By DOTTIE DEWBERRY
For Starkville Daily News
The Heritage Room in Mathiston was the setting for the Dec. 13 meeting of the Maben Home and Garden Club with Jackie Christopher serving as hostess and club leader for the month.
When the ladies arrived, all they could say was, "Wow!" The room was decorated with natural foliage arrangements done by Gail Bullard. The room was also decorated with five white cloth covered round tables, each set for six, decorated with red poinsettias, gold and red beads, red and gold charger plates topped with an assortment of Christmas dishes and red cloth napkins with tinsel napkin rings. This was done by club hostess Christopher for the meeting.
The back wall was covered with white cloths and decorated with footed apothecary jars filled with red and gold ornaments. There was a vast array of food prepared by Christopher and by her sister Jimmie Cooper from which the ladies could serve themselves. Not only were there meat dishes, there was also a variety of side dishes to accompany them. Christopher also had coconut cake, butterscotch pound cake, chocolate oatmeal cookies and date balls and orange balls for dessert. All of this was served with sweet or unsweet tea. Coffee was available for those that wanted it.
Polly Miller delivered the devotion, which was called "Mary’s Christmas." She then read a poem entitled “Christmas Is More." She took the Christmas story from Luke 2:19 and Luke 1:30 after which she asked Christopher to return thanks for the food.
After the meal, the club leader for December introduced Bullard as the afternoon’s speaker. Bullard reminded us that she was not a teacher nor a speaker, but she would do what she could. She briefly told the club about her shop and about the Heritage Room. She then explained her aim when she did floral pieces or design pieces for the public; each piece would be unique and not just another floral arrangement.
She chose to speak about decorating the home for an occasion: pick the spot for the floral piece, choose one main color, decide on the theme, cut natural greenery, spray with Miracle Clear Spray, use deluxe oasis (which is to be placed level into the water to soak then to be removed immediately), start decorating in the area that the guests see first, use a few accent colors, and place the theme piece into the arrangement. Oasis can be covered with clear plastic if it will damage the area in which it is placed.
Move to the next area - the door. The door can be outlined with garlands and a wreath placed on the top portion of the door. Use the same colors and theme pieces.
Bullard explained about the initial cost of LED lights and the low cost of using them as opposed to regular lights. She urged the ladies to change out the older strings of lights with LED when the others burn out.
She told the ladies that the focal point in the room should be the mantle if you have one or it should be the tree. She made several suggestions about mixing real fruit with artificial fruit as well as greenery. She showed the club how to mix the real greenery into an artificial tree. After which she demonstrated how to wire lights to limbs and to wreaths; she said to allow one string of 100 lights per foot of tree.
Her last demo of the afternoon was affixing skewers to the bottom of pillow candles, using duct tape and skewers which are then used to hold the candle to the oasis.
After farewells to Bullard who had to get back to her shop next door, the club ladies proceeded to play Dirty Santa with the ornaments each had brought for the occasion. There were some real treasures to be had if you played your game right.
President Joyce Holt then opened the business meeting by asking for the reading of the minutes, which were read and accepted as read.
Christopher then gave the club’s financial status.
Members were asked to give all calendar monies to Marge Musser, who was given an ovation for her diligent work with the birthday calendars.
The Yard of the Month Committee reported that the sign had been place in the yard of Brian and Laura Mitchell, owners of the late Cotton Sanders's home.
The Sunshine Committee member Sandra Bishop read a thank you note from Joy Skelton thanking the club for the memorial tree planted for Mrs. Cotton Sanders on the grounds of the First Baptist Church. Jane Collins will consult with Barbara Wofford about the memorial marker, which will be placed with the tree.
Pat Harpole, who reported for the Christmas Lighting Committee, stated that the contest would be on Dec. 19 at 5:30 p.m. Awards will be given for Best Door, Best Overall, and Best Business.
The club voted to make a monetary donation to the Palmer Home for Children in Columbus.
Members were reminded that the next meeting will be in the home of Musser on Jan. 17. The afternoon speakers will be Jim and Diane Patterson of the Audubon Society.
With no further business, the club was adjourned until Jan. 17.