Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Christmas Mantel: Stage One

One of the first things you notice when you walk into a living room or den is the fireplace and mantel. I love decorating our mantel for the four seasons, but my favorite season is Christmas.

For the past four Christmases, I have used the same accessories for the mantel — holly vines with berries, gold doves in the center, and birds scattered amongst the holly vines (you can click on the pictures to get a closer look, if you'd like).

This year, I'm going to do something different.

Yesterday, I bought a nice lush garland made from three different kinds of greenery, and rescued a pair of brass candlesticks from the attic, along with two large glass globes.

I was dismayed to see that the globes wouldn't fit in the candlesticks, but you know what they say about "where there's a will, there's a way" — I turned the candlesticks upside down and, voila! ... the globes fit securely in the bottom of them.

I want to get red candles to go in the candlesticks and a battery-operated string of clear lights to add to the garland — and that's as far as I've gotten on the basic look I want to achieve. I'm going to work on it some more today, and may end up just adding the old holly vines and birds.

Have you started decorating for Christmas yet? I'm going to be working on mine in stages and, hopefully, will have some pictures to share soon of my "new look" for the mantel this year.

Monday, November 29, 2010

In the Land of Cotton

A couple of weeks ago, I traveled through the Louisiana Delta on US Highway 65, between Vicksburg and Lake Village, Arkansas, and featured my journey in a series of three previous posts. If you have not read those posts and would like to, just click on the links below:

A Journey through the Louisiana Delta
I Made it to Providence!
Louisiana Delta Odds and Ends

The last stop on my trip was at the Louisiana State Cotton Museum at Lake Providence, Louisiana.

The Louisiana State Cotton Museum began as an idea by a group of volunteers in the 1960s, and was later brought to life by the East Carroll Historical Society. Since its opening in 1995, the museum is dedicated to preserving the history and heritage of cotton cultivation and its influence on life in Louisiana.

In addition to the replica gin, the 7-acre museum complex includes a 100-year-old planter's house original to the site, and is surrounded by a Sharecropper's Cabin relocated from Mound Plantation near Tallulah, Louisiana, a Commissary, which was a general store on a Delhi plantation, a Plantation Church, and an Exhibit Hall.

Although I didn't have time to tour the museum, I was able to capture a few pictures of the outbuildings, and felt as if I had traveled back in time.

Hood Home Plantation

Over 100 years old and original to the site, cotton planter families occupied the Hood Home Plantation since antebellum days.

Sharecropper's Cabin

Gin Office


My favorite building was the little chapel.

Small churches like this one were built for families who worked on the plantations.

I have quite a collection of church bell photos, and I was pleased to add this old treasure to my collection.

There is a world of fascinating history behind the cotton clothes you wear — and if you are ever traveling near US Highway 65 in the Louisiana Delta, I hope you will take the time to stop and visit the Cotton Museum, and see and hear for yourself what it was like to live "in the Land of Cotton," where "old times [there] are not forgotten."

Friday, November 26, 2010

Winter Flowers

We had an unseasonably warm and humid Thanksgiving Day in Vicksburg yesterday, with the high temperature for the day hovering near 80 degrees.

With rain and cooler temperatures forecast for last night and today, I decided to get a few pictures of some of the flowers blooming in our courtyard before they were battered by the rain.

Christmas Camellia
These pretty red camellias, with bright yellow
centers, bloom until around the end of December.

This colorful "Speedy Sonnet Bronze" Snapdragon should bloom throughout our Mississippi winter months.

Isn't it lovely!

Camellia Sasanqua

These Sasanquas will bloom well into winter, too.

This is a picture I took about a month ago of a blue Pansy that is growing in an urn in our courtyard.

As you can see in this next picture (taken last February after a rare Vicksburg snowfall), Pansies also withstand winter temperatures and should bloom until Spring.

I hope you have some flowers or plants that brighten your winter months. I'm looking forward to enjoying the ones I've shared today.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Thanksgiving Wishes

Happy Thanksgiving ...

from My House to Yours

As we gather together this week of "Thanks Giving," I hope your days and your home will be filled with the love and laughter of your loved ones, sweet memories-in-the-making, and fond recollections of Thanksgivings Past.

Let us all remember our soldiers scattered across the world who are away from their families and loved ones. May God bless them and keep them safe, and let them know we are ever mindful and grateful for their dedication and courage and the daily sacrifices they make for their country.

With my sincerest best wishes to you and your family
for the best Thanksgiving Celebration ever!

Monday, November 22, 2010

The Last Rose of Summer

We visited my parents in Northeast Louisiana over the weekend, and I captured these pictures of one of my mother's last roses of the season.

'Tis the last rose of summer,
left blooming alone ...

All her lovely companions,
are faded and gone.

No flower of her kindred,
no rosebud is nigh ...

To reflect back her blushes,
to give sigh for sigh.*

I'm so glad this beautiful little rose will forever bloom in my pictures.

*From The Last Rose of Summer, by Thomas Moore

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Autumn Leaves

To every thing there is a season, and as we enjoy the last few weeks of Autumn here in Mississippi, I would like to share this slide show I created featuring some of my photos of our trees and leaves in all their Fall glory.

The background music is the beautiful Autumn Leaves, performed by Roger Williams, as only he can play it.

Click to play this Smilebox slideshow

Friday, November 19, 2010

Fun at the Car Wash

Since I acquired an interest in photography, I seem to be more aware of things around me and can find beauty in just about anything. That, combined with my "A-type" personality trait of not being able to sit still very long without something to do, prompted the following pictures.

Yes, that's water running down glass, and the glass happens to be the windshield of my car. I was at a "drive-through" car wash the other day, and was staring at the windshield as the water cascaded down it, thinking how pretty it was, and remembered that I had my cameras with me.

It doesn't take much to entertain me, especially when I'm looking through a camera lens, and I think the pictures are actually kind of neat.

The Soap Cycle

Blue Foamy Stuff

The Rinse Cycle

I know you're probably thinking, "Bless her heart, she has waaaay too much time on her hands," and you're probably right — but at least I made good use of my time while in the car wash and, hopefully, inspired you to really look at the water running down your windshield the next time you're in a car wash. You might even want to take your camera along.

I hope your weekend is filled with lots of lagniappe!