Gathering In... A List For November

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Gathering In
...a list for November

The days are shorter and the air is chilled.  There is a smattering of frost on my windowpane at dawn.  Edward is in absolute bouncy heaven and I have to admit that I share his joy with every fiber of my being.  It is November, the most anticipatory month of the year.  My head is swimming with preparations -   all those holiday meals soon to come, the flowers, the ribbons, favourite recipes to pull out, festive tables to set.   
 I get teased quite a bit for my habit of planning for Christmas  throughout the entire year.  But let them laugh, I say.  My handmade gifts are now completed, my shopping is all done.   I am totally free to wallow in the loveliness of now.  And make no mistake, November is a lovely month.
 In November there is always something scrumptious on my kitchen counter, for those who pop in for tea.  Lavish throws adorn every comfortable chair, and a stacks of new books teeter alongside.  Fresh flowers are always bedside in the guest room. To me, November is a sweet time of gathering in all those closest to you, be they human or canine, to the warmth of the home. Cozy fires, cozy dinners, good books and furry dogs, with visions of sugar plums fast on the way.

So please enjoy this list for November. 
 In no particular order, ten little magical bits to warm you right up in this most warm and wonderful month.


1.  Trays

Who wouldn’t wish for breakfast in bed to be served on a tray such as this one?
  This entire line is incredible - each piece fit to hang on the wall as art. 
I am completely besotted with them all.

See more HERE.


2.  Festive Tables

The year after my father died, I, swallowing hard, took on the role as Thanksgiving hostess.  Although daunting at first, it’s now a day I look forward to.  (The key to making it stress-free, I’ve discovered, is to prepare as much as possible in advance!  Getting up at five in the morning to cook is certain to make one grumpy beyond belief.)  And one of my favourite things about the entire process is planning the Thanksgiving table.  I have lots of antique china that I love to use.... which may sound nice until you have to hand wash every single piece... and choosing which plate to use with what is always such fun to me.  I recently came across this fabulous wool fabric by Liberty of London and thought what a magnificent autumnal tablecloth it would make, especially when paired with this William Yeoward china.  And maybe, at each place setting, individual mossy terracotta pots planted with pansies of orange, purple and blue.

Find the fabric HERE
and the china, HERE


3.  Waistcoat Vases

Aren’t these the best? 
I can just imagine them filled with big fat chrysanthemums and late garden roses on my Thanksgiving table. 
Made in Scotland by potter, Alan Gaff, they really do look like little waistcoats, don’t they?
 Utterly charming.

Find them HERE.


4.  Tea Set

For all those who knock on the door this month, 
for a cup of hot tea and a slice of blueberry cake,
 wouldn’t it just be lovely to serve them from this most whimsical of tea sets ever? 
It looks almost as though it simply danced straight off the set of Fantasia.

Find it HERE.


5.  A Furry Friend

I once had the enviable job of decorating a children’s playroom.  Being a person who can hardly pass by a toy store without stopping in to see all the stuffed animals lined up in a row, each one silently asking to come home with me, this was a dream project indeed and I dove into it with relish, commissioning a favourite artist to paint large animal portraits to line the walls and purchasing seven life-sized cushy creatures - giraffes and gorillas, grizzlies and goats.  It was unbelievable fun.  Personally, I think everyone,  no matter their age, should have a teddy bear of their very own. 
 Or, in my case, a monkey.  
Or maybe even a dog, like one from this adorable family of canines. 
One of these has to be just the right size for you, or someone you know.

See Them HERE


6.  Hot Water Bottle Cover

There is a cartoon that I love.  
It shows a husband and wife snuggled down in their four-poster on a cold winter night, with two or three dogs at their feet. 
 The wife is saying, “George dear, it’s freezing.  Put another dog on the bed, would you.” 
 On even the coldest of November nights, we here at The House of Edward always turn the heat completely to the off position.  Our central heating is provided by Edward, who takes his place at the foot of the bed, plops his wooly white heat across my ankles, and generates enough warmth for us all.  (More cold natured, Apple chooses to sleep in the windowseat.  Go figure.)  Before Edward, however, we were die hard fans of the Hot Water Bottle.  But who likes to feel that rubbery cover it comes with?  This is a most cozy solution. 
Everyone should own one. 
And, they are hand-knitted, beautifully.

See Them HERE


7.  A Happy Ending

The Songwriter has a cousin who has always owned Collies.  Yes, as a child she fell in love with Lassie, a love that has endured for the whole of her life.  The last Collie she and her husband adopted was an eight year old fellow who could no longer be cared for by his owners.  He lived with them, happily, for four years until his passing a few months ago.  Our cousin and her husband were grief stricken to lose him, but they knew in their hearts that another dog was out there somewhere that needed them.  And sure enough, just last week they found their Collie.  Discovered wandering alone and left unclaimed at the county animal control center, three year old Clara Grace was picked up by Collie Rescue and our cousins found her online.  We met them for breakfast the day they came to town to get her, and their excitement was contagious. 
This lovely photograph was taken on the journey back to their home. 
I think Clara Grace looks rather happy, don’t you?


8. Christmas Gift Boxes, Horlicks and The Bartering System

I have been busy this past month creating lots of Christmas gift boxes to fill my Etsy Shoppe.  I usually try to work on these when The Songwriter is out of town, as I turn our entire cottage into a replica of Geppeto’s workshop when I’m at it.  

Christmas trees, Polar Bears, and snow covered Stags are in practically every chair, waiting their turn to adorn a gift box.  It was so much fun making these last year - I spent more time than ever at the post office, sending them on their way to be part of Christmas celebrations all over the place. 

If you’d like to see more, they are all in my Etsy Shoppe, HERE

Also, since this is a list of favourites, I have to confess that one of my favourite things in the whole world is a cup of Horlicks Light Chocolate Malt before bedtime.  (I can hear my British friends laughing even now, but I assure you that I’m quite serious.)  I load up my suitcases with the stuff whenever I’m there, as it’s nowhere to be found in the states.  Sadly, I have just run completely out.
  So here’s the deal.....  
If one of you lovely, laughing, British friends would be so kind as to send me a couple of tins of this elixir, I will be more than happy to exchange the Christmas Gift Box shown below.  Just email me, my address is there on the sidebar, and let me know!  You’d be giving me such a treat, and getting a lovely little Christmas box in return. 
Any takers?  
The first one of you to write gets the box, postage paid.

The Christmas Box below,

For a couple of these!

Good Deal?


9. Sherlock Holmes

I once had the privilege of meeting Jeremy Brett, the quintessential interpreter of Sherlock Holmes, at least in my opinion. It always seemed to me that Sir Arthur Conan Doyle himself must have sprinkled some sort of pixie dust over his book illustrations that caused them to spring to life in the form of Mr. Brett, so uncanny was his likeness to the great detective.  Any other version is always met by me with a sceptical eye.  So naturally, when I heard of the new PBS series, Sherlock Holmes, I was decidedly sniffy about the whole thing, but deigned to give it a look see.  What a sad thing it would have been if I had missed this one!  So creative, so witty, so beautifully done.  It is Holmes and Watson for the 21st century and, trust me, it works.
  I have circled my calendar for the upcoming episodes. 
They are truly a treat! 
Don’t miss them.

See more HERE.


10.  Father Christmas

Of course, this fellow, as illustrated here by the remarkably talented, Rima Staines of The Hermitage, hovers over this month like a fat, happy cloud.  I have always loved Rima’s colour palette,  it’s so perfect for this magical time of the year.  She tells me she’s busy at present with book covers and folk tales, as well as commissions, all of which makes me so happy.  Her imagination sparkles.  Any one of her pieces would fit perfectly into St. Nick’s bag, just catch him before he makes it into that chimney.

 You can find more of Rima’s work in her shoppe HERE.
or you can visit her remarkable blog HERE.

Enjoy, Enjoy November!