Monday, December 30, 2019

Just Like That

Weren't we all just bustling about getting ready for the big day?
Now just.like.that it's over for another year.
 Ah, well I suppose it's like that most years.  Hopefully all the preparation work sets the stage for a memorable celebration.
Around here we were happy to have the family together on Christmas day.


Some years are better than others at remembering to take photos.
This year we did pretty good at getting shots of everybody.
As much as I like this one...  that cord needs to go :D.



I like the way different family members bring different elements to the celebration.  I wonder if you can guess which of my family members makes sure there is a sweater for everyone.  Quite a colorful bunch we were.



Somebody enjoyed decorating sugar cookies.  It became even more fun when he taught his uncle how it was done.



I do hope that your holidays were happy and memorable too.






Saturday, December 21, 2019

December 21st ~ Warm Memories



When we moved there was one piece of furniture that didn't quite flow with the open floor plan.  Hello flowery sofa :)
It seems that floral furniture is a thing of the past.  Neutral sofas are what I see everywhere I look and I can see how versatile they can be for changing up the color scheme.  However, despite what the furniture fashion police have to say about it, I still like my little flowery sofa.  
In trying to have her not stick out like a sore thumb fit in with her surroundings, I am aiming to create a bit of a garden room feel in this new living room.  A place to prop up your feet and read, sit and enjoy conversation with no televisions to distract and (for me) a place to make plans and dream up ideas for the outdoor garden.
With that in mind I needed something on the wall above.  I didn't want a painting or anything that would add to the busyness so, I opted for a garden gate with a simple fern wreath on it.



Across from the sofa is a window which looks out on a small courtyard.  On either side of the window there are armchairs.  This spot needed some sort of table that offered a place to set a glass or tea cup for each of the chairs.  It took a while to find something to fit the bill.  One day I was in a local antique mall/craft mall type of place and spotted this.  An old table that had been chalk painted and distressed to give it an updated look.  It fit the space perfectly and gave each chair it's own little landing spot.  Over the spring and summer I also used it as a place for garden books and dΓ©cor.  It turned out to be a good place for plants to grow in the terrarium.


Have a seat and I'll bring you a beverage so that you can try it out ;D.

 When it came time to decorate for Christmas it seemed like a bit of change was in order.  I decided that instead of trying to hide that colorful couch, I'd play up the colors a bit more.  So, I hauled out the 2 bins of my parent's old Christmas ornaments that I have been holding onto for at least 30 years now and looked through them to see what I could find.  It seems like the old Shiny Brite ornaments featured a lot of pastel colors with plenty of pink.  I pulled out my favorites and hung them on a little tabletop tree.

Next to the tree went two photos of my Mom & Dad in their younger days.  I think they were just dating or newly married in the large photo.  I never saw that one until they were both gone so I don't know the details, however the way they are gazing at each other in front of that huge Christmas tree makes me smile and also wonder if any of these ornaments were on that tree.
My little living room may not be in keeping with the latest trends, but I'm finding it a comfortable spot to retreat to during these busy days leading up to Christmas.  A place to remember all of the people and past Christmas celebrations that have blended together to bring me to where I am now.  I picture Mom in her small kitchen surrounded by Christmas cookies that she loved to bake and share with the neighbors while Dad added another log or two to the fire. 
I can almost smell those cookies baking and hear the fire crackling.
Soon I will take Mom's old cookbook from the shelf and begin my own cookie baking session.  
I suppose these thoughts and memories could take place anywhere, yet a room containing cherished photos, a family ornament collection and familiar furniture make for a more meaningful experience.  As time goes by and change is inevitable it is nice to pause and remember.

"God gave us our memories so that we might have roses in December"
J.M. Barrie



Here's to roses in December and more light daily.
A Happy Winter Solstice Day to you!

🌹🌹🌹


Friday, December 20, 2019

December 20th ~ The Guest Room is Ready


My ho hum guest room received a holiday spruce up just in time for our overnight guests.
It all began with the snowflake pillows.
Recently while strolling through the thrift shop, two of them caught my eye.  Pillows can be iffy to buy secondhand.  So I checked them over for stains or flaws and gave them the sniff test.  They passed those tests with flying colors.  When I saw they were originally from Pier 1, the $1.49 price seemed even more enticing as I know how pricey throw pillows can be from there.


Another trip to the thrift yielded the plush throw at the end of the bed.  It originally came from Nieman Marcus.  A store I've never even set foot in.  It is incredibly soft and the color was spot on.
Not long after that I was in a different thrift shop and spotted a rack of window coverings that had been donated by L*we's.  I didn't even realize I was in the market for window coverings until I saw these.  The colors were perfect for this room
All in all, the room came together nicely without breaking the budget.  Win Win!!







Monday, December 16, 2019

December 16th ~ How did that happen so fast?

I'm not sure if I've ever had a more laid back Christmas season than this one.  In fact, in my last post it seemed like a great idea to do a post a day until Christmas arrived.  I'm not sure who I was kidding as daily blogging has never been my specialty.  So, here we are ten days later and while you all are probably as busy as can be, I'm here to talk about wreaths.  Feel free to click away.  I'll carry on as I am partially documenting in order to remember a few things next year.



If you are still with me
WELCOME
If you were really on my doorstep, this is your current view.
For the first time in many, many years there is a fresh cut wreath on my door.  Our garden club was selling them to raise funds for starting a monarch waystation within the community.  It came unadorned.  Still beautiful and oh so fragrant.  Yet a little too plain for my taste.  So, when I went to see the neighbor who made the tree from a mannequin (see previous post) it was to have her make a bow for the wreath.  I had met her at a recent craft show and knew that she made lovely bows.  She asked if I just wanted a bow or a few things tucked in here and there.  I opted for the addition of a few things.  When I went to pick it up I was very pleased with how she put it together.  She also gave me a string of battery powered lights with wee jingle bells so that when people came and went the bells would ring softly.
For documentation I hope this post will come in handy when I try to recreate a similar look next year.

Much to my surprise and delight she said she threw together a little wreath for my Christmas gift.  She is clearly a lady with a big heart and a love for creating beautiful things.  After visiting my house she said she could picture this near the windows that looked out on the woods and birdfeeders.


We found just the spot for it and while it is beautiful by day, it is magical by night.



Particularly when the shadows on the wall are reminiscent of a snowflake.

❄❅❆❄








Friday, December 6, 2019

December 6th ~ Enjoying the Talents of Others


I was invited into the home of one of my neighbor's this morning.
I was instantly captivated by the beautiful way she had decorated for Christmas.  Gorgeous Christmas trees, mantles and vignettes.  Her tables and kitchen island were all set in different color coordinated themes.  I told her it looked like she was ready for her guests arrival and it's only Dec. 6.   She smiled and continued to show me around.  I was exercising restraint to not whip out my phone and start snapping away :).  After all I'd only just met her.  But then she told me she wanted to show me one more thing which was the mannequin/tree above.  It reminded me of the one I showed in yesterday's post.  She said her daughter's friend was going to throw away the mannequin and she asked if she might have it to copy an idea she saw on Pinterest.  There between two chairs in her bedroom window stands this beautiful creation.  That did it...
I couldn't hold back any longer...
"May I please take a photo?"  She was more than happy to let me do so offering to turn on lights and lower blinds to capture the best photo.  She then invited me to sit with her in the chairs as she explained how she made it.  I think it involved 10 garlands being cut apart, chicken wire, bow making and I don't remember what else.  She told me if I happen upon a mannequin (or dress form) she would happily teach me to make one.  Knowing mine would never look anything like that, I am happy to enjoy the photo of her talents.






December 5th ~ Festive Holiday Displays


Part of the fun of the holidays to me is looking at all of the pretty displays in the shops.  I also like to check out seasonal products in the grocery stores, etc.  At this point I don't buy a lot, but it sure is fun to take it all in.
This display was in a local shop.  I love the pops of color and the way the holiday jewelry was displayed.  So pretty how they tied the colors on the bottle brush trees with that necklace in the lower righthand corner.  What I really love, though, is the silver mannequin/Christmas tree in the upper lefthand corner.  How cute!!

Have any shop displays caught your attention recently?

πŸŽ„πŸŽ„πŸŽ„







Wednesday, December 4, 2019

December 4th ~ decking the halls with blue and silver ~ fa la la la


As I began decking the halls of my happy home for Christmas this year, something quickly became evident to me.
The open floor plan in this house requires a theme that flows nicely.
As much as I love the traditional reds and greens and my vintage Santas, angels, etc.... they just can no longer all mingle together under one roof. : D.
Well now, of course they could.  I guess I should say I just don't want that look.


It will come as no surprise that blue will feature prominently.
I'm sticking with many of the blue/white/snowmen things I've been using for years.  The biggest change has been adding in more whites and silvers in the form of mercury glass and frosty snowy touches.
Here is what you would see if you were standing right inside the door and looked to your right.  It's a little "key drop" area across from the front bedroom.
Mr. snowman is new this year.  He paired nicely with the frosty branch and that old ornament on the left which had belonged to my parents.  I've held onto it for well over 25 years and finally found a home for it.



If you were still standing in the front doorway the foyer table would be ahead on the left side.  Trying to make it flow with this new theme was a fun challenge.  I've had this Santa for 20 years and almost let him go in the big moving purge.  Now I'm glad I didn't as he seems to be happy right there by the blue/gray and white lamp.  My sister-in-law just gave me the mirrored ball ornament so I popped that in for a touch of sparkle.




On the other end of the table I assembled a few things I had on hand including a candle (love having candlelight on an entryway table) and another old mercury glass type ornament.



This little blue deer was a recent find.
He still has the tags on as I was debating whether he would make the cut.  He has that vintage sweetness that I so love.  I'm thinking he has found his new home :).




The finished table.
Well, I think it's finished.  Although I'm not sure whether I like that Winter Welcome sign in the basket.
That's where taking pictures helps.  Often in a picture it's easier to decide if things look the way you want them.  Do you agree?
You'll often find me moving things around and tweaking right up until Christmas arrives.  It's all part of the fun of the holiday season.

❄❅ Wishing you JOY in the holiday decorating journey ❆❄








Tuesday, December 3, 2019

December 3rd ~ reading and recharging



In between all of the things requiring our time and attention this month, it's imperative that we find moments to relax and recharge.
One of my favorite ways to do this is with a good book.  It's nice to haul out the collection of Christmas and winter favorites.  Like visiting with an old friend.  Sometimes immersing myself in chapters feels right and other times there's only time or energy to glance through the charming artwork in the vintage children's collection.  Either way it's preferable to be in front of the fire and/or the Christmas tree lights.  Although in bed under the blankets is nice too.  


πŸŽ„πŸ“šπŸ›



Monday, December 2, 2019

December 2nd ~ warm winter drinks


When I saw this mug at Ross recently, I thought it needed to come home with me.  Brett often wonders if another mug is really necessary.  I suppose not.  However, it fit all of my mug specifications.  Just the right size (don't like them too huge or too small), perfect weight and feel in my hand :), perfect shade of blue for the color scheme I am using in this house and (best of all) the price was right.  I guess you can now see how I rationalized that purchase ;).  These are all important considerations for enjoying a warm winter drink to the fullest.  Would you agree or are you happy with any mug that is available?  No judgement either way.



After spotting the perfect mug, I spotted the frosty coffee and blue and white striped marshmallows.  Contemplating how they might enhance the warm winter drink experience even more, I wondered if they were really necessary.



 The front of the package was awfully appealing to this blue and white loving lady.  But then I read the message on the side of the package and the deal was sealed.

☃❄☃❄

I guess it really is about the small things.

 Because I don't like a cluttered warm drink station, the tea collection can be found in the cupboard above.



Speaking of tea...
this Peppermint Bark is so delicious at this time of year.
It is a nice blend of green tea with peppermint, vanilla and cocoa.  I often open the can just to take a sniff.  Yummy!
I know everybody isn't a fan of chocolate mint.  It has always been one of my very favorite flavor combinations.  I like the vanilla addition to this as I think it mellows out the mint a bit.

Trying out new warm drinks that are only offered at the Christmas season is one of the small pleasures I enjoy.  Have you found any new favorites lately?







Sunday, December 1, 2019

December 1st ~ calendar fun


Apparently it tis the season to begin the new month with good intentions of putting a post on the blog.  The post began early in the day.  But then finishing the indoor decorating took higher precedence followed by putting the bins away so the car could be returned to the garage.  Then, of course, we were hungry so dinner took precedence.  Now the dinner dishes are soaking, my feet are propped up and the post will be finished before bedtime.
Yes, it truly is the season, isn't it?

Fortunately, I love this season and was quite happy to turn the calendar page this morning to this cheerful holiday scene.  It makes me excited for all of the good things we have to look forward to in the merry month of December.


After turning the calendar page this morning I hung my advent calendar next to it on the front of the fridge.  It was recently given to me by someone who knows me and my bird loving ways well.



Join me as I open door #1.
And there we see a tree decorated for Christmas complete with snow falling gently from the sky.
Let the season begin.
I'm glad that my own tree is also decorated and now we can just enjoy it.  

Have you started or finished your decorating?  





Friday, November 8, 2019

Indoor Gardening ~ The Meyer Lemon Tree

 Last spring I picked up a Meyer Lemon tree at the local garden center.  At the time it might have been a foot tall. Rather puny for the price.  I located it in a sunny spot on the patio and made sure it received adequate water throughout our long, hot summer.  It thrived out there and doubled, if not tripled, in size.
With the prospect of frost on the horizon, it was time to find a new home for it.  So, I hosed it off and gave it a thorough spray with insecticidal soap in an attempt to keep any creepy crawlers from coming in with it.
Next I located the sunniest window in the house and moved it to it's winter digs.

 Here it is near the bedroom window.
My new routine includes getting those shades up as soon as the sun shines in this direction.  Most mornings I give it a light misting of water to provide it with the humidity it likes.  While misting away I check it over to see if I see any cobwebs or bugs.
I'm hoping to keep it thriving inside until next spring when it can return to it's outdoor home.

Currently it looks content in it's new home.
The leaves are big and glossy green.
This isn't the first time I've overwintered a lemon tree.
You can read about the last attempt here.  That time it was covered in buds and I was pondering the right fertilizer for it.  I went to the garden center and asked for a recommendation.  They sent me on my way with citrus spikes.  Not long after popping the spike in the soil the plant turned brown and died.  In hindsight that spike was way too big for the potted plant.  It was better suited for an inground tree.  I tried taking the spike out and babying it but the damage was done.  RIP!  :/
After nurturing the plant along I had such high hopes for that first lemon. :(  Not to mention I felt so guilty for ending it's life like that.

So, this time I am determined to meet with success.
Because they do need fertilizer to produce those luscious lemons, I went to a different garden center and found this granular version.  Now I can have better control over how much it receives at each feeding.
I also found this fantastic article on the subject.  I am trying to follow her advice to a tee.
I'll keep you posted.  If you don't hear more about it, it might be best not to ask ;).
My fingers are crossed for lemon bars and lemonade next summer.

πŸ‹πŸ‹πŸ‹

Please chime in if you have any experience with this topic.
Any advice is welcome.

Have a wonderful weekend.


















Sunday, November 3, 2019

Fall Preparations

 
There's nothing quite like the cooler fall temperatures to get me inspired to get things done.  First off was the closet.  One afternoon I spent several hours shifting my wardrobe from summer to fall/winter.  It was nice to have the time to address each item in there.  A few bags went to the thrift shop.  Summer clothes were washed (if necessary), shoes were dusted or wiped down, and things were tried on to assess whether the item was really comfortable and was something I was likely to wear.

 Our local extension agent put on a presentation for the garden club reminding us of what we should be doing in our gardens for the fall season.

 I went right home and got to work on his suggestions.

While planting my tulips I glanced down the side of the house looking toward the backyard and noticed the lilac Encore Azaleas blooming away.  Just beyond them a bit of fall color appears in the woods.

 Next it was time to put out another bird feeder.
🎜 feed the birds tuppence a bag
tuppence, tuppence, tuppence a bag
"feed the birds" that's what she cries
while overhead, her birds fill the skies 🎜

This one I filled with safflower seeds.  The extension agent said that squirrels don't like them.  Although, oddly enough we haven't had a problem with squirrels in this house.  Maybe they prefer to hang out in the woods.  Not sure, but I'm not complaining. 

 After getting the bird feeders filled I sat a minute and took in the leaf situation.  Before they all fall down, it's imperative to take in the color change from day to day.

 During the football game last weekend I sifted through a growing magazine pile.
I tore out a few interesting recipes and am pleased to say I even tried one of them ;D.

 In this case it was a Rachel Ray recipe for oatmeal made with apple cider.  Sauteed apples and toasted pecans topped it off and we both gave it two thumbs up!!


Another blanket was added to the bed.
At the end of the evening I can be found under those blankets with a book.  Incidentally, I am finding this one to be very engrossing.