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Monday, November 29, 2010

Finding Christmas

I didn’t put up one scarecrow at Halloween. My pair of well worn pilgrims weren’t placed anywhere in our home at Thanksgiving. This is unusual for me. Friends and family members alike commented on the lack of my, generally abundant, holiday décor… and now, December beckons. As a rule, my gifts are bought and our Christmas cards are sent before the first week has passed. But this year felt different.  My heart seemed as if it just wanted want to hit the bypass button and move  forward to January where melancholy is expected. 

It took me while to figure out why my skin seemed to be edging toward a ghastly shade of green.

This will be my first Christmas without my mother. So many of my Christmas memories and traditions are linked to her. My mother loved Christmas. She also celebrated her birthday in December.

Once I grasped that this was the reason for my lack of enthusiasm I comforted myself with “Oh, this is a normal response to grief.” But that was rapidly replaced with her voice whispering to me, “You’d better get it together missy. Your family is counting on you.”

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I have also been thinking about my good friend Heidi. We met a few years ago as vendors at spring Blissfest. She liked my booth and I really loved hers. We were kindred spirits with a soft spot for vintage. Heidi loved to decorate to excess for any and every holiday. Her store, Hollywood Regency, always had the best collection of vintage Christmas.  I was over the moon when she asked if I wanted to sell my vintage inspired Christmas corsages in her store.

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My fashionable friends, Heidi and Jen.

Heidi lost her second battle with breast cancer a few months ago. I lost a good friend.  As morbid as it may sound when Jen called to tell me about Heidi’s estate sale I told her that I would be there. Even though I already possessed several things that Heidi had gifted and blessed me with, I knew I would find something that spoke to me.

I gently sifted through the remains of my friends life alongside an unconcerned crowd. After a time I found what Heidi wanted me to have. Vintage reflectors, unraveled tinsel, dusty and broken bits and bobs that nobody else wanted. I smiled at my new found treasures.  Last year I had told Heidi that I wasn’t going to make the corsages anymore because they took forever to make and I could no longer find the vintage notions that they needed. She had smiled and said, “Oh you will.”

I am so blessed to have had both of these women in my life. As I sat down to my sewing machine I turned on the holiday station. This was playing:

Love is alive and surely we see it most clearly at Christmas. So, Mom I am getting it together and dear Heidi I am making your beloved corsages.

For any pink corsages that are sold, a portion of the profits will be donated to the American Cancer Society.

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For my mother, any red corsages sold will receive a donation to the American Heart Association.

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Of course there are other colors too… they’ll help fund my daughters ASU education.

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The corsages look great pinned on pillows, packages and coats.

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The elves might be a bit rag tag, but still look pretty cute on this festive tote. (I will be selling this basket and others at The Willows Phoenix Christmas market this Friday.)

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I now need to upload over 50 corsage into my Etsy shop. Where’s the easy button for that? (smile)

Have you found Christmas?

Laura

Linking to:

The DIY Showoff

Cottage Instincts

The Girl Creative

 

Friday, November 26, 2010

Black Friday Favorites!

We are having a huge blowout sale at our online Metis Blogtique. Everything will receive a 15% discount and features FREE SHIPPING for the next week. Would you like to see some of my favorite things?
Vintage Rosaries
Our vintage rosaries look lovely.
Antique Ticking Pillows~ A delightully large square pillow and a small ruffled pillow.
Various Lavender Sachets
Oh if only you could smell these delightful sachets which are perfect stocking stuffers!
The Ombre Petticoat Tote
Our ombre tote is just gorgeous. It is also available in dove gray.
Zinc Stars
Our stars are perfect for the tree or presents.
Beautiful Madonna Gift Cards
These gorgeous cards make any gift seem more special.
Grelots Note Cards
These fun bells, called "grelots" in French, grace our gift cards.
Metis Candle Kit
The candle kits are simple to do, inexpensive and the ribbons come in a variety of colors.
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Antique Drum
The little drummer boy would love this!
Beautiful Antique Linen Chemise
This gorgeous chemise is $30. Minus the 15% it is a steal and can be worn a variety of ways.
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Alas, the model Metis elf is not included as she will be busy stocking the online shelves of the Metis Blogtique with fresh finds everyday. So check back often and happy shopping!
Laura

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Easy Holiday Entertaining and Doggy Gluttony

The holidays are once again upon us.  Are you ready? I enjoy this season when friends and family members pop in for casual get togethers. Over the years I have found several easy solutions that keep our home always ready for happy visits.

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In a past post I talked about the importance of washing all of your once a year glassware and dishes ahead of time to insure that when you do reach for these pieces, they are free from dust and grime.
I recently spent one morning polishing every bit of silver in my house and ironing several sets of cloth napkins in preparation for impromptu parties. EASY BUTTON: You can also keep fun sets of paper plates, cups and napkins on hand.



But what to serve? I like to keep olives, nuts, chocolates, candies, gourmet cheese and crackers on hand. Drink wise I love flavorful syrups to add to sparking water. Common hot cocoa becomes something special by adding decadent marshmallows. Mulling spice quickly raises common apple juice or red wine to festive holiday cheer. My family knows that the items kept on the tray in our pantry (the cheese is refrigerated) are for special occasions and not everyday gluttony. Everything keeps very well and if anything is leftover, it is enjoyed at our New Year’s feast.

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Of course one member of the family often forgets the “no gluttony” rule. But I am still very thankful for him.

How do you prepare for the holidays?

Many thanks to those of you who responded to my excited pleading to visit my daughter HERE.
She has her first working post up today. 
Laura

Monday, November 22, 2010

Pumpkin Pie Alternatives and Funny kids

It’s Monday. Sometimes at the start of a stressful week I need extra encouragement in remembering just how blessed I am. I have NO idea where these two learned such outlandish behavior. Probably from their Auntie. :)

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(Sweet boy and the Fashionista mugging it up on the way to see Sir Elton John~)

Truth time. I would be perfectly happy to never eat another slice of pumpkin pie. I know, it’s totally un-American, right? This is normally how I eat pumpkin pie~ not visible, under a mound of whipped cream.
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It’s not that I don’t like pumpkin. I do. Just in other forms. Here are two of my favorites Pumpkin Pie Alternative recipes.
Williams Sonoma Pumpkin Butter Bars~ feel free to lick your screen.
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I first heard about these dessert bars from my cousin. She said I would love and perhaps kill for these bars and I do. But two things make the primary ingredient, pecan pumpkin butter, hard to come by. First, Williams Sonoma is on the other side of town (45 Min. +) and second, it’s expensive.
I thought about how I could recreate this fabulous food and pondered making my own pumpkin butter. Because with family, school, housekeeping and a business to run, I have time for such things. Then the heavens smiled upon me.
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Sure, it’s missing the pecans, but I just added in some extra nuts and in a word….delish! Here’s the adapted recipe:
Pumpkin Butter Dessert Squares.
10 oz jar of T.J.’s Pumpkin Butter (I may try the cranberry apple butter next)
1/2 cup of chopped pecans. (If you’re an overachiever, you can roast them first.)
I box yellow cake mix, set aside one cup (I use Duncan Hines super moist)
1/2 cup butter, melted
3 large eggs
2 Tbsp milk
1 Tbsp flour
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup butter, softened
1 tsp cinnamon
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Grease and flour a 9 X 13 pan.
  • Divide cake mix, placing all but one cup in a mixing bowl.
  • Stir the melted butter, pecans and one egg into the cake mix until combined.
  • Press the mixture into the bottom of the pan.
  • In another bowl, mix pumpkin butter with two eggs and milk until combined.
  • Spread pumpkin mixture over pressed cake mix.
  • Stir the reserved 1 cup of cake mix with the flour, sugar, and cinnamon.
  • Then add the softened butter and mix together until crumbly.
  • Sprinkle over the top of the pumpkin layer.
  • Bake for about 35 minutes or until golden brown.
  • Cool and cut into 2 ” squares. Serves 24.
Now for my other pumpkin pie alternative, the Pumpkin Roll. Oh how I love the cream cheese frosting! I was first given this recipe by my dear friend Pam 15 years ago. It is a fall classic.
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Pam’s Pumpkin Roll (It is actually pretty easy)
  • Vegetable cooking spray (I use Pam of course. :)
  • 3  large eggs
  • 1  cup  granulated sugar
  • 3/4  cup all-purpose flour
  • 2  teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1  teaspoon baking soda
  • 1  teaspoon baking powder
  • 1  teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2  teaspoon salt
  • 1/2  teaspoon  ground nutmeg
  • 2/3  cup  canned unsweetened pumpkin (Libby’s, libby’s, libby’s on the label, label, label…)
  • 1  teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1 1/2  cups  powdered sugar, divided
  • 2  (3-ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
  • 1/4  cup  butter or margarine, softened
  • 1  teaspoon vanilla extract (use the real deal)
  • 1  teaspoon lemon juice (bottled ok)
Coat bottom and sides of a 15- x 10-inch jelly-roll pan with cooking spray, and line with wax paper. Coat wax paper with cooking spray; set aside. (Do NOT skip this step!!!)
Beat eggs at medium speed with an electric mixer 5 minutes or until thick and lemon-colored; gradually add granulated sugar, beating until well combined. Combine flour and next 6 ingredients. Gradually add to egg mixture, beating well. Combine pumpkin and 1 teaspoon lemon juice, and gradually add to mixture, beating well. Spread batter evenly into prepared pan.
Bake at 375° for 15 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean.
Sift 1/2 cup powdered sugar in a 15- x 10-inch rectangle on a clean, dry dish towel~flour cloth works best. Run a knife around edges of pan to loosen cake, and turn cake out onto prepared towel. Peel wax paper off cake. Starting at narrow end, roll up cake and towel together; place, seam side down, on a wire rack to cool completely.
Beat cream cheese and butter at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy; gradually add remaining 1 cup powdered sugar, beating until smooth. Stir in vanilla and 1 teaspoon lemon juice.
Unroll cake; remove towel. Spread cream cheese mixture on cake, leaving a 1-inch border around edges. Re-roll cake without towel, and place seam side down, on a serving platter. Cover and chill at least 3 hours.
 What desserts are you making?
Come back tomorrow for more party prep and a hilarious video for Tuesday gratefulness.
Love and happiness from,
Laura

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

An Unexpected Thanksgiving Table

Ok, I’ll admit it. I am not fond of orange or rust. I like those tones on trees, but not for dining room design. I decided to create a tablescape using colors I adore but would still result in a fabulously fall Thanksgiving table.

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Drawing inspiration from an antique Victorian postcard, I began with an antique dove gray Métis sheet topped by a vintage charcoal damask tablecloth.

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Colors that pair well with gray are various shades of cranberry~ a perfect alternative. 

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Here is a tiny representation of the postcard that provided my color palette. The image makes for a nice place card.

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I decided to create an alternative twist on the traditional cornucopia. I began with a highly polished silver tray which gleamed beautifully against the charcoal damask cloth. The fall colored flowers were nestled in… what else…a gravy boat. A shower of grapes, fresh cranberries, and nuts spilling from heirloom baby cups completed the centerpiece.

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Taking the wrapped candle concept one step further I hand dyed small pieces of antique Métis sheeting in similar gray shades.

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In the evening, the candlelight flickers beautifully behind the lovely cloth.

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No two medals are alike. A few of the votives were dressed in shades of gray and white.

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I wanted the buffet to also feel abundant. Piles of rolls, pumpkin bread and pie look good enough to eat.

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Here is a close up of the buffet centerpiece. You can see a larger image of the place card postcard (say that fast 5 times) and another postcard that features cranberry tones. Taller candles add height.

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The candles were wrapped similarly to the votives but feature a larger medallion, pearls and crystals. They are nestled in silver nut dishes which feature an inscription to my MIL from a Panamanian women's group dated 1971.

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Here is a close up of the velvet and silk ribbons and pretty gems.

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How are you decorating your table?

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For a complete candle “how to tutorial” please visit the Métis Linens blog.

Laura

The damask tablecloth, charcoal linen napkins, and candle kits are available for sale in the Metis Linen Blogtique.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

November is for Nesting

I have returned home from yet another successful Rose Bowl Flea Market. Our booth this month had a very feminine nesting theme.

 

I am now off to unpack and put away portions of this~

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and this.

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It was amazing that there was any room left over for this driver~ :)

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For additional photos, please visit the Métis Linens blog.

I’ll be back later in the week with a beautiful, vintage inspired, Thanksgiving table.

Laura

As always, I am ever so grateful for the kind comments and support from all of the dear readers. I  hope you have entered the “Thankful for you” giveaway one post below.

Monday, November 15, 2010

A Thankful Giveaway From Me To You

I love giveaways~ I love to host giveaways, I love to participate in other people’s giveaways and of course I love to win giveaways. Can I admit this?
Before announcing my latest giveaway I would like to give thanks for some mailbox happiness I have been blessed with of late. See this collection of goodies?
October giveaway I was the lucky girl to win the October giveaway from darling Emily at Jones Design Company. Mrs. Jones is truly creative and is always working on something fabulous. I have to say that the framed picture of the acorn print and the little silver pitcher are truly my fall favorites. The sweet little wreath is now part of a fall vignette and the broach adorns a favorite sweater. She has a darling shop where you can find some of these delightful treasures for yourselves. Thank you Emily
My luck continued…

Many of you are familiar with Fifi O’Neill of Romantic Country fame. She recently hosted a lovely giveaway on Chez Fifi and the stars somehow aligned and I won. Such a collection of treasures! I can’t wait to hang the stocking up in the guest bedroom and the old fashioned broach now adorns a pillow. You may have also heard that Fifi has a new book coming out. I have already ordered mine as I am SO excited!
Romantic Prairie Style
So in the spirit of pay it forward I am hosting a “Thankful For You” giveaway.
christmas bags 005 Just a few things to help you with your Thanksgiving holiday.
Leave one comment below for the “Thankful For You” giveaway. I will select a winner on Friday 19th.

UPDATE: The random number generator has selected April of Whatever Is Lovely as the winner. Congrats April!

Be blessed,
Laura