Valentine’s Day Decorating

Where has the time gone?!?

It seems like the more I want to get done, the less I do. I can't believe I didn't even talk about my Christmas decorating! I just reread my previous entry, and, yes, I got my evergreens scattered around our house. I also enjoyed putting the tree up, since it is virtually a walk down memory lane when I get the ornaments out.

I still can't believe it's going to be Valentine's Day so soon! I have got several of my Valentine's Day decorations out, but not that many. I was called away to a family crises two weeks ago, so I am a little behind on getting my home situated.

Our weather has been beautiful. And, because of this, I need to get more of my decorations put out. I know that doesn't make much sense to most people, but if you live in a part of the country where it is almost always warm, the seasonal decorations are what reminds you that it is "that time of year" again.

Because my father was in the Air Force, I lived in many different places. Connecticut, Nebraska, Iowa, and Spain had the four distinct seasons I still yearn for. But, here in Texas, we just don't experience the four seasons. So I depend on the different holidays to remind me of what we "should" be experiencing.

As I type this entry, I am looking at a few Lefton Valentine's Day figurines that I have put on my computer desk. I am so happy that my grandmother had these figurines in her Iowa home. They bring to mind the type of weather we should be experiencing during this February holiday.

Is November Already Over?

I am more late than usual this year. By this time of year I usually have the Christmas tree up, the house decked out, and my gift-giving shopping finished. Not so this year!

My daughter came home for Thanksgiving so I decided to put off having the bins from our garage scattered around our home. She went back to her job on Sunday, which meant I had my son and husband bring all of the holiday bins inside our house bright and early on Monday morning.

Unfortunately, I haven't been able to focus myself to get the house ready for the Christmas holidays. Instead I am finding other little projects around the house that need to get done. I did, however, get the tree put up, which is a good start. Ever since I had a place of my own, I have decorated with fake trees. And our tree is the easiest I have ever had. It comes in three pieces, and has all of the lights permanently attached. So, even though I haven't done a lot to decorate yet, our family room looks really neat with all the twinkling lights.

As much as I disliked doing it, I put away our Thanksgiving decorations. I love the colors that are associated with autumnal harvest time. I grew up in a house where everything was purple, turquoise, or bright pink. It's a nice place to visit, but those just aren't my preferred colors. All of the holiday decorations at my mother's house are only those three colors. It's probably a good thing that she doesn't decorate for Halloween or Thanksgiving. It just wouldn't be the same to have a purple turkey with a hot pink beak!

I, on the other hand, have my house decorated in different shades of brown, with some accent colors thrown in. Which is why the Thanksgiving colors are so perfect for our home. I just put away all of my harvest/fall/autumn figurines and decorations, and I already miss them. Since it doesn't get cold here, I depend on things like cornucopias and pumpkins to signal that fall has finally arrived.

Well, hopefully, by this time next week I'll have all of my evergreens up, and won't miss my Thanksgiving decorations as much!

In Loving Tribute of Our 16 Year Old Puppy…

It has been exactly a year since we lost our beloved dog. She had been with our family for sixteen years, and this past year has been particularly sad for all of us. Well, not exactly the entire year (obviously!) but there are certainly times when we can't help but remember her.

I have always been a dog lover, but my husband was raised without a pet in his family. I think that makes all of the difference. My family, on the other hand, always had a dog. So, it was only natural that my husband and I get a dog for both of our children.

The sixteen years went by so fast! We all grew to love our dog, all of us getting different things out of the situation. Although the children started out being the primary care-givers to our dog (as far as her meals) it soon became apparent that I would take over those duties.

Since we had so many wonderful times with our dog, we soon began collecting little knick knacks of dogs. My daughter's collection has become the best dog collection. My son did't collect too many pieces, he was more interested in all things Nintendo. But, my daughter has accrued a nice little porcelain dog figurine collection.

Whenever I find myself in her room dusting, I, of course, have to pick up her dog collection. Since I was with her every time she added a new dog collectible to her collection, I have memories of what was going on in our lives at the time.

Many of my daughter's collection are dogs made by Lefton, although she has a few Jim Shore pieces, as well as some other manufacturers mixed into the group. I am particularly drawn to the Lefton dogs because they remind me of the types of things my grandmother had all around her house. Since most of my love for decorative collectibles came from my early memories of my grandmother's home, I guess I sort of steered my daughter that way.

Decorating My House with Fun, Patriotic Twist

This past weekend was Memorial Day, and soon it will by Fourth of July. It's at this time of year that I get out all of my red, white, and blue decorations. I have to admit that I don't put all of my red, white, and blue items away during the summer months. For some reason, those colors remind me of fun in the sun, family reunions, outdoor picnics, and a sort of awakening. I know that sounds odd, but there you have it, that's sort of what those three colors bring to my mind.

Those three colors remind me of why the USA is such a great place to live. And, of course, with the summer months here already, I enjoy celebrating our nation's freedom.

I have to admit, as my husband and I grow older, our picnics are a whole lot more enjoyable when they are enjoyed inside. Sometimes, it is just too hot for us to feel all that happy about sitting outside. But, the summer months are great times for us to crank up the old barbecue and enjoy that "picnic" feel... even though we usually bring our barbecued food inside.

Getting back to my decorating penchant: I simply love to decorate for all of the yearly holidays. When our children were young, they enjoyed the decorations as much as I did. I remember a few years ago when either Puffs or Kleenex started making holiday facial tissues. The first season I noticed the brightly colored boxes at my supermarket, it was during the Halloween season. I was ecstatic! I have been putting these brightly, decorated boxes out every years since then! (I have to start looking for the holiday boxes the month before the actual holiday's month. They go really fast!)

I have an assortment of  Jim Shore items that I get out for every holiday. I have the autumn, spring, summer, and fall Jim Shore angels, as well as the autumn, spring, summer, and fall Jim Shore baskets. I love these collectibles. Oh, and I have my Jim Shore Cardinal and Jim Shore Blue Jay that I absolutely have to have out during all of the cold months.

As for my patriotic items, I have a few of the Jim Shore Patriotic Angels, as well as Jim Shore's Patriotic Disney Mickey. I usually have Patriotic Mickey sitting on my computer desk, since I spend so much time at my computer, and he simply makes me smile.

I also have a rather large collection of Longaberger patriotic baskets and pillows that I put out for the entire summer. I really should join a twelve step program for my Longaberger addiction! My husband asks me just how many baskets I think I need. My reply is always the same: More than I have now!

So, now that my house is all Patriotically "dressed up", I feel like I am ready for the summer. Let the warm weather begin!

Vacations for Us Will Include Coffee Mugs from Everywhere We Visit!

My husband and I just returned from picking up our daughter from college. She will soon be joining the "adult world" by taking on her first permanent job. We spent most of our time  in her college dorm room packing her up, but we did manage to do a little walking through her college town.

When we passed her college co-op bookstore, she asked us to join her inside for a minute. She then proceeded to have us pick out two mugs that we thought we would enjoy drinking our coffee and tea out of. My husband lost no time picking out the perfect mug, and I soon had one all picked out.

We both had picked coffee mugs that had the name of her school on them, in big, bold letters. Also, both of our coffee mugs were in her school's colors.

A few days later, while helping her unpack the boxes she had mailed back to herself, we saw her collection of coffee mugs. She doesn't even drink coffee or tea, but she we found out that she has been collecting mugs from all of her different summer internship jobs.

That's when it dawned on me: from now on, every time my husband and I go on a trip, we are going to buy a coffee mug to remind us of our trip, and the fun we had together. I know, I know, you don't need a lot of coffee mugs in order to drink your daily coffee every morning. But, these mugs will be collectibles to us, just as our daughter's college mugs are.

I know that a lot of people have already come up with this idea, to collect mugs, before I did, collectors of say Norman Rockwell mugs or Royal Doulton Toby mugs. I just wonder why it took me so long to envision all of the ways I can incorporate these mugs around our home. Right now, as I sit at my computer desk, I see one definite way to use my mug: It is holding all of my pens and pencils, so I can glance over at my cherished mug.

Easter is Over, and Spring Has Officially Sprung!

Well, Easter is now officially over. At least it is for our family. I just packed up the very last of my Easter decorations, and the house looks somewhat less cheerful, a little "drabby" after all of the bright Easter/spring colors I had displayed.

It always takes me a little time to "get back to normal" after a holiday. I love to decorate the house with both collectibles I have bought and also, with things our children have made over the year. Yes, that's right. I'm one of those parents who save every holiday and special occasion thing our children have made. Of course, our children went to public schools, so there were no holiday themed items they made there. Instead, I supplied the holiday theme decorations.

I have a rather large collection of Jim Shore Easter baskets, which I place around the house. Each of the Easter baskets has Easter eggs or little figurines. Now that Easter is over, I am going to really miss these baskets! I guess I could look at the bright side: They're something to look forward to getting out next Easter.

Years ago, I bought an Easter tree that is the focal point of our Easter village. I am so glad I got it when I did, as I haven't seen any like it for years. It is a tree made out of wire, covered with white florist paper, and it has many, many branches. My children loved hanging the little Easter eggs from its branches.

I cover our large living room coffee table with Easter grass, and add the tree in the middle. Around the Easter tree are little houses where different bunny families reside. Even though our children are no longer little, they still enjoy the annual Easter decorations.