Last year about this time, I was warming up to the idea of Sweet Daughter getting a dog. For the last few years she had looked and was just waiting for the right moment. She didn't need my permission since she was grown and had her own house. Or so we thought. When we met the most wonderful rescue dog lady Diane, she actually made Sweet Daughter sign a "contract" that the puppy would not be left alone during the day. Someone had to be with each of her pups after they were adopted. That left me.
The dogs I was interested in that we found on-line at different rescue organizations were mostly Goldens. But Sweet Daughter also loved Labs. When we saw this one, sitting in front of a Petco with his kind rescue people, chewing on an empty water bottle, she parked the car and ran to get "her puppy" as if he had been waiting for her. And of course you know he had been doing just that. After Ms. Diane Puppy Rescue Lady came for her house visit on Dec 31, 2008, Cody was home. And he knew it.
They warn people to NOT get puppies for Christmas. There is a huge influx of puppies being given over to pounds about 2 months later. This of course was not an option for us. Besides look at that face! You know he couldn't be any trouble.
Although his name is Cody Bear, his middle name should be Trouble. He is a kinetic wonder! Seldom does he stop. And nothing that is not locked behind a closed door seems to be beyond his ability to find and chew. Fortunately unlike other dogs we have known, he has never chewed furniture. Just one tiny, accidental nibble on Sweet Daughter's leather sofa. He just slightly missed his chewy toy.
He is so rambucious there is a chance that he might not have lasted with just any family. But then Sweet Daughter isn't just any puppy mommy. She has a big heart and loves him to pieces in spite of his antics.
If you look closely you will see what is left of a large and strong cardboard tube from wrapping paper. That's how he sat still for a second to get the picture. The next picture after this one, he had his funny Harry Ford grin, then he was streaking across the page. He looks like a grown up dog, but he is entirely the same little bundle of mischief that he was from the beginning. Puppy school was a great success. He trained us to give him treat for certain behavior. Obedience? Not so much from his point of view, yet.
Updated a bit later. Very much as the good friends of doggies told us, after a short time, Cody Bear is now the most perfect dog. It didn't take 6 years for him to become a bit calmer as some had laughingly told us. But it did take about 2 1/2 before he wasn't so wild and crazy all day long. He is a very well loved dog, and a great blessing to each of us, in his own way.
December used to have 4 weeks in it, didn't it? Some how this year, it flew by as if Christmas was the week after Thanksgiving. There was always a star at the top of the family tree when I was very young. The one in the picture I made last year and I love seeing it at night, especially before heading off to bed.
Many charities have different ratings for each city they operate in. Take a look at "Make A Wish" for instance, and you find some with 4 star ratings while others have only 1 star. This site makes it easier not to toss your money in a bottomless pit when you are trying to do some good.
As we all try to make sure our donations do the most good this time of year, Charity Navigator has done a lot of the work for you by rating different charities. Take a look and maybe donate a $1 to them to help with their costs as well.
Tis the Season to Give Thanks and A Little Bit More
Most of the Christmas decorating, including the tree, would be more white if it were not for our Radko ornaments. The first time I saw them, I was in love. So nostalgic, but a bit pricey. I was never interested in the large pieces, but the smaller ones suit us just fine. So at first I bought one per year. But after a while you could find them on sale or discounted, and the collection grew. I didn't notice any on sale this year, which might have been a good thing since I really do not need any more ornaments.
The Christmas tree is almost all glass ornaments, a few old ones, along with simple, newer, inexpensive ones to fill in. Even the newer silver ones fit in perfectly with the silver on the Radko ornaments and keep the tree from looking too busy.
This is one of set of 3 Bunnies, all playing different musical instruments.
And I love the Cupcake Ornaments.
About 3 years ago I found my first and favorite MacKenzie-Childs star. It fits in beautifully with the Radko's and it has the the black and white/silver I was looking for. Again a little too pricey, so I purchased one, then the next year a couple more.
My favorite MacKenzie-Childs ornament.
The double ornaments are very pretty as well.
In addition to the glass ornaments, there are crocheted snowflakes which are great treasures to me. And white porcelain snowflakes that are about 25 years old, about the same age as the crocheted ones. The porcelain ones are very fragile so I only have 3 or 4 that have survived all these years.
I lost track of how quickly Christmas is coming, and I am certainly not ready! See Y'all Soon~
This little bird nest is very special to me. Several years ago while Sweet Hubby was cutting the bottom off the Christmas tree and getting ready to bring in the house, he found this little treasure. Of course I know that birds make nests in trees and this isn't all that unusual. But in all the years of Christmas trees past, it is the only one we've ever found. He was so excited to show it to me. I did a search that year and saw that some people say it is a little good luck sign.
The first few years it was tucked in the tree as an ornament. As it began to become more fragile, I have decorated with it in some other way, and so it has been a part of our decorations every Christmas for about the last 7 or 8 years.
This year it is in a cloche, bell jar on in the living room bay window.
Along with my lovely winged Santos Angel
For this year, she also has a new crown.
Sometimes you can find these Santos, cage dolls with wings. More often they are articulated, but do not have wings. This one was purchased at Jeannie Taylor Gallery in Sanford, FL.
Decorating this year seems to be very, very slow. As a matter of fact, there hasn't been much at all. I was thinking that I got it all done last year even with chasing Crazy Cody Puppy who was chewing everything in sight. But..... he didn't arrive until after Christmas last year. Maybe after his mom takes him home one night I'll at least have time to go around and see some Christmas decorating in BlogLand. The puppy stuff can't last forever, right?
Christmas Countdown continued... The giant gingerbread cookie waiting to greet you!
Some houses are very big ...
Some houses are small enough for ducks on ice to play ...
All look good enough to eat!
Especially this one! Because we have tasted goodies from this bakery, & it really was made to eat!
Every year about this time you hear people saying they just can't believe the year has gone by so quickly, and it is almost Christmas! I'm one of those people. The Holiday season always seems to arrive quickly like a snowball rolling down hill and I'm trying to catch it.
For the next few days or so I'll be posting pictures all about Christmas Decorating, from the Festival of Trees and a little bit around my home as well. If I wait until I have a long post with tons of pictures, then I won't get any of them up on the blog. So for now a few a time. Enjoy!
Festival of the Trees
Folk Art Santas
Although the picture above was the greatest, the Santa in the Shoe is so creative and worth showing anyway.
Although I don't actually like gingerbread cookies, I love the way they look. Something about a little gingerbread man makes me happy. I think it is because we started going to Charlies' Bakery when Sweet Daughter was so very young. And she always picked out a gingerbread man or a Chinese almond cookie. To this day, they are still her favorites at the bakery. We went shopping the other day and she saw a cute gingerbread man cookie cutter and although I knew I had one somewhere, I bought it ..... just because. Today it's raining quite a bit and of course that means cookie baking. Not gingerbread yet, it's another batch of chocolate chip cookies. The 100th batch in a quest for the most perfect one. Yes, I've tried most of them on the internet. The problem is that I baked what we were looking for one day, and didn't write down the exact ratio of ingredients. So I have to bake more and more. But it's been a fun adventure. Gingerbread will be soon, I promised that to Sweet Daughter ..... and the Cody Puppy, too.
Here's a little peek at the gingerbread houses at a recent event. I'll post the pictures as soon as I get them sized and ready. You can click on it to see more details. This one was so fantastic.
It was the perfect weekend for Renninger's Extravaganza in Mt. Dora! In years past we had to bundle up a bit for the cool early mornings. But this year it was in the 80's and all you needed was water & some good sunblock. That's Florida.
Sweet Hubby and I had a great time. And best of all I got to meet up with my wonderful friend Kim of Daisy Cottage for a short visit. You just have to love this girl. She is so kind, sweet and beautiful, inside and out.
I didn't buy much this year. We left the truck at home which saved me from bringing home more things that I have no room for, like this beautiful old Dutch wardrobe.
Tomorrow I get to play queen for a day and get a crown, or two. Not on my head, but on my teeth. First time, so I'm just eager to get past it. I'll be back on Wed with the winner of the GiveAway for the Silhouette print. Then I'll get some pictures up on the blog of Renninger's and the Festival of Trees to share.
Joyeux Noel Art Print GiveAway The Decorated House
Since I can't seem to find a moment to get pictures done and sit and write a post, let's just have a GiveAway! I will pick a name via random number generator on Wed., Nov 25th at noon. You have until then to leave a comment to enter. (Edited to Wed due to dentist appt Tues.)
Open to all. You must leave a way for me to contact you. Either a blog addy, or email.
Abigail Bunny Rabbit was not about to let Beau Bunny out do her. When she saw his authentic Santa hat, she sweet talked Santa into giving her a Red Santa Hat all her own. Now she's ready to go for a ride in that big sleigh.
The darker parts are wood or moldings, and the decorative middle area is painted. Beautiful work. This is not something I will ever attempt to do. I don't even like the chore of painting a simple coat of paint on a ceiling. But it was really gorgeous to see. I admire those decorative artists who do this type or work.
I promised to come back and show how the bee design was created on the back of the dining room chairs. The dining room has changed since this, but I kept the fabric from the back of the end chairs in case it could be used for something else.
If the fabric is flat you could do this in a few different ways. But this is upholstery weight and has texture to it.
After you find a design that you want to use and have it on your computer, you can print it on iron-on transfer paper. Then using small scissors, cut around the design.
As you can see I did not cut out all the white areas inside the design. There was enough white in the fabric to make it work anyway. Of course it didn't show the white as much as in the picture which is enlarged for you to see the details. It also is a delicate design and would be much more difficult to work with if I had cut out all the inside parts.
I have a soft spot of Euro antiques. Usually they are not in my price range, but sometimes I get lucky.
The thought of something special traveling such a far distance from a European country and then somehow finding its way here to the states is always a tale that warms my heart. I understand those who prefer their treasures from the past from our country as well. It's just that I have a love for the ones from across the pond.
I only have a few... Irish, French, English & Italian treasures ... a couple of Minton tiles, some dishes, a chandelier, a table & cupboard, and this fireplace mantel that was destined to satisfied my longing for having a fireplace in the living room.
A fireplace is one of the most important design elements that you can add to a room for beauty and warmth. The architectural statement of a fireplace is loved and desired by most people when seeking a home. But there was no real need for a working fireplace in my living room. We have a nice large one in the family room where the television is. And it is fired up often from the time the temperature goes all the way down to about 50* for the first time each year until Spring when it warms up again.
I never lived in a house with a fireplace before this one, so I'm making up for lost time. If the rooms were larger, I would be tempted to have one in each bedroom or bathroom as well.
The antique insert was in excellent condition. The dealer had completely restored it. Although the gray was not what I needed, it was the perfect base to build on.
The first thing I did was paint most of it white, and part black to accentuate the half-round opening.
I probably had a hundred pictures saved of fireplaces and I could easily have 10 or so in one house just to implement the designs that I love. The look of French and Italian fireplaces still is the most beautiful to me, and I have never tired of this one. It makes me sad to image one day someone will move in my house and might want a mid century modern look, and rip it out.
I began the design around the antique piece we purchased at Renninger's, and all the dozens of pictures I had accumulated. If you are not very handy with miter cuts and measuring, you could have a trim carpenter (or a great husband) match pictures that you might be saving. Sweet Hubby did all the work for me. He not only did a beautiful job with it, but enjoyed it as well.
It is the mix of the details that exist on the original antique piece, the added plaster and resin elements and all the moldings that makes this so beautiful. We added moldings to blend all these different elements into one design.
He built a box above the mantel with angels to mimic the ones I found from France and Italy. In order to add to the realism, we made it so that it came out from the wall a little bit, although it would be more realistic if it was thicker. I just didn't have the floorspace to spare.
You can see that the top of the mantel is cut with a curved design.
The plywood above the fireplace was covered with layers of drywall mud to give a stucco/stone effect. Then it was primed and painted in a Faux Stone finish.
This is a close up of the details on the original piece where it is painted white then antiqued.
The inside of the firebox is a small piece of plywood painted like a gray brick. I found a metal "scrollie thing" that I painted black and used some "rub-n-buff on the details of it. This was fitted on the inside of the opening.
The larger corbels are resin, again painted to an aged, antiqued white look.
Detail shot of the bottom. Shows the mix of wood moldings wood boxes, and resin pieces.
The beautiful piece in the center is plaster. Painted & Antiqued for an aged look.