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, December 17, 2013

A Little More Christmas Around the House: Front Room

Hola everyone!

I am a little under the weather today but that hasn't stopped me from taking a few photos around the house.  My place isn't the epic material for a "house tour" plus my photog skills aren't the best (to put it mildly), but I am excited this year about what I did because it's the most EVAH I've done as far as holiday decorating around here.  You guys are such an inspiration!

I've already done posts about the table top cardinal tree I made up this year (loving it, and so are my guests), the feather boa wreath (so simple but big impact), the big tree in the front room (the feather boa tree -- all fluff, white, pearly, silver and crystal), and the mantle/mantel.

Here are a few additional details.  Some I've put up prior photos, but mostly not. They're just little things, things someone wouldn't necessarily notice, but because I put them in place I notice them immediately, and they always make me smile. 

The top of my curio cabinet was more elaborately decorated this year than ever before (I decorated it for the first time last year, so that's not saying much, LOL!):




It's got some of the Add-Heres I bought at the end of last season online from Boston Store on the all, a simple woven basket filled with silver ornaments, two battery-operated candles, my little leopard shade lamp which has been up there a couple of years now, and a small glass vase filled with glittered pine cone and silver ornaments.  The tall mercury glass candle holder I bought on clearance at the end of last Christmas season at TJMaxx. 

Looking toward the mantle/mantel:




Hmmm, I see I need to get up on the ladder and press down some of those Add-Heres.  They are "restickable" but I put them on and took them off a LOT while trying to arrive at a satisfactory (and straight) arrangement, I think I wore them out...

My cozy snuggling corner by the fireplace:




When Mr. Don was alive, we snuggled on the loveseat in the evenings with all the Christmas lights aglow and the fireplace going.  Since his death, I have pretty much sat either in my recliner or stretched out on the sofa, or I'm at this desk working on a chair that most definitely needs new seat cushioning.  I did put the love seat in the same spot this Christmas, though, as it has held in prior years.  It just looks the best angled over on the other side of the tree rather than paralleled across from the fireplace on the other side of the coffee table.  I tried that, and it didn't feel like "home" to me, besides which the balance was off in the room.

A recliner!  I never thought I would be a person to own one.  It wasn't my intention to set out and buy a recliner in 2002 or 2003 when I got the front room furniture.  I had picked out a sofa and loveseat duo, and was looking for a chair to finish things off when I spotted it and it looked cozy and comfy and was the perfect color too.  The salesperson took me over to look at it more closely.  I didn't realize it was a recliner until she pointed it out!  I was SOLD!  A recliner that wasn't faux-leather or big and clunky.  I'm not against big and clunky, or faux-leather either, but in the right space.  My front room is not the right space. 

On the abnormally cold December days and nights we've been suffering through, the fireplace has been going more than usual, and the recliner, along with the end corner of the sofa to the left across the room, are the warmest places in the house.  I made sure I had enough room to put the recliner back, too, without crashing into the lamp table angled into the corner. 

On the floor by the fireplace is a battery-operated candle on a timer that is inside a tallish clear vase.  Around it are more pine cone and silver ornaments, and a strand of gold beads as added for some extra glitz. 




To the left of the chair is a - I can never remember the correct word when I need it - the little plaster of paris thingy on the wall that I put stuff on, LOL!  Right now it is holding a battery-operated candle on a timer but usually it holds my lovely bronze Buddha.  Behind the recliner on the east wall, in order to balance the feather boa wreath on the other side of the window I framed two photos of deer that I printed out from the internet in 5 x 7 frames (TJMaxx purchases some years ago), echoing the deer on the mantle/mantel:




I had a few Gump's clip-on bird ornaments left over after I finished decorating, so it just seemed natural to put one on the lamp close to the mantle/mantel by the deer photographs.






Using images from the internet and greetings cards is what I use for most of my artwork these days.  Free!  Here are two greeting cards I received this season that went so well with my front room holiday decor this year, and they are so beautiful in their own right, I dug out some old frames and put them up on the wall my front room desk faces:



I am going to experiment a little with the deer greeting card and put it in the black mat.  The white mat in the frame looks a little bit purplish compared to the creamier white of the greeting card.  If that doesn't look right, I'll switch it out to a brown wood frame with a mat I know will look okay with it because it is creamy-colored.  I want to try it over on fireplace wall by my recliner, to balance out the arrangement on the east wall behind the recliner.  It's soooo perfect!  It has a little gold bird perched on a branch above the deer's antlers and below, it says in gold letters "Peace on Earth."  It as one of those serendipitous events -- I received the greeting cards at the office after I'd already put the front room holiday decor together, including the bird on the lamp and framed the deer photographs.  Don't you love it when that happens!

I have another beautiful greeting card from a few seasons ago that is a glittery winter tree scene, so I'll do some tweaking with framing and see if I can't match up this season's lovely "Season's Greetings" card (presently in the black mat) with the prior season's card.  I love connecting season after season in such ways.

Did I write about my coffee table display this year?  I don't remember.  I like it a lot, but it is nothing glamorous or over the top.  A favorite gold-finished wood box, a glass votive holder filled with crow offerings gathered from the backyard stone birdbath the past few years, and a Christmas platter (a gift years ago from one of my sisters-in-law, sweet Heidi) filled with some of those glittered pine cone ornaments, a couple of votive candles and two LED "crystal" Christmas trees from Walgreens (two for $5):




I put the candle in vase on the table so you could get a better look at it -- that's the one down on the floor by the corner of the fireplace next to the recliner.  It adds a nice little glow at night to that corner when the candle turns on by itself, just like magic!  The vase I used was a gift from my sister, Debbie, some years ago, and it has a gold-painted rim.  So beautiful!  I've gotten both LED Christmas trees to work (at least for now), and they put on quite a colorful display at night when I turn them on.  I don't think I'll replace the batteries when they quit working, but I will use the trees in display in coming years.  They are very pretty.  I have the tree on the right tucked inside a candle-holder to give it a little more height. 

I know I've showed you Mr. Don's corner on my desk, but I added a "queen bird" (me, ahem) to the scene to keep the little birdy friend perched on Mr. Don's framed portrait some company:




The last stop in the front room decorations is the wreath that is on the first run of the staircase:




I haven't gotten around to experimenting by decorating it with a couple of strings of battery-operated LED lights yet, but I will.  I think it will look very pretty lit up (it is not pre-wired with lights), even ith the three for $10 cold blue-white light of the LEDs.  This is the wreath I got on clearance last year after season at Menard's.  Well, I think it was the end of last season's Christmas -- my memory, ach! 

It leads the eye into the kitchen and the back of the house.  Next stop! 

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