Friday, November 30, 2012

Christmas at Ivy Nursery

I went to the Ivy Nursery in Charlottesville this afternoon to pick something up and I must say, I just love this place.   When you see these photos you'll see what I mean.   This photo (above) is the front door. It was all decorated for the holidays and it was packed.  Many of the wreaths were gone already.

My pictures did not come out well but this is a boxwood wreath with a large burlap bow.

They love ivy and topiaries and plaid here:

Love this one:

Santa, I would love one of these under the tree, concrete lambs with great satin bows....

Orchids are everywhere:

More plants and the poinsettias are quite nice too:

You can't see this too well but this is a reindeer topiary.  It is wonderful.  I have a pig from last year that I had "refurbished". I was so tempted to bring this guy home!

More great orchids:

Another boxwood wreath:

There are so many gift ideas here.

And of course, some equestrian influence:

And the ribbon...........

And a few more gift ideas:

Here is some information about Ivy Nursery from their web site.  If ever in Charlottesville........
About Ivy Nursery

Ivy Nursery is a unique garden center located on seven acres. We are in a beautiful setting three miles west of the University of Virginia, and 1.4 miles west of the Boars Head Inn, Farmington Country Club, and the Northridge Medical Center on Scenic Route 250.
Established in 1975 and staffed by landscape architects, horticulturists and gardeners, Ivy Nursery is both a retail garden business and a contracting business.
Our Philosophy
Ivy Nursery was started and is owned by Clare and George Carter, both of whom have masters degrees in Landscape Architecture from the University of Virginia.
We attempt to carry and grow not only the freshest and healthiest plant material, but also offer price ranges affordable to everyone.
Offering all the basic plant choices as well as hard-to-find plants, we strive to appeal not only to the novice but also the more experienced gardener.

The Best Christmas Candle

I've raved about these candles before but I had not seen the Lafco "Tree" candle for Christmas. You can bet that there will be one of these under my tree, if not before. These are just the best candles.  I have one in my kitchen year round.   They come in many different scents and the candles are very large, much bigger around than typical candles.  One of these lasts about 6 months in my house, with regular use.   Can't wait to smell this one!   Just Google "Lafco Tree Candle" or you can buy one at this link:

Thursday, November 29, 2012

On the 12th Day of Christmas......

Equestrian-Themed Holiday Ideas

I love the equestrian theme year round but think you can do some great stuff with it at the holidays. Here are just a few ideas - some you can do at home yourself. 

Take that old trophy and a red ribbon (who ever said 2nd place was not useful!) and add some greenery and berries and viola, a great holiday decoration.

These are my favorite (off Pininterest). You can cut out the horse heads in green styrofoam (from Michaels) and add some ribbon for a halter. Hard to see what they used for the eyes but a lot of things come to mind - an old button would work, even the top from a beer bottle would do. An old earring maybe?

This cute ornament from the Horse & Hound Gallery will also add equine to your tree.

Needlepoint stockings also add some oomph to your decorations. I like to buy mine instead of stitching (SO much cheaper).  This one also came from the Horse & Hound Gallery.

If you don't have a lot of ornaments, this is a great way to fill your tree (and use all those ribbons).

While we all can't go out and do this, isn't it wonderful that someone else did?

I'll have some other ideas in the next few weeks. Enjoy the day!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

What to Wear - Christmas Cocktails

I am not a fashionista by any means and am a conservative dresser.  But I thought it would be fun to create a new outfit for a holiday cocktail party.  Kinda "fantasy dress-up" if you will.  Pants are my dress of choice but I am branching out these days into dresses more.  But we'll do just one outfit for now, maybe a dress or two later on.

I'd start with this jacket from J Crew Collection.  I love it!  It's a little out of my budget at the moment but maybe it will go on sale or magically appear in my size at the outlet.  But this will last for many years.  I also love it with jeans, but not for cocktails.

I'd put something fun underneath it like this sequin t-shirt also from J Crew. I have a solid black one from last year that has long sleeves.  This one is more fun.  This is also versatile.

For pants, I came up with two options. Both of these are from J Crew.  I like these below, which are more festive.  But not everyone can wear these.  Second option is a more tailored black wool. I like slim fitting pants. 

For shoes I came up with two options.  I have a hard time wearing heels due to a foot injury.  Belgian loafers are a must.  These came from Barney's.  You can buy versions of these in different brands. The real Belgian Loafers (order on-line from NY) are wonderful.  
 If you must have heels I like these from Tory Burch.  I could never wear these but you get the idea. 

For jewelry I would go "light" on the earrings and more bold on the necklace with the pink jacket.   All the jewelery below is from Monkees of the Village in Winston-Salem, NC.  They have a good FB site.

I like the black necklaces on the bottom row:

You need a cute handbag. For that I would defer to Kate Spade. I am loving her bags right now.

Hope you like the outfit.  I think dressing up at the holidays is so much fun!  Have a great day!

Monday, November 26, 2012

Another Baby April Update

For those who have been following us for over a year, you'll know that the mare, I call Baby April, daughter of Super Sega, has had a lot of ups and downs the past 18 months.  I have not mentioned her in a long time and like last year, this year has been, well full of bumps in the road.  We rehabbed a serious injury this winter (many months of stall rest and limited turnout) to finally get my Big Mare sound but it was not meant to be.  We had a small window of hope in August but the world came crashing down in October when she again became lame, this time on a different leg. 

We went today to see the best of the best in the horse world and saw a vet who cares for many extraordinary horses (inside and outside the US), and the verdict is not good.  It seems that it will be another very long winter of rehab but this time there won't be a light at the end of the tunnel.  Baby April won't be the special performance horse that we hoped she would be.  In fact, she'll probably be "Mother April" sometime in 2014 (if the stars align correctly).  It wasn't a huge shock but reality does indeed hurt.  Tough day here on the farm.  Hopes and dreams won't come to fruition.  She's lucky though that she will be loved and cared for just as much.  Horses can be so humbling. 

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Life of Pi

I don't usually make statements about books or movies as I feel that is a personal choice and what appeals to one may not appeal to another.  We saw Life of Pi  last night (in 3-D) and I must say it was one of the best movies I have seen.  Several years back I tried to read the book (a few times) but never got into it.  (I may go back and try again now).

The movie won't be for everyone.  It is a "thinking man's" movie, one that is not meant to simply entertain.  It has an existential quality to it and has many many layers.  It has already been dubbed "a spiritual masterpiece" and  "Oscar-worthy" and probably even blasphemous among some groups. 

Not wanting to give anything away, Pi (Piscine Patel) is the main character.  He is the sole-survivor of a shipwreck and spends 200+ days in a lifeboat with a Bengal tiger from his parents' zoo in India.  Pi's early life is chronicled in the movie just enough to fill in the needed blanks for the rest of the story.  He follows three religions and considers himself to be Christian, Hindu and Muslim all at once.  He does survive and there is a great twist at the end. But if you love deep, spiritual, moving performances, totally "out of the box" then you will love this! 

Friday, November 23, 2012

It's in the Mail

It's that time of year, Christmas, officially, now that Thanksgiving is over.  I'm one of the few people still left in the world who does not send photo cards (no kids, and I would never bore anyone else with photos of my four-legged friends).  Just say no!  And please do not send a one page, 10-point font, overview of where you ate in 2012, traveled, shopped, and what honors your kids received.  PLEASE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

But sending Christmas cards is something I enjoy, even though my list gets smaller every year as postage stamps unreasonably increase in price.

Last year I took a hiatus, but this year I bought two boxes of cards.  Here are some that I really like for the 2012 season.  These are from Horchow, Kate Spade:

These are Lilly Pulitizer:

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving

(Pine Meadow Farm in NC)

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone out there.  It is a beautiful day here in Virginia!  We all have lots to be thankful for!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Another Black Kitchen

When I blogged a few weeks ago about black kitchens a few people asked about my black kitchen. Mine is indeed black with accents of what I call "margarita green" - pretty much the same color as the cocktail. I took these this morning while the sun was still coming up and the fog was sitting in the valley.  The windows face north.  My kitchen is not big but it's plenty for what we need.  No children so it really suits two people very well. That is Greta on the stool.  I keep my many cookbooks on shelves on two sides of the island. The end near the refrigerator holds wine.

My goal was to create a usable kitchen that I could live in and not clean all the time, hence no white cabinets. The floors in this room are not original but the match the older floors very well (were made by a local craftsman and stained to match).  These were the only wood floors in the old part of the house we could not save.  Counter tops look like they are marble but they are a high end granite.  There are flecks of copper in them (some green and also some beige almost yellow and gray which picks up the black).

We have three windows that look  out towards the barn.  They are tall (we have 9 foot ceilings).

Cabinets go all the way to the ceiling (I have a lot of dishes and needed the storage). Stove is Viking. Wanted to add a double oven but venting to the outside was an issue and we have a copper roof so I just kept it to 6 burners and one larger oven.   It has worked pretty well (except on days like Thanksgiving).

My husband picked out these lights. They add a lot to the room. From Juliska (same company that makes the china).  They are the first thing you notice when you come in the room.

We bought this old weather vane at an antique show about a year ago.

I put my flat screen television above the refrigerator (it is such wasted space) and it is perfect there. I use it often and sit at the island (we do not have a breakfast room).  And you don't even notice it is there. Would highly recommend doing this.

We had these four old hunting prints. I hung two over each door. I hate clutter and did not want to hang a ton of things in here.  Less is more.

The other two are here and that is the mudroom.  The wood door leads to the outside.  The center door leads into the "library."

We used a green glass tile behind the stove and also on the wall where the sink it. It is the color of margaritas but you can't tell that from these photos.  

More green tile and the view towards the barn.

The island is a perfect size for two.  (I have two needlepoint cushions on them that you can't see).  When we renovated our house we never intended it to be a "family" house. It works perfectly for two people (has only two bedrooms too) but it is not a small house.  

I don't have a rug on the floor. My plan is to needlepoint this and make it into a runner.I have the sheep already in my stash.  One day........ 

We bought this hand painted vase for about $10 at an antique store near here. In summer and fall it is full of flowers in the window.  You can see my barn off to the left.  Horses are still in there, sleeping, or waiting for breakfast. 

I thought about having a black kitchen for a long time but I must say that I really love this kitchen. It is the perfect choice for our lifestyle. It is not dark at all (these photos were taken at 6:15 am) and it is functional and easy to maintain.  We bought very good wood cabinets and used very good materials everywhere - tile, faucets, appliances, lights, moldings, etc. It just works for us!   Hope you like it.
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