Thursday, December 31, 2015

I think I am ready for New Years Eve...let me see

noise makers, 
lots and lots of poppers, 
Yes, everything is here.
The champagne is chilling and the prime rib is in the oven.

Let the fun begin!

Wishing you all a wonderful, happy. and healthy


Sunday, December 20, 2015

Mantle, garlands and Miss Twiggley ~

 The mantle was left to the last this year, I couldn't decide exactly what to do.

I even bought some new garlands at Michaels hoping that would inspire me, but I ended up taking them back and using what I already had: cuttings from the Home Depot Christmas tree lot, my very, very favorite crunchy garlands, that sparkle and glisten in the light...

 some of the frosted ornaments I made last year, lots of wired ribbon...

silk flowers, fairy lights, jeweled fruit...

and this is what I got.

Miss Twiggley loves it and so far although she has spent time inspecting she hasn't knocked anything down.

Her favorite Christmas spot this year is here...

I think she is waiting in the window for Santa's sleigh, little does she know that her gifts are already waiting for her under the tree!

Merry Christmas

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

A holiday table ~

One of the things I enjoy about the holidays is that it gives me an wonderful opportunity to entertain...twinkling lights, decorations and Christmas music all seem to add magic to an evening.

When I had guests in a few evening ago I really wanted the table to look like Christmas, so I combined traditional red and green Christmas colors with gold accents: pierced Portuguese dinner plates, green majolica salad plates, gold chargers and antique pressed glass bread plates. The crystal is Country Garden from Miller Rogaska. 

The center piece is made up of pine and eucalyptus cuttings and floral picks on a mirrored tray.Very easy. The votive candle pillars were purchased from Bombay Company. I collect crystal candlesticks and these have a lovely simplicity.

I made the tapestry place mats, I always mean to make some others but so far I haven't gotten around to it...some time in the future perhaps.

The napkins have been folded in my standard fold. One of my first blog posts was a tutorial on this fold, I probably should re-post it because it adds a nice touch to a table and is so easy to do.

I took these pictures in the afternoon, it looked quite romantic and lovely that night in the soft candle light by then I was far too busy acting as hostess to stop and take photos.

 But no matter how nice the table looks it is the people around it that are the most important.

Thank you for visiting

~ Happy Holidays ~

Friday, December 11, 2015

Santa's bakery ~

My whole kitchen has been turned over to Santa this Christmas he even has a bakery where...


he and his elves have been very busy cooking up lots and lots of yummy treats...

for all the good little girls and boys.

Gingerbread men, tarts, cakes, candy canes, lots of candy...

and other special delights.

But alas nothing for Miss Twiggley. I think she is a bit disappointed but don't feel too sorry for her because one of Santa's helpers has been to the pet store and on Christmas morning her socking will be full.

Perk up Miss Twiggley, the best is yet to come.

Thank you for visiting. 

Merry Christmas

Sunday, December 6, 2015

A holiday favorite ~

Each year there seems to be one particular decoration that I like the best. Last year it was this snowball stand I put up in the kitchen. All of this was used this year to make a snow ball  tree with little birds for the entry hall, très naturel and very cute.

In the same corner in the kitchen is
hands down my favorite holiday decoration for 2015, a combination of  succulents from the garden, pine cones, and red apples stacked with some of my white tea pots. 

Succulents have to be the most versatile plants...decorations now but after the holidays I will simply pot up these cuttings for transplanting later into the garden. 

So easy. I guess this is a Californian's substitute for all of the beautiful evergreens that people in colder climates have available. The only problem, succulents don't have that wonderful pine scent... 

for that I will drop by Home Depot and pick up some free tree clippings from their Christmas tree lot...a big bouquet of those in a basket sitting on the floor would be nice.

The rest of my kitchen has been turned over to Santa this year, I will share that with you in a later post.

Thank you for visiting.

Happy Holidays

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Let the fun begin ~

I have set aside the next few days to decorate for the holidays.

Opening the boxes of decorations is mostly like meeting old friends but there is always something I picked up the prior year at a after Christmas sale that I forgot about... a fun surprise.

This year is going to be traditional...Santa's, snowmen, and lots of glitter. 

I was planning on being more restrained until I opened the box with the Santa's and decided that I had no one to please but myself. 

Last year I used lots of natural decorations and I plan on doing that next year, but this year cuteness wins.

I mean, how could I not include these little guys.

Happy Holidays

Friday, November 20, 2015

My plant of the year ~

If I could nominate a plant of the year it would definitely be Gomphrena "Fireworks".

 Their performance this year was so magnificent, blooming consistently, just as you see below, since early last spring. They never let up even though our hot, dry, summer months. All this with very little water.

In early spring I planted six plants, three on each side of the path leading to the fountain roundel and finally last weekend I had to cut them back to make room for winter annuals.

Although they might not winter over in colder climates here they act as perennials and come back each year.

An extra bonus is that they make wonderful dried flowers, keeping both their shape and vivid color. I love using them in dried arrangements.

As much as I like them and how pretty, they are a bit too large and vigorous for this spot and tended to obstruct the path. I will be transplanting them to a less formal spot in the far back of the garden where they can grow in all of their glory to their hearts content. 

There is nothing as much fun for a gardener as finding a wonderful new plant, it is one of the things that makes the 'work' part of gardening worth all of the effort.

Thank you for visiting.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Warm and cozy ~

This time of year, when the days are short and the nights grow long I like to have a needlework project to work on. Something that I can pick up in odd moments during the day, particularly at night. There is something so comforting about the simple repetition of the weaving in and out of crochet or  knitting needles.

 I decided to do something I haven't done for decades: make a shawl.

My last needlework project was this afghan... finished, I keep it casually tossed over this chair in the reading alcove, at hand to to keep me warm for a little nap, while reading, or when watching television.

A shawl will be a much quicker to make. I found this vintage pattern that I had stashed away, like all crochet patterns it was a bit complicated and took a while to figure out but worth the effort; made using what is called a knot stitch it is very lacy and pretty. I decided to use this bright burgundy colored yard. 

This winter around the house I am going to be cozy and warm in a very old fashion way.

Thank you for visiting. I hope you have a lovely day.

Monday, November 2, 2015

Memories ~

My mother wasn't a gardener, in fact she wanted nothing to do with anything that involved being in the sun, which I am sure accounted for her exquisite complexion. But in her later years she became very fond of house plants and grew them with great success. 

However the indoor plant I most associate with her were the the sweet potatoes she would put in jars and allow to vine. When I was a small child there always seemed to be one lavishly sprawled out in a sunny kitchen window or in the back porch where we gosh, except for the occasional tablecloth does anyone iron anymore.

You would think with all of the gardening I do that at one time I would have tried this, but it seems so old fashion that for some reason I never did. Then a few weeks ago I was cleaning out my pantry and I came across a sweet potato that was just beginning to sprout, I started to throw it in the bin and then I thought about all of those sweet potato vines in my childhood and out of nostalgia decided to put in in some water and see what would happen.  

I did it in the same way she did, four tooth picks in the side and then set in an old pickle jar. Keep the jar topped off with water and watch it go!

Within days it had begun to grow, it started out in the kitchen window and has now grown so lush and lovely that I moved it to a more elegant spot in the living room.

I don't know what the life span of this vine will be, but what a fun experience it has been. It is easy to understand why in the past this was something so many people with little resources did to add a some  inexpensive beauty to their lives

Such a nice reminder of  childhood memories...and a wonderful mother.

Thank you for visiting, I hope you have a happy day.

Thursday, October 29, 2015


The ghosts are out!

Wishing you a wonderful...and not too scary Halloween.

Friday, October 23, 2015

The colors of the season ~

The glorious colors of the season.

Fall flower arrangement on the credenza in the living room with dried foliage and berries.

Beautiful, beautiful Autumn.