Confession Time

This is my favorite time of year.  The time when we prepare for my two favorite holidays.  Did I say prepare?  I mean obsess.  Okay so let me let you in on a little secret.  (Anyone who truly knows me would agree) I can be a bit of a perfectionist when it comes to a few things.   Well actually I believe I'm far from being a perfectionist but then my husband interjects and says "honey that's how perfectionists think.  They think they are not perfectionists."  Okay so I do get lost in details of  maybe a lot of things.  But specifically entertaining.  Truth be told it's not all my fault.  My mother was a bit of an entertaining diva growing up. You know the type.  Always trying new Woman's Day recipes, carving roses out of radishes, sewing fancy aprons for different occasions, etc. So needless to say,  I was exposed to women in my early years and then in the first years of marriage that ruined me,  formed me into the woman I am today.  

The first one was Martha Stewart.
I bought my first Martha book about Christmas a few years into my marriage.  I still have it.  God knows I made many recipes and attempted to duplicate many of her ideas.
Till this day I still can't talk about gingerbread houses.  Let's just say that I had to clean it off my walls.  I won't bother to give you details about how it got on the walls, but it got ugly after about 5 hours of failed attempts at glueing the walls together.  Thank God I have never volunteered for Habitat for Humanity or people would be out of homes.
In her books she taught me how to truss a turkey with twine, how to create the perfect garland, how to make a wreath out of fresh cranberries, how to properly hang christmas lights so that you don't see the wires, how to serve twelve people a massive menu without having a nervous breakdown.  You know the basic things in life you need to know. 
Well being the diligent student that I am, I memorized everything she had to say.
I drove my poor husband crazy and still do to this day with things like:
"Honey can we organize all the tools in the tool box in alphabetical order on the wall with hooks?  Can we buy a p-touch and label every cabinet and drawer in the house? Do you think we need a butlers table? Can we make the basement into a gift wrapping room?
Would you mind if I stencil our original hard wood floors with old english scroll designs?
Can you paint the entire foyer in the brand of Martha paints an hour before our dinner party, I think it will look really pretty? Can we afford a gardener or two?  Would you mind helping me carve all the animals from Noah's ark out of this wood I gathered so we can make ornaments for out tree?
Can we possibly buy a house in Bedford Connecticut near Martha and paint the entire thing one color? What do you mean you don't wear ridding pants if you don't have or ride horses, I got these on sale?"

Okay so you understand my husband's pain.  I pray for him everynight.

The second woman came later in my marriage.  Carolyne Roehm  I learned about her after I purchased her seasonal notebooks. (Honestly if you don't know her and have never read and looked through her notebooks, buy them.  They are under 24 dollars each.  They truly changed my life.  Hee hee.  For the better or worse can be argued.

What I loved about Carolyne was that although she was like Martha, a millionaire/ billionaire, and weren't afraid to get their hands dirty, Carolyne was more about showing what she knew not telling you her way was the only way if you can understand.

In her books, which she has alot of them, there are endless photos of Carolyne on a ladder hanging her tinsel, creating, planting, decorating a table or an arrangement of flowers. (www.carolyneroehm.com)
Carolyne has the most incredible home.  Weatherstone, in Sharon Connecticut.  She wrote a book about it.  Rob and I got to visit it twice, well the outside at least.  She belongs to an organization called Trade Secrets for gardening clubs.  Her and Bunny Williams show their gardens and we had the priveledge of walking through both of their luxurious gardens and grounds.  
Carolyne was very kind and incredibly approachable but it is obvious by the size of her estate and her 54 acre grounds with 4 or 5 gardens that give Versaille a nod, that my smaller scale (tiny scale) life is no where near anything like what these woman have on a daily basis.  But they did influence me on much smaller scales, to shoot a bit higher when it came to creating a home, a party or a garden.

In her books there are always images of her fabulous themed dinner parties and soirees.
Pages and pages of snippets of intimate conversations, elegant dinning, and stylish decorations.  
This was an invitation I was preparing to send for this year's Christmas party.  Do you see where I get it from?  
Every year I find that I am more and more pressured to do something a little more than last year thanks to these women.  It's exhausting.  Fun, but exhausting.  So it's that time for me.  The time when I'm studying all the new Holiday recipes, making my lists (that's a whole other post)
Deciding on what the theme will be for my tree, picking out which cookies to make and give as gifts, 
I don't get caught up in gifts because I think that the best gifts are the simplest ones, something home made or created with love.  
Lately my Favorite lady is author, designer and amazing store owner Mary Carol Garrity.
I have all her books and know them by heart.
Here I am thrilled to be standing by her during her Christmas house tour.  (which if you haven't gone it's a must on your bucket list) I made her that shawl and embroidered it myself.  she loved it and it matched her outfit perfectly.  She is the sweetest and most talented woman I know and truly one of her books will change the way you look at decorating.  
Okay so realistically I do overthink things and yes I am not happy unless I'm planning something or changing things around in my house and yes I probably drive a few people crazy but this is who I am.
 My expectations are always set high and that is what usually makes me crazy.  But at 48 I don't think I'm gonna really change.  Sorry Rob.
Hee hee.
Here's to your entertaining, party planning, list making, house decorating and always creating moments.


Brenda said...

Oh, how lucky your friends and family are to be on the receiving end of your hospitality! I look forward to reading about the details of what you are up to and,of course, a few photos.

Brenda said...

Lisa, no I don't normally even think about decorating for Christmas until after Thanksgiving. This year is different because our house is on our town's Christmas Tour of Homes. Believe me, I would much rather wait until AFTER Thanksgiving. I have always thought that anyone decorating for Christmas before Thanksgiving was "a little odd"! Now, that's me!

Windlost said...

I just wish I had your energy!! All I can say is, if you're going to have mentors, you've chosen the best. Wish I lived close enough to come over for a holiday visit...hehe. xo Terri
P.S. Happy belated birthday!!!!

Catherine said...

Would love to come to one of your great parties! xoCatherine

Anonymous said...

Your guests must feel pampered... me, I'm rather low key...

Dori at The Red Feedsack said...

That is a lovely picture of you at the end of the post. Just beautiful! ~ Dori ~

Nella Miller said...

Hi Lee, there are so many inspirational women out there to fuel our imaginations! That is why blogging is so nurturing for me...I am finding that as I get older, I tend to simplify, still love all the beauty and fuss, but am looking to Mother Nature more and more for inspiration...Seems she always gets it right...N.xo

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