Saturday, December 16, 2017

Saturday Christmas Scenes. . . . . . . .

Fiona, my cute penguin, is loving the arrival of cold weather but I
thought she required a soft muffler to be fashionable for the season.

As I'm still knitting scarves whilst watching TV in the evenings, it was easy 
to pull out some leftover yarn and get the needles clicking.
 This was a quickie done during an episode of The Crown, Part I - fabulous
 show and I'm now anxiously awaiting the chance to view Part II.  

Yesterday I actually bought some rich red yarn so will also be knitting up

a few more miniature scarves - perhaps the reindeer should also have
 mufflers and I have to keep my fingers moving whilst binge watching
 TV without guilt on these chilly days.

A dear friend arrived at our Christmas luncheon last week with this 
very attractive wreath, a belated Birthday gift  - I'm thrilled with it!
Today the sun is brilliant and the temperature is slowly climbing to a high
 of around 51F - the Christmas shoppers will be out in force.  
Meanwhile, I completed the outdoor vignette by the front door. 
The greenery is in water and later this coming week I will use it on the
 fireplace mantel. I just couldn't bring myself to dump the still solid pumpkins - had
 four left so roasted one and grabbed the nickel and bronze spray paints for these three!
The red vintage looking lanterns I found at ALDI, perfect for this spot with
safe candles set to turn on and off automatically - one of life's more acceptable 
modern inventions, right?

It will get even warmer during the coming week - up into the low 70's, 
doubtful we will see a White Christmas around here!
The sweaters and boots are being worn though. . . . . . . . . . and 
yesterday, during a visit to REI, I found a Christmas present to myself,
something special to wear on my expedition trip early next year. 
More on that another time. Perhaps I'll do a 'travel to where?' guessing game again.
 You, my wonderful readers and friends, always seem to enjoy participating. . . . .
. . . . and we'll all have more time hopefully to catch up with each other in the
New Year. I'm reading and loving your great posts but often just can't find time
 to comment so beg forgiveness.

Enjoy your weekend - busy I'm sure!


Thursday, December 14, 2017

From the December garden. . . . . . . . .

. . . . . a few pretty things caught my eye outside yesterday.
Prior to more leaf raking - never ending until into the New Year - I spent 
time cutting evergreens for the mantel and, as always, taking photos of the 
visiting birds and squirrels. The greenery consists of Southern Magnolia,
 red-berried Nandina, Camellia and English Ivy. All have been rinsed clean and
 are soaking in water before being bought into the cottage.

~ Beautiful female Eastern Bluebird - her mate was close by ~

~ Gentle rummaging Mourning Doves ~

~ Handsome male Northern Flicker in the now leafless fig tree ~

~ Burying acorns - a grey squirrel's busy time of year ~

. . . . . . and I found these dried seed pods which I brought inside to use in the
 dining room Christmas decor - I love a touch of Nature such as this.

I'm never finished with the holiday decor, always adding, tweaking or
 moving something to a new spot - do you do that?

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Scribble Picnic. . . . . . . . . Spinning Top!

Life's not only bouncing along at this time of year "like a rubber ball" 
(Bobby Vee we loved you!), it's also much like a "spinning top" as we run
in circles the closer we get to Christmas. 
Didn't wall have some version of one of these - either in our own childhood
 years, or those of our kids?

Today's challenge from Michael revolves (sorry couldn't resist that!), around
spinning tops/dreidels etc.

I photographed a traditional plunger top, reverted it to a sketch, then added
 a little watercolor to the action.

Please take a break from running around and visit Michael today

Happy Holidays To All.

Monday, December 11, 2017

Getting to look a lot like Christmas . . .
. . . around here.

Saturday, December 9, 2017

The season of light. . . . . . . . .

As mentioned previously, the cottage had a face lift this autumn.
We addressed the needed wood repairs and re-painting with a total
 re-siding with HardiePlank - and are thrilled with the fresh look.
Of course the shrubs had to be cut down and it will be a while before
 they fill in again around the foundation - another spring/summer
 without the beautiful blue hydrangeas perhaps.
Leaves, from mostly oaks, continue to fall. We've raked tons and have
 tons more to come down over the coming weeks.

The pots contain spring blooming tulip bulbs topped with pansies - those hardy
lovelies which over-winter so well.
This photo is just at dusk so you can see the Christmas decor a little better. . . . . . 
once darkness takes over the flood lights we have installed on the grass are
 rather bright for good photos.

The restoration of the back deck and gazebo was, as I've moaned and
 groaned about a lot lately, a job which was not expected to last so long!
All the cedar was replaced around the gazebo and deck base, the three  
sets of steps were re-built, a couple of deck posts replaced, everything
washed, sanded back to raw wood, then re-stained - he even sanded all
 the edges of the cedar roof shakes so they would look smooth again.
A thorough job by a very good carpenter.
It's now completed, and just in time as much colder weather has arrived,
 including some rain which turned to a light snow today - but nothing
stuck and tomorrow the sunshine should return.

The Christmas tree is up and decorated. . . . . . all looks really bright
 and cheery for the holidays.

I missed my cottage Christmas last year when we traveled to Europe. . . . . . so this
 year I'm enjoying having time to do all the traditional things which make Christmas
 at home so special.

Friday, December 8, 2017

Dreaming of a White Christmas. . . . . . . . . . . .

. . . . . and holiday decorating. . . . .  

Now enjoying all that is part of preparing for
 Christmas. . . . . . . . at last.

The recent cacophony of saws, drills and hammers emanating from the back 
of the house, along with clouds of sanding dust coating everything, almost put
 me over the top!  
Now the workmen are gone and feel I have my life back.

Early mornings, waiting with bated breath - will he come today?
 Will he be late again and lose the best part of the day?
Will he have a helper. . . . . to actually help move things along, or will
 Bob have to run to Lowe's or Home Depot for supplies.
 Did I put water bottles to chill and remember to move our cars from
 driveway to street, yet again?
 Why did we agree to additional work which ended up as 3 weeks of 
upheaval instead of a simple 3 day project? 
 Was it worth all the mess?
Yes, yes, yes!!!! Deck and gazebo look almost new again.

Our home is looking spiffy now and I finished the outdoor
Christmas decor yesterday, including the Christmas tree in the
 gazebo. We may get light snow falling during the night or, more
 likely, just a cold rain. Wood is brought in and the hearth is ready.
The seasons are definitely changing.

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Scribble Picnic. . . . . Finland/Scandinavian

Happy Finland Day today!
"Hei" to my Finnish blog friends.

Sadly, I've never visited Finland - it remains on
 my travel list though, especially as I have friends there.

 I have however visited all the other lovely Scandinavian countries
including Sweden where I spent time searching for my Dala horse! 
I hope this will meet the challenge Finland/Scandinavian Michael
 gave us this week. 

When pulling out the Christmas decorations yesterday I found the
 little wooden Dala ornament wrapped in tissue. . . . .the big horse
stands on the shelf in the kitchen year round.

I edited the photo to a sketch and added some watercolors - that's all I have time
for this week as things are crazy busy around here. . . . . . . new great grandson
arrived, holiday concerts, raking millions of leaves ready for the city pick-up,
completing the exterior cottage renovation to deck and gazebo, Christmas
shopping, decorating and more!

If interested to learn more about the Dala horse go HERE to my post
 on Stockholm and scroll to the end to read the history of the 
Kingdom of Sweden symbol.

SCRIBBLE PICNIC today should be interesting - hope you stop 
by Michael's to see what our group comes up with.
Meanwhile happy holiday preparations to all. . . . . . . . 

Monday, December 4, 2017

Comfy in grey. . . . . . . .

I love black clothing, however I really love grey more!
This week I have to go through my wardrobe yet again. . . .  
to prepare for colder weather at long last.
We just may get a dusting of snow later in the week,
but if not it will be much more chilly than the beautiful
weekend we've just had - topped off by that spectacular 
'super moon' we viewed in awe last night. Did you see it?

We raked and moved a trillion leaves to the street over
 the past two days - hard work but great exercise in the
 warm sunshine. 
Still have to complete the deck work in back of the cottage -
then I can put up my tree in the gazebo - however I did
get the outside holiday decor completed in the front and it
 looks very festive at night when the lights are sparkling.

Have you started your Christmas decorating?

Friday, December 1, 2017

Sand in my flip flops. . . . . . . . . . .

As always, Bob and I really enjoyed our little break at the beach.
This year we thought the weather might disappoint, however the meteorologists
 were wrong - doesn't that seem to happen a lot!  It was just about perfect. 
Sunny days made it into the 60's with barely a wind, skies were mostly clear and 
'Carolina blue', and the water was quite warm allowing the little kids and surfers
 to enjoy the waves. . . . . . . . .even the sand felt warm when I kicked off my flip flops.
We enjoyed the usual Christmas tree and board walk lighting festivities, chatted 
with old 'beach friends' at our favorite coffee shop, sat on the balcony with an
 evening glass of wine watching the pelicans and gulls follow the shrimp 
boats home before sunset, and took leisurely beach walks in the fresh air. . . . . 
. . . . . . . . . .and, as always, I blew a kiss and sent it across the Atlantic to family
 and friends on the opposite shore! 

Time now for other things - namely Christmas preparations!
 I've yet to start outdoor decorating - outside work is still slowly coming
 along as the back deck and gazebo are renovated and refinished - he's
 doing a nice job but it's taking so long!
Inside, all I've done is move the Christmas storage boxes from the attic 
into the office. . . . . . and it's a horrible mess!
This morning's stiff breeze is bringing down the leaves non-stop - 
somehow we need to get out there and rake, blow, and move
them. It's mild and sunny so off I go, then perhaps I can start 
on my Christmas decorating.

I'm way behind on comments, forgive me and I will do my best 
to stop by soon and catch up.

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Scribble Picnic. . . . . . . . . .Generous

GENEROUS : Adjective | gen·er·ous 
Marked by abundance or ample proportions

GENEROSITY : the quality or fact of being generous • a person of great generosity • 
a generous act

Such busy weeks! 
Here in the US we spent Thanksgiving Day cooking, eating
and enjoying the usual get togethers with family and friends. We then took 
off for our annual beach weekend which was a wonderful break between 
all the hustle and bustle of two close very together major holidays.
Meanwhile, here at the cottage the outdoor renovations continue on the
 deck, gazebo etc. I really don't know which way is up with workmen 
coming and going daily.
 I'm so far behind leaving comments on friends' lovely blogs and apologize
 for this - hoping to catch up soon.
As we plan to stay home this year I need to start Christmas decorating so 
that really must be addressed. . . . . . . a crawl through the attic is imminent
where "Christmas" is stored is imminent!

Michael's theme GENEROUS is perfect for these weeks ahead preparing
 for Christmas . . . . . . . who doesn't feel the need to be generous and share
what we have and others might need.
For me, NATURE is always sharing and her generosity is amazing.

SCRIBBLE PICNIC should share much today, hope you will stop by
and even consider joining in.

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