Saturday, December 20, 2008

O Christmas Tree

Our Christmas Tree stands in the dining room. I like placing the tree in a front window and incorporating it into the outdoor decorations. I've done this for a few years, and I love the way it looks. I finally got around to taking some photos of the dining room. I love our tree this year! I think it is our best yet. It's a Leyland cypress - not at all a traditional tree. The shape isn't the best, and there are some holes in it. And it is kinda crooked at the top and wide at the bottom. But, the very best thing about this tree is that we cut it at Kazery Tree Farm less than 10 miles from the house! It was a great little tree farm. Mr. Kazery helped us pick out the perfect tree, and his son loaded it on the truck.

I forgot to put gloves on when I wrapped the lights around the tree, so the needles really tore up my arms. But this year, I remembered to put the gold ribbon on! It's got to go on the tree before the ornaments, and I've forgotten it two years in a row. I really wanted this recycled oil drum angel for the top of the tree, but Viva Terra is all sold out now! Boo... Oh well, the ribbon will do. After we were all done with decorating, Chip said, "Wow. Everything is red, white, and gold, and we didn't even plan it like that!" I just had to laugh, because of course I planned for that! I mean don't most of you ladies come up with "tree theme" or at least a color scheme? These things don't just happen.

And what about the tree skirt and table runner!? Both are from Wisteria. Wool felt and embroidery. I love them! Christmas decorations are so fun.

We're off to one of our family Christmases today. I made Ina Garten's Macaroni and Cheese, and it looks fabulous. Can't wait to dig in. Happy Holidays!

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Blogger Book Boost: Christmas Gift Recommendations

Author Sarah Laurence has invited her reads to join a Blogger Book Boost, where bloggers write recommendations for books that would be perfect for holiday reading or holiday gifts. I've decided to join in. Of course, if you don't like my recommendations, you can always head on over to Square Books and read their Holiday Gift Guide.

Fabulous Fiction:

Plague of Doves by Louise Erdrich
I loved this book. I read Love Medicine in college (Honors 201 maybe?), and I thought it was the kind of book I would enjoy if my professor had given me time to enjoy it. I picked up Plague of Doves from the "New" shelf at the library - I thought I'd give Erdrich another try. I'm so glad I did. Oh, and the linked title is to the New York Times Book Review because I'm not an English major and I just don't do book reviews.

Garden Writing:

Passalong Plants by Steve Bender and Felder Rushing
I received this book as a gift a few years ago, and finally read the whole thing cover to cover when it was a selection for the Garden Bloggers' Book Club. This book is a must have for any Southern gardener, and an excellent book for any garden-lover. Steve and Felder really know how to capture the spirit of a old-time passalong garden. The title links to the reviews by the Garden Bloggers' Book Club back in May 2007.


Macrina Bakery & Cafe Cookbook by Leslie Mackie
I picked this cookbook up after seeing Leslie Mackie on the Food Network. Some of my favorite recipes are in this book: Morning Glory Muffins, Cherry Almond Scones, Butternut Squash and Apple Galette, and Angel Thumbprint Cookies. Chip gets excited when I pull this book down from the shelf because he knows something wonderful will be coming from the oven.

For the Ole Miss fan:

The Blind Side by Michael Lewis
I don't generally read books about football - or any sport - but I liked this book. It tells the story of Micheal Oher, left tackle on the Ole Miss offensive line, and the evolution of the left tackle in the N.F.L. Lewis does a good job balancing football strategy with an excellent story about a lost kid from Memphis.

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Winter Veggies

Right before Halloween I planted some veggie seedlings in my garden. This year is the first that I've tried to do any kind of fall and winter gardening. The low temeratures have stayed in the low 30s to upper 20s - not too bad. I've been covering the veggies with a couple of old, flannel bed sheets at night to keep the frost off of them. I probably got these seedlings in the ground a little late (story of my life). Combine that with the limited sun I get in this garden spot, and so far they are growing really slowly. I do have a few baby veggies to be proud of.

tiny Broccoli . . .
quarter-sized Cauliflower . . .

Leeks . . .
Swiss Chard . . .

and (my favorite) Fennel . . .

I think I'm supposed to mound soil at the base of the leeks so that the bottoms turn white. I probably need to do that today. The plants could probably use a dose of (organic) fertilizer. I need to get on that, too.

The weather is supposed to be nice this week - getting up to 70 on Tuesday. So far the cooler weather has been perfect. Just when we've thought it's been too cold for too long, the weather warms up and gives us a break. And we've had rainy days often enough that I haven't had to water much. Wonderful!

Today I am heading to the Mississippi Trade Mart for the Chimeyvillle Crafts Festival. I've been looking forward this for weeks now. Mississippi craftsmen and women have their works for sale, and I plan to get a good bit of my Christmas shopping done. For a few years now, Chip and I have gone to the Mississippi Crafts Center to purchase Christmas gifts for our families and friends. We've been able to find lovely gifts there: mugs and pottery made from Mississippi Delta clay for Chip's mom and stepdad, hand-crafted earrings for my best friend and my aunts. I've got a list of things I'm looking for, but I'm excited about being inspired by these artists' handmade things. And what gift could be better than one made right here in Mississippi by our local craftsmen? If you are in the area this weekend, check it out!