Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Christmas in the Dining Room

the copper and chocolate-colored balls are in the top right photo;
the red Christmas balls are on the left and bottom right

Today as I continue with my series of seasonal decorating posts,  I'm sharing pictures from the dining room of The Brown Bungalow.

I very much enjoyed the copper and chocolate-colored balls used for Thanksgiving, but that holiday has come and gone, so I replaced them with red balls suspended with a very narrow gold cording.

This is a salt and pepper set, although I've not filled them yet. It remains to be seen if they are as functional as they are cute!

Last year at this time, I had high hopes to make a lot of wool felt projects in 2016.  Well, that hasn't happened, but I did complete this snowman mat in January.

This cast iron stove sits in a corner of the dining room. Since we are blessed with a furnace, it's just for show. The Cook on Fifth Street gave this to me some years ago after it had decorated her home for a long time.  The flowers, of course, are silk. I love having green foliage and switching out the flowers as the seasons come and go.

dining room chest of china
I don't remember what the gold stuff is called, but it looks like stiff cheesecloth and comes in many colors. It comes in a long roll and is a delight to use on fireplace mantels and the tops of furniture because it bends and twists so gracefully. You can find it at places like Michaels, Hobby Lobby, Lowe's and JoAnn's.

I combined it with evergreen garland, white lights, and a red poinsettia garland. You just lay it all out and then play with it, tucking and pulling out in whatever way looks best. It's fun to work with.

Surfer Girl gave me 5 of these stuffed reindeer from
Pier One Imports about twenty years ago
After the lights, garlands, and "cheesecloth" were arranged, I added individual smaller things, such as these reindeer.

our Angel tree
I've written in previous years about the wonderful Christmas window display we used to enjoy at The Denver Dry Goods department store. They had a huge tree covered with angel ornaments. At the base of the tree was the nativity and then streaming along the window were the shepherds with their sheep heading toward the manger scene.  Behind them were the wise men. It was a stunning arrangement that made a lasting impression on me. 

This Angel tree in my dining room is my pitiful attempt to re-create what The Denver Dry Goods store had done. (sadly, they went out of business years ago)

the angel near the top, just under the star
Vicki gave me a very country-style wood star that I love to put at the top of our Angel tree.

the Holy Family at the base of our Angel tree

We have maybe 20 angels on the tree of various shapes and sizes, and with a variety of musical instruments. I still add to the collection when I see an angel I like.


I especially like this one because Beloved took accordion lessons when he was a school boy.

My last photo for today is of a chest on the opposite wall of the dining room. I keep a black-and-ecru table runner there (made by Grace as a house-warming gift three years ago) and top it with casual black-and-burlap picture frames from Walmart. 

The brass candle stick is really the base to a lamp that is no more. I removed the electrical cord and put a candle atop it. I never burn the candle -- I just like the look. (I don't use candles much anymore except for the battery-powered electric ones, which are so much safer). 

A large glittery bow is pinned to the [working] lamp on the left and at its base is a candle ring from The Cook on Fifth Street. It's made up of pine needles, pine cones, a rusty bell and some burlap tucked in there.

The glittery gold star by the pictures of my grandchildren is a tree ornament.

This concludes the tour of the dining room with its Christmas decor. The table will look really good when the holiday dishes are set at each place, but that picture will be in another post.

Stay tuned! Friday's post will feature the family room.

Hodgepodge Wednesday on November 30

Sewing with Christmas fabrics
Today is Hodgepodge Wednesday. Joyce supplies the questions, bloggers answer and then link up at her blog called From This Side of the Pond.

1. Give us three rhyming words that say something about your Thanksgiving holiday (or your most recent holiday gathering if  you didn't celebrate Thanksgiving). 

Delicious, nutritious, scrumptious

2. When did you last say, 'the more the merrier'? Did you mean it?

I know I have said this, but I don't remember the last time.

3. What's one piece of advice you'd give someone who is your same age?

Learn to trust the Lord more and lean less on your own understanding. Just because we are ** years old doesn't mean we know it all or can't learn something new.

4. You're ordering a veggie plate, what four veggies are on it?

Spinach, broccoli, carrots, and potatoes.

5. Shop till you drop! Did you? Have you ever? Will you between now and Christmas?

Yes, I have shopped till I dropped but not in many years. I remember Christmas shopping myself into exhaustion shortly after I learned I was pregnant with our first child. Beloved was out of town, so I didn't have any need to cut the shopping short to make supper for him. What I didn't realize was how very, very tired we get during the first three months of pregnancy. That was a real eye-opener for me.

I don't plan to shop that hard this year.

6. What's your favorite chair in your house, and why is it a favorite?

When I sit, I often fall asleep. For that reason, I have 2 favorite chairs:
red recliner for TV watching (and sleeping);
my "chocolate chair" for reading and needlework

7. Share an early memory of faith, religion, or spirituality.

When I was 6 years old, my mother was preparing to teach a children's Sunday School class with a flannel graph board. She asked me if I'd like to see her story and I did. As she spoke I realized I was a sinner and could not get to heaven on my own merit. I needed to ask Jesus Christ to forgive me of my wrongs and give me eternal life. I asked my mother to help me pray right then. That was when I became a Christian.

8. Insert your random thought here:  This week I am posting photos of Christmas decorations in The Brown Bungalow. Today the pictures are from my kitchen.  As I have said in previous posts, none of these things are especially unusual, they are certainly inexpensive, and are even understated; but they add a festive touch and I like it that way. Many of the ideas I'm sharing make good gifts, too.

(Yes, I love dishes. Most of them come from Walmart, the Dollar Store, or Good Will)

Linking up today with Joyce and others at her blog, 

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Christmas Decorating - Hallways

wreath on door to the basement

Today I'm continuing with the second in my 6-part series of blog posts with my Christmas decorations. The previous post had to do with the problems Beloved and I encountered with outdoor decor. Today my focus will be decorations in our hallways.

As you will quickly see, none of what I am sharing is expensive or particularly dramatic. But perhaps these simple ideas will spark imagination for my readers.

snowman table runner - store bought
While I wish I could take the credit for this cute snowman table runner, I cannot. However, I can take credit for kinda messing it up! I brought it home from the store a couple of years ago and discovered it was too long for all of my tables. I did not return it because it was so cute. I thought I could alter it (make it shorter).  When I did that, the seam was so bulky that it didn't look good.  

However, this year I found a good use for it by draping it over the back of the church pew in our hallway. 

some of my friends
Surfer Girl gave me the boy and girl bears dressed in red velveteen. They spend eleven months of the year stored in a box but in December they come up from the basement and brighten any spot where they sit. Boy Bear's coat looks like something from Santa's wardrobe.

Santa Claus by Jim Shore

Beloved gave me this Jim Shore Santa Claus a few years ago (it was on my Christmas wish list). It is embellished with quilting designs and this piece looks festive wherever it's placed. This year Santa is on top of a pie safe in the entry hall.

umbrella stand
This music-themed wood umbrella stand was on sale at Hobby Lobby about ten years ago. I never use it for umbrellas but love to poke bunches of silk flowers in it, changing them out seasonally.    Those floral bushes on sale at Hobby Lobby with seasonal colors are good for this. These silk mums may not be especially Christmassy, but since they are red, and with the addition of a sparkly ribbon bow -- it looks seasonal.

Christmas card by Mary Engelbreit

This Christmas card has been one of my favorites for a long time. I framed it in brass and set it out every December. This idea can be used for any favorite Christmas card. 

florals in stair landing to the basement

You might never guess where I got the base for this floral arrangement. In our last house when our deck was under construction, the cement guy used these long cardboard tubes to make the foundations for the deck support posts. This one was leftover and put into the trash -- until I grabbed it. 

I sprayed it with a beige textured paint.  It's perfect for standing in a corner to hold florals. I keep the green plastic Springeri in it year around and then change out the flowers according to the seasons.

antique corner shelf

On the same stair landing as the previous picture, in the opposite corner, is this antique corner shelf from The Cook on Fifth Street. She bought it when I was a little girl and refinished it with a greenish antique paint. 

She gave it to me a few years ago. As you can see, it's a great way to display small treasures. The bottom two shelves hold patriotic pillows now... I hope to sew some Christmassy pillows to replace them before this season gets past me.

stockings hung in the hall

Last Christmas I sewed new stockings for those in my family who usually spend the day with us. Although they would look wonderful  hanging from our fireplace mantel, we don't like to do that because they get so hot from the fire. (chocolates melt!!) So we hang our stockings on a coat rack in the hall near the fireplace. 

By the way, although there are lots of patterns out there for stockings, Beloved told me that he wanted the stockings to be large enough to easily slip a DVD or CD into them. So I made that my rule of thumb. 

Tomorrow I plan to participate in the weekly Hodgepodge, as is my habit, but I'll still tuck in some Christmas decorating pictures to continue my theme for this week. See ya!

Sunday, November 27, 2016

A Week of Christmas Decor - Troubleshooting

the front door of The Brown Bungalow

The Brown Bungalow "got its jingle on" this past weekend. The pilgrims were sent back to basement storage and Christmas began to show up.  I've decided to spend this week blogging pictures of our decorations, with today being the first of six posts. 

Don't expect anything spectacular - we are just ordinary people with fairly simple taste. 

Outdoor decorations, in particular, can present problems if they are to look tidy for the several weeks they are on display in wintry weather.  Maybe our solutions will be helpful to others.

decorating the maple tree
We had The Brown Bungalow built a little over 3 1/2 years ago, so some of the landscaping still needs stakes to withstand our strong winds until they gain maturity and strength. I'm hoping passersby will overlook the wood stakes with these large glittery balls bobbing in the breeze.

the Holy Family
We have noted over the last few years that finding decor to illustrate the real meaning of Christmas is pretty hard to find; so when we happened across this statuary at Lowe's, we brought it home for the front porch. 

We had a Holy Family a few years ago that was light-weight and  blew off the porch several times. After a couple of weeks of that, during one especially harsh storm, it blew down and broke so it could not be used any more. This set we have now is heavy. Beloved also positioned it against one of our stone porch pillars so the prevailing winds are blocked (somewhat).

Beloved has a spotlight on the Holy Family, which looks really good at night, but my camera couldn't capture the effect very well in the darkness.

We also have a laser light with the floating stars on the front of the house, and that, too, did not photograph well at night.

the porch pot
The Snapdragons, Vinca Vine, green onions, and Potato Vine have stopped producing, so glittered floral picks and a green wreath keep the too-heavy-to move pot from looking bare during the cold winter months.

Regarding the evergreen garland on the porch bannister, we had to tie it down on the rails and also at the bottom of each loop. Before we figured that out, the garland repeatedly blew over the top, making things look unkept.

the front door wreath
We have a full-length glass storm door that is beautiful yet problematic when I want to hang a wreath. Unless the wreath is really flat, it won't fit between the house door and the storm door. 

A wreath hangar does not fit properly over the top of the storm door (we've tried several). With those factors in mind, we hung our wreath on the perpendicular wall beside the door, but that lacked curb appeal and wouldn't you know it, those strong winds lifted it right up off the hook and blew it down!

This year we are using an outdoor Command Hook on the outside of the storm door frame and then used fishing line to suspend the wreath at the height we wanted. So far.... it's working well.

our welcome committee
Porch Puppy sits outside the front door year 'round. For Christmas he gets a gold garland collar and a Santa hat. He sits on an inverted ceramic crock since he is small and tends to get lost beside our 8-foot tall front door. By the way, he was an impulse purchase at Lowe's garden center a couple of years ago.  He is heavy and doesn't move around unless I pick him up.

the back door wreath
We live on a corner and the street beside us goes down a hill, so our back door, deck, and yard are on display for all of the neighbors.  Unfortunately, our builder put the light fixture too close to the back door, so decorating with a wreath is challenging. It's hanging with twine and also, because of our nemesis the wind, blows around a lot. I've decided that perfection is over-rated. This is just the way it's gonna be!

the back of The Brown Bungalow

This is the view people have as they drive past our house, heading to the intersection, so you can see why we felt we should provide them some eye candy during the Christmas season. I strung the icicle lights on the railing while Beloved chipped ice off the deck floor.  Look closely and you can see some of the laser spots of light on the siding (center of house). 

We have 2 of the laser units and found that if you pay a little more, the satisfaction is greater. They are all the rage this year because many people (like us) want lights without having to climb ladders to hang them.  Around here, the Homeowners Association requires lights to come down no later than the end of January, but with snow and ice on the ground at that time of year, the requirement is dangerous!

The next post will feature indoor photos. Be sure to come back!

Thursday, November 24, 2016

O Give Thanks Unto the LORD

O give thanks unto the Lord; for he is good: for his mercy endureth for ever.

O give thanks unto the God of gods: for his mercy endureth for ever.
O give thanks to the Lord of lords: for his mercy endureth for ever.
To him who alone doeth great wonders: for his mercy endureth for ever.
To him that by wisdom made the heavens: for his mercy endureth for ever.
To him that stretched out the earth above the waters: for his mercy endureth for ever.
To him that made great lights: for his mercy endureth for ever:
The sun to rule by day: for his mercy endureth for ever:
The moon and stars to rule by night: for his mercy endureth for ever.
Psalm 136:1-9

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

A Happy Hodgepodge

Here is today's weekly Hodgepodge with questions supplied by Joyce. 

1. What’s something you might say runs in your family?

The love of puppies! Two new ones joined our extended families just this week!! (one on Monday to one family and another on Tuesday to another family)

2. I read here a list of ten things you should do before 2017 arrives  (in less than six weeks!)…which tasks on the list might you do? What would you add to your own “before the year ends” list?

visit your dentist 
my next appointment is in January
deep clean your home 
not till after the holidays are over
donate unwanted items to charity
did this last week (furniture)
look someone in the eye and tell them you love them 
I do this every day with my husband
write an honest letter to yourself 
would love to take a day to do this
clean up your inbox-desktop-photos 
I do this often 
travel to a place you haven’t been 
Lord willing, I’m done with travel for 2016
compliment a stranger 
I do this a lot; 
it’s a good conversational ice-breaker
watch the sunrise 
I catch glimpses of it as I prepare breakfast 
think ahead to your goals/plans for the new year 
oh yes!

3. What’s something other generations (not  your own) misunderstand about your generation?

We like music with a comprehensible melody, harmony, and learning new songs is harder than you think.

4. Sweet potato casserole, mashed potatoes and gravy, cornbread dressing — which would you miss the most if it weren’t on the holiday dinner menu?

Sweet Potato Casserole.

5. What are you overthinking right now?

Just about everything. I tend to be overly sensitive and absorb more than what is intended.

6. Your favorite slang word lately?

Whatever — although I don’t mean to be disrespectful when I say it. What I mean is “there are multiple options and I haven’t decided which one I’ll go with.”

7. Write an acrostic for the word grateful.

8. Insert your own random thought here.

* * * * *
Happy Thanksgiving!
I'm linking up with Joyce and friends at her blog,
From This Side of the Pond

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Happy Birthday, Beloved!

Beloved at Boettcher Mansion

It's happened again: Beloved's having a birthday. This is it. 

We've got plans although they are not especially glamorous. The dishwasher repairman is scheduled to show up at the front door sometime between 8am and noon.

Snow is forecasted, so there may be some shoveling in the afternoon.

One of our sons and his wife are coming to dinner. My menu is Beef Stroganoff over pasta, cooked carrots, a green salad with a sweet-and-sour dressing, and for dessert, those gorgeous creations from a local cupcake shop. 

This man, the love of my life, is one of God's greatest gifts to me. From our very first date, his personality warmed my heart and filled a particular place in my heart that needed comfort and acceptance.  He has studied me over the years so his batting average over the years is out of the ball park with countless home runs. 

Where I am weak, he is strong, and where he is weak, I do my best to be his strength. It's working out well for us.

There is the cutest video out right now of two bears at Heathrow airport. Perhaps you have seen it. I have lost count how many times I've viewed it over the last few days since it was brought to my attention. 

As Beloved and I embrace our retirement years, this video reminds me of us. I hope you have a couple of minutes to enjoy it.

Happy Birthday, Honey!

Saturday, November 19, 2016

The Thanksgiving Table

... I go and prepare a place for you...
John 14:2

Recently I wrote about sewing cloth napkins for my Thanksgiving table. Vee put a comment on that blog post, asking if I would be sharing my table scape with my readers. Of course. I'm so glad she asked.

how to make cloth napkins:

Since the big day is yet to come, and we've got a birthday to celebrate before then, I can only show you a preview of the holiday table plans.

The last couple of years I've used a rusty orange, brown, and white color scheme. Beloved likes it, and I do, too. The plates are a tone-on-tone design in white by Pioneer Woman of Food Network fame, purchased from Walmart. 

Last year I bought only four plates (don't ask me why) but this year I will need more, so when I went to Walmart to buy them, would you believe the stores I checked had a different design, still white on white?!  I was unhappy my original plate has apparently been discontinued, but the color and size of this year's version was the same, so I'll use both at my table. Unless I bring it to the attention of my guests, they probably won't even notice. Besides, my silverware is mismatched, too.

I don't remember the story right now, but a few years ago I needed more knives or something, so I bought them ala carte and decided the mismatched look was "flea market" or "shabby chic" or some such.

I do like the mismatched look, to an extent, as long as it doesn't look like we are still living on a college budget... (smile)

gravy boat with attached saucer

Both plates will be complimenting the china that The Cook on Fifth Street gave to me this past summer. For those who didn't see the story I wrote about that set of dishes ... she has had them since I was about fifteen years old. 

My family was transferred several times with cross-country moves and at one destination my mother was horrified to discover the packers had not taken proper care with all twelve of the dinner plates. Every one of them was broken beyond repair.  She never did replace them and for many years (when it was practical) has used the large-ish salad plates for dinnerware. (You see who taught me to be adaptable.)

soup tureen

The pattern name of this Bavarian china is "Charming Barbara," so I always sort of thought the dishes would be given to charming me some day. When we were packing them for the 900-mile road trip to my house this past summer, my mother mused that perhaps I could find the dinner plates on the Internet.  Yes, I have seen them, but given my liking for mismatched things, I will be putting Charming Barbara with Pioneer Woman dishes on this year's Thanksgiving table and it will be lovely, if I do say so myself!

copper Christmas balls for Thanksgiving

One of my favorite aspects of the table scape are these eleven copper-colored Christmas balls hanging by narrow chocolate-covered ribbons from the dining room chandelier. I use them just for autumn and Thanksgiving, not in December. But they do sort of segue my decorating into Christmas.

As for napkin rings, the centerpiece, and other froo froo on the table, I will probably keep it simple this time and let the steaming serving bowls and platters feast the eyes and stomachs. 

I look forward to seeing the table scapes of my readers -- please remember to take pictures and share!