Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Christmas 2010

My wonderful hubby surprised me with a beautiful pearl bracelet on Christmas morning!

 And speaking of hubby, there he is, fake smile and all...

My son, pretending he's thrilled with the packing material. Can you tell he just rolled out of bed? At least guys don't have to worry about the no-makeup look (as evidenced by MY first pic).

Showing what was under all that packing material...

My sister and her daughters - my lovely nieces - and my BIL (not pictured) came over for afternoon hors d'oeurves and games. We love playing Apples to Apples!

I've always wanted a Corvette...so my sister got me one. Thanks, Laura!

One of my son's artist friends made my nieces each a hemp and clay necklace....

Showing off her cupcake necklace...

Even Zippo gets in on the present action with a piece of salmon from my mom...

LuLu, my mom's Pomeranian, all decked out for Christmas...

 All Monkey and Clementine have to say is, "Merry Christmas to all, and to all a goodnight!"

Saturday, December 18, 2010

little comforts

Oatmeal-raisin bars under a cloche, a vintage Marshall Fields Christmas crock (found at Goodwill) and a pretty red crock of kitchen tools at the ready...

Candlelight to make things cozier, especially on a cold, winter day...

Red glass bottles to brighten up a gray view...

 A loaf of cranberry-pecan bread...so good with a steaming mug of tea or coffee...

Pussycats (Clementine and Monkey) sleeping the afternoon away...

And a collection of snowmen gracing a kitchen shelf...

Warm winter hugs...

Saturday, December 11, 2010

a little bit of christmas decorating

I don't put up a Christmas tree anymore, but I do like a few Christmas touches around the house.

Here's the living room buffet ...

This vintage green bowl has always been one of my favorites. It belonged to my grandma. I think it looks really pretty with the miniature ornaments in it.

These elegant votive candlesticks are from Partylite, but I got them at Goodwill a couple of years ago. I sometimes like to use them to hold something unexpected instead of votives. I found these miniature presents at The Dollar Store.

A shelf in my kitchen...

Little candy canes grace a vintage sugar bowl...

And a pretty basket to hold Christmas cards from loved ones...


Friday, November 26, 2010

good book kind of day

So it's the day after Thanksgiving and the afternoon looms ahead of me. I'm not a Black Friday shopper, the house is clean, laundry is in the dryer...so now what? Curling up on the couch with a good book sounds mighty good to me.

Am I in the mood for poetry?

Or, perhaps something inspirational?

New decorating ideas?

 Hmm...or maybe some fiction?

I finally decided on Barbara Kingsolver's, The Lacuna. Looks like Monkey approves!

What are YOU reading these days?

Thursday, November 18, 2010

basement re-do

Back in May, our finished basement flooded. It was pouring rain and the sump pump was working overtime. If you're familiar with sump pumps, there's a rubber ball type thingy down in the well called a "float". Well, it was this float that got stuck to the wall of the sump pump, so the pump stopped working. I was at work when my son called to tell me the basement was flooding. By the time I got home, the water was creeping out of the smaller, unfinished part of the basement that's the storage space and laundry room, and into the carpeted part that was our family room.

 Mr. Comfy House, our son, and a couple of his friends worked for hours, clearing all the furniture, books, and decor out of the basement and into the garage and spare bedroom. We then called a restoration company who came and tore up the carpeting and tore down the wainscoting from the walls. Then they set up fans and huge dehumidifiers to dry out the basement.

 In the picture below, you can see the brown wainscoting on the back wall. They didn't have to tear a couple of pieces down because the water didn't affect that wall.

We were finally able to hire a contractor and get started on remodeling this month. Since the basement is naturally dark (it's not a walk-out basement and the only natural light is from one underground window well), we wanted to lighten and brighten the basement with color. We decided to have new wainscoting put up, but had the contractor paint it white.

As for wall color, I decided to go with something different. I have always chosen "safe" colors - light blue, beige, green. I broke out of my (boring) box and chose a pumpkin spice color. It was really hard to get the shade exactly right. We had to go back to Home Depot three times! You can see the trial patches of color in the picture below.

First coat of pumpkin spice...

In my next post, I'll show you pictures of the stairway and the floor. Thanks for your visit!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

on a clear day, i can see forever

Yesterday was one of those days where I was feeling RUSHED. I had too much to do and not enough time to accomplish it all. Sound familiar? It was my day off from work, but it was going to be far from a "day off". My morning started off with taking care of the cats (food, fresh water, litter box duty), doing two loads of laundry, some light housework, taking a shower and getting dressed, then out the door to the chiropractor. After that, I still needed to go to the laundromat to dry the two loads of laundry (can't use my dryer right now - long story), get my hair cut, pick up a few items at the grocery store, see if I could use my bargaining skills at Best Buy on a new laptop (that was a flop - I was basically ignored by the few salespeople in the store), return a scarf to TJ Maxx, and get some OPI nail polish at Ulta while it was still on sale (plus I had a $3.50 off coupon).


It was one of those rare November days - a day of sunshine and warmth. In northern IL. Too good to be true. I am always so busy rushing around, trying to get everything done, that sometimes I lose sight of what's most important. Like taking some time for myself. Enjoying what's right in front of me. Taking advantage of the beautiful weather. Slowing down. So, on the way to all those errands, I stopped at the State Park and took a long walk. It felt so good to be moving, breathing in the fresh air, and feeling the warmth on my face.

 I stopped once in awhile to snap some photos of spots that I thought were especially beautiful...

And then I came across this poem today...so perfect. Sums it all up.

ENOUGH (Jeffrey Harrison)
 It's a gift, this cloudless November morning
warm enough for you to walk without a jacket
along your favorite path. The rhythmic shushing
of your feet through fallen leaves should be
enough to quiet the mind, so it surprises you
when you catch yourself telling off your boss
for a decade of accumulated injustices,
all the things you've never said circling inside you.

It's the rising wind that pulls you out of it,
and you look up to see a cloud of leaves
swirling in sunlight, flickering against the blue
and rising above the treetops, as if the whole day
were sighing, Let it go, let it go,
for this moment at least, let it all go.

Monday, November 1, 2010


I don't know about you, but I love jewelry. Especially bracelets. Beaded, handcrafted, silver, gold, brass, copper, pearls, charms, turquoise, bangles, vintage, dangly, unusual - I love 'em all! I'm almost embarrassed to admit -I have a lot of bracelets. I hang the beaded ones from the corners of picture frames and layer them in pretty dishes. I also have quite a few sterling silver bracelets, which I keep in special little jewelry bags and boxes to protect them from tarnishing. Where do you keep your jewelry? Do you like to display your pieces?

Beaded one-piece wrap-around style bracelets. I got the one on the right for $1.99 at Goodwill!

Colorful, shiny beads...

 I really like this one because of the unusual mixture of turquoise with seed pearls.

My first bracelet - with only the Christmas wreath charm on it -  given to me by my mom for Christmas around 1974.  Charms from the top, left...my best friend (8th grade photo) Missy; Forget-Me-Not charm from my mom, I think for Valentine's Day; Chicago Water Tower from my grandma; flute and piano from my parents (I played both); Siamese cat (representing my kitty, Vashti at the time); the Christmas wreath; Washington DC charm from my aunt when she took a trip there with her 8th grade class (this aunt is only 3 years older than me!); and a charm from the Louisiana Superdome (one of my high school band trips back in the late 70's).

A more recent purchase from an Etsy seller...unfortunately, I can't remember her name, so I can't give her any credit for this beautiful bracelet. Philip was my 21-year old son who passed away last year. The little red charm is a ruby, Philip's birthstone.

Hubby bought me this gorgeous gold and pearl bracelet a couple of years ago after I admired it in an antique shop. He went back and bought it for me and surprised me with it on my birthday. :-)

 This little beauty I got from the Sundance Catalog. Are you familiar with them? Yes, this is Robert Redford's company. Check them out at http://www.sundancecatalog.com/. Be prepared to drool. Pricey, yes. But sometimes you can find good deals in their outlet section, which I did with this bracelet.

Sunday, October 17, 2010


It's a quiet Sunday at Comfy house...

Clementine chasing an afternoon sunbeam...

While Monkey - Clementine's baby who's now 5 weeks old - finds a comfy blanket on the couch.

Pumpkin muffins are ready to go into the oven...

It's so hard to wait for muffins to cool down...

The Sunday paper is waiting to be read. Sitting down with a pumpkin muffin and cup of coffee sounds mighty good to me.

Bowl of fresh fruit in the kitchen...

And a pot of mums on the front porch.

Then, to add some prettiness to myself today - a new fall necklace from http://www.lisaleonardonline.com/!