Sunday, November 27, 2011

Christmas Bucket List

Are there things you simply must do for the holidays? Like visit a certain place or eat a certain food? Well here are my holiday must haves or my Christmas bucket list.

I like to see a live performance at the holidays. The Boston Pops, the Nutcracker Ballet, The Christmas Revels, it's always great to take in a Christmas show. This year I am hoping to see the Nutcracker at the local theatre.  It's a musical. Should be interesting.

Next weekend, I will attend the Nutcracker Tea.  This will be my second year attending the event.

My sister and I usually meet friends for dinner at the Bedford Village Inn in Bedford, NH.  The inn is stunning. And the week after Christmas is the best time to visit.  It is still decorated for Christmas but the atmosphere is more relaxed. We look forward to this special dinner.

I enjoy shopping in the small shops in surrounding towns such as Concord, Lexington, Winchester, and Melrose. I've already been to Nesting on Main.  They do such an amazing job with their displays. If I have time I like to go to Boston and browse around Beacon Hill and Newbury Street.  The window shopping is great!

I also take in church fairs and antique fairs. I find the best stuff there. In fact, I will show you some of my finds in another post.

A must do on my list is to visit Burdick's in Harvard Square.  Their hot chocolate is too die for! The cafe is decorated tastefully for the holidays. After hot chocolate, I have the energy to brave the crowds and do some serious shopping.  There is always lots to see in Harvard Square.

Here's a view of the twig chandelier in Burdick's. I had hoped to duplicate this for my Christmas Soiree but time is running short and there is still so much to do!

There you have it, my Christmas Bucket list. Do you have one? What's on your list?

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Local shopping on Black Friday

I almost never go shopping on Black Friday but after hearing that Nesting on Main closes the week
of Thanksgiving to decorate for Christmas, well I couldn't resist.

My sister and I made a plan. A few hours of shopping in the morning in Concord and then lunch in Melrose at Turner's Seafood.  Not too exhausting and hopefully by shopping locally we would avoid the Black Friday crowds.

I am proud to say I try to do most of my Christmas shopping at smaller businesses. Usually I like the selection of items at local gift shops, flea markets, antique stores and craft fairs and the gifts are more unique.  Plus the people at the mall, both the clerks and the shoppers drive me crazy!

 So Nesting on Main did not disappoint.  The above photos are from today. It was crowded and the space was small so I took just a few photos.

All of the white and silver decorations were so lovely I have decided to use this color scheme for my own holiday decorating. I plan to use lots of silver and crystal pieces to set the holiday mood.

 They create such beautiful displays at Nesting.  Everywhere you turn there is an interesting vignette to view. Talk about eye candy!

A mix of glitter and nature. So stunning. Where is my glitter glue anyway? My sister was inspired too. She will be able to recreate some of the items she saw today. 

I have some silver leaves like this at home. I shall try my hand at creating a winter wonderland.
Let's hope the kitties aren't too interested in it.

More shots of Nesting.  A silvery wreath has that nice frosty look for winter.

These would be cute on a tree or hanging from some garland. I am big on hanging ornaments from garland.  I love the look.

After visiting Nesting, we stopped in at Jack and Toba, a new shop in Concord. I discovered Jack and Toba on a trip to Bedford last April, now they've moved to Concord. I enjoy looking at the displays.

They have an interesting mix of old and new merchandise.  I am loving that black window at the bottom of this shot.

 We had fried clam rolls at Turner's in Melrose and did some browsing downtown. The city was so pretty with all the Christmas wreaths on the Victorian lightposts that lined Main Street. The weather was mild and perfect for walking around.

I said goodbye to my sister and I headed up to Brissonte in North Reading.  This little darling was waiting for his mom or dad to bring him home. He was so cute I couldn't resist taking his photo.

At Brissonte, I controlled myself and just picked up so small items. I got some small vintage strawberry crates.  I will probably use them to display some of my vintage ornaments or I may put some pine cones and greenery in them. Or I could line them with doilies or pretty napkins and put some cookies in them.  Anyway, they are very sweet.

As I was driving home, I noticed the sunset was absolutely gorgeous.  I just had to take a photo so I pulled off the road into a golf course parking lot and snapped this.  It's blurry because of the low light.I just loved all the various colors in the sky tonight, almost an Aurora Borealis effect.  And one of these days I do hope to see the Northern Lights. It's on my bucket list anyway.

So far, I am having a great Thanskgiving weekend.  Yesterday was fantastic. Great food, family, friends.  It was quiet yet perfect.  And I am off from work until Tuesday! My boss told me to relax and I plan to.

I forgot to mention the winner of my blog giveaway.  I am pleased to announce that Sherry at Edie Marie's Attic won the Holiday Bliss Magazine and the white lights. You should receive the package soon Sherry and thanks for reading and commenting on my blog.  I always enjoy what you have to say!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Autumn Vacation Day and a visit to Nesting on Main

Well I have been chipping away at my 19 remaining vacation days.  They are the kind that you use or lose if they are not taken by the end of the year.  So since Veteran's Day on Friday was a bank holiday I took the Thursday before it and also Monday off.

Thursday I went to Cambridge with some friends.  More about that later.

Monday I decided to go to Concord.  My friend Beth works at one of my all time favorite shops in Concord, Nesting on Main so I headed there.  She works Mondays and Tuesdays, the days I never get to go there so since I had Monday off I thought I would visit her.  Of course, she had the day off. Figures!

Anway, I had a lovely time all by myself just browsing around the shop and talking to Melissa, one of the partners at Nesting. She let me take photos to my heart's content!

The ladies at Nesting have such taste and a knack for display and merchandising.  The shop is such a visual delight.  Isn't this box cool?

A lovely display of religious items.  A very popular theme nowadays.

Stunning glassware. Ooh, that would look lovely in a holiday tablescape! They look nice and heavy too!

I thought this lampshade was so sweet! It had such a warm glow.  Such a great item for Fall.

I have to say this display was my favorite.  So shiny and just gorgeous.  Love it all!

Grain sack tea towel.  You know I bought one.  Anything that says cafe and chocolat is a favorite of mine. I think I will hang mine near the tea cups over the new black chest in the kitchen.

A pretty Fall display.

And in close up.

For display, the ladies use some antiques and some reproductions along with natural elements. It all works.

If you are in the Concord area, you must visit Nesting on Main.  Word has it their displays for Christmas are going to be spectacular! They close down the three days before Thanksgiving, just to decorate!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Harvest Dinner

Tonight I had my annual Harvest Dinner.  It was a great evening.  Dinner for 8 which posed a small  problem. Believe it on not I don't have 8 of anything.  I only had 6 of my favorite dinner plates so I had to use ones I didn't really like.  I hid them with a pretty plate on top.

I got the pretty plates and the green glasses from a shop called Brissonte.  These items were from owner Colleen's own collection.  When I bought the plates she told me had some nice green glasses to go with them. She brought them in and when I saw them I knew they would come home with me.

I set up my counter as a fruit and cheese station. I envisioned using my collection of scales to hold
plates for appetizers or assorted cheeses.  I liked the result. I served a delicious pumpkin cream cheese from Trader Joe's with wheat crackers and a monterey jack cheese with sesame crackers.

Here's another view of the tablescape. The table runner was a pumpkin color and it had little
LED lights running down the center of it. It gave the table a warm glow and the green glasses looked beautiful against it. I lit two simple white candles to give a bit more light to the table.

Every year I pull out my cranberry glass turkey dish to house the cranberry sauce. It was from the Martha Stewart Collection. I guess I should mention what was served for dinner.  We had a Vermont Goat Cheese salad with greens, goat cheese, roasted red peppers and pecans, turkey, gravy, stuffing, cranberry sauce, cream cheese mashed potatoes, butternut squash, hot spiced cider, coffee and tea.

Here's another view of the scale. I was lucky to find it at a flea market recently.


After the entree, we rested a bit and then we put out the desserts.  Apple pie baked by Mary.

Ellie brought a chocolate ganache cake.  So decadent and delicious.

I bought the shortbread cookies from Lakota's Bakery in Arlington.  They made one of Obama's birthday cakes.  And the macarons were from Macaron Sweeterie in Lexington.  They were to die for as usual.

Debbi made pumpkin cookies, so yummy!

Mary's apple pie is always chock full of apples.

Yes it was definitely the pre-Thanksgiving pig out. The weather was perfect too. The day had been sunny and cool, exactly the kind of Fall day I enjoy the most.

I am always so thankful for my friends and family who join me each year for the Harvest Dinner.

Monday, November 7, 2011

A blog giveaway for the holidays

It's been a while since I had a blog giveaway so I thought this week would be the perfect time to announce one.  So here's what you get: the Victoria Magazine Holiday Bliss issue and

a set of two battery operated LED Bethelehem Lights.  I bought a Victoria magazine Holiday Bliss
for me and one for the lucky winner.

The lights look like this.  You can place them anywhere, like on a bookcase, on a tree, on a banister or a wreath.  There are endless possibilities.

I must tell you that you need to get your own   batteries.  I do not think the US Mail likes anything potentially hazardous mailed through their system.

Your led lights will be on a gold cord so you can use it for any holiday. Here are the particulars:
•Includes two light strands
•30 LED lights each
•Steady/phasing modes
•6-hour on/18-hour off timer
•For indoor use only
•Each requires 6 AA batteries
So here's what you need to do.  Become a follower of my blog if you are not already one and leave a comment on this post and tell me how you will use your lights.  Pretty easy, right?
Good luck to everyone, I will draw a winner on November 14th.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Cafe Piazza Dolce

Friends had been telling me about Cafe Piazza Dolce and last night I finally tried it. It's a small cafe in Winchester. From the outside you can see some of the tables in what can best be described as a conservatory. This section of the cafe looked very romantic. Lots of twinkle lights added to the ambience.

I was with my friend Kim and we just wanted coffee so we went downstairs to a small area where they serve coffee and dessert. It was adorable and so was our server. He even gave us a few cookies to nibble on with our cappucinos. Of course, I will return to Cafe Piazza Dolce and next time it will be for dinner.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Quote of the Day

Treat everyone with politeness, even those who are rude to you- not because they are nice,
but because you are. - Author unknown

And speaking of nice, congratulations to my parents, two of the nicest people I know, on the occasion of their 60th wedding anniversary.  All of us, Mom, Dad, and my sister had a wonderful dinner this evening at the nursing home.


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