Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Our Family Thanksgiving

I have quite a large family.  Three of my siblings live out of state, but five of us live here in town.  When we have a family get together, it is usually held at one of the larger homes. In this case, Thanksgiving is at my sister's home and dinner is served in their eat-in kitchen, where three tables are put together, end to end.
Since none of us has dinnerware to serve 25 people, the last couple years I have taken four different sets of dishes to her house and set a Thanksgiving table for the family.
Fortunately, all four of these sets coordinate beautifully for a fall table, especially when you add pretty napkins and napkin rings.
A burlap table runner is laid down the middle of the table to tie everything together.
And of course every table needs a centerpiece.  This is the one I shared in a previous post that was made from what I had around the house.
Since I had an abundant supply of volunteer white gourds from my summer garden, I put one on each plate ~ another way to bring consistency to the table.
And so ~ with a few pumpkins, gourds, cornstalks, and four sets of dishes ~ a large family can be served in a very festive manner.
Giving thanks for my wonderful family and the fellowship we enjoy in each others company.
Wishing you and your families a very
Happy Thanksgiving.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Nature's Ornaments

Like most of you, I'm anxious to start decorating for Christmas, but
 feel like I must wait until after Thanksgiving.
Outside of my bedroom window is a honeysuckle tree that still has
 it's red berries.  The birds love these berries, but for some reason, 
they have left these behind for me to enjoy.
 As the snow was gently falling today I realized how much the berries look like 
Christmas ornaments ~ nature's way of decorating.

I love how they look against the gray shingles of my house.
And so while I still feel obligated to wait until after Thanksgiving to pull out the decorations, nature is obliging me with red berries and snow.
Linking with
Mod Vintage Life for Mod Mix Monday

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Soup of the Week

If you're like me, I crave warm comfort foods when the weather turns cold, and soup was what the weather called for today.  I thought maybe I'd do a weekly post sharing some of my favorite winter soup recipes ~ at least until I run 
out of my "tried and true" recipes.
Today I made Cream of Broccoli Soup.
 There is nothing like a good bread to compliment any soup.  This bread is just an inexpensive Italian bread, but it is superb when toasted and smothered in butter.

This is one of my sets of fall dishes.  I don't have a full set because I got them at a church festival.  It was the last day and they were letting you fill a grocery bag with anything you wanted for only $2.  In this case, they gave me a box to fill and this set compliments perfectly a fall leaves pattern I already had.

Cream of Broccoli Soup
1/4 pound butter
1 cup flour
1 quart milk (you can use part half and half for extra richness)
1 onion chopped
broccoli (you can use as much as you'd like and either fresh or frozen will do)
2 - 3 chicken bouillon cubes
cheese ( I prefer a mixture of hot pepper cheese and sharp cheddar cheese)
salt & pepper to taste
Saute the chopped onion in the melted butter until golden, but not brown.  Make a white sauce by stirring in the flour and then slowly adding the milk.  Stir constantly over a low to medium heat.  You can add more milk if the consistency is too thick.  Add the crushed bouillon cubes.  Boil or steam the broccoli until just tender, but not cooked and then add to the white sauce.  Sprinkle with cheese if desired.  I usually shred an 8-ounce brick of cheese and add it while cooking the white sauce to give the soup more flavor, but this is a matter of preference.  You could also substitute other vegetables or seafood in place of the broccoli.  ~  Serves 5 to 6.

Linking with
French Country Cottage for Feathered Nest Friday
Common Ground for Be Inspired

Monday, November 18, 2013

A Thanksgiving Centerpiece

I never host Thanksgiving dinner simply because my house is too small. 
 I come from a family of eight children, so family gatherings are usually held at those with the largest homes.
Last year I offered to do the tablescaping, which was only possible because I have parts and pieces of four sets of dishes that mix beautifully for Thanksgiving. 
 This year I wanted to set the table differently and decided to make a centerpiece from what I already had around the house.  I didn't purchase anything new, but made it my mission to reuse items I already had.  And this is what I came up with and how I made it.
I started with a bundle of corn stalks that I purchased in September to use as outside decor.  They had been outside for two months, so I brought them into the garage for a few days to dry out.  Then I cut the tops off, the height
 that I wanted my arrangement to be.
I used an American Girl doll stand for my center support piece, but you could use whatever you have around your house.
I put the bundle of corn stalks in the center of the doll holder and 
tied it closed with string.
Then I cut  a second set of pieces from the remaining stalks and started stuffing and tying them in.  These pieces will not need to be as long as the first set.
The point is to create the look of a corn shock like you might see in a field and to get the base of the holder covered completely.
Just keep filling it in until you get the fullness and the look that you want.  Don't worry about the string showing because that will be covered up with ribbon, and I used moss from my yard to fill in the gaps at the base.
I also tucked in a few faux twiggy pieces and some dried Sweet Annie that I borrowed from another arrangement.  You could add anything you want to make it more colorful, but I wanted to keep mine very natural looking.
I tied my bundle together with a long strip of leftover burlap and off-white grosgrain ribbon, and tucked a few pumpkins around the base.  Here is the finished product.
The arrangement is a little large for my small table, but will look perfect at my sister's home at a table that will seat twenty or more people.
I really like the low-key natural look of this centerpiece and the way it matches all the browns, rusts, and off-whites of my hutch.  Even without a lot of color, it definitely makes a statement.
A very special thank you to Debra at Common Ground for featuring my fall hutch makeover at last week's party.  I feel so honored by her kindness and generosity.
Linking with
Stone Gable for The Scoop
A Stroll Thru Life for Inspire Me Tuesday
French Country Cottage for Feathered Nest Friday
Common Ground for Be Inspired

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Adieu to Fall

A windy, rainy day is bringing down many leaves and sweet treasures from 
the boughs above.  This lovely little nest with spotted eggs still inside 
was laying on the ground this morning.
As the leaves disappear only to leave a bleak and barren landscape behind, I can't help but view this little nest and eggs as a departing gift of nature.  A sweet and precious reminder that spring will come again in due time.
Linking with
A Mod Vintage Life for Mod Mix Monday

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Fall Makeover

November is quickly slipping away and I realized if I didn't do something quick, it would be time to decorate for Christmas and I would totally miss Thanksgiving.
I don't really have any special Thanksgiving decor except my turkey platter, but when I think of the month of November as a color ~ I think of browns and white ~ a perfect time to pull out my brown transferware.
I have two sets of brown transferware, one set is dark brown and the other set is a rusty brown.  They are mostly odds and ends pieces, so I don't use them for everyday use, but they mix and match well and dress up the hutch nicely.  They remind me of the barren trees outside against the gray, cloudy skies.
I used a mish-mash of items from cotton plants to dried pussy willow branches leftover from spring.  This lovely combination is a beer pot dug from the Victorian dumps of England and dried alium seed heads.
My volunteer gourds always look delightful in an old bird nest.
Vintage chippy embellishments always have a way of fitting in perfectly.
And the center piece of the hutch is my turkey platter, a thrift store find 
from a couple years ago. 
To me, Thanksgiving is the quiet time between the glory of fall's spendor and the busyness of the Christmas season.  It is a time where I like to slow down, reflect, and give thanks for all God's goodness and blessings.

Linking with

Common Ground for Be Inspired
French Country Cottage for Feathered Nest Friday
The Tablescaper for Seasonal Sundays


Monday, November 11, 2013

That Time of Year

It's that time of year again.  The time I dread probably the most ~ leaf raking time.  
I live in a beautiful old neighborhood with 80-year old oak trees lining the streets.  And you know in a neighborhood that old, there are lots of other trees and shrubs that add to the fallout.
 images via feather your nest, my coloring book, bob vila, and girly me

I love my trees and I can't imagine living here without them as they
 add so much charm and beauty to the homes.
But ~ indulge me while I whine ~ I HATE raking leaves.
I don't understand people who say they enjoy raking leaves ~ it's like people who say they love winter.
 images via lulu's sweet secrets and media-cache
Leaf raking consumes every spare minute of any nice outside weather from October to Thanksgiving.  I am usually raking up the last of the leaves as I'm hanging the Christmas decorations.  It is a job I dread and I always 
feel an immense relief when it is finished.
I've tried every method of getting them to the curb for city pickup ~ from blowing, to raking, to mulching them up with the lawn mower.  There is just no easy way.
Now this is what I'd like to do with my leaf rake.
image via ellenzee
Thanks for allowing me to have a pity party.  Now it's time to stop complaining and go out and rake since snow is in the forcast  :)
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