December 19, 2018:


I can't believe we're less than a week away from Christmas and I haven't yet really decorated the kitchen and dinette! I've got the small cardinal tree up on the peninsula counter and my Christmas cards are shaped in the form of a Christmas tree and taped to a wall by the dining table; I put up my colorful teal floral curtains with lots of gold and red, my cardinal prints and added a red tablecloth to the dining table, but that's it! Enough, I suppose.

The tree is done! It seemed to take forever this year to decorate but I am loving the result. It looks like the kind of mish-mash everything on it but the kitchen sink kind of tree I remember from my childhood. The only thing missing is the bubble lights, but I'm too frugal to buy them!

I hope everyone has a wonderful holiday season and that the dreaded Polar Vortex stays away!


Friday, June 15, 2018

Catching Up: How I Arranged the Tray on the Round Ottoman

Hola!  I've been so busy with spring clean-up (when spring finally arrived here, that is), and all of a sudden cutting grass every 5 days because we had tons of rain over a 2 week period and the grass grew I swear an inch a day!  Anyway, the flower beds are slowly getting back to presentable, I've even managed to get some pruning done, and I've been busy planning some curb appeal improvements to the front of the house.

But first, I had promised way back in January (I think) to show you some photos of various ways I experimented with arrangements on the round framed glass mirror I finally decided to use as a "tray" on my ottoman.

I had shopped around online for tray but, of course, everything I really liked I wasn't willing to pay that much for.  So I eyed up the contents of my house and lo and behold, one day while I was going through some accessories in the wreck room storage cabinets I came across a mirror I purchased years ago from The Bombay Company when they were the big thing and you were able to buy things online.  It looked great in the room and I really liked that the mirror added a nice sparkle, so it stayed.  Without further ado, here are some of my attempts, and then the final product:

Above, Try #1.  I used a 14" diameter brass tray that I bought at a rummage sale years ago while on vacation in Las Vegas.  It is solid brass and has Asian ladies engraved on the front with mountains in the background.  I tried out a battery-operated candle, a black African-carved elephant with ivory and brass accents, and a set of black coasters.  My initial reation was - meh.

Above, Try #2.  I replaced the coaster set with a Damascus steel dish with its intricate design inlaid in gold thread. I bought in 2002 while visiting the ancient town of Toledo, in Spain.  We visited a family that makes the Damascus steel in small furnaces and you can watch the artisans at wrk.  That is actual 24 carat gold thread used to create the intricate geometric design.  I had it in my glass hutch but it wasn't really noticeable there, and I want people to see it, I think it's so beautiful and it reminds me daily of that wonderful 10 days in Spain in October 2002.  Not bad, but still blah.  I knew I was going to keep using the Damascus steel dish though.

Above, Try #3.  Third time's a charm, but I was also weary of trying to find something absolutely perfect.  I swapped out the wood carved elephant and added three eggs from my egg collection, also housed in the hutch in the living room.  The egg laying on its side (it has a carved flat side to lay that way) is made of white alabaster and I love it.  I purchased it at a gift shop in Red Wing, Minnesota one summer's day when a friend and I drove across Wisconsin and across the Mississippi River to go visit a friend at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota.  We took a break at the gift shop and that's where I bought the souvenir egg.  That was my one and only trip to Minnesota.  The larger clear egg is carved acrylic resting on a raised brass stand, and the smaller egg is hand-carved Waterford Crystal that I bought at a gallery in Las Vegas during one of my many past trips there.  I liked this arrangement a lot, but still felt it was missing some zing.

And the winner is, ding ding ding ding ding:  Try #4!  Ta da!  I swapped out the brass tray and used it elsewhere in the living room to hold the coasters from Try #1 through #3, replacing it with the Bombay Company mirror I mentioned above.  Its diameter is the same as the brass tray but the actual flat area is smaller because the frame around it is deeper than the rim on the brass platter.  The brass button moulding around the mirror and the mirror itself add sparkle and I love the look, a touch of glam in a room of elements mixing traditional and modern furnishings.  It's been this way for 4 plus months now (whew, where does the time go?) and I haven't felt any urge to change it. That means it will probably stay that way for the next 10 years :)

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