Monday, February 12, 2018

Happy Valentine's Day!

Hard to believe it has been a week since the Philadelphia EAGLES won the Super Bowl!  What an exciting game and wonderful win.   Our Valentine wreath was covered with Eagle signs and now finally can be revealed again.   I love to decorate for each holiday - and even though we downsized to an apartment and got rid of a lot of our "stuff", I made sure to hang onto the decorations I myself to one plastic tote for most holidays...a bright, hot pink one for Valentine decor so it is easy to spot and pull out of our storage unit.
This is our new console table from Pier 1.  We love it!  Something was needed for this area of our great room...and this fit the bill.   I was so happy to find this "anywhere" line of furniture at Pier 1, and happy to learn that it was also on sale.   Love that you can choose your shade of wood, and also choose either knobs or pulls.  We chose the knob feature to go with other furniture in the room...and then changed them to a silver tone to coordinate with the brushed chrome fixtures in the area. The two shelve provide lots of display space, and the drawers are handy catchalls for little used remotes, coasters, and the wind up key to the grandfather clock.

This was the little table we originally purchased for the area in front of the window.  While it was the perfect height - it came right to the windowsill - it was not big enough to fill the space and looked out of place.   I was SO pleased to find that it fit perfectly in the foyer...right between the powder room and guest closet.  The wood colors go perfectly with the frame on Starry Night.

There is no outlet on that wall ( that is the issue with getting this unit at the last minute after the wiring was already done...) so I put a battery operated set of tiny lights in the mercury glass vase and that provides enough glow in the evening.  The lights are on a timer so I don't need to fuss with them.  And across the hallway, near the entry we have another table...
This chest has been with us for more than 20 years and we keep finding a place for it no matter where we move.  I love to have a place to set my keys ( the chest has 3 drawers) and a place to quickly check my hair to make sure I am presentable when the doorbell rings!
The LOVE plate is a purchase from Ross a few years ago...and the little heart garland is a Christmas decoration from K-Mart I found at the end of the season this year.

The dining room server that stands in as a sofa table has a few Valentine touches, too.
Last evening we hosted a dinner for two couples in our building.   We are making so many new friends and are enjoying getting to know people a little better at small dinners.  Being of Slovak descent and my sweet husband of Ukrainian heritage we love all the Eastern European foods such as pirogi, halupki, etc.   One of our new neighbors also has Easter European roots and made fresh, homemade kielbasa at the holidays and gifted us with a ring.  I put it in the freezer until my sister-in-law delivered pierogi and halupki (stuffed cabbage) made at her church food sale.  With the kielbasa, peas, applesauce, and wonderful Ukrainian bread from a store bakery we enjoyed a feast that reminded us of our childhood dinners.   Another couple brought homemade Kolachy - or nut roll - for dessert and it was wonderful.  It reminded me of my mother's!  

Speaking of my mother...this Quaker Lace tablecloth was a wedding gift to my parents in 1939...It was always used for special dinners in our home and I am lucky enough to have it to cherish...and to use.   It is showing some wear, but I keep stitching it in worn spots as I notice them. I loved using it last night, along with our wedding china, my mother's cut glass dish, and having good friends around the table.
I love to have a little "take home" gift for each guest....last night I used these little silver hearts tied with heart ribbon on each napkin.  The hearts were Christmas ornaments I bought at the end of the season at Dollar Tree thinking I would find a use for them...and I did.  We had a wonderful evening with our friends...and look forward to many more.   Now onto Valentine's Day...
Please comment below and let me know how you celebrate Valentine's Day...or any family treasures you use when you entertain!  Wishing you all a Happy Valentine's Day!

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Happy New Year - Happy Winter !


Winter 2018

Happy New Year!  How long into January do you think you can keep saying "Happy New Year"?  I hear different opinions...and I think if you have not seen someone since the New Year began you can greet them with a wish for a Happy New Year.   I am guessing that this weekend is the latest you can do Happy New Year to all !
Every year when the Christmas wreath comes down this Snowman makes an appearance.   In our last homes each time we would bring it out our neighbors would yell "no, please don't bring the snowman out yet" because he always seemed to bring cold weather and SNOW!  This is the first year he is hanging in the hallway of our new apartment building - and while the new neighbors do not yet know of the legend, it did get VERY cold the day he was put on the door.
I love decorating for Christmas...but I am always happy to put the lovely baubles away for another year and get the clean, cool, winter decor out.   This is our Philadelphia Eagles snowman guarding our foyer - and we hope he brings us good luck in the playoffs.   Also, a framed holiday card of the Three Kings.   The Three Kings are always good luck, and they are in our foyer to protect our coming and going.  We always bless our home on Epiphany - January 6th - and ask for blessing on our home and on everyone who visits us.  When I was a little girl our local parish priest would visit every home in the parish and bless the house, marking the doorway with the initials of the Three Kings ( Caspar, Melchior, and Balthasar) and the year.  Somehow, the priest always found he was at our home just in time for lunch...knowing what a good cook my mother was !
It is a little hard to see...but you make out the initials and the year.  When we traveled to Germany several years ago we saw these markings on the outside doorways of many homes in different cities.  It is a nice tradition that I am happy to keep going.

More winter and snowman decorations all around the house - and some new pillows for the new sofa.   
I searched for a fabric that would tie in all of the colors in the room...and found this - Waverly Panama Wave Gem.  I made two pillows and a table topper for the end table.
I think they turned out great...and love the way it pulls in all the colors.
I purchased the fabric on sale at JoAnn Fabrics...and then found I needed a little more and was not going to be anywhere near a store for a week or so.   Surprisingly, I found a one yard cut on Amazon...and it came in two days.   Gotta love Amazon !
We have been in our new space for 5 months now...and have made SO many new friends.  Truly, moving here to Willow Valley Communities has been AMAZING.   The right move for us!  A lot of our new neighbors are heading to Florida or points south for the next few months.   We hosted one couple for a dinner before they leave and it was so much fun to set the table for a winter dinner.   I planned Beef Stew, crusty bread, salad, red wine, and chocolate mousse for dessert.  The stew is a great recipe that cooks for 3 hours in a 325 degree oven.  Wouldn't you know that the day we had the dinner it was a freakish 65 degrees and the apartment got so warm I had to open all the windows.  Here is the recipe for the stew - 

2 lbs. of beef cubes
2 cups carrots , diced
2 cups potatoes, diced
2 medium onions, sliced
1 cup celery, chopped
2 tsp. quick cooking tapioca
1 Tbsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
1 cup tomato juice
1 cup water
1 Tbsp. brown sugar
2 cups frozen peas

I always use a little more carrots and potatoes...trying to eat less meat.  Place the raw beef cubes in a single layer in a heavy roasting pan.  Add all veggies except the peas.  Sprinkle tapioca, salt and pepper, over veggies.  Add juice and water and sprinkle brown sugar over everything.   Cover and bake for 2 hours at 325 degrees.  Add peas and cook for one more hour ( or you can microwave peas and just stir in before serving.)  This is easy, sure to serve with good bread to sop up the juices!

 Loved the way the table looked with my Blue Willow.   Not all of my pieces are "good" Blue Willow - some came from GoodWill, some from a giveaway in the grocery store, and some from my dear Aunt Mamie who would always go to sales in her apartment building and buy whatever she found.  What a treat to visit her and see her smile and say "I found some more of those blue dishes you like."  While we downsized a lot in this move, and sold/donated/gave away many dishes and glasses...the Blue Willow made the grade and moved with us.  So glad !
And the final photo....our mantel all ready for the BIG game today.   The Eagles have to win is win or go home.   Hope by the time you are reading this the Eagles are one step closer to the Super Bowl.
What team do you root for ?  Do you have a Super Bowl party ?  
Please leave a comment...and thank you so much for stopping by!

Monday, December 18, 2017

It's A Wonderful Wreath !

It's A Wonderful Wreath

Seems like the summer and fall just flew past with all the changes in our world - and it is hard to believe that Christmas is one week from today!  It was a big challenge to decorate our new home.  I kept unpacking Christmas treasures and thinking to myself "this goes there...wait, there is no "there" there anymore"!  But we were able to get our treasures arranged and now it feels like Christmas here in The Vistas.   This wreath started out as "Cat's Meow" gifts from dear friends of ours who know how much we - and especially my husband  - love the classic movie "It's A Wonderful Life".   In past houses we had plenty of window sill and frames to display the buildings ( Bailey Brother's Building and Loan, Gower's Drug Store, Martini's, 320 Sycamore, Ernie's Cab,etc. - but limited window and shelf space inspired this wreath.   I used a staple gun to attach wire to the back of each piece and placed them on the wreath.   A simple silver bow, a bell ( for when Clarence gets his wings!) and some of Zuzu's petals complete the scene.   Donated many of the wreaths that decorated our former, larger home...this is the one that made the cut for our new front door!
The "wonderful" theme is carried into our foyer with the angel that graced the top of our tree in past days as well as the certificate from "The Real Bedford Falls"...aka Seneca Falls, NY.   Several years ago to celebrate a special birthday for my husband we traveled to Seneca Falls where they transform the town into Bedford Falls for the weekend.   On the closing Sunday the bells of Bedford Falls ring and you can make a donation to have them ring in honor of someone special.   I had them ring in honor of my husband!  You can read more about the It's A Wonderful Life Weekend here - 

The foyer decorations continue...with the Powder Room marked in case Santa needs to use the facilities!

You know you really love Christmas when you find yourself decorating the kitchen...
We no longer have a formal, separate dining room, but we are loving the new dining space and how it opens up to the living area and kitchen.
The living room mantel was a challenge since we never had the television mounted over the fireplace until this move...
 Lots of fun to decorate the bookshelves with old photos...

Always display my dear Uncle Joe's cane the minute we finish watching Miracle On 34th Street.  He was our Santa Claus...and we miss him to this day.

Love how our "old"tree fills this new space so well - and love the reflection of the lights in the window at night!
Waited many weeks for our new sofa to arrive...and love the look of this candle on the server that divides the living and dining areas.

Outdoor decorating has become VERY simple as we have only our screen patio...but we could not leave it unadorned for Christmas.

While we don't have an official "Elf on the Shelf" we do have elves all over the house keeping an eye out for good children...
And this is to remind Santa that what we REALLY want for Christmas is and Eagles WIN in the Super Bowl!
 Beautiful Willow Valley decorations in our elevator lobby...
 A menorah,
 and a nativity scene in the library...
 and festive decorations in the building lobby.

Love the simplicity of this tree!

Lots of things left on my to do list....more cookies, some wrapping, preparing for a walk around appetizer party on our floor tomorrow and  a traditional Eastern European Holy Supper on Christmas Eve.  Hope you are having fun preparing for the holidays. Wishing everyone a peaceful and beautiful holiday season.
Please leave a post and let me know what you think of the decorations and how you decorate to celebrate the season. Peace!

Happy Valentine's Day! Hard to believe it has been a week since the Philadelphia EAGLES won the Super Bowl!  What an excitin...