(via Affari}

This weekend would be a great time to plant a few paperwhites. I have gathered a few pretty old containers from around the house and bought my bulbs and am looking forward to sharing this favorite holiday tradition with my daughter. We have been planting Christmas paperwhites together since she was four years old. She is now 17, gasp! It is a great activity to share with your children as it is so easy and gratifying.

I did a little research to learn how the tradition of planting paperwhites at Christmas started. I discovered:

"In the eighth century B.C., the Hebrew prophet Isaiah praised the Narcissus tazetta, saying in Isaiah 35 that, "It shall blossom abundantly and rejoice with joy and singing." In other Hebrew writings, the daffodil, which is in the genus of Narcissus, is a feminine symbol of fertility and beauty. This fertility attribute was taken up by the first Christians in the symbols of death and rebirth as personified in the resurrection of Jesus Christ. To this day, the narcissus and daffodil are often present at Easter celebrations."

This simple arrangement is probably my favorite and the one that is inspiring my holiday decor.

{via Affari}

{via Southern Living}

Who hasn't planted paperwhites only to have them flop over right as they reach their peak? I love this simple solution from the editors of Southern Living. The wide satin ribbon provides an interesting punch of rich color and texture and picks up the color in the old container.

{via Martha Stewart}

The simple elegance of these paperwhites just add to the understated beauty of this Swedish inspired interior. I love the paint colors!

{via Martha Stewart}

These tall glass hurricanes make a great container for the mantle because they support the long paperwhite stems but still showcase the long and elegant paperwhite foliage.

{via Martha Stewart}

Create a lovely gift with a vintage glass, decorative pebbles and paperwhite bulbs. I adore the way Martha Stewart packaged her gift in linen and satin.

When I visit flea markets and antique malls, I am always on the look out for vintage punch bowls. They make a beautiful container for paperwhites and can often be purchased for a song... happy hunting!

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The Heart of the Home: Kitchen Time

{Steven Gambrel via Elle Decor}

Milk-glass light fixtures are suspended over vintage chairs and a stone-top table in the Manhattan townhouse of decorator Steven Gambrel. A fireplace in the kitchen would be the ultimate luxury.

With Thanksgiving just a few days away now, it's only natural that my thoughts are increasingly centered around the kitchen. I like kitchens that are warm and welcoming and might be described as 'unfitted.'. Don't get me wrong, I definitely want all the modern conveniences and functionality of a great kitchen, I just want it packaged into a handsome room that flows with the rest of my home.

Looking at the kitchens I have selected for today's post, I have tried to identify what it is that makes them attractive to me. All of the kitchens I am drawn to have an amazing tapestry of interesting textures and materials ~ warm woods, stone, linen, glass, pottery, copper and stainless steel. They give these spaces a warm and welcoming feeling and make you want to pull up a chair and stay awhile. Many offer a farmhouse table and chairs. I think it is a must to have comfortable seating in the kitchen so family and friends can relax and keep me company while I cook. I often have small dinner parties in my kitchen because it is more intimate and homey than the dining room. I like kitchens that have limited upper cabinets, open shelving and are furnished like the rest of the house with old world accessories and beautiful old things that are not just collectibles but are put into use everyday. All of these kitchens have great lighting. Great lighting sets the tone for the space and offers an opportunity to make a style statement. It's the jewelry of the kitchen.

I would love to know what makes a kitchen worthy of inclusion on your drool-worthy list. Please tell!

{Heather Smith of Circa Interiors}

I love the cabinets in this kitchen, the copper detail and especially this clever hidden storage.

A basket is a great way to bring texture into the kitchen and provides a simple solution for organizing oils and spices on the countertop.

This Charleston, South Carolina kitchen has been a favorite of mine for many years. It was featured in Southern Accents and is the work of one of my favorite designers, Amelia Handegan. It's old world charm will never go out of style.

{Charlotte Home and Garden; Kitchen: Heather Smith}

If I could pick just one of the kitchens featured today to be my forever kitchen, it would have to be, Heather Smith's kitchen. I love the cleft face bluestone she chose for the countertops!

{Jackye Lanham Interior Design}

{Steven Gambrel}

(Steven Gambrel}

{House of Windsor via Veranda}
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Thanksgiving Inspiration

{Dan Carither's Kitchen}

My thoughts these last few days are filled with family and home, food and tablescapes. And you? Did you know that 'the experts' say that one of the main ways we experience happiness is in the in the anticipation of an event? This actually makes perfect sense to me! I love spending the days just before Thanksgiving reading magazines and cookbooks searching for the perfect recipes for this year's feast and thinking creatively about my Thanksgiving table.

Here are just a few of the images inspiring my thoughts and contributing to my pre-holiday happiness.

{Country Estate from Juliska}

Get your menu printed here

{Sweet Paul}

{Sweet Paul}

{Photographer Peter Frank Edwards for Foster's Market}

{Garden & Gun}

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The Road Lined with Trees

As soon as you turn off the Blue Ridge Parkway onto the little road that leads to the cabin, the trees arch over the road and welcome you home. The trees were planted over a century ago and line the road, almost a mile in length. They have been blessed with time and create a comforting little passageway that makes the road seem as if it falls off into infinity. This is the road that takes you to a good friend's mountain cabin that has been in her family for generations and the trees were thoughtly planted by her ancestors who considered what the road could be with time.
"The true meaning of life is to plant trees, under whose shade you do not expect to sit."
 ~Nelson Henderson

The last few days have been filled with a gentle rain that has brought down most of the fall leaves. It has been the prettiest fall I can ever remember. I shared this picture with you last year of the little road lined with Maple trees and a white picket fence that takes you to the farmhouse on my favorite country road here in Winston Salem.

There's something so peaceful about the way the trees frame the road and the light off in the distance.

The Mount, Edith Wharton's Berkshires home

I love the way trees line the driveways of old Southern plantations. They have a way of building your expectations and foreshadowing what is to come.

I am particularly fond of the Live Oaks that line the historic streets of small Southern towns like Charleston, South Carolina and Savannah, Georgia. The Live oak is the southern symbol of strength.

'Rowan Oak' William Faulkner’s white-columned house in Oxford, Mississippi

Monet must have also seen the beauty of a tree lined avenue and even planted the 'Grand Allee' at his home in Giverny to elongate the view between his home and his garden.

By definition, an allĂ©e is a straight route lined with trees or large shrubs. Its French source venir ("to come") indicates, to emphasize the "coming to," or arrival at a landscape. In most cases, the trees planted along an avenue will be all of the same species.

Travel to France and you will quickly fall in love with the tree lined formal garden promenades and centuries old tree lined roads of the French countryside.

a view of the tree lined walking path at the Jardin des Tuileries in Paris

a Sycamore lined road in the South of France

The trees are like good architecture and look just as beautiful in Winter.

Wishing you safe travels and a beautiful journey as you travel home for Thanksgiving.

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