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

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Autumn Mantle/Mantel is Up!

Hola darlings!  Warning:  lots of photos below -- and per usual, lots of words, too.

Today it's gorgeous here.  I was out "west" (away from the cooling effects of Lake Michigan that help moderate hotter temps in the summer and colder temps in the winter within a certain radius of the lake front) earlier today for a visit to my hairdresser and when I jumped on the bus about 1:20 for the ride back home, it was 81 degrees F!  Sunny and breezy, feels great!  I'm out on the back deck now working on this and enjoying the rest of this beautiful day.

My stylist treated my hair to a deep conditioning treatment (sorely needed) and while that was stewing on my head underneath a warm towel she gave me a hand massage.  I highly recommend a hand massage if you've never experienced the luxury and sheer lovely decadence of one -- my hands look and feel great and it's amazing how much tension and fatigue were erased simply by Joni working on certain pressure points on that fleshy area of the palm around the thumb.  I feel like a new woman!  Even my fingernails look (and feel) better.

When I got home last night from the office I decided to start the mantle/mantel project (which I did not tackle as I thought I would last weekend).  All my goodies were already laid out around the room and the mantle/mantel was waiting patiently for inspiration to strike me. 

It came together quickly after staring at it - and my things - four about 30 minutes, LOL, and then I dithered about the details.  But after a couple of hours, I was finished:

In a previous post I showed you the autumnal items I purchased last weekend at The Family Dollar. In one way or another, all of it was incorporated into the front room décor, although not all of it was used on the mantle/mantel.  I knew I also wanted to incorporate the owls I used last year, as well as my "horns of the Goddess" wood rescue that fell off one of my trees last year.  And my 10 year anniversary pumpkin (I celebrated 10 years at the office last year and received a lovely floral arrangement in a ceramic pumpkin and a gift card). 

This year I used a tablecloth to give some extra color and also to cover the books I used to raise and lower the heights across the back of the mantle/mantel.  If there is too much "white space" between the tops of your decorations on your flat mantle/mantel surface and wall décor above, it looks "funny."  Yes, a very technical term :)  So glad now this tablecloth didn't sell at my rummage sale!  I was going for a "wavy" effect, but I wanted the smooth edge across the front, LOL!  Am I a conflicted personality or what, heh? 

The only tweaking I'm going to do is to add more branches to the floral display on the left, behind the t.v., to fill in the "white space" gap above it more fully.  Although you cannot see it in my photos, this front room has a vaulted ceiling that slopes all the way up to the landing on the open staircase another story above. With no ceiling line to stop the eye from roving, I know it's important to anchor the room visually. 

Front and center, my "horns of the Goddess" wood rescue piece.  I blogged about here, don't remember the dates.  One day I came out into the yard and there it was.  The piece resembles in shape the "horns of the Goddess" (roe horns) that were symbolic of the Mother Goddess in much of the Middle East and Eastern Europe and, in ancient Persia, the Goddess Anahita.  Everything in this photo I already had on hand:  the tablecloth, the gold Goddess-swirled candles (after the Fibonnaci Spiral that is evident in many plants and fruits in our natural world), the owls (spray-painted last year) the plastic-y leaves, the shiny goldish metal "ivy" branches that resemble small maple leaves, the candle holder on the left being used as a vase, and mostly out of the frame, my 10-year anniversary pumpkin :)   

In this frame you can see a mirror (far right) that I use behind my Dad's plant that bounces the early-morning sunlight around the room and reflects the glow of a battery-operated candle that's been placed there for special effects in this arrangement once it gets dark outside!  This mantle/mantel is beautiful at night!

The metal ivy branches were purchased from Home Interiors many moons ago - more than 20 years of moons.  The plastic oak leaves were part of the design incorporated into my 10-year anniversary pumpkin floral display last year.  I saved them -- love the colors and the "crinkleyness" of how the leaves look - although they are soft to the touch.  The new items in this photo are the two tiny pumpkins (salt and pepper shakers to the left) and below, you see a glimpse of the fragile metallic plastic leaves on wire garland used underneath the mantle/mantel. 

Dad's plant anchors the right side.  My Dad died in early November, 2002, and the plant is from his funeral.  It's a beautiful living memorial to him.  See my early 1990's sponge paint job on the walls (that only goes up as high as I was able to reach on the ladder, LOL!  The room needs painting, but the $4,000 price tag to have a crew of pros come in and do it - nope). 

I took the photos about 7:30 this morning, and then a little later I snapped a few more photos (below) when the sun got above the trees to the east (across the street) and for awhile illuminated my 10-year anniversary pumpkin and set the leaf garland all aglow!  It looks beautiful at night, though, with the battery-operated candles and votives glowing.  I'll try to take some evening photographs and see how they turn out.


The Wisconsin Badgers (ranked 23rd or 24th nationally - I forget which) play a night game in the Big 10 tonight!  A couple of hours ago already cars were pulling up to neighboring houses for pre-game parties -- this is a big'un for us.  It's starting to cloud over, and one of my neighbors came over a little while ago and I bought $60 of tinned popcorn from her Boy Scout son (I'm so easy!)  Also been feeding the squirrels and the blue jays all afternoon :)  Such is life on a lazy Saturday afternoon at Maison Newton.  Wish every day could be like today. 

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