Wednesday, November 30, 2011

20 Minutes -- $135

Why didn't my mother tell me to marry a plumber?   We just paid $135 for 20 minutes of work. That's $405/hr.  if the plumber can find 3 other easy jobs like ours.

It is a lot of money, but we are actually very happy that our drain clog was nothing more than gunk build up and it was easy to fix.  An electric snake thingie, 20 minutes and it drains faster than my checkbook on the C*old*water C*reek site. 

$135 for 19 years of build up.  We thought it was a reasonable charge if broken down to $7.10 per year.  There is an optimistic way to look at almost everything.  :)

While the plumber did his thing, I was coloring quilt mystery block pieces to see if I could figure out what it was before I made it.
I still have no idea what this is.
With these mysteries you have to figure out how to put the pieces together and I gave up because I just couldn't get it to work.   Do you see anything in this mess?

I am not going to sew it until the mystery is revealed and I can see if it's something I like.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Bronze, Gold & Green Christmas Tree Additions

I was missing my gold pears and gold smiling stars when I did the tree. I found them when I brought up the box of gold reindeer.

Here is one of the stars:
and one of my shiny gold man-in-the-moons:

and some of the sparkly bronze pears I painted a few years ago:

I am still missing gold birds and gold metal bows, but I don't think I have anyplace to put them now!  DH was right. Once I got done this tree has few big empty gaps between branches.   One way I hide the big holes is to use large shiny balls deep inside the tree, rather than on the branch tips.  Like this shiny green ball which hides a view of the metal pole (hate that!).
I also stuck one of my whimsical elves on the side to cover a big hole. I have about a dozen of these that I made quite a few years ago.  I just love the little guys and wanted to use a least one of them this year, even though I am cutting way back on the decorating.

I think decorating under the tree is just as important as the tree itself. 
To fill the space, I put a few  gold reindeer under the tree with some packages wrapped to match the tree colors.

 I then scattered a bunch of my gold and silver-painted pine cones around the deer.  Again I have had these for at least 15 years.

I think I am now done decorating this tree.  Today I removed the greenery I had twisted around the drapery rod.  I did not feel like decorating that. I decided two wreaths would be easier. They were because I was tired and just stuck some stuff on them and hung them up to cover the curtain brackets.   Works for me.

This tree is in a spot where I can really enjoy it for the next month. To the left is the kitchen where I can see it as I cook, etc. 

Just for kicks, I looked up last year's tree. What totally different look it was with a gingerbread man/sunflower scheme:
I did use the same big green glittery orbs, but just about everything else is different.

Unfortunately we have a little kitchen problem.  Just  before we left for our Thanksgiving get-a-way weekend, we discovered that the sink is clogged.  Nothing DH does has helped, so tomorrow we will have to find a plumber.  If that isn't enough, our washing machine is also about to die. One day last week I heard a loud noise (like the load was out of balance) while doing a big load. When I went to the basement, I saw a little bit of water on the floor (coming from underneath the machine).  It's happened a couple of times since, but only when we do a large load.  Right now we are only doing smallish loads and it's working fine.  No idea what the problem is, but I am quite sure we will be having to buy a new one soon.

I am not planning to do any more decorating. It feels good to have it all done and the room cleaned up.

Is anyone else having a problem with the Blogger preview?  I have not been able to use it for the past week.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Bronze Green Christmas Tree

Wednesday, November 23, 2011:

I don't know if  I should call it a bronze and green or chartreuse and copper Christmas tree.

  I have a lot of copper/bronze/gold/green/chartreuse items from previous years.
I have used the bronze color scheme before.  Here is a pic of my entertainment center from 2008:
I am going for this effect on my tree, but adding a big dose of what I believe to be chartreuse green. Most of the items you see here will end up on the tree this year.

I should have plenty of decorations to do a full tree and not spend any more than the $3 I already spent for the Dollar Tree icicles above.  It really helps to have a fully-stocked basement!

As you can see I have a long way to go!
I need to get off the computer, climb up this ladder and start fluffing this tree (the top still needs to be put on) that has been sitting in my family room for a week!
 It should be fun to see a new trendy color combo take shape.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

And it was....

I brought up four or five big tubs of bronze/green/gold ornies from the basement and decorated the tree this afternoon.

I was pretty skeptical as there were big empty gaps between the branches and I could not "fluff" them out.  DH was more confident as he says that every year I say that I will never be able to fill the gaps, but I always do.

The first thing I did was the tree top. I know it's usually the last thing one does, but this tree is over 9.5 feet tall (I don't know why I keep saying 7.5 ft) and even on a ladder it's hard for me to do the top.  So I did  the top while it was sitting in a bucket and then  had DH put it on.   I took two silver wreaths ---do any of you remember when I painted two of these twig wreaths that I had on my deck

silver for Halloween 2010?
Well, as I was in the basement looking for tubs of ornaments, I saw the two silver twig wreaths and suddenly thought they may work for a tree top.  So I brought them up and I put one on each side of the tree top to balance the weight. I added some gold ball sprigs and some green picks. Then I put a big copper/bronze poinsettia in the center.

Then I just started opening tubs and adding whatever I found that fit the color scheme to the tree.

I ended up with this:
 Those Dollar Tree bronze icicles are not very well made. Two of them came apart as I removed them from the cardboard.  I just hot-glued the top back on and they were good to go.  What do you expect for $3 for 18 ornaments?  They are not top quality, but they worked quite nicely on this tree.

I bought the little green  sequined balls from the Coldwater Creek outlet about three years ago.

 I think I have 24 of them. They are quite small, but also pretty unique and the color fit well with this tree.
Here is the top with the lights on:
Every year I add a real bird's nest somewhere on my tree. It symbolizes good luck for the new year.
A few years ago a robin made a nest in my heart-shaped wreath beside my garage and then she abandoned the nest. I don't know if the mother robin died or what, but she left the nest with three eggs.  At the end of the season, I removed the nest and have used it each year on my tree.  Over the years two of the three eggs have been dropped and destroyed.  I have been taking extra special care of the last egg.

All in all I am happy with how the tree turned out.  Now I am going to watch a Lifetime Christmas movie.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Allium sativum

 I was thrilled today to get this gift from my mother-in-law.  It's a terracotta jug full of her home-grown Allium sativum, a member of the onion genus,  known to most of us as garlic.

 I was hoping she had some for me this year.  I don't get it every year (depends on the success of her planting), so I was thrilled to have some  again this winter for cold-weather culinary concoctions. Almost all meat dishes taste better with my MIL's home-grown garlic!  This amount will last me all winter.

I bet most of you are busy in the kitchen preparing for the big feast.  This year we are going out for Thanksgiving so I don't have to cook a single thing--and---there is no cleanup. Zero! Zilch!Nada! 

Hey, stop throwing those raw giblets at me!!  This is the first year we have done this and we are really looking forward to it. 

I actually like to cook the turkey, etc. and I plan to do so later. I already have a turkey in the freezer. I may just save it for Christmas day.

Here's wishing you all a very happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

I Found Some Paperwhites!

After reading Eileen's blog post about paperwhites, I remembered that I had wanted to buy some this year.  Since I rarely shop in brick & mortar buildings, I did not have the chance to see any to remind me that I wanted to buy them.

Today I ran to Home Depot to see if they had any left. Lucky for me, they did--in a big bin just as I entered the store. I grabbed a bag and went right to the register.  "$2.49 cents," she said. 

Holy smokes, I thought they were $4.99 a package.  I did not even know they were 50% off.  So I did what any sane woman would do--I ran back and grabbed another package. 

So for five bucks I got 12 paperwhite bulbs.  As soon as I got home, I planted them in this  glass footed bowl filled with clear glass and green glass vase thingies--are they called marbles??
 I do hope the fact that they have already sprouted is not a bad sign in regards to their odds of producing gobs of lovely white blooms.

I saved one bulb to drop in this glass vase hugged by a holiday snowman.

How darn cute will this be with the tall green leaves topped with a cluster of white flowers?  It would be perfect if they decided to bloom for Christmas.

Oh, dear, I just went to Eileen's blog to do the link and I noticed that she was not going to water hers until 3 weeks before Chistmas as they bloom quickly.  I already watered mine.  I guess I will have flowers before Christmas.   I trust Eileen. She knows so much about flowers!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Big Sale at CC

Since next week is my birthday, I took advantage of the big C*o*ldwater C*r*eek sale - buy one discounted item, get second 1/2 off  AND free shipping.

I like to post this stuff to my blog so that I can remember what items I ordered.  So here goes:

Loving this lace V neckline.  I find V-necks hard to find lately.

I am also loving these "waterfall" draping cardigans.   I enlarged this, so you can see that they, too, spell this color "grey".  :)

I ordered two of these crinkly sateen tanks. The pink one to go with the cardigan above and a white one  to go with the navy cardigan below.

This one is navy blue with small stripes.  I don't have much in navy.

Another white staple.  I never seem to have enough white tees to wear under jackets. It just hit me that I may already have this one!  Shoot! Now I guess I will two of them.

So these are my birthday gifts. My sweet husband always knows just what to buy me.  LOL.   Every few days, he visits my blog to find out what I have ordered.  He has not had much to read, since I have not ordered anything for about two months. We really don't even buy birthday gifts anymore because we have most of the things we need and neither of us can think of a gift the other would want. In actuality, he would never ever think to buy me clothes and I prefer it that way.  Instead of gifts, we usually go away for weekend trip.  I am not sure if we will this year, but if we do, I will have some new duds to wear.

So if you like CC, head over there and check out the sale. I watch them like a hawk with 20/20 and this sale is one of the best this year. Usually you have to spend $100 to get free shipping, but with this sale you can get it on any order, even if it's just one item.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Hydrangea, Burlap & Pearls Christmas Tree

I finished off the last of the burlap roll on this Christmas tree.

I originally had only flowers on the top of the tree -- hydrangeas & faux liatris (hard to find--I bought them about 10 years ago). While pawing through a box looking for the muted pink glass balls, I came across this pink Hallmark Father Christmas that I bought about twenty years ago and I decided to use him on the top. I surrounded him with the faux liatris and some other faux flowers.

I do love my felt mice that I made over twenty years ago so I added quite a few of them.

They add a bit of whimsy to the tree.

I made dozens of them in red, green, pink and white. I only used the pink and white on this tree.

 I have had these mice longer than I have had my husband and we will be celebrating 23 years in May.  We both wish we aged as well as they have. :)

In the sled I added some old Christmas toys. This is my son's first teddy bear circa 1977.  I use this cute bear almost every Christmas. Some years he tops the Christmas tree and some years he sits under the tree.

I have a heart-framed pic of my son at 4 months old opening this bear hung near the teddy bear, as well as a pic from each of his first few Christmases hung in different areas of the tree.

 This lady bear  was a gift from my son to me when he was just a little boy.

These white bears are the Kmart bears from about 20 years ago.  I removed the red/green hats & scarves  and added my own hats.  The male bear has a Russian grey fur hat.
 The lady bear has this lovely vintage Christmas hat, probably from the 1940's.
She also sports a lace collar that I removed from a blouse of my late former  (very fashionable) MIL.

I do love a Christmas tree that evokes memories of years gone by.  This tree does exactly that which makes me quite fond of it.

The big main tree is still sitting exactly where DH put it a week ago.   It is much bigger (7.5 ft tall) and takes a lot more work, so I have not done a thing to it yet. I may begin to work on it this week.........then again maybe not until next weekend.  I am in no hurry.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Amaryllis 'apple blossom'

Every winter I go to blogs and see their beautiful amaryllis in bloom and I am always sorry that I did not buy a bulb in the fall.

So last Saturday when I saw this pink amaryllis, I bought it.

I was surprised to find this little round disk. The directions said to put it in 3 cups of water and let it sit for 15 minutes.

It poofed right up.
Then I stirred it and stuffed it around the flower bulb.

I hate ugly plastic pots, so I wrapped a piece of ....................guess what..........Burlap ...... around it!
I secured the burlap with two rubber bands and then tied a piece of pink fabric to hide the rubber bands (though I see I was not all that successful hiding them). Now all I have to do wait 4 to 8 weeks for beautiful blooms.

Here is what I hate about daylight savings time:

5:30 p.m. and poor DH is grilling in the dark.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Book Bargains, Saving Cordayline & a Peek at the Hydrangea Christmas Tree

I bought a bunch of books at Saturday's VFW bazaar.  Can you believe I bought "The Help" for just 50 cents? I did not see the movie, so it will all be new to me. The other books were just a quarter each. Once I get my decorating done, I can sit beside the burlap lamp (which gives off a lot more light) and read some Christmas stories.
It was quite the day for bargains. At various sources, I also got all that fabric in back of the books.

Saturday I  removed the last three big containers from the garage sides and the front porch. They still looked good, but I wanted to have it all done before the snow flies.  I could not bring myself to yank this big cordayline out.  A couple of you told me it would survive down to 10 degrees, so I thought perhaps I could overwinter it in the garage beside this window where it will get a bit of light.
The garage never gets below 30 degrees. Do you think it will live through the winter?  It's worth a try as I would sure love to be able to start this container with it as the centerpiece next spring.

 Here is a sneak peek of the hydrangea Christmas tree :
I find the muted colors very hard to work with. I spent two hours after work (not my high energy time!) on this little tree. Yesterday I had put some pink balls on. Today I felt they were too pink. I had to haul out at least a dozen boxes before I found these muted pink glass balls which work nicely.  I originally had  white pearls hanging from the branches, but they were way too pure white.  So back down to my very own Christmas ornament store (the basement) I went in search of something else. I found one strand of light blue beads.

 I thought the color worked, so I just cut them off and laid them over the branches.  I cut up some light pink beads and did the same. Then I quit for the night.  I thought this little tree would be easy peasy, but with all the changes I have already made, it is beginning to take more time than I want to give it.   Most of the time involves lugging up boxes from the basement and then hauling them back down.  Hate that part!!
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