Flying Round My Head.... A List and a Giveaway!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Flying Round My Head
... A List

November is such an anticipatory month. As if by magic, the calendar fills up with dinners, parties, concerts, lunches. Edward and I sit by the fireside, planning meals and flowers, Christmas presents, Christmas cards.
My head swirls with holiday colour. Will it be gold and silver? Red and green? No, this year I’m planning the very medieval combination of copper and crimson with a touch of fir green.
And then, of course, on the last Thursday of the month comes the most celebratory meal of the American year. Thanksgiving. One perfect meal that requires days and days of happy preparation during which I become a cook and a baker, a florist, a decorator, a hostess. Such happy work for a thankful person. Thanksgiving comes early this year, did you know? A delightful fact that brings us a full extra week of the Christmas season.
Ideas have been crowding my brain, each leap-frogging over the other, each requesting my full attention.
I have caught a few of these thoughts in the net of this blog post to share with you.
And an extra treat sits in the middle of the list.


1. Holiday Tables
As much as I love cooking, and I do love it, especially during the holiday season, I also love creating special holiday tables. As an avid collector of unusual china that I squirrel away anywhere I can (don't look underneath the skirted tables!), I love doing something different at each holiday meal, often at each place setting.
My heart skipped a beat when I saw this collection from Hermes.
See it HERE.

2. Goblets
I have a small collection of Weller Pottery’s Woodland Series that I completely adore for it’s fairytale quality and beautiful colour.
Wouldn’t these goblets be the perfect addition?
Perhaps for a glass of mead?
I love these.
You can find them HERE.


3. Gloves
When cold weather falls down from the sky I head straight for my glove drawer with a smile on my face.
Velvet gloves, fair isle gloves.
Knitted, leather, cashmere.
I can never have too many.
I recently found these and am besotted.
Find them HERE.

4. Learning Something New
When I saw this recent photograph of Emma Watson on her first day at Oxford, it echoed the feeling that always seems to find me every fall. The craving to learn something new. Perhaps it’s a holdover from my own school days, but whenever shiny notebooks and pens show up in the stores and the mornings turn crisp and cool, my brain wakes up from its summer holiday and starts to look around for a challenge.
A couple of autumns ago, I learned to knit.
And last year, I attempted a mastery of Scottish Gaelic, which, I am ashamed to admit, I was completely ill-suited to learn. I would get into the car, pop in my CD of Learn Scottish Gaelic The Easy Way and commence my lesson, only to become tongue-tied and confounded before I’d backed out of the driveway. (Any advice, Angus?)
This year, I’m busy writing something. Believe me, that has my full attention and is exercising my brain thoroughly. Although, I’m also planning to bake my very first plum pudding. Does anyone have a good recipe? I’m considering Delia Smith’s, but do I really have to use suet?
Advice from those who’ve made one is heartily appreciated.
And what about you?
Are you learning something new this autumn?


5. Beautiful Shawls
.....and A Giveaway!

Anyone who knows me knows I’m often swaddled in shawls in cold weather. Love them with a passion. Some of my favourites, like the one above, can be found on the wonderful web store, Novica. I’ve featured Novica before - it’s a company I love, both for it’s amazing selection and for it’s fair trade practices.
They recently contacted me and offered to award one of my readers with a gift code of $50 to use any way you like. You may like the shawls, like me, or the jewelry, or a new hat, or.....!
What a treat!
Get an early start on your holiday shopping, or give yourself a special present, your choice.
I often find myself getting lost in Novica’s accessories, either for women, or for men.
And they have recently started a program for in home group shopping parties.
Like the Tupperware parties of old!
You can find out more HERE.
And for a chance to win the $50 gift code, just leave a comment on this post.
Edward and I will hold the drawing on Friday the 12th at midnight.
Good Luck All!


6. Bottle Stoppers
All these holiday parties and dinners mean lots of hostess gifts. Personally speaking, I love it when guests arrive bearing flowers, even though it’s often not recommended due to the supposition that it takes too much time to find a vase, and often the flowers have already been done and your gift may clash with the theme of the evening. Bah, I say. As a hostess, I always have time to grab a vase, and one can never have too many flowers in my estimation. But... here’s a great alternative idea for a hostess gift, or any gift for that matter. These bottle stoppers from Pottery Barn are gorgeous, inexpensive, and come in several gorgeous designs. See them all HERE.

I love decorative bottle stoppers myself, and use a special one atop a cut glass bottle of emerald green dish soap by my kitchen sink.
Isn't she wonderful?


7. Taking the Dog Along
The one drawback of our recent trip to Maine was, of course, that Edward and Apple had to stay behind. We are so fortunate to have a lovely and trusted dog sitter that moves in when we move out. Both dogs adore her and we can leave without worrying about their safety. Apple, having terrier blood in her furry veins, rolls with the punches with glee. But I know Edward pouts, and I hate, hate, to leave him. We often arrange our trips to include the dogs. They’ve come along with us on holidays to the beach and the mountains and we’ve all had so much fun. When I saw this pet travel case, I flipped.
What a brilliant way to repurpose old luggage.
There is space for the food underneath the bowls.
Completely ingenious!
Find it HERE.


8. Sylvia
The Songwriter insists on calling the GPS lady who lives in our iPhone by her official name of Karen. However, she sounds nothing at all like a Karen to me so I call her Sylvia. Sylvia sounds more obdurate and imperious than Karen and just seems to suit this cool voiced directional know-it-all a bit better. I might manage to convince a Karen to listen to me if I really and truly thought she was leading me down a wrong path. A Sylvia would pay me no mind.
Based on her voice, I imagine her bearing more than a passing resemblance to Agnes Moorehead. I often think of her, grumpily throwing down her magazine, or climbing out of a bubble bath, whenever we call her for assistance.
Honestly. Can’t those two go anywhere by themselves?”
I confess, I was a total snob about using a GPS. “We’ve managed perfectly fine for years without one”, I haughtily said. “It’s just a toy”.
And then we went to Maine.
We picked up a rental car in Boston so we could dilly-dally through the fall colour of Massachusetts and New Hampshire as we followed the smell of the sea up to Maine.
But darkness fell before we made it up to our friend’s house. Pitch-darkness. Really, really dark. Our friends live by a lake in the deep woods and it was so dark we couldn’t even see street signs, if there were street signs, so The Songwriter thought it prudent to pull Sylvia away from whatever it was she was doing.
And sure enough, she began telling us to “turn left in 30 feet”.... “continue on for 1.4 miles”.... etc.
If we happened to let the phone slip down in the seat, she would discipline us with a sharp, “Please place your iPhone where it can receive a clear satellite signal”.
It was easy to imagine her icy visage as we hurriedly put the phone on the dashboard.

At her insistence, we drove down winding lanes, far, far off the beaten path. I was utterly convinced she was delusional or, even worse, out to get us good, as we sat staring into the forest at a long, long, fir lined path.
You have arrived at your destination”, she said, smugly.

Imagine the above picture in total darkness.
She’s having us on”, I told The Songwriter.
“She’s never liked me since I changed her name.”
But I shall never doubt her again, for after bumping along this lane for a while we did indeed arrive at the correct door. Amazing. How does she do it?
Sylvia and I have now become friends.
If you have yet to meet her, you should.

By the way, I had an aunt who was the mirror image of Agnes Moorehead.
And I'm not joking.


9. The Secret
Since my engagement anniversary post of a few weeks ago, I’ve had a few people ask me for the “secret” to a happy marriage. Lord, I couldn’t answer that if I tried. I know there are those who say a good marriage is “hard work”, but to me it’s just the opposite. I can’t imagine laboring over my marriage - isn’t that the one place we should be able to relax and just be ourselves?
Oh, I have no advice to give.
Humour, trust, friendship - all those are in there, I know.
When I saw this photograph of Paul and Joanne, I thought to myself... there it is!
All the secrets to a happy marriage are right there in that picture.

Happy November,
And don't forget to enter the giveaway!


Congratulations to Deniz Bevan!
The winner of the Novica gift code!