Wednesday, December 28, 2016

New Traditions: The Life and Times of a Christmas Tree

This year has been rough. There are no two ways about it.  Our family struggles with the tremendous loss of my adoptive father, father-in-law, grandmother-in-law, dear aunt and two beloved pets. Just writing this is difficult.  They are more than mere words on a screen, mere letters arranged in sequence. We loved them, leaned on them, needed them...and they loved us.  A large part of us left with them and we endeavor daily to be whole in their absence.

This Christmas Tree belonged to my in-laws. They bought it together years ago. Enormous and always covered in brightly colored lights, ornaments and a train circling its base. Sometimes the train would derail and Papa would gently place it on the tracks and send it on its way, to the delight of his grandchildren.

My mother-in-law was going to give the tree to charity. 
I blurted, "No. We will take it!"

I was intimidated by its vastness. Ten feet tall and over six feet in circumference. 

What was I thinking? 

It sat in the garage longer than I intended.  
The day I brought it into the house, I cried for so many reasons.
 I also did not know how to put together a million piece tree with no directions, cracked in some places. Daunted but committed, I wanted my mother-in-law to see the tree anew. 
Hundreds of trips up and down the ladder...

 Three days later it was fluffed. I sprayed the boughs with pine essential oil. My arms abraded, as if by some crazed cat, from reaching into the stiff bristles. 
I used floral wire to raise drooping branches.
It was actually soothing- coaxing each branch back to life.
I added 1,200 twinkling lights.
I ordered 200 ornaments from Amazon. 
Then I found 200 more at a local store.
Then 300 more.
All red, I decided, to represent the love of those who went before us.

I looked everywhere for a red finial for the tippy top. 
None existed.
I found a large finial ornament online. I merely pulled the cap off  and turned it upside-down and voila! 

Then I added more ornaments.

New traditions. This is how they begin. 

This is now our family Christmas Tree. We have begun to create our own memories around it

I never truly belonged to a family until now and was mystified as to the ways of traditions. Now I understand this is how they are made; Like Christmas Trees with intertwining lights, bits of wire, bright, shiny moments and love. Mostly love.
Sometimes the train derails and we must place it gently back on its tracks, just like Papa taught us. 

This post is dedicated to Robert, Michael, Mary, Anita, Faerie Princess and McGillicuddy...and all those whom we have lost but still have a home in our hearts.

We miss you. 



Saturday, December 24, 2016

Merry Christmas Eve!

Since we decorate with fresh greenery we don't begin until right before Christmas. 
The entry was inspired by the reindeer Handsome Husband bought me for my recent birthday. 
We named him Malachi.  
The reindeer, not my husband.  He already has a name.

We usually decorate with fresh fruit but these ornaments spoke to me.  They said, "Please let us out of the basement!"

Malachi looks so dapper in his new bow! 

The ornaments are shatterproof for cat reasons. 

Craigslist urns are filled with faux cedar trees adorned with lights and ornaments! 

Our rescue angel, Delores, curious about her first Christmas in her new home. 
She was about to be euthanized because they said she was vicious. I begged. They relented.  She has shown no signs of aggression at all.  I think she was just misunderstood. 
We call her Delorasaurus because she has growly moments, but she is as sweet as can be.  She is getting used to us and her growly moments have become fewer and fewer. She follows Handsome Husband like a shadow.  She adores every last thing about him.
I know exactly how she feels!  

Craigslist clock wears a stole of garland and lights. 

Malachi, king of all he surveys...

Merry Christmas Eve, my friends!  

See you soon!


Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Color For the Soul

When the Sun sits lower on her throne and the blooms of Summer fade into the quickening light of Autumn, bright colors dance in the soul...



Sunday, September 11, 2016

At Last, a Pond

I have longed for a pond, since forever.  There is nothing like the soothing sound of water in a garden.

(Funny, but it does not translate to indoors.  Our windows leaked and there was NOTHING soothing about that.  Quite the opposite.)

I always knew what I wanted but my wallet did not agree.  We never agree.  An adversarial relationship at best. Like the time we had to pay to have the leaky windows repaired, for example. 

Like you, I pored over photos on Pinterest...

See what I did there?  
A water pun.
Inspiration from Detroit Garden Works

More inspiration...from Antique Art Garden Blog

If we had the money, I would buy everything Deborah Silver has to offer at Detroit Garden Works.

But for now...
I dream
...and scheme...

Enter a free steel plaster mixing trough! 

The mortar box is 8ft x 4ft. The perfect size for the bronze spitter I found years ago! 
It weighs about 200lbs, so it's not going to blow away.  I am going to keep it above ground. 

It is also 32 square feet of lawn I no longer have to mow! 

I'm so excited that I am unintentionally writing poetry! 

When we rearranged the rose arbor we removed many boxwoods.  They will surround the pond. 
The cherub spitter will sit inside the pond.  

Oh.  I forgot to share the arbor after we encircled it with arborvitaes we moved from the side gardens!

What a difference!  In a few years the only view will be the verdant arborvitae backdrop! 

I am looking for ways to seal the steel trough.  More on that as it develops!  
Any advice?



Friday, September 9, 2016

Autumn Is Afoot!

Time to surrender to the beckoning shadows and nestle in half-hidden spaces with a book...

Not Craigslist finds, but $10 each at Barnes and Noble.  



Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Breakfast Room Secretary

Hello Friends!

Still playing catch up in the gardens from last year and enjoying every second of it!
We have added a great deal and removed some details, as well.  Always in flux...

Today we are transplanting 20 arborvitae.  It's 7am and I am anxious to begin!

Before we had our fence installed last year, we used arborvitae as a screen.  We still plan on using it to surround the property but some areas take precedence. Today we will surround the arbor with a circle of arborvitae, to give it a solid backdrop.

This is going to be absolutely stunning with an emerald green backdrop!
Recall we found the pavilion free on Craigslist when we moved in!

...and, no, I never did finish this secretary.  We weren't speaking for a long duration.  
I was the first to reach out.  LOL!
In the Fall, though, after the gardens go to sleep. 

Handsome Husband brought these Asiatic lilies home from the grocery store.  They are perfect in the silver water pitcher I found at a garage sale a while back...
The drinking horn is his prized possession.  
Yes, even Viking drinking horns have a place in our home!

Hoping you are well!

It's time to dig some holes!



Monday, June 27, 2016

The Gardens, Dedicated to Our Dear Friend, Ben

Hello my friends!

Summer is keeping us on our toes!  Lots of catching up to do!

I have not shared many photos of the gardens, so I decided now is a good time!
Since there are so many, I will let them speak for themselves.  
The gardens are a work in progress, so please bear with me.  

How is your Summer?



Ben and his beautiful fiancĂ©e, Erica. 

This post is dedicated to my dear friend, Ben Pelot, without whose support, these gardens would have remained just a dream. 

 I imagined them, drew the plans, and Ben helped me with the hard work...always with a smile.  Always a smile and a "Sure thing, Miss Andie!!"

Ben helped me make my dreams a reality.

You were taken from us too soon.  

Gracie said she knows you are an angel in Heaven now, because you were an angel on earth. 

We will miss your kindness, your friendship, your humble nature... I look forward to when we meet again, my friend. Until then, I will see you in the gardens. 

Miss Andie


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