Thursday, October 30, 2008

All Hallow's Eve

Since I am moving, I didn't decorate for Halloween this year. At work, I have a white pumpkin container on my desk. Right now, it's filled with caramel Hershey's Kisses-yum! I always try to keep a little chocolate on hand for my customers. Talking about one's finances can be so stressful, especially nowadays. Oh yeah, I keep a box of Kleenex handy too!

Enjoy the vintage Halloween illustration. I thought this one was particularly striking and unique. Not your typical artwork depicting pumpkins or witches.

Saturday night I am attending my friend's Halloween party.. The decorations were partially up at her home last week. They were impressive. Lots of spider webs and purple mini lights. I hope to get some interesting photos to post.

Until my next post, wishing you all a spooky and fantastic Halloween!!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Bake Sale!

I was the coordinator for a charity bake sale this past weekend. The bake sale was held in memory of our friend and coworker Joanne DiPaola. Joanne wasa teller at the bank where I work. She passed away in July 2006 after fighting her cancer for 16 months. She was the nicest person I ever met.

The money raised will be donated to the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation. We raised $1,521.

Friday the first day of the sale was Joanne's birthday. She would have been 61 years old. One of our customers bought a cake and donated it to us for our sale. She wanted the word remembering written on it. When she picked it up the word remembrance was written on it and it was spelled wrong. We decided instead of selling the cake, we would cut the cake and
each take a slice and remember Joanne on her birthday.

Here's the birthday cake in memory of Joanne.

We received a large amount of baked goods. We had 5 pies, coffee cakes, whoppie pies, apple crisps, all kinds of breads and coookies, espesso brownies, candy, jars of sweet pepper relish and rum mocha sauce.

We displayed the jars of sauce and relish in my wire container.

We even had a "decorating room". Any baked goods that needed packaging went straight to the decorating room to be bagged and embelished with ribbons and other decorative elements.

This is my cranberry apple crisp, all ready for a good home! The recipe is from Susan Branch's Autumn cookbook. Susan Branch is one of my favorites. I actually got to have afternoon
tea with her last Fall!
I always ask the bank to match funds from the bake sale. I'm not sure if they will but if they
do we will have raised over $10,000. in three years. Money to be used for free testing for women who can't afford it and for education about the disease. I think that is one of the best tributes we can give to our friend Joanne.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

More Fall Porches and Door Decorations

I took these photos on a visit to Salem earlier this month. I was feeling brave that day and
seeing no one was home I stood on the walk and
zoomed in on the wreath. I thought it looked elegant against the black door.

I liked the yellow house with the dark green door. Nice color
combination. There was a lot going on with the facade. I thought it was simply beautiful.
The last house had nice ironwork on the stairs. Pretty mums on the porch and fabulous columns.
One more day of baking for my bake sale so another short post. I am tired from baking all day. I made double chocolate muffins, pumpkin pecan bread and muffins,
and lemon squares. Tonight some friends are helping
me package it all. We have some beautiful ribbons and Fall
leaves to add to the containers and bags. I'll post pictures

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Fall Porch Drivebys II

Just a few more front doors and porches. I like the cornstalks on this one.

I love the bright colors of the mums against the brown house. Of course the leaves make it
even more fall-like.

This porch is pretty so the spider isn't all that scary. But it is very cool.
More tomorrow I hope. I am in the middle of baking cranberry apple crisps for my charity bake sale so I may not get to post until Saturday. I will have to play it by ear.
In the meantime, if you haven't already done so, please look at the prior porch posts.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Fall Porch Drivebys

I'm continuing from where I left off yesterday. Let me share with you the fruits of my labor. It's a tough job trying to find beautiful doorways and porches to photograph. We know there is no beauty in New England in the Fall. Yeah, right! The tough job is selecting which houses to choose for there were hundreds to choose from. So here goes. This Stoneham porch is precious.
I loved the bench with the pumpkins but then I liked the steps too and the railng so I went for the wider shot.

I liked the seafoam color of this Winchester home. The featherlike thingies in the pots, and the arrangement of the fallen leaves made this one a winner in my book.

This one blew me away. Really, almost literally. The winds were kicking up by the Lake in
Wakefield. No ornamentation on the door but oh those leaves are fabulous!!!

Again, the leaves got me at hello. This side porch is so charming. I think I need a side porch!

This home is in Winchester, north of Boston.
The colors on this house are so different and very appealing. I once looked to buy a condo in this
house. You should see the inside. It is as glorious as the outside. I love the purple steps.

Alas, the tour has ended for the day. Don't worry, you're coming back tomorrow. Right?

Monday, October 20, 2008

Porches on Parade

I am participating in the Porches on Parade event with the Inspired Room blog so I went out
this weekend to take pictures of doorways and porches with Fall decorations. Since I am having some technical difficulties uploading the photos, I can only post two today.

The first one I liked because of the color scheme. The color of the home goes well with the decorations.

I liked the second one because it was simple and nature had given it all the decoration necessary.
Sometimes natural elemnts are the most beautiful. I find the leaves on the ground as photoworthy as the ones on the trees.
That's it for today. I'll post more tomorrow.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

New Friend

Today is Saturday and I didn't have to work. I decided to get started taking photos of Fall Porches and Doors for the October 2oth upload. See the Fall Porch button to the left of this post for more info. I actually started taking door photos about a week ago. The goal is to take photos of fall decorations on porches or front doors. I've taken shots of homes in Salem, Reading, Wakefield, and Stoneham.

Today I went to Winchester, a rather affluent suburb north of Boston and the town where I was born. I knew I'd find some great neighborhoods with interesting fall decorations. I snapped some wreaths on doors and leaves on stairs when suddenly I stumbled upon a beautiful home with a lovely garden. I looked at the fence and thought oh how cute! A cat statue on the fencepost. The statue looked back at me with big blue eyes. It was REAL!
The cat was beautiful and regal looking. She spied me and my camera and gave me a few sneers and then turned herself around so her back was to me. I called out to her but she had a typical catitude! Obviously this cat wanted no part of me. So I walked away and started taking photos of the door decorations.
A few minutes later, I looked up and kitty was jumping off the fence post and coming towards me. So I started taking photos of her, she got closer and closer until she was at my feet. She started head butting my leg. Now she wanted my attention. I should have given her a taste of her own medicine and turned my back on her. But, I am a sucker for a sweet kitty face and so she of course got attention from me. We had a lovely time. Her fur was so soft, the sun was warm, and we were enjoying a lovely Fall day. As you can see she was smiling by the end of our visit. I was smiling too!

Friday, October 10, 2008

A visit to Salem

I had another day off yesterday. The weather was perfect for a drive. I was looking for interesting shopping and brilliant foliage. I found both in Salem.

I love to go to Salem. The historic homes are beautiful and I love taking photos of their architecture, some of them are so ornate. Walking down the narrow little side streets, there's always something interesting that catches my eye. During my walk, I passed by the Witch House and it made me think. I really dislike the commercialization of the whole witch trial thing. This was serious history. Let's not trivialize it. I don't like seeing witch references everywhere around the city. Maybe the tourists like it, but I do not.

My favorite shop from my travels was Sophia's. This is a cool shop. The merchandise was gorgeously displayed. All my favorite things too, like soaps, candles, jewelry, hot chocolate, pretty signs, scarfs. Oh my goodness, a visual treat. The shop had tin ceilings and tin on parts of the walls. Fabulous! If I owned my own shop I would want it to look like this.

The owner was so nice. She let me take some photos of the store. To see more of the store
click here Sophias of Salem.

St Francis was surrounded by pretty nests, rabbits, and lots of nautral elements.

The shop is located in the childhood home of Sophia Peabody Hawthorne.
If this cabinet would have fit in my car I would have taken it home. Lots of interesting things
inside. I bought some of the hot chocolate, Mariebelle's. It's my favorite nowadays. It's more
like a European drinking chocolate- very rich intense chocolate flavor. I also bought some pretty signs for my new condo. One was a welcome sign, one had a cat on it. Such an elegant feel to this shop. If you're ever in Salem don't miss Sophia's.
After shopping, I needed refreshment. So across the street I went to the Hawthorne Hotel.
There is a fine dining restaurant called Nathaniel's but I opted for the tavern. I ordered the Ghoul Special of the Day-grilled steak tips, roasted potatoes and broccoli. It took quite a while before I could order and even longer for lunch to arrive. There was a TV at the bar and we
were all watching the Dow drop and drop and drop.
My neighbors at the next table started a conversation with me. They just bought a condo and I am about to do so we chatted about the housing market and the financial crisis. Terri and Charles live locally but not in Salem. Terri was hoping to retire from teaching next year.
Charles is a retired dentist. We enjoyed our lunches and I left to go back home.
I'm looking forward to displaying my new found treasures in the condo. Don't worry, there will be pictures.
I'm wondering about all of you. Got a favorite spot for interesting shopping? Leave a comment so we can all share.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Fall for New England

Fall for New England
Originally uploaded by cafechatelaine
Continuing my love affair with Fall. I made this photo mosaic with Flickr Toys. All photos were taken in Massachusetts.

It's quite chilly tonight. A perfect Fall evening. The stars are out, the air is crisp and I think I actually smelled a wood stove burning. I'm in my happy place...

Saturday, October 4, 2008

The Artsy Autumn Swap

I recently participated in my first swap. It was called The Artsy Autumn Swap and it was created by Linda Smith.

The rules were easy. We were to send our swap partner items related to the Fall Season. Within the box there should be one handmade item and one vintage item. Everyone mailed their swaps on September 22nd , the first day of Autumn. Oh, and we were supposed to keep the cost to around $20. Yeah, right! Is that possible?

I want to share with you the items I received from Valerie my swap partner. Valerie is from Louisiana .Valerie had the good sense to send several emails asking about my likes and dislikes so I followed her lead and got some good information about her.

Anyway, here's what I got! This is really fun. She typed up her recipe for pumpkin bread and made it pretty. She actually found a brand of tea I had not tried. I am a tea connoisseur after all! She sent packets of spiced cider which is my favorite hot drink in Fall. She must have read my blog. I collect little "spreaders". Is that what they are called? Those little knives used to spread cream cheese or jam on scones or toast. How did she know that? Is she psychic? I swear I never mentioned it to her.

The kitchen towel is perfect and will go well with the colors of my new kitchen at the condo. She also included a box of leaves and berries for punching up the Fall decor in my home.

She included one of those 99% cocoa chocolate bars from Lindt. Premium chocolate!! Let me warn you. It is an acquired taste. For serious chocoholics only! And she found out I collect snowglobes so she sent a little one with a scarecrow on it. Adorable!

All of these wonderful goodies were packaged in a beautiful tote bag that Valerie made herself.I absolutely love it and I've used it every day since I received it.
The next swap is a mitten swap for Winter. I think I'm in again. It was really fun wrapping and putting together the swap. Plus I totally enjoyed receiving such wonderful and delicious gifts from Valerie. She did a wonderful job figuring me out.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Impromptu Day Off

I was off from work yesterday. It was sort of unplanned. My boss mentioned that I should start taking my remaining 14 days of vacation since I can't carry them over to next year. So I decided

that Thursday's forecast looked good for leaf peeping and I started to make plans. None of my friends could take a day off on such short notice so I was on my own. I went to Pier One to check out some chairs for my new condo. I don't need them yet so I inquired about layaway. Only 10 days of free storage and I need about 30. I will have to think on that. On to Russell Farms which is just down the street.

The pumpkins were displayed outside Russell Farm in Woburn. It's very picturesque with all the flowers and colorful produce. I took some photos (note the pumpkins above) and moved on.

I headed to the Whiffle Tree Candle Company in Billerica. The property is gorgeous and during peak foliage the colors are spectacular. Yesterday, there was some color but not peak. Before I arrived at the Whiffle Tree, I stopped for lunch at the cutest coffee shop/cafe called the Coffee Emporium. I ordered a half sandwich of chicken salad with cranberries and walnuts and an iced coffee. Did you see the size of that half sandwich? I wondered how many people thought I'd lost my marbles as I photographed my sandwich. Anyway, I brought some magazines, catalogs, and a book with me to read and I had a relaxing lunch. The book was the French-Inspired Home by Kaari Meng. I love that book. I'm getting some good ideas for the condo.

Here's the inside of the coffee shop. Isn't it cute?

And the outside of the Coffee Emporium. I like that word Emporium, don't you? It reminds me of gentler times. Did they have one in the movie, It's a Wonderful Life? Or was that a mercantile? I like that word too.

I finally made it to the Whiffle Tree. I took photos of everything. So much nature to capture through my lens- leaves, rocks, moss, light, water, quaint buildings, covered bridges. I took at least 100 photos. It was too much fun!

My last stop was at Mahoney's Garden Center and Farm Stand in Winchester. I bought some mini pumpkins, white ones and orange too. I also bought some desserts for later. Mahoney's has a very cool shop. They sell Christmas decorations all year round I found some really cute things but I did not buy them. Have to keep to that condo budget!

I have to say sometimes Impromptu Days Off can be quite satisfying. And I have 13 more days to go. Can't wait to schedule the next one! Don't worry, I'll take all of you with me!


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