Decorating & Nesting

So it's that time of year again!  For me this year means something different that the past years of my life.  This will be the first Christmas without my dad.  So I have decided not to have my Christmas Extravaganza.  But I did want to decorate.  It would be too too sad for me to give that up.  My dad thought I did I pretty job getting the house all ready for Christmas so I decided to do that.

I got my four urns ready with fresh greens for the front entrance.  I love doing that.  

Believe it or not all these photos, 43 boxes big and little all belong to my Christmas decorating.  They were all nestled in our Barn upstairs in the loft.  Now they were all in my kitchen.  AHHHH!
Every year it gets a little harder and harder to do this.  I still haven't finished completely.  We are going to work on the outside tonight if we have enough energy.  Will blog the end results.

Hustle and Bustle, My feet Hurt!

Remember Pearl Bailey. I used to love her.  She always got on stage and took off her shoes or made a comment about how much her feet hurt.  My husband and I have been totally beat the last two weeks.  From the day Saturday, day before the Barn Class to Thanksgiving to My Harvest Dinner.  But it was all worth it.  
One of my Sisters/best friend Sonali came the day before to make a trip to Black Eyed Susan's.  She had not been at the new store and was in need of Christmas things.  We had a ball.  I barely said hi to her dear husband and kids before we were running into my car and down the driveway to go shopping.  It's so much fun when you have someone in your life that loves what you love.  After shopping we picked up Pizza (hey look I was going to be cooking tons next morning so I wasn't about to cook again.  We had a lot of work to do)  I had this "Carolyne Roehm Idea of eating all together in our screening room.  Thanks to my husband and Mike, Sonali's husband, the idea became a reality.  Then after pizza and Starbucks coffee, we got started on the tables and place settings.  My mom and I had cut out leaves and I had created a few things for the tables.  

This centerpiece above is what I learned to make at my barn class.  Susan's gift for me for hosting.
I absolutely love it.

Sonali and I have the same print so she wrote on my leaves everyone's names.

I even printed out the menu cards, one for each table.  Carolyne would be proud!

Here is me and Sonali.  I don't know how she can run around after her little one all day and still have so much energy.  She is a spitfire.  I am so thankful to have her in my life.

These lovely ladies are my other sisters.
They are talented, lovely women whom I have known all my life.  We had a wonderful time.  
Here is my mom and Sonali.  And below are all the men in all of our lives.  
I'm glad we planned the Harvest Dinner.   Although out feet hurt, at the end of the night, we counted our blessings.  


The Lake

When I was around twelve my mom's friend, who had moved to the country (upstate NY) came down to the Bronx to take us for a trip to her house.  I lived in an apartment building at the time and was so excited.  The car ride was about an hour and me and her two daughters whom I can't for the life of me remember their names sat in the back of her old cross country station wagon and laughed and waved at cars that passed by.  When we got to her home it was nestled in the woods and the trees were magnificently covered with snow.  I think I had my mouth open for a few minutes looking at how beautiful everything was.  (Never ever dreaming that someday I would have a home nestled in the trees).
My mom and her went to the kitchen to have coffee and mom chat while the girls took me to the Lake.
They gave me extra scarves and asked me my shoe size and we were off.  It was a few minutes away from the house.  They had a lot of property and there was a lake nearby.  I had never seen something as beautiful.  The lake was mirror like, covered in ice.  It was sparkly and shimmery and I could almost see myself in it.  Before I knew what was happening, the girls were already skating on the ice.  They had given me a pair of ice skates (which by the way when your from the city, they are foreign to you).  One of the girls came back and helped me lace them up.  Before I understood, I was on the ice being catapulted by my extra long scarf by one of the girls.  Funny, I don't remember falling much and I must have because I don't know how to ice skate.  All I remember is laughing.  Laughing so hard that I probably tinkled a bit.  But when your twelve, that doesn't matter.  I don't remember realizing that the lake was deep, and the sun was strong.  I don't remember any feeling of trepidation about the ice and the probability of it cracking underneath my blades.  I just remember laughing.  No fear, no worries, no regrets.  Just pure joy!  I've often recalled this experience to my mother and she's said "I can't believe you did that!  I would have never let you do that if I knew you had been skating on a lake."
It was huge as I remember and the trees were leaning over it with branches heavy with snow.  How blessed was I to have an experience like that.  How I wish I were her again.  To feel no fear.  To feel no worry, just joy.  I want to feel that joy again.  I want to loose the fear and find the peace that comes from that freedom.  That's all I want this holiday season.
"I wish I had a river, I could skate away on."
Find your joy again.


Lovely Ladies In My Barn/ BES Barn Class

So for those of you who didn't know, when my barn was first built, Susan from Black Eyed Susan said I would love to do something in your barn.  I don't even know if she was thinking of one of her classes but I immediately opened my mouth and said, Oh how about one of your fall classes.  YIKES! Well we did and it was last night.  All day Saturday, my husband walked from the house to the barn from the barn back to the house.  Bringing, carrying, setting up, extending wires, bringing extensions.  Then he decided to buy heaters, brought heaters in set up the lights, but when we would turn on the heaters the lights would dim.  Too dim for the class.  That meant we would have to plug them in to a generator.  AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!
Anywho, we managed to get everything ready.  Susan was in NC and wasn't able to come and see so we spoke on the phone.  I needed a sign for the front to guide the 20 something women that were coming.  The class was at 630 in the evening.  630 in November, dark, dark and more darkness.  Alot of the roads around here are old farm roads that have no lights including mine.  Rob went out again and bought a lantern to put in the front and light the sign.  Then I bought mason jars and put citronella tea lights in them to light the way.  Then Rob bought path lights to light the way to the barn.  AYYYYYYYYYYEEEEEEEEE!  I kept thinking the night before about a freak snow storm or hurricane and having all the ladies swimming in mud.  I would just die!
Well last night was an incredible night.  The temperature, weather, evening was perfect.  Dark but perfect.  In the front of the barn, part of the walkway is gravel.  I was so afraid someone would fall.  So I decided to escort everyone who drove in.  Rob stood out on our black driveway (I am totally serious, it was pitch black)  My spots only go one when at first the cars pull in, then it turns off.  So I stood with a lantern and waited for the ladies to come.  I felt like Laura Ingalls.
Susan and Carol, Connie and Shannon (my new Blog BFF - sorry Alexie) arrived first.  They set up everything in the barn and suddenly the barn was transformed into a flower shop.  It was incredible.  See for yourself.

Here is Shannon putting words on the leaves.  How cool was that!

Idea Alert!

The name of the class was Fall Flourish.  You could pick out a basket and make an arrangement for a centerpiece with lovely flowers, succulents, leaves, gourds, berries.  All artificial all magnificent.

These ladies couldn't have been more lovely and gracious.  All thanking me for hosting the event and hugging me when they left.  It was a joy to meet all of them.  Even my neighbor Tina came to see all the beautiful things. 

Poor Connie, she had alot to tally up.
We were so tired.  My hair frizzed, we could hardly stand up.  Susan had an all day Christmas set up.  Shannon and her carried boxes from the store to the van to my house, I must have done 20 trips over the gravel out of the barn around the garden to the carport and back to escort the ladies.  My legs were in so much pain but it was worth it.  Thanks Shannon for making me hold the camera and look sweaty and fat.  Next time you hold it.  Hee Hee.  (I cropped myself out of the photo, I looked terrible.  Yuk!  Shannon and Susan still look great at the end of the night.)


It's in the Little things.

I had been keeping an eye on this little chair at a neighborhood antique place I always find excellent finds in.  At first I thought the chair was 40, I didn't have my glasses on.  Then I saw it was 75.  I waited about a month then put in an offer for 60 dollars.  (Hey why not right, )  They accepted my offer and I brought it home yesterday.  I'm going to replace the seat with a green velvet fabric. I only need a tiny bit so it won't be expensive.  For Christmas I'm going to hang a sweet little wreath from the ribbon I put on it.  Take a look!
Then on my birthday weekend my loving husband took me antiquing and I found this beautiful painting.  Okay, so when I was in Cape May I went to an antique store earlier in the summer and had seen the same painting.  450.00 Yikes.  I had fallen in love with it but thought that is way too much money.  Well last weekend I found the same one in better condition and better frame.  Guess?  $80.00  Yep.  Just call me the queen of whatever that word is when you bring prices down.  "Haggling"  (spell check please)
Take a look!
Although I don't have girls, I thought it could represent me and my mom.  I love it so much I can't stop looking at it.  Now I understand that it is a print and they painted over it with gloss or something.  I'm going to try and do that. My only problem is I can only print out 8 by 10's on my printer.   Those of you who know me well know my passion for printing out art photos and framing them. AC Moore has the prettiest gold frames.   They are all over my home.  No one would know it.  Okay except you guys.  Why do I reveal my secrets to my bloggers?  Well one simple reason. . . Life is too short.  Let us share the beauties and ideas that we have to make life a more pleasant place with others so that they too can find happiness and comfort "in the little things."  If I leave anything at all when I'm gone, I would like it to be that others remember me for someone who was selfless and caring and kind.  That's all I want.
And here is the finished product with alot of help from my husband, we had to use the staple gun to do the chair.
You can't see the color well though, the velvet is a mossy beautiful green.


A Passion For Interiors

On Nov 9th Carolyne Roehm's 10th book was in bookstores.  My husband had pre-ordered it so that I could have it for my birtthday.  Anything this woman has ever written or done I pretty much have.  She has been one of my mentors for about ten years.  In fashion, in decor and most of all in gardening.  

The book showcases three of her homes with an emphasis on this one, my favorite.  WEATHERSTONE.  The house had burnt down completely leaving only the stone wall structures in the early 90's.  The house dates back to the late 1700's.  The book shows how they restored the home. ( After going there I named my house PINEROWE, which my sons say it sounds like an old age home)  All Homes should have names.  Anyway, I was lucky enough to have gone to visit Weatherstone three times with my husband for garden events.  I have posted about Carolyne many times before.  So regardless to say, I was anticipating the release of this book.  
Here I am at Weatherstone.
Can you say Stalker?  Here I am on her porch and white tulip garden.

I must be honest.  As much as I love it, I don't love it as much as I do the older books.  I wanted more about dear Weatherstone, the house I fell in love with a few years ago.  The house that I have blatantly copied/stolen so many things from.  My kitchen- totally copied from Carolyne's.  My garden, my outdoor furniture, my love for blue and white, and my love for gingham (although I have loved gingham since I was a little girl)  I still recommend it highly but I wanted to see more of the before and after pics of the fire and the surroundings.  She focused more on architecture and grandeur in detail of scale and influences from the french and the greeks.  I like Carolyne's more simpler side.  My favorite book of all is At Home With Carolyne Roehm.  
I did make a recommendation via e-mail to her assistant.  I'm hoping and I know Lisa is too, that she takes me seriously.  I asked her to title her next book. . . A Passion For Christmas (which she has one )


Sweet Souls

They Bark too loud, they are into everything.  I never have privacy with them, they constantly need my attention, they want to go out too much, they fight and always push things out of place, and they literally can drive me crazy.        But God how I love them.  These simple sweet souls love me no matter what.  They greet me as if I am the most important person in the world and even if I am angry at them, they still seek my side.  There eyes speak to me and reveal who they are.  I feel there love and see their love for me.  And when I'm lonely or filled with sadness, they bring me comfort, and joy.


The Fernish Ladies

Me, KC and Lisa
On Thursday night, Lisa, KC and I were invited to an open house where "The Fernish Ladies" where showcasing some of there antiques and finds.  I had received a flyer in my mailbox about an incredible home that is on the market.  The owner and a friend run a little antique refurnishing business right from the properties carriage house.  Well we were intrigued!
As you can see, the house was absolutely breathtaking.  It was built in the late 1700's and then added on to it.  The ceilings were all grand and the rooms were huge and spectacular.  Velvet draperies and bevelled french doors opened out to small verandas.  The front porch was large and wide and the house glowed in the evening.  I can't stop thinking about it and how sad Sue, the owner must be to leave it.  If those walls could speak, I wonder what they'd say.  How many families have lived there and how many parties were held there.  I can just imagine the rooms all aglow and the music playing (I see a string quartet)  Lisa, KC and I walked through the hallways and into the bedrooms.  There were three floors.  I learned, thanks to KC what a "witches closet" is.  Never knew.  We were able to buy a few things that were tagged.  Of course what I wanted wasn't tagged.  I went antiquing this weekend, my birthday weekend with my husband to Lambertville.  Although I saw great things, nothing impacted me as this house.  I can only imagine what it must look like for Christmas.  
So sorry I didn't bring my camera.  We honestly didn't know what to expect.  It was a delightful evening with my delightful friends.  

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