Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Driftwood Mantle

One of the projects I spent way too much time on this holiday season was my fireplace mantle decor. It was calling out for some attention and it became an ever evolving creation over a few weeks –  much like a painting that is worked and reworked until you just must stop.
I had fun though and would like to share the evolution.....

This "before" shot was taken after removing the print that usually resides over the fireplace and replacing it with the convex mirror I inherited many years ago. See me in the reflection? The goose is a sentimental reminder of Christmas Past.

And now the games begin! Fresh greens and very large grapevine wreath added....

Driftwood of many shapes and sizes placed.....

Grapevine balls were so tenderly placed (one fell off and was immediately snatched up by Mr. Willy the dog)  but after much review, the mantlescape was getting a bit heavy....

Less is more so the saying goes, so off with the driftwood & remaining balls, replace judiciously.

Lights were added at some point! Fantastic cheap string on a TIMER from Walmart!!!!

Did I mention I couldn't stop? The last addition (almost) to my Christmas Mantle Project were drilled cut tree ends strung with jute....like stockings hung by the chimney with care....

Wait, maybe just a little more?

A little glitz was necessary, right?  I placed the silvery, sparkly coiled branches sparingly and......

the starfish jumped right in afterwards!

The Christmas Goose stands watch. Merry Christmas to all and may Peace find all who are in need.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

A Silvertip Christmas

For many, many years I have wondered where to get an old-fashioned Christmas tree. You know, the ones that people dub as "Charlie Brown trees" and have very few branches? I am not talking about a wispy twig found in the woods or a tree that is edited, with branches trimmed out. No, this special tree would be one of movie star status, one that we see in the movies of old...

Here in the movie "The Bishop's Wife" with Loretta Young, Cary Grant, and David Niven we see THE TREE! That's it!!! That's the one I want! Loretta buys the tree in the first scene and it is decorated in a "heavenly" fashion by Cary Grant. 

And this year I found it.

I was surrounded by my trees in fact! It was hard to contain myself at times working in the nursery at terrain. Here I had a good week or two to choose my tree and take it home before they sold out. Seems other people liked these "designer" trees as well, although I still thought of them as just old fashioned and nostalgic.

The California Red Fir, commonly referred to as a "Silvertip", grows on the high mountains of northern California and southern Oregon. Hollywood prop departments of old most likely chose the trees that were readily available and used them in our favorite Christmas classics.

After taking great care of my tree for 2 weeks outside, the day finally arrived to bring "her" in. She was placed in a spot of honor after moving a few pieces of furniture. This living room is also "old fashioned" and not the sprawling family room that most people call home for their Christmas trees!
The starfish topper was one I made a few years back using three stars (3 wise men?), a twig and some red berries. It fits my beachy home decor perfectly and it was the first adornment added to my Silvertip lady.

With just the lights, she is becoming a beauty...

and she sparkles with the addition of ornaments! Mercury glass ornaments collected over the past 3 years, some old glass favorites, a bit of rust with some found bell bargains, glass icicles and some button garland...presenting, my lady the movie star.

Reflections from the lights bounce of the glass while the rusty bell ornaments and button garland add a bit of antiquity...along with a burlap tree skirt awaiting the gifts to come.

And now we wait and welcome this magical holiday!

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Serendipitous Sunday!

Last post I gave kudos to one of my favorite bloggers, Sweet Paul. Little did I know at that time that he would be visiting terrain, my place of employment this Sunday! I was fortunately off the schedule and was thus able to partake in his demo and have a very nice conversation with him. A lovely way for me to spend an hour...he had chocolates, mini-wreath making and some insight on the "way bigger blog than mine" world out there. I also met Paul's marketing director named Paul as well...a very personable Paul I must say!

I was just so excited to have a copy of Paul's most recent publication signed...my fellow employees who saw me at his table had no idea how much a treat this event was for me.

The wreath I made while conversing was a perfect take away....and a perfect idea on their part! They actually said, "isn't it relaxing to do something while visiting our table?"  Good marketing, goodwill and good chocolate –a perfect combination.

My little wreath will adorn our bathroom door...and we will appreciate all season long! Thank you so much Sweet Paul!

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Pinecones and Pinterest

These days many of us have fallen in love with "pinning". It is certainly another vice that keeps me at the computer much longer than I ever plan on. First there was aol, email and instant messaging. Moving forward was google, blogging, facebook (which I steadfastly avoided until earlier this year) and now Pinterest.  A site that people post fun images on their "boards", it is a go-to for ideas on multiple topics. Pinecone decorating was my Pinterest search and yes, I cheat for ideas!

My Pinecone Swag idea began as a collection gathered on many walks and progressed into....what to do with all these beautiful works of art from Mother Nature!

Enter Pinterest, blogger Sweet Paul, a love of burlap and off I went to the craft store. Although I loved the simplicity of Sweet Paul's Pinecone Swag seen below I wanted to make the idea more my own.

Things didn't work out exactly as planned but I compromised to complete my swag before Thanksgiving.

 Eye hooks screwed nicely into the bottom of certain cones and jute tied easily around others.

A multi layered collection of three different cones hanging from natural jute was more the look I was going for.

This is when a compromise occurred. Seems everyone loves burlap ribbon this year and I was not able to find the size I wanted! So I had to make a bow from a larger roll of burlap and secure it with more jute....not too bad so far.

Tying the bow to my bundle of pinecones and finding another smaller roll of burlap ribbon to make the tendrils was the part I am not quite as happy about. But c'est la vie, correct? I also added a bit of color (thinking back to why didn't I just outright copy dear Sweet Paul?) with a purple satin ribbon I had on hand, wrapped around the descending jute bundle.

As you can see I made two of the swags to back each other up on my glass interior front door.

When all was done, we finished preparing for the Thanksgiving feast. The living room became the extension of the dining room, tables and tablecloths were laid out as the first turkey was roasting. T'was the Night Before Thanksgiving and all through the house, Carol was working along with her spouse! (Pappa D)

We had a wonderful day and were so lucky to have friends and family joining us for one of my favorite holidays. Happy Thanksgiving to all and to all a good night!

P.s. Can I add just one image I found on Pinterest that I fell in love with? The dream to become a proficient watercolorist lives on. I could add many but this one goes along with the theme!

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Sands from Sandy

Once again, I am writing to journal a hurricane. Last year it was Irene, this time Sandy. Destruction and aftermath all rolled into one this time and done mostly for reason of passing photos to friends & family members that may want to see how our coastline was "Sandyfied". I don't relish the task and I know many people were more adversely affected. We were actually fortunate comparatively. 
So here goes....

This was Monday morning at Long Beach, Stratford. Tattered flag still flying proudly.

Stormy seawall but not too bad!

Just starting.....

Hangin' in there.....

We did go inside and safely slept. Upon waking we found our Lordship aftermath wasn't too bad.
Not quite the case other places.

Water levels on the next photos are easily recognized by the "scum line" on buildings etc. This one is in Milford where my daughter lives (or did until displaced). The water was dirty, possibly with sewage from the flooded sound, sometimes oil from oil burning heating units, backwash from streets. The next are from the Fairfield family cottages.

Remember the wall? It may have helped after all these years of being buried!

Outwardly, we look pretty good but go inside....

Surfcoot (for all that know her) had a good amount of water flowing through.

Old Squaw, the matriarch of our cottages fared quite well but the her undersides are drenched and insulation torn apart. Don't know if any structural damage occured. Hopefully will know soon!

Wild Dog (Duck?) was 2-3 feet under water. We were not able to get inside. Always my favorite cottage because of old memories. In fact I remember weathering a storm there when I was very young and watching my dad try to secure the screens, etc. 

Is this sand or snow? Looks like drifts after a blizzard. Our driveway may have a few years worth of sandbars covering it.

And then there was the Owl. Never thought the surge would go this high. Notice the "scum line" on the house. Our dear old concrete bench was found in the middle of Beach Road and someone dragged it over to the parking lot. Thank you to whomever helped save an icon of beach front living along here. Family, traditions, history. I didn't realize how sad I was until I sat down and tried to show my findings. The cottages – Old Squaw, Surf Coot, Wild Dog, Owl have been in the family since ? Please help me with a date my cousins. My youth, my children's youth and many, many family members will all agree our precious place is just that. Precious, not pretentious whatsoever.

I hope the sun will shine and make things right for those in much more need....again, we are lucky here. Mother Nature is quite a force to reckon with.