Monday, December 31, 2012

An Amazing Christmas House, Part Two

Welcome to Part Two of our Christmas House tour.  We're not touring my house, but the home of my mom's sweet friend and neighbor, Susie.  If you're not completely sick of Christmas decorations, and you missed Part One, you can view that Here.

In this post, we'll see the rest of Susie's house all decked out for Christmas.  I'm glad we visited yesterday, because she may be taking all of these pretties down, even as I write this.  :)

Susie's kitchen has a gingerbread theme every year, and she's inspired my mom to do a gingerbread tree in her kitchen now.

An Amazing Christmas House, Part One

Hi all!  I hope you've had a chance to do some things you enjoy this weekend.  Did you spend the weekend taking down and putting away your Christmas decorations?  Not me; I believe the Christmas season lasts until Epiphany on January 6th, so I leave my decs up until the sixth (sometimes longer). 

I know we've all been inundated with Christmas images for the last month (or more), but I just have to share some pictures of this home with its amazing Christmas decorations before December is completely gone.  My mom's very dear friend and neighbor was kind enough to invite my husband and I to see her home with all her beautiful Christmas decor before she takes it down for the year.  We had actually hoped to see and photograph it before Christmas, but it didn't work out that way.  We ended up being too busy to visit her until today, actually.

We took so many pictures that I had to make this a two-part post.  So here we go with Part One; you can see Part Two Here.  I'm going to show Susie's foyer, dining room, and den in the first post, and the rest of the house in the second post.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

English Robin in the Snow

I just couldn't resist posting this charming image while we're still enjoying the Christmas holidays.  I have always thought these English Robins are the most darling little birds; I hate to say it, but much cuter to my way of thinking than their larger cousin, the American Robin.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Christmas Wishes

To all my blogging friends and faithful readers, wherever your home may be,

...this 2012 Christmas Season, I Wish for You --

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

December Note Card Party

"It is Christmas in the heart that puts Christmas in the air."~W.T. Ellis

Season's Greetings everyone!  I'm getting into panic mode with finishing our Christmas preparations, but I hate to miss Vee's monthly Note Card Party.  Without further ado, here are my choices for this month -- of course I chose a Christmas theme.

"Snow Globe Nativity"

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Pretty In Plaid

I'm re-posting a Christmas tablescape that I originally published on January 6th of this year.  I didn't get it up by Christmas last year because my dad had been in the hospital, and December was a stressful month for all of us. This is one of my very favorite tablescapes, and I hope you enjoy seeing it.  I'll be linking this tablescape to Let's Dish, hosted by Cuisine Kathleen on Wednesday evening, and Tablescape Thursday at Between Naps on the Porch.  Thanks to both of these ladies for hosting.  I look forward to seeing you there.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Our Dickens Village

"It is good to be children sometimes, and never better than at Christmas when its mighty Founder was a child Himself."~Charles Dickens

I've always wanted to see England at Christmas.  It makes me think of plum pudding with a sprig of holly on top, roasted chestnuts, and those charming old buildings with bow windows and snow decorating the window panes.  I picture centuries old fireplaces with crackling fires, wassailing, and voices with Cockney accents singing "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen."  In essence, Charles Dickens' "A Christmas Carol."

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Winter Concert at UNCG

Hi everyone!  Can you believe it's December?  I like it when Thanksgiving falls a week earlier on the calendar because it gives us an extra week between the two holidays to prepare for Christmas.  I've really enjoyed seeing everyone's Christmas posts so far; I've seen some wonderful Advent wreaths this week as we enter into this holy season.

I don't have a Christmas post for you today.  I'm still decorating, and I'll have some pictures to show very soon.  In the meantime, I'm sharing some pictures of our son's winter band concert yesterday evening at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Christmas Music

I've been decorating the Christmas tree in our den today and listening to Christmas music on the CD player.  Music is one of the things I truly love about the Christmas season.  We like to listen to a variety of Christmas music at our house, and thank goodness we have a pretty good collection because they play the same old tunes over and over on the cable music channel and the radio.

A few of our favorites are the soundtrack from "A Charlie Brown Christmas," performed by the Vince Guaraldi Trio.

This old favorite airs on CBS tonight at 8:00 p.m., by the way.  :)

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Picking Out the Christmas Tree

The turkey and dressing had not yet become a fond memory when we took off to the mountains to the Choose and Cut tree farm to select our Christmas trees for 2012.  Friday was a beautiful day with mild temperatures and the sky was full of Cirrus clouds -- those wispy, trailing clouds that we call mares' tails.

We have driven to the mountains to choose a fresh Christmas tree since the very first Christmas we were married.  Most years, the weather has been kind.  However,  I do recall one year before our son was born when it was drizzling rain and the mud was so thick, the tree farm employees couldn't drive the wagon up the hills to collect the cut trees, so we had to manhandle our tree down the hill to the baler.  And more than once, there has been a biting wind that whipped through our clothes as we stood exposed on the mountain, facilitating a rather speedy selection of the tree.  In fair weather (or not so fair), I'm just very thankful that for 26 years we've been able to carry on this family tradition.

Friday, November 16, 2012

The Last Roses

Fall seems to be well and truly here now, in our part of North Carolina.  We definitely had an Indian Summer this year, because after a cold snap around the middle of October, we then went back to temps in the 70's later in the month.

Our David Austin roses have been continuously putting out a few blooms all through September and October.  We've had this Gertrude Jekyll rose for three years, and this is the first year it has bloomed  into autumn.  In addition, there were buds, promising more blooms to come (as long as they didn't get caught by an early freeze).  You can see previous posts on our David Austin roses Here and Here.

Well it's been cold and windy here this week, folks, and yesterday I was amazed to see two beautiful blooms still on the stalk, along with several unopened and partially-opened buds. The temperatures have been dipping into the 30's at night, but apparently they've stayed just above freezing, so these flowers were still healthy and intact, rather than brown and drooping.  And best of all, they still have their wonderful fragrance.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Southern Bloggers Conference 2012

Hi folks!  Is it cold where you are tonight?  The sun has shone (for the most part) the last two days, but it's still been quite chilly here in our part of North Carolina.  Brrrr.

I was very excited to be able to attend the Southern Bloggers Conference 2012, which was held in Raleigh, NC, October 12th - 14th.  I was only there for one day, Saturday the 13th, but it was a busy day.  It was great to meet other bloggers (from near and far), as well as get lots of good information and tips on how to grow my blog.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Fall Fireplace

Hi all!  I haven't posted in a few weeks, and I'm determined to show some fall scenes around the house before we start decorating for Christmas.  I cannot believe Thanksgiving is next week -- Yikes!

I have so many things to share with you; I still haven't posted on my trip to the Southern Bloggers Conference in Raleigh back in October.  I'll be doing a post on the conference very soon because I got to meet two bloggers that I've really wanted to meet in person -- Barbara from Two Birdies and a B. and Shirley from Housepitality Designs.  These are two very sweet ladies!

Monday, October 29, 2012

Autumn on the Blue Ridge Parkway

I'm writing this post as a follow-up to my story on Holy Trinity Church of the Fresco.  We drove along the Blue Ridge Parkway after touring the church, and the leaf colors were really gorgeous that day.  Sometimes I save my pictures and material and wait weeks (or months) to write about them; but I wanted to go ahead and get this out because the leaves are being blown off the trees faster than I've ever seen before.  There have been years where some of our trees in the area still had pretty leaves as late as Thanksgiving.  I'm pretty sure that won't be the case this year.

Not only were the leaves spectacularly colorful, but the sky was colorful as well, and full of interesting cloud formations.  I love the different layers of sky colors in this picture.  There are violet, pale rose, white, pale blue, and then the smokey blue of the mountain ridges in the distance.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

A Mountain Treasure -- Church of the Fresco

Autumn is so beautiful -- and so fleeting.  Just last weekend we were out enjoying the colorful leaves and gorgeous mountain views; and now, this evening, the wind has whipped up and is blowing the leaves off the trees.  I'm not ready for them to be gone yet; fall is our favorite time of the year here at Forest Manor. Somehow, it always goes by much too fast.

I think that winter can be beautiful too, with the bare, lacy branches of the trees stretched across the sky.  But for now, I'm celebrating autumn, and I hope all the leaves won't get blown down just yet.

In the mountains of North Carolina, in the small town of Glendale Springs, stands this tiny wooden church.  Holy Episcopal Church was built in Glendale Springs in 1901, and is now called Holy Trinity Church of the Fresco.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

October Note Card Party

Hi everyone!  I love the monthly Note Card Party hosted by Vee at A Haven For Vee.  We always get to see the prettiest pictures submitted by bloggers with an eye for a good photo.  Mr. Forest Manor and I were watching the presidential debate last night, so I'm linking on a bit late.  This is my favorite time of year, so I didn't want to miss the party.

This month, I titled my note cards "Sunday Drive".  The pictures were taken on two separate afternoons when we took a Sunday drive to enjoy the beauty all around us.  You can find the posts for these pictures Here and Here.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Keep Calm and ...

Hi all!  Happy Tuesday to you, and I hope you're having a great week!  It's such a beautiful fall day outside that it just makes me giddy!  I love, love this time of the year.

I'm back from the Southern Bloggers Conference in Raleigh, NC, and it was just great!!  The organizers and speakers did a fantastic job; it was obvious that a lot of work had gone into this event.  I'll post more about that later in the week.  At the moment, our son is home from college on Fall Break, and he goes back this evening.  It's been a short visit.  I still can't believe he's a senior this year.  My grandmother was right; the older we get, the faster time flies.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Just Checkin' In

Hi everyone!  Remember me?  I haven't abandoned my blog, but we've had a lot going on the past few weeks.  We went to the beach for a long weekend two weeks ago (we missed our annual beach trip this summer because of the kitchen re-model).  In addition, I've been trying to adjust to a new blood pressure medication for the past month, which has proven to be a bit frustrating.  I'm now on my third different prescription because the first two didn't work out.  I think I'm going to be able to tolerate this one, but I have had a few side effects while my body adjusts.

I've been doing some fall decorating in the meantime, and I always enjoy that.  I'll have some pictures to show you next week, but for now, I'm busy getting ready for the Southern Bloggers Conference this coming weekend in Raleigh, North Carolina.   Can you say "road trip"?  :-D

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

September Note Card Party

Vee at A Haven For Vee is hosting her monthly Note Card Party.  It's always fun to see the pretty and creative photos people have chosen for their "note cards."

Friday, September 14, 2012

A Transformation In Our Den

Hi everyone!  I love Thursday evenings because that means tomorrow is Friday -- WooHoo!    My friends at work used to call Thursday "Friday's Eve."  I always got a real kick out of that.  :)

Thursday, September 13, 2012


Hi everyone!  Is this weather great, or what?  I went out to walk Mr. MacDuff and this is the sky that I saw when I got out from underneath the canopy of trees in our front yard.  Please try to overlook the power lines; it's hard to find a spot where they're not intruding into the picture.

Friday, September 7, 2012

The Berliner Kindl Restaurant in Black Mountain

Hi everyone -- Happy Friday!  I'm so glad the weekend is here again.  This is my last post about our trip to the mountains back in July.  Earlier, I wrote about the Cherohala Skyway, The Blue Waters Mountain Lodge, and the town of Hendersonville.

On our way home from the mountains, we stopped to eat lunch at a little German restaurant called The Berliner Kindl.  The Berliner Kindl is in the town of Black Mountain.  The restaurant is authentically German; a married couple owns and operates the restaurant, and the husband grew up in Germany.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Beginning the Kitchen Reveal

I'm so excited to finally reveal the first part of our new kitchen!  Those of you who regularly read my blog have seen pictures of this cabinet in various stages of construction, but this is the first time I've shown the finished product.  We waited so long to be able to have our kitchen re-modeled, and then the actual work itself took four months; our contractor was working another job during the week, so he could only work at our house on weekends.  The cabinet and tile man and the granite guys were able to work during the week, so eventually, it all came together.  I've been doing the happy dance for weeks now.  :)

Friday, August 31, 2012

Hendersonville, North Carolina

Well, it's Friday folks, and it seems that Friday is almost always my travel post day.  You might think, in reading my blog, that all we do is travel -- or that we travel a lot.  Not so.  We have been fortunate enough to take some big trips, which I'll be sharing on my blog in the future.  We usually go to the beach once during the summer and to the mountains for about four days during the summer.  And speaking of the mountains, that's what I'm writing about again today.  Last week I shared with you our trip to the Blue Waters Mountain Lodge, in the western North Carolina mountains.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Liebster Award

My sweet friend, Rose H. of Second Hand Rose, in the U.K., has given me the Liebster Award.  Thank you kindly, Rose.  Rose has such a cute blog; she loves to thrift shop, like most of us here in Blog land.  She finds the most wonderful bargains in Staffordshire, England, where she lives.  Please stop by and visit Rose; you'll be glad you did.

I'm supposed to tell you eleven things that you may not know about me, so here goes.

1.  I love history and attended a Renaissance Fair in North Carolina several years ago (kind of nerdy, I know).

2.  Books are one of my very favorite things in life, and I love to read and collect them.

3.  I worked four years at a bookstore during my twenties.  The pay and the hours were not so good, but it was a great experience for me.

4.  I met my husband at said bookstore.  :)

5.  Our current home was hit by a tornado during our second year of living here.  We had to move out of it for eight weeks while it was being repaired.  Before that happened, I was NEVER afraid of storms, but now they make me a tad nervous (especially when there's a tornado warning issued).

6.  Scottish Terriers are my favorite dogs.  I have had three during the course of my lifetime.

7.  I took four years of French in school, but don't remember a lot of it.

8.  I loved to play the piano for many years when I was growing up.  I still love it, but am VERY out of practice.

9.  My son hates for me to play the piano.  My stopping and starting over (hence the out-of-practice thing) drives him crazy.  :)

10.  I'm seriously afraid of spiders -- a real arachnophobe.

11.  I'm a big Lord of the Rings movie fan (not very girlie, I know).

I'm passing this Liebster Award to eleven other bloggers, who like me, have less than 200 followers.  I hope you'll take a few minutes to visit their blogs; they all have some neat things to share!

Living With Thanksgiving

A Southerners Notebook

The Writer's Reverie

Two Tumbleweeds

Southern Gnome

Minerva's Garden

Applejack Lane

Just Grand

Time Was Antiques

Helen's Decor

Blue Mountain Rise

Thanks again, Rose, and thanks to everyone for visiting House at Forest Manor.


Saturday, August 25, 2012

The Blue Waters Mountain Lodge

In July, I wrote a short post about our trip to the mountains of western North Carolina, but I wanted to share some more details and pictures of the trip with you.  Our destination was the small town of Robbinsville, NC -- more specifically the Blue Waters Mountain Lodge on Lake Santeetlah.  I wrote about the Blue Waters last year, and you can read that post Here.  I took lots of pictures of the interior of the lodge last year; I'll try not to repeat those this year, because I have some new things to show you.

The Blue Waters Lodge is aptly named because this is the view directly across the street from the lodge.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Mom and Dad's Porch

I want to share some pictures of my parents' screened porch with you.  Every time I visit them, I find my eyes straying in that direction, because the porch just beckons you to come out and sit...for a few minutes or a few hours.  Of course, during the very hottest part of summer, it doesn't get used as often.  Most of us gravitate towards the air-conditioned house when it's so hot and humid outside.  But in the spring, fall, and early summer, there's no better place to be.

My parents had their home built about eight years ago, with a screened porch opening off the great room.  But after living there for five or six years, my mom and dad realized they just weren't thrilled with the look and feel of their porch.  It felt too dark, and didn't really flow with the warm whites and cream colors in the adjacent great room.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

August Note Card Party

Hi Dear Readers!  It's time once again for the monthly note card party hosted by Vee at A Haven For Vee.  You're all invited to join in the party by sharing just four of your images that you think would make pretty or interesting note cards.  Your images must have already appeared in one of your previous posts.

Here are my note cards titled "Birds, Blossoms, and Butterflies."

 Chickadee on Backyard Bird feeder

Queen Anne's Lace

Roadside Daisies

Tiger Swallowtail and Turk's Cap Lily

The first image doesn't have a lot of color because the photo was taken in winter.  You can see that post Here.  The last three images were taken along the roadside on the Cherohala Skyway a few weeks ago.  The images actually appear in mosaic form in this post.

Thank you for your visit and your interest in my blog.  It helps me stay inspired.  The butterflies will soon be gone for the season, so I hope you'll enjoy them while they're here.  Until next time...


Thursday, August 9, 2012

Let's Go To London!

In the spirit of the 2012 Olympic Games, I'm introducing a new Olympic event.  It's called the Touring/Sightseeing/Eating/Shopping-in-London event.  I'm not very athletic, but I think this is one "sporting event" that I could medal in!  I've been training for quite a while now, and I'm ready to compete.  :)

Okay, actually, I'm ready in spirit, but the economy and the value of the dollar just aren't cooperating.  So, in addition to watching the games on the telly, I've pulled out my pictures from our trip to England in 1999 and I'm re-living the experience (as best I can remember it, that is).  It's amazing how much you forget after 13 years.  This is Part One of my travel series on England.  You can click on the links to see Part Two and Part Three.

A lot of things have changed since 1999, to be sure.  A new princess, the Chunnel, and a new skyscraper in London (the tallest in Europe standing 1,016 feet high).  But it's still fun to look back at our time there.  We were in England for a week, but we only spent one day in London.  My husband was there on a project for work, so we stayed in a small village near his company facility.  I still feel so fortunate that I was able to tag along with him and see the sights.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Mountain Treasures

Last week we traveled to the mountains of western North Carolina.  This was our destination...

a very special destination, to be sure -- a lovely and restful place.

But hubby and I aren't just about the destination; we like to enjoy the journey, as well.  So we try to discover some interesting towns on our way there and on our way home again.

A few years ago, we discovered the town of Hendersonville, about a half-hour south of Asheville.

We usually get to Hendersonville in time to eat an early dinner, and then walk along the main street for a bit before we resume our journey.

During the three days or so that we stay at the Blue Waters Lodge, we can make little day trips to see the nearby countryside.  This year, we drove the length of the Cherohala Skyway into Tennessee.  We saw lots of mountain views...

 ...and some beautiful wildflowers.

Then when it was time to head home again, we stopped for lunch in the charming town of Black Mountain.  They have a really neat German restaurant, family-owned with a deli and a gift shop inside, and all the charm of an old-world restaurant.

Do you like to explore the highways and by-ways in your part of the world?  My husband's grandfather used to say "You're never lost if you've got a full tank of gas."  That's my kind of philosophy, too. :)

I'll be doing another post about these places with more info and pics soon.  You can read about our last year's trip to the Blue Waters Mountain Lodge Here.

I hope you're having a great weekend and a great summer.  I'm joining the folks at Seasonal Sundays, hosted by our very talented blogger, The Tablescaper, and linking to Sunny Simple Sundays, hosted by Elaine, at Sunny Simple Life.  I so appreciate your visits and your comments.


Thursday, August 2, 2012

MacDuff Is Feeling Better!

Hi everyone!  I hope you've found a cool spot to hang out for the next few days.  We had a reprieve from the heat for about three days, but it's cranking up again.  I do love autumn, but I'm determined not to wish my life away.  However...some cooler temps would be nice.

Almost three weeks ago, I published a post called Dog Love; you can read it Here.  In that post, I talked about an article I'd read in National Geographic which told about the evolution of dogs from their ancestors, the wolves, and about how dogs had become companions and helpers to humans over the centuries.

At the time I wrote the post, I was worried sick about our dog, MacDuff.  He had begun behaving strangely the evening before, right after my husband brought him in from his evening walk.  He seemed to be in some distress, yet, it didn't seem to be an emergency.  Mr. Forest Manor and I stayed up until 1:00 a.m. that Thursday, trying to determine if he was okay before we went off to bed.  He settled down and went to sleep, and so we thought he was okay.

But Friday morning, he definitely was not okay.  He came out of his porter to go outside, and he was moving so slowly.  He showed no interest in water or his treat after going out, which is very unusual for him.  I opened the front door because he loves to sit and look out the storm door, but he showed no interest.  In fact, he almost acted like he didn't notice I had opened the door.  He just sat in the middle of the room and stared into space.  Then he went to the kitchen, and laid under the table.  A little later, the mailman rang our doorbell with a package, and MacDuff didn't stir; he didn't acknowledge the doorbell at all.  That's when I got really frightened.  He always reacts to the doorbell.  He considers it his duty in life to guard us from "invaders" as my husband says, and anytime the doorbell rings, he barks and runs to the door -- and he barks until we go to the door and he can determine whether the visitor is a threat, or just friends or family.

I was able to get him in to see the vet that Friday afternoon, and she discovered that he was bleeding from one side of his nose.  We had seen some blood the night before, but we couldn't determine where it was coming from.  Long story short, her theory was that he might have an upper respiratory infection, polyps in his nasal passage, or a tumor.

In a couple of months, MacDuff will be 12 and 1/2 years old, and none of this sounded good to me.  The vet was doubtful that he had an upper respiratory infection because he was only bleeding from one side of his nose.  All the tests they could do to determine if he had polyps or a tumor would require him to be put under anesthesia, and at his age, that's a risky business, as is surgery.  It's also very expensive, and the chances of a "cure" are not very good, either.

The very kindly vet saw that I was upset, so she suggested we try a round of antibiotics just to see if that would help, and then we'd follow up at the end of the treatment.  I left the office feeling pretty down.  The funny thing was that MacDuff actually perked up a bit when we went to the vet.  He likes to go (believe it or not).  He loves to see the people and the other dogs.  And the vet technicians and the doctors like him because he really is a very good-natured little chap.  :)

On Saturday morning, MacDuff was still pretty lethargic.  Then about midday, he started snorting and having this violent sneezing fit.  He was spraying some blood out of his nose, so we had to put him in his porter, and he shook his head so hard he hit the sides of the porter.  I was almost in tears.  This went on for about 10 or 20 minutes, and then he finally settled down and rested.  Hubby and I could barely sleep that night.  And then miraculously, Sunday morning we got up and let him out, and it was like we had our same old MacDuff back.  It was amazing.  He was perky and alert and even played with his toys some.  We could hardly believe it, but we were so relieved and thankful.

My husband and I have discussed it at length, and we've finally decided that he must have gotten something up his nose on his walk that evening.  You see, he roots around in the grass and sniffs and snorts like a small bull or a pig :) every time we walk him on his leash.  He has been known to gobble up globs of freshly mown grass, leaves, sticks, etc., even though we scold him constantly.  He is, to quote Elmer Fudd, "...a wascally wabbit."  :)  We think he must have been rooting around in someone's yard, snorted really hard, and got something sharp in his nasal passage.  He might have even gotten a bee or bug that stung or bit him.  At any rate, I think all that violent snorting and sneezing Saturday must have finally dislodged whatever was in there, because now it's like the whole episode never happened.  We did give him his whole round of antibiotics to prevent a possible infection.

So that's my news on MacDuff.  He made such a startling recovery, we were almost afraid to celebrate for several days.  He is an older dog, and we know we won't have him forever, but we are glad to have him for right now.

 Thank you for you visits and your comments.  They are very much appreciated!!


Monday, July 30, 2012

Fall Decor Contest at WhisperWood Cottage

Well, I'm arriving late to the party, but not too late, I hope.  We've been out of town, so I just got the news today.  WhisperWood Cottage Blog is having a Talent Scouting Party, and they're looking for fall decor.

I thought I'd show you three tablescapes that I did last fall and a few photos of our fall mantel from last year, as well.

Fall is just about my favorite time of the year, and there's so much you can do to decorate your home and lawn during this season.  For starters, you can dress your kitchen or dining room table in fall colors and textures.  All three of these tables were done by me last November.  Just click on the titles to see the entire post with more views of each table.  For all of these tables, I was, for the most part, able to use things I already had on hand.

The place mats on this first table are reversible, so I was able to flip them over and use them again on my Thanksgiving Table.  I also used this same table runner on the "Giving Thanks" tablescape.  The greenery, autumn leaves, and acorns in the first two centerpieces came from mine and my mother-in-law's yard.  These are a few ways I saved money when I created my fall tablescapes.

Mantels can be tricky to decorate sometimes, involving lots of arranging and re-arranging (at our house anyway).  But they are a great spot to acknowledge the change of seasons in our homes.  Here are some pictures of our den fireplace and mantel last fall.

I found the garland of silk fall leaves on clearance at Michael's, and I thought the colors and texture of the leaves looked very realistic.  The pottery plate with painted pumpkin came from Home Goods.  I love Home Goods merchandise, and they're very budget-friendly. 

All the pumpkins are real; we bought them at a pumpkin farm a few miles from our home.  Pumpkins come in so many interesting colors and shapes now.

The pottery mugs and rooster came from a community of potters in Seagrove, North Carolina.

The hanging copper pot I bought many years ago, and I love it on the fireplace.  The horse brass on the wall to the right of the fireplace was obtained on our trip to England.

The candelabra came from Pottery Barn many years ago, as did the hand-made oak basket on the left.  I filled it with lightly scented pine cones from Michael's.

 A cozy fall fireplace.

We're still in the grips of hot summer temps now, but I'm sure fall will be here before we know it.  It's fun to start sharing some decorating ideas early.  Thanks for visiting my blog and I hope you'll take time to visit the other entries at WhisperWood Cottage today.


Sunday, July 29, 2012

Roadside Beauty On The Cherohala Skyway

Yesterday, we drove the length of the Cherohala Skyway which runs across the crest of the Unicoi Mountains.  The Cherohala Skyway crosses through the Cherokee and Nantahala National Forests, connecting Tellico Plains in southeast Tennessee to Robbinsville, in western North Carolina.  The skyway's name comes from a combination of the two forests --Chero from Cherokee and hala from Nantahala.  This two-lane blacktop covers 40 plus miles and rises to an elevation of 5,390 feet, at its highest point.

The views from the overlooks are amazing, but one of my favorite things is the wildflowers that grow next to the roadside all along the skyway.  This year, we finally took the opportunity to photograph some of these flowers.  One flower that I had particularly wanted pics of is the Turk's Cap Lily.  I've been admiring it from the car in previous years, but we've just never found the time or the right spot to stop and take pictures.  This year, we got lucky.  In addition to Turk's Cap Lily, we photographed some wild, miniature Daisies; wild Phlox; Queen Anne's Lace; Clover flowers; tiny, wild blackberries, and...a Dandelion spore.  :) 

Mr. Forest Manor is the best nature photographer at our house, hands down.  He also has the better camera, a DSLR, which I'm certainly welcome to use, but I'm not very proficient with it yet.  I normally just use our digital point and shoot.

The first mosaic is comprised from my hubby's pictures.  I thought they turned out fantastic.

I forgot to mention there are butterflies galore on the skyway this time of year.  This particular one was very accommodating during the photo shoot.

The second mosaic is of my pictures, which were taken with the point and shoot camera.  I took more, but they just weren't that terrific.  I thought these were the best of the bunch.  I did have fun trying, though.  Doesn't the Queen Anne's Lace look just like a snowflake?

I'm joining the other folks at Mosaic Monday, hosted by Mary at Little Red House.  I hope you'll stop by to see all the other mosaics by some really talented photographers and thank you, Mary, for hosting!

So glad you visited House at Forest Manor -- have a great Monday!


Friday, July 20, 2012

Quiche Recipe

Earlier this week, I set a French Provençal table for Cuisine Kathleen's Destination Table Challenge.  You can see more pictures of the table in that post Here.

 I wrote that, in keeping with the French theme, we had quiche for dinner.

It was a traditional Quiche Lorraine, which my husband and I love with a salad and good, crusty French bread.   Most of you who cook at all probably have a recipe for Quiche Lorraine tucked into your recipe files.  But just in case you don't, I thought I would share our recipe with you.  Some years ago, I found a bit of interesting history about this quiche in my cookbook, "The Frugal Gourmet."  You may remember him from old episodes on PBS and possibly Food Network.

The Frugal Gourmet (Jeff Smith) writes that the "egg pie" called a quiche is French.  It actually comes from northeastern France in an area known as Alsace-Lorraine near the border with Germany, and once a part of the German Empire.  The old classic, quiche Lorraine, is simply a bacon and egg pie.  Often onions are included.  According to Mr. Smith, "...the Germans have eaten egg and onion pies for years."  Wikipedia says the French word quiche is derived from the German word kuchen.  "Lorraine" indicates the region associated with the traditional Quiche Lorraine.

The recipe that I use came from my mom.  The card, written in her hand, has been in my recipe box most of our married life.

Here's the typewritten version, as this handwritten copy might be hard to read. 
  • One 9" pie crust (I used Pillsbury dairy crust)
  • 12 slices bacon, crisply fried and crumbled (I only use nine or ten slices)
  • 1 cup shredded Swiss cheese (about 4 oz.)
  • 1/3 cup minced onion
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 cups whipping cream
  • 3/4 teas. salt (I only use 1/4 teas.)
  • 1/4 teas. sugar
  • 1/8 teas. pepper
*One hint that I use from "The Frugal Gourmet" cookbook is to precook the pastry crust before adding the fillings to prevent a soggy crust.  Also, you may want to lightly sauté your onions before adding them to the pastry.    

Heat oven to 425°.  Prepare pastry.  Sprinkle bacon, cheese, and onion in precooked pastry.  Beat eggs slightly and blend in remaining ingredients.  Pour mixture into pie pan.  Bake 15 minutes; then reduce temperature to 350° degrees and bake 30 minutes longer or until knife inserted one inch from edge comes out clean.  Let pie stand ten minutes before serving.

I have to confess that I've never met a pie I didn't like, be it sweet or savory.  :)  This recipe makes for a fairly simple and inexpensive meal, and sometimes I find that those kind are the best.  We think this smells wonderful when it's baking, and it re-heats so well in our counter top oven (not in the microwave).

**Note:  I only use 1/4 teas. of salt, rather than the 3/4 teas. that the recipe calls for.  I feel like the bacon and cheese have enough salt already, and when I used to add the full amount, the quiche tasted too salty.  Also, I'm thinking of using Gruyère Cheese next time instead of Swiss; it's similar to Swiss, but tastier in my opinion.

If you've never made Quiche Lorraine before, I hope you'll try this recipe.  And as always, thank you for visiting my blog and for your kind comments.  I'm linking to Foodie Friday at Rattlebridge FarmSeasonal Sundays, hosted by The Tablescaper, and On The Menu Monday, hosted by Yvonne at Stone Gable.
Au Revoir,

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