Tuesday, January 18, 2022

A WINTER COTTAGE...

 







"Winter is the warmest season

Oh, you say you want a reason?

Is it warm when snow piles high and wide?

It is if you are bundled up inside

When it's storming, when it's raining

I stay indoors without complaining

Other people like to ski

Or sled down a hill, but not me

While you're bundling up in your jacket

I'm tearing open a hot cocoa packet

I don't mind summer, I'll make that clear

But winter's my favorite time of the year."


Author Unknown






Being inside a warm and cozy cottage 

does make winter almost bearable, 

so I have tried very hard 

to leave the best of Christmas 

and add some winter elements 

that make it a comfortable place to be.





The best of Christmas that I left for winter are greens and garlands. 

 Our community is surrounded by cedars and pines 

and they don't go away during winter 

so they look very much at home, during and after Christmas, as decorations.

  The cedar garland looks pretty surrounding the little rustic cabin 

and the old house painting and the twigs that were picked from the winter garden 

on the shelf above the sofa 

in the sitting room.






As you might have noticed,

 I have a lot of blue in the Cottage 

and that tends to set the mood for a cooler space.  

In summer it helps but in winter it needs 

something extra to make it feel warm...






 ...the texture of the pillows, the old quilt piece over the back of the sofa, 

the warm wood of the wagon 

and the higher pile of the carpet 

accomplishes that. 

 When lamps and candles 

are lit at nightfall, 

this Cottage comes alive.

 





The game table

 holds most of what was a Christmas scene

 on top of the old white cupboard 

in the kitchen...







...Mama Sheep 

lies next to a large bird house made out of barn wood,

 surrounded by greens and pinecones 

and a wooly yarn wreath.







Besides the one pillow on the sofa, 

I only brought one other snowman into the melee. 

 He is a tall, stately gentleman made out of cotton batting

 and wearing a top hat and a thick wooly scarf.  

He stands next to a little tree with snow tipped branches

 that is left over from Christmas.  

With a candle and a garland of cedar 

and another small wooly wreath on the mirror,

 he is ready to greet all who enter.





 


I didn't bring a whole lot of Christmas back into the dining room. 

 The red color of the walls is warm but dark 

so I thought the familiar arrangement with its bright flowers 

would add a cheery spot of color...







...and who better to bring it along 

would be Goatzie who looks perfectly perfect still 

on the table after Christmas.







The other Christmas left over

 is a little tree that sparkles 

from the light of the window 

in the dining room.







The one spot of winter that makes me happy to look at  
is the parlor mantel. 
 I left the Christmas garland up 
 with the addition of a 
string of wooly "snowballs", 
entwined through soft greens and winter berries...








 ...wouldn't it be a perfect touch 

for a winter wedding?






All of us here hope you enjoyed seeing the winter Cottage. 

 Our days lately are sunny and cold 

so being snuggled up here is just right. 

 I hope you are warm and cozy 

wherever you are.



...Judy...






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Tuesday, January 11, 2022

COMMON SENSE ONE ROOM AT A TIME...







This Christmas went by way too fast. 

 I thought I had planned it well 

and had enough time left over,

 after decorating, 

to enjoy it all.

  But did I?  

Was there too much work

 and not enough play

 or could it be just

 the way life goes these days?





If I am to be honest, 

it is probably the latter.

  With all that being said,

 I still find that I am enjoying the process 

and looking forward to what is to come. 

 I do want to apologize to all of you 

who have commented 

over the past couple of weeks. 

I have read them all just before bedtime 

and then when the morning comes

 there doesn't seem to be

 enough hours in the day 

to fit everything in. 

 I promise I will do better.





Hopefully this year will be better 

than the last - 

and where have we heard that before?  

I have come to the conclusion

 that this is something that we will continue to ask and, even though it is not ideal, 

I will do what I can to keep myself

 and my loved ones safe: 

keep getting my shots

 whenever it is said 

that another is necessary, 

keep wearing the mask whenever I go out 

and, regretfully,

 I will have to stay away from anyone 

who doesn't believe as I do.





I love my home, 

and even though there will be times

 that I may feel like a prisoner there, 

 I will accept that this is the 

normal way of life for me. 

I am really trying

 to come to terms with the fact 

that everyone doesn't see it the same way.





I am so lucky 

that I have been given 

a clean bill of health

 from my doctor yesterday 

and will continue to be careful,

 use common sense,

 and get on with it! 

 It seems to me to be such a simple solution to a very large problem

that, in my opinion,

 is only going to get worse 

for a good time to come.





Getting back to the

 wonderful Christmas experience.

Since it did seem to pass so quickly, 

I am taking my time

 to put the Cottage in order 

and am transitioning 

between Christmas and winter

 by leaving some obvious remnants behind. 

 This way, I get a clean house 

but still enjoy the beauty of lingering

 with a bit of what has passed too quickly.





The kitchen totes were the

 last to be put away

 so, therefore,

 it is the first room 

to be put back together.  

As I said, I am taking it slow, 

so I hope to have at least one more room to feature next week.





It is now sunny and cold

 with snow still on the ground

 and I am taking advantage of 
a warm fire in a clean kitchen
 which goes very nicely 
with a hot cup of tea. 
 I am watching my own 
personal little "roomba" (AKA Robin) 
constantly surveying 
all the little corners
 which she hopes have been forgotten.






What,

 just a short time ago 

was in the parlor

 filling in as a tree skirt, 

is now back to its roots. 

 It is just another way 

to bring comfort and warmth 

to a winter kitchen.





Happy New Year to everyone. 

 I sincerely hope that you 

and your loved ones 

stay safe, healthy and happy

 in the days ahead. 

 As for me and my house, 

we are approaching it, 

slowly but surely, 

with a little elbow grease

 and a bit of plain common sense.





Have a lovely week 

and thanks to you all

 for your support during the year 

and for all your

 sweet and thoughtful words. 

 You are all so very special.


...Judy...





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Tuesday, January 4, 2022

TWAS THE DAY AFTER CHRISTMAS AND...

 






The forecast was for snow on Christmas Day. 

 In all of my 82 years,

 I have never seen snow fall on Christmas Day.  

That would be a White Christmas for sure.

  But, as most things these days, it didn't happen.  

We were a bit apprehensive because, if it had, maybe the kids 

wouldn't have been able to come up on Christmas day, 

but it didn't, so we really had a lovely celebration.  

Tami and Tim brought tamales and rice, 

Jake and Jacenda brought blueberry pie 

and we provided salad and green beans. 

 It was delicious and after dinner 

we exchanged gifts 

and then they had to leave to go home.





Snow is  usually a joyful condition around our part of the world. 

But when we woke up the day after Christmas, 

all of the photos in this post were what we faced 

and it wasn't entirely joyful.






Our beautiful crape myrtle tree, 

which has stood at the corner of our lot for probably more years than I have been alive, 

took a hard hit in the storm. 

 It is about half the size that it was before Mother Nature took hold.

 Branches broke in three different places. 

 All over the streets there are broken boughs 

and a few vehicles were damaged from falling limbs.

  I haven't heard of anyone being hurt

 so that is the good news.




We lost power for three days.

  We are blessed to heat the Cottage and to cook with gas, so none of that was interrupted. 

 We also had the TV, the refrigerator and a few lights hooked up to the generator. 

 There are still some without power so we feel very fortunate.

  We did not have the internet or Netflix, however!




All of it did give me time to start taking down some Christmas decorations.  

I can't believe I am already saying and doing that.  

We just put them up!  


I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas and a safe New Years. 

 Believe it or not, we actually stayed up long enough to welcome in the new year. 

 I hope I have something more interesting to write about next week. 

 Transitioning between holidays is always a busy and messy time 

with never much pretty to show for it for awhile.






There is nothing pleasurable

 about the Secret Garden or the screened porch 

these days...




We haven't had any more snow but...

Baby, it's cold outside!





Have a wonderful week 
and let's hope for a better year to come.


...Judy...


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Tuesday, December 21, 2021

THE CHRISTMAS KITCHEN AT THE COTTAGE...

 








"A baker works quietly in the kitchen, 

preparing holiday treats. 

 Someone tucks a small package beneath the Christmas tree, 

and a child tiptoes to a bedroom window, 

too young yet to know 

that magic comes from inside."


Simple Country Pleasures
Country Living magazine
December, 2002


In the last two weeks, 

we have gathered together the Christmas sights from around the Cottage. 

 If you missed them you can find them  (here)  and (here).  

Today, our journey is almost done 

and we will be greeting a new year,

 but first we have some unfinished business to take care of...






...help yourself to

 something warm and delicious...






...the door has opened

 and you are invited into

 the Christmas Kitchen at the Cottage.


Welcome...
Come in from the cold and stay awhile.






"It is Christmas in the heart 
that puts Christmas in the air."

W, T. Ellis










So many of you have said how much you love my kitchen. 

 I feel the same way

 and when it comes to Christmas it is the easiest and most fun room in the Cottage to decorate. 

 Even though, I absolutely love all the wallpaper throughout the Cottage, 

I think it might be a little easier because of the plain white walls, 

and the red of the flooring

 just lends itself to my accessory color of choice and Christmas.




I know I have mentioned 
our kitchen flooring before
 but I don't think I've told you
 the whole story.

The red brick of the vinyl flooring was a spur of the moment choice. 

 At the very first, when planning the scheme for the kitchen,

 I had chosen a rusty, brown tile look vinyl for the flooring. 

 Not real tile, as we had that for many years in our house in Santa Cruz,

 and eventually things were dropped and then the earthquake of 1989 happened

 and we had a lot of broken tiles.  

I didn't want that anymore and, at that time, hardwood wasn't a big deal for kitchens or baths. 

 We had made arrangements for the flooring to be laid and at the last minute, 

we were told that the pattern that I had picked out was discontinued.  

We were pressed for time so I kind of just blindly picked the first thing I saw 

and, believe you me,

 that is one, if not the best, decision we made in the renovation of our Cottage.

  This little floor has taken such a beating:  

big and little dogs, and muddy boots,

  moving and painting furniture and everything imaginable spilled on it,

 and in spite of some neglect at times 

 it still shines.




What you are looking at is
 not a Christmas miracle! 
 It pretty much has looked like this
 for almost 30 years.




The little kitchen tree shines too


 A little explanation for you...

After the tree was up in the kitchen

 and I had taken all the photos, 

one string of lights burned out 

and we didn't have any replacements. 

Of course, they were

 the old version of lights

 and it was impossible to find anything

 that wasn't LED now. 

I haven't pulled any punches 

when I talk about LED lights.

 I plain don't like them! 

 The Captain brought home 

what he could find 

and I do have to rethink them a bit. 

I still don't like them,

 and to my naked eye

 they are harsh and way too bright,

 but to photograph, I have to admit 

they are golden, 

and they are beautiful on this little tree. 

So much softer and clean looking.

 I didn't want to take all the ornaments off

 so that is why you see too many wires

 and possibly,

 if the lights were pushed back 

into the branches 

they wouldn't look so harsh to me.

 It will have to do until next year

 when they will be fixed properly. 

I couldn't resist taking all new photos

 so you could see how pretty it is...





...and it is so peaceful sitting here 

with a hot drink before bedtime.








The real thing

 and one from the imagination

 of a wanna-be artist!






The table is set for two.

  A very comfortable spot 

when the candle is lit

 and the fire is burning...  





...and the dinner plate's message

 says it all.





I found this pretty cannister at Home Goods on my birthday trip 

and then the little red gingerbread snowflake ornaments from

 Marmalade Mercantile.  

A sweet match was made. 

 They have given me a new idea 
that I am working on for
 the long winter months after Christmas.
  I am anxious to share with you then.

 




















Even the top of the cupboards 

got a little bit of Christmas.




So far,
 the all time favorite
 of gingerbread house renovations.





There has been sightings 

of some farm animals hanging around...













...not to mention all the flakes seen in the area...























Evidently

 there is a convention of Santa's

 being held at Holly Farms...





...and my favorite Santa 

that I made back in the day.








I hate to say it, 

but this brings us to the end

 of Christmas decorations.  

There is still a few days for us to sit back and enjoy the time left. 

 Now preparations begin for the day we spend with family and friends.

  Our kids are coming up to be with us on Christmas Day.  

It will be a quick day again, 

but we are so grateful and happy 

for the time we can spend together.







I am going to take some time off

 to unwind and relax. 

 I will see you next year. 

 I hope everyone has a 

very Merry Christmas

 and a Happy New Year

 and until then...




Make your wishes

 upon the

stars count and...




May all your days

 be

 merry and bright.



...Judy...




"May the light illuminate your hearts 

and shine in your life every day

 of the year. 

 May everlasting peace be yours 

and upon our earth."


Eileen Anglin 


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