Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Thanksgiving Wishes


Are you ready for Thanksgiving? I am not hosting so I just have to make the potatoes. Percy is ready. Percy is always ready for a big feed.

This Thanksgiving is bittersweet. My Mother is in the hospital so no Thanksgiving dinner for her. Usually my Dad has lunch/dinner with her at her nursing home and my sister and I go to a friend's for dinner. Later, we visit my Mother and eat leftovers with Dad.

Bittersweet because this will be the first time in 10 years my Dad will have Thanksgiving Dinner with my sister, me and our friends. It will be nice to be together again but we are sad that my Mother is ill and in the hospital. She is improving but not ready to be released. We will visit her after dinner.

I will be thankful to have my friends and family around me tomorrow. In fact, I thank God for them everyday.

We are having beastly weather right now, I can hear the freezing rain hitting my windows. I am so glad to be home from work. I only skidded once! I hope all those who travel tonight reach their destinations safely and I wish a happy and healthful Thanksgiving to all my American blog readers.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Anthropologie Event- Fall Workshop


This is a long overdue post. Back in October, I signed up to attend a Fall crafting workshop at my local Anthropologie in Burlington.  I expected to be the only older person there but since Anthropologie is one of my favorite stores and I am Fall obsessed I decided to go for it anyway. Does anyone say go for it anymore?

The workshop coordinator, Jessica, could not have been nicer and there were pumpkin scones and apple cider for refreshments. The company was cordial.  We learned to make acorns from chipboard and wire.


Britta was a natural at making the acorns as was Morgan whose hand was pictured above. Evidently making acorns was not my forte, I struggled a bit but all of the college girls pitched in to help me.  I decided taking photos was a better use of my time. I also peppered Jessica with questions about Anthro.


Once we became more comfortable with each other, silliness ensued. Britta was ready for Halloween.


We talked about our pets and shared photos of them. Two of the women had sibling dachsunds. 


I continued to ask Jessica about the ins and outs of Anthro. I wanted to know all the dirt secrets of this fabulous store. Jessica was very willing to answer any and all questions. She works as a visual merchandiser in Burlington. She is given a theme to work with to merchandise the store. Actually every store is given the same theme but each store has the freedom to do their own displays. Of course the plans have to be approved.

The gold leaf is just gold paper die cuts that were folded in half and then crinkled by hand. I was a natural at this and I spent the rest of my time crinkling leaves and talking to Jessica. The leaves were to be hung on branches Jessica had gathered from her neighbor's backyard.

Jessica is one lucky girl. She gets to go to antique stores and flea markets like Brimfield and buy one of a kind items for the store. Sometimes the items are just for display but other times they sell them. She pointed out the equestrian display that had been merchandised from a local flea market.

I was fascinated with the info and decided immediately that this would be a dream job. I could see my sister excelling at this job. She is an artist, she always has out of the box ideas, she has an educational background and she is very good at creating with her hands.

We were given a good sized discount coupon which I immediately used to buy two adorable mugs. I will post a photo when I use them.

I encourage you to look at the Anthro events calendar on the website and see if there are events in your area. You won't be disappointed!

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Ina Garten at Symphony Hall


This past week I took a trip into Boston. My friend Wendy and I purchased tickets to see Ina Garten, the Barefoot Contessa, at Symphony Hall.

I had a frustrating time getting the tickets and was not able to order them online. I had to call the next day for tickets. As a result, most of the tickets were sold, there were few seats left, and we had to sit in the balcony and not even together.


Symphony Hall is a fantastic venue. The building is stunning with spectacular architectural details throughout. I must admit, I got to see the whole venue from my balcony seat.


Note where the table and chairs are located. See how far away we were?


Well, with my new Samsung Galaxy camera with 21x zoom lens I got this shot of Ina and Faith Middleton, the interviewer for the evening.  Faith is a popular radio talk show host in Connecticut.

The two ladies sitting next to me were big fans of both Faith and Ina. They had come up from New Haven for an overnight just to see the event. I enjoyed their company during the show.

Ina was promoting her latest book, Make It Ahead. Faith asked Ina a series of questions and then there was a Q&A from the audience. One question was what brands do you use in your cooking? I did not recognize the olive oil brand but she clearly said Cabot is the butter she uses.

Oh and if she could only take one thing on a desert island what would it be? She said, "Butter".

Wendy and I had dinner before the event at Brasserie Jo at the Colonade Hotel. We split a few appetizers and had an apple tart with cinnamon ice cream for dessert. It was a perfect evening from start to finish!


Sunday, November 2, 2014

The Harvest Dinner


Saturday night I hosted my annual Harvest Dinner. The weather did not cooperate as we had high winds and rain but all of my guests made it to my house.


I try to plan the tablescape in advance and I saw some good ideas on Pinterest, but in the end I winged it.


I bought these flameless candles and matching bags from QVC a few months ago. I knew they would make the perfect favor for my Harvest Dinner.


My Dad came to the dinner and since he is on oxygen candles were not an option. Except of course the little flameless ones I used for favors. I bought some little white pumpkins and placed them on my candlesticks. Earlier in the day, Percy knocked one of the candlesticks down and broke two of the crystals.


I stood on a chair to get my aerial shot of the table. I love to use the table runners with little twinkle lights embeded in them. I have other colors too. I have burgundy, green and lavender.


I was too lazy to iron the cloth napkins so paper napkins filled in nicely.


Ok, last photo of the flameless candles. I bought 2 sets of them and only 1 of the 8 did not work properly.


We had turkey, stuffing, gravy, cranberry sauce, roasted potatoes and butternut squash. For the potatoes, I cheated and took the easy way out. I used Lipton onion soup mix and olive oil mixed it together and stirred in the potatoes. Too easy really!

This is one of the desserts, a shaved chocolate buttercream frosted cake. Decadent!!


We had a variety of teas and coffees and warm apple cider. We also had hot Dutch apple pie.


I provided mini cheesecakes (strawberry swirl and pumpkin layered sponge cake). We also had banana bread and my friends brought a coffee cake that I did not share. I ate some of the coffee cake this morning. It was too die for.
 
Many thanks to Mary for making most of the meal and delivering it hot to my house. My sister made her wonderful butternut squash.
 
Today, I relaxed with the kitties and enjoyed my extra hour of sleep. A nice way to end the weekend. How was your weekend?
 
 
 

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Halloween at Jolie's


When the handmade invite to Jolie's Halloween party arrived in the mail, I knew where I was headed on Friday October 24th. Jolie's parties are not to be missed. She is a masterful cook and decorator plus I like her guest list so her party is always an Event! Her daughter Casey is following in her footsteps as she is a talented young woman too.

A fog machine was used to create a spooky mist over the living room. White sheets strewn over the sofa and chairs gave the room a creepy abandoned look. Did I mention the house was built in the 1700's? Who knows what ghosts lurk there?


My sister dressed as a minuteman and looked a little ghostly in the fog room.


There is a pub in the house. Jello "shots" for all who enter the bar area.


Aidan tried his darndest to look ghastly. His Ipad illuminated his face and gave him an eerie look.


Even the family dog, Buddy, got in on the act. Buddy was dressed as a sailor and he was strutting his stuff at the party.


Casey put on a scary face but in real life she is too pretty to be scary.


I mentioned that Jolie is a masterful cook. Oh my, yes. Mini quiches, ham salad wraps, chicken wings, pulled pork sliders, shrimp on skewers, etc. All so delicious.


Back at the pub, pirates took over the bartending. Aargh!


And we had a visit from a flapper and a gangster. I guess the bar was not a pub but a speakeasy.


Eew! Someone had a little run in with the meat slicing machine!
 
 
 

More spookiness in the living room.
 

The table in the dining room was beautifully illuminated. This is where the desserts were housed.

 
Eek!  Mice under glass. I will pass on that dessert. Looks like the mice got at it anyway.
 


I am glad that Jolie was able to sit down for a minute and enjoy her friends.

 
We all decided to rest at the end of the night. Time for the honeycrisp apple pie, whoopee pies with orange cream, and shortbread "fingers".
 
Wishing everyone a Happy Halloween!
 

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Salvaging a Church


Ten years ago, Sacred Heart Church in Lowell closed it's doors to parishioners. Today, it is being converted into condos.

My friend and my cat's foster mom, Diane, drives by this church on her way to work. She stopped in and spoke with the builder and she came away with some of the items they weren't going to use in the new design. (More about that later in this post)


I was lucky enough to get a tour of the building and see some of the incredible beauty of Sacred Heart Church. I certainly was sad to hear of the church closing and of the current renovation. I do think it's the right decision to repurpose the building however. It would be a crime to just board it up.

Some of the windows have been removed but some were purchased in memory of a family member and it looks like they will be kept. That is the right thing to do.



This set of windows is absolutely stunning! The church was built between 1883 and 1896. Such craftsmanship back then.


Construction is in full swing on this Saturday morning.


The woodwork and carvings, the plaster, the stained glass. it is all so magnificent.



The ceiling is equally stunning. Some of the lights have already been removed.


Look at the detail on the plasterwork and the sweet cherub peeking out from the rafters.

 
It makes such an impressive entry.

 
 Another view of the little cherubs.


Love these carvings and the wood. Can you imagine carving that? Just beautiful.


Here's the outside of the church.


We drove to a warehouse which Diane's father owns and Diane showed me the collection of plaster corbels that were going to be demolished.


And church windows. Love the lace pattern!


The windows from the back of the church have a nice shape.


This one is mine! I got to pick the best ones for myself.


She has quite a few of the windows.


And many corbels.


How would you repurpose one?


I think a pair of these might make a fantastic shelf or one of the smaller ones would make a beautiful sconce with a candle on the top.

Diane has been inspired to go into the architectural salvage business after working on this project. I think she has a knack for it and she certainly has the space. I look forward to seeing this new business flourish!

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