Decorating

Find Your Belsnickle

Tour of BelsnicklesAuthentic Bed & Breakfasts are hosting the Lancaster Belsnickle Tour.  So, I’m hearing you say – what’s a Belsnickle?  According to Wikipedia:

The Belsnickle character originated in the Rhineland. When people immigrated to Pennsylvania, they brought their German traditions with them.  Belsnickle was known in Pennsylvania in the early 1800s.  Amongst the Pennsylvania Germans, Belsnickle is the character who visits homes prior to Christmas to check up on the behavior of the children. The traditional Belsnickle showed up at houses 1–2 weeks before Christmas and often created fright because he always knew exactly which of the children misbehaved.  He would rap on the door or window with his stick and often the children would have to answer a question for him or sing some type of song. In exchange he would toss candies onto the floor. If the children jumped too quick for the treats, they may end up getting struck with Belsnickle’s switch.

Frosty SantaAuthentic Bed & Breakfasts of Lancaster County have figured out a way to make Belsnikle fun – for the third year in a row, Authenic is hosting the Belsnickle Tour – where you have a chance to visit our homes prior to Christmas.  This year, the Belsnickle Tour happens on December 2 and 3rd, 2017 and 19 bed and breakfasts are opening their doors for you to take a peak.  Each one will be decked out in their holiday finery and have a Christmas cookie available for you to sample as well as the recipe to collect.

Jay and I attended the Belsnickle Tour last year.  We managed to visit 9 of the participating bed and breakfasts on the only day we had available.  We had a great time!  The cookies were amazing and the houses – wow!  I loved being able to peak into all of them.  Most of them will allow you to look into guest rooms provided they are not occupied. Holly Jolly Santa

Because we had such a fun time touring the houses last year, we have decided to put Carriage Corner on the tour this year.  We have been making Christmas decorations for a few months now and purchasing decor at the mud sales and local shops.  We have decided to offer 2 complimentary tickets to guests who book 2 nights during the tour.  We have 1 room available for Friday & Saturday and 2 rooms where you could come in on Thursday and leave on Saturday.  Saturday evening, we plan to have a little evening event with cocoa and homemade marshmallows.  We hope you can make it.

Even if you aren’t able to stay at Carriage Corner – we do hope you’ll check out one of the other Authentic Bed & Breakfasts and book your stay.  Or just purchase your Belsnickle Tour Tickets – proceeds go to Make-A-Wish.  Along with the tour tickets, you get an admission ticket for the National Christmas Center – if you haven’t had a chance to visit this treasure, you’ll want to do so this year as we’ve learned it will be closing the doors for good in January 2018.  You don’t want to miss this!

We look forward to meeting you and showing your around Carriage Corner!  Happy Holidays.

Fall Table Linens

So, one of the best parts of owning a bed and breakfast is decorating.  I’m still working on nailing down my style and hopefully at some point the B&B will reflect something that is more me.  But for now, I’m working with what I can and that’s the breakfast table.  I love dishes and setting a pretty table.   I’ve been lucky enough to add 3 sets of china to the ‘Wall of China’ located in the office/gift shop at Carriage Corner.  With that in mind, I’ve been working on making seasonally appropriate decor and this first is our new Fall Table Linens.

This Fall, I decide that I needed some fall themed table linens.  If you’ve stayed at Carriage Corner, you might know my personal hobbies are knitting and sewing.  While I haven’t made any of the quilts on the beds, I do have a tiny bit of quilting knowledge and a small stash of quilting cottons and an embroidery machine.  With that in mind, I took myself to my fabric stash and pulled fabric with pumpkins in mind.   It took a while, but I made some pumpkin placemats.  For details on how they were made – you can visit the post on my personal blog:  gMarieSews.

Earlier this week, they made their breakfast debut:

Fall Table Linens

I expect these will get loads of use between now and Thanksgiving.  The flip side of these napkins are one fabric, the new napkins work with this side:

Fall Table Linens

Log Cabin Room Update

Hello lovely guests and visitors to Carriage Corner!  As you may be aware, Jay and I purchased Carriage Corner in Mid-October 2016.  We were full of dreams, plans and recipe ideas.  Some of them we’ve used and some still need attending to.  But, I thought today I’d take a minute and give you a tour of Log Cabin.  This room was previously called Plum or One.  If you’re curious you can read the why of the room names here.

One of the things that was really important to us was to make the rooms feel lighter, brighter and comfortable.  While we hope that you won’t spend all of your time in your room, if that’s what you choose to do, we want you to be comfortable doing so.

Log Cabin’s face lift started with a new sign on the door welcoming you into the room.  Next, we took everything out – including the desk and electric baseboard heater.  We shampooed the carpets, re-calked the sink, showers & toilet and installed new shower heads.  Then the painting started.  Everything was painted.  Then, we started putting it back together.  Seating area set up with a large chair and half, electric fireplace (for heat or ambiance) and a flat screen television with cable.    Also, free wireless internet is offered throughout the bed and breakfast.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After figuring out where the bed and chair needed to go, we added a darling little electric fireplace and put the new flat screen television on top of it.  I’m really looking forward to decorating this little fireplace for the holiday – I think it might get some stockings.  Quite possibly, a tiny tree will go where the fan is currently and I know there will be some twinkle lights added to the room.

The final addition to the room was a beautiful pink and green log cabin quilt that was purchased at the Farmersville Mud Sale in March.

We’ve added some of our personal items to the rooms – the Norman Rockwell plates and a few other things.

Everytime we finished a room – it became ‘my favorite.’  I still love Log Cabin.  The layout of the room, the space you get with the couch, fireplace and television.  Guests seem to really enjoy this room.

If you promise not to laugh, I’ll even share a little video tour I’ve done of the room.  That’s my voice and you’ll hear me when you call to book your room.  We are looking forward to meeting you and helping you have exactly the type of get away you are hoping for while visiting Lancaster County, Pennsylvania.  I hope you enjoyed this tour of our Log Cabin Room.  The just over 1 minute video is too long to upload here, but it can be found on YouTube.

 

 

What Happening Around Town?

So – why would you come to Lancaster? I mean, what is there to do? I’ve been doing some research – some of the actual attended it myself and had a great time variety and some of the online variety.

SwingIn the next couple of weeks there are some really, really fun things happening. Seriously – if you’ve never been to a mud sale – get yourself out here. We’ve now been to 3; Strasburg, Gordonville, and Farmersville. Most likely, your first question is what is a mud sale? Well, typically, the mud sales happen in the Spring (check) when the snow is melting (check) and the fields are full of mud. So, bring your boots and come prepared to get dirty. Next, everything at the mud sale is sold auction style, so when you arrive get your bidder number. Also know that everything sold supports the fire department of the city/town/village that is holding the mud sale. Last – know what you are looking for and what your top bid is before you go in. Everything – and I mean literally everything – is available to be bought (won) at the mud sale.

At the Strasburg sale we managed to pick up an Adirondack chair for the yard and a beautiful swing. Jay also added a bunch of birdhouses to the yard and we’re enjoying watching the birds find them. We also found 2 quilts – a beautiful one for Dahlia’s bed and one for the pull out in Log Cabin.

DresserAt the Gordonsville sale we couldn’t get near the quilts if we tried, and we did try. Gordonsville’s sale was HUGE! We managed to stumble into the yard furniture section just as they were finishing and picked up a couple of candy colored chairs and a table for the back yard. There are plans for a fire pit and you need to be able to sit around it. We also picked up some fabulous furniture which has been cleaned and moved into the B&B. Lancaster Rose has a lovely new dresser and the snack station has a new sideboard that has room to house the table linens.

Finally, at the Farmersville sale – I found the quilt of my dreams and hubby won the bid on it.  We also bought several quilts, some for the B&B and some for resale.  That wasn’t our original intention, but we ended up with many, many beautiful quilts and we don’t need them all.  So, if you are staying here and fall in love with the hand quilted quilt on your bed, ask – it might just be for sale.  Quilt of Dreams

If you haven’t already figured it out – I had a fabulous time at the mud sales.  I’m going to start a list of the things I need in preparation for next years’ sales and be on the look out for that one just right piece that will complete our vision of the B&B and make that perfect blend of comfort and relaxation.

The mud sales aren’t over yet – the Gap Mud Sale is this coming weekend, Friday, March 24th & Saturday, March 25th .  And there are sales in early April, May, June, August, September & October, the full list of sales can be seen here.  The Gordonville Fall Sale is a another good one for getting a hand-quilted quilt – and it’s not too early to book your room now.

Also happening around town in the near future?  Gardenspot is hosting their annual full & half marathon on April 7.  If you book a room – let us know if you need drop off and pick up service for the race.  We’re happy to provide that to make your race a little bit easier.

That will get us into early April.  May will bring the rhubarb festival at Kitchen Kettle Village – but more will be coming about that soon.  So – talk to me people, the comments are working – what do you want to know about?  Do you want recipes?  Do you want to know what inspires me to try a new breakfast?  Do you want to see more pictures of the B&B?  Or do you just want to know what specials we are offering?  Talk back to me – I want to know and I’m looking forward to hearing from you.

Hearting It Up

So, this being our first Valentine’s Day at Carriage Corner, I wanted to do something special for the guests.  Not just a ‘themed’ breakfast for Valentine’s Day, although I did do that.  But I wanted to really add some heartfelt decorations around the B&B.

I am lucky enough to really enjoy sewing and have a fancy embroidery machine.  So – I decided to look for some free standing lace hearts.  I found a great set of designs at Embroidery Library and they were exactly what I wanted and on sale to boot!  So, I bought them, downloaded them and then transferred them to the memory stick for my embroidery machine.

I posted the video to my personal instagram page.  I love watching the embroidery machine work.  The fun part about free standing lace, is just that – it’s free standing.  To make this work, you need the right stabilizers.  About half-way through this project, I ran out of the heavy water soluble that I had been hooping and started having troubles.  So, I thought maybe a little blog post might help others out.  Please excuse my tacky hoops and beat up cutting mat in the following photos.

When I’m doing free standing lace, and honestly many other things with the embroidery unit, it’s not always possible to hoop the thing you are embroidering on.  Sometimes it makes more sense to just hoop the stabilizer and then use the fix function to baste the project to the stabilizer.  However, when doing freestanding lace, there is nothing else to baste to the stabilzer so you need to make sure that what’s in the hoop has enough tension not to pull like it’s starting to in the video above.  When that happens, you get lace that looks like this:

bad lace :(

bad lace 🙁

You can see the foundation stitches outside the satin stitching that forms the outside of the heart.  This heart may not stay together when I soak away the stabilizer.  And honestly – having all the stitching show around the outside doesn’t look very pretty.  You lose the effect.

3 hearts all in a row

3 hearts all in a row

So – how do you counter act that?  There are a couple of options.  Cut pieces of water soluble stabilizer that are big enough to hoop and double it up.  Well – I didn’t want to do that because stabilizer is expensive and a lot of it would just be cut away and then thrown out.  It’s really hard to use up those tiny pieces of stabilizer.

So, I started thinking.  I remembered that one of the hoops I have came with a fleece-like insert that you could hoop with fine fabrics to help protect the fabrics from the hoop AND provide tension so the hoop gets tight enough to keep the fine fabrics stable.  Hmmm, I don’t have any fleece, but I do have some batting lying around.  Also – I think a cotton or wool batting that a bit firmer would have been

lace hearts, stitched & trimmed, but not soaked yet

lace hearts, stitched & trimmed, but not soaked yet

better than what I used, but this worked.

So, I grabbed some batting and cut it bigger than my hoop.  I was using the mega hoop.  I sew and

using batting to create tension in the hoop

using batting to create tension in the hoop

embroider on an Husqvarna Viking Designer 1 SE.  I then proceeded to cut the center out of the embroidery area.  When hooping for the embroidery I would layer the batting first, then some clear water soluble stabilizer that would only fit the center.  At this point, I didn’t have any stabilizer left that was wider than the hoop I was using.  And I didn’t want to change hoops, because I could fit 3 hearts into 1 hooping, thereby saving time and materials.

Once I had the batting and stabilizer hooped up and taught, I would slip it onto the machine and put 3 layers of heavy, soak away stabilizer under that and use the fix function to baste everything together – keeping the stabilizers under all of the embroidery.

I stitched out 5 hearts of 5 different colors.  I knew I wanted to create a bunting type of decoration to

stack of hearts

stack of hearts

hang from the mantle and wasn’t sure how many hearts I would need for that.  Originally, I was only going to make 20 hearts, 5 different hearts from 4 colors, but I posted to instagram again and took a poll.  2 of the color options tied, so 5 colors it was.  Which was good – because I have 5 guest rooms here and I was able to hang one heart on each door.

Once all the hearts had been stitched out, I trimmed the stabilizer close to the stitching.  I then soaked them in a sink of cold water for about 2 hours.   They don’t really need to soak that long, but I run a bed and breakfast and forgot about them.  I will tell you that the longer they soak, they softer and more pliable they get.  Soaking them dissolves the stabilizer, leaving you with nothing but freestanding lace made of thread.

Keep in mind, that while you can definitely tell the back from the front, you want to make sure you use matching thread in your bobbin.

Once they were all stitched out and soaked.  I gave them a quick press with the iron.  For the mantle, I asked Jay to string some fishing line across the mantle, but he didn’t have any.  So he used twine and it gives a lovely rustic touch.  Much better option.  I hit up the Target dollar isle and bought clothespins to hang the hearts with.   I cut pink and white ribbon in various lengths, hot glued one end at the hanging loop and  then just folded the other end over the twine and clipped it in place.

Pretty little hearts - all in a row

Pretty little hearts – all in a row

But – that wasn’t all the hearts.  There were a few left.  I took a pretty crocheted type ribbon trim and cut in into lengths.  I then hot glued the ribbon between the hearts – be very careful with this step – I burned my fingers more times than I want to mention!  The little garland of hearts we hung at the top of the stairs.  I’m so very happy with this project.  It was very time consuming, but worth every minute!

Heart Garland

Heart Garland