Archive for Christmas

Dec
20

メリークリスマス Merry Christmas!

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Today I had so much fun putting together our gifts to take to my daughter-in-law’s family in Japan.  I couldn’t resist sharing.   Here they are!

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In last week’s post, An Easy Gift Idea, I talked about the items to be included.  To make things a little more personal I used Google Docs to translate the notes I attached to each gift into Japanese.  With the Prickly Pear jelly is a translated article about the native SW plant and its use in recipes.  Google’s translations better make sense!   If not, I hope it will be a reason for a few good laughs.

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Of course, I have to carry something for our kids.  Here are their small packages with Merry Christmas translated into Japanese, メリークリスマス!  

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Celebrating a holiday in another country will be a new experience.  But wherever you are, keep the spirit of Christmas alive.  Goodwill to all!   Have a blessed and Merry Christmas!

Mary

Mary Sherwood Lifestyles

Mary Sherwood Art Glass

 

 

 

Aug
09

Mary’s Version of Santa’s Workshop

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This has been an exciting week with the launch our new website and online store, Mary Sherwood Art Glass.  Thanks for so many wonderful comments.  If you missed the announcement you can see it here.

In the launch announcement I promised a 2016 Holiday Art Glass collection.  So today I opened Mary’s version of “Santa’s Workshop” to work on the collection.  It always amazes me how many pieces of glass are combined into the creation of each ornament.  On average there are about 30-35 small pieces of glass on each 3.5″ tree ornament.  Many different shapes and sizes are used for each ornament.  Here is the glass assortment for today’s project.

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Here are two prototypes of possible tree designs mocked up last week as possibilities.

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Clear glass tree shape pieces are cut to use as the base.  Below, little blue star millefiori rounds were applied as the tree top stars.  Once decorated these overlapping trees shapes will be fused to white glass and slumped into a Christmas plate.

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This is the beginnings of the tree ornament collection.  The red glass noodles are laid as a “garland” foundation.  Glass beads and other details to be added.

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Stay in touch for the unveiling of the 2016 Holiday Collection at Mary Sherwood Art Glass!  Look for a special give-a-way when the holiday collection goes live.

Thanks!

Mary

Mary Sherwood Lake Living

252-308-2694

 

Dec
22

Best Wishes for a Merry Christmas!

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This year we travel to “Santa” Monica for our Christmas celebrations.  It is one of the few times the immediate Sherwood family is all together. 🙂  This year we will have the joy of Paul’s sister and husband joining us right after Christmas day.

Here is the family picture from last Christmas at the lake house.  I remember this fun time and insisting on the group shot despite objections of “Oh Mom!”

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We are driving to Santa Monica this year.  Close enough not need an airplane ticket. 🙂  I believe our son Jake has a Christmas photo in mind involving two JCW Mini-Coopers.  You’ll just have to wait to see that one.

On another note, my friend, Lori, and I took the hotel crawl to see holiday decorations, particularly two life-size gingerbread houses.  My favorite GB house was at the Hilton El Conquistador in Tucson to benefit juvenile Diabetes.

This life-size Gingerbread House at Hilton El Conquistador Tucson AZ is truly a labor of love and work of art!

This life-size Gingerbread House at Hilton El Conquistador Tucson AZ is truly a labor of love and work of art!

It is all in the details with the embellishments of this life-size gingerbread house!

It is all in the details with the embellishments of this life-size gingerbread house!

The walls were all made of gingerbread by the resort’s bakers.  It took them 3 weeks to do all the baking.  The decorative details are amazing.

Here is a “little” life-size gingerbread house trivia:

Gingerbread

  • 420 lbs. of flour
  • 420 eggs
  • 12 gallons of molasses & honey

Icing

  • 120 lbs. of egg whites
  • 550 lbs. of powdered sugar
  • 718 lbs. of sugar

Finishing Touches

  • 2.317 gum crops
  • 120 lollipops
  • 600 candy cane
  • 15 lbs. of sprinkles

Wishing everyone a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!  Be safe in your travels and enjoy all your family and friends!

Love to all!

Mary

Note: This is the last post until after the New Year! Look forward to a re-cap of our holiday on January 6th.

 

Dec
15

Party Food Etiquette

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As you were growing up your parents taught you to be polite and courteous.  Those same rules today can be applied to planning a party menu for those with food allergies or food preferences. Last weekend we hosted our first party in our new home.  It was great to share our new place with neighbors and friends.  We had a great turn out and are excited about getting the “social” ball rolling.  But, of course, it is not all about the food (for some).  The table with flowers ifs always a must have for me.  Here is a very quick “do” for the centerpiece.  Missing the evergreens of the NC garden!

Table centerpiece using large liquor bottles for vases.

Table centerpiece using large liquor bottles for vases. By using the bottles you achieve various “heights” and it takes very few flowers. One bunch of white Hydrangeas and a few greens is all it took!

This leads me to party food planning and Party Food Etiquette.  I have been following a gluten-free dietary plan for about five years.  It is not just a fad but something that makes me feel better and my body function better.  I do not have a severe allergic reaction as some with Celiac disease but I now understand how important diet can be.

We had several guests following a gluten-free diet and/or a vegan diet.  With that in mind I started researching recipes that could suit both.  My best word of advise is to read every label.  For example, I wanted dairy/animal free cheese. I found “Veggie” cheese by the tofu and thought that would do.  Reading the label revealed that the cheese had milk solids.  So, always check labels if you are looking for some particular allergens such as dairy, nuts or wheat.  Food labeling has really improved but buyer be smart!

Enough about the why’s, here are the how’s.  I went way overboard with the food selection but learned a lot in the process. Here is three ways to build an antipasto skewers for several diets:

  1. The recipe called for tortellini, salami, mozzarella cheese balls, artichokes, olives, and cherry tomatoes.
  2. Gluten-free version leave off the tortellini.
  3. Vegan version, leave off the tortellini, salami, mozzarella and add more veggies.

    Antipasto skewers with food labels on cute little candy cane easels.

    Antipasto skewers with food labels on cute little candy cane easels.

By adjusting this one recipe I meet most of the dietary needs of my guests. Other items on the menu were more specific to just one, maybe two dietary categories.  All in all, the food was a success and everyone seemed to enjoy the options and variety.  Our diet conscientious guests were most appreciative!

The food array for our holiday party with amazing bright sunshine filtering through our windows.

The food array for our holiday party with amazing bright sunshine filtering through our windows.

Food labels are a must when making such a wide variety of foods in different dietary categories.  Your guests do not have to “guess” what’s in the food.  I found this festive holiday template and candy cane easel ideas on Pinterest.  Common initials for various diets are shown in bold on the bottom of the label.  You can be more specific for various other ingredients, if needed, such as peanut or nut allergies.

Printed food labels with bold diet initials at bottom.

Printed food labels from www.foreveryourprints.com with bold diet initials at bottom.

Party on!  Keep your guests happy and coming back for more!  If you want more details about the menu list or recipes please reply in the comment section of the blog.

I have missed seeing all our LKG fans this holiday season!  I hope you all have a very happy and joyous holiday.

Merry Christmas to all!

Love to all!

Mary

Mary Sherwood Lifestyles – Working with you to create your lifestyle!

 

For more party printable ideas go to Printables

 

 

 

Dec
01

What a difference paint can make!

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Two weeks ago, as the Thanksgiving holiday was approaching, I wanted to quickly refresh an old table that was originally in my grandmother’s house.  It had been through many moves and various uses.  Nails and screws were used to hold it together over the years.  This quick re-do really only took about 3 hours and made such a difference.

This is the pieces before sanding.

Grandmother's table needing a loving touch!

Grandmother’s table needing a loving touch!

With a few supplies picked up at the local big box store the project cost under $10.00 (not including the stone remnant top).

Painting supplies. I love how the shortcut brush works in my small hand!

Painting supplies. I love how the shortcut brush works in my small hand!

Originally I planned to have a rustic rub-through look, so I did not apply a primer.  I sanded the piece and thoroughly cleaned off any of the dust. After painting three coats I liked the grey painted finish so much I decided not to sand down the edges for a rustic effect.  Thinking I would refurbish this piece before we left NC, I had our favorite NC stone fabricator Granitops cut a granite remnant top to fit.  Thanks Alex!

Here is the finished piece with left-over “sample” ceramic drawer pulls.

Painted table with granite remnant top and handmade ceramic knobs!

Painted table with granite remnant top and handmade ceramic knobs!

 

It looks mighty fine in its new spot.

Seating area with refreshed table accented by large wall art by Jake Sherwood.

Seating area with refreshed table accented by large wall art by Jake Sherwood.

When doing a project like this it can be a hard or as easy as you make it.  There or no rights or wrongs EXCEPT not prepping the surface thoroughly by sanding and/or priming!

Play with a discarded or an older piece you may have around and see what you can create.  Smaller refreshed pieces make great Christmas gifts!  Spray paints can also be a quick fix!

Show me your re-styled pieces!

All the best this week!

Mary

Mary Sherwood Lifestyles

252-308-2694

 

Working with you to create your lifestyle!

 

 

Dec
24

Christmas is All About Family

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merry christmas 2014
As I anxiously await the arrival of our sons and daughters-in-love I am reminded about how important family is at Christmas.  I am so very fortunate to have such a loving and close family.  We are spread out across the country but we make the effort to be together for Christmas.  I am truly blessed.  Here is my playful family last Christmas at Lake Gaston!

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Over the years my family circle has grown.  The MSLL gang is a large part of that circle. This is the gang at our annual Christmas dinner along with our new addition, Ethan Campbell Wenger (being held by Ryan, his proud Dad)

My extended family goes much further than just our team.  It encompasses the wonderful friends that grace our showroom, our design clients that invite us into their homes and all the talented contractors that support us.  We get to know them and their families as part of our amazing family circle.

So whether you spend Christmas with family, friends or neighbors it is the people that make Christmas magical. Embrace the moments!

Merry Christmas to you and all your family circle!

Love to all,

Mary

 

Dec
17

Don’t be a Fruitcake this Christmas!

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As a special holiday treat, Chef Yvonne, Y Cook?,  is our Design Wisdom Wednesday guest contributor today for Mary Sherwood Lake Living.  Her tasty recipes are demonstrated and enjoyed frequently at MSLL during her Cooking Classes! Her classes cover a huge range and brings variety to the table!

Tis the season to be jolly….and fruity!

During the holiday season, we celebrate with family and friends by enjoying numerous food and beverage traditions.  There’s eggnog, spiced cider, candy canes, gingerbread houses, and the beloved fruitcake.

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Fruitcakes date back to Roman times when the cake was made with pomegranate seeds, pine nuts and raisins.  During the Middle Ages, honey, spices, and preserved fruits were added.  Crusaders were even known to carry fruitcake during their travels to sustain them throughout their journeys.

Most people have a love/hate relationship with fruitcake.  There are those that love the moist cake filled with delectable nuts and fruits, and then there are those that think of it as a dense “brick”.  So whether you love or strongly dislike the familiar dessert, you will surely love my spin on the well-known tradition.

I’ve transformed the generic fruitcake into a bite-size morsel that is moist and full of flavor.  My take on the traditional fruitcake is the Fruitcake Cookie.

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Fruitcake Cookie Ingredients:

  • 1/2 lb. light brown sugar
  • 1/2 lb. butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 8 ounces pineapple preserves
  • 1 1/2 tbs. Half and Half cream
  • 2 1/4 cups self rising flour
  • 1/2 tsp. soda
  • 16 ounces jar red cherries drained and chopped
  • 16 ounces jar green cherries drained and chopped
  • 1 pound chopped dates
  • 6 cups chopped pecans (walnuts & almonds mixed are a nice change)
  • 1 1/2 tbsp. vanilla

Directions:

Coat nuts and fruit with 1/2 cup flour.  Mix butter, brown sugar, eggs, preserves, milk, soda, vanilla and flour.  Pour over nuts and fruit mixture.  Mix with hands.  Drop in large spoonfuls on a cookie sheet.  Bake 11 minutes at 325 degrees (depending on your oven).  You can wrap uncooked dough in saran wrap.  Make into tube shape (like a slice and bake cookie).  Cover with foil and freeze.  They will keep for months.

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Believe me…I’m aware of all of the fruitcake jokes.  “Why does fruitcake make the perfect gift? Because the U.S. Postal Service hasn’t found a way to damage it.”  But please trust me, these cookies are the answer to satisfy even your toughest fruitcake critic.

Enjoy….and Happy Holidays!

Love,

Chef YvonneFruitcake-ycook

Y Cook? 

Mary Sherwood Lake Living

 

Dec
10

MSLL Holiday Gift Guide 2014

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MSLL has constructed the ultimate Holiday Gift Guide to make your shopping experience a bit easier this Holiday season. We promise with these amazing gifts there will be no returns or re-gifting if you stick to our guide! The following MSLL Holiday Gift Guide features 12 perfect gifts that are sure to bring happiness and make you the best gift giver ever! Move over Santa, I’m giving the best gifts this year! Oh! Not to mention you will have the best wrapped presents around with our fabulous complementary gift wrap!

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Mary Sherwood Lake Living Holiday Gift Guide 2014:

1. Fashion Apparel: This year’s apparel seems to be the best we have ever carried! It’s been hard to keep the racks full. We have wonderful travel wear, bright tunics and palazzo pants that have been super popular this year.  Our travel wear is wrinkle free, perfect for your next getaway!  $38 – $78

2. Don’t forget the Captain! Our Captain Rodney’s Boucan Glaze and Peach Barbecue Boucan Sauce are a crowd pleaser! These would make perfect gifts for a neighbor or take a bottle  as a hostess gift for your next holiday party your attending. This sauce is delicious! The bottle has a recipe attached for an amazing appetizer dip! Even someone that tailgates would love this for their next sports event! You can’t go wrong here.  $12

3. Magnolia Casual Indoor/Outdoor Swings: I always have people telling me their child would love this in their bedroom or they are planning on hanging one on their boat dock! Which is a perfect idea for these gorgeous swings! All our swings come in a set which includes: The swing constructed in indoor/outdoor fabric, a seat cushion, back pillow and matching carrying bag which is easy to stow.  $189

4. Sweet & Saucy Caramel Sauce: This happens to be our Salted Caramel Sauce which is my favorite! = ) We have: Spicy Mango Madness, Rum Caramel and even a Raspberry Fudge Sauce!  This is a great gift  for anyone! I would pair my jar with an ice cream scoop for the perfect ice cream sundae package! Simple & Easy! You could always add cherries on top!  $11

5. Lake Gaston Picture Frame: Here is another great gift idea! I’m sure mom or grandma would love this in their lake home! Take it step further and actually put a photo in the frame of the family or grand-kids! The picture corners in the frame make it easy to change out the photos each year!  $49

 6. Mary Sherwood Lake Living Gift Card: The perfect gift! Our gift cards do not expire and can be used towards anything in our showroom! You could even give a gift card for $25 or $35 for someone to attend one of Chef Yvonne’s cooking classes held here at MSLL! Absolutely Perfect!  $ – $$$

7. Lake Gaston Christmas Ornaments: We have several different ornaments to choose from this year. Some even have Lake Gaston printed on them! How cool is that? These would be great if you know someone that gets an ornament for their tree each year or for an ornament exchange party.  $18

8. Jewelry: Our Jewelry display has just everything from necklaces, earrings, bangles, brackets, watches, rings and a few necklace/earring sets. Various style to choose from. We even have a handmade line from a young lady in Virginia Beach!  $10 – $148

9. Handbags: We have the look you want but not the price. Our gorgeous bags look similar to a Micheal Kors’ bag but not the ticket price! I love our bags I think they are age appropriate for anyone 20-something to someone 60-something! We have various sizes and style for fit any ladies taste. $14 – $123

10. Scribble Cloths: Have you seen these yet? Scribble Cloths are amazing! Great for parties, children and events! We have runners that can be scribbled on with chalk! We have used these several times for events here at MSLL! We used the large runner for our food display, labeling all our delicious delights! What a great gift! $38 – $50

11. Lake Gaston Coasters: We have several sets of Lake Gaston Coasters! My favorites are the Lake map and Lake Rules! We have sets of two and fours!  Perfect for anyone that loves and lives on the lake! $32 – $57

12. Add-A-Kid Bibs: Don’t forget the little ones! We have an array of items in our children’s area but, these have to be the funniest! These bibs are one of a kind designs for little guys and girls! All bibs have Lake Gaston on them as well! Such a great keep sake too! $13

 

Just follow our Holiday Gift Guide for the perfect Christmas presents this Holiday season! Need more ideas? Just give us a call (252-586-2437) or ask me! We do our best to meet the needs of our customers. We are always willing to help!  We even suggest gift ideas for no charge! =)  Join us this Holiday season and Shop Small here on Lake Gaston! Don’t forgot the complimentary Gift Wrap!

 

Merry Christmas! 

-Dixie K

Mary Sherwood Lake Living, Lake Gaston 

 

 

If you have recently changed your color scheme or updated your interior how do you incorporate the new color scheme into this year’s holiday décor? Look for inspiration where you least expect it.

This dining room had recently been updated using a wonderful blue accent wall (Benjamin Moore #798 Blue Suede Shoes). Could this be our inspiration?

Blue accent wall was the inspiration!

Blue accent wall was the inspiration!

 

How do you use the common holiday colors of red and green with this blue wall? With very little investment in new decorations the room began to come together with the addition of blue ornaments and a few other blue accents. The new items included inexpensive glass and plastic ornaments, multi-colored small gift bags (including blue), small little gift wrap bows and curly ribbon. Other found items from the owner’s collection were wine glasses, an antique tall pitcher with a blue rim, glass cylinders, glass vases and glass candlesticks.

Blue glass candlesticks, a vase and a pitcher were from the owner's collection.

Blue glass candlesticks, a vase and a pitcher were from the owner’s collection.

The centerpiece was the starting point which used an assortment of ornaments and objects. Heights were varied to create a pleasing arrangement. Hostess gifts were wrapped in the small foil gift bags to later be used as place cards for a holiday dinner. To give the arrangement more length on the 108” long table curly ribbon was casually placed at each end of the centerpiece.

Assorted small ornaments, glass candlesticks and containers are the components of this easy centerpiece.

Assorted small ornaments, glass candlesticks and containers are the components of this easy centerpiece.

When the table settings were placed the centerpiece was adjusted to allow more room on the table. A few of the pieces removed from the table were placed on the serving buffet to carry out the multi-color scheme.

Company is coming table setting-casual but festive!

Company is coming table setting-casual but festive!

The pièce de résistance was the valance, created with Christmas ornaments tied to staggered lengths of curly ribbon, which frames the entrance to the dining room.

Holiday valance made of assorted shapes and sizes of ornaments.

Holiday valance made of assorted shapes and sizes of ornaments.

Each area of the great space was decorated with multi-colors including a touch of the newly added blue. Think about how you can bring a little of your new interior color(s) into your holiday scheme without starting all over.

Happy holiday decorating!

Mary

Mary Sherwood Lake Living – Working with you to create your lifestyle!

We had an amazing turn-out this past weekend for our annual Holiday Open House.  Great customers, delicious food, and a lot of gift wrap!  In case you missed it, not to fret.  We still have tons of Christmas wonders to share.  Here is just a sampling to get you excited.  We’ve also started putting these on our Pinterest page, so check that out too – it’s a great way to organize your shopping list.

2014 Mary Sherwood Lake Living holiday open house food

 

We can’t talk about any event at Mary Sherwood Lake Living without talking about the amazing menu.  Yvonne of Y Cook certainly outdid herself.  She prepared Raspberry Jalapeno Popper Dip, Salted Caramel Apple Tarts, and Sweet Potato Butter Cake topped with Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting, just to name a few.  Yum!

 

 

 

 

 

Carol Diehr Nana's Jams

 

We also had the pleasure of welcoming Carol Diehr of Nana’s Jams and CD Delicacies.  She presented many ideas for her delicious jams.  They are also a great gift idea!

 

 

 

Will Pedersen Love You Like A Rock

 

During our morning seminar, we presented many new ideas to add something unique to your holiday decor scheme.  Among them, we featured Will Pedersen of Love You Like a Rock.  His one of a kind creations make great gifts and can be completely customized for your needs.  He also donates all the proceeds to the MS Foundation.

 

 

 

 

 

Holiday decor and gifts mary sherwood lake living lake gaston

 

As always, our showroom was all a bustle with gifts and shoppers.  Here is just one of our many displays, which features a unique design technique Mary presented during the seminar.  Ornaments hung from ribbons at different lengths can frame a display, act as a room divider, or highlight a doorway.

 

 

We hope you enjoyed this small peek into Christmas here at Mary Sherwood Lake Living.  Come by and see it first hand for yourself!

HO HO HO and Merry Christmas from all of us at MSLL!!!

Mary Sherwood Lake Living -Working with you to create your lifestyle!

Dec
25

Merry Christmas 2013

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Merry_Christmas_Banner

It’s that special time of year again, the holidays. The stockings are hung with care and Christmas spirit is in the air! Loved ones near and far come to together to celebrate this joyous holiday.  We would like to wish each and every one of you,

a very Merry Christmas from our Mary Sherwood Lake Living Family to yours!  

Please be careful in your travels and don’t forget to leave cookies for Santa!  

Here is a little sneak peek from our

Mary Sherwood Lake Living Christmas Party.   Enjoy! 

Merry_Christmas_Trees

Rocking around the banana tree? Yes, Mary doesn’t have your traditional Christmas tree every year.  She likes to think more outside the box. What do you think of her non-traditional tree?  Check out Mary’s blog about non-traditional Christmas trees. http://marysherwoodlifestyles.com/oh-christmas-trees/ 

Merry_Christmas_Napkins    I love when people have interesting or humorous cocktail napkins. They are a great conversation starter! Here are Mary’s from our get together!

Merry_Christmas_PresentsSo many great presents! We opened our gifts before indulging in our fabulous meal prepared by Chef Yvonne!

Merry_Christmas_SleighI even decided to make my Christmas Candy Sleighs!  I featured them in the past Design Wisdom Wednesday on Christmas Party Planning Guide. I think they came out great?  What do you think?

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Our dinner was amazing. Chef Yvonne out did herself as usual! For appetizers, we raved over  the Buffalo Chicken dip and mozzarella cheese sticks wrapped in salami on a balsamic jelly. Did I mention the balsamic jelly came all the way from Italy? YUM!  Our first course of the night (shown above) was bay scallops on a sweet potato puree with pickled corn and roasted sunflower seeds topped with micro greens. What an incredible combination!

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For our main course we devoured this delicious homemade creamed garlic spinach and lasagna. By now my buttons are about to pop off my pants!  But Yvonne’s food is so good, of course I didn’t turn down dessert, especially when we had two choices!  She even let you choose both, if you wanted!  Many of us shared our decadent treats! We had a choice between eggnog bread pudding with an eggnog glaze and chocolate pate with a cranberry coulis. Outstanding!

Merry_Christmas_Chocolate_Pate_raspberry_coulisMerry_Christmas_egg_nog_Bread_Pudding

I am truly blessed to be a part of the Mary Sherwood Lake Living family. I’m the new kid on the block, but I have been so fortunate to have met such wonderful people who I get the privilege to work with. I can not only call them co-workers or my boss, but also great friends!

Merry_Christmas_Dinner

Again, I would like to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas &

a Happy New Year!

-Cheers!

-Dixie K

Mary Sherwood Lake Living – Working with you to create your lifestyle at Lake Gaston and beyond!

Dec
10

Christmas Party Planning Guide

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Christmas-Party-Planning-Guide

I attended an amazing Christmas party this past weekend, which gave me the inspiration for my blog this week. When I attend parties I am constantly taking mental notes of my favorite things. I’d like to think of it as a mini Pinterest board in my head. I’m constantly “pinning” these ideas to have for when I decide to host my own holiday party. Here are a few things I would keep “pinned” when planning your holiday gathering.

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Party Planning Guide

It’s always a good idea when you’re sending out your invitations to include a way for guest to RSVP, especially when you’re going to serve food.  The Christmas party I attended this weekend was scheduled at 7PM  with cocktails and heavy hor d’oeuvres.

Here are a few party planning rules of thumb to consider when planning your holiday menu: (refer to the chart to the right)

If you are planning to feature hor d’oeuvres, here are some other tips:

-3-7 bites per person when accompanied by a large dinner

– 10-12 bites per person when accompanied by a light dinner

-20 bites per person if hor d’oeuvres only

Remember to provide a variety of foods to please everyone.  Try to have hot and cold foods, but also be considerate of vegetarians, vegans, and food allergies to keep everyone nibbling throughout the night. Don’t forget to have something sweet, too!

Learn How to make these adorable Santa strawberries to serve at your next holiday celebration, Just click the image!

Learn How to make these adorable Santa strawberries
to serve at your next holiday celebration,
Just click the image!

The Themed Christmas Party.

Tacky Christmas Sweater Party I must say this party makes for the best holiday photos! I have been to a few of these, I try to make it a personal challenge to find the tackiest of Christmas sweaters. Just about any sweater with a Christmas tree, reindeer, or snowmen on the front will do. This would be the easiest of parties to host, just ask your guest to please wear a Christmas sweater.

Christmas Cookie Swap:  This would be a great party with your girlfriends during the holidays. Invite your friends to bring their favorite Christmas cookies with their favorite bottle of wine, and you have an instant girl’s night.  Don’t forget to have goodie bags for your guests to take their favorite cookies home at the end of the night.  You can also ask the guest to bring copies of the recipe to share.

Melting Snowmen Sugar Cookies

Melting Snowmen Sugar Cookies

I love these cookies.  I think they would be a great hit at your next Cookie Swap event!

There are lots of other kinds of parties you can host such as: 12 Days of Christmas, Winter Wonderland,  Gift Wrapping Party, Ornament Making,  and many more.  Don’t forget the little ones. Let them join in the fun and host a gingerbread house making  party or cookie decorating event.  

 

Games/Entertainment.

Keep your guest active by adding games to your party schedule. I thoroughly enjoyed the games I part took in this weekend. Here are just a few games with their rules you should try to incorporate in your party planning:

White Elephant, Dirty Santa, & Chinese Gift Exchange:  I have heard this game called by several different names, but these are probably the most popular. It’s ultimately a fun re-gifting exchange game, Click the link to find out how to play. http://www.wikihow.com/Organize-a-White-Elephant-Gift-Exchange

The Reindeer Antlers Balloon Game will be your new holiday favorite. I had never played this game before until this weekend.  Let’s just say I wasn’t on the winning team but I had a great time participating!  Here’s how to play: http://www.cookie-exchange.com/party_games/reindeer_antlers_balloon_game.html

Christmas-Party-Planning-Guide-Reindeer-Ballon-Game-Dixie

Reindeer Antlers Balloon Game

The 12 Days of Christmas:  We were divided into groups and given one of the 12 days of Christmas. We started off the song and when your number came up it was your turn to sing and act out your number! I must say this was a great hit, I definitely enjoyed seeing my cousin acting like a “french hen” for the third day.

There are many games out there, just make sure they are appropriate for the crowd you are hosting.  There is no time limit to the games, but give your guests breaks so they don’t feel like Santa on Christmas Eve!

 

 Favors.

Favors are not something you have to do, but they are always a great way to say thank you to your guest for attending your party.  Favors do not have to cost you a fortune. They can be easy to make and become little mementos for your holiday fun filled night. Here are just a few to consider:

Red Tic Tacs can be transformed in to “Reindeer Noses”. Just add a cute little label and  “Wah Lah!” a party favor that will have your guest smiling all the way back to their homes. I have even seen green tic tacs labeled as “Christmas tree seeds.” So Cute!

Try tying a cute bow on different Christmas Cookie cutters for an instant easy party gift as well.

Christmas-Party-Planning-Favor

Christmas Candy Sleigh Party Favor

 If you have a little more time on your hand, these sleighs made of candy are an awesome Christmas party favor.

Click the picture to find out how to make this tasty sleigh!

Good Luck Party Planning.

Just remember no matter what you decided to serve, what theme your party is, or what games you play, your party will be a success only because of the loved ones that attend. Tis the season to remember our friends and family which is the true meaning of Christmas! I wish you the best of luck and safe travels to all your holiday celebrations! Last but not least, I hope you have a very Merry Christmas!

Dixie K

Mary Sherwood Lake Living,  working with you to create your lifestyle!

 

Dec
20

Family and My Christmas

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I am getting ready to travel to one of my favorite places, “Santa” Monica, because that is where I will share Christmas with both our sons and two daughters-in-love.  It should be a great week!  Our times together involve a lot of relaxing, eating and sharing stories with the newer members of our family.  It doesn’t matter where we are, we always find these times together so special.

Last night reminded me of what an incredible acquired family I have right here at Lake Gaston.  We had a Christmas dinner at our house for all the MSLL family.  The wonderful, talented people who surrounded me are truly amazing.  It makes it such a pleasure to come to work each and every day.

Paul, Autumn, Lu, Michelle, Peggy and Yvonne thanks so much!

The rest of my acquired family is every one of you who has supported us, shopped in our showroom, cooked in our new kitchen and asked us to help make your home a comfortable, family place.  We have gotten to know you and your family and friends.  The circle just keeps getting bigger. Thank you for enlarging our family!

Make this a holiday to remember with your family whether acquired or by nature.

Here are a few pictures of our MSLL Christmas party.

Christmas, table setting, centerpiece, place settings, napkins, greenery

The Table is Ready!

Christmas,place setting, napkins, twelve days of Christmas, napkin holiday decoration

Each place with a Twelve Days of Christmas glass so all can sing!

Christmas, place settings, napkins, snowflake ornament

Napkins embellished with snowflake ornaments for guests to take home!

Party, acquired family, cocktails

Gathering together!

Holiday dinner, candlelight, friends, family

Enjoying a fabulous meal prepared by Chef Yvonne of Y Cook!

Food, Y Cook, scallops, cured beef tenderloin

The incredible food prepared by Chef Yvonne.

Menu, Y Cook

Our menu by Chef Yvonne and topped off by Steve Hoffman’s “melt in your mouth” Cheesecake with Cherry Zabaglione Sauce. WOW!

Have a wonderful holiday!

Merry Christmas!

Mary

 

Working with you to create your lifestyle!

 

 

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Dec
13

Don’t Get Your Tinsel in a Tangle…

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Shopping for a special gift for that special someone?  Looking for the ideal present for the person who has everything?  Don’t get your tinsel in a tangle.  Allow Mary Sherwood Lake Living to help you compile the perfect gift basket.

Are they a wine enthusiast?  We can combine our E-Z Grip Wine Bottle Opener, Wine-A-Rita Drink Mix, and a package of festive napkins to help them celebrate.

 

Do they enjoy mixing a cocktail or two?  We can combine our Mini Red Ice Bucket, Mini Red Cocktail Shaker, and a jar of Pickle, Olive, and Pearl Onion Cocktail Stirrers to help them conjure up their concoctions.

Are they the chef in their household?  We can combine our famous Captain Rodney’s Boucan Glaze, a White Rectangular Baker, and a Knotted Spreader to aid them in preparing Captain Rodney’s Cheese Bake (recipe included).

Do they just deserve to be spoiled?  We can combine our Azalea/Ruby Dot Glittens (glove and mittens combination), Leopard Ballet Cozy Slippers, and a Jeweled Photo Frame to help comfort them.

Still stumped?  Come visit us at Mary Sherwood Lake Living or give us a call at 252.586.2437 to help you with just the right combination for the loved ones on your list.

Happy Holidays and Happy Shopping from Mary Sherwood Lake Living!

Mary

Mary Sherwood Lake Living working with you to create your lifestyle!

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Dec
22

OH! Christmas Trees!!!

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Yes, friends there will be a Christmas tree at the Sherwood’s Lake Gaston home this Christmas!  Some of our friends were beginning to worry there would not be any sign of holiday cheer at our house by the time our family arrives.  Have no fear, we once again have a “live” Christmas tree.  Here is the story…

Being in the retail and design business we are often very busy at this time of year.  As our business and children were growing up and time was at a premium, Aaron and Jake began to question “if” and what kind of tree we would have.  Traditionally it was always a live tree, sometimes collected from a local tree farm or the local Jaycee’s lot.  In 2002, having waited until the last minute, I rushed to Wildwood Nursery in search of a live tree.  They were too large, too tall or too expensive, so I had to re-group.  Wondering through the nursery I spotted a Pom Pom Topiary Juniper.   It was not very big but had a very interesting shape.  Could I make this work as a Christmas tree?  I am always up for a challenge!  My youngest son, Jake, at that time, always arrived home for Christmas late in the night from NJ.  I had promised him a real tree!  So, he first laid eyes on this tree while everyone else was sleeping.  In the morning he said, “Mom, what have you done?  You decorated a “broccoli” tree for Christmas! Thus the saga of the potted Christmas trees began.  Here is the pictorial version of the saga from 2002 to today, http://bit.ly/vFOmDz.

 

Broccoli tree, Christmas tree, holiday decorations

2002 "Broccoli" Tree

So this past weekend once again we set out on the quest for a tree.  Again Wildwood Nursery was able to oblige.    We found a beautiful potted ‘Carolina Sapphire’ Cypress tree about 5’ tall.  This type of Cypress is a very airy looking tree with aromatic, pale blue-grey foliage.  Because the foliage is so wispy, developing a decorating scheme took some thought.

 

Carolina Cypress, Mary Sherwood, Christmas tree,

The beginnings of the 2011 Sherwood Christmas tree, a 'Carolina Sapphire' Cypress

I began with the lights placed close to the trunk.  Tulle mesh ribbon in three colors, white, red and turquoise, and lime stretchy ribbon was added for the garland.  Last but certainly not least, an assortment of light weight glass ornaments created the finishing touch!

 

glass ornaments, saxophone Christmas ornament

Added sparkle and shine with light weight glass ornaments to the 2011 tree.

Carolina Cypress, Christmas Tree, potted evergreen tree,

Carolina Cypress 2011 Christmas Tree

glass baubles, art glass, Christmas lights, color for Christmas

Glass baubles and lights for the mantel!

Christmas decorations, Handrail Christmas decorations, turquoise, lime green

Added a touch of turquoise this year.

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An art glass lamp even gets some Christmas adornment

Yes, we do have a tree and a few other Christmas baubles and bangles.

Thank you for reading this story!  It helped me remember how precious these holiday memories will always be in our lives with the people we love.

Enjoy your holidays wherever you may be.  Make some memories!

 

Sherwood family, memories, Los Angeles, Museum of Modern Art

The Sherwoods visiting the LA Museum of Modern Art, Christmas, 2010

Merry Christmas!

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