Friday, December 20, 2013

Christmas around the House

I thought I'd take today to show you some photos of Christmas decor around the house.
I have kept our decorations rather simple and love the special touches they have added to our home.

If you walk in through the front door, you'll immediately see one of my hearth trees from years past.
I separated them this year and decorated them differently. I pulled my silver reindeer ornaments from the big tree for this one.
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Just before you reach the hutch, you'll find my vintage train case adorned for the season.
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On top of the hutch is just a simple display. The only thing I added that was Christmas-y was to the inside of my lantern and a Santa.
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Walking on into the office area which is really the formal living room, you'll find the other hearth tree which is actually on the hearth. Since G-Dub claimed this room as the office and his for hanging his military paraphernalia (and some VW stuff) I added a tree here for him representing some of his interests. Since this was this year's decision, I didn't have a lot of ornaments to fit the tree. The chinook ornament is at the top of the other tree, so I improvised with other stuff including toy items.
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Had you come in through the back door, you would have been greeted by a few of my Christmas cards.
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And my Christmas chalkboard message.
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Another small tree (my $2 Goodwill find) sits on the kitchen counter.
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The top of my possum belly holds my little metal tree and the boys' Santa signs.
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The grand finale is the main tree.
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It's new to me this year.
When Mom was here for Thanksgiving, she helped set up my old tree in front of the large living room window.
We decided immediately that would not do. It looked miniature sitting there. :( So, the hunt began for a larger tree.
I ended up buying a used tree on Craigslist for $50, then replacing every single light on it. That took a couple of days.
The end result is so worth it though. We love our tree with all the heirloom ornaments.
I decided this year to call them heirloom ornaments instead of hodge podge ornaments.

I love my Santa ornaments and like to add a few new ones to my collection every year.
I've started doing the same in the reindeer department too. Maybe someday I'll have a full Santa tree. That may be several years down the road. ;)
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I love how this tree makes a statement!
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It definitely fills the space in front of this large window.
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Monday, December 16, 2013

Not the Elf on a Shelf

Both of my boys are too old for fictional characters around Christmas. I've noticed that the older the boys get, the less "magical" Christmas feels. I've talked to a few people who just aren't feeling the Christmas spirit this year. The boys and I are right in the middle of that not feeling it mode. I decided a few weeks ago that though we've outgrown ideas like Elf on a Shelf, we needed something to get us in the Christmas spirit. I am a rebel in that I refused to buy the popular doll. Why should my pictures be like everyone else's, right? LOL I had seen a creepy crazy CUTE! little elf at Cracker Barrel. Of course, as luck would have it, the day I decided I would go in and buy one was the day after they'd sold out of them in my store. A friend from back home came to the rescue and bought the last one in the store there. I said it was chance and luck. I said I'd name him Chance or Lucky. The day she sent me a text saying she'd mailed Chucky (Chance + Lucky) was the day I almost gave up on the whole idea. LOL I felt I would forever look at him and think of Chucky (the movie I thankfully never saw!) He came in the mail and I immediately named him Jersey Jingles to get all thoughts of Chucky out of my head! So far, it's working. I hadn't thought about it until I sat down to tell you this story. ;)

Jersey Jingles wrote the boys a note that day introducing himself and gifting them with a chocolate M&M candy bar. He told them he was going to be around to help them get in the Christmas spirit. He pinpointed Mr. Teen and told him there'd be no eye-rolling if he chose to accept his chocolate. Mr. Teen looked at me and said, "Well, Mom, it's one way for you to occupy your time during the day while we are at school." Gee. Thanks.

I'm not sure if it's JJ or just the calendar, but we three cynics have gotten a little more in the Christmas spirit. I haven't taken photos of all of JJ's antics, but I decided to share today's display with you.
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I think he has a little to learn about "building" gingerbread houses.

Friday, December 13, 2013

December 2013 Front Porch

One thing I love about our new home is the wrap around porch. I probably could have gone all out with decorations for the porch, but I got caught up restringing lights on a 12ft tree, so ran out of time and motivation. More on that tree later.

I decided to keep the porch simple this year. I do look at it almost daily and think I need a garland above the door. :/

I used my $1 yard sale sled again this year. You can last year's use at our New Jersey house here. This year, I dressed it up a bit by adding some pine-cones from my neighbors yard. I had forgotten just how big pine-cones can be down here! This photo was snapped along the fence, but the sled is now resting against the door frame on the porch.
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I opted out of using my favorite Let It Snow wreath. I couldn't bare the thoughts of my beautiful white ribbon and birdie getting mildewy like my sunflowers did on my fall wreath. (gotta LOVE humidity!) So, I hung my standby wreath with red ribbon and ornaments. It looked boring so I added a barn tin candy cane I picked up in a local shop. For a little more fun, I added my Santa sign underneath.
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I had thought of putting a tree on each side of the door but decided not to. (See above for mention of mildew. I didn't even mention the little lizards that hang out on the porch! Ack.... no pretty trees out there!) I was reminded by a friend of the tomato cage trees I've seen on Pinterest, so made one of those with some cheapie garland already had.
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I took the branches out of my metal watering can (fall decorations) and tucked them inside the tree and box. They look kinda funky with the red ornaments on them.

So, overall view of the front door is this.
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I'm happy with it for this year. Maybe I'll snag some garland after Christmas on sale and have it ready for next year!

Tuesday, November 26, 2013


Cranberries are another food I didn't realize I loved until I became an adult. There's just something about jellied sauce that holds the shape of the container that is UNappealing to me or always was in my younger years.

Add growing up to living in New Jersey among cranberry bogs to the list of things I've done in life and a love of cranberries comes into play. There were two different cranberry bogs I was actually able to visit during my time in New Jersey. I wrote about them Here and Here The family who ran that last blog was a family I grew really close to during our time in New Jersey. With military moves, I have become accustomed to leaving friends every few years. Leaving New Jersey was hard because I was leaving friends that felt like family.

Anway, what were we talking about before I got off the subject?!? Cranberries...

A few weeks ago, my phone dinged with a text. One of my friends was asking if I was on anyone's list for cranberries. I said I didn't think so. She said we'll put you on ours! Today, the doorbell rang and the mail lady hanged me a box. This is what was inside.
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I'm so used to looking at the brown of pecans, this RED is a glorious change for me! I decided the cranberries were so pretty, they needed a better photo taken to show them off!

My new screen saver for the remainder of the month:
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Now, for Thursday, I get to use truly fresh berries for my cranberry sauce and topping for my cheesecake!

Monday, November 25, 2013

Brussels Sprouts

The first time I ever heard of Brussels Sprouts was when I was a young teenager. I grew up out in the country on a gravel road which was eventually paved by the county. The road was half a mile long and had three houses on it. Our house was in the middle. The first house was my uncle's. The last house was my mom's cousin's. We used to go for walks up and down the gravel road. I remember walking by my uncle's garden one day and he called out and asked if I wanted any Brussels Sprouts. Um, no. I'd never heard of them, but with a name like that, they couldn't be good. Right?

Fast forward twenty something years and Brussels Sprouts have become one of my favorite things! I'm kind of glad I said no that day because I'm pretty sure Mom would have boiled them and I would have hated them and sworn them off forever!

Instead, the world wide web, as it has introduced me to a lot of things, (Some good. Some bad.) introduced me to Brussels Sprouts. Washed. Cut in half. Seasoned with olive oil and a good sprinkling of salt and pepper. Then, roasted in the oven at 400 degrees until they are just beginning to brown. Their bitterness is gone at this point and they almost melt in your mouth.
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Now, with my family of four, only two of us appreciate Brussels Sprouts. G-Dub and Teen will eat them, but they don't just love them. Roo and I LOVE them! He was home not feeling well from school on Friday and this was our lunch! LOL Well, he had some chicken broth and noodles, but I just ate Brussels Sprouts. ;)

Is there anything you thought you'd never eat, much less love, but have since changed your mind?

Friday, November 22, 2013

Fall planting colors

I thought for Friday's post, I'd take you on a little tour around my flower beds and potted plants.

Since we moved here in the middle of summer/June, I didn't jump full force into converting grass to flowerbeds or renovating existing beds filled with pebbles. I thought I'd be fine with some potted plants. I set some geraniums out in pots along with some begonias in other pots because I knew those two plants would be fine with all the heat of summer.

Well, it rained almost every day for the first month and a half we were here. My geraniums and begonias looked HORRIBLE! In September, they finally started doing a little better.

Last month, I bought some fall planting stuff that will winter well this far south. My largest geranium that was also my saddest apparently just needed some friends.
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It should have almost filled the pot over the summer, but didn't. Now, with the better temps and less rain, it's finally blooming nicely.

On the patio is the rusty old toolbox I bought from an elderly gentlemen's yard sale in New Jersey. He asked me if I had tools to put in it. You should have seen the look on his face when I told him I was planning to put flowers in it!
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My Rusty Old Car that I blogged about in July has gone through two planting since that post. When we returned home after a week away in August, the rusty old car plants had gone south. I replanted it with mums and potato vines which in turn were awful. I'm trying again with pansies and flowering kale, out of the sun near the side door. Maybe I'll get it right at some point this year!
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I've always had a love/hate relationship with petunias. I think that stems back to a guy I dated in high school thinking he could nickname me, Petunia. That didn't work out and neither has any planting I've ever done with petunias. LOL At our house in TN, a petunia voluntarily grew up through the sidewalk and was beautiful. Here, one has been flourishing all summer. I didn't plant it, so of course, it did well. It's still blooming like made even though the leaves have fallen on it.
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Around the corner of the house, is another rock bed containing a camellia which has been in full bloom for the past few weeks.
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Finally, my dwarf nandina that I put into pots. I thought a dwarf shrub in a pot would be the perfect thing for adorning the side of the outdoor fireplace. The leaves on each plant are a blazing red right now. Beautiful!
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They just need to fill out a little bit more! I'm sure they will after a year or so as long as I can keep them alive!
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I think the potted plants and the metal welcome sign have added a bit of charm to the outdoor fireplace. This is the photo G-Dub originally shot of it when he came down and found the house last spring.
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Someday, I hope to have a border bed surrounding the whole patio and adding more charm to the backyard. In the meantime, baby steps...

Speaking of baby steps, I have a "baby" tree that I'm babying on the other corner of the patio. The birdhouse was from the previous owners. I set the Japanese maple out behind it because I could just imagine the look in a few years of the tree as the backdrop for the birdhouse. I read on Pinterest that a bucket with a hole in the side would be a good way to keep a newly planted tree watered without going overboard. So, I have my bucket out there and have been adding water to it daily for the last few weeks to help it get established.
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Wednesday, November 20, 2013

I painted another light fixture

Apparently, I'm not afraid of painting anything these days. :D

After repainting the kitchen and playing around in there (still trying to work out the curtain situation for framing the windows),
I couldn't focus on the new prettiness of the room without my eye falling on the brass light fixture with the square tulip looking globes.
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It wasn't too ugly. It wasn't broken. It wasn't dysfunctional. But, more importantly, it wasn't MY style!
It was too shiny. Too bright. Too brass. Too gold toned.

I like things that have more of an old feel to them. I have looked for a replacement, but haven't had much luck.
I was in Lowes again the other day and my mind reminded me of the globes that I originally looked at when we were
replacing the light fixture in the master bathroom. We went with a different light, so I didn't need the globes for that project.
I decided to buy the globes last week, bring them home and see what they'd look like on the lamp.

Sorry for the blurry pic. Aren't they cool? See if this link works to the product at Lowes. Globe
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The globes have an old feel about them to me. And they are different. I love the cut glass pattern and their shape.

After I brought them home, that was it. The decision was made to makeover the lamp. I went to get my can of Kilz and a paintbrush, then got to work!
I primed the fixture, then used a combination of spray paint (sprayed into the lid of the can) and craft paint to create the old pantina.
Again, just like the dining room light, I did all of this painting with it in place hanging from the ceiling.

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I love it!

Once again, I look at the before and after pictures and question that it's the same light fixture!
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Monday, November 18, 2013

Living room curtains

I've stared at the blank wall surrounding the huge picture window in the living room long enough...
The only problem is that picture window is HUGE!
I'm having a hard enough time finding curtains in the 95-96" range that I like for the kitchen.

What to do? What to do?!?

I decided to take some drop cloths that I used as curtains in our home in New Jersey, add some fabric to the top for interest and just go with it.
Because of the way the window is framed by columns on each side, I had to take some time deciding just how a curtain rod would hang.
I didn't want to cover up any of the window. I just wanted dummy panels on each side for interest.

This is the end result of multiple trips up and down a ladder to hang a curtain rod and an almost twelve foot curtain.
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I'm still debating whether or not I want to shorten the curtain with a hem or leave them as is (hemmed drop cloth) and let them pool.
I am going to wait and decide after I shop for a new chair for this space.
A new chair for this space is on my wishlist, I just haven't gotten to it yet.
In the meantime, I'm using the less than impressive rocker to fill the space.
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I purchased the upholstery fabric for the topper from
I took the extra time to purchase a sample of the fabric in case I hated it when it arrived.
I was very pleased with the whole transaction. The shipping was fast and the fabric is a beautiful quality!
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Did you notice the view in the first photo?
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Our home is on a main road, but we sit far enough off the road not to even notice!
We truly are loving our new home!

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Sunrise in the Grove

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With the change of time from Daylight Savings time back to Not Daylight Savings time, I'm no longer up before the sun. There's only one thing I dislike about that. I won't get to watch the sun rise over the pecan trees until next fall. I think I'll be ok with that. There was something just wrong about being up before the sun. One day last week, I noticed that the sunrise was particularly beautiful, so I went back inside and grabbed my camera. The photo is grainy and noisy, but I still love it. Sunrise at Our Home in the Grove. (I still want to change the blog name to that, but I just haven't gotten it together to do it taken the time yet!)

Saturday, November 2, 2013

The shelf that Gwen built

Haha... I crack myself up with that title.

When I showed you this wall of my freshly painted kitchen, I said I was working on shelves for it.
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Well, I decided I didn't like the look of two shelves, plus I was going to have to go back to Lowes and buy an eight foot thing of molding for the six inches
on one side that I lacked for two shelves. I just decided to make one chunky shelf instead. I used some wood that I had left over from the bathroom and the
molding from the bathroom mirror and came up with this.
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A fun fact about what is on the shelf. The metal pitcher was a wedding gift my parents received almost fifty years ago.
The stainless platter is a wedding gift G-Dub and I received. :)

Friday, November 1, 2013

Kitchen painting

I showed you a few weeks ago the fun job I was doing of taking down the wallpaper in the kitchen. I finally decided on a paint color and got to work.

I tried to decide what to do for my backsplash. I didn't think I was ready for a permanent decision right now, so I went with paintable wallpaper in a beadboard pattern.

This shows the sink area and the backsplash of beadboard wallpaper I put above it.
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Close up:
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Another view of under the cabinets:
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You can see the pattern of the paintable wallpaper here and if you look closely, you can see a seam where I put the pieces together.
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The table area looked like this when the previous owners lived here. I didn't snap a photo with the wallpaper and our table. You get the idea though.
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Now, it looks like this. I want a rug for under the table. I'm picky though and keep wondering if I need to match the one I have in front of the sink. Probably not since I don't think it's possible. I'll pull colors maybe. I also want a personalized sign for above the table. Until I decide what that will say, I put the sign I bought at a yard sale up there. I originally bought it with the intent of painting something more personal on this framed board.
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My table looks very early 90s doesn't it? It's one G-Dub bought before we were married. It just keeps getting used. I've contemplated painting it, but haven't been brave enough. I'm also trying to figure out some window treatments or mistreatments. I am thinking of hanging dummy panels to cover that area of the wall you see on each side of the windows since there's really no way to hang true curtains in line with the windows. I've looked for curtains I like to no avail. I finally found some online at Walmart that I'm going to try. I pinned them here: Better Homes and Gardens Ikat Scroll I bought the neutral color. I'll keep you posted on those.

I was in the process of making two shelves for this wall.
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But, I changed my mind when I needed more molding from Lowes. I was thinking the shelves would add interest to that boring area. I'll show you what I really did in another post. Tease, I know... I don't blog often, so can't spill it all in one post. ;)

The kitchen is a work in progress. Since taking these photos, I've decided to put a little quarter round molding along the base of the backsplash to finish the look a little bit. I bought it. I just haven't done it yet.