November 12, 2017:

Hola!

It's hard to believe, but winter has arrived early in my hometown. One week it was in the 70s and gorgeous outside, the next week it dropped down into the 40s and then boom, less than a week later, into the 30s. We've already had several hard freezes, the earliest that's happened since I moved here in 2014. Anyway, the trees had not even begun to turn color yet in the neighborhood - and now most of them are bare due to the many hard freezes and strong winds that blew most of the days last week. Wowsers! Today, however, the sun stayed out all day, there was no wind to speak of, and the temperatures felt positively balmy outside. I was very glad because I had to be out and about today.

So, the poor trees did not have a "fall" this year but we did get enough rain to ease my mind that my pines and shrubs will have enough moisture in the ground to survive the winter. The squirrels are SO fat and SO furry, I can't help but think they know we're in for a bad winter. Sigh. I'm way behind in everything including lots of garden clean-up that now I won't get to unless we get a few days of "Indian Summer," which doesn't seem likely this year. I did, however, get everything outdoors pretty much put away, except for the area rug (it needs to be "washed" with some soap and rinsed off) and the mosquito net curtains on my Shezebo. Now I'm already thinking about Christmas, and soon it will be here, before we know it! So, I figured it's about time I put up my "autumn" photographs from prior years as the seasonal header here at Maison Newton. Enjoy your Thanksgiving, that will be here soon and then it's into full-tilt Christmas decorating. Take care, everyone!

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

My Five WORST PERFORMING Posts in 2013

Hola darlings!

NUMBER FIVE!!!!!!! Banana Nut Bread.
Happy New Year's Eve!  It's snowing here and will be through Thursday morning.  Sigh.  We are in the deep freeze, too, with temperatures well below normal for this time of year, windchills down into the minus twenties F at night. 
 
NUMBER FOUR!!!!!!! Gallery wall.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

These Are A Few Of My Favorite Things...

Hola Darlings!

Oh my goodness, we are in the deep freeze here.  But --



Crystal clear blue skies and sparkling ice on the tree tops!  The photo above is a view from my front door across the street, taken this morning.  It's so beautiful!

At the office we don't get to go home early the day before Christmas Eve -- but then, not many people do.  We do, however, have the entire day of Christmas Eve off!  Woo woo! I've been indulging myself ever since getting up at my usual time this morning (about 10 to 6 a.m.)  But last night, oh my.  Waited 40 minutes for the bus that should have been there after a 6 minute wait.  It was sooooo cold.  You see, from a high of about 25 degrees F yesterday morning when I left for work under partly-cloudy skies and no wind at all, and leaving the office shortly after 5 p.m., the weather had changed drastically.  The winds had whipped up, coming out of the northwest (brrrrrr!) at 20 to 30 mph.  The temperature was 14 degrees F, with a windchill of about 10 below zero F.  I was dressed for the weather, but NOT for a 40 minute wait for the bus on one of the windiest corners in downtown Milwaukee.  Oh my!  But eventually, the bus did come - and then another right behind it, and then a few minutes later we noticed another 14 passing us by, LOL!  Go figure.  I was riding the bus home with Thelma, who got on at the stop after me, frozen like a popsicle just like me, and Darlene, and Cowboy, and a few other old and newly-made friends. We had a blast partying at the back of the bus :)

Felt so good when I got off the bus I even stopped at the Pick 'n Save to pick up a few things and save myself a trip today (pun pun!)  And then, made the nine block trudge home.  I was very cold when I finally arrived, but my moving parts were still pretty much still moving (fingers and toes).  My thighs, though, and my dupa (butt) -- felt like they were frozen solid, LOL!  I think I finally thawed out just before I went up to get ready for bed about 10:30 p.m.  And that was after standing in front of the fireplace for awhile...  Only goes to show how quickly LARD freezes in cold weather.  I must shed myself of more bodily LARD! 

It's gorgeous today, and SOOOO cold.  But -- I'm snug at my family room desk which now overlooks the backyard close through the family room window, and I'm enjoying the antics of my little furry squirrel friends.  I discovered today that there are FOUR squirrel babies, not three as I'd thought.



Yes, I definitely must get around to removing the rest of the wallpaper and getting the family room redo underway. Does the look qualify as shabby (chic)?


Two days ago the backyard was pristine by the time it finished snowing 9 inches on us!  Now you see critter paths and tracks all over the place...

...to the deck --



I put plenty of food out for all the critters.  As you can tell, I get lots of traffic :)  We are forecast to get between two to four inches more snow between later today and the end of tomorrow night.  More shoveling, sigh. 

I think there was a critter convention taking place outside my front door last night and early this morning --



Here are my new Christmas placemats from World Market online.  I am so in love with them!  I got a good deal as they were on sale and I had a 10% off coupon.  Total bill (including shipping) was $20.04:



They are such fun, bright colors, and tie-in beautifully with the other colors in the room I added for the holiday season.  I have to tell you truly, though, I never thought I'd live to see the day I would ever mix red and teal together! 

I've got a thing going with birds.  Home Decorators was having a sale a few weeks ago and I found this mirror for $10 plus free shipping, and I had to have it (three):



It's not a large mirror -- 9 1/2" tall, 7 1/2" wide. It has a stand (like a picture frame), so it can stand on a tabletop or mantel or be hung on a wall.  It's wood finish but it is not wood - composite - but I don't care!  I'm saving one for a gift, I think she'll love it.

My dear friend, Ann -- well, she doesn't like birds AT ALL.  But she tolerated my Christmas bird d├ęcor very well when she came over for supper a week ago last Saturday. (I did move the cardinal table-top Christmas tree into the far part of the family room, away from the dining table, and removed some other birdly decorations in honor of her sensitivity).  We've been friends since 1991, when we met where I used to work.  Ann knows that I am "into" chess.  She patiently listens to me ramble on and on about this game and that tournament, and this funding effort and that one.  One of her gifts to me this year was this:



I couldn't believe it!  Not that Ann listens to me, because all good friends listen to each other, but that Ann actually broke out of her mold this year and bought me a gift outside her comfort zone.  She is rather conservative in her tastes, while I'm a little more, er, flamboyant...  I mean, I wear bunny ears and red clown noses on the bus.  This ornament/plaque is so pretty! I have to find a very special place to display it.  And next Christmas (planning for it already, LOL!) I want to do up a table-top chess tree.  Maybe I can teach the cardinals how to play chess?  Hmmm....



This year's attempt at a cardinal tree.  I am very happy with how it turned out. Hmmm, my cardinals don't have any feet.  How can I teach them to hold chess pieces?

Last Friday I watched "It's A Wonderful Life" on NBC, and thoroughly enjoyed it.  On Sunday night I watched "The Sound Music" with Julie Andrews, and thoroughly enjoyed it.  Tonight, once again, NBC is running "It's A Wonderful Life."  I love Jimmy Stewart, but twice in less than a week to watch such an intense movie?  No thanks!  I'll dial up the Alistair Sims version of "Scrooge" online tonight.  It's in black and white, and one of the best film renditions of Charles Dickens' novel, IMHO.  Surely it's just a coincidence that it was filmed in 1951 (the year I was born), along with another black and white screen classic "The Day The Earth Stood Still."  GORT -- KLATUU NICTO! 

Ah yes, 1951 - a very good year...



We miss you, Mr. Sinatra. 

I started this blog on September 17, 2011.  Holy Hathor, it seems longer than that!  I've had so much fun exploring this entire world of  D-I-Y and decorating and home blogs, and I've learned so much!  I thought I had hit a high point last year with my Christmas 2012 mantle/mantel, but I have to tell you, this year's mantle/mantel is my favorite!!!!!





Mr. Don took this photo of me at the Milwaukee Public Museum on, I believe, December 31, 2011.  A few days later we left for our trip to Madrid, in 2012. It was our last trip together, although we didn't know that at the time.  I think I look like I'm in love with the photographer :) 



Above is my Game 3 from the Hales Corners Chess Challenge held on October 12, 2013.  I got a draw against a player rated more than 2x my rating, woo woo!  Of course I managed to goof up the notation.  As best we can figure out, Queen to d2 never happened, I actually moved a pawn to d5 and yes, I'm the white pieces in this game, not the black pieces.  LOL!  Still haven't got this chess notation stuff down pat.  Oh yeah, this was one of the games where I suddenly saw something absolutely brilliant on the board, and moved a piece, much to the horror of my opponent -- except I moved my opponent's piece, not my own.  Totally illegal under The Rules of Chess, of course.  Oops!  He then made a move - with one of my pieces! - it seemed a bad move. He looked worried.  I could have let it pass, since he didn't stop the clock and call a tournament director over to our table to try and straighten out the absolute jumble.  Instead, I whispered oh, so sorry, I moved your piece instead of mine, and I then moved the pieces back to where they had been. Was it my imagination, or did he look relieved? And then, after studying the board for 30 seconds or so, I made a move.  It was a totally insane move but I looked up at him and cracked a Mona Lisa smile. Our positions on the board were rather complicated (at least, to my way of thinking) and I  like to imagine that he figured I had five or six aces up my sleeve after that move and I totally freaked psyched him out.  But maybe not. I think at that point my opponent realized he was playing chess with a mad woman and a few moves later he agreed to the draw...




I'm the mad woman on the far right.  It was like 110 degrees that day, and freezing cold on the bus :) Far left, Pepper Spray; next left, Thelma; center, Ginger Snap; and on the right, me, Jannibal.  Cowboy is sitting facing away from us on the left, pretending he doesn't know us...

To everyone who ever reads this, MERRY CHRISTMAS! 

Saturday, December 21, 2013

A Frank Discussion About "Domestic" Violence

I wrote the posts (linked below) at my other blog, Goddesschess, where I often post articles about violence against women and children in other parts of the world.  I'm posting the links here, too. 

It was Brenda at Cozy Little Home who got me thinking about this. 

The original post Brenda did was on December 9, 2013:  The Loss of a Blogger.  It reported the murder of a fellow blogger, in Michigan, USA, Christine Keith, and her son from a prior marriage, by her estranged husband, Randy Keith.  He shot and killed both of them and then turned the gun on himself. 

 Brenda did another post, on December 18, 2013:  When Women Try to Leave.  Some details emerged about the horrible events -- three children, 8, 6, and 3, are now orphans.

I decided to write about my own personal experiences, both as a victim of "domestic" violence and as an advocate for victims of "domestic" violence.  We can act like ostriches, or we can take our heads out of those holes in the ground that we create for ourselves and face the reality of the world we live in.  It's not all prettiness and light.  But there are things we can do to make it better.  Knowledge is power. 

Solemn Thoughts Near Christmas: Intimate Memories
Solemn Thoughts Near Christmas: Intimate Memories 2
Solemn Thoughts Near Christmas: Intimate Memories 3

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

How Do I Get A Clear Photo of the Outside of the House at Night?

Hola darlings!

Tonight my friend, Ann, and I, stopped for a few drinks at a local institution -- Kegel's Bar and Restaurant on the old south side of Milwaukee.  It is still family-owned and has been in continuous business for three generations now -- survived the Great Depression.  Ann and I have a number of Christmas customs we share this time of year, among which is stopping at Kegel's for a few drinks and then heading to Candy Cane Lane to enjoy the neighborhood all lit up and decorated for the holidays. 

The idea started years ago and has since blossomed into a great fundraiser yearly for the MACC Fund (Midwest Athletes Against Childhood Cancer), which raises money for childhood cancer research.  Candy Cane Lane has been raising money since 1984.  The MAAC Fund was established in 1976. 

The most wonderful thing about Candy Cane Lane is that it is an actual residential area, not a park, not a vacant city lot.  It is people helping other people.  Each year, thousands of cars pour into the neighborhood of Candy Cane Lane to enjoy the free show.  Can you imagine such an invasion in your on neighborhood?  Donations are encouraged but of course the neighborhood is not barricaded!  One does not pay to enter or exit and if you don't feel like making a contribution, you can be a Scrooge and avoid 95th and Manitoba where Santa Claus and his helpers are stationed with their buckets to take contributions and the Elves hand out Christmas candy to those who drive by. 

I didn't take any photographs -- didn't even have my camera with me.  I am pretty sure if you want to check it out further if you do a Google search for Candy Cane Lane Milwaukee and then click on Images, you will find lots of great photographs.

Heck, I can't even get a decent photograph of Maison Newton at night and I'm standing still, not in a moving vehicle!  I tried on December 16th and again tonight, and every single photo came out blurry and disappointing.  Maybe it's because my hands are shaking, or maybe it's because of the camera settings.  I don't know.  I'm no photographer, that's for sure.  I just think Maison Newton is so pretty with its Christmas finery peeking through the windows, even though I do not decorate the outside of my house.  The wreath on the front door is lit up, the porch light is on; the Christmas tree is centered in the large round-top window with three candles resting on the cross-bar of the window above the tree; and I have had up for years (never take them down, they are up there 365 days a year, 24/7 and I occasionally light them up on gloomy days no matter what the season) a long string of white lights that outline the round top window, mostly on the inside.  This year I made an effort to twist some of the lights around toward the windows and taped them so they stay (well, at least for now they are staying).

Here are three of my pitiful efforts:




The photo above as taken on December 16th when it was snowing outside.  Thus the white specs all over the picture, LOL!  This is about the clearest shot I've been able to manage!  I deleted all the rest, they were much more blurred!

The photos below were taken tonight, and I'm not happy with them, but they are the best of multiple photos I took until the winds, which were starting to whip up about 7:30 p.m., finally drove me inside:






It was much clearer out tonight than on the 16th when it was snowing; so I thought I might be able to get a clearer shot of Maison Newton.  Makes sense, right?  Well, I actually like the snow-blotched photo of Maison Newton taken on 12/16 better than either of the two efforts tonight that I put up here.  Sigh.  Oh well.  I'll keep trying.  Maybe just after sundown, while there is some light left in the sky? 

As you can see, we are definitely going to enjoy a White Christmas :)

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

A Little More Christmas Around the House: The Back

Hola darlings!

Here is the back of the house.  This year I've decorated more extensively than ever.  It's not too much, just enough for me.  Here is the dinette table:




Hmmm, I should have ironed the tablecloth.  It had been my intention to use this centerpiece below on top of the mantle/mantel this year, but then I got an epiphany about how I really wanted to decorate it this year, and that was that.  It just did not fit in.  [I picked this up a year (or two?) ago on clearance at Menard's, along with the Christmas wreath that is on the staircase wall in the prior post. I got good deals on both.]  So it's now anchoring the dinette table, and it looks great there, I have to say.  I had the table-top cardinal Christmas tree on the table earlier:




(before feeding guests), but with serving meals and all, it was more convenient to move it, since even though it is only about 2-1/2 feet tall, it still blocks sight lines and takes up a lot of serving space!  Plus my friend, Ann, doesn't like birds much, and she was over last Saturday evening for our Christmas swap of meals.  One year she does lunch, the next year I do lunch, and we swap out suppers too.  I had supper this year.  So the tree got moved to the unused, trying-to-sell-it-on-Craig's-List (with no success) entertainment center, where it actually is adding some pizazz to the family room.  You'll see it below in a little while.

I had very mixed emotions and more than a little trepidation about decorating the back of the house this year using reds and greens.  Earlier this year I added blue-ish items (area rug, curtains, towels, decorative plates, in addition to using items accumulated over the years that already had the same tones in them) to the back of the house and just did not see the various blue tones (including teal, aqua and turquoise, along with more "celdadon" tinted colors) working with Christmas red and green!  But then, I received a gift bag delivered to me a few weeks ago at the office, from my friend Darlene, she who gave me the feather boas!  The bag was large, and the colors, well - judge for yourself:




I deconstructed the gift bag, keeping the "rope" handles intact, smoothed things out a bit with a warm dry iron, stuck a ton of sticky-tape on the back around the edges of these "flags" to keep them nicely flat on the wall, and hung them up on the sliver of wall by the patio door.  The gift bag visual combination of colors taught me that I could use Christmasy red and green in addition to the aqua-ish tones that I had introduced into the back of the house. [Now if only I could get myself moving on finishing the space...] 

When Darlene was over last afternoon/evening for supper she noticed her "bag" right away, and got a great kick out of how it was recycled :)

Looking across the dinette table toward my gallery wall, here is the new this year Target whatever-the-hell-it-it that fits the space very well, but was a nightmare to put together and is not done correctly because THE PARTS DID NOT FIT and is wobbly as hell.  Plus the trim pieces across the front keep falling off.  Ach!:




I'm much happier with what is on top of the fake wood thingy than the fake wood thingy itself:





A Christmas plate -- fell in love with this a few years ago at TJMaxx and just had to have it to add to my burgeoning cardinals collection:


 
 
I added this cardinal platter this year, also from TJMaxx ($3.99):




The cardinal "lantern" I bought at Walgreens (paid too much for it, $12.99):




There were two cardinals that I did not use on the cardinal Christmas tree, one ended up here:




And the other ended up here:




Please ignore the wallpaper that still has not been removed...and the 1990s sponge painting...

A few more little Christmas touches in the family room, including on and in the unwanted entertainment center:




After the season I'm going to put my second 19" flat-screen in it and see if I can get it hooked up to the VCR/DVD player.  I'm going to need all the luck you can wish my way to do that (I am NOT a techy-person at all), so please, start sending those good techy vibrations my way!  Close-up -- I guess this is a vignette, LOL:




Clock, purchased years ago online for under $20.  It is a small battery-operated pendulum clock but I can't always get the clock balanced correctly to get the pendulum to work.  But the clock works fine anyway and gives me a rhythmic tick-tock at the back of the house.  Framed Christmas card -- one of my beautiful cardinal greeting cards.  It was this card that started the idea of a "collection."    The little ceramic Christmas "stocking" topped with colorful gifts on the right is a gift from one of my friends.  It it a music box that opens to a scene of four children and a little white "Scottie" dog with a red collar dancing around a beautiful Christmas tree topped by a golden star, and the song playing is the "Twelve Days of Christmas."  The vintage Santa on the left is the one I unfortunately scrubbed a little bit too hard while trying to clean him up a bit after purchasing him from my friend Ann's sister, Rosie, at our September rummage sale!  I spent more buying Rosie's offerings than I made selling my own, LOL!  This Santa was one of them.  Even with some of its paint scrubbed off, though, it's a handsome piece and all the more "vintage-y" now.  I think not all of the paint was fired on the piece after being painted on (despite scrubbing on other parts of the Santa, for instance, long-time grime came off but the paint stayed intact, so at least some of the finish was properly done), but I'm pretty sure the underlying piece is porcelain. 

Here is my plant from Dad's funeral back in November 2002, with some red berry accents and a little bit of faux-foilage added for the holidays:




Dad's plant normally sits on the mantle/mantel in the front room most of the year, but seems quite happy back here.  There is more light back here and that's important this time of year, when it doesn't get light until after 7 a.m. and is dark by 4:30 p.m.! 

It was this look-back from a small sliver of my dinette that convinced me the Christmas colors worked okay with those already in the room:




Now, a few accents in the kitchen area:





This is "Spirit," my Norfolk pine that I've owned for at least 15 years, maybe even longer.  It was just a small little plant when I abducted adopted it from a floral Christmas display (much neglected) in a reception area where I used to work.  Last Christmas, Spirit was on the mantle/mantel in the front room and anchored the right side of the mantle/mantel very well. This year, I kept her/him in the back (there is more light back here during the winters), but I dressed up the pot with some plaid ribbon and added my winter-time salt and pepper shakers set (a gift from sister Debbie some years ago).  So cute!




Spirit sits on the peninsula that separates the dining area from the kitchen.   The end of the peninsula forms the left entrance-way into my kitchen proper. The refrigerator frames the right end:




Be honest with me now.  Am I the only person left in the United States who tapes her Christmas greeting cards up on the fridge?




Resting at the end of the peninsula under the cabinets, this lighted wine bottle (a gift from Sue, a member of the investment club to which I belong), and another framed holiday greeting card with a cardinal, lantern, and wreath with bow.

At the same corner of the kitchen, where the patio door is just to the right, my old-fashioned land line wall telephone hangs.  And above it is one of my favorite greeting cards of all time:




This card has everything in it I love!  Cardinals, squirrels, a lantern, and beautiful scenery.  Running a close second is this framed greeting card, hanging above the stove:




The red cardinal in this card just POPS!  I think it may be a photo that was made to look a bit like a painting.  Or perhaps it is a painting that was made to look a bit like a photograph :)  Whatever, my photo of it does not do it justice.  It is very beautiful, in shades of grey, white, black, and the red of the cardinal. Oh oh, I see my reflection in the glass of the picture frame.  Geez!

In prior years, the cardinals were in the front room.  It's just this year since I did the silver thing in the front room that I removed them to the back of the house, and I love them back here!  But next year I should have enough cardinal cards to be able to put them both in front room and the back of the house, and I'll make sure my "natural" themed tree in the front room has strings of red cranberries and red berry picks (along with fresh-cut barberry from my shrubs out front) so that the cardinals are right at home.

This is one of the little soap dispensers I picked up at the Family Dollar for $2.  Love how it coordinates so well and is so darn cute!




And the last touch of Christmas is this kitchen towel, draped over another kitchen towel in my "blue" color (it was supposed to be celadon. Oh well.)


A Little More Christmas Around the House: Front Room

Hola everyone!

I am a little under the weather today but that hasn't stopped me from taking a few photos around the house.  My place isn't the epic material for a "house tour" plus my photog skills aren't the best (to put it mildly), but I am excited this year about what I did because it's the most EVAH I've done as far as holiday decorating around here.  You guys are such an inspiration!

I've already done posts about the table top cardinal tree I made up this year (loving it, and so are my guests), the feather boa wreath (so simple but big impact), the big tree in the front room (the feather boa tree -- all fluff, white, pearly, silver and crystal), and the mantle/mantel.

Here are a few additional details.  Some I've put up prior photos, but mostly not. They're just little things, things someone wouldn't necessarily notice, but because I put them in place I notice them immediately, and they always make me smile. 

The top of my curio cabinet was more elaborately decorated this year than ever before (I decorated it for the first time last year, so that's not saying much, LOL!):




It's got some of the Add-Heres I bought at the end of last season online from Boston Store on the all, a simple woven basket filled with silver ornaments, two battery-operated candles, my little leopard shade lamp which has been up there a couple of years now, and a small glass vase filled with glittered pine cone and silver ornaments.  The tall mercury glass candle holder I bought on clearance at the end of last Christmas season at TJMaxx. 

Looking toward the mantle/mantel:




Hmmm, I see I need to get up on the ladder and press down some of those Add-Heres.  They are "restickable" but I put them on and took them off a LOT while trying to arrive at a satisfactory (and straight) arrangement, I think I wore them out...

My cozy snuggling corner by the fireplace:




When Mr. Don was alive, we snuggled on the loveseat in the evenings with all the Christmas lights aglow and the fireplace going.  Since his death, I have pretty much sat either in my recliner or stretched out on the sofa, or I'm at this desk working on a chair that most definitely needs new seat cushioning.  I did put the love seat in the same spot this Christmas, though, as it has held in prior years.  It just looks the best angled over on the other side of the tree rather than paralleled across from the fireplace on the other side of the coffee table.  I tried that, and it didn't feel like "home" to me, besides which the balance was off in the room.

A recliner!  I never thought I would be a person to own one.  It wasn't my intention to set out and buy a recliner in 2002 or 2003 when I got the front room furniture.  I had picked out a sofa and loveseat duo, and was looking for a chair to finish things off when I spotted it and it looked cozy and comfy and was the perfect color too.  The salesperson took me over to look at it more closely.  I didn't realize it was a recliner until she pointed it out!  I was SOLD!  A recliner that wasn't faux-leather or big and clunky.  I'm not against big and clunky, or faux-leather either, but in the right space.  My front room is not the right space. 

On the abnormally cold December days and nights we've been suffering through, the fireplace has been going more than usual, and the recliner, along with the end corner of the sofa to the left across the room, are the warmest places in the house.  I made sure I had enough room to put the recliner back, too, without crashing into the lamp table angled into the corner. 

On the floor by the fireplace is a battery-operated candle on a timer that is inside a tallish clear vase.  Around it are more pine cone and silver ornaments, and a strand of gold beads as added for some extra glitz. 




To the left of the chair is a - I can never remember the correct word when I need it - the little plaster of paris thingy on the wall that I put stuff on, LOL!  Right now it is holding a battery-operated candle on a timer but usually it holds my lovely bronze Buddha.  Behind the recliner on the east wall, in order to balance the feather boa wreath on the other side of the window I framed two photos of deer that I printed out from the internet in 5 x 7 frames (TJMaxx purchases some years ago), echoing the deer on the mantle/mantel:




I had a few Gump's clip-on bird ornaments left over after I finished decorating, so it just seemed natural to put one on the lamp close to the mantle/mantel by the deer photographs.






Using images from the internet and greetings cards is what I use for most of my artwork these days.  Free!  Here are two greeting cards I received this season that went so well with my front room holiday decor this year, and they are so beautiful in their own right, I dug out some old frames and put them up on the wall my front room desk faces:



I am going to experiment a little with the deer greeting card and put it in the black mat.  The white mat in the frame looks a little bit purplish compared to the creamier white of the greeting card.  If that doesn't look right, I'll switch it out to a brown wood frame with a mat I know will look okay with it because it is creamy-colored.  I want to try it over on fireplace wall by my recliner, to balance out the arrangement on the east wall behind the recliner.  It's soooo perfect!  It has a little gold bird perched on a branch above the deer's antlers and below, it says in gold letters "Peace on Earth."  It as one of those serendipitous events -- I received the greeting cards at the office after I'd already put the front room holiday decor together, including the bird on the lamp and framed the deer photographs.  Don't you love it when that happens!

I have another beautiful greeting card from a few seasons ago that is a glittery winter tree scene, so I'll do some tweaking with framing and see if I can't match up this season's lovely "Season's Greetings" card (presently in the black mat) with the prior season's card.  I love connecting season after season in such ways.

Did I write about my coffee table display this year?  I don't remember.  I like it a lot, but it is nothing glamorous or over the top.  A favorite gold-finished wood box, a glass votive holder filled with crow offerings gathered from the backyard stone birdbath the past few years, and a Christmas platter (a gift years ago from one of my sisters-in-law, sweet Heidi) filled with some of those glittered pine cone ornaments, a couple of votive candles and two LED "crystal" Christmas trees from Walgreens (two for $5):




I put the candle in vase on the table so you could get a better look at it -- that's the one down on the floor by the corner of the fireplace next to the recliner.  It adds a nice little glow at night to that corner when the candle turns on by itself, just like magic!  The vase I used was a gift from my sister, Debbie, some years ago, and it has a gold-painted rim.  So beautiful!  I've gotten both LED Christmas trees to work (at least for now), and they put on quite a colorful display at night when I turn them on.  I don't think I'll replace the batteries when they quit working, but I will use the trees in display in coming years.  They are very pretty.  I have the tree on the right tucked inside a candle-holder to give it a little more height. 

I know I've showed you Mr. Don's corner on my desk, but I added a "queen bird" (me, ahem) to the scene to keep the little birdy friend perched on Mr. Don's framed portrait some company:




The last stop in the front room decorations is the wreath that is on the first run of the staircase:




I haven't gotten around to experimenting by decorating it with a couple of strings of battery-operated LED lights yet, but I will.  I think it will look very pretty lit up (it is not pre-wired with lights), even ith the three for $10 cold blue-white light of the LEDs.  This is the wreath I got on clearance last year after season at Menard's.  Well, I think it was the end of last season's Christmas -- my memory, ach! 

It leads the eye into the kitchen and the back of the house.  Next stop!