Friday, December 31, 2010
Happy New Year to all readers of Cafe Chatelaine! I thank you so much for taking the time to read my posts. In 2011, I hope to keep it real and interesting.
This mosaic is a snippet of the years events. A holiday event (Nutcracker Tea), trip to Martha's Vineyard, a new addition to the family who was rescued from Maine.
An 80th birthday party, Molly shows off one of my antiquing finds, and Oscar claims the infamous estate sale couch.
One of my teacup finds from the Salvation Army store, numerous daytrips to Rockport and a holiday tradition of dinner at the Bedford Village Inn.
A wintry scene and one of the reasons I love living in New England, hot chocolate with friends in Harvard Square at Burdick's and my love of coffee as one of my favorite leisure time activities.
Not too many ups or downs this year. That's just fine with me!
Tuesday, December 28, 2010
As predicted, we got a major snowstorm in the Boston area. I know other parts of the East Coast also got hit. This is the first time I had seen the snowplow in many months. It snowed from Sunday afternoon into Monday and it was officially termed a blizzard.
Did you know you can't call just any snowstorm a blizzard? You must have the following components: snow, visibility of less than 1/4 mile, wind gusts of over 35 mph,and it has to last more than 3 hours. We had all of that and it lasted for more than 10 hours.
Boston received 18 inches of snow. Some other surrounding towns had as much as 23 inches. I think my town had less than that, maybe 16 inches? At that point, it doesn't really matter. The cleanup is massive. Our snow plow guy made at least 3 trips on Sunday and 2 on Monday to our condo building.
Last year it cost us $880. just for snowplowing. We budgeted for $1000. this year. I am glad we did. The bill for this one storm is going to be huge.
This is the back parking lot and the patio area of the condo. I always hated that fence. It's super ugly. Nevertheless, I do not like to see that much snow on the patio. Good thing we covered the gas grill.
Here's my neighbor, one man against all that snow! We talked and he was actually in good spirits. I just had to do the end of the walk at our building. One of my condo neighbors had done the back stairs and 3/4 of the front walk and he wanted to wait until the plows were done clearing the streets before he finished the job. That's because the plows always push the snow right back from where it was just shoveled. I had to finish the last 1/4 of the walk.. If the snow had not been blowing and the wind chill had not been in the single digits I wouldn't have minded doing the shoveling. There really wasn't that much left to do.
The kitties did not lift a paw to help me either! Percy watched, and I suspect there was a smirk on his face but the snow was too high for me to see!
Goodbye air conditioner! I'll use you next... July?
Goodbye patio. I hope to see you soon when the snow melts. I don't think there will be any outdoor grilling for a long time.
I told my neighbor his barn always looks great in the snow. Little does he know his barn has been featured as my blog header many times!
Percy was exhausted from watching me shovel and settled down for a short winter's catnap.
The plan was to walk around to take some better snow shots but it was bone chilling cold. You know, the kind of cold where you are shivering the minute after you go outside. So instead of freezing outside I came in and made myself a hot chocolate and took this shot of the house across the street from the comfort of my condo.
Stay warm and drive safe! I am on vacation this week so hopefully I will have more interesting things to post.
Saturday, December 25, 2010
Thursday, December 23, 2010
Yesterday, I started my vacation. You would hardly know it. I had 10 phone calls relating to work which really but a damper on my visit to Burdick's in Harvard Square. My friend Kim and I did get to Burdick's and ordered our hot chocolates but then my cell phone rang and every 5minutes it would ring again. The calls were all business related. It was so annoying. I did manage to pick out a few presents and brought home some dessert from Burdick's which made me quite happy.
So this morning when the sound of the snowplow awakended me, I told myself I was not going to get stressed about holiday shopping or anything else on my vacation. I did finish my shopping today and I bought all the groceries needed to make some goodies for Christmas Eve.
And then I took a break and went to the local Panera Bread. I got the best seat in the house by the fireplace and I had a cappuccino and a gingerbread cookie. And while sipping my drink, I observed other people taking a break too. A senior couple having salads, a mother and daughter giggling and sharing dessert, and some young people just hanging out with their friends drinking lattes. See, the holidays do not have to be stressful. You need some down time.
Here are some photos I took of the kitties and the condo yesterday.
Percy waits for Santa. It's his first Christmas and someone needs to tell him Santa does not walk through the front door.
This is the front entrance to our 4 unit building.
And this is my front door.
The top of my hallway bookcase, a combination of antique store finds and a little Home Goods.
A Christmas favorite of mine, the wooden egg my sister painted for me. The flip side of the egg has a snowy gazebo painted on it.
A wreath adorned with an antique child's tea set.
I saw this idea in a magazine or did I see it in someone's blog? Anyway, you use a soup tureen to display vintage ornaments.
I put more in a second tureen.
A friend made this pretty tea cosy.
My dressform, Vivienne is stylish in her mink hat and my velvet coat.
Antique skates with greenery.
Another antique store find.
The entrance to the living room.
Two vintage birds are the only decorations on this year's tree except for the banner.
My skater doll, a gift from my friend Lisa, is always on display at Christmastime.
I love the flickering bulb on this nightlight.
Percy is waiting for his presents.
Oscar relaxes and enjoys the warmth of the fireplace. Oh, I mean the warmth of the cable box. That's probably a fire hazard, will have to remove him.
I may not post again before Christmas so I wish you all the happiest of holidays. Don't stress and enjoy your time off!
Monday, December 20, 2010
In Percy's world everything is a toy. He scans the room just looking for his next plaything.
I wonder who pulled that bulb off the branch.
It's a scratch
and sniff world.
And scratch, Percy no! He thinks that's his name, Percy No.
Then he gives me the who me? Innocent look.
As rambunctious as he is, he can steal my heart when he climbs in my lap and snuggles. He is a world champion snuggler and I can never resist that face!
Tuesday, December 14, 2010
Sunday, December 12, 2010
The older I get, the harder it is to think of unique Christmas gifts. Perhaps we could all use a little help in this area.
I think one of my favorite gifts was something I made very inexpensively. First, I bought a bunch of snow globe picture frames. Then my sister and I drove to our friend's houses and photographed their illuminated houses under cover of darkness. First of all, we didn't want them to see us and second, we needed to see the home with the Christmas lights on.
We then cut the photos to size, placed them in the snow globe frame, and voila, instant white Christmas at each person's home. Believe me, this gift will wow the recipient and they will take it out year after year to display at Christmas.
Here's another fun gift. Go to the website Rent Mother Nature and lease a goat for a friend or family member. I leased a goat for an animal loving friend a few years ago. As her gift she received a certificate of the lease, an "action" photo of the goat, and some goat cheese. I forget how many logs of cheese she got but they were different varieties. She said the goat cheese was delicious and she enjoyed owning the goat for a year.
My sister is giving one of her friends a guitar jam session with an admired guitarist.
I am leaning toward consummable gifts. We all have too much stuff, don't you think?
So, what creative gifts will you be giving this year?
Wednesday, December 8, 2010
I decided to take some Christmas shots of the kitties. Percy loves to pose for the camera. Yup! He's on cloud nine.
I think he's pretending it's a bearskin rug and not a faux fur throw.
Oscar as you can see does not like to pose.
The first time I walked by Molly, I thought she was part of the decorations. She is my quiet kitty, not at all like her rambunctious brothers.
Maybe I should have given her a halo.
Too bad I already created my Christmas cards!
Sunday, December 5, 2010
I had my second annual Christmas Soiree on Saturday night. Just like last year, my friend Don and I lit luminarias to line the walkway. You couldn't miss the house with all that candlelight. I was a little concerned as the forecast was for a blustery night but it worked out just fine.
We placed kitty litter in cream colored paper bags then we lit white votives in glass cups and nestled them into the kitty litter. The luminarias lasted from 6:00 to midnight.
I wanted to do something different this year so I decided to have carolers sing for a half hour at the beginning of the party. My sister's group, Katfish 4 agreed to sing. They have a "real" gig next week in Andover.
I told them I wanted carolers in Victorian dress. They were nice enough to accomodate me. They sounded great and they played a variety of instruments too. The mandolin, guitar, and penny whistle to name a few.
The early party goers got a chance to hear the concert.
Two women at the right of the photo are like second monthers to me. Clara on the far right is the woman who has my sister and I over for Thanksgiving dinner. Ellie, second from the right, is the woman who invites us for Christmas dinner. My dad goes to have dinner with my mom at the nursing home for the holidays. The woman on the far left is my very good friend Debbi and in case you didn't notice Debbi is Ellie's daughter.
My friend Mary, Clara's daughter, made all the desserts for the party. Mary also made these marshallows in snowflake shapes. I saw the snowflake recipe in an old Martha Stewart magazine and I asked Mary if she could make them for my party. We had them last year and they were a big hit so I wanted them for this year's party too.
Last year Mary made her famous Midnight Velvet cake for the party. She made it in the shape of Hansel and Gretel's cottage. It was so beautiful, no one wanted me to ruin it by cutting it. So this year I thought a tudor style house might be a little bit less of a wow factor and perhaps my guests would actually eat the cake this year.
It still had a wow factor with the dusting of powdered sugar accenting all the nooks and crannies of the cake but the guests actually ate the cake this year. It smelled as good as it tasted.
The fireplace was turned on for the evening. It gave off a lovely glow and the room had the cozy look I was hoping for. I had hoped to have the TV wall mounted before the party so I could decorate the mantel but time ran short. I ended up just throwing lighted garland and the cats' Christmas stockings on it.
Ok, this tree is definitely not my finest work but I had issues this year. I was worried that Percy, my kitten, would knock the ornaments off the tree. So I used my old prelit tabletop tree and I got the Happy Holidays banner from Pottery Barn. It served my needs.
As for the kitties, Percy climbed right up the middle of the tree within 5 minutes of me putting it on the table. I wished I had my camera with me at the time. He actually got stuck in the tree. He stood on his hind legs and he draped his front paws over one of the branches. I am sure I looked hilarious trying to first coax him then drag him out of the tree. See why I did not add ornaments this year?
Then yesterday, Oscar, my middle kitty, jumped on the table and laid under the tree. He got his claw caught in the lace tree skirt and proceeded to tug on the skirt. I had just entered the room and tried to get to him before he toppled the tree. I still can't believe what happened next. Oscar gave the tree skirt a good tug and both he and the tree skirt landed on the floor and the tree did not fall! I think Oscar must have been a magician in one of his previous nine lives!
Here's a wider view of the living room.
This shot was taken this morning. Molly blends in with the tree and Santa. She is happy it is quiet and she can have the run of the condo again.
I hope to have more photos of the evening soon. I was too busy to take photos last night.
This post is part of the Christmas with Victoria party. Click on the badge on my sidebar to see other partipant's posts.