Friday, December 25, 2015

Merry Christmas from the Lesters

Wishing you a lovely Christmas!

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Thankful for Family

"Rejoice with your family in the beautiful land of life!" ~ Albert Einstein

One of the greatest treasures of our recent Thanksgiving celebration was this photograph capturing our family. We were determined to capture some images before the afternoon sunlight faded to dusk, and I am so glad my brother, Nathan, made it happen. I smile every time I look at this beautiful group. My, how we have grown!

My dad and his wife, Vicki, are so proud of this lovely gathering of grandchildren. I can hardly blame them, though. These kids are pretty amazing.

What a blessing to spend the holiday with my paternal grandparents. It is such a gift to have them with us still.

My Aunt Gail, shown here with Uncle Bill and all the cousins, has overcome significant health problems since last year and is still a blessing to us all. We look back on our time together over the Thanksgiving holiday with grateful hearts.

"When you look at your life, the greatest happinesses are family happinesses." ~ Joyce Brothers

Friday, December 11, 2015

Glimpses of Our Holiday Table

So once in every year we throng
Upon a day apart,
To praise the Lord with feast and song
In thankfulness of heart.
~ Arthur Guiterman

I hope you will indulge me in sharing Thanksgiving photos so close to Christmas. We were blessed to host my family for the holiday, and my brother, Nathan, captured some beautiful images of our time together. Unfortunately, by the end of our busy weekend, I was not feeling well. Two weeks (and a doctor's visit) later, I hope I am finally coming out of this illness. I am so ready to stop coughing! In any event, I cannot let the season pass without sharing these memories of our tablescape. My next post will share photos of the dear ones who joined our celebration!

Our dining table seats ten, and I could not wait to gather the adults in our dining room! My grandfather had a life-altering stroke in early spring, but he and my grandmother were able to join us, thanks to my dad transporting them to and from our house. That was definitely cause for celebration! 

Fresh Market offered a lovely array of tulips, a novel choice for our Thanksgiving arrangements. In my zeal to decorate, I arranged the stems too soon and wound up having to clip them short before the meal. Rummaging through cupboards, I found three identical jars perfect for filling with fresh cranberries and flowers.

This year I decided to use our Noritake Chandon wedding china, which looked lovely set against gold chargers.

We used my Mikasa Antique Lace crystal for the occasion and re-purposed four of the water goblets as vases for hydrangeas.

Votives floating atop handfuls of cranberries completed our setting.

White embroidered napkins added softness.

Although my original intention had been to make one floral centerpiece for the table, a series of low-lying arrangements looked lovely and allowed guests to converse easily.

Joining us at this year's festivities were my grandparents; my father and his wife, Vicki; my siblings, Jennifer and Nathan, and their families; and my Uncle Bill and Aunt Gail. We are so grateful that all could gather around our table.

My late mother, of course, was never far from our thoughts. She would have loved this gathering!

Still to come, a few more pictures from our celebration and the loved ones who make the time together worthwhile.

"Thanksgiving is nothing if not a glad and reverent lifting of the heart to God in honor and praise for His goodness." ~ Robert Casper Lintner

Photos by Nathan Prichard. Used with permission.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Our Trip to Neverland

"Dreams do come true, if only we wish hard enough. You can have anything in life if you will sacrifice everything else for it." ~ J.M. Barrie

I had nearly given up hope that we would come up with a theme for Trunk or Treat that the whole family could agree on when, with days to spare, I tossed out one final idea. "Peter Pan?" I suggested tentatively, turning to Christian to ask if he would be willing to assume the lead role. Imagine my surprise when 16-year-old Carson immediately volunteered, adding that he would do it as long as I made his costume.

"You will?" I gasped with such delight that all the children laughed. This year brought two more surprises in the form of Joe, who agreed to join the fun as Captain Hook, and Carson's sweet girlfriend, Mallory, who was a darling Wendy Darling. Here are a few pictures of our Neverland crew, with quotes from Scottish playwright J.M. Barrie's classic story Peter Pan.

"Proud and insolent youth," said Hook, "prepare to meet thy doom."

"Dark and sinister man," Peter answered, "have at thee."

"The moment you doubt whether you can fly, you cease for ever to be able to do it."

"To live will be an awfully big adventure."

"When the first baby laughed for the first time, its laugh broke into a thousand pieces, and they all went skipping about, and that was the beginning of fairies."

"I'm youth, I'm joy, I'm a little bird that has broken out of the egg."

"The boat drew nearer. It was the pirate dinghy, with three figures in her, Smee and Starkey, and the third a captive, no other than Tiger Lily. Her hands and ankles were tied, and she knew what was to be her fate. ... Yet her face was impassive; she was the daughter of a chief, she must die as a chief's daughter, it is enough."

"If you shut your eyes and are a lucky one, you may see at times a shapeless pool of lovely pale colours suspended in the darkness; then if you squeeze your eyes tighter, the pool begins to take shape, and the colours become so vivid that with another squeeze they must go on fire. But just before they go on fire you see the lagoon. This is the nearest you ever get to it on the mainland, just one heavenly moment; if there could be two moments you might see the surf and hear the mermaids singing."

"Wendy, Wendy, when you are sleeping in your silly bed you might be flying about with me saying funny things to the stars."

"Fairies have to be one thing or the other, because being so small they unfortunately have room for one feeling only at a time."

"I'll teach you how to jump on the wind's back, and then away we go."

"It is the nightly custom of every good mother after her children are asleep to rummage in their minds and put things straight for the next morning, repacking into their proper places the many articles that have wandered during the day."

"She also said she would give him a kiss if he liked, but Peter did not know what she meant, and he held out his hand expectantly."

"Young boys should never be sent to bed. They always wake up a day older, and then before you know it, they're grown."

"You just think lovely wonderful thoughts," Peter explained, "and they lift you up in the air."

"I say, Wendy," he whispered to her, "always if you see me forgetting you, just keep on saying 'I'm Wendy,' and then I'll remember."

"All the world is made of faith, and trust, and pixie dust."

Monday, September 28, 2015

How to Make a Plush Fabric Pumpkin

"The bright summer had passed away, and gorgeous autumn was flinging its rainbow-tints of beauty on hill and dale." ~ Cornelia L. Tuthill
Today our windows are open to welcome the slight chill that reminds us that fall is here. Little by little, autumn is easing into our region of the country.

These clever pumpkins are one of my favorite autumnal accents. Emma has already asked if she could display them in her room. Honestly, though, they are so easy to sew, she could probably make a few for herself -- in her choice of pattern and hue.

Plush Fabric Pumpkin Tutorial
1. Although velvet is a classic choice for this project, a cotton duck print gives these gourds vibrant appeal. Spread fabric, right side down, and trace a circle with a fabric pen. (A 10.5-inch dinner plate will yield six circles per half-yard of fabric.) Create varied pumpkin sizes by experimenting with larger and smaller round templates, such as chargers and salad plates.
2. For each pumpkin, cut a circle of fabric. With needle and thread chosen to complement the thickness of the fabric, sew a running stitch around the perimeter of the circle. Pull the threads to softly gather the fabric, and pour dried beans into the opening. I used 1 to 1½ cups of black-eyed peas per pumpkin, which rendered them pleasingly plump. When you are satisfied with the fullness, pull the threads taut and stitch the opening closed. Do not cut the thread.
3. A button stitched to the bottom of the pumpkin gives a softly tufted, natural form. Push the needle through from the gathered top to the bottom. Attach a button, pushing the needle back and forth through the pumpkin with each stitch. Knot and clip the thread at the gathered top.
4. A woody stem from a fresh pumpkin provides the perfect finishing touch, but you can substitute a stem from another gourd or squash, if needed. Coat the base of the stem with hot glue, and firmly press the stem into the gathers on the top to complete the plush pumpkin.
"Oh how we love pumpkin season. You did know this gourd-ish squash has its own season, right? Winter, Spring, Summer, Pumpkin ... . We anxiously anticipate it every year." ~Trader Joe’s

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

An Alfresco Autumn Tablescape

When our Southern climate gives us a blessed reprieve from the soaring temperatures of summer, my family knows that we will be dining outside as often as possible. There is nothing more enjoyable at dinnertime than lingering together in the fresh air as daylight fades into evening. Those golden moments are my favorite time of the day.

For this autumn tablescape, a plump fabric pumpkin marks each place setting -- an easy decoration or party favor. (Details in my next post!)

I use these leafy green Majolica Bordallo Pinheiro Cabbage Ceramic Dinner Plates plates most of the year -- topped here with pierced-edge plates from Pier1.

A single orange rose tucked into a glass votive adds a lovely touch to each place setting.

And a cluster of blooms make an easy centerpiece, put on a pedestal in an embossed white soup bowl.

With plenty of texture and vibrant color, this table not only welcomes fall but also the loved ones who gather to dine alfresco on a gorgeous autumn day.

"The days may not be so bright and balmy -- yet the quiet and melancholy that lingers around them is fraught with glory. Over everything connected with autumn there lingers some golden spell -- some unseen influence that penetrates the soul with its mysterious power." ~ Northern Advocate

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