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This is not only the most wonderful time of the year, it's the most Buffalo time of the year. Let's celebrate that in our holiday shopping. Museums, galleries, even hospitals have decked their gift shops for your shopping pleasure. Treat yourself to a stop at one of them. The reasons are many. First, it's fun. You might not have two hours to devote to perusing …

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There’s nothing new about ugly Christmas sweater theme days, contests and websites. People have been throwing ugly sweater parties for years. In fact, Dec. 23 is the date of the 16th Annual Ugly Christmas Sweater Party in Vancouver, B.C., which has been called “the birthplace of the original ugly holiday sweater party.” So with National Ugly Christmas Sweater Day arrivi…

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Pat and Rich Dowling are planning for the future by making sure the home they bought in 2015 not only reflects their decorating tastes but also allows them to continue to live there as long as possible as they age. In an email, here is how they described their updated ranch for our weekly feature on BuffaloNews.com spotlighting local homes: “As we approached age 60, …

Gardening

The next two weekends are good times to buy a cut Christmas tree, preferably fresh from local farms. The Western New York Christmas Tree Farmers Association lists 17 member growers in Erie County and seven in Niagara County and surely there are others who aren’t yet members. You might consider hurrying out to a farm this year a little sooner than in the past. While a snowf…

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As the holiday season unfolds each year so, too, do the tablecloths. How did it work out for you this Thanksgiving? Was your tablecloth clean and pressed and ready to go? Or was it wadded up in a drawer with a cranberry stain from last year? Storing tablecloths in a way that keeps them wrinkle-free and at the ready can be tricky. Last weekend, as I wrestled with the fre…

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Photographer Wayne Geist has a cool name for the weekend house he built in Portland in Chautauqua County: Turtle Rocks. The three-bedroom house sits on a 4-acre, cliff-side, forested lot on the shore of Lake Erie. It was completed in February. Its name is derived from the limestone formations on the beach at the bottom of the cliff. Geist described how the home came to …

Business

The holiday edition of Queen City pop-up is a great place to shop for Christmas gifts. The program, administered by the Buffalo Urban Development Corp., hosts a handful of emerging retailers in vacant commercial space in the city. The temporary brick-and-mortar location lets merchants test the waters in hopes of opening permanent shops downtown. What I love about it is …

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There always seems to be a faux fur trim loose in one of our closets, one that can be easily reattached to the hood or collar of the coat or parka to which it belongs, if the wearer so chooses. Faux fur trims on winter outerwear are nothing unusual. Neither are the faux fur pillows and throws that accessorize many home interiors these days. Still, as the temperatures…

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For at least one day colorful gourds have a prominent place at the table. They are associated with harvest. Maybe they spill from cornucopias at the Thanksgiving table or harvest dinner, or they hang on autumn wreaths on the door. These plants have history and many uses, well beyond the decorative crafts you’ll find on Pinterest. They’re all worth growing for next season, …

Lancaster Garden Club will be at Westwood Park from 1 to 3 p.m. Nov. 26 to help children decorate ornaments. Members will prepare Visions of Sugar Plums-themed decorations at 9 a.m. Nov. 27 for the Victorian Christmas event at the Theodore Roosevelt Inaugural National Historic Site.  The club will decorate the Lancaster Public Library at 6:30 p.m. Nov. 29. Hamburg House…

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When Jim and Kate Shotwell decided to find the right house for the next stage of their lives, they knew what they were looking for. After doing some updates in their Amherst residence, they are feeling right at home. Kate Shotwell, a retired teacher from Kenmore-Town of Tonawanda schools, shared this description with The Buffalo News: “We moved to our current home ab…

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Thanksgiving is all about tradition. The homemade stuffing. The buttery mashed potatoes. The pumpkin pie you make using Lake Shore Solid Pack canned pumpkin because that’s what your grandmother used. It’s not just the food many people look forward to year after year, either. It’s the annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. The Turkey Trot. The hand-lettered place cards c…

Gardening

This week kindly offered one more day of sunshine. I needed the sun to motivate myself to go out there – I confess to getting the blues from gray November days. So outside I went to plant the last bulbs and get on with winter mulching. Last bulb planting I will never tell anyone to do as I do. I told you (and myself) to plant the bulbs in September or early October b…

Cheektowaga Garden Club will meet at 6:45 p.m. Nov. 20 in the Cleveland Hill faculty dining room, Mapleview Road, Cheektowaga. Members will bring their own supplies to create Thanksgiving centerpieces. Garden therapy at Garden Gate will take place at 10 a.m. Dec. 2. Smallwood Garden Club will meet at 7 p.m. Nov. 20 in Williamsville United Methodist Church, 5681 Main St.…

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Rebecca Kassay has a name for the three-level home she shares with her husband, Stephen, in Lewiston: Reno on the river. That’s “reno” as in renovation. And, after four decades living there, she said she loves her house. Finally! Here’s why, as she explained in the e-mail responding to our search for local homes to showcase in our new Home of the Week feature on Buf…