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November 30, 2013

hello saturday

Hello Saturday.  I sure am glad to see you.  It has been one whirlwind of a week but the best kind of whirlwind, that's for sure.  I hope your thanksgiving day festivities were as wonderful as ours were.

We were supposed to have rain on Thursday but it held off until Friday and instead we had blue skies with temps in the low 70's.  I know, we are certainly spoiled here on the West coast, like that. 

I am knee deep in Christmas decorating and the mess that goes with it but I wanted to show you few pictures of the centerpiece I put together before the Christmas pictures start rolling in.

I tweaked it just a bit from what I showed you earlier in the week, exchanging the orange owl vase for this white enamel one.  The orange was just a little bold once I started placing the tea lights and ceramic pumpkins.  I was actually quite pleased with the way it turned out.

I ended up using the orange on the dessert table instead and it added just the right pop of color.

The hubby and I are off to Knott's Berry Farm with the grands today along with my sister and brother in law and their grands. Four old timers and five young whipper snappers...O, Lordy better wish us luck!

I hope you enjoy the rest of your thanksgiving weekend.  As always, thank you for your sweet comments and for stopping by.  If I survive today, I will be back soon to show you my Christmas decorating progress and a peek at a few home made gifts I'm working on.

xo, Patty

November 28, 2013

a grateful heart

It occurs to me as I shut the door on my too full refrigerator, that I have really never known hunger.  As I close the windows and turn on the heat, I have never truly been cold.  As I put the final touches on our Thanksgiving celebration and ready myself for the family that will gather here, I have never had to face the world alone.

Yes, my stomach has growled, I have felt a chill and I have been left by myself, but only temporarily.  I knew that a meal was ahead, a house was waiting and my loved ones would return. 

The truth of the matter is that there are many out there who don't have this assurance. 

My life is far from perfect, (I am far from perfect), in fact it can be down right messy and complicated and my resources are certainly limited.  I am embarrassed to say that I have spent my fair amount of time wishing some things were different but in my heart, I know how blessed I am.

My prayer for you and me today and everyday is that we never stop seeing and being thankful for what we have, that the grumbling will be brief and that grace would abound.

"Give thanks with a grateful heart." 1 Thessalonians 5:18

Happy Thanksgiving!

xo, Patty

I made these mason jar mini apple pies using this recipe.  I just swapped out the cupcake pan for half pint jars and baked them in a water bath.

November 26, 2013

centerpiece, check

Just a quick post today, it's baking day.  I wanted to show you the centerpiece I put together from the things I gathered together yesterday. 
 I started off with a scrap of brown burlap that I topped with an off white piece that I frayed the ends of just slightly.

Then I placed the two largest elements, the rooster and the white candle hurricane on the tray on opposite ends.  (To make the candle hurricane I just put the white candle in the center of the vase and started layering the lentil beans, split pea beans and popcorn.)

I added the framed thankful phrase to balance out the arrangement.

Then I just started adding things all the way around so that no matter where you sit the centerpiece looks pretty.

I picked a few of the last roses of the season for the owl vase for demonstration purposes but will replace them with fresh sunflowers or daisies on Wednesday.

That's it.  Easy, peasy centerpiece.

Pretty from any side.

I added a couple of glass vessels with tea lights to either side just to add a little extra sparkle to the table.  I think when I move this over to the dining room table and place it on top of a pretty autumn tablecloth and burlap runner it will be the perfect touch to our thanksgiving meal.

Centerpiece, check.  Now back to my to do list...

xo, Patty

November 25, 2013

Style on Monday - Thanksgiving Centerpiece

I love Thanksgiving week with all the preparation that goes in to it.  All the chopping and dicing and measuring and planning just feeds right into my list maker personality.

First up on my to do list today is the table centerpiece.  I originally had a vision of a formal piece in mind with pretty artichokes hollowed out to use as candle holders and some white pumpkins and tea lights running down the table.

But I decided instead to just gather a few things from around the house and do a more casual centerpiece, one that would leave more room on the table for food.

I went through my Autumn Splendor pinterest board to gather a few ideas.

I love the white tray and natural elements along with the white pillar candles so I think I will focus the arrangement around those.  I also love the metal basket in the last photo but am not sure I can work one in with the size of the tray I am using.

I have seen colorful beans used in clear glass hurricanes so I grabbed what I had from the pantry.  And I love the white rooster for height.

It's always fun seeing what all of this turns into.  I'll show what I come up with tomorrow.  How are your plans coming along?

xo, Patty

November 23, 2013

hello saturday

Hello Saturday.  My what a difference a week makes.  The weather has definitely taken a turn toward winter and my instinct to hibernate has kicked into full gear.  I have busy surrounding myself with all things warm and cozy.

I went to the library with my grandson after school this week and stocked up on books to read while I curl up on the sofa, wrapped up in a quilt.  I restocked the hot chocolate station, filled up my tea bag jar, made sure there are logs by the fireplace and have been baking up a storm.  I even made a big pot of chili for dinner last night.

Now all I need is a quiet afternoon, a warm pair of sweats and a big toasty fire and I'd say this day will just about be perfect.  I just love this time of the year.

I hope you are feeling a sense of contentment today, too.

xo, Patty

November 22, 2013

a gathering of thanks

I am sitting here deciding on the final dishes for Thanksgiving dinner next week.  A couple of years ago my husband and I decided that as long as we are capable we would celebrate Thanksgiving dinner at home.

In years past we would always travel with the kids to my parents or his and join in the large festivities there.  There would always be plenty of family, food, and the fun chaos that being a part of a large family brings.

But when our kids became adults with their own families we decided that this would be the one holiday that we would claim as our own with our door and table open to anyone who wants to join us in fact, the more the merrier.  We have gathered as few as three, to a full table of ten.

No matter the count, the attention to detail remains the same.  I will set the table with care, create a centerpiece to dazzle, select just the right bottle of wine, the sides will be plentiful and the desserts will be decadent because no matter who is missing and who is gathered round the table, our hearts will be full of thankfulness and I want the day to be special.

We have lived a blessed, full life, one that we did nothing special to earn.  We have so much more than so many, we have known true Love and for that we will always be thankful.

xo, Patty

November 20, 2013

a peek at my living room

When we moved into our little cottage six years ago I knew instantly that I was home.  It was built in 1954 and has all the odd quirks and frustrations that living in an older house has.  It also has all the charm. 

And in the case of the living room, that means large multi framed windows and plenty of natural light.

The old brick fireplace was already painted white when we moved in and I love it.  I used to long for a more substantial mantel but now I think the one it has suits the scale of the room perfectly.

The room itself is long and narrow with the fireplace in the center and kind of lends itself to two distinct areas, a television watching side and a reading/conversation side.

We have had the large leather furniture for over ten years.  I have dreamed of a white slip covered sofa for quite a while but I have to admit that these have been very forgiving in a room that is in constant use.

The over sized plaid chair was a gift from my sister in law and is my favorite place to curl up with a magazine or good book.  The white bookcase was part of a furniture trade I made with my mom. (I think I got the better end of the deal but don't tell her.)

The gallery wall above the sofa is a keeper.  I have room to keep adding and tweaking what's up there and really love the look.  I will share a few things I learned in creating it with you soon.

The corner next to the TV holds my houseplants as well as a small collection of DVDs in the basket tucked underneath.  The stand that holds the television is actually an outdoor bench that my husband converted for me a few years ago.

All in all, I love this room.  It serves it's purpose well and truly is a family room.  I have often heard that small homes grow close families and this room can testify to the truth of that.

xo, Patty

November 18, 2013

a clean sweep...

I spent a day last week giving my kitchen a good, deep cleaning.  You know the kind that involves moving things that remind you how long it's been since you moved them last?  As much as I don't like to see the gunk and grime, I absolutely love the way the kitchen smells and feels after I'm finished.

I took all the pretties down from the shelves on high and gave them a nice warm, sudsy bath. 

I love to mix things up a bit as I put stuff back from a clean sweep and just rearranging chickens and bird houses and pitchers has a way of making a room feel fresh and new.

The only problem is that I find myself not wanting to use the stove to cook with because I know it's only a matter of time before the grease splatters and bubbling yummies will find their way into the air and I'll be right back where I started from.

But of course life (and cooking) must go on.  Today I am on a quest to perfect my pie crust making abilities.  I've only made a few from scratch because the refrigerator ones are pretty good, but I  would really love to be able to whip one up anytime I want to.

I'll let you know how it goes.  Any crust making secrets you'd care to share?

xo, Patty

November 16, 2013

hello Saturday

Little Christmas Scenes in a Jello Mold

Yes, I know it's already 1:00 o'clock but in my defense, I was up at 6:00 a.m. putting my house back in order after last nights Christmas Makerie.  These little Christmas forest tins are one of the crafts we made.

It was such a lovely, dreary morning that I crawled back into bed and fell asleep for a couple more hours and am debating whether or not I will get out of my pajamas today.

I can't remember the last time I had a lazy Saturday morning like this and it feels pretty darn good.

I still have to put away the beverage dispensers and wash out the large coffee pot but for the most part the house shows no evidence of our little soiree. 

Of course, that doesn't include my craft studio which still resembles a war zone to some extent but there is door that can be closed until I feel like tackling the sorting of beads and buttons and lace and ribbon.  I think I will pull a little Scarlett O'Hara and say, "Tomorrow is another day", on that one. (Or maybe even the day after that.)

I finished my gallery wall and will be taking some pictures of the living room to share with you this week.  I am completely happy with that room (okay 99%, because when is a woman every perfectly happy with a room) and ready to move onto the dining room.  I made a few changes in the kitchen that I can't wait to share, as well.

So, hello Saturday...I think I'll start a fire in the fireplace, brew myself a cup of tea and just coast on through to Sunday.

xo, Patty

November 14, 2013

the small things

I snapped a few pictures of the last of the miniature roses in the garden.  I hadn't noticed they were still blooming until I finished the fall clean up of the back perennial bed.   

I love the way the empty space in the garden looks after the weeds and spent flowers have been removed.

The emptiness provides my mind with the room to plan for next year.  My plans are usually a bit more selective than the riot of color that appears by late spring.  With each trip to the garden center I am enticed with the beauty of the flowers and my mind believes that more of a good thing is always better.

Sometimes gardens, and life for that matter, can get so overcrowded with the big stuff that it takes a major weeding and thinning out to appreciate the beauty of the small flowers that have been over shadowed by the larger showy ones. 

As I continue to purge the excess from my life, I am enchanted with the little blessings that keep popping up.  I hope when the promise of a new sunshiny spring comes along I will remember to be selective so that those small things never get lost again.

xo, Patty