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

Monday, October 13, 2014

The Niche Is Now a Bookshelf!!!

It's DONE!

Well, I had to do some tweaking to it.  Yesterday morning when I started putting up the brackets that hold the shelves, I realized that the right side was slightly off about 1/4 inch, so the shelves were not sitting level.  How on earth could he not have checked for level?  Sheesh!  What to do, what to do?  Call him -- on a Sunday?  I could have; I probably shoudl have.  But then I didn't want to have to wait for whenever he could get here (it might not have been yesterday, it could be days), so after eyeballing the situation I figured I would remove the screws, flip the metal strip that holds the brackets, and screw it back on.

It took awhile (quite awhile), using only muscle power, and those screws were LONG -- more than 2 inches long!  Fortunately, once I flipped the metal bracket over I could see my idea would work, and I was able to angle the screws into the previously made holes.  Everything held right and tight.

This is what it looked like after I put all five shelves up:

I was mystified for awhile because sometimes the brackets didn't hold in the slots I wanted them to go into!  Eventually I figured out that a bracket won't fit into a slot that has a screw directly underneath because the screw blocks the "hook" part of the bracket from catching.  So, I was not able to space things out as I had hoped.  It worked out okay though, because I ended up removing the fifth shelf and rearranged the four remaining shelves to be more evenly spaced.  I realized the way I had the shelves the first time around wouldn't work when I went to place my first horse -- it was much taller than the space.

After realigning the shelves, I set about "styling" them.  All these years I've called it putting stuff on a flat surface and moving said stuff this way and that until I arrive at an arrangement I find pleasing.  "Styling" is something I try to do with my hair (usually a hopeless task).

Here it is in progress:

And the finished product (for now):

Each horse has its own story:

This horse is batter operated and trots around the post, anchored by a little string "bridle."  I saved the box because this horse (and box) travelled all the way from Madrid, Spain back home with me, and Mr. Don bought one for himself, too.  He was absolutely fascinated by it, and I just thought they were a hoot.  We came across a vendor selling them on the parkway along the Paseo del Prado close to the Fountain of Sibyl.  That was in January, 2012; things were tough for a lot of people in Madrid during that time, and we were happy to give the vendor a little business.  That was the last trip Don and I took together.  Yesterday it was two years since he passed away.

The rearing horse is done in some kind of metal with an aged bronze finish and has a wooden base.  I bought it years ago at one of the shops at the Fireside Theatre in Fort Atkinson (Wisconsin). I love his lines. I kept him on my desk at home for years, but now I think he's happy with his other friends of the equine persuasion.

There's my Xena, and just in case a visitor doesn't get the idea about Xena on this wooden horse I bought from the Museum Store locally for a great price -- the workmanship is exquisite -- I positioned "The Horse Goddess" behind. You can't see it from this angle, but she's got her battle ring in her left hand (you can see it in her hand in the top photo, lower right side).  She's chasing down the Tang Dynasty warrior in the print.

This is the celadon Tang Dynasty style ceramic horse I picked up at TJMaxx a couple of years ago -- the horse that inspired the redo of the family room in the former Maison Newton -- the room that didn't get finished!

And Home Decorator shoppers may recognize this black beauty, aptly named "Black Beauty:"

I got a good deal on him a couple Christmases ago.  I had hemmed and hawed for quite awhile, should I buy him or shouldn't I, and I didn't because of the price; but then he went on sale for 50% off and snap, he was mine! 

Pieces rounding out the rest of the collection are a pair of some kind of stone (black and white) horse head book ends, and a large black knight chess piece. Now that I've got a place for them, more horses may follow me home in the future.

So, that's it, in all of its crowded glory.  Honestly, the niche shelves are, by comparison to other shelves in the house, restrained -- you can actually see space:

Working bookshelf in what will become my den/library/study.  I need two tall bookcases; with the "home improvement" work around here done for 2014, I can concentrate on shopping for them.

China hutch.  Before my collection of eggs got so large, I used to scatter them in front of the books, and the shelves were packed with books from end to end.  Now only two of the three shelves are stuffed with books -- an improvement!  The center part of the second shelf holds the egg collection.

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