Friday, December 28, 2018


After the snow had melted from that storm we had just prior to Christmas,
 a squirrel gnawed on the firewood piled up on the table. It was there the weight
of the heavy snowfall actually snapped the umbrella post - metal fatigue! 
We should have cranked the thing down when snow was forecast, or at least
 gone out and knocked the 8" of heavy wet snow off before it caused damage.

Well of course there is no snow now, in fact today was in the
 seventies, far too warm for this time of year!

 I'm feeling fatigued myself. 
The Christmas festivities and all the work that went into making it a
 special time, has worn me out!
So. . . . . .taking a blog break perhaps until next year!!!!!!

FYI - the Eastern grey squirrels around here are building nests (called 
dreys) high in the oak trees as it's breeding time again. They will have their
 first babies between February and March. I've noticed them rolling leaves
 on the ground, stuffing them into their mouths and carrying them up into 
the branches. 

Wednesday, December 26, 2018

Scribble Picnic - BANG!

OK, I'm going to be totally honest here and tell charming host Michael, 
along with any Scribble Picnic participants who may
 make it here today, that I'm really cheating and beg forgiveness.

This is not original art - I just took readymade, edited a bit, but didn't even
 have time to do my usual 'watercolour effect'.

Yes Michael, what were you thinking of when you picked BANG! as today's
 theme?  And expecting a Brit to actually work on this day - shame on you!
Just kidding, but Boxing Day is my most special day of the year, and 
after such a busy past two days I had nothing ready for the picnic today - 
well other than leftovers - mince pies with Cumberland rum butter, 
sherry trifle, a nice chunk of Stilton with half a bottle of good Port, and a 
bowl of leftover snack mix which did the rounds on Christmas Eve!

What made a 'bang' around here?  
Even pulling crackers, which we did a lot of, only made mediocre
 snaps, definitely not a big bang within hearing distance!

So there you have it, and yes, it is a 'bang up' day here - brilliant sunshine,
calm, and warm enough to head outside for a picnic - if you have patio heaters, 
warm sweaters, and lots of warming drinks!
Hmm, that said, I'm off to at least make a hot chocolate which I will 
enjoy in my new (show you later) very neat huge Anthropologie mug (a gift 
from granddaughter Jasmin), before the sun sinks too low.

Hope your Christmas was perfect.
Happy Boxing Day to all.

Monday, December 24, 2018

Merry Christmas to all. . . . . . . . .

It's already the morning of Christmas Eve.
Perhaps you, like me, have a busy day planned.  
We have company, including family, friends and neighbors,
 stopping by tonight to share some Christmas 'cheer' and
to exchange packages wrapped in ribbons, whilst the fire
 crackles on the hearth and seasonal music plays quietly
 in the background.
Later we'll take a drive around the neighborhood to view the 
annual luminarias that line many of the streets. They are placed and
 lighted after dark and as tonight will be perfect weather, no wind or rain
expected, should look lovely and add to the feeling of the special 
Christmas Day we will share tomorrow.

- A bright, sunny Christmas Eve morning -

Yesterday I had what I think is a brilliant idea (I don't have too many of those
 these days!). As my pretty pink and white amaryllis didn't bloom long enough
 to enjoy over Christmas, I cut off the stem, left the still healthy looking leaves, 
and added these red silk blooms that I already had in a vase! 
They add a nice splash of color to the dining room.

Also yesterday, while in a baking frenzy, I took time to trot about the garden
 to clip some pyracantha (firethorn) berries and green and variegated ivy for the mantel.
Other than lighting my red candles in lanterns on the front steps this evening, this
 completed my decorating for this Christmas season.

Friday, December 21, 2018

All that glitters. . . . . . .

Busy days, but I do take time to think of you all.  
Know you too are sharing in the rushing about, putting the 
finishing touches necessary when preparing for this great holiday.
Several things have kept me extra busy and now I'm looking forward. . . . . 
actually deeply longing. . . . .for time to stay home and catch up during
 those cold January days ahead here in the northern part of the planet.

A crackling fire on the hearth, candlelight reflecting off festive baubles,
 fragrant wood smoke from chimneys, birds at the feeders, squirrels circling
 the tree trunks as they climb to their high nests. Leftover mince pies - hopefully
some remain after Christmas Eve, eggnog laced with brandy, hot
 chocolate in a favorite winter mug, warming pots of tasty soup with 
crunchy farm bread and lots of butter, a glass of sherry to toast those
we love who are not close by but are in our thoughts.

As I said - thinking of you and wishing you well this holiday season.

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

The Christmas 'pud' and other morsels -

I love a good homemade English Christmas pudding just like my dear mum used
 to make. It's a lot of work and should be steamed a month or more prior to 
Christmas Day then re-heated for the traditional dessert. . . . . . along with little
 individual mince pies and lots of rum or brandy butter, yum!
I didn't make a 'pud' this year, finding instead an imported one from England at
 World Market. Hopefully it will taste good. I will however be making and baking
 my own mince pies a little closer to Christmas Eve.

At World Market I also picked up this jar of English Christmas Preserve made
 with plums, port and silver stars. Very pretty, plummy and delicious!
This morning I was up early and made buttermilk biscuits - one each for
 breakfast, the remainder stashed in the freezer for later.

Well away now from Christmas reds and thought of tasty food. I'm off to plant
 my last batch of daffodils and jonquils awaiting in the potting shed. . . . . . . . before
 days of rain yet again. These will go under the fig tree and hopefully bloom come Springtime.

Enjoy this busy run up to Christmas week.

Sunday, December 16, 2018

Moving along with Christmas decorating. . . . . . .

A brighter day. . . . . . . . . 

. . . . . . . . as this morning, following another dismal weather day of rain and heavy fog
shrouding the landscape, I awoke to sunshine creating light and shadows in the 
dining room.

Last night I worked on dining room decorations as at last I'm getting some relief
 from the shoulder pain. 
I recently sprayed the last of my Fall pumpkins with 'nickel' paint. They are 
still solid and I haven't the heart to just throw them out yet. I'm using them on the
 table, as I've done some other years, and like how they look mixed with
 Christmas themed ornaments.

Note the row of cutout white squirrels on the top of the Welsh dresser - they
 have tiny battery operated lights attached and look cute in the dark evenings. 
 A recent IKEA purchase and perhaps my only new Christmas item as I'm really
 trying to downsize the decorating this year!

How is your holiday decorating going?  Are you doing more or less this year?
Does your neighborhood go to town with outdoor Christmas decor?

Saturday, December 15, 2018

Admiring the Amaryllis "Charming" -

This year I actually have a beautiful amaryllis blooming in time for Christmas.
I purchased this one in November at a hardware store, the only place at that time
where I could find this color which I though would be really pretty in my decorating 
theme at Christmas.
Spending most of the time from early November on the dining room table, where the
 light is good, this beauty started growing and has just kept going, first one bloom
opening and soon followed by three more. I'm hoping they will last through the 

I continue to have frustrating problems with Blogger/Google/Safari  - who knows which
 one is creating gremlins - both posting and commenting!
I'm not giving up quite yet but things really need to improve soon as my patience
 is wearing thin!
Meanwhile, this post I'm using Chrome which seems to be working much better for
 me, fingers crossed!

Hope your holiday plans are moving along smoothly.
Enjoy each day of this busy weekend.
Here in North Carolina most of the snow has gone as we have had heavy, nonstop, 
rain for two days. Quite honestly, it's not looking very Christmassy out there, just a
 mass of soggy brown leaves covering everything under leaden skies.

Last evening I went to a fun "Girls' Holiday Wine Night" at a friend's
home - my driver was Bob who transported me through inky darkness
in pouring rain and miserable rush hour traffic, and came back
 for me a few hours later. That made the evening so enjoyable, 
and I was able to enjoy my wine and time with a lovely group of 
interesting women.

Hoping the coming week will brighten up, I need to get out 
and about to finish my shopping and start on my baking!!!!

Thursday, December 13, 2018

Scribble Picnic - A Few of My Favorite Things

SCRIBBLE PICNIC time - and sending everyone in the group
very best wishes for the holiday season. 
Michael's theme for this week is A Few of My Favorite Things.

At Christmastime, I enjoy displaying a few of these favorite things,
 my little framed pieces depicting angels and Mother & Child art.
These three are, top to bottom, a French illustration found in an antiques
 shop in Carcassonne, a Russian icon from my visit to a beautiful 
'onion dome' church in Petropavlovsk and a sweet angel card
 found recently at SuzAnna's Antiques.

My photo edited in PicMonkey with watercolor pencils adding color.

Short and sweet for me today - I have difficulty typing as I've acquired very
 painful rotator cuff tendinitis (right shoulder and of course I'm right-handed which 
makes life more difficult!). Having physiotherapy which hopefully will help 
the healing process.

Take a break from the Christmas shopping and decorating and visit the group HERE.

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Food for thought. . . . . . . .

. . . . . . and it's not very tasty!

I'm now finding commenting on your blogs has suddenly become a
 huge problem - I don't seem to be able post COMMENTS if you are
 blogging on the Google+ platform - or whatever they call it out there
 in the tech world!
Today I see many of you have the 'prove you're not a ROBOT' thingy
 in place now and the clicking of so many blurred pix in those tiny
 squares is ridiculous!  
What's going on?
Is blogging going to fall by the wayside because keeping up
with our longtime, very special friends, is becoming so 
difficult. . . . . . .or even possible?
Any assistance you can give will be great - meanwhile I will
continue to rest my shoulder, grrrrrrr!!!!

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Spotlight on the elegant Lady Cardinal. . . . . . .

She weathered the storm and seemed quite happy on the now bare fig tree
 awaiting her turn at the feeders.

As the thawing started she still sat patiently - such a sweet bird.

Managed to catch Mrs. and Mr. Cardinal. . . . . . and the little female finch
 popped in for the shot too!
Sunny and bit warmer this morning - hoping for more melting and the roads
being safe so we can venture out.

I'm still having difficulty typing with the shoulder pain - you may just be getting
 photos for a while, sorry.