I took a new photograph of the hand-made (I made it myself!) ornament wreath, too, in the natural daylight:
You can see peeks of color where I used "filler" ornaments when I ran out of the Family Dollar ornaments (60 of them!) to make the wreath. It looks pretty good in the daylight, I must say, and right now, in the soft glow of the lights from the Christmas tree and candle light, it looks downright decadently delicious!
Then I puttered around doing this and that and - where the hell does the time go? About 3 p.m. I realized that I had totally FORGOT (how???) that I have to produce a breakfast casserole, bacon and sausages for tomorrow's investment club Christmas get-together and gift exchange! EEK! But it was too cold and windy for me to go anywhere today, and I was in the middle of putting together the branch arrangement for the top of the mantle.
That means I'll be up at the crack of dawn tomorrow to get to the Pick 'n' Save for the necessary fixings and get everything ready to go. As long as I have it all ready, I'll be fine, as the other ladies are each bringing something to share, including a coffee pot and coffee. Since on regular days I only have one cup of coffee first thing in the morning, I use Taster's Choice instant. After my last coffee maker broke I didn't replace it. So, we'll have fresh-brewed coffee for the ladies who drink coffee like I drink wine. Ahem. Tonight I'm finishing up cleaning downstairs. I don't know how it happens -- I think it breeds while I'm at the office -- the dinette table is loaded with papers, magazines, unopened mail and receipts, also Christmas cards. Oy! So, that has to be cleaned up, the floor mopped, Christmas decorations hung from the light fixture over the table, Christmas table cloth put on, etc. etc.
I confess I've been dinking around the past 4 hours, puttering doing this and that. The local PBS stations are in fund-raising mode right now and so there have been excellent shows on all day - like "One Pot Cooking" -- love it! And then not one, but two films about that man who moved up to remote Alaska in 1968 and lived there for 30 years -- all by himself. Incredible scenery and incredibly compelling. And now, a Celtic Woman special is on. Well, slowly things are getting done, but what I wouldn't give for a concerted burst of energy right now like the White Tornado to get the kitchen and dinette done in 30 minutes instead of 3 hours!
And, guess what! Oh, you'll never guess so I'll tell you. I have hired a cleaning person! Yes, and I can't believe I did it. But I was thinking the other day during lunch with an old friend that I've been living in this house 21 years now and I've never cleaned the kitchen cabinets in all that time.
She's the ex-sister-in-law of my friend and she's coming Tuesday and will spend the entire day ticking off a long list of "Things To Be Cleaned" while I'm at the office. Oh, the joy, the joy! She actually enjoys cleaning out kitchen cabinets. Imagine! And she uses only totally green products (besides a vacuum cleaner, that is) -- baking soda and vinegar are her tools-in-trade!
Naturally I have to clean the house before she gets here Tuesday morning... This first round of cleaning will be limited to the downstairs. There's probably a month's worth of work to be done, wonder how much she'll get done in eight hours...
I have to say that I was very pleased with how to oh-so-easy branch "centerpiece" I added to the mantle turned out. This afternoon I ran outside and clipped some branches, and had the happy thought to cut a branch from the barberry out front - still with some red berries clinging to it! Then I added some icicles and it's beautiful. And so simple! I love simple when it comes to decorating. What's best is that it isn't overtly "Christmasy" and I'll be able to leave it in place all season.
I have only to hang the two stockings I bought (one for me and one for Mr. Don) -- although I tore my junk drawers apart today I could not locate two screw-in cup hooks, so unless I remember to buy some tomorrow morning at the Pick 'n' Save the ladies of the Investment Club won't see those stocking hung by the mantle with care.
All in all, I am very happy with how things turned out this year with these new adventures in holiday decorating. Some other images from the living room:
The tree by daylight. I know, the French ribbon looks a little funky right now but in person, it looks much prettier with the light shining through it, and right now, in the dark, with the tree lit, it's magical.
A view toward the fireplace - before the new branch arrangement was in place. I am amazed at the difference putting it on the mantle in place of my "red lady" made.
The corner table. The decorative plate with the cardinal is new ($3.99 at TJMaxx), everything else was already owned or free: cardinal greeting card (saved from last year because I thought it was so pretty) is inserted into an old frame; my mom sent me a greeting card a few days ago with a pair of cardinals on it - now sitting on the table. Cranberry votive holder from Avon is OLD, baby! For the holidays a red light bulb holds down this corner - I've had that light bulb (along with the green and blue bulbs I also use in the room) for at least 10 years!
Another tree close-up.