Wednesday, December 25, 2013

I Finally Bought a Scarf I Really Like!

I am totally happy with my latest scarf purchase! It is very lightweight and there are no tying skills involved. You just toss each end over your shoulder and let it hang the way it falls.

I am getting ready to go to my sister-in-law's for Christmas dinner.  She asked me to make a fresh cranberry salad, which turned out pretty good (if I do say so myself).  I know because last night I had my Mom & Dad and sister over for Christmas eve dinner and I made a smaller bowl for us so I could make sure it was edible. :)  I have never made this one before, so I googled to find a recipe using fresh oranges (the entire orange all ground up), fresh apples, cranberries and canned pineapple.  I found a couple of recipes, combined and changed items to suit the family likes/dislikes until I had something I felt would work for everyone. I whipped it up at 5:00 a.m. yesterday.  It's super easy to make. I think everyone but me has made a similar recipe before.  Jim and I both loved it, so  this will now be on my holiday recipe list.

I am not a very good girl all year, so Santa does not bring me much. :) 

But this year he did bring me these shoes that have strands of yarn sewn throughout:
 I just love them and can't wait to wear them.  I have a few orange jackets (yes, I am one of those people who like orange) that should go nicely with these.

I hope you are all enjoying your holiday festivities as much we are!

Monday, December 23, 2013

My Neck is Not Meant to be Draped in Fabric

In mid-November I had to have surgery to remove a tumor from my neck (now you know why I did not post for so long).  I won't bore you with details, other than to say that the tumor was benign and  I am just fine now.  I am only telling you this as a segue into my dislike of wearing scarves.

I feared that after surgery my neck would be black and blue (based on having blood drawn from my arm...many times that tiny little needle leaves a big bruise).  Therefore, I assumed that when a surgeon takes a knife and cuts across my neck, it's not going to be pretty!  I had to go back to work immediately after the surgery, so I decided that I needed to buy some scarves.

I had about a three-week notice of this surgery. I immediately scoured my favorite clothing site (Coldwater Creek) and ordered just about every scarf I could find in the outlet. I went to Wally's World and grabbed what they had available.  This picture is about half of what I bought so that I would have something to cover my hideous post-surgery neck no matter what color of jacket I wore to work each day.

Other than for warmth with a winter coat, I have never worn scarves.  Since scarves are really "in" right now, I thought it was time to learn how to wear them.  I watched CC's video of something like "8 ways to tie a scarf".  I searched "scarves" on Pinterest.  The models looked great in their scarves.  I was getting excited about wrapping myself in yards of fabric (most of these scarves are longer than I am tall) and looking, oh, so chic.

Well, let me tell you, I was totally disappointed.  With the exception of the short infinity off-white scarf with the gold metallic circles, I hated all of these.  I think maybe scarves are only for tall thin people.  I felt like I was overwhelmed, choked, totally engulfed in these long skinny yards of fabric.

It took me less than a week to decide that I would rather flaunt my neck incision than to wear one of those hideous wrappings.  The incision looked much better than I anticipated right from the start--there was no bruising.  It was a bit red and swelled, but not all that repulsive.  I never thought to take a picture of it, until today. 

It has been 4 weeks since my surgery and because I  travelled 4.5 hours (one way for two weeks in a row) to have a very experienced surgeon at the University of Michigan hospital, my neck looks like this:

I am thrilled with the smallish cut and feel it looks way better than any of the dozen scarves I bought to try to hide it! 

I did order this scarf last week.

I have not received it yet, but I think it will be here tomorrow.  This one looks really quirky  and I am hoping that I will love it and be able to wear it in place of a necklace with blue jeans (weekend wear).  I no longer care if it hides the incision.
I have decided that my neck was made for short infinity scarves... ....or strands of 14K gold  :). 
Now I have to figure out what to do with all those long scarves.  Do you think they would work as table runners?  Anyone have any other ideas? 

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Gemini Left a True Winter Wonderland in my Back Yard

I just came inside after walking through knee-deep snow to take some pictures to share my winter wonderland with you. 

Yes, it's a beautiful day in the neighborhood!  How many of you got to enjoy Gemini this weekend?

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

I Just Finished Christmas Shopping -- for Myself!

Here is what I ordered:

I received a gift of money this week and decided to spend it (plus more).  I think this order will arrive just in time for Christmas.  Can't wait to see if I like everything as much as I hope I will.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

A Relaxing Weekend at Home

It is a very cold, snowy weekend in northern Michigan. 

DH and I are enjoying staying inside.  Together this afternoon we cooked six future meals of pizza stuffed pasta shells, which we froze for meals later this winter.  Tonight we were in the mood for a big spinach salad topped with a warm chicken breast, fresh avocado, mandarin oranges and poppyseed dressing. It was sooooooooooo good!

I took a few pictures to show you the (minimal) Christmas decorating I did this year.
 Last month I bought this rusty 3- candle centerpiece that I really love:
If I have the time (and energy) I will add fresh greens for my Christmas Eve dinner.  If not, it will be just fine the way it is.
Here is a full view of the Christmas tree in the family room.
Same tree as seen from the dining room:

I hung the "Joy" banner I made two years ago across the china cabinet on the left. It is difficult to see in the pic above.  I left everything on the top of the cabinet as it was (much easier to take down just the JOY banner!):
 December is zooming by.  We have been so busy for the past 30 days that we have had little time to enjoy the season.  This is the first weekend for a month that we have been able to stay home and we are really enjoying it!
I plan to plop down soon in the chaise lounge and watch a Christmas movie tonight.

 I hope you are all having a good weekend, too!

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

It's Beginning to Look Like Christmas at My House

This  year I did my main tree in these traditional colors:

Many of you may remember that I have done turquoise or brownish colors for the past few years.    I really love all different holiday colors....I just get bored with the same every year, so since I bought new green furniture last spring, this year I am enjoying cranberry reds and green again.  Luckily I have a basement full of Christmas ornies in many colors, so I did not have to buy a single thing.

I will show you more of that tree later.  It's been up for two weeks, but I have not taken any full pictures.

This past weekend in the dining room, I put up a small skinny tree and decorated it with only red cardinals, pinecones and white snowflakes.  It was the easiest tree I have ever decorated!
It goes nicely with the  new dining room chair covers in cranberry red and green that I made last month.

At the top of tree I put the antlers from a buck my son got many years ago.   DH found the antlers in the basement --I did not even know they were there. Antlers are such a big item in the decorating world right now....what a great find!

Are you decorated for Christmas yet?

Monday, November 11, 2013

Pink and Black Event

I thought I would share this beautiful set up we had at the hotel for a recent event.  The client hired a decorator.  We all thought it was beautifully done!

I do love a pink/black table!

Sunday, October 20, 2013

The Frost Finally Got Them

After just bragging yesterday about how nice my garage planters were, I felt I needed to show you how they look today:
This is the end of my 2013 container plants.  So sad! 

Saturday, October 19, 2013

My Autumn Projects

I cut down all of my deck containers today--just in time as we may get some snow flurries next week. DH's marigolds stilled looked good, so I moved them to the front yard where they work nicely with the pumpkin dΓ©cor.
 Despite many night's in the 30's, my tropical containers still look good.  Being under a roof overhang and next to the house shelters them in their own little mini climate. I have not even covered them.

Since my last post, I have planted some Japanese Silver Grass with my Limelights in the old apple tree border.

If you look closely at the pic below, you will see our latest addition to the landscape...the white corner fence.
DH worked very hard digging 2 ft deep holes in our rocky ground.  At first he did not think he could go down the full 24 inches, but perseverance paid off and he finally got all three holes level.

Here is the area last week after the removal of three trees and a long perennial garden where nothing would grow & the addition of new top soil:
and here it is today--almost ready to be planted.  The new grass will have to wait until next spring.
My intention is to use just 2 mop heads and one Ninebark. The color scheme will be  the same chartreuse/dark purple that I have on each side of the front porch:
It will look exactly like this, except there will be a mop head on each side of the Ninebark. Once planted it should be as close to maintenance free as any border can be.

I hope you have all been enjoying autumn in your area of the country!

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Teenage Head Vase with Limelight Hydrangea and Aqua Teapot Dahlia Bouquets

We had great weather for working outside this weekend.

I cut down some deck flowers to make this dahlia bouquet in a vintage aqua tea pot for my living room.

On the opposite side of the room, I cut one perfect 'Limelight' hydrangea to put in my vintage teenage head vase.
I think that hydrangeas are the perfect flower for head vases---and so easy--just snip off one flower and you are done!

Thursday, September 26, 2013

The Beginning of a New Border

The 15 trees are now gone

and we are beginning to redo the first big border in the front of the house where the apple tree once stood.  DH removed all the old plants and  hauled 15 wheelbarrows of new top soil to this area.  We bought a lot of shrubs and decided on this layout:
Tomorrow while I am work, he will plant them. On the side you see here, I am using the same shrubs that I have in front of the house--Ninebark and mophead false cypress--I love the form and the bright green/yellow color of the false cypress.  To the side on your right, near the perennial gardens, I have two 'Limelight' hydrangeas.  I have a third 'Limelight' on the left side.  On the backside facing the road,  we are going to plant burning bushes.  That whole side will be flaming red each fall.  My plan is to have a border requiring very little maintenance.  While the shrubs are so small,  I will fill in between with waves of Sedum 'Autumn Joy'.  This will carry over the masses of pink I have in front of the house.

So that's my plan..................always subject to change. :)

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Only Six Trees Left to Remove

The tree company called DH on Friday morning and said they  had a cancellation....would he like them to start at 8:00 am on Friday?   Of course, he did.  I came home from work to these scenes:

Big heavy truck on my front lawn...........
It's amazing that the white pads they put down for the truck to drive on, actually worked and there was no lawn damage.

I saw a pile of tree branches, but by the time I got home, they had already hauled away two truckloads of debris, so it did not look bad.

This is all that was left of the apple tree:

It seems that apple tree trunks are a  popular commodity ... neighbors came down asking if they could have the trunks...of course, nobody offered to cut the tree down in exchange for the wood, but if we were paying to have it cut down, suddenly everyone wanted it! :)  I guess it's used for adding flavor when BBQing.  We gave it to whomever was the first person to ask...

At the end of the work day, there was only six trees left to cut down.  They will come back on Monday to finish.

Right now I am feeling ambivalent....there is so much work we will have to do next year...Removing the apple tree has totally changed that border....the path that led to a bench is now in the wrong place...etc. etc. etc.  Where I used to have shade, I now have full sun... We need to bring in new top soil....etc. etc. etc.  It's overwhelming! 

Rather than think about all the work I will soon have, I went out on the deck and cut down most of the Trebbiano dahlias that were blooming so I could bring them inside to enjoy over the weekend.  I made this quick centerpiece for my dining room table:

My next project is to change the dining room chair covers to something more autumn-ish...maybe tomorrow..............

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Going, Going....Soon to be Gone!

The tree company called today and they have us scheduled for Monday and Tuesday of next week.  I can't tell you how thrilled I will be when all of these trees are gone and all of the stumps are ground out.  I may even take a vacation day to savor the experience.
These two are in the front yard.

All of these are in my main perennial garden areas.

There are two more on the right side that you can't see here.  We will be removing the arbor and a lot of the remaining flowers this weekend so they don't get damaged. 

My large Tropicana containers at work finally started to flower a few weeks ago:
I have also allowed the coleus to bloom (during the summer I keep the blooms pinched off). We have had a couple mornings of frost, but so far these tender tropicals have survived.  The overhang protects them a bit.
DH sold one of my favorite flower containers last week.  It turns out the old Tonka truck is worth about $50 to our local vintage shop buyer.  He was thrilled with the condition of this 1960's toy (very difficult to find them with the white rails):
I was happy to get rid of it, too.  We are trying to downsize our basement possessions.

Hope you have all been well and are enjoying the cooler weather--although today is supposed to be in the 80's here.  Two nights ago it was in the low 30's--today the 80's.  We never know from week to week what we will get!
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