Risen Indeed

There’s a small magazine table in the dining room that I like to change with the holidays.

The tiny crèche at Christmas on our black stenciled magazine table.
The tiny crèche at Christmas on our black stenciled magazine table.

At Christmas it held a tiny crèche.

A tiny Limoges box which reminds me of the fishing boats by the Sea of Galilee.
A tiny Limoges box which reminds me of the fishing boats by the Sea of Galilee.

This Easter the items on it remember scenes in the life of Jesus. The little Limoges box has a scene reminiscent of the fishing boats on the Sea of Galilee.

This small Irish bowl and pitcher are reminders of the humble service of Christ.
This small Irish bowl and pitcher are reminders of the humble service
of Christ.

The bowl, pitcher, and towel remind us of the foot washing at the last supper where Christ gave his disciples a new commandment:  Love one another as I have loved you.

A small shrine.
A small shrine.

The palms remember Jesus’s triumphant entry into Jerusalem. The eggs remind us of new life.

Cross bottle
Cross bottle

The empty cross signifies our resurrected Lord.

He is Risen indeed! Happy Easter.

Today would have been my mother’s 90th birthday — Easter Sunday.

Eastery at Last

Easter is so early this year that I’m barely over Valentine’s Day, our birthdays, and winter. Today is Good Friday already.

The mostly grey/blue living room is brightened by flowery cushions and real flowers.
The mostly grey/blue living room is brightened by flowery cushions and real flowers.

Slowly but surely I’ve got a little Easter décor going.

A vase of yellow jonquils are in a clear vase with green glass pebbles to raise the height if the flowers.
A vase of yellow jonquils are in a clear vase with green glass pebbles to raise the height if the flowers.

Our daffodils are blooming like crazy out in the yard so I’ve been handing them out and bringing them into the house in bunches.

Mother made loads of pillows from scraps of fabric.
Mother made loads of pillows from scraps of fabric.

I also thought the flowered pillows that I usually use on the porch would brighten up the living room until the weather truly warms up enough to enjoy some porch-time.

These bunnies hopped down from my bedroom to take their places on the living room mantel.
These bunnies hopped down from my bedroom to take their places on the living room mantel.
The White House eggs are on display in Royal Doulton "Bunnykins" egg cups.
The White House eggs are on display in Royal Doulton “Bunnykins” egg cups.

I whisked away the tea party mantel and replaced it with lots of Easter items like 2 wooden eggs that my son found when he was a young boy and we went to the Easter egg hunt on the White House lawn.

You might remember the table runner my sister sent me early in our renovation.
You might remember the table runner my sister sent me early in our renovation.

I used the naturally dyed eggs and newly spray-painted figurines in the dining room.

These eggs continue to change color.
These eggs continue to change color.

The eggs started out pinkish, then dark denim blue, and have now morphed into teal — they turn a little greener each day.  Weird.

Duck basket and beeswax bee skep are on the ledge between the kitchen and dining room.
Duck basket and beeswax bee skep are on the ledge between the kitchen and dining room.

On the counter between the dining room and kitchen we have a duck basket with a Matryoshka egg — an egg with more nesting eggs inside — just waiting to be spied by an inquisitive child.

I'm hoping to delight Charlie by filling these dispensers with pastel M&Ms.
I’m hoping to delight Charlie by filling these dispensers with pastel M&Ms.

In the kitchen we have some bunny dispensers along with an Easter card.

We brought the little cup back from an Italian holiday.
We brought the little cup back from an Italian holiday.

In the mud room a not-very-Eastery spotted doggy espresso cup from our trip to Rome pairs with a recently received thank-you card.

The topiary is still tiny but still alive -- I'm hopeful.
The topiary is still tiny but still alive — I’m hopeful.

On the porch I have a big ceramic bunny along with one of the lavender topiaries I’ve been trying to train.

The side porch is our most-used entrance.
The side porch is our most-used entrance.

On the other side of the porch is a solar froggy lantern that glows in the dark.

We're already anticipating the dogwood with cups and saucers in the dining room.
We’re already anticipating the dogwood with cups and saucers in the dining room.

Alas, next week the chicks and ducks and bunnies will be stored for another year.

What’s next for your spring décor?

Pinterest-Inspired Egg Project

I saw this project marbled eggs on Pinterest which was originally posted at Alice and Lois DIY. I wasn’t sure how easy it would.

Blown out eggs with a bamboo skewer pushed through both holes.
Blown out eggs with a bamboo skewer pushed through both holes.

I blew out a half dozen eggs and pierced them with bamboo skewers.

I used a plastic Chinese carry-out container about 6 inches in diameter.
I used a plastic Chinese carry-out container about 6 inches in diameter.

I put room temperature water in a disposable plastic container.

I used the most inexpensive nail polish I could find -- less than $3 a bottle.
I used the most inexpensive nail polish I could find — less than $3 a bottle.

I put a few drops of blue nail polish in the water.

Any color or combination of colors will work.
Any color or combination of colors will work.

Most of it creates a film on top of the water.

The eggs can dry on the skewers stuck into the Styrofoam egg carton.
The eggs can dry on the skewers stuck into the Styrofoam egg carton.

It is as simple as spinning the egg shell through the water using the skewer as a handle.

A basket of marbleized eggs.
A basket of marbleized eggs.

My eggs are marbleized blue and white.

A basket of eggs for the mantel.
Each egg is unique.

This was as easy project but I felt I didn’t have much control over the outcome.

Are you coloring eggs?

Where Did I Put It?

I have looked all over the house for our Easter decorations. I keep them in a clear plastic storage box with a green top.

This little fellow usually sits in the child's rocking chair in the living room .
This little fellow usually sits in the child’s rocking chair in the living room .

We don’t have much but I’d like to put out a few hints of spring this week.

The blue box was hiding behind the chimney in a blue plastic tub.
The blue box was hiding behind the chimney in a blue plastic tub.

After looking from the attic to the basement and everywhere in between I thought I might have stashed a box in the attic in the Cottage. I found a box of vases which also was storing 2 sets of hot rollers for hair. No wonder I can’t find anything.

A tub full of Easter stuff.
A tub full of Easter stuff.

Finally yesterday morning I cleared my mind and went back up in the attic in the house. After moving around a few boxes I spied a blue plastic storage tub with a blue top labeled “Easter”. That’s right, blue not green.

I'm going to stash bunnies all over the house.
I’m going to stash bunnies all over the house.

Everything from chicks to bunnies to eggs to egg holders for dying eggs were all packed safely away.

The soaps came with their own nesting material.
The soaps came with their own nesting material.

I even found some small egg-shaped soaps which I put in a small basket to remind us of new life.

We remember Jesus washing his disciples' feet on Maundy Thursday.
We remember Jesus washing his disciples’ feet on Maundy Thursday.

I put these on an occasional table which also holds a cross bottle; a small bowl, pitcher, and towel; and a Limoges box with a fishing boat by the side of the sea.

A tiny Limoges box which reminds me of the fishing boats by the Sea of Galilee.
A tiny Limoges box which reminds me of the fishing boats by the Sea of Galilee.

All of these items remind me of Jesus and so are perfect for an Easter tableau.

Carved bunny box
Carved bunny box

But I digress. I put away the owl and the pussycat and replaced them on the kitchen window sill with a wooden bunny box.

Porch pillows on the bench say "Spring is here."
Porch pillows on the bench say “Spring is here.”

Finally I’m embracing the hope of spring with floral pillows on the side porch.

By the way, today begins the 6th year of this blog.

What have you put away for safe keeping that you can’t find?

Getting Ready for a Party – Setting Up

Although I still have a mighty cough, everything else is converging toward the positive.

2-1/2 dozen supermarket roses for less than $25.
2-1/2 dozen supermarket roses for less than $25.

First of all, my grocery shopping for the party is finished including two and a half dozen pink roses.  My color scheme for this Christmas is blue/green/silver but I thought a warm color other than red would complete the look.

Some pink candles would be festive.
Some pink candles would be festive.

I’ll be using pink roses, pink candles, and pink napkins.

Pink table linens will look gorgeous with out white china decorated with a cobalt rim.
Pink table linens will look gorgeous with our white china decorated with a cobalt rim.

Second, my boss told me not to come in today.  So, woo-hoo, I have another whole day to decorate and cook for our party.

Annapolis Blue china by Lenox
Annapolis Blue china by Lenox

Third, tonight is our final Christmas cantata.  I’ll be conducting the choir and acting as worship leader and when it’s over I can relax for the rest of the weekend. There’s just one small riff that I hope I can drill into Charlie’s brain (he’s the accompanist) before we perform.

I painted this small ceramic Christmas tree a few years ago.
I painted this small ceramic Christmas tree a few years ago.

Merry Christmas, Friends.

Do you have a favorite seasonal song?

Starting the Christmas Decorating

This year I have been so excited about Christmas but at the same time other projects are keeping me from getting out the decorations.

An artificial tree on the side porch.
An artificial tree on the side porch.

But we have to start somewhere and here’s what we’re up to.

Norfolk Island pines don't do well outside below 40 degrees.
Norfolk Island pines don’t do well outside below 40 degrees.

My son and his wife brought us a spray of pine for the door, 2 Norfolk Island pines, and a fresh-cut Frasier fir  Christmas tree.

When I left the house yesterday morning Charlie had ladders up against the front and a strand of lights across the porch roof. Hmmm?
When I left the house yesterday morning Charlie had ladders up against the front and a strand of lights across the porch roof. Hmmm?

Charlie pulled out the Christmas lights from the attic and started checking the strands to see if he could get enough for the tree and maybe a little outdoor lighting.

We had filled the only clear corner of the conservatory with boxes of tile and a room-sized rug pad. All but gone now.
We had filled the only clear corner of the conservatory with boxes of tile and a room-sized rug pad. All but gone now.

I’m waiting for all the boxes of tile that have been sitting around in piles for the past few months to be stuck onto the walls.  Then the corners where the tile has been will be opened up for other things:  the olive trees, for instance.

I put one of the Norfolk Island pines on the kitchen island in a galvanized bucket and tied a sparkly bow around it.
I put one of the Norfolk Island pines on the kitchen island in a galvanized bucket and tied a sparkly bow around it.

But in spite of my tardiness I have purchased gifts for the most important people in my life and have mailed the ones that go out-of-state.

The Christmas tree is leaning up gainst the bump out until it goes in it's stand in the house. Maybe the living room this year.
The Christmas tree is leaning up gainst the bump out until it goes in it’s stand in the house. Maybe the living room this year.

Last night I attended ladies’ night at our local Ace hardware store just for the fun of it and to see if there was anything there that would be good and useful gifts for the folks I work with.

The greens on this door spray need to be freshened and then it will hang outside.
The greens on this door spray need to be freshened and then it will hang outside.

My final and favorite stop for last minute Christmas gifts is Trader Joe’s.  They always have something delicious (candy, dried fruit, nuts, panettone) and well-packaged (cinnamon brooms, rosemary trees) that will surely be appreciated.

Cinnamon brooms make the house smell delicious.
Cinnamon brooms make the house smell delicious.

Merry Christmas.

Do you have a cherished decoration that means Christmas to you?

Saint Stephen’s Feast

Charlie and I almost always have a holiday party at this time of year.  We’ve had many New Year’s Eve celebrations (also here).

Party tables always include flowers, candles, and food.
Party tables always include flowers, candles, and food.

One year we had a Twelfth Night Party in early January instead. And we’ve held a party just for the joy of it early in the month of December.

The mantel will need some Christmas style, too.
The mantel will need some Christmas style, too.

This year, since Christmas is on Friday, the day after Christmas seems like a perfect day for an open house. The day after Christmas, December 26th, is known Boxing Day or the Feast of St. Stephen.

An illustration that would be perfect for a Boxing Day party invitation.
An illustration that would be perfect for a Boxing Day party invitation.

Like many traditions we can only surmise the origin of Boxing Day which likely began in England during the Middle Ages. Some historians say the holiday developed because servants, having worked on Christmas Day, were presented with gift boxes as they went to spend their day off with family.

Stephen was the first Christian martyr.
Stephen was the first Christian martyr.

Another theory is that alms boxes placed in churches were opened and the contents distributed to the poor on December 26, which is also the Feast of St. Stephen. St. Stephen was one of the seven original deacons of the Christian Church who were ordained by the Apostles to care for widows and the poor. For the success of his preaching and his devotion to Christ, St. Stephen was stoned to death by a mob. As he died, he begged God not to punish his killers.

At last year's New Year's Eve party we ignored the unfinished parts of the house.
At last year’s New Year’s Eve party we ignored the unfinished parts of the house.

As with all parties I’ll need to get the invitations out, plan a menu, and get the house ready. Since December is a busy time for parties I’m going to try to get the invitations designed and printed forthwith.

We have many, many dishes that I love to pull out for parties.
We have many, many dishes that I love to pull out for parties.

I have created a tentative menu featuring the ham I’ll be getting from my employer.

Menu:

I’m working on the guest list which always includes my choir, my Facebook friends (I only have 23), and other special people.

Got party plans?