January 31, 2014

So long, January

You may be the #1 month on the calendar, but I suspect you'll not win any popularity prizes in 2014. Since it's all too tempting to move on, here is a small project I did today.
I gathered some of the Valentine essentials under a cloche: a book of love poems,
a faux chocolate bon bon, a candle and a heart as a head start to the sweetest holiday of the year. Are you ready to ride January out of town on a rail and plan for the 14th too? 

Have a good one,

January 30, 2014

Our feathered friends

Hello, folks,

I hope everyone is digging out from snow and ice and things are settling down.
It is warmer here today, but so far still overcast.

Mr. B is a big bird watcher and we have several feeders in a tree outside the kitchen window. Unfortunately, they are all hung too high for me to reach to fill.
A while back I picked up a pretty coral sugar bowl at a thrift shop for less than a dollar, but so far haven't figure out how to use it exactly.
Standing in the kitchen earlier this afternoon I had a brainstorm. Thus,
Now it has a job to do!
Plus, it's the best kind of project, requiring barely more effort than is needed to breathe.  I'm not knowledgeable like Mr. B is, but have enjoyed observing since we moved here. We see ordinary birds most days, had several colored parrots for a while, and once saw the circle of life up close and personal, as a hawk caught a smaller bird in flight and sat in our yard to finish its meal. Do you feed the birds where you live?

Take it easy,

January 29, 2014

Thawing out

Hi, folks,

I hope you are warm and safe now if you're in one of the parts of the country hard hit by the latest storm. We have sunshine today and higher temperatures and very grateful for this improvement indeed.

Obviously, with the storm last week and then again Tuesday there hasn't been much opportunity to go to thrift shops, but I have picked up a couple of things. Saturday Mr. B and I went to a library sale
where we got a few books, then were surprise to see a yard sale in a parking lot on the way home.The books were from the sale and the little green flower pot at the sale found the same day. I found the Starbucks mugs at Salvation Army, as well as the plates, cell phone case and picture frame. The Christmas plate is for a gift for my oldest daughter, who was born in the year it represents.

The fuzzy sweater with a big button is for the same daughter and came from Sand Dollar. I'm hoping warmer weather there will be more chances to hunt for treasure.

How has your thrifting been lately? Good or on a hiatus?

Till next time,

January 28, 2014


Hi, friends,

Today all my effort went to taking the Christmas picture off the top of my blog. If you knew how hard that was for me and how long it took to make it look even halfway decent you would probably think "Wow, she's an idiot." But it did take that long and now I'm tired and cranky. And cold.

See you tomorrow,

January 27, 2014

A new week

Hello, all,

This is going to have to be quick. Our weather is fine now, but supposed to crater tonight. In advance of the front, allergens are apparently fleeing in droves, heading this direction. I can hardly type for sneezing!

Last week I did a small project and then took a picture of it. However, when attempting to get the image from the camera to the computer there was an issue. Which is weird, because it's the same way I've always transferred pictures since getting the laptop for Christmas. Today upon trying the same method it worked just fine. AAARRRGGGHHH! Do you think computers do this just to mess with us? It seems all too likely.

January is getting old fast, what with the birthday marathon and bad weather, so my thoughts moved ahead to February. Here is the re-done shadowbox with thoughts of all things sweet and loving:

A string of wooden hearts, a candle and a little pitcher with a red rose in it, a small step towards a different month with a great holiday. 

And now I must go in search of more tissues. I hope wherever you are you're able to stay safe and warm away from the next polar event.


January 21, 2014

Mini Project for Tuesday

Hi, Friends,

Is it as hard for you to believe that we're three weeks into January as it is for me? Or is time moving at a slower rate for you?

Recently I rearranged the setup where I work on my laptop. Instead of a desk, it's on an old kidney-shaped dressing table from a thrift shop. It's pretty rough and not refurbished at all, but for $8.00 it had to go home with me. It still has the swing-out arms and thumbtack holes from an earlier incarnation where it wore a skirt. Recently I moved it from the wall in one corner 90 degrees so it's in front of a window now. My bulletin board is there, because the view is straight across the street to our useful neighbor's forecourt at J E and A Mechanics. 

Moving it left a section of bare wall to my right, so for the first time since 2008 and the great Ike disruption there is a place to hang this:

It's a very common wood-framed blackboard from Ikea, but still handy to have.

To my left:

Sorry about the glare. That is actually a sheet of wrapping paper framed sitting by the cat tree where Freckles is having a wash. There are actually two of the poster frames, but the one above it has an obstruction sticking out that I didn't have the energy to find a ladder and fix. It's different titles but a similar effect.

There you have my workspace, pretty modest but it's fine for now. The new position of the table was a good idea, and I'm glad it finally dawned on me to hang the blackboard in the newly vacated space. Does a new year make you re-think space, storage and use around your home? 

Take it easy,

January 20, 2014

A good time to read

Hello, all, I hope your Monday has gone well so far.

I don't know about you, but often this time of year my thoughts turn to well loved books and a period of re-reading begins. If you like historical fiction and you've never run into the series about the Sprague and Day families by Elswyth Thane you are in for a treat. Although called The Williamsburg Novels, actually in subsequent books they leave Virginia for other places in the world. The story begins with the time around the Revolutionary War in America and finishes soon after the start of WWII in England.

In order the titles are:
Dawn's Early Light
Yankee Stranger
Ever After

followed by:
The Light Heart
Kissing Kin
This Was Tomorrow

finishing with:

This is a multi-generational saga of two families who intermarry so there are both recurring characters and  younger newcomers to carry the stories along. They are truly addicting, and no doubt I'm not the only fan who was sad she stopped with Homing, leaving a lot of interesting possibilities up in the air. These are books that stay with you peopled by men and women you learn to care deeply about. My set was accumulated at library sales and in used book stores over several years. They are a treasure of wonderful reading. If you've never heard of them, you're in for a treat. 

Do you re-read old books periodically?  Are series, rather than stand alone titles among your favorites, because what reader doesn't always want more, more, more? 

Till next time,

January 17, 2014

Friday, finally

Hello, all you Friday lovers. Do you have some fun lined up for the weekend?

Today I thought I'd show you one of my first blogging projects and how it has evolved. It started with a blog party. My inspiration was this:
a picture from a magazine, saved and framed. It might have come from an issue of Real Simple. My recreation was this:
 but more than a year later it had gotten messy and disorganized. With a little work, we now have this:
It's neatened up considerably, but still represents my interests well. There's a button from the Betsy-Tacy Society,sheet of caricatures of Mr. B made by a co-worker years ago,  photo of a favorite author, Anne Tyler, birthday card from a friend featuring a fat gray cat, stamps from packages received, Texas postcard and much more, including the so true statement, Everything is better with bacon. Instead of just tacks or push pins it employs hooks, clothes pins and envelopes to handle the contents, and is a good place for favorite pins acquired over the years, including one the cheerful demonstrators of Tillamook cheese gave me the last time they visited our local Kroger. Can you see the little deer clothespin? It's one of a set of cute woodland creatures middle daughter Mary gave me for Christmas. I rotated the table in here, so now the board is in front of the window blocking some of the blinding sun this room gets, facing east, right behind the laptop. It's always cheering to rest your eyes on things you enjoy when you lift them from the computer screen, isn't it?  Thus winds up this week. I hope yours was restful and/or productive with something nice to anticipate for the weekend!

Have a good one,


January 16, 2014

Just a little decorating

Hello, all,

This is going to have to be short and sweet because the day is racing by.

Continuing my movement through the house at approximately the speed of a glacier, today I made it to the dining room centerpiece. Here is the end result:

It seemed like a good idea to add a little glitter and shine to that table of mine because the room is dark and this time of the year days are short and light at a premium. It is a round tin tray with a mercury glass pedestal bowl heaped with cut glass decanter stoppers and a mirrored piece once part of a candlestick under the big cloche. Nothing fancy, but good till next month and Valentine's day!

And now I must love you and leave you and go do some early dinner prep so Mr. B won't complain he's starving when he walks in the door!

Till next time,

January 15, 2014

Slow but steady

Hello, all,

I said the dining room was next to be fluffed after the great glitz removal, so that's where my effort was concentrated today. It's simple, to go along with the plainer evergreens from yesterday:
The terrarium has pine cones and one candle in a mercury glass holder.
Here is a closer view.
Also, since it's right there next to the terrarium, here is the new shade picked up at the Manna store Monday. Isn't it too cute? Especially for $2.00.

I haven't forgotten the center of the table, am am still working on something to go there. Do you have trouble coming up with ideas after December?

Take it easy!


January 14, 2014


Hello, Friends,

Did you get a new calendar for 2014, or maybe more than one? Mine is very funny, a gift from a friend. Looking at this month, although it is super busy for our family, there isn't a whole lot to use as a hook to decorate. We just took down the glitter and glitz of Christmas, and in a couple of weeks it will be time to think about Valentine's Day, more bright colors and excuses to shine. But until then, maybe a little austerity is in order.

Here are two areas fixed up simply for this in-between time:
The end table by the sofa, close to the door and the desk have both been treated to some evergreens in off white containers, a pitcher from Ikea and a shabby chic can. These are artificial, since our cats try to eat anything live indoors, which exacerbates the hairball issue no end. It's easier to use fake greenery in the house. I like the touch of color and simplicity of these modest displays; it's a start. Tomorrow, on to the dining room!

Do you have a general theme through the year and never deviate, or try to work with holidays and seasons, which can be confounding at times. Right now this feels like an adequate start. 

Have a good one!


January 13, 2014

A new week

Hi, Folks,

Sorry for being AWOL, but I'm having a hard time adjusting to 2014. Between extra cold weather last week, two celebrations between Monday and Friday and trying to get used to Windows 8, my brain about seized up for good. However, I'm hoping to do better from now on. 

Although the picture at the top of the blog hasn't been changed, there are a few others around here, notably in the Fairy Garden. It looks like the gnome has decided to roam for a while. He left a pretty fairy to house sit for him:
Here you see she just flew in and is perched on the chimney, perhaps wondering if she should stay or not. 
Now she's standing by the front door; that seems like a good sign. There is a new mushroom that's popped up to greet herand the little dog stayed behind. 
The neighborhood has also acquired a mailbox and she has a little fire pit for chilly nights; really, along with the birdbat and little table, what else could she ask for?

This is a small Cicely Mary Barker Flower Fairy ornament found in a bag of assorted things at a local thrift shop recently. The gnome took such a beating from the sun he's in need of re-painting in the worst way. It is wonderful to have pleasant weather now and be able to spend a few minutes outside without being miserable. Yes, Texas weather isn't even considered cold by some of you who live farther north, but think about it--if we live for months on end with temperatures over 95 degrees day in and day out, getting to 25 is a huge shock to our systems! 

May your week be off to a good start and only get better!

Later, Michele

January 3, 2014

First '14 Thrift Scores

Hello, Friends, 

Are you busy TG ing the day of the week, glad of a weekend ahead even after all the recent holidays? I suspect you aren't alone. This is a good time of the year to visit thrift shops, at least here, because people seem to be in a frenzy of clearing out at the first of the year. Here are some of my recent finds.

A nice vintage Christmas tablecloth, two Villeroy and Boche place mats with a border of holly leaves and berries. Two winter themed plates with cheery cardinals and a red mercury glass candle holder. A pink and brown new ornament with a C on it headed to my granddaughter, and red and blue plaid sheet and pillow cases in cozy flannel that will pair with a solid red fitted sheet. These are nice, but not remarkable. Then we come to this:
This score came from Goodwill. It is new, with tags still attached made by Jan Constantine. A search on the internet showed one smaller than this, 10"x 14" versus mine which is 18" x  13". The one online was $67. The one in the picture was $2.99. Score!

Almost as big a favorite comes an item with a back story. Years ago, maybe 10 or more a friend and I were shopping for books. We stopped at one thrift where the books weren't much, but I did pick up this:
Ever since it's been a trusty companion for overnight trips with never a problem. The zipper works, handles are sturdy and it holds a lot. Imagine how delighted I was then, to find its first cousin:
a backpack purse in the same pattern! None of these things cost more than $5 and many were considerably less, like the Mercury glass candle holder that was .30 cents. It seems the thrifting year is off to an auspicious start. May your finds be just as thrilling in 2014!

Take it easy, 

January 2, 2014

Happy New Year!

Hello, all. 

How were your holidays? Wonderful, I hope. Ours were nice. I am sorry they're over and hate taking down the decorations. I am writing this post on my present from Mr. B, a spiffy new laptop. It's giving me brain strain trying to use it, but it's a dream compared to my old one.  Today has been all about trying to clean up and find places for the stuff from the attic, which has been a challenge, since there don't seem to be enough containers and storage items for what we used. It's very strange. Tomorrow there will be a real post. For today, though, there is this:

Till next time,