December 4, 2016: Hola everyone! Winter has arrived in Milwaukee and there are snow flurries today. Despite several hard freezes remarkably my "spikes" in two of my patio planters have absolutely refused to die. The rosemary and thyme plants I nursed inside the house through last winter spent the summer in their pot outside next to the side stoop off the driveway, where they get plenty of sunshine all day long. I transplanted them into a cozy sheltered spot right next to the stoop in October and they are still green and growing, too! With the delay in getting the drywall patching done in the relatively minor "reconstruction" work I had done in my kitchen, I am way behind my time in getting the house decorated. But yesterday I got my wreath decked out with extra lights and dressed the front door of the house, and my battery-operated traditional candles were put up on the window sills all around the house Friday evening. It becomes a ritual to go around at dusk and turn the tops to the right to turn the candles "on" and at bedtime to go around and turn the tops to the left to turn the candles "off." Today I put some "glittery" throw pillow covers purchased new last month from H&M on three of my sofa pillows to glam things up a bit in the living room and add some sparkle. Later on, after I sufficiently fuel myself up with wine and snacks and probably to distract myself while I listen to the Packers game on the radio, I will huff and puff and pull my artificial tree up from storage in the basement. I will decorate it simply this year. Every year I say that, and every year I end up throwing just about everything except the kitchen sink on the tree. I am very proud of myself this year, though. I did not buy a single new ornament or Christmas doo-dad for the house (throw pillow covers don't count!!!) Happy Holidays to all, with hope and fervent prayers for 2017. I've a feeling we're all going to need a lot of help from Goddess in the coming year. Jan

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Some Really Cool Ideas...

I should be in bed already.  At the very least, I should be earnestly scrubbing up and getting ready for bed.  It's sleeting cats and dogs outside now and it will be an absolute bitch to ice-skate the 9 block trek to the bus stop tomorrow morning.  By rights, I should leave at least 20 minutes earlier than normal, because I will have to walk like a duck in order to make it safely (I hope) from here to there.  Damn!  But - hark!  Is that the Herald Angels I hear singing?  Hell no.  It's the Channel 4 weatherman who says it will get WARMER tonight (up to 50 degrees F) and so by morning all the ice will be gone and we should see nothing but rain.

Yeah.  Right.  Perhaps it will finally be time to try out my Yaks Traks!!!

Anyway, I got this nutso crazy idea in my head this morning about "doing" the mantle for Easter/Oestre (in honor of the Mother Goddess)/Spring and it's taken nearly complete hold of me already.  Geez!  I actually nearly ran over to the TJMaxx in the downtown Mall during lunch hour earlier today and -- thank Goddess! -- a few of those really cute small bird plates were still at hand!  I grabbed one with "pinky" birds and one with "yellowy" birds; then I saw a larger square-shaped plate with pink and blue birds on it in a sort of "Oriental Abstract Moderne" take -- well, you'll just have to wait to see the photos.  I said "YES" and added that to my "to buy" pile.  Then I saw this ceramic basket in blues, greens and naturals with two little "blue birds" perched on its rim and that was also added to the "to buy" pile.  And, while I was in the check-out line (I kid you not, but I swear they film you and do it on purpose...) I came across this little ceramic bird in a lovely creamy white color.  She was decorated with small openings in a criss-cross pattern and I thought she must be a votive.  I grabbed her and added her to my stash as I was summoned to Check-Out Number Two.  Unfortunately, the opening she has in her bottom is not large enough to fit a votive candle inside (real or battery-operated) but right now she is stuffed with pleasantly scented something-or-other.  She's a sachet! 

Three plates, the ceramic bird "sachet" and the ceramic "Easter" basket all rang in under $19.  Thank you, TJMaxx!

But I digress!  I wanted to just show you these neato things instead, both of which I found at Budget Wise Home blog -- and she gave me such inspiration!

First:

In her entry from February 23, 2012 under the heading "New Uses for Everyday Things" comes a revelation about using a cup and saucer to make an elevated serving tray!  I've seen plates glued to wine glasses, etc. and I've pretty much thought "how cute" or even "how clever" before, but I don't recall seeing this particular rendition of a very good idea!  And just tonight, when I was trying this, that and the other thing trying to get an "elevated" area to "install" a really cute bird house as part of my Easter/Oestre/Spring mantle display and driving myself absolutely nuts, if I had only seen this beforehand!  Duh!

Image from Budget Wise Home
Well, I've heard it said that suffering improves the soul or something like that. Not sure I believe that, mind you, but the Goddess Giveth and the Goddess Taketh Away. I am definitely going to try it out if I can find the right cup/saucer or plate combination in the next few days - otherwise, it will have to wait.  Because, wouldn't you know it, I came up with an alternative solution using what I already had on hand in the meantime (earlier tonight, while watching "The Biggest Loser" and tearing through my cabinets and various stashes of stuff to see what I could come up with), and no gluing was involved. And I'm kinda liking what I came up with.  Probably because I came up with it and not because it looks so hot.  But, hey!

Second:

If you are a reader here (har!) you'll have seen that recently I've just become absolutely nutso obsessed with birds and, evidently, have been absolutely nutso obsessed with them for years but didn't realize it until, more or less, around February 10, 2012 when I started tearing my bedroom apart, determined to "redo" it.  Anyway, tonight I saw this absolutely gorgeously stunning idea for a BIRD MOBILE, and it just made me gasp for oxygen.  I mean it! 

Check out Budget Wise Home's post on this "bird mobile" from February 28, 2012.

Image from Budget Wise Home
This clever idea -- that can be realized in so many different ways other than cutting out any material or any hand-sewing (or machine sewing) at all - Well, Darlings!  It is totally cool and have given me an idea to try out where I won't have to sew anything, but I will have to come up with some already-made artificial birds.  I feel a visit to Michael's and/or Joanne Fabrics coming on in the near future...

Okay, so how did they get the clear fishing line so neatly "stuck" to the sticks?  Are those little jewely hooky-things I spy screwed into those branches?  Whoa!  Way too technical for me and my big fat clumsy fingers!    But I'll figure something out...

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