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Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Thanksgiving Drink Station

Pinterest is filled with lovely images of Thanksgiving bar carts. Inspired, I sought to create a drink station for children and teetotalers.

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On the sideboard I used a bit of old petticoat ruffle as a runner and topped it with various bits of holiday sparkle.

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Keeping the harvest in mind I tried to bring in texture with wood trays, baskets, and the bounty of the season.

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If you have a bit of difficulty getting the bottles to stand up in the basket just lay down a piece of glass from a picture frame.

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Caramel candy wrapped in autumnal shades, pretzels and nuts will stave off any pre feasting hunger pains.

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Pretty cranberry swizzle sticks were made with organic cranberries and rosemary. Just strip the rosemary leaves off the bottom of the stem. (Save the leaves for use in stuffing, etc.) Use a toothpick to create a easy opening in the cranberry then insert the sprig of rosemary. It’s festive and fragrant. 

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This years signature drink is one part Cranberry Cordial to 7 parts sparkling water. Add two ice cubes and top with a cranberry swizzle stick. Delicious!

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There is truly something for everyone.

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The artwork was purchased at a garage sale for $2. The antique lace streamers came from Grandma Jingles. They are a nice contrast to the rustic frame.

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Baskets, bowls, and glassware: HomeGoods

Hammer bottle opener: Anthropologie several seasons ago.

Festive straws: Target

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Assorted water, cider, soda, flowers and food: Traders Joe’s

Cranberry Cordial: Jolly Grub

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Now off to decorate the table….


Linking to:

Between Naps On The Porch, Classy Clutter, Stonegable, A Stroll Thru Life, Not Just A HousewifeA Bowl Full of Lemons, We Are That Family, Someday Crafts, The 36th Avenue, Ivy and Elephants, Savvy Southern Style, Katherine’s Corner, Posed Perfection, My Fabuless Life, The Style Sisters, Sew A Fine Seam, Craftberry Bush, French Country Cottage, The Shabby Nest, Imparting Grace,My Romantic Home,The Charm of Home, AKA Design + Life, Classy ClutterTatertots and Jello, Funky Junk Interiors, My Uncommon Slice of Suburbia, The Dedicated House

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

This Thanksgiving I Am Grateful For Making My Flight, But Sadly Wet My Pants

I had planned to write posts to run this week with titles such as “The Perfect Holiday Pantry” and “Favorite Dutch Apple Pie”. Then I got that phone call.

When you receive such a call things that once seemed important, like Thanksgiving pies, don’t really matter in the grand scheme of things.

What matters is making an impossible flight and being with family.

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Last September I stood in a sweltering Arizona garage and had the following conversation with Mr. Décor.

Mr. “Let’s get rid of that ginormous suitcase of yours. It’s in such bad shape that it really doesn’t need to be moved.”

So I’m thinking, “Yeah, it looks really bad. But it’s my France suitcase. It has always returned from French adventures filled with wonderful things.” and “I need to say something practical to Mr. about why we need to keep it.” 

Me: “Well, let’s hang on to it until I find a replacement in case something happens.”

I know Mr. Décor is thinking “Well, I save things for the same reason…” so he agrees to move this filthy beast one more time.

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My first thought after the phone call was “Thank God I didn’t get rid of that suitcase!”

As we are STILL unpacking I set Mr. Décor to the task of finding the beast.

I threw in just a few things knowing I could do laundry while there, and thankful for the tons of space to bring things home.

When I first arrived at my Grandmother’s home I was completely overwhelmed. I had a funeral to plan and an entire apartment, filled with almost 93 years of memories, that needed to be sorted through. I accepted that I would probably be there for awhile. I called Mr. and told him “I won’t be coming home any time soon.” I imagined myself at her table, alone, eating a tv dinner on Thanksgiving.

But family showed up and by some miracle all that needed to be done was accomplished in 6 short days. I caught my breath on Saturday afternoon and started packing so I could return home. I had 5 pieces of rather large artwork, four of which were painted by my parents, that needed to come home to me. So I got on the phone (as there was no wi fi) and searched for a local UPS. I found one. The operating hours were Thursday and Friday from 3 to 5 pm.

Boat missed, ship sailed.

Was it possible that I could drop off the five pieces of art in Minneapolis before heading to the plane?

UPS is closed on Sundays. Good for UPS.

So next on the call roster was Fed Ex.

In such a large city there was but one lone shipping office open late Sunday.

I left Deer River at 1:30 pm headed for the city.

The shipping office was downtown. I arrived at my destination at 5:10 pm. My flight was scheduled to leave at 8 pm.

I was horrified to discover that the office was located in a high rise building without temporary parking. A garage beckoned me down the street… but how does one carry 5 large pieces of art down a long city block?

So I decided to break the rules, pulled up to the curb, hit the car flasher button and proceed to run back and forth across the sidewalk, into the building and back to the car four times.

I was literally tossing the art at the Fed Ex employee then proceeded to breathlessly shout “I’ve got to park the car. I’ll be back.”

This is a good time to tell you that I had already been driving three and a half hours and needed to use a bathroom. Badly.

Car parked and praying that the art would still be at the Fed Ex office, I ran back.

I finally arrived at at the counter with my 46 years revealing themselves with deep, labored breathing.

Behind the counter the tall Fed Ex employee, wearing a black rasta hat, told me “Breathe, you are exactly where you need to be.”

He had picked up a painting my mother had done. “This art is very powerful, I am drawn to it. In fact, all of your art speaks to me. It is large and heavy however and will be expensive to ship.” I replied that while the art was not monetarily important, the work had been done by my parents and therefore priceless to me. I was willing to pay the cost as I was leaving on a flight that night. He promise that the art would arrive safely and I would make my flight.

By now it was almost 6 pm, the time I was supposed to turn in the rental car. I felt a rivulet of sweat travel down my back.

The man worked as if he was packing up priceless Rembrandts. Copious amounts of bubble wrap were used. Thinking I might speed him up I inquired “How long does it take to get to the airport?” His reply was he could not say, it depended on traffic.

Perspiration dotted my brow.

Once again he said, “Be in this moment. You are exactly where you need to be. You will make the flight.” It was 6:30 pm and I was doubtful.

The work was carefully completed by 7 pm. I paid my bill and ran to the car praying the highway would be clear.

It was and I arrived at the airport at 7:15 pm practically throwing the car keys at the rental clerk as I struggled to get a handle on my three bags.

Then came the arduous and almost impossible task of running across a large parking lot, one long hallway, down two escalators and onto a tram ride.

The ginormous bag, through it all, did not cooperate. The smaller one was a coconspirator. They kept tipping over so that at times I was merely dragging their tremendous weight behind me.

Now would be a good time to mention that after five hours my bladder was pretty much at max capacity.

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After exciting the tram there was yet another long walkway and brilliant bag struggle. I limped to the check in counter at 7:35.  I hopefully stated “I know I am too late for my 8 pm flight and it is Thanksgiving week, but perhaps there is a later flight I can board?” The clerk said nothing, typed a bit, then handed me a boarding pass. She then said she could not guarantee my bags would be on the flight but there was a chance I could be. I just needed to get my bags to the drop off point, travel through security, and down another ridiculously long hall.

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Of course my gate could not be the first but was positioned dead last.

I continued to run.

Over the loud speaker I heard “Final boarding call for flight 747 to Dallas. Seeking passenger Laura Gunn.” I was still too far to call out so I just continued to run at breakneck speed. I finally caught sight of the gate desk agent and also began frantically waving my hands in addition to running on the hard pavement.”

Big mistake. I’m sorry Minneapolis.

This Thanksgiving I am thankful for always having an extra pair of undergarments in my carry on and making my flight so that I can be with my family. 

As you can see, the bags somehow miraculously made it too.


Monday, November 24, 2014

Storybook Cottage ~ Kitchen Gallery Wall

The kitchen sits between two very colorful rooms. You’ve seen the family room with its bright reds and blues. I haven’t revealed the formal sitting room, but trust me, it’s going to be colorful.

I wanted the kitchen to be a fairly neutral space. Which of course that’s what the kitchen was when we bought it. A very neutral, very BROWN room. NOT what I had in mind. 1-kitchen
I set out to paint all the kitchen walls “Du Jour” by Valspar. It is a nice creamy French white. While I was painting I discovered yet another one of the previous owners bad DIY’s. The kitchen had originally been wallpapered. Rather than remove the wallpaper when they were tired of it they just applied texture over it in the form of bad skip and trowel. My guess is they were going for a “Venetian Plaster” look. All I know is that when I tried to paint over it….well it bubbled and coughed and did very bad things. There was a lot of #*@&$%!!! going on. I just kept hearing my mom’s voice “If you can’t do a job right, then don’t do it at all.” Obviously the previous owners did not know my mom.
There is a large wall behind the dining table in the picture above. It really needed something large to fill it. I had no budget for new art and only owned small pieces of art so a gallery wall it would be!

Don’t you love when you are working on a project and realize you didn’t take a “BEFORE” picture AFTER you have already started? :)


I had gathered somewhat dark antique paintings that could benefit from a viewing in bright light. The biggest piece went in the center and I just started building out. I got to this point and there was still something missing but I had no art left that would work.


How about a small antique plate to balance out the two circular silhouettes up top? Yes!

The wall holds so many pieces that I love. The bisque Ardco angel belonged to my mom. It had a mate that met a disastrous end. I’m hoping a replacement will find me in a thrift store or flea market. Until then, it tops the collection.

I do plan to fill the empty frame. A certain artist friend offered to paint a picture for me and this might be the perfect space for her creation. Until then, a wee angel holds its place.

This is my favorite grouping. St. Joseph is quite special to our family. I haven’t shared the good news that our Arizona home has sold! He rests on an antique papier-mâché shelf that also belonged to my mom.

As the holidays grow closer I might ad in a few more seasonal touches but for now the berry sprig works well.

The wall is a crazy composition but it somehow works.


Sunday, November 23, 2014

Simple Abundance

I want to thank everyone who have left me such wonderful comments, tweets and messages during this difficult time. While I am still currently in Minnesota I felt that it was appropriate to run this post, which was written prior to my Grandmother’s passing, as she was one of the most faithful women I have been blessed to know. Next Sunday as I light my first makeshift advent candle I will be thinking of her.
Photo by Uusi kuu. This would make a good table centerpiece. I have a plate like this that I use on the table for Fall. I could do this for Christmas!
Black Friday is coming.  
Along with it there will be mobs of people pushing, fighting, cursing….everything that the spirit of Christmas is not.
To safeguard my peace I no longer participate. I stay home and pray for those, like the Fashionista, who leave still warm Thanksgiving turkeys to go serve the frenzied masses.
Never would have thought of my green's from Christmas. But wow how pretty. I will be putting this at my entry to my front door.
It’s easy for the peace of season to be stolen. Joy can disappear as quickly as the last parking space being taken even though your blinker was on. Hope can be lost when you travel to three different grocery stores only to discover that there are no cranberries left to be found.  Love can be lost when tempers short out faster than Chevy Chase’s fuse box.
So how do we keep the joy, hope, love and peace of the season alive?
We keep our mind and heart focused on what really matters.
Eyes on the prize so to speak.
Could translate easily to an advent wreath
The season of advent helps us to do that. Every Sunday a new candle is lit.With it anger can be replaced with the light. Fresh promise awaits. 
Tips para tu mesa: Crea una Navidad llena de luz con velas y de aromas cálidos con especias como la canela.

In years passed I have hosted online cookies exchanges, Christmas craft link ups, perfect present parties…All good things, but probably now long forgotten.

Advent Wreath in Cake Tin: Moss, ribbon around the candles, and matchboxes wrapped in Christmas paper
This year I am trying to capture something more.
More goodness, more hope, more joy, more happiness, more peace.

Each Sunday throughout the season of advent the focus will be on the good I have gleaned from the previous week. Small joys and glimpses of the reason for the season.

rosemary candle wreaths. candle warmth releases fragrance - traditionalhome
Like a single candle that is lit then passed on I invite you to join me. Either by posting your own small bits of bliss every Sunday on your own blog or just by leaving happy stories through the comments here.

Gives me inspiration to use a bundt pan for the base of  the advent wreath center piece
A lovely reminder to help you focus on the good during harried weeks is to create an advent candle display in your home. Each glimpse of it may slow your breath and remind you to focus on the eternal light. Of course with the help of Pinterest you can see that the lighting of the advent candle has come a long way. It is no longer limited to just a wreath. You can use simple canning jars, old tins, wooden boxes, and so much more. Ever simple, but truly lovely.

As I was collecting christmas inspiration, I came across some trends. Candles in vintage vessels (such as metal pots, tins, cermaic pots or bottles) and surrounded by greenery, such as moss and pin...
It was my mother, Nadine, who introduced me to the advent candle. In her memory this week I will be creating our display in her old crazed ceramic bundt pan.

Yes, I will still be sharing crafts and recipes during the week but the Sabbath will hold something more.
Will you join me in lighting the first candle next Sunday?

Advent candles - I wonder if I could find a cool old cake tin that is round? I love this idea but still want the round wreath.
"You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden.” ~ Matthew 5:14

Monday, November 17, 2014

Eleanor Emma Becker Ingalls– "Grandma Jingles”

Born April 22, 1922


Received Her Wings November 17, 2014


So many of you, over the years, fell in love with “Grandma Jingles”.

It was easy to do.

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Over the years Grandma Jingles was mentioned countless times. Here are just a few favorites.

Me too Grandma, Me too

Laughter Is The Best Medicine

A Wee Little Tea Set

Toyland, Toyland

Over the River and Through The Woods

Queen For A Day

A Rose By Any Other Name

Do Me A Favor

But truly the best post was this… To think of all we could have missed.

Let’s Talk About Love

She was love and she was loved.

My friends I will be stepping away from the blog for awhile as I travel to Minnesota.

I rest secure knowing heaven is rejoicing at the newest angels arrival.