May 20, 2018:


Yesterday Prince Harry married American Meghan Markle and I couldn't get enough of the royal wedding. What a gorgeous dress, the bride was radiantly beautiful and the church at Windsor - oh my goodness, the flowers alone were soooo beautiful. There's nothing like a good love story to make one appreciate how precious we can be (and should be) to each other.

I'm glad the weather was perfect yesterday for the new Duke and Duchess of Sussex's wedding. I can't say the same for around here. Spring keeps teasing and then going away. This morning I woke up to a "balmy" 47 degrees F outside, rain, damp, and I turned the heat back on! It's May 20th, the heat. should. not. be. on. Period.

Last Thursday, however, was beautiful. I was able to get a goodly amount of yard and garden clean-up done over several days last week. I also took some photos of my flowering tree anchoring the north corner of my house and made the current collage. I think it's an ornamental cherry, and on the the other end of the house, I think that's called a purple sand cherry? I'll have to check that. The blossoms on the tree do not have a distinct fragrance, but the purple shrub that wants to be a tree (despite my hacking it back, back and back yearly - I'm losing, by the way) has myriad blossoms with a distinct fragrance. I can't decide if the scent is too beautiful to bear or too awful to smell, it certainly can be overpowering!

This coming week will be the third cut of the grass this season. We had rain late Friday night and then for several hours earlier this morning. This rain, on top of the rain we had over four days the prior weekend, and the grass is growing like nobody's business! I don't mind doing the grass, though, as long as it's not too hot, too cold, not raining, and not too windy. I'm not picky at all, am I...

I still have a lot of raking out of areas that suffered from snow mold over the winter, and have not yet really tackled cleaning out the north flower bed in the backyard. That will be a chore!

But Memorial Day weekend is coming. This coming Saturday I will be out with a friend (who has a nice large van - goody!) stocking up on potting soil, top soil to fill in never-ending low spots in the yard, grass seed, and lots of plants! For some reason, this spring seems busier than those in prior years. I can't figure out why that is...


Sunday, January 13, 2013

Shopping and ... Christmas Clearance!!!

Hola everyone!

With 2013 comes a list of minor home improvements I intend to get done, and that encompassed a call to and visit from my handy-dandy handyman, Kevin.  He came over last Saturday and we went through my short list:  put up new range hood that I purchased back in January 2009, LOL!  Fix leaking kitchen and upstairs bath faucets, replace wax rings in both toilets. 

So, Kevin checks things out and tells me that I need to buy new faucets.  What?  WHAT?  Yeah, because mine are so fricking old it's doubtful he'd be able to find parts, and even if he could, it would take him so long to take them apart and put them back together again (cuz he's not a trained plumber, although he is very talented), it would be less expensive to buy new faucets and have him install them for $25 each, flat rate.  And I'm pretty darn sure Kevin is a lot less expensive than a plumber! 

So, after thinking about it, and knowing that he's right about the age of these faucets and I've never been particularly in love with them anyway, today my friend Ann took me shopping to Menard's!  Save Big Money At Menards...

I LOVE Menard's.  I could spend hours walking up and down it's aisles.  While I happened to be scooting up and down one of those aisles around the mirrors and framed artwork Ann said hey, want to look at the Christmas clearance stuff?  And I said YEAH!  Mind you, my short list had exactly four items on it, two of them were faucets!

Here's a pic of my haul:

Yep, I shopped the Christmas Clearance! And bought a few other things, too...

Christmas Clearance was 40 to 50% off!  I scored these Kurt Adler (KURT ADLER!!!!) glittery butterflies in both gold and silver.  I bought 6 of each for $0.49 each (originally $0.99 each).  My total outlay, not including sales tax of 5.6%, was $5.88 for one dozen butterflies.  Nice!  These will go on my 2013 Christmas tree.

Another Christmas score were 50% off low-temperature scented wax-melts, each for $0.99.  There are six wax-melts in each pack:  Cinnamon and Vanilla Cinnamon Brulee.  YUM!  I may gain weight just sniffing them...  I will use these in the Scentsy thingy I bought some weeks ago at my neighbor's annual house gathering/sale of craftsy and homey things.  I have to say, I am greatly enjoying my Scentsy thingy, particularly the woodsy and Christmas tree/piney scent wax-melts I purchased at the party along with the light-bulb powered wax melter. I've also used the apple-scented wax melt once, and it was so delicious, for my Christmas luncheon with Ann I bought and baked a Mrs. Smith's Apple Pie!  YUM!  The scent of those Scentsy wax melts does fill the entire house, much to my disbelief!  But the Scentsy wax melts are pricey compared to $0.99 for six (not Scentsy-brand) that I bought at Menard's, and the ones (above) I bought at Menard's are already subdivided, no need to crack the wax into pieces like I have to do with the Scentsy wax-melts.

Another Christmas score was a candle-holder center piece.  I'd been looking for one ever since, before Thanksgiving, I was a good neighbor and purchased a live pine/evergreen candle centerpiece from one of the local Boy Scouts in the neighborhood for more $$ than I could make one myself.  But, what the heck - it's the Boy Scouts, and a neighbor kid.  That live centerpiece, the first one I ever purchased, was great and it was front and center on my Christmas mantle/mantel:

But, as with all live greenery, after more than a month of sitting on my mantle/mantel and suffering waves of heated air washing over it from the fireplace, it wasn't looking so good. Needle drop!  I'd had it in my mind for a couple of weeks now to replace it with some faux-greenery that I would not have to worry about, and would look pretty, fresh and new up on my mantle/mantel for my Beat the Winter Doldrums party on January 19th. 

And here is the new faux-greenery candle holder, pic snapped earlier today:

I used the three white-tipped pine cones and three berry pics salvaged from the fresh greenery arrangement in this new faux-greenery candle holder.  Here is a close-up:

I especially love the glittery sparkles that are on the faux-berries (not the Boy Scout berry picks).  No more needle drop! (Final cost: $9.99, candle not included, but it does include a small hurricane-shaped clear glass candle holder that I did not use because my candle was too fat for it).

And finally, here is my new door wreath.  I can't say I'd been on the look-out for one, since I was happy with the knocked-together Santa platter "wreath" I'd hung up on the front door earlier this season after I'd expropriated for this year's mantle/mantel display the battery-lit wreath that hung on the front door last season.  But when I saw this one for 50% off at Menard's (final cost $12.49), well, even before I saw it was 50% off, it was love at first sight:

It has large "frosted" pine cones, purplish-colored berries, and bay leaves amid mixed evergreens.  It is 24" wide.  I just plopped it right on my hang-over-top-of-door-wreath-hook without shaping it. Looks pretty good against the faded blue paint on the front door,  heh?  Perhaps next season I'll twine some battery-operated mini-lights around it to give it some additional glow/glitter at night.  Heck, I like this new wreath so much, maybe next year IT will go above the fireplace mantle/mantel and the original front door that is now holding down that spot will go back to its original place on the front door...

As you can see, I'm still much in the Christmas decor mode, and I'm loathe to let go of it.  Letting go of the gold, the silver, the crystal, the glitter, the sparkling lights -- that just means going into the gloom of February with - nothing.  And what looks like big fat empty cold spaces in my front room.  BLECHY!

I'm not one of those chicks who puts up Spring and/or Easter stuff before we're even nodding at the Spring Equinox.  So, may just skip Spring/Easter this year and go right to my English Manor House Library mantle/mantel look.  We'll see.  I am not one who revels in changing things around in Maison Newton every few weeks, and I am not a particular fan of Winter (Boo! Hiss!) 

Wish I could afford a REAL mink throw to put about my shoulders as I work at the computer.  It's cold in here, at 64 degrees F.


  1. Jan,
    The wreath and the arrangement look so pretty!! I bought the same glittery Butterflies , in gold thoug, at The Christmas Tree Shop from 40 cents each!!


    1. Wow, you got a good deal on your butterflies at $0.40 each! I actually was quite surprised to find anything Kurt Adler at Menard's because he is usually pricey on his Christmas ornaments and Menard's is not generally thought of as a Christmas retailer like a department store would be, so when I saw that originally the price for each butterfly was $0.99 and I got half off, I just could not pass them up! I mixed gold and silver on the tree and the mantle/mantel this year and I like the look, so I will be using gold and silver on the tree again next Christmas. I've seen some trees decorated with feathers, birds and butterflies that are stunningly gorgeous.

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