Monday, November 21, 2011

Dinner With Friends -- Complete With A History Lesson

Last night my friend John and I spent a nice evening as guests at the home of our friends John and Margaret. While we have had occasion to get together with them at other venues, this was the first time I had been to their home.  On a previous occasion, Margaret and I had talked about the house and the renovations that they had done, but I had no idea how extensive a project that was.  After John 1 (I'll just refer to them as 1 and 2) had been there during the Christmas season last year, he told me that I would really love it.  We had been invited for dinner after John 2's birthday party a couple of months ago, but we've all been busy with other commitments, and this was the first weekend we were able to find a common, open date.  I'm so glad we finally made it.

We started with appetizers and cocktails in the gentlemens' parlor. The history lesson began when we learned that two other guests in this room were Presidents Lincoln and Kennedy.  This, by the way, is called the Wade-Duncan House, and it was built in 1850 by Samuel Wade, one of Alton's former mayors. The ladies' parlor is on the opposite side of the house; no mention of Mary Todd or Jacqueline Bouvier being guests too.  Oh well.  The two parlors are separated by the foyer and beautiful stairway. Further back are the music room, the dining room, the kitchen and a second stairway.  The bedrooms and a family room are all upstairs.  I know I have mentioned that I love seeing old things made new again, and their home is the epitome of such an undertaking.  Margaret did an outstanding job making sure as many architectural details as possible were preserved during the renovation of the house, which had actually been on the city' demolition list. Thankfully, she could see that it was a diamond in the rough, and it is certainly a sparkling diamond now. It must have been exhausting and exhilarating at the same time, but she has a lot of energy and this was obviously a labor of love.  You can learn more about the home in this article.  Keep in mind that it was apparently written not long after the work had begun, and all that work was finished 12 years ago. That white brick shown in the borrowed photo above (from the original article), is now back to its original red color.

After a wonderful dinner, dessert with coffee, and lots of jibes and parrying between the two Johns, Margaret invited us on a full tour of the home (with the exception of the basement).  Everything was beautiful.  I was especially glad when she wanted to take us up to the attic to show us a steamer trunk which had belonged to Samuel Wade's daughter.  How that came to be in Margaret's possession is a story in itself, but the happy ending is that it made its way back home again.  John 2 invited John 1 to take a special solo trip in the dark up to the widow's walk which is still awaiting replacement railing. You can tell they're good friends, right?  Needless to say, John 1 declined that invitation.  During the renovations, Margaret also found a box up in the attic that fell apart as she picked it up.  Out dropped a metal tube.  Inside the tube was a rolled up paper; a music award which had been presented to one of Mr. Wade's other daughters.  It now holds its rightful place of honor in the music room.

We enjoyed a very lovely evening with our friends, but now it was time to return to Edwardsville and The House at 304 -- not nearly as grand, but still home sweet home.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Turkey Digi Stamp Wine Bottle Tag

So since I'm not sure what to expect this coming week, I'm going to wish everyone a very Happy Thanksgiving a few days early.  I don't know about you, but I'm ready!

I have been invited to dinner this evening at the home of some friends, and I'm taking a bottle of wine.  Rather than buying a bottle bag, I decided a nice wine bottle tag with a Thanksgiving theme would be appropriate.  I found this terrific turkey digi stamp here at Karen's Doodles, printed it off and colored it in with my Copics (thanks for sharing this, Karen!)  Then I created a 3D tag with a fall-colored ribbon.  Tom T. graces the front of the tag, and a "Happy Thanksgiving" greeting is printed on the back.

Copic colors used were YG91 (Putty) and YR24 (Pale Sepia) for his feathers with a dash of E57 (Light Walnut) to outline.  His "hands" feet and beak are Y21 (Buttercup Yellow) and Y19 (Napoli Yellow).  His wattle was done with E02 (Fruit Pink) and E09 (Burnt Sienna).  I also used a little of the Burnt Sienna for highlighting the feathers.

I think this zany little guy adds a touch of fun.

A blessed Thanksgiving to each of you!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

It Takes a Big Crew ...

... to feed a bunch of hungry people.  After our Divine Services (complete with an awesome bell choir, I might add), you'll see what else was going on at St. Paul Lutheran Church in Hamel today. Other than a little big wind, it was a gorgeous day to venture out for some good eats -- a 75ยบ November day in the Midwest.  No complaints here. 

I'm happy to share a few photos I took before the voracious lunch crowd arrived.  I'm getting to know a lot of the names (it's only taken me 3 1/2 years), but since I still don't know everyone's name, I'll do the captions in menu-style so you'll know what everyone was preparing.  Keep in mind, some of the people you see here also worked yesterday (and the day before I think), and stayed again all day today. So this, by far, isn't everyone who made it all happen.

The calm before the storm

Two of our lovely dining room helpers

Bread, Cranberry Relish, Applesauce

Green Beans (sorry for the blur)

Mashed Potatoes




MORE Sausage!


Ya gotta have coffee with dessert!  Good job, David!

The Take-Out Crew

Take-Out Check-Out (More of the calm before the storm)

Evidence of a LOT of wonderful folks not pictured who worked at home to contribute all these (and more) wonderful desserts!

 So if you didn't make it this year, you missed some yumminess and good company.  Be sure to mark your calendars for next November so you don't make that mistake again.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Card Making Therapy

Even as a kid, I enjoyed coloring.  I have a special drawer here at 304 full of coloring books, crayons and markers for my grandkids so that when they come for a visit, we can sit down and color together.  With the exception of when they're arguing about who is hogging a favorite color, they seem to enjoy it, and I have had some beautiful artwork made just for "Grammy" displayed on the front of my refrigerator from time to time.

In the last year or so, I started getting interested in card making after seeing a few video tutorials on line. I was (and still am) impressed by the imagination and creativity of others. When I grow up, I want to be that good.  What's amazing to me is that there are so many others. I could spend all day going from blog to blog getting ideas. Little by little, I have built a collection of supplies so that after a day at the office I can enjoy some quiet time (I call it therapy) making cards.  It's cheaper than a therapist.

I just had an email from a friend of mine in Virginia who recently received a thank you note from me. She had graciously invited me to stay at her home in Fredericksburg while my parents took the guest bedroom at her mother's home. She has a tea party business, so I thought a tea cup was appropriate.

Here's another one I did for friends I did in North Carolina.  They enjoy being at the beach, and I found a free "digi stamp" on line to color.  I accidentally made the sky look stormy, but I was kind of glad for that accident after I was finished with it.

It's also fun to have the inside track and know when one has just been dropped in the mail, and it's on the way to someone special.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

The Kitchen and Dining Hall at Concordia Seminary

Imagine this massive dining room festooned with all the traditional Christmas trimmings, and long, dark wood dining tables surrounded by joyful Christians singing carols.

It'll be a short post today.  I've been browsing my favorite blogs and saw this from President Meyer's wife's blog  It takes me back to my "little girl days" when my grandmother was a cook at the Seminary.  She didn't drive, so on the weekends, she would either take the bus to Coulterville (where we lived) or we would go pick her up.  I loved going to get her at "The Sem."  It gave us (my siblings and me) a chance to roam the hallways, which I recall as being rather dark, and make up ghost stories about Katie Luther.  Grandma had a dorm room there, and the Katherine Luther room was somewhere between the kitchen and her room.  We were sure she (Mrs. Luther) was in there -- dressed in black no doubt.  The real highlight was getting to go to the Christmas party in Koburg Hall, grazing at the buffet (Steve ate most of the shrimp), and enjoying the beauty of the Christmas carols sung by all those men.  The sound was so rich and warm, and I hope never to forget how wonderful an experience all of it was.