21 December 2008


We went to The National Gingerbread competition in Ashville North Carolina this week. It was huge. I am not sure how many houses were entered but I took well over 100 photos. Most of the houses are on display at the Grove Park Inn. There are more at The Grove Arcade. The first photo was taken inside the Grove Park Inn, I believe this is set up for a professional photographer to take photos of guests. The photographer was on break so we climbed in for the photo. Maybe it will be a future Christmas card. The Grove Park itself is a lovely old Arts
and Crafts style Inn. The interior
is full of antiques. It is well worth a visit on its own. It is expensive however, the Gingerbread competition is open to the public for free Monday thru Thursday. This gave us an opportunity to check the place out.
The neighborhood around the inn is full of life size houses that could easily model for the competition. The second photo is one great example.
The third is the Inn itself. It is huge and I had some difficulty getting a good photo of it. This one at least shows why this is such a great venue for
Gingerbread. The inn sets high on the hillside and
has amazing views from almost every direction. This photo was taken from a wing of the inn. You can see the reflection of one of the Arts and Crafts style lamps that are placed throughout.
The Grove Arcade is more centrally located in downtown Ashville. The exterior is fun and a just a little castle like. The interior is even better. This photo shows why it is another great place to display Gingerbread.
I had a very hard time deciding which gingerbread houses to use. My favorite is the cupboard near the end. (That is why it is a bigger photo) My sweet Hubby's favorite and a close contender for mine, is the one called "Welcome Home" There are two large photos of this one. So many details! It is amazing.
If you hold the cursor over each photo, you should be able to see what I named it. If I know the name of the artist, it is in the title.
Since there were too many favorites, I tried to show the great variety.
This display is available for viewing until Jan 11, 2009. If you are feeling inspired, there will be another competition next November. For more info go to: www.groveparkinn.com

Last but not least, this is my inspiration, all dressed up for Christmas. If you look closely, I am on the balcony.
Happy Holidays!

15 December 2008

Abbeville Christmas

This is Jack and Bud. We met them in Abbeville SC last weekend. Each year the first Saturday of December is set aside for Abbeville's Christmas celebration. Abbeville was an important part of the Civil war. According to some locals, it was the Confederacy was born here, and died here.
The old part of town gets all dressed up and many of the locals come in period costumes. (Some businesses offer discounts to people who dress appropriately to encourage it.) Jack and Bud were kind enough (for a small fee) to give us a ride. The carriage is quite comfortable but a little chilly. The horses were friendly and so was the driver.
The lanterns were for sale in one of several local antique shops we visited. The flower is a Camilla. They look a bit like roses, but have no scent. This particular bush is the size of a tree. It was quite

cold and most of the flowers had faded but I could not resist this one.
The Burt-Stark Mansion is a beautiful old Southern house where Jefferson Davis stayed at the end of the war. It is open for tours and on this Saturday, it was free after 3:00.
Reenacters were camped on the grounds, they even had a very convincing Jefferson Davis. At one point they staged a running battle up to the steps, complete with cannon fire. We joked about the fact that it might be safer not to talk, (I don't have a Southern accent). Accent or not everyone we met was friendly.
There are quite a few lovely old houses in Abbeville and a beautiful church. Usually they open some of the private residents for tours to raise money for charity during the Christmas
festivities. This weekend they didn't. I hope they
do next year.
The Christmas village was on display in the Chamber of Commerce office. The starry sky affect was achieved simply by hanging twinkle lights behind blue cloth with a few tiny holes in it. The effect in person is quite magical.
The last two photos are of my place. I still think it is one of the prettiest places around. The second is moonrise as seen from my side porch. The first is sunset over my summer kitchen a few nights ago. Hope you enjoy.

07 December 2008

Ten Things I like about Cats

1. Cats can be very cuddly. (It is entirely up to them of course.)
2. Cats are fairly self sufficient. They enjoy spoiling, but do not really need it. (We are not supposed to know that.)
3. Cats are full of character. They all have unique personalities.
4. Cats are picky. Most dogs will love anyone who feeds them and pays them attention. If your cat loves you, you must deserve it.
5. Cats don't need a lot of food, they are after all, at least partially solar powered. ( Now you know why they love to stretch out in the sun.)
6. Cats are experts at stress management and they love to set a good example. When they do get stressed, they never stay that way for long.
7. Cats are natural therapists. They always seem to know when we need them.
8. They groom themselves. (Some need a little assistance, but you can choose which kind suits you best.)
9. Cats are natural entertainers. Even asleep they are cute.
10. They come already box trained by their Mother's. If your kitty was raised outside and you want them to use a box, just start by putting dirt in the box, then gradually add litter each time you clean it. (You need to change it much more often while it has dirt.) The kitty will do the rest.
All of the lovely kitties in this weeks post were photographed at the Atlanta Cat show from last weeks post. If this post has you thinking you would like a kitty to live with you. Why not visit your local shelter? Please remember though, you should never pick out a pet as a gift to someone else. Adoption is rewarding, but it is also for keeps.
Next week, something besides cats.


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