Wednesday, December 31, 2014

We Are Celebrating. . .

A birthday at our house today.  Someone is a year older!  Not my sweetheart.  Not me.  Wonder who it is? It’s. . .

He’s six years old today.
(He's a Long-Haired Miniature Dachshund)
Joey Joey was a birthday gift to me from our daughter and her four children.  I’ll never forget the day I met him.  He was so tiny – and loving and snuggly-cuddly.  The moment we met I knew it was love at first sight.  For both of us.  My oldest granddaughter held him and watched to see the look on my face.  She added a bit of drama and gave me a sad, puppy-dog look.  I think she must have thought she had to convince me to take him.

He was so little the day he came home.  My daughter bought him the smallest doggie jacket she could find and it was too big!  It didn’t always stay where a jacket should be – you never knew how he would be wearing it.  He snooped around and didn’t venture far from the living room and then found a spot that seemed like the perfect place for a nap.
Baby Joey I’m sure the world seemed like an enormous place to him.  His bed was too big.
Baby Joey in BedThe world outside was so big he was not sure what to think when he was out there.Baby Joey OutsideWhen it was time to come back inside even the little step up was too big!  He was so small he couldn’t hop up through the patio door so my sweetheart put a little step there and carefully taught him how to come in by himself.Baby Joey Outside 2He loved it when the door was open and he could stay inside and just look out.
Baby Joey InsideBut the best thing was when the door was open so he could lie down and hang his head out a bit.
Baby Joey In ThoughtTime passed quickly and he grew.  Life with a growing puppy was fun but challenging at times.  He went through puppy training – and so did we!  He loved to chew and he loved to steal things and hide them.  And sometimes chew them all to pieces.  Most of all he loved being spoiled a bit.Young Joey CollageIf you know anything about Dachshunds, you know that they rule the roost.  They can be very stubborn but loving.  Joey has grown to know his boundaries.  Most of the time.  He’s a good companion and likes to stay close to us.  He loves it when our grandchildren come to visit but he always searches all around the house for them when they go home.

He is an adult now and he has settled into life here pretty well.  He understands a lot of what we say and we find we have to spell some things so he won’t hear them and get excited.  He’s a good dog and I can’t imagine life without him. 
Joey Sleeping 2 Happy birthday, Joey – you’re the best doggie pal a girl could have.  Today is your day and there are special treats planned for you today. 

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Memories of Christmas Past

It’s beginning to look like Christmas is over at our house.  Today is our day to take it all down.  The house looks a little bare.  We’re making progress to get it all put back together again.  Soon it will be time to start working on projects and making plans for more adventures around here. Christmas UndecoratingChristmas two-thousand-fourteen will always be a sweet memory – a picture in my mind that will last for years to come!  My dear, little mother wanted to be part of as much as possible this year.  At times I thought she might not be able to do the things her heart longed to do.  At the beginning I wasn’t sure how to handle the season with the changes that have happened in her life since she last spent Christmas at home two years ago.  Last year she was recuperating from a broken pelvic bone in a local rehab facility.  That changed everything in our lives and the past year has brought many challenges.  So, I decided to make this season as full of special memories as possible – for her.  And for us.  That’s what happened and we all have quite a few moments to cherish:

*  The joy on her face as she sat and sang ‘Joy To The World’ at the annual Christmas Luncheon for senior citizens at our church is like a photo imprinted in my mind. 
*  The joy she had to hear me play the piano again at that luncheon – and the pride I saw in her eyes – was a treasure to me. 
*  The joy she expressed when she had time to celebrate with great-grandchildren. 
*  The joy of an evening drive to see Christmas lights around our town - a tradition begun by my father when I was a very young girl – brought joy to each of us.  

Scattered through the holiday season were moments that will fade in comparison, but these special times, and more, will remain in our hearts for a long time.  As I reflect on the last weeks I can honestly say, ‘We had a wonderful Christmas’!  Now it’s time to get ready and make plans for the new year ahead so next year at this time we can say, ‘We had a wonderful year’!
Outside At Night 2
(our home at night through the Christmas season)

Monday, December 29, 2014

Home For Christmas

Front Door Wreath Even though Christmas has passed I want to share our holiday decor with you.  Our tree is still up and the lights inside and outside our little home are such a beautiful part of the season that continues for a few more days.  Our home is small but comfortable and you will notice that I kept everything very simple this year. I recently mentioned that there was a lot going on that I needed to be involved in and it seemed that simple decorating was the best thing to do.  In the fast pace of the world around me, my heart longed for simplicity this year.  I found that things that had a story – or history – meant the most to me.  I’d love to share our home and our holiday decor with you.  Come along and I’ll tell you all about it.

Our home is a nineteen-sixty-seven vintage ranch-style home – a small home when compared to others in our community and in the world of blog.  But, it is home.  Our home.  And we enjoy it.  Our home has a story but I’ll save that for another time.  Our porch is tiny but it brings you to our front door.  A vintage wooden sled is beside the front door right now.  I bought the sled for five dollars at a moving sale a few years ago!  The sled has metal on the runners and I often wonder the tales it could tell if it could talk.  I decided to hang my square wreath this year.  I love the natural look and it’s a bit different.  In the middle of the wreath I hung a Christmas greeting for you.  Front DoorPlease come in – the door is open.  Our home doesn’t have an entry area so when you open the door you just step right into the living room.  I’ve tried to make the best of this little area and I have some things I would like to add in the future to make it even more welcoming.  Entry Our little home is on Holly Street.  This area used to be a holly farm in days long past.  A few years ago my sweetheart suggested that we should add a bit of holly to our holiday decor because of the history here.  I liked the idea so you will see bits of holly throughout our house during the Christmas season.   I found this wooden tote and knew it belonged in our little ‘entry’.  It was the perfect size to sit on the big speaker for our surround sound.   My sweetheart insists that this speaker must sit right here beside the entertainment center so, not to be discouraged by the idea, I decided to make the best of it.  When I found this tote I knew exactly where it should go.  I think it’s a  perfect way to welcome you to our home!Entry WelcomMy piano is on the wall across from the front door .  I’ve had this piano since I was a child.  I’ve spent many hours of practice on it and I taught a lot of piano students on this piano for quite a few years.  This year I wanted to keep things simple and I knew exactly what I wanted to do.  The singing family on the left is a music box that my son gave me for Christmas when he was younger.  The family on the right was purchased when we were first married – for twenty-five cents at a little thrift store near our first home.  They sit on vintage hand-crocheted doilies.  The vintage music book is a favorite of mine.  I found it at a thrift store, too.  It is by the same lady who wrote the very first book I had when I started taking piano lessons.  This book is written in the same style and the illustrations are similar to my first book.  PianoAcross the living room you can see our fireplace.  We remodeled this it a few years ago and added the new mantel and trim.  At Christmastime I like to keep the decor simple.  I just can’t bring myself to cover up the details of the mantel.  The focus of our mantel is my Willow Tree nativity and some of the angels in my Willow Tree collection.  I wanted to elevate Mary, Joseph and Baby Jesus so I placed them on my father’s Bible.  A wooden star hangs above them.MantelTo the right of the fireplace is a built-in bookcase.  Everything on the shelf above the bookcase is white this year.  A little white ceramic Christmas tree candle light sits on a white candle stand.  Angels singing around Baby Jesus in the manger play ‘Silent Night’.  They were a gift from my dear mother several years ago.  The angel couple hiding in the corner are totally oblivious of anything else that is going on around them.  They are just focusing on kissing each other!  I bought them at a garage sale in the city where our son lived after he graduated from college.ShelfOur Christmas tree is in front of our big living room window.  The sun was shining so bright that I had to close the blinds so I could get a picture.  We’ve had an artificial tree for quite a few years but our tree had major issues with the lights so we decided to get a real tree this year.  I’ve enjoyed the scent of fresh evergreen in our home again this season.
 Christmas Tree 2014
For several years we had a lighted star at the top of our tree but I decided to use this brass tree top star.  It is actually two brass stars that intersect and it is a real treasure to me.  We didn’t have much money the first Christmas after we were married.  That was the year Hallmark came out with the most beautiful, shiny brass star tree topper.  It cost twenty-five dollars!  So expensive in the early seventies when we didn’t have a large income.  I looked at it in the Hallmark store more times than I can count.  My heart longed to buy it but I knew I didn’t have enough money.  I didn’t know what I would put at the top of our first little tree, but I could dream!  I don’t remember telling anyone about it but one day I received a card from one of my mother’s dearest friends.  Inside she had tucked a gift for me to buy something special for myself.  You guessed it – twenty-five dollars was lovingly placed in that card.  It wasn’t long before I drove to the Hallmark Store and bought the star that was at the top of our tree for many years.  This year I decided I wanted to put it on the top of our tree again.  That dear friend is gone now but whenever I see the star I smile – and I remember what a beautiful gift she gave me so long ago.
Tree TopThat same year – our first Christmas – Woman’s Day magazine published a pattern for crocheted snowflakes and Family Circle magazine had patterns for crocheted candy canes, Christmas stockings and bells.  I bought a ball of white crochet thread and got busy making quite a few for our tree.  They have been on our tree every year since.  They are a treasure – even to my sweetheart.Ornaments Just as you step into our tiny dining room you will notice this little china cabinet tucked behind my sweetheart’s big chair.  It may seem like it’s in a strange place but it works.  This little cabinet has quite a story to tell.  It’s a work in progress so I’ll finish the project soon and tell you the whole story.  I’ve added touches of Christmas here – all things that are special to me.  The little wicker sleigh filled with little wrapped boxes was purchased for ten cents at the same thrift store as the singing family on the piano before our first Christmas.  The packages are little match boxes.  I took the matches out and wrapped the boxes with paper, then tied them with ribbon.  The paper looks a bit worn but it always brings back memories of the joy I had when I first wrapped them and put them in the little sleigh.  I remember feeling like I had something very wonderful.  You can’t put a price on that!China Cabinet As you step into the dining room you can see my vintage crocks (bought somewhere at a thrift store many years ago).  I’ve filled them with holly for the season.  The little bench belonged to my dear, little mother.  She gave it to me earlier this year when we had to rearrange some things make her home safe for her to use her walker.  This little blue stool was just inside the doorway into her kitchen, filled with crockery and other wonderful things.  The doorway needed to be cleared so she gave it to me.  I knew right away that it would be perfect for this little spot at the end of my kitchen counter.Crocks and HollyMy hutch sits in the corner of the dining room.  There is only one corner in the dining room because of the doorways in and out and the way the room opens into the living room and kitchen.  This year I decided to leave my dishes and yellow depression glass in the hutch instead of filling it with my Christmas china.  I kept it simple and just added to what was already there.  HutchIt’s hard to get a good picture of the hutch because our room is small and the table is right where I need to stand to get a good, full-length photo.  A cute wreath is perfect on the upper doors.  Little candles shine from vintage yellow glass cups.  On the center shelf I filled a white casserole dish (also found in a thrift store) with pine cones gathered in a park on recent day trip to Central Oregon.
Hutch UpcloseA yellow Franciscan pottery teapot is filled with rustic greens, holly berries and small pine cones on the top of the hutch.  On each side are cute, little vintage yellow salt-and-pepper-shaker ‘candles’.Hutch TopBecause we use the dining room table for all of our meals, I wanted to keep the center decoration very simple.  I’ve done much more in past years but I always had to move it before each meal and put it back afterwards.  This candle lamp was a gift from a friend.  She made it from some beautiful ‘found’ pieces of crystal.  The doily underneath was crocheted by my sweet grandmother.Table Candle Above the table is a simple chandelier.  Again, I chose to keep the decorations very simple this year.  These holly-decorated ornaments were all thrifted finds.  I love this chandelier.  It fits our little home perfectly.
ChandelierMy kitchen is open to our dining room.  On top of the microwave oven near the entrance into the kitchen a Pfaltzgraff Winterberry pattern candle lamp adds a bit of light beside a Willow Tree ‘kitchen’ angel and two tins of holiday tea.Microwave The window above the sink was an ongoing project this season.  I had to think about it and slowly add a little at a time – no sudden ideas here.  There are twinkling lights that add a magical touch through the season.  The three old canning jars belonged to my sweetheart’s little grandmother.  I added a bit of ‘snow’ and tiny Christmas trees.  The Willow Tree  ‘Winter’ angel graces the center of the window and a vintage milk glass vase holds wild holly from our back yard – a reminder of the holly farm that was here years ago!
Kitchen Window
Kitchen Window Collage 2Let’s go down the hall and see touches of the season in the bathroom.  Earlier this year I shared my little lighthouse nightlight that is a replica of my favorite Oregon lighthouse.  I’ve put it on top of a sweet wooden jewelry box my sweetheart’s father made for my mother-in-law.  I added a small piece of holly from our yard to add a holiday feeling and a tiny seashell found at the beach adds a touch of the coast to the scene.Bathroom Counter On the other end of the counter a cute, little snowman smiles at us and a little, framed Christmas wish sits beside a candle lantern that has a nautical feel.  And there are small bits of holly from our yard again.Bathroom Counter 2The windowsill is the perfect place to let these silly snowmen play!  They were a gift from a special friend.  If you look closely you will see that they are in various stages of ‘melt’ – but they are having so much fun!
Bathroom WindowNot far from the bathroom door, at the end of the hall, there is a counter between upper and lower cabinets that hold linens.   It's always a place for something special.  This year it holds the nativity set we’ve had for a long time.  Between a little lamp and the three wise men is a framed Scripture verse – a prophecy of the birth of Jesus many years later.   My childhood Bible Story book is opened to the story of the birth of Jesus.  Just inside my Bible Story book I documented in my childish handwriting that it was a gift from my ‘mom and dad’ in nineteen-fifty-four – sixty years ago!  My father read the Christmas story from this book every Christmas Eve through my childhood years.  Hall Nativity Let’s turn and go back through the living room, walk through the corner of the dining room and through the laundry room to the other end of the house.  Tucked in this back corner of the house is a little half-bathroom between the laundry room and the door into the garage.  This is my sweetheart’s bathroom.  I ‘gave’ it to him and decorated it with things that reflect his interests.  It is convenient for cleaning up when he works in the garage or the yard and we love having a second bathroom when our family gets together.  This year I added a few hints of the season to this room.  On the windowsill you will find Santa and one of his reindeer riding in a Volkswagen - a reminder my sweetheart’s first car, a VW Bug.  In the middle of the window is the shaving brush my dear father used for many years.  On the other side Santa rides on a motorcycle - another reminder for my sweetheart.  He had a motorcycle before we met  so it’s perfect for ‘his’ bathroom!
Half Bath Window On the back of the potty I placed a Christmas moose.  My sweetheart is a hunter with dreams of moose hunting some day.  A rustic-style little Santa adds to the decor that sits under a vintage-car-shaped frame filled with pictures of our family when our children were young.
Half Bath You’ve seen all of our Christmas decorations this year.  Time has passed as we’ve walked and talked and it is dark outside now.  This is the time I love best during the holidays – nighttime and early morning hours when the world outside is dark but the lights inside shine so bright.  As we walk back through the house you will see the lights shining in each room.  In the kitchen window. . .Kitchen Window At NightThe candle on the dining room table. . .Table Candle After Dark From the chandelier overhead. . .Chandelier At Dark On Christmas tree and from the welcome lights in the front window.Christmas Tree 2014 - 2 Thank you for coming by to visit while our home is still decorated.  Very soon it will all be put away for another year.  Please remember that you are welcome to stop by our little house on Holly Street any time – the door is always open!Ornament

With a grateful heart,

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Pre-Christmas Realizations

The last time I checked in I told you that my sweetheart and I had visited a beautiful, big historic mansion in Portland, Oregon and I was planning to share my photos with you.  I am still planning to do that – but it won’t be before Christmas.  A few days after Christmas I will share a few photos of the mansion to let you see the beauty of the Christmas season there.  I’m not pleased with some of the photos I took but that’s not going to be a problem.  I am going back soon!  I’m taking a very dear, childhood friend to see the mansion just a few days after our Christmas celebrations are over.  There should be smaller groups of people there and I will be able to take more photos so you can see more of what I find so special there.  In anticipation, here is more of the phenomenal ceiling architecture.  This is just inside the entrance to the mansion.  Back in the day it was the side door, under the portico, where the chauffeur dropped off the family when they returned home from the outside world.Pittock Mansion Lobby Ceiling As I began to edit photos from our time there I realized I couldn’t get it all done and still invite you into our home before the holidays.  With that realization came the decision to share the mansion later and invite you into our home instead.  We are busy getting ready for a family gathering tomorrow evening so the tour of my little home will have to wait for a day or two. 

First, I’d like you to meet Rudolph Bob.  He lives with dear friends of ours.  We recently attended a great holiday party at their home and Bob was the subject of much conversation.  BobI’d love to have you stop by and visit again. Our home is cozy and warm and I can’t wait to share it with you.  I’d love to show you around and share a tasty treat, a hot cup of tea and a good, long chat.   Please come visit soon. 

Saturday, December 6, 2014

It’s Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas. . .

‘.Pittock Mansion - Library Ceiling’. . .everywhere you go.’

Everywhere, that is, except at my house!  We’re working on it but it’s not ready to show you yet.  Our decorations will be very simple this year so it won’t be long before I can share them with you.  We had a nice Thanksgiving at our son’s home less than an hour south of ours and we’ve helped my dear, little mother do her Christmas shopping and decorate her house.  We’ve enjoyed a grandson’s first-of-the-season basketball game out of town and it seems like we’ve been here, there and almost everywhere! 

The gorgeous ceiling in the photo above is from a historic mansion my sweetheart and I toured yesterday.  It was fabulous – decorated for the holidays, upstairs, downstairs and in the basement!  I took a lot of photos to share with you.  I’ll tell you all about it soon but I need to get back to making my home begin to look like Christmas.

With a grateful heart,
      ~ Adrienne ~