Country Living...Island Dreaming

November 30, 2011

Displaying Christmas Cards

One tradition that I hope doesn't ever go away
is the mailing of Christmas cards!
(By the way, I LOVE this lighted mailbox swag!)

It seems more and more people are sending e-cards
or just plain email wishes
or even just Facebook greetings.

But not me!

I love making my own photo cards using one of the online companies like Shutterfly or Snapfish.
I love choosing the right pictures to capture the feel of the that show how our kids have grown or important events that took place during the year.

I can't tell you the last time I purchased a store bought holiday card.
Actually, it was probably the year before my first son was born!

I love receiving picture cards
as much as I enjoy sending them.
I have many friends and relatives across the country
and some who
believe it or not...
are not on Facebook!

So it is nice to see how they look
and what they are doing.

But when I get cards in the mail,
I like to be able to display them
so when I walk by I can think about that family
or my kids can see their friends' faces on their cards.

So, that brings up the annual dilemma...

How do I display the Christmas cards?

In the past, I have tried to come up with something creative.
Then I just give up
 and tape the cards in the kitchen doorways like every year.
At least I can see the cards when walking by.
But it is not the most decorative or creative way to do it.

So this year,
I am thinking about it earlier
and I came across some creative ideas on the internet.

I think this one has been
floating around all over the blog world this year:
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Love it!

Pinned Image
And I love this way of hanging them.
(originally from
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And this similar one
The last two are close to what I have done in the past...
with a little more style!

I will let you know what I decide once the cards start rolling in.

How do you display your Christmas cards?

November 29, 2011

Christmas Shelves

Yes, Christmas Shelves,
not Christmas Elves...

Although, I could use some elves around here
to help me!

I am slowly dragging out all the Christmas decor
after a weekend of cleaning up after Thanksgiving
and celebrating my birthday.
My husband jokes that I celebrate the whole month of November.
Not true...
But I do try to stretch it out as long as I can! 

since last year I didn't have
these shelves in my dining room,
I did not have a plan for them this year.

I just gathered some random things
from my many boxes in the basement.

And this is what I came up with.
I may end up changing the decor
after I go thru the rest of my stuff.

But for now, this is how the shelves look.

This time of the year, I am always happy to have
a red dining room.
The red walls make anything seem Christmasy.

 Here is how the shelves look most of the year.

And once again,
the Christmas Shelves.


November 25, 2011

Turkey for Ten

Recently, I posted a Thanksgiving table:
A Country Thanksgiving for Four
because our "real" Thanksgiving table
is usually crowded with extensions
and mismatched chairs
and basically
not what I would want my table to look like.

Well, to my surprise,
this year we ended up with 18 guests
instead of the usual 20-25
due to some cousins who had to eat at fiance's homes
and a some who had to work.

While we did miss seeing some of our relatives,
as a table-standpoint,
it worked out just fine!
Our dining room table,
aka "the adult table"
was extended and comfortably set for ten.
Comfortably, I say
except for the 4 ugly folding chairs we had to use!

The "kids" table was in the kitchen and
ooops I forgot to take a picture,
Well, it wasn't really "set".
First it was used for appetizers
and then since things were served buffet style at the counter,
the "kids" just sat where they wanted - pretty casual.

On Wednesday,
Williams Sonoma was having a 15% off
sale on table linens
so I picked up this botanical pear one.
It ended up being a little short on the end
with both extensions in,
but I was happy with it.
The center has a nice design too,
but I have it covered here with a cornucopia.

I didn't have 10 of the same napkin rings,
so some settings had these wood ones.

And some had these green ones
which picked up the ribbon color in the cornucopia nicely.
I like that word - cornucopia.
But I have to think hard every time I have to spell it!

I didn't get too many close ups
because after I lit the candles,
everyone was getting antsy in the kitchen!

This plate on my sideboard sums it up.
It is a great reminder
and perfect since we host Thanksgiving every year.
My mom bought me the plate last year.

I am so thankful 
for my wonderful family and friends...
and the fact that my husband helps with the dishes!

Where did you spend Thanksgiving this year?

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November 23, 2011

Thanksgiving and a Birthday

Since I will be up to my eyeballs in turkey tomorrow,
and will not have a chance to get near my computer,
I would like to say
Happy Thanksgiving
to everyone a day early!

And not only will I be enjoying the Thanksgiving festivities,
but tomorrow I will also be celebrating my birthday!

Yes, I know it is quite sad that I have to be cooking on my birthday!
But don't feel too sorry for me...

I spent yesterday being spoiled by some good friends
 with breakfast and pedicures.
Friday night, some friends will be joining us
 for dinner in a fabulous restaurant.
And at this very moment,
my husband and kids are out birthday shopping!
My seven year old has been memorizing my list
and will be suggesting things to my husband
so they can "surprise" me! 
I guess I can't complain!
I really do have a lot to be thankful for!

And here are some old pictures of me just for fun!
I realized my mom has most of my baby pictures
but here is a picture I found from when I was one.
(Sorry about the poor quality!)

And another one - age 4.

Anyway, I hope you all
have a wonderful day tomorrow.
and I look forward to all the Christmas decor
in the weeks to come!!!

How are you spending your Thanksgiving?

November 21, 2011

Cleaning Silver Without Harsh Chemicals

Are you looking for a way to avoid polishing your silver
with toxic chemicals?

Since I use my silverware only a few times a year,
the pieces just sit in a drawer most of the year
so I like to polish them before I use them.

I have heard that if you use your silver more often,
it doesn't need polishing enough.
Maybe I will try to remember that for next year.

before I set up my Country Thanksgiving table last week.
I cleaned up the silver so it was camera ready.

This is how I clean mine before each use:

Supplies Needed:

Aluminum Roasting Pan
2 cups of Baking Soda
Boiling Water

Boil a large pot of water and disolve the baking soda in it. 

Place your silverware in the aluminum roasting pan.

Pour the boiling water into the tray covering all the silver. 
Leave on for several minutes. 

Rinse and dry.

Here is a spoon against a black background.

And a knife against a white background.

It really does take off the tarnish.
Now, like I said my silver wasn't that bad to begin with
because I do use it a few times a year.
(In fact, I realized I never took a "before" close up - oops!)

But I didn't have to use any harsh silver polishes
and it was very easy!

One of these days I would like to do a side by side comparison
using regular polish vs. the baking soda method.
But that won't happen this week!

I am off to do more Thanksgiving preparing.
I have a bunch of ugly mismatched chairs
 to pull up from the basement...

How are you preparing for Thanksgiving?


November 17, 2011

A Country Thanksgiving for Four

We host Thanksgiving at our house every year.
Since we have a lot of family in the area,
we usually end up with 20 - 25 guests.

Not exactly easy to set the table for that many people!

We end up using extensions, card tables added to the end extra (mismatched) chairs and of course the kitchen table for the kids.  So needless to say, my Thanksgiving table never turns out to be the table of my dreams.  So today I imagined that there were just four of us for dinner.

Here is one scenario of what the table could look like...
Sunflower arrangement for centerpiece - Thanksgiving Table Setting
I love sunflowers for fall!

Thanksgiving for Four in the Dining Room
I pulled the head chairs away
but if I were really doing the table for four,
I think I would take the leaf out instead.

Thanksgiving Table Setting

Thanksgiving place setting
The napkins were from Pottery Barn this year.
I think I got them on sale and could only get four,
hence the four place settings.

Thanksgiving Table with faux white pumpkins
I used white pumpkins everywhere this year.
I had planned to modge-podge them but never really got around to it.

Thanksgiving Table with golden damask runner
The runner is also from Pottery Barn last year.
You might notice it is a little wrinkled in spots...ooops.
In my dream-world I do not iron.
Actually, I kind of shrunk it in the wash.

Oh and yes, after I put everything away
 and looked at my pictures
 I realized my placemats overlap the table runner.
 This "dream" has turned into a nightmare!  LOL!  Oh well!

Thanksgiving table with pine cones and amber glasses
These wine glasses are from Southern Living at Home
several years ago.
I like to use them in fall tablescapes.

Thanksgiving Table in Red Dining Room
Yes, once again I decided to take my pictures
on a cloudy day.
Will I ever learn?

Table for Four - Thanksgiving in the country
Thanks for stopping by my table for four.

A Country Thanksgiving Table Setting - Ideas to make your table warm and inviting for the holiday.

How many people do you have for Thanksgiving?

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November 15, 2011

Quintessential New England Town

Come visit the picturesque town of Woodstock, Vermont.

Now when most people hear the name, "Woodstock", they think of a huge music festival in the 60's. Well, that Woodstock is in New York State.  The Woodstock I am showing you is located in a whole different world!
Homes of Woodstock, VT
Woodstock, VT is an elegant New England town about a half hour east of Killington.

Town of Woodstock, VT
The center of town is filled with restaurants, boutiques, book stores and art galleries.

Woodstock, VT - A charming New England town
I didn't take enough pictures of this area known as The Green.  To the right (not pictured for some crazy reason) is the majestic Woodstock Inn and Resort.  If we didn't stay in Killington when we go to Vermont, I would definitely being staying at this hotel.  Although, I guess I could just go to their spa next time.  Check their website out.  It's quite impressive!

Woodstock, VT House - a beautiful New England town
Speaking of impressive...

Houses along the streets of Woodstock, VT
I love walking down the streets and staring at the distinguished homes.

Woodstock, VT General Store - one of Vermont's oldest general stores
This is one of Vermont's oldest general stores: F H Gillinghams and Sons.  They have seem to have everything in this store!  Why would anyone ever want to leave this town?

Town of Woodstock, VT
Here we are on our way to our favorite bookstore: The Yankee BookshopThe kids love that place mostly because the owners keep their two Bernese Mountain dogs in the store.  Check them out on their website.

Woodstock, VT
How could you not be happy here?  It's almost like time stood a good way.

Homes of Woodstock, VT
So pretty.  Who wouldn't love a house with a white fence?

Vermonts homes - Woodstock Vermont
Kids, I'm home!

White Home with Black Shutters - classic New England architecture
I have always been obsessed with white houses with black shutters.  I could stare at this house all day!  

Are you planning any trips to Vermont?

Please let me know if you stay at the Woodstock Inn
so I can live vicariously through you!
Exploring Woodstock, VT - A Quintessential New England Town

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