Saturday, December 31, 2011

Happy New Year....

I've decided I'm not looking back on 2011... I'm jumping into 2012 with my eyes and arms wide open..... although maybe I should look before I leap just a bit since 2012 is looking to be a bit of an overwhelming year for me.

A year of new beginnings for my whole family.  For me... a soon to be "empty nester".  For my son who will be learning to be a new homeowner, housekeeper and bookkeeper all at once.  And for my daughter who will be a married this summer bringing a new family member to our clan, her husband.... and the wedding which will make my husband much poorer - just kidding, but I couldn't leave him out!

Tonight I will ring in the New Year at the stroke of midnight, probably fast asleep, but it will come nonetheless.  A year that I will try to embrace fully with all of its changes.  I predict there will be lots of ups and a few downs as I navigate 2012.

Like all of you, I will awake tomorrow to a new day... a new month... a new year.  I don't plan to make any resolutions except perhaps to try and enjoy the ride of 2012.

So without further ado.... Happy New Year from....

to you.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

A family holiday...

I hope you all had a wonderful holiday.  Ours was spent with family as usual... Christmas Eve with my husband's family and Christmas Day with mine.

Christmas morning was just myself, my husband and my son.  It's the first year that our whole "family" wasn't here for Christmas morning so we did things a bit different.  With my daughter and her boyfriend coming up mid day from his family's celebration, we decided to hold off and have our stockings, yep we still "do" stockings" just before bed so that we could all still share in that tradition.

And under the tree for me this year?  Well a Kindle Fire.... for blogging on the couch or anywhere actually!  I don't plan to use it for reading since my original Kindle from a couple of years ago is still chugging along even after the hundreds and hundreds of books I've read (seriously)... plus the e-ink is much easier on the eyes... but for pure Internet use the Kindle Fire is going to be a fun addition!  So if you receive a comment from me... and it's well, full of typos, you now know why... that keyboard is going to take some "getting used to" by me!

This year, Christmas Day dinner with my family, was at Red Gate Farm.  A surprise windstorm almost slowed things down since our power went out mid-day for about an hour... and no, I wasn't stressed out about it at all... no big deal that 17 people are coming over and you have no power... I was beginning to think that we'd never get visitors at the rate we were going with party "snafus".  Actually, if the power had stayed out, dinner would have gone on with cold ham and homemade rolls... after all of our snacking throughout the day a big dinner probably wouldn't have been missed.

Fortunately for me, and the hope to ever have someone come to my house again, the power came back on in plenty of time and dinner was a go... we all squeezed around the table (and extension of card tables).

Fifteen of us in all... and yes, I purposely blurred these shots... since I assume nobody really likes their photo on my blog with photos of them actually eating but I kind of forgot to take pictures... or maybe it was because I was a bit busy in the kitchen???

And the new year will be bringing some changes to our family and to Red Gate Farm...

My daughter and her guy?  Well, they had an announcement when they arrived...

They're engaged!  A wedding is already in the planning stages for the summer, the setting is will be spectacular since they are planning to have the wedding at his parents' home... with this gorgeous view.

Life is a bit of a whirlwind here these days between the holidays, the be-here-before-you-know-it wedding, and the fact that my son has purchased a house and will be moving out in the next few weeks, well after a bit of painting and fluffing by me... of course!  And I suppose a bit of hammering and sawing by some others...

Unsure how I feel about the empty nest... but I do know... 2012 is going to be a little bit like a roller coaster ride!

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Another holiday tour....

I haven’t shown many photos from our main living space all decorated for the holidays… I thought I’d give you a little tour just as if you’d dropped by Red Gate Farm.  We don’t actually have any snow this Christmas, nor any predicted, but I couldn't resist a front shot from a few winters ago.

Our house is an old farmhouse, built in 1920, like many old country houses the front door faces “the road” but the back door is actually where everyone enters… well unless you’re the UPS man the other night… for some reason he came to our front door, in the dark, through the grass because there is no sidewalk.  Considering how many UPS deliveries I’ve had this holiday season it was apparent that this was a substitute driver!  But back to the tour….

Welcome to Red Gate Farm, the original front porch was enclosed decades ago, it is where the real-yet-faux tree resides.  Another door, the original front door, welcomes you into my living room… the only main living space in our house.

First you will notice my collection of waterless snow globes… I even made one out of a vintage tinsel tree and vintage jar.

As you look across the room, still standing at the front door, you can see our cabinet that was made from an old store refrigerator/freezer cabinet, as well as my garden gate hanging on the wall.

The cabinet gives me an opportunity to fill it with Christmas treasures…

Including one of my many vintage, light up, ceramic trees.  This one was given to me by a family friend a couple of years ago.  Hard to get a good photo since it’s actually in the center section of the cabinet which does have glass.

And the garden gate?  Well it’s all decorated for the holidays too with some of my small sized paper wreaths and a few bits and bobs…

Including this tiny, vintage photo of a Christmas tree.

I made a second paper tree to keep my first attempt company.  The second tree was made of old sheet music rather than the Reader’s Digest.  Along with a fun bottle brush tree and some vintage paper angels….

This one is a bit smudged, but I love the little details like the foil “hymn book”.

And looking at the room from the other side… well I could have tidied up before taking this photo…. The bookshelf in the corner is hard to photograph, but I have filled it with items too.

And the table at the end of the sofa… another vintage, ceramic tree replaces a lamp that usually sits here.

The window holds a vintage "candolier", complete with vintage bulbs.  I don’t try to light this so sitting in the window frame is a good spot.

And a close up of the bookshelf?  Well I have this fabulous, glittery, light up “candle”… think lava lamp since it is full of some sort of thick, gooey liquid.  When it lights up and is warm the glitter dances all around.  A silver tree in an old aqua jar round out the vignette.

And a couple of battery operated candles join a putz style house under a glass cloche.

And finally the other corner of the room.  This corner has no electrical outlet, so there are not lighting options here… but the vintage oak desk holds a few treasures… plus you may notice some black and white photos above that are of the barn as it looked when we moved to Red Gate Farm 7 years ago this month.

This cute little vintage looking tree under glass came from a local gift store a couple of years ago… Grandiflora is a fabulous store just a few miles from my home.  This year they had their first every Christmas tree contest… I entered my tree and was one of the top ten winners!  How fun and what an honor to have my tree picked!

And finally, a cute little silver tinsel tree… in a vintage ceramic container… full of vintage Christmas matches.  These were meant to be given out as party favors at the holidays… perhaps I should think of parting with some?

As I finish this post about my living room... I realize that I could link so many items here to previous posts... I guess you could say that this room is really "my room"!

So here we are in the final days until the holidays… hope this finds you all well, if not prepared.  For me?  Well I plan to spend tonight wrapping gifts and tomorrow baking up a storm….

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Holiday happiness....

I don’t know about you, but there are so many things I look forward to every Christmas.  Things that make me happy…shall we say a bit giddy?  Things that gives me that feeling inside my chest like the scene from How the Grinch Stole Christmas where my heart grows a little bit too big for “the frame”.  Some of the things that I look forward to each year and that make me happy... well the list is pretty long... and in no special order.

Christmas music.  And yes, I start playing it on November 1st.  I’m actually amazed that I am able to hold off that long.  This year my favorite is Michael Buble’s new Christmas CD.  I have listened to it over and over since November 1st.  Should I really be admitting to that?  AND in full disclosure, I do sing along!

Shopping.  I don’t even mind the crowds… I do the majority of my shopping for “must haves” online so the shopping I do in person is mostly for fun.  It’s amazing how much fun it can be when there isn’t pressure to find that one specific item on someone’s list.

Sales.  I love the Thanksgiving newspaper sale flyers... and every Sunday after that.  In fact, come January it is always such a surprise when the paper gets so thin!  I'm not usually looking for anything in the flyers but I love sitting with my latte every Sunday, in my pj's, looking through all the ads.

December magazines.  I look forward to the December issue of my magazine subscriptions in early November and keep them in a stack throughout the holidays to look at over and over.

Presents.  Yep, I love getting presents…. I thing we all do… we just don’t actually want to fess up to it!  When my husband and I got married, I open end each and every present and loved every minute of it.

Holiday catalogs.  I’m probably the only person that loves to get all of those holiday catalogs each year… and I’m pretty sure I’m the only one that looks through the ones no one has ever heard of!

Christmas in the grocery store.  You know… all the holiday foods and specialty items.  When I start seeing those displays in the grocery store, well I know that the holidays are coming.

Decorating.  I’ve said it before… I have 19 bins of Christmas decorations and I LOVE spending a couple of days over the Thanksgiving holiday decorating my house… I don’t care if some think I go overboard… it makes me happy.

Christmas lights.  I love seeing the first house with Christmas lights each year.  When I was young a family tradition was to drive around our town looking at Christmas lights… my favorites were always the simple.  Just lights around the roof edges… perhaps in red and white… and blue and green was another favorite combo.

Snow.  But with a disclaimer… JUST at Christmas… and only if it doesn’t mess up anybody’s travel plans!

Santa Claus.  Need I say more?

The Nutcracker.  My daughter and I have been many times, including an amazing one a couple of years ago in Seattle.

Gift giving.  As much as I love presents, I also love finding the perfect “something” for someone.  Each year there is at least one gift that I find for someone that I’m so excited to give.  It doesn’t have to be an expensive gift, it may be handmade, but it’s that one gift that is sooo perfect for that someone.

Anything on the Hallmark or Lifetime channel with a Christmas theme.  I’m a sucker for any and every Christmas movie ever made.

Blogging.  And visiting all of you... seeing your holiday crafts, decorations and ideas.

Christmas cards and newsletters.  Am I the only one who actually LIKES people to send me their annual newsletter?  I love hearing what junior has accomplished this year!

Sugar cookies.  Martha Stewart’s recipe for the cookie… my recipe for frosting.  Enough said.

Rankin and Bass Christmas specials.  I’m dating myself here, but I grew up in the era of Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer and Santa Claus is Coming to Town so I have an attachment to these stop animation Christmas specials.

And my all time favorite?  Spending time with my family.

What makes you happy at the holidays?