“A Joyous wedding of the old and the new.”

We love our cherished tokens of old and blissfully acquire the new, yet an even richer joy awaits us when they are united together, birthing a resplendent harmony… gracing our lives with the bestowal of fulfillment and unexpected surprise that abounds within their authentic and matchless synchrony.” ~ Adelle Campbell 

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Who says that “you can’t have the best of both worlds?” Without even knowing it, we are surrounded everyday  in the simplest ways with something old and vintage, accompanied by something that is new, fresh and recently invented.  For instance; If you live-in the deep south, in a new home, your blessed to be able to enjoy all the modern day amenities that acquiring a new home offers. Most likely, you are also graced with gorgeous antiquated live marraige 51Oak trees, that have lived upon your land for 400 years, shading your home with their prestigious, stoic branches, draped with Spanish moss that gently sways in the cool evening breezes, bringing your home rich history,  charm and enchantment. During the Christmas season, when we venture off to find “the perfect tree,” (proudly carrying it home atop the roof of our cars,) excitement wells up within our hearts as we  begin the mirthful season with a ‘tree trimming gala.’marriage360 Our souls brimming with a matchless joy as we place each ornament upon the noble branches, reminded of the special  moments in time, when our cherished  keepsake was given to us. Once again, without even thinking about it, this precious union of the old and the new is bringing forth richness and joy to our hearts.

 

With all the wonderful gifts that the old and the new bring to our lives,  they each have their own unique advantages.  On the side of Vintage…It graces our lives with a wealth and gladness that only something inherited can bring, giving us a sense of where we have come from. It also is a showcase of our style, (if you are an antique  lover.) The antiquated is valuable, holds with it many nostalgic memories, adds an abundance of class to our lives, with its’ enchanting, ‘old world’ maturity and storybook ambiance. It’s gifts are extraordinaire, distinctive and intimate. Lastly, it blesses our lives with an abundance of memories of all the people we have loved, and have loved us back, over time.

For connoisseurs of the bestowals of things new, this gift definitely bring us a since of security as it promises us a longer amount of time to enjoy it’s pleasure and usage. It too  is a showcase of our signature style, makes us feel delightfully pampered, enhances our abiity to entertain and learn, (the updated technology being what it is,) as well as enriches the enjoyment of our hobbies, talents and livelihood. The new is exciting, refreshing and adds pizzazz to our lives.

In thinking about the attraction of the the old and the new, lets start with things that we can all agree are definitely better when they are brand new…(Okay, maybe not definitely, as some of you will not totally agree,)  but you know what I am saying. 🙂

marriage30For many, there is nothing, and I mean nothing like the joy and elation of owning a brand new car. It brings security, smells divine and will undoubtedly have the latest bells and whistles. Owning a new 3-d HD television would undoubtedly  be a preference  for those whose ‘recreation of choice’ is watching their favorite weekly shows and repertoire of relished movies.  A brand new couch is sublime, giving your cozy haven an entirely new look, (plus you get to buy extra accessorizes as every new couch needs motley, accent pillows and a new throw! ) 🙂   For a child, (young or grownup) a brand new bike is a treasure like no other, creating whimsical thoughts of all the new adventures their new “toy” will take them 🙂    marraige 60There is no joy like the elation of bringing home a new puppy.(Well at least 85% of the time.) 🙂  For all of the ladies… a new diamond ring, sapphire necklace or pearl earrings would keep us on cloud nine for a long time, and for the men, (I am thinking of Kit here,) a new computer would float his boat for months, as would a new I-Phone, the latest stereo surround sound speakers and  brand new athletic equipment.

 

marriage49Now for the lovers of the old… There is nothing that can compare to an old 1936 Cadillac Coupe with a Mono-block V8 engine, (painted in its dated color ) with leather seats…just the sound of its engine running is music to a vintage lovers ears. Who doesn’t love an antiquated picture frame hanging on the family photo wall, bringing texture and shapes that were specifically made in a unique time in  history? Classic novels…their covers filled with impeccable writings from authors who are long gone but their name is still revered and will be remembered forever.  Vintage table clocks are something that are definitely a conversation piece as they tell a story all their own. How about an inherited fishing rod, hunting rifle or hand crafted knife that carries with it, a medley of stories of the times you went fishing and camping with your father? An old King Louis the 8th bed… You will never find another bed  marraige 67made that  embodies such stoic and romantic charm.   If you are a lover of Italian food, then choosing to dine at an old authentic Italian eatery is definitely  the best choice.marraige 61   (You know the one where the original chef, ‘Antonello’  left all of his beloved recipes with his sons and their is no way in heaven they will ever share all his secret ingredients.)  🙂 I agree, their stuffed Lobster Ravioli and freshly made canolis are  far more a delicacy than Olive Garden’s version. 🙂 For the new moms out there, owning an antique christening gown for your baby, every stitch  hand done, created in a delicate style that can never be duplicated would be a keepsake forever.

In this vignette, I hope to share a few ideas of how bringing together the old and the new  will blissfully add richness, beauty and fulfillment to your every day life. Perhaps it will even spark and awareness of what you have already been enjoying in your life that is a gift and blessing from the matchless union of the old and the new. ENJOY!

 

 

father500 THE DISTINGUISHED QUOTE CORNER:

 

 

NBC's Today Show Morning Concert Series - Katy Perry Performs - August 29, 2008” I did a lot of thrift and vintage. I would mix those pieces into some of the more inexpensive items from Express, Gap, Old Navy and Clothestime.” ~ Katy Perry

“I have electric taste and I love vintage style mixed with GLAMOR and old world charm.” ~ Sonam Kapoor
“Don’t fear the future so much that you refuse new things. The saddest summary of  a  life contains three descriptions; could have, might have and should have.” ~ Louis E. Boone
marriage35“You will enrich your life immeasurably if you approach it with a sense of wonder and discovery, and always challenge yourself to try new things.” ~ Nate Berkus

 

“The most important thing people did for me was to expose me to new things. ” ~  Temple Grandin

 


marriage20“Creativity is just connecting things. When you ask creative people how they did something, they feel a little guilty because they didn’t really do it, they just saw something . It seemed obvious to them after awhile. That’s because they were able to connect experiences they’ve had and synthesize new things. ” ~ Steve Jobs

 

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“I love vintage cars because you can do so much more to them.” ~ T.Pain

 

 

“To attract men, I wear a perfume called ‘New Car Interior.’ ” ~ Rita Rudner

marriage23Old teddy bears cannot be bought, only adopted.”

 

“Every time something new is invented something old becomes antique.”

 

“A house with old furniture has no need of ghosts to be haunted.” ~ Hope Mirrlees

 

marraige40” Oh the comfort of the first day of autumns blithe as I curl up on my new sofa, wrapped in my old, worn and  cozy blanket, watching Weathering Heights, (for the 50th time.”)

“Mixing ones wines may be a mistake, but old and new wisdom mix admirably.” ~ Bertolt Brecht

marraige 29 “When a child is born, so is a grandmother, creating a joyous and lasting union of the old and the new.” ~ Anonymous

 

“I’ve always had a keen sense of history. My father was an antiques dealer and he used to bring home boxes full of treasures, and each item always had a tale attached.” ~ Sara Sheridan

 

adam433“In with the old and In with the new.” ~ Anonymous

“It is easily overlooked that what is  now called vintage was once brand new.” Tony Visconti

 

 

 

Here are a few ideas for creating a joyous wedding of the old and the new.  Some of these notions may not be new to you at all, but I hope that this vignette will challenge you and bring about an awareness to begin mixing the new with the old and see for yourselves, how rich and fulfilling it can be. 🙂

 

 A  REUNION OF FRIENDS! Remember when you got married, had your first baby or graduated High school, and you looked out upon all the people who were there to support you? There is nothing quite like the feeling of beholding,( in one place), so many people who are anchors in your life,  gathered together at that special moment in time.  How about creating a themed reunion, inviting the many friends over your lifetime that you adore,  the new and old, celebrating their friendships  with a party to end all parties?

I was so blessed a few years ago, when Margo, one of my childhood friends, (you know the kind of friend that knows everything about you and still loves you, 🙂 ) flew from California to Delaware for a visit. My friends in DE put on a beautiful luncheon for her and I felt so honored to have her with me that day, amongst all my new friends. They all fell in love with her and she immediately knew why they were so dear to my heart, feeling as if they were her new friends as well. 🙂  (Don’t you just love it, when that happens?) 🙂  It truly was a day that embodied the very best of both my worlds.

Definitely a felicitous wedding of the PRECIOUS old,

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And the GLORIOUS new!

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Dim the lights , throw a few logs in the hearth for kindling, put on some jazzy John legend,  and open a vintage bottle of Merlot. Now the important part here is to serve your wine with a side of dark chocolates. (The combination is heavenly.)   Dove chocolates are delicious or perhaps you have a near by Chocolatier who makes their own renowned, new sweet confections daily.   This would undoubtedly be a decadent union of the old and the new.marraige215

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If you  live in a new home, with modern appliances and architecture, adding a dated, gorgeous vintage piece of furniture, brings an enchantment and depth to your home like nothing else can.   (And  can you imagine what  conversation pieces these antiquated additions will bring forth?)

Any vintage piece of art, whether it be furniture, appliances or a painting, brings an unassuming splendor and a wealth of beauty to our homes. marriage1

This gorgeous and stunning antique vanity would add class as well as an august beauty to any new bathroom. marriage5

I love the newly custom made bay windows and dining table, matched with the vintage hutch in its dated colors, hardwood floors and wooden ceiling beams. I can picture in my my mind, Marianne Cunningham (from Happy Days,) enjoying pastries and coffee with Martha Stewart. 🙂   (This cheerful ambiance brings both eras together.) marriage4

Romantically modern with a flare for the past…An Antique bed with matching furniture, amidst  brand new flooring, textured designed walls with crown molding and paned windows. marriage

If you can believe it, this is a modern home where the decorators created an entire room  in a shabby chic vintage style. What a great “step back in time” escape when needed. 🙂adam5

 

Host a family reunion. Have you ever sat in a room, filled with your family and just quietly watched the love and interactions between all of your kin, their years ranging from the toddler stage  to 80 yeas old? (OK, all the GOOD interactions between them?) 🙂 (It can get kind of hairy sometimes.)

The oldest of the family, my dad, with one of his five sons, my brother Jim. They are probably laughing at one of the many memories they have shared together over a 40 year span of time.marraige267

My father with 4 of his 7 children… This special photograph captures  3 decades of lives that he has influenced, with Alex, my second to oldest brother, sharing over 50 years of memories with him.adam7

And my favorite…my father in his 80’s with the youngest in our family at that time, his 3 year old grandson… I witnessed a great wealth of joy that day in this blithesome union of the old and the new. 🙂 marraige254

 

Displaying memories of the old and new. For those of you who have a real knack for crafts, (and who save cards and photographs from way back when,) how about creating a wall with a diversity of childhood cards, and photos, combined with those you continued to receive  in your teenage years and adulthood? What a delightful  constant reminder of all the many people in your life that love you, bringing blessing, depth and an abundance of smiles to your life. marriage100

An eminently  creative and genuine idea…a  vintage mirror frame, embellished with new memories. marraige 377

Antiquated paned doors filled with memories of the past, present and everything in between. 🙂  Fabulous creation! marraige378

 

OUR BEDROOMS deserve this notable gift as well! If you own an antique bed, take a trip to your favorite department store or boutique and buy some brand new Egyptian cotton sheets with pillow cases to match…dressing up the old with the new…truly experiencing cozy and inviting hours of rejuvenation. marraige179

There is nothing like the feeling of brand new cotton sheets. (Or their fragrance after a wash or two using Downy fabric softener.) 🙂   marraige 180

How about creating this glorious union? Your new and stylish sleigh bed…  adam40

bedecked with vintage, hand embroidered bed linens…( These bed sheets are so exquisite and beautiful, I  would be scared to sleep on them.) 🙂

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For cheerful vintage color to enhance the look of your new modern bed,  treat yourself to an antiquated duvet bed cover for your comforter…The colors and designs from the past are filled with a cheerfulness and a bold joy.adam30

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If you are a lover of old fashioned Root Beer floats, buy a liter of Hires Root-beer, (introduced in 1876,)  and  instead of using vanilla ice-cream to give it its grand finale, buy (something very new to the market,) 🙂 Breyers Gelato indulgences, (the vanilla caramel is to die for.) Put a scoop of that in your drink, topped off with REAL whipped cream and you will be tasting an entirely new and decadent creation. 🙂

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How about renting one of your favorite  classic movies that has been enhanced for your enjoyment with today’s technology? A black and white film that has been colorized, transforming each scene , making it more lifelike and vivid.  The same fabulous movie, just more pleasurable  to watch.

The Bachelor and the Bobby Soxer with Cary Grant and Shirley Temple! Undoubtedly a classic and fun for the entire family.

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Everyone’s favorite with Jimmy Stewart, “Its a Wonderful Life.” 🙂 marraige221

A wondrous Christmas movie or for that matter, 4th of July, Easter or any time  your in the mood for an old classic. Holiday Inn with Big Crosby and Fred Astaire…(Great dancing!)

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Last but not least, my favorite, Arsenic and Old lace with Cary Grant. Its spell-bounding. 🙂

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MUSIC! Another creative idea to enjoy the blessing of the old and the new ; downloading your favorite song from yesteryear, but from a new artist that has taken the same lyrics and medley that you love, and has made it their own.  Who knows, you may like it even more.

The heartening song Hallelujah, originally preformed by Leonard Cohen in 1984 was sung  by Mathew Schuler on the Voice in 2013…Not only did he get a standing ovation but he took this song and turned it into a masterpiece, with his unique style and hauntingly beautiful voice.

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Dancing in the streets,” originally sung by Martha and the Vandellas in 1964 was remade by the two eminently talented (and quite the characters,)  David Bowie and Mick Jagger 21 years later in 1985. Its all a matter of taste, but I prefer the latter as far as the style of the song, but appreciate its originality and creation over two decades  ago.

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A  treasured, traditional vintage British  Christmas carol, The  Holly and the Ivy is one of many of the songs we cherish every Christmas. Its creation is a showpiece and when redone by Mannheim Steamroller, its phenomenal, unique and entirely different than the original. If you have never listened to the new version, be sure to check it out on YouTube.

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 PETS! There is such a thrill when you bring home a new puppy to your family …(not just your human family) but  for your old dog “Rusty” as well,  who has been the family mascot for many years. (Not to say that at times, it doesn’t work out,) but for the times it does, it is awesome to bring together the old and the new…Rusty has a new friend and your family gets double snuggling time and more kisses. 🙂

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And if your a cat lover, the same can be said about Tabitha and the new kitty 🙂adam49

 

This next joyous wedding of the old and the new really does not need an introduction, except to say; “turn up your  computer speakers to hear not one, but two Grammy award winning singers, (with 19 Grammys between them, ) who are both legends of their time, and the song they sing together as a duet went GOLD! By far, my favorite find for this vignettes theme. 🙂  ENJOY

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(Did I tell you that they are my two favorite singers of all time? What a treat!)

 

 

If you are a collector of vintage sports memorabilia, bottle caps, jewelry, stamps, sea fossils or old mineral rocks, building or buying an updated wooden shadowbox to showcase your treasures would be a wondrous coffee table or wall display.marraige391

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Or, how about a new collection you have acquired…(unique and rare sea shells from the ocean,) displayed in a vintage showcase? What a fabulous idea. 🙂 marraige394

 

 For your BATHROOM.   I love these vintage button accessorized bath soaps…what a great way to combine the old and the new with a charming and inviting look.marraige507

Your favorite hand soap displayed  in an antiquated  glass jar dispenser would bring an ambrosial and fresh  union of the past and present.

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A few decorative bars of Caswell  Massey or Yardley soaps add a welcoming addition to this quaint and delicate antique trinket. (Perfect for your guest bathroom.) 🙂 marraige512

How about brand new, kaleidoscopic, thick, soft and comfy bath towels…marriage173

accented with vintage linen hand towels? What a prestigious yet cozy ambiance this combination would bring forth.  marraige172

Who would not love a classic claw foot tub, in their newly decorated bathroom? Its my favorite bathtub in the world…well, a jacuzzi tub is very tempting too. 🙂adam13

 

 A ladies tea.   Mixing and matching china is now a very in-style thing to do…why not mix and match their ages?  I love Susan Branch’s combination of colors, styles and textures with this charming medley of  tea cups.marraige175

For your next gala, mix your old, splendid and delicate china dinner ware…adam4

with your bright and stellar new china pattern from Lennox. A match made in heaven. 🙂 adam6

 

 

Make your next Dinner party  extra special with an awe inspiring and creative union of the old and the new with vintage dinner plates atop modern chargers, as well as mixing your water and wine glasses, (one pattern old and the other new.) Both of these tablescapes are absolutely breathtaking. marraige176

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A Christmas celebration. This same idea would be splendid for your Christmas dinner gathering.    Use your new Christmas china with one that you have inherited…Your tableaux will be grandiose , inviting and pampering to all of your guests. marraige169marraige168

For a special addition, bring out your antique crystal glasses and crisply ironed cotton laced napkins! A five star dinner for sure! 🙂 marraige170marraige171

 

 

Photographs As you’re reminiscing one day in the family  photo albums, treat yourself to “updating” one of your adored antique photographs. I have a medley of photos of my parents when they were young, our old childhood homes, and photos of my siblings and I, when we were mischievous and running wild. (Just joshing.) 🙂  Some of them have stayed preserved very nicely, while others are worn and torn. I had one of my favorite photos restored, had it framed and it is now entertainingly  gracing my desk. (I have to say it is quite the conversation piece in my living room.)     A treasure from the past enhanced with our new technology of the present day is a wonderful gift for yourself or a loved one.marraige162marraige161

Another spectacular mixture of the old and the new is taking a vintage photograph and having it colorized… What a beautiful and rich difference it makes!   marraige 167

 

 Vintage fabric covers for new photo boxes are a great idea.  I don’t know about you, but I have a  creative potpourri of modern day photo boxes that I keep cards from my childhood, old letters, photographs and treasured memorabilia; concert tickets, movie stubs,  ribbons from winning the relay race at my high school field day event,  or creative artwork  from a few of my preschool students, many years ago. Not only are these boxes a keepsake, but a beautiful decor item in our cozy havens. Festooning them with antiquated fabrics, and filling them up with your new cards, photos and treasures would be a wonderful and stunning gift for yourself and home.  adam36

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The classy invention of water bowls with ornate pitchers, used in a time in our history when there was no ‘indoor plumbing’ within a home, is not not only an antique collectors dream, but serves as a lovely piece for home decor.  Some creative ways to bring about a ‘perfect match’ between the old and the new would be buying a replica of an antique, made with a china pattern that is modern, or adding 20th century decor to an original antique.  I love the vintage pitcher that has been decorated with a “Paris” ribbon, bringing back special memories of a trip abroad.

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A jaw-dropping restoration of an old classic car...the same style and beauty of its original  state, but having it rebuilt with all the updated and spectacular technology the twentieth century has to offer.

These are a few photo’s of Super model Twiggy’s 1968 Restored Toyota. Its original color was a Ferrari red. Don’t you love the brand new interior and the finished sparkling gold exterior makeover?

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Two classic cars with all the exemplary  class of their original state, combined with all the bells and whistles, the present day has to offer.   Both are undoubtedly , magnificent and genuine keepsakes!adam57

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One of my favorite unions of the old and the new…A Vintage teddy bear dressed in modern day apparel. They still have the classy appeal, just a relaxed version. 🙂

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As well as my modern day, new teddy bears dressed in vintage attire. What a wonderful ambiance they add to our home… 🙂

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Antiquated covers for your homes new accessories. These vintage fabric covered math boxes are absolutely adorable…(A wonderful party favor for one of your galas.) marraige515

Another great idea…keeping all of your vintage books that you cherish, but having a new cover made for them.

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Or, having a designer make you a new cover for an old classic novel.marriage167

If you are someone that keeps a journal, with all of your current thoughts, writings and stories, making floral , antique linen covers would be a wonderful addition to your collection.   adam21

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Dress up your new pillow top, bed pillow in vintage pillow cases.adam10

While your dressing up your pillows, pick up an antique linen duvet for your bed to match. adam11

 

Apparel. Now that your home is all taken care of, how about treating yourself to a wondrous combination of the old and the new…Buy yourself a brand new pair of jeans and then go to a vintage boutique and accessorize with some authenticated “old world” finds. marraige408marraige 407

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An authentic and heartening memory quilt  with photos of all the generations within your family…beginning with your grand parents all the way to the families newest addition. Truly a blanket of comfort, bestowing you with the very best of both worlds! If you are not one to quilt with photographs, use fabric pieces from beloved memories of the past…childhood clothing, a jean jacket from high school, and your first spring dress you bought when you turned 21…pieced all together, you bring two worlds of memories into one. 🙂 marraige189marraige184

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Vintage cookie tins filled with your updated and latest new brownie recipe or macadamia nut, white chocolate chip cookies. This would be a great gift for a neighbor or friend. ( With bringing the two worlds together,  you actually can have your cake, (cookie,)  and eat it too.) 🙂

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How about a vintage breadbox? In our home, one of our favorite things to do on the weekend is go to our neighborhood bakery and choose a few pastries and freshly baked breads…(the breads would definitely  last in this “blast from the past” gem, but I don’t think the pastries would make it. 🙂  addam60

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TRIPS. For another celebration of the old and the new together, take a trip to a childhood place that is filled with an abundance of felicitous memories and when you visit that magical place, take someone new with you…When sharing such a wonderful place in your heart, it is always a richer experience bringing a long someone you are close to. Sometimes seeing it through their eyes,  adds an unexpected new joy.

My beloved older brother Jim and I retuning in our 40’s to a place we frequented very often in our childhood years…Our grandmothers home in Long Beach California. Oh what resplendent memories flooded our hearts that day. We were so mischievous back then…well, Jim was anyways. 🙂

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I had more fun taking Kit and Patch, our first precious cargo, in our BG days, (before Graham) ) to my beloved childhood South Carolina for a visit. My cousins all adored him , and Patch made a medley of new friends with all the youngsters. It was one of my happiest memories. adam

In this first photo, I took Kit, my newly married husband to a place I adored as a child where we spent many felicitous memories at our cabin, water skiing on the lake and snow skiing on the slopes in the winters at Big Bear lake, California.  The second photo was a fabulous visit with my brother from California who came to see us on the east coast, (our new home,)  for Christmas. Both keepsake moments I will cherish the rest of  my life.

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PHOTO WALLS. Bring together the old and the new (as well as the in between,)  by creating a family photo wall of the people, (or pets 🙂 )  in your life, that have blessed you the most!

My first creation…my wonderful best friend and husband, Kit.

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Another best friend in my life for 33 years…my mom!

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My parents with their first baby girl,  and a photo of their second baby girl, all grown up…:) My sister and I are 13 years apart but we stick together as we are the only girls in a family of five boys. 🙂

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Here is one that is creative; two photos side by side of two people with a large age gap between them…the one thing in common with the photos is that they were both taken when they were the same age…for instance…a photo of each of them at the age of 20…So, it still is the new and the old but magically put together, as if they were the same age at the same time. (Sounds confusing, but it really isn’t.) 🙂

I will try a few and  I encourage you to do it as well…interesting concept, don’t you think?

On the left, My father as a young man in his early thirties and his son, my  brother Patrick in his early thirties. For some reason my dad just looks a lot older than Patrick…maybe its because he is my dad…I think they have the same ears though. 🙂

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My mom’s mother and my mom, both in their early twenties.  HMM, my mom must take after her dads side of the family.

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Kit’s father in his mid 30’s as well as Kit at the same age. I can see a little bit of a resemblance there. (The ears again.)  🙂

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My mom and I both in our early 40’s…One likeness I see is that we are both smiling. 🙂 People have told me I get that same expression on my face that she has in this photo. That’s a  nice compliment. 🙂

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Lastly, our precious cargo, ‘baby’ and love of our lives, Sir Grantham! He is such a photogenic character …I just love this recent photo of him from this last winter as he frolicked in the snow. 🙂

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I was just noticing a very strong resemblance here as I was gathering photos from my library for this vignette and wanted to share it with you… These two guys could be brothers. What do you think?  Maybe Justin Timberlake will be as handsome as Kit when he gets a little older? 🙂

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Vintage photographs displayed  in brand new, stylish picture frames… a resplendent reflection of the new and the old.

My family minus two children. (Yes, I was the one with the very chubby arms…)

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My twin sister and myself…we were the hit of our culdesac when my mom brought home two baby girls…the neighborhood and my family, were only expecting one. 🙂 IMG_1439

Or  how about an antiquated picture frame with a new photo showcased inside? Either way, its genuine, unique and eye-catching.   marraige280

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In closing, as I end this vignette, I thought I would share a few “REAL” weddings of the old and the new…May~ December weddings, otherwise known as couples who meet, fall in love and get married to someone much younger or older than themselves.  I do have to say that one of my best friends has a spouse that is 13 years her senior and they are by far, one of the happiest married couples I  have ever known. With age comes wisdom, maturity, security and character…Youth brings abundant energy, innocence, playfulness and a positive outlook… the union of these virtues coming together is rich and full…certainly a gift and something to be cherished.

 

Everyone’s heartthrob Kevin Costner and his wife Christine. They are 20 years apart in age…a beautiful couple for sure. marraige 10

Another actor that steals the worlds heart, Hugh Jackman…(and he is such a wonderful singer as well,) with his wife Deborra Lee…she is 13 years his senior. marraige520

And of course Hollywood’s golden couple…Michale Douglas and his young wife Catherine Zeta Jones…they share a 25 year age difference in their marriage. marraige 544

This blog has been a lot of fun to write and I hope you have enjoyed it…its something I never really thought a lot about , but when it came to me,  I had such a good time thinking of all the ways our lives are so richly blessed between the glorious wedding of the old and the new. I also have a deeper sense of appreciation as I view all the things in my life that fall under this category.

 

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

2014’s “10” to “TEN.”

2017Dear readers, I put this story up again, because even though it is presently the new year of 2017, these ideas are just as winningly  encouraging today,  as they were 3 years ago. Happy 2017, may your year be felicitous , prosperous and BLESSED!

 

For last year’s words belong to last year’s language And next year’s words await another voice. And to make an end is to make a beginning.” ~T.S. Eliot ok

 

“Cheers to a new year and another chance for us to get it right. ” ~Oprah Winfrey

  “Every man should be born again on the first day of January.  Start with a fresh page.  Take up one hole more in the buckle if necessary,SONY DSC or let down one, according to circumstances; but on the first of January let every man gird himself once more, with his face to the front, and take no interest in the things that were and are past.”  ~Henry Ward Beecher

  “Be at War with your Vices, at Peace with your Neighbours, and let every New-Year find you a better Man.”  ~Quoted in Benjamin Franklin’s almanac.

“Approach the New Year with resolve to find the opportunities hidden in each new day.”~Michael Josephson

“We will ofresh start1pen the book.  Its pages are blank.  We are going to put words on them ourselves.  The book is called Opportunity and its first chapter is New Year’s Day.”  ~Edith Lovejoy Pierce

“Youth is when you’re allowed to stay up late on New Year’s Eve.  Middle age is when you’re forced to.” ~Bill Vaughn

 

As I was leisurely enjoying a few moments of repose on this chilly January morning on our front porch, my steaming hot cup of HOLIDAY BLEND coffee in  hand,IMG_0445(I don’t want the holidays to come to an end,) a feeling of pure joy and abundant gratitude filled my  heart as I still can’t fully grasp the miraculous bestowal of a fresh snowfall, dressing the world outside in an unblemished, transcendent white!!   My mind was already brainstorming with thoughts of my new blog…  I have been thinking of the month of January and what it brings to our lives…my first thought…”its  a month, likened to a fresh, white, blank piece of paper… We have the choice to write or draw whatever our hearts desire, upon it”..new begiings.Its a time of NEW Beginnings… Brand new opportunities.lily4 I can’t help but think about the words…”New Years Resolutions.” I smile! There are so many years that have passed by…every year I make at least five resolutions…some of them have succeeded, yet so many have not! WHY? My belief?   I think that we  make our resolutions in a time where we have all been joyously reveling in one of the grandest seasons of our lives…Christmas. We  have  “thoroughly enjoyed” all the Christmas gatherings with festive confections, See’s candy, rich cuisine, an array of freshly baked breads and pies, (with real butter,) 🙂   decadent Prime Rib, an over abundance of flavored popcorn’s and all the extravagant goodies that arrived in festooned tins from our loved ones across the miles.Happy788 Our days have been unusually busy with the season’s buoyant fetes  and we go to bed exhausted every night… so instinctively, we want to ‘eat better,’ exercise more, plan more quality time with ourselves as well as family…Emotionally and physically, we are READY and  motivated with our ‘desires’ for change, and create our lists of the things we dynamically desire to modify as the New year arrives.  This year, will I succeed? Will I even make any resolutions, knowing they will probably be over by Valentines Day? Then I began thinking, (brainstorming with my husband…) how can this year be different? I came up with two parts to this blog… First off, I hope I can share some ideas and suggestions, perhaps solutions to go along side the ‘top ten new years resolutions,’ according to a professional survey, that will bring forth tips on easier ways to succeed with the most popular ‘decrees and mandates,’ but secondly,I would like to  share ‘Ten’ non-resolution ideas that are pleasurable as well as  A LOT OF FUN!!       Resolutions demand change, work, discipline…and are certainly worth the reward they bring, if carried out...smiley9but I also thought it would be stimulating as well as enjoyable, to come up with TEN new and innovative  ideas for things that you can add to your life, that are felicitous and gratifying, don’t require difficult  changes and hard work, (as you will be having so much fun,)  but will definitely enhance your life and bring it bliss, accomplishment as well as fulfillment. Who  knows…perhaps in adding a new thing or two into your year and life, you will, (“without even  trying,”) :),  change your life in a way, that many of your resolutions may “just naturally happen,” being an unexpected  gift on the side  that comes into fruition.  I am going to try it and will be sure to check back next year and tell you if the ‘TOP TEN,’ not the ‘top 10,’ fulfilled what I am aiming for in 2014!

Are you ready for this years “10” to “TEN?”

The First Top “10”  2014 is the new years resolutions (via the Professional survey,) along with a few helpful solutions, (from our brainstorming,)  that will perhaps be of help , enabling you to attain your goals!  Don’t forget to compare them to our TOP “TEN” 🙂

top10 26  #1 (I know you already are aware of what number one is…Its a chart topper every year…) LOSE WEIGHT and GET FIT! The number one answer is always; exercise, change your diet and drink plenty of water! But does that work for you? How about not exercising, instead, pick something you love to do, add music to it and MOVE? I don’t call it exercise, I call it my time of “letting loose.” 🙂   I love to crank up my R&B music, get out my hand weights and dance until my hearts content. (Singing, (which I can’t) top10 11 with my favorite artists, as I dance, burns up even more calories.)   ( I am so thankful that Graham doesn’t mind my sharp and flat notes as he truly loves me unconditionally.) 🙂

Get busy doing things that you love and enjoy! I find that whenever I am “thinking to much about losing weight,” I gain! 🙂

Self acceptance! Everyone has a different body shape and size…don’t compare yourself to your friend who is a size 2 or one of your work out partners who is a marathon runner as well. Set reasonable, realistic goals.

Don’t diet…change your way of eating...top10 28 Find a lifestyle of “cooking” that you really love! A male friend of mine is passionate about the Weight Watchers program…he chose ‘yoga,” as his exercise, (which he also  uses as his meditation-spiritual time,) and lost 40 pounds! To this day, he maintains his ideal weight and still stays on the program as he loves it… Its his way of life, not a diet.

#2 SPEND MORE TIME WITH FRIENDS.

top10 19This undoubtedly will take a monthly planner! 🙂 Become ‘The director of your  own social life.” Start planning parties, luncheons, dinners, a ladies day out, meeting the guys at the pub, ..”If you plan it..They will come!”

Choose spending time with  the ‘friends that add to your life,’ (not take away,)  bring joy, laughter and color.

Surprise a friend by taking them to lunch one day..and unexpected treat for them…(as well as you.)

Call at least one close, long distant friend per week..top10 18.If it is hard to fit that hour in, put them on speaker while you are cooking dinner…take your mobile phone with you as your enjoying your morning walk, or prepare dinner early and use that extra hour to ‘catch up.’

#3. DRINK LESS ALCOHOL, STOP SMOKING.

top10 45Get out your library card or start surfing-the net…read about what long term damage drinking or smoking does to your organs…education is a motivator!

Start weaning yourself off… If you smoke 7 packs a wetop10 49ek… try to switch to ultra lights and smoke 6… On week two, smoke 5 , etc… Same thing with alcohol… start drinking less, rewarding yourself with a delicious new non alcoholic drink.

Explore and understand the “WHYS.” Why do you like to drink or Smoke? What can you exchange them with? If they make you feel pampered,topten 90 or give you a place of repose, relaxation or get rid of stress, find new things to replace them with. What else brings you the same feelings?

Ask God for the grace to stop a bad habit you know isn’t good for you, but can’t seem to “let  go of.”  Been there, done it..actually, HE did it, I can take no credit.

#4 LESS STRESS … ENJOY LIFE MORE!

Its no wonder this is such a desired change for us all. Stress releases a hormone called cortisol that effects our brains physiology, that can generate negative side effects with  our memory. It also interferes with our ability to learn,  weakens our bone density, increases weight gain, raises blood pressure and puts us at risk for heart problems.

 LaughFour main things you can do to release stress are exercise, laugh, think positive and re-evaluate your life, taking the things out of your life that cause you pressure, anxiety and worry.

Become aware , make a list of your ‘stress buttons.’

READ more! When your mind is activelytopten 200occupied, whether with challenging work , a hobby  that you enjoy doing or diving into a great novel, your body will begin reacting with its ‘happy hormones,’ creating less stress , and you will feel rejuvenated.

BREATHE!  CRY! When I was in my early 30’s, and lost my mom to cancer,  I  suffered from  an anxiety disorder. My husband would always know when an “attack” was coming on, and he would tell me, “Susan, you need to breathe…really breathe , from your stomach and allow yourself to cry…don’t hold back…So, I learned to start doing that and IT REALLY WORKED!

Incorporate in your life moresnowman “Make believe snow days.” (See my blog… Truly this antidote works! 🙂

#5 GET OUT OF DEBT

top10 91Create your own style of a tangible piggy bank… a place to begin filling up with all the money you save,  and don’t allow yourself to look inside of it, (or borrow from it,) for one month. Take the money out of your bank and put it into   your savings account and start it all over again the following month.

Pick someone you trust and start being accountable to them with your spending.

consignmentBegin shopping at consignment shops  or thrift stores, instead of the malls…(you will be amazed, not only at the ‘deals you will find’ but the money you will save.)

Limit your meals out… order in something that will last for two nights instead of one.

Plan out a weekly menu  and shop for one week at a time…create your list within your budget. When you are finished writing it, challenge yourself to take off 5 things “you really do not need.”  (Thus, you end up saving money and adding it to paying off unwanted debts.)

 #6 FOCUS  ON YOUR RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD/ YOUR SPIRITUALITY

It is not  an easy task to stop our activities in our day to calm our minds and bodies down to be still and “listen” to that inner voice within,topten 95 journal our emotions, pray, worship or read our bibles…so, again, PLAN a time  and goal that is realistic for your life and schedule…start with 30 minutes every other day, and increase that time as you feel you can…

Join a church that you really enjoy going to…not one that is an effort every Sunday.

Find God in everyday life… nature, an unexpected gift, a call from an old friend that warms your heart, read  a book or two by someone that you really respect and admire…  Perhaps a devotional book, autobiography, or an inspiring book about miracles…(always encouraging.) Two books I found uplifting and inspirational, “Heaven is for real,” and “To Heaven and back.” (Both true stories.)

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#7 GET OFF CAFFEINE

Again… I believe its all about exchange… change your “drink of choice” to delicious decaf coffees and teas, fruit smoothies,top10 61 ginger ale or flavored sparkling waters.

ENJOY the effects of less caffeine in your body…Your heart is not racing so fast anymore, your actually sleeping more hours,(no more  late nights up while your family is sleeping,) and revel in the feelings of being more relaxed and at peace. (Don’t forget  their are delicious fresh roasted decaffeinated coffee beans for that morning cup of Joe!) 🙂

If you ‘have to have a little bit of caffeine,’ perhaps a piece of chocolate, or a Pepsi…have it first thing in the morning as a treat…and fast caffeine the rest of your day! Feeling treated helps us feel like we are not deprived.

top10 16Occupy your mind with something rewarding and new! Distract yourself from your URGE! Every time you top10 15have the over powering desire to take in some caffeine, get out your ear phones and Cd player and put on an audio book from your favorite author… Pick a  place that you love, in front of the fire, atop your pillowy bed, a porch swing, and “engage” yourself in a story…take your mind to a new land…top10 65 If the urge won’t go away, make yourself a pot of delicious, fresh bean, decaf coffee in your favorite flavor.

 

#8 GET  ORGANIZED

top10 23You are the only one that can change this fate…I highly suggest creating or buying a monthly, daily and weekly organizer. You will discover a  new freedom as you begin capturing all your thoughts and “To Do Lists” on paper. It helps me tremendously every day.

Clean your house… A cleantop10 115 house, free of clutter, creates calmness and you will find your thoughts are free and you can think about a lot  more things…(chaos creates forgetfulness, thus disorganization and stress.)

Clean out your closets, hutches, desk drawers and dresser…I don’t know about you, but when all my drawers are organized,top10 112 my day goes by much smoother, I am more relaxed and my  tasks seem easy and light instead of burdensome.

 

 

#9 TRAVEL  MORE, WORK LESS

Baby Steps. Begin with a day trip...Perhaps one Saturday, instead of working on your computer, take a drive to the wine country, a renowned museum ,eatery a favorite eatery in the country, go to Disneyland, San Diego Zoo or to your favorite seaport village,  treating yourself to a scrumptious seafood lunch!

 

Your next Trip, a weekend get away…a bed and breakfast in Maine, a weekend in Las Vegas, coronadoThe Coronado Hotel in San Diego or  rent a beach house, enjoying the  many gifts  of a maritime weekend.

 

Lastly…plan in  advance, a week  long trip , yes a real yearly vacation where you need a passport to enter into it’s chimerical borders. cabo Paris? Switzerland? Italy? Cabo San Lucas ?

 

 

 

#10 LIVE IN THE MOMENT

Begin your day fresh, (thinking only about that day.) Go about yourtop10 98 routines, job and engagements,  concentrating on the task at hand and nothing else. I have alwaysprime-rib loved the challenging thought, “What would you do  for the day if  this was the last day of your life?” Sometimes I think about that and do somethings I normally would not do…call a friend or sibling I have not talked to in months, watch my favorite movie,west4 (that I  have seen 100 times already,) 🙂 …get fresh ingredients from the grocer and make  my husbands and my favorite meal, tell Kit and Grantham I love them 10 times that day… (They wonder what I am up to, but it feels good to say it and have the assurance that they know my hearts appreciation for them in my life.)

Read the book ‘The Precious Present’ by Spencer Johnson…it will be a ” delightful and eyeopening bestowal for your soul,” helping you to live within each minute you are given in a day.

Choose not to live in regret for the past or worry over the futureno regrets 1no regrets Reward yourself when you see a major change in your way of thinking and you are no longer allowing negative thoughts to steal your day. (A day that you can never have back.) If you are angry…ask yourself, is it worth losing the joy you are trading it in for ?

 

 

THE OTHER SIDE OF THE COIN…

OKAY…Now lets look at an entirely different way tocoin bring  fulfilling changes to your life in this new year of  2014  with my ‘TOP TEN,’ pleasurable add-on ideas that are actually creative and FUN!

#1 Add one new recipe a week to your repertoire.

Many concur that being a good cook is all in your genetic makeup. I disagree… Practice makes perfect. (It also helps if you have  a passion for cooking as well as the extra time to prepare and CREATE.)  For our household, Kit and I began researching on the internet as well as looking through my relishable family cookbooks to find and create one new recipe each week.topten 1 I engage in this activity more often than Kit as he works longer hours. Our meal time has changed to a time of pampering, delicious new dishes and a satisfying event… (We actually hate for the dinner hour to come to an end.)  Kit is gourmet, I am more of a comfort food cook! A great combination!  Your newly acquired recipe can be for any meal you choose, a Sunday brunch, an early supper or a romantic, (after the kids go to bed) dinner or a luscious sublime dessert. Experiment and have FUN! All of these fabulous cuisines are a medley of both Gourmet and down home comfort food! 🙂PD 1 PD 2PD PD5PD4

 

#2 Choose one new hobby for the year that is just for YOU…

A wise person once told me that in our relationships with others, we are able to give so much more when we are strengthened in our own individualism…when we find something to do that we love and are good at it, it brings about depth, self confidence and plenty of things to share and converse with others… This is one of my favorite additions each year as I enjoy so many hobbies…

What do you absolutely love to do?

Perhaps designing and making creative crafts from the heart, write blogs, short stories or your own kaleidoscopic autobiography.

Isaac Bailey Photographytopten 19

Take a dancing class, meet the guys, (or girls) for a neighborhood game of Basketball? topten 15topten 8

Visit your library often and load up on audio books, CD’s, bestselling novels or perhaps  taking up a new sport, a cooking class, an hour of yoga or traveling abroad. topten 11topten 7

Painting ceramic plates or mugs! I have a friend who is quite the artist at this craft and her gifts to us have been so elegantly beautiful! What a great new hobby to invest in as well as creating many new welcomed  bestowals for your home, friends or family.

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How about joining a tennis league for men or women? (Enjoy yourself while giving your heart a little TLC.)  My husbands new hobby last year was learning how to brew his own beer. He and his friend, (teacher,) came up with some fascinating and unique flavors!

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Have you ever thought about starting up Ham Radio? Kits dad was a natural at it and loved communicating with people all over the world, from his snazzy ‘communication set up’ in his living room.

ham radios 1ham radio

 

I have always had a passion for Faux painting…. It truly is like magic, transforming an ordinary room into a stunning, classy and memorable work of art! A wondrous hobby that will not only bless you but all those who enter your home! ham radios 19ham radio 16ham radio 12

Learning to create stained glass designs for lamp shades, wall hangings, storm doors or windows would be a very rewarding new hobby as well as a lot of fun. How about becoming an expertise at monogramming! (My sister had this done professionally for me this Christmas…absolutely stunning! )

laugh 1IMG_0550

 

#3 Pursue your “Hidden talent,” and add it’s glorious bestowal to your life.

Everyone is born with gifts and talents. (We usually have them ‘pointed out’ to us in elementary school by one of our teachers, our friends or family members… As we grow older, we either “use that skill” and become greater at it, or we place it away in a hidden place and avoid partaking in its challenging, yet felicific joy.  Why do you think that is? For me, it was because  I never felt I did it “well enough.” Fear crept in as I looked at others with the same gift and watched them flourish and receive praise. I then compared myself to them and came to the conclusion that I could never be as good. Criticism creates fear and fear stifles our creativity as well as motivation. My challenge and add on for you is to go back to that one gift you know is there and begin exercising it , until you become and expertise…  (And do not compare yourself to others.) I am sure there is more than one gift you’ve placed on the back burner in your life… IMG_0345 One fear I did conquer, pursued and now enjoy with all my heart is decorating… My early days were “hit and miss” but I worked so hard at , bringing forth my God given gift, then one day all the fear left and I began creating with abandon. Its not everyone’s ‘cup of tea,’ but its my developed signature style. I admire excelled dancers, musicians and singers who are enjoying success in their senior years as yes, they allowed their talent to be dormant for a season, but they went after their gifts and abilities in the latter part of their life and are so good at it!  How great and rewarding is that?

Deep within, have you always had a passion for dancing and were told you were a natural?  How about singing? (My husband was “quite the singer” when he was younger.) (Still is, but  now he only sings to us! 🙂 ) topten 29topten 28

 

We all hated piano lessons as a child, but now that we are older, what a beautiful gift to behold…music changes everything! How about your dream of becoming an inspiring painter?

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Have you always wanted to make decorative topiary trees or seasonal wreaths for your cozy haven? Create personalized gifts for others, gracing your friends and family with style and elegance for their homes?  Do you absolutely love to entertain? (Its never to late to keep learning and stretching that creative muscle until your 100% satisfied with your creations.)

boyd8family3

 

Are you a seafaring pirate deep within, wanting to be the master of your own ship? Traveling  the seas in your ” boat of choice,”  is definitely worth the wait and skills you need to be a “top notch” sailor. 🙂 How about your hidden talent of the classic sport of golf?

thanksgiving510topten 13

 

#4 Start a new collection in your life, adding beauty, excitement and fun.

Collections shout out to our friends and family a part of who we are, what we love…a part of our personality that we may not show on the surface. Whenever I add to one of my collections, it is pure joy and excitement. Whenever a friend, my husband or a sibling adds to my collection, it touches me deeply, as they are taking special thought in choosing something I really love.  You can never have to many collections! Kit has begun to amass baronial and colorful nautical decor, Lighthouse photos, heartwarming poems and vignettes about one of life’s greatest gifts, “dogs,”  hunting guns and  fishing paraphernalia. It reveals parts of his heart that carry many special memories of his youth. My new collection this year is birds… I can remember when I was a small child, (as well as to this present day,)  how God has used birds of all kinds to teach me important nuggets of truth and speak to me of His faithfulness and love. On the east coast it has been bluejays, redbirds, (cardinals,)  finches and our delightful snow geese.  Last year , my new collections were colorful animated Chefs and stoic Roosters for my kitchen and dining room.

 

I adore my new dulcet and charming blue birds,  (the start of my collection 2014,)  a special gift  from my husband this Christmas! I also feel very blessed that one of Kits collections is also a treat for me…I love lighthouses with their enchanting beauty and summoning mystery! IMG_0491two lights

 

Frames make a wondrous collection, coming in all designs, shapes, motifs, colors and sizes! How about seasonal throws? (I have been collecting throws for over 20 years and they are great for a refreshing makeover when the house needs a “little pick me up.” (as well as serving as a warm blanket to cuddle up with in the winter, as we’re enjoying our nail-biting, suspenseful movies.)

mens stuff 30mens stuff 28

 

Begin a collection of the prestigious duo of “blue and white.” Your choices are wide open to not only dishes, tea cups and saucers, teapots, vases, but also pillows, linens, photo frames, throws and quilts.These vintage red crystal goblets go way back to my childhood as they were one of my moms collections! Talk about Nostalgia. 🙂 mens stuff 25mens stuff 24

 

One of my friends is an avid collector of sea shells… I love to visit her Maritime home, as there is always a new shell in her bethnic display…  Shells are so unique and intricate in their array of colors and shapes, always joyfully reminding us of the beach, its beautiful sandy shores and mysterious sea life.   How about beginning a collection of antique signs from old country stores hidden in the most enchanting places?mens stuff 21mens stuff 20

 

Motley, bright vintage pillows, Batten-burg and old English lace napkins, linens and tablecloths, antique plates as well as patchwork quilts…They are all so captivating, I would not know how to decide which collection to begin? 🙂 mens stuff 17mens stuff 15

 

When my older brother was involved in doing litigation work for Lamborghini, his home was filled with beautiful and august model cars…Every room gifting his guests with “eye candy” and wonder. What a baronial collection to have… not only did it enhance the style and allurement of his home, but I am sure it triggered many a happy memory of all the people he worked with. My husband collects fishing paraphernalia… Each treasured piece he adds, brings back a new memory of his glory days , fishing with  his father on beautiful placid lakes, sharing stories as well as their hopes and dreams, over a brown bag lunch on a sunny warm day.

jimbo carmens stuff 4

 

How about  baseball cards or historical , renowned sports memorabilia?  For many men, as they display their prized collections, they receive the same warm, cozy feeling others may feel when they purchase a new couch or leather chair for their office. Our collections are often times our decor as well…Decorative items are very personal, as it brings our rooms alive with what matters most in our lives..the things we love that make us happy.

mens stuff 2mens stuf

 

A collection of hatboxes is not only beautiful, but they are quite convenient for holding many things…letters, magazine clippings, old photos, bills, recipes, scarves, etc… How about getting involved in some family genealogy and collecting historic items that have been within your family lineage for many generations?

topten 201mens stuff 1

 

Two of my favorite collections of all time…coffee table display cookbooks, (great conversation pieces as well as a resplendent ‘dictionary’ for  scrumptious recipes,) and Teddy Bears in all shapes and sizes… Whether we acquire them brand new, or we ‘rescue them from the storms,’ (in their vintage appeal,) they warm our hearts and bring a smile to our faces… These are two collections I highly recommend! topten 2abear1

#5 Add one hour, every few days of some form of mediation and spiritual nourishment  to your life.

Whenever I spend time writing in my journal, praying, worshiping and praising God for His wonderful love and grace in our lives, I feel 100% rejuvenated, full of energy and an over abundance of peace… I believe we are made up of many components…our body, mind, will and emotions, (our soul,) and our spirit…when we feed or tend to that area of our lives… a new part of us is awakened…there is new strength, power within and a serene  contentment. I don’t know what I’d do without that time in my life…Even if some days, it is only 15 minutes long… 🙂

Praying and  mediating on the beach while taking an early morning or late afternoon walk, is ideal for a quiet and serene get away!  The peaceful sounds of the oceans breezes, gulls cooing and waves  calmly rolling into shore,  is a perfect place to gather your thoughts!   top10 2

There is nothing like praising God! As we worship, our hearts fill with a beautiful gladness,  changing our perspectives. topten 101

Journaling is an excellent way to capture heart felt emotions and feelings that you can meditate upon at a later time…I think journaling is a wonderful way of  self expression and  though it takes stillness, time and true reflection, it is worth every bit of its challenge. journal 1

It is a true honor to be able to worship our maker! topten 100

Have you heard the sayings; “Prayer changes everything?” Or “Things go better with prayer?” I have found both to be genuinely true….and I am so thankful  for this spectacular gift we have been given.. prayer-conversations-with-god.

 

#6. Give yourself one hour of pure bliss a day…(Another one of my favorites.)

You know how you feel when the doorbell rings and there is a uniformed guy standing there with a huge bouquet of flowers? Or the UPS truck parks outside, (making your dog go crazy) and he leaves and unexpected box on your porch? For Christmas this year, two of my brothers in California, sent kit and I See’s candy…our very favorite chocolate in the world. Oh the joy, (and pounds) just joshing, their gifts brought… Well, I have found that by doing something that is “pure pleasure”  once a day…it is a replica of the feeling of pure joy we received from  the gifts they sent, only I do it for myself… In treating and pampering yourself, you create a “better YOU” to give to others… topten 150For Kit,  one of his his hours of bliss is his time at the gym with all of his work out buddies…its social, fun and he benefits greatly from it. It is his “Me time” and when he does not get that hour in, he feels a great void and difference in his day. For me, one of mine  is lighting candles, sitting on our  cozy couch with its ample pillows, reading my new Victoria magazine along with a piping, hot cup of decaf mocha java coffee with Pumpkin spice creamer, a piece of chocolate, (great chocolate,) and writing down new ideas for decorating our house for the upcoming season, then taking a hot bath top 10 12with luxurious lavender bubbles, Caswell and Massey Verbena soap, and talking to God…( I have the best conversations with Him in the tub…I think it is because I am finally still, my thoughts quieted, and I am ready to listen. ) 🙂

What  is your hour of bliss for just one day?

 

One pure hour of uninterrupted SEWING? Painting birdhouses with bright cheery colors, bringing new textures and life to your home?

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An hour of desk time to read, write, journal, plan, draw, think, read…that sounds like heaven! Surfing the net? My husband would definitely like and hour of this a day! topten 209topten 177

Writing real, authentic, (not computerized or typed,) letters to a friend or family member by a warm cozy fire! Definitely tempting to add to my list! mens stuff 29

 

Another hour of bliss for me….decorating…doesn’t matter if its a ‘glue gun fixer upper’ around the house for 60 minutes, changing our sheets on the bed to new colors and patterns, bringing about a new look or creating a beautiful garland for  a stairwell, adding flare, elegance and romance to our home. An hour of decorating is like going to a spa.

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OKAY, this choice of bliss, may have to go to overtime…watching your favorite movie…no guilt and no interruptions… ( a little popcorn on the side and your favorite candy.) Moderation is everything! 🙂 topten 178

 

Maybe your hour of bliss is sharing that 60 minutes with your mate…meeting for a glass of wine and some savory appetizers, or going for a massage together… Couple on date at restauranttopten 140

 

Sneaking away with  the guys, (or girls,) for a game of soccer….calling your best girlfriend to meet you on main street for lunch and and hour of blithesome shopping, catching that early morning hour of swimming before your day begins…(it makes the entire day different,) and lastly, hanging out at your favorite coffee bar with all your friends.  🙂 Whatever “floats your boat,” and rejuvenates you, add it each day for an hour or every other day if your life is exceedingly busy. Remember , it will take planning and time, but its worth it. (YOU ARE WORTH IT.) soccersoccer 3Daniel Bell (AUS) action reflections Swimming 2000 Sydney PGsoccer 1

 

#7 Volunteer a portion of your extra  time to a cause your heart is passionate about.

You have heard “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” (And its true.) 🙂 Giving our time, our talents, our very selves, is more rewarding than we can imagine.Happy4 Giving, gets us out of our self…our problems, our ‘funk’ as they say, and brings rejuvenation, a new outlook and an overflow of  joy!

Whether a mentor to a young child, helping the elderly or volunteering your time in the pediatrics ward at your local hospital, the smiles you will see on the faces of those you are giving your skills and talents to, are worth more than money can buy.

How about volunteering at your vets office, a local pet store or kennel? (If you are a rescuer of animals, maybe help out at a soup kitchen.) 🙂 (I would be to tempted to bring all those adorable animals home.) 🙂

Oh for the love of a child! How could one not feel 100% better in their outlook on life when spending time with such purity and angelic love? Children are so blessed and  touched by being read to, sung to or just a listening ear and a little TLC as  they are healing.

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OK, this  is why I can’t volunteer at our vets office  or local  kennels…Kit would be “fit to be tied ,” if he walked through the door, (Graham too, the only child syndrome,)  and I had brought these little guys who need a warm home and some love to our house! But there are  those of you who are much more disciplined and would benefit greatly from giving your extra time helping with these adorable animals. topten 49

 

People everywhere today need volunteers…thrift stores, libraries, the elderly, churches, ….how about within your neighborhood or family…perhaps offer to have the next holiday meal at your home this year… topten 45

 

Volunteer your talent! If you have a church event coming up or a friend who is hosting a luncheon, offer to create the party favors or table-scape decor for them… Not only will it bless their socks off but your heart will feel so fulfilled inside that you were able to bring joy  and beauty to so many! topten 60

 

Volunteer to mow your neighbors lawn…for free. They may fall over and faint, but hey, what a great act of love and service! topten 59

 

How about going grocery shopping for an elderly person you know… It will feel like Christmas day for them…Your binging them a gift they can no longer do for themselves. topten 50

 

Without telling your friend, sibling, mom or dad, wash and wax their car for them… What a wonderful gift , especially for someone who is ill or has a schedule at work that is ‘beyond’ over-time.) top10 119

 

Volunteer your time as a mentor to a young child or perhaps a young adult in high school…many children, who do not have both parents at home, receive so much love , strength and blessings from someone who will take on that missing part, mentoring them in the many needed skills of life. FD-50

 

#8 Live well, laugh often and love much! I love this idea!

I have a beautiful little pillow on my  front porch chair that has this saying on it…It is a great reminder for me everyday! I think in this TOP TEN, ‘Live well’ and ‘Love Much’ are covered, but I love the encouragement to LAUGH OFTEN! What makes you laugh? Smile? Brings you an abundance of joy welling up within your soul until you break out into a chuckle?  It is no fable that laughter is medicine for the soul, but it is also one of the best antidotes for your body and overall health!

topten 125Choose to be around the people in your life that make you laugh! (I am eminently blessed to have exceedingly comedic brothers and my husband makes me laugh daily! )

Learn to laugh at YOURSELF…It’s freeing!

Kit and I love to play pranks on each other, (good pranks…) and always, when we reminisce over our years of mischievous antics or practical jokes, we laugh all over again.

When Kit and I play hide and seek with Graham, we have laughed so hard, (the kind of laughter that makes your jaws ache.) All I have to say to Graham is “Do you want to play hide and seek?”graham100 I have Kit keep him in a room until I am hiding and am ready, then Ibegin calling Grahams name. I always hide in a place that I can watch and see his efforts and captivating expressions as he “tries so vigorously” to find me. I totally give my hiding  place away as I can no longer contain my laughter…(he is so unbelievably cute!)  He wags his tale, kisses me 10 times and goes back to kit as He wants me to hide all over again. It’s  pure joy for all three of us. 🙂

A few more guarantees for a dose of hearty laughter…rent a few renowned, known to make you laugh til you cry, comedy movies, spend time with a baby or a toddler for the afternoon… Both will turn your world upside down and you will be laughing and smiling so much, you’ll forget what you were stressing out about! 🙂

Plan an evening at a comedy club.. or watch your favorite comedian on TV.

 

Just looking at these gentle giants makes me smile... I challenge you to spend some time playing hide and seek or any game  that your dog loves… see if it doesn’t bring you an abundance of joy and laughter. 🙂

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Offer to babysit, take your niece, nephew or a friends baby for the afternoon…get lost in their world and allow yourself to feel their joy and laughter over the simplest of things.  I truly believe that babies are God’s gift of laughter to all of us adults… nicolesmiley7

 

The same is true of the adorable toddler stage…When I was going through a rough time, right out of high school, an 18 month old little girl came into my world and changed life as I knew it.  As we became friends, my days were filled with so much love, adventure , fun and pure laughter. Oh to be a child again! Try it, you may really like it! 🙂

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No kidding, Kit and I laughed so hard at Jimmy Fallon’s and Justin Timberlake’s take on the history of rap… I saved it on our DVR and every time we need to really “belly laugh,” I put it on…Same thing with Wayne Brady or any comedian you thoroughly enjoy…they will come up with words, ideas and phrases that will make you laugh ’til you cry’…oh how we need comedy and laughter in our lives! justinbridesmaid

Two guaranteed movies that we agree will make you “really” laugh…Bridesmaids and Dan in real life. Look for the bride attendants scene after a lunch they all attend with the bride,  and the dancing  bar scene in Dan in real life with Ruthy “Pig face”… Then tell me you did not laugh heartily. 🙂

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I find when I am working at home and The Ellen show comes on, I am laughing at something! She comes up with the most original pranks and jokes,(has some fabulous guests as well…) If you have never played a practical joke on someone safe, (like a spouse, good friend or sibling,) you have missed out on a lot of laughter… You gotta try it this year! (Just once, at least.)

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#9 Express your emotions and heartfelt sentiments on a daily basis. (OK, this is, I think, my most favorite of all….)

I will never forget when I heard the shocking news that Paul Walker, (the race car driver and star of Fast and Furious) died suddenly in a car accident. When they interviewed his father on TV, his eyes welled up with tears as he spoke the word,s “There was never a day that we did not say the words to each other “I love you.” “I love you 3  Loosing a loved one is one of the hardest things we ever face in life...loosing someone unexpectedly is even harder. Just knowing and having the assurance that those most cherished in your life, TRULY KNOW how much you care for them and love them, makes all the difference in the world.

We all express our love in different ways…Here are a few demonstrative ideas to proclaim or declare your sentiments.

Always say “I love you” when ending a phone call with your friends and family.     Tell your spouse or  mate that you love them everyday.     Express love to your precious cargo daily, whether its a treat, hug, praise or a massage, (especially if they are getting up there in age.)     HALLMARK CARDS! They create and write the words perfectly  that are so hard for us to say!     If your gifted with words…write a tribute, a poem or a letter to someone you know who has changed your life and are always there for you, no matter what!     A REAL HUG GOES A LONG WAY!     Put a love note in your child’s lunchbox, or place a post it note telling them how proud you are of them, wrapped up in their lunch money!     For a GREAT and faithful neighbor, surprise them with a homemade spinach-bacon quiche or a warm plate of Toll house cookies, just to say “Thanks.”     Take your brother, sister, best friend, husband, child or parent out to lunch “just because” and say its your treat.       If you are not a person who likes to express with words how you feel, find a  creative way to SHOW those in your life just how much you love them and what your world would be like, if they were not there. (Maybe a bouquet of flowers, balloons and a singing telegram for no reason, buying them their favorite trilogy of movies, or a series of books, create an album of treasured photos of the memories you two have shared together over the years or give them a gift certificate to get a massage. )

Remind your little one often, of how very special they are and how much you love them. Be creative! note

I will never forget the day My husband and I moved from California…(the one place in all the world that held all of my childhood memories, nostalgic teenage years, every family member and my best friends in life.)  It was getting time for us to go and my younger brother Patrick and I waited forever to say Goodbye as it was so painfully hard…we were best buds as well as siblings!  We did not have to say any words…our hug, tears and embrace said EVERYTHING! Hugs go a long way! Pat and I

 

Find creative ways to say “I love you.” i love you

 

When the words and sentiments are hard to say, you can always trust Hallmark! I love you 4

 

Nothing says ‘lovin,’ like something scrumptious from your oven! 🙂 I love you 2I love you 1

 

Tell your boyfriend, girlfriend, mate, fiance, spouse and children that you love them, every morning and every night! myhunk

 

Say “I love you,”  with the aid of the Professionals… A singing telegram with balloons, flowers or a box of their favorite confections! singing T 50 singing T 1singing T 2

 

Say I love you by surprising a dear friend with a relaxing, delightful lunch at their favorite Bistro or a quaint, countryside  eatery. two

 

Sing a love song to your precious cargo…praise them with honoring, loving words, their favorite treat and lots of hugs! (Everyday!) punk2

 

#10  Lastly Learn something new this year in your life to broaden  and educate your mind, and enhance your social skills at the same time.

Do something innovative and completely different that you’ve never done before… topten 109You may feel a little awkward at first…but its like exercising a new muscle of the body…at first it is sore, then it is toned and profits your body with new strength…thus, a new skill will do the same. I still have not decided this years new venture…last year it was getting a camera and pretending I was a photographer for a day, looking for that perfect KODAK MOMENT! (Believe me, I deleted many a photo, but hey, some came out pretty good.)  Kits was learning and researching the world of stockbroking. (Wow, that is an intricate and complicated new skill to learn.) 🙂 He loved it and it  paid off…) (No pun intended.) 🙂

Some thoughts? How about becoming a Beekeeper? Taking a Hip Hop dance class?  Join a bowling league…. learn how to faux paint, pastamake homemade pasta, play an instrument, become your households ‘in home’ researcher…utilizing your local library and  the internet, (I think I just found mine for 2014.) 🙂 Take an elegant cake baking class, (learning how to create exquisite cakes that people only dream of,) learn how to create stain glass paintings, take a motorcycle course, get a bike and enjoy a new view of this beautiful world! Learn how to create your own website to share with  the world whats on your heart, learn a new language, join a Yoga class, try stenciling your bedroom wall, pick up a needlepoint kit and create a wall hanging or pillow with your creative skills  or knit a baby blanket for the new arrival within your family.   There are so many NEW adventures to take on to broaden our worlds, keeping our mind and bodies active… (two wondrous gifts that benefit our lives fabulously!)

I have never tried Calligraphy but I think it would be a wonderful class to take to enhance ones penmanship… How fun would it be, to be able to make your own invitations and stationary? mens stuff 18

 

There are some great “HOW TO,”  magazines and books on the market as well as classes, to learn how to decorate your home for the holidays! topten 205

 

How fun would it be to spend your summer days with children of all ages at the YMCA summer day camp program?  You will come through it with a new degree in Children’s behavior! (Make sure you wear plenty of sunscreen and keep a few Tylenol in your pocket.) 🙂 topten 126

 

Taking a class learning sign language…what a great new skill to be able to communicate with those who can’t hear… (Maybe Kit and I should take that course for when we grow old together in our autumn years.) 🙂 topten 108

 

Learn how to be your own photographer… topten 105

 

Blogging is a wondrous way to communicate your passions and heartfelt emotions on life! topten 102

 

Lately, I have been hearing more and more people say they want to train and run in a marathon before they ‘meet their maker’ 🙂  What a wonderful achievement. topten 10

 

OK, now we’re talking….dancing, letting loose… great exercise and is undoubtedly  an ideal place to meet new people and have a lot of fun. Take a dance class!Fitness dance

 

A “piece of cake?” I don’t think so. Learning the art of diving would be a wonderful new skill to embody…Just think of how many healthy hormones this sport releases to fight your bodies stress… top10 96

 

Have you ever had the desire to really learn about fine wines, take trips to renowned wineries and become knowledgeable on this subject? I know people who have done this and it fascinates me, as they know more about a bottle of wine than I had ever-imagined one could know or learn.  top10 79

 

Take your local bus or the metro line into the city a few times, stay the entire day and learn what it is like to live within a bustling city… Quite different than small town living for sure! top10 70

Learn Astronomy and become a star gazer… Invest in a telescope and learn all about this fascinating art of observing the sky. Keep studying and learning  further about all our planets,  (the universes stellar metropolises.) 🙂

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Have you always had a secret desire or dream to become a celebrity? How about taking a voice over class or an acting class? (You will be sure to meet an abundance of people, have lots of fun and it makes for a wonderful new hobby.)

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Make this the year you learn how to set boundaries in your relationships….Very hard in the beginning, but OH SO WORTH IT…It is wonderfully freeing and decreases  your bodies stress! Two gifts in one!   🙂 Another new behavior skill to learn, saying NO! So easy, yet so difficult… but again, fabulously rewarding when you get it down! 🙂 topten 31topten 30

 

Just being honest…this new skill is a little bit to much on the daring side for me, but we knew a bee keeper in South Carolina and he absolutely loved it! If you are a Thrill-seeker, perhaps this would be the perfect “new Skill” for you to learn in 2014! (If you do, write in and tell us about it! )  🙂 topten 103

 

Are these cakes par-excellent, five star or what?  What a wonderful, creative art to bless so many with.  (A blessing to both the eyes and palate.) 🙂 (I will add this to my list of “new skills” to learn!) 🙂

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I don’t know about you , but I feel awesomely motivated and have great hopes for this new year of 2014.   I look forward to trying a few of these notions and making this year more colorful, creative as well as a fulfilling. I  hope that you have found one or two ideas  you like and will find new joy, strengths and happiness…  Its never to late to try new things… even if its within your safe haven and only you see the changes and experience the smiles it brings to your face and heart!

 

I wish each and everyone of you  AN EXCEPTIONALLY HAPPY NEW YEAR, WITH 2014 BRINGING YOU MANY BLESSINGS, SMILES AND FULFILLMENT!

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

“ESTEEM In BLoom,” A ladies Edification Tea!

 “There is no exercise better for the heart than reaching down and lifting people up.” ~ John Holmes

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Ah the impact of uplifting words! What would you do if you were offered one million dollars with the stipulation being,  that in receiving it, you would never hear an uplifting word spoken to you the rest of your life, nor could you speak one? In weighing out the benefits, it hardly seems their would  be a choice to make. (IMHO) 🙂

When you think about the word “edification” what comes to your mind? I was surprised to read that one of the translations of this word is “TO BUILD A HOUSE.” That makes sense as when someone speaks edifying words to another person, it truly does build us up in our self esteem, value and worth as human beings. It also promotes helping one-another in our growth and development of our talents as well as significance and importance in this world. Who does not want to feel that kind of support in their lives?

love tank2Its so easy in this worlds “energetic confusion” and the ‘hurried bustle’ of our daily lives to become so busy that we don’t take the time to be demonstrative with our words, telling others what a wonderful person they are or how much they mean to us in our lives. We innocently just believe they ‘already know’ that they are beautiful, kind, handsome, smart, a spectacular mentor to us, a person of great integrity or someone we look up to. And if we are honest, we at times miss hearing something good about ourselves as well.

Many of us are blessed with a mate or close friends and family, that  tell us quite often that “they love us” and they show their love through uplifting words, telling us daily what our value is to them. Others do not, all the more reason that we as ‘the human race’ need to speak words that edify and uplift others, whether to our families,  friends, siblings, parents, children, co-workers, neighbors, even a stranger in the grocery store.  (And we can’t forget our precious cargo.) 🙂cargo

 

 

I  have come to learn that if I wait to speak something complimentary to someone only when “they look like they need a lift”, I have held on to my ‘words of enrichment’ far to long, as so many of us never show we are in need of just one ‘good bout of encouragement and a kind word.’

lovetank1Everyone wants to feel significant, of value and loved. Like the saying goes, “we all have a love tank that needs to be filled every now and then to ‘keep us going.’ ” Where do we go to get it filled? There is no one answer, as we all receive value, love and significance in a medley of diverse ways. Perhaps  we receive it through praise for our talents and gifts, from our significant other, close friendships, a parent, a mentors smile, our faith in God, His love and what He says about us, or a combination of many things. For each person, the “Love station” they choose to ‘fill up’ at, is unique and personal.   I do know that we all share one thing in common…the power of WORDS effects us all.

If you have come from a background of hurtful words, verbal or physical abuse, traumatic events as well as destructive relationships, then you know what negative words can produce; beliefs about ourselves that are not true, loneliness, low self esteem, shyness and  shame. On the other hand, if your  home was filled with praise, words of encouragement and  unconditional love, then you know how much that bestowal  has nurtured you, and that the words we speak are so important, as you feel loved, nurtured, secure and confidant.

I love the quote by Mother Teresa, “Kind words can be short and easy to speak, but their echoes are truly endless.” That truth alone is a prodigious  inspiration that we can, (no matter our age and season in life)  change our own negative beliefs about ourselves as well as help others to change theirs, by sharing heartfelt words of encouragement, edification and love.rose Gracious and good-hearted words spoken in love, can be  likened to a fresh spring rain falling upon a thirsty rose, whose brilliant beauty blossoms as the nourishment reaches its roots. Uplifting words ennoble encouragement, growth, confidence and for many, (without us even knowing it,) eradicates the wrong truths we have been told and believed.To edify is to illuminate, inspire, nurture, elevate, uplift, renew, and transform.

 

Of all times to feel an inspiration from up above, I was vigorously dancing away,( to the Motown tunes of Michael McDonald,) as the thought came to me “Why not have an Edification Tea for your girlfriends?” (It was hard to concentrate on my aerobic exercise any longer as my mind began excitedly thinking about how much fun it would be and how I would  do it.) 🙂 I changed the original theme I was thinking about (an autumn gathering,)  to a time of encouragement with the ‘benefits’ of the joys an afternoon Tea brings.  Thus, this blog is about more than just a resplendent afternoon for ladies to indulge in a few hours of repose and pampering, its that PLUS  a noteworthy , tangible  and  priceless gift to  take home and keep forever…gentle giants 6 the bestowal of edification and feeling loved.  In growing up with five brothers and being married to Kit for 24 years,  I know that not one of them would host an afternoon Tea for their buddies, but I have witnessed and still do,  an abundance of special ways that men can reach out to their friends and bring about edification. I see Kit do that with adventuring off  on a camping  trip with one of his friends,  calling a buddy when he is going through a rough time in life or helping his friend to renovate his home.  (Yes the help is needed, but it is the time shared between two men and the “guy talk” that happens ‘along the way’  that brings about a time for building up one another.) It doesn’t matter what the occasion is or what “stage” it occurs on…it only matters that it happens in all our lives.

(Though I have to admit, if I had a choice of an afternoon tea with sweet indulgences, a delicious meal and girl talk, in the midst of a beautiful ambiance, compared to painting a house and breaking out a sweat, well, you know which one I’d choose.) 🙂

 

A  few selected quotes about ” the joys and gifts of Tea, friendships and edifying others.” (A great combination for an abundance of warm fuzzy’s.)   🙂

 

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“Tea is quiet and our thirst for tea is never far from our craving for beauty.” ~James Norwood Pratt

“The cup of tea on arrival at a country house is a thing which, as a rule, I particularly enjoy. I like the crackling logs, the shaded lights, the scent of buttered toast, the general atmosphere of leisured coziness.” ~P.G. Wodehouse

“The sounds of the tea being made invite the peach blossoms to peep in through the window. “~Uson, quoted in Sasaki Sanmi.

“Where there’s tea there’s hope.” ~Arthur Wing Pinero

“True friendship comes when the silence between two people is comfortable. “~ David Tyson Gentry

“Pleasant words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones,” or put in another way…”Kind words are like honey , sweet to the soul and healthy for the body.” ~ Proverbs 16:24


apple100“A word aptly spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver.”~ Proverbs 25:11

“Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.” ~ I Thessalonians 5:11

“Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a harder battle.” ~ Plato

“Three things in human life are important: the first is to be kind; the second is to be kind; and the third is to be kind.” ~Henry James

apple110“Each cup of tea represents an imaginary voyage. “~Catherine Douzel

 

“A good head and good heart are always a formidable combination. But when you add to that a literate tongue or pen, then you have something very special.” ~ Nelson Mandela

apple111“You cannot do a kindness too soon, for you never know how soon it will be too late.” ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

“Kindness in words creates confidence. Kindness in thinking creates profoundness. Kindness in giving creates love.” ~ Laozi

Never lose a chance of saying a kind word.” ~ William Makepeace Thackeray

apple103Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another: ‘What! You too? I thought I was the only one.’ ~ C.S. Lewis

A friend is one that knows you as you are, understands where you have been, accepts what you have become, and still, gently allows you to grow. ~ William Shakespeare

 

“Lots of apple106people want to ride with you in the limo, but what you want is someone who will take the bus with you when the limo breaks down.” ~ Oprah Winfrey

“It’s the friends you can call up at 4 a.m. that matter.”~ Marlene Dietrich

“Friends are the family you choose.” ~ Jess C. Scott

 

“We cannot tell the precise moment when friendship is formed. As in filling a vessel drop by drop, there is at last a drop which makes it run over; so in a series of kindnesses there is at last one which makes the heart run over.” ~Ray Bradbury
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“Let us therefore follow after the things which make for peace, and things wherewith one many edify another.”   Bible Quotes

 

 

A ladies afternoon Tea , already within itself is a fabulously edifying fete to create and give to those special friends in your life. Its a rare gift of your signature style, love and creativity all wrapped into one.Your home becomes a resplendent stage for a memorable gathering your guests will treasure,  as you treat them to a time of feeling uplifted, pampered and loved.

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THE JUBILANT PLANNING , PREPARING AND CREATING TIME.

OKAY, we already know the theme of this afternoon of bliss, but what about the time of year? There are so many fabulous motifs that each season has to offer. Are you someone who prefers entertaining outdoors, where the warm sunshine and lush landscape with a bounty of color gives you a head start with your backdrop? Maybe you love the winter and autumn months, where your beautiful fireplace can come into play along with a hot (comfort food) 🙂  entree, amidst the marvel that fall’s changing leaves and chilly brisk temperatures brings or the mirth and splendor of the magical Christmas season.   There is really no ideal  time of year to chose , its truly what you desire as the  hostess.

Winter offers the relishable  muses of Christmas and Valentines day…two sublime and glorious holidays to  inspire you with a bounty of wondrous decor ideas for your gathering.

This hostess has created a fabulously classy, festive and eminently inviting table-scape with her wintry greens, soft candle light and romantic reds. elegance500

With an ambiance of romance, the beauty of a Victorian Christmas, the warm glow of a fire kindling and candles burning, who would ever want to leave this inviting, cozy ambiance?

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A Valentines theme is perfect for an Edification tea with “the celebration on Love” being in the air…(and IMHO, you can never go wrong with RED as your foundational  color palette.

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If a bouquet of flowers creates a celebration on an ordinary day, just imagine what a garden overflowing with fresh blossoms and bedazzling color does for a festive day of splendor with your best girlfriends?

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Whether you are Irish or not, St. Patrick’s day is a fun , colorful and jocose  muse to use for your gala, and because it falls in the wake of springs arrival, its ideal for an inside or outdoors setting.

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(Being a collector and lover of bunnies, this is one of my all time favorite patina’s for an afternoon tea.) I love the pastel colors this hostess has chosen to celebrate Springs long awaited celebration of Easter.valentines110

Summer whites amidst a sylvan charm…This formal tablescape is elegant , inviting and pleasing to both the eyes and spirit.

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I have never  been to a 4th of July afternoon Tea but just looking at this fetching table-scape, creates a desire to try one. Absolutely stunning with it’s array of vibrant, livening blues, fire engine reds and bright , crisp whites.  Eminently festive! valentines101

An autumn celebration has always been one of my favorites… I adore the abundance of rich golden hues, soft candlelight, the divine fragrance of an ambrosial dutch apple pie baking in the oven, the candescent glow of a fire burning in the hearth and the potpourri of pumpkins, (in all shapes and sizes,) gracing our homes with their charm.  elegance300

An entirely different tablescape for the cozy fall season, yet just as charming and warm! I love these lanterns, showcasing an inviting, gentle shimmering light.valentines103

Whether dining inside your home or alfresco, once you have decided what your motif is going to be for your table-scape,  allow that ambiance to spill over into the other rooms in your home, gracing every corner with your delightful, chosen theme.

For instance, if you choose a spring theme, place a few bright, sunny and blithesome   decorative items in your living room, ladies room  and upon your porch.

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To personalize this fete for each lady,  I place a “party favor” gift at each table setting as well as a  place card. We all love surprises and gifts… its just another way to bless your guests for the festive event.

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I like to  create a seating arrangement, as I know my guests the best and try to sit each person next to ‘just the right person.’ If you decide to do this, there are an abundance of creative ways to display your guests names, depending on your chosen theme.

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The gifts you choose for your party favors don’t need to be elaborate, just something to remind your friends of the special day.  A homemade gift is just as endearing as something you handpick from the florist, a boutique or order on line.

How about giving them a head start for their garden with a fresh herb plant, or if you love to do crafts, get your glue gun out and create a few petite, dried rose-flower arrangements.

thyme herb plants in pots with beautiful paper decorelegance833

I love these lace covered mason jars, (perfect for a tea-light candle,) and who wouldn’t love an adorable jar filled with Hershey kisses? Both ideas are wonderful and creative party favor ideas.

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If your Tea will be held in the autumn, a pint-size pumpkin decorated with sparkling puff paint would be ideal, (and its a gift you can personalize.) 🙂 For your mason jars, you can also fill them with your friends specific favorite candies… another thoughtful way to let them know you were thinking especially about them.

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For a Christmas Tea, how about a blue Mason jar filled with (as my mom always called them,) “Silver Bells?”

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Party Favors can be as creative as you desire them to be…Jelly belly’s and candy corns for a Fall gala, (spiders optional,) ornate and delicate tea spoons, beautifully wrapped with a tea bag, homemade book markers or an elegant tea cup… (all great ideas to bless your friends with,) as a memorable token of this special day.

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Its always fun to have a formal tea…I think all of us ladies enjoy getting dressed up (in that new dress we bought and have not had a chance to wear,) put on our special jewelry and feel especially graceful and classy for a day.

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Yet,  casual is just as much fun , especially if you decide that your tea is going to be more on the winsome, quirky and bizarro side.

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Tea hats or no hats? And if tea hats, elaborate or simple? Its all up to you. 🙂

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For “just the right” fragrance wafting through your home, Yankee candles amaze me with their wide-ranging selection of candles for every mood you could possibly dream up, as well as for every season. Be sure to have a potpourri of tea light candles glowing at your party as well,  to create a magical, charming patina.

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For your background music,  your preference may be the soft, melodic piano tunes of Jim Brickman or the  enchanting instrumentals form George Winston’s collection. Perhaps the galvanizing Victoria Secret’s London’s Symphony Orchestra ballads of love or their fabulous Christmas carols collection,  if your entertaining during the holidays. Choose music that you love and enjoy, then most likely, all your guests will too. 🙂

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LET THE PARTY BEGIN

As each guest arrives, and are busily saying their hellos, giving warm hugs to everyone, and getting  caught up on one another’s lives, invite them to get their “beverage of choice.” 🙂 (Believe it or not, even though it is a TEA, some ladies still prefer a delicious robust cup of coffee… I serve both.  I always have  a medley of herbal and decaffeinated teas, (Celestial seasonings make a yummy apple cinnamon and Pumpkin Spice Tea,) along with the renowned Earl Grey and Chamomile.  With the Fresh roasted coffee, I always put out fresh cream and sugar and select a few luscious flavored creamers. ( Heath , Peppermint- Chocolate and French Vanilla have proven to be the most popular. 🙂

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Its so much fun to mix and match your tea cups…not only do they create a beautiful and resplendent display , but each lady can choose her favorite cup for the day.

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For each Tea I have hosted, I personally chose to have an  icebreaker game…something fun to get my guests to feel more at ease and bring a little laughter to the gathering.

For this particular Tea, I would choose the “Famous People game” (in my site  under ‘Fabulous party games for every entertaining event category,’) but instead of  famous people, I would make it “Famously admired women.” Here are a few ideas of well known ladies who are all acclaimed for their positions in politics, singing talent, faith, philanthropy work, acting , and  bestselling books they have written; Jackqueline Kennedy, Celine Dion, Cece Winan, Danielle Steele,Condaleesa Rice, Meryl Streep, Mother Teresa, Ashley Judd, Nancy Regan, Julia Roberts, Ruth in the bible, Oprah Winfrey and Barbara Walters. (I am sure you have your favorites as well that would be fun!) 🙂 Don’t forget to tell the ladies that the winner of this game will get a prize! 🙂 (It gets the competitive  juices flowing!)

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“Ladies, your Luncheon awaits you!!! ”

Your menu will most likely be influenced by the season you have chosen to give your Edification TEA.

For summer and spring Teas, (especially if you are entertaining outside,) it is lovely to use  a few elegant three tiered plates, lined with lace doilies to display your tempting confections, petite  sandwiches and array of fresh breads, entertaining  your guests with a buffet style.

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If your first choice is to serve your guest a hot meal, you can still use your resplendent tiered plates for your dessert or homemade biscuits, assorted jams and fresh fruits. elegance150elegance121

Your menu can be as creative as you’d like…If you are one who adores cooking and baking, then prepare your favorite recipes with abandon. 🙂 If you don’t want to do an abundance of cooking, there are plenty of things at your grocer you can order or pick up…petite quiches, assorted Tea cookies, fresh fruit, a medley of breads, or a cake from the your neighborhood bakery. Some ladies choose to  have their tea catered. Its all up to you, the hostess for the day. 🙂

Here are a few menus that I have chosen if you would like some ideas.

Menu #1 Grilled chicken cilantro salad served on fresh Romaine, sour cream biscuits with assorted jams, and for dessert, chocolate covered strawberries along with a sour cream coffee cake. (Perfect for a summer or spring gala.)

Menu #2 Ham and Swiss cheese quiche, Spinach pecan and raspberry salad,  buttery croissants and a Chocolate ice box cake.

These recipes will be at the end of  this vignette if you need some ideas. 🙂

As each lady sits down at the dining table, its a great time for you to freshen up their teas and coffee as well as encourage them to open their party favor. As they are expressing their ‘oohs an awes,’ begin serving their plates with your hot entree and allow them to help themselves with the breads and salad already placed upon your striking table. This is a great time for you to relax as well...enjoy this special time with your girlfriends and some of your delicious cuisine.  I love this quote by Julia Child; “Dining with ones friends and beloved family is certainly one of life’s primal and most innocent delights, one that is both soul satisfying and eternal.”

You’ll know ‘just the precise moment’ when to clear the plates and serve your scrumptious dessert. If you already have  your ambrosial  confections  displayed on your summoning and delightful tiered plate(s), invite your guests to help themselves to their choice of sweet indulgences.

When you are all so full you can’t eat another bite, adjourn to the living room or if your already outside, to a new setting of comfortable chairs. This is where the real fun begins. 🙂

You are now entering into the “Edification” part of your luxurious afternoon tea…Make sure you have plenty of beautiful stationary as well as a set of oblong envelopes and a ‘long lasting’ writing pen.) 🙂

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As you are  gathered together with your friends, seated comfortably,  introduce this next and most important part of the joyous and dulcet afternoon.

Probably by now, the ladies are wondering from your invitation,  why you called it an Edification Tea… (Yet I am pretty sure they are already feeling edified, pampered and having a lovely afternoon.)

In opening up this part of the afternoon Tea, you may want to read a few of the quotes about kind words, share whats on your heart and why you are hosting an ‘Edification Tea.’ Explain how this time of uplifting will go… (creating comfort in your guests hearts as this may be new to them.) 🙂 Encourage each of your friends to ‘share their heart felt sentiments’ with each lady, about how they have touched their life, how they see them, what their special qualities and talents are and their appreciation of that person within thier lives.

allabaster500As the hostess, you become the “designated writer” for each ladies page of beautiful words spoken to her. (Choose one of your friends to write for you when you are sharing your heart felt sentiments to each guest as well.)  As you are all sitting together, start with the lady to your right and work clockwise around the group. She will be the “focus” for everyone to be able to share their “words of edification,” and after her ‘page’ is written, (your sentiments included,) you will seal up her envelope, (make sure you write her name on the front,) 🙂  and move on to the next lady and continue until every guest has her “gift of kind words” completed for her to take home.   At the top of each friends paper, write her name, the date and days event. The first line will be the first woman’s (as your go around the circle) name and then in Italics, the kind words that she feels towards this special lady. Some people may make their tribute of warmhearted sentiments, quick and simple, while others, more lengthy with several sentences. (Some of us are more wordy than others.) 🙂  Examples of things that may be said being; ” I don’t know you well, but your always smiling, you are so very kind, you’ve got a great sense of humor, your very pretty, creative, etc…” Or for those in your group who are long time friends,  “I’ve known you all my life and your the best friend I have ever had, your closer than a sister, your friendship means the world to me, etc…”  (You will find that most ladies will openly share their hearts and don’t need any coaching.) There is nothing quite like hearing from our best friends, words of love, edification and  encouragement, to inspire, buildup and fortify us, strengthening our self esteem and worth.

Make sure as each of your girlfriends leave the party, they have their cherished letter of edification to take home with them… If they are like my friends and I, they will keep it forever.

When I hosted  my Edification tea, I can’t tell you how much this meant to every lady...there was plenty of laughter, tears of joy and to be honest with you, most women found it hard to just say a “few words”, thus the tea went on until after 5:00 PM and truly, no one wanted to go home.

When all the ladies were done sharing and receiving, one of my friends asked if she could write down what everyone wanted to say about me. I was so deeply  touched by all the kind words. I still keep my relished letter of edification in a drawer and when I am having one of those days where I need a little assurance, or feel down and need a dose of uplifting,  I go back and read  what people had to say. formal2I was not only surprised, but wonderfully blessed  by their heart felt words to me. I think that we can all be hard on ourselves and often times ‘the worst critic’ of our gifts, talents and overall ‘feelings about who we are.’ HEARING how others see us or feel about us, is a beautiful gift that enables us to take another ‘look’ at all the good things about us, filling our hearts with warm fuzzy’s and our “love tank” begins to fill up. 🙂

A funny story...one of the ladies lost her envelope and months later, when we were all gathered together for a birthday Tea, she asked if all the ladies could tell her again what they had said so she could write it down, as she felt lost without her precious “words of love and edification.”

selfWe never know what just one word will do for a person, but when there are many words spoken, (and often times, things we would never think about our self,) it gives our “self esteem” a face lift.

 

The afternoon, (which turned into an early evening) proved to be a spectacular day had by all! Not only did each guest leave with memories of a wondrous ladies day out, filled with delicious cuisine, ample girl talk, felicity and laughter, a party favor gift, but a tangible bestowal of words. Out of all the Teas I have given, attended, (or have written about in Living Winsomely, ) this by far, was the one I remember most of all. I hope this vignette  sparks  your creativity and imagination as well as brings you inspiration.

I wish for you, ( if you choose to host an edification luncheon or Tea,) that it will be a day of blessing and uplifting for your girlfriends as well as for yourself.  Let me know how it goes and ENJOY browsing through the recipes.

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INGREDIENTS:

1 head of romaine lettuce, 1/2 cup of mayonnaise, (or more per your taste,) 1 TBSP. Ranch dressing, 4-6 skinless, boneless breast of chicken, grilled and cut into bite size pieces, 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro, 2 green onions chopped, (using the chives as well,) fresh cracked black pepper and salt to taste. (I do put a dash or two of Tabasco sauce in mine.) 🙂

After your chicken is grilled and cut up, mix together with the mayo, Ranch dressing and seasoning…chill at least 2 hours before serving.  This salad is delicious served over romaine lettuce with freshly cut  Granny Smith or Fuji apple wedges.

SOUR CREAM BISCUITS

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INGREDIENTS:

2 cups  self rising flour, 2 sticks of butter, (softened to room temperature,) 1 cup of sour cream and a miniature muffin pan.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees and grease your muffin pan.

Mix together the butter and flour ’til blended, then add your sour cream. Spoon into muffin pan and bake 8-10 minutes. This recipe yields 3 dozen, scrumptious biscuits. (Recipe by Paula Dean.)

CHOCOLATE COVERED STRAWBERRIES

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INGREDIENTS:

1-2  PKG. fresh strawberries, (depending on how many strawberries you want to serve.)

1/2 bag Dove dark chocolates, 1/2 stick butter, 2 TBSP. of half and half .

Over low heat, melt your chocolate, add the butter and half and half, stirring constantly. Allow sauce to cool.  Wash your strawberries and let dry on paper towel. When dried , dip strawberry’s in the sauce and set upon a non stick cookie sheet to cool. Place cookie sheet in refrigerator to chill before serving. (If you have extra sauce left over, it is yummy served hot over French vanilla ice cream. 🙂

SOUR CREAM COFFEE CAKE

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Ingredients for cake streusel filling;

3/4 cup  brown sugar, 1/2-3/4 cups of chopped pecans, 2 TBSP. cinnamon, 1-2 Tbsp. butter. In a small bowl, combine all ingredients together until moist for a delicious, cake filling.

Ingredients for cake:

2 sticks of butter, (room temperature,)  2 cups of all purpose flour, 2 cups white sugar, 2  eggs, 1 tsp. baking powder, 1/2 tsp. salt, 1 cup of sour cream and 1& 1/2  tsp. vanilla.

For your cake, In a large bowl, measure your flour, baking powder and salt together, mix and set aside.

In another bowl, (using electric mixer) beat your butter with the eggs until smooth, add vanilla and sour cream, mixing until blended. Gradually add in your dry mixture  until your  batter is smooth and ready to pour, (or scoop) into your baking pan.

Place 1/3rd of your batter into a greased and flour dusted tube pan…spread evenly in pan. Add 1/2 of your streusel filling, add another third of your batter, and the second half of your filling, then top with remaining batter.

Bake in a greased tube pan at 350 degrees for 1 hour…( all ovens vary,  so begin checking your cake after 50 minutes…)  To test when your cake is done, insert a sharp knife into center and when it comes out clean, it is finished. (Or you can use a toothpick.)   Cool for 15 minutes, then remove from baking pan to finish cooling, before icing.

Butter cream frosting for coffee cake.

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INGREDIENTS:

2 sticks of butter, (room temperature,) 1 box of confectioners sugar, 3 TBSP. Half and Half cream or heavy whipping cream, 1 TBSP vanilla. (You can also substitute French Vanilla or Vanilla nut creamer for your cream.) If you prefer your frosting to be thicker, (when you have finished beating mixture,  you can always add more confectioners sugar. )

With electric mixer, beat butter until creamy, then gradually add your powdered sugar, vanilla and cream, alternating to create the consistency you desire. Frost Coffee cake when cooled.

MENU # 2

HAM AND SWISS CHEESE QUICHE

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INGREDIENTS for one quiche:

1 boxed pie shell from refrigerated section at your grocer, 2 TBSP. butter, 2 spring onions, 1 & 1/4 cup heavy whipping cream, 1 cup Half and Half, 5 eggs, 1-1 & 1/2 cup shredded Swiss cheese, 1& 1/4 cup chopped ham, dash of nutmeg, salt and pepper to taste.

Dust your pie plate with 1 TBSP flour and fit your pie shell to plate. Set aside. Melt your butter over low heat, add chopped green onion, (including chives,) and saute over low heat until softened.(careful not to brown to much .)  Take off heat to cool.

In a large bowl, whisk together half and half, heavy cream and seasonings. Add three whole eggs, and two egg yolks to mixture and whisk until blended together.

Pour your butter and  sauteed onions into pie shell. Place your diced ham and Swiss cheese on top of onions, making sure your ham and cheese are evenly proportioned in quiche.  Pour your egg and cream mixture in and place in a preheated 350 degree oven, baking for 35-40 minutes. (Again, because oven vary, begin checking your quiche at 35 minutes and every five minutes, if it is not fully cooked.) I always check mine with a clean, sharp knife inserted into center and when it comes out clean, the quiche is done.

Raspberry, Spinach and Pecan salad.

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1  large package of fresh and cleaned spinach, 1-2 containers of fresh, washed red raspberries, (you can also substitute with fresh sliced strawberries,)  1-2  small packages of pecan halves, (depending on how large your salad is,) ground black pepper and salt to taste, and your savory dressing.

There are some extraordinary  recipes for a Raspberry Walnut dressing…I personally adore the ‘Ken’s Steak House, Raspberry Walnut Vinaigrette’ from the grocer. Prepare your salad ahead of time in a pretty salad bowl and refrigerate.  About 10 minutes before your lunch is served, take your salad out and toss with the Raspberry Vinaigrette.  (The amount of dressing you use is up to you.) Salt and Pepper to taste!

Buttery croissants

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I recommend visiting your grocers bakery or if you have a special bakery downtown you frequent, order some fresh croissants a day before your afternoon Tea.

 

CHOCOLATE ICEBOX CAKE

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INGREDIENTS:

1-2 Boxes of Nabisco Famous Chocolate Wafers, 8 ounces fresh whipping cream, sugar and vanilla to taste, 1 bar of Hershey’s milk chocolate.

This cake tastes as if it took hours to create, yet it is so simple and takes no time at all to prepare. With electric beater, whip your cream until thick and creamy. Add sugar and vanilla to taste. Choose the plate you want to serve this cake on at your gala. Begin with one wafer, spreading  the whipped cream on one side, then add your next wafer to that one, and continue until you reach the length of cake you desire. When that row is completed, start with the next one, right next to your completed row. When done, cover the entire cake with whip cream. Place cake in your refrigerator and allow to sit over night. Before serving, with a potato peeler, shave the desired amount of your Hershey bar on top of cake. Not only decadent, but a beautiful confection to bring out and serve your guests.

(My siblings and I , grew up with this cake as it was one of my mom’s favorite cakes to make.) Its not only rich and decadent, but mouthwatering and delicious. Definitely a keeper. 🙂

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Winsome living in a Vintage Home.

The Glorious , classy vintage years…. A time of expression, fashion and ” History in the making.”

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When you stop and reflect upon what the word  “Vintage” really means, the knowledge will present you with an abundance of understanding as well as  guidance to create ‘what could be,’ the dream home that is just waiting to be discovered within your heart… “A Winsome Vintage Home..” You are the creator, designer and decorator ….ENJOY learning and displaying your own signature style …take that vision you have deep inside and bring it forth into reality….whether it is just one room, two rooms or your entire house.  HAVE FUN…and venturesomely begin creating!

According to the experts on the English language, the word vintage  has several meanings…In regarding to a fine red wine, the harvested grapes are placed in a fermentation vat, then the ‘patient and long wait’ begins.When the winemaker knows it is time, the wine is then placed, (in my favorite,) an oak barrel, then goes through a filtering time and is finally  bottled. It is the ‘long wait’ that creates such a five star, stellar, much awaited bottle of wine.     Excellent wine, that is high quality, will have a specific year, vineyard and district of origin upon it’s label.awine1 It’s new to me, but I am sure all of you, who are collectors of fine wine,  understand this completely. A vintage red wine, (a 1951 Bordeaux,)   can in no way, be compared to an updated bottle of Toasted Head or Turning Leaf Merlot. (Though they are both great wines.) The Older wine is definitely worth the long wait. That is the same truth with anything Vintage.

The vintage ambiance brings forth a surge of Nostalgia to romance us back to a time where everything seemed so lovely, magical and novel. Through our decor and ageless collectables, we have something that is palpable and touchable, to intensify that ‘created mood’ and  atmosphere in abundance.   The Vintage style brings us a delightfully wrapped present…a touch of our history.   🙂

To learn more about this distinguished word, lets look at Vintage movies, books, artist’s, movie stars, television shows, homes, automobiles and fashion. These are all the REAL THING…not made over to look vintage. ( Which we will get to that area of vintage decor later on in this vignette.)

Old and cherished, exceedingly notable and delightfully made  films are the ‘old movies’… They  just don’t  make them any better than “A street car named desire,” with Marlon Brando. (Who can forget the classic line; “Hey Sella.”Avint100 ) Alfred Hitch-cock’s renowned Rebbecca. The story of a shy, young woman, unaware of her own inner beauty, falls crazy in love with a  handsome and wealthy socialite. He marries her and brings her home to his mysterious mansion upon the cliffs of the ocean at the Old Manderly estate. Little does Rebbecca know that the house is ‘supposedly’  haunted by his first wife’s presence, (with the help of the vindictive head maid.)  The  movie is spell-bounding as they try to live out their newly married life amongst his rich friends,  the dark mansion, hidden secrets and her doubts of his true love for her.vint21 Lastly, one of  all of our childhood favorites, The Wizard of OZ…We adore every minute of the adventurous  journey Dorothy is on to get back to her home in Kansas…(except the flying monkeys…they were a little scary as a child…still are!)  🙂  All of these are  vintage, refined and excellent films.

Antiquated books that you can’t find everyday in Barnes and Noble’s on their new and  best  seller shelf,Vint15  are such tales as Moby Dick, The Scarlet Pimpernel, Moll Flanders and the prestigious  C.S Lewis’ notable novellas, The Chronicles of Narnia, The Screw tape letters and The Magicians nephew.  (All Keepers!)

What was your favorite TV show as you grew up…(be careful as these vint18answers really date your age.  🙂 Mine was “Father knows best.”  Robert Young could do no wrong in my eyes.  🙂 Other ageless and priceless shows are ‘The Three stooges,’ ‘Tarzan,’ our beloved, “I love Lucy,”  ‘Please don’t eat the daisies,’  ‘Laugh In’ and The Ed Sullivan show. Everything on television when I was a youngster seemed so clean…

Some of the greatest and most noted musicians were Nat King Cole, Bing Crosby and  Elvis Presley. I  have yet to hear a match today of any of their  stellar voices …They were ‘one in a million,’ classy, unique and remarkable.  Museums today, host vintage paintings and photographs that cost a fortune, but bring back so many nostalgicVint24 memories of the ‘older days.’ Marilyn Monroe’s “Vintage Christmas in Hollywood,”) Monets’ “Impression Sunrise,” and all of the light-some and clever artwork of Norman Rockwell. Old world artwork is not only magnificent and ageless but it sets an exceedingly high standard for artwork today.  It is a difficult pursuit to find the same quality… Often times the ‘old’ is used as a muse for the ‘new.’ Vintage movie stars? There are so many, they are hard to count. 🙂 Judy Garland, Gene Tierney, Jane Russell,Robert Mitchum, Rita Hayworth, James Dean and Dorothy avint30Lamour. How could you ever forget or find even a close match for  Leslie Howard, Vivian Leigh and Olivia De Haviland in the wondrous classic film, Gone with the wind?

 

Vintage automobiles. These are the cars that owners pamper and coddle as they keep them stored in garages, visiting them on occasion while they dote upon them…These motor cars get washed,waxed, vacuumed, taken out for a spin drive, (so the owner can hear the ‘special hum of the engine,’ 🙂 and then, they masterfully get parked just right in their ‘protected place.’  (Until the next reunion with their proud owners)   🙂 You can tell that the Vintage automobiles are their ‘babies.’:)

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Lastly, Vintage clothing…Now a days,  you see this fashion all the time in Hollywood and all over the country… It is vintage because it is ‘out of style’ in our 21st century,  yet it is the ‘in craze,’ and is more popular than ever. Go figure!

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So, what we have learned is that “Whatever is old, priceless, desirable, treasured, antiquated, old world, obsolete, ageless, timeless, quaint and exceedingly valuable is  Anything VINTAGE!

Then there is always making the New, look like the old for the charm and pizazz of the vintage era. 🙂

With all the modern day architecture, expensive, well made couches, love seats, over sized chairs, fine wood dining tables with hutches and chairs to match, as well as kitchen appliances that can do almost anything but sing…(maybe they to do that by now too,) 🙂  it’s truly amazing to see the high demand for the old world style. Even if the brand new is purchased, it is remodeled and made to look old and antique again. 🙂   Being the magazine and decor connoisseur that I am, one of the most popular and ‘in style’ looks  within homes, Vila’s, estates, cottages, mansions and ranch houses, is a home filled with classic, antiquated and old word decor style.Vi229 Yes, again, the VINTAGE look is “in”…even in our bathrooms and upon our porches ! We give our old furniture a makeover, ( and perhaps embellish it with decorative stenciling,) or we bedeck our new King Louis XV bed to look exactly like it did in that exciting, opulent time where people socialized at Fancy Balls and feasted upon fine dining in the 17th century, over 500 years ago.  We adore the old kitchen appliances and decor that speaks of our memories when we were young, or the memorabilia of our parents from their childhood. (The Campbell soup kid mugs, the Little Rascals on decorative plates, old antique coffee grinders and china that is painted in a myriad of greens and pinks that aren’t even on the market today.abear2) Our beds have a fair-haired, teddy bear siting peacefully upon the comforter… He can’t be bought with any price,yet he is at least 60 years old and looks like he just came out of the washing machine, (and the Tide detergent didn’t work.) 🙂 My little guy is named Cornelius and he is 36 years old...he has been through everything with me…he has known me longer than my husband. 🙂 If our house were ever to catch on fire, Cornelius would be one of the treasures I would grab and ‘save’ as I was rushing out of the home. 🙂 Of course, my husband and dog Grantham would be first! ) 🙂

It is the same thing with people…Those in our lives that have many years behind them, a bounty of wisdom, enchanting stories from their youth and grey hair, (even though most of them color it,) (hey, we all do what we need to do, to look our very best) 🙂  are fabulously exciting and beautiful people to be around. They  have such a refinement and regal nature about them, likened to a priceless, cherished bottle of vintage wine. These are the people you adore and love to have over for dinner, ask important questions to and make sure there is plenty of fresh coffee in the pot and an abundance of lemon pound cake at hand, so that they have ample time (and refreshments) to share their many tales of yesterday.  I adore the famous saying in the classic movie, ‘Calendar Girls.’ In  Napely, England, there is a close  knit group of ladies, as well as dear friends that belong to a notable and entertaining  book club. When one of the women’s husbands, John, becomes ill and they need money for his medical care, she decides to put on a fundraiser amongst all the residents of the quaint English village. The object of the fundraiser is ‘Calendars.’ They are not just any calendars…They are  photos of each woman, (Over 55,) posing with only  fresh fruits,vegetables,loaves of bread or decorative pastries, etc… and no clothes.  🙂 Believe me, it is a wondrous movie, well made and they don’t  show anything  that is not tastefully done…John has a saying that I enjoy so much; (and yes, it is planted in my notebook of expressive  words and extraordinary phrases.)  🙂 “The flowers of Yorkshire are like the women of Yorkshire, in that, their last stage of growth is the most glorious.” 🙂 I hope my husband feels that way about me when I am in my autumn years. 🙂

These are noteworthy people in our society that are becoming vintage… Perhaps already are as they are older, priceless, desirable, treasured, ageless, timeless and valuable. (I am not going to say they are antiquated.) 🙂 I think most men and women would love to be as healthy, full of vigor, with meaningful lives and an abundance of  loved ones at the ages of these renowned people…72, 94, 78 and 77. The name ‘vintage’ would just be an HONOR.

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WE  have a tendency to see growing old as a negative thing when in fact, there is so much beauty and wisdom within people who are older. They have learned all of life’s challenging  lessons, are at a  place of PEACE and acceptance of who they are, (no pretenses)  and are enjoying their retirements and doing the things they absolutely love. Their lives thus far, have earned them notoriety and the prestigious biographies that they posses.

Even cheese gets better with age! 🙂 The list could go on and on…Let’s Cars14take a look and see what some wonderful people have to say about the subject of VINTAGE! 🙂

 

DISTINGUISHED QUOTE CORNER Adorable Baby Boy in Suit on Cellphone

“I don’t do alcohol anymore,  I get the same effect just standing up fast.” 🙂  ~Author unknown! 🙂

“Old age is fifteen years older than I am.” ~ Oliver Wendell Holmes

“Our admiration of the antique is not admiration of the old but of the natural.” ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

“Grow old with me, the best is yet to come.” ~ Robert Browning. (That is my new ‘numero uno’ MOTTO! 🙂FR19

“Priceless things  matter not for their value but because they offer us an enduring reminder of stability and permanence.” ~ Barbara Taylor Bradford.

“Age is opportunity no less, than youth itself, though in a different dress, and as the evening twilight fades away, the sky is filled with stars, invisible by day.” ~ Author Unknown

“I think living to be 100 would be great but living to 50 twice, would be better.” ~ Barbara Johnson    (I adore Barbara Jonson and her fabulously, cheerful and happy perspective of living life.) 🙂

“The scary thing about middle age is the knowledge that you’ll soon grow out of it.” ~ Barbara Johnson

“Youth is not a time of life but a state of mind.” ~ Barbara Johnson

“If you live to be a hundred, I want towinnie2 be a hundred minus one day so I would never have to live without you.” ~ Winnie The Pooh

I will always remember a priceless gift my mom bestowed upon me about aging. When she was in her 50’s, (still a very beautiful woman who had 8 children who simply adored her, 🙂 a few  of my brothers went to her one day and said, “Mom, you have got some wrinkles ‘going on’ in your face…you need to go and get a facelift.”  (If you know any of my five brothers,Vi100 they will deny they ever said those words…) 🙂 Anyhow, she calmly smiled and said; “To be honest with you boys, I kind of like these wrinkles as they remind me of each one of you, my children.” As she kept smiling, she would point to one of her wrinkles and say; “This  one is Donnie, and this one is you Jim, etc…) My mom was very naturally beautiful and aged without any concern of getting any extra help. 🙂 I am trying! 🙂

Lets face it, growing old is inevitable… No matter how many pounds we loose, (or gain,) the abundance of ‘night-firming cream’ and Revive-a-lift we buy, face lifts, new hair styles to hide our wrinkles, wearing ‘spanks’ and the color black to appear thin, and finally breaking down and buying the ‘next size up’ jeans….Accept it, don’t fight it and keep a grateful heart.(Easy words, I know, but It’s worth trying!)  🙂 I admire the people who in tuning 50, give thanks to God for giving them those 50 years and would be honored to have 50 more…

The one thing no one has to adjust to or accept is a winsome home, bedecked in Vintage decor. 🙂  This style of decor is not only high in demand, but it is stunning, inviting and brings and ‘oomph’ to our lives.  Its a unique, one of a kind theme and brings comfort, gladsome hearts and coziness to us as well as each one of our guests.

Welcome to “your Vintage Home.” Are you ready to get a cup of coffee, some sweet tea,  a bite to eat and get comfy? 🙂 Lets take a look at the architecture of the Vintage home first.

My heart has always been charmed when my husband and I go for a drive in the country and see old, established, historical homes on acres of land.  I find my mind beginning  to ponder, “what memories fill the corridors and rooms of that house?”  What do they remissness  about there?” ” Do they get together for a jubilant family Sunday dinner every week?” (Like we did as a family.)   “Do they hear old creaks in the wooden floors and unexplainable sounds at night, being tempted to think it’s haunted by the ghosts of the original owners? “You have heard; “Every picture tells a story?” I also believe “Every home tells a story.” Vintage Homes make for wondrous and fascinating tales. 🙂

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OK, hold your hats, this is not a haunted mansion…It is an abandoned Vintage home and is known as a “Fixer upper”…. Truly it is a beautiful architectural home…it just needs some TLC! 🙂 Some fresh paint, a good landscape team, a gardener and lots of kaleidoscopic flowers to add some life and color. 🙂  A loving family would be nice too!

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Lastly, my mom’s childhood, vintage home in South Carolina. It no longer stands, but wow, was it awesome! (On boy, the stories I have heard about that house, could be a bestseller for sure!) 🙂 (I still have not decided what genre the novella would be written in, yet.)  🙂

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Here are some gorgeous Vintage Porches.  Even if your home’s architecture is not Vintage, if you have a porch, you can bring a little “old world” decor onto your veranda, thus enhancing the charm and potpourri of color, texture and the personality of your home.

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This piazza is beautifully feminine…  I adore all of the pastel colors amidst the soft whites.vinatge porch 4

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Upon entering the home, the first room we see is the Living room. Remember, just as you have witnessed with these diverse porches, there are all different extremes of bedecking your home with the vintage style. Any decor that has antiques, old school furniture, home decor that is obsolete and carries that ageless, timeless ambiance, is a vintage style home. Many people mix their themes and styles, perhaps combining vintage with country cottage or shabby chic decor. The most important thing to keep in mind as you create your signature style home, is the rule I share on every decorating blog… Pick your style, decor theme and color pallet, then fill your home with the things you love, that  reflect who you are.  Be comfortable and enjoy creating each room the way you desire it to look.

 

Your Vintage look can be made up of all sorts of old world, timeless and classy  decorative items. Pick up your theme through aged colorful fabrics, antique furniture, throw pillows, pictures or paintings, oriental rugs, antiquated china, bowls  and vintage books. Anything that you can think of to bring forth that desired look, dauntlessly place it out in your room and see if its a fit for you. 🙂

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This living room is old word, a little shabby chic with a hint of maritime life, which all blends in so well together…Not only is it charming, inviting and cozy, but it’s light and ethereal.

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Again, this quaint, old school living room has a nautical hint to it, but is also undeniably  vintage and rustic. (Pleasingly patriotic as well!) 🙂

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This sublime and stunning  book case filled with vintage books is a conversation piece as well as a strikingly picturesque addition to any room.  Old books bring ” an aged caliber.”  Maybe add a few photographs of your grandparents or a vintage family home, placed within a few choice and ornate, ‘old world’ picture frames to embellish your collection of ageless writings.

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There is one word for this Vintage look...STELLARIt’s my favorite look of all…romantic, yet augustly antique. (They do not make mirrors like they used to anymore,  or fireplaces for that matter! 🙂 Vi215

 

The aged and antiquated bedroom is not only eccentric, unique and romantic but  it is magical, creating a  fairy-tale like ambiance where you can sneak off and rest, read your novel, write an overdue letter or just listen to your favorite classical CD. This  is your special room to be pampered and coddled in…Light a candle, enjoy and revel in all the beauty that surrounds you!

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Wrought iron, brass and old, weathered wood are perfect for a bed with the Vintage appeal. This bed room has an antiquated tin ceiling rescued from a New York City Movie theater, that no longer is in business.  How eye-catching, clever and creative!

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The designer of this vintage room, excelled in their artful display of multicolored greys, greens and golds with creating a weathered look, amongst fauz painted walls,diverse fabrics and linens that blend together perfectly for an old world, nostalgic and  prolific ambiance. This bed room is very impressive.

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In creating your vintage style home, you may chose to make every room this delightful style or just a few of the rooms. One of my  most cherished rooms in the house is my kitchen. Here are some charming vintage kitchens…This  antiquated and memorable decor style will surely be a “topic of discussion” with friends and family, when your room or rooms are completed. 🙂

I adore the brick in this kitchen…This kitchen looks liven in, cozy, welcoming and FUN!

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A perfect kitchen for the connoisseur of fine wine and you already know how much I adore “chefs,” (In any shape, size or color.) 🙂  Aren’t they so classy?

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This antique kitchen has a combination of Shabby Chic and vintage throughout the room. These two decor styles are refreshingly alluring when mixed together… It is a room filled with charm, a fairy- tale like ambiance and is creative and inviting as well.

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For my tastes, there is nothing more charming, nostalgic and inviting, than a combination of old brick and antiquated china. The dark, rich woods amidst the brightly colored flowers add a fabulously warm and cozy touch to this Kitchen.

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This kitchen is so felicitous and amiable, I would love to spend a day here just cooking and baking the hours away…over a pot of fresh coffee of course. 🙂

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These next photos of the Vintage bathroom are very warm and creative. There is absolutely nothing like a real claw-foot bath tub. Once you experience this luxurious experience, it will be hard to go back to the regular tub that most of our homes are equipped with. (I have got to remember to write this ‘claw-foot tub’ as a ‘must have’ in my Dream Home – Wish book.) 🙂    Vi51

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How about the one place that you can relax, (right about the time the sun is gloriously setting through your windows and glass doors?)  Yes,your Dining Room.  It’s time to sit down with a delicious dinner, accompanied by a glass of chardonnay, perhaps a roaring fire, soft candle light and good friends, sharing superb cuisine and wondrous fellowship. These antiquated dining rooms are ‘bonny.’ (As the British would say.) 🙂

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Here are some photos of beautiful Vintage china and tables settings to inspire you!

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I  am going to share this ambrosial corn casserole recipe (below) with you in my  “Unforgettable Recipes” category. 🙂

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Decorative accessories are a ‘must’ in creating your new look. In the following photos , I hope you find some great ideas and inspiration. 🙂

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This is a vintage set of the “Winnie the Pooh” collection. Don’t you just love it? Piglet is just to cute. 🙂

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I adore these ornate, old candle stick holders. They are very rich as well as festive.

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This august, winning book vintage bookcase brings not only a wealth of ‘history to your haven,’ but an abundance of charm, color and beauty!

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This Garden planter is absolutely breathtaking. I would love to have two of them on my front porch! The Vintage shed below, would be such a wondrous addition to your ‘Old world’ style garden. I think that it is about as “Vintage” as a piece of furniture could  be. 🙂

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I love this antique mirror…It’s not only ornate, but classy and refined. I have many friends who display antique purses as a decorative addition to their room…hung on a petite hutch door, placed inside a glass dining room cabinet, or set out on their comfy bed, (next to their ‘antiquated teddy bear,’) to add color and style to their decor theme. Great idea!

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In closing, I want to leave you with a few magical ideas for a “Vintage Christmas.”

“The perfect Christmas tree? ALL Christmas trees are PERFECT.” ~ Charles N. Barnard

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I love the creativity this woman has used in decorating her dining room table.  The apples placed within the crystal goblets, mason jars filled with miniature Christmas scenes and the animated , winter white napkins adorned with red berries are already motivating me for the Christmas season. 🙂

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For Christmas, it is hard to beat a fresh , winter white celebration!

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I have never seen a Vintage train set like this one before. This would make any little boy, (or big boy) 🙂 happy on Christmas morning.

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A very merry, colorful and  traditional, Vintage Tree. It is Perfect! 🙂 (Like Charles’ quote expressed above!)

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A fancy and formal Christmas table fit for a king! I adore all the gorgeous , old silver and glistening candle light amidst all the soothing butter cream whites. (The confections don’t look to bad either ) 🙂

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What is more ageless and timeless than a nativity scene displayed on a hutch or side board? It’s is one of my very  favorite Christmas decorations.  I love my original Nativity set as it was a gift from a very special lady. I was so sad when I unpacked it one year and  baby Jesus’ hand had broken off.  For the life of me,  I could not find that hand anywhere… so after going on my “creative – treasure – hunt”  around my home,   I discovered a miniature, decorative red heart and placed it where baby Jesus’ hand would be.  It fit perfectly. This little red  heart has the word LOVE written upon it. ) Now my nativity is not only “really original,” 🙂 but a great reminder of what this joyous season is all about.” 🙂

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I hope you have enjoyed getting to know the Vintage home as much as I have. It has more meaning to me now that I understand why they call it Vintage decor. I hope you feel inspired and have obtained some great ideas. If you don’t want to go out and buy a new piece of vintage furniture, don’t forget, they have vintage slipcovers for old couches and chairs that have tares or frayed areas upon them. Stores as well as online shopping, also have a bounty of specialty paints to  ‘make your modern day furniture look old.’ Have a wonderful time planning, going to thrift stores, boutiques and garage sales looking for some extra items you may need to make your decor changes.  Enjoy CREATING and adding more BEAUTY to your life as well as the lives of your family.

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

 

 

 

 

 

Romantic Bedroom…where refinement comes to call!

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“You know your in love when you don’t want to fall asleep because reality is finally better than your dreams.”  ~ Dr. Seuss

“My whole heart for my whole life.” ~ A French saying used on Poesy rings .

“We loved with a love that was more than love.” ~Edgar Allan Poe

AH! Romance and love!

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The word Romantic is marked by the imaginative or emotional appeal of what is heroic, remote, mysterious or idealized. Lets face it, romance is glamorous, marvelous, picture book and enchanting…So why not create a bedroom that evokes all that romance is defined by. Allow Z-55your heart and soul to be captivated with it’s emboldened and impetuous beauty. Of all the styles one can choose for their bedroom, my very favorite is the Romantic Bedroom. It’s very charisma and magnetism draws me  into another world.  A world of alluring color, fairy tales, comfort and pure undisturbed contentment.  Its my place to dream with my eyes wide open. The romantic room is luxurious and ensures ‘a cozy winters night’ under a snug, ethereal down comforter, accompanied by pleasant and gracious dreams.

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The bed and linens you choose for your room will be your ‘center of attention.’   I love to celebrate the style and charm of each room I create. In my bizarro bedroom, I resound the elegance and augustness of the Victorian Era, in which women lived very lavishly.

Whether your bed is a King Louie style,king shiny brass, a sleigh bed, rice bed or a bed accompanied by a towering painted headboard, stenciled with epic and glorious roses, the final touches you add to enhance your ‘doss,’ to beget your atmosphere of “Romance,” is entirely up to you.The romantic look is all about taking exemplary and quintessential pieces in your home, (bedroom) and reinterpreting them in your own new and pristine way.

White bedding is a ‘given’ for the look of romance.   It’s gentleness and simplicity is therapeutic and romantic, even more so when layers and textures are added. You can add layers of laced or embroidered pillows, a fluffy and feathery comforter, a tailored, pleated dust ruffle and a shimmering pearl white throw draped across the end of your bed. My motto? You can never have to many layers or pillows. 🙂 I adore the story my mom always told about how when she was a little girl, she and her cousins, (on a sleep-over night,) could hardly wait to go to bed…king1they would dive into a river of feathers upon a momentous antique bed with it’s down comforter assuring warmth and giggles for the night.  Literally, (they’d sink) within it’s comfort and gladness. (I bet that was a sight to see.)  As they snuggled up, they loved to tell story after story…mostly  tales of the south, (especially a ghost myth or two,) and fall asleep in pure reverie.

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Mixing dark, rich colors is another way to create a romantic look.  Especially burgundy-reds, hunter or sage greens, golds and purple. In our bedroom for our window treatment, I have tapestry curtains, its fabric abounding with an assortment of greens, burgundy, hues of rose and gold . Along with it, I have used a textured, gold taffeta textile. (Very romantic.)  I have always favored tapestry as it  is so colorful and opulent. This fabric was legendary and prominent in the Victorian era.You can add this brilliant, kaleidoscopic designed material  through pillows, foot stools, drapes, swags, table runners, bed spreads and wall hangings. (Even teddy bears.)  (I actually have the cutest tapestry bear that often finds his home on our bed, amidst all the pillows.

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Some other ideas to bring your romantic bedroom alive are faux painted walls in warm tones, elaborate crown molding, cherub angels, Victorian picture frames,  an antique vase filled with dried or fresh roses, candles, alluring wreaths, winsome tea sets, decorative hat boxes, a display table with vintage lamps, cameos and pearls and antique hutches where you can show off your bath soaps, body sprays and monogrammed towels. Heavy, elegant toiled curtains enhanced by wispy, soft white lace sheers, ethereal, whimsical white canopies atop your bed or perhaps displaying  a romantic nightgown and bath robe hanging upon the door of your armoire.

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Lastly, I wanted to share a few sensational romance novella’s as well as some beautiful, soothing music. (What I call ‘romantic music.’) Whether you are enjoying your romantic bedroom, country cottage atmosphere, Shabby Chic or Nautical themed bedroom, music is a wonderful addition to your secret hideaway.  My husband loves our bedroom but I always tell him that if something were to ever happen to me, I know he would make HIS BEDROOM a Ralph Lauren, manly kind of room. 🙂

Music to listen to.

Andrea Bocelli “Sacred Arias” with Myung-Whum Chung.

James Galloway, “The Enchanted Forest.”

IL DIVO, LIVE at the Greek Theater

Kimberly and Alberto Rivera, “Deeper Still.”

“Classics by Request,” Victoria’s Secret. (Series of five with the London Symphony Orchestra.)

When I asked my husband his ideas about music for a romantic room, he sang the song,  “I am to sexy for my shirt…to sexy for my.”…(just kidding!) (OK, he really did.) 🙂 He explained to me that men think differently about romantic bedrooms than a woman would.  He was so sweet to say he would pick music that he felt I would like…(He enjoys it as well, but knows how much I enjoy listening to it.)  His picks are Barry White’s greatest hits, IL DIVO LIVE, Robin Thicke and Usher, (some of their music,)  🙂  and any CD’s by Kimberly and  Alberto Rivera.

 

The novels I recommend for relaxing as your all nestled upon your ‘dreamy bed,’ are ,

Nicholas Sparks, The Guardian

Danielle Steels, The Ghost

Jane Austins, Pride and Prejudice

Sherryl Woods, “About that man.”

Any novels by Dorothea Benton Frank, writing about relationships, family and love…Usually taking place at the beach or the low country of the south.

Enjoy your ‘Secret Hide-away” as you create the room that is within your heart!

 

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