Thursday, December 24, 2015

Friday, December 18, 2015

Christmas Trees and Pumpkins

I could write about why I haven't written here at Dewena's Window in 28 days and what it has taught me, but that's a story for another day.... Except for this--

Know what you love to do and do it.

Without worrying if others will love it too.

I love this old green ice cream bucket that normally holds old newspapers. 

I've always dreamed of using it for a Christmas tree stand.

This year R.H. made it happen for me--the right watertight container to fit inside it, a bag of clean sand, a wood base to keep it steady, the tree sitting on screws to give space for uptake of water. 

And it was done. Thank you, my dear husband! I know it was a pain to do and you said you'll never do it again, but I am loving it so much! (It will be our secret that my first tree was a beautiful short one that became a lot shorter when you cut off 2 feet instead of 12 inches while the saw was hot but your mind was somewhere off in LaLa Land. Anyway, that second trip to the Home Depot was fun, wasn't it?)

Next, how to decorate it once it was up and magnificent?

Having indulged my taste for a touch of elegance in my dressing room with this skinny champagne colored Christmas tree....

With sparkly vintage ornaments...

And my desire for old-fashioned red and white in our living room...

My "Believe" Christmas tree.......

I wanted simple decorations for our fresh tree in the kitchen...

We can never get good nighttime pictures of our Christmas tree. 

This one is better....

This shows a little better the old orange Shiny Brites and the timeworn blue and purple ornaments from Poland, chosen from my collection of every speckled ornament that I could not pass up through 50 years of marriage. Our kids soon learned that Mama didn't want new stuff, only the tired and worn that somehow had managed to hold onto their glow.

Orange ornaments because of my love affair with orange that has grown so huge that I simply could not banish all the orange Fall pumpkins this year just because it's December and you simply cannot do that in Blogland.

But why not have pumpkins and Christmas trees? 

Why not have orange and green, colors that make me happy?

And pink thrown in for good measure?

Vintage ornaments, Christmas trees and pumpkins and old twisty candles that will never be lit.

Our choices should be all about what Home is to us personally, shouldn't they?

Even if it never gets pinned on Pinterest?

One of my favorite bloggers always says -- 

Shall we?

I've missed you wonderful friends; I've learned so much from you and treasure the friendship of those of you who blog and those of you who don't but keep in touch. And much love to those of you who are also on a bit of a blog break, especially to my dear friend Tam, and to one who has stopped--I wish you hadn't, Tessa. And I'm sending love to dear Poppy who is celebrating Christmas in Canada this year with beloved family. A special hello to a dear friend from the library of St. Vincent's College in Latrobe, PA who has stayed in touch since we met when I first began to blog. 

And my deep gratitude to those of you who wrote me encouraging emails during my hiatus, especially to Doreen, Benita and Tara.

And love to my family who sometimes read, at least when I remind them to, and to my three wonderful sisters who always read my posts but can't figure out how to comment--would someone please teach them how? Thank you!

And to all of you, from our home to yours, do what you love!

Friday, November 20, 2015

Blogging Break, Pretty Please!

Please excuse me,
but I find I must take a blogging break
to get ready for the big holiday next week.

A very happy Thanksgiving Day to those of 
you in the USA.

Now where did I put my pearls and little black dress?

P.S. Everyone's excused from commenting!

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Pinecones and French China

I've long wanted to do a table around this pinecone pitcher we
found years ago in the mountains of East Tennessee.

These pinecone hurricanes that we got years ago in the
Bob Timberlake store in Blowing Rock, NC go nicely with the pitcher.
I use battery operated candles with them now.

Why buy flowers when the Kousa dogwood outside is still glorious?

But pinecones and fall leaves aren't all I'm thinking of as I set this table.

As we all have been, I'm thinking about Paris too.

I don't have many French dishes but I pull out what I do have.

These French faience plates we found in a Goodwill one day go on the bare table.

I posted about finding them one serendipitous day HERE.

We found these little bowls over 40 years ago in a restaurant supply store.

They aren't French but they read Petite Marmité Restaurant
and are perfect for the first course of Consomme Creams.

It's from Mildred O. Knopf's excellent 1986 Memoirs of a Cook.

She was wife of movie producer Edwin H. Knopf who was brother to
Alfred A. Knopf who published the cookbooks of a nice lady by the name of
Julia Child. Mildred was a star in the kitchen too.

We must have bread, so let's have a baguette.

And let's make it a baguette from France, non-gmo
with only flour, water, yeast and salt in it.

Costco carries it!

For our entree I followed Dorie Greenspan's recipe for Sheet Pan
Chicken with Apples and Kale.

The pictures on the right are before it went in the oven,
and the finished dish was delicious, as are all of Greenspan's.

She and her husband landed in France the night of the horrible attacks
and only heard the news when in their taxi.

For our salad we'll have an avocado bacon salad from one of my favorite
regional cookbooks, Southern Sideboards. It's served on a French ironstone platter.

The dressing is yummy!

Juice from a lime or two, 1/4 cup olive oil, 1/2 cup of sour cream,

1/4 cup mayonnaise, and 2 cloves of garlic, minced.

Thank you for letting me make like a tablescaping and food blogger!

Don't you find that it's comforting to lose yourself in homey things
when your heart is heavy? I do.

I hope to post the dessert to this meal next.

It's by a French actress who is not so well known in this country.
I'll save her name for the post but she was "strongly considered for the lead
in Casablanca."

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

We're Amy Howard Dropouts

It was a black pine table we bought in 1971
and stripped to natural in the 1980s,
and by 2015 had yellowed horribly.

I fell in love with this table....

I tore the page out of a magazine but don't remember
which one it was to credit.

It was an Italian table, circa late 1800s.
It probably had many layers of paint to give it
that wonderful shade.

I thought that R.H. and our firstborn could duplicate it.
Off to Benjamin Moore I went and bought 
Amy Howard's Cracked Patina system.

My guys got busy turning my old dining table
into an Italian masterpiece.

They spent hours in the shop.

Brown Eyes kept them company.

They brought a table leaf in for me to approve
the color I chose for the first layer.

I loved it but panicked at adding the next step
of Cracked Patina,
and the gray paint that would follow that.

Would it give me the look of an old Italian table,
or would it give me a mess?

I decided to become an Amy Howard dropout
and told them just to seal it.

Maybe I'm just not a Cracked Patina kind of gal
because I love it the way it is.

Above is a picture from my next post of a fall table and meal.

I hope you'll come back on the weekend for that,
and I hope you'll tell me here if you're a
Amy Howard graduate!

Thursday, November 12, 2015

A Christmas Nightmare

[British Homes & Gardens December 2014]

No, not the Christmas tree above.
I actually loved this "tree" when I saw it last year in the
December issue of British Homes & Gardens.

My Christmas nightmare is dreaming that it is
Christmas morning and NOTHING has been done.

Do you ever feel like that?

We haven't even had Thanksgiving Day yet,
those of us in the USA,
and I'm feeling panicked that I can't possibly be ready
for Christmas.

Am I the only one who is having a Christmas nightmare--


Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Veteran's Day

[Good Housekeeping August 1943 ad for Cannon Towels]

Why am I posting this particular picture of our World War II soldiers?

Because I don't want you to think of them as the old men they are today, those who are still surviving.

I would like for us to remember them as the young virile men they were who left home and family to serve in that particular war.

Sixteen million Americans served in World War II.

492 World War II veterans are dying each and every day.

855,070 are surviving still, at my last checking these figures.

If you are fortunate enough to know a WW II veteran who is alive today, try not to think of them this week as they look now.

Look into their eyes and see the young men or women they once were.

Ask them to tell you about the day they left home. 

What was it like over there?

What was it like to come home?

Look at the pictures of them while they were young soldiers, for the essence of them is there.

Sunday, November 8, 2015

My Tasha Tudor Moment

She was my hero.

And January 7, 1995 she came to Nashville.

How could I not go?

I had admired her ever since reading this book--
Drawn From New England
Tasha Tudor
by her daughter, Bethany Tudor.

I fell in love with Tasha's Pembroke Welsh corgis--
bought Corgiville Fair,
her favorite book.

And Tex, our very own corgi,
love of our life,
joined our family.

So you can bet I was going to see Tasha Tudor
when she came to the Opryland Hotel.

I sat three rows from the front
and I listened to her wonderful voice
and watched her sketch.

After she finished they auctioned off her sketches.

My $100 bid for the corgi lost to one that topped $400.

I bought Tasha's cookbook and hurried to the
autograph line.

Several hundred other people were in front of me.

This wonderful 80 year old woman stopped at 100 people,
but I got to watch her graciously sign books
and speak to each person.

I went to a little snack area near a hotel exit,
bought a soda and sat down to rest,
a little disappointed that I didn't have an autograph.

My table was right by the exit door.
I sipped on my drink and then a miracle happened.

Tasha Tudor and her entourage walked toward the exit.
And she looked right into my eyes and smiled at me.

At me, as if she wished that her corgi sketch 
could have gone home with me.

Today I made her gingerbread from her cookbook.

Cinnamon, ginger and cloves scented the kitchen.

Tasha's gingerbread was delicious.

And I thought of her.

[Some of you emailed me that an old post of mine, In Old Cape Cod, showed up as current this past week while I was away from blogging. I have no idea why this happened. Blogger Gremlins? I'm sorry for any confusion. Has this happened to any of you before?]