January 31, 2018:


Today is the Super Duper Blue Red Full Eclipse Partial Eclipse Moon, depending on where you may be viewing from.

Three years ago this day was my last day of working and I retired after 46 years of full-time work. I've enjoyed every single moment of my retirement since then - three years and hoping for twenty more, we'll see how things go...

February and March can be cruel months in southeastern Wisconsin where I live. January itself was nutso here weather-wise, with two separate thaws. I don't ever remember getting two January thaws before, and many years none happened at all.

Before I know it I'll be headed to Las Vegas to visit my friends and celebrate some sunshine and warm weather, and see a show (I always try to squeeze one in). Meanwhile, I am continuing, slowly, to make this smaller retirement ranch into a home that makes me smile in every room. I still have lots to do, including major painting projects. I keep putting them off. Seems at 66 I'm not so keen on painting as I was at 36. Gee, I wonder why...


Tuesday, December 17, 2013

A Little More Christmas Around the House: The Back

Hola darlings!

Here is the back of the house.  This year I've decorated more extensively than ever.  It's not too much, just enough for me.  Here is the dinette table:

Hmmm, I should have ironed the tablecloth.  It had been my intention to use this centerpiece below on top of the mantle/mantel this year, but then I got an epiphany about how I really wanted to decorate it this year, and that was that.  It just did not fit in.  [I picked this up a year (or two?) ago on clearance at Menard's, along with the Christmas wreath that is on the staircase wall in the prior post. I got good deals on both.]  So it's now anchoring the dinette table, and it looks great there, I have to say.  I had the table-top cardinal Christmas tree on the table earlier:

(before feeding guests), but with serving meals and all, it was more convenient to move it, since even though it is only about 2-1/2 feet tall, it still blocks sight lines and takes up a lot of serving space!  Plus my friend, Ann, doesn't like birds much, and she was over last Saturday evening for our Christmas swap of meals.  One year she does lunch, the next year I do lunch, and we swap out suppers too.  I had supper this year.  So the tree got moved to the unused, trying-to-sell-it-on-Craig's-List (with no success) entertainment center, where it actually is adding some pizazz to the family room.  You'll see it below in a little while.

I had very mixed emotions and more than a little trepidation about decorating the back of the house this year using reds and greens.  Earlier this year I added blue-ish items (area rug, curtains, towels, decorative plates, in addition to using items accumulated over the years that already had the same tones in them) to the back of the house and just did not see the various blue tones (including teal, aqua and turquoise, along with more "celdadon" tinted colors) working with Christmas red and green!  But then, I received a gift bag delivered to me a few weeks ago at the office, from my friend Darlene, she who gave me the feather boas!  The bag was large, and the colors, well - judge for yourself:

I deconstructed the gift bag, keeping the "rope" handles intact, smoothed things out a bit with a warm dry iron, stuck a ton of sticky-tape on the back around the edges of these "flags" to keep them nicely flat on the wall, and hung them up on the sliver of wall by the patio door.  The gift bag visual combination of colors taught me that I could use Christmasy red and green in addition to the aqua-ish tones that I had introduced into the back of the house. [Now if only I could get myself moving on finishing the space...] 

When Darlene was over last afternoon/evening for supper she noticed her "bag" right away, and got a great kick out of how it was recycled :)

Looking across the dinette table toward my gallery wall, here is the new this year Target whatever-the-hell-it-it that fits the space very well, but was a nightmare to put together and is not done correctly because THE PARTS DID NOT FIT and is wobbly as hell.  Plus the trim pieces across the front keep falling off.  Ach!:

I'm much happier with what is on top of the fake wood thingy than the fake wood thingy itself:

A Christmas plate -- fell in love with this a few years ago at TJMaxx and just had to have it to add to my burgeoning cardinals collection:

I added this cardinal platter this year, also from TJMaxx ($3.99):

The cardinal "lantern" I bought at Walgreens (paid too much for it, $12.99):

There were two cardinals that I did not use on the cardinal Christmas tree, one ended up here:

And the other ended up here:

Please ignore the wallpaper that still has not been removed...and the 1990s sponge painting...

A few more little Christmas touches in the family room, including on and in the unwanted entertainment center:

After the season I'm going to put my second 19" flat-screen in it and see if I can get it hooked up to the VCR/DVD player.  I'm going to need all the luck you can wish my way to do that (I am NOT a techy-person at all), so please, start sending those good techy vibrations my way!  Close-up -- I guess this is a vignette, LOL:

Clock, purchased years ago online for under $20.  It is a small battery-operated pendulum clock but I can't always get the clock balanced correctly to get the pendulum to work.  But the clock works fine anyway and gives me a rhythmic tick-tock at the back of the house.  Framed Christmas card -- one of my beautiful cardinal greeting cards.  It was this card that started the idea of a "collection."    The little ceramic Christmas "stocking" topped with colorful gifts on the right is a gift from one of my friends.  It it a music box that opens to a scene of four children and a little white "Scottie" dog with a red collar dancing around a beautiful Christmas tree topped by a golden star, and the song playing is the "Twelve Days of Christmas."  The vintage Santa on the left is the one I unfortunately scrubbed a little bit too hard while trying to clean him up a bit after purchasing him from my friend Ann's sister, Rosie, at our September rummage sale!  I spent more buying Rosie's offerings than I made selling my own, LOL!  This Santa was one of them.  Even with some of its paint scrubbed off, though, it's a handsome piece and all the more "vintage-y" now.  I think not all of the paint was fired on the piece after being painted on (despite scrubbing on other parts of the Santa, for instance, long-time grime came off but the paint stayed intact, so at least some of the finish was properly done), but I'm pretty sure the underlying piece is porcelain. 

Here is my plant from Dad's funeral back in November 2002, with some red berry accents and a little bit of faux-foilage added for the holidays:

Dad's plant normally sits on the mantle/mantel in the front room most of the year, but seems quite happy back here.  There is more light back here and that's important this time of year, when it doesn't get light until after 7 a.m. and is dark by 4:30 p.m.! 

It was this look-back from a small sliver of my dinette that convinced me the Christmas colors worked okay with those already in the room:

Now, a few accents in the kitchen area:

This is "Spirit," my Norfolk pine that I've owned for at least 15 years, maybe even longer.  It was just a small little plant when I abducted adopted it from a floral Christmas display (much neglected) in a reception area where I used to work.  Last Christmas, Spirit was on the mantle/mantel in the front room and anchored the right side of the mantle/mantel very well. This year, I kept her/him in the back (there is more light back here during the winters), but I dressed up the pot with some plaid ribbon and added my winter-time salt and pepper shakers set (a gift from sister Debbie some years ago).  So cute!

Spirit sits on the peninsula that separates the dining area from the kitchen.   The end of the peninsula forms the left entrance-way into my kitchen proper. The refrigerator frames the right end:

Be honest with me now.  Am I the only person left in the United States who tapes her Christmas greeting cards up on the fridge?

Resting at the end of the peninsula under the cabinets, this lighted wine bottle (a gift from Sue, a member of the investment club to which I belong), and another framed holiday greeting card with a cardinal, lantern, and wreath with bow.

At the same corner of the kitchen, where the patio door is just to the right, my old-fashioned land line wall telephone hangs.  And above it is one of my favorite greeting cards of all time:

This card has everything in it I love!  Cardinals, squirrels, a lantern, and beautiful scenery.  Running a close second is this framed greeting card, hanging above the stove:

The red cardinal in this card just POPS!  I think it may be a photo that was made to look a bit like a painting.  Or perhaps it is a painting that was made to look a bit like a photograph :)  Whatever, my photo of it does not do it justice.  It is very beautiful, in shades of grey, white, black, and the red of the cardinal. Oh oh, I see my reflection in the glass of the picture frame.  Geez!

In prior years, the cardinals were in the front room.  It's just this year since I did the silver thing in the front room that I removed them to the back of the house, and I love them back here!  But next year I should have enough cardinal cards to be able to put them both in front room and the back of the house, and I'll make sure my "natural" themed tree in the front room has strings of red cranberries and red berry picks (along with fresh-cut barberry from my shrubs out front) so that the cardinals are right at home.

This is one of the little soap dispensers I picked up at the Family Dollar for $2.  Love how it coordinates so well and is so darn cute!

And the last touch of Christmas is this kitchen towel, draped over another kitchen towel in my "blue" color (it was supposed to be celadon. Oh well.)


  1. Your Christmas decorating is very pretty! I love your mantel! Thank you for visiting and your kind words. Smile... about the fireworks on the tree. Ha! Have a lovely Christmas and I am now following you!

    1. I Sherry. Thanks so much for visiting and becoming a follower. I am returning the favor and becoming a follower of yours too. I loved your Christmas tree, and I love meeting new bloggers and seeing their cool blogs through parties such as Tweak It Tuesday. See you soon at your blog!

    2. Duh. I meant to type "HI Sherry." LOL!

  2. Your Norfolk pine is lovely. Looks like we share a love as cardinals as well! ~Ann
    Tarnished Royalty

    1. Hi Ann! Thanks so much for visiting. I loved what you did with the pearls -- so many pearls, just thinking about them makes me feel decadent. You like cardinals, too? I will stop by again and check that out. There is just something about them so appealing. I've been lucky, having several generations of them nesting in my backyard since I built this place and moved here in August, 1990. So wonderful to have trees and shrubs in the yard already there when I bought the lot. I just provide additional food and water :)

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