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...


Monday, December 9, 2013

The 2013 Mantle/Mantel

Hola darlings!

I hope you are all bearing up under this horrid weather most of the country has been experiencing.  It's just fricking cold and nasty here.  Yesterday we got six inches of snow, some of it "lake effect" snow, unfortunately, and the temperature!  It's been a yo-yo and no lie!  Right now we're in the deep freeze and to add to the punishment the winds are whipping out of the southwest and the wind chills are going to drop to below zero tonight.

I took this photo yesterday afternoon about 11:30 a.m. after the ladies of the investment club to which I belong left our December meeting and gift exchange:

You can't really tell from this photo, but it was snowing!  It started snowing shortly after we hit Meyer's Restaurant around 9 a.m. and continued until about 9 p.m., when I went out to shovel a pathway from the porch to the road for myself --- wwwwwwaaaaaaaaayyyyyyy down their by the mailbox, LOL! 

After our investment club meeting wrapped up I took new photos of the mantle/mantel and they turned out much better than my earlier pictures, so, without further ado, here it is:

Wow - way different than last year's mantle/mantel!  Observant readers will notice that I decided not to use the lighted wreath that I had up last year.  It was mostly because I was so tired when I finally figured out my decorating scheme that I could not face adding the glass ornaments and hanging it up.  I took what I thought was the easy way out by hanging the mirror that normally anchors this spot (it had been banished to a closet all summer and fall).  And, as sometimes happens, this was a fortuitous happenstance, as the mirror fits the mood of this decor perfectly, whereas a lighted evergreen wreath with ornaments may have distracted the star of this arrangement, which is the white branches in the vase!  I also moved the faux-pine and pine cone candle holder/centerpiece that I had centered on the mantle/mantel last year to the peninsula countertop in the dinette.

The four snow flake ornaments hanging from the mantle/mantel I purchased a few years ago from Boston Store, one of my favorite (non-discount) places to shop.  They were also there on the 2012 mantle/mantel.  They were 40% off plus another 20% off, I believe the net cost for each was $3.25.

The vase was a gift from my sister, Darlene, many years ago.  The branches were free, gathered up from my backyard and haphazardly spray-painted white. 

The lantern was a purchase from TJMaxx a month or two ago for $19.99. It was anchoring my coffee table for my autumnal decoration, and I like it so much I worked it into my winter/Christmas look, too.

The three tall mercury glass votives were purchased last year on sale from Kirkland's online.  I LOVE Kirklands!  They were $18.00. 

The "Add-Heres" vinyl words and decorations were purchased online at Bostonstore.com last year after Christmas.  I think I paid under $5 for them, and I fell instantly in love when this year I finally unwrapped the package they came in and saw them for the first time.  They are easy to put on and they come off too, to reposition so you can get it "just right."  They crystallized the idea for this 2013 mantle/mantel as nothing else did. 

Deer are VERY popular this year. Tthey've probably been popular for the past few years, I just didn't notice them until recently. Not very observant.  I spent some time shopping around online for deer or reindeer and sighed, because I did not want to spend the money to buy the larger ones I thought I needed.  But then, Walgreens came to my rescue!  I purchased these imitation "Nambe" deer at Walgreens for $4.99 each, and relied upon relative perspective and angling the little guys "just so" to get a look I am very very pleased with.  I am, frankly, madly in love with my 2013 mantle/mantel :)

The six mercury glass votives were purchased at TJMaxx for $9.99 a few weeks ago.  Each one is different from the other, and with battery-operated votive candles lit within each, the glow they cast is sooooo beautiful. 

I wanted to tell a story with my design.  The three little deer...


...they are all looking up... But at what are they looking?

Is it the birds in the trees above them in the forest, singing a sweet song...

 Or, is it something else that has caught their attention...

Oh my, look, it is a star!  It is a star in the Eastern sky, the brightest star they've ever seen.  Surely it must be a portent of some great event, surely it must mean that something grand and wonderful has happened.

They go to the Elders who, after consultation, decide to reveal The Word as written in a book by the walking trees that talk (human beings):

Behold, youngsters, the Elders say.  Listen, and learn.

These stories have been passed down to us from endless ages of Elders.  It is a story of great import from a book of the walking trees that also talk.  Do you want to know how many moons it has been since the first import of that beautiful large star in the Eastern sky became known to us?

Yes, Elders, we do.

Well, then.  It has been some 24,852 moon cycles since that beautiful star first appeared in the Eastern sky. 

The little deer are in awe of this great number.  They cannot imagine such a vast number of moons having passed since that first great star appeared in the sky. 

But, tell us, Elders, what does it mean?  And they kneel at midnight in supplication.  Answer us, please.

Before the Elders can speak, however, a sound is heard, drifting into the forest on the North Wind.  At first it is so faint, it is hard to make out.  But, as the young deer and the Elders listen intently, the sound becomes clearer and clearer, and louder and louder.  It is singing!  A great wonderful singing of thousands upon thousands of voices. 

It is the great heavenly choir of the lights in the sky, the angels of the most high! And they sing in majestic harmony,  as the awe-struck young deer listen to the sounds and the words drifting closer and closer on the night wind:

... we bring you tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the City of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord. ... Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will to men.  (St. James Bible, Luke 2: excerpted verses 10, 11, 14). 

So, now we know what it is the little deer were looking up at.  And every time I look at my mantle/mantel this season, I contemplate the birth of a great savior.  We sure do need one, don't we.

When you wish upon a star, makes no difference who you are
Anything your heart desires will come to you...

I'm sharing this at Tweak It Tuesday at Cozy Little House. 
Also sharing this at The Shabby Nest: Frugal Friday.
Also sharing this at The Dedicated House: Make it Pretty Monday (Week 81). 


  1. Jan, I really like the "light hand" you used in putting together your mantel for this year. It is truly refreshing. And your sweet deer...they seem to know something special and important is about to happen. [wink]

    I'm outside the lake-effect belt right now...but I've lived many years right smack in the middle of it on two different Great Lakes. Fortunately the temps are warming up from the single digits now to the high teens and tomorrow the high twenties. Yup....I take the warm up for sure!! You stay warm too!

    1. How sweet of you to drop by, Diane. Thank you!