Thursday, December 14, 2017

From the December garden. . . . . . . . .

. . . . . a few pretty things caught my eye outside yesterday.
Prior to more leaf raking - never ending until into the New Year - I spent 
time cutting evergreens for the mantel and, as always, taking photos of the 
visiting birds and squirrels. The greenery consists of Southern Magnolia,
 red-berried Nandina, Camellia and English Ivy. All have been rinsed clean and
 are soaking in water before being bought into the cottage.

~ Beautiful female Eastern Bluebird - her mate was close by ~

~ Gentle rummaging Mourning Doves ~

~ Handsome male Northern Flicker in the now leafless fig tree ~

~ Burying acorns - a grey squirrel's busy time of year ~

. . . . . . and I found these dried seed pods which I brought inside to use in the
 dining room Christmas decor - I love a touch of Nature such as this.

I'm never finished with the holiday decor, always adding, tweaking or
 moving something to a new spot - do you do that?

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Scribble Picnic. . . . . . . . . Spinning Top!

Life's not only bouncing along at this time of year "like a rubber ball" 
(Bobby Vee we loved you!), it's also much like a "spinning top" as we run
in circles the closer we get to Christmas. 
Didn't wall have some version of one of these - either in our own childhood
 years, or those of our kids?

Today's challenge from Michael revolves (sorry couldn't resist that!), around
spinning tops/dreidels etc.

I photographed a traditional plunger top, reverted it to a sketch, then added
 a little watercolor to the action.

Please take a break from running around and visit Michael today

Happy Holidays To All.

Monday, December 11, 2017

Getting to look a lot like Christmas . . .
. . . around here.

Saturday, December 9, 2017

The season of light. . . . . . . . .

As mentioned previously, the cottage had a face lift this autumn.
We addressed the needed wood repairs and re-painting with a total
 re-siding with HardiePlank - and are thrilled with the fresh look.
Of course the shrubs had to be cut down and it will be a while before
 they fill in again around the foundation - another spring/summer
 without the beautiful blue hydrangeas perhaps.
Leaves, from mostly oaks, continue to fall. We've raked tons and have
 tons more to come down over the coming weeks.

The pots contain spring blooming tulip bulbs topped with pansies - those hardy
lovelies which over-winter so well.
This photo is just at dusk so you can see the Christmas decor a little better. . . . . . 
once darkness takes over the flood lights we have installed on the grass are
 rather bright for good photos.

The restoration of the back deck and gazebo was, as I've moaned and
 groaned about a lot lately, a job which was not expected to last so long!
All the cedar was replaced around the gazebo and deck base, the three  
sets of steps were re-built, a couple of deck posts replaced, everything
washed, sanded back to raw wood, then re-stained - he even sanded all
 the edges of the cedar roof shakes so they would look smooth again.
A thorough job by a very good carpenter.
It's now completed, and just in time as much colder weather has arrived,
 including some rain which turned to a light snow today - but nothing
stuck and tomorrow the sunshine should return.

The Christmas tree is up and decorated. . . . . . all looks really bright
 and cheery for the holidays.

I missed my cottage Christmas last year when we traveled to Europe. . . . . . so this
 year I'm enjoying having time to do all the traditional things which make Christmas
 at home so special.

Friday, December 8, 2017

Dreaming of a White Christmas. . . . . . . . . . . .

. . . . . and holiday decorating. . . . .  

Now enjoying all that is part of preparing for
 Christmas. . . . . . . . at last.

The recent cacophony of saws, drills and hammers emanating from the back 
of the house, along with clouds of sanding dust coating everything, almost put
 me over the top!  
Now the workmen are gone and feel I have my life back.

Early mornings, waiting with bated breath - will he come today?
 Will he be late again and lose the best part of the day?
Will he have a helper. . . . . to actually help move things along, or will
 Bob have to run to Lowe's or Home Depot for supplies.
 Did I put water bottles to chill and remember to move our cars from
 driveway to street, yet again?
 Why did we agree to additional work which ended up as 3 weeks of 
upheaval instead of a simple 3 day project? 
 Was it worth all the mess?
Yes, yes, yes!!!! Deck and gazebo look almost new again.

Our home is looking spiffy now and I finished the outdoor
Christmas decor yesterday, including the Christmas tree in the
 gazebo. We may get light snow falling during the night or, more
 likely, just a cold rain. Wood is brought in and the hearth is ready.
The seasons are definitely changing.
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