Thursday, December 16, 2021

As It Comes

Season's greetings friends! I just got back from a few days travel, so I'm shuttering out (literally!) the busy world for a bit. Lit a fire, and put on the softest Christmas background music you can imagine. I wish you could hear it with me.

I'm loving the interlude after visiting the big city which felt like a futuristic movie to me. Glad to be back to my own cozy corners.

It's my year for enjoying other people's decorating (which I am, immensely), and taking a back seat from the flurry. I'm always more into the creature comforts anyway.

One of which is this fantastic treat from Trader Joe's! I was too late picking it up last year. It is crazy delicious with all the flavors of the season built in. I had it alone and warmed up this morning. So delicious and fruity! It's too concentrated straight, so add something citrus or just water. But by all means warm!

Add spirits for a lively celebration with friends. I guarantee it will be a big hit! I'm showing my favorite vintage tumbler here with a couple of new glasses I picked up from a restaurant from my recent trip to commemorate the occasion. They sold them in a set of six, so we all took them home.

I pulled out a few things before I left to get a head start on the decor. It may be as far as I get. But a little goes a long way.

And my shamrock surprised me with a few sweet and cheery blooms to greet me when I got home!

I only have a very few plant friends that never let me down.

I thought I might still dress up this shelf ledge more, but have just a few things stuck on here from my Christmas boxes. But time is running out!

Our crowd shows up more after Christmas, so I am always thinking more Winter and New Year with the decorating anyway. I also like to do it without too much of a shuffle. 

My trumpet vine wreath shriveled while I was away, as expected. I don't mind. I would love it if it faded more too.

It surprised me with a couple of artfully dangling seed pods for drama.

This is the time I usually enjoy tweaking and tucking in small bits as the days move closer to December 25th.

We have a number of holiday birthdays in our family, so there is celebration on top of celebration. It all rolls along so fast. But I always make room for reading my favorite Christmas stories, and of course movies. I may even bake a little something. Or maybe not.

One thing I have slated for this afternoon is pulling out this little evergreen tree. I had high hopes that it would last. But it is heartlessly crisp!

Easy enough since it is small and has only a string of lights. We have a neighborhood tree lot that will be happy to see me turn up a week before Christmas for a fresher little one.

Nice while it lasted with its lone little log cabin ornament.

I hope you are taking time for the small joys!

Love and Joy,


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Thursday, December 9, 2021

Old Traditions

Seasons Greetings friends! I finally pulled out the decorations and got my mantel dressed the way I want it. Things always get worse before they get better, but most of the overflow has been (mostly) tucked away. There were more decisions than I wanted to make this year. But I went easy on myself and the whole first part of the week disappeared into fiddling with Christmas's past to the backdrop of good movies and music. 

I have my favorites, as we all do, that reappear almost every year. But it's always fun to add something new. I'm always on the lookout for something vintage and original, and I found it! 

This is a little vintage Christmas tree fashioned from tiny seashells and pearls. The shell rims have been dipped in glitter before they have been glued onto a cone shaped base. Maybe the little tree looks familiar to you if you live near the sea, but I have never seen anything like it! It feeds my need for  things natural, creative, recycled, vintage and in my color scheme. A tiny Christmas miracle to start the season! Isn't it charming?

I also tuck away this old, weathered Currier and Ives "Winter In The Country" print all year long in order to appreciate fully it's annual debut. It reflects the twinkle lights from the Christmas tree behind me, as the age, color, and tone draws me into the scene. As though a part of my own deep past is mirrored there as well. But that is the magic of Christmas!

The picture gets showcased within this larger frame almost all winter long.

One of my favorite decorating books is this "White Christmas" volume from Tricia Foley. It somehow continues to inspire my white on white style ever since its publication in 1997. It's a good place to launch fresh ideas from. Or traditional ones!

We always want to have a small fresh green tree, for instance, and fresh cut greens when we can. I keep the tree supplied with a bucket of water, and spritz it every time I pass by. How could we have Christmas without that wonderful smell in the house?

The hutch gets a small dressing up too.

I am crazy for all manner of wreaths and really have too many, but this preserved boxwood wreath is one of my very favorites. It lives on year after year. It's shown here lying upon a crisp vintage linen tablecloth with whitework embroidery at the corners. 

The details suggest oak leaves to me. I always feel gifted from the universe when such a beautiful hand worked cloth crosses my path. And it most usually comes at a very small cost.

I also fashioned another small wreath yesterday from my orange flowered trumpet vine which is evergreen. The spent vines are sturdy enough to hold the small shape without support. And it is a symbol to me of keeping Christmas present. 

There are too many collections! I could never have them all out at once. At least not in this humble little house of mine. But we must always make room for Christmas stories and lovely little vignettes.

For old memories, our gifts from the past.

And for whimsy, to cheer our hearts from within when the winds of the world blow without.  

"I will live in the Past, the Present, and the Future!" Scrooge repeated. as he scrambled out of bed. "The Spirits of all Three shall strive within me."

From Stave Five, A Christmas Carol, by Charles Dickens

Christmas is coming!

Wishing you joy in the days ahead.


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Monday, December 6, 2021

The Christmas Hearth

Hello friends! It seems like time to get my fireplace hearth and mantel ready for colder weather. As I was out walking yesterday, I thought what a lovely warm fall day it felt like. But it's the first week of December!  I think temps are dropping a bit in Albuquerque this week, so I will be thinking of starting a fire soon. Nothing makes the Christmas season cozier.

Years ago we covered the fireplace opening with an easily removable plywood and tin tile insert. The surround is black metal with glass doors that looks fine while a fire is going, but not so great otherwise. During fire season the hearth stays pretty clear with items that are easy to move.

Faux evergreen garland is my standard choice for holiday decor on the narrow mantel. I always have a mirror above, but I am trying out a green wreath here this time. The first thing I noticed was less light at night without the reflection. I will try to get used to it, but I could also have both together. For now I'm enjoying the simplicity.

The chair on the left is a wooden framed recliner in a dark leather. It's a "make do" from another house that is quite comfortable and very popular with everybody. Doesn't photograph well. So has a cozy furry throw added for now.

We were enjoying candles on the mantel, so now they will perch on the hearth for a while.

A little versatile chippy painted table is useful for so many tasks and easy for a quick change up if I want.

This is the most used room in the house, and also small, so I like to keep it a little spare visually. It will soon be full of visiting family!

I have a small collection of white knit gloves that I love to get out at Christmas to cozy things up too. Always on the hunt for more. Great for hanging or tucking things inside. I never hang stockings any more though! The fleece on the built in seat or "banco," as it is called in NM, is great for a sit by the fire. The fireplace bricks are plastered and painted adobe in this pueblo style home.

I took those frames away and ended up putting them back! Empty vintage frames are one of my favorite things. The little antique painting was a recent find at a flea market for a dollar and a quarter. The London jug is only fabulous and makes my heart happy. Makes a good door stop too! To the right is a handy large white ironstone jar with firestarters, matches, and a little whisk broom inside. Ready to go!

For another look at this room and other hearth posts from my blog, click the links below...

So glad you stopped by!

 I hope you are enjoying making home life cozy too!

Love and Joy come to you,



Saturday, December 4, 2021

A Heavenly Little Shop

Seasons greetings friends! One of my favorite rituals of the holidays is window shopping, and I'm guessing that it might be yours too! For me that mostly means vintage.

There is a wonderful little vintage boutique in Albuquerque that has so much of what I love under one roof that I had to start here.

If you're not already in the spirit, a visit to CIELO in Albuquerque will do it for you! Everything here is in such a pleasing collection of styles that it assures you will find something you love. I absolutely adore the soft color combination of this pretty little iron settee, for instance. All the graphics add so much too.

The hardest part is having to resist so many things. But I guess you can leave a nice list for Santa to choose from!

My big loves are chippy furniture and architectural salvage, and there are always lots of old windows and doors here to choose from.

I got a small pair of these wooden stocking stretchers at another market for the first time earlier this year. I've always wanted to decorate for Christmas with them.

And I love this chippy white hardware on an old door.

There are so many ways to decorate with old vintage, and there are loads of great ideas here. One of the things I love most about this shop is the beautiful simplicity in the way things are displayed. It leaves room for your own ideas to form.

I came away with that soulful old wicker bottle on top of this display to add to my collection. (I'm sure Santa can use the help this year! LOL!)

But somebody surely will ask for this amazingly exquisite hand-painted fireplace surround and mantel this Christmas!

I almost missed it tucked away among so many other wonderful things.

Another of the sweetest things I spied was this little twiggy doll furniture with these gorgeous old patchwork cushions in my favorite colors! Gah!!!

And beautiful little old postage stamp quilt to match.

But you already know how crazy I am for old textiles. And this adorable little baby dress is one of the most original examples that I have ever seen with its tatted details at the neck, sleeves, and hem.

Simply gorgeous!!!

Thank you to Celeste Walther for letting me showcase her wonderful little shop, CIELO, near Uptown shopping center in Albuquerque. The FB link is here:

Happy shopping everyone! And be safe out there!

Joy to you and yours,