Inspiration found; an ornament exchange party

food, ornament exchange party

Next week we’re hosting an office party of 30 people in our home. I know what has to be done but I need inspiration.

One snowy evening last week I bundled up and headed a few blocks away for an ornament exchange party at Cindy’s. Inspiration found.

Every year in early December for the last ten years Cindy’s been welcoming about 20 neighbourhood moms into her home. I wrote about it here and here.

Having a camera makes you pay close attention to elements that make any gathering, not only a holiday gathering, a pleasure to attend – good lighting, good company, delicious food and drinks, a host enjoying herself. Comfort and joy.

outdoor christmas decorations, porch

Holiday cheer spills out of Cindy’s home and onto the porch.

simple decorating for the holidays

ornament exchange party

Welcomed, warm and cozy inside. Fire, lots of greenery, ornaments, candles and lights.

hosting a holiday party

holiday drink, cranberry juice and champagne

cranberry juice and champagne

hosting a holiday party, special drink

Offerings of wine, fizzy water, and a special drink – cranberry juice and champagne plus naughty drink markers.

food at ornament exchange party

food, ornament exchange party

 

cheese tray, ornament exchange party

vegetable tray, ornament exchange party

Savory eats are served from the beautiful walnut topped island in the kitchen – pickled this and that, canapes, delicious cheeses, fresh figs, grapes, nuts, crackers and an inspired vegetable tray.

dining room, ornament exchange party

dining room, ornament exchange party

dessert table, ornament exchange party

Desserts are served in the dining room. Some are sneaked away in napkins for children’s lunches the next day. Cindy doesn’t mind.

ornament exchange party

ornament exchange party

We end the evening with the ornament exchange. It’s an opportunity to give and receive with added elements of randomness and surprise – the drawing of the numbers from Cindy’s hat and then deciding which wrapped ornament to choose from under the tree, not knowing what’s inside.

ornament exchange party

ornament exchange party

ornament exchange party

ornament exchange party

A peek inside a beautiful Ottawa home

glebe house tour| suzanne mccarthy

I read if you blog and you’re a woman you blog less in the summer because of attention pulled elsewhere: to gardens, to kids (if you have them) because they’re no longer in school, and to holidays. So true in my experience.

When I think to sit down and share with you a great recipe, an interesting link or opinion, I get side tracked by life. Potted flowers need watering, lawn needs mowing, I need to be outside and take in the beauty of the season, and so on. And kids, even though they may be big (like mine are) need attention, too. (I write this while in the midst of getting ready to join Simon in Cape Cod for five days. Sans enfants!!)

Something else that occupies a good chunk of my time lately is helping to organize the Glebe House Tour. This fall’s group of five homes is wonderful. Before I leave for Cape Cod, how’s about I give you peek inside one them.

glebe house tour| suzanne mccarthy
It was built in the early 1900’s and recently renovated, guided by the vision of its homeowners, Jenny and Alain.

I love this home. It’s welcoming, comfy and elegant. I love its spaciousness even though it’s not an open concept home. In fact, no walls were torn down during the renovation. However, hallways were widened and openings were created in some walls allowing for very pleasing sight lines into adjacent rooms.

And light! Maybe it’s because I feel I have to wait for or seek out good light in our home that I was so taken with the abundance of beautiful light in this one. Not only light, but beautiful views to the outside as well. In fact, there are window views of Ottawa’s Rideau canal from practically every room.

Add to those qualities a wonderful blend of custom-built and antique furniture plus great finds from Home Sense and Ikea, and carefully chosen fixtures and original art, and you have yourself a very beautiful home.

We’re so happy to have it on this fall’s Tour.

Thank you Alain, Jenny, Tom and Molly the dog!

glebe house tour| suzanne mccarthy

glebe house tour| suzanne mccarthy

glebe house tour| suzanne mccarthy

stained glass window glebe house tour| suzanne mccarthy

glebe house tour| suzanne mccarthy

glebe house tour| suzanne mccarthy

family pet glebe house tour| suzanne mccarthy

glebe house tour| suzanne mccarthy

glebe house tour| suzanne mccarthy

AGA cooker glebe house tour| suzanne mccarthy

glebe house tour| suzanne mccarthy

glebe house tour| suzanne mccarthy

glebe house tour| suzanne mccarthy

glebe house tour| suzanne mccarthy

Glebe House Tour | suzanne mccarthy

 

A peek inside another home on the 2015 Glebe House Tour

As promised, here is a peek inside another home.

What I love about some of the older homes in this neighbourhood is how a very traditional facade can give way to something unexpected. As is the case with this breathtaking home, which is one of five on this fall’s Tour.

2015 glebe house tour

2015 glebe house tour

This lovely home was recently renovated to improve its flow and functionality for entertaining and family life: a gorgeous, roomy kitchen now opens out to a backyard deck, sleek storage elegantly hides everything from hockey bags to cleaning supplies, a stunning marble dining room table integrates the original part of the house with the marble in the new kitchen, and a new bathroom and closets enhance the master bedroom retreat. These beautiful new features were all added while preserving elegant original features like leaded glass windows and antique door knobs. – Stephanie Small

2015 glebe house tourglebe house tour 2015 glebe house tour 2015 glebe house tour 2015 glebe house tour 2015 glebe house tour 2015Stay tuned for more sneak peeks at the remaining three homes. In the meantime, check out all the details here and buy your ticket soon!

 

xo