December 2019:

Hola!

Winter has arrived. We had early snow Halloween weekend (3-4 inches) and about a week later we got another 3-4 inches on top of that, and cold weather. The snow melted (thank goodness!) but winter caught autumn unprepared - a surprise ambush!

The house is now decorated for Christmas season and I snuggle underneath a thick throw blanket on the sofa at night admiring the Christmas tree. It's cold enough now to fire up the fireplace, brrrrr!

I hope everyone has a wonderful and blessed holiday season. May we all be jolly and bright and happy.

Jan

Monday, November 5, 2018

Planning for Red for Christmas this Year

I will be rearranging the living room soon in preparation for bringing up the Christmas tree from basement storage after Thanksgiving.

One of my close friends has a birthday on November 23rd and I always treat her - and myself - yearly to a night out to see a show at one of our local theatre venues and have a nice dinner.  And then we go to Candy Cane Lane and join in a parade of cars driving slowly through about a 6 square block area of a local neighborhood where the neighbors decorate their houses for Christmas to raise funds for the MACC Fund (Milwaukee Area Childrens' Cancer Fund).  They have raised hundreds of thousands of dollars over the past many years.  That's how I kick off my Christmas season.  This year we're going to see the stage play "Miss Bennet: Christmas at Pemberley" at the Pabst Theatre downtown.  I love all things related to Jane Austen, including off-shoots by other authors from her work. I am really looking forward to seeing this play!  It's gotten good reviews and who can resist a story about one of the most neglected of the Bennet sisters - Mary!

Not sure why, but for some time now I've been stewing on the idea of using some red in my living room decor for the first time.  I have used my red cardinals and red/black/green plaid ribbons, of course, in my kitchen and dining area for decor, but the living room and tree have been decorated primarily in gold, silver, sparkles and glass.

So, I made some modest purchases -- two rich red colored throw cushion covers for the sofa and a chunky knit faux-fur trimmed throw blanket to add to the room for snuggling before the fireplace.

Here is one of the throw pillow covers I scored online from Bed Bath & Beyond Manhattan Square Throw Pillow Cover in red ($14.99).  It's soft and silky feeling with a nice sheen to it.



The second throw pillow, also from Bed Bath & Beyond and also $14.99,is a red velvet with a gold quilted diamond pattern, plush, lush, soft, lux:
MYOP Quilted Diamond Square Throw Pillow Cover in Red
Here is the Nina Campbell throw blanket I scored at Steinmart for 50% off:



I am loving this throw!  It is super-soft and chunky and warm!  It is a deep red but not burgundy, called "Chili Pepper."

Speaking of the fireplace, I had my first fire of the season yesterday.  It was raining, super-windy, damp and dark out all day and I felt chilly in the house although the heat was kicking in on a regular basis.  So I had a 2-can gel fuel fire and it was glorious! It lasted for 2 and 1/2 hours as I sat in one of the wing chairs in the living room with my feet up enjoying the flames and and crackling - because it's actual fire burning in the fireplace behind the faux logs and the real fire screen, and the room warms up.  Lovely! 

Back to the red - I have my nearly 30 year old red and black "Oriental" pattern wool rug to bring up from basement storage for the holiday which this year will be layered over the black and cream chevron pattern area rug in the living room.  The red/black Oriental traditional pattern is a 5 x 7 and much smaller than the 10 x 12 black and cream, so there will certainly be some contrast there!  But I think it will work, and if it doesn't I won't care, as to me decorating is intensely personal and not about appealing to an audience.  I've used the rug in this retirement version of Maison Newton before - in the dining area.  No photos of it on this computer, it will be a "surprise."

I'll probably add some red plaid French ribbon to the Christmas tree decor this year, too for some red color on the tree. I can get it at the Family Dollar for $5 for a large roll.  I do believe I even have a few (a very few) red ornaments but I'll have to unbury them from boxes of Christmas decorations in the basement!

Stay tuned. 

November Already???

Holy Hathor people!  Where did my summer go?  And tomorrow is election day, wow.

I have updates, but haven't kept up posting anything.  I was busy doing political stuff all summer though, decided to get off my butt and get involved.  I will take a short break after the election tomorrow and then jump back in.  If I were younger, I would seriously consider running for office myself.  It's not that I feel "old" at 67, but I certainly don't have the energy I used to have either, and I don't want to upset the apple cart with what health issues I have, which substantially improved since I retired from my extremely stressful job in early 2015.  But, like many other women all across the country since the start of 2017, I have been motivated to get involved in local politics like I never was motivated before.

But now I'm settling in for winter.  We had a stretch of hot weather in early October, but since then it's been below normal temperatures and lots of rain.  We have more than an inch above average last month along with wind storms that seemed to come every few days!

Even with the sudden turn here in temperatures, though, the leaves took their time turning this year, or so it seemed to me.  It was only within the last couple of days of strong winds once again that there are now more bare trees than leafed trees.  I will have to rake again. And if it doesn't rain again tonight or tomorrow I will pull out the lawnmower and give everything a last mow-over for the season.

And then - it's countdown to Thanksgiving and to Christmas! 

I had a good turn out for trick or treaters this year.  It seems, sadly, that every year fewer of the neighbors participate in our neighborhood trick or treat night.  Every year a flyer arrives on my front door handle from one of the neighbors announcing the date for our neighborhood night time trick or treat (official city trick or treat is held during the daylight hours of 1 and 4 p.m.)  Personally, I enjoy seeing the kids in their costumes, some of them were very clever again this year and of course the young moms bringing out their toddlers for their first-ever trick or treat is one of the things I greatly enjoy!  It reminds me of when I was a kid in the 50s and early 60s when everyone went trick or treating at night and our costumes were masks, usually home-made and our treat holders were shopping bags with handles!  Since it's only once a year, I don't mind spending a little money to make sure I have enough snack size candy bars on hand and a large variety so the kids can take what they most like out of the treat bucket.  Surprisingly to me this year, Hersheys regular chocolate bars and Kit Kat were the most popular, outscoring Snickers and Reese's Peanut Butter Cups.  I also buy Mounds and Almond Joy (I love them both) and some non-chocolate treats.  I usually have some left-overs of them, which I then snack on for a few weeks after the holiday :)

I didn't take any photos of the house decorated for Halloween, probably should have although I don't do things up the way a lot of people do!  I string up orange lights in my two living room windows and put battery-operated candle lanterns out on the front stoop, a couple of "spooky" decorations and put an orange porch light in.  It's 2 hours out of my life each year having fun and saying hi to parents (most of whom accompany their kids for the nighttime trick or treating) whom I rarely otherwise see except as they drive by and beep if I'm out cutting the grass or sweeping the gutters out.  Yeah, that sweeping the gutters out is an old Polish lady thing, har :)