December 17, 2013

Ready and waiting

Hello, friends,

I am really busy now because of being nowhere ready for December 25th. Still, this picture was too good to resist, so the camera was grabbed to show you:
In the center is Butterball. On her left,  her brother, Junior, and in the foreground her daughter, Freckles. Clearly, they don't intend to be left out when the catnip mice and glitter balls appear! That is a red flannel sheet being used as a tree skirt.They've pulled it out to make themselves comfortable on it, as you can see. 

Take it easy!


December 16, 2013

The Forgotten Collection

Hello, friends, how is Monday treating you so far? We have warmer temps and sunshine, so a lovely day here.

When Mr. B went into the attic for decorations he brought down a  tin tub with a box in it. The box hadn't been opened since we moved here in October, 2008. It contained three crosses that had been above the door from the entry into the living room at our former house, a gift from our youngest daughter. I definitely remembered packing those, but they had never appeared, till now. Also in the box was a collection that had been forgotten entirely. 
It's five pieces of ceramics designed to go inside an aquarium, picked up at various times in thrift shops. The little green building and palm tree on the right is my favorite. The association with water made the top of a cabinet in the bathroom seem a logical setting for these bits of furniture and bridges, since we don't have a fish tank (or place to put one) in a house full of cats. It seems silly to buy more of these under the circumstances, but I'm making no promises. If one that is super cute shows up one day it may have to come home with me, especially if it sports a low price. Who knows, someday we may have the perfect place to display these cuties; never say never is a good motto for a thriftaholic!

Have a wonderful evening. 

Later, Michele

December 13, 2013

Well, Duh!

Sorry about that, folks. Yesterday I wrote about the Aurora Teagarden mysteries by Charlaine Harris. Except forgotten was number 5 in the series, Dead Over Heels. It falls between The Julius House and A Fool and His Honey.
Since it is the one that was most recently re-read, you'd think it would have been fresh on my mind, but nope. It is another great entry about Aurora's life and crime in Lawrenceton, GA. These books are a rare exception; usually I read a mystery and move right on. An author that can make this genre so appealing is a rare find indeed, so check Charlaine Harris out, if you haven't already. And before I forget this too, have a great weekend!


December 12, 2013

Reading and Rereading

Hi, folks,

How's your day so far? Going well, I hope.

Today I thought it might be fun to share a favorite author and series. The writer is Charlaine Harris. Some of you may already be familiar with her Sookie Stackhouse Southern vampire novels, but vampires don't do a lot for me. My favorites are the Aurora Teagarden series, set in a small town outside of Atlanta, GA.
The first two books are Real Murders, in which the reader is introduced to Roe, her family and friends and A Bone to Pick, where she gets an inheritance with a little something extra attached.
In Three Bedrooms, One Corpse Roe meets a most exciting and unsettling man who later buys her The Julius House, that comes complete with a mystery.
In A Fool and His Honey, the author takes some daring chances with the plot that may startle and shock first time readers, but ultimately makes Roe's life more interesting, while events in Real Murders turn up in fictionalized form in Last Scene Alive.
The last at this point is Poppy Done to Death, which contains a cliff hanger bit of news, so I hope it's not really the last we hear about Roe. I read lots of mysteries. Very few are so well written with such compelling individuals that I want to read them more than once. These are an outstanding exception to that general rule. I pick them up at random, or last year read all the titles again in order. The ability to bring readers into the lives of a character is one Charlaine Harris has mastered superbly. Her books are well worth a try if you've not encountered them before, if you like  believable characters, southern settings, engaging plots or all of the above I urge you to give Charlaine Harris and Roe Teagarden a try. Let me know if you get hooked too.

Till next time,

December 11, 2013

An Easy Treat

Hello, friends,

I hope your week is chugging along agreeably.

Last week my friend Tricia, who figures often in this blog, sent me a cookie recipe. It turned out to be so good it seems selfish not to share it.

Here are the ingredients:

You're right, there is no flour in that picture. It calls for

1  cup peanut butter
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 egg
1 cup chocolate chips.

The sugar got shoved behind something. I swear a picture was taken of the bowl but it didn't show up on the camera. I mixed it all together with a spoon.

Drop on a parchment lined baking sheet:
Bake at 350 for 12-14 minutes.
These aren't fancy, but boy, are they good! Plus, easy to whip up at a moment's notice since the ingredients are things you might mostly have on hand.



December 10, 2013

Sunshine, evergreens and kitty news

Hello, friends,

I hope you aren't laboring without electricity due to bad weather. Here we at last have sunshine, a rare treat after the past few days.

Our Christmas tree is crammed into a corner in the living room, so hard to get a picture of. It is a fir. For years--decades, actually--we've used nothing but small red lights on it, but that is hard to see in the picture.
It has a nice shape and smells really good.

Yesterday in mid-afternoon I noticed the door to the laundry hamper was down. This is an old house with a linen closet about a horizontal flap-type door under which there is room for a hamper. Mr. B fixed this not long ago with super strong magnets. However, here it was gaping again. Investigation revealed Freddy and Freckles deep in the back, dug into clean towels and pillow cases, snoozing away. Bad kitties! The silver lining was that in removing them from their hidey hole, the new location of the runner/dresser scarves was discovered. After organizing in my closet recently they had been relocated and I'd forgotten where. This meant the runner for December could be installed, so here it is:
I love the pointed ends and  the very simple red and green embroidery of it. 
Is it only me who forgets where she stores things? You'd think in a house this small finding a given item would be a snap, but that is far from the case. 

Take it easy!

December 9, 2013

A Minor Upcycle

Hello, all,

I hope everyone has power and is warm right now, after those terrible storms slamming so much of the country. It was colder than usual here, but we never got much rain as predicted.

Today I have a small project to share with you. A few weeks ago I bought this at the Sand Dollar for .40 cents.
It's pretty golden wire and metal, except for the hole on top.
After a quick trip to Target, where a package of stars was purchased:
You'd never know it was missing a part. Here it is again:
and in use:
It's actually on the desk in the living room, but it's not easy to get a good picture in there. What do you think? I like it as a slightly unusual cloche; certainly, the price can't be beat. Do you often find things that with only a slight amount of tweaking work out well?

Have a good evening!


December 6, 2013

Hanging out in the dining room

Hello, folks, how's it going? We are having cold weather for a change, a startling turn of events, since all too often it's over 80 in November and December.

Staying indoors, a little more decoration has been done in the dining room.

The cat shrine has a  few holiday touches; next to it is a berry wreath:
On the buffet, inside the terrarium:
The terrarium has a Christmas cactus in it and a pretty plate behind it with some mini candle lights in the foreground. The wooden church that was a gift from middle daughter Mary has a tiny red picket fence around it from a thrift shop.
on the bookcase, a tiny red pickup carries a tiny bottle brush tree. They are on top of a wooden book-shaped box with beautiful poinsettias on the front, a score at Tuesday Morning this past January at deep discount.

Now here, we see Santa taking a new approach:
He  may deliver toys by sleigh, but it seems as if he's hauling a tree home using a truck. 

I hope you all are enjoying your own decorating efforts and your family and friends are impressed. 

Till next time,

December 5, 2013


Hello, folks, how's the week rolling along so far? We are having near summer weather, but that's supposed to change in a few days, with cold temperatures and storms. It seemed like showing you how the fairy garden is celebrating before that happens would be a good idea.

I went out to decorate but was confronted by this:

From a tiny plant in a one-inch pot, this succulent grew into a monster! It looks as if it's on steroids and was blocking the entire house, so moving it was the first priority. Here the giant is in a new location.

After that, it was just a matter of sprucing up for winter.

The gnome has a gingerbread cottage for a residence now, and there is a snow covered stump in his yard. His shiny, star-topped tree has attracted the attention of a visiting reindeer, which doesn't seem to scare the little dog lying by the doorstep. Looks like he's all set for the holidays, ready to entertain and enjoy the season.

Do you decorate doll houses or fairy gardens for different holidays and seasons? Since it's so much fun, it's hard to see how anyone can resist!

Catch you on the flip side,

December 3, 2013

In the living room

Hi, Peeps,

How's it going today? We're still having lovely weather here.

I've been working in the living room quite a bit. We don't have a tree yet, but here is the rest:

Some fake poinsettias on the little bench near one bookcase.
A little vignette on the top shelf of the bookcase.
This is above the poinsettias.
On the second shelf, in front of books. The ceramic figures of the Holy Family on the flight to Egypt. It reminds me of the time a friend and I taught third grade Sunday School. We had to backtrack and explain to the children that this was not done by plane; none of them knew it could be anything else.
Here is the peg rack by the door. There is a wintery bird nest, a little house, a stocking, snowflake and a wreath bought at the after Christmas sale at World Market in 2012.
Below the peg rack is the little red box from last year.
Across the room on the desk. A cloche with some trees, a wreath on an old camel my grandmother owned, a straw tree shape and red and white candles in a silver holder with acorns that are also jingle bells.

That's the room so far, with a couple of areas still to do.

Take it easy,


Moving right along . .

Hello, friends,

Are you let down after the holiday hoopla, long weekend and shopping, or are you ready to go back to your normal routine? Count me in that last category.

I have  been working all weekend, without finishing all my decorating, what a surprise. Here are some of the areas that did get attention:

The bedroom gets a garland, this one a gift from last year that spells out "Rejoice".

In the dining room some tins and things were removed from the top of the bookcases to make room for a small forest of evergreens:

Anther garland here as well.

Too bad I couldn't reach that candle to straighten it up before taking a picture.There is a Mercury glass vase with artificial greenery and berries in it along with the trees and a big red glass vase filled with fruit that looks like it's covered in sugar crystals. 

For my Advent countdown I am going to give something away  each day. Sunday was easy, a big bag of non-perishables for the food pantry went to church with me. I've been keeping an eye out for loss leaders to get the best deals on staples for the needy. Last year I dithered and ran out of time and didn't get toys to Walgreen's in time for their toy drive and had to find a fire station instead. To avoid a repeat, I took a bag of children's books and puzzles to the drugstore this morning, so that's today  taken care of. Tuesday may be a donation of books to the library for their sale. 

What's your strategy for decorating? Do you go all out and do interior and exterior in one fell swoop, or go at it more gradually like old slow me? 

Have a good one!


December 2, 2013

Coming and Going

Hello, all,

I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday. Ours was more a comedy of errors; perhaps someday in memory someday it will feel funnier than it did at the time. 

Today was strip the house of autumn decor first thing; later on Mr. B started getting Christmas decor out of the attic. Let the decorating games begin!

It seemed logical to start with the front door:

I really like this tin sign like a giant manila tag.

A faux-snow covered swag of greens.

Mr. B helped hang the garland on some cup hooks put up a few years ago.

Meanwhile, around at the back door:

More tin manila tags, in a smaller version, along with a message on a red ski:

The best gift the season could provide. Sorry for the bum picture, the back faces west and the sun is really bright today.

Anyway, here is the first efforts for Christmas. Are you anxious to get yours up, or are you all finished and ready to sit and enjoy your home?

Take it easy,

November 26, 2013

Jumping the Gun

Hello, all,

How is your Tuesday going so far? Mine has been frustrating, trying to accomplish a task online that turned out to be a much bigger deal than anticipated. 

Despite it still being two days until Thanksgiving, one of the many times waiting on hold, my thoughts turned to Christmas. Probably everyone has seen the very cute rustic pickup trucks carrying a tree in the back. I don't have a cool vintage toy, though, so thought about making a little vignette  using a different type of ride. 

It's a reproduction old style vintage bicycle. 

This industrious rider came prepared, with a blanket and hot cocoa in a thermos to make a winter picnic of it. 

From a slightly different angle. Just the merest beginnings of an idea that may work into something better before the season is over. 

What do you think? Does Thanksgiving falling so late this year mean you're starting to lose interest a bit in the long wait till it gets here? That seems to be the case here, with me totally tired of pumpkins and all fall decor. 

Have a good one,

November 25, 2013

Brain Strain

Hi, folks,

That's what I got trying to switch out the picture on my header. By the time this not so difficult task was accomplished I was too tired to write a real post. But at least, there is something new to look at up top.

Sorry to be such a dolt!


November 22, 2013

Fast on Friday

Hello, friends,

No more moaning about hot, muggy weather from me. A front blew in with much cooler temps and rain today, a dramatic switch.

Unable to resist, I picked a bag of bottle brush trees at Goodwill today and just had to play with them a bit. This is very unlike me. Normally, no Christmas decor comes out till December 1, but what the heck, it's a self made up rule, so okay for me to break it, right?

Here is my first attempt at a tiny display:

It's in a corner of the dining room. It has gradually dawned on me, being a slow learner, that some of my favorite parts of the month are the foliage: poinsettias, holly, evergreens of all kinds, that and the lights on houses and buildings. In fact, Mr. B and I have made a pact to go out twice a week during the season, driving a different route going and coming back, to miss as few festive displays as possible this year. 

Are you sneaking small starts already, or are you better at self discipline than some of us?

Have a great weekend!


November 21, 2013

A baby gift

Hello, everyone,

It is annoyingly warm here today, well, at least if you're hustling around trying to get things done (notice, no mention of succeeding in that effort is mentioned) as is the case here. 

Here is a baby gift put together for my friend's daughter.

When my eyes landed on this can in a thrift shop it seemed like a great container to use for a present.

Some of the items inside it include a board book, a rattle, a cup and a  plate:

A padded hanger:

There is a silver spoon tied to the handle with some polka dot ribbon. The card is thrifted too, a Laurel Burch design featuring kittens in a baby carriage.

It was fun to put this together. I hope the new mom enjoys opening the contents. There is also a bag with some books for big sister, too.

Have a great evening!


November 20, 2013

A couple of changes

Hello, all, and a happy Wednesday headed your way.

Today I did a couple of minor changes, not sure if they're permanent or not. A year or more ago an old kitchen drawer showed up in a trash heap, begging to be picked. After cleaning and pulling the old contact paper off the bottom, so:

I'm not sure Mr. B will go for this configuration, but if he doesn't there are plenty of other uses for a shallow drawer.

In the same area:

My miniature bench holds oatmeal and brown sugar.

Another  look at the drawer:

And a bonus question. Can anyone name and tell me what this item is for? It came in a box from Freecycle; all the other items were easily identified.


Till next time,