Wednesday, November 30, 2016

holiday time

My family had a different sort of Thanksgiving this year: for the first time ever, we ate at a restaurant! My grandmother and great-aunt were probably rolling over in their graves. I remember Thanksgiving dinners as a kid...grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins all gathered at the designated house; the tables laden with turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, my great-aunt's famous bourbon sweet potatoes, my grandma's beautiful jello mold, and several different homemade pies. If there were vegetables, I don't remember those. ;-) 

This photo cracks me up...Tim hates when I take his picture, so he had to make a goofy face. Starting from the front, that's Brian, Tim, my sister, her husband, and my cousin. Not shown are my mom, nieces, and my sister's friends that joined us. So, what are my thoughts on eating at a restaurant on Thanksgiving? I didn't care for it. It's just not the same as eating at someone's home. I didn't get to talk to anyone at the other end of the table. Some of us did go back to my cousin's house for wine and chat though, so that part was fun.

I've just started my Christmas decorating and I'm doing it slowly, so no photos of Christmas decor in my home yet. However, this past weekend I went to some nearby antique shops that were having their Kris Kringle days. It was a sunny day, not too cold - perfect for walking around. 

Usually I'm with my husband, mom or aunt, or a friend ~ but this time, I went by myself. I had a pleasant few hours just looking around.

I wasn't looking for anything in particular...maybe some bottle brush trees at a decent price, but none to be found.

There were a lot of Shiny Brite ornaments (not pictured) for $1 - $2 each. Do you remember those? I didn't buy any since we don't put up a big tree anymore, nor do I need anymore ornaments to fill bowls or vases for decor.

Loved this vintage ceramic Christmas tree, but priced at $75, it didn't come home with me.  I thought this was an unusual one with the snowy garland and the woodland animals.

I did find a couple of inexpensive treasures...

This vintage hand mirror, which I'm planning on using in a small gallery wall in my bathroom. I've been collecting various hooks (for necklaces) to use on the wall, and I thought it'd be neat to incorporate some vintage mirrors, as well. 

I also found this adorable vintage pair of carolers. There's space on top of their hats for little candlesticks, but I think they're cute as is.

Hard to believe tomorrow is December 1st already. How are you doing on your decorating and shopping?

Monday, November 21, 2016

basement family room tour

From all the comments in my last post, it seems like we're all on the same wavelength when it comes to decorating trends: What's most important is that we decorate our homes in the style that we like best, and not what designers are saying is currently trendy. Warm, comfortable and welcoming seems to be the key.

I had said that my decorating style was a mixture of styles and showed photos of the upstairs, but I didn't show any of my downstairs family room. The decor down here is a little different from the upstairs in that it's mostly modern. My home is a ranch style with a 3/4 finished basement, which we made into a family room. We used to have carpet down here until the basement flooded. The contractor talked us out of putting down new carpet or even laminate, as "it's not a matter of if your basement floods, it's when." He's right. We've had two major floods, plus a handful of minor ones. So, we chose to have the cement floors painted and then use rugs for some warmth.

We honestly rarely use this space anymore. We don't watch much TV and when we do so, it tends to be in the bedroom. When the boys were growing up, this is where they played with their friends.

It does give me room for my hundreds of books and the dreadmill (as I fondly call it). 

These are books I haven't even read yet!

There's an L-shaped bar in the back corner. When the boys were growing up and we had birthday parties, it was a great space to hold the food buffet and cake. And when they were teens and had friends over, it held a lot of pizza boxes! All that graces the bar top now is a printer. The guy who lived here before us built this bar and there's cabinets in back. That's where I keep a lot of my large kitchen appliances and serving dishes (food processor, Crockpot, air popcorn maker, ice bucket, pitcher, cake stand). I definitely want to get rid of those old, ugly bar stools and replace them with some nicer ones "someday".

Then in another corner, we have Tim's drum set and guitars. This is where the treadmill used to be, but then Tim moved back home from college and we had to shuffle things around to re-accommodate his stuff. The bookcase in back is filled with children's books - all which belonged to Phil and Tim. They had tons more, but these were the ones I kept.

Thanks for visiting ~ and for those of you who live in the US, have a happy and blessed Thanksgiving with loved ones!

Thursday, November 17, 2016

home trends ~ or not

Home decor trends come and go...some cool and inspiring (open shelving on kitchen walls, statement bathroom mirrors, tech-less living rooms, mismatched dining chairs) and others; well, we'll probably be glad to see them fade out (brass bathroom fixtures, taxidermy, messy beds, burlap and chevron). Though in my humble opinion, if you still fancy any of those things, that's just fine and dandy. I still have a chevron rug because I like it. I don't give a rat's hiney that someone (who decides these things?) says it's now outdated.

I have never decorated my home because of a trend. I don't even necessarily have a particular style. I decorate with what I like and what fits our budget. Obviously has to be cat-friendly, too. ;-)

When someone compliments my home, it makes me feel good ~ because I love decorating and take great pride in how my home looks and feels.

This past July when we had Tim's graduation party here, one of Tim's female friends came up to me and told me that she loved how I decorated my house. She said, "When I get my own apartment, I want you to come and help me decorate it!" 

And, just yesterday I had a friend over and she texted me when she got home and said, "I love your house!" Do you think she noticed that my kitchen is outdated? What would the Trend Police think of that? I hope the main reason my friend said she loved my house was because she felt welcome and comfortable here.

My outdated kitchen and living room are actually going to be undergoing a little bit of a transformation soon. The wainscoting will be gone (not because of a trend; simply because after 26+ years of living with it, I'm tired of it) and the walls painted a creamy off-white. The 1980's range hood over the stove will be taken out and a microwave put in its place. Most dramatic of all, an eight foot pass-thru will be cut out in the main supporting wall from the kitchen into the living room.

 Thinking of a conversation Brian and I had just the other day, he had said, "Our house feels very peaceful." That's always a good thing - and never out-of-date. It reminds me of when Tim was about eight years old and he told me that he loved our house because it was "so comfy". That's how I came up with the name of this blog, by the way. 

 Oh, look ~ there's that chevron rug!

Maybe you can tell by looking at some of these photos that I mix different styles...classic, modern, vintage. Heck, I even like mid-century modern ~ though I haven't incorporated any of that into my decor. Yet.

You can flip through any popular home decorating magazine or blog and find beautiful designs and ideas, but to me, a house is not a home without personal items: photographs, a dish of seashells from your beach vacation, your kid's artwork, heirlooms, a collection you started simply because that first item "spoke" to you, gifts from loved ones, something quirky that made you smile, your own artwork. I use the top of this bookcase as a memorial to Phil. There's a shelf above it that has more photographs, Phil's keychain and wallet, and a few of his favorite Stephen King books.

What it boils down to is that your home should be an expression - and yes, even an extension - of yourself. Your style might not be someone else's cup of tea, but it's not supposed to be. 

 "Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful."

Thursday, November 10, 2016

peaceful diversions

Taking the time to notice how the soft sunlight filters through the trees this time of year.

Serene walks in the State Park.

A pretty, sunny room in which to practice yoga.

A good book to escape into. (Loving this one!)

Creating a new vignette on the buffet.

Zippo. Clementine. Monkey. My fur babies.

Please share some of the things that you bring you peace and calmness.

Monday, November 7, 2016

my heart is full

Is it too early to be posting photos of Christmas decor?
 I think yes, but the local nursery had a wine tasting event on Friday night and the entire place was decorated for Christmas already. I'm not at all in the mood for anything Christmas yet, but I have to admit, the decor was lovely. 

We were gone from early in the morning 'til late at night on Saturday. We met my cousin and a mutual friend at the last farmer's market of the season. Under blue and sunny skies, we walked around talking and laughing, drinking coffee; shared a handmade red mole tamale; sampled cheese, salsas, vinegars and honey; talked to vendors; and admired the bounty of beautiful produce. We came home with leeks, fennel, purple carrots, daikon radishes, fingerling potatoes, fresh parsley, aged balsamic vinegar and a block of gouda cheese. I somehow forgot to pick up some of those gorgeous peppers. We then hit up a couple of antique stores, a few artsy stores, then sat and had tea at Starbucks to rest our tired feet. 

On to fabulous Thai food in Chicago, then walked up and down Broadway taking in the sights and sounds of the city on a beautiful autumn evening. While walking, I spied a Stan's Donuts. I had heard of the place, so curiosity got the best of me. Stepping into the store, I was actually more enamored by the display of KitchenAid mixers than the donuts. ;-) We picked up a few donuts to bring home...and let's put it this way: It's a good thing we don't live close to a Stan's Donuts. That was the most delicious donut I've ever had. And this is coming from someone who's normally not a donut person.

Last stop of the day: Wrigley Field. To say that Brian is still riding a high from the Cubs World Series win is an understatement. It was the day after the Cubs rally (which drew a record five million people!), and the city was still unbelievably crowded. Throngs of people were still gathered at intersections surrounding Wrigley. I didn't dare get out of the car. I took photos out the passenger side window. We drove up and down streets for what seemed liked ages, looking for a parking spot. We finally found a spot on a side street and I stayed in the car while Brian went and took his photos.

Sunday was another sunny, warm day...we have been so lucky! All the neighbors were outside raking, leaf blowing and gutter cleaning; pausing once in awhile to talk to one another. Brian and I ended the evening by taking a walk in the dark, walking hand in hand around the neighborhood until we finally came full circle back at home.