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

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.