Thursday, December 31, 2009

A healthy, happy New Year to you~

~Lucca, Italy~

I was never one to get overly excited about New Year's eve. Not until a few years ago when my sister, my niece and I went to Lucca for Christmas and New Year's.

This charming village that is so close to my heart, came together to celebrate the New Year in grand style. There was live music, fireworks, splits of good champagne handed out freely, and the townspeople welcomed us tourists with opened-arms.

Whole families walked to the center of the walled-village to see in the New Year. People were hugging, kissing, shaking hands and making New Year's promises to see more of one another.
I love thinking that beautiful night. Never has a New Year's eve held such wonder and excitement for me-I'm not sure another will ever be quite as special. Spending these two lovely holidays with the two women that mean so much to me.

~Buon Anno~

My wish for all of my special blog friends, is a very healthy and happy New Year.
I hope that with this new decade all of your hopes and dreams come to fruition.
Each one of you have been a source of inspiration in your own way.
I love starting my day with some of you-and ending my days with those of you in a completely different time zone.

One year ago today I wrote my first blog post.
I have met so many wonderful people through this venture. With so many amazing blogs to read and with our busy lives-I want to Thank~You for taking the time to visit my little blog and for the sweet comments. They really do mean so much.


Wednesday, December 30, 2009

"It's Complicated"...and really good!

Jane and Jake
{Meryl and Alec}

I took myself to see It's Complicated this afternoon. I really liked it. It was charming, light, the set was FABULOUS and the story cute and somewhat believable.

I don't want to ruin it for anyone-

{Like the time I had been counting the days until Message in a Bottle was released. I had no idea how the movie ended, having not read the book first. As I was leaving to see it, a good friend said... "You know- he dies at the end...."! H U H?} Geez...I hope I didn't just ruin that for any of you- but it's been out for over 10 years now.

I have to interject this though. In the bathroom scene at the daughter's house {not the famous bathtub scene above} there is a print hanging on the wall. It looks just like one of Anne Harwell's fabulous chair prints. Check it out. I just sent off an email to Anne asking if it was in fact hers.
If it isn't Anne's work-It should be.
Stop by and visit with
Annechovie if you haven't. She as lovely as they come and such a talent!

Update: I just heard back from Anne and Yeah... that was Anne's print. This is so fantastic.
One of the best blogs in the business and her print makes it into a major film. Congratulations Anne!

Treat yourself and see this alone or with a friend...or an ex who may be a friend!

Monday, December 28, 2009

My special cornichon~

After spending Christmas Eve, day, night and a couple of days after the holiday with a sweet couple, Pickle is back home where she belongs.
She was so missed during the holiday. Pickle is getting more hugs, kisses, and tummy rubs than you can imagine.
I am so grateful to have our little 'family' back under the same roof.
My own {Pickle~ The Five Pound Pup}

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Buon Natale

~Buon Natale~

Trip Advisor

Holiday Movies~It's Complicated

~Meryl Streep and Alex Baldwin~

-It's Complicated-

I for one cannot wait to see this movie...It's Complicated with the fabulous Meryl Streep and Alex Baldwin.

Directed by Nancy Myers, who also directed the ever popular Somethings Gotta Give with Diane Keaton and Jack Nicholson and The Holiday with Cameron Diaz, Jude Law and Kate Winslet. I loved both of these light-hearted movies.
Kudos to anything that has Nancy Myers and/or Nora Ephron's name even remotely attached.
We are ready for Santa's arrival and feeling relaxed.

I'm actually making a list of the movies I want to see this weekend. For sure the release of It's Complicated-and perhaps reruns of Somethings Gotta Give and The Holiday-because after is Christmas.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Early Mornings at Christmas

These mornings just before Christmas I am like a young child. I'm too excited to sleep. Up early with anticipation of what the day will bring.
My DH is off from work until next Monday. There are a few last minute things that we'll need to do to prepare for our Christmas Eve gathering, but mostly we are being lazy, sipping eggnog, wrapping up last minute gifts and enjoying the shortest days.

These two images were taken a short time ago {it is 4:00 a.m. on Tuesday as I write this}.
To me the very best part of Christmas are the few days just prior to and Christmas Eve.
Warm fires, the lit Christmas trees, the warm scent of burning candles, the gifts wrapped and enjoying family.
Tonight our sweet Erin will be coming over to have dinner with us, followed by the opening of one of her gifts.
Little Jack has pneumonia... this poor little guy!
We'll have him over for some special time just as soon as he's feeling a little better.
Christmas really is all about the children. I had forgotten just how very special they make it all.
I hope these last couple of days find you sitting back, relaxing, enjoying the sounds and scents of this truly magical time.
My own

Monday, December 21, 2009

Mastering the Art of a Holiday Escape~

After decking the halls, shopping, cooking, baking, wrapping and toasting it was time to settle in for a quiet evening. Things are pretty well caught-up and a little time was needed to relax and enjoy the tree lights.
I am pretty sure that I am the only one left out there that hasn't seen Julie and Julia. I completely missed the timing when it was at the theatre and haven't up-dated my queue in months.
This seemed like the perfect way to relax and enjoy one of my favorite topics... cooking.

I don't have this cookbook, do you? It's now at the top {well...almost at the top} of my Christmas wish list~ hear that Santa?

I completely enjoyed this movie and I will watch it one more time before I have to return it to the video shop. I thought Meryl did a fabulous portrayal of Julia.

We share some of the same wonderful copper pots. I love the way they cook, but they get dangerously H O T !
And they are high maintenance.
And these beauties. Can you believe my Mother had the whole set- and when we cleaned out her house... I gave them away!
Regrets- I've had a few...
What joy to see a movie that is light and happy.

I am turning in now- and pretty sure there will be visions of sugar plums dancing about.
~Sweet Dreams~

Country Living and google search

Friday, December 18, 2009

Holiday Perfection Disorder

~My Family's 7-Layer cookies~

My husband came home last night with the bad news. I knew something was wrong as soon as he walked in. The trees were lit, the wine chilled, trays of Elf Food on the counter ready to be bagged- tied with beautiful ribbon.

Next I was going to start the 7-Layer cookies. I've been making these for years. It's all in the almond paste and the rich semi-sweet dark chocolate.

I had started the day with an early morning run to Portland. I had to pick up a pewter cup that we had engraved and while I was there I thought I would look for boots and a few last minute gifts.

What was suppose to be a quick trip to Portland ended up a full day of shopping and poking around. I stopped at my son's office and grabbed him for lunch then it was more shopping.


By the time I arrived back home late in the afternoon, I was beat. Ready for my wine and wishing for someone to prepare something, anything for dinner.

But that where this little tale began. Instead of pouring a glass of wine or starting dinner... I made my third batch of Elf Food. That's when the DH walked in and gave me the bad news...

He had been talking to people. He'd heard about this condition on the radio, on t.v. and in the papers. He kept it to himself for as long as he could, endured the pain of it and tried to come to a place of comfort before he would break the news.






I was suffering from...

H. P. D.

Holiday * Perfection * Disorder

Here are a few of the symptoms:

Cleaning the house with wild abandon.

Polishing anything that can be polished-copper, pewter, silver.

Cleaning out the cupboards, drawers and closets.

Taking far too long in choosing the most beautiful wrapping paper.

Taking far too long in choosing the most beautiful ribbons.

Decorating and redecorating the Christmas trees.

Tucking fresh boxwood everywhere.

Lighting candles constantly.

Baking too many goodies.

Getting too little sleep.

Playing holiday music all day.

Wanting a fire every night.

And that's just a few of the symptoms...

The holidays come once a year and yes...I do like to make it all special for my family.

Do you too suffer from

H. P. D. ?

Please tell me~

Next year I will simplify.

But for now... I have to go make a batch of spiced nuts.

Images~ Epicurious and Country Living

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

He knows if you've been bad or good...

During this wonderful time of year, don't forget to S T O P.
Among the shopping, cooking, cards to be written, gifts to be wrapped, deadlines to meet...the list goes on and on.
Take a little time just for Y O U!
It's important in our attempt to make things wonderful for everyone on our lists- that we take some time to look around, breath deeply and enjoy the season and all of its offerings.
Why not a brisk walk, a glass of wine at nightfall, a couple of chapters in that book you haven't touched since Thanksgiving.
This means Y O U.


Tuesday, December 15, 2009


~Christmas Cookies~
Yesterday I went to a luncheon, cookie exchange, gift swap.
There were 17 of us. I came home with the most wonderful assortment of cookies. Enough for my DH's snack-attack from now until Christmas.
With a lake-side view on three sides we feasted on fresh salads, fruits, vegetables and an incredible caramelized onion pizza... followed by cookies. We had our gift exchange which was hysterical- next time I really want no. 1!!! But I do love the Pottery Barn holiday candle that I came home with.
What a wonderful time of year to share food, fun and laughter with friends.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Guilty holiday pleasure~

~Starbucks Eggnog Latte~
No whipped cream-just rich dark coffee infused with some creamy eggnog and lots of foamy cream. Limited time... thankfully. Whenever I have one of these {grande please}- I have to skip's that bad- or should I's that good!
Try one... before they disappear.


Sunday, December 13, 2009


~ My mixer ~
I had wanted this mixer for years. Especially during the holidays when I do a lot of baking. Christmas mornings would come and go- and no mixer. My DH said it would take up a lot of space and ..."do you think you'd really use it"?
By Christmas morning, the baking was done and when my mixer wasn't under the tree, I really didn't think too much about it. Santa has always been very generous in his gifts to me.
But each time I wanted to bake-I would say under my breath... "I sure wish I had that mixer". At this stage, when there is something we really want, we usually get it. We may do a little reading, check for an upcoming sale, but we treat ourselves throughout the year and don't always wait for a special occasion. However, I didn't treat myself to the mixer. Maybe it would take up too much counter space, maybe I wouldn't use it that often. Finally... a few years ago my sister and niece gave me this gorgeous machine. It sits out on my counter and I bet I use it a few times a month- no, not every week-but often enough to justify the counter space.
I bring this up because today I ran her hard.
After all it's the holidays and there are goodies to be baked.
Thank you Dee-Dee and Devon.

I also did a bit of this~

And there were lots of these lit around the house.

How are you coming with you holiday plans and preparations?

Country Living

Friday, December 11, 2009

The Four Seasons~

We welcome this~

We love the lazy days of this...

We are grateful for this~

...and this~

"It's the most wonderful time of the year..."

My Home Ideas
Southern Living

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Please Join Me~

With the exception of going to the gym each morning- I haven't left my home in four days.
Wrapping up illustrations for Santa to deliver and tying up loose ends has kept me safely tucked in here.
I am probably consuming too much coffee, but I do love it.
While quietly painting and sketching, I have thought of just how special my blog-friends have become. I have shared things with some of you, that I don't discuss with my friends almost next door.
Thank you so much for the sweet comments, wonderful emails and notes.
Please join me this morning for a cup of coffee...or tea.

...and if you haven't already...
Visit Kwana today- she {and Jack} have announced a fab holiday giveaway.
The prize???
Something special from
Image from Here

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Sweet Dreams~

~Sweet Holiday Dreams~

I'm not sure even my curiosity of Santa's arrival could tear me away from this room on Christmas morning.
I think I would go from bed to chair and back to the bed. The warmth of the fire, a good book and a candy cane.
I love the look of the fresh greenery against all of the white.

"Buon Natale e dolci sogni".

{Loosely translated-Merry Christmas and Sweet Dreams}

Image from Here.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Curly Girl

~The mug I want to keep!~

Have you heard of Curly Girl? I love this line of goodies .

I have been invited to a cookie swap - luncheon - holiday exchange. Cookies - check, luncheon - check, holiday exchange gift - check.

The adorable Leigh is the brains behind this whimsical line of notes, gifts, water bottles, grocery totes, cocktail napkins and all around fun-stuff!

Leigh's line is plum-ful of uplifting, positive and "go get 'em-girl" images and attitudes.
She lives in Boston, has a wonder-dog named Lucy and loves Snicker's.
Go to the website for locations- or order on-line. There's still time!
And I'm pretty sure you'll find something just right for a special girl-friend.
I'm off to find a cape and a tiara!


Sunday, December 6, 2009

Thank you~ Thank you

A BIG, BIG Thank You to Patricia over at PVE and Kwana at KwanaWrites.
My computer and blogger have been at odds the past few days. Hey-no big deal. I can certainly go a few days without blogging... I can't tell you how much I missed it. Tell me I can't do something... and it just makes me want to forge ahead.
I am more than a little challenged when it comes to most things pertaining to technology.
These lovely ladies offered help and let me spout-off.
Just when I was ready to give up altogether, it started working like a least I hope this is getting to you.
Ahhh... it's good to be back.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Troubles- here and there!

Blogger and my computer have had a little spat!
One isn't talking to the other and as much as I try to intervene, I guess they will have to work it out on their own. I have no idea if this little message will even be allowed. If this appears on your blog roll- please don't desert me. Check back every once in a while- hopefully I will figure this out and return. If anyone has any hints or suggestions~ please email me. Any help is much appreciated.
Thankfully I can still view all of your fabulous December posts-
Hope to see you back here soon~


Monday, November 30, 2009

Time to hang your wreaths~

My favorite Maine wreath.
What sort of wreaths do you fancy for the holidays? Perhaps something totally glammed-up like this peacock feather wreath?

I will be hanging very traditional full-tipped balsam wreaths on my windows and doors. Very plain, maybe a few fresh Winter Berries and a deep red bow.

{Watch the little slide-show here}

This is a pretty standard balsam wreath. The pinecones add a nice Maine touch, but I do like the look of the fuller balsam.

Found-objects adorn this pretty wreath.
So tell me~ what sort of wreath will you be hanging this year? Do you buy your wreaths, or do you make them?

Maine Wreath

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Sweet Love Story~

~Rosebud & Red Flannel~

by~ Maine author Ethel Pochocki
I have mentioned my fondness for this book before. But it seems especially appropriate at this time of year.
It's a whimsical tale of a pair of long John's and a lacy nightgown. Red Flannel is in love with Rosebud.
He is rather ordinary and clumsy and Rosebud is far too elegant to give him the time of day.
This is a sweet tale for all ages.
Rosebud & Red Flannel available HERE.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving~

~Happy Thanksgiving~
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Wednesday, November 25, 2009

An Admitted SPY~

~A real beauty~
Click on photo for a close-up

Recently while I was visiting the South Shore I quickly snapped this photo. Someone was outside raking leaves and my car was still moving.
I love that curved window on the second story and those eyebrow windows on the third story are a dream. There is a gorgeous double staircase and believe me when I say- spying on this home at night will have you arranging you own furniture within it's stately walls.
There is more to this gorgeous dwelling than meets the eye. There is a large attached garage, what looks like the perfect studio and a couple of cozy out-buildings.
There are candle lights flickering in all of the windows, and one can only imagine what it might look like all decked-out for the Christmas holidays... hmmm~ maybe I should plan another trip for some festive photographs...

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

This Week I am...

~Giving Thanks~
To my family, my friends, my sweet pets and my very special blogging friends.
Not quite a year ago I started this little blog and had no idea what it would bring to my life.
The friendships, the support, the encouragement and the inspiration.
So, when I sit with my family and friends at our Thanksgiving table on Thursday I will raise my glass and silently toast each of you that have become a very important part of my day.
I was thinking about the holidays today {when I made two separate trips to the grocery store}.
I do love this time of year- I love the sounds, the scents, the planning, the music, the shopping-really just about every part of the season is so special.
I hopped over to one of my favorite blogs- Heart of Light. Rachel put the holidays into perspective for me. I feel as though her words could have spilled right out of my mouth {only she expressed her thoughts so much more eloquently than I would have}.
If you haven't visited Rachel's blog- go now! Really! It will surely become a regular for you-I just adore this girl.

Country Living

Friday, November 20, 2009

Pet~House Sitting

On Thursday I left for a weekend of cat-rabbit-dog-house-sitting.

Friends of ours are in Italy for two weeks and I offered to take a turn at caring for the household pets.

There will be plenty of time to catch up on a few crocheting projects, some reading and a movie or two by the fire. I will also start my mega-list of things to accomplish for the upcoming holidays.

The dog is an adorable little Scottie. She has been blind in one eye since she was just a few weeks old. I know she will be the perfect weekend companion, curled up with me the whole time.

The cat is very independent and I'll probably only see her at mealtime and when I shake the treat box.

The rabbit... well I have no idea what to expect. She has a really nice home, all padded and warm. She lives out in the heated garage. I'll probably take her out and let her run around the confined space.

This family has lived all over the world and has a pretty amazing art and wine collection. I will take a few photos of sections of some of my favorite pieces. It gets tricky when photographing private spaces and that urge to blog about something fabulous.

I am definitely respectful of other's privacy.


If anyone knows of any fun rabbit games, I'll check back later.


Cat and Rabbit-google search

Scottie-My file

Thursday, November 19, 2009

The Holidays~

~You'd better not pout...

I am amazed at the number of holiday advertisements on t.v., the radio and in magazines. I guess it makes perfect sense. With the economy what it is- I think everyone is jump-starting the holidays. Last Friday evening just before I left for the south shore, we joined friends for dinner. As we were driving through town, I noticed a lit Christmas tree in the front room of a home just a few streets away! Yikes... that's early. Didn't we just have Halloween? Wasn't Thanksgiving almost two weeks away at that point?
Maybe they were celebrating early~ maybe a family member was being deployed, maybe just maybe this family decided to light their Christmas tree and just enjoy the season.

We have, for several years chosen a table-top Christmas tree. It's just easier with Grandblessings around for the holidays. Who wants to spend time saying..."don't touch" and "be careful". The tree will go up and the wreaths will be hung on all of the windows come the weekend after Thanksgiving. It's better to get it done before the snow arrives.
We are getting ready- it's a wonderfully festive time of year. Nightly the fire is lit, the scent of balsam is all around the house and the candles are lit. Let's just give into the holidays. They are coming quickly and they conjure up all sorts of warm feelings.
Soon enough it will be January and our sweet holiday season will be but a distant, lovely memory.

Country Living

Friday, November 13, 2009

Autumn Escape~

There seems to be a lot of flu, a few chest colds, some sneezing, coughing and generally feeling out-of-sorts going on around here. They closed the area schools for the last half of the week due to very high absenteeism.
For me... it spells... "get out of Dodge".
So, I'm taking off for the south shore of Massachusetts.
I hope to do a little early holiday shopping, some reading, a little sketching and indulge in afternoon naps.
See you back here next week.
I wish you all a great weekend.
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