"The gloom of the world is but a shadow.
Behind it, yet within our reach, is joy...
Take joy!"

"That's my philosophy. Wouldn't you agree?"

Tasha Tudor

Tuesday, December 16, 2014


We believe in Santa Claus.

We are told that he doesn't exist.

Then we see Mommy kissing Santa Claus.

What are we to believe?

It's no wonder we poor mortals are so confused...


Now we find out this:

What's next?


If you find out 

Don't tell me!

Have a great week...


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Friday, December 12, 2014


"O Tannenbaum
O Tannenbaum
How lovely are your branches!
In beauty green will always grow
Through summer sun and winter snow
O Christmas tree
O Christmas tree
How lovely are your branches!"

Old German Christmas carol
English version - Author unknown

Another year has come and almost gone and it is Christmastime again.
  Is it just me, or does everyone feel that life goes by so quickly, 
each year slipping away faster than the one before,
 but the projects on the drawing board keep piling up and
 time seems to stand still where they are concerned?

A few changes are being worked on around the Cottage
 so the decorating is confined to only a couple of rooms this year,
 and if this sounds familiar,
 it's because you might remember reading my last year's Christmas post!
 It's beginning to sound like a broken record.

Hooray! The parlor has undergone the final chapter in her life and she is beautiful once more...

...so we are very excited to dress her up for the holidays. 
 Our large faux tree that we have used for many years
 finally had seen it's last Christmas and
 I thought I might like to change it up
 and get a white tree this year.

Tami, age 7 months, 1961, her first Christmas,
Grandma and Grandpa's house.

We also have very fond memories of the Captain's parents' tree that the kids used to love so much.

I love to catalog shop and I always have a few to choose from. 
 In this particular instance 
there was a tree advertised as one that provoked the past
 and it looked white to me, 
so I ordered it.

When it arrived, we opened the box
 and I saw there was more silver than I had thought. 
 We put it together and it sat for a few weeks in the corner
 where we passed it a number of times every day. 
 Each time, I had more misgivings about how it would look
 and how it would fit in with our idea of Christmas.

We have always had what I would call traditional trees. 
 Whether large or small, faux or real, they almost always had the same theme. 
 They were green and well covered 
with colorful ornaments, strands of popcorn and glass beads...

This tree probably dates from about the late 1960's. The reason I think this--these drapes were in the house in Soquel when we first bought it and they didn't last very long!

This was taken around 1970. Look at those youngsters!
And that stylish afro!
Not to mention the absence of white hair!

Tami and Tim, right after they were first married, approximately
 mid 1980's.

The first Christmas in the Cottage after the parlor was renovated (the first time), about 1995.

Small tree in the sitting room, 2012.

2013 Kitchen tree.

After the kids were no longer at home, I covered the tree in tinsel. 
 I have always loved tinsel but the kids were not fond of it.
  I'm guessing it was because
 I made them put it on
one strand at a time 
like my mother taught me!

I started thinking about how to decorate the new tree and
 for some reason my silhouette collection came to mind. 
 I decided to hang some of the pictures from the branches and
 to make some black and white pinwheels to match. 
 The tree is a little larger than your typical table-top tree,
 but I wanted to keep it in line
 with the Victorian spirit.

I have lots of bright blue glass balls
 that always worked well with the parlor wallpaper
but they just seemed too bright for this tree,
 almost cold looking, 
so I decided on a softer, lighter blue, along with the black, white and silver.

The tree dictated how I would decorate the mantle. 
 It was just too much of a jarring change to go from white and silver 
to the plain green garland that I had on hand, 
so I sprayed a dusting of snow onto the greens and
 added snowflakes, some silver glitter 
and shiny silver baubles.

As all this was happening,
 the Captain said, 
"I don't think I'm going to like the decorations this year."
 As he is always so good about letting me take charge of the decorating and
 always liking it when it is done,
 my heart sank.  
Christmas has always been so special to both of us,
 and to not like a part of it was unthinkable.
  I said, as my fingers were crossed behind my back,
 "I think you might be surprised".
  "Well", he said, "if I am, 
it will be a Christmas miracle."

So on I went with the decorating:

Sweet little deer from HomeGoods

Quite a cleverly made little fellow.
  His body is like a pinecone 
and his antlers, which look so fragile,
 are made from rubber
 so they bend without breaking.

Dusted a little snow on a wreath I had 
and hung tiny white lights
 around mirror.

I have used this little tree for many years
 and last year I made a few snowballs 
covered in Epsom salts. 
The deer was on sale after Christmas at Target.
 I bought the lantern from HomeGoods a while back and
 embellished it with a large tin flower. 
The pretty silver tray was one handed down from my mother. 
 And all are sitting on a marble-topped washstand
 that belonged to my great-grandmother.

The parlor mantle.

Carolers and glass tree: HomeGoods, last year

Snowflakes: The Dollar Tree

Large silver ornaments: Hobby Lobby

So now the decorating was done and...

B E H O L D..


This little tree is not the easiest to decorate.
 The branches are quite stiff and fairly close together.
 However, I showed it without lights so you can see that I do have ornaments on it.
 With the lights turned on the shimmer and shine of the tree itself 
sort of overcomes the ornaments.
 The deer ornaments look greenish with lights off 
and pinkish with lights on.
 The Captain did get excited when he thought they would glow in the dark.
 But they don't,
 and they really are just white with sparkles.

It is different...

It is not what we are used to...

and it looks much prettier to the naked eye than the camera lens...

and it turned out so much better than we had hoped or expected...

It really is a gorgeous little tree.
  I wouldn't show it to you if I didn't think so..and 
here are a few more pictures to help you make up your minds.

So everyday we sit in here and enjoy our Christmas miracle...
drinking a hot toddy and...

...thinking about how close we came to sounding like Olde Scrooge.

 Something we never want to do
 at Christmas...


 with a mouse stirring in his pocket!

I'm already planning where I will put the little tree next year. 
 I have a special place in mind 
but don't expect to see it in the parlor!
 I'm just saying!


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Monday, December 8, 2014




Happy Twenty-First Birthday

December 4, 2014


...Coming attractions...

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