Saturday, January 28, 2012

I'll Be Home for Christmas. . .

     This was the song I began singing/humming on the first day of December and if you know me, I continued singing/humming it all month long! From the first day I pulled out all the Christmas decorations, I was in the mood. This was to be the first Christmas in 28 years that we ALL would wake up on Christmas morning IN OUR OWN HOME!  As most of you know, we have been going to Memphis almost every year since we moved to Virginia over 27 years ago.  Since we were in Memphis for Thanksgiving to celebrate H's mom's 93rd birthday, Christmas was to be spent in our new home on the lake! This was also the year that the Hargrove's got to host the newlyweds of almost 6 years now! (Last year, we got them for Thanksgiving) That all being said, this was to be a very special Christmas and it was!
   I was determined to decorate every square inch of this house and I tried. My first year ever to decorate the outside of the house was so much fun! I was so excited to hang garlands on the deck rail this year and I was very happy how it looked from the water. However, since the boat had been winterized, I have no photos from that vantage point. It looked very much like the front porch with eight sections of garlands and a red bow on each post. I was told it looked great from some neighbors who were still out in the boats during December. (As a side note in case I forget: Christmas day we heard a boat and looked out to see, you guessed it, Santa Claus skiing across the lake. . . red suit, beard and all.)
     After the lake side was decorated, I addressed the front of the house staring with the front porch. . .

Then the front door. . .

and let's not forget the garage. . .

     Just inside the front door in the foyer, I bought a 6 1/2 foot tree especially for my White House ornaments. This is something I have wanted to do for some time and was so happy to finally have a place to display these special ornaments. I have one for every year we lived in Virginia (27) and with them I hung all other ornaments such as the Capitol, Washington monument, the National Cathedral, the Kennedy Center, ShrineMont, etc. It made a lovely tree full of special memories.
The dining room was fun to do as well. I decided the "santa" room would go on the lower level this year but I had to have SOME santas to see daily. So I took an idea of Rosanne's and used some of my santas as a center piece for the dining room table. The main santas being, the JMU Santa and the VT Santa.

      Have you had a Christmas decorations overload yet? If not, here is what I did with the rest of the house. More garlands on the stairway going to the lower level. . .

    The lower level was turned into the "Santa room". Believe it or not, I did downsize my Santa collection this
year and promised Liz and Jarrett not to add more unless it is a "to die for" Santa. I don't even want to know what they plan to do with this collection someday, but I know for a fact that both Liz and H love it each year when the Santas come out and that, to me, is worth it. Sorry, I don't have pictures.
    Along with the Santas downstairs, I decorated a small tree for L,J and Savannah, I even made special ornaments for that tree. Before leaving Virginia, a friend had given me a fishing Santa and I picked an adirondack chair in an ornament exchange and I placed those with the tree on their dresser next to a sign that reads "Life is good at the Lake".
     Meanwhile on the main level. . . the one thing we had not thought about was the size of the Christmas tree for the great room. Our 7 1/2  foot tree in a room with 18 foot ceilings was gonna look kinda sad we thought. So one day out shopping with a friend at Hobby Lobby I spotted a pre lit 9 foot tree on display HALF PRICE! I called H and the next day, we drove back to Prattville ( about 20 miles south, close to Montogomery) and bought it. It was a hassle getting it in, putting it together and decorating it, but we think it was well worth the effort. What do you think?

This is not the best photo but this is what made the whole decorating, singing, cooking Christmas experience for us. . .our favorite presents under the tree!

                                                   We even had our own "Savannah Claws".

     Christmas Eve was spent with our dear friends, the Masons and some of their family. We all attended Christmas Eve services at our little church Trinity Episcopal which was also decked out for the holiday.

     I loved getting the house ready for Christmas and it was worth it! Along with decorating I found myself making cookies, candy and all sorts of snacks and breakfast foods for the holidays.
     During this period, we entertained a lot. Once the house was decorated, I had the "lake ladies" over for a knitting session after Jane Mason had us at her house for a delicious brunch. Linda and Steve who had just moved to Alabama from the Nashville area, met us in Clanton for lunch and we then came back to the lake for dessert and coffee on the deck. What a relaxing afternoon with friends. We also had all our new friends on the lake to join us for an open house where I presented the "guys" with their T-shirts I had designed for them. That, too, was a fun evening with friends!
(As a recap: H has teamed with several guys and their dogs on the lake who walk 5 out of 7 mornings a week down to the gate and back (approximately 3 miles) We have named them the "Walkie Talkies".  H loves doing this and his latest doctor visit/test results shows it has really been good for him health wise. Yea! H.)

     After Christmas Eve services  (service was at 6pm here), the Masons, the Johnstons ( Claudia and Jeremy) joined us for a holiday nightcap. And  then L and J came back this way, with their friends Bryan and Erica, on their way to cheer on the Hokies at the Sugar Bowl in New Orleans.
    When it was time for everything to be put away, I took my time. I really organized all the decorations by labeling it, got rid of some well-worn decor and put everything away in its place for next year. That, in itself, made me feel good! 
   As for our first Christmas on the lake. . .  the song lyrics say, "I'll be home for Christmas ...if only in my dreams". My version would be, "I was home for Christmas and it will forever be in  my dreams." ( don't try to sing it. . .it doesn't work :)


Thursday, January 26, 2012

Autum leaves. . .

   Note to my blog followers: I  apologize to all of you who have checked up on us via my blog site and found me to be MIA. My intentions were good, I promise, I just wasn't sure what to blog about and didn't think you wanted to see bits and pieces of projects of my decorating the house. Several months have passed since my last blog and I am slowly but surely getting things finished and would now like to
share. . . if you are still interested.
      I started this blog back in October and after re-reading what I had started back then, I decided to leave it in and take this post quickly through October and November. I will probably start writing the December post in the next day or two and take you up to today which is January 26.

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     Autum came to Lake Mitchell!  I am here to tell you, it was beautiful, relaxing and continues to mesmerize me as I sit and just look out my window.  This photo was taken from my deck.

        Even the fog coming off the lake in the morning is such a beautiful sight! I love watching the sun break through the fog as I have my morning coffee.  The large picture windows in the great room is my viewpoint these days because it is just a tad cool on the porch. The days continue to be sunny after the fog burns off.

      It's a wonder to me how I get anything done around here, but I assure you I am still hard at work putting things in order, making curtains, hanging pictures and buying and/or refinishing old furniture.  Below is the pleated valances I made for the sitting room area.


      I am still trying to "purpose" this room as I continue to look for furniture and rugs to warm up the area. Rosanne brought me some dried hydrangeas on her last visit and we just HAD to go antiquing to find the perfect vase. I think we found it! What do you think?  The table is a table I found in Vienna about 5 years ago and started to sand it down to re-paint it. As I was sanding it, I found the table had a slight slant. I was too lazy to go to the basement, get my saw, level and tape measure so I could level the legs so it was put aside in the garage and  it stayed there until we had the last garage sale before we moved. I was going to sell it but a customer noticed it and asked, how much for the prayer table? Realizing what it was and being so happy I had not leveled it's legs, it now has a new home.   I, however, did not refinish it. I have found a wonderful young woman who did that for me.

   She has done several other pieces for me including the maple bedroom set H had as a boy, which was painted white and distressed and looks great in one of the Jack and Jill bedrooms. . .doesn't it Lala?
   As mentioned  in an earlier blog, my brother-in-law, Paul suggested a small desk be placed in this area to help "purpose" the room. So, on an outing with a friend at a local Flea Market, I happened across a desk that fit the description! It was the right size for the window and it had a chair! After being told the price,($45.00 for both desk and chair), I didn't even bring it home or discuss it with H. I did not pass GO or collect $100, I immediately called my refinisher to see if I could drop it off! Within a week I had  it back and now in it's new home until I find something I might like better.

     The chair seat cushion has now been redone with the same fabric to match the valances.  I still need to find a  nice rug to cozy up and define this area, but for now, this works for me!

     Halloween and Thanksgiving came and went  on The Ridge.We went to Memphis to help celebrate H's mom's 93th birthday which happen to fall on Thanksgiving day this year. I did manage to decorate for both holidays and I love having a chance to get out all my "fun" decor that I have made in the past. I must confess though, that when I was getting out Christmas decorations, I found more Thankgiving and Halloween "stuff" that I had made. .  most of which I had forgotten I had.
    Another room I have finally put together is the powder room on the main floor. I found a local lady the laminates fabric on shades and decided that was what this room needed. The table in this room was also another find back in Virginia but was never refinished. I must say I have kept the local "craftmen" such as an upholsterier and furniture refinisher fairly busy this past six months and now a shade laminater has been added to my list of craftsmen.

   *You may have figured it out by now, but I love going to Flea Markets and repurposing things I find with the help of a new found website called Pinterest. Here are some photos to share. . .

                   When I saw this on Pinterest I went on a quest for old snuff bottles to help me create it for my Thanksgiving decor. Another idea I found in an antique store and decided I could recreate it myself was framing old antique monogramed hankies. I now have found the monogram for everyone in my family and a few friends who have come to visit us. I have them hanging together in the J&J bathroom.  Below is only a few of them. The one with the glare is a H.  I have made 10-12 all together but haven't photographed them. The hardest part was finding the small square frames. . .but that too, is part of the fun. I will post the whole grouping soon. I also made some of these for gifts this past Christmas.

Speaking of Christmas. . . check me out in a few days as I post photos of our first Christmas on the lake, my first craft show in Alabama, several repurposing ideas found on Pinterest and some more completed house projects.
NOTE: As of this past week, I have hung more than 100 pictures in the house! Yay Me! This has been on my TO DO List for a long time.  No more boxes on the stairway landing! I even took the time to print out labels to go on the back of each photo. I put the name, birth/death date and relation to Liz so she will know who these people are.