Saturday, December 31, 2022

Memories Now

In the midst of the Christmas festivities, I could totally relate to granddog, Lacey's feelings on the matter.  LOL.

Once the hustle and bustle of the season has come and gone, it's good to reflect back on all that took place.
That Christmas dinner that was carefully planned and prepared is now but a memory.  Happy to say that it was enjoyed by all.

The gifts that were thoughtfully chosen and now given will be enjoyed for years to come.

Taking time out for a photo was tolerated...

But, became much more tolerable when silliness was allowed.

Now that all is said and done, it occurs to me that some of my favorite moments were not captured in photos.  Perhaps one of the highlights for me was watching grandpa teach Jaxson how to play Monopoly as I cleaned up the dinner dishes.  The game went on for hours (or at least it seemed to) with Jaxson being the winner.  Naturally that was very exciting for him and he was looking for Monopoly players first thing the next morning.

The planning, prepping, shopping, baking, cleaning and decorating are behind us now leaving behind many memories.  I do hope that yours are good ones.

As I sit here typing up this post, it is dark and pouring rain.
It's supposed to go on all day.  Inside, the coffee is hot and the Christmas tree lights are lending the last warm glow for the season.  A most welcome sight on this dreary day.

Monday, December 19, 2022

Christmas Preparations and A Giant Shoe

In this week leading up to Christmas day, it feels good to know that the Christmas cards are on their way to friends and neighbors across the country.  Yes, I am one who still enjoys sending and receiving them.  I found this season's elf themed postage stamps to be particularly cute.

The gifts are wrapped and waiting.

Food gifts for the neighbors awaiting delivery.

I do believe that my preparations are complete.
Of course there will be some last minute cleaning and cooking, but for now it is nice to have time to enjoy the moments as they come.

Now, about that giant shoe ...

Friday night we attended a Holiday Tour of Historic Homes in a local town.  The home pictured above was built in 1798.  As you can imagine a lot of interesting history took place there.  I was fascinated by that, but what had the biggest impact was the furniture.  At first it just looked like very ornate antique furniture.  When the docent began pointing out the detail on each piece, I was thoroughly amazed.  Over sixty pieces of furniture all carved by hand by Tilden Stone, a relative of the homeowner.  Unfortunately there were no photos allowed in the homes.  If you are interested in seeing just a glimpse of his work I would direct you here.  Although it would be hard to appreciate the amazing detail in his work, you will get an idea what I am talking about.
Since I feel bad about talking about this furniture and not being able to show you exactly what I saw, I will tell you about another of his creations that I was able to photograph.

The giant shoe!!
On the grounds of this home, right outside the bedroom window of a little girl named Susan.  Well, at least she was a little girl when the shoe was constructed in 1945.  It was constructed by her great uncle Tilden Stone and her father. Apparently Susan loved dolls and owned many.  One day Tilden stated that she was just like the old woman in the shoe with all of her dolls.  He then created this shoe for her to play in.

It is constructed of concrete.
The "S" above the little door is for Susan.
While touring her bedroom which was filled with a beautiful hand carved canopy bed and furniture pieces made by great uncle Tilden, we were told that the shoe was placed where little Susan could see it from her bedroom window.  Susan is no longer living, but the shoe is apparently quite a landmark in this small town.  I did ask the docent if I could take a peek inside and she said "sure".

All decorated for Christmas.


Susan's younger brother and his wife are currently living in the house (not the shoe:).  I would guess him to be in his late 70s or early 80s.
At the end of the tour he showed us his collection of musical instruments collected from countries around the world.  He picked up and played several.  To conclude he told us that his Dad was very musical and best known for playing the saw blade.  He then proceeded to pick up a saw and play White Christmas on it.  Before this evening I would have never believed I could be moved to tears over hearing White Christmas on a saw.  But I could and I was.

Wishing you a joy-filled week,

Monday, December 5, 2022

Table For Two

It didn't take long to clean and chop up some fresh fruit.
I used what was on hand and elevated it a bit by serving it on a glass Christmas tree platter.

I assembled a cranberry chicken salad and served it on croissants.
Also made a loaf of spiced pumpkin bread which smelled so nice as it baked.
Pulled out the Christmas china and set a table for two.

On Friday I invited my sister-in-law to come for lunch.
It was a dark and gloomy day so I lit a candle and the Christmas tree lights.
Instant Warmth.
It seems every year when I'm done with the big job of decorating the house for Christmas I think I should invite people over.  Before I know it the month is almost over and I've only done the traditional family dinner.  Now I'm thinking small impromptu gatherings are a nice way to go.  I think I'll work on doing more of them.



Wednesday, November 30, 2022

A Home For The Books

Although I did a huge edit to my book collection when I moved four years ago, there were several that I just couldn't part with.  They have been residing in closets, cupboards, pantries and even under beds.  Yikes!  What can I say... I love books.
To me there are few things as relaxing as sitting down with a good book or reading in bed before going to sleep.  

When I moved here I was so in the mood to downsize everything.
I don't regret that at all.
However, as time has gone on I have missed my bookcases.

If you've been here for awhile you may remember the bookcases in my last house (above).  I used to love sitting in that room to read.  I could close the french doors and have a little hide out from the world.  Sometimes I would just pull a garden or decorating book from the shelves, make a cup of coffee and get lost in book land.
I think as much as having the bookcases, I have missed having a cozy little reading spot.

It took awhile to figure it out in this house.  It can take me a long while to decide on something.  Usually once the decision is made I am sure it's the right one.
Last week the workmen came and created a new home for my books.
A smaller scale works just fine for this house.  
It feels so good to see my old friends again :).

At the time of my move I edited another collection.
The vintage USA pottery collection.
I did, however, keep my very favorite pieces.
They have found new homes in amongst the books.
As we enter this busy time of year, it feels nice to have a special spot to relax and curl up with a good book.  Very likely a Christmas book from the collection that was never edited.  I especially love vintage Christmas books.  They, too, found a home in the new bookcases.


Now, tell me something...
Do you also like to read and, if so, do you prefer a real (old fashioned) book?
Do you have a special spot you like to read in?
And finally...
Do you have a favorite Christmas book?

Tuesday, November 8, 2022

Social Media Connections While Traveling

Shortly before our recent vacation I was scrolling through Instagram and came across a new to me account called simplycountryhome.  I enjoyed looking through the little vignettes she featured.  When she mentioned visiting her booth in an antique mall, I checked to see where this mall was located.
Wytheville, Virginia
I called out to ask Brett if we would be anywhere near there on our trip to Michigan.  We'll be going right through it was his reply.

JoJo's Attic in Wytheville, Va became a place to stop along the way.
Brett was content to read in the car while I went in search of booth 102.
Before I saw the booth number I knew I was in the right place just by seeing her cute displays.

After enjoying her booth, I selected one thing to bring home with me.
The basket hanging above.  It was just what I had been looking for to hang on the hooks.  She had it filled with greens and petite pine cones.  I can picture changing what's in it to suit the seasons.
While paying for my purchase I decided to share with the lady who was bagging it up how I happened to find them.  Turns out it was her booth so I was glad I told her about this happy coincidence.

Further along on the trip, we had decided to venture off the interstate and travel through Ohio's Amish Country.  We had been through here many years ago (long before IG and YouTube) and decided it might be fun to re-visit the area.
I spent way too much time in one of the gift shops and then we had lunch here:

After lunch as we were driving around trying to decide if we had seen everything, I had a lightbulb moment.
I remembered a YouTuber that I have enjoyed watching who lives in the Amish area of Ohio.  I jumped on my phone and pulled up this video:

After watching it quickly, I consulted my tourist guidebook and set off to find:

If you watch Mary at White Cottage Company on YouTube, this may look familiar to you too.

At the antique mall I didn't see any names on the booths.
As I walked through this one, I suspected I had found the one I was looking for.

It was so fun to see Mary's creativity and talents in person.

As I was leaving her booth I saw this and knew, without a doubt, that I was in the right place.  As much as I would have liked to purchase something from her, I just couldn't find the right thing.

In the aforementioned video, Mary talks about one of her favorite booths (Tammy's).  It was probably the largest booth and very nicely done.  I did purchase a trio of those little white Christmas trees above.  While in that booth I overheard a few women oohing and aahing and then they mentioned Mary's booth.  I think they were fellow YouTube fans.

Another glimpse of Tammy's booth.

The only other thing that called my name was this Apple Pie Spice tin.  I thought it needed to join the Pumpkin Pie Spice as it will soon be time for baking the Thanksgiving pies.  Interestingly enough it is still filled with it's original spice and 39 cent price tag.  I don't think I'll be adding it to my real pie, but it fits right in with the old toy stove display.

Tuesday, October 25, 2022

A Fall Road Trip

Last week we took a road trip back to our home state.
Winding our way through Virginia, West Virginia, Ohio and, finally, Michigan, the fall foliage becoming more vibrant as we went.
This rest area in Ohio gave us a welcome chance to stretch our legs and have a snack while enjoying the autumnal beauty.

The main reason for our trip was to visit my sister and brother-in-law.  What a surprise it was to all when we arrived at their house along with a gentle snowfall.  This was early, even by Michigan standards.  As we sat around the table enjoying Norma's delicious homemade chili, the weather outside seemed a bit confused.  The sun was peeking through lighting up the beautiful leaves on the trees as the snowflakes floated to the ground along with a leaf or two.
Inside, memories of my family together around the table warmed me.  The first 42 years of my life took place in Michigan with family together around the table at every holiday.  A brief reminder of those days washed over me as we enjoyed our meal together.

It's hard to go back "home" and not get a bit sentimental.
One day we visited Northville, the town we raised our boys in.
The downtown area was decorated for fall with these gorgeous planters lining the main street.

Another look at the main street decorated for the fall season.

High on our list of places to visit was the local cider mill.
That was always a fall tradition and one that we have missed.
It was worth standing in line for that freshly made doughnut and apple cider.  Naturally a bag of doughnuts and a gallon of cider came home with us.

It was nice to see that the wooden train was still there.
It was once a big thrill for my boys.

Of course I had to check out the unique shops in Northville and nearby Plymouth.  I thought this Thanksgiving display was especially pretty.

We went down memory lane when taking a drive by our childhood homes.  The home that Brett lived in through 3rd grade hasn't changed much.

This was not either of our childhood homes.
It was in the area and we always found the roof to be interesting.  

Since Brett's childhood home was near another cider mill, we felt obligated to pay a visit.  Apple butter and apple sauce came home with us from this one.  When it was time to head home, Brett wasn't sure he could fit everything in the car.  It seems we stocked up on all of the local favorites that we can't find in North Carolina.  


On our last day, the temperature went into the mid 70s feeling much more like a summer day.  In some ways it felt like a condensed version of all of the seasons in Michigan all put together in a week.
So now as the fall color change is just getting underway here, we will fill our glasses with apple cider, head for the patio and watch the squirrels scamper and the trees put on their seasonal show with warm memories of our visit back home.

Thursday, October 13, 2022

Outdoors in October

Something red caught my eye as I started out on a walk the other day.
Bending down for a closer look, a photo opportunity presented itself.
Here our fall color change is just getting underway which makes me want to be outdoors enjoying the show before it comes and goes for another year.

A fall outing to the local pumpkin farm put me in the mood for decorating my outdoor spaces.

The coleus by the front door were looking a tad scraggly.
A few gourds and a happy scarecrow were added to cheer things up.

This year that wreath is a bit bittersweet.
Around this time last year a neighbor friend made it for me.  She had so much talent with making wreaths and floral arrangements.  Shortly before Easter she passed away unexpectedly.  She would never take payment for her creations.  Instead she requested a homemade apple pie for Thanksgiving.  She will be remembered as I am preparing my pies next month.

It won't be long until my house plants will be moving back indoors for the winter.
In the meantime, I added a few pumpkins to the patio to herald the season.

I added a leafy garland and a pumpkin to the patio table.
The garland lights up adding nice ambience to the evenings.

Over the weekend we took a walk through the woods and noticed that somebody had been decorating in there.

In the woods there is a tree house built around a large old tree.
It's a popular destination for visiting grandchildren.

Small pops of color to be found here and there.
I see many more woodsy walks in our future.

Somehow I always seem to pick up treasures on my woodsy walks.
Pockets and hands are filled when I get home.
There are some really cool nut pods that are partially opened.  I think they might be hickory nuts.  Might have to pop them all in a basket for another fall decoration.