Business · Decorating · Home · interior design · Organization

Paper versus online?

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I love office supplies and stationery stores.  So many tempting items.  Pens, pencils, notebooks, calendars, agendas, and supplies to organize.  Can we name January organization month?  It is the beginning of the year and time to start fresh and organize everything for the beginning of a new year.

I use a combination of online and paper to keep my life organized.

  • Agendas – I keep two one that I keep by my bed (Inslee by Design at Inslee.net) and one that fits in my tote.

 

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  • Office calendar – I use a circa calendar (weekly version) in the office.  It serves as a diary in addition to a calendar.  Appointments, phone numbers, meetings and projects and related notes end up there.
  • Online calendar – I keep all my appointments entered in an online calendar that is synched to my phone and iPad.  I love having that information electronically available and at my finger tips.
  • iPhone reminder app – I love this app.  I keep my to do list, grocery list and every other kind of conceivable list there.  It synchs across my devices and I can enter due dates.
  • Ulysses notebooks – I keep three going at all times.  One has important facts related to contacts and other key life information.  It is the notebook I take in advent of fire.  Also, it includes information I don’t want available online.  The other notebooks are more project based and hold notes for various projects and from related meetings.  One or both always seems in my tote.

 

  • Online file storage – this is a must and is available from a variety of different services.
  • Circa notebook system – I love this system.  I have custom notebooks for every project.  Small ones for travel, large ones for large projects and everything in between.

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Last but not least is my converted hope chest.  I’m southern so, of course, I have a hope chest.  Actually I inherited it from my grandmother who got it from her grandmother.  While my grandmother kept lines and her memories in her chest, I’ve turned mine into a file cabinet.  I outfit the interior with hanging folders and use it to organize and keep the papers I don’t want online or those things that simply don’t lend themselves to scanning. Added bonus is that the chest looks beautiful in my office.

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Decorating · entertaining · Holiday · Uncategorized

The Christmas Tree

My tree is a book of memories.  The ornaments are from multiple generations.  I’ve purchased some, some my mother made or bought, some are from my grandparents and a few from the great grands.  Each Christmas as I open the boxes of carefully packed ornaments I am reminded of the many Christmases past, those special family moments, trips I’ve taken, special friends, and anticipation of what this Christmas will bring.

 

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Acquiring the tree is the first step.  My family always has a live tree and acquiring the tree was always an adventure.  One of the first Christmas trees I remember involved a trip to the family farm to cut our own tree.  The following year the farm was gone so we were off to the tree lot.  Drama ensued when Snowball, my puppy, escaped from the station wagon only to be found curled up by the heater in the cashier’s hut after much drama and tears.  That year was somewhat cursed.  My Dad cut off too many branches from the bottom of the tree as he put the tree in the stand and had to wire them back on to please my Mother.  Once the tree was set up, lights added and fully decorated, my Dad climbed the ladder to carefully place the china angle on the top of the tree.  This angel was cherished and beautiful and a wedding gift.  Yes, you can guess, disaster ensued as the ladder collapsed resulting in Dad on the floor, tree on top of him, and broken glass ornaments scattered across the living room floor.  I still recall my Mother’s cries of my angel, my angle as my father was trapped on the floor under the tree.   Dad was rescued, the tree put back up, new ornaments purchased, and a new tree topper located.

 

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The one thing I never got was why my Mother refused tinsel on the tree.  Her Mother’s tree was a work of art with icicle tinsel perfectly draped.  Her trees were the most gorgeous one’s I’ve ever seen.  She would begin the weekend after Thanksgivingworking diligently up to Christmas Eve on her tree and emptying cases of icicles in the process.   My Mother hated icicles and they were banned from our house.  Then again she decorated three live trees., a small formal one for the living room, the large one in the family room and a white flocked tree in the foyer

I decorate a large tree for the living room and a small tree for the TV room.  They make my Christmas special.

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Decorating · Family · Gift Giving · Holiday

Christmas Traditions and my obsession with lists.

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I love Christmas.  I always have.  There is the sense of anticipation, the arrival of family, feasting on good food, and, of course, Santa!  This weekend I started decorating for the season and making lists.  List, plural, there as in a gift list, a stocking list, a card list, a grocery list for the makings of cookies and cheese straws.  LOL standing for lots of lists is how I make it through the season.  If it is not on a list, it’s not bought or done.  I confess, I don’t know how my Mom ever did it.

There are traditions that I love to repeat every year and one of them is sugar cake.  This is a delicacy from Old Salem or Dewey’s Bakery that is a bread only made with mashed potatoes, sugar and spices that was always part of Christmas morning.  Christmas morning was always delayed first until it reached 6 am and was appropriate to wake everyone in the house, then for the fire to be started in the fireplace, and, finally, for my Dad to make eggnog and coffee for the adults to enjoy while we opened presents and Santa.  This was a compromise for my Dad’s side of the family as Mom’s side celebrated Christmas (or the opening of presents) following midnight mass on Christmas Eve with wine, cheese and sausage balls.  My mother beautifully melded the two customs with the sausage balls and cheese straws following Christmas Eve services and the opening of presents with sugar cake and eggnog on Christmas morning. Mom was excellent at melding the favorite things of both sides of the family so everyone had what they wanted.  She would have been a wonderful diplomat!

The Christmas stocking is another list venture.  Each member of the household has their own sock to be hung by the fire.  This includes the quadrupeds.  If you saw my sock list you would laugh, sudoku and puzzle books, candy and fruit, dog treats and toys, gadgets to amuse, batteries for those receiving presents requiring batteries and anything amusing I might discover along the way.  I confess, socks are often my favorite part of Christmas.  One of my favorite childhood memories is my Grandfather pulling out the longest stocking I’d ever seen for “Santa” to fill.

So many wonderful memories and so many lists.

Decorating · entertaining · Holiday · Home

Jack O Lantern

 

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How do you celebrate Halloween?  The weekend before Halloween, I enjoy my horror movie marathon of Halloween, the original, followed by Halloween 2, and the Fog.  Then it is off to the pumpkin patch to score a pumpkin to carve for my jack o lantern.   On All Hallow’s ceEve it is candy time.  I love lighting the candles and waiting for the kids in costume, of course, to ring the bell for a treat.  Even better are the pups, also in costume, who accompany their little masters.  I’ve taken to stocking candy with nuts (so I will not eat it) and milk bones for the pups.  After all it is a celebration!

Carving the jack o lantern is a tradition that goes back to my childhood.  My father would always come home from work with a magnificent pumpkin perfect for carving.  Together we would select the perfect angle for the face, draw it on and create our pumpkin lantern.  Mom would always come through with a candle and together we would carefully place him on the front porch to signify to all the ghosts and ghouls that we were open for business.  My Dad loved answering the door and handing out treats.

Meet the latest jack o lantern!

 

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Trick or treat!  Have a happy Halloween.

Decorating · Holiday · Travel

It is beginning to look scary out there

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This may be my favorite time of year.  Trees are showing of their brilliance with red and gold as leave change and fall.  The are leaf piles for jumping in, corn mazes to explore and pumpkins patches to mine.  Let’s not omit the apple orchards with their bounty of delicious apples.  The air is crisp and cool causing me to reach for a coat before leaving the house.

I love walking around the town looking at the Halloween decorations.  Ghosts and pumpkins decorate the lawns and doors lending a festive, if not haunting, sense to the air in anticipation of the Feast of Samhain (if you are Irish and like the Celtic version of the holiday), or Halloween, or All Hallow’s Eve as we more traditionally think of the celebration.  It is the festival marking the end of the harvest and the beginning of winter.

Munchkins, ghosts and goblins will grace my front door on Halloween for a treat.  I love seeing the children attired in their festive costumes.  After the last visitor had received his or her treat, it is time for movie night.  For me that is my annual viewing of Halloween followed by the Fog.  Capping a wonderful night and leading to the celebration of All Saint’s Day.

Last year I spent the holiday in Ljubljana, Slovenia.  I arrived on October 31 to see a Halloween celebration in a country far away.  What was more surprising was the celebration of All Saints Day in what was once a communist country.  A national holiday, everything was closed in celebration.  Huge flower bouquets decorated the cemeteries in respect of those who passed.

In anticipation of the season, I’m heading to the pumpkin patch to pick out a pumpkin or two for decoration and carving.  Then it is time to find my receptive for stew in anticipation of a hearty Halloween dinner to be eaten in between receipt of visitors.

Decorating · Family · Home · interior design

A change of seasons

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Yesterday I looked down at my calendar and saw the notation, “first day of autumn”.  It’s been cool here in Virginia, somewhat unusually so for the beginning of September, but it also cues a sense of anticipation, of something new to come.  I love the fall, but then again, I love winter, spring, and summer.  The change of the seasons feels like a right of passage.

I enjoy fall for its crisp cool nights, change of leaves, the fall fruits and veggies like the squash and apples I find at the farmer’s market.  What is more fun than a corn maze, mums on the front porch, or  a ride along the Blue Ridge Parkway at the height of leaf color?  As the days grow shorter and the weather cooler there is a sense of an ending as is appropriate for fall and the approach of winter.  The anticipation of spring will soon follow and start the cycle over again.

Growing up I heard stories of my grandmother changing the curtains and rugs for summer and then back again at the start of fall.  Something of that rubbed off for me.  I tend to “decorate” for Easter, fall, Halloween, Thanksgiving, and, of course, Christmas.  Nothing as elaborate as Christmas, but seasonal centerpieces for each holiday.  So, this week I pulled out my velvet pumpkins for the dining room table.  The geraniums I’d lovingly planted in containers on the front porch at the beginning of spring were on their last leg.  It was time to freshen up the front door with mums for fall.

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As I write this, I’m also making my “must do” list for the fall.

 

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  1. Gather a group of friends and fin a corn maze to explore.
  2. Take a drive on the Blue Ridge Parkway and remember to bring my camera.
  3. Take 29 from Charlottesville to Lynchburg for a drive for leaves and fresh apples.
  4. Find a pumpkin patch and bring home fun pumpkins.
  5. Pull out my ceramic jack o’ lanterns for the front porch.
  6. Plan a movie night for all my favorite scares movies, calling John Carpenter!
  7. Football and tailgate Saturday, bonus points if I can arrange it for Kenan stadium.
  8. Cook up a pot of Brunswick stew.
  9. Change out my closet for warm clothes.

What is on your must do list for the fall?

Decorating · Home · interior design · Travel

The Summer of Show Homes: Southern Living Idea House 2017

I call this the year of show homes.  I’ve visited all that are near me and a couple, not so near, that  I’ve stumbled across.  While I missed my annual trip to the Kips Bay House in New York, I did make it to the Charleston Symphony House, the Raleigh Boys and Girl House and now the Southern Living Idea House.  I think the decorator houses appeal to some dormant creative gene in me.  I love seeing how someone puts together a room.  It gives me ideas for my own home.

 

This year’s home is not my first Southern Living house tour.  I’ve visited several with the last one being the one Bunny Williams did in Charlottesville.  It was spectacular.  This year’s lived up to the Southern Living standard.

The 2017 idea house is found on Bald Head Island, NC.  Bald Head Island is located at the convergence of the Cape Fear River and the Atlantic Ocean and is accessed by a twenty-minute ferry ride from Southport, NC.  The island is idyllic.  A subtropical climate, prime white sand beaches, birds, and sea turtles all make for a wonderful escape location.  Travel on the island is principally by golf cart or bike – no cars!

There were many details I loved about this house, but the fire pit and outdoor kitchen have to be at the top of the list.  The laundry room was another highlight for its design.  The living room and porches were beautiful and I could just imagine them filled with family on vacation.  The master suite was another favorite and the closets were to die for.

There were choices that left me scratching my head.  The master bath was beautiful.  I particularly loved the shower design but where was the tub?  The outdoor shower was lost on me.  Not so much the concept but the way this one was designed.  If I’m coming off the beach, then I want to be able to access the shower without going through the house.  The gourmet kitchen was something of a miss for me.  I liked the appliances and overall design but would have preferred different counter tops and where was the pot filler?

Tips I may use?  I loved the drawer refrigerator in the game room over the garage.  It was perfect for drinks and snacks.  Finishing the wallpaper with grosgrain ribbon in the upstairs bath off the “yellow” room was a nice touch.  The hooks near the door to the garage were a nice touch for all those things like totes, recycle bags, hats, and dog leashes.

If you get the chance to visit the home or just the island, do so.  It is a wonderful way to spend an afternoon.  Take time to visit Old Baldy, the decommissioned lighthouse.  It is the oldest lighthouse in North Carolina that once lit the way for sailors through Frying Pan Shoals and the Cape Fear.