Monday, October 27, 2014

Lighten Up Halloween

I don't know about you, but I am not looking forward to the sculls and skeletons this Halloween. The world has enough death and fiendishness. In our neighborhood, it seems, others agree with me. Here are some happy Halloween vignettes from our neck of the woods.

Smiling scarecrows adorn the porch posts.
This jolly fellow dares you to frown.
 Thankfully, harvesting pumpkins beside a cemetery is as ghoulish as it gets.

Passersby who see our neighbor bringing his harvest from the field can't help but be charmed.
A bountiful harvest is worth celebrating.

This local stand invites party purchases.

Baskets and benches display fall gourds and pumpkins according to size and color. Mums make a lovely seasonal backdrop.

Bales of hay and shocks of corn provide dimension to this wagon display. Doesn't it make you want to take home some colorful autumn decor for your own front step?

Beyond our county and state, others seem to be joining us in minimizing the macabre. I was encouraged to read that this will be the last year for the House of Horrors in Hubertus, Wisconsin.

The diocese outside of Milwaukee is closing the $2 million-dollar annual fundraiser in part because the event became too violent. The decision was made when a video depicting killing, decapitation, and cannibalism was shown as a scare tactic. Maybe these fundraising parents could try what entrepreneurs here have found to be successful: hayrides, bonfires, and corn mazes.

Thankfully, different faith traditions sponsor fall festivals which are a welcome change from the dark-themed parties. For example, our Jewish neighbors just finished celebrating the seven day festival of Sukkot which commemorates their ancestors' forty-year sojourn in the desert. I applaud the secular Jewish congregation in Ann Arbor, Michigan that sponsored a community-wide harvest potluck celebrating food across cultures.
Catholic Christians, such as these in Seattle, Washington, celebrate All Saints Day by giving parties on Halloween featuring costumes of saints rather than ghouls.
Holy Rosary School in west Seattle, WA
Last year in Davis, California the Grace Valley Christian Center sponsored a Reformation Day costume parade. After all, it was October 31, 1517 that Luther's nailed his 95 Thesis to a church door in Wittenberg challenging his fellow priests to debate church tradition versus biblical doctrine.
This year we need no more proof than nightly news to recognize that evil is real. Let's use Halloween as an opportunity to fight it, not join it.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Cozy Contemporary Nursery: Where Antiques Meet Mid-Century Modern

Anticipating the imminent arrival of their first baby, our eldest daughter and her husband have deconstructed their guest room and reassembled a sophisticated, yet cozy nursery. The baby's room is both traditional and modern with mid-century furniture juxtaposed to antiques.

Let me take you on a spin around the room.

The focal point of the nursery is an oil painting by Goxwa Borg, an artist from Malta who has had numerous solo exhibits in New York and Paris. Of her own art, Goxwa writes, "I would like to think that I am being faithful to those old fresco painters, who were of course 'modern' in their days..."

No wonder Goxwa's work--ancient and current--appeals to Marcus and Anna's aesthetic. In fact, our daughter bought this painting for her husband as a birthday present early in their marriage. Now, the serene scene of a boy fishing from a boat on a languid pool sets a soothing tone for their firstborn's nursery.

To blend old and new, the couple chose an midcentury modern Oeuf baby bed. It seems more diminutive than a normal baby bed, but actually takes a standard crib mattress. As a bonus, it features is a space-saving changing table affixed to the top.

Under an eave adjacent to the crib and changing station, the soon-to-be parents tucked some floor pillows and a French colonial plantation desk to hold diapers and wipes.

Coming around the room, Anna accessorized with baskets from Serena & Lily.

Then to hold bedtime books and as another counterpoint to the antiques. she placed a tall cube-stacked bookcase

On the wall directly across from the crib is a Victorian jelly cupboard inherited from the baby's great, great grandmother. This lovely walnut cupboard makes great storage for baby supplies. The upper drawers hold booties and bibs, while clothing and bedding are easily accessible behind the double doors.

At the far end of the room, our daughter placed two traditional swivel rockers and a totally-washable, comfortable Dash and Albert pouf.

Between the chairs, an acrylic C table made by CB2 is a perch for a book or a drink. Finally, behind the chairs. is a contemporary lamp from Circa--definitely not-your-father's-floor-lamp.

Now the room and the excited parents await the little gentleman's arrival.

They will be great parents; of that I'm certain. After all, they have positioned two swivel rocking chairs side-by-side so they can enjoy the baby together. With two doting parents this little man is already very blessed.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Early Autumn Arrangements

I adore autumn arrangements; in fact, so much that I usually do September arrangements, then different ones for October, and still others for November. Here are a sample of my early fall displays.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Blessing a Baby

This weekend my sister, Zan, hosted a baby shower for my daughter, Anna, who is expecting her first baby in a few short weeks. Aided by Pintrest and creativity, we planned a very happy celebration to bless this little boy.

Zan and I started with the color scheme. Baby blue and white were obvious choices. However, flowers aren't usually in those hues in September. What to do? The dilemma was solved by seeing a darling orange and navy newborn onesie.

We printed the invitations on light blue, polka-dotted paper, adding a bow tie to symbolize the little boy joining the clan. We slipped the registry information into waxed tiny favor bags.

Yesterday dawned calm, clear, and not-too-warm--perfect for an garden party! We decorated from the road,

up the drive,
to the front door.

Inside, hanging baby clothes left no doubt who was the party's guest-of-honor.

Arriving guests sipped orange-peach punch from baby-blue striped straws.
Then, we all went out-of-doors for lunch.

Tablecloths, placemats, and glasses were various shades of blue while orange Kalanchoe brightened the scene.

Notice the napkins tied as bow ties.

 Guests were treated to a trio of appetizers including honey teriyaki meatballs, apricots stuffed with goat cheese, and asparagus phyllo puffs,

The main course was served as a buffet with guests helping themselves to:

croissants and chicken salad,
tomato/mozzarella skewers, and wild rice/citrus salad.

Finally, carrot cake cupcakes, mango sorbet, and chocolate mints provided a sweet ending.

Anna felt very loved

 by her parents,

her life-long girl friend,

women who had prayed for her,

a mother and daughter who have been good friends since elementary school days in Haiti,

 and family, including aunts and grandmothers.
Thank you, Zan, for all you did to make a wonderful party!

After lunch, we came inside to open presents. The first-time parents were so thankful for the gifts since before the shower they hardly had anything for the expected arrival!

As guests left the shower, they took home a bottle of nail polish as a reminder of the Saturday they blessed a certain little boy with their love, gifts, and best wishes. 

We trust their prayers will follow him, as they have followed his mother.