Tablescapes, Home Decor, Thrifting, Cooking

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Christmas Continued

I've missed talking with all of you, but I AM totally enjoying this week. It is truly one of my favorite weeks of the year. All the Christmas hub bub is over and it's time to relax with family and really enjoy each other and the decorations. We have played lots of Scrabble, Kings on the Corner and Pitch.

My mother is here and one of my daughters just left last night. More company coming tonight.

I really look forward to catching up with everyone's blog in a few days. It will be fun to exchange New Year's organization tips and see what everyone has planned!

Happy New Year All!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Christmas Lights, Snow and Faux

Many of you have commented on my header ~~ this sweet vintage bicycle all dressed up for the holidays, snow and lights included. Oh yes, I love the evergreens and pinecones with fresh snow settling around in the basket. I wish I could say this sat in my front yard. There is a charming little town near Chicago called Geneva where this bicycle is parked in front of a store front. I have hopes of duplicating this in some form one of these days. My daughter lives in Chicago and a few years back she invited me to come and take the train to do a little Christmas shopping in Geneva. This town consists of several blocks of old homes that have been turned into shops. It's almost like a storybook setting. It was bitter cold...single digits in early December. We had on cuddle duds and layers of tops, sweaters, scarves and gloves. It didn't seem to matter how cold it was. It just felt right to be shopping, from one old house ~~ turned shop into another. It seemed to part of Christmas with all the lights, the snow, the frost bitten noses and laughing all the way as mothers and daughters do. Evidentually we searched for a coffee shop and then later a bowl of hot yummy soup.
This picture shows me a few hair colors back. :)
I don't know about you, but I could sure use a few more days to prepare for Christmas. My list is long and we are in for freezing rain with snow on top later today.
These are pictures of arrangements I have sold. Faux isn't so bad now is it?? No shedding and you can use the pieces again next year.
This was taken at my friend's house. Another lady wanted this same arrangement so I snapped a picture so I could duplicate. This wallpaper has since been removed, by the way! :)
I love this one with it's masculine feel, feathers, feather ball and moss with a reindeer handled container.
I must keep crossing things off my list now. How are you doing, by the way?

Monday, December 15, 2008

Pixie Elves and Other Christmas Decorations

The year was 1969. My mother purchased this tree topper blinking brightly off and on ~ off and on as I sat dreamily (is that a word?) on the couch mesmerized by just everything in my presence. You see this was the Christmas I knew my Mr. Brown Socks was going to give me an engagement ring. Could this be why I have a new found love for Pixie Elves? My mother still puts this sweet topper on her tree each Christmas because she knows how much I love it.
Recently I found this vintage planter which I just adore. While shopping last week I found these other two little elves in a big plastic bag of old ornaments and Christmas decor at my local thrift shop for 1.99. Excitement!!
Below is a picture of this year's Christmas tree. It is full of lights and loaded with ornaments. I just love looking at my ornaments with a new love for them each year.
The little reindeer is plastic and was my husband's as a boy. His mother always had it hanging from her tree. When she passed away, it came home with me.
The ribbon banner reads, Keep Christmas In Your Heart.
The nativity sits on my sofa table front and center of my open living room/entry. The flash makes it look very gold, but it really is pretty.
I have the holy family plus the three wisemen. There were animals available, but the pieces are so big I didn't think I needed them.
I hope you are warm as we are getting closer and closer to Christmas. It is bitterly cold in my part of the country. Until next time........

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Christmas in a Condo

I really didn't mind leaving my list of things to do behind. It didn't bother me that the packages are still left in bags unwrapped. Who really cares that the Christmas letter hasn't been written. It will all get done........RIGHT?? I can be a very last minute person if need be. Mr. Brown Socks and I have been trying to get to Chicago for sometime now. You see one of our daughters lives in an old refurbished condo that has been totally gutted and brought from old to new. She purchased it about a year ago. The furniture and decor has been slow in coming, but that's okay. She is taking her time, saving her money and trying to make sure she does it the way she wants. She and several friends formed a dinner club a few months back and as luck would have it, December turned out to be her month to host it. We felt it would be a small group being in December but the calls turned into yeses and she was up to 16. I told her it would make ME nervous to have 16 for dinner. Mr. Brown Socks has been wanting to go and make sure his little darling's car was ready for the harsh Chicago winter and it seemed the perfect time to go and let him to that while I helped daughter number two with food with maybe a little decorating on the side. We found this gorgeous, lucious antique mirror off Craigslist in August. It has been propped up against the fireplace since then waiting to be hung. Thank goodness for Mr. Brown Socks. She had these fun white lights from a Pottery Barn clearance a few years back, along with the glass tree topper, oh...and also the little white Christmas tree candles. Can you see them tucked in behind some little red berries? The little chandelier was found by me at a nice children's store in my mom's hometown. It was going out of business. The sweet little light was on a final clearance for around $20. I think it was meant to be hung above a crib, but isn't it just as fun on a mantle?
Daughter #2 had already strung these vintage robin's egg blue ornaments with brown ribbon in her brown and blue bathroom by the time I got there.
We found this sweet little mistletoe hand towel at TJ Maxx and a silver votive holder at another store to finish up on some little touches.
The menu needed to be simple with so many so D#2 decided on lasagne. Two pans of traditional hamburger.......and......
one pan of spinach lasange. She isn't sure if there are vegetarians. The sauce was so good. I wish I could be there tonight to taste it! Last of all, the start of the beverage table. My mother had given her this vintage red tablecloth which worked over a patio table to hold drinks. Do any of you recognize this old ice bucket? Mr. Brown Socks and I received one like it as a wedding gift and years ago I got rid of it. :( I saw this same bucket in an antique store one day for close to $30. I was really sad I parted with it. Well, lo and behold there was "the bucket" at Goodwill last week. I decided Emily was probably in need of an ice bucket, so it went into my carry on and off to Chicago.
I'm sure the bag checkers at the airport were wondering why I was carring all these decorations. I am sad I didn't get a picture of her table and the rest of the condo. Maybe I can show you that another time.
I hope you enjoyed this little tour of Emily's Christmas decorations.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

A few Christmas Decorations And Another December Birthday

Well, it's taken me about 2 1/2 days but I have done almost all the decorating I'm going to do. It comes down to ~~ do I want to keep tweeking the decor or should I possibly write a Christmas letter and perhaps wrap a few gifts??
I love Byer's Choice Carolers. I have tried grouping them in many ways, but seem to like them better when they are somewhat split up. This year I put some on the mantle and some on my entry table.
I just adore the expressions on their faces ~~ just singing their little hearts out.
When my daughters were younger they thought they were hidious and now they like them. Funny how time changes things!
Hopefully tomorrow I will have time to show you a few more pictures of my Christmas decor.
I want to apologize to any of you who have a December birthday! We should be happy to celebrate YOU no matter what the month is.
In fact in a couple of hours I will be getting fixed up for a very special birthday. My sweet husband turns the bix six oh! today. I'm not sure where the years have gone, but I am so thankful I married my wonderful husband.
Happy Birthday Mr. Brown Socks
(I'll tell you that story some fine day)

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

It's Time you meet Chester

He looks innocent enough, doesn't he? Don't let those baby brown eyes fool you. He's actually listening to see if his owner's have stepped out for awhile so he can go have some fun in the kitchen.
Chester is a German Shorthair. Normally this breed weighs in between 60-65 or so pounds. Chester tips the scales at around 105. Yep, he's a big boy with a big appetite for turkey and cookies!
This is my pride and joy. Meet Magnolia. We call her Maggie or Mags for short. She is so prim and proper as you can see by the way she lays her head just so on the pillow while catching her beauty rest.
She is right up there with the nicest cat I've ever had and I've had a lot of cats in my day!
What is it about cats and boxes?
While we're at it, meet Boo. This is my daughter's calio. Isn't she beautiful? She was adopted at the Humane Society. She had been taken from a meth house that had been busted. She is also a very nice cat. She stays with us when my daughter is out of town. I love having her here.
Don't know who this cat is, but doesn't this picture just make you giggle?

Sunday, December 7, 2008

More Designs for a Customer

Every year I feel like I am on top of the season. Shopping early is something I enjoy doing and I seem to get many names crossed off in October and early November. Almost every year Thanksgiving is in my home. We almost always have the light fixture above the dining room table decorated for Christmas because my Silk Thumb open house is usually the week prior to Thanksgiving. Trying to keep tradition strong, I resist having too much Christmas out because I want to be loyal to our Thanksgiving holiday. I have come to the conclusion that next year I want to be decorated for Christmas before Thanksgiving. Between customer's orders, December birthdays (which I continue to say should be outlawed) my new volunteer position at my church (ordering fresh flowers for the altars and placing them in two church locations) which led to a second volunteer position (a newly formed decorating committee which I was informed just the other night that I am the chairman...huh?) I fall further and further behind with my decorating for Christmas. Plans to really get going with the garlands, berries, angels, carolers, nativities went by the wayside when Saturday turned out to be everything but decorating. We were invited to a Christmas party and asked to bring some kind of dessert. Why did I think it was necessary to bake 3 different types of cookies? I was also invited to a jewelry party, dropped off a gift for a family in need, made two trips to the grocery store and placed the flowers at the church. Barely having time to primp, we were out the door for our party at 5:30. Is this a good time to tell you that on Sunday afternoon, Chester our German Shorthair who ate our leftover turkey on Thanksgiving afternoon snuck up to our kitchen (off limits for him and he knows it) and cleared off my pretty red platter of leftover cookies?? He also finished off a bag of brown sugar and snacked on a few chocolate chips for good measure. Whoever said chocolate and dogs is not a good mix has not met Chester. Oh yes, he broke my pretty red platter which left a scratch on my wood floor. Since I am so far behind we even brought two of our young grandsons over to help decorate the Christmas tree downstairs in the rec room. At least we have one thing done. Because I still have very little decorating done in my home, I am showing you a project from the past. This was all for one home.... Remember the XL cornucopia I showed you pics of a while back?? This is their table decked out for Christmas with an XL poinsettia arrangement. Pictured below is what I did above their china cabinet. I just placed loose greenery and stuck some filler in that the home owner could easily reproduce the following year.
Same thing for one of their many mantles. If I had known I would be blogging, I would have taken pictures of the full rooms. I placed a simple lighted Christmas tree in this gorgeous dining room, potted in a nice urn.
The pear centerpiece went on their kitchen table. The lady of the home has two large pear prints which hang above this table.
Hopefully soon I will be able to show you some pictures of my decorations.
Until then............
I'm out the door to have breakfast with friends. Yes, it's another one of those should be outlawed birthdays in December.

Friday, December 5, 2008

To Change or Not to Change ~ that is the question

Would I dare not take Mary Carol's excellent advice?? This book is plum full of great decorating ideas. This woman truly has a gift. She is also the sweetest thing. I have been in her stores two or three times and each time she truly acts like she even remembers me. How could she when zillions of people plow through her shops each and every day. She really is a sweetheart along with being multi talented.
Back to the subject at hand. She shows this beautiful sconce changed out for the holiday. On one side of the page she shows how the sconce looks every day with just a candle. Then she transforms it into a Christmas beauty by adding red apples, pinecones, etc. It looks so festive and gorgeous, doesn't it?
BUT, I recently found these wonderful sconces that I am showing in my entry. They have the fake (no let's use the word faux, girls) FAUX candles that are battery operated. I love these things. Did you know they even sell them with a remote control to turn off and on?? I am so mad I didn't splurge for the extra $$'s to get the remote because it would be so much easier than taking these candles out of the glass to turn on.
Once again, back to the subject ~~ I love candle light at Christmas. Everything just glows and feels so warm on a cold winter's night. Should I take out my faux candles and do as Mary Carol suggests OR should I leave the candles and maybe add a little red ribbon to the base? Such serious decisions.............

Thursday, December 4, 2008

My First Tag!

Revealing time, huh? Kristen over at Kristen's Creations tagged me a couple of days ago and I'm just now getting time to sit down and answer. Six things seems like a lot, doesn't it? Who makes up these rules? :-)
6 Random Things About Myself.~~Here are the rules.1. Link to the person who tagged you.2. Post the rules on your blog (copy and paste 1-6)3. Write 6 random things about yourself.4. Tag 6 people at the end of your post and link to them.5. Let each person know they been tagged and leave them a comment.6. Let the tagger know when your entry is up.~~~~~~Here are my 6 random things: ~~~~~~
1. When I started my silk floral business almost 20 years ago, I had no flower arranging experience. I was invited to a silk plant party and fell in love with it all. Since we were about to move to another state, the owner agreed to share suppliers with me a give me a crash course on starting up a business. I started off with sticking a bush of 8 tulips into a basket, doing home parties. I was scared to death when someone wanted two different colors! LOL!
2. I absolutely LOVE cats. I have had cats all my life and couldn't imagine not having one. My mother tells me that as a child any writing from school would always revolve around a cat.
3. My favorite afternoon snack is a Tablespoon (or two) of peanut butter covered with chocolate chips...ummm.....did I just tell you that?
4. I followed my husband around during his 20 yr. career as an AF pilot. We have moved at least eight times and have owned 7 houses.
5. Some of you are too young to know who Donna Reed is but as my girls were growing up, I was known among their friends as "Donna Reed" aka Goody Two Shoes. I could be D.R.'s clone. Well, Donna Reed got picked up for not using her turn signal at 6:45 a.m. (no other cars around) AND not carrying her driver's license (because I was coming home from the gym) and she has a court date to present driver's license.
6. I was married at 20 and have been married for 38 years. If you are really good at math (unlike may just figure out my age.)
I am tagging:
Southern Inspiration:
Domestic Bliss
Sweet Pea
Meadowsweet Days
These are just a few among many fabulous bloggers. Go pay them a visit and tell them Donna Reed said "hey!"

Monday, December 1, 2008

As the Rest of you are Decorating for Christmas....

I am still putting fall away! Too much to do before I drag out all those Christmas crates but it needs to be done soon. Surely you all realize Thanksgiving came late this year so we are kinda sorta short by a week. Oh stress...please stay away.
Pictured today is a project I did for an area hospital lobby. Of course they were on a limited budget so I put most of the $$$'s on the large arrangement that sits on the counter where people stop to ask questions from the volunteer.
The Christmas tree took a long time because of the height and ladder situation and the fact it was basically just me doing all this. I did have a hospital employee help to fluff the branches. It would have been fun to add more jazziness to it, but money was a factor, doggone it.
The amaryllis really were showy, bright and happy. We used several groupings around the large lobby.
Why did I join a book club that meets in December? It seemed like a good idea two months ago when new friends were talking about all the fun they have and they invited me to join in on the fun. I always want to read, but it's never at the top of my list, so thought this would be a good way to get going on the book titles I always hear everyone talking about.
We are reading House of Daughters and to tell you truth, it hasn't been my favorite book so it's not so fun to make myself sit down and read it.
At the meeting we are to bring two dozen cookies to exchange. I'm thinking about Barefoot Contessa's Iced Ginger Cookies that my friend Jeannine got me hooked on. They really aren't a Christmas cookie but they are sooooo very good. I could sprinkle a little red sugar on the icing, right? Some day I will get really good and be able to provide links....Suzanne, I'm trying.
Another thing we are doing with my new Book Club is bringing a wrapped book to exchange. It can be new or slightly read. Why didn't I figure out all this before the calendar changed over to December?
No doubt you are all busy with many projects too.