What “Living Winsomely is all about.”

Welcome to my blog site Living winsomely. I am a  believer that our homes are our castles and our hearts snuggery. They are our safe harbor, warm cozy place of refreshment and a berth where beauty can surround us everyday, soothing our souls and spirits.ritz107 As we create the dreams  within our hearts and bring them to life in each room, they add bliss and comfort to our lives and a place of repose and tranquility to every guest who enters our doors.  There is such a wealth of ways to bring forth an abundance of beauty within our ‘safe havens. My desire is to share these ideas with you as we begin this journey together.

Whether it be your Antebellum dining room, woodsy, warm, window filled office or captivating bedrooms that evoke an invitation for romance, refreshing and pampering to the soul, there are a bounty of ways to begin your peregrination to make your home the most inviting, alluring and resplendent home ever. B-4

My goal in creating this website is to share with you, each reader, some of my imaginative adaption’s of esteemed traditions in which I hope will inspire you as you create your own lovely and stunning home.

Within my blog site ‘Living winsomely,’ I will explore with you an abundance of ideas of how to create the home of your dreams. All the way from fragrances, lighting, floral arrangements, furniture formations, color schemes, fabrics, room themes, music, cuisine, and delightful party ideas, making your guests (as well as yourself,) feel comfy and pampered. I will also implement some great ideas on how to quickly change your home around with items you already possess if you are desiring a ‘new look.’

 

Along with the myriad of decor ideas, I want to share how to create a more beautiful life. Your home is the sanctuary where all of your old and new ‘feel good’ memories and quiet joys tarry. I love to bring out that joy everyday and live within it, creating a more beautiful life for myself and our family. Whether learning to cook new cuisine  with your significant other, (we adore the food channel,) having breakfast in bed as Z-55you unabashedly take an hour or two to read the newspaper or watch your favorite classic movie, you can create your own pampered hours. How about making your home a weekend vacation retreat with using your best china, crystal and linens,  lighting a sundry of candles, not answering the phone or door bell and hiding away in your little cache, enjoying one another, (or just using the time for yourself if you live alone,) to bring forth refreshing and rejuvenation. A few other ideas… create a chimera-vision box with articles and photos of your dream homes, places you would love to travel, go to a High Tea at and the renowned eateries you would like to visit.  Create an eloquent setting under an alfresco canopy beneath your heroic trees, or amidst your flourishing garden…bringing forth a ‘sylvan charm’ as you read your novel and sip on your tea, robust coffee, lemonade or glass of Merlot.  Choosing to live a more beautiful life with my family has changed our lives in many positive ways.

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Living a winsome life is like going back to our childhood days… where being adventurous, creative and full of life was a normal day! Now, as an adult, it takes a little more work to receive all the childhood gifts that once beheld us.The giggles and endless curiosity and learning of our years as a baby, the bounce, vigor and creativity of our ‘toddler season’ and the urge to throw a snowball, play games all night long and go on adventuresome journeys as we did in our youth.  🙂 It is all there, still available to us in a plenitude of forms as we create our days and surroundings.

I believe that cultivating beauty all around us, enjoying the pampering of all five senses and living life to the fullest each day, (as children do naturally) brings a richness and joy to our hearts and souls!

I hope this site inspires you to bring forth your dreams, whether through decor or the things you choose to engender more beauty and joy into your life.

“There is a garden in every childhood, an enchanted place where colors are brighter, the air softer and the morning more fragrant than ever again.”~ Elizabeth Lawrence.

“It’s never to late to have a happy childhood.” Tom Robbinslittle_girl_briard3

Happy Creating!

CREDITS FOR PHOTOS. In placing your computer mouse over any of the photos or graphics, it will display to you where it originated from.

***  Dear readers, I want to encourage you to leave as many comments or questions on my blog site that you would like. There is no E-mail address associated with anyone’s name or comments for other blogger’s to see unless you would like to share it. (Don’t forget, I also have a “contact page” if you need to leave a personal message as well as ask questions.)   I am enjoying all of you who visit my site from other countries! The Internet is amazing. PLEASE know that I can’t publish on my site comments or refer sites that are not written in English. I hope that you are able to put it in a translated form as you do your replies.  Lastly, I am implementing “credit”  to where it belongs RE; the photographs I use on my blog…Very few of them are mine and I feel blessed to have such a great resource with Google Images as well as my favorite magazines clippings , (some of them I have had for over 15 years.)  Thank you all for coming to my site and have a wonderful day! Susan

 

February’s Romantic Makeover…

February Twilight…” I stood beside a hill, smooth with new-laid snow,
A single star looked out, from the cold evening glow.
There was no other creature, that saw what I could see,
I stood and watched the evening star, as long as it watched me.”
~ Sara Teasdale,star

February is a month of promise, hope, warm fires kindling within in our hearths , snowy days, icy nights, star filled skies, flirtatious snowmen and of course, Romance.

The renowned author and actor ‘Steve Harvey” calls February,  “the month of Love.” A special time where dreams really can come true, as we go out of our of way to demonstrate to that “special someone,” just how very much we love them.

I like to think of this month as the last real month of winter bliss… Yes, March is also a  rigorously cold month, (on our eastern coast)  but spring is busily sending forth its illustrious  tocsins, to let us know it will be arriving soon… thus, why not  take advantage of the December equinoxes’  prodigious and majestic ending.

What are some of the ways to celebrate and enjoy the benefits  of this romantic month of  February? 

In California,snowman1001  perhaps a serene walk with the one you love on the  San Clemente pier at sunset,  or upon the the glistening sands of a moonlit beach, listening to the endless , lulling tunes of the waves sauntering into shore, watching the evening sky light up with its spectacular display of scintillating  stars.

In the Midwest, (with all the Brobdingnagian winter storms hitting hard this month, the temps in the negatives…)  my sister will have to be a little extra creative with her celebration. I can just see her conjuring up a scrumptioussnowman1002 heart shaped chocolate mousse cake, lighting her myriad of candles, and enjoying her collection of ‘romantic movies,’ Weathering Heights, Jane Eyre and Pride and prejudice. (Continuously thanking the good Lord, she has heat and is warm.) Compared to their weather, ours is mild!

For us on the east Coast, we enjoy the warmth of our homes as the miraculous snow falls, bringing an abundance of white fluff to our once, verdant green lawns, quilting  the trees branches with  shimmering slush, later turning into gracefully sculptured ice cycles.  There is nothing quite as romantic as catching a snowfall in action over our towns Junoesque pond …the once placid water is frozen over, its icy surface glistening with a lulled pink hue… or taking a drive through the country roads, admiring all the  LOVE-made, frolicsome snowmen, cheering our spirits up as they happily greet each passerby. Have you ever noticed, there are no two snowmen alike? snowman 1000Its magical to see how snow flakes (with a little TLC,)  can be transformed into real life characters. 🙂 We love to bundle up and take Graham to the meadow after a freshly fallen snow, amazed by the abundance of  beautiful wildlife hidden behind the tall trees. We watch the grandeur red birds and blue jays flutter from branch to branch,  the flocks of snow geese flying above us,  singing their HONKy- tonk tunes, ( that we’ve grown to love,) and the grey squirrels, playfully scurrying up and down the trees, stopping every now and then to nibble on natures “power bars” made especially for them! 🙂      All very romantic…but what warms my heart the most is looking down at Graham as  we all walk in the snow… he is totally unaware that his dark, heavy fur coat has turned to white…the polar air not bothering him one bit, (as he continues to sniff, observe, look and listen to all the meadows enchanting  inhabitants.) 🙂

I  can certainly relate to the quote by Charles Baudelaire;

“I watch the springs, the summers, the autumns;
And when comes the winter snow monotonous,
I shut all the doors and shutters
To build in the night my fairy palace. ”

Whether you live in Southern California, Texas, Maine, Alaska or in other countries, places such as , England, Italy, Japan or the Swiss Alps…how you celebrate this romantic month of love will depend a great deal on what your weather and climate is like….but no matter what state or country you live in, we all have one thing in common...for this month of  ‘celebrating love,’ we can all create a romantic ambiance right within our home…bringing forth an atmosphere of amour.

Our bedroom is the one room within our home that is always embellished with a romantic motif. For February, I try to spill a little bit of its allurement throughout our entire house. For me, a wintry romantic ambiance would include an abundance of alabaster whites accented with rich burgundy’s, regal golds, hushed rose and sage green. I have decorated our home with a few dried floral arrangements,yellow3 white lace tablecloths, my wintry china, a medley of candles, a cherub angel or two, and yes…a few red hearts, dark chocolates, (in case a friend comes by for a cup of coffee,)  🙂  a touch of Hallmarks Valentines decor…and SNOWMEN!  Yes… can you believe it? I still have them out!   🙂  Here is the skinny on that….Christmas was like a dream come true this last year… saying goodbye to its splendor, putting away our jovial Santa’s in January was very difficult, thus I left my cheerful, jubilant snowmen out to keep a touch of the festive spirit within our home. When February arrived, I was perplexed.snowman1004…our neighborhood was draped in a brilliant white…  Our snowmen were so  happy being out of the attic and  they were all dressed in romantic colors. It was tough call… But I finally came to the conclusion  that there has got to be a story written somewhere about a Romantic snowman and his Valentine… thus, we voted and they  got to stay for February’s celebration of the “month of love.”

Its the perfect month for a romantic home-makeover…enjoy the last weeks of  winter’s attire as you know spring is right around the corner and your home will be dressed  up for an entirely different season… For those of you whose motto is ; “Less is more,” and your not a fan of  the commercial decor of cupids, hearts, garlands and lace doilies,   I hope a  few of these romantic rooms will bring you some new ideas in creating a  subtle romantic ambiance within your haven.  If you do love all the ‘bells and whistles’ of the season, then I am sure you will find a few creative notions as well. ENJOY!

 

 

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“Winter is the time for comfort, for good food and warmth, for the touch of a friendly hand and for a talk beside the fire:  it is the time for home.”
~Edith Sitwell

Away in a meadow all covered with snow, heart3the little old groundhog looks for his shadow,
The clouds in the sky determine our fate, If winter will leave us all, early or late.” ~ Don Halley

“The flowers of late winter and early spring occupy places in our hearts well out of proportion to their size.” ~  Gertrude S. Wister

 “Standing in a valley,with the mist coming in,heart4
Berries grow on the holly bushes. Robins hide in snow-ridden woods.
If I could stay here, I would.”-  Bethan Williams

Now you know, I had to put in a few thoughts about chocolate, romance and snowmen…February’s other bestowals of joy. 🙂

“All you need is love. But a little chocolate now and then doesn’t hurt.” ~ Charles M. Shultz

heart5“There is nothing better than a friend, unless it is a friend with chocolate.” ~ Linda Grayson

“What you see before you, my friend, is the result of a lifetime of chocolate.”~ Katharine Hepburn

“I’ve fallen in love many times…always with you.” ~ Unknown

“A heart that loves is always young.” ~ Greek proverb

“A kiss is a lovely trick designed by nature to stop speech when words become superfluous.” ~ Ingrid Bergman

heart1“Valentine hearts beat more passionately than every day hearts.” ~ Unknown

“Romance is the glamor which turns the dust of every day life into a golden haze.” ~ Amanda Cross

“Snowmen fall from heaven, one flake at a time.” Unknownwinterscape505

“Snow flakes are one of natures most fragile things, but look at what they can do by sticking together.” ~ Unknown

“Snowmen fall from heaven…unassembled.” ~Unknown

 

Cupid’s tour of ROMANTIC HOMES  is now boarding…cupid

 

 

 

Our glorious verandahs and welcoming front doors are our guests and family’s  first impression of our  homes… Capture their hearts with a  little romance as you create your expressions of ‘amour.’

This beautiful fresh green heart shaped wreath is not only romantic, but very creative with its  blush pink garland of petite roses…

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Five hundred  imperial and gallant red roses… Breathtaking! love7

A picturesque, alluring porch for two! (I love the vintage red and white goblets.)love9

With its array of  baronial wicker chairs,white sheers, lovely pillows, throws and a bouquet of roses, this piazza brings forth a beautiful romantic flare… (The ferns are undoubtedly a touch of added elegance. )

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You can definitely see that this cozy berth is in the “mood for love.”
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Bring a smile to your valentines heart, give this little guy some red roses and a box of chocolates to greet your sweetheart!  Not only is he uplifting, but a fabulously, creative way to say “I love you.” 🙂

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The romance of nature itself! I love it!vdd50

This beautiful and splendorous homemade Valentine wreath is heartening, love-some and is sure to bring forth many a smile.vdd67

 

“OUR BEDROOMS, THE  PLACE WE CHASE OUR DREAMS.” A room that  is simple to ‘dress up’ with such a spectacular motif as Romantic love.

If ever a bedroom exuded romance, this decorator has sure got the secret. Mixing lush wintry shades of white, intricate and stunning wrought  iron, a white sheer canopy, along with an abundance of pillows, baronial candle stick holders and a variety of fresh and dried roses, creates an air of mystique and royalty.love5

Beautifully romantic…The layers and textures on this canopy bed is incredibly enchanting…All it needs is a stellar arrangement of yellow roses! 🙂 ww2

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More hues of the glorious shades of white… The color of pureness. For this special month, perhaps a splash of red with a bundle of Victorian dried roses and a divinely scented  valentine-red candle! I love the natural sunlight.ww1

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White, in any of its magnificent shades, represents purity, birth, simplicity, peace, innocence, youth, winter, snow as well as marriage. This enchanting and beautiful Bed Room says it all…  Perhaps an arrangement of bustling, colorful , fresh flowers would be the icing on the cake to this eminently romantic hideaway! 🙂
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Are you one that is blessed to have “a spectacular view from your  window,” as part of your rooms allurement? The city skyline is exceedingly romantic, along with the captivating wooden sleigh bed with  its layers and textures of fluffy white…I am thinking some dried , refined, hushed white  roses? 🙂

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This fluffy white guy, princely teddy bear dressed in his tux,(with his top-hat beside him,) amidst  a wispy white, sheer canopy is plenty of romance for me! 🙂

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I adore this vintage bed with its bright whites, layers of exquisite  linens and intricately designed furniture… the petite antiquated vase filled with the blush rose colored flowers is the perfect touch… Maybe a thick, cuddly throw for  the cold February  nights that are in the one digit numbers. 🙂 ww4

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The ample gifts of blue and white…Blue is the color of sleep and bliss…This felicitous bedroom can be likened to laying upon a hammock with a blue sky and a few puffy clouds that occasionally dance by the sun…Its very inviting and definitely dressed up for love… Maybe a few splashes of red to bring forth a bit of passion, or a large bouquet of  becalming  pink roses with magical babies breath?

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This delightful bedroom already has a built in Valentines, romantic flare… I love the paneled arched ceiling, the striking red check couch amongst the dainty, delicate white lace and this grandiose four poster bed. Maybe a few flirtatious red  hearts on the wall would  add that special touch for this month of love? vdd30

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This  charming and quaint bedroom , (without a touch of red,) is absolutely gorgeous and not only whispers, but DECLARES,” ROMANCE.” I love the special touches of natures bounty with the fresh spray of green and white roses. ww155

Sometimes simplicity says it all. 🙂 heart15

Curl up for a blissful night in a bouquet of roses! thanksgiving536

I adore this fourposter bed with its gossamer canopy, romantic floral pillows, tone on tone designed madras duvet and damask throw…   Maybe  a few single stem roses for that “finished romantic touch.” J-68

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OUR KITCHENS, THE HEART  OF THE HOME, NOT ONLY WHERE WE CONJURE UP THE MOST DELICIOUS  CUISINES, BUT THE  PLACE WE HAVE SOME OF OUR MOST INTIMATE CONVERSATIONS. THIS MONTH OF LOVE, SAY “BON APPETIT,” WITH A LITTLE ROMANCE ON THE SIDE.

 

OK. You know how the saying goes, some feel “MORE is more ” and others, “LESS is  more.” THIS IS DEFINITELY MORE! Romantic, grandiose, kaleidoscopic and heart stopping! A little potpourri of “everything valentines.” 🙂 red

With its soft lighting and warm, cozy cabinetry, this kitchen is eminently beguiling and romantic. I still think it needs some hints of red to celebrate the annual occasion! 🙂 Red roses, whether dried or fresh would be the perfect touch! ww50

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These cheerful and lovable little guys would brighten up anyone’s heart …I can just “feel the love” in this room! All dressed up in their earth tones with an abundance of red!  Definitely  awe-inspiring.  ww45

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This hutch, with its pastel, idyllic plates embodies a tranquil charm, along with the creative valentines decorum … OK, I’d say this one is ” LESS is more,” and I love it! 🙂 red11

With its cheery,  luminous  ambiance,  alluring  reds and rich sky blues, this kitchen is dressed to a “T” for this month of passion! (I adore these enchanting chandeliers with their resplendent, authentic  lampshades.)vdd29

With its romantic, enticing , soothing, and unassuming splendor, this romantic decor would bring the ‘air of love’  and awe to any room! I have never found anything more magical as well as enchanting, than the glow of candlelight and petite, sparkling white lights! They never fail, for any celebratory fete. 🙂 ww160

Another eminently romantic kitchen…the pastel  pinks and hushed blues together are very soothing and charming. I think it just needs a few symbols of “Je T’aime” … one of Valentines quintessential trademarks, the adored HEART!

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A crisp, pure and creamy white kitchen opens up ample opportunities to add Romantic accents for celebrating love.  How about some white bone china tea cups with a matching teapot,  filled with a medley of dried roses and greens, creating an enthralling and galvanic flavor.    ww55

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Another inventive, creative idea for celebrating the season is  to display a black chalkboard in your kitchen…(whether on a easel or hung on your kitchen wall…) Its great for messages year round, but what a wonderful way to bedeck a room for the special holidays and   festive occasions.   I love the pastel hearts and romantic sayings! Great idea!

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Add a multimedia of color and texture for this gladsome occasion… mason jars and  creative canisters filled to overflowing with red and pink candies along with chocolate hearts amidst  white lace doilies. These decorative displays would put anyone in a “fabulously romantic”  mood. 🙂

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A cozy kitchen table set for two…Exceedingly romantic and lovely. This exhilarating flower arrangement takes the Valentines spotlight in this room! 🙂 red1

In this stunning, inviting and resplendent  kitchen, the decorator has taken the same kitchen from above,  with its luscious  butter cream whites, amidst the regal black marble, but this time, expressing that “Less is definitely  MORE.”  Eminently Romantic with its grand accents of Valentine RED, noble golds and soft whites. Who wouldn’t feel the emotions of “amour” in this cozy room? 🙂 VDD

Some more romantic, winsome and canty little snow guys, adding buoyant  color, animation and FUN in this joyous time of the year… February’s month of amoire.  IMG_0488

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Accent towels are always a complete giveaway of the season as well as the patina of your kitchen! 🙂

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OUR DINING ROOMS…THE PLACE WE GATHER WITH FRIENDS AND FAMILY, SHARE MANY A TALES OF OLD , LAUGH, CRY, AND ENJOY A MEDLEY OF THE MOST DELICIOUS, SAVORY CUISINE OF OUR LIVES. ITS A PLACE OF CELEBRATION AND IT TOO, WANTS IN ON THE “FLAVOR OF THE MONTH,” 🙂

This Romantic, mysterious yet inviting dining room motif, is not dressed up in the typical valentine decor, but it exudes the very essence of romantic dining. What beautiful and authentic chandeliers…the layering and mixing of fabrics, colors and textures with this decorators table linens is sublime as well as alluring.

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A dining room tablescape, created with a wintry mix of nature ‘s bounty, would not only look  speculator, but  would be delightfully  soothing to the senses. Void of bright colors, it’s beauty alone is breathtaking and would enhance any festive  get together. ww70

Nowadays, with as many fabulous slipcovers that are on the market, you can transform your rooms with the color of the season. This wintry medley of magnetic earthiness, warm whites, rich tans and regal black, is undoubtedly striking with a romantic flare…I envision  an exquisite arrangement of striking red roses, to liven up this already inviting tablescape.

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Charming, elfin, enchanting, fairytale like and undoubtedly, exceedingly picaresque. This stunningly beautiful dining room  evokes all kinds of “romantic emotions.”  I truly believe you can never go wrong with WHITE! The centerpiece is lovely with its verdant greens and bright colored blooms. I would add a little more warmth and romance with the  table-settings done in the passionate color of red.

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I love the maritime slip covers for these dinning room chairs. The soft white amidst the pastel blues is refreshing.  This table scape would come alive with some chargers topped with calico red plates or a luxurious table-setting in sparkling off white china…(I always put a small token gift upon every guests plate.) Valentines day or not! 🙂

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Another inviting room of repose and rejuvenation…a Wintry  masterpiece.  I would add a creative, cheerful and snowy centerpiece to add a bit of festivity to the table.

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Don’t forget to keep the month of February exciting, bringing forth a feeling of “being pampered” with choice, fragrant candles that fit the “romantic mood!” I bet The Cinnamon Frosting is divine! 🙂

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This decorator has GONE ALL OUT! Very festive and celebratory!vdd1

 

The decadent wintry cake with the beguiling candle lights, creates a very intimate and luxurious table! This gets a “10” in my book! ( Fresh cut wood, kindling in this gorgeous  fireplace  would of course, be a welcomed added touch for a Romantic evening!) 🙂ww11

A mixture of pewter and fresh flowers gives a very rich and polished presentation! (I love the wintry grapevine garland.) 🙂

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There is nothing that says “Romance,” like a fairy-tale village, magical snowflakes,  glistening white lights and a dapper little snow guy… A perfect tablescape for your dining room sideboard table, to add a touch of allurement and romantic flavor for this month of celebrating LOVE!.

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Whether for Christmas, Easter, Thanksgiving or a Romantic Valentines dinner, white damask linen with silver, white china and soft, golden candlelight is timeless. Absolutely stellar!

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This Valentines I chose to use my wintry cardinal china, mixed with an array of blues and whites… (All winter colors.) And of course, my snow guys with romantic, dried yellow roses and soft candlelight. Every time I walk through our dining room and see this cozy, colorful tablescape, I smile! 🙂

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I also added my new 2014 collection of ‘birds.’ These ‘bluebirds of happiness’ were a special gift from my husband this Christmas…They can stay out ALL YEAR LONG! 🙂

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My faithful bunny, ( our 7th year wedding anniversary gift from Kit,)  also stays up all year long… (I change his wardrobe to fit the season. 🙂 For February, he is embellished with a fairytale-like, elfin  wintry attire…

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I am impressed with this ‘winter wonderland’  dining room hutch, with its snowman themed plates and entrancing , romantic snow guys.

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Talk about “melting hearts!” This guy is also a keeper!

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OUR LIVING ROOMS…THE PLACE WE LIVE, LAUGH AND LOVE TOGETHER...I may not always decorate our bathroom for this romantic month, but I  never miss bringing out a few decorative items to highlight the flavor of ‘romance and love’ for the room we live the most in

 

This living room is beautifully simple yet elegant and sophisticated…With its quiet highlights of red, it brings forth the cheerfulness of this holidays’  celebration.

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Another cozy, romantic living room…spacious , great lines and a perfect arrangement for a lovely get together. I would add a few accents or two, to bring a little more festivity. (Perhaps an array of throw pillows and fresh garden flowers, to bring some warmth and a motif of romantic-love) 🙂

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PERFECT!

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“I heard it through the grapevine” that ‘purple‘ is the new color this year for Valentines day…Undoubtedly romantic, alluring and passionate! 🙂

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For those of you who are not a lover of reds, cupids or valentine decor, but are in love with romance, these two living rooms exude the mystique and romantic patina, with the beautiful colors of rich  tans and royal blues, or hues of gold, butter-cream whites and taupe…the furniture style, candle light, flower arrangements and small  decorative items are lovely “just the way they are.”

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“A Room with Two Views.” 🙂 I adore the red florals amidst the stripes, with accents in red, white and blue… Romantic and bedecked for the holiday!

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Out of all the living rooms, this particular one captures my heart the most! Its got everything! Feminine touches amidst a baronial, checkered ottoman along with the noble and rich, dark woods. The floral couch, inciting valances and white paned windows are exceedingly  warm, snug, and  festively romantic.

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Another wintery, exotic flower arrangement for your Romantic home makeover…

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I love the potpourri of colors this decorator has chosen…This room looks a little formal yet I have a feeling, it is a room that has experienced a lot of love and living. For Valentines and a touch of romance, I would add a few decorative pillows that flavor the room with a flashy valentines motif, along with a few cozy, February scented candles.

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“One can only imagine  that  ‘Winter Night’ smells scrumptious.” 🙂

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Very simple, a white damask couch, a potpourri of throw pillows, (a romantic snowman throw,) 🙂  and a box of Sees chocolates from California. (If any of my brothers are reading this blog, please, no more Sees candy for awhile…it was WAY to good!  🙂 )

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I would love to have  a fresh arrangement of white flowers or white roses for my coffee table , (If my husband is reading this blog, please take note of what next Friday is.. 🙂 ) I love fresh flowers in the house…their fragrance as well as natural beauty, are very pampering to the soul. 🙂

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Yes, my Christmas tree changed to a snowman tree in January. For February, I added dried red and  pastel yellow roses along with red and gold wired ribbon to create a bit of romance. My other  little guy is just glad that he doesn’t  have to fit in that tree as he loves spaciousness, and dislikes crowds. 🙂

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A few of my favorite wintry pillows… I love the white bear snowman! He is so original, colorful and adorable.! 🙂 IMG_0597

Another favorite pillow that I keep out for this “sweethearts season,” 🙂  is the one my sister made me for Christmas. You already know who the Boss of this house is…”Sir Grantham.” He  truly is a “heart wrapped in fur” and I  will keep this gorgeous pillow out year round as she made it with his photo, (in my living room colors…)  Its a keeper! He is one of my valentines too …he’s my heart!

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This living room is magical with its romantic lighting, heartening fireplace, white woods mixed with the dark and the beautiful highlights of blue… For February , I would add a few throws, bright, motley pillows and an arrangement of yellow roses… but it truly is captivating just the way it is. 🙂

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Absolutely stunning, romantic and complete! I wouldn’t add a single thing!

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Very Romantic, filled with the beautiful bounty of natures wintry colors.  A Victorian flare with its swags embellished with glistening white lights and roses…all in line with Valentines Day, as well as warm and cozy for the winter.  The only things I’d change would be, replacing  the white pillar candles with pomegranate red, and adorn the bunny rabbits with petite grapevine wreaths with roses (to keep their necks warm!) 🙂

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I hope after taking this Romantic tour that you have gleaned a few ideas to take home to your  own romantic and cozy haven… I know I have. Just a few changes around  your home can make a big difference. Enjoy this last full month of winter… Majestic February. Take a stroll through the woods in the snow, light some wintry scented candles or bake a batch of  heart shaped valentine cookies. While your spouse is taking a shower, draw a heart on the steamy mirror and tell them how much you love them…celebrate the month of love and make it special for yourself as well as your household.

In closing this ‘Romantic Makeover vignette,’ I wanted to share with you a few of our favorite chocolates for your “Valentine,” (if you aren’t already sold on one,) as remember Valentines  DAY is a special holiday for all the senses… and chocolate is at the top of the list! )       sees20  Now, if you really  stretched it, you could consider a box of chocolates as ‘Romantic home decor.’  Some of the heart shaped boxes are  created so luxuriously and look so beautiful.(They add an abundance of charm and elegance, just resting upon your coffee tables.) 🙂 (just sayin! ) 🙂

 

 

Our #1 choice is See’ s candy….always a must when we visit California. Our 2nd is Ghiridelli, 3rd, Dove Chocolates, 4th. Godiva and  5th, Harbor sweets 85 Leavitt Street, Salem MA.  Lastly, Harry and  Davids Chocolate mousse crunch! (Kits very favorite!)  If your still looking for  a ‘sweet treat’ for your Valentine,  I hope these suggestions are helpful!

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If by chance, you are a Trivia person, here is a little “Info” on this particular box of candy;

sees20Harrods is the proud creator of this Valentines  box of chocolates, noted to be the most excellent chocolate in the world. There are 49 pieces, all studded with Swarovski crystals, hand wrapped in Indian silk, with platinum and gold linings, and each peace is padded with a crystal flower…for only a mere $10,000. SO,you can buy these for your sweetheart for Valentines Day, or  a new car. 🙂

Have a wonderful and blessed Valentines day !

 

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He who marvels at the beauty of the world in summer will find equal cause for wonder and admiration in winter… In winter the stars seem to have rekindled their fires, the moon achieves a fuller triumph, and the heavens wear a look of a more exalted simplicity. ~John Burroughs

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Its hard to believe that the last day of autumns glory has departed and the start of a new season has begun. Winter always arrives in a magnificent splendor as it is introduced to us in the height of Christmas.  What season can  top that prelude?  It is a season that embodies an abundance of new beginnings, peaceful times of reflection, warm, cozy fires in our hearths, as the wind howls in an harmonic melody accompanied by the  pristine white snow as it wondrously falls outside our  double-paned windows.IMG_0437 Suddenly, we are enriched with an entirely new ambiance surrounding our days…the December equinox enchanting  birds have arrived, bringing a luminescent array of rich  colors and new songs. Our hearts bounce with excitement when we have days where we actually feel the warmth of the sun as it is making its way through the overcast skies, with its welcomed accolade and bright , gleeful radiance. Our neighborhoods are filled with  nostalgic aromas of fresh firewood kindling , and  we begin to get use to natures new attire of white and are surprised when we are no longer longing for the ” the lush green” like we did in the beginning.  Every season has its brilliance… When I  think of all the cliches of this season,  “I leave my home in the winter time and take up residency in Florida for three months,” “Winter is a depressing season” or ” Winter makes me lazy and all  I want to do is be a couch potato,”) I find myself feeling just the opposite.   True, this season does not gift us with springs vivid and extraordinary, kaleidoscopic  blooms, summer’s warmth and the sandy beaches splendor, and the magical three months of fall with its vibrant reds and golds, but, it undoubtedly exemplifies  a  rare beauty all of its own... nightskiesBrighter night skies with the air eminently colder and refreshingly crisp. The stars shine lambently  and the moon  graces us with its tranquil radiance… the trees, now stark and bare, silhouetted against a  galvanic sunrise or  sublime and flawless sunset, causes our hearts to skip a beat  with its stellar beauty. There is nothing like the first fallen snow, blanketing all of nature in an opalescent, fluffy white ….everything looks and feels pure, fresh and clean. As the sun glistens upon the snow banks, and we are snugly wrapped up in a million layers of wintry clothes, thick gloves and scarves covering our faces from the sting of the bitter cold, we feel like  little kids again as we trample through the dense yet ethereal, frozen white snow, hearing our boots crunch with each step..nightskies1if we fall over , no worries…we feel as if we are wrapped up in gigantic pillows…after making a snow angel or two, (we giddily get back up into a standing position and keep going.) We know its time to come in when we can’t complete our words any longer as our mouths are frozen … we quickly barrel back to our welcomed warm homes, and within five minutes, we are down to one layer,  happily sitting on the brick hearth, soothed by the sounds of crackling wood and the warmth of the flames upon our backs…we are in heaven! nightskies2We drink an abundance of coffee, hot cider or steaming cocoa, as we warm our bodies and feel our  internal temperature gauge slowly rising to “normal.” 🙂    Now its time to enjoy the beauty of winter from the inside of our homes…we smile as we KNOW the snow  will be there in the morning.

 

Do you ever wonder why people are drawn to  the seasons they are? Could it be that it truly is within our genetic makeup? In a way, I liken it to our preference of cuisine… most people either “really love”  spicy, Mexican or Asian food or they prefer  lightly seasoned cuisine, some even bland.   Why am I a “salty” person where as my husband adores sweets… I have two close  friends that are in  many ways, very much  alike, yet one  adores autumn and winter, where the other, dislikes the chillier seasons so immensely , she can hardly wait for springtime to arrive. The lover of spring is an April baby, where the other entered this world in the Fall…Is our ‘birth month’  one of the reasons we are drawn to one season more than another?  Grantham is definitely a lover of Winter with his four layer fur coat accompanied by his  curiosity and excitement with the ‘white-icy-slush.’ 🙂 Our black lab Patch, preferred being inside on his cozy bed when winter arrived in Virginia,  dauntlessly avoiding every attempt we made to get him to go  outside and play in the snow.  As I have grown older, I have come to love and appreciate all 4 seasons, winter and fall more so, but there is such a beautiful bestowal with each one. For myself, winter is a time that evokes a myriad of  creative juices to begin flowing.…  Living on the east coast, and in  many countries with polar temperatures,  we can’t do all the things we are use to doing when the weather is gorgeous, warm and the sun  brightly shines amidst our green,  verdant lawns…alabaster10But,this wondrous, mysterious season of winter has so much to offer with its many diverse gifts. In this blog, I hope to share with you  some imaginative and inspiring  ideas, (21 to be exact, 🙂 ) to bring forth an abundance of  joy, fun and laughter to your winter months, (perhaps even change your mind a little bit, and take this placid and tranquil  season off the bottom of your “favorite season list.” ) 🙂

 

 

 

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“And there is quite a different sort of conversation around a fire than there is in the shadow of a beech tree…. Four dry logs have in them all the circumstance necessary to a conversation of four or five hours, with chestnuts on the plate and a jug of wine between the legs. Yes, let us love winter, for it is the spring of genius.” ~Pietro Aretino, translated from Italian

“There is a privacy about it which no other season gives you…. In spring, summer and fall people sort of have an open season on each other; only in the winter, in the country, can you have longer, quiet stretches when you can savor belonging to yourself.”~Ruth Stout

“Winter came down to our home one nightsnowkids
Quietly pirouetting in on silvery-toed slippers of snow,
And we, we were children once again.”~Bill Morgan, Jr.

 

“Welcome, winter. Your late dawns and chilled breath make me lazy, but I love you nonetheless. “~Terri Guillemets

“I watch the springs, the summers, the autumns;
And when comes the winter snow monotonous,snowkids1
I shut all the doors and shutters
To build in the night my fairy palace.~Charles Baudelaire

 

“The days are short
The sun a spark
Hung thin between
The dark and dark.” ~John Updike

 

A wintry mix of a few adventurous and innovative  ideas of bliss…

If you are already counting the days from New Years to March 20th, (the first day of spring,) how about planning your garden in front of a roaring, cozy fire? Strategizing,  envisioning and researching is half the fun of creating your delightful spring garden. Treat yourself to a new garden book, a photo album, a drawing pad, colored pencils and start envisioning your garden from start to finish… Create a photo album of last years garden and decide what you want to replant , what will come back on its own, what new flowers or array of vegetables do you want to plant this year? Where will each, “soon to bloom” treasure be placed within your “enclosed beautiful amphitheater?”

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One of my favorite things to do on a piercingly brisk afternoon is to have a Themed Kitchen “creation day.”  First off, I decide my motif… Italian, Mexican, vegetarian, Indian,  home cooking or perhaps a decadent dessert. Secondly,  I research the web or my repertoire  of inherited family cookbooks for NEW recipes and pick one that is to tempting to pass up … I brew a fresh pot of coffee, put a classic movie on my petite, kitchen TV and begin to conjure up something delicious …I am always on the hunt for THE BEST spaghetti sauce out there… (but I still believe that my mom’s ‘secret sauce’ will always be my very favorite.) Not only is it fun to throw caution to the wind and add an array of new seasonings, fresh herbs from the grocer and be daring and  try different types of tomatoes, onions and spices, but just the aroma alone, wafting from my kitchen stove, is a fabulous  gift to our home as the savory sauce fills the air with the most “homey and nostalgic” fragrance, while it simmers all day on the stove. I make extra sauce so I can save some for another day or give a jar to my neighbor. (Another fun thing to do during this stay-warm,  indoor season; canning, making jams and jellies and sauces for gifts! )

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 NO GUILTY PLEASURES HERE!  The weather channel has predicted a winter storm for the day, the roads are already icy and the fireplace is beckoning you to come and enjoy its abundance of warmth and mesmerizing, candescent flames. It is the perfect time  of the year to curl up and get lost in your favorite authors new novel. Whether atop your cozy bed, snuggled up on the couch, or favorite chair nestled close to the kindling wood, your minutes of intrigue, romance or self help ideas will turn to hours  of total repose and escape.winterscape500Z-52Z-13

 

Is nature calling you to, “Come and  enjoy  some fresh air?”  It is no secret that many of us dream of a “white Christmas”…How about a “White” New Years, Peoples choice awards night or Valentines day?   If you live in the part of your country that is blessed to  have real “snow days,” take  advantage of this resplendent gift and enjoy all the felicity of a fresh snowfall…There is nothing quite like the thrill of riding down a slippery snowbank in an inter tube, or being hit by one as you forget to move out of the path when you stand up, suddenly frozen with fear as you see the next inner tube arriving in ‘fast motion.’  (Yes, true story.) 🙂 For many its the exhilaration of snow skiing ,  creating your first snowman of the season or watching your “Precious cargo” frolic and play the  Eskimo way, in the abundant white fluff. (When Kit and I lived in Connecticut, Grantham went out one morning, after a midnight snow storm that delivered over a foot of snow. We called him, (as usual,) and he was nowhere to be found….as we began looking, we heard a muffled bark and as we looked to our right, there he was,  burrowed under a beautiful canopy of white, with only the tip of his black , wagging tail visible.  He was having the time of his life and no allurement of a beefy bone or bacon strip would get him back in the door.

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With the academy awards, People Choice awards and Grammy’s coming up, January is a perfect time for a “HOME MATINEE PARTY.” Plan a special movie day …ask some friends over and make some savory, ambrosial snacks, appetizers, (you  have to have an endless bowl of buttered popcorn,)  start a fire in your fireplace, light some candles, and begin your “Cinema adventure.”

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For your home movie day,  rent the movies that are up for awards this year or if you have already seen them, here are some “all time”  great movies to rent, depending upon your mood…

For those who love the CLASSICS; Two great picks are  “Rear Window”  and ‘The Sixth sense.’

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ADVENTURE: ‘Sky fall’ and ‘White House Down,’ will get your adrenaline flowing.winterscape80winterscape79

ROMANCE and Kleenex movies, (guaranteed to evoke emotion,) …. The renowned and beloved author Nicholas Sparks’ two galvanic novels that were made into films…’Safe Haven’ and ‘The Lucky one .’

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If you are a lover of suspense….Alfred Hitchcock’s, Rebbecca and Now you see me, will keep you on the edge of your seat…

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FOR THE LITTLE ONES, (and  the young at heart,) Happy feet and The  Legend of the Guardians, The OWLS of GA’HOOLE are wonderfully entertaining with exquisite animation.

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Winter is an ideal time for starting your  abundance of  Home Improvement projects. (I can’t help but smile as this always reminds me of Tim the Tool man Taylor, in the popular sitcom.) 🙂tim-the-toolman-taylor Whether building a bookshelf, refinishing your hardwood floors or transforming an old piece of furniture into something that looks brand new, plan out your projects, purchase all your needed items and get lost in your creative  skills… If you love handwork,  needlepoint, quilting, painting ceramic plates or scrap booking,  treat yourself to all the materials you will need and bestow upon yourself, a time to relax and unwind as you are bringing forth an abundance of beauty. It is not only  fun , but recreational to use this season of cold, overcast days to engage yourself in a project  you really enjoy doing, that will also, enhance the aesthetic charm of your cozy haven..

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Plan and create a pleasurable  day with friends and family…Cook up an array of  delicious cuisine, bring in a few extra , comfy chairs, giving your guests a  front row seat to an exciting and much looked forward to,  Superbowl Game gathering.  

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If you love to decorate and have the time, let your creative juices begin to flow and bring forth a cheerful, colorful and welcoming ambiance for your Superbowl guests!

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Sounds scrumptious! (And I would definitely add the chocolate chips!) 🙂

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Rent a cabin in the mountains for a dulcet weekend or relishable “seven days of heaven.”  Enjoy all the sights, smells and sounds of winter in the country. There is nothing quite like a roaring fire, a cup of steamy hot chocolate and a junoesque snowfall amongst the wintry woods or the elfin glow of a lake, covered with the glimmering shine of incandescent ice.

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How about an organized  family game day? Whether playing competitive video games, an old familiar table game, Crazy eights or charades, being with your family and friends, getting ‘a little’ out of character as you change into your ‘competition mode,’  🙂 is a great idea on a “refrigerated.” wintry day. (If you feel like being a lone, challenge yourself with some rounds of solitaire, a one man video game or an in depth crossword puzzle.) 🙂

I will never forget a few years back, when we experienced a snowstorm like never before. Our power went out so Kit and I could  not work on our computers, use any type of electricity, watch a movie, listen to music… we decided to get out our games… As we lit a myriad of candles, we had more fun playing Scrabble Slam, Uno, crazy eights, and what surprised me the most is we took out a deck of Old Maid cards and we laughed so hard, (til our jaws ached,) 🙂 with that game (both of us putting on our poker faces, (or trying to anyways) to fool the other into picking the old maid out of the few cards left in our hands. 🙂 We would have never done that if it was a normal day!  A winter storm has many advantages! 🙂

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Do not laugh, until you have tried it! 🙂

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I have yet to do this, but have heard rave reviews on  hosting  a Grammy party at your home with friends and family. (We love watching the Grammys and sharing it with others who adore it as well, would only enhance the fun!) Add a touch more excitement and mirth by asking each of your guests to come in costume…dressed up as their favorite Grammy nominee…have a few door prizes ” ready for the winners!”

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If you really feel creative, make up some voting ballets for your guests to vote in  their favorites for the awards ceremony… create a celebratory ambiance in rich, lively reds or classic black and white… If you have time, bake up some savory , delicious Hors d’oeuvres for your guests and send them home with a palatable, decorative box filled with their favorite confections.

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Conjure up some intrigue and suspense as you create an unforgettable evening with friends and family…Have a “ Murder Mystery Dinner.” (See my Blog; “A murder Mystery at the old Carmine Estate in Mystic.” )  Plan your guests, characters and plot, create a “suspenseful atmosphere” and cook up a cozy , comfort dinner of Beef Stroganoff,  Shepherds Pie or a big pot of homemade chili! Guaranteed to be an enjoyable and memorable evening! (Half the fun is also in the planning and creating!)

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If you begin to feel a little bit of the “winter blues,” bundle up and give a few hours of your time to your towns or city’s nearest Soup Kitchen. I always find that one of the richest , most fulfilling activities I can partake in, is giving my time and self to others who are in need. Seeing the gratitude and joy on others faces will only bring that same joy to yours! 🙂

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Decide on the  perfect evening and MC a concert in your home ...whether with family or friends, pick a few DVDs of your favorite musical artists and stock up on the munchies, appetizers, festive drinks and enjoy a home concert! (And if you feel like dancing, dance until your heart is content!) 🙂

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A few highly recommended and delightful concerts! (My favorite being Michael McDonald’s, “A gathering of friends.”

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Planning a ladies afternoon tea for a chilly day, or calling a few girlfriends  to meet you at a resplendent  and fancy tearoom for “High Tea” would be a wonderful and enjoyable afternoon!

You can go with a formal home Tea…

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OR, make it cozy and simple! Its the camaraderie and laughter shared with one another that will make this a  memorable wintry gathering…. the ambiance you create is “icing on the cake.”

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A casual High Tea at a nearby Tea Room… ( Our city’s Tea Room embodies  a Victorian motif, with beautiful English china and magical Tea hats and scarfs to create a delightfully pampered experience for its guests.)

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It is also a delightful treat to meet at a regal and prominent Tea Room in a renowned Hotel for a Formal Tea…. (They do all the work for you!) 🙂

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A trip to your local Borders or Barnes and Nobles for a wonderful day of browsing through your favorite magazines, listening to the newest music at the CD listening bar,  reading a great novel while sipping on a scrumptious caramel macchiato and a delicious fruit scone! When Kit and I lived in Alexandria, the Barnes and Nobles across form our home, allowed Graham to  come in with us…every Christmas season, we would go for hours, get our magazines, books, coffees and sweet treats and find a cozy corner with chairs. The three of us were “more than content,” as we browsed through our books, listened to Christmas music and talked with others doing the very same thing.  (Graham was just elated that he didn’t have to stay in the jeep on our afternoon excursion…going into a place where he was welcomed and could hang out with us  and others, was like ” Doggy-heaven” to him.) 🙂

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Adopt a pet... With the sunshine taking frequent vacations, and our days more overcast with chilly temps, winter is the perfect time to create some new joy in your home with  an adorable  pet that is in need  of some love and a warm home…. It could be a project with your children or with your mate…  YES, its a little extra work, (OK, maybe a lot,) but adopting a pet and bringing love and a safe place to these little, (or big)  guys,  is a gift to you and your family of endless  warm fuzzies and abundant felicity.

A great resource for pet adoption is 1-800-adopt-a-pet or contact your nearest SPCA.

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Get your leather gloves, wool scarves and jackets out with your helmet and heavy jeans…  This scenic season is a glorious time to take a bike ride... whether to the beach, a country road or to the bustling city, its a front row ticket to enjoy all the beauty that winter brings .Think of all the engaging  sights you will behold on your days journey! (And the places you will undoubtedly stop at for hot coffee, hot chocolate and, steaming bowls of   savory soups ! 🙂

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Plan an actual Play date with your pet in the magical and miraculous snow! Some pets love this over abundance of  “white fluff,” its great exercise and brings a heart full of joy to you,seeing your “babies” having so much fun.

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If you are feeling the need to “create a neat and more orderly life,”  It is so easy, (as well as a lot of fun,) to CREATE your own personalized 2014 Organizer!IMG_0424IMG_0428

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All you will need is a notebook, your choice and style of fabric, ( I personally change my material for each season, making several fabric designed notebooks at once,)  a package of at least 24 designed sheets of paper, filler paper for making your
daily “To Do List,” Sharpie pens, glue gun, scissors, stickers or cutouts for “special occasions,” such as birthdays, anniversaries or the date “The Voice “comes back on TV in the spring. 🙂 ) Just joshing. I make my own organizer every year with a different notebook and  designed paper…Its is not only personalized, but a really fun project for a cold, rainy January day! (And it truly helps me to organize my thoughts, plans, goals and brings me an abundance of peace throughout the new year..)

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Exchange your jubilant Christmas decor with a winter-themed snowman motif! 

For my family, when the wondrous season of Christmas is over and  I fell a bit wistful as I pack up and store all of our Christmas attire in the attic, I purposefully leave out all my cheerful snowmen. If you are a lover of snowmen as well, bring your cheerful guys alive by  creating a winning and captivating , wintry corner in your home, turn your Christmas tree into a “Winter Wonderland extravaganza ” or  dress up your dining room with  an amiable, resplendent snowman table scape…bringing a smile to your family and each  winter guest!  (I keep  my snowmen up through March, as living in Delaware, we have at least three months of cold, icy or snowy weather. 🙂   IMG_0420

I love this bright, fortuitous, wintry tree …  What a great New years Creation!

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Lastly, another favorite winter tradition our family has is a “Home day at the spa.” Everything has to be “just perfect.” for our relaxing and rejuvenating adventure. Our bed made up with soft cotton sheets and down comforter with an abundance of pillows…(Check.) The chicken quesadillas prepared and placed in the oven, (check.) A fresh pot of coffee brewing, (check.)  Two of our favorite movies ready to go in the DVD player , (check.) A potpourri of diverse candles lit (as we don’t have a fireplace, (yet,) 🙂 (Check.)  We then, flip a coin as to who gets their back massage first. Also included is a heavenly foot rub, facial, neck and hand massage. It is a perfect day…not only is all the stored tension in our muscles long gone, but we feel entertained, are enjoying great food, one anothers company and the day couldn’t be any better if we had paid a professional and gone to the spa… we don’t even think about what the weather is like outside, (in fact, we are secretly hoping for snow flurries.)  🙂  It truly is  a wonderful day filled with blithesome hours. This idea definitely goes on my “highly recommended” list.) 🙂

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***** On (kind of)  the same note, this last year, our Grantham was diagnosed with arthritis as well as suffered  from a torn tendon in his leg. We were blessed to  discover ‘The essence of  Rosemary oil’…It  truly is a miracle oil… punk2its so fabulously soothing to him, easing his acing joints, so much so, that  he falls asleep with one  massage…and its great for us humans too! 🙂 We are so thankful that his leg is healed and his arthritis soothed!!! 🙂

 

I hope that this blog has inspired you with a few ideas, (you haven’t already thought of,) 🙂 to add some joy, sunshine and FUN to this winter season!

HAPPY NEW YEAR, 2014~ Bonne annee, ~ Felix sit annus novus, ~ Felice anno nuovo!!!

 

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Do you know your LOVE LANGUAGE?

“There is no surprise more magical than the surprise of BEING LOVED. It is God’s finger on mans shoulder.” ~ Charles Morgan   5ltouch5

Scrumptious, ambrosial cuisine, a spell-bounding novel, our beloved pets, festooning our homes to be cozy, beautiful and treasured havens of respite,ccl8 fabulous movies, a fine wine,bouvier_des_flandres a restorative escape to your favorite spot or playing creative games with loved ones, all bring forth beauty and winsome joy to our lives.   But, how about LOVE? Love brings blithe, buoyancy, cheer, gladness, vivaciousness, fulfillment and mirth to our lives in a way nothing else can.

There are of course different types of love. Passionate love, physical, emotional, spiritual, companionship, friendships as well as the love we possess  for our family and pets. There is also a love for the things we have acquired in life, our homes, jobs, developed, God given talents as well as a love and adoration for the things we so enjoy doing, camping, matinee movies, shopping, museums,horse10 cruising on the white sandy dunes, hiking, cooking, decorating or reading your favorite author’s engaging novella’s.

I think there are more movies, sonnets, poems, songs and books written on this  all- encompassing word ‘love,’ than any other subject in the world.    It most definitely is the most powerful word, and it is said, (from a  tried and true,very trusted resource, 🙂 )  that it alone, covers a multitude of sins.  It truly is a gift from above…There is nothing else that can be likened to love.anne 1 We are born into this world with a ‘need’ for it and we still get that warm fuzzy feeling, deep inside when someone tells us; “I love you,” up until the day we leave this world. I suppose a writer could write book after book on this magnificent subject of love, and still not begin to put a dent in covering its magnitude. 🙂

Why is the word ‘Love’ so intimidating and threatening? Do you remember your Jr. High school days when you’d get a crush on that special someone? It was bliss when you  “heard it through the grapevine,” that they too, ‘liked’ you…Everybody ‘liked’ each other… and we went steady with our treasured saint Christopher’s proudly worn around our  necks, but  when asked, if we were “together,”   we would always say “Yes, we really LIKE each other.” 🙂 As we get older, and we are ‘pretty sure’ we have found that right someone…it feels like your pulling teeth to FINALLY get up the courage to come out and say; “I have fallen in LOVE with you.” It’s okay to safely think it within our hearts, but to come out and say it, is frightening.myhunkI laugh when I think of Kits and my beginning…we met at a fine dining restaurant on the water in Dana Point  Harbor, CA. In working  there together, we began dating, but only as friends…  For six months this very handsome and special man brought me roses, took me to wondrous eateries, wrote me Hallmark cards with sentiments that melted my heart,love (I still have those cards to this day,) 🙂  took me for dreamy, moonlit strolls around the harbor and he even kidnapped me one day from work and took me to Palms springs for Valentines day!  (So Romantic!) He fixed me the most exquisite cuisine,  (he was and still is an excellent cook,) took my mom, sister and I out for brunch every Sunday after church and yet we were ‘just friends.’ (Best-friends at that…) I knew he loved me, but I felt safer saying “like.” 🙂 ( I think that was the fearful ‘little girl’ in me.) 🙂  girls But there came a day I will never forget…all the other available young ladies at work,  (watching kit and I on the side,) came to me one day and said; “Susan, whats the skinny on you and Kit? Are you an item? Is it Serious? He is  such a great guy and a real catch.” I replied with a little bit, (OK, a lot) of  anxious butterflies fluttering within my stomach, as I could see where their questions were going...”No, we’re just good friends.” My fears were confirmed when they all replied; “Well that’s great news because it means that he is fair game for all of us.” Don’t you know I went home and did some serious thinking... 🙂 Soon after, we acknowledged, (OK, I acknowledged,) 🙂 our love and I couldn’t wait to tell all the girls that we were getting married. 🙂 Why are we so leery about saying that word to someone when all  of our thoughts and actions are shouting  out “I love you” so loudly, that it echos in every part of our life. 🙂

I had never heard that we all possess a certain, (and some of us more than one,) love language, until later in my life.  You can no more change the color of your eyes,(well,cosmetically you can,) than you can change the love language that is within your heart. When you discover YOUR LOVE LANGUAGE, you will learn so much about yourself … how you  personally ‘give’ love and ‘receive’ love. After you get your self all summed up, find out your mates, siblings, friends and yes, even your pets love language, so you can understand how they are showing you love, (even if you can’t feel it,) and how they receive love...perhaps the way we are showing our love is not their love language, thus, they are not FEELING fulfilled by our actions like we believe they are. Really, this is not confusing at all…gary Its a wonderful and life changing book I have from the notable author, Gary Chapman. Its called The Five languages of love and the wonderful gems of truth and life-changing knowledge this author shares, are what this vignette is all about… (Don’t worry, it won’t be as long as the book…just a short synopsis.) 🙂

Before we look at the Five languages of love and what they entail, I have a few beautiful, keepsake quotes on this ever popular, powerful and all-encompassing word, LOVE, I’d like to share.

 

 

 

DISTINGUISHED QUOTE CORNER:Adorable Baby Boy in Suit on Cellphone

 “Love is the only sane and satisfactory answer to the problems of human existence.” ~ Eric Fromm

“Love has no desire but to fulfill itself ~ To melt and be like a running brook that sings it’s melody to the night.lily1 To wake at dawn with a winged heart and give thanks for another day of loving.” ~ Kahil Gibran

“For you see, each day I love you more today than yesterday and less than tomorrow.” ~ Rosemonde Gerard

“Love one another and you will be happy. Its as simple and difficult as that.” ~ Michael Leuing

“A baby is born with a need for lovelily4 and never outgrows it.” ~ Frank A. Clark

“Love is, above all, the gift of ones self.” ~ Jean Anouilh

 

“Love cures people – both the ones who give it and the ones who receive it.” ~ Karl Menninger

“Love is patient, Love is kind. lily3It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.” ~ ! Corinthians 13

“Love is like the dew that falls on both nettles and lilies.” ~ Swedish Prover

 

 

 

You will find as I introduce each love language, that you may give your love with one language and receive with another. You may embody two or three of these love languages and not just have one language. (You can be bi-lingual in your languages of love.) 🙂

“TOUCH HAS A MEMORY.” ~ JOHN KEATS…

The first love language I want to introduce is “Physical touch.” If this is your love language, you personally feel very LOVED and nurtured when a person you love touches you in some way. A big bear hug from a dear friend, a consoling hug from your mate when feeling down, a good morning kiss, a neck massage when tense, holding hands,  body massages and being held. ( You most likely love to hold little babies and can’t get enough hugs and kisses from your dog or cat.)   ( Don’t laugh, but my mom loved to have her feet tickled, and guess who she always asked to do it? 🙂  I think that the majority of us enjoy physical touch and it is always endearing from a loved one, when respectfully shown, but it doesn’t necessarily make us all feel LOVED.

Perhaps you do not receive love through physical touch but you show your love that way…You would be a person who is always hugging, touching someones arm as you are talking, pursuing holding hands with your mate, picking up the little ones to bring them comfort, adore spooning with your mate in bed as you fall asleep at night, wrap your arm around your friend as you are shopping at the mall, or greet all your loved ones with a big kiss on the cheek!    This is one of my husbands love languages and for him, it is both the way he receives love and gives it. Knowing this, I understand him so much better and can see when he is showing me love (his way.) It also educates me and has caused me to show him my love for him through ‘physical touch.’ It was a happy day to discover this about him after reading this book and talking with him to discover his love language… (Though I would have guessed it immediately from all of our years of marriage.) 🙂  It means everything to a person to receive love the way their heart desires to be shown love.

 

Do you remember your wedding ceremony and the honeymoon days that followed? There was hardly a time we weren’t touching, holding hands, hugging and kissing…our lives were so full of pure delight and glorious felicity. 🙂

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There is nothing like the touch of our fathers hand in ours, especially after a treasured day together.

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Your “love of your life,” best friends touch… It is always so comforting, just to know “they are there!”  🙂 200264715-001

Physical touch as an expression of love is not just for humans…its also for the birds! (no pun intended.) 🙂 All human life seems to derive so much from touch!

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As babies, we can’t be touched enough…it’s our comfort, assurance and way we receive nurturing and love. For us big guys… (adults,) a babies touch is like nothing else… they give us love without even trying! 🙂

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“THERE IS NO EXERCISE BETTER FOR THE HEART THAN REACHING DOWN AND LIFTING PEOPLE UP.” ~ JOHN HOLMES

Love Language number two… Words of Affirmation.

This love language seems to be one of the most popular... If you feel loved when someone SPEAKS words of edification such as; ” you are pretty, handsome, smart, creative, admired, doing a great job, are kind and loving, a best friend, have lost weight or gained, (which ever needed,) 🙂 you’re appreciated, your  a person of integrity and great faith, a fabulous cook, “I love you,” or that you have accomplished much in your life, then this is your love language and definitely how you RECEIVE  Love. Again, everyone enjoys hearing a compliment or kind word, but it does not make them feel LOVED like it does someone with this love language.

You may not receive love through this language, but it  could be your way of showing others you love them. Do you find yourself continually  giving compliments, uplifting your spouse, children and friends with your words of encouragement and love? Do you enjoy telling the check out  lady at the grocery store how  pretty she looks that day or e-mailing a friend who is a bit down and spend time trying to cheer them up? Are you one to be the listener in a group and find yourself asking a lot of questions to get people to ‘talk about themselves?’ If so, this could be the language you use to show others your LOVE.

In our marriage this language has been a wonderful blessing as both Kit and I receive and show love with this language . (We are forever building up one another with words of edification , encouragement and love  and it is undoubtedly a huge blessing and fulfills our “love tanks.” 🙂

 

Writing our heart felt sentiments within ‘an old fashioned, handwritten, snail mail- letter’ 🙂 is truly a gift of love to those who own this love language .language3   What a great idea!   5lwordsofenc3

Just three simple words can change a day! 5lwordsofenc

There is nothing like a kind word fitly spoken, no matter our age! 🙂ad21

Did you know that the Briard breed of dogs, when trained, learn only by praise and affirmation? (Kit and I know it firsthand.) 🙂 (We only have one!) 🙂 Bless the family that owns all of these… 🙂 briardenc

WORDS are a a powerful, amazing life giving force. briardenc1

My husband just gave me this for my birthday… I am going to put it right next to my desk. 🙂 Talk about words of affirmation… I will keep it forever!  🙂 IMG_0246

 

 

BECAUSE BUSINESS LIFE IS SO BUSY, MY HOME IS REALLY MY SANCTUARY. THAT IS WHERE I REFLECT AND SPEND QUALITY TIME WITH MY GIRLS.” ~ RACHEL RAY

Love Language number three…Quality Time.

This love language, especially in the the 21st century, is a very difficult love language to own and express, as “our time” is so full, busy and we are beyond exhausted at the end of each day… Because it is so rare to have free time, what better gift to give, than “your undivided and wholehearted time” to the ones you love?  If this love language is the way you show your love to others, you are undoubtedly a planner…always planing dates with special friends, organizing dinners for the family gatherings, taking refreshments to your children’s soccer games, meeting your  spouse for a cup of coffee at Starbucks where there are no phones ringing, TV’s playing, and the two of you can sit, with ‘uninterrupted time,’ to just say “Hi honey, HOW ARE YOU DOING?” 🙂 When you are with your mate, a friend or family member, ‘you are REALLY there,’101%… they are your priority for the time you are giving.

If Quality time is not the way you show your love, but receive love from others, you probably feel ‘love staved’ at times, 🙂 (because of how busy life is these days.)  Your love tank is filled when a friend calls and you have over an hour to catch up with “real talk,” you love it when your mate , with no other distractions , looks at you and wants to hear about your day. Your on cloud nine when you go on vacation and see the family and get a full day with each of your siblings…talking, laughing, sharing and being intimate. Quality time is intimacy to you and there is nothing like it to make you feel loved and cherished. You are probably not one for surface talk and half-hearted relationships as they just do not feel REAL…  Quality time is my love language, both in the way I show love and receive it. It is not an easy love language … and I am learning to receive love from the way others show there love, if it is not quality time, or words of affirmation, (my other love language.) I keep reminding myself, it truly is not personal. I am thankful for these love languages  and I would not change this part of me for anything! 🙂

 

Whether  at Starbucks, or in your home when all the kids are gone, share that intimate, steal-away moment of  time over a delicious cup of coffee…really listening! 5lqualitytime5 There is nothing quite like an afternoon in the park together…pack a picnic lunch, your favorite foods, a cozy blanket and just “TALK,” (sharing in the beauty of nature, the birds singing, fresh air and a gorgeous sunny day!Young happy couple outdoors

“Q” time with the girls is certainly a way to feel loved and cherished and show love…no matter how old we are! 🙂

5lquality time5lquality time5

Going to an exhilarating celebrity concert together, or a symphony under the stars in New York City’s renowned Central Park, getting out with your mate or friends is a wonderful way to spend quality time together. (Can you guess which concert Kit would choose and which is my pick?)bruce

Lets see….Bruce Hornsby or Usher…hmm! My choice would have to be the performer ‘s G-rated songs , so that should give you a hint! 🙂 Both exceptional artists, (and would be a great outing for quality time together with your mate or friends.)

5lquality time 4

Do you remember as little kids, hanging out at the beach with your older brother? Now that was quality time! Finding enchanting starfish, poking the sea anemones with long twigs as we were so afraid if we used our fingers, they’d eat them up, 🙂 getting sun burnt, running as far away as we could from the jellyfish a drifted on shore, joyfully wading in the oceans waves, listening for the sound of the mysterious sea in the conk shells…peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and walking hand and hand…There was always time for each other! 🙂

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I know that our Grantham’s love language is Quality time…He shows his love as well as receives love this way…) amongst all the four other love languages.) 🙂  Quality time with your pet is what they desire the most, except maybe that steak bone or some fresh grilled salmon! 🙂   A day at the Grand canyon together…now that was hours of blissful “Q” time…what a great memory for Kit and I. west4west1

 

 

“HAPPINESS DOESN’T RESULT FROM WHAT WE GET, BUT FROM WHAT WE GIVE.” ~ BEN CARSON

Love language number 4 ~ GIFT GIVING!

I personally have a few friends that I have known since childhood, who own this love language and shared with me that, “If you take my ability to give gifts away, I would not feel like I was  expressing my love for others.”  WOW! I think everyone enjoys giving gifts and receiving them, but if this is your love language, it carries with it much more meaning within your heart.  If you love shopping for others, picking out ‘just the right’ gift for their home or a hobby they enjoy, or perhaps if you are gifted with creativity, you enjoying making personalized and cherished homemade gifts for others, planning birthday luncheons for your girlfriends, taking your buddy’s out for a beer,  baking  an ambrosial cake for your neighbors or your favorite doctor and his office staff,  taking friends out to brunch or you enjoy bestowing tokens of love at every celebration, this is undeniably your way of showing love and “gift giving” is your love language.

If you FEEL loved when you receive a gift from someone, then this also is your love language, as it is how you personally  receive love. You probably can hardly wait for your birthday when friends and family celebrate your special day with handpicked gifts that they know you will adore. You enjoy and feel loved, being taken out to dinner, receiving surprises from your mate, ( a bouquet of fresh roses, a box of chocolates or a gift certificate to the spa, your favorite classic movie, a new fishing rod, or that elegant watch you’ve had your eye on.) Christmas time is most likely a season of blissfulness as your “love tank” is not only full, but overflowing. 🙂

 

For those whose love language is “Gift-giving”, adding a unique piece to a collection they have going is a wonderful idea to express your love. It shows thoughtfulness and creativity.language11

A homemade gift, right from the heart, showing time and creativity is a delightful way to demonstrate your love. How about renting a cottage in the country, stocking it up with your friends favorite wine, coffee, foods and music and giving it to them as a surprise ‘weekend away?’ Not only would they feel LOVED, but it would be a resplendent, wondrous respite! language10language9

What lady does not love “girly stuff?” My sister sent me the most adorable birthday box filled with different themes of pure enjoyment… nighttime luxuries; ( a new night gown, night cream accompanied by a beautiful hand towel to match,) along with a “feeling pretty” bag, filled with a variety of makeups, lotions, earrings,  anti-wrinkle cream…(YEAH!), and serene melodic CD’s. Creativeness is a gift within itself!language8

Again, if you know your friends or family members china pattern, adding a cup and saucer, soup bowl or dinner plate is an endearing way to show your love. language7

For the special men in your life who own this language, there is nothing like making their favorite cake to bless their palates, buying a manly scented candle for their study or anything that is thoughtful and shows you know what their interests are as well as  care about them.

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Some more ideas for the guys…support their passions, whether its a card that says “I hereby grant you a free weekend by yourself, to go camping, fishing, biking or mountain climbing.”  Always  encourage them to chase their dreams.    How about giving them the gift of a new fishing rod or the latest  bike on the market, with all the ‘bells and whistles.’ Not only will they feel loved but will be eminently touched by your thoughtfulness.

horse11horse9

 

 

THOSE WHO ARE HAPPIEST ARE THOSE WHO DO THE MOST FOR OTHERS.” ~ BOOKER T. WASHINGTON

The last, but certainly not least Love language; ACTS OF SERVICE

Acts of service is a lot like gift giving as a love language, except that it is usually the task we are doing for our loved one that makes them feel loved, not so much the gift of our benevolence. If you possess this love language as your way of showing your love, you most likely are a person that is always offering to do the jobs that no one else wants to do, (or won’t admit it, but they are unable to do.) 🙂 Fixing the kitchen sink for your wife, mowing the lawn for your husband, running errands for your friends, helping your friends move on your day off, spending the day cleaning the house and preparing a five star meal  for your husbands boss and his wife, taking the dog out for a walk in the snow, writing letters for the elderly who no longer can write and you love reading stories to children in the pediatric ward. This is your way of demonstrating the love within your heart for others.

If you feel loved when someone does something nice for you, supports your causes and helps makes posters, sends out mail or hands out flyers,  does your Christmas baking for you as you are not one who enjoys getting messy, 🙂 cleans your home for free, fixes your roof, free of charge, washes and waxes your car, and always goes the ‘extra mile” for you in making sure your needs are taken care of…Acts of service is absolutely your love language in the way you receive love.

What spouse would not feel loved when upon arriving home, beholds a beautifully set tableaux and a gourmet meal fit for a king awaiting … (especially if their boss and his wife are coming over for dinner? ) 🙂 Your hard work will be remembered for a long time! 🙂 (And your spouse will feel loved. )language15

During the holidays, we usually see all the moms slaving away in the kitchen, baking sugar cookies for her children’s class of 30, rum balls for the neighbors, Toll house bars for  friends, and fresh pies for her family. What a perfect gift, an awesome “act of service” for the kids to help her with the Christmas baking… (Hey dads, you could be their cheerleader.) 🙂language4

Dress up your kitchen table with an abundance of  kaleidoscopic, joyous colors, brew a pot of coffee or tea, bring out some freshly baked scones or banana bread and ask a friend or neighbor over for the morning. It will make their day!language5

This idea is probably the number one thought that runs through our minds when we think of acts of service…..very simple, easy and yet so deeply appreciated. (Especially in the cold wintry months.) 🙂 I can never say ‘thank you’ enough to Kit when he takes our trash out…no matter the season! 🙂 5lacts2

Another popular act of service, mowing the lawn for your mate. Our lawn takes 2 hours on a riding mower so whether Kit does it for me one weekend, (to give me two extra free hours,) or I do it for him…it truly is a big blessing!5lacts

Walking the dog, at twilight or the crack of dawn,  during the cold and brisk winter months, is one of the most wonderful gifts of service you could possibly give…not only to your mate, but your dog too! 🙂  (I was not kidding when I said Graham embodies all five love languages in both his giving and receiving love..he is a love machine! 🙂snowday

There are not enough words to say “thank you” to a man who knows how to fix “just about anything,” around the house… The plumbing, hang Christmas lights, fix a broken dryer, unclog the kitchen sink, service your car, fix your computer when it is acting crazy, and what would we do without our guys on moving day? 🙂 If this is the love language he demonstrates his love with, be sure to acknowledge just how very much he loves you!  timtool

 

Now that you know the five languages of love, take the time to figure out your language, or languages. Some of you will have just one, others, possibly all five.You may show love with one language and receive love with another…

Once this is done, ask your friends which love language they possess , or in knowing them as well as you do,  look to your intuition as to which Love language they embody.

As you begin showing your love to those in your life that are important to you with their love language, (the way they RECEIVE love,)  you will see what a wonderful difference it makes in the relationship. For instance, If your language is showing  your love through giving a gift, but the recipients love language is “quality time,” mix the two together…take them their gift, but don’t leave in a hurry.  Spend some time with them…

If your love language is words of affirmation and you have a friend who has never complimented you even once, try to understand that it is not personal…learn their love language and receive their love, the way they show it. You may want to share this book with them and tell them what your love language is...(hint, hint.) 🙂  Its not easy at first… but I found this book to not only be life changing, (for the better)  but exceedingly insightful and lots of fun. My relationships have only improved and are richer and fuller, thus bringing more joy, beauty and felicity for living the life I have been given.

I hope you enjoy learning what your LOVE LANGUAGE IS as well as the language your loved ones embody.

*** I do highly recommend this book as I know the author shares this glorious subject more in depth. Its a great read as well as relationship – enhancer. 🙂 (The Five languages of Love, by Gary Chapman. )

 

PHOTOGRAPHS: In placing your computer mouse upon any of the photos or graphics, it will display where the picture originated from.

“HOME”, for the holidays!

twas

“Twas the night before Christmas and all through the house; Our minds are astir with a medley of  thoughts; “Did I wrap all the presents?Happy966 How long does the roast cook tomorrow? I hope all of our FedEx packages arrived safely and is that TRULY the right “unforgettable moment- Aha gift,” I chose for my spouse? ”

The stockings are hung by the chimney with care, “Did I get Graham the right toysHappy790 and  beefy bones? Kit the right pens, flashlight, pocketknife, ornaments and his favorite Dove dark chocolates? Speaking of chocolate, I pray Graham doesn’t get into Kits stocking tonight or tomorrow morning, there will be more than the sweet aroma of  fresh pine, lingering in the air.”

graham100Grantham is all settled, nestled snug upon his tapestry bed, while visions of our homes ‘mascot,’gratitude6 bunny rabbit and a winsome deer in the meadow, stand dauntlessly before him, daring him with their flirtatious eyes,  “Just try to catch us…go ahead.”

Mama in her kerchief, (that’s me? What the heck is a kerchief?), Kdeer101it never goes to bed in his cap. Restlessly, there I lay, wide awake, praying, hoping and longing for at least 6 hours of blissful sleep, OK, perhaps maybe just a 4 hour, refreshing nap!

 

 

Doesn’t it seem that our Christmas celebration begins the moment we dry our last Thanksgiving dish? Already we are  busily planning what kind of tree we will buy, where it will go and whether our Christmas theme this year will be ‘Angel’s,’ ‘Santa’s,’ or ‘Snowmen?’ Excitedly, we set our alarms early for the next morning to either participate in  ‘Black Fridays’ notorious  shopping sprees,  or begin our felicitous  trips to the attic to gather our  cherished  Christmas treasures and decor.Happy944 We stand back in awe as we behold our home after its finally decorated. It looks magical, filled with bliss and an elfin charm that we wish we could ‘capture in a large bottle,’ so we could borrow some of it’s resplendent essence, whenever we need a ‘bit of magic,’ in the new year that lies ahead.   Suddenly, the date on the calendar reminds us that its time to write our Christmas cards, we have three holiday parties we have answered a “yes” to, Christmas shopping, the candle light service at  Church, gift wrapping, caroling with our neighbors,Happy784 cooking, baking and YES, we are “having a lot of fun” yet we are beyond  exhausted! It is so easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of this season, and forget to take time to smell the “evergreen branches, sugar cookies baking in the oven, unmatchable aroma of the firewood kindling in our hearths, or the delightful fragrance of the years first snowfall.”

This vignette, “HOME, for the holidays,”  is for you my readers, a gift of PURE ENJOYMENT!  There is no “hustle and bustle here…” 🙂 First of all, light a fire or some candles, fix yourself your  favorite holiday drink… a steamy mug of mulled cider, a caramel latte, a cup of Earl Grey tea in your Christmas china, a glass of Merlot or Chardonnay, ice cold beer or a cup of coffee…(with delicious peppermint-chocolate creamer…of course.)   Sit back, relax and enjoy a delightful Christmas Home tour, beholding beautiful rooms festooned for this wondrous season, glistening Christmas trees that will touch your hearts and spirits and just enjoy some blissful time of repose and rejuvenation as you reflect on this fabulous season…  I hope you ENJOY!

Diane

“Oh, there’s no place like home for the holidays
Cause no matter how far away you roam,
When you pine for the sunshine of a friendly gaze
For the holidays, you cant beat home, sweet home

 

Welcome to A kaleidoscopic, magical Christmas Home tour for this delightful and heartwarming season! Instead of just one or two homes, this tour holds a potpourri of resplendent homes, embodied with all styles and motifs of this magical, magnificent season.  (Is your Bing Crosby playing in the background?) :)”

 

 

THE FRONT PORCH

Lets start at the very beginning…Our front porches, festooned for an eminently “Welcome Christmas” ambiance. Whether for your children arriving home from College, the UPS guy delivering gifts, greeting festive carolers or your friends and family for Christmas days fete, it’s your Havens “first impression” and a tempting “peak” at what is laying wait for them beyond the front doors, inside. 🙂

How can you not love a red door at Christmas? Lovely!Happy706

A touch of Holiday flare!Happy705

Simplicity at its best!Happy703

Regal, inciting and royal!Happy710

Soft and glowing, exuding the comfort of HOME!Happy709

A beautiful reminder of Christmas’ past!Happy708

Quaint and inviting…Happy707

One of Winters hallmarks… Boy does this bring back nostalgic memories! 🙂 Happy704

Celebrate with a parade of lights!Happy111

You can’t beat the traditional medley of fresh foliage amongst vibrant reds.Happy702

One of my favorite “looks” for the holidays! It reminds me of an old fashioned English Christmas! 🙂C-72

Is this wintry snowman adorable or what? He is certainly a “cheerful greeter” for any visitor arriving to your home. A-99

A beautiful porch bannister, festooned for a classical red and green Christmas! A-65

This photo says it all! It reminds me of the antebellum homes in the south with their long porches, adorned with the renowned white rocking chairs…Beautifully bedecked for the holidays!A-64

A grandeur stairwell, embellished in a polished and splendid attire. “Simply Marvelous!”A-66

Even your mailbox deserves a “touch of Christmas!”  🙂Happy701

Our fair haired friends dressed up for a festive occasion. (Wonderful Christmas decor for the little ones and for all of us “Teddy bear lovers.”)  🙂   Happy717

A Romantic and felicitous Christmas wreath… I’ll take ten of these, please! 🙂 Happy700

 

THE BACK PORCH

Don’t forget ‘the extra square footage’ of your lovely home…your back porch! A special and private nook to grab a few moments of repose, a cup of hot cocoa and a breath of “really fresh air.”  BRRR!   Bring it alive with fresh greens and the vibrant colors of the Christmas season!Happy116

I love this choice, fresh cut evergreen wreath, bedecked with red silky ribbon, rustic pine cones and brilliantly hued apples.   Unique and eminently creative.Happy115

Subtle yet enchantingly stunning!Happy113

Nature’s bounty reflects this joyous season.Happy112

Another medley of undeniably aesthetic Christmas decor for your outside retreat…fresh greens amidst grapevine… It’s perfect plain, all by itself, or a great foundation for an abundance of Christmas color! Happy114

 

THE FOYER

How about your Foyer, entrance way, vestibule, passageway or lobby…. Make it unforgettable, a “holiday~love~at~first~site~encounter!”Happy724

I can’t think of two better “greeters…” A heartwarming Christmas tree with cheery, happy snowmen. Happy723

Walking into a “Winter wonderland!” 🙂 Happy722

Warm, colorful and beautifully welcoming!Happy721

“Angels we have heard on high.”  I am an angel lover…there is nothing more festive and  adorable than a chubby cherub angel dressed for Christmas…Happy720

Who wouldn’t feel welcomed, snug and cozy inside with these two beautiful, glistening hurricane lamps filled with opalescent candles, amongst beautiful tapestry? Absolutely gorgeous. Happy719

“Hark the Herald angels sing…” There is nothing more elegant, serene to the spirit and lovely to the eyes, than an Angel tableaux, or nativity scene, adorned with soft glowing lights and wondrous “glad tidings” to bring! angel100

 

 

THE MANTLE

Now that we’ve journeyed past all of the “entrance ways,” behold OUR main room, beautifully dressed for this “oh so special” occasion! Many of us spend most of our time in this cozy, blissful room, so why not go all out for Christmas and create a room full of your favorite Christmas colors, characters and decorations?  One of the focal points of this favored room is the fireplace mantle… WOW! What a beautiful array of diverse decor!Happy798

This mantle  is classic and will most definitely, have  every “little one” guessing where Santa is, and why has he left his bright red boots in the chimney for so long? 🙂  Happy795

Dreamy, romantic and a fireplace mantle I could look at all day, (and night) long! 🙂 Happy794

The architecture alone on this spectacular mantle is breathtaking. It’s “less is more” decor motif is perfect and brings this living room to life with it’s regal and festive ambiance. Happy792

Heavenly! The soft lighting, crisp white linens amidst the animated and lively ivy is absolutely winsome and warming to the heart. Happy790

This mantle reminds me of an old fashioned Christmas celebration with its abundance of golds and greens…brick hearth fireplace with charming homemade stockings… I love it!Happy788

“A resplendent symphony of Christmas tidings…”This festive and colorful patina is not only original and creative, but is filled to the brim with warmth, holiday cheer and an old English charm.Happy787

Elegant and beautifully simple! Happy785

Does it get any more spectacular and gorgeous as this? Mesmerizing!Happy784

With it’s fresh  green garland entwined with a medley of glistening white lights and Jolly Old St. Nicholas and Frosty’s cousins , this  beautiful mantle is sure to bring home the Christmas spirit to the child in all of us! 🙂Happy783

The combination of the timeless reds and greens amidst the alabaster white mantle is breathtaking! Don’t you just adore these spirited, animated old world Santa’s? (They look like they have a wondrous tale or two to share from all their magical journeys.) 🙂 Happy781

Not quite your traditional Christmas mantle, but lovely all the same. The medley of the blues and whites is a “welcomed patina” at any time of the year! Very festive!  Happy780

 

THE BANNISTER

If your cozy haven is two story, then you have the gift of creating Christmas on your stairwell. These festive bannisters are not only creative but eye-catching !  This balustrade is “heavenly” with it’s array of greens, bright orange , shimmering ribbons and berries amidst this gorgeous stairwell’s ornate and unique  architecture!   Happy806

Perfect ambiance for all of you Nutcracker lovers out there! Fabulously stunning!Happy804

This outdoors, kaleidoscopic display of bright reds, greenery and hushed berries is entrancingly  chic and classy! Happy802

My favorite color combination… a striking fresh green garland with soft, creamy white , opalescent ornaments….Does it get  any more romantic than this? 🙂Happy801

Not only fetching and soothing, this traditional and dapper green swag garland, amidst a brilliant white staircase, is also engagingly simple as well as elegant. I can hear it softly  declaring; “Christmas has arrived!” Happy800

Color changes everything and sets our mood! This festive bannister is alive with joy, gladness and celebration! Beautifully done!hapyy805

 

THE LIVING ROOM

Now we enter the grand room itself! Our festive living rooms dressed to a “T” for this wondrous, magical , long awaited Season! These living rooms evoke within us Christmas and all its joy and felicity.

“The hostess with the most-ess.” I adore these creative and diverse, festive topiary trees! A perfect way to dress up any room for the holidays! Happy753

This inviting and alluring mantle is certainly the “main attraction” in this living room. The color combination of striking greens and lulled, butter-cream whites,  is not only soft and welcoming, but, again, augustly romantic and lovely!Happy752

I’d be sitting by this fireplace all day long! 🙂 (A perfect place to read The Christmas story to your kids on the most dreamed about night of the year.) 🙂 Happy751

Galvanic, creative and festive! Those sweet treats are making me hungry!:)Happy750

A beautiful celebration of enveloping greens, rich golds and warm reds… fabulously snug and cozy!Happy749

Here come those adorable cherub angels again… This combination of pastel colors, amidst the fresh greens, with its resplendent baroque motif is one of my favorite…regal and noble, simple, yet elegant. I love it!  Happy748

Come and share a Christmas cup of tea! This room is not only cheery, bright and warm, but your heart fells welcomed the minute you walk through its doors.Happy747

 

I’m speechless! (just kidding!) 🙂 It goes without saying that mixing the exuberant colors of purple, rose and blue amidst the traditional golds, greens and reds is absolutely magical, elfin and STUNNING! Maybe Next year? 🙂 Happy746

This inviting, cozy, serene gathering place is definitely an ambiance where “LESS, truly  is more.” I absolutely love this patina! It speaks loudly of Christmas with all it’s splendor, without a lot of  flamboyant or flashy decor! Happy745 This living room reminds me of a remote cabin in the mountains, nestled on a  serene,  placid lake. It gives off the feeling of warmth, camaraderie and a big Christmas hug!  🙂 Happy742

 

A delightful and refreshing ambiance with it’s cozy faux painted walls, bright red and yellow poinsettias, luscious greens, and simple yet elegant setting! Happy741

 

THE KITCHEN

“No matter where I serve my guests, it seems they love my kitchen BEST!”  Isn’t that the truth! So many wondrous and intimate conversations take place in our cozy places of creation…These kitchens are “decked up” with an abundance of Christmas Cheer!

Simple, yet snug and cozy! I love the combination of the green and gold! Happy938

This aesthetic and buoyant kitchen is not only elegant with it’s highlights of green amongst it’s stellar whites, but is refreshing and roomy, all ready for Christmas baking! 🙂 Happy937 The warm wood, shiny copper and touches of green and red create a cozy, relaxed and comfortable kitchen for the holidays! Happy939

WOW! My favorite Christmas kitchen so far… With its rainbow of inciting colors and Christmas patina, I would spend most of my time looking for a reason to be in my kitchen. 🙂 It even has (what could be,) a writing desk. 🙂 Happy935

Adorable and creative…I am impressed with the gingerbread man motif! Happy934

How about dressing up a kitchen corner with a plate rack, filled with your cherished Christmas plates,  adorned  with swags of green garland and miniature white lights, to bring a little magic to the room?IMG_0296

One of Christmas’ hallmarks….The traditional Snowman…A great decor peace for any of your rooms this holiday season. IMG_0297

 

THE HUTCH

Whether your hutch is in your kitchen, dining room, living room or bedroom, it is the perfect place to display your  favorite Christmas treasures!

This vintage hutch with it’s adoring collection of Santa Clauses is not only magical and jocund, it adds a colorful display of Christmas cheer to this rooms ambiance.Happy933

Traditional, classy and blissful! (I love the butter cream yellows with the vibrant reds.) Happy932

I do not think that the color combination of  blue and white will ever go out of style! This hutch is so classy , festive and refreshing…Exceedingly elite and polished!Happy931

I always tell my  husband that sending and receiving Christmas cards or ornaments is one of  my favorite parts of Christmas. I keep every card and ornament, (and Christmas decoration someone blesses me with,) as it brings forth so many wonderful, gladsome memories of Christmas past! This “Santa and Penguin sleigh” is a gift from my beloved brother Jim… Unique, just like he was! 🙂 IMG_0351

How can you go wrong with a flourishing wintry wreath and a country snowman? IMG_0352

Candy canes amongst fresh greens and  bright red berries…a timeless and  festive motif for your Christmas hutch.Happy930

This antiquated, shabby chic, blue hutch with its abundant array of Santa’s, accentuated with the pewter is magical,  creative and overflowing with Christmas cheer.   Happy928

Every Christmas, I can hardly wait to get out my nativity collection, and display it upon our living room hutch. Its found its home! 🙂 Our hutches are such wonderful places to share our hearts aren’t they?  IMG_0349

 

THE DINING ROOM

The one place we gather with our beloved family and friends, sharing exquisite cuisine, old family recipes to die for, laughter and many a story of Christmas past…Our Dining rooms! This year I decided to go all out for our dining room with an Old English Christmas motif. What is your theme for your Christmas dining room tableaux this year?IMG_0292

I have always loved mixing my china patterns together… I used do it even before it was the “in thing.’ 🙂  You already  know me, I am a “more is more” person! 🙂 IMG_0291IMG_0272

I would love to be a dinner guest at this beautifully created holiday table! The chandelier with its soft lighting and festive decor is stunningly creative and alluring.Happy921

There is nothing more regal and fancy than a freshly polished silver goblet…add some Christmas greens and reds and its like MAGIC! A tablescape fit for royalty!Happy918

This dining room, all decked up for Christmas is blithesome, light some and full of splendor. An exceedingly soft display of the holiday spirit with it’s gorgeous whites, vintage red table and fresh cut greens…I love the way the decorator has used the white , sheer material to dress up her dining chairs with that “extra” added touch of elegance.inspired60

A step back in time… This dining rooms motif is abounding and flourishing with beauty and grace, with its array of alluring colors and unique, charming style.  I love it!Happy916

Okay! My new favorite Christmas dining room! Not only is it ‘ Victorian at its finest,” but beautifully romantic and overflowing with warmth! Happy915

Resounding and golden! What a refreshing Christmas motif.Happy922

I was wrong! This is my favorite Christmas Dining room of all time! 🙂 This room looks like a dream with its resplendent and ornate fireplace and mantle architecture, Victorian evergreen tree, rich tapestries, brilliantly white linens, antique china and fresh bouquet of wintry flowers… I would never get up from the meal! 🙂 Christmas1001

A formal Christmas dinner with a a roaring fire…This looks like something out of a fairytale. 🙂  Happy914

This room is abounding in rich color and most  certainly embodies a festive ambiance of Christmas cheer.Happy913

 

Also within our dining rooms, our delightfully festooned sideboards for the holidays fetes.

This gorgeous sideboard has been decorated with class, an abundance of rustic, fresh garlands and looks beautifully tailored.   Perfect for all the “extras’ from your bountiful Christmas feast. Happy927

I think one of the most irresistible animals on this earth is the cuddly, innocent and “oh so cute” Polar bear. What a great idea for a festive and celebratory sideboard table-scape in your dining room.Happy926

Elegant, heart warming and filled with charm!Happy925

This beautiful cherub angel with its subtle attire of reds and greens is stirring and amazingly radiant. If our home was really big, I would definitely  have an abundance of these “adorable guys” all over my house. 🙂 Happy924

 

This year, for our old English Christmas dining room theme, I brought out my Tutor house village collection… It looks so romantic all lit up at night on our sideboard…(I can’t fit any extra food on it while we are dining,  but hey, it looks good!) 🙂 . IMG_0360

A playful snowman to brighten the room… this sideboard has a little more room for food …OK, who really needs a sideboard for food at Christmas anyways? Would you rather have a Santa Claus,  jolly snowman, Polar bear gracing your room, or a side dish of broccoli casserole and basket of bread on the table? 🙂 I know what my husbands answer would be. 🙂  IMG_0401

THE BEDROOM

For our special place of respite, dreaming away in slumber land, our bedrooms need a little touch of the holiday festivity as well.

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This bedroom is undoubtedly dressed for Christmas! I love the red plaids amongst the crisp whites, the fresh greens wrapped around the bed posts and the simple, yet winsome and classy Christmas tree with its soft amber lights! Happy909

I never think of pink or rose as being a Christmas color, but I have sure changed my mind! This bedroom is gorgeous! It looks like a room where you would sleep peacefully with “visions of sugar plums dancing in your head.” 🙂  Happy911

This delightful bedroom is simple, yet embodies an ‘elegant flavor’ of Christmas. Happy910

This room resounds in abundance with it’s breathtaking color… Waking up each morning with all the gorgeous shades of red, blue, greens, whites, gold and yellows,would make  for a great start to any day!  Very beautiful and festive for the Christmas holidays!Happy908

Cozy, snug and mirthful!Happy907

Now this is the way Kit would like our bedroom to look at Christmas… Very clean lines, rustic yet warm with beautiful  earth tone colors…It’s handsome and baronial yet enchantingly charming. Happy904

Ah! A hot cup of Christmas tea, a roaring fire and a good Christmas novel…That sounds like a perfect night for this stunning bedroom.Happy903

Subtle touches of Christmas cheer make this room welcoming, fresh and delightful! I adore sleigh beds!Happy901

The combination of Christmas plaids with Victorian needlepoint pillows is undeniably polished, as well as festive and inviting.Happy900

Absolutely galvanizing! Earthy, yet amazingly heart- stopping-gorgeous!Vi67

 

CHRISTMAS ORNAMENTS

Leading up to the grand finale,  THE CHRISTMAS TREE, we spend a lot of time finding just the right ornaments from our collections to create the “perfect Tree” we desire each year. My  older brother Jim started me on collecting Christmas ornaments when I was in Jr. High school and I have kept it going, (one of our families traditions,) each year.

My very first Christmas ornament from Jim in the 70’s. 🙂 Every year, I think of him when I find the perfect place for it to go, upon our Christmas tree.  IMG_0386

And my collection just keeps on growing! 🙂 IMG_0388

What a colorful and festive, jolly Santa! IMG_0390

With every ornament we place upon our tree each year, there are an abundance of warm, happy cherished memories that run through our minds and warm our hearts. That’s what I love about decorating the tree…

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What a unique Old world Santa Christmas ornament! Happy958

These exquisite ornaments are for all you Victorian lovers out there… So delicate and lovely!

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Nostalgic and magical!

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THE GRAND FINALE**** THE CHRISTMAS TREE

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One of my favorite memories as a child, was the day after Thanksgiving when my mom, six siblings and I loaded up  in our station wagon and went to FIND THE PERFECT EVERGREEN TREE!  I can still smell the fresh pine, hear our laughter and bantering… It was a perfect day! After the last decoration was placed upon our tree and the lights turned on, it was as if a magic wand touched our entire house, filling it with enchantment, love and gladsome hearts. To this day, I feel the same way!Happy949

Incredibly authentic, inspirational and this little angel toddler is precious! 🙂Happy947

Light hearted and debonair…this maritime Christmas tree is nurturing to the eye as well as the soul!Happy945

Whether in an array of heart stopping reds and greens, or vibrant blues and golds, both of these festive trees are authentic and stir up ample dramatic and festive celebratory emotions within, for the magical season.

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These Old fashioned Christmas trees awake the convivial spirit within … Incredibly jovial and enrapturing.

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Is there anything more magical and childlike than a teddy bear Christmas tree? Happy942

Amiable, welcoming and heart warming! The classic red , gold and green Christmas tree will never be outdated… Its timeless!Happy941

Another cordial and heartening classical Christmas tree! (With a patriotic touch!) 🙂 4sk29

“I’m dreaming of a white Christmas…” I love this unique and authentic tree with its spruce  charm. Vi69

This tree reminds me of our Christmas tree growing up in the 70’s and 80’s…Classic! (I can still hear my fathers voice saying; “Kids, your putting way to much tinsel on the branches.) 🙂 (Then he’d take some off when we’d go to bed, not wanting to take away our pride from our “work of art” for the evening.) 🙂 Vi63

Another elegant and soft bethnic Christmas tree with its seafaring theme! Abundantly refreshing!BB-8

Vivacious and winsome! I can just hear the Carol of the bells, playing in the background. 🙂 K-2

An absolutely stunning Victorian Christmas tree…I could keep this up all year round! 🙂 G-103

Original and authentic…These  beautiful trees are “top of the line,” as well as ingenious.

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It looks like the elves were “super busy” bedecking this gorgeous, romantic tree…It definitely lines up with the “more is more” motto for decor! 🙂 E-63

Last, but not least, this modern, vibrant, kaleidoscopic tree is not only dramatically alluring but definitely festooned with gladness, cheer and good will! E-8

The finishing touch of each family tree is it’s creatively wrapped packages. (Half the fun of receiving a gift is being able to “guess” what it is, before unwrapping it 🙂Happy967

Sensational! Beautiful choice of colors!Happy966

There are so many creative ways to wrap your Christmas gifts this year… Even the Christmas gift bags are beautifully decorated! 🙂 Happy965

I love these Toile wine bottle covers… They would be a beautiful display year round on your ding room hutch or sideboard! Happy964

Bright and festive colors make all the difference! What a gorgeous combination of textures and hues! Happy963

 

Now, there is one Festooned part of this home tour I have left out? Can you guess what it is? No home, that hosts beloved ‘pets,’ is complete, without your precious cargo arrayed in a little, (or a lot) of Christmas splendor and cheer.  (They are so eager to get in the Christmas spirit and they adore all the extra attention!) 🙂

Oh my gosh…this gentle giant is so adorable! (And brimming over with Christmas spirit.)  Cutiepie5

Our little, (big) Grantham, decked out for the holidays…(Sitting in his favorite wing back chair.) The next thing you know, he’ll ask Kit or I to get him a cold glass of milk. 🙂 I-97

Precious! We do not have any cats, but these cuties sure tug at my heart to go to the nearest pet store! 🙂  How adorable!Christmas dress8

More treasured and beloved kitties enjoying the Christmas season. chirstmas dress 9

For all of you Horse lovers out there… These big guys love ‘dressing up’ for the occasion, just as much as our indoor pets! 🙂 Christmas dress 11

Grantham, when he was just a little puppy, dressed in his red Christmas sweater. I could not get him to wear the reindeer antlers for the life of me. 🙂 I-98

Is this not the cutest Christmas photo ever? What a cutie pie! This needs to be framed and put on the mantle… I love it!  arctic1

I hope you have enjoyed this Home for the holiday tour for the Christmas season, your latte or glass of wine, your time of repose and that perhaps an idea or two has ‘jumped out at you’ to add to your Christmas decor this season! Merry Christmas!

 

PHOTOGRAPHS: In placing your computer mouse upon any of the photos or graphics, it will display where the picture originated from.