Monday, November 29, 2010

My Christmas Parlor

I love decorating for Christmas! I'm very slow about it, though.  After 31 years of marriage and keeping a house and 31 years of Christmas decorating, I've gathered quite a few decorations.  So every year it takes me longer to get the job done, but I thoroughly enjoy the process.  With each box of decorations I bring out of the basement, I take out each and every bauble and bulb with excitement, partly because I forget what I have until I see it again!  For the past several years I've been putting up five trees.  The first one I always do is the Parlor/Tea Room/Piano Room tree.  It's my favorite.  And I leave it up until after March, changing some of the decorations for Valentine's and St. Patrick's.
This room is very frilly and  Victorian, so that is how the tree is done.  I use mostly pearls and lace.  Many of the decorations have come from Germany and Austria, where my parents lived for 6 years.  Mom doesn't put up a big tree anymore, so she passed her frilly European  pretties down to me.  
This angel topper came from Germany and Mom gave to me one Christmas years ago.  It hangs in my bedroom when she comes off the tree.

I like to use romantic tea pot and tea cup ornaments.  I've collected these over the years.

This is an antique fainting couch that my sister-in-law had and re-upholstered.  After she did some re-decorating of her house she couldn't use it but felt it would look perfect in my room, which it does, so she gave it to me.  I love it!  So does my little Fergie.  He's asleep curled up on the pillow.
This chair I bought at a local antique store and this darling little footstool I just couldn't pass up from a local boutique furniture store. The counted cross stitch "K" on the back of the chair I made.  The rug came from Europe.  Another hand me down from Mom.  Thank you, Mom!

I have a collection of antique vases and tea cups.  My favorite cups are the little demitasse ones.  A couple of them are Limoges.  The tea set on the little stand was given to me last Christmas by my son and DIL.  They had been to Germany to visit her mother and found this in an antique store.  It's a black rose design. 

My piano has also been handed down to me from my Grandma, to Mom, now to me.  It must be over 60 years old.  I took piano lessons on this piano when I was in elementary school.  We've replaced just about all the key hammers and pads.  It doesn't get used a lot, but I'll never give it up.  

The antique crystal candlesticks were given to me by a good friend last year for my birthday.  

I had made this piano cross stitch several years ago and it was just laying in a closet.  A few years ago I decided to incorporate it into a mini quilt.
I found some music themed border prints that I used.  The total size of this quilt is 17-1/2" square.
I also made this counted cross stitch picture a long time ago and had it matted and framed.

My decorating leans toward the busy side.  I call myself a neat and organized hoarder!  But all these things have meaning and a story and I would have a hard time getting rid of any of it.  

I hope you enjoyed my first Christmas tour.  I'm going to link this post to "Showing Off My Cottage Monday" hosted by Cielo.

Also linked to Bavarian Christmas hosted by Simone at

And linked to The DIY Show Off - Holidays hosted by Roeshel at

Sunday, November 28, 2010

I Made It To 100

I got so excited this morning because I made it to 100.  I wasn't even trying.  It just happened.  It wasn't a goal.  Although I have to admit that I do look at the number from time to time just to see.  I told myself it didn't matter because I do it for me, not as a contest.  It's kind of amazing when you think about it, that there would be a 100 out there.  I know some people have a lot more and that really amazes me.
No, I'm talking about $100!

I'm definitely not talking about my age!

I didn't get a certain percent!

I'm talking about YOU!  The wonderful, beautiful, caring friends I have that follow this little blog of mine!  

I started it just because facebook wouldn't give me enough room to write what I wanted to say!  I didn't really think about how many might be interested.  I just had things to say and share.  But I have to admit that seeing that number 100 feels good for some stupid reason. 
And I want to thank Crafty Girl at for being the 100th. And thanks to all of you who care to follow along on my journey of life.

(All images used in this post are royalty free clip art)

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Thanksgiving Dream

I had one of those dreams last night.  You know, the kind where you wake up with crusty tears left over in your eyes and a sadness that you have to think about.
I dreamed that I was left homeless along with my mother and father.  Now I have no idea why my husband was not with me and why I was without a home with my mom and dad, but that's what it's like with dreams!  So we are homeless, but we could not find anyone to help us.  We kept asking different people and then asking those same people over and over again, but not only could we not get any help, everyone was so mean to us.  It was so sad and frustrating.
 I forced myself to wake up slowly so that I could remember what my dream was about and ponder what was making me so sad.  I was trying to make sense of it.  I realize now today, more than ever, how thankful I am to have a home, a loving family, and a caring mother and father.  I feel so bad for all of those people in the world, during this season especially, that don't have that. As  I slowly got out of bed, my feelings changed from a lingering sadness to a renewed happiness.  A better sense of what I have in my life.  I'm so glad that I have a husband that provides for me and children and grandchildren that I can kiss and hug and admire their beauty and health.  I feel like I need to make another person's life better if I can.
We had a great Thanksgiving, and that could be what inspired my dream.  I hugged and kissed my beautiful granddaughter, Leanna, all day!

I was surrounded by family.

And we all enjoyed great food!

Look at the wild hair on this little girl!  Because of the way the baby hair is rubbing off, she's now got a mix of  mohawk and  mullet.  She is just the happiest little girl.  And so am I!!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

I Am Thankful

Happy Thanksgiving!  This is my favorite Holiday next to Christmas.  I love the food, the smell of Thanksgiving food throughout the house, the crackling fire in the fireplace, and a beautiful family to enjoy it with.  I'm thankful for all of this.  I'm thinking of so many that aren't able to have a Thanksgiving like this and it makes me appreciate and realize even more how fortunate I am and I am truly thankful.  It's easy to take for granted all that we have when we really have never experienced not having!
My mother will be here shortly so we can make our stuffing.  This has become a tradition between Mom and me for about the last 10 years.  Ever since we've lived in the same town.  She breaks up the bread into cubes while I cook the celery and onion in butter.  Then I add brown rice, walnuts and apples.  We prepare this while we have a glass or two of wine. Part of the tradition! Our stuffing is the best I've ever had!  I'll be up early to stuff the bird and stick it in the oven. By mid morning those delicious aromas will fill the house.  Thanksgiving dinner is actually a very easy dinner to prepare, it just uses up a lot of pots, pans and dishes.  The clean up is the hard part.
My cousin and his wife and two children are arriving later tonight.  My son, Austin, and his family will be here about noon tomorrow.  It will be a great weekend.  The weather is not sounding good for late tonight and morning, though, so I hope the travel for everyone is safe.
I wish a Happy Thanksgiving to everyone!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Wish I Had Time to Tell You About ------:

Boobs and Bones - that was going to be my blog post for today -  but I didn't get time.  I'll have to save that for another day. I have some things to say on this.

My birthday - it's today and I had a wonderful visit with my Great Aunt (Grandma's sister) and two cousins.  I made a nice birthday lunch with visiting family, Mom and Dad and Hubby.  I was going to show pictures and talk more about my day - but I don't have time now.

My Grandson's Kindergarten Open House - that's tomorrow. Hubby and I are leaving in the morning to be able to get  there.  We don't want to miss his very first school open house.  I'll have to show pictures and tell how it goes as soon as I can.

Christmas Shopping - Mom and I are going to Pittsburgh's Monroeville Mall to start our Christmas shopping on Saturday.  We'll have to leave early because it will take about 2 hours to get there.  Hope I have time to tell about it later.

Christmas Decorating - will start Sunday.  I do a lot of it and if I don't get started it won't get done until after Christmas!  I have to stay on schedule.  I'll post pictures when I get the chance.

Thanksgiving Dinner - has grown in number of family members coming.  I'm very glad about this and I love making Thanksgiving dinner and having family here.  But it takes time, you know, to shop, prepare and cook. I hope I have the time to take pictures!

If I had more time, I'd go into more detail, but I have to go knit to get a sweater finished for my son for Christmas.  I'm running out of time!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Art, Crafts and "Stuff"

I decided at the last minute last week to enter a local craft show.  I was the last entry of forty vendors to reserve a table last Wednesday afternoon and the show was held on Saturday.  I don't do craft shows normally, but this one was being held at our Lakeview Lodge, which is right around the corner from my home.  Literally.  I can walk there.  Which, of course, I didn't do on Saturday because I had all my stuff to lug.  I have little "stuff" though and I don't have an over abundance of "stuff", so getting it there was no problem.  My problem was gathering it all together and tagging everything on Friday night.  That's when you realize you have more "stuff" than you thought you did.
So here it is, my "stuff" all ready for hubby to carry to the car and drive me over and unload for me.  I could have managed myself but I think he must have had a moment of feeling obligated, since I was complaining loudly (on purpose for him to over hear) to my mother on the phone that parking might be a problem.
Mom also knits and she was sharing the table with me to sell her beautiful shawls.
Here we are setting up our table and there's Mom wearing one of her shawls.  It was actually a very fun day with a very good turnout, but we only sold a few things.  At shows like this people are looking more for crafty Christmas decorations and/or less expensive items.  Our "stuff" isn't cheap because we use expensive yarns and my little quilts are very time consuming.  We knew that going in, but that's OK.  The Lodge also served lunch and we visited with a lot of people and we made enough to cover our cost for the day.
I came home with a renewed interest in catching up and updating my on line Etsy shop.  I had been ignoring it lately since I just haven't had the time to pay attention to it or make or list anything new.  Now with my new phase of slowing down and trying to do more of what I want to do, I am having fun with Etsy again.( I have a link to this on my sidebar.) I just don't make things quickly.  Some people list new things every day and I just can't do that.  Here's a new mini "fairy" quilt I listed yesterday.  I was told by some of the wonderful Quiltsy ladies on Etsy that they have heard this term used for the very mini quilts and suggested I try using that tag on my listings.
This quilt is about 3-1/4" square and the whole thing is in a 5x7 frame.  I love making them, even if they aren't making me rich!
I also finished knitting the purple baby set that I was making for a friend's daughter's baby shower that was also on Saturday.  I got that delivered to her on Friday afternoon.
 I get quite a few requests for knitted items, but they also take a while.  I was asked at the show if I used a knitting machine.  NO!  Mom and I both knit by hand the old fashioned way.  I don't take too many orders at a time because I then get overwhelmed and feel pressured.  Not how I want to feel when doing what I love to do!
My wonderful hubby is working out of the house today, thank goodness!  Yes, he's wonderful, but I just have to say that he gets on my nerves when he's working at home.  He questions me all day about what I'm doing and I really feel guilty if I'm spending too much time working on my "stuff".  Only because I help him with paperwork and computer work and he constantly reminds me where the most money comes from.  I know, but------. So now I can relax for a while and do what I want!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Beautiful Week of Indian Summer

Well, everything kind of caught up to me.  This seems to happen to me every year during this season.  I think a combination of change of weather and trying to do too much.  Now I have a cold or small bug of some sort.  Nothing major, just enough to not feel myself and have very little energy. I'm on the other side of it now, though, thank goodness.

After I got back from the kids' house last Friday I decided to take it easy over the weekend and on Sunday I just watched Lifetime Movies all day while I knit. That was such a luxury and something I really should do more often!  I haven't done anything like that for a long time.
This is where my little Fergie lays while I knit.
This is where I sit and knit.  Ellie Mae is usually laying on my lap.  You can see the purple baby sweater on the foot stool that I almost have finished for a friend's daughter's baby shower this Saturday.

Now on Wednesday, I'm starting to feel a little better.  This is a beautiful, warm and sunny Indian summer day here in Pennsylvania.
 Look at this beautiful view on this sunny day off my back deck.  I don't have the skills or the camera to capture how pretty it really is.  The sun is so bright that the lake water is just sparkling.  Can you see the ducks out there swimming?  There are a lot of geese out there in the early mornings.  They look pretty, but they come up into the back yard and make a real poopy mess.  The neighbor has staked up wire to try to keep them out.

So I think the rest and the sunshine is now encouraging me to get up off my butt, get a shower, and do something.  

Two weeks ago was the Grand Opening of the new Wal-Mart Superstore in our small town, which was a really big deal for us.  I was getting groceries there for the first time and came across this packaged soup.  It looked good so I thought I'd try it.  
It was delicious!  and 0g. Trans Fat to beat.  I didn't leave it at that, though. I wanted to doctor it up a bit so  I added my own potatoes and then topped off the bowls with sour cream, shredded cheese and bacon bits.  
It was really good! During this weekly Wal-Mart trip, I decided to get the Tortilla Soup.  That's what I'm making for dinner.  It's simmering on the stove right now and it smells like an Autumn Indian Summer day inside the house.  

I got out a few Thanksgiving decorations.  I do more Autumn than specific Thanksgiving decorating, but on my front foyer table I do set out these little ceramic Pilgrims and turkey that I believe my mother made years ago.  I also have to have a couple little bowls of candy corn sitting around or it just doesn't feel like Autumn.

Probably next week I'll be starting some of my winter and early Christmas decorating.  I do so much that if I don't start early it won't get done in time for me to sit back and enjoy it. My Spokane kids are coming home for Christmas and I want to have everything done before they get here.  
They just sent me this updated picture of my little two month old Heath.

I haven't seen him since he was 1-1/2 weeks old so I can't wait to hold him again and his 18 month old sister, Riley.

I love this time of year, but I need to feel good and not be stressed, pressured or rushed so that I can enjoy the season and not just work at getting through it!

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Vegas, Baby!

I’m on the return flight home right now, on this 31st anniversary of our wedding,  from Las Vegas to Cleveland.  We’ll arrive about 6:30 p.m. Eastern time and then the three hour drive back home totally exhausted.  We’ve had three fun filled days in Vegas with my parents and another couple, but we are all worn out. 
Hubby and his working partner attorney were in seminars for two straight days so Mom, Dad, the attorney’s wife (and friend of mine), and I shopped till we dropped and had lunch one day at Planet Hollywood and the next day at the Bellagio.
Everything in Vegas is in excess.  We walked too much, ate too much and spent too much money.   I feel good, though, that we didn’t gamble or drink too much!  So I guess we did good and it was worth it.
As we walked the Strip during the day, dressed up characters are standing around available to get pictures with – for a tip!  Woody from Toy Story was almost kind of perverted and gave my girlfriend and me the creeps.
Elvis was OK.
We stayed at the Monte Carlo hotel on the Strip.  It’s very nice and since we were there for hubby’s seminar we got a pretty good discount on the room.  We’ve started to rate the hotels in order of beauty and luxury since we’ve stayed at a good many of them now through the years.  Our number one pick so far is Caesar's,
IMG_2348-Caesar's Palace
then Mandalay Bay,  Monte Carlo,  Bally’s and Stratosphere.  Didn’t care for the Stratosphere at all!  I would love to some day  to stay at Paris,
Bellagio and Wynn.  That will probably only happen if we get good seminar rates.
Our highlight was Sunday evening (Halloween)at Cher’s last show.  Wow!  Her voice was as good as ever, and even though she’s not skinny like she used to be, she looks great at 60 something.  And she had a change of costume for every song.
In between songs, to give time for the costume and scenery change, they played old clips on a huge screen of the old Sonny and Cher show, clips from her movie roles, etc.  The show was quite spectacular and we were on the First Mezzanine but direct center so the seats were good.  We just used binoculars to get some close up views.  Because of the binoculars we could tell that she had on a full flesh colored body stocking under all those skimpy tight outfits.  See, even the most beautiful stars with all their cosmetic surgery still have to resort to tricks and secrets to get that fake perfect look!  Makes you kind of feel a little better in a way.
Hubby had bought me a new outfit before we left home to wear to Cher.  It was very cute, and comfortable, velvet black leggings and a red and black ruffled velvet tunic.
IMG_2341 (768x1024)
  But the shoes were a different story.  They were black mesh with very, and I mean very, high heels with red roses clipped to the side.  I called them my cute hooker shoes.
IMG_2341 shoes
Believe me, they were not made to walk in!  Even though we took a tram to the show from Monte Carlo to Caesar's, you still ended up walking quite a lot.  I had the worst blisters on my heels by the time we got to the show that I carried the shoes and walked barefoot after the show.  It was funny, though, that as I carried these cute shoes in my hand I had a lady come up to me to tell me how much she liked my shoes!
We had dinner before the show that first night at a Chinese restaurant inside Monte Carlo.  Very good food and an excellent black raspberry sake.  I’m going to be craving one of those about 10:00 tonight I think!  The second night we ate at Di’Ablo’s, the Mexican restaurant inside the hotel.  The show we saw that night was the ignorant group of girls at the table beside us screaming and hollering for the San Francisco Giants throughout the whole dinner as the World Series final game was playing.  The manager finally came over to them and asked them to leave, just as we were finishing.  We should have complained a lot sooner.  I know it’s Vegas and people get wild, but come on!!
Our final night there our friends really wanted to see “Phantom”.  The rest of us weren’t that interested and didn’t want to spend that kind of money on another show.  We ended up getting a cab and going downtown Las Vegas to Freemont Street and it was actually very nice and a lot of fun.  There is a light show that plays above Fremont Street like every hour.
(You can see the old hotels and then that lit up dome above them is a dome roof above the street where the light show plays.)
Then we got tickets to a show inside the Golden Nugget.  A comedian by the name of Gordon Brown.  He sings and does impressions.  It was a great show.  We were pleasantly surprised by the show, Fremont Street and the Golden Nugget. 
Now we’re approaching re-entry into reality.  I’m O.K. with that because I don’t think I could go another day at that pace.  Tomorrow I would love to rest for a day, but that’s not on the schedule.  I’ll have to pick up my dogs in the morning from the dog sitter and then go pick up my three grandchildren for the weekend.  Their mother has to go to Virginia for a few days and their dad, my son, has to work Thursday and Friday.  I may have to stay down there unless they take the boys out of pre-school and kindergarten for one day. 
After Sunday things will settle down just a little bit and my thoughts will then turn to the Holidays. 


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