Saturday, December 30, 2017

Magical Memory Maker

I live in Austin, but it was Katie @ Preppy Empty Nester
who gave me a heads-up on this amazing venue
right here in downtown Austin.

 Kudos to the Weston Downtown Austin
for creating this life size gingerbread house as the perfect
spot for brunch with these two cuties.

 I arrived a few minutes early to add some special touches
to the table before the girls joined me.

The Weston had covered the tabletop with the perfect plaid
wrapping paper, black napkins, and white dishes.  I added
Courtly Check chargers, red gingham napkins with tartan napkin rings, a tabletop tree, and party treats as take home favors.

 A tabletop tree from Bethany Lowe was embellished with
Courtly Check glass balls, miniature lighted gingerbread houses, tiny tin hearts, Santas, snowmen, and candy canes.

It was three days to Christmas,
and the littles were filled with excitement.

I filled pink tins from Target's Dollar Spot
with candy for the girls to take home to enjoy later.

I also found the darling 2017 snow globe with the gingerbread
boy and girl at Target, a music box that plays Toy Land.

Special gingerbread cookies in a tin and gingerbread boy
and girl headbands were waiting at their spot.

 The little girls were beyond excited with 
all the sweets and the details of the gingerbread house.

Festive boxes of caramel treats and a
Starbucks gift card waited for the "older" girls.

We ordered off the brunch menu, 
and the food was delicious!

Curren, our waiter, was both attentive and engaged.
Outstanding service!!!  Thank you, Curren!

A big thank you to Weston Downtown Austin for offering this
creative venue that was perfect for making magical memories.

They say that the best gifts to give children 
are experiences that provide lasting memories.
In this day and time when many children have an abundance
 of toys, electronics, etc. it makes sense to give a gift 
that creates a magical memory for years to come.


Thursday, December 28, 2017

Fire Light, Twinkle Lights, and Warm Woolen Blankets

The post Christmas week is one of my favorites.
There is no rush to do much of anything.
It's a time to relax after the crush of holiday parties.
A time of leisure to enjoy quiet moments by the fire, to
treasure these last days of the glow from the 
tree lights and shiny ornaments, and to bask in the
splendor and joy of this beautiful holiday.

Our tree is a collected tree.  
The ornaments are ones acquired through the years,
some from our childhood trees, some from my single days.
others added through the 42 years of our marriage.

This "golden" duck wish bone with sequin details
was crafted by my mother-in-law and given 
to us for our first Christmas tree the year we married.
A bone saved from one of the Thanksgiving ducks were used
to make this "good luck" ornament for our tree.

Many have asked to see more details of our tree, 
so I've focused in on a few themes within 
the ornaments that hang on our Christmas tree.

If you follow my blog, 
you know of my passion for MacKenzie-Childs,
especially the brand's Courtly Check pattern.

We started adding MacKenzie-Childs ornaments 
to our tree in 2000 with the two you see above.

As the number of ornaments have accumulated,
our tree has taken on a distinct Courtly Check theme.
These are but a few of the incredible 
MacKenzie-Childs ornaments on our tree.

This darling Courtly Check cake plate mimics the life size one
The Chef gave me on my 60th birthday.

Various cooking theme ornaments reflect
The Chef's passion for food and cooking.

Tea theme pieces are a nod to
my fondness for tea time.

 Our love of France is 
also reflected on our tree.

This charming Louis Nicole French couple
were added to our tree in 1983.
You can read a complete post about 
Monsieur Chien and Mademoiselle Chat here.

Of course there are other dog ornaments too.
This year there was a new tartan dish under the tree.
Our sweet Sadie girl inspects it frequently asking,
"So where are the goodies, folks?"

 A collection of beautiful glass heart ornaments
are scattered throughout the branches.
The one above top row center is a treasured gift from my mother,
while most of the others were gifts from a dear friend 
who brings me a new heart each Christmas.
This is just a sampling!

 I am a Chi Omega alumna, so it is no surprise
that owls have flown onto the branches of our tree.

This guy sporting real feathers is new this year, my treasure from
 the ornament exchange at my recent dinner party.

Other birds have flocked to our tree through the years as well.
The Courtly Check bird on the egg is a rare
MacKenzie-Childs ornament.

Generally our tree looks much the same year to year, 
a tweak here and there or a new ornament found or gifted.
This year, I added the plaid picks that Pier 1 offered.
I like the pop of red plaid with the Pier 1 
burlap picks I've used for years.

To top our 2017 tree, I unpacked this exquisite
  MacKenzie-Childs handpainted glass topper.
Since I hadn't used this piece in recent years,
 it added an elegant fresh touch.

A small tabletop tree on the 
dining room buffet glows with tiny lights.

Another small tree sparkles with lights
by the side entrance to welcome us home.

Here at Hyacinths for the Soul,
 the post Christmas week is one of fire light,
 twinkle lights, and warm woolen blankets.

Monday, December 25, 2017

The Gift of Friendship

I had the privilege of hosting the Christmas dinner
for my group of girlfriends who have been 
in a dinner group for over thirty years.

The table was set with festive cranberry colored dishes
and sprinkled with golden glitter. 

The cranberry chargers are Italian by Bitossi.
Dinner plates are Queen's Rooster for Neiman Marcus.
Comfort cups are Winter Frolic by Juliska.
Sterling flatware is Sir Christopher by Wallace.
Antique napkin rings are French.

Kate Spade ornaments dangled from above
to set the mood of Fa ~ la ~ la ~la ~ la.

Fragrant winter greens mixed with winter berries, lilies, peonies,  hydrangeas, and an exotic bloom filled my cherished 
MacKenzie-Childs Piece de Resistance tureen.

Festive glass Christmas balls served as party favors
and place name holders for each guest.

Some with golden polka dots, 
some with golden stripes.

Others with golden words of Fl La La or Merry.
All echoed the Kate Spade ornaments from above.

Dinner was prepared by "The Chef".

We served Beef Bourguignon 
and a side salad.

 Dessert was served from the buffet with a choice of
home baked pound cake and a variety of Tiny Pies
cherry, apple, pecan, or chocolate.
The delicious pound cake was a gift from my cousin.
The recipe, Vanilla Cream Cheese Pound Cake
is found on page 208 in Ina Garten's Cooking for Jeffrey.

The cute Jingle mug with its golden antler 
reindeer stirrer is new this year, 
but the Winter Frolic party plates have served 
us well for the past several years.

Dapper Santa figures dressed in tuxedos
are by folk artist, Nancy Thomas.
The "sleigh" of Santa figures are vintage from the 1950s.
All the Courtly Check is available at MacKenzie-Childs.

It was a Merry Christmas evening!
Sadie and I wish each of you a very festive 
Merry Christmas!