Saturday, November 29, 2014

The Saturday following Thanksgiving - and all through the house!

The turkey is all sliced and taken off the bones and some pieces waiting to be frozen, bones discarded, dressing remains are being eaten - and the dishes are all put away - house is cleaned up!!!!  Now - down with the fall decorations - and time to drag out all the Christmas boxes.  UGH.  They are the only boxes remaining from the move - all the others are unpacked, thank goodness.

I will start with a little 'centerpiece' made from an old sewing machine drawer.  It is  filled with pop corn and colored corn from the bulk bin at Whole Foods - acorns and pieces of nuts from the woods in back, twigs and interesting leaves and berries from the wooded area, and cinnamon sticks.  And, of course, a scented candle.

This was on the buffet next to the table was too big to put in the middle of the dining table and be able to hold a conversation over it!!!!!

I want to show you what I did in the sewing area.... I took the antique spools we had and put some of the old lace pieces around the spools .... and placed them on top of the cabinet above the area where I sew.

It is easier to spot the lace ... and I kind of like the look!

Then today ... the sun peeped out, warmed the air and it was actually nice outside!!!!  One of the sons-in-law and grandsons surprised me and came over on this warm day to split all the logs that had been stacked along the side of the woods from the tree that had to be felled to make room for the house.  What a lot of work!  They made me stay way way back from them in case a piece of wood would come shooting out ... but I managed a few pictures of the ax welding and wood splitting action!!!!  Now there is plenty of wood, in sizes I can manage in the fireplace, to keep me warm all winter!  Wonderful job.

They inspired me to clean up the leaves and spiffy up the yard, cut the grass, and clean up the perennial bed to prepare it for the 'real winter' that will be coming soon.  This day was a very nice respite from the unseasonable cold and snow.  I love days like this!

Working outside in the fresh air was so invigorating - and inspired me to finish up the decorating for Christmas that was begun last night.  Boxes marked "Christmas" were all unloaded, the goodies carted upstairs, and the decorating began in earnest.  Here are some shots of the tree before the last three or four boxes of ornaments were put on .... and I will share other little pictures of things around the house in the next blog .... and the tree in its final finished state!!!!

I thought I might not put up a tree ever again after last year ... what is it about last year???  I just did not like the thought of another tree .... but this year it is so delightful and such a good thing to do.  So many memories are bound up in the little ornaments.  I have enjoyed lugging the boxes out and decorating this lovely house.  It's been a joy.  I just wish you could be here too.



Thursday, November 20, 2014

Our Quilting/Sewing Night Dinner - and Snow!

When the weather outside is frightful and inside home is so delightful - and it is only November 17, a warm dinner with friends and bringing out the sewing and quilting projects is just the answer!

It was a winter wonderland of snow covered tree limbs and fence posts .... but bitterly and unseasonably cold.  The wind was sharp and whistled down my coat collar and bit at my cheeks .... way too early - the 17th of November for goodness sake.  We are all trying not to imagine what may lie ahead for us in the winter months to come ... particularly after the winter we just experienced.  But, oh my, the snow was beautiful!  A glimpse in my yard.....

It was Monday - my favorite day of the week - the night my dear friends gather at my house for dinner and to tackle our craft and sewing projects.  We drag out the cutting mats, scissors and needles and pins after clearing the dishes, cut and sew and share our thoughts and our dreams - and solve all the ills of the world around us.  We had Spinach Chicken Delight, a fresh cranberry salad, and topped it off with pumpkin bars.

Miss Exactly Perfect was finishing up a project to redo portions of a twenty-six year old stocking that she had made for her daughter and that now needed to be repaired and freshened from all those years of holding Christmas goodies and being stored away.  She is a perfectionist and was painstakingly and extremely patiently cutting out and resewing portions of the stocking - to look like this!!!!

I will close with some additions to the mantel fall decorations.  Grandma and Grandpa Holton did not have much education beyond eighth grade, but they were self taught and extremely talented and creative. Grandpa made furniture and cabins and added on porches to our houses - hunted and did all kinds of magical things, while Grandma could look at a style in the store windows, come home, cut a pattern from newsprint and create the latest fashions on her sewing machine.  They nourished my mother (one of their daughters) mind with good books and exposed her to good music and experiences to expand her mind.  Mom loved her books .... and Grandma and Grandpa Holton made sure she had a good supply of well written novels and books of all kinds.  Mom cherished those childhood books - they are well worn with the binding ripped in places and the pages worn.  I have kept some of them that I was privileged to be given and keep them in a glass fronted bookcase.  Some of them were taken out of the bookcase to decorate the mantel with the fall colors .... what do you think?

A lovely welcome gift from the neighbors across the street was this exquisite cut glass hand crafted by my new friend!  Isn't this a precious gift to welcome me to the neighborhood?  It begged to be placed on the opposite side of the mantel from Mom's books - an addition to the fall decor.

It's a busy time of year.  Thanksgiving next week!  Enjoy the moments - time with family - all the blessings we so richly enjoy in this country of ours.



Friday, November 14, 2014

Decorating and "Playing House"

Moving furniture around, putting something on a bookshelf, then moving it and standing back and staring ... going from room to room analyzing how everything looks.  Should I move this?  Would it look better over there?  Should this table be in another room?  Maybe that chair belongs in the bedroom .... no, keep it there .... or better yet, push it into the guest room.   I am playing house on a bigger scale than when we moved 'pretend' furniture and cuddled our dolls!

I'll start with the kitchen.  These little lamps were moved from their usual spot on the bedroom dresser into the kitchen for accent lights in the evenings.  What do you think?  I haven't purchased anything new for the house and am trying to make do with all the little lamps and items I brought with me.  Already have made several trips taking things OUT and donating them to either the Goodwill or to the church for the rummage sale.  I have a stash in a closet awaiting decisions from the children as to whether they want anything I cannot use .... and before I moved when I was packing things up, I gave several items and furniture pieces to the kids and to other friends if the kids did not wish to have them.  Now it is time to find a spot for what makes sense to keep.

More views of the kitchen now that I am doing my decorating thing!!!!

There are still no pictures on any of the walls.  The thought of hammering a nail in the wall at this point just gives me the shivers!!!!

Now .... on to the study/library .... or as it is referred to in all the house plans "Bedroom 3".... so the next owner of this house can use it as a bedroom  There is a huge roomy closet in there to qualify this room officially as being able to be called a bedroom.

Below is a picture of the chair and table in the guest room (or in the plans it is called Bedroom 2).

Here are some shots of the great room - it is off the kitchen and looks out into the backyard.

After I took this picture I decided to try to find the fall decorations and kind of fix up the mantel a little bit with what I could locate from a box in the basement.

Then I decorated the glass front book case with the duck decoys and some 'fallish' decorations.

Onward now to the dining room.  Here are some shots of the dishes as they are arranged in the corner cabinet my Mister made for us when we were first married.  He made it so we would have a place to put the china Grandma Holton gave us for a wedding present.  I don't actually remember if Grandpa or Grandma ever saw this cabinet, but I think they would both like it.  I have always loved it; it has moved with us to every home we have lived in since that first little house in the early sixties.

Now for the other side of the dining room.  This is looking from the front hallway.  Yes, there are some unopened boxes to the right on the floor.  They contain the precious cut glass my Mister made and the Tiffany style lamp shade he made for the lamp that is sitting on the piece of furniture to the right.  The lamp won't be located there, as I plan to put it on an antique cabinet that is being refinished and will be put in the front hallway as you enter the house.

One of the things I thought would be very special when the decision was made to build a house .... was to have glass door knobs throughout the house to give the feel of a special older home.  I feared that knobs of that type might be difficult to find or way too expensive, but they were available and not out of budget.  First is the front door as you enter from the outside .... then on every door inside is a glass knob ..... take a look at a few of them.

 This is the outside door ..............welcome!

These are a few pictures of the glass knobs on the inside .............

Yes, Sandy is feeling right at home.

Awwwww.... Mr. Sandrew getting rather sleepy eyed!!!!

I will close with some of the pretty pieces of china we collected at antique stores and flea markets over the years ..... and the last one with a message for all of you.  Yes, you are LOVED.

This "You are Loved" plate was a Christmas gift from about thirty years ago.  When I was setting up the kitchen here at Holton House, I thought it was a shame to only bring that out for special occasions, and it belonged in a prominent spot.  So, it is now propped against the back splash wall behind the stove - where it can be seen every day!  

Blessings - enjoy the weekend.


Sunday, November 9, 2014

Making the house my HOME

It's been an exhilarating but exhausting process this moving business!!!!  Since all the furniture had been stored away for almost seven months, everything just seemed to need a washing!  So, after it was all wiped down and put in place, I concentrated on dishes, food and bed linens.  All the boxes were labeled with the room they were to go in and the contents; it was just a matter of finding the right boxes containing dishes to begin with and the bed linens to make the bed .... and then stocking the refrigerator and pantry with the necessary food and ingredients.  Fortunately, Knitting Daughter and Bee Keeper Daughter and a beloved niece helped tremendously.

The pantry shelves are being filled and things brought to order for easy location.  Knitting Daughter instructed me and patiently assisted in folding butcher paper (as we used to do to make paper doll chains) and then punching out designs to make 'lacy' looking shelf paper.  We carefully measured each shelf for the pantry and the linen closets.  Wonderfully Kind  (my beloved quilting friend) had recently moved and let me use some of the huge roll of butcher paper she had purchased.  We measured, cut, folded, and then paper punched until our hands were weak!!!!

The linen closet in the guest bathroom.

I am so eager to show you all the rooms, but I am waiting until the window treatments are done ... and some of the pictures are hung.  Every time I open a box marked "Pictures" I just close it back up and go on to another box.  The thought of deciding exactly where pictures should go is daunting to me right now.  For some reason, I want to live here a little longer and move through the rooms and stare at them before making a decision on where to hang things.

Since I am down now to 'just' picture boxes and about ten assorted boxes in the basement, and because the weather reports for later this week are rather depressing (a cold blast from Alaska - some kind of ARCTIC VORTEX or some such thing) with very cold temperatures headed our way, it seemed like a good idea to go outside and take care of some of the outdoor jobs before it became too cold.  Friday I purchased an electric start Toro walk behind mower.  After picking up a zillion little sticks and twigs and raking up leaves Saturday afternoon, I cut the grass.  Yay!!!  Success.  Check that one off. Then it began raining.  So .... today after church I completed some really heavy leaf raking in the back around the woods ..... and then cut some of the last flowers that had valiantly bloomed before the frigid weather hits.

The back yard is wooded for a good portion.  There is a band of grass around the back of the perimeter of the house ... but the majority of the back yard is plowed and mulched  and planted with small flowering shrubs, lots of perennial flowers and areas prepared for annual flowers, herbs and a vegetable garden.  The perennials that were in bloom and had some brave little blossoms still flowering were the Delphinium, lavender and some perennial geraniums.  Aren't they pretty?

The last little bouquet before winter!!!!

Hopefully soon there will be photos I can share of finished rooms with window coverings, pictures and homey furniture and touches.  A house is never finished, but at least things will be more like home and less like a hodge-podge with blank walls and with boxes waiting to be opened.  As my sister said, I am having fun 'playing house' like we did as children in Upstate New York.  It is still one of my favorite things to do!!!!