Friday, December 28, 2018

Panoply 2018: It's a Wrap!

In 2014 I started this collage photo summary format as a way to capture my year in one fell swoop, a sort of journal summary. These collages are subject matters that matter to me (and how I spend the majority of my time), and my way of remembering the best of 2018. It's been a busy year, with a never-ending goal of striving for healthy activity while maintaining a fun and organized lifestyle.
There are links back (in the captions) under each photo collage subject header: Home, Garden, Tablescaping, Travel/Tales of the Traveling Totes, Vintage Finds, Panoply Booth Displays, Miscellaneous Musings and honorable mention subject of Organization. If you're so inclined to read, you can click on the captions, each semicolon separating different posts on that header. The one marked in bold under each header was either the most viewed or my personal favorite, often one and the same of that subject. Feel free to dig in. Enjoy!  

Before, After the HolidaysSunshine is a Great Inspiration!Bunny LoveLoving New Old Finds at HomeInspiration from Subtle Seasonal SignsCelebrating Fall Outdoors: Porch and PatioDining Room Furniture Finds, FlipsBountiful Baskets of FallChristmas Journal 2018: Home, Garden

A Garden of a Certain AgeEarly Summer Garden: Transformation, Tips, TricksSummer Garden Glamour ShotsArt Walk in the GardenMid-Summer Garden Glimpses, MaintenanceSeptember Garden: Beauty in the DetailsBefore, After Putting the Garden to Bed

Celebrating Life and Love with Noritake AzaleaSt. Patrick's Day Greenhouse TablescapeMajolica Spring TablescapeBunnies, Bounty, and Bouquets Spring TablescapeThis Table is For the Birds!Seaside Beachcombing TablescapeMorning Glory "Bee"ing Served AlfrescoFowl and Feather Fall TablescapePheasant Merriment TablescapeChristmas, Naturally Tablescape

Travel, Tales of the Traveling Totes
Raining Cats and Dogs: Totes Tales #14. GiveawayRegional Taste SwapGrand Cayman Photo JournalParadise: Tales of the Traveling Totes #15, GiveawayTales of the Traveling Totes #16Tales of the Traveling Totes #17

Vintage Finds
Too Late to Classify Vintage FindsEarly Spring Vintage FindsVintage Finds 2Q18Vintage Finds 3Q18Great Estate Sale Finds

Panoply Booth Displays
Panoply New Booth Vignettes Early 2018Summer Booth Updates 2018Panoply Booth Displays: Fall TransitionsHoliday Booth Displays 2018

Miscellaneous Musings
Misc. Musings No. 12Misc. Musings No. 13Misc. Musings No. 14Misc. Musings No. 15
This one gets its own title for 2018. I made a proposal in January 2018 to purge personal inventory of vintage finds. In April 2018 I finished the project with this purge recap. It was mentioned throughout the year in various posts, whether it was in Musings (see No. 12 under that subject above), Vintage Finds or otherwise, but it was a big deal for me. I have a feeling 2019 will be the year of the Death Cleaning.

Thank you to each and all of my readers throughout the year. Your comments, emails and other social media interactions are part of what makes my life a happy life. I love all the friendships gained through blogging. 
Cheers to the New Year!
Rita C. at Panoply
NOTE: I created this post, as I said, to organize my year of blogging. It's also the last step I take before ordering my annual "yearbook" from Blog2Print (no sponsorship or affiliation). They typically have a coupon code around this time each year for 30% off a book format* of your blog posts, so I'll be watching for that. If interested, I wrote about the process in 2016 (here), with some tips on how to compile your own book.  It's pretty easy to do, so I wanted to pass it along to my readers. If you sign up for Blog2Print's email, you will receive subsequent coupon offers throughout the year. 

Monday, December 17, 2018

Miscellaneous Musings No. 15 - Holiday Edition

This version of miscellaneous musings is brought to you by all the sights and sounds of the season that have caused me to either smile, shake my head in wonderment or even get mad, sometimes two or more of those reactions simultaneously. If you're new here, these musings have become a sort of 'thang' here on my blog, and you can see the string of 'em at this link. Remember, my blog is non-revenue producing, so any links or brand mentions are NOT sponsored, other than me sponsoring them!

It's so fun to see how people decorate their yards for Christmas, and the trouble they go to. Check out the one below, spotted in my neighborhood. Here, we have the Holy Family, the three wise men, Yoda and the two weiner dogs. Even the North Star couldn't guide this crew.
December 6 is the feast of St. Nicholas. Growing up Catholic, my parents celebrated our stocking gifts on this occasion. We received tangerines, nuts, and usually one small gift. Well, in a family of nine kids, my parents improvised for stockings. My Dad was a WWII vet who lost his leg just below the knee from a mortar explosion in 1945. Our stockings were my Dad's stump socks! They were pretty awesome, actually, held a lot, and were quite sturdy. Hey, we were onto the natural, farmhouse look before it was popular!

Here is a picture of my Christmas crack for this year that I had to search and stock up on. Target came through on the Limited Edition Peppermint Oreos and the Planters Brittle Nut Medley. I found the nut medley two years ago and bragged how good it was. We couldn't find it last year. Sweet stripes are cheaper at WalMart, but Cracker Barrel has them too. We are crazy for sweets in this house! Other sweets arrived as gifts too.
A Grinch realtor in Baltimore has stolen the show with the house listing shown below.
Well, my niece in Austin happens to be a realtor, and she happens to love makeup and costuming (that's her, below, with her baby girl, my great niece, last year).

I told her she could SO do that!

Meanwhile, I said I was purging some of my Christmas stuff this year. Hahaha, if you read my last post, you can see that I failed miserably. I did sell a few things that were cumbersome to store (see photo below), and I've marked down the wooden porch carolers and sled. One daughter took a tub full of things, and the other daughter took just a couple items.
If keeping decorations was as easy as the magical suitcases in the Hallmark movies, there'd be no issue with storage! Seriously, have you watched in where working girl (usually) goes to small town, gets stuck by bad weather or by not closing a deal, and magically, her carry on suitcase can produce an entire week's worth of clothes, not to mention numerous pairs of boots and matching coats?! We watch the Hallmark movies and laugh each time we see the many cliches in every one. Well, here are a couple of games to play while watching Hallmark movies when you spot any and all of the cliches. 

Speaking of drinking, I've been listening to the Pandora station, Christmas Radio. Some of those old classics have all kinds of swag, you can just hear it! Dean Martin sounds drunk, probably was, in just about every song on the album below:

I just love the musical arrangements behind the voice. These were the voices of my parents' generation. Let's not get started on the whole "Baby, It's Cold Outside" crap. 

Y'all! We got a new bed! Oh, yes we did. Not that our 20 year old mattress that looked like a roller coaster track with its dips (top L frame in collage, below) was needing to be replaced or anything.....but I was pretty excited when those Sleep Number guys took that thing out and replaced it!
It's still new, like a toy. We bought split king mattresses with a flex base (cyber Monday deal), and we're still figuring out how to improve our sleep scores that it records each night (yea, there's something under that platform base that records your every move, creepy). So far, my best score was the one below, after about one week of adjusting the settings and finding the right sleep number, pillow combination:
You enter your preferred number hours for sleep (mine is 9). It tracks time in bed if you're watching TV or reading (that shaded area on the left), and then scores you overall. Lol, then it coaches you with commentary. I have already found the "SNORE" setting handy with the remote, and altering Mr. P.'s bed position without him even knowing it! Our settings work independently of each other. I love it. My back and neck do too. This purchase was ten years overdue.

Speaking of recording your every move, do any of you have Alexa, Google, Echo or any of those other voyeuristic gadgets in your home? Well, while shopping for the family white elephant presents, we decided on today's latest and greatest version of the keyfinder - the Tile* - for Mr. P's family. My family had two of them in our 2017 exchange, and they were the most-stolen presents.
We also ended buying a package set for ourselves that had a gift with purchase - the Google mini home. It's a first for me/us. Just like the bed, it's kinda creepy. "Hey Google, play Pandora Christmas Radio" is about as intimate as we've gotten so far. But did you hear about Rocco, the African grey parrot who was placing orders with Alexa from Amazon? You've gotta read it - too funny!

* Side story right up there with "Aunt Bethany Saying Grace" in Christmas Vacation:  As I said, we had two tiles in our grab bag exchange last Christmas with my family, with 34 guests. Someone also brought towels as a gift. When people were trying to steal the "tile" and calling out, "where's the tile?", one brother-in-law replied, "the towels are over here". Everyone burst into laughter, a true Christmas Vacation moment.

In my last post, I mentioned creating a crafted wreath that I'm using on my sunroom dining chairs this year.
What I didn't tell you is that those suckers required hours of cutting the threads, drilling the holes (70 of them!), and hot gluing them together (6 hrs to be exact, but who's counting?). I am one who appreciates the value of time, and that is why I don't craft or sew much anymore (but am willing to pay for those who do!). I can do spreadsheets all day long, though, and tell you the net value of selling one of - any of  - those things. So, yea, spreadsheets are more my thing than crafting these days. 

Meanwhile, I'm still waiting for the leaves to fall on my Japanese maple tree in the landscape. The other day we were taking our daily walk, and one neighbor was on a ladder, shaking his tree to make the leaves fall, lol. I immediately thought of the Steve Miller Band song, "The Joker" (♪♫"I really love your peaches, want to shake your tree"♪♫). 🤣🤣

Okay, readers, that's it for the holiday edition of miscellaneous musings. I'll be back on the flipside of Christmas, but until then, wish me luck with an expected 38 family guests for Christmas Eve dinner. Here's hoping no one gets sick before the dinner is served (or use it as their excuse for getting sick after), all the commodes flush, the geese don't destroy my riverbank lawn parking (💩), and a good time is had by all. Dear Santa, all I want for Christmas is a truckload of batteries to keep my little light strings running.....and me too!

Merry Christmas!
Rita C. at Panoply

Friday, December 14, 2018

Christmas Journal 2018: Home, Garden

Christmas around my home and garden this year is pretty much consistent from years past. I don't buy a lot of new things each year. I usually will try one or two new vignettes annually, and then decide if I like them well enough to keep them in my repertoire in following years. I do, however, like to photograph the house once it's decorated. So, here's my home and garden photo journal for Christmas 2018.
Simple front porch decor this year, minus the carolers and sled from past years (taken to antique mall to sell).
The tree in the urn is the topper from my old Christmas tree, still going strong after at least twelve years.
An early December dusting of snow yielded another photo op outside. The swags are fourteen years old. 
Living Room
I added bulbs and tiny lights in jars where the vintage ceramic tree was in previous years (which was sold this year at antique mall).
The garland is at least twelve years old. The first year I hung it, I took pictures and wrote out instructions for myself so it would be easier to hang in following years. It paid off. I store the 36' (6 x 6') in one tub, along with the bows I made that first year. When little pieces of the greenery fall off, I just keep them and use them later in arrangements or projects.
Second Floor Landing
Pillow on primitive bench is new - a holiday giveaway from blogging friend Jenna at The Painted Apron. Thank you, Jenna! 
Master Bedroom
Arrangement is mostly real (pine collected on walks and magnolia from my garden), with a faux eucalyptus branch.
Part of my vintage mesh purse collection on metal tree.
Dining Room
The garland on the table is new this year, but I added magnolia cuts from the garden, and lighted twigs. The tree on the credenza in the background was a very old one from my husband's bachelor days, resurrected and re-trimmed simply with lights and gold bead garland.
Family/TV Room
Kitchen/Breakfast Area
The house on the shelf is a Beekman Boys' cookie jar, bought after Christmas last year from a local auction house very inexpensively. The dormer in the attic (lid) has a battery operated light that flickers.

My brass deer that I bought at an estate sale last year, and used in this year's holiday tablescape.
Using the ladder in the sunroom this year (in my laundry room until now) was inspired by Chloe from Celebrate and Decorate. I already had the Mark Roberts Santa fairies and snowflake lights, and positioned them playfully on the ladder.
Bulbs in a basket, what could be easier?
A rosemary tree from the grocery store, trimmed with faux holly and berries. The sheep on sled was purchased this past spring from a friend who relocated to SC.
The chair wreaths were a craft project this year, inspired wholly and totally by following blogging friend Lora Bloomquist's tutorial at her blog Lora B Create and Ponder: "Vintage Thread Spool Mini Wreath How-To". 

A sweet story that goes with these wreaths: a good friend of mine had given me the spools (with thread on them) about five years ago, and I finally used them for this project, and made five wreaths. When I sent a picture to my friend she said she had forgotten about them, they had been in her [deceased] mother's sewing machine. I gave one to my friend as a Christmas tree ornament. She sent me a photo saying it is special to her.
Another addition to my sheep collection this year came from a dear friend.
More gifts from friends (you know you are, and I love you all!).
Another simple arrangement, this one all faux (there's some of that pine that fell off the stairway garland. It's also part of those little spool wreaths).
Laundry/Mud/Powder Room
My collection of crocheted potholders in ironstone wash basin is rotated so the red & white rise to the top. See fall's colors displayed here.
One of my favorite little decorations is the Hallmark gingerbread house, below, which sits on my clothes dryer. I get a little kick out of ringing the doorbell and listening as I fold laundry. 😊

If you've stuck with me this far with my photo journal, bless your heart! I appreciate your loyal readership, always.
May your heart be light and gay this Christmas season. I'll be home for Christmas. 💓🎄
Rita C. at Panoply