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Christmas 2013 is on it’s way!

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I realized it’s been a while since our trip to the Buchanan house post. Having a late Thanksgiving kind of put me in a tailspin with Christmas this year. After all these years, I have it pretty down pat to what I do and when, but I switched it up a bit. I just finished sending cards as I wasn’t sure I wanted to even do so. I send out about three different styles. I saw a box of Charlie Harper cardinal drawings in the Longwood Gardens gift shop that were calling my name. I have a few of his stylized designs in cross stitch that I should do.

We got the tree up a little over a week ago. We have been having early snow this year in Pennsylvania, very unusual. I trimmed the tree in a wintery theme of white snowflakes, clear and blue balls and silvery things. No red! Well there is a wee bit on a ‘Phillies’ ornament and a Santa ornament of Sean as a baby.
I think a tree has to be pretty with the lights off too! #DecemberDaily

This is off my phone. I should set up the tripod to get some more shots with the Canon. The mantel had to be redone as the greenery started to fall a week after it was placed up there. No fire or anything-just a dry house. It was a terrible mess to take down. I replaced it with two garlands-a silvery one wrapped around the aqua snowflake cord and one with pine cones just laying above that. I added the sparkly leaves back. I like it better as it is reflecting the mega lights from the tree.

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I like this tree a lot! It’s from the Habitat store, but I think it will be retired for a few years so I can so some color. I do like themed trees.

All day deorating....silver, white and blue...snowflakes, clear balls. Lots of new ornaments.

I love those snowflakes in front that are a bit iridescent and the snowball garland. But I love the over all effect.

Did a 'Sweets' tree for the front living room window. Its my 'Sandy Hook' tree as I put it up last year, though with a heavy heart....but for the kids and teachers. Mainly cupcakes and goodies.

Remember these are the phone’s camera photos. I just put this pink foil tree up a few days ago. I like how it gives a pink glow. It is a little close to the big tree, but it makes its own statement. I bought it last year and was going to put it up on the 14th, the day of the Sandy Hook tragedy. I went ahead and put it up and adorned it with cupcakes, lollipops and sweets and dedicated it to them so I could honor them. I also put this up on the 14th this year.

Did a few shelves of Snowbabies on my vintage hutch that belonged to my great auntie.

The snowbabies made an appearance again this year! #DecemberDaily
And today I put up some of my ‘Wizard of Oz’things. I could do a little tree too as I have Oz ornaments. Finding them in my stuff would take a little effort!
Set up my little Wizard of Oz collection in the family room as Sean gave me an WOZ domed clock as a Christmas gift last year and I wanted to hightlight it this year. #DecemberDaily
I’ll never say never!

One of my favorite collections is also on a tree, but a feather tree. It is mostly covered with hand-stitched (cross stitched) ornaments that I made and a few pals made too. I am trying to find a second one!

Just put up the feather tree which has mostly hand stitched items. I have two more ornaments to add. Think I need a second tree soon!

I’ve added a few new ones too! It’s getting really full. I nearly knocked it down the other night when I tried to add one to the side. About 10 fell off at 1 in the morning. Not fun fixing it.

We did some lights on the outside hedges and stars along the brick sidewalk. I like a spotlight on the door and also on Brian’s old sled.

Between doing all this, I worked (still one day this week left) and made cross stitched ornaments for coworkers.

Assembled this last night and will give it as a gift tomorrow. Turned out cute for this horse lover.
I made everything. The little horseshoes were really hard to cut out of felt. I made this after our ladies’ tea at work.
Made a 'lady dancing' for a coworker who is also a dancer. Personalized with her name.
Our teen helper is a dancer, so this was for her.
I also made an ornament for Sean’s new co-worker who loves nutcrackers. I burnt the midnight oil on this one and put it around the neck of a big bottle of Moscarto wine for her. She loved it!
Burning the midnight oil getting this ornament made. Stitching errors set me back an hour.
I am busy making something for my mom. She asked for it, so I found a pattern which was giving me a headache at first, but I think I have it figured out now. Will share when it is finished and/or she receives it.
Next on the agenda is cookie baking. I know I will do chocolate chips and 7 layer cookies (Sean’s favorite). Presents will be wrapped a few days before Christmas.
Things are flowing along….there are still areas that need to be tidied up-at least I clean well at Christmas!
Happy Holiday-Merry Christmas and Happy 2014 everyone!

Bringing in the spirit

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Well of course it’s been a rough week, but after I left the lights off Friday for the CT school, they did come back on again the next night. As my dear pal Carole said, each light represents a bright shining face of a child that use to be with us. : )

I have been doing better, but I am definitely feeling achy in my hips now. It’s better than stabbing pain. Had some insurance woes, but got one at least straightened out. That was some what of a relief.

Brian and I were in Big Lots and I saw a pink tinsel tree for $10. Pre-lit with pink lights too. The next day he went back and got it for me and I decorated with the children from CT in mind with cupcakes and cookie type ornaments.

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That’s  my Amaryllis that is blooming sweetly also! It’s on my work table. I had to find a place for it and my house is a little crowded with the big tree too.

I did finish my window scene. Because it has children (my sweet dolls like Zuzu) it is extra special.

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My little sofa table had favorite houses on it plus a terrarium with an ice skating gnome inside. His wife is watching him.

I wanted Brian to get his old sled out of the shed for our outside decor. No easy task when the chairs are put away already for the winter, but he managed.  I wasn’t sure if I still had ice skates. One time, years ago, I ordered an ice skating rink kit and although it was set up, it never got cold enough to use it. It got stuffed in a bag and forgotten. We all had brand new skates and never used them, ever! So Bri again rummaged and I still had my skates, one wasn’t even laced up. Don’t think I’ll be using them, so they look nice hanging over the sled.

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I finished wrapping gifts and need to continue to tidy up.

Haven’t made one cookie, but have my brisket for Christmas dinner- bought from the same place where we bought it last year. I really want to make a sticky toffee cake too.

And here’s the ornament I just finished tonight:

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It was a free chart…just the owl. I added the branch, hat and moon and of course date.

Having fun with Instagram

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I am feeling better today. I’ll take more days like this! I have been using the heating pad off and on and I do believe it’s loosening up that sore, stiff muscle (or two). Brian suggested it. He saved me by buying yogurt as the medicine was going to give me issues and it helped too.

Sean helped me get some Christmas things from the basement and I did the front bay window and we strung lights outside. I took a few photos with the phone app ‘Instagram’ tonight. It’s like a Polaroid-you get a square photo and can use different effects.

This is part of my front window display. I have 3 sweet Christmas dolls. We put white lights under ‘snow’ and put the girls in a gold sleigh with Ernest Elf and Snowy owl. Yes, the owls are even dominate for Christmas as I got two of them for my birthday. I’m not finished all the way with the window. There are also shots of the mantel here.

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You can’t see the one Richard Simmons doll.

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I have some glass jars this year on the mantel.  I need to get some candy for a few of them. The bright red lights are holly berries.

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And a view from outside

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Tomorrow Brian will take me to get my hair done as I am still a little nervous about using my right side to drive. I decided to skip the school too but the director said they are doing all Christmas activities on Wednesday.  I may swing by there to wish them Merry Christmas. The Bible study will resume on January 9th.

Christmas Tree 2012

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I was really happy to start on our tree Friday night. I knew I wanted my ‘natural’ ornaments, pine cones, birds, mushrooms with a touch of red, white, silver and gold. The tree is so well lit (never had this kind of tree before) that I knew the ornaments would help take down the brightness. Today I looked in a newer box of things and there were red cardinals and red see-thru balls. I had put a few of our 20+ year old red balls up. This particular photo had to be lightened up.

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There are hearts and butterflies too. I happen to love the snowball and wish I had many more! I always add my winking moon (gold at the top), Sean’s photos from school (the few that he made), and a gold flat Santa and his sleigh. The branches have tinsel in them! This is the tree we found at the Habitat for Humanity store last week for under $40. I’m very pleased with it.

And this is my cross-stitched ornament feather tree. It’s pretty full!

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And I can’t forget to tell you that our new sofa and chair came yesterday! They are really nice, but the sofa has some defects! It’s suppose to be brand new! We called the salesman right away and he said the indentation on one arm and the wrinkles in the ‘leather’ (not all leather) were from shipping. We are still waiting on the indentation to go away-but  it hasn’t. It feels like there isn’t enough foam.

What do you think?

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Here’s a side shot not showing the arms

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The big pillows are the back of the sofa! That’s nice as you can arrange them and fluff them.

And what I am sitting on now:

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That’s an old pillow.

So, hopefully if we live with that dent, he better know some $$ off of the price. I really think we should get another sofa. Too bad stuff like this has to happen.

Retail therapy

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It was time to get a new sofa and chair. The cushions are too flat on the bottom  and the back cushions got too lumpy.  My poor back gives me grief almost everytime I get out of it. The recliner doesn’t work right anymore. When I got up this morning, I saw an ad for a furniture place mixed in with the food store ads.  I had been admiring the sofas with the mixture of leather/pleather and fabric and the one featured was half the price of ‘R&F’. I asked Brian if we could go check it out and he agreed. I think we tried out 15 couches. Of course the ones with the recliners are nice, but we don’t have the room to have them open as we have a big coffee table which usually is home to the laptops. We did look at this first and sure enough, I went back to it. I figured if the back pillows got flat, I’d get some new pillow forms or make new pillows! The seat cushions are nice and firm. I love the Victorian look (I guess it’s close to that).

So then I said, let’s look at chairs. Brian went right to the recliners and we’ve had two now. I happen to see this:

It’s a pretty burgundy. Larry, our salesman, ran back up to the third floor to grab a pillow to see if it matched this-nice! It’s velour and hits your back in all the right spots.

The store was opened by Larry’s great grandfather in about 1902. It’s nice it’s been around so long! I know all the sales ploys-they show you the more expensive pieces, etc.  It’s funny I went back to the one in the ad! : )

We should get them in a few weeks-nice Christmas gift!

Photo Hunt-Taste

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Mom-mom’s chili con carne, originally uploaded by DianthusMoon.

Nothing tastes as good as my Grandmom Ruth’s recipe for chili con carne. I use celery and ground turkey with a sprinkling of cinnamon and lots of chili powder (love).

Bathroom update…I did a really stupid thing and could have saved myself a ton of time. The glass mosaic tiles came yesterday and I decided to put them up. I by mistake ordered a multi-color sample and that was glued securely on cardboard. The other two colors were on brown paper. All I really had to do was put the adhesive on in the space, cut the squares, ‘while still on the brown paper’ and push them into the space. I knew the 3/4″ squares wouldn’t need to be cut at all. So why I took them off the paper is beyond me! It meant I had to stick 100 squares on ‘individually’. So that being said, it was messy and I had a lot of cleaning and scraping today. I need to grout it now. Brian bought me the adhesive and we were in Lowe’s today to get grout and lo and behold, they sell adhesive and grout! Why he didn’t get that a few days ago.

Here is what it looks like without the grout. And guess what? Bri is hooking up the sink and it’s going to be even harder for me to grout this! I can’t get to the bottom row at all now unless he unhooks the pipes for an hour.

I got the shower curtain up and the hooks were a little tricky. I noticed Sean knocked two off the pole after showering last night. I hope they work okay.

Update-the sink is installed! Can’t wait to put the white grout in those mosaics!

It sure is more modern! Not sure if we can get rid of the soap and toothbrush holders without hurting the tiles.

I did get to work in the pond garden and got some pretty filler plants like Ornamental Pepper, a pretty raspberry color Salvia, bright yellow Lantana and a few other plants.  They should all fill in nicely around the pond. I noticed if I stand where the gazing ball is, the shape is almost heart shaped!

A few of my gardens are disappointing so far-the Sweet William/Asian garden. It’s not a good year for them.  My woodland garden was pretty when the Bleeding Hearts were blooming (and they bloomed a month or so!) My Nicotiana looked nice, but the Salvias never took off and are getting nibbled even though I used insectide soap on the constantly. I will probably pop a few marigolds in there.

Last but not least, I couldn’t resist to pick a yellow rose to enjoy. It smells wonderful!

Slowly but surely

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Brian found the floor tiles that were left from this job and installed them. He had to make a Lowes run for some wall adhesive for the tiles around the bottom. When the toilet paper holder was, our patch job is mainly hidden by the vanity. I put in two tan ones I had saved for the 6 missing above (where you can’t see). I’m waiting on the mosaic samples now. Brian cut the hole for that lovely drain pipe in the vanity last night. He ran into a snag getting the marble top screwed on, so called it a day a  little after 9:30. He’ll get that and the sink in place and work on the plumbing. It will look pretty. It’s tight in there, but can’t help that.