Well, it seems like everything is moving too quickly here. Thanksgiving has come and gone. I have taken down fall and put up Christmas. I have all my gifts wrapped and ready to deliver and mail. I have baked over 400 cookies for my mother to give as gifts. I worked for two days straight to get our house put together and I have to say our house looks really good. I didn't put up a tree this year, but every other table, counter, etc has a Christmas setting. And they are all different from last year. Pictures are being taken this week while I am gone, so they will be posted soon. The "Winter" tab is also being loaded up this week. Good recipes for soup, meatloaf and yummy comfort food. I also included a few "Christmas" food ideas.
Couple of announcements: We have an Etsy store now..Southern By Design if you search by sellers. Our camera and shoe clocks are being featured at two stores. Chase Hall in McKinney, Texas and Ballard and Blakely in Dallas.
Check out these stores that I found while on our Kansas City Thanksgiving trip. The Curious Sofa and Raised In Cotton. Really neat stuff and blogs to enjoy.
More good stuff coming soon....
I have been working on one of my "to-do's".... find a place for us to eat Thanksgiving dinner in Kansas City. So if you have any thoughts or suggestions, please send then along. Some of the restaurants advertise a wonderful brunch with all the "traditional" items; turkey, dressing, cranberries, etc. Others are blending "regular food" with "traditional". It got me to thinking about what is "traditional"? I think all of us have traditions, although, we may not think about it that way. We go to the same house, with the same family members, enjoy the same family recipes and see familiar relatives for that once a year holiday. I also know that as families grow and move, traditions change. As a child we always went to the same Aunt and Uncle's house in Missouri, then when I married it changed to alternating between families and now it's a tradition to take my Mom on a trip somewhere. Sometimes it's distance, death or marriage that makes that change for us. I suppose it's never too late to change or create a tradition. I do think that tradition is important. It's our connection to each other and the history that we share. Whether it's the long time green been casserole or the breaking of the wishbone from the turkey, we should cherish those memories. Which brought me to this thought....maybe we should bring back some of the traditions we have lost along the way. If this strikes a cord with you, check out this book "Let's Bring Back" by Lesley M.M. Blume. This book is an encylopedia of past traditions. One that I thought was really neat...many years ago the TV channels decided to not broadcast for so many hours on Christmas. Instead of showing a black screen, they displayed a fireplace with gas logs burning while they were "off the air". What a change from today, when many families will watch a favorite football team play while eating a Thanksgiving meal! Another one of the ideas was to bring back the guest book. You know, when you go to someone's house, you would " I thought this would be a great hostess gift. Perhaps you are going to someone's home for dinner and want to take a little gift. A great tradition to start...and won't it be fun to look back on a history of all the comings and goings! Do you have a tradition you would like to share?
Enjoy your day!
Just had to share this with all of you. One of my former colleagues has a company (with two other ladies) called Center Stage Kitchens. They custom make covers that go over your stove. It is so great because it makes your counter usable for "staging" buffets, pretty decorative pieces or simply hiding those ugly burners. I use my counters for buffet lines and having a cover over the stove would give me twice the amount of space. The other way to use the cover is to put it on your island as a platform for building your buffet display. Take a look at their website to get more ideas on how you can use it... www.centerstagekitchens.com. They have a portfolio of their work and some testimonials. If you are interested, tell them you heard about it from Southern by Design.
It certainly feels like fall here today in McKinney. It's pouring rain, windy and sweater weather! Finally, I think the heat is gone. This is the kind of day that always makes me think about warm, cozy houses and comfort food. I have taken away all the summer seashells and hydrangeas and replaced them with fall pumpkins, gourds and sunflowers. I found the neatest thing in Maine this summer. It's a very roughhewn chicken feeder. We did a little sprucing up with some stain and sealer and it fits perfect on the kitchen island. For those of you with these big islands, sometimes it hard to find something that doesn't block the view. This is perfect for several reasons. One, it's low and long, (7 1/2 feet long) with plenty of room to fill with whatever...for whatever season. It can be used in the dining room as well as the island, although, I think it's better here because it's more casual. A few folks have seen it and thought it looks fabulous! I also started on my breakfast room table...not done yet, but getting there. Here is a picture in process. I am layering with different patterns, with fall colors of brown, black, cream, and pumpkin.
And then there's the food thing. If you have never been to Stonewall Kitchen (www.stonewallkitchen.com) or used their products, you are really missing out. They are based in York, Maine with corporate offices, cooking school, production line, restaurant and retail store. Everything they do is top notch, so you can't go wrong buying their products. In the retail store they offer tastings and include many recipes that incorporate their products. I am going to post a couple on the recipe page today so make sure and take a look. Finally, I took some treats to my dentist office today (www.mckinneydentist.com) to announce my "holiday trays". I will be baking holiday trays to order this year, so if you are interested, check back later this week for more information, or send me a note.
Some of my best growing-up memories were of being a Girl Scout and going to camp. I loved the swimming, archery, canoeing and cooking on the open fire. We had a great troop leader and spent many Friday nights making sloppy joes, s'mores and campfires. As an adult I have done some camping and canoeing, but let me tell you, you have not "camped" as an adult till you attend "Joan Lunden's Camp Reveille". I had always watched Joan on Good Morning America and kind of kept track of her through the years. As a part-time Maine resident, I had been thinking about joining the camping scene as a "worker". In July, as I was poking around on some of the camp sites, I ran across Camp Takajo, the companion camp for Tripp Lake girls camp. (Joan and husband Jeff own both Takajo and Tripp) Tripp Lake is one of my favorite lakes in Maine and I always said when I retire I want to work at the girls camp. Anyway, I see on the Takajo site that Joan has this women's camp every summer after the boys are gone from Takajo. So what is Camp Reveille? Camp Reveille is the most unique experience. It's about relaxing, networking, wellness and just plain fun. The camp is in August... August 18-21, 2011, starts on Thursday and ends on Sunday. In 2010 there were about 140 women from all over the US. I think the youngest was around 24 years old and the oldest in her 70's. As the name "Reveille" implies, it's about new beginnings, wake-up calls, time to get re-charged and re-focused. Joan's message was simply, we are the ones always taking care of everyone else in our family and eco-system. Camp Reveille is about taking care of us. I would encourage you to visit the website to learn more and make your reservations to attend next summer. Summer in Maine is beautiful and you will not regret giving yourself this "special gift". Here's the website...www.campreveille.com.
I am totally about color, in fact the more red the better. However, during the fall months I like to incorporate the browns and yellows of natural materials into my tablescapes and accessories. While in Maine this summer I have been able to pick up several things that I can use to create that "natural" look. The birch trees provide just the right cover to hot glue onto candles. If you live close to any woods you can find trees that have already fell and the bark is there for the taking. Measure it, cut it and wrap around the candles. No woods? No worry. I understand the florist supply carries this bark that you can buy and do the same thing. On the subject of candles, take some cinnamon sticks and hot glue them to a short chunky candle. Finish it off with a pretty coral ribbon. Another idea is for using all the pinecones and acorns that seem to be everywhere here. I took the acorns and made napkin rings. Just turn them alternately and then wire together. I shot a picture so you can see. The pinecones can be used a number of ways. One way is to take an old mirror and hot glue them. I would combine pinecones, acorns and other dried materials. You can use this mirror flat on the table as your centerpiece, maybe with some candles in the middle. I have a very large dining room table, so three smaller ones is what I am planning to make. The best part of this is that you can create these projects for very little time and money and use them from year to year.
For many of us, typewriters are part of our "high school" years and we probably haven't used one in forever. I can still remember my typing class, all girls learning a skill we all thought we had to have for our future career. Fortunately, the typewriter I had in class was better than the one in the picture! Blending old with new is one of favorite things to do when putting together a room. I like the different textures here with the curly, wire table topped with the black tole tray. I found some old correspondence and a couple of desktop accessories to add to the setting. Think about how you can incorporate a fun, different, interesting piece into your family room, home office or den. They are perfect "conversation pieces". This setting is behind the loveseat in our Maine cottage living area. I have another one in my home office that is much more of a prize. It has the case and is one of the first portable typewriters. You can pick one of these up for anywhere from about $35 to over $150, depends on how nice the machine is and whether the case is included. Don't worry about it being in perfect condition, it's the effect that you are looking for..
I know that many of you are "old-hat" at this blogging thing, however, it's new for me so bear with me while I get my writing groove on! I have been moving from house to house, city to city for years now. Each time I have painted and decorated only to do it again in a few years. Along the way I have collected some real treasures, many of which I still have and continue to display and love. At some point, I realized that this is my passion ( or maybe my obsession). I love decorating, moving furniture and displaying my collectibles. And now, I want to share it with all of you. Technology allows us to do that so easily! I have created this web site Southern By Design to house my pictures, ideas and treasures to sell. My other love (and many of you have enjoyed it) is cooking. So recipes will also be included on the site. When I thought about how to put this together I thought about how I organize my decorating....by season or time of year. For each season you will have decorating ideas, tablescapes, recipes and a "favorite" recipe for the season. Many of my ideas and treasures you will find in the OnLine Store (coming soon!). Some items will be one of a kind, so you will want to grab them quick. Other times, I will point you on where to find something or "How-To" make it yourself. Remember it's a work in process, so check back often and let me know how you like the site.
Until next time....
A southern girl at heart, I have been moving and decorating all my life. I enjoy the hunt as much as putting the finished arrangement together. I love to mix old and new together, especially old silver and country store display items. It's all about comfort and making your house a home.