Wednesday, November 30, 2011

lovely places

There are lovely places in this world that we hold dear to our hearts. Cape San Blas, Florida is one of those places. The last time my family and I were down for a weekend, there was a wedding. The wedding was on the beach but the rehearsal dinner was at a local hangout, The Indian Pass Raw Bar. Not much to brag about as far as looks so they had decorated with these beautiful jars of daisies.
It may not be much to look at but the food is another story. These are some of the tastiest oysters you will ever eat. They are harvested about 100 feet from where the restaurant(term used loosely) sits. If you are within 100 miles of Indian Pass, you MUST go to the raw bar.
Once you have stuffed yourselves with fresh oysters, shrimp, crab legs and plenty of cold beer; you can head on out to the Cape and climb the lighthouse. It has recently been reopened and it is worth the climb.
Isn't the view nice?
Here we are goofing off by the sailboat that we pretended was ours for the day.
Lovely places create beautiful spaces in the walls of our memories. I hope that you and your family can spend this holiday season creating some of these precious memories.

Monday, November 28, 2011


We had a splendiferously good time this weekend with our official opening of the Christmas season. Lindsey and Kelsey spent the night before making dozens upon dozens of these cute cupcakes for us. They are so tasty and we had so many requests for the recipe that I decided to post it for everyone to try. Please take note that they used almond flavoring for ours.


1 box Pillsbury or Betty Crocker White or Vanilla cake mix
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup + 2 tbsp cake flour (NOT all-purpose flour)
1/8 tsp salt

1 1/3 cups water
3 eggs
1/2 cup melted butter (lightly salted)
1 cup sour cream
1 tsp vanilla extract or almond extract (optional)

1. In a large bowl, put water, extract (if using), eggs, melted butter and sour cream. Mix well with paddle attachment.

2. Add cake mix, sugar, cake flour, and salt.

3. Mix with paddle attachment at medium speed for approximately 2 minutes, or until most lumps are worked out. It is not necessary to work out all the lumps.

Pour into prepared pans and bake at 325 until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out
clean, or with just a crumb or two clinging to it.


1 cup butter

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 teaspoons clear imitation vanilla extract

1/4 teaspoon almond extract

1/2 cup water

8 cups sifted confectioners' sugar

Mix shortening, water, vanilla, almond extract, and half of the powdered sugar with a mixer for 5-10 minutes. (it's very important to mix this long)

Add the rest of the powdered sugar and beat just enough to mix in.

Add additional water for desired consistency.

This spring when we have our Alice in Wonderland tea party, THESE are the cupcakes that I want to make. For directions on making these rainbow delights just go to my pinterest!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

christmas balls...

I am feeling the Christmas spirit drawing near! Today, we got down all of our vintage trees and ornaments and those good old plastic kitschy things(those things still smell plasticy good after all of these years).

I put in the CD with Burl Ives, Jimmy Durante, Dean Martin, and the Bing. It makes the holidays feel like they did when I was a kid.

Even though we had our sponsored Christmas Open house a couple of weeks ago, this Friday is the Official Alice and Jay kick off to the season. We are going to be open from 10 to 5 with a store full of Christmas Cheer.

We will have a hot chocolate bar, mimosas(back by request) and a candy wonderland for the little ones. The door hangers seen here will be for sale so YOU can have the happiest home in neighborhood! Please come and join us on Friday and don't forget: bring a new, unwrapped toy to donate to Toys for Tots and we will give you 20% off of your entire purchase(excluding AS Chalk paint). We can't wait to see you!

Friday, November 18, 2011

how to have a magical weekend.

My family had another fairytale weekend back in October. My beautiful niece was married in my hometown.

Remember this magical little church from a few months ago. We had another wedding here a few months back. In fact, it was this sweet bride's sister!

This is the church where I grew up. Isn't it lovely! We celebrated it's 175th birthday last weekend.

Back to that weekend! It HAD to start with Happy Feet! All of us gals have made it a Hallman tradition to begin a wedding weekend with pedicures. I wouldn't mind putting one in the middle and at the end too.

This precious little gal was the best flower girl ever! She loved her flower petals SOooo much....

that she wanted to keep them all in the basket for herself. Now, she wasn't being selfish because she went around and offered everyone a petal to admire and after ample admiration time, she would ask for her petal back. I love this girl.

Because the wedding was in October, we decided to use sunflowers and pumpkins to decorate. I had the bride and a couple of her bridesmaids gutting out pumpkins after that pedicure. They look like they are having so much fun.

After the gutting, we filled them with floral foam and then golden flowers from the local flower patch.

They turned out pretty nice for none of us to be florist!

It was a magical weekend indeed. Thanks for being my family, I love you all!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

officially obsessed

SO....I have a new obsession... Pinterest
LinkHas anyone else out there discovered this wonderland of ideas?

The beautiful images go on forever and you find yourself immersed for hours(or at least I do since I have I have already watched every family moving overseas be an international house hunter and I am kinda tired of house hunting!)

It is like therapy for your eyes.

Check out my boards at alice durham, follow me and then I will follow you. It is a really neat way of getting to know your blog friends a little better by watching them create boards that visually express the world that they live in.

But be is habit forming!
(All of these lovely photos can be found on my "dreams in pink" board and credits for the photos are given.)

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

snowballs in the South!

Way down yonder in the land of cotton is where we live. In this magical land we usually average about 1" of snowfall every 10 years(if we are lucky) so we have to use our imagination when we are hankerin' for a snowball fight. We spent this past weekend down on the farm with my family. When we had unpacked and took a moment to look out the back window all we could see was a blanket of white. It was breathtaking! My eldest daughter who is 23 years in age but about 4 in heart decided she and her sister should have a snowball fight...and so the story goes...

Constructing a snowball(man, just think of the Q-Tip you could make with that one. No chance that is going inside the ear!) in the South does not require gloves. Our snow is neither wet or cold. It is soft and fluffy!

See, I told you that girl is only 4 in heart years.

Ok, ok you have got us here! Real snow really does taste better than Southern snow.

On to the action. Ready, set, go!

Snowball fight is a success and ends in a tie! Both parties walk away from the action warm and dry and with rosy cheeks gently powdered by the fluff of a giant cotton ball.

This is Nellie. Nellie says, "you guys is just plain stoopid, this stuff aint snow, it's just cotton!"

We live in a wonderful world that is full of beauty, charm and adventure. There is no end to the adventures that we can have if only we seek them with our eyes open. J Nehru

Sometimes preserving the heart of our childhood is the key to finding this magical world. Thanks Loo for the opening the door for us!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

is it christmas yet?

I am still working on making the store festive. I have a good start with candy necklace colored trees and goodies.

I love a white tree but have never found one that had the shape I liked so; we bought a post, painted it white and drilled holes where I wanted the branches to fall, then just put the inexpensive Target white tree branches in and it was perfect. I kind of like it without any decorations. I may not even decorate it! Although, I can just imagine it full of candy colored baubles and bows.
I had so much fun with the candy colors that I had to do another table.

We have some really fun and unusual Christmas cards. How many Christmas squirrels have you seen?

This is a new cupboard that I painted in Old White and lightly distressed. A perfect little piece for a lovely cottage.

I had another one of those dressers that needed help. I was going to paint it until I started sanding it and found this wonderful blue up under the brown. Now, it has baskets on the bottom shelf for storage and a nifty chalkboard for more of those love notes.

Glitter, glitter everywhere! Have a sparkly evening.