Saturday, October 27, 2012

A "Deere" Celebration!

When Alan walked into his parents home and saw this invitation sitting on the kitchen table the surprise was off! Although Alan knew his family was throwing him a 'surprise' party for his 60th, what he didn't know was how well his family designed the party theme after his daily mode of transportation - John Deere Tractors!  Alan has been a rice farmer in the Sacramento Valley for about 40 years so the theme was perfect. 

Coming up to the house, the party theme was immediately apparent. 

 There were John Deere toy tractors and pumpkins greeting guests at the door, with bundles of rice sitting atop hay bales.

The early evening weather was perfect for a backyard celebration!  And since there was rain the day before the party, most of Alan's farmer friends were able to make it to the party since it was too wet to harvest rice that day!

Round tables were covered in green tablecloths and John Deere fabric toppers.  White plates were flanked by the silverware and topped with yellow bandana print fabric napkins tied with jute. Water glasses were canning jars accented with jute ties as well.

Centerpieces were pulled from the family's treasure trove of John Deere collectibles!

 There were collectible dolls on every table. . .

 .  . such as small scale John Deere tractors, metal lunch boxes and other pieces.

The floral arrangements were designed by daughter-in-law, Leslie.  Vases filled with fresh sunflowers were anchored with rice straight from the field, instead of oasis or flower frogs.  Leslie's mom, Fran, and sister-in-law, Julie helped with the set-up.

There were plenty of ride on toys for the 8 grandchildren to entertain themselves with throughout the evening, although most were camera shy so I didn't get a good picture of any of them on them!

The grandchildren even wore John Deere clothing - here grandson Cage models his Deere green shirt - along with his bandage from slamming his finger in the door the day before!
Daughter-in-law Cory, Cage's mom, was in charge of setting up the bar so Cage's accident added to her list of duties the day before the big party! 

Brynn, Alan's oldest grandchild, smiles for the camera with Katie, who is sporting her pink John Deere overalls!  These girls will be excellent party planners some day after watching and learning from their moms, Leslie and Melissa, and their aunties Cory and Julie, who all worked together with grandmother Debbie, to plan and implement this birthday! celebration!

Alan's daughter, Melissa, found and ordered the invitations from Lemonade Moments, an Etsy site.

Melissa also created this clever balloon wreath to hang on the patio door after seeing one on Pinterest.

The guests' party favors were placed in a large John Deere tin on a console table by the front door. Yellow bandanas protected the table's surface and John Deere Collector's plates added to the charm. A chicken wire basket accepted cards for the birthday boy!

Party favors were handmade shortbread tractor cookies in two patterns, Melissa had found on another Etsy site.

Susan Dobbs of The Tailored Cookie, created the tractor with the cab cookie, 

and the 'tractor without a cab' cookie!  The two types of tractors represent the years Alan has farmed; as he started with tractors without cabs (driving one you eat dirt all day!) to the luxurious air conditioned cabs of tractors today!
The buffet table was decorated with gingham checked fabric, pumpkins, bundles of rice, more John Deere toy tractors, and other farm decor.  The delicious buffet included ribs, chicken and chopped beef from Dickey's BBQ Pit in Roseville.  Debbie made the rest of the menu which included tasty beans, potato,fruit and Cesar salads, heirloom tomatoes and rolls.

And last but not least was THE CAKE! The three tier cake was created by Jessica Calta, a former student of Debbie's, and featured a tractor on the top tier, a cornfield on the middle tier and a split rail fence on the bottom tier - all, of course, in John Deere yellow and green!

The grandchildren couldn't wait for that cake to be cut! 

 Meika grabbed Alan and brought him over to the cake table where Cole, Cage, Wade, Katie, Brynn and Blake gathered.

Alan's son, Brad holds the youngest grandchild, Emma, while helping Melissa light the SIXTY  candles . . .

and light . . .and light!

 As 'Happy Birthday' was sung, the tractor looked like it was on fire!

The big moment came and the grandkids helped Alan blow out his candles!
 Alan will no doubt cherish this event which his "Deere'' family so wonderfully put together! 

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Sunflowers and Bees

Sunflowers are one of my favorite of all flowers - so bright and cheery, and I've noticed
they are frequently paired with bees.  I found the frame above years ago at Marshall's and decided to use it as the starting point for my early fall decor this year  - I just love the metal piece at the top! Let's start the tour with my mantel decorations - this bee skip is a top for a candle hiding underneath - a Mary Lake Thompson original!

The peasant girl vase is a vintage Catalina Pottery piece - and the vintage light sconces were found at a yard sale in Berkley on one of my pickin' adventures!

On the mantel, a book about bees suggests the theme, grouped with a vintage metal honey pot and a silk sunflower.

I paid way too much for the little "Beware of the Bees" sign a few years back, but sometimes you just have to bite the bullet when you fall in love!  "Huney B. Keeper", the retired Boyd's Bear, leans against a vintage bee skip as she holds the sign. I just love the netting around her straw hat!

 This platter was a buyer's gift we received after we purchased an FFA lamb this year at the county fair - I painted the sunflower sign last summer to resell but fell in love with the way it turned out so it stayed home - both sit below the mantel and atop my fireplace insert since its been too hot to burn any wood yet!

The coffee table was the setting for this grouping - the sunflower cloche was a Marshall's find! I love everything Mary Lake Thompson of Oroville creates and this teapot is no exception! Another vintage honeypot sits with a silk sunflower on a vintage pie crust mirror.

Sunflowers and Bees!  Somehow I am always attracted to anything with a bee motif! This past weekend I lucked out finding this darling pillow half price - and it goes well with the gray striped feed sack pillow on my chenille couch!

Ok - so I love vintage pie crust mirrors! This one on my entry table is one of my favorites found at an antique store in Sacramento long ago.  I had to throw some mini pumpkins in the mix! A vintage frame leans in the background 'framing' the vignette.

I had been searching for about 9 months for the perfect sconces to place of either side on the mirror above my couch in my living room and found two of these at a gift shop in Benicia!  Glass vases sit inside a metal frame and I fill the vases to go with my seasonal decor - I think I'll do another post showing you all the different ways I've filled the vases so far!

This metal candle cloche sits atop some wonderful vintage farm books from 1850 I found in a shop in Calistoga - the embroidered napkin was another half price item I couldn't resist!

And finally, my prize sunflower from my garden this year!  This was the biggest head I raised this year - about 14 inches across! Can't wait to roast the seeds and enjoy!

Looks like something else enjoys sunflowers as much as I do! Hope you enjoyed the tour!

Monday, October 15, 2012

Ireland's Rustic Lodges, Oregon

The 'luck of the Irish' was with us on our Oregon Road trip this past summer as we cruised along the Oregon coast with no reservations - we found a gem in Ireland's Rustic Lodges!

As Mike drove, I looked up hotels on the internet, looking for good or great ratings on Yelp. The Ireland's Rustic Lodges had great reviews* and as we pulled up to the hotel, we sighed in relief at the 'vacancy' sign.

The grounds were well kept and lush green, much like what you would expect of  'the Emerald isle' but with redwoods you knew you were not in Ireland!  The Ireland's Rustic Lodges have various rooms and suites with lovely names like "The Sequoia" and "The Monterey".  

We picked "The Pacific Breeze" since it sounded relaxing, got the key, drove through the meticulously kept grounds, parked and unlocked the door to our suite.

Warm wood paneling throughout the interior, we felt immediately relaxed.  After setting our suitcases down, we walked over to the window and opened the curtains to a gorgeous view of the sea!

It was warm or we would have lit the logs in our fireplace - a welcomed ammenity in the cold winters along the coast I am sure!

Those bottles of wine we had picked out in St. Helena were opened quickly as we settled in on our own private balcony listening to the surf in the distance, smelling the pine in the air.

 The gorgeous sunset view from our room was something we cherished!

A buffet breakfast awaited us in the morning after which,we took a stroll along the beach.

 The Ireland's Rustic Lodges are located along Oregon's Gold Beach, given the name for being the sunniest beach in all of Oregon!

 Beautiful views from all 360 degrees can be seen from the private lighthouse on the property!

 A tradition of those staying at the Ireland's Rustic Lodges is to find a rock on the beach and paint it with your name, and leave it at the base of the lighthouse for all eternity.

Looking down at the foot of the lighthouse we saw brightly painted rocks - lots of them!

The painted rocks chronicle honeymoons, anniversaries, engagements, summer trips, and romantic get-aways to name a few!  The rocks dot the verdant landscaping all around the Lodges' grounds.  Generations of visitors left their mark, no doubt venturing back to find their 'family rock' on subsequent trips!

*While we were packing to leave I was reading the hotel's check out procedure and I noticed another framed message on the wall.  Evidently, a hotel competitor was trying to bring havoc to the Ireland's Rustic Lodges and shut them down.  As we looked for hotels, we saw great reviews and then some horrible reviews and we couldn't understand how a place could be so different so we thought we'd check it out! Now we knew why!  The competitor is posting rude and untrue remarks on Yelp and Yahoo and other internet sites about the cleanliness of the hotel and telling potential visitors that is is in poor condition, trying to get the Lodges to close down so they can buy the property and put up a mega hotel, which would completely ruin the charm of Ireland's Rustic Lodges!  The message was from the third generation owners who explained their dilemma and asked that visitors spread their story in support. 

So this post is to let you all know all the negative reviews of this hotel are completely false and do not believe them!! The Ireland's Rustic Lodges are indeed excellent accommodations as we experienced, beautifully maintained. clean, friendly and absolutely an escape! The Ireland's Rustic Lodges are a premier destination as written about in Frommer's Books as well! If you ever need a place to stay along the Oregon coast we recommend it with five stars and hope and pray it will be there the next time we return, so we can leave our painted rock!