Flipped Silverware

For a few years Handsome and I owned the NC School of Etiquette and Protocol. Hold on now….it definitely was NOT stuffy stuff! We had a blast and people came from out-of-state to attend our classes.  We taught ages 3-adult..and then also held corporate etiquette classes. So, having manners=respect for others=is very important to me….and doing things in decency and order.  But, of course, always with a creative twist. *wink, wink*

You guys know that we are all about being creative. We are a cottage full of artists so there will always be a creative twist on things. I think that is one reason people really enjoyed our classes.  We taught them the correct way to do things….and the reason why….and then how to be creative with their new knowledge. When you know the reasons, it opens the door to be able be creative and still honorable to others. Order in the chaos…….our life motto! ha! Manners/etiquette has nothing to do with trying to be impressive….they are all about honoring and serving others. The ultimate servant’s heart.

We love setting the table around here. My grandmother’s silverware has now been passed down to me. I love it…it is so special. {Why it seems to still be housed at my mother’s, I’m not sure. Hmmmmmm…..*mental note* I should check on this!} It is a gorgeous pattern. It is a service for 10 with all of the extras and serving pieces. The story behind it is very special too …… my grandmother fell in love with this pattern when she saw it; but she was a young mother and there was no way it fit into the budget. So, each Friday, she would go and buy one piece. I think it took her two years or more to acquire the entire set. It is solid sterling silver.

When I look at that big box full of almost 100 pieces….it reminds me the power of being willing to take one step at a time. When I’m having that “I need it all now!” or “It all has to be done today!” attitudes…..I remember my grandmother’s silver. Just one piece at a time can amount to something grand.

Well…are you guys wondering why I named this post “Flipped Silverware” and I have rambled all over the place? OK, so, this beautiful silver that I have inherited is not only gorgeous on the front…it is beautiful on the back, too.

Flipped Silverware and Flatware

So, one of the fun ways we like to set the table is to flip the silverware upside down. Some stuffed shirts may gasp at this. When silverware or flatware is turned upside down it usually means that you are finished eating. It’s OK, really. You can have fun and be creative with your table settings. When we set our table like this we always get lots of comments about how neat it is. So, go ahead, try it….flip your silverware.

Flipped Silverware and Flatware Flipped Silverware and Flatware

Do you have one fun, creative thing that is your ‘signature’ table setting? What is it? I’d love to hear about it!

Blessings~

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Christmas Journaling Day…..

I shared last year in this post how we have a family tradition…..A Christmas Journal.

art journaling

Each year we take turns writing an entry in the journal….whatever each of would like to share about the Christmas season that we just had. When the kids were little they would just scribble or draw pictures. It’s fun to go back and look over everyone’s entries.

That’s what we will be doing today….

Do you have any kind of family journal that everyone takes part in?

Blessings~

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Merry Christmas to All….and to All a Good-Night!

He’s waiting….and he’s ready……..91127592431780083_n4e8Jl0F_c{source}

I wish you all a wonderful Christmas filled with friends, family, heartfelt peace amidst the world’s craziness…..and much delight! I think delight is often left out of many people’s lives today….and I want you to have it to the full this Christmas.

Christmas Eve has such a wonderful energy…you can feel it. Something exciting is in the air……Santa’s coming!

But even more exciting than that…..a Savior came, and He loves you so very much.

Some of our Christmas Eve traditions:

Baking Jesus’ birthday cake

waiting for Nanna & Poppa to arrive!

having a fun lunch with them

heading over to the annual Christmas Eve party….one I have been attending since I was young…and now our 3 play the violin each Christmas Eve there.

Celebrating Christmas with my side of the family…opening gifts and enjoying being together.

Leaving the trees lit all night and special treats out for Santa. {Still!}

There are so many more special things that we do each Christmas Eve….what about you? How do you celebrate on Christmas Eve? Is it quiet and relaxing? Hustle  & bustle?

For Buddy, the Elf, smiling is his favorite. Whatever your favorite is….I hope you get to do a lot of it today!

Much Love and Merry Christmas~

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Olde World Christmas Ornaments……

I’m really not in to ‘theme trees’….. so, it’s kind of funny that I have one. I’m consistent in life like that. This particular tree started by accident. About 16 years ago a friend gave me an Olde World Ornament as a gift…also a housewarming; and that started it all. We now have well over 200 Olde World ornaments….and most of them were gifts from people that have seen that we collect them. They each have a special meaning and stand for something…an event, a special trip, a favorite place, hobby, etc.

After a few years we had so many of them that we needed to dedicate a tree to just the Olde World ornaments.

olde world ornament tree

What are Olde World ornaments, you say? They are glass..usually mercury glass ornaments that are made the old world way. They are mouth blown into antique molds and then liquid silver is poured inside of them. They are then painted and glittered on the outside. I just love them.

varsity ornament old world ornaments

The olde world ornament tree lives in our dining room.

tree in dining room

Are there any type of special ornaments that you collect?

Jiggling Jingling All the Way~

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DIY Victorian Christmas Crackers……

As long as I can remember we have had Christmas crackers at each place on Christmas Day. You can find them at many stores…but we have always made ours. When you create your own you can put inside exactly what you want to!

diy victorian christmas crackers

Each year we have special ornaments for each family…and label them with the last name and the year, then put them inside the crackers. We have Christmas with my side of the family on Christmas Eve at my parents’ home; and then we have a big Christmas Dinner here at our house on Christmas Day for Handsome’s family.

ornaments inside crackers

Want to make your own?

You will need:

toilet paper tubes or paper towel tubes cut in half

fun little things to put inside {fun thins are ornaments, candy, paper crowns, small pens and pencils, fun words or wishes, etc.}

string or ribbon

any kind of paper or tissue paper

scissors

inside christmas crackers

How to do it:

Put all the fun little surprises inside the tube.

making christmas crackers

Roll the paper around the tube the long way and tape.

how to wrap a christmas cracker

Tie each end with ribbon or string and then trim the ends to the length that you wish them to be. Be sure to tie the ribbon or string tightly…close to the tube.

victorian christmas cracker

Put them at each person’s plate for a special dinner! We always include tissue paper crowns in ours…and everyone has to wear them throughout the meal.

tissue paper crowns

Christmas Crackers are something that everyone looks forward to each year…they have become part of our Christmas Dinner and Christmas Eve traditions with both sides of our family.

Do you have any special traditions that you started in your family?

Merry, Merry~

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Historical Christmas {House Tour}

This past weekend my three violinists provided the music for the Historical Society’s Annual Christmas Tea. It was held in a beautiful, historical home. I had so much fun wandering around {I’m a wanderer….just in case you ever invite me to your house, you might need to know…..but don’t worry, I don’t go through drawers or anything.} I’m so glad that the owner loves for people to wander around his home! {People with the gift of hospitality usually don’t mind at all if you wander…..they have made complete peace with the dust bunnies, imperfections…in fact, they’ve incorporated them into their style. :)}

I love history…so this home was such a treat to take in. It is not how I would want to decorate our home, but so wonderful to enjoy. And, even if you are in someone’s home that doesn’t have the same style as you…..you can always learn so much. There’s always inspiration to take away…..inspiration that you can put into your own style. I love that. You also learn so much about someone that puts their own style into their home. It’s warm, inviting, reflects them and their family, what they treasure….it’s a home that is full of things of meaning. So, I just love spending time in other people’s homes and learning more about them.

While No. 1 Son got himself and his sisters all tuned up….I began to wander…..

tuning

It was a treat just driving up to this lovely place…..

historical home

Aren’t the natural decorations wonderful? Nothing says South like magnolia greenery!

front door christmas decor

Since holly in the South is not always plentiful….it takes a really cold winter to produce lots of berries…..a great alternative is nandina berries.

outdoor christmas decor

Wonderful window decor with greenery and fruit……

christmas window decor

The owner of this lovely home is an avid clock collector…and piano collector. There were several pianos in every room!

clock

One of my favorite parts….you guys know I just love the falling apart ceiling! It shows the historical construction of the ceiling…..they don’t do ceilings like this anymore.

vintage ceiling

A gorgeous chandelier graced each room….this is the foyer one…..

chandelier 2 chandelier

Check out the wonderful woodwork, complete with fabulous ledges! We plan to do this in our bedroom when we redo it. {Really soon, right, Handsome? Right? ;)}

ledges on walls

Being a historical home…there was a fireplace in every room. Be still my heart…..

historical fireplace

This bathroom was incredible! The ceiling was stained glass..and, yes, that is a working leaded glass sink!

victorian bathroom

I really need this urn. It would be perfect for cider. Don’t you think I need this urn?

cider urn

The finial on the stairway….the main stairway reminded me so much of the Titanic! This finial was almost as big as me! OK, maybe I exaggerate. It was very large, though….about 2.5 feet tall…..

stairway finial

The main parlor fireplace……

fireplace in historical home

One of the many antique pianos…..

antique piano

Another wonderful light fixture…..

victorian light

All of the fixtures in the ceiling had special framing..each one unique and different. The details were amazing.

ceiling around light

And another……

vintage light fixture

I love this tip for houseplants…….fill the top of each plant with ice cubes, and as they melt the plant is watered.

houseplant watering tip

It was a great afternoon….such a treat.

violinist

Have you gone on any great house tours lately?

Christmas Blessings~

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Christmas Croutons {Recipe}…..

As part of our annual, big Christmas Dinner we always have some sort of salad. I also like to make homemade croutons…they are so easy; and, since it’s Christmas, it’s fun to make them in fun shapes. {You can use any mini cookie cutters to make shaped croutons any time during the year.  We use hearts in February, clover in the spring, etc.}

Here’s what you need:

small cookie cutters

bread of your choice..sandwich bread work great

melted butter

Italian seasoning

Here’s How Ya Do It:

Using the mini cutters….cut as many croutons out of each piece of bread that you possibly can. I can usually get at least 5-6 croutons from each slice of bread.

christmas croutons making christmas croutons

Lay out your lovely little creations on a cookie sheet….

christmas croutons 2

Brush with melted butter and sprinkle with Italian seasoning…..

baking christmas croutons

Bake at 325 for about 10 minutes..or until they begin to brown. Allow to fully cool and then they can be stored in an airtight container for several days-a week or more.

christmas croutons on salad

We also like to use regular-sized cookie cutters and make oversized croutons to serve with soup for the Christmas season.  You can usually only get one oversized crouton per slice of bread when you do these……

christmas soup croutons baking soup croutons

Do you like croutons on your salad…or would you rather do without?

Merry, Merry~

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Our Annual Christmas Party……..

For the past 18 years we have hosted an annual Christmas party at our home. The first year we started No. 1 Son was only a few months old and I had him in a sling all night. We initially began the party because we had just moved into Oak Cottage and didn’t know anyone…..we thought it would be a great way to get to know the neighbors. That first year we had around 50 people. We enjoyed it so much we decided to make it an annual tradition. We now have over 200 people coming through here each year…..it is something that our whole family looks forward to all year. For the past several years there are always many overnight guests after the party….our kids’ friends…..so it almost turns into a weekend celebration.

Our family is at its best when we are all together and have a home full of people. Handsome and I knew that hospitality was one of our ‘things’….but it has been neat to see that it is actually one of our whole family’s ‘things’. We love opening our home to others…whether it is just one person for coffee, or hundreds for a big party. Hospitality is wonderful ministry….and we love doing it together.

Here’s some little snippets of the preparation, etc. of our party last week.  I added in a recipe or two……

We use a whole lot of Stonewall Kitchen products around here…and one of our favorites is the Cranberry Horseradish Sauce. We mix the whole jar with 8 oz. of cream cheese….and it is the best dip ever! They also have wonderful syrups…it is the only kind we use. {No, they have no idea who I am…I just like their stuff, and so I am sharing it with you. :)}
cranberry horseradish sauce

Making these mini apple pocket pies is so much fun. To make them I use mini pocket pie molds from Williams-Sonoma, my favorite pie crust recipe, and Comstock apples……I mix lots of cinnamon and sugar into the apples, and then also sprinkle cinnamon sugar on the outside right before baking.

mini pocket pies

Love making cupcakes…regular-sized and these mini ones……I usually make a white cake with white icing. It helps with the Steeped Memories…. 😉

mini cupcakes

I am a list-maker…but also free-spirited, SO that makes me a free-spirited list-maker! ha! I have long used this fun pad of paper called The Entertainment Pad. It’s where I make lists of what will be served, what dishes will be used for each dish, what needs to be done 3 days, 2 days, day before, day of…..you know, it’s where it all happens. One year I accidentally left this out in the kitchen…and I noticed lots of people hovered over something on the counter, taking notes. When I walked over I realized they were checking out the pad of notes, etc. ha! They said that they learned a lot. {Probably a lot about my slight insanity……..}

entertainment pad

Some of the fun treats ready and waiting…..

party collage

Do you enjoy opening your home to others or do you prefer it to only be filled with you and your family?

I hope you have a wonderful weekend! We have a party or two and then all 3 of our kids are performing {violin} at a Christmas Tea for the historical society in a lovely old, historical home. Can’t wait to see it!

Warm Christmas Wishes for your weekend~

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