Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Happy New Year!

 Happy New Year to all of you!  I've been taking time off to spend with my family, but I'll be returning to my blog soon.  :)  I wish all of you the best in the coming year and I thank you sincerely for visiting and reading my blog this year -- I appreciate it more than I can ever say.

Best Wishes,


Thursday, December 25, 2014

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas and Joy to the World!

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Gifts of Love

The countdown is definitely on now, isn't it?  Are you ready?  Have you finished your shopping and cleaning and decorating and baking?  Me either.  :)  I have so enjoyed reading your posts and seeing what you've been doing this Christmas season.  My fellow North Carolinian, Anita, who blogs at Far Above Rubies, has given us a tour of her home decorated for Christmas, and oh it is just charming!  I love it!!  Everywhere I look people are doing creative things and cooking up wonderful food.

For some reason, this year more than ever, I am feeling so thankful for my blessings and for all of my dear loved ones.  If I can't always hold them close physically, I can hold them close in my heart.  Last week, my friend Laura at Decor To Adore left me a comment about the carolers that are featured in my header.

Friday, December 19, 2014

A Silver and Red Christmas Tablescape

Hello to you all.  I haven't posted anything in almost a week -- I've been deep into Christmas preparations, which are basically going pretty well.  I still have quite a bit left to do, but I'm doing much better than last year.  We also celebrated Mr. Forest Manor's birthday earlier this week.  I told him I was really glad he was born.  :)

I'm aware that I owe all of my blog friends a visit.  I have had very little spare time to do any blogging.  My husband is home on vacation right now, and we're staying busy.  But, I have been looking at your blog posts as time allows, and it's so much fun to see what all of you are doing during this Christmas season.

I've done another Christmas tablescape, and I felt kind of self-indulgent for doing that with just a week left until Christmas day.  But I did it anyway.  :-D  The main reason is that my mom gave me these reindeer a few years ago, and I wanted to feature them so she could see them on our table.  I spotted them when we were shopping together; they were already marked down to half-price, and my mom got them for me for Christmas that year.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Friday Christmas Music

Happy Friday to you!  I've got to finish my decorating today, and I'll be listening to Christmas music while I work.  How about you?  Have you finished decorating yet?

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

A Woodland Christmas Tablescape

Hi folks!  I'm so excited to join Kathleen, who blogs at Cuisine Kathleen for her Copycat Christmas Challenge.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Christmas Outside the House

Hello everyone; I hope you all had a nice weekend.  It has turned very cold here in our area of North Carolina.  We now have a bitter wind blowing, making it feel even colder, but we did have sunshine today, which was a welcome sight for sure.

I continue to decorate for Christmas, and hubby is great about helping me out when I ask him to.  Today, he put some small nails in our birdhouse so that it could get a little touch of Christmas --

Friday, December 5, 2014

Christmas Music -- Continued

Hi, it's me again.  :-D  

Christmas Music

Happy Friday everyone!  We're almost a week into the season of Advent, and I still have a lot left to do on my Christmas preparations.  It's been cloudy here for the last few days, and it's a good time to work inside the house and also to reflect on the season of Christmas.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

The Christmas Tree Farm

The day after Thanksgiving, we drove to the mountains to pick out the Christmas trees.  We usually get two trees for our house, one for the living room and one for the den.  We also choose a tree for my in-laws.  This year, however, we won't be putting a Christmas tree in our den because of our little Scottish/Tasmanian devil.  ;)  We're thinking by next Christmas, he'll have calmed down enough for us to have one in the den again.  He is still a puppy, after all.

Anyway, off we went to the tree farm to pick out Fraser firs for the 28th Christmas in a row, but this year, we were in for a special surprise --

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Christmas Images

Today is the first Sunday of Advent, and for Christians, the Christmas season has officially begun.  Most of us have probably already bought a gift (or two) to get a head start on our Christmas shopping.  Laura, at Decor to Adore published a beautiful and heartfelt post today about the meaning of Advent, if you'd like to stop by and read it.

We'll be putting the two trees in their stands today and bringing them into the house, after which Mr. Forest Manor will put the lights on and then turn the decorating over to me.  :)  Since it will take me awhile to get everything decorated, I wanted to share some images from our home at Christmas last year.  You're probably all working on your Christmas today, too; I hope you enjoy looking at the pictures when it's time for you to take a break. 

Saturday, November 29, 2014


The month of November, the thankful month, is almost over.  I feel like I've been saying this for months now, but this has been the shortest, fastest year ever.

I don't have any Thanksgiving pictures to share from this year.  We had Thanksgiving dinner at my parents' house, and we were too busy enjoying our food and visiting with each other to worry about pictures.  For the delicious food and togetherness, I am truly thankful.

Friday, November 21, 2014

A New Haircut

Hello dear readers and Happy Monday to you!  I hope you've had a good weekend.  I just realized it's been over a week since I posted anything.  One thing I've been catching up on is my blog visits; I had fallen way behind on those.  From what I've seen, everyone has been cold, pretty much everywhere but Florida, it looks like.  You've also been busy cooking delicious-looking food, and getting ready for the holidays.

I'm excited about the upcoming holidays, too, but this is a non-holiday post.  It's also a totally different kind of metamorphosis for Met Monday.  :)  Guess who got their first haircut this week?

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Mad For Plaid -- Decorating with Tartan Plaids

Happy Thursday everyone!  I hope you're having a good week.  

I don't know about you, but I just love tartan plaids; I think they're so cheerful and cozy when it's cold outside.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Veterans Day

To all of our veterans who are serving, or have served, at home or abroad...




Monday, November 10, 2014

Working on Curb Appeal

We've been working on improving curb appeal here at the homestead.  Our house is 42 years old this year; it's a child of the 70's.  :)  Now that we've gotten our son through college, we're focusing on making some improvements to our home.  Fortunately, we were able to have our kitchen renovated two summers ago -- what a difference that made!  Duncan is just about fully house-broken, so we're going to replace the carpet in our den and hallway after Christmas.

Currently though, we've been focusing on sprucing things up outside.  I thought I'd show you a comparison of our front porch and surrounding landscape from last winter versus now.  It's not a huge change, but it does look much better.

Friday, November 7, 2014

Another Blast From the Past

Happy Friday friends!!  Are you enjoying spectacular fall colors and weather where you are?

I really enjoyed your comments from the previous two trips down memory lane.  :-D  By the way, hubby and I ended up watching "Ghostbusters" last Friday night.  It was great, and I honestly think the movie wouldn't be the same without the song.

Okay, for this week's Blast From the Past, I've posted three oldies but goodies.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

A Bit About Barn Quilts

Hi folks.  I was glad to see that lots of you enjoyed our pictures from the mountains that I posted this week.  In particular, I received a lot of comments on the barn quilts.

Monday, November 3, 2014

Cozy Up To Fall

Hi everyone!  I finally got the fall touches added to our den a few weeks ago; I'm behind schedule for fall decor.  :)  We don't usually go out of town in October, and this year we went to the coast for three days.  So, now I'm working on fall and pre-holiday cleaning.  I want to get the house nice and clean before it's time to start dragging out the Christmas decs.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Glorious Autumn

Hi everyone!  Is it cold where you are?  It's brisk here.  :)  The wind is blowing something fierce, and it was raining earlier today.  I think it rained through the night last night as well.  Those of you who follow Anita at Far Above Rubies and Penny at The Comforts of Home may have already seen that we got snow in the North Carolina mountains today.  Wow!  Snow while the leaves are still on the trees is not something we see a lot of.  The town of Sparta, N.C., which is where we go every year to cut our Christmas tree, had already received two to four inches by 11:00 a.m. this morning.

I'm sharing with you some images from two weekends ago of the mountains of North Carolina and Virgina.

Friday, October 31, 2014

Happy Halloween and A Blast From the Past

Happy Friday and Happy Halloween everyone!!  I hope you've all had a good week.  Do you have your costumes and candy ready?  :-D

This afternoon I had another post almost finished with two of my favorite oldie songs.  I wasn't really satisfied with the post because for one thing, it didn't relate to Halloween at all, and well, tomorrow is October 31st.  Then this evening I saw something on television that made me realize I needed to re-do my post and save the first one for next week.

Friday, October 24, 2014

A Blast From the Past

Happy Friday to you!  It's another great autumn day here in North Carolina, and I just felt like posting something fun, quirky, and well...retro.


Wednesday, October 22, 2014

A Winner Announcement

Happy Wednesday everyone!  A winner was chosen last night for the giveaway on my blog sponsored by Lifetime Brands and Pfaltzgraff dishes.  Judith, who blogs at Lavender Cottage, won our giveaway of four place settings of Villa della Luna dishes and the anniversary embossed utensil crock, as well.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Monday Snaps

Happy Monday to you!  I hope you had a beautiful October weekend.  It's time to get up leaves now, isn't it?  Our son did that here on Saturday, and there are already more leaves on the ground today.  No matter -- I love this time of the year.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Southport Part Three, The Old Smithville Burying Ground

Hi everyone!  Thanks for all your wonderful comments on the tour of Southport.  I always appreciate that you take the time to leave a comment.  :)

This year, I finally got to look around the old cemetery in Southport for the first time in all the years we've visited the town.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Southport, Part Two

Hi folks.  As promised, I'm showing you the rest of the houses we photographed in Southport, NC, this past weekend.  There are so many darling cottages in this town, but we were only able to take pictures of a handful.  You can see photos of more houses in yesterday's post Here.


Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Southport, North Carolina

Would you care to take a little tour of one of my favorite towns in the world?  Let's go for a walk in Southport, North Carolina, and let me show you some of the charming houses there.  These pictures were taken this past weekend, and the weather was gorgeous.  Before we see the houses though, here's a little information about the town itself.

Southport was founded in 1792 as Smithville.  It was originally named after Benjamin Smith, who was a colonel in the Continental Army during the Revolutionary War and later became a governor of North Carolina.  The name was changed to Southport in 1887 in an effort to promote the town as a major shipping port.  Southport sits on the bank of the Cape Fear River just a few miles inland of the Atlantic Ocean, so it is rich in maritime history.  Fort Johnston, also located within Southport, was built by the British in 1748 to protect the Cape Fear River Region from pirates and privateers. 

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Beautiful October

Happy Saturday everyone on this most beautiful October day!!  I hope this post finds you well and enjoying the fall weather wherever you are.  A sincere "Thank You" to all of you who read my Pfaltzgraff Villa della Luna post and left a comment on the dishes.  You all are the best!  :)  I'm excited that my post is featured at the moment on Pfaltzgraff's Facebook page, if you'd like to check it out; they were such nice folks to work with.

Are you seeing lots of signs of fall in your corner of the world?  Don't you love this time of the year?  Except for linking my tablescape post to a few blog parties, I've been having a bit of a break from the blog for the last few days.  I'm just popping in to say "Hello" and wish you all a happy weekend.


Tuesday, October 7, 2014

An Italian Tablescape and a Giveaway

Pfaltzgraff is celebrating the tenth anniversary of its "Villa Della Luna" pattern of dishes this year.  I was contacted by Lifetime Brands and asked to do a tablescape for fall featuring these dishes, and I was happy to oblige.  :)

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Raffaldini Vineyards and Winery

What a beautiful last day of September we're having!  I've just come in from walking Himself, Mr. Duncan, and he was feeling his oats.  :)  The sky is so blue and the sunlight is clear and warm...and thank goodness for retractable leashes.  ;)  Duncan was able to dash all about, and I could walk at a (mostly) sensible pace without having to run to keep up with him.

Back on the very first day of this month, we visited a local winery called Raffaldini.  It was a gorgeous day, just like today, and we had a great time walking around snapping pictures and enjoying the amazing views there.  It was crowded that day, so obviously, a lot of other people had the same idea we did.  :)

Hal and I first visited this winery back in 2003 or 2004, and I thought it was pretty then.  I was even more impressed on this visit.  The building and surrounding gardens and walkways are beautiful, and the views are spectacular.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Classic Blue and White

Hi folks!  Back in August, I wrote a post about summer touches around our house.  In that post, I showed some images of our den, our front porch, and the blue and white dishes on our kitchen shelves.  Most of the comments I received said that the blue and white collection was a favorite.

I love blue and white, too.  I wanted to show you a little more detail of the dishes on our display shelves in the kitchen.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Lemon-Poppy Seed Scones

Last week, I celebrated another birthday.  What a fast year this has been!  I went to dinner at a favorite restaurant with my husband and son and had a wonderful meal.  The next day, I had lunch with my parents in their sun room and afterwards made scones with my mom.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Summer Into Fall

Summer is transitioning into Fall.  According to my calendar, tonight is the Autumnal Equinox, and tomorrow is officially the first day of Fall.  I love the season changes, especially when summer changes to fall.  The roadsides are lined with yellow and golden wildflowers, and the leaves are just beginning their floating, dancing descent towards the ground.  The grass is extra green, the sky is a deep blue, and the air outside will soon be feeling crisp and slightly cool.  One of my favorite things about fall is the subtle way the quality of the sunlight changes; have you noticed that?

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Of Thistles and Scots

Happy Tuesday!  I hope your week got off to a good start.  Yesterday, I posted a picture mosaic of some wildflowers that Hal and I saw Sunday on the Blue Ridge Parkway in Virginia.  One weed flower that I was so pleased to get pictures of was this --

 Field Thistle

Monday, September 15, 2014

A Wildflower Mosaic

Hi everyone!  Wow, I feel like I haven't talked to you in ages!  I never intended to disappear from my blog for two weeks straight.  A lot has been happening here (not all good), and it just hit me one day that I was tired.  I never seem to lack for ideas for blog posts; it's making time for all of them that is a problem.  But this time, my mind was even too tired to put thoughts and images together, and without meaning to, I just checked out for a little while.

Today I did a quick post (relatively speaking) -- those of you who blog know it takes awhile to make picture mosaics.  

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

A Butterfly Meadow Tablescape and Farewell to Summer

Can summer really be over?  Surely not.  It doesn't feel like any time at all since I planted the flowers on our front porch after our Charleston trip.  Now here it is almost Labor Day weekend.  This feels like the fastest summer on record to me.  I think my dad being in the hospital for five weeks has made our family feel like we lost part of our summer.  Thankfully my dad is doing much better now.

Kathleen has issued a challenge to us for her Let's Dish party -- a "Farewell To Summer" tablescape.  I'm happy to be joining the fun this evening (even though we've probably still got some summer days ahead here in North Carolina).

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Walt Disney World for Mosaic Monday

Hello Friends!  How has your weekend been?  It's been hot and humid here in North Carolina, and so I was reminded of our visits to Disney World when our son was in high school.  :)

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

"Dog Days"

Hi everyone!  I haven't given you an update on Duncan in a while, and he's now seven and a half months old!  I can't believe it; I feel like life is just whizzing by at the speed of light.  Remember how long and slow the days and weeks seemed when we were children?

Sunday, August 17, 2014

My Parents' New Sunroom

Happy Monday everyone -- can't believe it's here again already!  :)  I'd like to share a renovation from my parents' house this week.  I think you'll enjoy seeing this cheerful, cozy room.

On Saturday, I paid a short visit to my parents.  I delivered some groceries that my mom had asked me to get for them, and it was so good to see them.  I think my dad is making some progress towards getting better, but it's very slow right now.

Last fall, my mom and dad decided to turn their screened porch into an enclosed sunroom.  You can see how this room looked as a screened porch in this post from 2012.  I just love how it turned out, and so do they.  Thankfully, I remembered to take my camera along yesterday, so I took some pics to share on my blog.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Our Son's Birthday

I was just re-reading the post I wrote for Will's birthday last year, and I can't believe how quickly this year has passed by!  Earlier this week, we celebrated his 24th birthday.  Another year come and gone, and we're all a year older.  Sometimes, I wish I could slow the clock down!

I've never shared this in my blog before, but two years after hubby and I got married, I had a health issue that reduced, by half, my chances of getting pregnant.  But God was good to us, and very soon, we found out that we were expecting a baby.  It was a really smooth and easy pregnancy until about six months, and then I started having early labor -- our boy was anxious to be born.  :)  I was put on bed rest and medication, and the day after the doctor took me off the medication, our son was born.  He was small, only weighing 5 lbs. and 7 oz., but that wasn't considered low birth weight.  He had all of his fingers and toes, and everything was fully developed.  We were proud parents of a healthy baby, and I never imagined I could be so happy.

Monday, August 11, 2014

A Small Update To The Dining Room

Happy Monday to you -- hope you had a nice weekend!  My dad finally went home from the hospital on Friday, after spending five weeks there.  I know he was so glad to get back home to his own bed, comfy chair, and his yellow lab, Gracie.  I appreciate all of you who kept us in your thoughts and prayers.

We made a little update to our dining room this weekend, and I'm sharing it today at Metamorphosis Monday.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Mountain Wildflowers

You've probably figured out by now that I really, really love flowers.  Yes, I'm smitten with them and have been for as long as I can remember.  Not only do I like to plant them and watch them grow, take pictures of them, and put them in my house to enjoy; I also like to try and identify them when I see them in a garden or growing along the roadside.

A few weeks ago when we were in the mountains, we drove across the Cherohala Skyway from North Carolina to Tennessee.  We did this a few years ago, and I wrote about it Here.  This year, I was just bowled over by all the wildflowers we saw growing along both sides of the road almost the entire length of the skyway.  It was amazing!  I've never seen such a profusion of wildflowers -- it's like they were on steroids.

I was able to identify 11 different varieties of wildflowers this year (I had to look up some of them online); that's the most I've ever seen in one area.  These flowers were so pretty, I felt like most gardeners would be pleased to have them in their own gardens.  Yet they were just growing wild with no one tending them but Mother Nature.  Have a look and see what you think... 

   Wild Phlox

Friday, August 8, 2014

The Church on the Hill

Last year when we took our trip to the mountains, we visited Highlands, North Carolina.  I wrote about Highlands the year I started my blog in 2011, and I shared some images of the pretty churches there.  Most of my readers were really taken with the Episcopal church in Highlands (You can see the Episcopal Church in this post.)  I think it's very pretty, too; but I was intrigued with the Presbyterian Church, which I didn't get to see up close in 2011 because we ran out of time.  I finally got a chance to view the church at close range, and I wasn't disappointed.  Founded in 1885, it really is a charming little church.

Friday, August 1, 2014

Summer Touches Around The House

This summer is flying by for me.  For the first time in several years, I haven't found myself wishing for it to be over by July 5th.  :)  We've had some of our normal hot weather this year, but we've had some very nice, milder weather too.

When we were raising our son, I never gave much thought to changing things up in the house throughout the different seasons.  Even if I had thought about it, I didn't really have the time or resources to make a lot of decor changes.  Christmas seemed to be the only time I made a real effort to make the house look different.  Now I'm not one to follow the trends, but I do enjoy a fresh, new look for the different seasons.  Switching things up throughout the year allows us to display (and enjoy) our various treasures and usually doesn't require buying a lot of new stuff or calling in a professional decorator.  ;)

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

The Clock Shop

Last week when we traveled to the mountains of western North Carolina and the Blue Waters Mountain Lodge, we stopped for dinner in the mountain town of Hendersonville, as we often do.  I wrote about Hendersonville a few years ago; you can read that post Here.  There's a clock shop there that always catches my eye, but I hadn't gotten around to taking pictures of it until this year.  They're always closed when we arrive in town, but I love looking in the windows.

It was closed when we arrived this year too, but we did finally manage to take some pictures.  It's hard to get good pictures looking through a plate-glass window from outside, so please excuse the quality of some of the pics.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

A Little Mountain Therapy

Hi everyone!  I want to thank you all so much for your kind visits and thoughts for my family.  My father is still in the hospital; he's currently undergoing physical therapy.  I just spoke with my mom, and she said he's doing well.  It is a very slow process, though, for him to recover his strength and stamina.  By the time he's able to go home, he will have been in the hospital for about a month.

Lake Santeetlah

Sunday, July 13, 2014

I'm Sorry I Haven't Been Visiting You...

Hello all!  I just want to say "Thank You" for all your wonderful comments on my Fourth of July Tablescape and Happy Fourth posts.  I look forward to your visits so much and appreciate that you take the time to leave a comment to let me know you were here.  :)

Friday, July 4, 2014

Happy Fourth of July

Today we celebrate the birth of our nation.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

A Fourth of July Table

I don't know about you all, but our town seems to have emptied out.  It seems that everyone is traveling somewhere for the Fourth of July week -- everyone, that is, but us.  :)  My husband says there has been very little traffic to and from work every day, so no complaints there.  Those who have gone to the North Carolina coast may have their trip spoiled by Tropical Storm Arthur, but I hope not.  That happened to us one year, and it was no fun.

We're planning on staying right here for the week, but my husband has taken an extra day's vacation in order to have a four-day weekend.  Woo-hoo!  We'll be going to my in-laws' house for the Fourth, but I set a patriotic tablescape in my "new" kitchen just for fun.

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