Tuesday, November 23, 2010

The Table is Set!

Just wanted to share with your this year's Thanksgiving table.  I wanted something different this year because I have used my pheasants the past two years and I was ready for a change.  I wasn't really sure what I wanted although I knew I would know it when I saw it!  I started with inexpensive candlesticks (Kohl's) and gold candles (Target).  This was a good start, but certainly not complete.  I also found a pretty wooden beaded table runner that I thought would be perfect for our table.  I was getting close, but the table was still not quite ready.  

Then the other day I was in my friend Carol's office at work and I noticed the most adorable pumpkins I have ever seen!  I mean they are gorgeous and so unique!  Anyway, as it turns out, Carol had the "inside scoop" on these Plush Pumpkins!  She knows the creator's husband - it was my lucky day!  Long story short, Carol got Brian on the phone and I was able to order six of these precious pumpkins for my Thanksgiving table.  I think they are perfect!!!!  You can find them online at http://www.plushpumpkin.com/ I am definitely a huge fan!  I see more Plush Pumpkins in my future.  I am picturing the beautiful white ones on my mantle next fall!  

Hope you have fun decorating your Thanksgiving table!  

Buttercup Bliss :-) 
 Did you notice that the pumpkin stems are real?  Isn't that awesome?
They are available in a wide-range of colors.  I just asked for any fall colors.  I think the selection that they sent me is gorgeous!

 Just for fun, I tried filling a bowl with them.  I think they look beautiful! 

Please note that this has been updated November 1, 2011.  Last year when I first wrote this post I was virtually a brand new blogger and had never linked to a party.  :-)  I thought I would share this with you now.  I will share this year's table in a few weeks.  

This week I am linking to Wow Us Wednesdays @ http://www.savvysouthernstyle.blogspot.com/

Friday, November 19, 2010

Thanksgiving Memories

Lisa and Anita - Sisters and Best Friends

Thanksgiving has always been my favorite holiday.  In fact, fall is my favorite time of year.  I truly enjoy Christmas, but honestly, I think we get so caught up in everything prior to the holidays that we forget what the true meaning is about.  With Thanksgiving, it is like we are able to total focus on the meaning of that special day. 
My favorite memories reach back to when I was a small child.  I remember waking up to the smell of my mother cooking delicious dishes for us to enjoy later in the day.  This may seem odd, but to me, Thanksgiving Day is not the same unless I wake up to the smell of celery and onions sauteing in butter!  Now you should know that leads later in the day to the best dressing ever!  If you are from a part of the country that eats stuffing instead of dressing then I urge you get to the South this Thanksgiving so that you will know what you are missing!  It is incredible!  Of course you should also know that the perfect dressing starts with the perfect pan of cornbread! 
My sister Anita and I were taught how to make cornbread at a very early age.  My mom was born and raised in the Mississippi Delta – and in case you didn’t know this, you don’t get much more southern than the Delta – making the perfect pan of cornbread is a must!  We were also taught in our early twenties how to make dressing.  I very clearly remember one Thanksgiving that my mom said, “Girls, its time you two know how to make dressing!”  I am so glad she did.  I am amazed at the people I know who tell me they have no idea how to create this Thanksgiving essential!
Another favorite part of Thanksgiving was watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade.  This is a tradition that I have looked forward to every year of my life!  I love seeing the balloons, the marching bands, and of course, the Rockettes!  Two side stories about the Macy’s parade:  The first is that my husband, Jon, knows that actually attending the Macy’s parade is on my list of things to do before I die.  Not being morbid, but it is just one of those things I am determined to do one day.  I want to experience first-hand the excitement of this quintessential Thanksgiving tradition. 
The second Macy’s story involves a dog that I got one year the day before Thanksgiving.  It was a precious Shih Tzu that needed the just the right name.  She would be my “baby”.  I wanted to name her Olivia.  My mom thought perhaps that was a little too “human” for a puppy and encouraged me to keep thinking.  The next morning as we were cooking and watching the parade, my mom looked at me and said, “how about Macy”?  She had thought of the perfect name for my puppy! 
Another memory involves an activity I did each year when I taught second grade.  Every child in my class would bring one ingredient and we would make “Sharing Soup.”  The children would dress as Pilgrims and Indians and enjoy the soup they made together!  I looked forward to this each year! 
A final Thanksgiving memory happened the year that my sister and I decided that we would “DO” Thanksgiving for our family.  We decided to give our parents the day off and we would take care of everything.  We were probably in our mid to late twenties and we thought it was time for us to be adults and “host” Thanksgiving.  We, of course, had been accustomed to going to Mom and Dad’s or our grandmother’s house for Thanksgiving.  This year, we would stay in our hometown and Anita and I would plan and cook the entire Thanksgiving dinner for Mom, Dad, my sister and her husband and my niece, Paige.  Well, we thought we had it all completely under control.  We cooked a turkey, dressing, sweet potato casserole, our Mom’s wonderful green bean casserole (not your regular green bean casserole, this recipe has shoe peg corn, water chestnuts and other scrumptious goodies), spinach Madeline - you get the picture - the works!!!  We also had homemade pecan pie and Chess pie for dessert.  Chess pie is another Delta recipe that is simply delicious, rich and decadent!  The table was set and everything was in order for the perfect Thanksgiving dinner.  Our parents arrived at Anita’s house and we were so proud of ourselves!  Just as we were about to begin, Anita (and I don’t know why she did this) opened the microwave.  At this point, I should tell you that Anita is the “calm sister” so when I tell you that she opened the microwave and exclaimed “what the **** is this?” we all just gaped at her!  We looked into the microwave and there was the entire stick of butter – the KEY ingredient in Chess Pie – sitting cold and yucky in the microwave.  She had baked the entire pie without the butter!  The pie was beautiful, but inedible!  It was just hilarious!  We thought we had pulled off the perfect Thanksgiving dinner…. Right up until the last minute!  We laughed and laughed.  It is still one of my all time favorite holiday memories!  It was just so funny!  We realized that pulling off the perfect holiday dinner is hard to do.  But we also realized that having fun and making memories that last forever is the most important part of any holiday!

What are your favorite Thanksgiving memories?

     My Thanksgiving table last year.  I love these pheasants!

I used table runners to tie bows on some of the chairs.  I love little extra touches that make a room special!
Friday, November 12, 2010

Kitchen Love!

This beautiful kitchen is from Southern Accents.

OK – I will admit it, I love kitchens!  I don’t mean that I like kitchens; I mean I truly LOVE kitchens.  Now I should tell you right up front that this does not mean that I am an accomplished cook.  It means exactly what it says – I love kitchens.  I love kitchen magazines and I have been keeping clippings of pictures of kitchens (and to be truthful, pictures of other rooms too) for years!  This “idea” folder was so important to me that I grabbed it when we were evacuating before Hurricane Katrina.  In light of the important things that I forgot when we evacuated (or just sentimental things that I will miss forever), in retrospect, taking the decorating file seems somewhat goofy; however, when you are evacuating for a category 5 storm, one doesn’t always make the most logical decisions! 
My love of all things related to houses began early.  I remember feeling like such a “goob” (this word will certainly date me….) in college because I loved Southern Living, County Living, and Good Housekeeping magazines!  I read Glamour, Cosmo and other magazines as well, but I secretly adored house magazines. 
When I graduated from college and started teaching school I got my first apartment.  It was so much fun to decorate!   I lived in apartments for the first three years of my teaching career before I bought my first home.   I decided to buy a small, older home when I was twenty-five.  I was not married, nor was I dating anyone, but I still longed for a home, not an apartment, a HOME!  As luck would have it, I found the perfect older home in my home town in Mississippi.  It was located on the same street as the elementary school that I taught.  I felt so “grown-up” on the day I closed on my first place. 
Then the fun began!  My wonderful, talented mother and my father helped me create such a darling home!  My mother, who could do anything, helped transform a worn, outdated kitchen (picture white gold-flecked Formica countertops) into a totally cool kitchen!  Now, I should tell you that this was around 1989 and the “country” craze had seized the nation!  We replaced the floors, removed the old paneling, added a chair rail, stripped and repainted the cabinets, and created the perfect country kitchen.  I look back on the pink (yes, pink) chair rail and laugh!  At the time though, it was perfect!
I have lived in several houses since that time.  Each time I move I am most concerned with the kitchen as we look at houses.   It still ranks as the most important room in the house to me.   Each house, and consequently, each kitchen has each offered unique features that make them stand out.  When I moved to Hattiesburg, MS I bought a precious (there is no other word to describe this house) home, actually more of a cottage that had been built in the early forties.  I fell in love with the tall ceilings and hardwood floors.  While the kitchen was not perfect, it had creamy white cabinets that reached to the ceiling and it also had a dishwasher, something that had been lacking in my first home. 
The next home was the first one that my husband and I purchased together.  This kitchen had stainless steel appliances and hardwood floors in the kitchen.  The cabinets were not my favorite, but I loved the appliances so much I could live with the cabinets.  A relocation landed us in our next house and this kitchen had granite countertops!  Woo Hoo!  I was so happy!  (I once had a friend who told me her husband told her she could choose between granite countertops and breast implants and she (smart girl!) chose the granite!!! )  In my opinion, that was a no brainer! 
Sadly, this house was destroyed in Katrina (more on this later).  When we rebuilt, I was able to redo the kitchen the exactly the way I wanted – within certain parameters, of course.  My husband, Jon, said no to the Viking stove!  Someday, he said, maybe (I think he thinks I would have to be a gourmet cook to warrant purchasing a Viking), but this was not the house for it!  I did, however, have the most beautiful cabinets (maple with a cream stain and a coffee colored glaze). 
Our current home has a great kitchen, not perfect, but great!  I finally have double ovens!!  They are side-by-side which really makes me feel like a chef!  The cabinets have a cherry stain.  I would rather have a cream with a glaze or possibly a distressed black.  I have been hinting to Jon that we should “rough them up” and add a black glaze to make them more in line with the Traditional with a French County touch that I long for in my dream kitchen!  Hmmmm…. Maybe that will be my first “how-to” blog!  Stay tuned!!!

 This picture shows the breakfast room as well as the kitchen.

What do you think?  Should I try adding a black glaze? 
Friday, November 5, 2010

Why Buttercup Bliss?

Deciding on a name for a blog is much harder than I anticipated.  I thought, pick a cute name, and voila!  ready to blog!  WRONG!  It turns out I am not as creative and original as I had previously thought…. Every time I thought of what I considered the perfect name, it was already taken!  Seriously it got to be a family joke!  What will Lisa’s blog name be?
I wanted something to do with the following: being Southern, creating a happy, welcoming home, the joys of being a mom, life’s simple pleasures…. You get the picture, right?  Well let me tell you, there are so many people out there in “blogland” thinking the exact same thing!  Amazing!!!! 
I began to lose sleep over this (sad, I know).  I would find myself laying awake at night trying to think of the perfect name for my new adventure.  I began with a word document listing ideas of names.  Next, I kept a list on my Blackberry.  Each time I would add a new possible name I would get excited.  And then inevitably someone else would have already chosen my best idea. 
Finally (after tentatively picking three names that, while available, were not quite right),  I thought perhaps I was being too serious about this – I mean it is just a name of a blog.  I began to think of not only ideas that would let someone know what the blog might be about, but of ideas that meant something to me… something I love.  Well, even that was hard! I mean seriously, I thought Pearls and Paisley was absolutely perfect, but , you guessed it, already taken!  I thought of my favorite flowers…. Blue Hydrangea (already taken) and I couldn’t think of anything good to go with Gerber Daisy! 
After all this, I spent the day in Fairhope, Alabama with my mother-in-law and sister-in-law.  We had a great time browsing through specialty boutiques and antique shops.  I found two perfectly beautiful old silver teaspoons that were engraved!  I had to have them!  I love silver!  My mom had started my set of Gorham Buttercup shortly after I got married.  While I don’t have eight complete place settings yet, I am on my way.  I recently started to add to the collection by collecting old teaspoons of any pattern.  I really get excited when they are engraved!  How wonderful to think of who owned these beautiful pieces before me!  And then it hit me – Buttercup Bliss after my silver!!  So now you know the story of my blog!  It took a long time to figure it out, but the name is not as random as one might think!  

Thursday, November 4, 2010

My FIRST Blog!

So, this is my first blog entry and I don’t exactly know where to begin.  I have been toying with the idea of a blog for quite some time.  One of my dearest friends, Lynda, got me hooked on a few blogs sometime during the past year.  I have to admit though, that these blogs intimated me to no end.  It seems that everyone that I read out in “blog land” was incredibly creative, talented in many ways AND somehow had time to do these incredible things (making “onesies” out of old t-shirts to send to needy children in underdeveloped  countries, redoing furniture, creating gourmet meals from scratch) and be a super wife and mother.  Now I do work full time and I really try to make my home a warm, welcoming place to be, but in no way am I as put together as these women whose blogs I read!  I found myself reading these blogs and wanting to be more and more like their creators!! 
Fast forward a few months and I started to seriously consider starting my own blog.  I felt like it would be a wonderful creative outlet.  I don’t know exactly what road this blog will lead me down.  I don’t think that I will ever be one of the bloggers who posts “how-to’s” of how to make wonderfully creative things for the home.  I would love to do that, but I am not sure that is quite "me".   My friend, Suzanne, said that her blog is nothing like what she thought it would be like when she started.  So we will just have to see. 
I do know that I will share about my life as a wife, mother, curriculum director, and Candice Olsen “wannna-be”.  It is a journey filled each day with joy and the usual stresses of being a working mom trying to do it all…… love my family, be the best wife and mother I can be, make my home a beautiful place without breaking the bank, and also excel at my career. 
Thanks for visiting!