May 20, 2018:

Hola!

Yesterday Prince Harry married American Meghan Markle and I couldn't get enough of the royal wedding. What a gorgeous dress, the bride was radiantly beautiful and the church at Windsor - oh my goodness, the flowers alone were soooo beautiful. There's nothing like a good love story to make one appreciate how precious we can be (and should be) to each other.

I'm glad the weather was perfect yesterday for the new Duke and Duchess of Sussex's wedding. I can't say the same for around here. Spring keeps teasing and then going away. This morning I woke up to a "balmy" 47 degrees F outside, rain, damp, and I turned the heat back on! It's May 20th, the heat. should. not. be. on. Period.

Last Thursday, however, was beautiful. I was able to get a goodly amount of yard and garden clean-up done over several days last week. I also took some photos of my flowering tree anchoring the north corner of my house and made the current collage. I think it's an ornamental cherry, and on the the other end of the house, I think that's called a purple sand cherry? I'll have to check that. The blossoms on the tree do not have a distinct fragrance, but the purple shrub that wants to be a tree (despite my hacking it back, back and back yearly - I'm losing, by the way) has myriad blossoms with a distinct fragrance. I can't decide if the scent is too beautiful to bear or too awful to smell, it certainly can be overpowering!

This coming week will be the third cut of the grass this season. We had rain late Friday night and then for several hours earlier this morning. This rain, on top of the rain we had over four days the prior weekend, and the grass is growing like nobody's business! I don't mind doing the grass, though, as long as it's not too hot, too cold, not raining, and not too windy. I'm not picky at all, am I...

I still have a lot of raking out of areas that suffered from snow mold over the winter, and have not yet really tackled cleaning out the north flower bed in the backyard. That will be a chore!

But Memorial Day weekend is coming. This coming Saturday I will be out with a friend (who has a nice large van - goody!) stocking up on potting soil, top soil to fill in never-ending low spots in the yard, grass seed, and lots of plants! For some reason, this spring seems busier than those in prior years. I can't figure out why that is...

Jan

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Getting Ready for the Holidays!

I haven't forgotten about this new blog of mine, but since before Thanksgiving I've been nutso busy!  It probably didn't help that I jetted off to Las Vegas to see my best friend and honorary sister, Isis ('Sis for short) and spent four wonderful days in above 70 degrees sun -- it really helped mostly knock out that nasty cold I came down with seriously the week of Thanksgiving! Wouldn't you know it.  But lots of wine, resting with my feet up in the sun, good food and good company all helped revive my wilting bod.

Mr. Don arrives on December 29th and we jet off to Spain on January 3rd!  For someone whom the Christmas spirit didn't really hit (not sure it has, yet), I've been a decorating demon.  Since decorating one's house is akin to decorating one's body with fashion and accessories -- well, okay, it's a stretch, but what the hell.

I started out looking online for Christmas decorating ideas.  Much of what I saw was just so far beyond both my expertise (I'm no crafter!) or incredibly expensive or incredibly impossible for one person to do on her absolute own; but then I found a few favorite blogs that are general "budget" decorating blogs but this time of year dedicated to the holidays.  I picked up some great ideas:


including this ornament wreath that I made myself!  It's just inexpensive ornaments strung onto a wire hanger shaped into a circle.  The ribbon hides the top that I ran out of ornaments for and filled with "junky" ornaments that otherwise would have been hidden in the middle of my tree, and for good measure I strung a few strands of gold beads around it.

This year - for the very first time since I had the fireplace installed in 2003, I made an attempt to decorate the mantle:


It's a working mantle - it's the only place to put the t.v. in this room and the t.v. is too small (only 19") to bother to wall mount.  So, I decorated around it!  I strung the gold French ribbon, added the hanging ornaments, flameless (battery operated) candles, stuck some gold decorative picks in the plant, installed the one-armed toy soldier made out of a clothespin in his place of honor in front of the t.v. (look closely and you can spot him), and my piece' de resistance' -- the decorated "branch" tree!  It's a cool idea I got from the internet.  It's just some branches cut from my thorny barberries, some still with the red berries clinging to them, with some tear drop ornaments and clear "icicles" hanging from the branches.  I liked the idea so much, I repeated it to decorate the dinette table for the Christmas get-together (held this past Sunday) with the ladies of the investment club. 

Another idea that's been around awhile but that I hadn't tried -- the ornament-filled hurricane glass on the coffee table.  It just so happened that the tall hurricane glass (already owned) fits neatly within an old iron candleabra (already owned) and it sparkles at night when I rest three tea lights on the candle-holders and light them up.  The faux topiaries on either side of the fire box are also pre-owned.  They were gifted to me years ago from Bombay Company which, unfortunately, is no longer in business.  They are dressed up with ribbons for the season.


Close-up of the decorated barberry branches.  I cut them and plopped them in a tall hurricane lamp cover. 


Corner vignette.  The only new purchase in this photo is the season-themed plate purchased from TJMaxx for $3.99.  I used an old (saved) Christmas card of a cardinal (I'm partial to them) and installed it in an old frame, and set out a Christmas card from my mom (has a cardinal on it) on the tabletop.  I added a very old red light bulb that has seen many Christmas' use in place of the regular energy-saving bulb to give a red glow to that part of the room. 

Various photos of the Christmas tree:


This photo was taken before I created the centerpiece for the mantle :)  You can't see it very well in this shot, but this year I have a proper tree-topper - two for $5 glittery stars from Walgreens wired together and maneuvered over the top branch.  This is the first year I used French ribbon to decorate the tree and it turned out better than I thought it would.



Close ups of tree with the lights on...


The French ribbon is translucent and just glows at night when I turn on the tree lights.


This year's Christmas tree in all of its glory!  Following the cardinal theme, I was inspired to print out some colored photographs of cardinals from the internet and frame them -- you can see them on the right side wall; I will likewise frame another cardinal print and hang it underneath the clock on the left wall.   I purchased that 4th frame just the other day at Walgreens for $5.  These are really nice wood (not faux wood) frames, complete with mats and the area within which the 5x7 photo or print is actually framed is set off with wood matching the frame so it really shows up against the cream mat.  The tree skirt was purchased this year from TJMaxx for $19.99.  I'm going to putz with it a bit, I want to stuff a sheet underneath it to give it some poof and also close up the opening around the tree base, then I'll see how it looks.  Before, I just crumpled up a tablecloth and formed it in a "circle" underneath the tree.  After perusing the internet, I realize now I'm not the only person who did that!  LOL! 

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