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Merry Christmas!

Welcome to our Christmas home!  Better late than never I often think and this Christmas season’s decorating is no exception as you know I have been busy with work, meetings, deep cleaning and just getting our home ready for the holidays…


An early December mantel which never got to print.

Twas the night before Christmas when all through the house, not a creature was stirring not even a mouse…



With a mix of evening and daytime photos…



And some taken while still cleaning and redecorating…



Much which could have been laid out earlier couldn’t get done as Mr. Ethereal wasn’t home in early December. This is the time of year for EOY inventories at work and I needed his strength to pull down the attic stairs.

And then there was the constant Siren song on weekends calling for leaves and over 1,000,000 acorns to be raked and blow off to pick up from the gutter each week since early November.



But finally mid month Hubby and I scurried about moving boxes down and others up, cleaning here and wiping down there. Chapman Manor was beginning to be whipped into shape!

With help from friend Torrance Baker who came to help decorate our tree and finishing last minute decorating and cleaning just two hours before a Christmas part, for friends met through the International Order of Odd Fellows these past three years, Christmas was finally in place…
🙂

Cue the hallelujahs and hurrahs!




The fruits of a clean home, enjoying a bit of Christmas cheer and reveling in the birth of my Lord are happily in mind! New and old Christmas needlepoint pillows were in place and when the party was over, a long winter’s rest is all that is needed…



The stockings were hung by the chimney    with care…


An angelic gift from Connie and Torrance Baker ~ love this new
Lenox crystal angel!!! A lovely addition to our family Christmas tree.




A theme there wasn’t but one quickly emerged ~ “Santas…”


A couple of favorite family photos are arranged here, too! Mr. Yoda as just two weeks with us when this picture was taken one night at a Boy Scout troop meeting.

In hopes that Saint Nicholas soon would be there…


That Chubby Old Elf in many forms made himself known! Here in the built-in bookcase, Santas grace several vintage candy tins along with a new Hobby Lobby Santa found last year. A vintage Santa, created in resin but originally were made by this artist using apple cores, sits on the upper left-hand shelf ready to wrap his wreath around the goose next door… 



Making our way into the dining area more Santas abound! The newest dressed in his silver tinsel coat (found at Judith’s Christmas Event) stands next to one of the oldest of a pair of Santa candles found about 25 years ago.

As I am writing this I found this lovely little print of St. Nicholas and the story behind the real Saint Nicholas, a Greek who was bishop of Myra, Lycia (modern day Turkey). In this blogpost by Nick Rabiipour, I relearned that Saint Nicholas lived during the 4th century and helped many people during his time with the Catholic church. Today he is remembered as the Patron Saint of the poor, and others for his charity. 

As wonderful as St. Nicholas was, he also didn’t want to call attention to his work. Perhaps he didn’t want to because as Christians we are called to give our honor and glory to Christ Jesus…
So from my family to yours, we bid you Welcome and Happy Christmas!

Our porch with its final finished decor…



Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.

Matthew 1:23, King James Bible


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Merry Christmas!
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A Bleu Christmas…

Hello there! Welcome back for part 2 of my visit to the lovely French country style home and gardens (and THE cutest gardenhouse ~ shown above ~ and she shed!) of my friend
Judith Stringham who writes the blog Botanic Bleu


A couple of days ago I shared Part 1 of my visit with Cindy of County Road 407 and Laura of Decor to Adore to visit another of our friends whom I met that first Christmas here in 2016 ~ Judith Stringham. 

I had never been to Judith’s French Country Christmas Event at her home in Mansfield, Texas before but I knew she held one each December for all of her friends. Judith is a retired teacher and administrator in her local school district, and this holiday sales event brings all of her friends together for a visit and some fun French country shopping!

Me and Cindy outside Judith’s adorable French country blue and limestone brick/stone garden shed transformed into her shop twice a year. Oh! There are those super big pinecones peeking out from behind Cindy on that little garden étagere. 


Judith is all about French country style (my absolute favorite style, as you know!) so I thought I’d share the rest of the fun photographs today that I took last weekend. 

I seriously wanted this urn… And those large round marble cheese platters…
And those glittery Christmas trees…


These pics were taken inside the garden she shed I shared in the last post (Judith’s wintertime photo of her garden from a number of years ago), and since then she and her husband built a gorgeous large greenhouse (of which I have serious greenhouse envy…) which sits just to the left and stepped back from the shed.

I will share that in a moment… 😉



So here we are inside!

Laura is checking out all the wonderful little French christmas and non-Christmas soaps and goodies decorated with foxes, bears and “les lapins.”

A better picture of Laura with Cindy… 🙂


Judith lovingly curated blue and white crockery, blue and white napkins, bespoke linen Christmas tea towels and also ones for everyday use, custom silverware, French country angels, small etchings and prints straight from France for us gardeners and decorators to use in our homes alike. 

Three of Judith’s friends from her former school district were there at the same time as we were and were squabbling (just a bit) over two large Christmas angels. (I think they worked it out!)   *<;)

Large angels were for sale and some furniture pieces(alas, no room!), as well as birdcages, holiday tins, gift bags and greenery and huge pinecones (Laura’s favorites!).

I am sure Judith made this dried boxwood Christmas tree. I bought a small dried
boxwood wreath to hang at home while here (shown above hanging on the mirror).


I found several things to bring back to our French country home and I will share them over the next week or so. One is this little Santa Belsnickel glinting in the sunlight here… And the small boxwood wreath…




Judith cleverly hung her tea towels on this copper railing below this tin garden sink. Her regular curtains hide soil and pottery the rest of the year. The butcher block counters are wonderful and cost effective (we used one $40 piece from Home Depot back in California to make our tv stand/storage unit in our master bedroom) and this gives me wonderful ideas for a future garden shed at our Texas home!


The white painted pieces across the top of the television and underneath it were butcher block pieces we cut to fit and painted. Very solid and sturdy, they make excellent non-warping shelving to hold a lot of weight around the home. Plus butcher block is beautiful in the kitchen! You can see more of our last home in this post here.


I would love to have shown you more but other people were shopping and I didn’t want to intrude. Here is Judith looking lovely in a custom-made scarf she won from another blogger she knows in France who curates and sells boxes to people who are Francophiles…



Seriously, from baskets to metal birdcages of varying shapes, to Santas and more… I could have dropped several hundred dollars without a thought. 


Laura, Cindy and I oggled over these French blue doors Judith made from
four French iron gate closures, decorative buttons, and sheets of thick plywood.

Let’s check out the greenhouse!

 The greenhouse is lovely with its French blue doors leading inside a bright and airy area to store tender plants during Texas’ super cold winters. This winter so far is pretty mild which is wonderful for gardening but not so good for next summer’s crop of nasty  biting no-see-um mites (Texas needs the super cold ~ around 0 degrees Fahrenheit ~ to kill the biting bugs off).


This is the reverse view looking back towards the house from the greenhouse. The interlocking brick pathways had me at hello!



Here is a close up of one of the lovely French doors…



And a couple of peeks inside… Nice thick mats to stand on for foot comfort and wraps for tender plants. Love it!



You know me and chandeliers!!! Here you can just see this beauty peeping out in the sunlight above the back double French doors…

ooh la la!!!




Another lovely view… I hope Judith will share sometime where she found all these French doors. What a lovely place to come and pot plants or to just sit…




A few looks more from the Stringhams’ veranda which wraps around their home looking back towards the garden shed and acreage.

I love this old French garden bench crafted from a gate or iron headboard with its watering can and planted evergreens… 


Etherealness at its finest!



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Holiday hugs,
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Share Your Style #234

Welcome to Share Your Style #234! This link party is for home decor, DIY, crafts, recipes and the like, but you are more than welcome to share your family-friendly posts with us all! As always I am glad that you are here and there are so many great posts to choose from to share with all y’all… 

I’ve also come up with a new holiday banner for the party!! What do you think about it? Leave me a comment and let me know. 
🙂
I am Barbara Chapman your host and I’d love it if you’d follow me here on my blog and on any of my other social media sites, too. I appreciate your support! Thank you!


Here’s what I shared this week at

French Ethereal…

A Cozy Hot Chocolate Bar for Christmas ~ A Pinterest Challenge. Stop by to see all the great ideas shared by my friends for this warm winter challenge! Thank you to Cindy of County Road 407 for hosting us all! 

Just one post for me as I took a break to get well and visit with family for Thanksgiving…

Here are this week’s featured posts filled with
tons of holiday spirit…
Penny of Penny’s Treasures shared your bright and sunny laundry room all decorated for Christmas (check out her desk in there, too!). Love love love it!!!

Debra at Common Ground shared her collection of turkeys and platters and a turkey disaster story I know you’ll empathize over. Do check it out! ~ Turkey Talk in the Cupboard.

DIY Thanksgiving Table Family Photo Place Cards

These just crack me up!!! And although I am still sharing some Thanksgiving “leftovers,” there is no reason why this idea couldn’t be adapted to Santa and Mrs. Claus hats for Christmas (or Hanukkah dreidels, etc.). Love this post from Debbee at Debbee’s Buzz ~ DIY Thanksgiving Table Family Photo Place Cards.
🙂



It’s all about Porch Decor at Follow the Yellow Brick Home with Amber and this blog hop. Check out Amber’s beautiful 100 year old farmhouse porch and others for wonderful holiday ideas!

Pheasant Merriment Tablescape over at Panopoly with Rita may have been a Thanksgiving post but with so much deep red it easily transitions to Christmas. Beautiful!!!

Santa stop here outdoor Christmas sign


Here’s a fun DIY Craft Santa Stops Here post by Unique Creations by Anita. Easy to follow instructions included.

🙂


The perfect side dish for your holiday dinner, this Fresh Cranberry Salad recipe is flavorful and delicious!  Mandarin oranges, fresh cranberries, goat cheese crumbles and pecans make this Cranberry Citrus Salad incredible.


And lastly this cheery Citrus Salad by Erin at Delightful-E-Made will tempt your tastebuds. Yum!!!


Thank you to everyone who linked up this week and a special thank you to everyone who posts about the link party Share Your Style on your blog ~ I do see it when I stop over and I appreciate your support!  Without you, there’d be no party.

If you’ve been featured here at Share Your Style 

Here is a button to share and copy to your site and your featured posts, thank you!



I’d love it if you’d follow my  Share Your Style board

on Pinterest, thank you. 


Many holiday blessings to y’all…
Now let’s party!




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A Cozy Hot Chocolate Bar for Christmas ~ A Pinterest Challenge

Welcome to  our monthly Pinterest Challenge hosted by my friend Cindy of County Road 407.  Every month a group of blogging friends get together to share their interpretations of a decorating photo found on Pinterest.  This month it’s all about creating a wintertime favorite ~ a cozy Hot Chocolate Bar



If you are new to my blog French Ethereal, a hearty welcome to you! For all of my friends and for everyone stopping by from 
Our Southern Home, I am so glad you are here! 

Christy’s cocoa bar was wonderful wasn’t it?! Serious yum! She has the best ideas and the prettiest home (I love her fireplace with its pretty herringbone brick!). I just love her style!!

Well, let’s get this party rolling, shall we??  😉


This month’s Pinterest Challenge comes to us from Jessica Kirkland of Pen + Paper Flowers who has such a pretty website! Here in her hot chocolate bar, Jessica used a nice variety of rustic wooden boxes, a wooden cake stand and an oak round as the base of her display. I love seeing the creamware mugs set inside the vintage crate box!

She also has a nice collection of jars and bottles holding toppings and syrups, Piroulines, candy canes and marshmallows ~ fun toppings to put on your hot chocolate and maybe an ice cream dish or two!

My chocolate bar interpretation

I didn’t really have any cute wooden boxes to use for this hot chocolate bar but I had a new wood round to use as my focal point lift. On and around it I set out:

  • favorite Christmas and wintertime mugs
  • mismatched silver spoons set in a pretty Christmas mug
  • a small stack of vintage plates for little snacks are welcome enough.

To this I added in “The Goodies…”

  • a box of favorite hot chocolate
  • a tin of holiday tea (for non-hot chocolate drinkers)
  • some chocolate mints (wonderful melty goodness when added in to hot chocolate!)
  • candy cane rounds and shepherd’s crooks to crush-up and sprinkle on top
  • whipping cream (not pictured)
  • also fun ~ mini marshmallows (which I totally forgot to put out but have!)

All were set out on the beautiful English barley-twist tea cart I bought while in England and then my brother brought back with his family’s move back to the States for me in 2005.




Easy peasy yummy squeezy!

Creating your own hot chocolate bar isn’t difficult to put together and it doesn’t have to have many components to it, really. 

A close-up of the little Santa Christmas mug…

What will you put on your hot chocolate?

Thanks for stopping by today! I hope you’ve enjoyed my hot chocolate bar interpretation and are inspired to create one of your own for your next holiday event. 

I encourage you to stop by all of this month’s participants, too. If you can’t visit everyone right now, just stop back here to pick up the links and continue your visits.
:)’
Next up on this hot chocolately Pinterest Challenge adventure is Paula of Sweet Pea  and I know you’re going to love her hot chocolate station! Check out her Christmas family room, too. A wonderful room filled with happy memories and family pieces!
Thanks again…
🙂

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Holiday Season Features at the Hearth and Soul Link Party



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Chocolatey blessings to you,
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Share Your Style#233

Welcome to Share Your Style #233! This link party is for home decor, DIY, crafts, recipes and the like, but you are more than welcome to share your family-friendly posts with us all! As always I am glad that you are here and there are so many great posts to choose from to share with all y’all…
I am Barbara Chapman your host and I’d love it if you’d follow me here on my blog and on any of my other social media sites, too. I appreciate it!


Thank you!


And here’s what I shared this week at

French Ethereal…


A Fall Garden Update 2019 ~ I have been back out in the garden after coming upon a great plant sale at Walmart. Now that it is cooler I am back outside and working before the hard freezes of winter set in!

Sunday Sentiments ~ Leaves where I talk a little about faith and what’s going on in my life.

😉


A Little Fall Decor Past and Present ~ Sharing photos new and older and an update on our trailer.
Sorry… I am under the weather today as I finish this so I may only get a few features posted although I usually try to put up at least six wonderful posts that inspire me and I am sure will inspire you, too. 

You know how it is working with kids, or having young kids at home, I’ve picked up whatever bug they have, lol!

Here are this week’s featured posts…

Thanksgiving is almost here and Christmas is quick on its heels… With it here is a first Christmas post ~ part of Debbie’s of Debbie-Dabble Blog many beautiful Christmas trees ~ Christmas at Big Lots and New Christmas Buys, 2019. Love it!!!
an
Charming DIY Victorian Style Christmas Ornaments
Amber at Follow the Yellow Brick Home posted this beautiful offering of Charming DIY Victorian Style Christmas Ornaments. I have 30+ years of saved letters and cards and I think I may do something similar (I bet you do, too!).


Shop, Pack and Store Holiday Decorations, Tableware


Debbee at Debbee’s Buzz shares how she Shop, Pack and Store Holiday Decorations, Tableware and where to store it all! (The problem I have in my Craft Room, lol!!!) Good stuff! 
🙂



Amber of Follow The Yellow Brick Home also shared this post as part of a blog hop of gorgeous Thanksgiving Tablescapes. Such gorgeous ideas!




Happy Thanksgiving!

I’ll be taking next week off to spend time with my family and Share Your Style will be taking the week off, also. SYS will be back with lots of Christmas ideas for you on the first Wednesday in December.



Blessings to you,


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Decorate Your Angelic Statuettes for the Seasons…

Decorating our homes for  each season seems such a logical thing for all of us to do, but have you thought about decorating your little statues and statuettes the same way? Today I am sharing some fun wonderful statue transformations from my friends and some of my own. 

Let’s begin this angelic tour, shall we?…


Snowbirds…

Berry Christmas…


“The Girls” get decorated each winter outdoors with faux berry head wreaths or roses each year.  This is a favorite way I like to decorate my outdoor statues. Recently, I found a pepper tree near our Texas home and now I am just waiting for the berries to get ripe!*

*Turns out the Texas version of a pepper tree is different than its California cousin in that it has berries far apart on little branchlets and also has thorns, so… No new head wreaths unless I make them with faux berries again. 🙁 
Here in a Valentine’s Tablesetting ~ Ethereal in Pink our fair maiden wore a child’s tutu as a stole. Perfect for a fall Halloween party (with an added mask!) or for Valentine’s, this is a super easy way to dress up your statues.


Here my friend Debra of Common Ground added a simple brown ribbon tied in a  bow with a beautiful cross to her maiden. At some point Debra découpaged a watercolour tissue paper onto the lower half of this bust and added an upturned collar ~ such a gorgeous way to hide any flaws in chalkware pieces!

  
Amber at Follow the Yellow Brick Home decorates her music room at Christmas time in grand style and here Beethoven dressed warmly for the holiday season and this holiday home tour in a nubby oatmeal muffler. Amber’s farmhouse is just gorgeous and this post really shows off its grand beauty.


 An Old Angel and a Giveaway! | Edith & Evelyn
Cindy of Edith and Evelyn Vintage has an incredible angel which she found for sale when a church was closing its doors. Made of solid plaster but missing its wings, her husband fashioned a pair from a store-bought pair replacing the original ones lost to time. Here this angel is most decidedly angelic with its crown, sceptre and rosary beads ~ stunning!


Spur of the moment idea

Here our Lady Liberty wears our nation’s colors proudly! This was a photo I took for a 4th of July Pinterest Challenge but used later in this 10 on the 10th post. Repurposing worn flags into pillows or like I have done here is a good way to give a retired flag a second life.

Just go with it

“Spur of the moment ideas” when decorating are sometimes the most brilliant and often we just need to “go with it” when decorating our homes! If you love statues like I do then adding pieces of vintage jewelry to yours is an easy way to begin.

From a shop I visited in California ~ Posies and Picket Fences.


I hope you have enjoyed this tour of angelic statues today and have found a few ideas to use to decorate yours! Here is a pin to share and if you like what you see here, please consider following along. Thank you! 🙂

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Blessings to you,
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Share Your Style #189

Good evening everyone and welcome to Share Your Style 189!  I’m Carol from The Red Painted Cottage and I’ll be your host tonight.

I hope everyone had a fabulous Christmas and that you were able to spend it with your loved ones.  I’m sure some of you have already taken down your Christmas tree and are ready to move on, while others of us are still admiring our lights and decorations.  I also want to let you know that I’ll be leaving Share Your Style after this party.  I hope many of you will continue to stop by and see what’s happening at The Red Painted Cottage.
Please try stopping by and visiting everyone on our Style team.
It would also be wonderful if you could follow us on all our social media:
• Barbara: 21 Rosemary Lane / Facebook / Twitter / Pinterest / Google+
• Kristin: White Arrows Home / Facebook / Twitter / Pinterest / Instagram
• Barbara: French Ethereal / Facebook / Twitter / Pinterest / Instagram
• Meredith: Southbound / Facebook / Twitter / Pinterest / Instagram
Because I’m taking time off through the holidays, I haven’t shared anything recently on my blog.  However with New Years Eve coming up, I have two older posts I think you might enjoy.
A few features I’ve chosen to end 2018 with…


Rain on a Tin Roof shares how to make these adorable wagons out of crates.  She’s using them here as Christmas decor, but young children would probably love playing with them and storing some of their stuffed animals inside them. 
I happen to love all things miniature, especially dollhouses.  So it’s no surprise that I should feature A Debbie Dabble’s Christmas home tour of her Victorian dollhouse.  She’ll take you room by room and show you how she decorated it for Christmas.  One of these days I’ll have to share my own dollhouse with everyone.
If you’re looking for ideas to use on your New Years Eve dinner table, look no further than Debbees Buzz.  She created this stunning celestial tablescape to ring in the New Year!  Can you imagine sitting with your family or friends to ring in the New Year at this table!
Have you ever been to New York City?  Mary from The Boondocks Blog, recently moved here from Greece and often shares her new city with everyone; including her latest post about the spectacular tree at Rockefeller Center.  I’ve been here in the middle of summer, but I would love to visit here during the Christmas season and see the ice skating rink and lights during this time of year.  
Crafting A Family shares her recipe for an easy and quick breakfast overnight French toast casserole.  After reading through this, I know I’ll be making this sometime we have overnight guests. It looks and sound delicious!
Congratulations to all our featured bloggers!  Make sure to grab this Share Your Style featured button to display on your blog.
We want to wish everyone a very Happy and Healthy New Year for 2019!
Now let’s party!

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Merry Christmas Wishes to You!

MerryChristmas  to you!  As I sit here late on Christmas Eve after a busy week-plus of visiting friends while also looking at houses with my hubby for our potential next home, it is nice to sit down and rest in the quiet of a late evening thinking about the birth of our Savior…


“I’m dreaming tonight  of a place long, long ago…,” the song sung by Karen Carpenter so timeless and oft-played on the radio this time of year, is quietly drifting through my sleepy head now after putting out the last of the hidden Christmas gifts.


Memories of Christmases past bring back warm, happy thoughts of Christmas Eve services held by candlelight and the special message of Jesus’ birth
in a stable in Bethlehem.

One of our last Christmases in our Big House ~ love this Italian Nativity found long ago at Costco
when it was Price Club, remember that?  The pillow on the couch is an old J.C. Penney find.

So just a few thoughts here before heading to bed…


And today I looked again for the new Nativity to bring over and set out but it is not to be found this year…


But I do have this lovely Mary and Baby Jesus…

So this is our special Nativity this year to help remember the birth of our Lord.


Simple with its message of Love…

The looked-for Nativity in last year’s photo ~ love the Old World feel.  Beautiful and beatific!

May He comfort you and be your guide in this crazy journey called life!



Share Your Style will post up on Wednesday but otherwise I am taking some time off for the Christmas season and will be back after the New Year.
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Christmas Teas with Friends New and Old

Christmas is  the such a wonderful time of the year truly and I find it such a blessing to be a guest at other friends’ homes! Getting to share the season with friends and family is such a treat and today I wanted to share two special days with you all. 

Two special luncheons where friends gathered to share the Love of the season… Pour yourself a hot cup of tea or another favorite beverage as this will be a bit of a journey; however, I hope you will be truly blessed…



Two luncheons  so different in decor and style of home but very much the same… The first place we are visiting today is my friend and Bible study teacher Peggy Hayes’ home in Denton. 



We held our last study of the year where two special stories about the birth of the Christ Child were shared.

Peggy read to us from the gospel of Luke ch. 2…

The Birth of Jesus

1In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. 2(This was the first census that took place while a Quirinius was governor of Syria.) 3And everyone went to their own town to register.

 

There was no room at the inn… 

4So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. 5He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. 6While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, 7and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.


And an angel appeared…
8And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. 9An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified.10But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. 11Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. 12This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”
A few tears ensued and smiles spread all around as we finished out study time and felt His holy presence.

Friends Peggy Luigs (L, Peggy #2), Carrie Ballard (back) and Peggy Hayes
(R, Peggy #1), our hostess.

 Our potluck menu

We moved all our study things off the table and shared our potluck luncheon of homemade chicken tortilla soup made by Peggy #1. A Raspberry Balsamic vinaigrette-topped salad with chopped pecans, mandarin oranges and ruby red Craisins and baby Roma tomatoes. There were tortilla chips for crunching on top of our soup and sides of crackers and cheeses and delicious Kosher bologna.



Now I don’t tend to “shove the Dove” as Pastor Brian used to say not to do at Calvary Chapel of Murrieta some years ago, so only a few times a year will you hear me really pour my heart out for our Creator.
Today is one of those days…
🙂

One of the many wonderful crosses in Peggy’s home.
Peggy’s home is filled with red everywhere ~ her favorite color! She also loves quilts and a casual country decor using long-loved and thrifted finds to create her loving home.  She has many beautiful crosses and Nativities, of which I’ve shared a few.

I shared a post last year about the scripture quilts which Peggy makes for friends ~ so inspirational! 

L-R:  New friend Jane, Carrie, Peggy #1, Peggy #2, and another new friend
Nancy, who is a pastor’s wife.

Food for thought

Here’s the gang! This was a wonderful day with good food of both kinds to nourish our holiday season-wearied souls. I for one am really glad that the Christmas Story was read as I needed to hear it again.

I hope you needed it too.
🙂

Laura’s super cute ornament display in her kitchen ~ based off the one I’m linking here!
Tea at friend Laura’s home  was the very next day and she invited three friends from her church to come hang with Cindy {who writes the blog County Road 407and myself for the day.

Laura as you know writes the blog Decor to Adore 
and has become a good friend over this past year as has Cindy. We like a lot of the same things just as my friends in California do ~ decorating our homes for each season, thrift shopping and antiques.  And of course a heart for Jesus!

Don’t you just love this pink decorated Christmas tree in it’s little cart??!

Laura’s theme

When Laura was thinking about what colors she wanted to do this year for Christmas her daughter suggested pink {I think it was} so Laura took a look through her Christmas decorations and ornaments to see if there was enough…

Happily there was enough and a pink-and-white decor for the Christmas season enveloped their beautiful home! 

This beautiful china hutch is part of a set of antique oak pieces brought
back from their living in Germany when Mr. Decor was stationed overseas.
Love, love the villages and castles on these vintage china pieces ~ so pretty!
Which goes along with the pinkish-red transferware china Laura collects ~ another similarity we have as I found some Johnson Bros. china a couple of years ago just after we moved here to Texas.

Here is a simple Christmas vignette on this blanket chest in their foyer complete with a sweet German Bavarian-style Advent carousel on top.  Fresh greens from their trees outside complete the decorations and show the Advent piece to its best advantage.

In a hutch in her living room near their Christmas tree sits a display of white ironstone creamware decorated with silvery Christmas balls set on beds of snow. Little cottages and tiny decorated chalets sparkle in the cabinet’s light… 

And more little Christmas houses beckon over on the antique carved server in the dining room.  Soft wisps of angel hair snow cozily wrap snow drifts around the town and church…

And the Gunn’s two weenie doggies came and visited with us, too!  This little guy is now 16 years old and such a lover and so jaunty in his Christmas neckerchief…

I apologize for not getting a good shot of both of them. I did try but you know how it is with kids and dogs and photographs ~ too much excitement to sit still!

A place setting for Jesus

After much visiting and meeting new friends we brought our soup bowls into the kitchen and served up the delicious chicken, spinach and cheese tortellini soup ~ heaven in a bowl!


Love this alcove for the range and all the brick!  The copper pans and sieves
remind me of the copper pans and moulds my mother collected.


Sprinkled with little slivers of parmesan cheese and pine nuts the soup had a nice crunch that satisfied all of our palates.  

I believe this is Johnson Bros. “Friendly Village.”

The Advent wreath

As we began the meal, Laura had us each in turn light a candle as she shared the story of the Advent wreath and what each lit candle means ~ this is a wonderful tradition her family has celebrated for years!

Each part reminds us of the coming of Jesus. The circle of evergreen branches represents “eternity.”
The candle lit in the center represents Christ as the “light of the world.”  The other candles lit in turn beginning on the fourth Sunday before Christmas represent as follows:

1. “Prophecy candle” ~ traditionally a purple candle and the first lit, in remembrance of the prophets but mostly Isaiah as he foretold of the coming birth of Christ.  This candle represents “Hope.”

Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel. (Isaiah 7:14, NIV) 


2. “Bethlehem candle” ~ or the “Love candle,” symbolizing Christ’s “Manger,” and is the second purple candle lit.

“This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.” (Luke 2:12, NIV)

3. “Shepherds candle” ~ which represents “Joy” as the shepherds heard the Good News and went in search of this great news.  This is the third candle lit and it is traditionally a pink or rose-colored candle.

And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. (Luke 2:8–11, NIV)

4. “Angels candle” ~ lit on the fourth Sunday of Advent, the Sunday before Christmas, is the third and final purple candle lit.  It represents “Peace.”

My own little scene at home…
The symbolism of the day was not lost on us and more happy tears were shed for a baby born long ago whose sole purpose was to come into this world to save us all from sin and claim us as His own.
🙂

Our next course was a lasagna Laura made and served with a light salad which was wonderful! There wasn’t much talking around the table as we were just enjoying the meal and the ambiance.

After visiting for a while longer, we were ready for dessert and I brought in my Victoria Sponge…




This naked cake was what I brought to share and didn’t look this pretty when it first arrived ~ LOL!

A funny story: I made a cake the day before but it completely flopped and didn’t rise.  I tried using Splenda instead of regular granulated white sugar and probably overbeat the mixture, so… Don’t do what I did when you mix your cakes, friends! 😉

These two vanilla sponge cakes came unfrosted from Wal-Mart’s bakery here in Denton, Texas and thankfully theirs were wonderful!  Put together with lemon curd in the middle and a Mock Devonshire Cream frosting topped with berries and sprigs of rosemary, since I didn’t have a sweet pine tree close by.

The Great Cookie Exchange

Laura had set up a fun cookie exchange between all her friends and each of us was gifted with a Dollar store lidded bowl for taking our loot home.  

This is Cindy and she is sooo sweet!

Here is Laura with Gerlie on the left.

Yours truly cutting us all BIG slices of the cake.
;)’

Here are Cindy who is my other blogger friend (L) who also lives close by in pink {was definitely the color of the day!} sitting next to Nancy {I think? I am terrible with names and I do apoligize and will correct as I ask forgiveness!}.  She and the other Cindy were running off soon to help feed a group of people their church supports.

And here is gang #2!  
These last photos are courtesy of Laura Ingalls Gunn of Decor to Adore
who lovingly sent the to me.
:X



Two lovely days meeting and sharing a meal in our Savior’s honor with old and new friends.
Much to be thankful for…


Sharing with
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Share Your Style
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Christmas blessings to you,
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Share Your Style #188

Good evening and welcome to our 188th SYS link party! This week your party host is Lynn, from the blog The Vintage Nest



We are so thrilled you all dropped by again to party with us! Christmas is just around the corner and this is definitely the place to find some amazing inspiration.  I spent hours pouring over your wonderful link posts and it was so hard to just pick a few to share this week with our readers.
Before we get started, please make sure to pay a visit to all of your SYS team members!

• Lynn: The Vintage Nest / Facebook / Twitter / Pinterest / Google+ 
• Barbara: 21 Rosemary Lane / Facebook / Twitter / Pinterest / Google+ 
• Kristin: White Arrows Home / Facebook / Twitter / Pinterest / Instagram 
• Barbara: French Ethereal / Facebook / Twitter / Pinterest / Instagram
• Meredith: Southbound / Facebook / Twitter / Pinterest / Instagram


~~~~ A few of my Favorites ~~~~

Orphans with Makeup gives us an excellent tutorial on making some handmade “vintage” ornaments.  These are just gorgeous!  thank you Mary for this inspiration.



Rever en Couleur (Dream in Color) shares her kitchen brick wall transformation and it’s beautiful.  Years ago, I whitewashed my brick fireplace and have never regretted and get so many compliments.  If you have been thinking of doing it…..Just do it!


Marty, a long long time friend on blogger, puts a spin on Christmas decor with her gorgeous rusty orange theme.  She explains how she did it very inexpensively.  Click on over to see this non-traditional theme at her blog A Stroll Thru Life.

Are you looking for a last minute, easy, inexpensive, personalized gift? The blog H2O Bungalow shares her tutorial on how to add words to a candle.  These are just so charming.


Finally, this post really really captured my heart.  When my children were little, a holiday tradition was the making of the gingerbread house and on New Year’s Eve, they got to “destroy” it and eat wasn’t what as hard as a brick.  They thought that was the grandest thing!  The blog Home Cooking Memories shares with us what could easily become a new tradition.  How fun and delicious is this?  A gingerbread house milkshake recipe.

 Congratulations to all of this week’s featured bloggers. If you have been featured please make sure to grab our cute feature button to proudly display on your blog.

  We wish you all a very happy holiday and we’ll see you next week. 

Now on to the PARTY!!!!


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