Sunday, November 27, 2011

Pasadena Stats

As I prepare to morph my home into a Christmas Festival of Fun (name to be determined upon completion), I tour my favorite Christmas store, the famous Stats in Pasadena, California.  Going on a pilgramage to Canterbury, must feel like going to Stats to see their annual Christmas tree displays, wonder, awe, and giddilation. You enter the brick building on Raymond Street in Old Town Pasadena.  A doorman sweeps you into the store, wishing you a jolly "Merry Christmas."

 It's like Disneyland for Christmas decorators!
 Lifesize elves - what size would that be? Methinks, at least 4' tall.
 Huge silver buck for the front lawn.
 Rows and rows of glass blown tin solidiers.
 A Thanksgiving section.  Wish I had come a week ago so as to add a pilgrim to my table.
 The Halloween mama spoke to me.  Possible purchase, next visit.  Isn't she divine?
 Hanging spruce ball, adorned with berries and cardinals.  Almost said yes to this one.
 Bad picture, but divine glass blown tree with birds on the branches. I may go back for this.

 Closeup. I will go back to purchase.
 Entering the nativity ROOM. The reason for the season.
 Life size and pint size
 Need ornaments? 
 Or paper? Oh my!
Just when you think you can't take anymore, the TREE room looms around the corner.
 Enter the wonderland of ridiculously ornate and LAYERED trees. 
 White ornaments and peacocks adorn this tree. I'm blinded and arrested by beauty.
 Santa, baby!
 Bird Explosion

 Harvest Homage
 Another Santa Sensation
 He looks so real...

 Nativity Eruption
Peacock Radiance
 Peacock Outrageousness
 Peacock Plumenation!
I'm ignited with possibility.  Head home to tend my own metamorphosis into the Christmas season! Up with the tree, lights and table setting.  Table first, since I'm rehearsing at home for a table for the Bel Air Christmas Tea.  Stats inspired, I want to layer, mix and match. I had pulled out my  my Macy's Holly Holiday china, and paired it with plaid birdie plates.  I like this mix, but it was missing something that I found at STATS!  A plaid tartan tablecloth!

Take it all off the table, and add tartan plaid tablecloth, folded over once to create a square on top of the red tablecloth.
Everything goes back.  Much more interesting.  Table details to share in another post. Love to find inspiration in the stores around me. One buy! Thanks Stats!
Here's to all your happy homes finding their way into another glorious Christmas season.  May all your rooms be bright, and filled with the joy of CHRISTmas.

Friday, November 25, 2011


A new world opened for me when I purchased my first EMag, House & Garden.  Wow!  Sort of a choose-your-own-adventure magazine.  Want to learn more?  Click on the video, and the woman/author/actress/designer walks you through her thought process leading to whatever she did remarkable enough to warrant an article.  Are they still called articles, or will there be a new vocabulary to describe eMags? (Note the varied spelling of eMag/E-Mag/EMag? I like eMag, so I'm sticking with it, henceforth.)

eMags to watch/read
Anthology Gift Edition Winter Wonder, page 24 includes a short film and recipe for mulled cranberry cider.
House of Fifty Great eMag produced by a woman wanting the second half of her life to be inpiring

California Home + Design Nov/Dec 2011 Issue free to subscribe

Then I discovered Issuu, eMag publishing site,  amazing site I'm trying to wrap my brain around.
 I turned to Wikipedia for a summary of the site (pretty impressive credentials to back it up.)

Issuu is an online service that allows for realistic and customizable viewing of digitally uploaded material, such as portfolios, books, magazine issues, newspapers, and other print media. It integrates with social networking sites to promote uploaded material. Issuu's service is comparable to what Flickr does for photo-sharing, and what YouTube does for video-sharing. While most of the documents are meant to be viewed online, some can be downloaded and saved as well. Uploaded print material is viewed through a web browser and is made to look like a printed publication with an animated page flip options. The company was founded in 2006, with the service launched December 2007.[2][3][4][5] Issuu was selected as one of TIME's 50 Best Websites 2009[6] and was a 2009 Webby Awards Honoree [7] and a 2008 South By Southwest finalist.[8] Notable Issuu clients include Routledge,[9] The World Bank[10] and Cambridge University Press.[11] In December 2008 Issuu released Smart Look,[12] which allows other websites to convert their hosted documents to digital Issuu editions, so readers do not have to download the documents to read them.[13]

Lots to learn.  Still hmmming about where this will lead.  How do you use Issuu, if you have?  What eMags inspire you?  Love to learn.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Hmm Blog

"Do you blog?"  I recall someone asking me that five years ago, and I wasn't sure what they meant. Since then I have spent countless hours, and whole days searching, reading and commenting on blogs. Blog, blog, blog, and blog.  It is addictive, and questionably productive. I've learned a lot, met (cyber-met) inspiring people, and connected with family and friends in an interactive, and visual way, so that's good, right? 

I'm left wondering, or hmmming about the difference between a blog and a website. My theories are purely speculative, and based on observation, but I'm pretty sure they are correct.  Most blogs seem to start out journalistic, a way to chronicle something that you are doing, like decorating, cooking, taking pictures of your family, or remodeling an old house.  Then someone comments on your musings, and you're hooked.  What, someone read what I posted?!  That feeling of connection addicts you to the blogging, making you yearn for more connections.  Then your list of followers and comments starts to increase.  Do you have over 100 followers, 500, 1000, 10,000?  The urge for more and more overtakes you. You visit blogs, leaving comments that implore them to "comment back,"  "visit me." 

Then, I've noticed the ads start appearing as the blog is "monetized."  Connections for "Twitter," and "Facebook" appear.  Links to a website selling Etsy items, or other. 

Making a living in this 21st Century world requires innovation, creativity, discipline and dedication, so I applaud anyone making a living, cyber or otherwise.  Here's what I wish for in blogland: some kind of rating system (something akin to the "Advertisement" warning on the top of a magazine page, that looks like an article, but it's really not), so I can tell if the blog or website is commercial or reflective, desirous of selling me something (and I'm a happy buyer), or informing me about the blogger(s) passion/hobbly/expertise.  I just want to know.  For the record, I love to read reflections, the good, the bad, and the ugly.  Henry Ford said, "Those who never make mistakes, work for those of us that do."  Mistakes are opportunities for growth.  Let's brag about our mistakes, as well as our hits-outta-the park. 

In any case, thanks to the bloggers that have kept me entertained, inspired, and teached me up!  Blog on!

Monday, November 21, 2011

D'Orange Table

I love the whimsical runners that my new daughter-in-law asked me to make for her wedding, so they became the inspiration for our D'Orange Thanksgiving table (why French?  No clue, just seemed to fit....)

 Double napkins feather in a way that follows the turkey feathers and Indian Corn.  The little turkey shaped salt & pepper shakers were a gift from my sister years ago, marking one of my first family dinners.  The turkey was undercooked and cold.  My sister kept saying to me, "It doesn't matter what is on the table; what matters is who is around the table."  I've come a long way hosting wise, but those wise words are still my mantra. 
 Found this old guy at Home Goods one year, and bring him out every year. The way it is painted makes it both traditional and modern creating options for different table themes.
Flatware, Laguiole pistol handled knives, mixed with everyday beaded flatware Wallace Continental.  I liked the rustic quality of the knives, beaded spoon, and beaded plates.
 Bird plate from Pier 1, sale $2.48. I like the whimsical border with the paisley runners.
Placesetting, end of table, two napkins held together with simple wooden napkin rings.
 Simple silver pumpkin from 99 cent store, sits next to hammered aluminum candle sicks.
 Dear Ruby watches over the table machinations, deeply involved. 

Plates: Solis Pier 1
Bird Plates, Pier 1
Laguiole knives, Home Goods
Flatware, Wallace Continental purchased years ago
Glasses, Yellow Stem Goblets, Home Goods
Napkins, yellow and orange, Home Goods
Napkin rings, Dollar Store
Runners, handmade
Aluminum hammered candle sticks, Ebay
Turkey Salt & Pepper shakers, gift from sister
Ceramic Turkey, Home Goods years ago
Indian Corn, Ralphs Supermarket

I'm posting on Tabletop Tuesdays

Sunday, November 20, 2011

21st Century Christmas

Family Christmas planning in the 21st Century could not be more complex, especially when your family extends all over the country.  To the rescue - technology for all generations! Really, get the greatgrandparents and the little ones connected!    We are having a jolly time cyber-connecting, menu and game planning. Greatgrandparents are Gen 1.0, and so on until you get the youngest ones in Gen 4.0.  How lucky are we to have 4 generations celebrating together?!

Welcome to our 21st Century Christmas.

Menu ideas posted
Cherry Mojitos (see picture below)
Sparkling sugared Cranberry Brie Bites (picture below)
Prime Rib
Santa Brownie Hats

I'm noticing that we're a little lite on the salads and veggie dishes.  Call for suggestions.

More technology FUN:
One of my nieces created a share Pinterest board where we can share ideas for our big get together.  Totally fun to see some of the sites that they are exploring, and to learn more about their interests.  
Pinterest Christmas Board

Some favorite posts

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Thanksgiving Tutorial

On your mark, get set, GO!  Today I start the Thanksgiving Prep, and thought it might be handy to create a tutorial so that next year I can refer to it, and as the years progress and I've lost my mind, others can refer to it, and recreate the sagelicious dinner for me!

First the metamorphosis of my table.  While I am only hosting 10 people, I want more room, so I will need the inserts that my husband and sons made for me years ago.  I just love the idea of everyone around one table. I moved the couch out of the family room (never moved it back-the family room is all about food and gathering around the table) to make for one big dining room that we could use to host big family gatherings like I remember at Grannie Annie's house.  My amazing men came up with an ingenious way to add extensions to the table by making sections to lay on top of the table with underneath inserts that fit where one of the old table inserts used to be.  Confusing?  Perhaps some old pictures will help.

They cut, then mitered the edges using masonite wood.

Then they fit the pieces over the table, securing them underneath.  We added a six foot folding table as supports for the extension.
Room for 20 that year! Christmas Tablescape

This year I start with my basic Arts & Crafts oak table with four inserts, then remove two inserts.

I won't be using the large insert this year, but this picture gives you an idea of what they look like underneath.
We insert a smaller piece for the extension needed.
Top with undercloth, then Irish linen purchased years ago at Rose Bowl Flea Market. Iron right on the table (go masonite).

 Finished table.  Will share details on Thursday!

Next make the LISTS.
Recipes found
Shopping list made
Table extended
Tablecloth ironed
Ebay and Goodwill items purchased, as needed
Purchase Fall wreath items

Frozen turkey in cooler with ice
Craft wreath
Make apple pies to freeze

Make vegetable broth
Clean oven (500 degrees causes smoking if there is anything in the oven)

Baby-sit granddaughter

Brine turkey in cooler bag
Make cranberry sauce
Shop for fresh veggies
Chop veggies
Make stuffing
Prep salad

Peel and cut potatoes, put in cold water and refridgerate
Chill wine/champagne
Prep side dishes
Appetizers set out in silver dishes (Ina says, "good potato chips, savory caperberries, cashews)
Turkey in at 1:00 pm Alton Brine Good Eats (magically delicious)
Potatoes boiled at 2 pm
2:30, turkey done to perfection
2:30, Yam casserole in oven
2:45, mash potatoes
2:45, make gravy
3:00 Sit down to give thanks for all our blessings

BTW,  the aforementioned "Purchase items on Ebay or Goodwill, as needed" calls for some explanation.  The "as needed" is used to mean "as wanted."  We do not "need" anything more, BUT look at what I found!

Then on


Thanksgiving is well on it's way!  I'm so thankful to have this week off work to enjoy the preparation, shopping, family, and time to meditate and give thanks.   But the truth is, we have all we need, and so much more.  Again, I am reminded of how blessed I am, and humbled to be able to share with others throughout the year.

Dear Lord, help me to serve, to be your servant on earth. 

Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God.
~Hebrews 13:16

Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. 
~Philippians 2:4

 I'm linking to 

Mad Skills Monday

Metamorphsis Monday