Back from the land of cool nights and sunny days….
June 14, 2011

Welcome to Cashiers, baby!!

I’ve just returned from a little slice of heaven…..for those of you who have never been to the mountains of North Carolina…a little south-west of Asheville…around Highlands and Cashiers, you must go one day. Beautiful mountains, incredible views, cascading waterfalls, cool crisp nights, and sunny warm days. Seriously…it is an amazing area. Love it!!

Hello outdoor fireplace..my new obsession....

We rented BIG house in Highlands, big… because my sisters and their husbands came up from Alabama, and my kids came down from Baltimore and New York….VRBO, of course…..you know that’s how I roll.  And while there are many lovely homes for rent, the thing that really sold me on this one was the outdoor fireplace you see above. We fired that baby up almost every evening on the porch….heavenly, when it was 100 degrees back home. And we ate most of our dinners gathered around  the big porch dining table you can see in the background. Lots of wine, lots of laughs.

The great room....lots of seating room...

Pretty views everywhere you went…..from winding drives (kinda scary at first) to golf clubs with views. Our house was inside the Old Edwards Golf Club….and while I’m not a golfer…my son and the lovely Jennifer played the course, which you can see below.

Yeah... I know....how lovely is that??

The views there were drop dead gorgeous  ….and the club has a gps system so if you need something to eat or drink….just let them know, and they’ll bring it to you on the course. Two beers and two club sandwiches please! They thought it was one of the prettiest courses they’d ever seen, and they’ve seen many, all over the world.

Easy to see why they're called the Smokies!

Some of the cutest consignment and decorating shops I’ve ever traipsed through…my sister went home with a darling lime green wicker table, and my other sister, a wonderful painting of raccoons peeking through a window.

Love this little arbor!!

Wow....old school....but no gas to be had.

And I re-visited High Hampton Inn and Golf Club-check it out here….a place we covered on Great Country Inns years ago…I have to say it is prettier than ever…modern improvements but kept the charm….seriously, a wonderful place for a family vacation.

High Hampton's dining room.....charming...

Things for the kids to do all day….great food…the prettiest dining room, where you’re assigned a table that is yours for your stay, men wear coats and ties at dinner….and you dig into some delish food. Mountain living at its finest.

View from High Hampton tavern....wow...

More on the food we cooked (and we made some great meals)….and a special cake surgery my sister and I accomplished….the redo of a cake that needed some help…in a couple of days. Glad to be back(kinda)!

Countdown to Christmas…I’m recycling just about everything…
December 22, 2009

I'm drowning in recycling...help!

OK, seriously….if recycling doesn’t come tomorrow(and I know they will, but still), I will be in big trouble. Take a look at this pile of boxes and paper and flotsam and jetsam, lurking untidyly(not sure that’s a word) in the corner of the family room. It’s enough to strike terror into the heart of anyone riding the recycling truck. And it is without doubt, evidence that I did most of my shopping online this year. I love the idea of strolling around charming shops looking for gifts, but this year I just didn’t have the time, and my fingers did the shopping.

Recycled pine cones...

And speaking of recycling….recycled pine cone alert! Remember the huge pine cones from the party? The ones I ordered off of EBay…(yes, you can find anything on Ebay).  I had so many of them, I tied a dozen or so onto pine roping…can I tell you they looked so beautiful in the snow….very rustic, very Southern Living.  Oh, and some of them also did double duty,  showing up as Christmas tree ornaments.

The tree wasn’t bought until this past Saturday morning…in the snow…but it’s up and decorated…finally. All of the ornaments on our tree have a history of some sort, and while I love the idea of a “designer tree”…where all of the decorations have a theme or match in some way, I could never change our tree from what it is. Which is to say, a hodgepodge really, of lovingly collected snowmen, dolls, animals, angels and whatever that we have collected or been given over the years.

Wise elf watches all...

The ones in the pictures have memories for me….great memories….the little elf holding his knees, and the little china angel date back to my childhood….and Mom gave them to me. I love finding a place in the tree for the elf to sit…he just watches all the holiday fun from his piney perch…and the tiny basket by the angel, no bigger than your thumb..was  given to my daughter from a wonderful young woman who took care of her in preschool named Miss Daisy.

Little old angel...

She made sweet little ornaments for all the kids, and at least this one survives, almost 20 years later.

On Christmas day we will be home …home here, not home Alabama. My sweet daughter, my son and the lovely Jennifer will also be here…I feel so lucky to have them all at Christmas though I know that won’t always be true. One must learn to share, after all.

But all my shopping is finished..done. I think. I’m hoping I don’t get a last minute attack of the “I don’t have enough” whimwhams. One of my sisters has already come down with this much dreaded and potentially expensive malady, and I hope to avoid her fate….last minute shopping. The gifts are wrapped, for the most part, mostly with recycled boxes I got last year and the year before when I had gifts wrapped at the store before they were sent(thank you Neiman Marcus)….and get this.

Gift tags with a little history behind them...

I even recycled some really beautiful bird gift tags I bought last year! I mean, the presents are given to the same people year after year….why throw away something that is perfectly useful and still lovely? And my sister Audrey had a great idea which I haven’t tried…she makes tags from the fronts of Christmas cards she has received….pretty on the front, blank on the back…think about it.

Ok, for those of you not finished with your “rat-killing“, as my Mother would call it…get out there and get it done. And then lets all take a collective sigh of relief and just….relax. For a little while?