Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Flying Round My Head.... A List and a Giveaway!

Flying Round My Head
... A List

November is such an anticipatory month. As if by magic, the calendar fills up with dinners, parties, concerts, lunches. Edward and I sit by the fireside, planning meals and flowers, Christmas presents, Christmas cards.
My head swirls with holiday colour. Will it be gold and silver? Red and green? No, this year I’m planning the very medieval combination of copper and crimson with a touch of fir green.
And then, of course, on the last Thursday of the month comes the most celebratory meal of the American year. Thanksgiving. One perfect meal that requires days and days of happy preparation during which I become a cook and a baker, a florist, a decorator, a hostess. Such happy work for a thankful person. Thanksgiving comes early this year, did you know? A delightful fact that brings us a full extra week of the Christmas season.
Ideas have been crowding my brain, each leap-frogging over the other, each requesting my full attention.
I have caught a few of these thoughts in the net of this blog post to share with you.
And an extra treat sits in the middle of the list.


1. Holiday Tables
As much as I love cooking, and I do love it, especially during the holiday season, I also love creating special holiday tables. As an avid collector of unusual china that I squirrel away anywhere I can (don't look underneath the skirted tables!), I love doing something different at each holiday meal, often at each place setting.
My heart skipped a beat when I saw this collection from Hermes.
See it HERE.

2. Goblets
I have a small collection of Weller Pottery’s Woodland Series that I completely adore for it’s fairytale quality and beautiful colour.
Wouldn’t these goblets be the perfect addition?
Perhaps for a glass of mead?
I love these.
You can find them HERE.


3. Gloves
When cold weather falls down from the sky I head straight for my glove drawer with a smile on my face.
Velvet gloves, fair isle gloves.
Knitted, leather, cashmere.
I can never have too many.
I recently found these and am besotted.
Find them HERE.

4. Learning Something New
When I saw this recent photograph of Emma Watson on her first day at Oxford, it echoed the feeling that always seems to find me every fall. The craving to learn something new. Perhaps it’s a holdover from my own school days, but whenever shiny notebooks and pens show up in the stores and the mornings turn crisp and cool, my brain wakes up from its summer holiday and starts to look around for a challenge.
A couple of autumns ago, I learned to knit.
And last year, I attempted a mastery of Scottish Gaelic, which, I am ashamed to admit, I was completely ill-suited to learn. I would get into the car, pop in my CD of Learn Scottish Gaelic The Easy Way and commence my lesson, only to become tongue-tied and confounded before I’d backed out of the driveway. (Any advice, Angus?)
This year, I’m busy writing something. Believe me, that has my full attention and is exercising my brain thoroughly. Although, I’m also planning to bake my very first plum pudding. Does anyone have a good recipe? I’m considering Delia Smith’s, but do I really have to use suet?
Advice from those who’ve made one is heartily appreciated.
And what about you?
Are you learning something new this autumn?


5. Beautiful Shawls
.....and A Giveaway!

Anyone who knows me knows I’m often swaddled in shawls in cold weather. Love them with a passion. Some of my favourites, like the one above, can be found on the wonderful web store, Novica. I’ve featured Novica before - it’s a company I love, both for it’s amazing selection and for it’s fair trade practices.
They recently contacted me and offered to award one of my readers with a gift code of $50 to use any way you like. You may like the shawls, like me, or the jewelry, or a new hat, or.....!
What a treat!
Get an early start on your holiday shopping, or give yourself a special present, your choice.
I often find myself getting lost in Novica’s accessories, either for women, or for men.
And they have recently started a program for in home group shopping parties.
Like the Tupperware parties of old!
You can find out more HERE.
And for a chance to win the $50 gift code, just leave a comment on this post.
Edward and I will hold the drawing on Friday the 12th at midnight.
Good Luck All!


6. Bottle Stoppers
All these holiday parties and dinners mean lots of hostess gifts. Personally speaking, I love it when guests arrive bearing flowers, even though it’s often not recommended due to the supposition that it takes too much time to find a vase, and often the flowers have already been done and your gift may clash with the theme of the evening. Bah, I say. As a hostess, I always have time to grab a vase, and one can never have too many flowers in my estimation. But... here’s a great alternative idea for a hostess gift, or any gift for that matter. These bottle stoppers from Pottery Barn are gorgeous, inexpensive, and come in several gorgeous designs. See them all HERE.

I love decorative bottle stoppers myself, and use a special one atop a cut glass bottle of emerald green dish soap by my kitchen sink.
Isn't she wonderful?


7. Taking the Dog Along
The one drawback of our recent trip to Maine was, of course, that Edward and Apple had to stay behind. We are so fortunate to have a lovely and trusted dog sitter that moves in when we move out. Both dogs adore her and we can leave without worrying about their safety. Apple, having terrier blood in her furry veins, rolls with the punches with glee. But I know Edward pouts, and I hate, hate, to leave him. We often arrange our trips to include the dogs. They’ve come along with us on holidays to the beach and the mountains and we’ve all had so much fun. When I saw this pet travel case, I flipped.
What a brilliant way to repurpose old luggage.
There is space for the food underneath the bowls.
Completely ingenious!
Find it HERE.


8. Sylvia
The Songwriter insists on calling the GPS lady who lives in our iPhone by her official name of Karen. However, she sounds nothing at all like a Karen to me so I call her Sylvia. Sylvia sounds more obdurate and imperious than Karen and just seems to suit this cool voiced directional know-it-all a bit better. I might manage to convince a Karen to listen to me if I really and truly thought she was leading me down a wrong path. A Sylvia would pay me no mind.
Based on her voice, I imagine her bearing more than a passing resemblance to Agnes Moorehead. I often think of her, grumpily throwing down her magazine, or climbing out of a bubble bath, whenever we call her for assistance.
Honestly. Can’t those two go anywhere by themselves?”
I confess, I was a total snob about using a GPS. “We’ve managed perfectly fine for years without one”, I haughtily said. “It’s just a toy”.
And then we went to Maine.
We picked up a rental car in Boston so we could dilly-dally through the fall colour of Massachusetts and New Hampshire as we followed the smell of the sea up to Maine.
But darkness fell before we made it up to our friend’s house. Pitch-darkness. Really, really dark. Our friends live by a lake in the deep woods and it was so dark we couldn’t even see street signs, if there were street signs, so The Songwriter thought it prudent to pull Sylvia away from whatever it was she was doing.
And sure enough, she began telling us to “turn left in 30 feet”.... “continue on for 1.4 miles”.... etc.
If we happened to let the phone slip down in the seat, she would discipline us with a sharp, “Please place your iPhone where it can receive a clear satellite signal”.
It was easy to imagine her icy visage as we hurriedly put the phone on the dashboard.

At her insistence, we drove down winding lanes, far, far off the beaten path. I was utterly convinced she was delusional or, even worse, out to get us good, as we sat staring into the forest at a long, long, fir lined path.
You have arrived at your destination”, she said, smugly.

Imagine the above picture in total darkness.
She’s having us on”, I told The Songwriter.
“She’s never liked me since I changed her name.”
But I shall never doubt her again, for after bumping along this lane for a while we did indeed arrive at the correct door. Amazing. How does she do it?
Sylvia and I have now become friends.
If you have yet to meet her, you should.

By the way, I had an aunt who was the mirror image of Agnes Moorehead.
And I'm not joking.


9. The Secret
Since my engagement anniversary post of a few weeks ago, I’ve had a few people ask me for the “secret” to a happy marriage. Lord, I couldn’t answer that if I tried. I know there are those who say a good marriage is “hard work”, but to me it’s just the opposite. I can’t imagine laboring over my marriage - isn’t that the one place we should be able to relax and just be ourselves?
Oh, I have no advice to give.
Humour, trust, friendship - all those are in there, I know.
When I saw this photograph of Paul and Joanne, I thought to myself... there it is!
All the secrets to a happy marriage are right there in that picture.

Happy November,
And don't forget to enter the giveaway!


Congratulations to Deniz Bevan!
The winner of the Novica gift code!


  1. As always, a taste of your tastes just takes me up and out of whatever dark hole I've fallen into over the weekend (there was a little too much bad news on the world scene, locally, and too many friends feeling the kind of desperation that November can visit upon a lonely an impoverished soul). I am entering the give away from NYC, NY with gratitude for all the blessings already decorating my life, and huge appreciation for the things, and thoughts you share in this blog. Good Luck to all who have entered too!

  2. Hello Pamela:
    Gosh, reading through your wonderful list was just like opening presents on Christmas day. So many beautiful and exciting things, packaged in the prettiest of poetic wrapping paper. A delight.

    With a warm home, loving companionship and good food on the table, there is much to give thanks for and we know from your blog posts that you appreciate these simple pleasures too. We trust that your holiday season will be filled with joy!

  3. Christmas preparations...I'm doing my best to hold myself back for just a few more days!
    And to be wrapped in a beautiful shawl...or perhaps a piece of their wonderful jewelry!

  4. Yule preparations here will be in the old darker medieval colors of rich plum, deepest garnet and old burnished golds and copper. That shawl is simply gorgeous! Many thanks indeed for a wonderful chance to win such a prize!

  5. I love shawls too, am always wrapped in one or a scarf. And I also get a desire to learn or take up something new in the autumn.

  6. My, a lot is flying around in your head, Pamela... as it is with a lot of us at this time. Ideas for the holidays, tidbits to share, fun to be had, lists to make, and the past and the present are represented here. But at the end of your 'letter' I let out an audible sigh when I saw Paul & Joanne...there it is, indeed!

  7. The bottle stoppers and Hermes plates are stunning (the bottle stoppers are probably more in my budget this holiday season, but a girl can dream!). I've been on a little blogging vacation since my youngest daughter was born a few months ago, but I will be back posting again. It's great to have the chance to visit your corner of the blogosphere again. Such a lovely post!

  8. Love all the great items, Pamela, as well as the fair trade work of Novica~

  9. What a lovely post Pamela. You are right, that picture of Paul and Joanne says it all but so few people but so few people have really happy marriages.
    Sorry for my rather lengthy absence, life at present is very challenging.

  10. Can't tell you just how much I enjoyed this post Pamela, but especially #8 or..."All about Sylvia" that was laugh out loud material.

    Regarding a good plum pud; Delia's is lovely, but Shirley Spear's recipe from her Three Chimney's, Isle of Skye Restaurant is wonderful. It's the holiday's...embrace the suet! :-)

  11. I enjoyed my trip through the wardrobe tonight immensely Pamela.
    It was desperately needed as I have
    serious issues to deal with at this
    moment in time and my stroll in these
    words are a breath of fresh air. Thank you for sharing once again.

  12. Great giveawy, just in time for Christmas.

  13. Oooh. Love a contest! Your blog is fab. Glad I landed here.
    Heather A

  14. Fabulous giveaway. Thank you for sharing. Love that bottle stopper specially.

  15. so much to love here pamela; those plates also send me over the moon

    to me autumn is a fresh start and like emma watson's example it does indeed signify NEW and learning!!!

    love your shawls, i am a shawl girl too
    fun post!

  16. Your descriptive and colorful words bring me into your world. Thank you for your generosity in offering the gift award. If I won, I would probably select something I like, and then give it to a friend. That's how I roll. :)

  17. Oh well, wrote a long comment, and then blogger wouldn't publish it:-( I'll just repeat the most important stuff: The Sylvia story made me laugh so hard my stomach hurts. And Newman/Woodward: Sigh. I have to really control myself in order to not do a post about them once a month.

  18. O you have done it...can't stop me now..Yes..I'm in the mood for the holiday sorry..have to go...Its Christmas before you know it..:))))

  19. What lovely treasures for November! I would prefer my GPS say "please" and "thank you." That would ease the constant use of the imperative!

  20. Another wonderful post! Enjoyed it immensely!!! And thank you for hosting this giveaway! I love a shawl and hope I win....definitely have my eye on one of these!!! Your Sylvia adventure was great fun!

  21. Lovely post asusual Pamela. I think you sum up a happy marriage perfectly.

  22. Lovely shawl for cold weather.
    I think humour is one of the secrets to a happy marriage.
    Congratulations Pamela

  23. A happy marriage...liking the person you loved enough to marry.
    Dave passed away Saturday but what a wonderful 22 years he gave me!

  24. This is just about my favorite posting so far! Especially the marriage part. I've never bought the idea of 'working' on a relationship. God, just the word makes me tired. :<) It feels like Yoda should be saying something like Love or Don't Love, there is no Work.

  25. Happy November to you and yours, too. Who wouldn't want the lovely, generous gift certicate? They offer such pretty things. Enjoyed your post, as usual!

  26. Dear Pamela (and Edward),
    My anem is Kathleen and I just started working with Liz at Dovecote Decor. I just wanted to let you know how much I LOVE your blog, especially this post! It was somewhat miraculous in that, instead of whirring myself into a Christmas panic, I thought about sitting in front of the fire in my favorite pajamas with one of my mother's decorating or cooking magazines as a kid, practically glowing.

    If you've never made gluwein, it would be the perfect winter warmer in those gorgeous goblets!

    PS-The gloves are on my Christmas list!

  27. Hello Pamela

    Love the post and your list!

    Have a great evening.

    Tracy :)

  28. I love this, Pamela. Your lists are always such treats! And oh my! That bottle stopper is just gorgeous.

  29. By November, I can't ever walk out of the house without a scarf or shawl. I believe I actually own more scarves than shoes. lol...

  30. O I love the photo of Paul Newman and Joanne!! I SO enjoyed this post today Pamela....and my best best friends name's Sylvia tho' she sounds nothing like yours! ;)

    Hugs for Thanksgiving, such a lovely day! Jane

  31. I read you in my google reader, thus I seldom leave comments. I enjoy your writing and views.

    The picture of Paul and Joanne says it all.

  32. Love the plates, love the glasses, love the bottle stoppers, love the post! Thank you for adding another smile to this exciting month!!!

  33. Another beautiful post. If only I had money... every time I see a pattern that I love on scarves or shawls or china or what have you, it turns out to be Hermes. Such gorgeous things.

  34. one can never have enough shawls/scarves. i too am a shawl girl pamela

    love every precious item you posted, ooohing and ahhhing all the way through
    happy weekend

  35. Did Emma Watson transfer to Oxford? She was originally at Brown in the USA. My daughter loves her style. She is a great role model for young girls, unlike other teen stars.

    Those are gorgeous bottle stoppers. I like the Outward Hound travel food and water containers for dogs – good for picnics too.

    Be careful with GPS’s in Maine. Mine delivered me to a farm field next door to a friend’s house. We would have had to hike cross-country.

    On good marriage I’d add respect and empathy. Humor is certainly important too!

  36. Thanksgiving came early with this lovely message. You are wonderful and hugs to Edward!

  37. I've been reading loads of children's fantasy novels, so the word MEAD jumped out at me. Those goblets are good whimsical fun!

    You CAN get vegetarian suet. I would completely trust Delia for plum pudding.

  38. Love the post. The shawl is gorgeous.
    Barb from Toronto"

  39. Lovely positive thoughts and plans make November so much more bearable. A heartening post, Pamela. Thank you!

  40. My goodness Pamela you put a lot of work into this post, and everything is perfect!! I'd take the lot in a heartbeat. Especially those Hermes plates, I saw them in their window in Paris - to die for.
    Enjoy your thanksgiving preparations, such a wonderful tradition

  41. I'm always waiting in anticipation for your "lists" posting. You take such care and time picking out just the right items. I read in awe and longing.
    Thanks for the post and thanks for the giveaway!

  42. Loved all your choices. Where did you go in Maine? Wish I could have met with yo sorry we missed you.


  43. Oh, good grief there are so many people ahead of me! I just read your post, and about your and Edward's giveaway. I have been a follower for sometime now, love reading your words which you weave into such a lovely work of art. LOve the photo of Paul and Joanne. Guffawed at your story of Sylvia and her icy tones and stern visages. I hate to leave my dogs too, I always picture them lying in a heap, with sad eyes and heaving those long sighs.

  44. You've waken me up Pamela to be thinking about the impending holidays. Oddly enough I was surprised to find the main street downtown Aberdeen this afternoon, decorated for Christmas. I the holidays, and it's time I start getting serious. You picked marvellous things! I think you are brave to attempt Gaelic. To me the accent and the rolling of the Rrrrrr's, etc. are the toughest to master. That picture of Joanne +Paul..perfect.
    Have a wonderful weekend and may the planning, and organising continue in great fun as it should this time of year.

    Cheers! Deb

  45. Your are an amazing writer! Everytime a post arrives, I sit down, anticipation close and I get lost in your words. Your fabulous words! Lovely post! And lovely shawl!


  46. Love the shaws you wear and would love to be entered in the give-away contest!

  47. What a beautiful shawl! Could I win?
    Love your post! As always...

  48. Wow, what an unusual and wonderful much to enjoy... for a moment or two it felt as though we were on a road trip with you and enjoying many delightful remembrances along the way! This posting is very creative. Have to tell you when I first saw the photo of the shawl,it stopped me. I used to own a shawl very similar which I adored. Unfortunately, through several peoples help in moving in the last few years, the shawl has just to be discovered! Love Novica also, but haven't seen such lovely shawls on their site like that one. Don't they have unusual and incredible products? Would love to be the blessed winner of your giveaway... as I am sure all here feel the same!
    Cathy B*****y
    pbprojecthope at yahoo dotcom

  49. What a bunch of lovelies! On your site today, and on the Novica site.Thanks for this giveaway.

  50. WHAT A GENEROUS POST filled with lovely photos, gifts and your HEART! Dearest, thank you for visiting me today! Unfortunately, I had pushed the publish button much too quickly. When you visited, I caught some errors and then added more pics....thank you for anticipating my posts! You are a writer of grand proportions and I am grateful that you look forward to my work.

    HAVE A FAB THANKSGIVING!!!!!!!!! Anita

  51. What a fabulous post! I will read this many times. First, the list is wonderful, I want it all. Second your story abut Maine is so true. I have spent a lot of time in Maine; I went to college there and so did my daughter. It gets very dark and the country roads do not have much if any lighting. Before the GPS days we tried to find Migis Lodge on Sebago Lake one very dark night. We found it but what a challenge! And third, I love the picture of Paul and Joanne, yes if you can still fool around and have fun in marriage, I'd say you're pretty successful!

  52. I visit you once in awhile. Edward always looks good. Not to infer that you don't, but I like dogs.

  53. You have always so many lovely things on your lists.


  54. Christmas never matches my expectations, I wish I could hire a dog and a family at this time of year..Oh I think I recognise one of your London pics.

  55. Yes, the Draycott!

  56. Well done you for tangling with Gaelic. We have the 'advantage' of Gaelic TV here. My husband says he'll learn Gaelic in retirement. Me, I'm going for Finnish.

    I agree about the GPS - my revelation was exiting Bordeaux airport at night and navigating back roads around Chateaux Margaux to our chambre d'hotes. Couldn't have done it without that know-all woman in the sat-nav. She was slightly less annoying when we switched her to Swedish.

  57. I always love your lists Pamela!! And I adore the Hermes dishes, I've seen them before and think they're the most wonderful china created in a very long while...they're a huge wish on my wish list!
    Your copper & crimpson colors sounds perfectly medieval and warm, comforting, and inviting, as well as festive, please share an image or two of whatever you choose, I'd love to have a peak!
    Thank you for Novica chance...they have such unique items.
    xo J~

  58. Your blog is lovely.

    I have a few Weller pieces in cream incised with brown, I think they might be the woodland series.

    What woman alive would not want a new shawl?

    I am signing up to follow you...I have seen comments by you on other blogs that I follow and have popped in here once or twice and now I am here to stay!

  59. I see my new helper has been for a visit. She loves writing and ergo, loves your blog. I'm for the goblets! We are off to Paris to visit my youngest for TG, so I get a year off, and can't say that I mind!

  60. Pamela....Your Sylvia must be related to my Sybil.... We have a love/hate relationship...but it is warming up! xv

  61. Obdurate and imperious.

    I just love you.

    I do.

    Please DO write. You do it like few other.


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