Looking for answers to life's questions

Posts tagged ‘decorations’


Yesterday and today the sun rose and set at the same time. I’m waiting to see what happens tomorrow. Will we get that extra minute or two of daylight? Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE winter and all it brings. Mostly the lack of blistering heat, though I am solar powered so lack of daylight really seems to be slowing me down. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it. It has nothing to do with age, right?

Molly Ann Dahlia

October starts the countdown with dragging out Halloween decorations. I tried to make something new this year but it failed twice. Once the machine messed up and the second time, I did. I’ll try again later after the new year and see if I have better luck.

The Halloween mistake, machine embroidery

Then November gets darker and days are even shorter. I finally get Autumn decor out and looking nice when I have to take it all down and replace it with Christmas. I’m still not ready. I made an embroidery for a friend who is a bird and animal whisperer. They always pose for her so beautifully. I was hoping to add a little levity to her special day.

machine embroidery for a giggle

December is filled with activity. We had a quilting/sewing meeting at a member’s home for a potluck. Pam went all out to make it look so festive for us. Her husband joined us for lunch and wondered if we were always so talkative and noisy. But of course! Her husband helped make the cute flower pot pants for each of us. He did the wood part; she did the pants part. We each went home with one of these adorable sitting pants pots. We were also stuffed to the gills.

Then came the potluck at my pulmonary fibrosis support group. We always get a lot of good information there but this time we had food. I brought a meatball and noodle dish in the crock post. The rest was finger food and dessert. I also made Watergate and brought pies since my daughter was joining us as my chauffeur and caregiver. It was a small group this time as the rain was coming down buckets. There are no pictures of this event. Too busy asking questions and feeding myself.

In between all of this, I’ve been trying to do a tiny bit of sewing. I can’t show you all of it because one is a gift. I made a panel wall hanging that I put in the sewing room window. It’s been waiting a long time to get done. I also made window sill pads for Gracie with Christmas flannel. My son asked me to find a way to keep them from slipping off the sill when Gracie gets up. Hope the nubby slipper bottom fabric does the trick.

Solstice for me is a time for quiet reflection. According to CNN Travel, these celebrations symbolize the opportunity for renewal, a shedding of bad habits and negative feelings and an embracing of hope amid darkness as the days once again begin to grow longer.

Winter in the window

We give some thought to our new direction for the longer days to come. In the meantime, I just finish a batch of pumpkin bread to go with the banana bread that will be gifts along with four pans of dark chocolate brownies. They go into gift baskets too. We are in our weekly cleaning mode with an extra push. I’m having the sewing/quilt group here on Monday this week and they have requested Matzo Ball soup. Brownies are for dessert along with pudding shots. They went over very well and Pam’s pot luck. Old doesn’t mean you have to be stodgy.

I haven’t been walking as much this month but when I do, the scenery is very interesting. Most people here don’t decorate outside for several reasons. Expense and ladder fears. Most of us aren’t allowed on a ladder anymore but I have my daughter to help. We make a good team. These are neighbors decorations. I just have a few lights.

Do you celebrate the Winter Solstice in any way?

Happy Solstice, Happy Hanukah, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year too. Happy Everything. Celebrate life and all it has given us.

From my heart to yours,

Marlene Herself




Big Eyes

BIG EYES are watching you

It’s Halloween again! All that candy in the store has my eyes BIG and wide with anticipation. Of course, I’m trying to abstain. You’ve heard the phrase “my eyes are bigger than my stomach.” That’s not how I lived my life if you remember how I celebrated my birthday. I have discovered that my big eyes affect so many areas of my life. Which is why the purging is so hard. I have big eyes for candy, cookies, great meals, and especially hobbies. Everything I see I want to try. I go overboard on quilting, sewing of all manner of things, decorative painting, crafting, ribbon, hand, and machine embroidery, plus read till my big eyes fall out and write as much as I can squeeze in not to mention gardening.

Witchy Poo comes every year

Franky never dies

When I see the decorations on homes, I see some that do it up BIG and others are basic minimalists. I’m working toward minimalism now. I decorated a little inside but not at all outside.

I see less well, breathe less well and have so much less energy for the fun things. Even chocolate! Oh, no! Sometimes I’m not as present here as I would like to be but I’m not ready to give up the GHOST yet.

No ghosting out. My heart is in this.


Head is ghoulish

It’s the eighth anniversary of my blog. Why would anyone start a blog on Halloween while her adult children were dressing in costume and decorating the outside of the house? Maybe I was feeling particularly ghoulish that day. I know I couldn’t help so I decided to take on a BIG challenge. So far, so good. I’ve learned a lot and made so many wonderful friends here.

Real looking and scary

We are having perfect weather for kids to trick or treat here. It’s colder than a witch’s nose but dry and clear. Since my daughter is living with me this year and dressed in costume for work, we will open the door to the little goblin’s that brave the cold dark night.

Our family witch

What are your plans for scaring the little munchkins out of their wits this year or are you going have big eyes and eating all the candy yourself?  Happy Halloween to all. Boo!

Go A Head. Have a piece

From my heart to yours,

Marlene Herself

In Search of My HO, HO, HO

The day of reckoning is fast approaching. My days are long and the nights, oh my gosh short. The Charlie Brown tree from the last 5 years was pulled from its falling apart box only to find that most of the lights had not survived the darkness of storage. How does that happen? Every strand I added to it had sections that no longer lite up. It sat for a week glaring at me.

Last years tree. Boughs broke in the box.

Last years tree. Boughs broke in the box.

My sister arrived to do some errands with me in tow. I was her clothing advisor at our local Goodwill store. As I headed to the front for checkout, a sassy, fluffy tree caught my eye. It was decorated with stockings but I asked if the tree was for sale and how much. Yes, and $25 was the reply. With my sister’s approval, we loaded that monster into the back of her pickup. How fortuitous. (see me smiling here)

Angels everywhere

Angels everywhere

We couldn't get it all in one shot.

We couldn’t get it all in one shot.


What to do with Charlie Brown. Sis had contemplated a small artificial tree for her new abode. A real one was probably not a good idea there this year, so Charlie was loaded into her truck for the trip home and my son, (tech support) brought in the newer one. It’s really too big for my place but looks quite distinguished. New LED lights were strung, and every ornament I have fit on the tree nicely. I’ve had this collection for oh, SO many years.


Fat Friars doing the baking

Fat Friars doing the baking

Heavenly bakery

Heavenly bakery

Each Saturday, my daughter arrived to bake our Christmas cookies. I have a real kitchen, she has an apartment kitchen with a stove as old as the building. She took a tin of cookies to her Christmas party at work and I have enough (I hope) for guests coming by, the mail lady, (Mo) my baskets for neighbors and UPS delivery people. I did a little of the baking too but my daughter makes them like a pro now while I work on other projects. (And supervise)

The outside is lit up courtesy of tech support and all the presents are wrapped. This last Saturday, my daughter spent her visit putting all the ribbons and bows on each one to make them extra festive. It’s her thing and she does it so well. I must say, not a single piece of wrapping paper or ribbon was purchased this year or for the last few years. We use so much recycled stuff that is kept from year to year that I will probably never have to purchase ribbon and bows again.

All the handmade gifts that were finished, went in the mail along with cards. Hopefully they will find their destinations without a problem. I’m still looking for a package that was sent from Australia in late August. (see me not smiling here)

There are many gifts that were on my list to make that had to be set aside for my sanity. Some things just moved to the end of the priority list. I’m learning, slowly, that some things just have to be let go of in order to enjoy the moment. The motto now is: we do what we can, and enjoy what we do.

2 Sandwiched and pinned, one still waiting till after Christmas to be done. Oh well. Sigh.

2 Sandwiched and pinned, one still waiting till after Christmas to be done. Oh well. Sigh.

Hopefully, by the time company arrives, the house will be tidy, the decorations visible and the last of my gifts to be made are checked off the list. If not, have a cookie and don’t look.

How are your holiday preparations going? Are you HO, HO, HO-ing, or Bah Humbugging?

Merry Christmas, Happy Christmas, Happy Solstice, and anything else I missed. Oh, and Happy New Year too. Thank you all for stopping by and visiting with me.

From my heart to yours,
Marlene Herself

In Search of the Wonder of Christmas

In one week my son will be here to spend eighteen days with me. Christmas is for me, a season of gratitude and giving. I am the person that wants to keep decorations up all year and feel the wonder of connection to everyone. But alas, it’s frowned upon unless you have a Christmas store. Hmmm, there’s an idea.

We are fortunate that my niece lives just an hour away and has four beautiful daughters, so we will have her little ones to bestow our love and gifts of time upon.

My tiny, skinny tree is up. Since I live in an apartment building, for fire safety, I have opted for artificial. Do you know you can pick up a nice one at the thrift store then donate it back at the end of the season. No storage of a bulky tree. I was at my son’s last year so I didn’t need a tree. This year’s tree is similar to the last one I had. It fits nicely in the small space. Twenty year old ornaments bring that familiar feel to each tree. My ex and I gave up real trees when we couldn’t get the last one to stay standing. It fell over three times before we nailed it to the floor and wired it to the wall. The artificial tree we bought after that lasted 20 years before I donated it. Odd, we never had another Christmas together in that house. Hmmm.

So here’s my tiny tree and a few of my favorite decorations. I didn’t bring out everything this year. My heart just wasn’t in it.

It fits nicely in the corner

It fits nicely in the corner

I made the tree skirt a few years ago when I could sew. It was fun and festive. There are several more waiting to be finished if I ever stop moving.

Heart shaped tree skirt

Heart shaped tree skirt

As you can see, I have a very old Christmoose keeping an eye on the tree as well as Mrs. Claus. She’s not done with her baking so I have no idea why she’s taking such a long break.

Christmoose checking out the tree

Christmoose checking out the tree

Mrs Claus taking a much-needed break

Mrs Claus taking a much needed break

What is it that brings the wonder of the season to you? For me it’s never been about getting gifts. It’s about seeing the sparkle in the eye of the receiver. It’s the smell of cookies, banana and pumpkin breads baking for the delivery people. It’s in the simple joys of family and friends sharing a meal. Every year brings some new addition to tradition.

“Remember, if Christmas isn’t found in your heart, you won’t find it under a tree.”
~ Charlotte Carpenter.

From my heart to yours
Marlene Herself

In Search of a Cheery Halloween

Wow! It’s hard to believe that I started this blog one year ago on Halloween. I was lamenting back then on how it just wasn’t my favorite holiday for many reasons. I didn’t grow up with Halloween. I was 11 on the first one and 13 on the last one. Now my kids, they made Halloween fun for me. They had homemade costumes, trick or treating for candy. We didn’t have decorations but loved seeing them everywhere.

Growing up I remember my parents celebrating the German version of Halloween but it was for adults. Kids got a babysitter. That was usually me. At least my parent’s version of it went that way. It was called Fasching which is like Karnaval or Mardi Gras. A lot of dressing up and partying. It starts November 11 at 11:11 a.m. and ends at midnight on Shroud Tuesday. Different parts of Germany celebrate it differently. It’s no longer the holiday it was originally but then, none are.

Much later in life when I was married to my last husband, I started taking decorative painting classes because the things being painted were just too cute for words. He had grandchildren that I adored so we still did a bit of Halloween. I put these out each year when possible. I’ve decorated my new apartment even though the children apparently don’t trick or treat around here. It seems the few children who live here, go to functions for their tricking and treating. It puts me in a festive mood when I come in the door. What do you think?

Here are the characters I painted.

I gave up filling it with candy since I ended up eating it.

Smily pumpkin face at each end

Witchy Poo now spends most of her time at my daughter’s house.

Frankie now has flowers instead of candy backing him up.

Come in if you dare. The pumpkins are organic 🙂

Adding a touch of class by the door

Scary has never worked for me. I go for cute since I’m a fraidy cat. I don’t do scary movies either. Wouldn’t you just know it. Decorations by the front door were given to me or from the thrift store. There is a sewing project on my table that may make it for Halloween, just not for my post.

Happy Halloween everyone.
From my heart to yours,