November Retrospective

While looking over my list of simple pleasures, I find that it mostly involves beverages or food. I guess that just about sums up what I think about and/or look forward to. Kind of pathetic.

November was a wonderful weather month--it was what we usually enjoy in October...the months definitely 'switched personalities.' I am not a fan of winter; after the holiday festivities of December, I certainly start dreaming of spring. Maybe that's why I'm such a fan of all things Swedish lately. The pictures with this post come from Country Living.com--featuring a sunny, almost spring-like atmosphere. I love decorating for Christmas, but by the time it's over, I'm ready for the pared down look I find so enticing in the decor of Sweden.

Photo: http://www.countryliving.com/


What to do, what to do...

A re-run photo from last Christmas. In the meantime, I've collected more silvered glass pieces and I'm finding it hard to put it all together. When I layer it, it's too, too much. Wish I had fresh hydrangea in my aluminum tumblers--I'd like a re-do on summer!

Currently Listening To: CBS Sunday Morning


A Puttery Saturday

I've been relying on some of my favorite images I have tucked away in photo files. These three are all from Better Homes & Gardens. Other than the annoying pop-ups on their website, there are some really great ideas and recipes to be found there. I'm holding off on taking any more pictures of my holiday decorating until I'm finished.
I have no plans to leave the house today...there's dinner already in the crockpot, a pot of coffee ready, and a decorating strategy in place for this afternoon. My only need/desire today is a box of hyacinth bulbs. I've seen them on so many of the Swedish blogs and they look so pretty in their almost-ready-to-bloom state. Hyacinths have never struck me as a particularly Christmas-sy flower, but in that culture they are. All inclusive decorating...that's my style this year.

Have a fabulous Saturday!

Photos: www.bhg.com

Currently Reading: Jeanne d'Arc Living magazine
Currently Listening To: Rosemary Clooney Christmas Songs



Black Friday...I'm working today, and even if I had the day off, I highly doubt that I would spend it shopping. Years ago, it was a family tradition...and years ago stores weren't open so early and they certainly weren't open on Thanksgiving Day. Thing change...

The library was quiet this morning, but I'm sure the folks will be out and about snagging DVDs for viewing this weekend. Here's looking forward to the weekend!

Photo: bhg.com

Currently Listening To/Watching: A rerun of the pilot for White Collar. Matt Bomer=very cute!


Shiny things...

More beautiful images, this time from the Better Homes & Gardens website. I love the look of candles on a glass topped table...or on a mirrored tray.
A few ornaments in stemmed glassware or apothocary jars look festive...little jots of color.

This is one of my favorite pictures--a bit more primitive than the others--crackled glass ornaments in a rustic outdoor urn. Beautiful and understated.

Shiny, sparkely things...I'm so attracted to them, especially this time of year.
Photos: bhg.com
Currently Reading: Under the Dome


Inspiring books for Christmas decorating...

These books are among my favorites for Christmas decorating ideas and craftiness. Tricia Foley's White Christmas is at the top of the list for the beautiful simplicity presented in most of the ideas. I've had this one for years and have gleaned many ideas from it.
Sara Toliver and Jo Packham's Ruby & Begonia Christmas Style is another favorite. It's loaded with wonderful vignettes and display ideas.

Another Sara Toliver book, Vintage Christmas Crafts, is chock full of do-it-yourself projects and features the home of Curious Sofa's Debbie Dusenberry. It's a beautiful book.

Another inspiring book is this one from Country Living...Merry & Bright 301 Festive Ideas for Celebrating Christmas. I've adapted many ideas from this one...and hope to work on a few more today!
I plan on spending most of this week cleaning and organizing--and decorating. Company's coming for the Christmas holiday and I'd really like to have it all together this year. At any one time, there's always a 'bright spot' in the house, and I find that as I get older I can overlook a lot of things--this time I want to do it right.
I now have dozens of little cottages glued together and they're ready for glitter. Primitive, but kinda cute!

Currently Listening To: GMA


Holiday Decorating, part 1

I finally made it to JoAnn Fabrics after work yesterday--an extra coupon that could be used in conjunction with all of the other coupons I had couldn't be used until Saturday. I like to get the most 'bang' for my buck while crafty shopping, so I waited.

Christmas decorating has begun! I totally fell in love with the picture from Country Living (click here for the picture)---the three small trees in a graniteware bowl with apples. This is my take on it--three artificial trees in my gigantic spatterware bowl, topped with apples and nuts. It's currently displayed on the coffee table. I purchased a white 'feather'-type tree on Friday. I've wanted one since I found this photo a few years ago. It will reside in the dining room.

Today there are button wreaths to make, a dining room to declutter, and a few secret Santa presents to construct. Maybe more pictures later...

Currently Listening To/Watching: CBS Sunday Morning


Mother's Best, a must-have cookbook

Friday...time to feature another cookbook I've browsed through this week...this one is really, really good. Mouth-watering recipes, beautiful photography...what more could you want? Visit Lisa Schroeder's website for more information, recipes, and for a virtual visit to Mother's Bistro & Bar in Portland, Oregon. I read about this bistro on Tracey's blog a few years back and wished I could visit Portland if only for a visit to the restaurant. I remember googling it and finding their menu. Buy the book...it's so worth it! Almost winter...'tis the season for comfort food.


Holiday Gift ideas

White Flower Farms is one of my favorite inspiration spots on the web. Their plants, flowers, and accessories are always stunning. The email from White Flower this morning featured jasmine and lavender...either live plants shipped for the holidays, or accessories. I was wowwed by the lavender offerings...wreaths, sachets, and a hanging liner for drawers or closets. Pretty images. I'm heading to the fabric store tomorrow for some organza to make some liners and sachets...thanks for the idea, White Flower!

Images from White Flower Farm, mosaic created by me

Currently Reading: Belong to Me
Currently Listening To: Mozart in the Morning


New old music for the holidays...

I'm currently loving this CD. Nice background music...and it's Sting. What could be better?


Tuesdays are hard...

Tuesday is not my favorite day of the week; it begins with work at 8:00 AM and doesn't end until after class at 9:00 PM. By the time I get home and settled, I'm wound up and not ready to go to sleep. Reading and/or television keeps me company, and sleep usually comes around midnight...then it starts all over with work in the morning. I look forward to vacation time off next week...just 23 more hours of work 'til vacation.

I have quite a few projects in the works...Christmas presents and decorations--I have forms for a dozen teacup-sized cottage ornaments cut out. They just need to be glued, glittered and otherwise decorated. I've filled dozens of small clear glass ornaments with lavender and have tied ribbon through the hangers---these will be package tie-ons. Heart shaped sachets have been cut out, and I've gathered buttons, lace, and ribbons to attach to them. I'm definitely in the holiday mood. All of this is on my agenda for my time off next week. I can't wait!

Photo: Butik Sophie
Currently Reading: Belong to Me by Marisa de los Santos
Currently Listening To: If On a Winter's Night by Sting--a beautiful Christmas CD!


Mosaic Monday- Getting in the mood for Christmas Style

After attending several holiday open houses in the past few weeks, I have Christmas decorating on my mind. Here are a few photos from my inspiration file, all gleaned from Country Living. Please click to enlarge.

Visit Mary at The Little Red House for more Mosaic Monday offerings.

Currently Reading: Under the Dome and The Christmas Kitchen by Tammy Maltby with Anne Christian Buchanan
Currently Listening To: NPR

Antiquing in Huntingburg

Don't you hate it when your words come back to haunt you? Remember a few days ago when I said that this was a weekend to purge...to simplify my possessions...a New Year???
Yesterday my friend Patty and I went to the Santa Stroll in Huntingburg. This set of Shenango China caught my eye...I thought about it as we strolled through the rest of the shops in the little town, and knew that I had to take it home with me.

The cheery red and white would be nice for the holidays...Christmas, Valentine's Day, and the "patriotic" red, white, and blue holidays of summer. 35 pieces for $29.00...I love the size of the luncheon plates.

I also found this little bowl, marked Mayer China, Beaver Falls, Pa #356. I don't know what the original use for it is, but it's so cute...tea bags, perhaps?

Currently Reading: Under the Dome
Currently Listening To: CBS Sunday Morning


Friday the 13th P.S.

Aren't these Cottage Ornaments from Room Service Home (now called RSH) adorable? They would be so cute decorating the holiday table...and hanging on the Christmas tree. More importantly...they look pretty easy to make! Follow this link for instructions.

Friday the 13th...

Friday the 13th...the beginning of a 3 day weekend for me, and it's my birthday. While thinking about a topic for today, I came across this quote:

"I find a heaven in the midst of saucepans and brooms." St. Stanislaus

Add just a few more elements, and that is my idea of heaven, too. I'm always happiest at home, puttering around--doing something, doing nothing. This is going to be an "at home" weekend, cleaning, fussing, fluffing, and yes--purging. The start of my personal New Year, so to speak.

Of course, a bit of celebrating is on the agenda, too. Dinner out, and a Saturday morning adventure with a friend. Happy Friday!

Image from art.com
Currently Reading: still...Under the Dome
Currently Listening To: The Beatles...everything


UE Chili Bowl 2009

This morning I attended the 2009 Chili Bowl at the University of Evansville...it's an annual event to raise money for the UE Clay Club. This year there were 540 bowls available. One of our bookshelvers at the library is in the Clay Club, and she's been busy making bowls. I met up with a co-worker around 10:30, and we scouted out the bowls we wanted---while we were behind a crime scene tape---and awaited the ribbon cutting at 11:00. After a mini tug-of-war with someone who had their sights set on the bowl I wanted, we all grabbed a styrofoam bowl and it was filled with chili. A piece of art and a bowl of chili...a bargain at $5.00 (student price).

Currently Reading: Stephen King's Under the Dome
Currently Listening To: Abbey Road


More books...

I've been reading Ree Drummond's blog The Pioneer Woman for quite a while. Interesting photography, a fun and breezy writing style, and really good recipes. The book is like the blog---great recipes and step-by-step photography.

Another book that hit the shelves at the library today (not really, there are lots of 'holds' on this one) is Cookie Swap. The cookies are so beautiful...cookies through the seasons...weddings, garden parties, Halloween, and Christmas. I've never spent much time decorating cookies--or baking them--but I really want to try the snowflakes and hearts. Too pretty to eat.
I love working at the library!

Currently Reading: cookbooks
Currently Listening To: NPR


Early Saturday

I don't know where the above wine cork photo came from, or I'd credit it; my friend Carol assembled a wine cork wreath a few years back at one of our crafting retreats. I've been saving corks forever--maybe one day I'll make one. It's almost time for Beaujolais Nouveau!

I've added a word completion step for commenting--it seems that spam comments with links (possibly leading to 'bad things') have started to pop up on my blog. I've deleted those comments, but if I've missed one DO NOT click on any links in the comment section. Don't people --or bots--have anything better to do?

Edited to add...wine cork wreath is from Sterling Wines Online.

Currently Reading:
Currently Listening To: Good Morning America as I get ready for work


Reading and Browsing...

I brought this book home from the library this week...Victoria's The Essential Tea Companion. It's very reminiscent of the earlier tea books published by Hearst under the Victoria name, but it's always a treat to look at beautiful tea settings. The recipes sound delicious, and I'm in the mood for a bit of baking.
Another beautiful book recently released is Victoria's 500 Christmas Ideas. This book also recycles photos from Victoria magazine...the "old" Victoria...and it reminds me why I love the old magazine.
Today's a day off...I have the pleasure of working Saturday AND Sunday, so I plan on enjoying my Friday puttering around the house and yard.

Currently Reading: Victoria's New Essential Tea Companion
Currently Listening To: Rubber Soul


Very Early Thursday morning

Photo: publicradiodux.com

Time sure flies, doesn't it? This past year has almost been a blur. With Thanksgiving and Christmas just around the corner, we're close to closing the book on 2009. For the past few months, I've been 'living' for days off; not living in the moment, but looking forward to time I can call my own. Once the time arrives, I'm almost too worn out to enjoy it. I quietly sit in my chair and watch the world move by...it's time to mend my ways and enjoy each day as it comes...

Currently Reading: How To Rule the World From Your Couch by Laura Day **
Currently Listening To: Abbey Road

**I was captivated by this title...we'll see how it goes.


Happy Tuesday!

Photo: Williams-Sonoma

It's so nice to see sunshine three days in a row. Sometimes that's all it takes to make me happy. I've been thinking about my lack of blogging this past year... I enjoy writing, taking pictures, and finding cool things on the web...blogging takes me to my 'happy place'. It seems like time is going by so quickly and I really do feel the need to document little every day things. This is a habit I need to get back in to.

For Thanksgiving recipes and decoration information, visit Williams-Sonoma. They have the best ideas!

Currently Reading: Her Fearful Symmetry
Currently Listening To: Natural Mystic (I'm on a Bob Marley kick)


Just Another Manic Monday...

Woke up this morning with a killer sinus headache...it truly felt like my head would explode. Thank goodness for Sudafed (the good kind from behind the counter).

Time for a little nap...

Currently Reading: Her Fearful Symmetry
Currently Listening To: Bedtime Beats: The Secret to Sleep


The Best Part of Waking Up...

No...it's not Folger's in my cup...it's 8 O'Clock Italian Roast...delicious! It's another beautiful morning--sunshine and clear blue skies--such a nice change. I have just a few chores on my list today, moved over from yesterday...bring the star jasmine in to the sunporch and move the black chairs from the front porch to the back. The geraniums still look pretty spectacular, and it seems to me that last year they looked good until the first part of December. Can't decide if I need to try and overwinter them or not...it's always an experiment gone wrong. I keep them alive until late February and then just get tired of looking at them. We'll see...

I seem to need to keep myself accountable to someone about my various 'to do' lists...now that I'm an 'empty nester' it's so easy to just let things pile up and get out of hand. There's always something more interesting to do, even if it's just taking a nap or watching a DVD (or NCIS reruns...). I'm going to try and make myself accountable to the blog (and me)...so let's just see how this works out. Will there be pictures of plants on the sunporch sometime today? Will the chairs get moved?

Happy November!