Sunday, December 22, 2013

Little Christmas Decorating Touches and Practically Free!

Seasons greetings! I hope that you are almost ready for Christmas. I haven't been able to post much with my dad here, but you're probably busy yourselves with little time to read blogs!

Because I didn't have a lot of time to decorate after Thanksgiving, I decided to keep it simple. I also decided to keep it cheap! Most of my decorating items were things that we already have, so I won't bore you with the repetitive details of that, but here are a few small and recently acquired things that I placed around the house.

 Our little addition this year is the wicker doll carriage
that you see below. We purchased it for about $15
at a going-out-of-business sale in a small shop in Flat Rock, NC
when we were up at Birdsong. It was really trashed as they
had it sitting outside, but sweet Mr. Perch put it back together
and gave it a coat of spray paint so that we could bring it
inside for Christmas...

This morning I decorated the covered glass bowl that
often sits on our dining room table (purchased a couple
of years ago from Pottery Barn).
You may or may not know that the bird and nest
that you see in the center of my blog banner were actually
sitting in this bowl when I took the photo that appears
in the banner.
This morning I removed the bird, nest and moss,
filled it with some silver ornaments and decorations,
and inserted copies of old Santa photos from my
collection. I copied four pictures, and glued them
in pairs back-to-back so that you would see them
from all sides.
Cost: Nothing!

And above it hangs our chandelier,
dressed in some simple artificial greenery,
purchased at Michael's for 50% off.
Last year I think we still had our crystal chandelier
hanging, and could not decorate it.
For this one, we cut apart the clusters of
greenery that are meant to put in a pitcher,
and just laid them above the arms of the chandelier...

I don't think that I've ever shared photos of our master
bedroom, mainly because it is not my favorite room in
our house.
Hubby purchased the bedroom set new just prior to
meeting me. It is nice furniture, but more in the craftsman
bungalow style. We will be shortly redecorating more in
tune with our farmhouse preference,
but in the meantime all I did in here was to add the snowflake
ribbon through the spindles on the headboard
(ribbon purchased for 50% off at Michael's),
the stockings, which we already had,
and new shams, chenille pillows, and the plaid throw
(all purchased at Target for cheap).
The "jingle" burlap pillow was purchased
at the craft show that my neighbor and I went to
up in Hendersonville for about $20.
After the New Year, I will take down the stockings, 
and flip the "jingle" pillow to the reverse side,
which shows French script. 
Voila! A winter theme to take us to spring! 

The fabric reindeer were also purchased at Target. 
I think that they were about $20 each.
I splurged a little more on the bedroom 
because I never did much in the way of Christmas decorating
in here before! 

Our friend and neighbor from Hendersonville is coming for a
few days this week to celebrate Christmas with us,
so here is the upstairs guest room,
with just a touch of Christmas.
I also put up a small feather tree in here,
and some decorative things on the night stand,
all stuff that we already had
(not shown in this picture).
Again, simple simple simple!

And in the upstairs guest bathroom
I wanted to do something neutral, simple and quiet,
so in addition to some Christmas-themed bath towels,
I couldn't resist buying this collage frame at Kohl's for 60% off.
It is shabby painted metal, and was the perfect ticket for holding
copies of more of my old Santa photos.
Since the shower curtain and walls are beige,
and I used beige and brown Christmas towels,
I didn't want to go with too much color.

And last but not least, my little studio tree.
One of Miss Phoebe's relatives watches down.

I won't have much time to post now until after the holidays, so I wish you a wonderful season with many blessings!

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Sunsets and Sadness

"Sunlight and shade; rich gold that dulls to grey"---George Weatherly

Hello friends, and greetings from Florida! We arrived here on Thursday and did a lovely early Christmas with my daughter's family. (My son was down in Key West for a wedding, so we will see him after the holidays when we bring my dad back.) It was so great seeing them and how my grandchildren have grown.

When we were just outside of Tampa the other night I couldn't resist snapping a few photos (one shown above) of the most beautiful and unusual sunset that I've ever seen. It almost looked like the sky was upside down. My cell phone doesn't shoot the best pictures, but I couldn't reach my camera. I am also posting today on this phone.

The sunset made me think about the anniversary of the deaths of all of those innocents in Newtown, CT last year. My thoughts are with their families.

Have a wonderful day!


Monday, December 9, 2013

Christmas is coming!

Hello everyone! I hope you are doing well.

We have been quite busy getting ready to leave in a few days for our Florida Christmas celebrations. Between decorating, wrapping, cleaning house, preparing guest rooms and baking cookies, I haven't really had time to blog, so I thought that I would just drop in to say hello and provide you with a little Christmas cheer.

Here is a sweet vintage Christmas postcard.
I apoligize for the wavy lines on it.
For some reason my scanner did not
like this one, maybe because it
was glossy...

...but it liked the back of the card better.
I thought you might like the reverse, too!

Have a wonderful day!

Friday, December 6, 2013

Some fabric collage in the works (I hope!)...

Greetings from The Perch!

Last week I pulled together some fabrics, laces, and trims, hoping for some divine inspiration. I figured that if I stared at some pretty things sitting on the bed in my studio long enough, they might magically assemble themselves into some incredible collage pieces. Well, most of it is still sitting there, but I did loosely assemble one piece, which is now ready for stitching! I also tried a new method for transferring photos onto fabric, which worked great and is so much cheaper than buying those fabric transfer sheets. I will share the method with you on a future post.

Between trying to prepare for Christmas, and getting ready to drive down to Florida next week to do an early Christmas with my family and then bring my dad back here for the holidays, there will not be much time for art, but a gal can dream!

Here is a glimpse of the pretties that I've been looking at...

Hmmm...I wonder what the theme of this project is going to be?

Have a wonderful and creative day!

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Christmas Chores, Cooking a Pot Roast, and the Story of a Wooden Spoon

Good morning friends. I hope that you're having a great week! There simply doesn't seem to be enough time to get everything done that needs to be done.

In between...

...trimming the tree...

...decorating the house...

...and wrapping the gifts...

...I actually cooked a pot roast using my go-to simple
recipe from Ree Drummond (The Pioneer Woman).
Thanks, Ree!
Pardon my little notes.
I do not like watery sauces,
so I thickened this by adding a mixture of
equal parts of cornstarch and beef broth,
with a few drops of Gravy Master, 
shaken together and poured gradually
into the sauce until it thickened
into a nice gravy.

I have many recipes for Pot Roast, most more complicated than this one, but this is the one I use when I don't have a lot of prep time. It's great in cool weather, fills your house with a wonderful aroma, and it sure beats the stuff that you make with canned cream of mushroom soup, which I never use in ANYTHING!! (Sorry, just my opinion.)
Fortunately, in this area, rosemary and thyme
 grow all winter in my garden.
Here's what it looked like going into the oven...

...and then into our tummies!...

Oh, and if you're wondering about the tape on the wooden spoon, here's the story.
That was my mom's wooden spoon. I think that it's about 60 years old.
I don't remember my mom ever actually spanking either my brother or I.
But, she was a yeller. And a threatener.
"If you don't behave, I will come after you with my wooden spoon!"
And come after my brother she once did.
And missed.
She hit the wall.
And broke the spoon.
And taped it back together.
The original tape still holds.
They just don't make tape like that any more.
And they certainly don't make spoons like that any more.

I now have a collection of my own wooden spoons.
But this one is my favorite.
There is not a time that I use it where I don't think about my mom coming after my brother with that spoon.
Mom passed away in 2009, but I know that she is still wondering when she will get that spoon back.

Happy decorating!
And happy eating!

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

A Christmas Cactus in the Morning Light

Hello everyone! I hope that you're all well and had a great Thanksgiving. We sure did!

Every year early in November, before there is a danger of the first frost, we move our houseplants from the screen porch into the house. Because many trees surround our home, we don't have a lot of sunny windows, so we divide the plants between Hubby's office and the downstairs guest room. This year I put our Christmas cactus in the guest room. I think it's actually a Zygote Cactus, but it doesn't seem to mind what I call it. I took the following photos on November 17th, but this sweetie is still in full bloom. I bought it as a tiny plant for a couple of bucks from Lowe's about five years ago, and it is now huge. I guess you could say it is happy inside for the holiday! I thought it just looked beautiful in the morning light. It brightens my day every time I walk into that room.

Do you have a plant inside your home that brightens your day? Thanks for stopping by!

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Monday, November 18, 2013

Inspiration from Romantic Homes magazine...

Good morning!

While we were away, I received my December copy of Romantic Homes magazine, which was chock full of holiday decorating eye candy. Since I need to make this a quick post, here is a glimpse of what you will see in this issue. I wish I had a little more time to sit down and read the whole thing today!

I'm sorry that these photos are a little dark, but I think you get the idea!

Have a wonderful day.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Birdsong Cottage: The little old single wide mobile home that could...


The time finally came for putting this year's final decorating touches on our little jewel, our diamond in the rough. After several five-hour trips to go up to the mountains and work on her whenever we could, and many weeks of ripping out old carpeting, replacing rotted sub flooring, installing laminate flooring and new baseboards, never-ending painting, much of which was over cheap and ugly old paneling, working on the old furnace that was original to the house, correcting bad electrical wiring, putting in new lighting, installing a new ceiling fan and moving an old one, replacing doorknobs, painting a bunch of old furniture, cleaning up and rebuilding a rotted and bad-smelling vanity and broom closet, and making an ugly old bathroom look pretty on a minimal budget, we have turned our vintage 1969 single wide mobile home into a little gem.

When built, our place was nothing but red carpeting and cheap dark faux wood paneling. Though most of the paneling had later been painted gold to match the gold carpeting that replaced the red, much of it still looked like this...

...and the insides of most of the cabinets and the broom closet looked like this...

Now, our freshly painted and lined cabinets look like what you see below...

...along with a tidy, and also repainted, laminate-floored broom closet that looks like this...

I can't tell you what all of this did to remedy the musty smell of this old place!

Now for the fun stuff! Besides the hung leaded glass windows on the TV wall in the living room (shown in an earlier post)...

...we also hung a a couple more pieces of reproduction art by Billy Jacobs...

We finally got the antique foot board up in our bedroom, after figuring out how to do it without the bed rails that didn't fit...

...and some pretty curtains purchased at half price from Kohl's now replace the ugly old paneled sliding closet doors that didn't slide anyway (and whose wood we used to replace the rotted bottom of the bathroom vanity and the rotted sub flooring in the broom closet) ...

The bathroom hutch now has some pretties in it...

...and our little Miss Phoebe watches down over all...

Yesterday we bid our little cottage goodbye until spring. She will be winterized later this week. After forming such a close bond with her during the last few months, I was sad to leave her sitting there alone for the cold winter months to come. But I look forward to seeing her again in the spring when I will finish painting all the trim and work on the window coverings. We will also start working on the guest room, the porch and the outside of the place. And most of all, we look forward to being able to enjoy all that those beautiful mountains have to offer.

Thank you so much for keeping me company on this journey!