December 19, 2014

Freaky Friday

Hi, folks,

I hope you're all on top of things for the holidays and better prepared than we are here. Let's just say our shopping deficiencies, like the Great Wall, can probably be seen from space. Meanwhile, life continues to be perplexing. Yesterday at a thrift shop I picked this up for a quarter:
It was purchased to go in this:
where it fits nicely. The part that doesn't make sense is what else it contained. It wasn't till it was stuck in the little cubby that something brown among the leaves and berries caught my eye. Further exploration revealed it was this:
Just the tip of the handle was showing. Can anyone make sense of this? If it had been with a miniature loaf of bread, roast chicken or dollhouse cake it wouldn't be odd. But buried in a flower pot--huh? How seriously weird is that? It just goes to show you things are never dull in the wonderful world of resale, not by a long shot! 

Meanwhile, have a wonderful weekend!


December 17, 2014

Let's throw a little light on the subject.

Hello, all,

While out today the Assistance League thrift shop had all Christmas stuff half off. I snagged a length of garland for $2.00. Once home, it was utilized over the door to the dining room along with some poinsettia lights from a thrift store bought a few years ago. A few minutes with a hammer and voila!
And another shot:
While in the same area (translation: by the plug and extension cord) I did this:
with a string of candy-look lights over the bulletin board for cards.

I was gone almost all day, so this needs to be short and sweet in order to go do something about dinner.

Have a good one!


December 16, 2014

Odds and Ends

Hello, all,

I hope your day has been as beautiful as the one here is, truly perfect.

Here are a few odds and ends of decorating still ongoing, although I am trying to Move On and get Serious About Shopping. First, in our bedroom there are just a couple of little touches:
A cheerful cardinal pillow, flanked by Bitty and Junior, and:
on the dresser the terrarium with a snow scene, church and tree inside.
On the wall by the entrance to the hall, a basket of greenery in a recently uncovered frame.
A little tree in a wicker cone on a picture in the dining room.
A couple more trees on the kitchen counter.
And one more in an egg cup by a second cheerful cardinal.

You might call my style whatever decorating. Sometimes when I find something unintended it seems easier to figure out a way to use it than to locate a better place to store it full time. It's sort of the way Jean Kerr said she got good at  creating a structure out of tinker toys at times rather than try to find the canto put them away.

Have a good one!


December 15, 2014

After the weekend

Hi, Friends,

I hope your weekend was fun and productive, in amounts of your preference. We had company, which was fun and kept us busy on Saturday. They admired our tree, and while it might have been nothing but courtesy, here is a picture to share now that it's decorated:
We use all red lights and assorted ornaments. So far the cats have ignored it.
There is some garland and a string of berry lights across the top of the screen.
The end table at one side of the sofa with some deer, a scene in a jar and holiday candy.
Here is a close up of the little jar with a red lid that has fake snow, a deer and two bottle brush trees.

That's all for now. 

Take it easy!

December 12, 2014

Good news, bad news. . .

Hey, folks,

TGIF for all you working types. Actually, that's been me today, if you consider cleaning working. Sadly, the results are not what was optimistically expected. The good news in the title includes the fact we got our tree last night and Mr. B. cut enough branches off the bottom before putting it in the stand for me to make a piece for the front door. The bad news part is that really, it doesn't look as good as the artificial one used the past several years, courtesy of Sand Dollar. What does it say about my skill set that something plastic, probably from China looks better than my efforts with natural greenery? 
It's not terrible, but is definitely lacking. Thank goodness for the can of fake snow picked up in Big Lots on my trip there to pick up the last two boxes of all red lights in the store. 

Near it to the left of the mailbox is the tag sign:
So far that's the extent of our outside decor this year. Mr. B bought some lights allegedly to put round the edge of the roof. Don't hold your breath to see how that turns out. In 35 years he never has before, so the odds aren't good.

Have a wonderful weekend, everyone! We're having company, which will be fun if we get a handle on that pesky cleaning issue. 


December 11, 2014

And now for something completely different . . .

How's it going with your week now that Thursday's here? Mine is fine, aside from me being worn out from heavy lifting. The thing is, on the way to Bible study I stopped at the Junior Forum resale shop. Since we moved I've BOLO for matching bedside tables or some other kind of furniture. My side had a nice old oak table in a golden shade, but it is really too tall, while Mr. B had dark, way too dinky nesting tables. Today the right combination finally showed up: sturdy, with drawers, matching (I've found dozens of single ones but no pairs until now) and did I mention cheap? The guys who worked there managed to wedge them in the Chevy, to their own and my amazement. Once the rest of the errand extravaganza was finished, it was up to me to pry them out--the one in the back seat was quite a challenge--and into the house. It's taken the past couple of hours, but here is the result:
Mr. B's side.
and another shot. Meanwhile, off to the right:
The black at the lower right of the picture is Freddy's tail. I didn't notice him there.
No cat included in this one.
There is the drawer with the wrapping paper lining. It's a collage of postage stamps.

In the interest of full disclosure, much of the contents of my other one is still not put away and straightened up completely but I wanted to get this written. These are not fine pieces of furniture, nor are they my very favorite style. Otoh, they are fairly heavy and decently made. A little of the furniture restorer and Old English polish cleaned them up and an old remnant of wrapping paper did the trick for lining. They have the advantage of being useful for now, but not expensive enough that if something I like better comes along I'd feel guilty swapping them out. That's the excitement at hour house today. The question remains, will Mr. B notice, or will they have to be pointed out to him when he gets home? 

Have a great evening,

December 10, 2014

Easy Peasy

Hello, all,

I hope your Wednesday went well. Mine was mildly annoying, but at least an important automotive task got done at the dealership, so that is off the list. That didn't leave much time for more fun stuff, like decorating, but here is something that's incredibly easy and can be fun. Many years ago I got beautiful wrapping paper from Ikea. This project consists of simply using a sheet of it to cover the contents of a poster frame in the living room. When the holidays are over, it's no chore at all to take the holiday one off, since it's just layered over the existing picture. Here is the result:
It's a winter scene of a house and yard with lovely rich colors and warm details.
Here is a close up of the upper rooms, roof and chimney.
Here is another section with the decorated tree, gifts and staircase. It's paper by Roger LaBord and makes me smile every time I walk by it in the library. So, if your time or energy are limited, maybe a temporary switch of existing frames in your house already would be a quick project, adding a bit of holiday flavor with minimal effort. 

Take it easy!

December 9, 2014

Bits and Pieces

How's everyone this fine Tuesday? We're rocking along. Today a fair amount of time has been spent cooking, but there are also a couple of small decorated areas to share.

First, this little corner shelf in the dining room:
There is a little tree on top and glass cloche ornament with  bird in it. The lower shelf has a seasonal looking cup with a small music box set in it. There are three angels (well, they're angels now since I painted three round oat cereal bits with gold nail polish and glued those on their heads) that revolve around a church to the tune of "When the Saints Go Marching In".

In the living room, on top of a small bookcase is this:
Isn't this an amazing Christmas cactus? It's from Kroger where I got groceries last Sunday. The red and white bowl was a gift from my oldest daughter. The stone squirrel is wearing a tinsel bow, although it's hard to see, and there is a red candle in a holder that looks like a section of birch log. One of my favorite parts of the season is the plants: Christmas cactus, poinsettias, holly, greenery of all kinds and of course, the tree. This is the biggest cactus so far; I surely hope it stays alive and blooms again in 2015. They had some that were a gorgeous pale apricot color, but the red was impossible to resist. 

Tomorrow there will be time lost waiting to have a car recall repair done, but we still need to get going on finishing things up, since Mr. B's brother is coming to see us this coming weekend, eek! I hope your efforts are moving faster than mine!


December 8, 2014

Monday, Monday

Hello, Friends,

How is your week so far? It,  is cool and sunny here, the kind of weather we can't even imagine exists in July and August. 

I have continued to work on decorating various areas of the house, which takes a lot more time than you might think. What fits where and what doesn't, why a given item suddenly has to be in a different context to work in this new house, that's why it's going slowly. It's still fun, but it's hard not to get impatient with myself for what feels like dawdling. This weekend most of the attention was concentrated in the dining room. Here is some of the result:
That is a close up of the big round plate middle daughter Mary gave me. On it is a footed silver dish with beaded fruit in it, covered by the big cloche to keep the cats from stealing the berries and pears to play with.
Here is the bigger picture with some artificial trees too. Don't worry, the stocking will be removed from the lamp directly. I meant to do it before I took the picture but clearly forgot. I was tired of the cloche on the table, so now it's got this:
There is a vintage cloth, not quite big enough for the table, but all right. On a wonderful red platter my friend Tricia gave me is a bird cage. It holds three bottle brush trees some cotton *snow* with a few ornaments strewn around. Again, a fundamental consideration is having things contained so they are safe from marauding cats. 

This is Monday's effort. Obviously, I am more tortoise than hare!

Take it easy,

December 5, 2014

Moving along

Hello, all,

Are you ready for the weekend? I'm sure Mr. B is eager for a 48 hour break. 

I have been working in different spots in the house, mainly with the little houses and trees. Here is some of what's been put out in the library so far:
a miniature forest on top of this picture, with one chosen and in the process of being hauled home in a red pickup truck.
a church snow scene in the little suitcase and a basket full of candy canes.
Here is my little red box full of tiny holiday treasures. It is sitting on a box made like a faux book that says "Christmas Botanicals on the spine. It looks as if Santa got a train engine somewhere and is trying it out; it looks like he's better go back to the sleigh to me! 

There is plenty more to do in this room, as well as the dining and living rooms, so you'll see more decorations starting Monday. Have a wonderful weekend.


December 4, 2014

Not Goodwill, Greatwill!

We will now pause for a brief intermission from our regularly scheduled homage to the holidays. On the way to Bible study today with half an hour to spare it seemed silly not to zip into the Goodwill store a block from the church. Boy, am I ever glad I did! You may recall my bewilderment at the chaos resulting on Thanksgiving last week, despite the fact the kitchen is much bigger than where we lived before, with a lot more counter space. Still, trying to get a big meal together for more than two people found us running out of space early on in the process. You can probably imagine how thrilled I was to see this sturdy helper, clearly meant to come home and alleviate some of the problem.Behold!

How cool is this?

It seems to be in decent shape and just needed scrubbing once it was here.
It has a much-needed drawer,

towel racks on both sides--or maybe those are to hang pots from?--
and a removable butcher block cutting board on top. It has wheels, too. I can tell this is going to be a super useful addition to our lives. Of course, trying to get it into the car was comical in the extreme, but the employee and I managed eventually. And it was much easier to remove once I got home again. This seems highly likely to be in the running for best thrift score in the month of December. Stay tuned for updates!

Take it easy,


December 3, 2014

. . and a little more

Good afternoon, friends,

It is warming up here, but with temperatures in the 70 degree range, it feels like heaven after our all too recent summer. I have been working on several chores and projects in various parts of the house, but also stole a little time to play with decorating in the library a bit. 

Here are some of the spiffing up on the big bookcases. The felt garland and little wreath with a deer were gifts from middle daughter Mary last year, so it was fun to discover them when unpacking the tubs. There is another little tree on the top shelf and a cute collage type tin below it.

Some more deer have joined the others on the top shelf and there is a seasonal red and white crocheted coaster as well. Below it on the second row is a beautiful card my friend Kristi, from the Betsy-Tacy group sent me years ago. It is so pretty it got framed with a holiday red one found at a thrift shop. Tomorrow I'll take a better picture that shows the Mercury glass vase on top with some holly leaves and berries in it. Since decorating is one of my favorite parts of the season it doesn't bother me to do a little every day, rather than go through the house like a whirlwind and finish in a single day. It's even nicer this year since we moved and there  is twice the space to play with. 

Are you a big burst, get-it-done type or more of a tortoise like me?

Have a good evening,


December 2, 2014

The reason we celebrate

Hello, all,

I hope your month is off to a good start. Mine is so far, aside from a turned over trashcan episode it would be best to draw a veil over and spare you the details. 

Decorating is going slowly here, but that's all right. It's a new house, so there is the need to think about what goes where and how the big picture will turn out. Meanwhile, in the hall there has been a very modest beginning:

a little tree for the camel to carry,

and a banner reminding us to rejoice. Since that hall is used to go into four different areas, it gets a lot of traffic, providing plenty of opportunity to consider the heart of the season. 

Have a good one!


December 1, 2014

Starting Small

Hello, Friends,

How was your Thanksgiving? Ours was great. We enjoyed staying home and being hosts for the first time in at least four years. Friday I was tired, but did manage to drag out the containers of holiday decor to get an idea of what was there if not get it all set out immediately. It's going to be a gradual process. So, where to start? Small, as in the title. There isn't a room any smaller than my bathroom, so let's see how that turned out.
I switched out the soap dish for one more festive,
hung a cheery towel,
put a seasonally colored dish under the little suitcase that holds toiletries,
and put a little tree and a tin covered with a red reindeer print on the perfume ledge. Everything but the tin (gift from dd #1) came from a thrift shop.

It's not a lot compared to how much some of the supreme decorating divas do by December 1 each year, but it is a beginning. Even baby steps will take you where you're heading eventually.

Do you decorate other spaces besides the entry, living room and other public areas? I used to put a small artificial tree in each of my children's bedrooms. For ornaments they had matchbox cars or tiny animals, doll furniture or small Lego creations. Now I can't believe there are no photos of those memories that at the same time seem like yesterday, as well as another lifetime ago. 

Have a good one!


November 20, 2014

Looking ahead

Hey, how's it going?

I try to do one holiday at a time, but sometimes jump the gun at least a little bit. Recently at the MAM store I  got this:
It was $3.50 and looked like a great option for holiday cards. In our previous house they were hung through or on the slats of a shutter door that is no longer available. It is cheery and in good shape, but it seemed like a little spiffing up wouldn't hurt either. My collection of holiday pins sprang to mind, so:
a few of those were added to make it more festive. What do you think?

Now, back to the regularly scheduled holiday of Thanksgiving!

Take it easy,


November 19, 2014

Knob Job

Hello, I hope you are doing well today.

Without any formal planning to do so, our new pantry got a mini revamp today. We got it when we moved in June. After hours of anguished effort, Mr. B got it assembled thusly:
It's hardly a piece of fine furniture, but it works to keep non-perishables in.Today those chrome pulls caught my eye and it seemed like surely we could do better than those, so:
Voila! A little contrast works nicely. Here is a close up:
The dark color and stylized flower design is much more appealing, don't you think? At least until Mr. B scores a winning lottery ticket and we can design the home of our dreams, complete with a real, walk-in pantry!

Have a good one!