Saturday, December 15, 2012

It Doesn't Get Much Better than Christmas

There are days when it feels silly and shallow to blog about frivolous things like crafting and decorating and movies when there is such sadness and misery in the world.  Today is one of those days. 
I worked yesterday, and spent the entire time whining in my head about my aching feet, and my aching back, and my aching knees (are you sensing a pattern here?) and those whiney, crabby customers, and how hungry and thirsty I was, and was my shift EVER going to end?!  And on and on and on, ad nauseum  . . .
Then I went home and turned on the news and I felt foolish and ashamed that I was complaining about relatively inconsequential stuff. So what if my back and feet and knees ache? At least I can stand and walk. And if those customers are ill-tempered jerks? Well, they're the ones who have to live with themselves. I thank God that I only have to deal with them for a short period of time and that, at least in my free time, I can choose to associate with people who are kind and loving. And if I'm hungry? Well, I could certainly afford to lose a few pounds, so maybe occasional hunger might be a good thing.
When I hear about tragedies like the shootings in Connecticut, I count my blessings. And I pray for those I love (and remind myself to also pray for those I don't even like!)
I thought about not posting what I was planning to post today, but I decided to do it anyway. I don't know about everyone else, but I enjoy visiting your blogs (and writing mine) because I need a respite from the daily news about war and murder and pain and misery. Those things are right in front of us every time we open up a newspaper, or turn on the radio or the TV.  They're impossible to ignore. Sometimes, they hit far too close to home, both literally and figuratively, and we must face them without the protective barrier of newsprint or a television screen.
So, after spending some time crying and wondering if the world has gone mad, I decided to think about something good.  And for me, it doesn't get much better than Christmas.

In spite of the fact that I work retail (and quite frankly, despise it), I still love Christmas.  I love the religious aspect of it, and I love the secular stuff as well, and have no issues with enjoying both equally.  I love Shiny Brite ornaments, "A Charlie Brown Christmas", Santa Claus, houses with Christmas lights, Midnight Mass, Christmas trees, Nativity scenes, gift wrap, Christmas cards, "It's a Wonderful Life", tinsel, Bing Crosby singing "White Christmas", Christmas cookies, eggnog . . .  
Here are a few pictures from my house:
One of my craft projects that I actually liked the end result and didn't donate to Goodwill.  I hang this wreath in my entryway.
Christmas wouldn't be Christmas without my mom's Nativity scene.  She bought this sometime in the mid '50's, and I always enjoy setting it up each year.  I miss my mom very much, particularly at Christmas.

I decorated the fireplace mantel in my living room rather simply (well, simple for ME anyway): just a few ornaments amidst the china.

I inherited my love of the color pink from my grandmother, who had all pink ornaments on her Christmas tree.  Some of the above were hers.

I wanted an old-fashioned looking Christmas, with Shiny Brite ornaments, and tinsel.  I decided not to put the tinsel on when someone decided she wanted to help me:

Yup, that's silver tinsel in her mouth!

Since she was so interested in the tree, I decided to wrap up misc. boxes in this vintage-looking gift wrap, and place them in front of the tree to keep her away.  So far, my strategy has worked.  And I love the darling gift wrap. So very 50's.

These Gurley candles belonged to my grandmother.  She had about a dozen candles of various styles.  These choir members and the lamp post are in pretty good condition.  I can't say the same for some of the others.

In addition to the decorations in my living room, I decided to decorate my dining room as well.  I have collected Snoopy stuff since high school, and have about 400 Snoopy Christmas ornaments, as well as all the other misc. decorations.  I haven't put out the Snoopy stuff for a couple of years (it's A LOT of work), but I was in the mood for it this year, and love the fact that after so many years of living in a small apartment, I now have enough room to go a little crazy with the Christmas decorating.  Here are some scenes from my dining room:

My sister made the Christmas tree skirt for me.

I used two artificial trees for the Snoopy ornaments, but didn't have enough room for all of them.

My oldest nephew made the tissue paper wreath for me when he was about 6.  He's now 30; I can't believe how well the wreath has held up. Those sweet presents from my nieces and nephews are some of my most treasured possessions.

Yeah, I know, it's all pretty over-the-top and crazy, but it makes me smile, and my guests always enjoy it.  It's hard to feel sad when you see all those smiling Snoopies.  And it's hard to feel sad with this one around:

I hope everyone has a great weekend.  Count your blessings, as I will. And, if you're Christmas shopping, be kind to the retail store clerk.  She puts up with a lot of crap from people, and trust me, her feet are KILLING her.
Thanks for stopping by.  I would love it if you would leave a comment - I really enjoy reading them!

Friday, November 30, 2012

It's Beginning to Look A Lot Like Christmas

Well, outside the house anyway. Inside is another matter.

I spent a good portion of yesterday decorating my front yard.  I didn't get the Christmas lights up yet (that's a 2-person job), but I was able to get everything else done, courtesy of the 99 Cent Store, Dollar Tree and Big Lots (yeah, I'm a big spender). 

When I first moved in a little over a year ago, I was charmed by the pine tree in my front yard.  It looked like a Charlie Brown Christmas tree, which I thought was a good omen, as I have collected Snoopy & Peanuts stuff for about 30 years (I have about 400 Snoopy Christmas ornaments alone. Plus a ton of other stuff).

This is what the tree looked like when I bought the house:

This is my tree now:

I had ornaments left over from a failed craft project (I have A LOT of failed craft projects. I think Goodwill has an aisle devoted entirely to my failures).  The large ornaments came from the 99 cent store and Big Lots.

I wish I'd been able to get ornaments on the top branches, but it was hard enough getting this much done (I'm only 5'2'').  I have a friend visiting this weekend, so I'm hoping that between the two of us and a ladder, we might be able to get a few ornaments on top. 
I love anything that sparkles, so this had to come home with me.  It reminds me of one of the old Shiny Brite Christmas ornaments from the 50's.  I'm always on the lookout for those at thrift stores and garage sales, but so far I've only found several boxes of the Christopher Radko Shiny Brite reproductions.  They look great, but there's nothing like the "patina" of a well loved Shiny Brite ornament.
How is your Christmas decorating coming along?
Thanks for your visit and for your comments.  I always look forward to reading them.

Friday, November 23, 2012

The Autumn Leaves

When I was a little girl, I couldn't understand why all my teachers said that leaves turn red and gold and yellow in the autumn.  I lived in Orange County, California, and that didn't seem to happen there.  I knew that my teachers couldn't be lying (nuns don't lie!!), but I just didn't see much of a change from summer to autumn, then to winter.  It just got a little colder.
Then I moved to Central California last year, and I got to see a REAL autumn for the first time.  Now, I've no doubt that this is nothing compared to the fall colors that one might see in New England or in the Midwest, but it is certainly a delight for me.  I just LOVE that autumn color.
I love the rich red of this:

This tree is a favorite in my neighborhood:

I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving.  I have much to be grateful for, in particular, this little girl:
Thank you for your visit and for your comments. I love reading them.

Monday, November 12, 2012

My New Best Friend

Meet Tallulah.

She's a nine month old Rottweiler-Labrador Retriever-Shepherd mix (and maybe a few other breeds thrown in) that I adopted just this past Saturday.  She already weighs about 90 pounds and is still growing (her paws are enormous!), but she is VERY sweet.  She's also a bit of a goofball, likes to watch puppy videos on Youtube, eats all sorts of strange things in the backyard (I don't even want to contemplate what some of them were), and is already spoiled rotten.

I wish I could get a better picture of her, but she never stops moving!!

By the way, the roommates have moved, so I have my house back. I can't begin to tell you how wonderful it is to have peace restored in my home.  I have spent the past eleven days cleaning, rearranging the furniture, working on painting & decorating projects that I put on hold, and generally enjoying my quiet, peaceful sanctuary.  And now I have a New Best Friend to enjoy it with.
Thanks so much for your visit and for your comments. I so enjoy reading them.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Hello Again!

I can't believe more than a month has passed since my last post. September flew by.

It has been a difficult month, and because I didn't want this blog to be a place where I depressed people or where all I did was whine, I really haven't had much to say (I haven't even visited anyone else's blog for awhile, something I wish to rectify on my day off tomorrow.) Although I'm getting more hours at work, it is not going well, as the retail store I work for has a well-deserved reputation for treating their employees like sh-t.  Still looking for a full time job, but so far, no response.  So discouraging.
The roommate situation is not working out either.  Let's just refer to the almost 5 year old as Spawn of Satan (SoS for short). The child has several out of control, shrieking, screaming, body flailing tantrums every day. I fully expect to see his head spin and pea soup to spew from his mouth. (And no, he does not have ADHD; by his mother's own admission, she didn't start to expect him to obey or to discipline him until he started kindergarten in August.  He is simply an undisciplined brat - the intellect of a 5 year old, the emotional maturity and self control of a 2 year old. I wish I had known this before I let them move in.) Well, anyway, my home is no longer a pleasant place to live in, and because I'm extremely broke, I have nowhere else to go.  Quite frankly, I feel as if my home is no longer MY home anymore, if you know what I mean. When I started thinking "maybe I could just rent myself a room somewhere and move out of here", I knew that something was radically wrong.

So, that's my life right now. I've asked them to move, and hopefully they will be gone November 1st.  I know I haven't always been extremely regular in posting, but until the work and roommate situations have been resolved, my posts may be even more infrequent.  I hope you'll bear with me for awhile, and won't completely abandon me.

Now, on to the REAL post:

I've been working on several craft projets, one of them being a couple of collages.  I've been collecting collage materials for years: old postcards, vintage greeting cards, old calendars, stationary, gift wrap, pressed flowers, old photographs, vintage wallpapers, magazine clippings, glitter, feathers, etc.  I go to thrift stores and garage sales to try to find cheap picture frames for my projects.  I feel kind of shy about sharing these (what if everyone thinks they suck?), but I thought I would do so anyway. So, here are a few of them (Sorry for the poor quality of the photos; can't get the lighting or the color right and having a hard time losing the glare on the picture frame glass).

This is my latest. I titled this one "The Garment of God":


A few others that have been hanging on my walls for years:

This one is my favorite. I call it "A Charmed Life":

"Love and Roses": I kind of wish I had not placed the images on this one in such a rigid, angular manner.  Oh well, I can always go back and change it when I get the chance.
I think this one was one of the first ones I did.  It started out with a Paris theme, then I sort of deviated from that. 

I'm now working on a couple of collages for Christmas.  I love the Christmas cards, gift wrap and gift tags from the 1930's, 40's and 50's.  So cute.  I've got these to work with:

And these:

This card, sent in 1954, is one of my favorites:

Except for the last card, these dog cards are actually reproductions.  I think they're just darling.

I absolutely love Christmas and decorate lavishly for it.  Someday, when finances are better, I want to have one of those houses that goes all out on the outdoor decorations.  But, for this year, I'll just have to concentrate on decorating inside.  Can't wait for it!

Thanks so much for your visiting, and for listening to me whine.  And for posting your comments. I love reading them.