January 31, 2018:


Today is the Super Duper Blue Red Full Eclipse Partial Eclipse Moon, depending on where you may be viewing from.

Three years ago this day was my last day of working and I retired after 46 years of full-time work. I've enjoyed every single moment of my retirement since then - three years and hoping for twenty more, we'll see how things go...

February and March can be cruel months in southeastern Wisconsin where I live. January itself was nutso here weather-wise, with two separate thaws. I don't ever remember getting two January thaws before, and many years none happened at all.

Before I know it I'll be headed to Las Vegas to visit my friends and celebrate some sunshine and warm weather, and see a show (I always try to squeeze one in). Meanwhile, I am continuing, slowly, to make this smaller retirement ranch into a home that makes me smile in every room. I still have lots to do, including major painting projects. I keep putting them off. Seems at 66 I'm not so keen on painting as I was at 36. Gee, I wonder why...


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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