This Christmastide

let the bells ring out and clear
ring out now for all to hear
truth and love and hope abide
this christmastide

Many of you know Diva Kitty, our Sweet Baby Girl left us December 19th.  Saying that changed the spirit of Christmas for us is a vast understatement.  She was tiny but her spirit and energy took up an amazing amount of space in our home and most especially in our hearts.  Honestly, if not for friends loving and carrying enough to include us in Christmas we would most likely have been sequestered at the farm.  We are so fortunate to have dear friends and chosen family who lift us up when we’re at our lowest.  Sometimes in spirit but this year there was a lot of hugging and holding…my mom called it sweet whispers…when a dear one hugs you and whispers sentiments in your ear.  I don’t mind telling you I’ve cried a lot in the past six days. Yet, some of the tears have been from the pouring out of love we’ve been shown. Yes, Christmas has been different.  We’ve persevered and I know when you see what’s to come you’ll think…”I can’t imagine what it would look like if you weren’t grieving”.  Well, I’m sad but as Dad said, “if your gonna do something; do it right”.




The trees started going up the weekend before Thanksgiving.  A lot of memories come with putting up the tree but at the loft we had a whole new look. The tree and everything on it was new.  I went to market in January and saw a 9′ white twig tree with 2700 LED lights.  As Carol Burnett said in Went with the Wind…“I saw it in the window and had to have it”.  I bought the tree and a few baubles to dress it up.  It has literally and figuratively been a bright spot in our Christmastide.

The art is in the details.  Sometimes it’s nostalgic.  Sometimes it’s opulent. Sometimes it’s purely aesthetic.  But everytime…detail is key to beautiful things.


I’m actually not a fan of collectibles.  I love change. At one time in my life I practiced “if I haven’t used it in the past year, get rid of it”. Before I met Brandt my life changed on an average of every 2.5 years.  New zip code, different house, new country/continent and of course different career(s).   While we have a lot of Christmas decorations very few things have enough meaning to have a place of honor every year.  Life circumstances make it difficult to even look at certain pieces.  Thankfully, after our wedding there has been a sense of peace and happiness that has helped “old things become new”.  The few collections I have now bring a lot of joy. Having said that…I do love displaying the collections clients have and they love that I’m able to make them look new every year.

Some family heirlooms clients have loved for years have been retired because the family has expanded.  Little feet are running around the house.  The sophisticated decor which was beautifully coordinated with permanent decor has now been replaced with cheer and whimsy.  One of the great joys of working as an interior designer is seeing the expression of a client when they love their home.  That joy is amplified significantly when the expression is on the face of a soon to be three year old.  The visit to January market also produced a new line of lighting which helped illuminate all the special collections and treasures.  My love of Simon Pearce glass has made the loft magical with the addition of the subtle twinkle of what Brandt calls “crystal lights”. A new tree called for new paper and ribbons.  And, how do you have a “cup of cheer” if you don’t have the “spirits” of Christmas.  Our sweet friends are so creative when giving gifts. I really enjoy dressing our spirits with all the charms and toppers we’ve received over the years.


A designer friend recently suggested we go to market together.  I told her I get in trouble enough by myself…I don’t need help.  Especially, when we both love pretty things.  Due to our circumstance we didn’t entertain much this year.  We were honored on several occasions to graciously be invited by chosen family…and a good time was had by all.  A table can be inviting with just the simplest of settings…so I hear.  As you know by now, I believe more is better.  Back to Quindel (my dad)…if it’s worth doing…go ALL OUT!!!  Otherwise, the article in the local paper won’t have the opportunity to say “the house was lovely…”


South Main St….endive boats, composed salad, short ribs and rice grits, pot au creme

Tennessee St…holiday sparkle, prime rib and yorkshire pudding, chocolate souffle

Southwood St…hunter’s stew, auntie’s applesauce cake (and much more)

Oak Grove Road…hot toddy, charcuterie, chicken cacciatore, trifle and chocolate tart

Christmas Eve on Front St…cheese souffle, turkey chili, rice salad, roasted vegetables, mexican cornbread, panettone bread pudding, shortbread thumbprint, fruitcake shots..This is the friend I mentioned.  We are dangerous together…in all the right ways.

Christmas Dinner on South Main…eggnog, crab, artichoke and jalapeno dip, wet salad and marinated shrimp, grilled porcelet, oyster dressing, roasted brussel sprouts and haricot vert, apple galette.  Note to self…when the evening begins with Eggnog…hire a photographer.


children sing of hope and joy
at the birth of one small boy
truth and love and hope abide
this christmastide

We made a concerted effort to “have Christmas”.  With the help of some precious children, the natural beauty of our neighborhood AND the support of our dear friend Tony…a good time was had by all.

One Comment Add yours

  1. Terry Woodard says:

    Such a wonderful time with you both. I’m so sorry to hear about Diva. Diva was a great spirit and will be a wonderful memory every Christmas season…😘

    Hope 2020 is the best year ever!!!

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