Sunday, December 1, 2019

Tales of the Traveling Tote #21

Rabbit, Rabbit
Hello, December!
Welcome to 
Tales of the Traveling Tote #21.
Come in from the cold and join me by the fire.

Though Mother Nature brought us our hottest September on record,
we have since enjoyed a lovely fall, including an early freeze in October and pleasant days of sweater weather and cozy fires.

Many of my readers know that "The Chef
recently had successful knee replacement surgery.
Unfortunately complications from anestheia or pain meds 
sidetracked his return home, so I've not much travel to share.
Suffice it to say, my total energy and concentration 
has been focused on my guy, who I'm happy to report 
as of this week is now back home and doing well.
Many thanks to each of you for your notes of concern and
support during this past month.  I appreciate your friendships!

Every fall and spring, I head to Round Top Antiques Festival.
Miz Checkers is the gal that typically gets to go along.
She is the perfect size to carry my phone and wallet, 
while leaving lots of room for a few small treasures to take home.

There is always a lot to tempt this collector at heart,
but I admit this year I only came home with a few apothecary jars.

Booths are artifully styled with a multitude of fabulous finds.
It definitely has a Texas vibe, but don't be fooled, there are
many beautiful American, French, and English antiques.

One of my favorite booths each show is 
Cotton Seed Trading Company.
It is owned by my friend, Marsha, who is an amazingly creative stylist.  Marsha is one who currates her booth with interesting finds, and creatively uses various objects to set her fun tablescapes.
I've featured some of her tablescapes herehere, and here.

Miz Cherckers and I were out shopping in September and met
this charming young lady at a Williams Sonoma pop-up shop.

Toni's Toffee is made right here in Austin, one batch at a time
and let me just say, " My chef and I are avid fans!"
We keep it in our freezer for a quick little bite.

When we read that Toni's Toffee would be the feature at the Peached Tortilla's first Sunday in October, we took our 
good friend, Eddie, to celebrate his birthday.

The Chef and I enjoy Peached Tortilla's monthly 
Milkshakes, Burgers, and Bubbles 
offered the first Sunday of the month.  
Miz Checkers is always ready for an outing, and you can see previous special shakes here, here, and here.

October's offering was of course, 
Pumpkin spice and everything nice!
Toni's Pumpkin Spice Toffee Mega Shake 
featured a pumpkin praline ice cream base, topped with
Toni's Toffee, a housemade pumpkin roll, 
whipped cream, and a caramel drizzle.
Yum, Yum!

Yesterday, the last day of November, Miss Merri Mac
and I stopped by one of our favorite local shops.

We went to visit my darling long time friend, Vickie
the propertier of The Menagerie
a fine jewelry and gift salon that is full of temptations.
Click her link above and do some Christmas shopping!

We had been invited to stop by for a special photo 
opportunity with this jolly fellow and his darling helper.

 I haven't had a photo taken with Santa in decades, but
couldn't pass up the opportunity with this darling elf.

Ho, Ho, Ho!
Are you in the holiday spirit?

Be sure to visit all the adventures below.
Debbie with Miss Aurora @ Mountain Breaths 
Emily with Miss Courtney ChildsThe French Hutch
Jenna with Miss Coquille @The Painted Apron
Linda P with Miss Lola @ Life and Linda
 Patti with Miss Kenzie @ Pandora's Box
Rita with Miss Luna C Panoply 
Sarah with Miss Merri Mac @ Hyacinths for the Soul
Jackie and Miss Madi K @ Purple Chocolat Home
Ricki Jill and Countess De Monet @ The Sketchy Reader
Cherry Kay and Carrie Ann Hall @ Entertaining Women  

Be certain to leave a comment on Emily's post 
to be entereded in the giveaway!


Friday, October 25, 2019

Dinner with Ghoulfriends

Annual October dinner with "ghoulfriends"
was in the fabulous home of my friend, Cindy.

Cindy loves to decorate for holidays, 
and we share the same passion for vintage 
and folk art holiday pieces.
Previous post on her Halloween home here.

The entry table is welcoming with
a large, carved wood rabbit
dressed for the season.

These images were taken at night, 
so the lighting wasn't ideal for photos.
It was the perfect ambience for the evening.

Isn't this piece amazing?

Cindy's dining room table is a beautiful antique.
The patina on the wood is rich and warm and the perfect
backdrop for her gorgeous tablescape.

Honestly, I've never seen such gorgeous pumpkins,
and the hay and glitter add a fun touch of texture and sparkle.

Cindy used a clever mix of sizes and color,
and each one has a charming stem.
Twinkle lights glow as they weave among the pumpkins 

Cindy's trick to creating the beautiul luminous glow ~
she sprayed them with clear lacquer.

My friend has collected intereting Halloween decor
through the years, and it is always a treat to see how
she incorporates these treasures around her home.

Hanging from the chandy above the table were
Halloween themed fans and figures within cones.
Try as I might, I could not get a good 
photo of the entire arrangement.

 The straw chargers add perfect texture 
that mimics the straw strewn among the pumpkins.

 Cindy's amber stemware is both beautiful
and perfect for this setting.

Dinner was healthy and delicious!
~Vegetable Soup ~ Twice Baked Potato ~ Green Salad ~
 Cindy has two sons, now adults with their own homes,
but they still expect their mom to pull out the special
holiday decor and are disappointed if she doesn't.

 I'd be disappointed too!
Let me show you some of the darling
Halloween pieces she tucks here and there.

 Like this little vintage 
Limoges jack-o-lantern!

 Cindy's metal candle tree moves about.
 This year it sits on a bench on the stair landing.

If you read my last post, you know that these metal candle trees
are from Mexico and that many of my girlfriends 
and I have them in our homes.

 Did you notice in the first photo that 
Cindy is also a MacKenzie-Childs fan?
I have this fabulous tray in Courtly Check, 
but I love the Parchment Check too.

 The scarecrow is new this year and creates a
whimsical vignette on her kitchen island.

There is no better way to add a touch of holiday color 
and vibe to a kitchen than seasonal tea towels.  
Cindy's style sense of the layered linens is stellar.

Signed and numbered little squirrel.
This little guy stays out all year.

Clever vignette on her dining room buffet.

I took party favors for each of my "ghoulfriends."
~ Skelton Gingerbread ~

Thanks for visiting.  I hope you are inspired to have
a Halloween dinner party for your "goulfriends" !

Monday, October 14, 2019

Autumn CAMEO Meeting

 I was co-hostess last week for our October CAMEO meeting.
Our topic was the work of local artist, Lu Ann Barrow.

Lu Ann is known for her sophisticated naive style of painting. 
A type of pointillism, her folkloric style is full of joy and delight.
Ms. Barrow's paintings most often reflect rural Texas life, 
Biblical stories, and her travels to foreign countries.
This one, Green Scene, painted in 1997, hangs in our home.
I wish you could see the detail up close.
Every blade of grass, every leaf on the trees, 
every piece of hay in the hay stacks ~ 
are filled with individual brush strokes.  

Represented by Valley House Gallery in Dallas, TX, 
you can view more images of her Ms Barrow's work  here.

We met in my friend, Alison's, home. 
Of course I have to share this charming mantel 
that is in her family room.
 Alison styles her metal candle tree for various holidays.
I also have one of these candle trees, 
so I like to make note of her creative styling ideas

 These metal trees were made in Mexico in the 1990s.
They came with a set of five removable holiday toppers.
I recall that they were sold at a local holiday market
one year and many of us have them in our homes.

The cute black and orange felt garland 
was from World Market's 2018 collection. 

The paper maché witch figures were handmade by
Alison and her two daughters when the girls were very young.

As long as I've known Alison, she has included 
these charming little witches in her autumn decor.  
As a former elementary teacher, I find it very touching
that Alison values these artistic endeavors.
Children's art is whimsical and uninhibited, and I believe 
we should honor and display children's creative work
with the diginity and importance it deserves.

The beautiful owl painting is new this season.
Alison shared the process of this piece on her Instagram account.  
It was fascinating to watch this painting come to life.
You can follow Alison on IG here.

 This is a previous years' version of Alison's mantel,
and I thought you would enjoy seeing this clever idea too.

The table was set with beautiful vintage silver
that offered up a variety of autumn treats.

 Plush velvet pumpkins arranged on a silver tray
graced the center of the table.

 Alison added vignettes of more velvet 
pumpkins on either side.

Fresh sprigs of seeded eucalyptus
provided just the right touch of added texture.

 Among the goodies, fresh fruit served in paper cups.
These cardstock style cupcake cups are great for 
individual servings of many offerings and also add
a seasonal touch in both color and design.

I made acorn cakelets using another one of my Nordic pans 
and my favorite recipe for old fashion gingerbread.

A tart lemon sauce 
was served on the side.
Little Miss Pumpkin sits in the girls's
childhood highchair at the end of the dining room.

 Happy Halloween, 2000

Alison is an accomplished artist in her own right, and
many of Alison's original paintings hang in her home.
Happy Halloween is a painting of Alison's home at the time, 
when her girls were little, and dressing in costume 
for Halloween was the custom.
Each year after, while the girls were little, Alison would paint in two additional figures of the girls dressed in their Halloween
costume for that year.  I suspect this is a favorite family painting!
Alison specializes in primative memory paintings.  
You can see more of her work here.