Wednesday, December 30, 2009

2009 - The Year in Review




I am participating in Cindy at My Romantic Home's Year in Review Party. So here's my mosaic of the year 2009. Actually there's not all that much to tell.

Of course, the year had some up and downs. On the upside,I settled into my condo and today I am celebrating Oscar's first anniversary. Yup,one year ago tonight, I picked up my baby from his foster Mom Diane's house. Molly wasn't thrilled with his arrival but I think he's growing on her. I really enjoy watching the interaction between the two cats.

One of the downers of the year was my car accident. Although I wasn't hurt, the car certainly was. The damage was $11,000 and it took about a month to repair. But she's running great and for that and the fact that the airbag saved me from serious injury I am grateful.

Traveling to Kennebunkport and Ogunquit with my sister was a highlight of my Summer. I also took a few daytrips to Rockport, Manchester, and New Hampshire.

I was active with my tea group and have some happy memories of the year's tea events and I held a few parties in my new condo. A Valentine's Tea, a Wimbledon Breakfast, Harvest Dinner and Christmas Soiree are all stamped in my memory bank for 2009.

I had a renewed interest in Ebay this year and also spent some time shopping on Etsy. My vintage lace curtain panel was an Ebay find.

The seasons were all beautiful in New England this year and I am so thankful I was able to celebrate each one. I really enjoyed capturing all the changes in seasons with my camera. I did not buy a new camera as was the plan. Maybe in 2010.

Hope you enjoyed my 2009 recap. On New Year's Eve, you can pop on over to Cindy's blog and see more year in review posts.

Wishing you all a safe and healthy New Year.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

We're Hibernating



BRRR! Today was so cold! I went out this afternoon and nearly got blown off the sidewalk. Right now it's 13 degrees in Boston but with a wind advisory and gusts of up to 50 miles per hour the temperature feels like 15 below zero on the skin!

So we will hunker down for the remainder of the day. Me and the kitties will amuse ourselves with a little TV, some blogging, books and magazines. I could clean but what the heck, I'm on vacation.

Molly will find the warmest sunniest spot in the condo.




Oscar will burrow into the feather bed and the bed covers. When the wind howls, he'll hide between the quilt and the comforter underneath.



I'll warm up with a cup of hot chocolate and a good book.

Actually hibernating isn't so bad is it?

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Christmas excitement



After the Christmas Soiree and all the visiting, shopping, and eating. We're tired and in need of a cat nap. Oscar and Molly spent their days exploring the new smells coming in to the condo. New people to sniff, foods, shopping bags, the smell of candles and spiced cider. All good smells but definitely sensory overload for their quiet existence.



Take a look and you can see why they are tired.



Molly wanted a doll for Christmas. And by hook or by crook, she was going to get one!



Oscar was planning his next move. Climb the tree or fight with my sister?



Ok, a game of cat and mouse with my sister!




Molly still wants the doll but may settle for the cat ornament.



Molly tried to disguise herself as a bookcase decoration.



I think she thinks I left the room. Now she's after that rather enticing vintage ornament.



As promised some shots of the condo rooms with their decorations. A shot of the living room as seen from the dining room.



And one of the dining room as scene from the living room. All is calm, all is bright at the moment since the kitties are asleep.



A shot from the living room window. Yes, it will be a white Christmas!




My tree topper from Pottery Barn, the right size for a small tree.



The peace dove is one of my favorites.



We hung bobeches from the hall lights. In lieu of a chandelier this will do. The play of light was wonderful.



Blurry view of the dining room hutch. Themes of skating and tea and cats. I added real greenery last week before my party.



I got these glittery cones and box at Sage Farm Antiques earlier in the month. I thought it might brighten up the bookcase which is stained with a color called Carribean Rum so it's very dark.



Molly woke up and wants to see what's going on outside. Note the little bobeche at the top of the photo.



My hallway tree and favorite photo of ballerinas from Marblehead.



A new addition to the bookcase. Mini stockings for Molly and Oscar. I like the dark wood with the colors of burgundy and green. This is where I store my collection of magazines.



The top of the dining room hutch. Greenery and clocks and a special teacup and vintage photo.



The brass reindeer and sleigh that Molly was after.



A cloche filled with vintage ornaments.




Skating themed shelf on the hutch.

That's it you've seen it all, the shenanigans of the kitties and the condo tour.

Nothing left to do but enjoy the next days with family and friends.

Wishing all of you a peaceful holiday season.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

A Christmas Soiree



I invited my teagroup and their husbands, fiancees, etc over for a Christmas Soiree. It was actually an open house. I served appetizers and desserts. The forecast was for a blizzard and I had people coming from all over New England, Maine, New Hampshire, and Massachusetts. Luckily, the snow did not arrive until around 1AM and the party was over before rhe storm hit.

Hours before the event, my friend Don and I plumped the sofa pillows and carefully placed the throw only to have Oscar jump on it and undo all our hard work.



I hired my friend Mary to do the baking for the party. I wanted a sort of Hansel and Gretel cottage-like cake, a chocolate cake with a dusting of "snow". Mary made this gorgeous Midnight Velvet Cake, oh the smell of it! It was a feast for the eyes and the nose. Only one problem, it was so beautiful we didn't want to cut it!
Finally my Sister took the knife and cut out only the chimney so we could taste the cake and still enjoy it's beauty.



Here's another view. I took this one with a flash.



I have a very dark entrance to the condo. So I decided I would like to line the steps and walkway with luminarias. Cream colored bags were filled with kitty litter, glass votive cups and white votives. Ir was very windy and we only had to re-light one of the candles. We kept checking to make sure there were no fire hazards. It looked so beautiful! My Sister and Don went outside (it was bitter cold with the wind chill) and set up the luminarias for me.




We had little pinwheel sandwiches along with mini quiches and cheesy stuffed mushrooms (Paula Deen's recipe).




We had good conversations.




Is Roger feigning surprise? He knows I always have a camera in one hand.



Sheila was part of the "kitchen crew". She helped bag the gingerbread "snowangels" which would be given out as party favors at the end of the night.



Here's Mary stirring the hot chocolate. I served MarieBelle Aztec Hot Chocolate.
If you are a serious chocohoic used water instead of milk. But we used milk because we were going to float snowflakes in the hot chocolate.



A tray of snowflakes waiting to float in the hot chocolate. I saw the idea in a Martha Stewart Living magazine a few years ago. They're made with gelatin. Mary made them for the party and they came out so cute.



Look how sweet they look in the hot chocolate. We also had a White Christmas punch and mulled apple cider that made the condo smell heavenly!



We also had a red velvet cake as a secondary cake. Good thing since we did not want to cut the Hansel and Gretel cake.



Mary made her lemon cookies too. My Dad calls them snow drop cookies. I like the name!



Here are a few of the remaining snow angel favors. A few of them broke so we were calling them fallen angels. Mary said they all had Scarlett O'Hara waists so they would break in the middle. But they were cute and delicious so it was fine.

I had to keep the kitties in the bedroom. I did not want them underfoot and I didn't want to worry about them getting out so they stayed on my bed. Molly slept on top of the comforter and Oscar hid between the comforter and the throw that was on top of the comforter. He was hysterical, a little lump in the middle of the bed.

I think a good time was had by all. I know I had fun with the preparations. Well I had fun decorating and coming up with some of the ideas. I never enjoy housework.

I took photos of the condo and the decorations. I'll post them sometime this week.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Melrose Trolley Tour



Last Saturday, the City of Melrose held it's annual Trolley Tour, just one of the events of the Home for the Holidays weekend. The Trolleys run for most of the day taking riders to various venues in the City. Businesses host special events and open houses. There's lot of food and fun activities.

This year Victorian Carolers strolled the downtown area.



The heart of the City had a holiday feel. Victorian lightposts were decked out with wreaths
and snow was predicted for the afternoon.



The trolley made it's way to a stop.



Children made ornaments at one of the venues.



White Christmas punch for the trolley riders.



A piping hot cup of chowder or chowdah as we say in Boston hit the spot on a cold, windy day.



Our four legged friends enjoyed the tour too.

Home for the Holidays is the perfect family event and a great kickoff to the holiday season.
Melrose has a lot to offer, fabulous restaurants and shops. There's something for everyone!

Friday, December 11, 2009

More snow and Christmas decorations



Another snowstorm this week and a shot of my neighbor's barn. I love the red against the snow.


More snow scenes.



I'm continuing to decorate, probably overcompensating for the lack of decorating last year when I moved in December. I have so many Christmas trees in the condo you'd think I was holding my own festival of trees event. This one is in the hallway.




My French themed top of the bookcase vignette. An Eiffel Tower clock from Ebay (a present from my sister), grate from Home Goods, and a fleur de lis topped tree from an antique store, prelit garland from QVC.




Fluer de lis wreath hanger from Painted White and a wreath from Michael's. The wreath was plain with just a plaid bow. I brought the wreath to my friend Beth and I gave her a child's tea set I bought at Sage Farm last week. I asked her to put the set on the wreath for me. I knew she could make it beautiful and she did. I love the silky ivory bow and the mini tea things are adorable.



Remember the feather tree from a previous post? I added a little bling with some silver strands. I think it looks a little better now.



This is a reprodcution of a vintage sign. I bought it last year at a store called Valentine's in Lexington.



A bit more bling for the doorknob. i bought this piece in Beverly last Summer.



Now to the main tree in the living room, it's a small 4 foot prelit tree several years old from QVC. Notice the skate ornament. There's always skate ornaments on the tree.




I like how this ornament reflects the light.



Gotta have at least one cat ornament on the tree.




This Santa has the coolest robe. Green corduroy with faux fur trim. He came from BJ's Wholesale Club many moons ago.





Vintage ornaments and more prelit garland. Again a clock, this time it's faux, nestled into the greenery. What's with all the clocks? I think it's telling me to finish up with the decorating and start focusing on the baking.

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