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, June 12, 2012

Inspirations from Bloggers Everywhere...

There is no end to blogs devoted to decorating, gardening, and DIY, and I cannot visit them all.  That is not to say that every single blogger out there writing about the same stuff I am doesn't have something worthwhile to say, because I know they do!  And so, I do my best to visit as many as I can...  I visit linky parties and blogs that are on the sidebars of blogs that I visit, because I never know what I'll find and some of them have become favorites, too.  In fact, my favorites list on my two laptops here at home and the computer at the office are all different and ever-expanding!

Here are some things I made note of during the past week or so.  Sometimes it's because I've got a certain thing on my mind, sometimes it's just because I find a particular project or - whatever - interesting or intriguing...

Visiting Shabby Nest's "Frugal Friday", I have found lots of things that catch my attention, either because I've had them cooking around in the back of my mind for awhile or they're things I've been working on around the house and/or have planned to work on in the future (like when I retire in 5 1/2 years...)

For instance, Little Things Bring Smiles June 1, 2012 blog on "Corner Gallery I."  Unique and perfectly executed.  My aspirations for a "gallery wall" are much more modest.  In fact, I had a gallery wall from about 2007 until 2009 that I had painstakingly put together over the years with well loved photographs from our various travels, on the lower wall of the open staircase to the second floor.  I wasn't visiting decorating blogs then and didn't know what it was called, it just seemed like a neat thing to do.  Unfortunately, when I put the house on the market in November (a big mistake and a horrible experience) I took it all down because it was considered "clutter" and "too personal" and would interfere with "marketing the house."  I didn't put it back up when I pulled the house off the market and fired the real estate brokers.  I was so exhausted by the entire negative experience over the holidays with those brokers who KNEW I was going to have house guests through the end of January, and I was incredibly demoralized by the whole experience.  Photos didn't go back up on the wall.  House stayed in what I considered a bare-naked state because - why bother?  Now all of those photos tucked away still inside their totally mismatched frames are calling out to me from cardboard boxes in the spare closet upstairs...

The primary thing that was on my mind last week, though, was doing something to spiff up my deck area because I'd decided that the ladies of the investment of which I am a member would meet out there this past Sunday after we met at a local restaurant for breakfast.  We had a lot of business to attend to, and I wanted them to be comfortable but not distracted.  Usually we just sit around my round table in the small dinette area between kitchen and family room -- right where the patio door invites us to step outside.  There are five of us, but one of us couldn't make it last week Sunday, which was what actually triggered my sudden "brain storm" to have our meeting on the deck -- because I only have four chairs...

Ever since I started visiting Debbie Dabble's blog and saw her small but lovingly constructed and put-up-your-feet-comfortable back yard and porch area (front porch is comfy too, looking out over a postage-stamp size garden to one side and across a walkway, then a massive and steep slope down to an asphalt parking lot, waaaaay below...), I've been feeling the slow itch build to do something with my own deck area, which has never been more than basic and that was good enough.

Inspiration recently flowed from Debbie's June 5, 2012 "Patio and Plants 2012!"  More correctly, I should say that it was the final push I needed to try and do something a bit more with my own outside living space.

And It's Overflowing June 6, 2012 "Loving Tall Planters (the Look for Less)" -- yep, I can dig that look for less :)

And Cupcakes and Crinoline's June 5, 2012 "Front Yard Makeover - Before and After" -- you can just see how much hard work, blood, sweat and tears she put into bringing in an overgrown and neglected garden back to life -- gorgeous gorgeous life!  Can I buy your yard???  Can I hire you to come to my house and attack my overgrown, weed-infested flower beds???

By rights, I cannot say that Kristin's Creations patio (I have a serious crush on her house) inspired me to do my "spruce-up" on my deck this past Saturday because I didn't see it until today.  First, I have a deck, be it ever so humble -- gave up my pea gravel "patio" (har!) back when BIL Fred decided one day to grant me a wish and built a freestanding deck that has held up over the past 10 plus years.  Kristin' Creations has a patio, although she may have a deck or two tucked around that house, too.  Can't tell you that -- I haven't looked at all of her blog entries or pictures -- but I can tell you that I think her patio area is just perfect!  All it lacks is an umbrella to provide a bit of shade.  I'm a shady lady, what can I say?  Of course, she probably have plenty of other shady areas for sun-shy guests or when it's one of those just too intense days...  June 8, 2012 "Patio Flowers, Vacations, and a Mantle Revamp." 

Ach!  By comparison my deck "spruce up" doesn't compare to the gorgeousness of these garden-living spaces I've seen, but it was fun working on it all the same, and overall I am happy with it. Well, to be perfectly honest, Kristin's Creations made me want to run out and buy tons of flowers and try my hand at some free-standing gorgeous planters to anchor my space, but then I thought - nah.  Too much work!  Too much $$! 

More, later, but not tonight!

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