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

Friday, December 14, 2012

Pottery Barn Inspired Christmas Gifts!

Hi, everyone.

I struggled tonight with whether to even post anything now - or maybe forever.  Horror once again struck America today, in the form of a killer of young children in Connecticut.  But I thought that I should go on, but take a day or two off.  I cut this post short, because it doesn't seem right to be writing about Christmas gifts when so much suffering and heartbreak is taking place right now.

Unfortunately, suffering and heartbreak is with us - always.

So, how do we deal with it?  How do we cope?  I don't know.  All I can tell you is that 2012 has been the absolutely worst year of my life, and yet here I am, writing about it.  I just kept putting one foot in front of the other.  My heart kept beating when I thought it might break and die.  It didn't.  My brain kept functioning to keep my mind on an even keel when I might have gone mad.  I didn't go mad.  Maybe I even wanted to go mad, but I didn't.

I have no explanations, no adequate words.  Life can be absolutely unbearable at times and yet - yet - most of us continue the brave journey onward anyway, doing the best we can.  To do otherwise, well, maybe that's just caving in to the terrorists who seem so proliferate among us these days.  And that just makes me angry.  I will never lay down and roll over for any terrorist.  Ever.

And so, tonight I want to share with you a few gifts that I would love, personally, to receive -- there is still time -- email me and I'll send you my delivery address, LOL!  No, seriously -- I selected these because I thought they were great and they are not outrageously expensive -- and they are also generally available. There aren't many featured.

The originals are all at Pottery Barn.  I am offering a look for less from various "go-to" online vendors.  You can also find replicas or facsimiles of these items at TJ Maxx, but TJ Maxx does not sell online, and maybe at your favorite local vendors, too. For some of the items, I have also noted other sources that I saw online but did not offer the items for online sale, only at local stores. 

Faux Fur Throw

I have wanted one for years, but until recently the prices never dropped down low enough to tempt me into buying one for myself.  This is the PB version in grey - reminds me of a wolf's color and it looks spectacularly gorgeous in the PB photographs:

Right now they're on special at $99 (regularly $129).

  • 50 x 60"
  • Woven of acrylic/polyester.
  • Ultraplush 670-gram weight.
  • Reverses to solid polyester.

  • Can be machine washed but dry-cleaning is recommended.  The throw comes in golden brown (looks like a beautiful dark mink color in the photographs), butterscotch (a tawny medium to dark beige, I'd call it a neutral color), caramel, and ivory (both lovely colors).  Golden brown and butterscotch are on sale for $90 right now.  Don't know for how long.

    I found a similar look at Target's online website and had it all set to feature here -- and then I read that it is ONLY available in stores.  Drat!  It was a Threshold offering for $19.99 in the 50" x 60" size and looks great -- very similar to the same type (but not the grey color) that I saw at TJ Maxx a few days ago.  Argh!  Oh what the hey - here it is anyway -- judge for yourself and yes, I'm absolutely cheating right now:

    Target Threshold faux fur throw in grey grey ombre

    At, I found a faux fur silver and white throw from J&S Home that looks very pretty and comes in the 50" x 60" size, but it came with one bad review.  So, buyer beware:

    Amazon offering in grey and white

    It is being offered for $23.99 but is in limited supply (well, at least according to  I had no luck finding anything reasonably priced at Wayfair or Overstock.  And since I will not pay more than $20 for a throw like this since I've seen really nice soft ones in person for $19.99, I am XXX this off of my online shopping list!  I don't have forever to spent hunting for it.

    Silver Plated Hurricanes 

    Blown glass hurricanes with silver-plate base and trim -
    Pottery Barn 2012

    Pottery Barn's offerings are quite beautiful -- blown glass with a silver-plated base.  The etching is extra

  • Small: 4.5” diameter, 5” high
  • Large: 7.5” diameter, 9.75” high
  • Edged with a silver rim along the top.

  • There is a special right at this moment on the smaller size, for $24 (down from $29); and on the large size $49 (down from $59).

    I found some quite lovely hurricanes at K-Mart online, with silver-colored trim (although the bases are not silver-colored), at a price is right!  Check them out:

    This is the smaller size of the Sandra by Sandra Lee, 8-1/2 in. H x 6 in. D, selling for $6.49 on sale right now (regular price is $12.99):

    Sandra hurricane with silver-toned trim
    by Sandra Lee - K-Mart

    The slightly larger size (not pictured here) measures 10 in. H x 6-1/4 in. D, and is on sale now for $7.49 (regular price is $14.99). 

    The Sandra by Sandra Lee hurricanes are made of glass and feature silver-tone trim around the top.  You can see the silver-tone edged rim and also what appears to be a sprayed-on coat of silver color around the top of the hurricane, in an arched pattern. 

    One could always use mirror paint on the foot of this hurricane if one wanted the look...

    Honorable mention goes to this lovely pillar holder that has a base of "antique zinc" -- no shiny silver but ooh la la!
    This is the Stonebriar Collection Grand Fleur de Lis Candleholder for $15.99 at Amazon.  Dimensions: 4.5 x 4.5 x 8.9 inches.  Although the look is not the same as the PB silver-plated hurricanes, the small size is similar.  I found this one so pretty!

    Antique Mercury Glass Pillar Holders

    Antique mercury glass pillar holders - Pottery Barn 2012
    Pottery Barn is sold out on the "medium" and "large" sizes.  Offering now only small and extra large.  The small size is 5.5" square, 6.5" high (square base) and is $19.50.  The extra large size, is 5.5" square and a very tall 21" high, and is $49.50.

    World Market has a nice selection, but available in stores only.  TJMaxx also has some in stock right now, at less than $19.50 for much larger sizes than 6.5" tall.  However, as I restrict myself to online vendors, I didn't have much luck finding anything remotely similar at the same or better price at Amazon or Wayfair, Target or K-Mart!  Wow!  So, Pottery Barn would get my business for the 6.5" tall pillar holder at $19.50.  For the medium and large sizes at $10 more for each (on sale) - see Ballard Designs below.

    Honorable mention: I found a "medium" and a "large" size on sale at Ballard Designs for $29.99 each, regardless of size -- the small is evidently no longer available:

    Large: 22"H X 6 1/2" Diameter
    Medium: 16"H X 5 1/2" Diameter
    Construction: Made from mercury glass.
    Country of Origin: India (Not made in China, I'm sold)

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