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Thursday, December 7, 2017

Bringing in the Greens









Having live greens is an important part of celebrating Christmas to me. I have already visited several garden centers over the past few weeks keeping my eyes peeled for what I want. 




After exploring the options, I settled on keeping a small bucket of live cut greens that I got from the florist for tucking in here and there and to replenish throughout the season. I got a nice bundle of mixed cuttings for seven dollars. 




Of course some tree lots will give you branches for free. And you may be lucky enough to grow your own! I keep my pitchers filled with fresh water, but it so easy to add fresh greens if necessary.




I picked up a couple of very small pots of ivy for tradition, and am loving using my little white Guy Wolff pots again! A perfect size for placing on a tablescape.




For now they cheer up the window seat. I also picked up a very small live poinsettia that can go on the table at some point.




My Amaryllis is doing well, but nothing on my paper whites yet. (insert sad face here)





But my evergreen sprigs are bringing big smiles to my face where they are right next to the dinner table. They are almost better than having a centerpiece taking up precious real estate.















There's always room for adding a touch of something more. . . .
I like leaving room for the possibilities!









Linens are placed in a basket near the table. I don't know exactly which I will be using when, but the tablecloths themselves make things feel festive.





I always love how this little vintage embroidered cloth relates to the greens wherever it goes!





I hope you are enjoying bringing in all the little holiday touches too!





For me just a little goes a long way.










I hope there is a wonderful weekend ahead waiting for you!

Jacqueline











Friday, December 1, 2017

Welcoming The Season



Happy December! It's Friday, almost dark, and I wanted to stop in and say hi before the weekend catches up to me. I hope you are greeting the new season with joy!




As fun as it can be to spend an entire month (or more) gearing up for the big occasion, we know life doesn't stand still for holidays. Christmastime is often a mixed blessing, or even quite difficult for people some years. But it is beginning with excitement for me so far, and I am very grateful.




The shots I took today remind me so much of the few old photos from my childhood taken at Christmas years ago when photography was not the highly developed process that it is now. But then there is always something to remind me of the old days this time of year!
Decorating usually unfolds very gradually for me as we ease into the season. I am never ready for a blogging home tour this early, but thank goodness there are plenty of those to visit!  I am often more focused on my favorite rituals and traditions. And I never get to even half of those! 




I did get around to planting an Amaryllis bulb in a sort of timely fashion though, and just today got some paper whites into a pot.




I know they are not supposed to be crowded too much, but the glass vase I selected only has so much room! Wish me luck!



I picked it because of the tall sides to support the stems, and it is fitted with a wonderful wicker basket. It gives me warm thoughts of the friend who gifted it to me every time I use it. (Ribbons and moss are on their way for a nice display.)




I just found this wonderful pot at Home Depot too, and want to add a little rosemary tree to the gathering.




They come in a couple of different sizes.




It's also time for my favorite Christmas books and movies. We had this old Holly Hobby edition when my kids were small, and it got lost somewhere along the way. A few years ago I ordered another from Amazon. I did the same with an old Lionel Barrymore record of "A Christmas Carol" that my family shared when I was a girl. (Or maybe it was from E-bay!)




The pages are full of nostalgic drawings.




The old-fashioned world it evokes has never left my heart, and so I try to invite as much of that feeling as I can into every Christmas celebration.




Even the smallest tree always seems to fill this room!




We recently went to see the new Dickens movie "The Man Who Invented Christmas." It was a wonderful launch to the season! I had to dig out my collection of various editions of that beloved story, 




including the one I have with the original illustrations. The movie covers the events leading to how Dickens came to write his inspiring story. Just one of so many films to enjoy during December!




Just trying to keep everything homey, simple. . . ,




. . . and relaxed, like Yo Yo the family cat!




So many good times to come! 






I hope there's a wonderful weekend ahead for you!

Jacqueline










Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Shifting Gears


I often go careening around the corner from Thanksgiving into December/Christmas/Winter. But it feels different this time. I'm sure that having an early celebration has something to do with it, since we had a traditional dinner last Sunday. But we have negotiated many early celebrations before. So maybe I just made deeper tracks this time.




I thought I might set up a tree beforehand, but just a hint of decoration served when time ran short. (As it often does.) But all the important things were done in plenty of time. I found a make ahead gravy recipe that a friend posted on FB that turned out great! Here's the link. The head cook made the mashed potatoes the day before. And I made the pies day before too. (No brainer. Everybody does that!) We kept the menu simple, and roasted the bird unstuffed so it cooks faster. But I think having a smallish crowd of ten helped keep things calmer.




We also found another fun new thing for us on Amazon Prime. They have a bunch of nature themed videos for free with membership. Some of them are pretty funky, but 'Winter's Solitude' has beautiful snow scenes with low key Christmas music. Or you can just keep the sound off and have pretty pictures instead of a big black screen (or worse) in the middle of everything.




And, since fall things are sort of all finished the minute Thanksgiving is done, I thought I would sneak in a peek at this lap quilt I am always planning to post and never do. It was the first one I ever made back in the early 80's. I was all into these colors, handwork, and Country Living in those days. Since I am someone else now, I have actually bleached this twice to tone down the fire, but nothing at all happened to dull the bright color.




I rarely show this quilt anymore now, but I am saving it for posterity. And speaking of dull, I like remembering a comment that a helpful neighbor, a PHD in Child Psychology, made when she saw that I had fashioned a crib dust ruffle, quilt, and crib bumper for my new little girl out of the brown fabric shown here. I found the calico adorable with eyelet lace trim all around. (She is my only daughter, and we loved Holly Hobbie so much then!) But turns out that brown makes your baby dumber than primary colors! To think the genius she might have been! Haha!





Things also got shifted around a bit as they can when you are making room for merriment. This antique hall tree which has lived for a time in the dining room was on its way out the front door when it asked for a reprieve to stay in this entryway corner. Probably should have been here the whole time.




It has shown up on the blog from time to time like it does here on the left in this photo. (A lattice screen has taken its place.)




Now the rack just peeks out over the shoulder of that adobe wall behind the big screen.




A few comfy chairs also got schlepped in from other places for our guests. This chair is usually covered in crochet lace in a bedroom out of the way. But I found myself glad to see it in here again.





I gave a thought to passing on the high chair too, but she just doesn't want to go yet! And a friend saw this barrel in the last photo of my last post and asked how I planned to use it. What a crazy question! I never have any idea of course! But it became a handy place to stow my pitcher and bowls so I could use the window bench for dinner. It can stay as long as it wants.




An extra card table, and my Queensware china, and before you knew it, it was all over! (Buffet style only at this narrow table for a crowd like this.)





Today was spent reverse engineering everything. But it was a pleasure hand washing all the family heirlooms, monograms, and special possessions once again.





Things have to stay ready for the next month or so of comings and goings. And there will be more gravy and pies in a day or so somewhere else. There will be time later still for a tree or two.





For now, I see a little time spent right here. Like a Sunday driver in the slow lane. . . .




Even that brown chair gets to hang around in here for a while longer!
 Feels really smart to me!

Hygge hugs to you!
And a Happy Thanksgiving!

See you on the other side!

Jacqueline





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