Monday, December 17, 2012

The cookie exchange to end all cookie exchanges!

Behold the table where we enjoy breakfast, and the wall adorned with white ironstone and mother/daughter Christmas aprons.  The favor had a name tag (a cookie award ribbon) and was a mason jar full of salt.  It was explained by Sandy, reading words from Ezekiel which reminded us that we are all called to be the salt of the earth

First we make breakfast.  Sandy of The Pink Cupboard, which used to be in what is now The Prairie Street Brewhouse, organizes the whole day, from breakfast to lunch to exchange.  We each bring a few ingredients and are assigned to various stations to put together a dish for breakfast or lunch. We had fruit, an egg casserole, and choice of quiche. 
The tree is in a corner of the breakfast room.  Check out the  window decor and the presents and the tree itself.

After breakfast we make one of Sandy's family cookie recipes, rolled round cutouts with jelly filling, little fruit tarts with crimped edges.  When we finish, we have our exchange.  I thought I took a photo of all the cookies, but must not have saved it.  The cookies are wonderful, from aqua (Tiffany style) tree cut-outs to ginger cookies to rolled pecan balls, to peanut butter/chocolate fudge etc. 21 varieties in all. 

Sandy posted cookie exchange photos, and I was able to copy it. YAY!

Then we had lunch - ham and wild rice cream soup accompanied by crusty bread and fruit.  Dessert was an individual apple pie. I took the pie home for later.  It was delicious.

In the living room is this old cupboard  topped with grocery signs and Watt apple pottery interspersed with Santa and trees and plaids.  Notice how the colors are carried through in the signs, the cupboard, and the pottery.

The tree to the left is in the front window of the living room.  It is all in pastels.  There were at least 7 trees maybe more, and each one has a different theme.  My phone photos don't begin to do them justice.

There is another tree in the porch, all with vintage ornaments and Sandy's collection of celluloid Santas and Santa mugs.  Another shot I apparently didn't save was an old lit Santa, sleigh, and reindeer often seen on rooftops.  Sandy hung it from the ceiling.  It looked fantastic.

This was the entry way scene, white tree, white bottle brush trees, white glittered cardboard houses, Sandy's sheep collection, little girl ballet shoes, white gloves, and more.

You get the idea.  What can I say, except that I love being a part of this group, and being awed by the setting, and enjoying all the other activities planned by such a creative group of girl friends.  Thank you, Sandy. We love you.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

On the Homefront at Christmas

It's taking me longer and longer to get the house decorated.  The shop seems to take priority, and the fact that we aren't celebrating Christmas at home until the 28th doesn't help.  But, it is getting done, and I will share a few of the "thus far" photos and some of my thoughts also.

The Nativity set determines the color palette on the mantle.  It is jewel toned as is the oriental rug.  Vintage glass beads are draped below the mantle.  I've added tarnished silver, real greens, little white lights and large size ornaments.  I kept the vintage cranberry glass vases.  Hoping to get sticks with the little white lights on them to put in the vases to add more height to the arrangement and to reflect in the mirror.   The jewel tones  dictated that I move the primary color and Santa theme stockings from the mantle to the partial stairway railing...not done yet:( 

In the dining room, added red shades and ornaments to the chandelier and embellished with chartreuse green vintage glass beads.

On the dining room table is a large tin snowman I've had for several years.  Sometimes he is outside, other years in.  He is surrounded by tarnished silver, mica covered snow balls (only snow he's seen so far this year), red ornaments, greens and other pewter and silver items running all along the natural linen runner.  When it's time for dinner, the tall snowman is moved to the sideboard dessert table.  He will go behind the center cake stand display, which will be full of Christmas cookies and other seasonal and decadent treats.
So thankful for friend, Sandy, and her cookie exchange. Come home having shared breakfast and lunch with a fun group of girlfriends, filled to the brim with "eye candy", as the saying goes, and bearing the fruit of everyone's loving labor - enough cookies for home and for sharing.  Love it! 
Also in the dining room is an antique cupboard with more red ornaments, cards with photos of the grandchildren (only some thus far), some pewter, favorite things from friends, and vintage George Briard Christmas tree glasses inherited from John's mom.
The reindeer tin fits right in.

I guess you can tell I love red.  On the kitchen counter, I use items which are around all year, then enhance them with some cookie cutters and favorite Christmas mugs collected through the years.

Finally, a vignette from the TV area.  I have a nice collection of vintage plaid picnic accessories, some of it lucky finds, others passed on from parents. It includes a picnic basket, 3 different size thermal canisters, plus a travel bag with thermoses, and sandwich box. The rustic deer is perched atop the basket, and he appears to be watching TV with us.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Sharing pics of a few new old things at shop

Just walking around taking photos of the new additions to Just A Second. From an antique porch post embellished with a wreath and wool- like bow, accompanying our box full of greens and a shutter to an old sled with child's seat attached,

to Tina's hand done burlap pillows and stockings, Just A Second has unique and antique gifts and decorations.


And how about an old Red Cross metal first aid kit?  Could see it stuffed with greens and an ornament for your "junk" style decorating.

Same goes for the old metal cedar lined trunk - great for storage, and it makes a wonderful end table or night stand.   Never know what you'll find at Just A Second where you can always enjoy a taste of chocolate!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Working on the Window at Wired

 I draw John into some interesting adventures.  The latest involved one of my impulsive volunteer tasks - offering to do the Christmas window display for Wired, the downtown coffee shop. I sketched the design, confiscated cut branches from walking buddy, Reggie's yard, borrowed silverplate coffee service from Just A Second,
bought large red ornaments, lights, and a glitzy prancing reindeer and was given more glitz in shiny red ribbon from Doran's, our local floral and accessory wholesaler.

John figured out a stand for the branch which I had adorned with little white lights.  We found the perfect sized and narrow enough table at home.

While daughter Elaina was visiting, she recalled a post on her friend Jamie's blog (don't you love blogs!) about where to get burlap coffee bags. Elaina made the call and we picked them up. 
It all came together quite well with John only having to go there 3 separate times to climb the ladder amidst the coffee shop clientele in order to first wire up the tree and wire fence "chandelier", and to plug lights into ceiling outlet, second to add spotlight and unplug cord from ceiling outlet and plug it into wall outlet since all the existing ceiling lights were turned off at night, and that also turned off ceiling outlet. He must have been quite the sight because he was photographed in the process at least twice, once by the mayor, and another time by a woman who wanted to copy the branch idea despite her husband's nay saying, and third to change the bulb in the spotlight because picky (or should I say bitchy) wife wanted it brighter.

Finally, John and I drove back downtown to see the effect of the new light and get some photos, including one of me getting photos.  He does have a sense of humor.