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, November 15, 2014

Plans for Decorating the Kitchen/Dinette for Christmas

Hola everyone!

Since moving to the retirement version of Maison Newton in July (R-Day is coming up fast -- looking toward early 2015, the earlier, the better), I've been working hard to try and use as many of the decorative and decor items from the former Maison Newton in this new home that I possibly can, to keep costs down. 

Hmmm...not always successful at that. 

After sizing up how the sun worked in the space with these colors since move-in day (July 7, 2014), I purchased a new rug to anchor the dining table and chairs and new curtains for the patio doors, and love them!  But the curtains are not up to the task of  providing a warm and cozy look during a long Wisconsin winter, so for autumn (through Thanksgiving) I put up some gorgeous, thick, rich, brocade curtains that I bought at Linens 'n Things many moons ago.  Check out the autumnal decor here.

Here's a photo of the rug I purchased that is now anchoring the dinette set:


The colors work great with the color scheme in the kitchen/dinette during summer and fall, but for Christmas and winter-time?  Well, not for me.

How does an idea come about? Was it built on last year's table-top Cardinal Christmas tree, the old teal lamp I "inherited" from my sister Deb, the "Crazy Birds" Christmas placemats (from Cost Plus World Market purchased last year), and the ruby-red table cloth I used last year at the former Maison Newton?
One day not too long ago, while shopping online at Cost Plus World Market for something entirely different, I came across these curtains:


I fell in love with them!  I have to tell you, though, I hemmed and hawed for several days about spending that much money for two panels for my patio doors before I finally decided to go for it. Now, to see them marked down more than $10 a panel, it really IRKS me.

I figured they would go beautifully with my red tablecloth:


I envisioned my cardinal table-top Christmas tree somewhere in the mix, and my beloved cardinal prints (I printed them from the internet many years ago and Mr. Don loved them) framing the patio doors, and somewhere, somehow, sister Deb's beautiful teal lamp in the mix, too.  But -- the rug.

What was I going to do about the rug that had no part of Christmas hues at all?  Remove it, I thought.  But then I thought about the wear/tear on the vinyl plank floors that the chairs (in particular, the chair I normally sit in when I'm working at the computer on the dinette table) would do without a rug underneath.

I moved into the former Maison Newton more than 24 years ago, and that entailed lots of new purchases at the time, including this wool area rug for the family room, which was the only room I had furniture for at the time (measures about 5' 7" by 8' 9"), so I bought the rug to match what I had:


About 20 years ago, when I entirely changed the color scheme in the family room, I wrapped this rug in plastic and had B-I-L Fred put it up into the garage rafters   It stayed in the garage rafters until a few weeks ago, when my brother Jeff and S-I-L Heidi helped me move the remainder of my stuff out of the garage at the former Maison Newton.  It went from one garage - right into another!

Somehwere along the line, I thought -- hey, maybe your red rug can be used to anchor the dinette set...  Now was that before - or after - I decided to buy those gorgeous Darby curtain panels (at full price)?  Honestly, I don't know.  But I can tell you that I'm going to look into Cost Plus World Market's rebate policy because I purchased these curtains on October 30th.  Why should I be stuck paying more than $10 more a panel two weeks later?  I'll send them back if I have to and come up with a less expensive alernative.

Back to the rug!  I had forgot all the other colors and tones it held, other than red and dark blue:


Here's a close-up. The detail and range of colors is amazing.  Its myriad colors include a sort of grey-blue that at first glance I thought was turquoise, a sage-green in deeper and paler shades, pink, golds, creams, whites, and a few different shades of red. It is not a true "Oriental" pattern, although it is described as a "Sarouk."

Unfortunately, the rug has "bubbles" in it - YIKES!  I don't know if that was caused by laying over the rafters for 20 years or so, or if it was caused by being stood "upright" (at an angle) against one of the garage walls at the current Maison Newton for the past 3-4 weeks or so.

Today I hauled the rug from the garage into my living room.  I let it rest awhile, and then I "unwrapped" it and unrolled it, shoving furniture around to make room. 

About an hour later, this is what it looked like:


I am hoping the bubbles will resolve themselves.  In the meantime, I moved the rug downstairs to the wreck room where it has plenty of room to stretch out.  The area is heated.  Tomorrow morning I'll take the vacuum downstairs and clean it, and then let it rest again, crossing my fingers! 

I am not sure that the rug will "go" with the Darby panels from Cost Plus World Market because of possible scale issues -- the scale of the designs in the Darby panels and my beautiful rug appear similar to each other and may therefore clash more than coordinate.  The colors might not work together either.  If my rug had more turquoise or teal in it...  On the other hand. If I can live with it, that's fine with me.  At the end of the day, our decorating decisions should be made by what we like and what works for us rather than any design gurus, because we are ultimately the people who live with those decisions day in and day out. 

The beautiful Darby panels may be shipped back to Cost Plus World Market on Monday if I can't get the sales price on them, and I'll be looking for something else -- or reording the same panels at the lower price (so if CPWM doesn't give me the sales price on my recent purchase, how stupid is that???)  In any event,  I am sure my 24 year old area rug will anchor the dinette until I decide that spring has arrived. Sister Deb's teal lamp (if I can fit it in somewhere), and my cardinal table-top Christmas tree and all of my cardinal accents, and the "crazy bird" placemats, will work fabulously with it!

Swap out will most likely occur over Thanksgiving Day weekend.  Tonight, I'm doing some more work on my future office/den/library/study -- oh, whatever the heck it's called.

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