All Things That Glitter, Lisa's Tip

So I have a favorite decorating tip that I do every Christmas that is a sure fire, knock em dead, OMG! way to wow your company and family when decorating for Christmas.
I started doing it about four or five years ago (maybe longer, not sure)  I purchase these glass, and plastic little drops or balls, whichever way they come, and we (my mom and I) hang them on some green or white thread.  Depending on what color tree you have.  I have three trees, one white, one green, both artificial and then Our official Christmas tree, from the tree farm, that one is real.  I use this trick on all of them.
When I go to AC Moore, Michaels or Joannes, they have the plastic ones in boxes, maybe about 50 or 60 for under 5 dollars.  The dollar store has the glass ones, which are my favorite and those are for a dollar and change each.  Look at the results.

This is my dinning room tree.  All this tree has is lights and hanging mixture of the glass and plastic drops.  It honestly doesn't need anything else.
You can see it in the back corner of my dinning room.  This was taken last year.  I didn't take a photo tonight cause my dinning room has tons of ribbon and things I was working with.  I don't have the other tree in the sun room this year.  I decided to downsize and go with the "less is more approach."
 If you look closely you can see the crystals on the white tree as well.
 I found this amazing silver sparkly ribbon and decided to add it to my Mary Carol idea on the stairs and to my lantern on the door.  It really made it pop!
Now I'm having problems with my camera tonight.  UUUGH!  I hate trying to figure out cameras.  I want someone to read the book and then say "here press this and your good."  Anyway, this is my mantle, I decided not to put up the matching wreath that has lights and balls on it and go for a simpler look.  I like it!  It's not the same as last years.  But I think last years felt too much.  But this photo is so dark that you really can't see how pretty the wreath is.  Sorry.  Will try to re- shoot when my real tree is up this weekend.  Happy Decorating!


Christmas Decor Mary Carol Style

So remember when I went to Mary Carol's home ( I love saying that) and I posted about the trip and her fabulous amazing home?
Well I quickly purchased the same candelabra when I got home from Nell Hill's.  I loved it but when I put it on my staircase it couldn't hold.  My base was so small.  So thanks to Ethan Allen, I found this one and my amazing, wonderful husband did this for me. I am so excited!

I bought the lanterns when I was in Kansas as well.  I love them so.  The house is begining to look alot like Christmas.


Putting Things In Perspective. . .

There's a moment when you are confronted with something so devastating that it makes you stop, look and re-evalutate you life.  I'm sure all of us have had moments like that.  Where you take a look around and think, "that can wait, it's not important."
Yesterday was a very difficult day and I stopped.   I haven't been able to cry in months and months, I've lost count but yesterday, I was overwhelmed with emotion for two reasons.  Spoke to a dear friend whose father's health is failing.  I've known him for a very long time and speaking to her brought back so many painful memories of what I went through not even 2 years ago with my father.
Then, a friend of my son's lost his brother to a tragic car accident on Saturday night.  He was 22 and I knew his mother.  She and I exchanged christmas cookies and spoke about our favorite things to create around christmas time and Thanksgiving.  We debated on different stuffing preferences and although she is not a close friend, she is a woman I came to know and admire her enjoyable and joyous personality.
A mother of 4 who spoke to me about baking pies on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving.  Tomorrow is the day before Thanksgiving and I can not fathom what she must be feeling.  I know the debth of my intense love for my sons can not be described.  So I can only imagine. . .
It has made me step back from everything and pause.
Pause for contemplation.
Pause for thanksgiving
Pause for forgiveness
and pause for becoming humbled by the unpredictability of life and the force that controls all.
We should all take a moment to pause. . .
I am speechless at the thought of her pain and her families and all I can do is pause and be still.
Let us remember that all in life is but momentary, all preparations, things, family and friends, they are with us for moments.  Let's cherish the moments.  Pray for this family . . . Pray for Ann.


Christmas Inventory, T minus 5

So I've been thinking about decorating for Christmas.  As much as I abolutely love to, I hate the beginning of it.  I hate to haul those boxes from the Barn across into the house, I hate that feeling of being overwhelmed as I look over all my boxes.   I decided to go simpler this year.  At first I was only putting up our real tree in our family room and our dinning room pencil tree.
But, thanks to Susan. . .
And her Christmas classes (see blog post) where she showcased this years trees and icy white and silver theme, I thought about bringing in my white tree again but this time removing everything that's Navy and just having everything white and silver.  (Check her blog on my blog roll)
Thanks to Mary Carol . . .    
and her open house in September where she had her house decorated magically in fall and Christmas decor. Thanks to that trip I can not sleep at night thinking of how I can copy atleast 50 things I saw at her Lovely home.
(Please see her blog if you haven't already, it is a must)  
I went to the barn today with my husband to rumage through our Christmas boxes and take inventory.  Honestly, it sounds easier than it is.  The entire upstairs of our barn has boxes only filled with Chrismas decor.  Rob was excited because I told him I was thinking of toning things down a bit so he happily agreed to walk with me and help me bring a few things back.  
In my mind I know that although I'm only doing the three trees, in my head I'm thinking of doing other things as well.  We went and looked through every box.  Rob said happily . . .
"We can make two groups.  The boxes we are leaving here and the boxes we are taking.  It all sounded very orderly.  I shook my head as I'm lost in thought scanning my boxes with my laser infrared eyes scanning inside each one right?
"This one staying or going?"  Rob asked. "Hmmm, I think going."  I replied.  
"How about this one?"  "Ummm, going."
"This one?"  "Going!"
Are you picking up the pattern here?   
So out of 34 or so boxes, I believe about four are definitely staying, 3 are maybes and everything else is piled near the staircase waiting to come home.  
It was exhausting looking ahead at all the work.  Exciting, but at the same time, overwhelming.
I managed to bring back one thing with me which was a garland I had bought in January from Susan's store.  I bought it with our new stone mantle in mind.  
I couldn't resist and placed it today.  Tell me what you think.
 I love it with it's various shades of green and many beautiful authentic pinecones.  This is all I'm putting in the study for Christmas.  I want it to look very simple in here.
 As I thanked these two lovely women who have inspired me I need to thank one more who helped me pick everything out in our study.  KC, my talented friend.  
Thank you my beautiful friend.

A Visit With Friends, Welcoming the Holidays.

Matt started his new job at the tree farm.  Here he is a few years ago, tiny and so young.  I can't believe my "baby Matty" has a job and is hauling 15 feet Douglas firs over his shoulder.  He came home beat and sore with pine needles everywhere and a rash on his neck from the sap.  I am in awe of him.
We had a visit from my "God nephew and Godson, my sister/best friend sons and family.  It was the start of the holiday season.  The air was crisp, and all was good.  It didn't matter that I had rushed the workers to put in light fixtures in the study, picked up the heaviest couch in the world and held it up for what seemed like eternity, mopped the floor at least four times to get rid of the endless dust from the new construction, called 1-800 got junk at the last minute to pick up all the debris outside, cooked and baked early that morning, the time had come, we were with friends and family and all was right.
Funny the things we put ourselves through.
I grew up in the late 60's when the world still respected and set a standard for what it believed was "the norm."
Norman Rockwell, Bing Crosby specials, the Brady Bunch. Everything showing us how things should be.  Perfection.  I am mixed about whether of not we are better off today than then.  This generation isn't familiar with Norman Rockwell, but they are exposed to reality tv and anything that goes against the rules.  My sons have been exposed to my passions and obsessions, Martha Stewart contributed alot to my neurosis.  But all my mistakes, obsessions, ideals have somehow rubbed off on them.  So they too have expectations.  I think they believe that "sure mom can pull off two Thanksgivings in two days for two different sets of family with all the trimmings, or decorate the house in a day complete with 6 trees fully decorated while baking 12 pounds of assorted and frosted christmas cookies."  I asked for it right?
Well Thursday and Friday we have family coming.  I usually decorated Black Friday.  Let me rephrase that. . . I live to decorate the house on Black Friday.  My feet never enter a store.  I am primping garland, and standing on ladders, hooking ornaments and hanging crystals from one of my trees.  I am in sweatpants all day, hair a mess, maybe a hint of makeup but I don't care.  I am in my glory.
Well this year my husband's family is coming so I have to decorate on Saturday.
Every year I feel the rush, the pressure.  Although I enjoy it and live for this time of year, I know I am slowing down.
I love Sundance Magazine, started by the founder and one of my favorite movie stars, Robert Redford.  He always writes a few words of inspiration with a profound message.  This month for his Holiday issue, he talked about growing up and how his pulse raced in anticipation for Christmas and how on Christmas day, after the thrill of all the gifts and the long awaited arrival of the day of all days, it felt to him like a giant balloon deflating.  He then goes on to say( and I'm quoting him)
"Over time I've come to realize that it is in the climb up the mountain that is more rewarding than the stand at the top."
I belive that.  I pray that we all appreciate and focus on the climb up in all things in life.  That we may strive to perfect our steps and cherish the good and the bad, the perfect moments and the not so perfect ones.  For that is what makes us truly human and truly closer to God.  That is my quote.  Hee Hee.


Almost Done!

Okay so today was a very busy and exhausting day.  Even my camera said "Battery exhausted"  Hee Hee.  I will give you the skinny in a long run on sentence.
Rob got home from chicago today to come home and help me bring the rest of the furniture in the room while we realized that we had to remove all the doors from the hinges because my sweet green couch could not fit through any doors while I helped my husband with my younger son because my older one was at work in nyc trying desperately to fit without being able to remove the couch legs because no one told us they could not be removed and I ran to check one of the doors that was taken off the hinge as I watched it fall through the opening unto the carport and smash into my car while Rob was calling me to carry the couch all the way outside and around to the front of the house while we hoped that it would finally fit through the front door.  Huuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuhuuuuuuuuuuuuu!  Whew!
Got that.  
 So remember, there are no moldings yet, can you see where the paint ends?  No bookshelves yet, they are being made.  There will be wall sized bookshelves covering both openings on either side of the fireplace, in corners and on the other large wall.
 View from Rob's desk.  Now the curtains are only up for the photo because we don't have the proper rods attached yet because there is no trim on the windows.  So we have to wait.
Sweet globe from Nell Hill.  Lantens on the fireplace from Feeneys.
 I think this will be my favorite place to lay down in front of the fireplace.  I love that color green.  It is so soothing and reminds me so much of Charlotte Moss's Winter House cover.  (As if I didn't blatently copy that)  Look at the sweet little plaid pillow in the center, from the Nell Hill store in Atchison.
 I didn't put the other curtain because we didn't have another suction rod.  The back large wall will be another huge section of bookshelves.

 I love that lamp.  But I placed the little candles on it and we didn't love it, hence no candles.
 We choose the dog theme since our dogs run our home.  Those are the little urns from Black Eyed Susan's.  Rob said I can use them to put his ashes in.  (Being sarcastic and trying to be funny) Big basket by Target.
Curtain is on a small suction rod, it won't look thin like that when it has the proper rod and it will be wider on the wall.  I love that chair from Calico Corners, it was a floor sample and I got it for 50 percent off.   That throw we bought at the Princeton University store.  It's made in Ireland and I thought it would go perfect with the room.    Lamp by Susan. Table by Mary Carol Garrity.
So as I promised I posted.  Now it's 11:39pm and I am beat.  Going to bed.  After all. . . Tomorrow is another day.

It's Beginning To Look Alot Like A Study. . .

 Our new floor, Twilight, was put in the other night.  Love it.  It's simple and has an older feel yet rich color.  Our fireplace, I love it so.  John & David and Jake, young Michael and young Amos as well  worked on it.  My three Amish friends.  May there handiwork and craftmanship and their love for God bring blessings into my home.  May it bring peace to my home, peace from the hands that made it.  What a gift!  I thank you my dear friends.  (I know they check my blog on occasion so this message is for them.)  In case anyone likes the colors and wants to use them: Benjamin Moore Davenport Tan for walls and Manchester Tan for ceiling.  Also Amish company is Sylvan Stoltzfus.  They have a website.
This is me trying to put things little by little in the room without a man around. Moldings are not in, and bookshelves won't be in and window trim until first week of December.  Waiting for Rob to get home from Chicago today to bring in the desk and the couch and put up my curtains.  More later.  Also dog painting, not sure if it should rest on the mantle or be on the wall.  Afraid if it's on the wall it might be too high?  Don't know.  If you have any ideas, feel free.


KC does it again!

 My dearest friend KC helped me pick the colors for the room.  We chose Davenport Tan for the walls and Manchester Tan for the ceiling.  I should have waited until the walls and ceiling were wet but I couldn't wait.  I love it.  It's so warm and deep and comforting.  Although most of the wall space will be consumed with built in shelves so what your going to see of the color is going to be a lot less than what you can see here.  Around the fireplace there won't be any shelving so that will be the primary color wall.   I mentioned that I picked a 7in wide plank wooden floor that is as dark as chocolate and it's called. . . TWILIGHT!  Love it.  Just like the paint that we are going to re paint the formal livingroom with.  It's the Mary Carol Garrity Blue almost exact to what I have now in it.  But it too is called Twilight!  What can I say?  Edward is all around.

There is a heavy piece of sheet rock that is leaning on my fireplace.  I tried to move it so that you can see the fireplace but it was too heavy plus I can't lean it on a wet wall.  Sorry, will try to get it out of there for tomorrow's pics.  Won't be long now!  The guy is actually here tonight putting the floor down.  If it's not too late, I'm going to take photos tonight of my floor.  God willing!


Notorious for Lists!

So it has become that time again for me to begin with my lists.
T minus 4 days until my best friend visits with her family.
T minus 9 days until Thanksgiving
T minus 10 days until my husband family comes the day after Thanksgiving
T minus 11 days until I begin my Christmas Decorating
T minus 18 days until we get our real tree
T minus 25 days until my Christmas Party

AHHHHHHH!!!  By the way, you should know that I live for November and December and without all these things to do that I just mentioned, I probably would be a very sad soul.    I swear I should have been born in the 1940 or so when it wasn't embarrasing to admit for a woman that she loved to host parties and to decorate her home and to cook elaborate meals.  I love that!  Of course I don't want to cook elaborate meals daily or host a party every week.  Honestly, it does take a lot out of me but I love it, absolutely love it.
So I walk around with my legal pad jotting down things around the house that I need to repair, change, paint, or something I'm in need of before any of the above occur.
If you have been wondering why I haven't blogged about the study for a week, it's because I'm anxiously waiting for it to be painted and for the floor to be placed.  I told the workers about my company in an attempt to speed things up.  I'm so excited about bringing my things in so that on Saturday the house will appear ready for company.
Wish me luck.  In the meantime, I'll be writing things down on my list.


Happy 46th Birthday To Me!

Hey I can post whatever I want, it's MY Birthday.  Hee Hee.
So what have I learned so far:
I've learned that it pays to be kind.
Giving is so much more rewarding than receiving.
Take time to tell someone something positive every day, you will feel joy.
Worrying only makes me sick and doesn't really effect the outcome.
Lifting up heavy things will always hurt my back.
I can't go back in time and do anything over again so try to get it right the first time.
Never go to bed angry.
Treat your family with love and respect they are the only ones you have.
Eating Barbecue Fritos will always give me heartburn.
The words you say to someone can haunt you after they are gone.
Always be thankful.

Thank you God for a peaceful birthday.  My friends and family reminded me that I matter and they care and that is the most important gift.  I am blessed.


Candles- Forever Magic and Inviting, BES Class

Today I went to Susan's afternoon class about Candles.  It was magnificent and enchanting.  So many possibilities, so little time.  I actually helped assist Susan today.  It was fun.  I bought many lovely things for my home.  I am so excited.  

I love these branches, they truly look real as if she just cut them down after fresh fallen snow.  They were magical.  

 She showed us how to put various things together like kugels and frosty balls, painted pinecones and glistening and glittery acorns.
 Aren't these little glittery acorns just precious.  I bought them too!  Yeah me!
 I absolutely love these frosted snowy candles.  I bought one to accent my little foyer tablescape.

 These were my absolute favorites.  These glistening votives.  These are my purchases.  I got two of the votives, a frosty candle, those wonderful frosted pinecones.
 Look at the detail on these pinecones.  Doesn't it look like real snow on the branches?

You can see my purchases here  I love the faux bundle of wood too.  It's so beautiful.  I showed Rob tonight when he got home.  Guys don't get it do they?


Letting Go. . .

Today I felt melancholy.
This watercolor print is hung in my bathroom.  Before that, many years ago it's place of honor was in my children's nursery.  I have had it since my oldest son was born.  My husband bought it for me as a present.    So much in my life has changed and I was longing for a more simpler time.  I am nostalgic by nature.  My life pretty much revolves around looking back, thinking of days gone by.  It is not that I live with regret because in all honesty I have very few regrets.  I have made many good decisions in my life and for that I am proud.
It's just the letting go that haunts me.  I have trouble letting go of sweet times, sweet memories and simpler days.  I'm often transcended in my thoughts to my youth, or the youth of my children.  I have always been that way and probably will always be.
I miss holding my sons.  You know when it was time for their naps or time to put them down for the night and everything else somehow took a second seat to that.  I miss that.  I would set aside atleast 45 minutes to rock my sons to sleep.  Holding them, looking deep into their faces as they drifted off.  Playing with their hands and feet gently enough not to wake them.  I would rock and whisper my secret wishes for them.  Sneak thirty or fourty kisses between rocking and sing to them or hum until they were sound asleep.  Even then I would hold them for more time.  It was never enough time.
I miss holding them.  I miss kissing them just because I could.  My days feel like they are rushing before my eyes and I am already dreading the day my oldest will leave home for good.  I will never be ready.
Matt will be going to college and I think to myself, how will I cope?  The silly things you do without a second thought.
Like:  Deciding to bake cookies in the mid evening to give them a treat.
     Driving them somewhere  even when your dead tired.  Sometimes Matt forgets he needed something for school, or a movie came out that he wanted to see and he will casually suggest if we could go not ever thinking I might say yes.
Complaining about so much laundry and putting away so many socks.  What will I do when I don't have any to put away?  I still smell my son's pj's in the morning and I can smell his scent.  That scent that I have gotten to know for so many years.  (I'm not talking sweaty soccer or hockey gear, I'm talking clean pjs that he wore after a shower)
I shall miss putting there toothbrushes away, and complaining about them leaving them on the sink.  I can't even begin to imagine.  Or maybe I've already begun to.
Today I felt melancholy.
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