Archive for the 'holidays' Category

14
Dec
07

IMA Holiday Open Greenhouse

Old Friends

A trip to the Indianapolis Museum of Art Greenhouse as a Christmas tradition? Yep. The Greenhouse is open for business year round whenever the museum is, but two Thursday evenings in December the Greenhouse folks, like my friend Lynne above, roll out a therapeutically warm and life-filled holiday welcome. You can pop into the final Open House of the season next Thursday, December 20 (free, open till 8:00 p.m.). It makes a great date night venue.

Warm Greeting

I love the subtle details. This year simple candles burning in the snow were at the gates. In the past, it was red fabric lanterns with tea lights inside.

If you think an emphasis on nature limits your color palette to sage and brown, the Greenhouse staff is ready to blow your mind. I’m thinking about buying this metal tree and all of its ornaments for our house so I can make it through the February and March blahs.

Aviary Tree

Ornaments

If you look closely you can see the guitar player through the window.

IMA Greenhouse

I’ll always need a plant and a smiling-person-pick-me-up to brighten my spirits when winter is bearing down on me. Sue, Lynne, and the Greenhouse crowd always hook me up with both.

Pretty

Oldfields, the IMA’s American Country Place era estate of which the Greenhouse is a part, is open for free that Thursday, too. The grounds are lit so that you can enjoy the gardens at night. Cold as it was outside, winding through the endless luminaria trails was a calming way to end a typically wild December day.

Oldfields Formal Garden

On the Grounds

On the Grounds

11
Dec
07

The Holiday Pickins at Sullivan Hardware

Wildflower Home
(Dave, doing his best “discrminating shopper.”)

A few years back Sullivan Hardware, an old Indy standard, opened a store at Keystone and 71st. Their new place features Wildflower Home, a stand alone cottage which carries their home dec stuff and product that Dave and Ken really like. I’ve been pretty ambiguous about the place. They have a few nice things, sort of pricey. I would normally put it into the “lots of potential” category, but this time around I liked more of what I saw.

I still think I may have to make this wreath work somewhere in our house. Kitchen maybe?

Wildflower Home Wreath

And for some reason I love this metal deer head. Dave suggested it might look good on our back porch. I think it could look equally great in an all white modern space or a cabin. How about a kid’s treehouse?

Metal Deer Head

There’s typically plenty of real greenery around here, but actual berries can be hard to find. These Winterberry branches were really nice.

Winterberry

And I loved the painted branches, too. Would be worth the five or so bucks not to have to choke on the fumes.

Painted Branches

This train is the kind of thing kids will remember when they are older.Train Station

The only sour note was when it was my turn to check out at the hardware store. A random couple from Brownsburg (for some reason they announced their origins when they waltzed through the door) approached my guy and said they wanted their Christmas tree. And instead of calling someone or smiling and saying, “you’re welcome to get in line” or “I’ll be with you in a moment” he just walked away to help them, leaving me standing there. After watching him futz around with them for a few minutes and waiting longer than I should have, I finally put my stuff down and left. Dave told me I should have said something, but sometimes (admittedly, not often) I just don’t feel up to arguing.So if you aren’t in a hurry and need some greenery (or red-ery), a free bag of popcorn, or a few interesting holiday things, you may want to stop into Sullivan.

09
Dec
07

Holiday Hoopla on Mass Ave

John and I stayed in our ‘hood Friday night and strolled through Holiday Hoopla on our favorite street in Indy– Massachusetts Avenue.

Fire Pit at Holiday Hoopla

With fire pits set up along the street, no one had to worry about staying warm. I’ve never seen fire this close to art before. All those years in art museums had me feeling a little nervous about it, but I’m sure the sculpture was perfectly safe.

We’re really happy with the way upper Mass Ave is shaping up.

Patrick Wasson

We got to pop in for the opening of our friend Patrick’s winter show, which is really nice. Patrick was an intern at the IMA when I was there, and I enjoy following his career.

Patrick and Kirs

Here he is with Kris, his sweet partner and manager of our favorite store on Mass Ave – Home in the City (at Silver in the City). Totally fun, cool, and beautiful home goods and jewelry. If I ever need any kind of gift, I stop there first. It’s a special place to John and me because we got our wedding rings there.

Best Chocolate In Town

Just a few doors down we stopped in to visit with Elizabeth, owner of The Best Chocolate in Town (or BCT as we call it).

Seriously, how cute is she?Best Chocolate in Town

And her shop’s name ain’t no lie. John got a Champagne and a Lemon Chiffon truffle. I got one of the awesome chocolaty, pepperminty, crunchy, crackly cookie thingies she’s showing here. It was crazy tasty. 

We popped down to Chatham Tap Pub for dinner (great drinks, meh fish and chips, downright decent seafood bisque) and got caroled while we ate. Yummm…tuba.

Chatham Tap Pub

We’re going to tap the Tap again some Sunday night, the only night they serve Yorkshire pudding (yum).On the way back to our car we stopped in at Jill Ditmire’s Mass Avenue Wine Shoppe for a bottle of organic port I’d spotted earlier.

Mass Ave Wine Shoppe

The selection at Jill’s place is great. Boxed dinners are coming soon, and they sound awesome! John and I were surprised, however, to see that they made a point of advertising that they serve Atkins Cheesecake. Jeanne Atkins, owner of Atkins Elegant Desserts went on record that she would prefer to see her comatose gay son never recover than return to life with his partner of 25 years.

Obviously, Atkins is anathema to most Indy gay folks. I let the very nice woman who waited on us know that they may want to reconsider carrying her products. She seemed surprised to hear that their cheesecake was controversial. As much of a local celebrity as Jill is, I would be surprised if she missed the media coverage of the Atkins story, but I’m going to give her the benefit of the doubt for now. 

Art, fire pits, carolers, good food, friendly faces, ice sculptures, and an awesome honey to see it all with! The bleak midwinter isn’t so bleak after all.

06
Dec
07

Holiday Friends Arrive

Street Clothes

This year we had special guests come by car and by plane from Arkansas and Ohio to be a part of Booze and Cookies (actual event post coming soon). Some of the out-of-towners came in a few days early so we could get some visiting in.

And when these friends come, they never arrive empty handed – Lori and Felley brought mountains of food, including Miss Judy’s (Felley’s mom) cinnamon rolls (Jennifer called them Crack Rolls)  so I wouldn’t have to do all of the cooking.They brought fun paper dinnerware so I didn’t have to wash as many dishes, and even my favorite Caldrea dishwashing liquid and counter spray (Patchouli and Green Tea) and cutlery (Jennie read on my blog that I’d lost my paring knife). 

Jennie and J. talked two other friends, David and Jennifer, whom I only knew through David’s blog, which I love to read, into coming with them. They are so fun! And I’ve heard of host gifts before, but I teared up a little when they pulled THIS out of their bag.

Claire Painting

They took a downloaded picture of Claire from my blog and gave it to an artist from Box Turtle Imports and Gifts on Kavanaugh in Little Rock to turn into a painting. I told Jennie later that Jennifer and David were a joy to be around, but even if they’d turned out to be complete turds, that gift would have kept the welcome mat out for them (I know, love for sale, but try to tell me you would feel any differently).Visiting

Once we got everyone settled in, we had time to make a trip out to Duane and Todd’s and to stop into Country Friends (Julie had never been and wanted to go). I feel sure that the people who work at CF must whisper under their breath, “him, again?” whenever I walk in the door these days. Here’s that holly I talked about but didn’t photograph last weekend (not much left).

Good Holly

And I loved these vintage “Maggie’s Memories” collectables.  I bought the little Santa Clause.

Sweet Stuff

If I didn’t already have a front door wreath I would run to CF to buy this one. It is simple but inspired and would look great at either a traditional or a rustic entrance, and the price point was awesome – $59.00 I think (don’t quote me).

Christmas Wreath

Julie made the big retail score of the day with this 19th century crazy quilt that she’s going to back with velvet and make into a wrap.

Sold

Julie, send me pics when you get it finished. Our house isn’t big, so every bed and sofa was filled. We even had a pallet on the floor (after some discussion we realized that either northern folks don’t sleep on the floor or they have another word for it. Can anyone from Indiana confirm or correct me on this?). And our neighbors opened up their garage apartment for us, too. It must have seemed a little like camp, but with the exception of Jennifer and David, all the rest of us had slept in close quarters together before on church youth retreats, choir trips or even at actual camp.

I was wishing I’d hung out a little with Practical Pat when she was cooking huge breakfasts for Lori, Julie, and Jennie and the rest of their clan because I was slow! But never bored. One morning while I was cooking I could hear David, whose roots and accent are pretty heavily Ozark, sporadically yelling “PAAY-pur!” in the living room. Jennie brought a voice activated Brain Age game with her, which was keeping him entertained as he tried to predict as quickly as possible what would counter rock in a game of Rock, Paper, Scissors. But he couldn’t get the game to work so he kept yelling “PAAY-pur” louder and louder (turns out it was in instruction mode).

Chocolate Gravy and Cinnamon Rolls

David (aka PAAY-pur!) using one of Duane’s Chocolate Gravy Pitchers.

From then on, any quiet moment would be filled with someone randomly yelling “PAAY-pur!,” which is just the kind of joke that this group is happy to take way too far. Fortunately, David understands the value of a good laugh whatever it costs.

06
Dec
07

Prairie Creek Farms = Hoosier Folk Center

The first weekend in December means a trip to Duane and Todd’s for the Prairie Creek Farms’ open house. Duane and Todd’s home started as a small farm house, to which a previous owner built an addition. When Duane and Todd moved in they made their own additions. The result is an incredibly cozy homestead that is plenty large enough for giant family gatherings (they have lots of kin). One post isn’t enough room to share what there is to see there, so this time I thought I’d focus on my favorite winter spots in their house.

Window Mirrors

This is their hearth room. Duane had these old farmhouse windows turned into mirrors. He got them for their master bath, but they didn’t fit so he put them here, where I think they look perfect. I like the subtle, old paint finish.New Mirrors

Duane said:

I got them made at Townsend Glass in Westfield [Indiana]. But here’s the catch. Kevin Townsend got the salvaged windows several years ago and that is when I got the frames. I took them home to seal them and never got around to taking them back for the mirrors because they were too big for my original plan of putting them in the master bathroom. When I brought them in to fit with mirrors, he said “it’s a good thing you got those when you did because those old windows are getting hard to find. Most old homes have all replaced their windows now and you just can’t find them anymore.” So I don’t know if that means he doesn’t have any or not. Their number is 896-1259. They charged me only $75 each which I think was pretty reasonable.  

Lesson learned: Don’t wait to buy old, one of a kind things you love.

Loom

As if a hearth and these mirrors weren’t enough to make a room, they also have a working loom that belonged to one of Todd’s relatives. He let some of us try it out.Duane is a ceramicist, and one of the fun things about the open house is that you get to see (and buy if you want) what he’s been working on. I loved this peach vase (I like Duane’s kind of Chinois/Hoosier visual style).Friends from Arkansas were visiting John and me for the weekend, and they went to the PCF with us. Jennie and I both needed Chocolate Gravy pitchers. She got the one on the left and I bought the one on the right. They are the perfect size.Duane, Todd and the kids are so crafty, I’ve decided to refer to their place as the Hoosier Folk Center from now on.Oh, and this is my other favorite winter spot at their house – in front of the living room windows that look out on to apple trees filled with bird feeders.

Bird Watching

My pitiful photos do not do the scene justice, but I could totally survive winter with no problem if I got to look at frolicking birds having fun all of the time.

Cardinal

05
Dec
07

First Snow of the Season

House

Last week was our annual cookie bake (Booze and Cookies) and it was a weekend long blast of food, family, and friends. I’m still working on the post(s?), but I thought I would buy some time by putting up a picture I took this morning of this year’s first snow. It’s the kind of snow everyone likes—not too deep, not too cold, and very blankety.  I would love to spend this day sitting in front of Sam with a book, a pot of tea and a wool throw.   But off to work I go.

27
Nov
07

Christmas Time’s A Comin’

Busy getting ready for the holidays, but wanted to show you a few finds. Mom, Dave and I went to the Country Friends Open House last Saturday. They had even more holiday stuff out than they did a week before. The holly and greenery at Country Friends is particularly good this year. I got this variegated type for our back porch chandelier because it had kind of a vintage look to it.

Porch Chandelier

I usually mix real with artificial, in this case with Frasier Fir remains trimmed from our tree. My mom got a more sage-colored, dusty green holly (sorry, I forgot to take pictures) that came in sprays as well as a garland. It was beautiful and more subtle than my garish taste usually allows me to get away with.

While poking around for Christmas I also found this red David Smith Windsor chair.

Red Chair
We just painted our mudroom from red to the same deep eggplant color that is in our kitchen and I was missing the red just a little. The chair scratches that itch and gives me something light to pull into the kitchen when we have more guests than chairs around Sam (our woodstove).

I kind of like the way it looks next to this sweet wreath Dave made us just in time for the holidays. Dave’s wreaths are normally more restrained.

Wreath
He said he made a conscious effort to make this one look like it was about to whirl off the door (even used bird feathers) because he knows I like wreaths that , well, look like they are about whirl off the door. Not sure why, but I do favor spiral shaped wreaths. Though the one I have for the front door seems pretty subdued in comparison. Pam at J. P. Parker flowers remade this one from an old one I had.

Reworked Wreath

I was so glad my mom and dad came up this past weekend. They helped us get our tree decorated and mom helped me haul out and place all of the “stuff.” I really don’t mind doing it, but having help always makes it a lot more fun.