Wednesday, November 30, 2011

North Carolina Hammock Company


I normally might not do this, but I'll blame it on Diane Sawyer on the evening news.  She had a segment last night about buying things made in America again.  That campaign has been running since the summer.  Her challenge again is to spend some of your Christmas shopping money on gifts made in America - Support the small guy.

So.... I'm going to throw this out there.  This is our family business ~



This is what we do.  We have had this business for many, many years.  People know us from everywhere.  IF .... you are looking for a gift, or even items for yourself, made in the United States, you might take a look at our web page.  Your choices for items made in America would include our hammocks which include the tried and true everyone knows, Pawley's Island or Hatteras Hammocks, rope swings, etc.  There is also the Cobble Mountain Swing made in Vermont that is a favorite of most folks.  Sorry to say, the beautiful Brazilian furniture is made in Brazil, but still available for sale, and not made in that other country. Remember: It's the quality of the item.


As a self employed business, we ask you support us and all small business out there this holiday season.  We are unique.  I won't play my fiddle and give you the story because you see the news - you know it's tough on us.  

Call Leonard up at the number on the web page.  Tell him you're Debi's friend on her blog between now and December 16th, 2011.  (You do not have to be a follower of my blog).  He will give you an extra 10% off your order. There's also free shipping.  Tell  your friends and family.
FYI:  You get a real person answering the phone during the daytime.   We do sleep friends.  You will get the answering machine in the evenings after 8:00 p.m.   Tell your friends and family to join in the challenge. 

Thanks a bunch little friends ~ Debi

Monday, November 28, 2011

Out of Town Aventure


I made it up to the North Carolina mountains to get my tree over the past couple of days.  I didn't get to take our truck and felt I was going to be in a pretty bad predicament trying to haul a tree around in the Honda.  But, Tim, the owner at Shady Rest Tree Farm in Laural Springs said to bring it on and he would make it work.  When I arrived at the tree farm, he measured the trunk of the car to the front and advised I stick with finding a 6 ft. tree.  I thought "yikes" - that's going to be a little tree.  So....I found a 7 1/2 ft. tree and without having to say a whole lot, the tree was bound so tight and snug, and without an inch to spare, made it inside the Honda.  I spent the night in Blowing Rock, so I had to drive around with the tree hanging at my shoulder.  I was a little nervous a mouse might have made a nest in the tree and might pop out while I was driving, but I was so in the moment of the beauty of the village of Blowing Rock that I really forgot about the possibility. 

The weather was very dreary while I was there, but I didn't give a hoot.  I imagine if you didn't know your way around up there, you might would want to head home.  I went to school up there and so did my daughter, and we have forever camped and vacationed in the North Carolina mountains, so Plan B was working pretty well for me.  I grabbed my umbrella and pranced and danced all over the place.  It was absolutely gorgeous with all their little twinkling lights and holiday music all up and down the sidewalks.  There were bubbles crisscrossing the sidewalks from a hidden bubble machine tucked away secretly adding to the charm of this sweet little town. 


I know my pictures aren't great, but this is a cute little store called Bless Your Heart.  I would say she has mostly antique and vintage things, some modern with an eclectic flare.  I snapped a few photos of her other store down the road. 



It never fails that I always purchase something in this store.  She just "blesses my heart" every darn time I enter the door with all this inspiration just oozing out of every nook and cranny.  She has a big old drink cooler in the store and you just help yourself to a soda (free !!) while you shop.  There are vintage white night gowns with distressed mirrors and vases, and scarves, handbags, OMG .... just so pretty all put together just right.  I love the look of "light-modern" vintage (I call it), but it doesn't go with my house style - which I don't know what that is either ... I just know what works and what doesn't here.


 I visited the Bob Timberlake store while I was in Blowing Rock.  For those of you who might not know, Bob Timberlake is an internationally acclaimed realist painter from North Carolina.  The list is forever with the awards he has received.  I think some of you love the old barns and houses in the countryside - well, that's what he paints, and they are beautiful. 


Bob Timberlake, besides being an artist, also has his own line of home accessories, books, and gobs of other things. 
If you are a fan of his, this is just an FYI - he is having an Open House for Christmas at his store in Lexington, NC on 12/10.   You can probably get all the info on his web site. 
I bought some animal critter ornaments from his store for my twig tree.


This is a living room display in his store.  He has furniture, lamps, rugs ... all the good stuff I hope and wish could be under my tree Christmas morning.  HaHa & Fa,la,la,la!!!



I shopped mostly for things to accessorize with what I already have and to jazz it up a little bit.  I found a small bag of potpourri called "Primitive Fixins" that was put together in West Virginia.  I'll add that to the pinecones and woodland gatherings I found in my woods.  There is this store I visit ALL THE TIME when I go to Blowing Rock called "The Last Straw", (http://www.thelaststrawinc.com/).  I bet I stayed in there for a couple hours, maybe longer.  I feel like I knew the staff by the time I left.  There was just so much stuff for the holidays and they had it displayed just magnificently.  It took a great deal of time to study it all and figure out how I was going to put it together when I got back to my place.  The aromas were out of this world.  I broke down and bought a little spray bottle of Orange Zest - ummmm, talk about a holiday smell!  The staff suggested one of their candles called, Aroma Naturals that has an orange, clove & cinnamon smell.  I bought a 3" x 3.5" pillar candle and the burn time is 60 hours!  Another heavenly Christmas smell!!

I know this post is long ~ I just had a wonderful time and I could write forever about my trip; just know, it was good.  I needed that trip alone, to lounge around in a hotel room, to shop, and to just BE!  Now tomorrow, I'll BE back to the grind, but full of holiday inspiration.   Debi

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Christmas Tree

                                              


Thanksgiving meal went off without a hitch.  The turkey was done on time and a delicious bird with everyone's favorite sides.  The day was so beautiful, only blue skys.  It's been one of those family traditions that Thanksgiving night we take in a movie (daughters, boyfriends, anyone who is here gets to tag along).  That sort of kicks off the end of one holiday and jump starts the next.  We knew "Black Friday" was the next morning and everyone had to be at their posts.  One daughter was shopping, one daughter working at the outlet, and hubby in our store, and me left to finish Thanksgiving cleanup and animal duty at home.  One daughter went back out to the outlets which opened Thanksgiving night at 10:00 p.m. and said it was a zoo.  She said parking was a nightmare and they hardly found a spot.  (I'm watching Ace get loaded onto the horse trailer this morning as I write this; he's going for a lesson elsewhere today and he DOES NOT want to load.  Ace is acting an A_ _!).

Adventure calls and I'm headed for the N.C. mountains, back up to Blowing Rock this morning to get my Christmas tree.  I go to the same tree farm every year up in Glendale Springs, NC.  Tim always is just the best helping me load the tree.  I get almost like a kid filled with excitment when I get there.  If I could take all the trees, I would, and I feel so terrible only taking one and leaving the others behind.  My daughter has already been there to get her tree and picked a beauty.  Did you know that the North Carolina tree industry is ranked second in the nation?  Your tree might even come from North Carolina!  Tim does ship his trees.  I saw some last year he was fixing to ship out.  Amazing!!!  I'll put his link at the bottom.  Anyway, I'm staying overnight up there and hope to have a grand time and do a little shopping.  Until then ~ Debi
shadyresttreefarm.com












Sunday, November 20, 2011

Thanksgiving Assistant





This is my Thanksgiving assistant ~ I have no doubt she will pull through for me and assist me with all of my dinner needs.  She will be cooking a chocolate cake and a cheesecake for me, rolls, a cheese tray with crackers, potato salad and goodness knows whatever else she has stashed around her pantry.  By request, I will have to do the turkey, creamed potatos, and the usual other sides.  She has quite a following of people, so I hope she does not tire out or run out of things; I've used her quite a bit and have never seen that happen.  She is quite reliable. 

The turkey recipe is one I saw years ago on a Food Network show.  It's a turkey fixed on one of Tyler Florence episodes.  I'm glad I saw him make it, otherwise it might have been a little crazy on that first try for me. The title of the recipe is a Maple-Roasted Turkey with Sage, Smoked Bacon, and Cornbread stuffing.  You can find the recipe here:
Maple-Roasted Turkey with Sage, Smoked Bacon ... - Food Network.  I have always had good luck with it, so it's always my go-to recipe for Thanksgiving. 

I have company coming to have dinner with us.  I always purchase extra plastic Ziploc containers for left-overs so friends have a little something to take home with them.  There's always so much left, especially those desserts (get them out of the house).  Target already had their "limited edition" containers out; I mean really!  I was at the grocery last night and the deli section was stacked chest high in pumpkin pies - buy one-get one.  It makes me feel guity as all get out, but we just don't eat pumpkin pie here.  I feel I let the pilgrams down a little bit not having it on the table as tradition goes.
                                           
Whatever we all fix, its about sharing and bringing people together.  I don't like the idea some of the larger retailers choosing to open on Thanksgiving day.   People will still shop the next day, they will come whether you open up at 12:00 a.m. or at 9:00 a.m, AND, there will always be a sale. 

Hope all of you have a wonderful Thanksgiving week and the day of thanks will be whatever you wish it to be.  I'm thankful for your friendship. 
                                                                                           Debi

                    
                                                   


Friday, November 18, 2011

Empty Nesting



I didn't know what else to do, but just come in here and write down what I'm feeling.  This empty-nesting is for the birds ~ what a statement, for real!!  You know, I wanted my girls to find great guys - men with passion for life, fire and spit, guys who make them melt and their knees buckle.  Daughter #1 has found that kind of fella and has already flown from my coop.  My gal with imagination and drive, left me holding the glue gun and tinsel to figure it out for myself. 


Daughter #2, might have found that fella with the fire (that's yet to be seen).  They just left for the evening, headed out around the pond and on up through the woods out to the main road.  I watched until I couldn't see anymore lights.  My horsey girl who gets under my skin has taken her sweet time, and low and behold has found her a fella and he has taken my place in the barn. Go figure....


I put on my 70's music that THEY had to help me load on all these IPODS, and mini things and wires and such, but I got it going.  I thought it would lift my spirits.  I'm waiting on hubby to come home so we can eat this spaghetti meal.  Daughter #1 and boyfriend are coming by to eat a little too.  I was telling her how empty I was feeling and she just thought this was a hoot.  It's very unlike me to feel like I don't know what I'm supposed to be doing, but I do.  I could get started on holiday cleaning this evening.  It looks like Santa came and all the reindeer made a bee-line through every floor in this house and kicked things everywhere on their way out.

I'm thinking I'll just pour myself a little glass of vino and watch the pretty fire and listen to Eric Clayton, Neil Young.. somebody I know the words to.  I remember when they were little girls and I just wanted some time to myself.  How I wished for a babysitter to please just come for a while and I would run around like a chicken with its head cut off running errands - just trying to stay caught up.  


With this new guy taking up my precious daughter's time and me getting the boot, it's just a weird feeling, like I've lost touch with her.  How do you Moms before me do this?  I really don't like this.  Is it about control issues??

Did you know there are just tons of information on "empty nesting" out there.  I googled it just to see what was going on with it and WOW ~ support groups, blogs, help lines, OMG!  I'm not at that point - it's just tonight it feels different.  It's the creepy silence.  We are a loud family when we're together- sometimes organized, but more often unorganized, chaos. Everyone speaks at once, dogs are trying to get in on it, etc.  I know I'll figure it out, but a quiet house is very different house. 
                                                      Thanks for your ear this evening ~ Debi

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Jump for the Children


This past weekend, Duke Hospital held a fundraiser for the children's hospital, called Jump for the Children. Included in this was the Grand Prix horse event held in Raleigh, NC which has a $30,000 grand prix prize.   If you are a horsey person, you definitely want to get to this each year, especially if you like stadium jumping.  It is a sight to behold.   Show jumping fences are very colorful and elaborate and artistic in design making this event that much more exciting. These photos are from google images.  I didn't use a camera during the event as you don't want a flash to go off and distract any of the riders or horses.  Spectators should have manners at this event also. 
 
A Grand Prix is the highest level of show jumping.  Jumpers require boldness, accuracy, scope, power and control AND speed.  A horse at this level has to jump big, bravely and fast, but has to be careful to avoid any knockdowns and penalties.  The objective of a jumper class is to jump cleanly over a set of courses within a certain time. A rider and horse get faults if they exceed the time allowance.  They also can get faults if they knock down any poles and/or refuse to take the jump.  The height and width of the jumps is challenging.  

              

There must be well-planned turns and lines and the rider must adjust the horse's stride for each jump and distance.  It does become a little more involved, so I'll just say it can be nail-biting, especially if you know any of the riders.  Our large animal vet rides in the Grand Prix and we, naturally, always want him to do well.  Our business always contributes to the silent auction, so we get to duck in for a little cheese and wine.  It's always fun to see old horsey friends we haven't seen in a while.  Fabulous event. 

Now back in the real world, we are up to almost our knees in leaves!!  There's no point in blowing them away yet as there are plenty left on the trees to fall.  I have to continuously get them off our deck because of the dogs (you know what they're doing ... I don't need to explain that)~!


We had to rearrange the order of the horses in their stalls this week. Ace was beside Jackson.  The pecking order has started I guess.  Ace was being a little aggressive at Jackson kicking the stall and showing his teeth and rearing up.  Jackson was picking up on the behavior and began doing a little of the same back.  So, we nipped that really quick.  Sail is now in the middle stall and Jackson and Ace are on either end.  Ha!!  Sail the babysitter.


Ally works with Jackson during the week doing all kinds of things mainly just trying to teach manners and space.  I will say he is definitely growing.  His rump is all out proportion and high (that will balance out) - I think he is going to be about the size of Ace, about 16 hands, maybe a little bigger.


Get out of my space, you rascal!!

(There were different words screamed, I just can't write them here). 

Other than all of that, I'm up to my neck in recipes figuring out if I'll do the same old stuff for Thanksgiving this year or step out of the box and throw something different out on the table.  I do know that Costco is looking better and better as my Thanksgiving assistant. 
~~~~~~~~~~~
I'm so pooped that I just have to close this up for now.  We have a slow rain outside tonight and the sound of it on the tin roof will hopefully keep me snoozing like a baby all night long. 
                                                  Nighty-Night Friends ~ Debi




Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Friendship - Gotta Have It


 


Friendship ~ None of that Sissy Crap
Are you tired of those sissy 'friendship' poems that always sound good, but never actually come close to reality?
Well, here is a series of promises that actually speak of true friendship.
You will see no cute little smiley faces on this ~Just the stone cold truth of our great friendship.
  • When you are sad ~ I will help you get drunk and plot revenge against the sorry bastard who made you sad.
  • When you are blue ~ I will try to dislodge whatever is choking you.
  • When you smile ~ I will know you are thinking of something that I would probably want to be involved in.
  • When you are scared ~ I will rag on you about it every chance I get until you're NOT.
  • When you are worried~ I will tell you horrible stories about how much worse it could be until you quit whining.
  • When you are confused ~ I will try to use only little words.
  • When you are sick ~ Stay the hell away from me until you are well again. I don't want whatever you have.
  • When you fall ~ I will laugh at your clumsy ass, but I'll help you up.
This is my oath ..... I pledge it to the end. 'Why?' you may ask ~ because you are my friend.
Friendship is like peeing your pants, everyone can see it, but only you can feel the true warmth.

My friend sent this to me today in my email ~ isn't it just the sweetest thing!  Love my friends!  Do you still have that bunch of girlfriends you can tell it all to, or maybe just one that you meet up with for drinks, coffee, or dinner?  I often find ya'll, out in blog-land, are like those good friends who we trust with our opinions, ups & downs of life, the clitches, and the support.  Everyone needs at least one wonderfriend friend.  ~ Debi

 

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Pig-Pickin' Explained



                                             



Last evening I posted I was going to a friend's house for a pig pickin'.  I received several comments that some really didn't know what I was talking about.  I really had a good laugh from some of the questions and statements.  Hopefully, I can help clarify things a little and one day, maybe someday, you might come to North Carolina for a pig pickin or some of our fantastic barbecue.

 
A pig-pickin (or pig roast) is usually a party or gathering of friends which involves barbecuing a whole pig on an open grill.  There's usually a lot of testosterone involved in this grilling.  It's definitely a man thing.   Some communities have cook-offs competing for prize money of who can prepare the best barbecue from the pig. It's very popular to have pig pickin's when tailgating at college football games and political rallies.   
                  

This party was catered, so a big grill was brought in to cook the pig.  Hardwoods are added usually to produce coals to slowly cook it.  Sometimes hickory wood or some other hardwood is added to flavor the smoke which enhances the flavor or the meat. 


Tables were set up outside our host's home to hold all the fixings and sides for our barbecue.  We had barbecued chicken along with the pork barbecue, hushpuppies (fried cornmeal occasionally flavored with onion), coleslaw, baked beans, potato salad, and loads of desserts, sweet tea, and lots of beer!



Our fire felt really good.  It really was quite chilly and then quite cold as the evening went on.


Isn't her riding ring to die for. My daughter brings Ace over here from time to time or she rides one of their horses.  It is just beautiful back off the beaten path.  What I found out very quickly at this party was either you were a horse person or you were a tennis player ~ that's where all the conversation seemed to be.  So ... my husband and my daughter's boyfriend were very quiet.   


            People in North Carolina are crazy about their barbecue.  Eastern North Carolina's barbecue has a vinegar and pepper based sauce. Western North Carolina uses sauce with a tomato base similar to traditional barbecue sauce.  Some families and restaurants make their own sauce.  And mercy ... don't ask them for the recipe!  They will eye you down like a hawk and quietly say ... "this is a secret sauce, been in the family for years"..
                     
                                       There is a North Carolina barbecue trail from eastern North Carolina to Tennessee with 24 historic barbecue pits.  These eating establishments still use the old fashioned pit cooked method and the best of the barbecue you will find anywhere. 
                                              
                                                      
This is what you want right here ~ a good plate of everything whether you're pig pickin with friends or you stop in for a plate or sandwich along the way. 

I hope your week gets off to a really good start. Thanks everyone for all your comments. I find you are some of the most interesting bunch of people and I just love to hear from you.  ~ Debi
                        







   


Saturday, November 5, 2011

Pig- Pickin Time


 I cannot tell you how excited I am to be going to our friend's home this evening for a Pig-Pickin' party.  She has a beautiful home and barn with I don't know how many horses she has now.  My daughter is already there and said to bring her some more shoes as her heel came off her boot already.  Wonder how that happened!!  Anyway, the sky is still blue and the leaves still have a lot of color, so it should be a really good night for a bonfire, good food, and good friends.  If she will allow me to take some pictures, I will.  As soon as I do our evening feed, I'll put a little gravel in my travel and head on out for adventure. 
                                                                       Later ~ Debi

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Vietri & Vintage


This weekend, I tanked up with our cheaper gas prices ($3.33/gallon/regular)and headed out to some places on the bucket list.  I've seen the billboard on the interstate to the Vietri Outlet FOREVER, so this past Saturday was the day to go.  The outlet is small, but the warehouse is where you want to get into.  That is open during the BIG sales.  The next sale is in  May, 2012, I think maybe that first weekend. (I just missed the fall sale).  The sales used to be outrageous with lines of people just out the wazoo, people grabbing and trading, etc.  The deal in the outlet without the sale is 50% off the regular retail price, which is pretty decent.  For the BIG sale, the price goes 55-80% off.  So.... that's why it's absolutely crazy during that time. 


Vietri is an importer of Italian dinnerware, glassware, and home accessories.  It is extremely colorful and there are some very unique patterns in their design.  There is an "Insider's Club" for those interested.  I just signed up for the email. 


From what the sales gal told me,  the sales are much easier now with tents outside and a little more organized and ... it lasts for 3 days and the hours are longer. 

For those of you who live in N.C., Southern Seasons in Chapel Hill, has a couple of BIG sales during the year and the sale prices of the Vietri during those times are very good. 


The red Christmas patterns were so pretty. 

I am literally a dish nut.  I love baking and cookware of all kinds, platters, servers, utensils, and just kitchen stuff.  I was really having to hold myself back during my adventure there (the prices helped me take a step back - it wasn't cheap little friends).

Antique Shop ~ Vintage Revival

This little shop was in Hillsborough, NC, a really very pretty and sweet little town not far from Durham, NC.  I had seen this little place all lit up one night when traveling through there, so I jotted down the name to remember to get back to it some time.  Just all kinds of things in there for those who love "vintage".

I thought the gals had this set up really cute.  I know my "vintage-loving" daughter would love this set-up.  I do like the iron bed.  I've always had a love for those.
                                                                                                                              

This would not work for me and my home, but I know friends who would probably get a big kick out of this display.  See the light blue hair dryer to the right - that was turned into a lamp.  How snazzy!

Do you have favorite dishes, any Vietri collectors out there ~ ?
                                  Debi