Sunday, December 11, 2016

The Prettiest Sight You'll See


I’ve had a wonderful weekend and am cooking all day today but did want to pop in and ask you/challenge you/remind you to do a bit of decorating just for yourself.  Often holiday decorating is done more for our neighbors or in accordance to our floorplans than simply for us to enjoy.  I love all that but what I’m enjoying very most this year is the Christmas tree I decorated directly in view from my kitchen sink.  Standing at my sink is probably where I spend most of my time by percentage.  I placed each ornament carefully and used way more than one usually would outside.  I knew I’d enjoy that detail and that was the only goal.  If you haven’t already, think about where you spend most of your time in your house.  Stand or sit there and look straight ahead.  If it’s the mirror on your ceiling from your bed (congratulations on your self-confidence), hang a wreath, as the mistletoe might be implied.  If it’s a window, put something outside.  It need not be conventionally "tasteful" (I love light up Santas), elaborate, or fit into the larger scheme of your holiday decor.  Something just for you.  You’ll be surprised how much joy Christmas or Hanukkah will bring you in view of the minutiae.

I’m off to make biscuits and chop potatoes and carrots and shred my debit card because I have been on a Limoges binge.  When it rains, it pours…

Do you do any just for you decorating?  If not, get to it! 

84 comments:

  1. What a great idea! I feel as if I've accomplished something just by lighting a candle.

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    1. Thank you! Do one thing and you've done something! Haha

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  2. I love your tree! The red really pops... and yes, I decorate the whole danged (I would normally inflict "damn" there, I don't use "dang".. but who really wants to damn their house, right?) house just for me, but everyone else gets to enjoy it so it's a win win. I love how you bring natural elements inside too...

    I don't even have a full length mirror in the walk-in.. the thought of one over the bed would be just.. hideous. Remember the Friends episode where they thought it would be cool to video themselves and when they actually viewed it they were horrified?...

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    1. Haha my whole life is surrounded by mirrors so that's probably how I got such a complex. The little outdoor tree is such a nice view! I'm not finished with the big tree yet! Thank you!

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  3. Hello, I need no encouragement to decorate just for me- this is why I have 2 trees this year.

    Need to shred my card too because I've been shopping for clothes and homewares- comfort shopping because my last grandparent died recently and I feel adrift. I had all four until 37 and then last year lost 2...the end of an era xxx

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    1. So sorry for your loss, FF. It's so awful how it seems to be in short succession that we lose them. Keep shopping we can always reform in 2018. I mean 17.

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  4. Oh that is a sweet tree and I now want to see the Limoges...

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    1. Thanks! It's so cute! The Limoges additions are all pretty basic white with gold rims. Though I did find a true jewel of a platter circa 1900. And 20 inches! Also found some lovely green with pink roses I'm trying to ID.

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  5. This is splendid advice.
    Do you have a favorite lotion to use on your hands?
    Mary

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    1. Thank you! I make my own intense hand treatment since my hands get sooooooo dry between doing hair, cooking, and cleaning and washing my hands every ten seconds. But I'll post a link to my favorite buyable lotion. I used to work in tanning and actually still like some of the products. Nothing smells better than tanning stuff!

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    2. https://www.amazon.com/Nation-Toasted-Coconut-Marshmallow-Moisturizer/dp/B0176TTT6S

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    3. My sister, the equestrian, who uses her hands to muck out her stables, feed the ponies and teaches riding and jumping swears by COCONUT OIL...it is not expensive, is organic and readily available...

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    4. Thank you both for the hand lotion tips. I am going to try each of them. The toasted coconut marshmallow must smell good enough to eat! I seem to remember that in that old movie about Gypsy Rose Lee, she used Crisco on her skin. Could that be?
      Mary

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    5. Oh I love that movie! Yes the lotion smells so good!

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    6. I've been using both coconut oil (of which I have vats from when I was going to go paleo) and the toasted coconut lotion. I only need a smidgen of coconut oil and it absorbs very quickly although sometimes it gets so liquid it seems like it might not get absorbed--and then it does! My hands are very silky. The lotion smells and works divinely and I promoted it to post-shower all over application. Again, thank you both for the excellent advice. I only wish it were possible to have impervious skin that water just beaded up on.

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  6. P.S. I adore china and porcelain! Can we see your Limoges?
    Mary

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    1. I'm sure it'll make it here some time! The white and gold plates will be used at Christmas or before.

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  7. Thank you for posting more frequently. I sure enjoy your pictures and insights.

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  8. Stephen, thank you so much for reminding me of this. My husband and I were hedging on getting a Christmas tree this year because we are not entertaining and I'm recovering from knee replacement. I've done the mantles, dining room table and linen press, and outside, but ran out of steam for the TREE! We WILL get one tomorrow...... for US!! Thank you!! By the way, mirrors on the ceiling are not such a bad idea as we age.....all that loose, wrinkly skin gets zapped by gravity and, voila, INSTANT FACE LIFT!!! ( However, this is the same reason I want to be cremated....scared I'll look better in my coffin than I ever did when alive.....jus sayin')!

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    1. Hahaha! Did you ever see that episode of Golden Girls where Blanche and Dorothy have that discussion in the kitchen! So funny. Sounds like you're very decorated already, good for you! Good luck with the tree and knee. Helped one of my good friends through a replacement this summer and it seemed like recovery was so slow and then suddenly better.

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    2. I LOVE the Golden Girls and can only imagine that conversation!!! Just wanted to ask, tho', in my comment I referenced the French word "voila". Does it drive anyone else AROUND THE BEND that so many people, actors, commercials misquote it as 'wallah"???? Just a pet peeve for me along with 'their, there, they're' and 'your, you're'.......I know, I'm nuts!!

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  9. Oooooh Limoges! What is your pattern? Mine is Nosegay.
    Yes, I do some "just for me decorating" but it's very simple and probably goes unnoticed by most. and that's fine because it's "just for me"!

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    1. Exactly! I do all the big stuff too and love it but I think it's so lovely to have a little thing that is just for me! Not sure if the patterns. Three different versions of white with gold rim + white w gold rim platter + and a lovely pink and green pattern I'm trying to ID! I've seen nosegay, so cute!

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  10. Lovely simple idea Stephen. Just out of interest...do you decorate your salon? I really enjoyed the posts you did on the salon revamp...would love to see more.

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    1. Thank you! Yes I do! I have to do a fake tree at the salon because of clients allergies though. I so prefer real! I should post about the salon, I don't think I have since September '15.

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  11. As this has been - so far - more than a little bit of "The Year Without A Santa Claus" for me I haven't done any decorating at all. Thank you so much for reminding me that doesn't mean that I can't.

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    1. Thank you Heather! Yes yes exactly! Any little thing that makes you happy!

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  12. I'm decorating today - just for me. Thank you for the encouragement. I love your blog!

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  13. I think this is a very important post.
    I almost didn't do anything outside this year.
    but then about a week ago I decided to put the little white lights I love on my balcony.
    last year at my other apt... I had mixed colored lights along with the white and a simple wreath with a ribbon.
    a young doctor in his last year of residency who worked long and odd hours at the hospital also lived at the complex. one morning he was leaving just as I was getting into my car and he actually thanked me.
    he said when he came home so tired that there were those cheerful little lights and they always made him feel better and like he was home.
    we often never know how what we do might help someone else. and I had done so very little that it was almost silly.
    but I LOVE the idea of your decorating where YOU can see it yourself so much... like from your kitchen!
    I also leave mine on all night. that's how the young doctor got to see them.
    they don't seem to take that much electricity. but then maybe MORE of them would though.

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    1. Thank you so much! I leave mine on all night too! My favorite time of day is early morning before sunrise and that's when I enjoy them most! So many have them on timers that shut off after midnight! What's the point?! That is the great thing about LED, so little electricity. Though for white I still use incandescent. Don't tell anyone! How good that must have felt to hear him say that! med school is like living in twilight so I'm sure coming home and seeing your lights actually reminded him it was Christmas!

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    2. Tammy, your post was important. It thrilled me so quietly thinking about that young doctor.....so deeply touched by your act of kindness to yourself and unknowingly to him and who knows who else. Isn't that what it's all about

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  14. Well, your tree is just perfect, and the snow makes it all the more lovely. And how nice to have a window perfect for a Christmas tree! So yes, a spendy holiday season for me too...and not just gifts for others haha. I've treated myself extremely well! My "I love me" decoration was running garland and some decorations on the range hood. I love having some holiday decor in the kitchen to enjoy while I'm baking. My plan is to eventually have a whole set of winter decor I can have up once the holidays are over...just greenery and whatnot. I see no reason to stop the cheerfulness just because Hanukkah and Christmas are over, as long as its refined and not overdone.

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    1. Your hood looks so pretty! I'm glad I'm not the only one treating myself! Haha though I really need to stop! Thank you so much! I always love the look of forced bulbs and branches in January and Feb. They are awful awful months here so it's nice to have something alive!

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  15. I can see my neighbor's tree when I come home at night

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  16. YES,it is ALL ABOUT ME!
    Now do tell me MORE about THE LIMOGE!!!!!!

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    1. Just white with gold rims and then a green and pink pattern that you'll be jealous of! Though I guess not as jealous as if they were yellow roses!

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  17. Yes! Most of what I do in decorating is for Jeff and I. I love the tree.

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    1. Glad to hear that! Love how much you love decorating your house! Thank you!

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  18. Dear Stephen Andrew,
    Once again you have made me laugh out loud! We have a little grapevine tree over a wire armature that we put in our kitchen, as we spend much of our time there in the depths of a Cleveland winter. On this little tree are three things--a garland made from beer bottle caps, white lights, and little red cardinals. We love good beer(wow, Columbus has some great ones), we love our wild backyard bird visitors, and just the simplicity of white lights. I place it in an aged Italian large terracotta pot and fill it with pine boughs. Then I feel a bit more festive. Thanks for spreading cheer, SAJ! PENNY

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    1. Thank you so much! I love seeing the birds and squirrels and deer in the winter too! And am always so delighted to see foxes. I hate beer but my brother loves it and he is a fan of Columbus Brewing Company! He likes high alcohol IPAs. Have any favorite Cleveland ones I should get for him?

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  19. Yes! I totally deck-o-rate for my own pleasure. I also spend most of my time in the kitchen. My favorite spot is the island cooktop because it faces a large double window that overlooks a second-floor deck and wildlife preserve. Right now, the railings are decked out with fresh garlands and large pearl-white globe lights, but the real eye-catcher is the double-sided, red-roofed suet feeder with its endless parade of winter visitors - Red-bellied, Downy and Hairy Woodpeckers and occasional squirrel. I’m easily entertained – Ha!

    Love your tree! Turquoise and red is a cheerful combo.

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    1. Thank you! Your kitchen and its view sound so serene! I've really enjoyed the birds more than ever this year. It's adorable how they get so comfortable with us!

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  20. Both of your photographs are beyond lovely...thank you! The white Christmas lights along the deck railing, as well as the hummingbirds and other small birds who frequent two feeders, provide a beautiful view from our kitchen windows...and for four of the last seven days, a bit of snow and a 3/4" coating of ice on every surface added a beautiful (to me) seasonal touch that is rare here. Do you have snow on the ground for most of December through February? Does Barbie like to frolic in it? Appreciating the gifts you share with us, Leslie

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    1. Thank you so much! How jealous I am of your year round hummingbirds! I miss mine! They're just so sweet! Am sure your world is gorgeous amid the snow and the ice. I love an icy coating on things even if it is dangerous!! No, our snow comes and goes in December if we get any. It's interesting how we rarely have a winter where we have built up snow. I'm hoping we get a lot this winter. Barbie goes nuts for the snow! She cannot get enough!

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  21. Great idea to decorate for oneself! Not doing anything much this year because we have tradesmen doing repairs from a leaky tap flooding our house while we were away for weeks. Today there's dust everywhere from the grouting on kitchen floor tiles being removed and replaced (along with damaged tiles) and new grouting laid. We can't even go in there for over 24 hours - or clean up. Luckily I made the Christmas pudding yesterday. And we'll be spending Christmas with our son and family elsewhere.
    Love your little tree! And look forward to seeing a post on the Limoges! Who doesn't love it! I still remember "Out of Africa" when Meryl Streep (Baroness Blixen) has the horrors when Robert Redford's guys run along the tops of the goods wagons. She cries out in horrified protest "Oh, My Limoges" and he replies "They didn't know it was Limoges!" Happy Christmas Stephen Andrew - hope you have a lovely time with your family and friends! And Happy Christmas to all your readers. Pammie xx

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    1. Thank you so much, Pammie! Hope you have a happy Christmas with your son! Oh remodels are so awful with all the dust! I just hate it! Smart to leave while it's in process! I haven't seen that movie in so long! I really should watch it again.

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  22. I went to a potluck last night and bought Christmas cookies at the silent auction held to raise money for scholarships, grants, etc. I put a little "lantern house" with an led candle tea light in the auction. Everyone admired it but no-one bid or bought it so I gave it to a friend who has little money. Her eyes lit up and she said yes she certainly wanted it. I got it and 2 others on sale and my 2 will be Christmas decorations. I bought little blue Danish Christmas plates from a beloved neighbor's estate sale after her death. I will do something with them. I am keeping the bird feeder filled. Love "Donna in Potomac's" comment about her suet feeder. Here there are Chickadees, Brown Creeper, Northern Flickers, Downy and Hairy Woodpeckers, Red-breasted and White-breasted Nuthatches, sometimes Golden-crowned Kinglets. Once the temperature warms up from -30ºC. (about the same º in Fahrenheit) I may put the outside decorations up. Nothing extensive but a few artificial boughs with battery-operated lights. Batteries would freeze in this weather, though! At this rate, it will certainly be a white Christmas! I too love your tree! I save the bough of a white birch tree and will put that in on of the pots outside and decorate it!

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    1. Damn! I can't believe it's that cold already! It's a fitting little twist of fate that you ended up giving it to someone directly who would love it! Your decorations sound lovely! Thank goodness we have birds to enliven our bleak landscapes! Do you see moose too? What about wolves?

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    2. Occasionally a moose wanders into the city but there are more moose about 50 minutes' drive to the west in the mountains. Do you see moose? I've never seen a wolf but yes you can see them in the mountains. There is a problem at the moment with a wolf pack near Banff that has become habituated to people and is causing concern.

      I should have told you that one Christmas, many many years ago, the decorations at neighbors' houses were enjoyed by me and someone else. My mother bred Scottish terriers and there was a pet Scotty at home. It was a mild but snowy evening. in front of every home, the scotty would sit down and stare into the windows of neighbors' living rooms. He was entranced by the lights and the Christmas trees and I was charmed by this dog's fascination. About 2 hours later I made it up the driveway and home where my Mother was very worried. "Did you fall on the ice? Are you ok? Did you visit with someone?" No, ... no ... no... I explained that her dog had turned a 15 minute walk into a 2 hour walk by sitting down on the sidewalk at every house and like a little old man seemed to enjoy the lights and judged who should win the decoration prize. Sometimes the neighbors would watch
      us watching their lights and when they realized it was the scotty, there was a lot of mirth. That is my favourite memory of Christmas lights and decorations. I am thinking about making it into a children's book. Merry Christmas, Stephen

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    3. How adorable!! I love Scotties. No moose here, just deer!

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  23. We've had the most wonderful snowfall overnight, it's winter wonderland here this morning, I thought of you!
    Love this post. I think I've decorated everywhere I can this year but I did miss a pot in the garden that I normally fill with greenery, I shall remedy this so thanks for the inspiration. I am feeling very festive. I spent yesterday decorating our fifth bedroom for Poppa, my father-in-law, because he's coming to stay for Christmas. We had to put together a metal daybed and we did it without murdering each other. I've also ordered a cast iron gas fireplace for the family room which is going to be very cozy. I'm on a tear. I should probably shred my debit card too.
    Today I'm making hot fudge sauce, yesterday it was the Christmas Cheese Ball times two. Nothing better than being in the kitchen all day this time of year... listening to Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass Christmas album! Have a lovely day SAJ xx

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    1. It is always an accomplishment to assemble furniture without any bloodshed! I know you are well-prepared this year as you have been festooning since nov 30 at 11:59PM!! Isn't the Herb album great? So different. I always loved him but didn't know about the Christmas album until one of my clients told me about it! I tell her every year that I am forever in her debt!

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    2. PS jealous of the snow. We got a bit yesterday but it's melty mess today.

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  24. Fathead's "Head Hunter" is an excellent IPA. In fact, most Fathead's IPAs are above avg. & should be available in Columbus. We like to tour microbreweries in Columbus; you've got some good ones.

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    1. Thanks! I'll look for it. I wish I liked beer at all but I honestly hate it! One of my brother's friends works at a brewery and one night he brought out samples of every beer they had and had me try each of them. They were getting such a kick out of the faces I made when I tasted them. So gross! The only one I didn't think tasted like shit was a stout that tasted like bad three day old coffee.

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  25. I am normally a total bah humbug - I know Jewish friends who get much more excited about xmas than myself as in our household the day is Jesus' and my brother's birthday. But this year for the first time in a decade I got a two foot xmas tree and hung some donated ornaments from my MIL. Not that great and nothing to write home about but I thought I must stop being so blase about everything.

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    1. Haha are you enjoying the tree or is it kind of annoying you? I would take you as more of a wreath person!

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    2. It's there being smug like - don't you regret all those wasted years? I have wreaths that are withstanding the civic strain of London and still hanging outside my house!

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  26. My dear husband is petitioning for a second tree at our house but the first one nearly did me in. I get so obsessed with the lights that I neearly break into tears by the time I finish just the lights. I pull myself together prior to breaking out the ornaments because my son loves decorating so much and I want him to remember decorating as a happy time. By tradition our tree is a riot of electric ornaments, all white lights, and a selection of ornaments ranging from antique to treasures purchased on vacation over the past 20 years.

    The kitchen mantle will be finished tomorrow, a Star Wars theme this year (dearest son's choice).

    I did three alpine style fakies at our cabin in blown glass ornaments, my favorite tree has oldies looking ones like fishing creels, plaid thermos, picnic baskets, hunting boots,etc.
    You inspired me to do the spindly pines flanking the porch steps with ornaments.

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  27. I am in the middle of a move and almost went bah humbug but deciding to put lights out and a tree up did make a huge difference!! Love that image of the lit tree!

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    1. So exciting about your move! Even a little bit of decorating makes a huge difference!

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  28. oh i love this stephen. all my decorating is for me and maybe a little for alex as he's the only other one in the family that really "gets it" i haven't done any decorating bc of my schedule but i'm feeling the itch the last couple of days. i'll prob get to it on sunday for sure. i love that your shredded your cc will it be in the potatoes or biscuits? x

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    1. Thank you! Oh unfortunately it was notttttt shredded. Christmas comes but once a year and only lasts 7 months so I really try to maximize it! I do most of my decorating last minute too since I like all real stuff

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  29. Oh bless you for this! I'm in a rented casita in San Miguel de Allende, living out of a suitcase and Christmas likely won't be festive this year (few places are open for dinner, etc.) and I've been wondering how to make it special. I'll get in a bit of grand food and drink and find a way to "set the scene" thanks to you. Next year I'll go all out and make up for it. But I do believe it's Christmas no matter where we are or who we're with (or not). Thank you and I wish you the merriest of Christmases - and all the Limoges your heart desires!

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    1. Thank you so much! I'm sure the weather will be divine though! And you can probably find some pointsettias right?

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  30. BTW...I forgot to say...Every time I see a new post up I smile, and every time, EVERY time you say at least one thing that makes me snort with laughter (I should know better than to read one of your posts while drinking wine) and say out loud "God I love you Stephen!" This one was no different - the line "...congratulations on your self confidence..." re a mirror over the bed is priceless. So wish I lived close enough to be your friend in real time! :)

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    1. Thank you!! I always wonder if anyone besides the douchebag character in movies actually has a mirror on their ceiling. I wonder how many years of bad luck it is if that mirror breaks?

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  31. So pretty, Stephen! I love the turquoise and red also, and of course the snow on it! What is the size of this? I can see how that view brings you joy; it does for me as well. The decorating-for-me that I do is in my bedroom, where I hang whatever art I love and don't worry too much about scale (well I do a bit, but it seems to work however I hang it because I love looking at it). I love folk art and there are a couple of pieces by a dear friend that are winter and Christmas-theme and I leave them out in my bedroom year-round, because it's my room. ;) Going lighter with the decorating this year just because of storage container issues; my stuff was moved into a different one and so the Xmas boxes are no longer in the front and within easy reach (I didn't think to note that). Probably best not to climb over boxes in an effort to secure the boxes in back. It wouldn't end well. Merry Merry! ~Nicole in CA

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    1. Thank you so much! The pot is about 2.5 feet tall and the tree is about 3. Yes, climbing over storage boxes in a small space can end up in a very dusty avalanche!!

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  32. I got a new strand of what I christened liberal snowflakes that we put by the sliding door in the kitchen. Had to move the hummingbird feeder a few feet over to hang the strand, and those little buggers were angrily buzzing me for the inconvenience! I love your tree, the colors are just perfect together.

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    1. Thank you! I miss my hummingbirds! How wonderful to have them still! I'm sure they complement the Christmas decor beautifully!

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  33. Stephen Andrew, I read you all the time and love everything you write and laugh so much - you have such a gift - but I never comment. However, this time I just have to say I love you almost as much as I love decorating. Please keep blogging - the blogging world and the real world would be bereft without you. Happy, happy Christmas. Jane

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    1. Thank you so much, Jane! Things got way off the rails this last week but I'm hoping to get back with a few posts before Christmas. Then I'll probably avoid January because I haaaaate January!

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  34. Hey Stephen! How did I miss this post? Love your little tree...such a sweet statement. We have not had a Christmas tree for many years. Instead we bring in a tree branch and decorate it with twinkie white lights and homemade ornaments. No shedding and very arty!

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    1. Sounds fab! Janet of the Gardener's Cottage did that a few years ago! Loved it!

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  35. This year, for the first time in my life, I decorated the tree for me. Big shiny snow flakes and balls in shades of deep teal and lime green. Some shiny, some matte, some reflective, some sparkly. I love when the white lights reflect off the snowflakes. I have omitted the familiar and gone with something entirely new. And I love it. Probably will get comments when the sons come home, like, "What's with the Communist tree?" (Anything they don't like is Communist.) I also have a children's tree and will put some of the old, favorites on it. But this tree is mine, just the way I like it.

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    1. I'm so glad to hear that! And it sounds beautiful! I don't do sentimental ornaments either. I have some that are sentimental now just due to their age but I prefer for them to not be too precious! If they break, they break. Especially with my penchant for giant trees that unfortunately always topple at least once.

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  36. Yes, indeed!!! Your tree is beautiful and charming. Merry Christmas

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  37. Stephen, I love your tree! I've been away from my blog for a bit due to craziness with my elderly-needing-care, but your posts were the first place I went to for some much-needed joy. How very true that we decorate for the neighbors but not for ourselves. I will admit this year I gave up wrangling with my wire horses and reindeer, I put them out in the yard and plugged them in and, sigh, one horse lit up but the other three remained dark. I just couldn't face another ten hours of my husband going through each light bulb one at a time, so I plunked them into their places in the yard and was happy with the one and only lit horse. However, after I did the snowblowing with my tractor, I now have zero lit horses. I thought I'd aimed the snow far enough away, but I guess not. I've seen some people wrap garland around their wire animals, I think that will be my next step. (Next year.) All the best from your frigid friend in Wisconsin. Ok, I'm not frigid....oh my....the weather is. :-)

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  38. I do it ALL for me... screw the rest of them... just kidding... they don't really Care and we probably wouldn't have Decorations if I relied on The Man and The G-Kid Force to be my Minions at the Holidays to get it all put up or taken down. I linger too, mine is all still up and I still have Santa Hats and Santos Crowns on the Taxidermy... Dawn... The Bohemian

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