Friday, December 8, 2017

Christmas past ~

Every year when it is time to decorate the house for the Christmas holidays I like to look at  the pictures I have taken over the previous years. It can give me a starting off point - sometimes, with minor changes, I repeat something I really liked, and sometimes it is fun to do a completely different look. 

I thought it would be fun to share with you some of these pictures of Christmas past.
Starting with the media/library room. I love this wreath and will use it again this year, but my little, wooden train, full of gifts, will be an addition below on the window shelf.

This was a very pretty mantle, but because I always coordinate the mantle with the living room tree  I will be doing something different this year. The magnolia leaf garland will be making an appearance at my daughter's house.

I love this picture and came very close to using it for my Christmas card this year. Although the tree will be different and this wallpaper is gone, I will once again use a lace tree skirt.

Santas!  Yes, again in the kitchen.

I love my nutcrackers but they will not be making an appearance this holiday season - maybe next year. 

Last year I was still in the midst of finishing up the redecoration of my living room so I didn't put a tree up, instead I put one in the dining room. but I will definitively repeat this again some time because it was so pretty.

 As I said before, the Santa's will back. I mean, what is Christmas without Santa's?

 I am still deciding what to do with the pastisserie stand, last year it was new.  But I think that once again, sweets and bakery items will be included. Even empty I love the way it looks on my kitchen island.

In my opinion there is nothing as much fun as decorating my house for the holiday season. I hope that you are having as much fun doing it as I am.

Thank you for visiting.

Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

A bit of cuteness ~

I have had this little footstool sitting out in one of the storage sheds for a very long time, I have no idea where it came from. Poor little thing was so unattractive, with ugly, dirty upholstery and badly in need of repair and refinishing. I have a thing about footstools and have quite a few scattered in different rooms throughout the house. So, I held onto it thinking that one day with some work and a little effort it could be nice. 

Well, last week that day arrived. I took it into the garage, stripped off the old fabric, sanded down and refinished the wooden base and added a top coat of polyurethane.


I came across this brocade fabric for the cushion - perfect!

Now my little footstool is residing in the living room, a far cry from the old shed. 

I am regarding it as a kind of pre-Christmas gift to myself.

I think it is so cute!

The word for footstool in french is, tabouret, so much prettier sounding, so now I have added a new word to my french vocabulary.


Today I finished all of my Christmas decorating. I hope to be sharing it with you over the next couple of weeks. It's nice to have it done early enough to enjoy all of the work and effort. Now I can concentrate on all of the other wonderful events of the holiday season.

Thank you for visiting


Monday, November 13, 2017

Painting pumpkins (or a nice way to while away a long winter night)

I haven't tried to do any painting for a while, in fact when I got out all of my materials I found that some of the paint tubes had dried up and a couple of brushes needed to be replaced having been used for other less lofty purposes when I was redecorating the living room last year.

 I had some nice sketches but rather than take on anything too complex while I re-familiarized myself with everything, I decided to pick a very easy subject. This I decided would be a pumpkin.

Why a pumpkin?

Well, when getting out all of my fall decorations, I thought it would be fun to have a pumpkin painting to set out for Halloween and Thanksgiving. Then for the rest of the year I could store it away.

 just a few details...

I have a a couple of frames in different sizes that I use to pop in paintings I have done. I only display one at a time. When I get tired of looking at it, changing it out for another one is easy to do. It's kind of fun.


All things considered I am rather pleased with my new pumpkin. I had forgotten what a pleasure it was to spend time involved in something so engaging as painting. It is a particularly pleasant way to spend these long, dark, winter nights.

As as for the results...the only one you have to really please is yourself!


A special thank you to my sister, a truly talented and excellent artist, who has given me endless help and advise on painting and art. 

Thank you for visiting.

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Fall and ornamental grasses ~

I was working in the garden last week, it was a beautiful sunny, but not too hot day, and I glanced up from trimming and weeding to noticed the Red Fountain grasses, highlighted in the morning sun. I put down my clippers, went into the house and got my camera.

There are quite a few of these scattered around the garden and they all do well. But this particular morning these in the gravel garden were truly wonderful. I think it had something to do with the clarity of the fall light, but it is also that although these have been lovely for many months ornamental grasses seem to reach their peak of perfection in Fall.

They are inter-planted here with lantana, another great fall bloomer, succulents and salvias.

The only care I give them is a little water and an annual pruning. Each winter they are cut to the ground and in the spring the dried looking clumps slowly send out new burgundy colored  blades of grass eventually interspersed with tassels.

Light filtering through the seed heads - so pretty!

Thank you for visiting.

I hope you have a lovely day.


Friday, October 13, 2017

The gentler side of the season ~

I haven't done a lot of fall decorating in the living room in the past, somehow the colors just didn't work. But now that the room has a completely different color pallet fall just seemed to gently float in.

The perfect place to add a holiday accent was on the coffee table. I found bouquets of eucalyptus at Trader Joe's then added white pumpkins, green gourds, berries and dried flowers.

It is very subtle, and doesn't scream but rather whispers the season. I love green accents in the room and am now thinking about a Christmas tree with touches of apple green colored ornaments.

This is my favorite time of the year, first Halloween then Thanksgiving, all leading up to Christmas and all of it's wonders and joy. It is definitely a time do some planning.

Thank you for visiting.

Saturday, October 7, 2017

Simple pleasures - ghosts!

I really enjoy Halloween, probably because you can decorate for the holiday doing such goofy and silly things and somehow it all works. A perfect example of this are these ghosts.

I don't like grim and scary but I do like cute. And so all of my little ghost visitors are very, very cute...and not frightening at all.


Here is the original little ghost on the kitchen blackboard, I enjoyed him so much last year that this year I decided to add more ghosts throughout the house - in some unexpected places.

So I tucked another in the dining room mirror...

and two in the living room. One above the mantle...

and another above the credenza.

It is amazing how such a simple thing can bring me so much pleasure. Four little ghosts made out of white poster paper, total cost: $1.50. Time spent, about 20 minutes. I don't remember where I got the pattern, I think it was in a Martha Stewart magazine years ago. But it certainly wouldn't take much artistic talent to come up with one of your own.

Sometimes I can be very easy to please and as Martha always says, "That can be a good thing".

I hope you have some fun little visitors in your house this Halloween..

Saturday, September 30, 2017

A lick of paint ~

In Fawlty Towers, one of the funniest series ever created, the inept building contractor Mr O'Reilly, claims a lick of paint will take care of anything.

Well a lick of paint won't take care of every problem but paint really can make a big difference in how something looks.


You know how there are certain things that you kind of walk by and don't notice for a while then then realize one day how horrible it looks. Well it was like that with this planter and wall by my front entry. The wall had a big crack and the paint had chipped off. Over our very hot summer the plants in the planter had died and I had taken them out and never replaced them. The succulents in the swan were still alive, but overgrown and scraggly.

The whole thing was a mess! And looked terrible.

I patched up the wall as best I could, pressure washed it, and added a fresh coat of exterior house paint.

Then shoveled all of the old soil out of the planter.

 New soil was added and Liriope was transplanted from another spot in the garden. It looks a little ragged now but I think it will perk up and fill out the spot nicely. Just for fun I added some little ceramic mushrooms. They were a bit lost in the garden beds and I like them gathered together.

The swan was filled with fresh potting soil and planted with a variety of  succulent cuttings.

This isn't a show stopper by any means but it does look fresh and clean. When the new plants start to grow it will make an even bigger difference.

In this case Mr O'Reilly was right, all it took was a lick of paint... and maybe a few other things.

Thank you for visiting

Monday, September 11, 2017

Cleaning up the porch ~

My front porch had really gotten to look very shabby. The rug was stained and worn, the chair cushions were old and battered, and and the chairs themselves were begging for a new coat of varnish.

The black and white floor in the pavilion turned out so well that I decided to use the same black and white color theme on the front porch as well.

I was able to find a classic black and white stripped outdoor fabric at JoAnne's which...

...I used to make cushions and pillows for the newly re-varnished chairs.

I found a new outdoor rug at Home Depot. It isn't black and white but the natural jute blends in nicely with the  wicker color of the chairs.

It really didn't take much effort and the porch, although simple, looks so much better. 

Now I can relax a bit and enjoy the view!

I hope your days are filled with joy

Thank you for visiting.

Thursday, August 31, 2017

The little found chair ~

 I found this little chair on the curb one morning a few months ago - it was a throw away. I thought it was adorable even in this deplorable condition. It had obviously been sitting outside exposed to all kinds of weather. The wood was very damaged, the bottom and springs were falling out, and the handmade needle point upholstery was ruined.

I knew that eventually I wanted to use it in my living room as part of the new redecorating scheme. I took it home where it sat in the garage while I painted, wallpapered, made drapes and had the other furniture reupholstered.

I eventually finished everything else and when it was time to tackle this. I originally thought I could handle the refinishing myself, but I quickly realized it was far too damaged and needed a professional furniture restorer and re-finisher. Before I took it for restoration I brought it into the house so I could strip off all of the old upholstery, which turned out to be quite a lengthy many nails and tacks!

  My neighbor recommended a really great craftsman to do the work. Below is the finished result. I found the leopard fabric, which I love, online.

I thought is would be fun to take an 'after' picture to compare with the 'before' photo.

As it turned out this little throw away chair is a high quality piece of Victorian furniture. I found the signature of the maker after I removed the old needle point coverings.

Now back to it's original finish, with it's pretty new fabric it is a nice accent piece in the living room. 

I couldn't be more pleased!

Thank you Linda for your recommendation.

I hope you all have a creative day. Thank you for visiting.