Wednesday, July 30, 2014

A Stroll Through the Charleston City Market

Our hotel in Charleston was steps away from the Charleston City Market, an inspiring venue lined with arts-and-crafts vendors. I enjoyed exploring the booths and learning more about the local artisans.

Strolling through the open-air buildings in search of treasures was a great way to escape the noonday heat.

I thought the girls would appreciate these lunch boxes. We love our monograms!

"One of the oldest handcrafts of African origin in the United States is the hand-woven winnowing sieve, a shallow basket that was used during the Colonial Era to separate the rice seed from its chaff. Made in Charleston from indigenous bulrush, a strong yet supple grass that thrives in the sandy soil of the coastal region, sweetgrass baskets are now among the nation's most prized cultural souvenirs." ~ Charleston City Market

These eye-catching necklaces shimmered in the afternoon light.

I saw several people making these lovely palmetto roses during the week. A little boy gave me one on the sidewalk as I passed, and unfortunately I didn't have my camera at the time. I wish I had taken pictures of his handiwork and gotten a lesson in making them.

Aren't these silhouettes charming?

I spent several hours browsing the Charleston City Market and look forward to my next visit to this inspiring gallery of lovelies.

There is more to come in Charleston, so stop in again soon!

Monday, July 28, 2014

Falling in Love with Charleston

"Our wedding was many years ago. The celebration continues to this day." ~ Gene Perret

Hello, old friends! I can't believe it has been nearly two months since my last post. I have lots to share so hope to find more time for blogging -- I have missed it so! Joe and I recently spent a blissful few days exploring Charleston, S.C.. This historic city has been on my list since Joe and Carson visited two years ago for a wrestling camp at the Citadel. Their first morning in town, Carson turned to Joe and asked, "Why are we walking around in Mom's dream?"

I was thrilled when Joe suggested Charleston for our 20th-anniversary trip. It's such a beautiful, romantic destination. He couldn't wait to see my reaction to the sites. Carson was right; it was a dream come true!

From our hotel, we were steps away from horse-drawn carriage rides, market shopping, fine dining and blocks upon blocks of historic homes.

Strolling the historic district together was so enjoyable, and it felt good to use my camera again!

From gracious porches to intricate ironwork, the architectural details of Charleston took my breath away. And seeing the city in bloom was inspirational.

I look forward to sharing more details of our memorable trip to one of America's most romantic cities.

"I have an affection for a great city. I feel safe in the neighbourhood of man, and enjoy the sweet security of the streets." ~ Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Favorite Floral Gifts for Teachers

Last year we surprised our teachers with lush bouquets of peonies in crystal vases, but our usual tradition is to present a gift of flowers in a container that can be used long after the blossoms fade. Here are a few of my favorite ideas.

For months I collected creamware pitchers and teapots for these gifts of white. The posies looked so lovely clustered in my sitting room.

I love this shapely creamer and hope it is still used often.

One of my favorite springtime gifts is a structured tote with a vase of tulips tucked inside. I have done these for teachers and graduates over the years.

A monogrammed gift tag adds the finishing touch to this favor. This gift can also be customized for a bride or mother-to-be.

Cheery bouquets of hydrangeas offered a ray of sunshine paired with sliced lemons.

Purchasing acrylic pitchers at a discount store and taking them to a local engraver to be monogrammed was an easy, economical option for this vessel.

Rustic garden buckets made charming vases -- especially when accompanied by handmade cards featuring photos of the children taken during a trip to a local garden.

Glass canisters finished with chalkboard labels made clever containers for fresh-cut bouquets.

Whether used in the classroom or pantry, these should have a long shelf life.

Finally, for a peek at this year's gifts of periodicals tucked into magazine racks, see this post. If you have creative floral gift ideas, please share them in the comments!

"Teachers believe they have a gift for giving; it drives them with the same irrepressible drive that drives others to create a work of art or a market or a building." ~ A. Bartlett Giamatti

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Flowers for Teachers

"It is the supreme art of the teacher to awaken joy in creative expression and knowledge." ~ Albert Einstein

At the conclusion of each school year, we like to honor our teachers with a gift of flowers presented in a vessel they can reuse. After carrying out this tradition over several years, thinking of a new container can be a challenge. I racked my brain for ideas until I realized the answer was right in front of me.

Inspiration struck when I spied a lovely weathered magazine rack at my local HomeGoods.

One of the perks of working at Hoffman Media is getting samples of all the magazines we produce. (It's like Christmas every day, I tell you!) I have a nice collection of periodicals to share, so I wrapped up a few of my favorites for each teacher.

A bulbous vase overflowing with white tulips fit Mrs. Lacey's gift perfectly.

I found magazine racks for Mary Ashley's teachers at Tuesday Morning. For this larger version, I tucked the magazines on one side and a few hydrangea stems on the other.

Mason jars fit snugly in the pocket, making easy vases for these showy blooms.

Whether our teachers take their gifts home to hold treasured volumes or keep them in their classrooms for extra storage, I hope they will remember our family fondly with each use.

Stop in again soon for a profusion of blossoms as we look back at past teacher-gift ideas.

Thinking of ordering a magazine subscription for yourself or a beloved teacher? Find a few of my favorites at the links below.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Ballet Dinner Tablescape

"In a dancer, there is a reverence for such forgotten things as the miracle of the small beautiful bones and their delicate strength." ~ Martha Graham

We celebrated Mary Ashley's recent performance at the Briarwood Ballet with dinner at our house before the show. The production was a retelling of the children's classic You Are Specialby Max Lucado. The tale centers around a village of wooden people, so a little art model from Hobby Lobby made an ideal cake topper -- especially with the addition of a tutu fashioned from a doily. I neglected to photograph our menu, but I hope you will enjoy this glimpse at our festive table.

(Cake from Publix.)

Above, one of my favorite scenes. These girls were amazing!

Our sweet little Wemmick is in the center. Isn't she a cutie?

Coming up, fresh-picked teachers gifts. Have a lovely weekend!

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