July 16, 2017:
Hola! Where does the time go, Geez Louise! Half summer is already gone, and I am first now updating this from last December, tsk tsk. Bad Jan! So, been busy puttering around the yard, as always, and paying more attention than I probably should be to politics. The kitchen "remodel" is on hold due to budgetary constraints, but I hope to have that remedied before the end of the year. And I have yet to paint the guest room - it's only been 3 years now since I moved in to this version of Maison Newton, I'm not lazy or anything, nope... LOL! Take care and have a great rest of the summer. Jan

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Windsor Women Chanel Glamour!

People are as het up about Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, as they were about Princess Diana some 30 years ago.  The Daily Mail Online had a spread of the Duchess in a drop dead gorgeous Alexander McQueen styled gown, and compared her to a 19 year old Lady Diana Spencer making her first public appearance with the Prince of Wales 30 years ago, dressed in a similarly styled black strapless number that wowed everyone at the time!

The ladies are different in stature and coloring, but they both wore their respective dresses well in their own element and their own time.  Of course 29 year old Catherine, who has been at her Prince of Wales' side for many years prior to their marriage earlier this year and comfortable in the public spotlight, is more mature and worldly-wise than the naif 19-year old Diana, engaged to a much older Prince of Wales who seemed to be daring her to sink or swim at this very first public outing.  One can see in a couple of her photographs in this article already that certain "look" - a certain wistfulness around the eyes - that she was to wear many many times over the ensuing years.  Their differences in age, temperament and experience take nothing away from either woman.  They are each unique and stunning on their own merits.

Here are the dresses!  Oh, if only I'd been able to wear a dress like this when I was 19, or 29, or 39, or even 49.  I still had a waistline at 49, menopause was only just starting then and my figure was still "girlish" - no "donut" middle!
By Elizabeth and David Emmanuel
By Alexander McQueen

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Five Accessories: Beneficial to the Makers and Eco-Friendly Too!

While doing yet more putzing around with Christmas decorations -- this time arranging faux-presents under the tree to cover up the bare tree "stem" until it disappears underneath my new-this-year "velvet" and "silk" tree skirt -- I had the t.v. on to some home-improvement program or other and caught mention of "Five," custom-made eco-friendly handbags.  I looked up in time to see a couple of really interesting looking handbags made out of bamboo and coconut!

So, now I've just gobbled down lunch (these days I have to remind myself to eat, I'm so busy doing other things!) I took a few moments to find them on the internet:

Five Accessories sells more than just eco-friendly handbags, but these handbags - LOVE!  Here are just a few -- for yourself and for budget-friendly gifts for your special friends.  These are just the most unique products and the coolest designs!
Brown coconut shell clutch: small size 6" x 8": $35; 10" x6": $40
and 12" x 6": $45 (satin lining)
 
Bamboo 1/2 moon jewel clutch: $25 (on sale)
for large size (12" x 6").  Small size (6" x6") also on sale for $20!!!

Check out some of this uber-unique jewelry!
 
Wooden bracelet is constructed with wavy wooden pieces
and held together with elastic and small beads in-between.
           A perfect rare statement piece! On SALE from $15 to $10.           
 
Brown and white mother of pearl shell bangle bracelet, from
the Bali Collection.  On sale for $10 (regularly $15).
Lots of other beautiful things in their design lines.  Best of all, not only are they eco-friendly, they also work with local crafts-people and a portion of the purchase price goes to assist local development, as well as providing the crafts-people with a much-needed source of income.  We need more businesses like this, so please, support Five Accessories if you can, with a purchase or two :)

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Getting Ready for the Holidays!

I haven't forgotten about this new blog of mine, but since before Thanksgiving I've been nutso busy!  It probably didn't help that I jetted off to Las Vegas to see my best friend and honorary sister, Isis ('Sis for short) and spent four wonderful days in above 70 degrees sun -- it really helped mostly knock out that nasty cold I came down with seriously the week of Thanksgiving! Wouldn't you know it.  But lots of wine, resting with my feet up in the sun, good food and good company all helped revive my wilting bod.

Mr. Don arrives on December 29th and we jet off to Spain on January 3rd!  For someone whom the Christmas spirit didn't really hit (not sure it has, yet), I've been a decorating demon.  Since decorating one's house is akin to decorating one's body with fashion and accessories -- well, okay, it's a stretch, but what the hell.

I started out looking online for Christmas decorating ideas.  Much of what I saw was just so far beyond both my expertise (I'm no crafter!) or incredibly expensive or incredibly impossible for one person to do on her absolute own; but then I found a few favorite blogs that are general "budget" decorating blogs but this time of year dedicated to the holidays.  I picked up some great ideas:


including this ornament wreath that I made myself!  It's just inexpensive ornaments strung onto a wire hanger shaped into a circle.  The ribbon hides the top that I ran out of ornaments for and filled with "junky" ornaments that otherwise would have been hidden in the middle of my tree, and for good measure I strung a few strands of gold beads around it.

This year - for the very first time since I had the fireplace installed in 2003, I made an attempt to decorate the mantle:


It's a working mantle - it's the only place to put the t.v. in this room and the t.v. is too small (only 19") to bother to wall mount.  So, I decorated around it!  I strung the gold French ribbon, added the hanging ornaments, flameless (battery operated) candles, stuck some gold decorative picks in the plant, installed the one-armed toy soldier made out of a clothespin in his place of honor in front of the t.v. (look closely and you can spot him), and my piece' de resistance' -- the decorated "branch" tree!  It's a cool idea I got from the internet.  It's just some branches cut from my thorny barberries, some still with the red berries clinging to them, with some tear drop ornaments and clear "icicles" hanging from the branches.  I liked the idea so much, I repeated it to decorate the dinette table for the Christmas get-together (held this past Sunday) with the ladies of the investment club. 

Another idea that's been around awhile but that I hadn't tried -- the ornament-filled hurricane glass on the coffee table.  It just so happened that the tall hurricane glass (already owned) fits neatly within an old iron candleabra (already owned) and it sparkles at night when I rest three tea lights on the candle-holders and light them up.  The faux topiaries on either side of the fire box are also pre-owned.  They were gifted to me years ago from Bombay Company which, unfortunately, is no longer in business.  They are dressed up with ribbons for the season.


Close-up of the decorated barberry branches.  I cut them and plopped them in a tall hurricane lamp cover. 


Corner vignette.  The only new purchase in this photo is the season-themed plate purchased from TJMaxx for $3.99.  I used an old (saved) Christmas card of a cardinal (I'm partial to them) and installed it in an old frame, and set out a Christmas card from my mom (has a cardinal on it) on the tabletop.  I added a very old red light bulb that has seen many Christmas' use in place of the regular energy-saving bulb to give a red glow to that part of the room. 

Various photos of the Christmas tree:


This photo was taken before I created the centerpiece for the mantle :)  You can't see it very well in this shot, but this year I have a proper tree-topper - two for $5 glittery stars from Walgreens wired together and maneuvered over the top branch.  This is the first year I used French ribbon to decorate the tree and it turned out better than I thought it would.



Close ups of tree with the lights on...


The French ribbon is translucent and just glows at night when I turn on the tree lights.


This year's Christmas tree in all of its glory!  Following the cardinal theme, I was inspired to print out some colored photographs of cardinals from the internet and frame them -- you can see them on the right side wall; I will likewise frame another cardinal print and hang it underneath the clock on the left wall.   I purchased that 4th frame just the other day at Walgreens for $5.  These are really nice wood (not faux wood) frames, complete with mats and the area within which the 5x7 photo or print is actually framed is set off with wood matching the frame so it really shows up against the cream mat.  The tree skirt was purchased this year from TJMaxx for $19.99.  I'm going to putz with it a bit, I want to stuff a sheet underneath it to give it some poof and also close up the opening around the tree base, then I'll see how it looks.  Before, I just crumpled up a tablecloth and formed it in a "circle" underneath the tree.  After perusing the internet, I realize now I'm not the only person who did that!  LOL! 

Thursday, December 8, 2011

H&M Premieres 2011 Christmas Collection

Tired, tired, tired.  If you follow Chess Goddess and Everything you know what I'm wrapped up in these days.  Seems my obsession with attempting to turn the corner on my fashion blindness has temporarily (I hope) turned into a Christmas decorating frenzy.  Geez!  Frankly, darlings, I'm too damn old for this kind of jazz to be happening.  Where is all of this "fuzzy interference stuff" in my brain coming from?  Have I become - gulp - a Pod Person, without knowing it???

Got an email today from Vogue and it's premiere time for H&M's Christmas Collection.  I only had time to gander this - and it's love, love, love!  I don't know how long that link will be good for - you may want to visit soon!

$14.95 for this Kimona.  Yeah, I got the price right.
The colors are fabulous, the price is FABULOUS.  The sizes - from XS to L -- don't know if L would be L enough for me.  This is so beautiful, it could be framed as its own work of art.