So far behind on everything - but I have been busy. Still, somehow summer seemed to not want to end and then it got COLD all at once, hardly any autumn at all. The trees were caught totally surprised - most of them here had not even begun to turn color yet. I don't remember an autumn like this, it was truly strange and rather scary. We got a series of hard freezes and even a nasty storm of sleet/snow one day with 40-50 mph winds:
That's my backyard. Fortunately, I did catch a few breaks in the weather before this storm hit to get everything out back put away for the winter. Wowsers. This storm happened toward the beginning of November.
So, I turned my sights inward - specifically, toward Christmas decorating. One of the ways I manage to survive the stretch of the march of ever-shortening days toward the Winter Solstice (December 21 this year) is to surround myself with candles galore and lots of fires in my gel-fuel fireplace. That has been such a great investment. It burns absolutely clean, no air pollution and no need to vent it outside. When I use 3 cans of gel fuel to make a fire (I usually only use 1 or 2), it generates 4500 BTUs of heat. I do that during the coldest days of the year, when even with the heat on and the furnace seeming to kick in every 20 minutes I still feel COLD inside the house. And I do that as it gets closer to Christmas.
So, this year, instead of moving the sofa into the only spot that logically makes sense to put it (with its back toward the entry way into the dinette, looking toward the large picture window where the tree will be centered, I decided to try a different arrangement. It took me a good week to decide it was okay enough to leave it. A few shots of the new arrangement for Christmas season:
I'll have to scootch the wing chair over and angle it closer to the fireplace, which will be just fine with moi, to make enough room for the tree in front of the picture window.
This year, I also took down all my previous curtain arrangements and put up those 92" long sheers that are budget-saving Ikea. They used to hang as backdrop curtains in my bedroom, where I have two long narrow "ranch" windows that meet in a corner of the room. I replaced them earlier this year with inexpensive sheets from Ikea that I added a hem to to thread the curtain rod through. Easy peasy with iron-on hemming tape. They added a little more opaqueness behind the front layer of curtains, also from Ikea.
Those sheers now in the living room let in a ton of light and it has made a tremendous different in the light level in the house. I am loving it. I only put one curtain on either side of the fireplace because the window is narrow and tall and people cannot see much of the room when passing by that side of the house other than the upper walls and ceiling. I also like the poofy effect of the excess material on the floor (which you can't see in any of the photos, drat).
The picture window, however, is ginormous and for me, privacy is a problem and a must-have. One can see the entire living room all the way back through the patio doors into the back yard from the front sidewalk. I could probably add a few more panels for some extra privacy from the eyes of passers-by, but I don't light up the room at night with lamps, only candles and the occasional fire, and sometimes I have the TV on. I've done the privacy test from the outside and you really can't see a whole lot. It's not like I run around naked anyway, har :) During Christmas season, once the tree is up and decorated the curtains will be drawn back but the tree blocks the view into the room, creating plenty of privacy.
This new temporary furniture arrangement focuses on the fireplace:
It gives me plenty of cozying up in a wing chair with a good book when I have a fire going while still enjoying the tree, and the sofa to stretch out on (it is used only for my naps when I am not entertaining). So, the living room is ready - to be decorated. The sofa table normally sits in front of the picture window behind the sofa, which is centered on the picture window wall when it's not Christmas.
What's that you say? Oh yeah, no tree yet. I am working up to dragging it up from the basement. Eleven steep, narrow steps. Eleven steps that seem to stretch from China to here. Every year for the past 3 years, it seems to get a bit harder to get the heavy tree up those stairs. Hmmmm, wonder why that is. The tree hasn't grown any larger ...
That said, I DO have the kitchen and dinette done! Last year I did pretty minimalist decorating and did not even put out my beloved cardinal tree. This year, I decorated in the dinette and even the kitchen more than ever, and I didn't even pull up the rich red and black traditional wool rug and hang the teal and red floral curtains on the patio door this year! I felt it looked great just as it was.
Pics: Lots of cardinals everywhere.