December 6, 2017:

Hola!

It's COLD here. Cold and windy. But the Sun has been out for the past 2 days so it's bright, and that helps me to bear the cold and the short days. Only 15 more days to Winter Solstice, and then each day, a few more minutes of daylight will magically begin to be added, and even though the cold and snow will continue, the "worst" will be over because I know we are over the hump and headed toward the Spring Equinox.

Meanwhile, I am busy decorating the tree. I dug out an old collage of photos from the former Maison Newton (above). Gosh, that was a beautiful fireplace. My current gel fuel fireplace is great, but no match for that large and lush gas fireplace in my former home. In my case, downsizing meant not only much less square footage and a single story (which IS nice), but no fireplace until I purchased my gel fuel fireplace. I love it, but there was only one wall I could put it on, and this current living room is much smaller than my former living room, so I sized the fireplace accordingly. (It was also much less expensive and did not need to be installed by professionals).

Yesterday I womaned up and muscled, huffed, puffed, cussed some, breathed heavily and heaved mightily to get my Christmas tree up the basement stairs and dragged into the living room, and then into position in front of the picture window overlooking the front of the house. Whew! Quite the work-out. But I wasn't ready this year to switch to a "single woman of a certain age" (4 foot tall) tree. Maybe next year...NAH!

Jan

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Spring Decorations Finalized

Hola darlings!

It's so beautiful here today!  In a continuation of the extremely unusual winter we've had in southeastern Wisconsin, today is no exception.  It's downright WARM outside right now.  So warm, in fact, that I turned off the heat and have windows throughout the house cracked open to allow in welcome fresh air! 

Those damn winds that have been roaring about constantly for the past seven days have FINALLY abated!  Whew!  Do you know how much work it is to walk uphill into a sustained 30 mph headwind?  Exhausting! 

While munching on my hot ham and swiss on rye this morning while pouring over the Sunday paper (today it took nearly 4 hours, eek!) I enjoyed watching the birds out back swarming to the bird bath.  So many baths were taken I had to refill the bath again a few hours ago!  Those birdies sure do love their baths this time of year, and who can blame them?  They have a season's worth of mites built up in their feathers that need to be got rid of!

Anyway, with the gorgeous earling morning sunlight streaming into the house I took the opportunity to try and take some clearer photographs of my very first attempts at "decorating" for Spring and Easter:


So, here is the final "spring" mantle (or mantel -- according to my Webster's Collegiate, it can be spelled both ways).  A few changes from the photograph of the prior attempt:  (1) swapped out a large "martini" glass filled with plastic Easter eggs in place of the upside-down fish bowl upon which the bird house rests; (2) little blue-green stained-glass hummingbird pinned to wall; and (3) "feathers" added to lend some height to the plant on the right.  Behind the television on the left and not seen is a gold-leafed topiary with some blue-green silk "leaves" poking out here and there.  It is one of pair that was a gift from one of my nieces/goddess-children years ago, and much cherished.  After Easter I'll remove the eggs and try flipping the big martini glass over as a base for the bird house.

A few days ago I was thinking about the issue of that big black ugly t.v. cord.  There are no outlets at mantle level because this fireplace was not included in the original plans when I had the house built in 1990.  It was installed in 2003 (I think -- don't recall the exact date).  It didn't occur to me until a few days ago that I really do need to hire an electrician to come in and add one or preferably two outlets at the back of the mantle.  The thought occurred to me while going to the office on the bus because I was pondering the issue of how to add a small lamp to the top of the mantle and also how to hide the t.v. cord when I don't have convenient outlets to try and "hide" those cords.  I do NOT want to see more ugly cords!  I'm no Photoshopper when I do these photographs -- as you can no doubt tell!  Even more so I don't want to see the damn cords in real life, but they are a fact of life and have to be dealt with one way or another.  (The bent-up hanger and tinfoil on the rabbit ears of the aerial are an entirely different subject...).

I changed the bird pic to the right of the fireplace mantle that acts as a "bridge" to the side table:


And the smaller bird print that used to be there was moved to underneath the clock on the east wall.

Because I'm trying to be snazzy, here are some close-ups:


The framed butterfly print goes back to my pre-college years; I believe I purchased it in about 1976.  The cream-colored candle that is shaped like an egg is part of my "egg" collection, but's it actually a "rose topiary" candle.  I purchased it in probably 1993 during a trip to Old Orchard Mall in northern Illinois.  The decorative bird house is metal and features butterflies and a cheeky cat, in shades of cream, yellow, blue and green.  I purchased it during one of several trips to the Fireside Theatre in  Fort Atkinson, Wisconsin; it's probably close to 20 years old now.  The little white dove seen at the left is one of a pair that was a house-warming gift from one of my dear sisters when I moved in, August 1990.  The plant was one from my Dad's funeral in November 2002.  The gorgeous little bird plate is new, purchased a few weeks ago on sale at TJMaxx.  The egg tucked underneath the plant was purchased in Red Wing, Minnesota, in the early 1970's during a road trip to St. Paul, Minnesota.  The giant "martini glass" was a gift, it's probably 10 years old.  The plastic Easter eggs were on sale for $0.99 a pack at my local Pick 'n Save supermarket.  The "feathers" added around the plant are from my first house, purchased in 1986.  They've been hanging inside a dusty black trash bag in the spare room closet since 1990.


The view of the mantle to the left:  green hummingbirds plate purchased a few weeks ago at TJMaxx.  It cost $3.99.  The tall irridescent spring green candleholder behind it is also a recent purchase from TJMaxx and was $6.99.  The square bird plate behind is another TJMaxx spring purchase and was $2.99.  There are the pair of porcelain doves, a gift from one of my sisters in 1990.  Behind it to the left is a spring green cloisonne egg that opens to reveal a candle.  It rests in a brass stand.  I purchased it in a gift shop at Harrah's in Las Vegas in 2001, I believe.  It is one of the eggs from my collection and you can see why I added it to the mantle display - it is nearly a perfect match for the lovely green color in that tall candle holder and goes perfectly with the "theme." The stained glass hummingbird hanging above was a gift from a co-worker, probably 1992 or 1993.  Difficult to tell in this photo, but he is a lovely blue-green color.  I put him up because I felt the wall needed something extra at that spot and the color echoed the color of the hummingbirds in the small plate.  The t.v. - my very first "digital" LED t.v.!  I paid $229 for it about 4-5 years ago (my, how time flies) through a friend at work whose son worked at Best Buy and was able to get me a "deal" on it for $229.  Today that same little 19" LED t.v. is selling for around $100.  LOL!  Please note, I tried to arrange the fake Easter eggs to echo the colors in the plates to the left and the print to the right, with mixed success :)


Damn that flare!  I absolutely fell in love with this bird print when I found it on the internet during an intensive hunt for "spring birds."  They are a pair of artfully done bull-finches and I printed them out in color (obviously) on an 8.5 x 11 matte photo paper on my trusty HP Photosmart printer.  I've had the frame for a long time, since the 1980's at least.  As you can see, it is multi-colored with blues, greens, pinks and even a little black, a sort of impressionistic floral print. The bird image I just added removable scotchtape on its back and pasted it on top of the original frame color page, which is a sort of mottled dark beige, a perfect background for the print.  White would have been far too stark.  The beige is not the perfectly colored "mat" but it is soft and soothing; it's not actually a mat at all, in any event :)  I felt the size, color and content of this bull-finches print worked much better to act as a link between the decorations on the mantle and the side table.  This print is 11x14 framed;  in my first attempt, the smaller quite beautiful print of blue birds was 7x9 framed (5x7 print).


Here is the side table and both of the bird prints in context.  See how early it was when I took these photos?  About 6:40 a.m. LOL!  Well, I am an early riser. I get up every day at 6 a.m. if not before, although I confess during the height of the cold and dark of winter I struggle to drag myself out of bed at 6:20 a.m.  Anyway, you can see what I meant when I wrote in a prior post that I was going to look for a "better bridge" print between what's going on on top of the fireplace mantle and what's going on on top of the side table.  The bull-finches print works beautifully inside it's green floral frame, I think, to link it to that book that is actually a keepsake box that I bought a few weeks ago at TJMaxx on clearance.  Cost all of $2.99.  It is so very pretty, I fell in love with it instantly, as I did with the little white ceramic bird, also a TJMaxx recent purchase.  It's a "sachet" as I mentioned in a earlier post.  Right now it's stuffed with lavender.  Later in the season I will stuff it with my own home-made mix of dried bottanicals from my gardens and purchased oils. 


Close-up of the blue-bird print.  I love it!  I printed it off the internet, cost nothing more than the cost of the colored ink and the HP photo paper, the frame I've had since the 1980's.  The inner print size is about 5x7, perhaps a little larger.  I felt that this print wasn't large enough to act as a suitable "transition" or "bridge" between the mantle and the side table on the north wall.  After I removed the winter's cardinal print, the space looked bare and the blue birds fit perfectly, also relating to the colors and decorations on the adjoining north wall and mantle. The clock's tick-tock pendulum gently swings back and forth.  I bought it at Kohls about 9 years ago, on clearance.  I think it was $19.99 at the time.  What's with that .99 stuff anyway?  I'm with Ellen (new J.C. Penney commercials) on that!


Here is my living room coffee table, now cleared of all it's prior clutter!  I don't like to put a lot of stuff on it because, on any given day, it may be mounded with piles of papers from printed-out research, yellow-sticky-tagged books, and I also throw up a pillow to rest my feet upon at night when I settle in to watch some t.v. after getting sick of working on the damn computer! 

On the coffee table, less is definitely more than enough.  Cloisonne egg on the left, part of my collection have owned it for years.  Irridescent blue-green candy dish, owned for at least 30 years.  I don't remember buying it, I believe it was a gift.  Possibly from my mom.  Tall candlestick, a TJMaxx purchase from 4-5 years ago.  Candle with its gorgeous Goddess-swirl that echoes the Fibonnaci Sequence, a purchase on clearance from Kohl's Department Stores probably 8 years ago.  I burned it down just enough to make a "hole" where a tea light fits perfectly, and I burn tea lights inside of it instead of burning down this irreplaceably beautiful candle.  See the tea light peeking out at the top? 

The brass egg was made in India and opens to reveal a scented candle.  I purchased it at shop in Las Vegas in 2001; it is part of my egg collection.  The gold-and white-distressed colored wooden box (lined in red faux-velvet) is a favorite that I purchased at the Old Orchard Mall in the early 1990's.  It holds all kinds of things including books of matches, the odd ring or two, ornament hooks, nails and picture hooks, business cards, etc. etc.  It also covers a spot where the table was burned by a candle fire some years ago.  I didn't know as much about refinishing then as I do now and I did a crap-ass job of "recoloring" the burned area in an attempt to match the rest of the wood.  Thus, the box performs a very important function of covering my faux pas

Notice that I did not remove the tulip print back to storage; tucked away at ground level in the area between the tall curio cabinet that houses my collection of pink elephants, my Caledonia Air chess chess and various items gifted to me over the years, I kept it in the living room where it hides most of the outlet where the ugly t.v. cord is plugged into!  It's an inexpensive "second" print purchased many moons ago at Target (perhaps 1991), one of three floral prints that all have the same frames.  I do not remember what they cost.  I always intended to use the frames for other prints, just never got around to it!


Cheeky bunny!  I love his grin!  He was a gift to me from my honorary niece, Michelle, some years ago.  I do not recall the exact occasion but he arrived with a large box of Godiva chocolates.  He is dressed in blue overalls and holds a yellow cloth watering can.  This isn't the best photo of him -- he's got blush-pink inside ears and I can flip flop his ears this way and that to get just the right look.  He's uber-soft and cuddly.  I adore him!  I added him to the decor because, after all, what is Spring and Easter that celebrates the fertility Goddess, without having a fecund bunny present?  In my yard I've got wild bunnies galore but since they usually are not out during times when it is easy to photographs them (after dark or just before dawn), I don't have any photographs of the real bunnies who hang out in my yard.  Could it be because I feed them???

Just a few more photos to show you, and then I'm going to have a seriously large glass of wine out on the deck and enjoy the sun before it disappears behind the trees.  It feels like a summer day, WOW!



Spring tablecloth and Spring/Easter centerpiece in dinette.  It's an old Easter Basket that I've had forever, darlings, just forever!  It holds two ceramic containers filled with artificial silk roses that I purchased years ago from the old downtown Marshall Fields before they closed the downtown store -- don't remember exactly when it was, more than 10 years ago, to be sure!  Stuffed the rest of the basket with green plastic "grass" I bought yesterday at the Pick 'n Save supermarket, and some plastic eggs for $0.99 a package.  I love how it goes with the colors in my spring/summer tablecloth.  I purchased that a few years ago online (I forget from where).  It's a 70" round; my dinette table is 54" round.  The Hershey Kisses candy dish is filled with pastel-colored wrapped Hershey's chocolate eggs, Dove chocolate eggs and Reese's peanut butter filled eggs.  YUM!  Next weekend the ladies will meet here for our March investment club meeting.  Hope they will love the treats!

Final photo for this post:


Ceramic "birds" basket purchased a few weeks ago at TJMaxx.  I fell in love with it.  It ended up on this table in the family room .  Next year I will see if I can work it in better in the living room decorations.  I had originally intended it to go on the dinette table, but it just wan't large enough to anchor the space.

Going to sit out on the deck right now and have a big glass of cheap wine!  Yeah!

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