Sunday, December 31, 2017

What to wear in the Arctic blast. . . . . . . . . .

 The Snood: In terms of fashion trends, a snood is basically a tubular scarf, 
like a large cowl. It differs from an infinity scarf in that it sits higher on the neck
 and can also act as a hood.

I'm prepared for New Year's Eve - this one forecast to be
 the second coldest on record here - with a ton of warm clothing
 including this amazingly lovely snood, for the trip downtown tonight.

This was my fabulous Christmas gift knitted so beautifully, and then sent across
 the pond from England, by my dear friend Ruth. This charcoal yarn is soft and
 luxurious, a mix of wool and Alpaca, lightweight and luxurious.


How about this - these pretty knitted 'hand warmers' were purchased in Ireland 
last year. The yarn is almost identical to the snood so make the perfect set.
Tonight I'm sure I'll require regular gloves plus the hand warmers on top,
along with the snood and a snug fitting hat. It will be a teeth chattering, foot
stomping night. . . . . .with a hot toddy and a glass of champagne at the end!

Chill aires and wintry winds! My ear 
has grown familiar with your song; 
I hear it in the opening year - 
I listen and it cheers me long.
 Woods in Winter: Longfellow

May your coming year be full of happiness, good health, 
and be rich in the comfort and kindness of friends.

Friday, December 29, 2017

The iceman cometh. . . . . . . . . . .

. . . . . . and the Mourning doves too.

Opening the blinds on this the coldest morning of December yet, a solitary
 dove was poised on the edge of the birdbath, all puffed and fluffy-looking.
"Will they come with warm water and melt the ice" may have been 
its thoughts. Of course we will. 
Don't forget, birds require water as well as food to survive, and 
during these cold spells its often hard for them to find any.

We are seeing a lot of birds in the garden on these cold days - I'll be sharing more later.

Within the hour, once the sun appeared, an entire family of doves had arrived. 
These quiet and gentle birds are definitely one of my favorites.
Off now with the tea kettle to melt the ice. . . . . . we have four birdbaths so it
will take a while. These photos were all taken from my windows - too cold to be
outside yet! 

Our neighbor just informed us the local family of four deer were
traversing our front lawn last night - oh how I wish I'd seen them!
Sometimes I feel I really do live in the country.

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Wrapping up 2017. . . . . . . . . . .

If headed to a party, or to the North Carolina Symphony's
 annual New Year's Eve concert, I would love this outfit.
Elegant, yet casual and comfy. The lovely mix of rich velvet and smooth
 satin give black a wonderful gleam, definitely not dreary. . . . . . .

. . . . . . and this would be the shoe I would love (if I could still totter around on
 such high heels!), I think it's gorgeous and would add a little pop of color.

I will however be out in the night for New Year's Eve and this year the forecast
 is for very, very cold weather, but dry thankfully. We always head into downtown
 Raleigh for the huge First Night celebration.  
After joining in the People's Procession winding through downtown, we enjoy
 visiting several of the music venues, especially
 jazz, bluegrass, organ recital etc., we like a little of each. 
There are two fireworks displays, one after the procession for the children
 (of any age) who don't want to hang around until the midnight show - that's us!

So I'll be wearing a very warm coat over my tunic length cashmere sweater
 and fleece leggings, and of course my warmest pair of comfy flat boots with
 thick socks - cold feet can be so miserable on hard pavement. Warm gloves will be
a definite requirement. . . . . .and around my neck will be the
 wonderful Christmas gift knitted by my fabulous friend Ruth in England. . . . .a soft,
charcoal grey alpaca/wool snood (scarf and hat in one) - more on this lovely gift later.

~ Winter fashions from ZARA ~

What are you planning for New Year's Eve?

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Boxing Day 2017. . . . . . .

I have little of serious interest to share on this Boxing Day - but it's
 still my favorite day of the year. . . . . . . . .because I only do what
 I want to do. It's like my annual day off!

Needless to say, I'm not into giving out traditional gift 'boxes' on this special
 day to the servants. This is no Downton Abbey. . . . . . .however love this box
 idea. Bakery boxes used to store freezer-bound pastries. If I can ever stop
 making and bagging gallons of soup for the freezer, and have some extra
 space, I will remember this idea.

 Today, a very cold early morning, I filled my bird feeders and melted the
 water in the birdbaths - but have yet to see cockatoos arrive!

Yesterday I watched The Queen's Speech - she looked lovely
as always - I realized this is the 64th time I've listened to her 
speaking from her desk at Buckingham Palace on Christmas Day.
 Always made to sit quietly after Christmas dinner and listen/later
 watch, The Queen.
Years fly by too fast!

Now I look forward to Season 2 of Victoria on US television
 screens, coming soon.
Above is my lovely ring showing the young Queen Victoria - given
 to my late mother by Sir Winston Churchill's daughter during WW2
 when they were friends in the Royal Air Force.

Speaking of which, have you seen the new Churchill movie,
The Darkest Hour? We plan to go this week, I can hardly wait.

. . . . . . and this! 
Well we all have black pants - I have a wardrobe full - even if not
 glitzy like these.
But the blouse, how beautiful is that for the holidays. . . . . . 

. . . . . . or even moreso, for me personally, this gorgeous red velvet 
jacket, love jackets so much.

So this is a smidgen of the somewhat mediocre hodgepodge - or perhaps
 a cheery glass of sherry talking - of what's on my mind today.

Hope you are enjoying Boxing Day too.

Fashions from ZARA

Monday, December 25, 2017

Christmas Day 2017. . . . . . .

May your Christmas be bright and beautiful.

Sunday, December 24, 2017

Christmas Eve 2017. . . . .

Hold the true meaning of Christmas in your heart.

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Staying busy with needles and glitter. . . . . . . . .

Above are two new Christmas items. . . . . . . . the wonderful reindeer plate
 from Pier I (I also grabbed one with an Arctic fox - both on sale!), and my 
vintage version of the Christmas tree made from old music sheets - I'm
 making a second, slightly taller one, today. That will finish my
 decorations around the cottage other than putting the fresh greenery
 on the mantel tomorrow.
I did a little more knitting in the evenings - this sparkly red scarf for the golden reindeer. . . . . 
. . . . . and Fiona did get a new chunky red muffler which brightens her corner 
by the hearth.

When making a quick run to Jo-Ann's Fabric & Crafts to pick up the glitter for
 the paper tree, I found this fabulous reindeer pillow on the sale shelf. Marked
 down from $29.99 to just $8.99, I  couldn't resist, especially as it has the male
 red cardinal (North Carolina's state bird) on its back.
Notice the orange-red candle which is already half-way burned down.
This is Yankee Candle's Sicilian Orange from its World Journeys range and
 apparently is no longer available - discontinued according to our local store.
  I've searched everywhere, a few are available on e-Bay so I may purchase
 from there. It has the most amazing perfume and is the perfect color for 
my room. It brings back memories of my visit to Sicily this year where
street vendors offered blood oranges and lemons from their colorful
stands - the citrus fragrance was fabulous.
How are your Christmas preparations going?  
Yesterday I baked - today I'm cleaning house.
Our weather was wet and dreary yesterday, today the sun
 is shining brightly and the temperatures will hit the mid-50's.
No sign of a white Christmas around here.

Happy Holidays
Merry Christmas

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Scribble Picnic. . . . . . . . . Christmastime

As the Christmas cards arrive each day - and I'm so thankful for 
each and every one - there are some which stand out as this
one has this year. It came across the pond from England 
already all bright and sparkly, however I ran with it and
added even more. With a touch of water color pencils, and a
 sprinkle of more silver glitter ~ it was waiting on the table nearby
 to be used for another Christmas project ~ it really pops!

Hope you stop over to see what our little art group has come
 up with for this week's wonderful theme CHRISTMASTIME.
Visit Michael, our host, here at SCRIBBLE PICNIC.

Amazing to think Christmas will be over at this time next week!
Have a wonderful holiday everyone.

My other 'glitter art project' - I'm creating little 
trees from vintage sheet music.
Now I must get to baking and wrapping!

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Time out for a southern breakfast. . . . . . . . .

Do you bake biscuits from scratch?  Living in the south one gobbles one's way
 through an inordinate amount of buttermilk biscuits, usually in fast food restaurants, 
diners, 'country kitchen' style mom & pop restaurants.  At home, in the rush of
 everyday living, all of us at some time or other has probably popped open a tube
 of rubbery, tasteless biscuits from the supermarket to throw in the oven and which,
 once cooled, are not very exciting. . . . . . but make good crumbs for the garden birds!

In New Orleans last month I tasted the best biscuit EVER!  It was at the Ruby Slipper
 Cafe, a short walk from the hotel, and a bit of a wait to get seated. . . . . . but really
 worth waiting for. I ordered eggs and grits along with a biscuit. All was tasty, hot, good,
 BUT it was the biscuit which had me swooning. Piping hot, crisp and lightly crunchy on
 the outside, fluffy but with a bite and fresh bread flavor inside. . . . . . . .definitely the
 perfect biscuit.

Since coming home I've tried several 'from scratch' recipes and have made my
 decision as to my favorite. . . . . . .and therefore am spending far too much time 
baking and eating biscuits!  This is the 'classic biscuit' from Country Living (US version
 othe magazine), published some years back I think. It has been tucked away in my
 folder of torn from magazine recipes. There seem to be plenty of similar recipes
 online. If you would like the recipe I'll share after the Christmas rush. . . . . . . right
 now I'm off to have one for breakfast!

Still tweaking the Christmas decorations. . . . . . . . and now planning some
 holiday baking. Any biscuits this week will be from the freezer, which these
 handle really well, so I plan to always have some stashed away!

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!