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Wednesday, December 21, 2011


This will be a brief blog.....partly because I didn't know that you were not supposed to take photographs at Callanwolde during their two week Christmas show!

The magic of the holidays begins with one of the most anticipated attractions of the season in Atlanta, Christmas at Callanwolde.  Callanwolde is a 27,000 square-foot historic mansion, transformed for the holidays by Atlanta's top interior and floral designers.  Period furniture, designer treasures, fine art, and breathtaking Christmas trees reflect a glorious era when the Candler family lived in the manion from the 1920's to the 1950's.  

The magnificent Gothic Tudor mansion, set on 12.5 acres in Alanta's Druid Hills neighborhood was built in 1920 as the home of Charles Howard Candler, the eldest son of the Coca-Cola Company founder, Asa Candler.  The mansion, is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.  The immaculate attendtion to detail throughout the home is evident in the excellent craftsmanship of the walnut paneling, stained-glass windows, bronze balustrades, delicate ceiling and fireplace reliefs, and pierced tracery that conceals the Aeolian organ chamber.

The name "Callanwolde" came from the Candler's ancestral home Callan Castle near Kilkenny, Ireland.  "Callan" is the Irish name for Candler and "wolde" is the Old English word for woods.  Thus Callanwolde is simply the "Candler Woods."

This was one of a pair of Christmas trees flanking the foyer.

The library featured a white and silver theme.  There were lots of white poinsettias in the house.

The Christmas tree in this room was lovely!

There was a pair of built-in bookcases that had these matching wreaths. I just love the ribbon treatment used for hanging them!

I actually stopped taking photos after my husband told me that it was posted...NO PHOTOS!

Well, except for the last one of the landing of grand staircase!

Like most fund-raisers, they had a holiday boutique!

Norman Taffet left corporate America to start Sensational Baskets.

Here is their website

Don bought me one of their tiny treats!

Chocolate Truffles!  What else?

Weekend at the Ritz!

My husband took me to Atlanta this past weekend.  We stayed at the Ritz Carlton, Buckhead.  It was a gorgeous weekend and the hotel was ready for the holidays.

In true Ritz style, we were given champagne when we checked in!

The lobby was lovely.  I want to share a few photos with you.  There was a giant gingerbread village that I did not photograph, but you will enjoy the floral displays!

 Many families were using this tree for photo ops!

There was even a place in the lobby for children to write a letter to Santa.  (There was a mailbox, too!)

We stayed on the club level.  

 Of course it was beautifully decorated.

 Big jars of candy, cookies and fruit sat waiting for good little children in the foyer.

Santa paid a visit each day and there were carolers on Friday afternoon.

One interesting thing on the dessert buffet were the "barks."  Hammers were provided for chipping away a piece!

The daily dessert buffet was spectacular!

Bring on the desserts!

And my personal favorite, the minty French macaroons!

The Ritz Carlton at Dove Mountain in Tucson recently inspired me to serve small plates at a dinner party at our Arizona home in November.

Their Hors d'oeuvre buffet was equally as impressive as the one in Atlanta.

 I've stocked up on petite plates for serving, now.

I have small bowls now too. Libby makes darling porcelain or glass bowls and plates for "small bites."  They also have several cookbooks for serving small food portions.

 My meager attempt at "small bites."  Could you call these "Tapas?"

I served individual Caprese salads and squash soup as a first course.  I often serve soup in taller narrow shot glasses for parties.  One of my favorite is Bloody Mary Tomato soup with vodka! 

At the same party, I served California rolls with a dab of ginger and wasabi in my short shot glasses along with the appetizers.

For dessert I made a chocolate raspberry torte in the taller glasses, a lemon cheesecake with raspberry garnish in the shorter glasses and raspberry sorbet.  The shot glasses have been used a lot!!

One more lovely Ritz Carlton photo to share.  This is my favorite!

More on Atlanta at Christmas time, later!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

The Farmer's Wife

I have had the pleasure of knowing a talented lady, who recently opened a shop near Belview, Minnesota.  Kathy Alexander has been a friend for years.  She used to volunteer at the Redwood Valley Schools when I was the Volunteer Coordinator there. 

We later became reacquainted when she joined my Quester chapter in Redwood Falls.

Kathy has entertained us for several December Quester meetings.  We never get tired of going to Kathy's home at Christmas time!  She has wonderful collections in every corner of her home.

This fall, Kathy opened a shop on her farmstead.  She called it (quite appropriately,) The Farmer's Wife.  (Despite my teasing about cutting off tails with a carving knife!)

 Meet Kathy:

Kathy Alexander

First, I want to share some photos of Kathy's home this year and recent years.  Some of the photos are blurry, but I guess that happens after a few glasses of wine!


This charming wagon and sheep were purchased by Kathy at the Okoboji Antique Mall this summer.  A large group from our McPhail's Mill chapter of The Questers (Redwood Falls, MN) were on a two day antiquing field trip.  She was also scouting for her shop that was soon to open, but these went straight to her dining room!  The sheep have real wool covering them.  Since the Alexanders raise sheep, they have a special place in her home for her Christmas decorating scheme.

Below is another cabinet in her dining room!

Just a few of Kathy's many cabins, houses,  fences and sheep!  I covet the "Merry Christmas" redware plate!

This cabinet in her foyer has a few bottle brush trees, too!


These photos were taken at our meeting several years ago.  You will see the same cabinets....did she decorate them the same as this year???

The one below is in her living room.  Don't you love the Bennington ware?

More charming cottages are in the living room, below:

Here are some views of Kathy's sunroom.  Shhhhh.....She says she is selling some of her houses that she has collected. 

 In the living room......

Detail of the wall shelf from the living room.... and below, a wall cabinet in the foyer.

Here is the same cabinet that I photographed this year.  Kathy said with opening the shop and her son's wedding, both this fall, she just didn't feel like getting all of her Christmas things out!

Above is the cabinet in the foyer that I showed above, only this photograph was taken three years earlier!

Above is another cabinet in the foyer.

Above is a cupboard in the dining room.  I covet the fencing too!

And below is the cabinet in the dining room that the sheep and cart were on this year.

Now would you like to see her new store? It is only a few months old.

It wouldn't be Kathy's store without redware!

I loved this settle!

The Santa photo may be blurry from the wine or my new cell phone!

Don't get excited about this reindeer plate.  It is mine now!

The shop was decorated for her Christmas open house.  I can't wait to see what she has for spring.

I wanted this cottage, but two new redware plates was enough!

For an appointment to shop,  call Kathy Alexander at 507-762-3387 or 507-430-2176

The Farmer's Wife is located at 20797 330th STreet, Belview, MN 56214.

Kathy's email address is  Kind of fits, doesn't it?

To see some of the redware that Kathy sells, try:

Congratulations, Kathy!  We wish you much success!