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Romantic Easter

Dear Friends,

It’s end of day and I am just steeping a cup of chamomile tea.  Would you like to join me?  It’s hard to imagine that Easter has nearly passed, particularly since the ground here is still covered in a blanket of white.  It has been snowing on and off over the past few days. This morning the roads were icy and treacherous in places.  Today, it was less like Easter and more like Christmas with a long weekend, shovelling, church services, family gatherings, roast turkey, wrapped gifts and chocolate.  Lots of chocolate. Our family and neighbours were even exchanging tongue-in-cheek greetings of “Merry Christmas!”  It was as if time had stood still and we hadn’t moved past the 25th of December!  Sigh.

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PHOTO:  Aren’t these Easter cookies glorious?  They are sugar cookies made by my new friend Maria.  She is a genius when it comes to creating these confections for holidays and special occasions.  They are truly ‘Works of Heart’.  I was so excited that she was able to make me a batch for Easter gift giving.  She even packaged them individually in cello bags and tied them with pretty ribbons.  
 
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My hubby and I were grateful to be able to enjoy a delicious dinner with my sister, niece and her beautiful family.  We had lots of laughs.  My niece Janell’s children are Lily, age 2, and Victoria, age 9.  They are always entertaining and just a barrel of fun.  They LOVED their Easter cookies! Lily’s first word when she spied them was, “WOW!” And, she ran to give me a big hug!  I hope you celebrated and enjoyed your time with loved ones as well.

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I am enjoying an Easter vignette in a teeny corner of my kitchen tonight while sipping a cuppa. My husband has gone to bed. I decided to stay up for awhile to wind down after the day’s festivities and savour the quietness of the house. Our cat, Monza, is nearby cozily curled up in his basket and snoozing away. I think I can hear him snoring!  The cat. Not hubby.

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I am loving the way the chandelier prisms refract the light and cast shadows on the wall at this time of night. A lamp stands on the pine dresser re-purposed as a sideboard. The glow from it is almost ethereal and bathes the entire room in its warmth. I thought I’d share with you some photos of the Easter decor before it goes away for another year…
 
 
 
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I love the soft colour palette, touches of lovely pale blue, celadon, peachy pinks and creamy whites. Rabbits and roses, birdhouses and candles are whimsical touches that are lovely at any time of year. The subtle sparkle from the chandelier really adds that touch of glamour to an otherwise simple spring setting. I hope you don’t mind that the light is low and I let the pictures do the talking.  I need to sleep now…

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I just want to tell you how touched I am by all the lovely comments you left on my last post, Easter Blessings!  I am so glad you enjoyed it. I was really quite surprised by the number of visits it received! And, thank you for coming to see me tonight, too! Sweet dreams of Easter…

Wishing you a beautiful start to a new week,

Linda

I am joining A Return to Loveliness, Make It Pretty MondayMop It Up Monday, Met Monday, Mosaic Monday, Mod Mix MondayCreative Blogger, Teatime Tuesday, Nifty Thrifty Tuesday, Make the Scene Monday, Cottage Style Easter/Spring Party, Tuesday Cuppa Tea, Tuesdays at Our Home, Tweak it TuesdayMartha’s FavouritesTabletop TuesdayWhat’s It Wednesday, Friends Sharing Tea, Cottage Style Party, Primp Your Style, Wordless Wednesday, Be Inspired, Whatever You Want Wednesday, Wow Us Wednesday, What We Accomplished Wednesday,  Blissful White Wednesday, Wholehearted Home, Outdoor Wednesday, Show and Share, Treasure Hunt Thursday, Pearls and Lace Thursday, Share Your Cup Thursday, Time Travel Thursday, Transformation Thursday, Homemaking Linkup, Thursday Favourite  Things, Tutorials, Tips and Tidbits, No Minimalist Here, Feathered Nest Friday, Shabbylicious Friday, Fabulous Creative Friday, Home Sweet Home, Show and Tell Friday, Be Inspired, Open House at Bernideen’s, Pink Saturday, Saturday Show Off , What To Do Weekends, Seasonal Sunday and Sunny Simple Sunday!

Ultimate Blog Party 2013

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Easter Blessings!

Hello Everyone,

I hope you are having a lovely day. It’s spring! Does it feel like spring where you are?  I’m just popping by briefly to bring you a big beautiful bouquet of wonderfully warm wishes for a sublimely special Easter! I’m practicing my alliteration skills. Lol I was browsing through some old photo albums the other day, and with Easter fast approaching,  I thought that I would share these with you.  

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A white rabbit appeared on the dresser in my kitchen! At first there was one…

Although most of our snow has already melted away and the sunlit days are lengthening, I have yet to see a crocus braving its sweet head above the soil.  There are no bird choirs rehearsing and just a few mornings ago, we awoke to a little snowfall that softly blanketed the lawns and streets. Thankfully, it left as quickly as it came. It’s cold here still and there is more snow in the forecast. The mercury is slowly climbing and so what happens to fall shouldn’t last long. Fingers crossed. Like many of you, I am done with winter. And, so I am sharing a decidedly floral theme to help brighten your day and warm your heart…   

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Mr. Rabbit sits on a wicker basket filled with accoutrements for the perfect picnic!

I hope you don’t mind that these photos are not of ‘the real thing’.   Could you tell? Of course, there is no substitute for natural flowers but whenever I see a flattering imitation of a real bloom, I can’t help but scoop it up to use in my displays and projects, particularly my garden/tea wreaths.  I love crafting them for gifts and fundraisers.  (Click “A Garden Tea Wreath” for some beautiful inspiration.)

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A gorgeous winged creature and a teeny watering can adorn my garden/tea wreath.

Many of these blossoms may look familiar to those of you who drop by regularly. They have been recycled from a ‘Surprise Wedding’ that I planned a few years ago for a co-worker. Yes, I did say, ‘Surprise!’ Have I peaked your curiousity? Well, you can read all about it here, if you like, at (The Gift of A Wedding)!  What delightful memories! Even though these flowers are ‘Everlasting’, I think they are very cheerful.  They bring a smile to my face every time I see them and I hope they will bring one to yours, too! Can you spot the real flowers amongst the imposters in the photos below?

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Broken bits of china peep out from the delicate ferns and rose leaves.

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This china cup with a rose motif is perfect for this symbol of welcome.

What comes to mind when you think of Easter?

  • Decorated eggs hung on tree branches
  • Tulips, lilies and hyacinths artfully arranged, tied up in raffia 
  • Glittery greeting cards tucked inside minty aqua envelopes
  • Easter grass, chocolate rabbits, marshmallow peeps 
  • Names written on confection eggs, basketweave icing
  • Rainbows of jelly beans in carrot-shaped cello
  • Brightly woven baskets and pastel ribbons
  • Floppy-eared furry rabbits and fuzzy yellow little chicks
  • New skipping ropes, bubble wands, sidewalk chaulk and paint sets  
  • Beautiful spring mornings and wide-brimmed hats
  • Church bells and services at sunrise  
  • Family gatherings for a special feast  
  • Easter breads and hot cross buns fresh from the oven!
  • Outdoor egg hunts
  • The promise of renewed faith and hope 

Easter means many things to many people.  It is perhaps the oldest, most significant and most celebrated occasion of the Christian church.  The date varies each year falling somewhere between mid-March and late April. The symbolism and customs vary widely all over the globe.  Whatever the Easter season holds for you, may it be filled with love and joy and may you have the great gift of hope – and a little chocolate wouldn’t hurt either!

EnJOY, dear friends, and Happy Easter from Newfoundland!

Are you comfy in that chair? Here’s a plump little pillow for your back. While you are having a browse, would you like to share a cuppa ? I’ll put on the kettle. The tea won’t be but a few minutes brewing.  You pick the teapot!  I’m thrilled you came to visit…

Wishing you a beautiful day,

Linda

“The resurrection gives my life meaning and direction and the opportunity to start over no matter what my circumstances.”  Robert Flatt

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Mr. Rabbit appears in a corner of my kitchen every year around this time! The shelves of the wine rack are draped with leafy green garlands and blush silken roses peeping out here and there. In the photos below, a springtime wreath hangs on the wall and I arranged some flowers in a french bucket just for you!

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A close-up of the blooms in the bucket…

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A close-up of the spring wreath…

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I do love the colours – they’re so uplifting!

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There’s a rooster in just about every room in the house!

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A garden faeries waits to return to her home in our garden.

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A collection of tea books, a delicate nest and a packet of foxglove seeds hint to warmer days ahead.

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Would you like to borrow a tea book?

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Roosters sit on a re-purposed dresser in the kitchen. Can you see the reflection of the leafy trees in the glass picture frame?   The top pedestal was my great-grandmother’s.

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A prettily decorated egg is being cautiously watched.  Can you guess what the birdie will look like when it hatches? Lol

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Can you see the oval rose-patterned platter on the easel behind the Tea Library?

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A three-cup teapot sits at the feet of a prized garden fairy and an attentive frog.

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A whimsical teapot, a fairy shoe and a wee purse!

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A lovely coffee pot…

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This round rose-strewn cake plate is my favourite!

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Pick a pot!

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Another collection of beautiful books!

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Would you prefer instead a glass of wine?

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I love this decorative tin can!

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The rose in the print is so similar to the roses on my tea wreath!

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This gorgeous set has 6 matching teacups, saucers and side plates.

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On another day, I will show you my collection of pink porcelain heart-shaped teacups (18 of them) that are the same colour as the teacup in this photo. LOVE!

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This teapot is a Sadler. I love its lattice design and the roses that bloom on its face. The yellow jugs with pink lilies on the handles once belonged to my mom’s mother.

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This teapot is over 100 years old and it weighs a ton! The sugar pot was made in Germany and its design is hand painted. Both are gold-trimmed.

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The tiny framed photo of the olive tree was purchased in Provence where I toured with a friend some years ago.

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My tulip wreath hangs on a half wall in the kitchen. The large jug is White Wheat ironstone and belonged to my mother-in-law’s mother. It, too, is over 100 years old.

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I added a full-blown rose to the ringlet of budding tulips.

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The milk-and-honey jug came from Winners.

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Abundance…

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Supermarket soup tureen

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A tea set from Bowring (See post  “Life Can Be A Walk in the Park”)
https://beautifulideas.wordpress.com/2013/01/31/a-walk-in-the-park/

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Another tea set from Bowring, teacup print from HomeSense

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A trivet from Winner’s

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Love this tiny ‘chocolate’ bunny

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Bird condo

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I am addicted to teapots!

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Hmmm…What a great cuppa!

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The tulips are real. The rabbit is not.

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Isn’t this a cute little bunny plate?

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Did you choose a teapot yet? Or, would you prefer the-Tea-for-One pot?

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This gorgeous butterfly candle always lifts my spirits.

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Would you like a ‘Cuppa Cookie’?

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Sweet blessings!
Thank you for your beautiful footprints on my blog!
You are all awesome! XO
Hoppy Easter!

I’m thrilled to be joining Bernideen’s Tea Time, Creative BloggersA Return to Loveliness,  Cottage StyleBetween Naps on the PorchMop It Up Monday, Sunlit Sunday, Seasonal Sunday and Sunny Simple Sunday, Teatime Tuesday, Teacup Tuesday, Tabletop Tuesday, Nifty Thrifty Tuesday,  One Project At A Time, What’s It Wednesday. Friends Sharing Tea, Cottage Style, Primp Your Stuff, Wow Us Wednesday, Wordless WednesdayWhat We Accomplished Wednesday, Blissful White Wednesday, Be Inspired, Pearls and  Lace Thursday, Home and Garden ThursdayTreasure Hunt Thursday. Creative Things Thursday, Thursday Favourite ThingsFine Craft Guild, Feathered Nest Friday, Fabulously Creative Friday, Home Sweet Home, Open House Party,  Open House, Show and Share, Show and Tell, ShabbyliciousInspiration Gallery, Simple and Sweet Friday, Tips, Tidbits and Tutorials, Favourite Photo Friday, Thrifty Things FridayBe Inspired, Pink Saturday, Easter Show Off and Easter Party Cottage StyleCreative Blog Hop, Homemaking Link Up and The Tablescaper!!

Blah-Blah Bath Makeover

Dear Friends,

I realized that I had never shared any photos of our bathroom makeover and so I decided better late than never.  When we first moved into our home, we declared the first thing that “had to go” was the bathroom. It took some 20 years to finally get around to it.  Bathroom renovations are alot of work, particularly when you strip everything down to the wall studs and start over.  It was a job we had been dreading.  The entire renovation took 3 weeks and we were without a working bathroom for 3 days during the final part of the process, while the floor tile was setting and the plumbing was being done.

The original bathroom had grey fixtures. They came with the house. I  couldn’t wait to have them gone.  And, while waiting for the makeover to happen, I had painted the walls grey, too, so the fixtures would ‘disappear’.  I think I only made things worse.  So, I was determined when the makeover finally came that I would not make the same mistakes again.

I never liked our bathroom.  Now I LOVE it!  It’s just a teeny bath that packs a punch!  Like a little jewel box.  The wood trims alone took our finish carpenter several days to complete.  He did a great job, painstakingly crafting each piece of molding, crown, and baseboard himself.  And, he was a dream to work with – I had a vision and he totally achieved it!  Thank you, Gerry!  The look I was going for was fresh, clean and sophisticated.

I took a trip to France some years back. The new bath is somewhat Parisian-hotel inspired… Some people thought a chandelier could never work in this little space.  And, what on earth was I thinking installing a chandelier in the bath anyway?  Just sayin’.  lol

What do YOU think?   Click on the Smilebox slideshow if you’d like to see the end result. Turn up your volume to hear the music. 🙂

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Here are some more recent pics of the bath with a few little touches of Christmas cheer.  Why not?

Paint colours:  Muslin and Sugar White by Martha Stewart / Chandelier – Pottery Barn Online / Mirror and Light Sconces – Restoration Hardware Online / Faucets and Fixtures – Moen / Towels and Accessories – HomeSense

Thank you for stopping by!  I hope you enjoyed the tour.

Wishing you a beautiful day,
Linda

A ROOM WITH A VIEW!

Bringing the outdoors in…A garden table, chairs and cushions from Pier 1; ceramic rooster, table linens and glassware from HomeSense; and an inviting teaset from Bowring all combine to breathe new life into a teeny senior’s room.

Dear Friends,

It’s freeeezzzzing outside, so come on inside and stay awhile where it’s warm and cozy! The kettle is whistling and I’m just about to brew a pot of comfort tea…

Today I thought I would share with you a video that I made of my Mom’s room when she moved into a ‘Seniors’ Home’ last May. Would you like to see it?

The room ‘BEFORE’ was institutional, bleak, impersonal and, admittedly, depressing…While Mom had decided that she would like to move into a ‘Home’, I think when she first saw her room empty (except for the standard furnishings provided and that were adopted by the former occupant), the prospect may have seemed somewhat daunting to her. I was on medical leave from my work at the time recovering from breast cancer treatments, and I felt sad about it all. But I knew in my heart that it was the best for everyone concerned. The staff at the ‘Home’ are all such beautiful, supportive people; and I knew instantly,too, that she would be given the best care possible there.

I set to work straight away dreaming about improvements I could make to the space and how to turn it into a REAL ‘home’ for Mom. The following few weeks were spent planning, choosing paint colours (I had convinced the wonderful owners of the Home to allow me to paint over the existing ‘cold stone’ shade), shopping for furniture and accessories, scheduling deliveries and pulling it all together.  Mom hadn’t seen any of the things I had purchased for her new room (her own furniture was way too oversized to fit); and although she knew that I was working on the space, she never saw it until it was entirely finished. When she walked into the room for the first time, it was a total surprise to her!  My mom loved the transformation, as did the owners of the Home – a relief on both counts. The ‘AFTER’ was warm, inviting, personal, charming and uplifting!

My 83-year old mom sees her room for the first time! Her new friends from ‘The Home’, Ruby and Laura, can’t wait to see the transformation either!

The paint colours are Martha Stewart’s muslin and sugar white. I kept the backdrop neutral to accommodate the cheery mix of pattern, hues and textures that were introduced into the room. The industrial-style blinds were camouflauged, layering gold silk panels (Pier 1) over floral-embroidered ivory sheers (Madison Mackenzie) hung on a brass rod with glass finials (Wal-mart) that extended well beyond the window molding giving the illusion of a larger space.

I had trouble finding a table small enough to fit in the room. Given it functions as a TV room, study, dinette, parlour and bedroom, it is, indeed, a tiny ‘multi-tasker’ of a space! Fitting numerous, much-needed furnishings in the room while maximizing storage and ensuring safety and ease of movement posed a real challenge.

At Pier 1, I discovered a creamy-white wrought iron patio table with a glass top (it accommodates  a ‘sunbrella’). It just happened to be the perfect size, and the clear glass gives the illusion as though it ‘floats’ in the room. A solid table would have crowded the room, lending a much heavier feeling. I don’t think the space would have been ‘up for it’.  And, I was going for an airy, refreshing look so I decided to bring a little outdoors in. I purchased it along with a pair of coordinating chairs with pretty fanned backs (they provide interest) along with some outdoor, easy-care cushions for beauty, comfort and practicality! Additionally, the wooden tri-fold screen strategically positioned in the corner behind the settee (it warms the wall), petite ivory striped chest with crystal knobs near the closet, and brown wicker foot rest with red silk tufted pillow at the foot of the bed all came from Pier 1.

A bargain mirror at HomeSense for just $34 helps to create the illusion of additional space. A second mirror in a varying shape but coordinating frame (behind the dresser on the opposite side of the room)  was a find from Cohens at just $54!

A glorious ceramic rooster (HomeSense) sits atop the table.  His base fits nicely over where the umbrella is normally inserted in the table.  My mom dearly loves the rooster and laments often that it doesn’t cocka-doodle-doo! Pity! Although, I don’t think her ‘Home mates’ in neighbouring rooms would appreciate a rooster crowing at the crack of dawn!

The pretty blue transferware plates that hang on the wall came from my own cupboard!  The wall sconce was a purchase from Bombay Company (the candle inside the hurricane is battery-operated). The beautiful yellow-and-red ceramic lamp with silk shade, petite black-and-floral camel-back settee (my favourite piece) and gold armchair are from Hayward Interiors, a favourite design store. The custom headboard (it had to fit below the thermostat and fan control on the wall) was constructed from fabric found in the bargain bin at a local upholstery shop.  The cheery rooster bed linens were ordered on-line from Garnet Hill, and the buttery matelasse bedspread and sham were also ordered on-line from J.C. Penney.

The larger dresser with a stencilled pattern was a real find, just $295 from HomeSense! It is charming and lends less-bedroom and more-dining-room feel, and doubles as a TV/lamp stand.  The pair of smaller crystal lamps, coordinating mirrors, framed prints and floor rugs, were good buys at Winners.  The rugs really warmed up the hardwood floors and seemed to complete the room,  making it snug and appealing.

The scrolly iron plant stand (Winner’s) hosts a fountain with a lifelike frog (Alderberry Blum). Water bubbles up through a bamboo shoot; the sound is soothing. Realistic silken flowers and leafy ferns surround it and contribute a breath of spring to the room.  The framed prints of birds, butterflies, and dragon flies, as well as the colourful florals on the settee, and winged faeries that alight around the room in unexpected places all help to carry the enchanting garden inspired theme.

When I first toured the ‘Seniors’ Home’, I immediately noted  the doors that opened into most rooms, first revealed the person’s bed. I purposely arranged the furniture in Mom’s room so that the bed is the last thing to be seen.  Rather, a beautiful patterned rug, the pleasant music of a water fountain, life-like gorgeous blooms and an illuminated garden lamp with a tin shade (O’Neill’s Gardenland) reflected in a large mirror, that seemingly expands the space, greet visitors upon first entering the room. A marvelous chair and brightly coloured divan (I love how the yellow, melon, red, and lilac floral pattern wakes up the black fabric)  accented with a wooden screen draped with ferns beckons in the background.

I wanted the space to feel less like a hospital room, or a bedroom, and more like ‘home’ where family and friends are comfortable. I easily change up the accessories just a bit with the celebrations of the seasons, and that keeps it fun and interesting for Mom and her friends at the ‘Home’.

And, well, let’s just say that since the room has taken on a new personality  (thank you to Judy and Lolly at the ‘Home’ for letting my family do this for our Mom), our outlook has changed regarding what it means to live in a Seniors’ Home.

I tried my darndest to keep the room bright, light and joyous, a space where Mom would be content and love coming ‘home’ to.  I want her to feel good about her room and look forward to it whenever she opens the door to it. And, when family visit, I want them to feel encouraged to stay longer and enjoy their visit with her. With a little imagination, Mom’s room is now an inviting, cheery space that offers a sense of relaxing comfort and hospitality that says, “Welcome Home!”

Click here for the video of Mom’s Room With A View

Thanks so much for stopping by today.  I love seeing you! And, I’d love to hear your ideas about decorating a small space for a senior…Join in the conversation!

Wishing you a beautiful day every day,

Linda

Beautiful young people are accidents of nature, But beautiful old people are works of art.
~Eleanor Roosevelt

More photos…I’ll be adding some over the next day or two, so be sure to come back!

Before…

My 83-year old mom looks out the window of her new room at ‘The Home’

My hubby helps me to measure the room…

After…

Today, I am delighted to be joining Masterpiece Monday, Make the Scene MondayMetamorphosis Monday, Meet Me Monday, Show Off Your Cottage Monday, Market Yourself Monday, Do It YA Self MondayYour Cozy Home PartyTea Time Tuesday, Knick of Time TuesdayWOW Us WednesdayWhat’s It Wednesday, Southern Lovely for Show and Share, Home and Garden Thursday , Home and Garden Thursday, Open House, Thrifty Thursday, Time Travel Thursday, Feathered Nest Friday, Inspiration Friday, Vintage Inspiration Friday, Thrifty Things Friday, Furniture Feature Friday, Potpourri Friday, Fridays Unfolded, Saturday Splendour, Home Sweet Home, Once Upon A Weekend,  Show Me Extraordinary, Seasonal Sundays, The More The Merrier, Creative Bloggers Hop PartyFriends Sharing Tea and Healthy Wealthy Moms Blog Hop!

A CHRISTMAS TEA, TOUR AND MORE…

No one has ever become poor by giving. – Ann Frank

CAUTION:  There’s alot of Christmas spirit in this post!  Take a few moments to yourself away from all the hustle and bustle, settle into your favourite armchair with a cuppa, put up your feet, and just breathe…

A Christmas “Togetherness Tea Party” at our home was actually a fabulous fundraiser.  Holiday teas were poured from beautiful teapots. There were sweet treats, hugs and lots of fun!  At long last, it seemed, the Christmas season had officially begun…

Welcome Kindred Christmas Spirits,

It is such a pleasure  to relate to you something wonderful that happened just over a week ago! Last Sunday afternoon (December 11th), my husband and I hosted the most beautiful Holiday Tea that we have ever held in our home.  It was an open house: a buffet tea and tour of our home decked out in all the season’s finery. The event was actually a fundraiser named: “A Christmas Tea for Lucas”

THE SEASON OF GIVING  Over 60 persons (50 adults plus children) gathered at our home over a few joyous hours for the sound of jingling bells, twinkling lights, a rejuvenating cuppa, home-baked treats and heartwarming friendship – a time to celebrate all that is good about this time of year. Together, feeling inspired by the beauty and giving spirit of the season, we raised a grand total $1,475.00! Isn’t that AMAZING in just a few hours over tea and dessert?!  A Christmas miracle, indeed!

OVER TEA AND BLOGGING  I had been planning “A Christmas Tea for Lucas” for months – since late summer when we visited Prince Edward Island solely to meet my new friend through blogging Carolyn Aiken (you can read about it here) of the popular blog Aiken Home and Gardens. Undoubtedly, many of you already know Carolyn and are long-time fans of her gentle blog about her romantic life on glorious Prince Edward Island.

Lucas with a sock monkey named “Linda” that was made specially for the Tea and sent along in the mail from Prince Edward Island to my Island of Newfoundland. I must admit that I’ve never before had a sock monkey named after me!

On the final day of our visit with Carolyn and her husband Andrew back in August, and before leaving the Island, Carolyn and I sat together at her table in her welcoming kitchen and shared a cup of friendship.  She relayed to me that she and Andrew are blessed with 7 children and 9 grandchildren. One dear grandson, 6-year old little Lucas, had been diagnosed at the young age of just 2 years with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy (DMD). It  affects only boys – as many as 1 in 3,000. I never knew that. In fact, I knew very little about DMD at all before then.

Lucas and his mom, Jen (Carolyn and Andrew’s daughter), were about to embark on a journey that would cause them to travel from their home on Prince Edward Island to a Montreal hospital each week for 52 weeks for Lucas’ participation in drug trials there.  It is hoped that these drugs will slow the progression of the disease. We are all wishing the best for sweet Lucas and his family.

As Carolyn and I were chatting on for hours, the time seemed to just fly by!  We shared  our common interests, pursuits, dreams, AND worries while sipping soothing peppermint tea and eating Carolyn’s tasty home-baked scones and pie. I promised my new friend then and there that come the holidays, I would host “A Christmas Tea for Lucas”.  It would be a way to embrace dear Lucas and his family on their journey, to let them know that someone was thinking of them, sending them positive energy; and to demonstrate, in some small measure, financial support for Carolyn’s daughter and her family during a most challenging time in their young lives. Christmas, after all, IS a time for family.  And, aren’t we ALL family? Every one of us needs a shoulder sometimes and a helping hand. The kindness of others helps to make our load a little lighter at times. People, even strangers, were so kind to me when I was going through treatments for breast cancer not so long ago; I just wanted to pay that forward somehow.  And, thus the seed was planted there on verdant Prince Edward Island at Carolyn’s hospitable kitchen table…

Singing angels (from left to right Memorial University of Music students Steven Griffin, Courtney Woodford, Chris Davis and Teri Slade) lend a neighbourly caring to the afternoon’s event. These outstanding (pardon the pun) young people volunteered their precious time to raise funds for cancer research! Carolling is a rare and precious treat nowadays in this age of cds, music dvds and satellite radio! Thank you for the beautiful gift of your voices. You were truly wonderful and just made the day for all of us! I hope you will come back and share with us again next year…

FOUR MONTHS LATER, ON ANOTHER ISLAND… Christmas carollers with the voices of angels spreading the good news of the season greeted guests as they came up the walkway to our front door on that festive afternoon, immediately elevating everyone’s mood!

Can you see the crown of fresh fruit over the door?

Smiling, happy faces. Cheery greetings. Big hugs. Waves of gratitude and giving.

All were met with a fresh pineapple welcome (notice the door crown fashioned from a whole pineapple and bunches of shiny red apples), Colonial Williamsburg style.

Hand-and-tummy warming apple cider on the stove top. Frothy vanilla egg nog served in a vintage amber glass bowl and cups. Steaming flavourful teas poured from beautiful teapots. Fresh-from-the-oven desserts and special sweets of the season in abundance to tempt the taste buds.

The merry sound of jingle bells with each opening of the door. The warmth of twinkling white faerie lights all through the house. A holiday home tour. Prizes to be won and surprises, too!

Even an astonishing pop-in visit from jolly old Saint Nick himself in the finest cherry-red suit that I have ever laid eyes upon! (How on earth did you get word to Santa, good neighbour George, that we were having a special party that day?! And, how did Santa ever find time at this busiest time of year?! Muuuaahhh!). Children and adults alike were wide-eyed with wonder at the sight of the jolly gent. And, oh, the laughter!!! What holiday fun!

Handmade season wreaths plentifully fashioned from natural pine, fir, cedar and LOVE were for sale, contributed by a dear young friend with all proceeds going to the cause. Thank you, Brittany, for your generous heart! Every wreath sold and for a pretty price! People gave way more than we were suggesting – and, in one instance nearly ten time more! WOW!

THE BEST GIFT  Kindness. Caring. Generosity. Sharing. Wide-open hearts. There was a real camaraderie, a connection of some kind in the air that is hard to describe with mere words. The sheer excitement was almost palpable. It was true Christmas spirit like I’ve never experienced! And, to top it all off, snow started falling softly outside the windows, as if we were inside a ‘living’ Christmas card…What a perfectly lovely day!

This door crown (also shown in the photo above) was created in mere minutes while waiting for a wickedly yummy carrot cake to come out of the oven the night before the party (rather, in the wee hours the morning of the party). I have been using the same wooden cut-out in the shape of a semi-circle for this annual project for over 20 years! The fresh fruits are pushed downward over top of long galvanized nail spikes. Cedar branches are hot glued to fill in the gaps between the apples.  Using a large picture hanger attached to the back of the piece, hang atop your door for a Colonial Williamsburg-style welcome and your done. A resplendent door crown! 1-2-3 Easy.

It was an oh-so special Tea Party in celebration of this magical time of beauty and wonder, and giving from the heart. One and all opened their hearts and their wallets in good old-fashioned Christmas spirit and rejoiced in the gift of giving. A THOUSAND THANK YOU’s EVERYONE!  It means the world that you gave so freely and in so many ways. I was able to send the gift of a Moneygram and all your best wishes off to Lucas and his family soon after the Tea. The much-appreciated gift will be used to purchase a special new bed and mattress for Lucas.  Doesn’t it feel good knowing that you were able to help in this way?! 🙂

The sweets table…I was up until 2AM and again at 6 AM baking up a storm before the Tea so everything would be fresh.  The gorgeous window pane and chocolate dipped cookies in the centre were compliments of Sugar Mama’s Bakery!  Thank you Lainie. It was very sweet of you!

The best gift of the season for me was knowing that everyone who came enjoyed themselves to the fullest, and that we were able to join together in sharing a little goodwill at this magical time of the year in effort to help our fellow man.

On that day, our home was filled  to the rafters with the love that is the very essence of this beautiful season…It is something we will never forget.

A handsome guest remarked, “NOW it feels like Christmas…” It was the first time he had been to our home, and he had brought with him his lovely family in support of little Lucas and his dear family.  It  was such a beautiful compliment that they, and all who came to be with us that day, had taken precious time out of their own hectic Christmas preparations – the shopping, baking, decorating, stringing outdoor lights and getting the tree – to join in offering their friendship and strength of support to strangers. Lucas and his family are truly, truly appreciative and can’t thank you every one enough. YOU left a smile on their hearts, as well as ours, and we will always be grateful for  your kindness and generous, caring collective spirit…TRUE Christmas spirit!

Perhaps a NEW Christmas tradition has already begun in our home, one to anchor the coming holiday seasons. Hmm, next year, maybe I’ll host “The True Spirit of Christmas” Tea…

I ran out of greens just before fashioning this urn, so I used other elements from the garden to fatten it up: a garden cherub sits on the edge of the urn with his feet dangling over the edge, an iron obelisk and a shiny red gazing ball inside it are strategically placed in the centre, large pinecones, tall twigs, a garden sign on a stake, almost anything I could find…

LOVE IS IN THE DETAILS  Those of you who have ever hosted a large at-home party and enjoy entertaining can probably relate that in the weeks leading up to the Tea, I spent many blissful hours immersed in my favourite Christmas books and hundreds of magazine clippings from past years, still kept in a special holiday file, making endless notes that I would later tuck into my purse to have with me when running errands.

While perusing my favourite holiday recipes collected, too, over time and planning the once-a-year and first-time-ever fancy desserts I would make, I compiled ingredients lists and contemplated the special serving dishes to be brought out of the cupboards.

Pouring over seasonal decorating magazine issues both current and saved from Christmases past, while sipping spiced tea and daydreaming about how the house would look all decked out, and  the holiday trims I would attempt to make; I spent days and days (time here and there) cleaning and readying the rooms, imparting little inspirational touches of the season into each one, creating Christmas all through the house…

My husband did a wonderful job of orchestrating the adornments on our home’s exterior. The walkway, front door, garden gate and benches, planters and window boxes, statuary and obelisks, and, yes, even the shed and deck were festooned with fresh greens of all kinds in a spur-of-the-moment – yet surprisingly artful – arrangements! In contrast, he did not spend a goodly portion of his time thinking all these things through. He just went for it and all turned out beautifully!  There is something to be said for that! But then, the anticipation is part of the pure enjoyment of the entire process for me….:-)

‘The Christmas Shed’…Didn’t my hubby do a great job filling this planter box?!

Won’t you come with me and have a little look around?!  I promise you’ll find some ideas to dress up every room in your home during the holidays: draping greens over the beds, hanging stockings of every kind from everywhere imaginable (I’ve hung them from knobs on dressers, chairbacks, doorknobs, cupboards, bed posts, footboards, headboards…I looove Christmas stockings), creating lighting ambience with candles and chandeliers, pretty paper wrappings, ways with ribbons, even gift ideas and more…

I don’t think you ever stop giving. I really don’t. I think it’s an on-going process. And it’s not just about being able to write a check. It’s being able to touch somebody’s life. – Oprah Winfrey

First, before we begin our home tour, please bear with me while I’ll announce the winners of the many lovely Christmas-themed prizes. All the gifts have been delivered, but some of you have been curious, so here goes:

AUCTION PRIZES

Six-year old Natalie Moss won “A Child’s Christmas” package including: Lucas’ Sock Monkey, Christmas storybooks “The Gift” and “House of The Wooden Santas”, along with holiday DVDs “A Christmas Carol” with Jim Carey and the newer version of “Miracle on 34th Street”.  Lucky Natalie! Congratulations and enjoy!

Charlene Peckham won “A Christmas Tea”: A precious holiday basket filled with biscuit mix and strawberry-and-champagne preserves both from the Prince Edward Island Preserve Company (I brought them home with me from my vacation in PEI with exactly this in mind even then), Belgian chocolates, pretty beverage napkins, royal-themed teas, and a special Christmas tea book all beautifully presented for giftgivingt…

Harold Hayward won “Movie Night”: “The Bells of St. Mary’s” DVD, a gorgeous pair of red crackled-glass poured candles with tassels, and yummy holiday chocolates…I looove this movie!

Julie Bennet won “The Baker’s Gift”: Large bottles of cinnamon and vanilla, Paderno measuring spoons, Pier 1 measuring cups, festive recipe cards, and snowflake cookie cutter all gathered in a gorgeous red bucket planter!

Linda Harnett won: the ‘Hostess Gift”: McSteven’s delicious hot chocolate in a beautiful Santa tin, coordinating Jim Shore ‘Santa’ dinner and cocktail napkins in a sweet basket…

Terry Richardson won “Holiday Glam”: nail polishes, hand cream and hair product thanks to Signature Salon! It was so very nice of you!

 

TICKET PRIZE:

Gina Reid won the “Christmastime” package (I wish I had gotten a pic so you could see this beautiful haul):  
  • Costco 9-piece set hand decorated red glass Christmas ornaments
  • Punch Studio Victorian gift wrap (Winners/HomeSense has gorgeous papers, tags etc.)
  • Victorian gift bags
  • Red foil gift wrap
  • Victorian christmas tags
  • 2 rolls of sparkly gold ribbon
  • 1 roll of cording in red/green/gold/blue
  • Multi-colour tissue paper
  • Box of Christmas greeting cards
  • Red mercury globe/pedestal candle holder (Thank you O’Neills Gardenland)
  • Coordinating red mercury glass votive holders, candles…

DOOR PRIZES:

  • Lauren Hayward:  McStevens hot chocolate, Punch Studio dinner and beverage napkins
  • Courtney Woodford:  Red mercury glass filled candle, sweets
  • Joanne Bennett, Lauren Hayward, Courtney Woodford:  Swarovski crystal dangling hearts earrings created by Gail Perry, Beadazzler.  Thanks, Gail!

 Special Thank You’s:  

Alderberry Blum, Brittany Brinston, Gail Perry, George Dunne, Joanne Bennett, O’Neills Gardenland, Memorial University School of Music carollers Teri Slade, Courtney Woodford, Chris Davis and Steven Griffin, Pat Puddester, Ruth Wheeler’s card class, Signature Salon, Sugar Mama’s, Eric White, Connie Hayward, Marie and Brendan Hunt.  And, Thank You to Carolyn’s friend Heather who sent an original artwork of hers – Heather painted Carolyn skating with her grandchildren on the duck pond at the back of her house while Andrew builds a fire nearby.  It is so beautiful that my husband and I bought the painting. I’ll show it to you soon in another post…
 

THANK YOU TO ALL WHO JOINED US FOR  “A Christmas Tea for Lucas”!  And, THANK YOU to those who could not be here but sent along contributions.  And, too, to those who heard about our Tea for Lucas and sent along donations with friends – it was very kind of you!!! Now, on with the tour…

Although it hadn’t snowed yet, there was a real chill in the air. Our neighbour Joanne ran across the steet to her own home to grab caps and mittens for our carollers.  They later came inside and serenaded us the entire afternoon.  It was so beautiful…

Our very kind and caring friend Brittany made these gorgeous wreaths for sale with all proceeds going to Lucas and his family…I displayed them on my flower cart!

‘A Pineapple Welcome’  DID YOU KNOW? The pineapple, once the food of Kings, has, through the ages, been a symbol of welcome, good cheer, human warmth and family inherent to gracious home gatherings?!  How do you like my door crown fashioned from fresh fruit?  It will last a couple of weeks.

The Christmas Shed!  My husband did a great job of outlining the shed door with a gentle cedar garland and filling a plant cage that hung on the shed door. Can you see the mirror and the statuary tucked among the lushness of the natural greens? The cage normally has an ivy twining through it during the garden season.

This garden furniture’s home is usually on the decking off the shed.  Hubby moved it up onto the deck off the kitchen.  He laid a plain wreath atop the table to encircle a set of glass cylinders that hold cedar and cranberries frozen in ice.  I can’t wait to insert a tea light in the canister in the evening hours. It will look so pretty…

Hubby  also strung white lights in the tree branches off the deck, filled the flower boxes as well as a trough near the barrel fountain on the lower deck portion.  Can you see the heart-shaped wreath hung on the deck post? It will have a wide red-satin ribbon soon. Even the rooster seems happy enough among the ‘winter decor’…

I love the ‘waffle look’ left by the snow on this iron bench on the deck. As it was starting to snow, I removed the bright red-and-black plaid Christmas blanket and ice skates saved from school days that previously rested on this seat.  I’ll save that for another day…The ‘wreath’ is actually a cedar garland yet to be unfurled!

My Aunt Eleanor and cousin Brenda arrive amidst all the excitement.

Was that Santa who just went by?!

 CHRISTMAS ALL THROUGH THE HOUSE…

 The Front Entryway…

 

A large Santa made by my friend Jean’s heart and hand greets people as they come through the front doorway.  Hubby hung up the NOEL shutter upon the wall above Santa just hours before the party started.  In the process, he broke his toe when he dropped the hammer on his foot! Yikes! On the day of the party, a fresh pineapple appeared next to Santa atop this little chest.

Don’t you just love the donkey and the detail on this gentleman?! This Santa was my reward for setting up my friend Jean’s booth at a craft fair a long time ago.  Her display was featured on the front page of the local newspaper that year.  Ahhh, sweet memories….

 

In The Kitchen…

 

This vignette sits atop the fridge in our kitchen. DID YOU KNOW?!  In France and the Netherlands, the season officially starts on December 5th with a visit from St Nicholas and Sinterklaas?  According to the legend in France, he arrives with a little donkey carrying baskets loaded with gifts.  In Holland, he arrives by boat.  St. Nicholas’ modern counterpart in France is named Pere Noel, a much slimmer version of Santa Claus, who dresses fashionably, of course, in long red robes.

The Littlest Angels.  See this post for more pics.  Just click on the photo in the sidebar.  Remember, you can click on any pic to enlarge it if you want to see more detail…

A trio of ‘Frosty Ferns’ on the the kitchen windowsill above the sink…

 
 

Thank you to Sugar Mama’s Bakery for the gift of the Wow! cookies in the foreground. When my husband stopped by the bakery to pick up my cookie order (I was running late and ordered them up in a hurry), the owner offered them with her compliments! What a SWEET surprise! Thank you Lainie for such a thoughtful gift!

Orange-chocolate swirl loaf sits atop a half wall in the kitchen. It was a huge hit! This recipe is coming, ladies!

In The Living Room…

Wide-eyed little Grace, my co-worker Krista’s beautiful daughter,  was amazed that Santa would stop by my house! And, so was I!

This year’s staff photo! Left to right: Moi with co-workers Joan and Debbie

Santa really knows how to make us all laugh! Left to right: Bonnie, Connie and Lauren

My co-worker Sherri and me

The girls from our street who’ve we’ve watched grow through the years into the most wonderful young ladies! Standing left to right: Best friends Donna and Andrea. In the foreground: Left to right: Sisters Julie and Laura and moi.  We are so proud of you all! Laura and Julie’s mom, (and my garden faerie), Joanne, was a colossal help to me the day of the Tea.  Thank YOU, Joanne!

In The TV Room/Study

In The Bath…

In The Bedroom…

Thanks for coming by to spend some time today.  I hope I didn’t wear you out with all the photos and that you enjoyed the tour!  There’s another room or two to see yet, but I thought I would save those for a little later when you’ve had time to rest.
 
In case I don’t happen to be with  you again before Christmas, I wish you and yours a Happy, Happy Holiday and a Glad New Year!
 
Kisses,
Linda
 
A VERY MERRY CHRISTMAS & 
 HAPPY AND HEALTH NEW YEAR!

Sweet Holiday Wishes, Everyone!

I am joining A Delightsome Life for A Return to Loveliness and Lily-Rose Cottage for Simply Sweet (January 15, 2012) and Jennifer at Traditions and Magpie Cottage (December 2012). I hope you will visit these beautiful blogs. 🙂

I am thrilled to be joining in the fun and sharing this “Christmas Past” post today (December 1, 2013) at The Tablescaper!

http://thetablescaper.blogspot.ca/

Table Bling!

The sumptuous charm of this inviting tableau has a dramatic effect in the room. A neighbour-friend once remarked, "You needn't even set up a tree!"...but for me, that's impossible!

Welcome!  Welcome!

How are you, my friends?!  While the tea’s brewing, I thought today I’d share with you something ‘out of season’!  Even though it’s nearly spring, I thought you might enjoy yet a little leftover holiday bling…

This romantic tablescape happily occupies the living room during the festive season, which now seems light-years ago!  The tablecloth is actually an upholstery remnant hemmed around the edges. I love its glorious rose-scattered pattern in richly saturated hues.

The warmth of this uplifting vignette in vibrant colours of plum, pink, green and gold adds instant holiday glamour to the room. The layering of patterns and  textures – from wool tapestry, velvet pointsettias and satin ribbons to glittered ornaments, reflective mirrors and the twinkle of fairy lights peeping out from a snowy garland that hangs overhead – offers a joyous feast for the eyes.

At the end of the holiday season (and, admittedly, oftentimes much later), all the items are neatly tucked away  in a single container marked “LR Tablescape” along with a photo/sketch so that I can easily bring back the magic the following year.  The photo inspires me to change-up or improve upon the previous year’s design.

And, yes! The ivory-robed ‘Fantasy Santa’ is yet another one of my friend Jean’s fanciful creations! I will keep my promise to reveal more of her jolly gents and tell you how she brings them to life in an upcoming post.

Along with others that hang on my tree, my friend Joan painted the gorgeous “joy-filled” wooden heart you’ll see in the video below.  I’ll show you more of Joan’s hearts, too, on another visit.

The mirror-framed photo (also in the video below)  is of my  stunning niece Ashley dressed in her floaty high school prom gown – in the years since, she has graduated with honours from the Richard Ivey School of Business at the University of Western Ontario.   Where, oh, where does the time go?!  She and I share a love of teapots and all things pink, pink, pink! Muahhh, Ashley Rose!

I’ll see you again very soon, my lovelies.  And, even though it is March, I hope you still carry the spirit of Christmas in your heart.

Wishing you a beautiful day!

Linda

Click on the link below for a beautiful video vignette.  Enjoy!

“>TABLE BLING

Christmas is forever, not for just one day,
for loving, sharing, giving, are not to put away
like bells and lights and tinsel, in some box upon a shelf.
The good you do for others is good you do yourself…
~Norman Wesley Brooks, “Let Every Day Be Christmas,” 1976

Categories: CHRISTMAS, HOUSE DRESSINGS
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