Monday, November 28, 2011

Happy Birthday to Me!

 Wasn't it just yesterday that I told you I use cake pedestals primarily for displaying things other than CAKES?  But I came home today to find this sugar-free brownie (complete with candle!) waiting for me here to celebrate my birthday!  (Awwwww, thank you, Honey!)  Just more proof of something I've learned over the years:  The "little things" speak love just as loudly as any "big things" I can think of. 

Now, speaking of little things -- as in those fun details that so many of us enjoy when it comes to our decorating -- here are a few up-close pics of some of those little details:

Oldest Daughter met and married her husband in San Francisco and sent this sweet star ornament to me when they lived there.  I'm using it to top off the "Charlie Brown Christmas tree" this year.
 These goodies hang on the "Charlie Brown Christmas tree" that sits near the entryway from the foyer into the den.  Of course, the police car has a story behind it . . . let's just say I'm glad I'm "free" for the holidays!

 The bottom couple of shelves hold hydrangeas (love hydrangeas!) tucked into an old leather cosmetic case, old dominoes, a favorite crock, and more family photos.  Simple poinsettias snuggling into places here and there make everything immediately more festive and holiday-ready.  (Remember, I'm all about cheap, fast, and easy!) 

Obviously, I love being surrounded by pictures of the people I love!  The pic in the background is my favorite childhood pic of Oldest Daughter, and the laughing face in the ticking-striped frame is Grand-diva.  (The little antique oil lamp was my great-grandfather's.)

 I love this old framed print of Santa that I found in a thrift store a few years ago.  I have no idea how old it is, but the style has a 20s-30s look to it.  When I like something, I don't really care about its pedigree, I just care about enjoying it!

Here's another view of the den (what you'd see if you came in the back door, through the laundry room and the breakfast area).  I'm not an expert at taking pics, so forgive the glare of the lamps I left on when I was snapping away.  

I'm including this next pic 'cause I'm sooooo proud of my Baby Sister. She said she was inspired by my latest posts to hit up Goodwill on her way home today.  (She's in Virginia, but teaches in North Carolina, so this might be a NC location; if it is, then I've been to this one with her, and it IS great!  The GWs here in my part of Texas are a bit too proud of their $tuff for me.)  Anyway, this was her incredible score today:

Yes, it's a LEATHER chair!  A BASSETT LEATHER CHAIR!  In perfect, like-new condition!  (The little spot you see toward the top of the back of the chair is not a flaw -- it's the price sticker.)  Now, are you ready for the best part?  That little price sticker says "$35"!  YES!  She paid $35 for it!  And it will match the furniture she already has in her family room perfectly!  Yep, I am a proud sister tonight!  (She also got a slip-covered ottoman for $15 and some other Christmas odds and ends and household nick-knacks, but it's the chair that still just blows me away!)

Way to go, CT!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

"All Is Shiney and Bright!"

One of the easiest, cheapest most economical ways to bling-up for Christmas is to  gather up all of those shiney orbs balls rolling around the bottom of the Christmas boxes and then just fling scatter simply nestle them in, around, and amongst the everyday things you already have displayed throughout your house.  Everything on this table -- except for the Christmas balls and the lone poinsettia -- is sitting exactly where it sits year-round.  (Well, where it probably would sit year-round if we'd been in this house a year!) Slipping a few shiney ornaments into the distressed tray that holds family pics makes all the difference for the holidays!  Fast, easy, and cheap!  (Sounds like . . . never mind!  We won't go there!)

The picture of that handsome devil in the left foreground is the Saint's high school senior picture.  It was taken the same year as the large 8x10 of me in the background!  I love to point that out to visitors!  (Of course, the man has darn good genes, and these days you would never guess that there's a fifteen-year age difference between us.  I live in fear that in a few more years we'll show up places together and people will greet him with, "Oh, how nice that you brought your older sister!"  Then again, I should look as good as his older sister!)

Now, how cute is this little face!  (The one on the right!)  That's the Saint as a little boy; I love this picture!  And then there's my favorite Reading Rabbit who hopped off the Hob Lob clearance shelf a few years back to come home with me.

I use cake pedestals for displaying just about everything BUT cake!  (I need cake sitting around the Casita like I need another head . . . I mean, let's just say that it wouldn't be sitting around the Casita very long before it ended up displayed on my backside.  Besides, remember, I don't cook or bake.) 

I told you I LOVE letters of all sorts:  The "M" is our last initial, and the "Q"s?  They stand for QUEEN, of course! :-)

Hope you are feeling shiney and bright as we prepare to jump into a brand new week of possibilities!



Saturday, November 26, 2011

The Heart of the Nest

I know that most folks think the heart of the home is the kitchen.  (These are people who've obviously never eaten my cooking.)  For us, the heart of Casita 422 is the family room (or the "den").  This is where I sit and drink coffee and talk with Papa-God in the early hours of the morning (or sometimes late at night) and then unwind at the end of the day.  (And the Saint has been known to watch a football game or two here. I have to admit, we do love our television.) 

When you step into the den from the entryway, our fireplace and this built-in bookcase are to your right.  (I love this old green cabinet that sister-friend Beverly and I found at a Houston estate sale for $35.  I immediately fell for its original, chippy, crackled apple-green paint and knew that it would for sure be making the move from the Casa to the Casita.) 


When the girls were small, my Little Mama made the Santa that's sitting on the green chest in the previous pic.  She can make just about anything, and for this project a friend gave her some wool straight from a real, live sheep, so she used that for Santa's hair and beard.  (I painted his face on, and he has become a beloved Christmas treasure.) Baby Daughter brought this little clay church home to me from Germany several years back.

I adore old wooden alphabet blocks (actually, I think I'm a sucker for anything having to do with letters and words), and I found these at a thrift store.  (Duh!)  The lamp sitting to the right of them (in the first pic) was a $5 grab from a Hob Lob clearance shelf last year, and the barn-red wood book holder hanging on the wall above the green chest was a thrift store find during our visit-family-in-Ohio trip summer before last.  (The Saint had a great time playing golf with his sister while I hit every thrift store in all areas surrounding Medina, OH!  One of the best vacations ever!)

Look to your left from the doorway of the foyer, and you'll see the cozy space where the Saint and I really live.  (Cozy 'cause I cram so much stuff into one space!)  I told you that the Casita is much smaller than the Casa, but what we did not give up was living space in the den and in the master bath -- those areas are actually much larger here at the Casita. (Where we did sacrifice space was the kitchen, other bedrooms, and storage areas -- all areas where we could easily adjust.)  

Just for fun, here's a run-down of the cost of the major pieces in this room:

  • Overstuffed brown chenille chair - $100, Craigslist
  • Navy blue leather overstuffed chair, matching ottoman - $125, Craigslist
  • Brown velvet Century sofa slip-covered in painters' dropcloth (by my Little Mama) - $425 at a resale shop (but I traded a well-used faux-leather (yuck!) couch and loveseat set for it, and even made $175 on the deal!  I found the sofa on Century's website for just over $1,500!  Admittedly two legs are kinda broken, but we've learned to move the sofa when necessary and then just stick the legs back in where they belong!) 
  • Round oak pedestal table (covered in fabric) between navy chair and sofa - FREE (left at the Casita for me by its previous owner; I paid $25 at a flea market for the large piece of glass sitting on it)
  • Red antique kitchen cabinet (with its original "Macy's" tin plate affixed to the inside) - FREE (left at the Casa 28 years ago by its previous owner)
  • Dark wooden antique chest sitting on sewing machine base - FREE (traded for a wooden "Baylor Bears!" necklace I painted for a friend's daughter years ago)
  • Singer sewing machine base with butcher block top - FREE (inherited from "Uncle Dave")
  • Solid wood coffee table - $10 at a neighborhood garage sale (paid more for the baskets that fit onto the shelf underneath it than I did for the table!  But worth every penny -- they hold lots of books and magazines out of sight)
  • Red wicker footstool - $10, garage sale
  • Pistachio green tea cart serving as a side table in the left foreground - $3, church garage sale
I do loooooove a bargain! 


The is the view from just behind the navy chair and the green cabinet.  The recliner is also covered in painters' dropcloth (half slip-covered, half upholstered by me; I'm not quite as adept at making fitted slip-covers as Little Mama).  The tall bookshelf used to belong to Baby Daughter, but since it wouldn't fit into her little SUV to take to California, I was the designated beneficiary.  It's flanked by two old shutters from a garage sale.

Another view of the recliner side of the den.  The cabinet the television sits on was a dark wood for years, but when we moved into the Casita, it needed to be lightened up for the space, so I antiqued it "Country Tan," and painted the brass drawer pulls red. The Saint made the simple wooden frame on top to hold the cable box and DVD player.  Once I painted and antiqued it to match the chest, you'd never know it hadn't been made as one piece.  (Pretty handy living with a Saint!)

Thanks for stopping by!  Come back tomorrow, and I'll show you some close ups of some of the nick-knacks that make me smile at Christmas!

I hope you're feeling cozy and enjoying the weekend out there in Blog Land!


Friday, November 25, 2011

Getting Our Bling On!

This is a long post, but there are lots of pics!

I brought my girls up believing that to decorate for Christmas before Thanksgiving Day was absolute
sacrilege, but I couldn't resist getting a jump on the season during my week off from school. And I've had a ball decorating these past few days!

I know that I mentioned it on my other blog (Texas Preacher Woman), but we down-sized last April from two-story
Casa St. Michael to one-story Casita 422 (maybe a hundred yards from each other), and along with less square footage, we have MUCH less storage space. For some reason, this made St. Michael think I needed to move MUCH less Christmas stuff across the street to our new home. (I cannot tell you how much Christmas went out the front door of the Casa and off to new homes during our estate sale last spring!)

I wondered how that would work out when I started decorating for holidays, but I shouldn't have given it a second thought! LOL! Somehow there seemed to be plenty left to play house with this week! (And, okay, I
did make a few small purchases at my favorite thrift stores this past week. Being the Queen of Cheap, you know I love me some bargains!)

All of our friends come through the back door here at the Casita, but I'm going to start us off just inside the front door and move right on into the dining room (which I think might be just a tiny bit bigger than the one at the Casa.)

This mirror that we inherited from the Saint's childhood friend, "Uncle Dave," hangs in the casita's small entryway and reflects the dining room. (Everything in the garland -- the greenery, the poinsettias, the wired ribbon, and the balls) came from a variety of area thrift stores.

The gold bling-y "ball" that hangs down in the center of the mirror was a gift from Middle Daughter a few years ago . . . it's made of dried beans pushed into a styro-foam sphere and spray-painted gold! Love it! (I'll have to end this post with a pic of what she did for Thanksgiving with dried beans!)

Being a Texas gal, I LOVE yellow roses, and the postcard in the lower right corner of the mirror is one Middle Daughter sent me years ago, and it's lived in the gilded mirror ever since.

Turning to the left, you can look into our dining room (and beyond into our tiny kitchen). I don't know if you remember from earlier posts, but my dining room set was a gift from a friend who moved into a large, fancy new home that didn't have a place for this quaint cuteness. (The Saint stripped it down for me, re-stained the top of the buffet and the table and then painted out the remaining parts as well as the chairs.)

I remade curtains from the Casa's breakfast room and used leftover fabric to recover two of the chairs and a leftover, coordinating stripe to recover the rest. (The hutch is an old piece from my girls bedrooms when they were little. I just painted it to coordinate with the table and buffet, and voila! Extra storage!) Oiled bronze chandy from Craigslist for $25! (Including the simple white drum shades!)

A favorite pic of Oldest Daughter and
her hubby on their wedding day sits
nestled among silk poinsettias on one
of the hutch selves.

Middle Daughter and her husband take
their place on another shelf. (Whoops! I'd
better dig out a pic of Baby Daughter and
her intended, Sailor Man, or
I'll be hearing about it!)

A front view of the buffet. (The lamps
were a gift from a designer friend when
she worked for a local builder who liked to
"dump" things from their warehouse on
a fairly regular basis. The red silk lamp
shades came from Ross and used to
live in the master bedroom at the Casa.)

Another view of the buffet. (The round
silver tray was a gift from the Saint's
late mother. She bought it as a young
woman shortly after she married the
Saint's father and had the first initial of
her new last name, an
M, engraved
into the center.)

A small picture of the Saint's parents
as a young couple shares space on
a silver-plated tray with the dining room
Christmas tree. (The footed tray came
from a neighborhood garage sale; it's
ridiculously heavy and was
a steal at $15!)

An assortment of silver spoons from
"Uncle Dave's" family treasures sits in
my grandmother's candy dish at the
other end of the tray.

All of the ornaments on this tree
came from local thrift stores or garage
sales. This cross (and two others) on
the tree were among this year's
purchases from a thrift store than
provides shelter for women seeking
refuge from abusive relationships.

Looking at the table from the
kitchen-side of the dining room.

Red-trimmed giant linen napkin? Yup,
thrift store. Church ornaments, Christmas
balls, cake plate, glass com? Yup, thrift
store. Poinsettias?  Yup.  Shimmery red
beeswax candles? Yup, even
they came
from a thrift store!

It took me five or six years to gather up five gold decorative napkins (the first one was the wrapping for a gift from one of my students years ago) but, yes, they, too, came, one or two at a time, from area thrift stores, as did these napkin rings. (Fortunately, most of my thrift store napkins came in fours, like the red ones tucked into the gold ones.) The dishes were an anniversary gift from the Saint a few years ago.

This Lenox-wanna-be nativity set was
a hand-me-down from Middle Daughter
(not quite her style), and the crystal
candle sticks were a gift from one of my
sister-friends, Debbie. (The silvery
chargers came from Hobby Lobby.)

And speaking of Middle Daughter, here's the pic I promised to end with . . .

THIS is what she did with dried beans,
and orange burlap on her
Thanksgiving Day table . . .
AND she cooked the dinner!

Hope you are feeling blessed this week!


Friday, November 11, 2011

"Honey, I'm ho-ome!"

I know I said I was moving back to my original home at Texas Preacher Woman, and I did (though I haven't posted anything over there in months . . . I've just been too tired and busy and then tired again!), but for whatever reason, I just decided to post a little bit here.
I'm feeling the itch to create. I get that way when I've been stressed for a while or too busy to do anything but work, work, work (which has been the case lately. Hey, you KNOW you've been too busy when you actually wish you had a day just to stay home and CLEAN! And, of course, some of us never clean without feathering and fluffy the nest at the same time!).

Thursday evening provided the perfect chance to let the creative juices flow at my church's annual Women's Tapestry Dinner. Women who volunteer to hostess a table decorate it to their heart's content with their own things, and it is always amazing to see what these women come up with! A-M-A-Z-I-N-G!

My camera's been on the whack for a while now, so I didn't try to take pics of any of the other incredible creations, but I did attempt to capture a few shots of my "Christmas Cookin'" table.

As usual, I didn't come up with a theme until the very last minute. (Remember, I said I was busy -- I know you sistas out there can relate.) I had thought about spray painting some pumpkings in metallic colors and doing something fall-y but finally decided to just go with some things I already had that wouldn't require more industriousness than I had time for.

I drug out my little kitchen Christmas tree and used a clear glass jar filled with cookie cutters as its holder and place it on a distressed country blue tray. I added a gingerbread man tea pot and a larger glass jar filled with more old cookie cutters to the tray and then filled in spaces with shiney red Christmas balls and more cookie cutters and velvety poinsettias.

I place my white plates on chargers on red, gold, and silver charges, and Dollar Tree provided terry cloth potholders in alternating colors -- country blue and red -- to hold a matching dishtowel "napkin" and flatware at each place. Cheap and cute! (I think that pretty much describes ME! LOL!)

Simple votives added some glow; some of the "votives"
I used were little old jars with stars on them that
I found for 15 cents a piece at a tiny thrift store in
Mississippi summer before last.

I wish the colors looked as vibrant in these pictures as
they really were, but considering that they came off my
phone camera . . . I'm just happy they turned out at all!

The little cards that you see at the bottom right hand
of the picture says "Christmas Cooking" and
"Taste and see that the Lord is good . . . " (Psalm 34:6a).

The "Muzslay" you see is an embroidered Christmas tea
towel that Middle Daughter gave me last year.

And those half-price leftover Halloween peanut-butter
M&Ms blended in perfectly with my Christmas colors!

I NEVAH decorate for Christmas until Thanksgiving has been celebrated, but this year . . . well, I'm feeling some more creative itching coming on . . .

I hope you are enjoying your upcoming holiday preparations and scratchin' your own itchins'!