Wednesday, December 31, 2014

2014- The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

I can't say I am sorry to see 2014 end. It was a most challenging year, testing me in so many ways.
No, I do not have much good to say about 2014 but I will try.

So, here are some of the good things for 2014:

a trip to the Christmas Revels at Harvard University
a sunset lighthouse cruise in New Hampshire
a visit to a sunflower field in Newbury
a few trips to the Vintage Bazaar in Salisbury
meeting Matthew Mead at Brissonte in North Reading
a couple of trips to Rockport
seeing the members of the Boston Ballet on the Swan Boats at the Public Garden
a few cat sitting jobs
some photography work- First Communion, family reunion, and 50th birthday party
discovered a new coffee shop in Concord

Some of the bad:

leaving my old job, wasted 26 months with a company that made promises they never kept.
my old car cost me quite a bit in repairs
I had to pay thousands of dollars to have the house painted - my share of the condo assessment

And the ugly:

the stress of my job and working on commission
my Dad's hospital stays in February and March, a trip to the emergency room the day after Christmas
my Mom's trip to the emergency room in July, and hospital stay the week of Thanksgiving

So there you go. My year in review. Here's to a better 2015! Happy New Year!

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Christmas Eve Mini House Tour

Well honestly, no one was knocking on my blog's door to ask me to share my Holiday House Tour. After I got over my initial disappointment (I hope you know I am kidding), I decided to create my very own Chatelaine style house tour.

The bear is new. He came with a throw I purchased recently. I put the throw on the sofa and Oscar immediately made it his new home. Later I sat down on the throw to relax and my jeans got wet. Oscar had thrown up on it. And I wonder why I didn't get asked for a house tour?

The vintage ornaments came with the antique box the Teddy is sitting in. It came from an antique store Christmas open house, one of the few I attended this season.

 The kitties all have stockings with their names on them because of course my cats are so smart they can read. The prelit garland, after I had artfully arranged it, decided to only light on the left hand side. So I had to improvise with the little wire fairy lights for some illumination.

I love these little woodland angels. They are holding animals so that makes me love them all the more.

The decoration came with a cake stand and cloche and the trees are illuminated.

Who needs decorations on the tree when I have a beautiful poser sitting in front of the tree?

And you can see why I do not have decorations on the tree. Someone likes to knock them off.

I like to illuminate the living room with candles in lanterns and of course the fireplace.

This is my lamp that reminds me of a church lamp and the wrought iron item in the background is actually a piece of a gate that surrounded a church in Lynn once upon a time. I love it!

And yes my mini house tour does include a small vignette in the bathroom. A spruce scented candle, a little bling from Michael's, and a print from the artist Lisa O'Connell. A depiction of a dune shack in Provincetown.

The boys need to learn that they can not fit under such a small tree. They like to look out the front window and they will not give up tree or no tree.

Here is my tree topper. It does not have lights but it shines in my eyes. Handmade is best, don't you think?

So much for the mini house tour. I did not do too much this year. The season got away from me and I ran out of time. Maybe next year, I can start earlier and join in on a blogger's house tour.

Wishing you all a Merry Christmas!!!

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Here we go a caroling and the giveway winner revealed

Our friend Mary invited my sister and I to a caroling party at her home. She had invited her sister and nieces as well. We had not seen some of the girls in years so of course we said we would go.

We walked around Mary's neighborhood and the girls sang a few songs as did my sister. I took photos and Mary's husband led the way with the flashlight.

Heather is leading us in Silent Night.

While we were walking the neighborhood, a woman came out of her home with her baby. She said, "I have never in my life seen or heard Christmas carolers so I had to come out with my baby." Her baby named Lincoln will be one year old on Christmas Eve. She stayed with us for a bit.

It was quite cold so we did not stay out long. Just long enough to sing all of the 12 days of Christmas on the way back to the house.

It was so dark picture taking was not optimal. I snapped this one on the front steps.

And this one of Christina, Victoria, Heather and Amanda by the tree.

Mary made her lemon cookies. My Dad calls them Snowdrops. They are his favorite.

And Christina dubbed these as Personal Pies. They are actually mini apple pies. Yum!

I snapped this photo of cousins, Amanda and Heather.

And then I found this one I had taken in 2007 when Heather was just a little girl.

Another cousins shot of Christina and Victoria. Victoria is now in college. My how time flies!

Heather tried to take a selfie with the group but kept cutting people out of the photo.

It was rather amusing to watch.

Here is a sisters shot of Victoria and Heather. I told Heather I was going to put the star on her head.
I succeeded!

Maybe one more gingerbread man for the road! Oh and before I forget, congratulations to Laura Jenkins, my giveaway winner. Your magazine is in the mail.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Highlight of my Christmas Season- Meeting Matthew Mead and a blog giveaway

When I read on Facebook that Matthew Mead was going to make an appearance at one of my very favorite shops in the area, I was beyond excited. Yes, it was true. Matthew Mead was at Brissonte in North Reading on Saturday. Thank you Colleen Perry, owner of Brissonte for making this happen!

I grabbed a few of my holiday blog cards and headed out. I picked up a sandwich at Swiss Bakers in Reading and ate it in the car. I could not wait to get to Brissonte.

I did meet Matthew and his lovely wife, Jenny. And they are the most fabulous people. They are warm and interesting and easy conversationalists. Sharing tips on photography and great antique stores to visit in Concord, MA. I showed them photos of my tablescapes and my sister's live event paintings. And they were interested! After speaking to me a bit Matthew knew exactly my taste!

Matthew had set up a display in the store of holiday items. Of course, he is a stylist so everything was picture perfect!

A simple branch with dangling crystal can make a simple but sophisticated statement.

After I left the shop, I thought why didn't I buy some of those arrangements in the silver cups? They would have made perfect arrangements for upcoming parties I will attend.

Another example of elegance and simplicity. I can see these at each place setting at the Christmas table. Just lovely!

And yes that is purple transferware!  A nice change to traditional red and green for holiday dining.

I like the purple with the silver. Again, very sophisticated and stately looking. Well, purple is a royal color and also used in the Advent wreath.

Oh I adore acorns. Must be my love affair with Fall. Those platters were even more stunning in person.

Another view of the floral arrangements and a beautiful silver tray. We had a discussion about sterling silver and using your good things every day. Don't save those pretties just for special occasions!

Yes I was enjoying the trunk show. So many nice items from Matthew's collection.

And pretty linens too! Inspiring me to do more with my tablescapes than just the lighted tablerunners
I use at each gathering. Matthew did think the lighted runners were cool.

Ok, last photo of the display. I had to do some shopping at this point. And I did not want to hog all of his time. Actually I did, but that would be selfish.

Jenny took a photo of us and I purchased all of his magazines and he signed them for me. I can't wait to tear through them and immerse myself in Matthew's magical world.

And there's a bonus for my readers too! Matthew gave me an extra copy of his Holiday with Matthew Mead magazine and he signed it!


So I am accepting entries via your comments on this post. Please comment on this post through Wednesday, December 17th. If you are leaving a comment as anonymous please post your email address. There are no rules other than leaving a comment. I will draw a winner on Thursday, December 18th and promptly post to you.  Best of luck!!

To read more about Matthew Mead click here.


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