

In a heavy saucepan, melt 1 cup sugar over medium heat until caramelized.  Stir constantly or sugar will burn. Pour into a 9″ glass pie plate or pan and, working quickly, tilt pan so caramelized sugar covers bottom and sides.  Repeat with second cup of sugar.

In a blender, combine milks, eggs and vanilla until well blended. (This may have to be done in 2 batches. Divide the mixture between the two pans.

Set each pan in a larger baking dish and fill larger dish with water that comes about halfway up flan pans.

Bake in preheated 300 degree oven 1 1/2 hours or until flan tests done.  Invert onto a serving plate.

This makes 12  generous servings.  For 6-8 cut the recipe by half though you may want to make the extra to have some left over!

Wherever you are, however you celebrate have a happy 4th and give thanks for all the blessings we have in the U S of A.

I so appreciate your visit and the comments you leave behind


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