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Countertop Review

This time last year I was packing up our house to prepare for our down-to-the-studs renovation in our kitchen, family room, and master bath as well as the addition of a screened porch. The family room wasn't originally part of the plan, but that's a post for another time. The kitchen was where I really had to plan and scheme, and, yes even fret, to stay in our footprint and budget and to get the function and look I wanted. I love a challenge like this, though, so despite some occasional frustration with my client (aka me! ), I enjoyed the process. A key "want" of mine was honed marble countertops. There are dozens--maybe hundreds--of blog posts, articles, and showroom sites that compare various types of countertop materials and their pros and cons. I read most of them and took notes from a lot of them in the months leading up to our start date. One of the most helpful things was visiting a sweet friend's kitchen, where I was able to ask questions about cleaning, a

Haul out the Holly!

More imitation, more flattery.  Pictured above is the storefront of one of my favorite downtown shops.  It's one part great design studio; one part eye-popping home accessories; and one part fun jewelry and bags.  Everything is superbly merchandised; and the staff is friendly, as well.  These windowboxes, along with a pink bicycle greet visitors.  The windowboxes are always lush and green with ivy and boxwood.  Somehow these formal plantings always seem just a tad over the top but classic at the same time.  It's a balance found throughout the shop.  At Christmastime, however, the addition of the shiny red, pink, and silver balls wired into the greenery just makes me smile! 

So, how to translate that fun to the T&C house?  We're pretty traditional with our white clapboard and black shutters.  Our usual outdoor decorating tradition is to hang an evergreen wreath with a red velvet ribbon in every window.  The red front door sports a thick boxwood wreath.  All lovely, though slightly predictable.  Then, strolling through Target, it came to me (funny how I get inspired there--inspired to buy, that is!): bring home a few of those giant non-breakable shiny balls and wire them into the topiaries on the front porch.  The picture isn't the best as I made it during a downpour, but you can kind of see how the shiny (and oversized) glitz provided just the zip that I was hoping to add.  I think that as the topiary forms fill out with the wire vine, the plantings will look even better.

Speaking of looking better, Little is looking better after being a bit green yesterday.  She stayed home from school, complaining of a headache and upset stomach, which I assure you she was not faking!  While she recuperated we watched a movie that I had forgotten how much I enjoyed, the 1994 remake of Little Women.  Although not a Christmas movie, per se, much of the story takes place at Christmastime.  The snowy Massachusetts setting and the festive homemade decorations really make for some lovely scenes.  Little slept through much of it, but it held her interest enough, so that when she woke up she wanted to know what happened to everyone, especially Jo.

In my Advent preparations, I made some coconut-pecan candy, which I will dip in chocolate tonight.  Then I have to find a good hiding place.  Mr. T&C, along with all the others, has an uncanny ability to discover and devour special treats.  This morning I made some country ham biscuits for a little gathering at the office, and Mr. T&C showed exceptional patience in waiting for the tidbits he knew would come his way.  I have to say that for the amount of work required (almost none if you use Mary B's tea biscuits), country ham biscuits with a little peach jam make a great show!


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