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December 31, 2011

hopes and dreams for 2012

This is absolutely my favorite night of the year.  I know it's silly but this night holds all the hopes and dreams that I've dared to imagine in a brand new, never been touched year.   I realize that any day can hold the same opportunities but there is just something about the turning of the calendar year that ignites fresh possibilities.

For as long as I can remember I have been a lover of new beginnings...a new box of crayons, a new school year, new flower beds, new houses and the granddaddy of them all...a whole New Year. 

This is the stuff that the dreamer in me lives for.  Making lists and plans and setting new goals.  I gave up a long time ago calling them resolutions, that term seems to place a period after any failed attempts.  Hopes and dreams allow for the chance to try and fail and revamp and try again. 

Since this is 2012, I thought I'd list my top twelve hopes and dreams for the year.  Of course this list is subject to editing because life never goes according to plans. 

I found my pretty 2012 day planner at Target...don't you love it?  I"ll write my list inside the front cover that way every time I open it I can be reminded to keep focused on what I want to accomplish and to assess just what I'm doing to live the life I dream of living.

Right next to the day planners at Target was this handy dandy label maker.  I think it goes hand in hand with being purposeful about living life.   So here's my list...

1.  Pray more.
2.  Write more thank you cards.
3.  Be more organized.
4.  Walk regularly.
5.  Learn to cook new things.
6.  Take more pictures.
7.  Spend more time in my studio.
8.  Open an Etsy shop or booth.
9.  Be a better friend.
10. Spend more quality time with my husband.
11. Be content.
12. Give to others more purposely.

That's it...nothing earth shattering but hopefully life changing for me and those in my sphere of influence.  I have been given so much, I really want this to my year to give back.

What about you?  Any hopes and dreams you'd like to share?  I'd love to hear them.

Have a happy, joyful and content New Year my friends.  Thank you for all your encouragement and kind words in 2011.


December 30, 2011

sunshine in a jar

I splurged on this little bunch of sunshine at the grocery store this week.

I don't know about your house but my house always looks a little sad when the Christmas decorations come down.  I thought this little bouquet would do the trick in adding a little sunshine to my post holiday decor.

Tucked into a blue canning jar, it's the perfect cure to those post holiday blues.

One more thing to add to my list of must do's this year.  Splurge on fresh flowers more!  Definitely worth every penny.

I hope you have a sunshine filled weekend, no matter what the weatherman forecasts.  I'll be back tomorrow to share my New Years hopes and dreams list with you.

December 28, 2011

post Christmas cheer

 I am slowly but surely restoring order in our house since the explosion of Christmas last weekend.  Between making room for the new, by weeding through the old and deciding what I really want to keep in my new craft studio and what I will never realistically have a chance (or the ability) to create, we filled up the back of my husbands pick up truck and headed over to the Goodwill drop off site.

(chalkboard Christmas gifts)

Having my husbands input certainly made the decision making a lot easier than ever before.  After hearing him say, "Really Patty, you might use that someday?" a few hundred times, it sunk in.  I may have a bit of a hoarder issue. 

Christmas decorations that haven't seen the light of day in the last couple of years went into the Goodwill pile without a second thought, as did three candelabra type candle holders from my tea party days.  Numerous prints from the 90's that I have been holding onto just in case I might need that size frame joined a menagerie of lampshades and wall plaques that really aren't my style anymore.

Slowly but surely progress is being made...it will definitely take some time to declutter and simplify this little cottage.  For now, we're just taking one room at a time.

There is something about the New Year that gets me into the organization-declutter mood.  Are you the same way?

December 26, 2011

letting go of Norman Rockwell

I have a theory...Norman Rockwell was just like us.  His family had struggles, hard times, disagreements and even a personality issue or two.  They did not always live up to that iconic picture perfect family that we have a tendency to work so hard to achieve each Christmas season and neither will mine.  Whew...boy, do I feel better now.

The one thing that time has taught me is that the best laid plans never take into consideration the human factor.  Someone is invariable going to be late (and yes, it's probably going to be the same person), someone will have one eggnog too many, someone will say, "You thought I'd like that?  Where did you buy it from and did you save the receipt?", something will need more salt or less pepper, someone will act like they need nap (and it's not always a child) and someones feelings will be hurt. 

Unless you have Christmas all by yourself, one or all these things happened to you, too.  When I think of my favorite family times, those that bring an unexpected grin to my face, they usually aren't the "Norman Rockwell" moments, they are the moments that show our humanness.  That laugh so hard that a coke filled snort snuck out or a child repeating grace like the teacher box from Charlie Brown. 

If your Christmas was less than picture perfect, that's okay.  If your hard work got thwarted by something unexpected, let it go.

If you were in the presence of someone you love, had food on the table, a warm place to visit and some laughter thrown in...
you are blessed
and so am I.

Next year as we plan our traditions I say we let go of Norman Rockwell and embrace what surrounds us, human flaws and all.

December 22, 2011

this little light of mine

As I scurry to finish up the last of my holiday preparations, I can’t help but reflect on the beauty that surrounds this loveliest of seasons. 

May the light that shines from your tree continue to shine in your life throughout the New Year.


While we look back in thanksgiving for what has been, let us hold on with anticipation for what’s to come.

Have the merriest of Christmases,  Patty

December 20, 2011

let the baking begin

I finally started my Christmas baking last night after work.  I have been sidetracked this year by some big and little distractions alike.  Thank you all for praying for my dad.  While his diagnosis is not what we hoped for...he is doing much better now thanks to some new medications.

I had a three year old "helper" last night so I thought we had better start out slow.  We tackled a few decorated sugar cookies and some classic chocolate chips.

These will head out the door to work with me this morning. 

I probably won't get started on my family baking until Saturday when I have a few less fingers in the mixing bowl!

Just curious, how soon do you start your holiday baking and how do you keep it fresh until Christmas time?

Have a wonderful day dear friends,  Patty

December 17, 2011

vintage love

Let me start this post with the disclaimer that I should be doing one hundred different things other than playing with my vintage goodies.

In the midst of getting ready for Christmas my hubby and I decided to transfer my craft studio into the sun room and his music room into my old space.  I have been itching to do this for a while, I just didn't plan on his motivation taking place in the middle of December.

If your honey is anything like mine, when the inspiration strikes you happily go along.

It has been so much fun rediscovering little bits of vintage goodness that I'd forgotten I had and I couldn't resist putting a little tin together for a friend.   

I just love how it turned out and almost hated to give it away...

What about you...are you sticking to task or have you decided to play a little Christmas hooky, too?

Happy Saturday, Patty

December 16, 2011

winter blooms in the garden

I braved the freezing cold this morning, (40 degrees is freezing for this Southern California girl) with my camera in hand, to take a few pictures of anything that might be blooming in the winter garden. 

I wasn't sure what I would find but I was sure there had to be a bloom or two out there...and I was right.

I purchased a few pansies before Thanksgiving to freshen up the flower pots and thankfully their smiling faces were just waiting for me to go outside and say hello.

These pink and white daisies are troopers, as well.  I love the way they contrast against the reddened winter bushes.

Once the holidays are over, I will start the long clean up process out here and my imagination will once again be in full swing as I begin to plot and plan my springtime blooms.

But for now, it just felt good to be outside in the garden, the chill in the air just seemed to make the stroll even more special.   It really does feed me...

Is there anything still in bloom where you are?  Or are you enjoying a snowy winter wonderland?  There is such a gentle beauty in the winter garden.  Don't you agree?

December 14, 2011

a new day

The rain has stopped and the sun is shining brightly in the most beautiful blue sky this morning.  I just love the day after a downpour, don't you?  There is something about the contrast from gray skies to blue that allows hope to sneak in...

Even though my circumstances haven't changed one bit, my attitude has and sometimes that's all that is needed.

Sometimes we only need to wipe the sleep out of our eyes and change our focus and suddenly...

it's a whole new day!

December 13, 2011

decorating a small house

I'm excited to join Claudia and Brenda in their defending the small house series this week as they share ideas on how to decorate a small house for the holidays.  I thought I'd list the top five suggestions that have worked for me in our 1400 square foot cottage.

#1 - Incorporate your Christmas (or any holiday for that matter) decorations into your existing color scheme.  Our little cottage is predominately warm colors so traditional reds and golds suit my seasonal style perfectly.  I can't imagine trying to work silvers and blues into my holiday decor without a major over haul of our furniture and I don't have the time or budget for that.  Besides with all the wonderful blogs out there I can find any color of the rainbow to admire gorgeous Christmas decorating in.

#2 - Tuck your decorations into your existing displays.  Storage is usually a premium in small houses and boxes and boxes of seasonal decor take up a lot of closet/garage space.  If you stick to your usual color scheme, it's easy to transform what you already have displayed into beautiful holiday decor with just a little imagination.

#3 - Cover your existing throw pillows with holiday fabric.  I sewed simple slip covers to make couch pillows in coordinating Christmas fabrics and just used a hand sewn slip stitch to close them up.  When the holidays are over I just need to snip the thread and remove the covers until next year.

#4 -  Use seasonal candy as part of your display.  I keep a candy station out year round and as each holiday rolls around I change out the candy to match the season. 

#5 - Edit your decorations at the end of each season.  If you're like me it's hard to resist one or two new Christmas decorations each year and without a little purging you will soon have more totes to put away than you took out.  If a decoration hasn't been displayed in a few years and it doesn't hold any sentimental value, consider passing it on to someone just starting out their collection.

Small house or large, for me it's all about sharing your home and hospitality with those you love.   Perfection will probably never be attained, so open your house up as it is, life is too short to wait till next year.

 Hope your holiday is all you dreamed,  Patty

December 12, 2011

finding peace

I have the word peace scattered about my home as a reminder that no matter what is going on in my world, peace is possible.

Finding peace this last week has been a little more difficult for me.  I have needed to be deliberate and really seek it.  But it is there...

Tucked behind the troubles that are crowding the front of my mind, wanting to move forward and provide the comfort that my heart is so longing for.  That gentle assurance that no matter the outcome, all is well with my soul.

As I sit and watch the fireplace glowing, I am so thankful for my safe haven, my cozy little home, surrounded by the things that bring me joy and peace.  I pray you feel it where ever you are, too.

December 11, 2011

pink Christmas home tour

I had such a wonderful time at my friend Laura's home yesterday.  She prepared a lovely brunch for us followed by some sweet coffee and....time.  She graciously let me take pictures to share with all of you.  I think I'll cut the chit chat short today and just show you her beautiful home.

Isn't her attention to detail amazing?  It's no wonder her home has been featured in several publications including Romantic Homes.  Every time I visit her I come away with a renewed spirit and fresh inspiration to live life beautifully.

What's more amazing is that she is even more beautiful on the inside than her home.

You are blessed if you have one or two ladies in your life who make you feel special.  My cup certainly overflows with them. 

I'm joining Betweens Naps on the Porch...
and Dittle Dattle...

Have a wonderful day.  Patty