Monday, December 31, 2012

new tabletop and wall vignettes

  I took down all my Christmas decor on the 26th!

I do that every year. While I enjoy the decorations when they're up, I sure get 
tired of them quickly. My famous saying the day after Christmas is,
"OK, Christmas is over! Down with the decor!"

It then takes me a few days to dust all the furniture, hunt in the tote boxes
in the basement for 'regular' decor, and play with vignettes until I get the look I want.

Here's the updated buffet area in the living room...

The shelving unit is still a work in progress. I'm not digging the top shelf.
Too much uniformity in height. Blah.
I got a new owl - the silver guy. Fifty percent off (Christmas clearance)
at Target. I don't think he looks too holiday-ish. Silver is pretty all winter-long. kitchen wall collage of frames! 
This is also still a work in progress.
I'll be putting another small frame in the vertical frame on the right.
 Probably something with texture instead of the plain, flat squares I have going on.
Hobby Lobby had some neat stuff, but I'm waiting 'til I get a coupon or it goes on sale.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

it's over for another year

 I'm breathing a sigh of relief that Christmas is over for another year.

Just too much hoopla and too many expectations for me.
Though I enjoy the few weeks of sparkly decor and the generality of people
in a nicer mood, I'm always glad when it's over and we can all get back to
a semblance of "normalcy". I'm more of a quiet, stay-at-home kind of girl.

Though I must say that Christmas Eve at my own home with 
just the three of us was lovely. We had a fire going in the fireplace, snacked on
 hors d'oeurves, opened gifts, drank wine, and talked and laughed.
 My sweet man gifted me with four books from my amazon wish list.

Brian also loves to give me jewelry. His favorite jewelry place is
Blue Nile online. He wrote me a short romantic note about this necklace being
a token of our love for each other.

My poor husband looks so tired in this photo. He gets up at 4:15 a.m. for work
every day. Including Christmas Eve and Christmas day.

My sweet son gave me some of my favorite goodies ~ wine and chocolate. :-)

 The kitties got a couple of new toys, but just like little kids, their favorite
things to play with were the boxes and the wrapping paper.

Christmas day was spent at my aunt and uncle's house with my extended family.
I was so touched to receive an unexpected gift from my cousin's wife.
They live in Washington ~ and here I am in Illinois ~ so we don't see each other often. 
She said when they were in a little gift shop waiting to catch a ferry, she saw this book and
thought of me. She knows how much I love cats. Ironic thing is ~ 
this was another book on my amazon wish list!

 These three lovely ladies - my mom and her two sisters; my aunts - are three
of my favorite people in the world.

I hope all of you had a blessed holiday, in whatever way you chose to celebrate it.

Monday, December 24, 2012

christmas eve musings ~ and the impact of red

 Happy Christmas Eve to all my blogging friends!

My husband is working today, so it's been a quiet day at Comfy House.
I am finally feeling better since having a bad cold and had that cooped-up feeling.
So I put on my winter coat and went out for a walk.
It's a gray day and the dry, cold air made me cough a lot again, but it
felt good to breathe that fresh air and move this body.

When Brian gets home from work, the three of us will have our own little
Christmas celebration with hor's d'oeurves and opening presents as Brian has to
 work tomorrow, too! Yep, there's those places that are open 24/7.
 Doesn't matter if it's Christmas day...hospitals, nursing homes, police departments,
 and fire departments are all open.
 (I'm sure I forgot some professions.)

It will be a bittersweet Christmas morning with Brian being at work,
and no little ones to be waking us at the crack of dawn like they used to.
We miss our oldest son every day of the year (for those of you who don't know,
he passed away three years ago), but moreso on holidays.

Moving on...I've always loved touches of red in decor.
Red goes with practically any other color and can really add that something to a room.
Red is warm and positive; energizing and cheerful.

My bedroom desperately needs a makeover and is the next room that WILL be done,
but for now the color scheme is light blue and white.
I nearly forgot that I had a quilt with primary colors packed away and that the
one side had little red and white checks. I folded it lengthwise and placed it
at the foot of the bed, then added a holiday pillow with a red bird on it.
Much better!

And, remember I was looking for a white tablecloth to go under my Christmas runner?
I couldn't find one in my table's size. I remembered that I had a vintage tablecloth
that I picked up at a resale shop a few months ago and...
it had red in it, so why not?

The white and blue plates are my wedding china - Noritake Ireland, Brambury pattern.
The little reindeer plates - no markings on the back. I found them at Goodwill.

Here's to a peaceful, safe, and healthy Christmas from my house to yours.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

gift of grandma's ruby red glassware

 A friend of mine came to visit the other night and walked into my house carrying a box.
She said she had a gift for me.
She is moving to Washington next year and will be living in a much smaller house,
so she can't bring all of her stuff with her.

I opened the box to find an assortment of beautiful, deep red glassware.

 My friend said these pieces had belonged to her grandma
and she can't take them with her on her move due to lack of space.
She wanted me to have them because she knows how much I love red glass ~
and that I will love them and take care of them.

I was so touched!
The box contained plates, bowls, cups, and a vase.
I hand-washed everything carefully and put some of the items to use
in my Christmas decor.

  I told my friend that my grandma loved red glass, too.
And that I have a set of her red drinking glasses.
Funny how we're all connected.

I cried as my friend gifted me with her grandma's precious red glassware.
Because my friend trusts me to take care of, appreciate, and love something
that belonged in her family. Because I will miss my friend who has lived
across the street from me for 22 years.

Friday, December 21, 2012

snowy day good for baking, tweaking ~ and nuturing a cold

 How appropriate that on the first day of winter, we got our first snow.
It wasn't much and most of it happened overnight, but the winds here have been fierce.
At times, it was hard to sleep last night because the gutters kept banging against
the house and the windows were rattling.

Guess it's time to hang up the decorative snowflakes!

I'm ready to display my snowmen too, but I've been waiting for hubby to hang
some shelving and frames on the kitchen wall.
I think I'll do a snowman theme on the shelves.
Ready to go...

This looong, blank wall will soon be filled...

 Even though I've been sick, I've been doing some baking. I get really bored when I'm sick.
I can only read so much or watch so much TV when I have to get up and do something.
This morning, I baked streuselkuchen. A classic crumb cake. So good with a cuppa tea!

This hasn't been a good week for me as far as injury and illness.
This past Monday afternoon - soon after I posted that I was looking forward to my yoga class -
I was carrying something out to my garage, and I fell down the three steps leading into my garage.
I'll be OK - I have a lot of nasty external bruises as well as a bruised tailbone, but it 
could've been a lot worse. I could've easily broken some bones, or hit my head,
or severely injured my back. I already have three herniated disks, so my tailbone is
really hurting. Actually feels better when I'm up and around. Yoga stretches help, too.

And then late Wednesday night, I could feel a cold coming on.
It's now full-blown head congestion, sinus pain, dripping nose, hacking cough.
I'm resting when needed, drinking lots of water and tea, and taking vitamin C and 
some herbal supplements.

 Hubby is home from work and I've got roasted potatoes in the oven.
I'm going to try a new recipe for pork tenderloin medallions and a corn casserole.
Even though I'm sick, I actually have an appetite. I guess that's a good thing. :-)

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

the days are flying

 Today is Tim's 22nd birthday!

 Where does the time go?
Blink your eyes and your babies are grown.

Birthdays call for something more special than just cereal for breakfast.
Homemade breakfast sausages (ground pork mixed with pure maple syrup and spices)
 and biscuits filled the bill this morning.

I love my KitchenAid mixer. I use it all the time. It was a gift from my grandma
about 27 years ago. The only thing I've had to replace on it is the mixer paddle.

Made Tim a chocolate birthday cake ~ it's Hershey's deep, dark chocolate
cake recipe. My stand-by.
Ran out of cocoa powder after I made the cake, and I didn't want to run
out to the grocery store just for one item, so I waited until a friend got
home from work and she brought over some cocoa powder so that I could
make chocolate frosting.

Can it really be only six more days until Christmas? It sure doesn't seem like it.
I think the mild weather has something to do with it.
This morning while I was washing some pots and pans and staring out the kitchen 
window, I could've sworn I saw a dandelion in my neighbor's yard.
I had to do a double-take. I thought, "It can't be. Not in December in Illinois!"
I grabbed my camera and went outside.
Yep. A dandelion.

While I was walking around my house and past the living room window,
Monkey was watching me from inside the house.
He looks so contemplative, doesn't he?! 

Tim had some friends over this evening. (That's Tim on the left,
with the wavy hair and beard.)
We all sat around in the kitchen and talked and laughed while the
music blared from Tim's room. Yes, it was noisy and a bit crazy,
but I wouldn't trade it for the world. I want Tim's friends to feel welcome here
and like I said earlier - they grow up so fast.
I used to babysit that tall young man in the back row with the blue-striped
hoodie and the young man sitting down in front. *sigh*

Me, Brian, Tim, and my mom were supposed to go out to dinner
tonight to celebrate Tim's birthday, but Brian had to end up taking his
dad to the hospital and was gone all day and evening.
We'll go out another night.

Don't laugh, but this was my first hard cider ever. I never thought I'd
like it, but those young hooligans made me try it ~ and I liked it!

Monday, December 17, 2012

around here

It's been a yucky week.
I am stating the obvious when I say that the school shooting in CT has affected us all.
I'm not going to rehash the subject or offer my opinions on gun control and this
country's stance on mental health ~ I think we've all heard enough.
If you're anything like me, you need a break from this horrendous stuff for awhile.
We've been saturated enough by every media source.

On top of it, a friend of mine passed away on Saturday from Triple Negative breast cancer.
She left behind her parents, sister, husband, and three small children.

In my own little corner of the world, my bathrooms were remodeled last week.
I cleaned up that gross, fine contractor dust in the entire house.
I put the bathrooms back together.
 I've been baking Christmas cookies and putting them in the freezer.
I deep-cleaned my son's bedroom while he was out of town doing a wedding shoot.
I organized my bookcases.
I got my Christmas shopping done.
My hubby installed a closet organizer in our master bedroom closet and I
reorganized all our clothes and shoes.
I watched most of Season 1 of Parenthood on Netflix to "zone out" at night.
I ate too much chocolate.

I could write individual blog posts about most of these subjects
and post pictures, too ~ but I'm just not in the mood right now.
I'm so thankful I have my yoga class tonight.
I need to stretch my limbs, find my center, meditate on what's good,
and let go of the bad.

May peace, love, and healing be with us all.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

reading pile

One of my greatest pleasures in life is reading.

My reading pile is actually much bigger than this - I have hundreds of books that I haven't
even read yet - but these are the books I've recently received in the mail
 through various sources.

I just finished reading "Flight Behavior". Barbara Kingsolver has always been
one of my favorite authors, but I was disappointed with her newest book.
The characters weren't developed, and the storyline was rather boring.
I kept waiting for something exciting to happen, and it never did.
Kingsolver is a biologist and it really shows in this book. Nothing wrong with that,
but all the scientific facts about butterflies and global warming in this story
made my eyes glaze over. She should've saved all that for a non-fiction book.

I started Anne Lamott's new book, "Help, Thanks, Wow" last night.
It's a short book and I could've read it all in one sitting, but I had to get to bed.
It is wonderful, heartfelt, inspiring - and hard to put down.

My husband got to "Gone Girl" before I did. He loved it. I'm a bit "afraid" 
to read it. I normally don't get into thrillers, and this one sounds a bit scary.

Can't wait to delve into Miss Mustard Seed's new book, "Inspired You"!

I'd love to hear what books you've recently escaped into or what
you're currently reading.


Tuesday, December 11, 2012

christmas table runner

Jazzing up the kitchen table with a cute table runner found at Target.
I think I need a white tablecloth to go underneath the runner though.
Sometimes it's hard to find the right-sized tablecloth for this small table.
Will be searching in stores this week!

 Looks hand-stitched, doesn't it?

Monday, December 10, 2012

all will be well

Thanks for the comforting comments and prayers for Tim's safety as he traveled
 all through the night last night. I didn't get much sleep due to anxiety
 and the cats bothering me, but thank God, Tim arrived safely in Gatlinburg at 9 a.m. today.

And now, today, I'm back under contractor craziness.

Last May, my house was in disarray because of the entire first floor being painted.
I live in a ranch-style house, so that basically meant every room of the house.
Now we're having the two bathrooms semi-remodeled. We're just not having the bathtub
 in the main bath replaced, nor the shower stall in the master bathroom replaced,
 due to limited $$.

I thought this would be easy because it's just the two bathrooms. Ha! You forget how much
 stuff is in the bathrooms (especially underneath the sinks) that has to be totally cleaned out and put...somewhere! Which means piled in the bedrooms. And then I forgot that the contractors were going to patch the hole in my closet wall, so I just finished taking all our clothes and shoes out of the closet and putting everything on Tim's bed and floor. All the pictures in the hallway had to be taken down in case the contractors bump the walls.
 The new toilets, sinks, vanities, flooring, and light fixtures are all crammed in the spare bedroom.

The noise was so bad today, of course, and I had the kitties locked in the basement. They were totally freaked out. I ran errands most of the day but when I got home and the contractors left, I let the cats out and they slept five hours straight in their usual places upstairs! They obviously didn't rest or sleep in the basement. Poor fur babies.

  Have been doing laundry tonight, taking apart my closet, moving furniture, and took my shower since I can't do so in the morning (won't have time, then won't have a bathroom available). Didn't have time to go to my Monday night yoga class. Brian had to run to both Menards and Home Depot to get last minute stuff that the contractors need. I think we'll both sleep well tonight!

I know that when the bathrooms are done by the end of the week, it'll all be worth it.
And Tim will be home, too.

All will be well.