Today was "open house" at all the little gift shops in town. A holiday mood prevails, and my friend Laurie and I traditionally make the rounds of these shops each year on this special weekend, and end with lunch and conversation.
We began our adventure this year at Country Tyme. It's a really special place any time of year, but for the holidays all sorts of special treats abound. Every nook and cranny is stuffed with the things that women delight in....beautiful fabrics, scents, pottery creations, foodstuffs, jewelry, the whimsical and the downright gorgeous. And the place smells divine! I can always tell when my husband has shopped there for a treat for me, because the package smells like their shop! This is the kind of store where you'd love to work....but would never take home a paycheck because you'd spend it before you got it.
I made a variety of purchases here today. A gorgeous green polyester "silk" table runner, embroidered with satin ribbons in the shape of a Christmas tree at each end, and a wreath in the center with ribbon roses and beading. It is so lovely...and at 20% off (everything in the store!) a mere $24.
I also picked up a taffeta velvet-lined drawstring bag...embroidered with flowers. The inside has individual pockets for jewelry. It's beautiful....and again, only a mere $12. I have a thing for fabrics (avid quilter that I am), and these are both beautiful.
I picked up 6 new folk-art angels for the dining room tree, some tiny sterling silver and coral earrings for Rebecca, and a stir-fry cookbook. I also picked up a ceramic travel mug with a picture of a frazzeled housewife and a saying that read "I'm a complex woman with many moods.....and they all require chocolate!" So true. I added that to my pile at the counter, but Laurie snatched it away and said she had intended that to be my Christmas gift, and insisted on paying for it. I got to take it home now, tho. :-)
From there we popped in next door to the liquor store where I purchased a bottle of rum for the fruitcakes I make. My brother-in-law said last year that we needed a new tradition of my bringing fruitcake to every Thanksgiving dinner now (as I did last year), so that means I need to get baking.
The Kitchen Links store was crammed with women....I think they were there for the food! In the entryway to their store was a table set up with several different dips and crackers, chocolate truffles and cookies, a pot full of cocktail meatballs, and platters of wrap sandwiches. We elbowed our way around the shop and found lots of things we'd like to have, but the prices were a little high...as usual. I did buy a pasta bowl set....but only because I really liked the big bowl that was on display, not knowing that it came with four individual pasta bowls. It was big, yellow and red...tomatoes, I think, on a yellow background. It will look great on my dining room table. I can't imagine ever making enough pasta to fill it, but it's really pretty.
Next door was the Country Closet, and they had their usual array of decorative items...none of which looked "fresh"....the same old thing from past years. They did have some new candles...beautifully made. The brown ones looked like leather, they were gorgeous.
Across the street to the town's quilt shop. In and out. The place is pathetic. I don't know what keeps them in business. I have to order my fabrics from online shops.
We had an amazing lunch at Casa Mia....tortellini in a butter cream sauce...and the other half in tomato....a wonderful big bowl of French onion soup (oh, man!)...and it also came with salad (cheese and olives on romaine) and bread. For $6.50! I ignored the salad and bread, and concentrated on the soup.
It was a lovely afternoon. It's not often that Laurie and I get time to spend together, so this was a real treat. Once again we vow to do this more often. In fact, we will do it in two weeks when the holiday fairs at the other end of the county happen. The big show at the pavillion at the fairgrounds, open house at Blackberry Hollow and P, B & J's.....now THERE'S a fun shop. Amazing stuff at amazing prices. And lunch at Saginaws...exceptional food. And a martini bar!
It's official. I'm in the mood. Let the holidays begin!
P.S. Got a call this evening from the Country Closet. I am a winner of a $25 gift certificate. Now I can go back and buy the ivory-colored pedestal cake plate I was carrying around...but changed my mind about. Yay.