What a treat! Even though I didn’t do anything special on my actual birthday, Saturday ended up being the fun day & a perfect way to celebrate my birthday…a total girl day of touring 4 homes all decorated for Christmas (the 58th annual tour of homes by the Independent Presbyterian Church).
When we moved to Birmingham two years ago, I only knew 2 people who lived here & that is my friends Carolyn and Cheryl. We met several years ago on a decorating message board & became friends in real life when we all got together periocally in Atlanta & Birmingham to do showhouse tours. We all have a love of decorating & gardening & that has drawn us together. We try to get together as often as possible, which is not nearly enough with everyone’s work schedules & life in general, but Saturday was one of those days that came together just perfectly. Cheryl graciously invited us over to her house to start the day with breakfast. Cheryl has a beautiful home & she is a very talented decorator. Her home is truly a showplace & she has it all decked out for the Holidays. Seeing it was a treat itself & breakfast was just the icing on the cake! The bad news is…we found out that no photos were allowed on the tour, but don’t be disappointed, Cheryl allowed me to take pics at her house to share with all of you & you are in for a real treat! I only took a fraction of what I could have taken, but you will love these.
Bombe chest with a baby Christmas tree in an urn….so very garden-y.
Love this little pillow that says “Meet Me Under the Mistletoe”. You can get a glimpse in the background of the patio & firepit area.
Here is the brick patio & firepit. She added a beautiful urn with Christmas touches here too.
More little touches of Christmas. She was telling me that she built this wall last summer & worked hard on getting all of this done. Pictures do not even do it justice!
Pretty fountain in the backyard.
Screened porch…check out the stocking, I love that fabric.
Breakfast area chandelier…all ribboned for Christmas.
Bowl of ornaments & jewels. I just love everything she has done. Makes me want to go out & buy more stuff!
And the diningroom table was set so beautifully. Cheryl has a magical touch with everything!
And check out the fantastic breakfast she made for us…baked Orange Marmelade French Toast, Fresh fruit, sausage, coffee & juice. It was wonderful!
Love these beautiful plates she has & doesn’t the food look so yummy sitting here..it was yummy, I had 2 helpings of french toast?! By popular demand, here’s the recipe from Cheryl…thank you Cheryl! I know these ladies will love to make this too:
MARMALADE FRENCH TOAST CASSEROLE
3 tablespoon butter, softened
1 (16-ounce) sourdough French bread loaf, cut into 24 (1/2 inch) slices
1 (12-ounce) jar orange marmalade
2 3/4 cups 1% low-fat milk
1/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
6 large eggs
1/3 cup finely chopped walnuts (being a “Southern” gal, I used pecans)
Spread softened butter on one side of each bread slice. Arrange 12 bread slices, buttered side down, slightly overlapping in a single layer in a 13 x 9 inch baking dish coated with cooking spray. Spread marmalade evenly over bread; top with remaining 12 bread slices, buttered side up.
Combine milk and next 4 ingredients (through eggs) stirring with a whisk. Pour egg mixture over bread. Cover and refrigerate 8 hours or overnight.
Preheat over to 350 degrees.
Sprinkle casserole with walnuts (pecans). Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes or until golden. Let stand 5 minutes before serving.
Outside Cheryl’s home…an urn filled with Christmas greenery & cheer. Cheryl’s entire house is to die for…they have been working for about 2 years on finishing up their basement & I finally got to see it too. Oh. my word! It is gorgeous. Stained concrete floors, media area, pool table, game table, workout room, & office space. They have done all the work themselves & it is truly amazing. I had seen pics of it in progress, but they do not even do it justice. It’s fantastic!
We went back to the church after we toured the homes. They have tea & dessert set up in their great hall, which is a treat in itself. This is one of the older churches in Birmingham & is so beautiful. Looks like something you would see in England. I took a few pics inside. This is inside the frontdoor, all natural greenery & apples.
They had fresh flowers all down the aisles going to the front of the church. The red was just gorgeous, as you can imagine.
Down front was another huge display of fresh red flowers.
And this was the centerpiece on the table in the great hall. It was a nice ending to a wonderful day…tea & dessert made by loving hands, I’m sure.