Home Sweet Home        
After a hiatus on my travelogue, I decided to share a post on my new house which I have dedicated most of my time during the weekends in 2015.

We have gotten our 4 room built-to-order (BTO) flat keys in July 2015 but I started my renovation research way back in February 2015. Deciding the theme for the house is important and the foremost thing to do before any research is done. It's akin to choosing the travel destination before researching on airfare, accommodation etc. I have research from the below websites before deciding which theme suits us:

- http://www.homeanddecor.com.sg
- https://qanvast.com
- http://www.renonation.sg
- http://renopedia.sg
- http://www.renotalk.com/forum

We first visited interior designer firm (ID) as ID is able to provide quotation based on the floor plan whereas contractor prefers to quote based on the physical state of the house. We meet up with at least 5 ID which we picked up ideas and knowledge from them. We also have a gauge of how much budget we would need to set aside for our renovation.

Hubby and I decided that we do not require an ID because:
- We intend to do minimal and simple renovation. We can also visualize the outcome of our renovation. Most who engage an ID is because ID provides the 3D images. I have tried few software on the Internet doing up a 3D image for our new house. It's time consuming and of cos it's not as presentable as an ID 3D image but it's sufficient for us.
- We can monitor the renovation progress ourselves. We are lucky that hubby job is flexible and our new house is near my parent's house so we went to our new house almost everyday during the renovation period.
- We want to save cost. ID will charge a premium as they provide 3D image and help to monitor and co-ordinate with the contractors. They can't be doing these for free.

After we have collected our keys, we meet up with at least 10 contractors. We compared their quotations (I did this in MS excel for easy comparison) and visited their client house to look at their workmanship. When comparing the quotations, I have to keep asking them to revise their quotation as it's inevitably that they missed out items here and there. In the end, we engaged Steven who has renovated ~50 houses in our BTO project and his price is very competitive.

Renovation work
- Hacking of kitchen wall
- Dismantle service yard door & lourve windows
- Kitchen cabinet base and cement sink base
- Labour & tiles & skirting for living room, dining area, walkway (750sqf) + 2 in 1 cement
- 5 ft top & 14 ft bottom Kitchen cabinets
- 14 ft Kitchen quartz top
6.5ft Master bedroom wardrobe
L 3.5ft x H 4ft shoe cabinet
- Sliding window at service yard
- Window grills at living room, 3 bedrooms & service yard
- Plumbing works
- Electrical works
- Disposal of debris
- General cleaning

As we did not opt in for HDB flooring, we have to factor the flooring cost in our renovation. There are few types of flooring such as tiles, parquet, laminate, vinyl. We decided with wood grain tiles as tiles are more durable and we do not have to worry about the floor getting too wet. We didn't know that there are different sizes of wood grain tiles i.e. 60cm, 90cm and 120cm until we meet up with one contractor. We went to Hafary, Lian Seng Hin & Soon Bee Huat to take a look at the tiles and we can asked for samples to bring home. The samples given are ~ 8x8cm which is not easy to visualise. We took more than 20 samples and compare it under day light and at night, repeat the process again and again before deciding the final one. As HDB no longer provides prepacked cement, this adds on to our renovation cost too.

The wall between kitchen and dining area is hacked away to create a larger space. As I seldom cook and we bought a good hood, open concept kitchen does not pose a problem to us. The window and door dividing the kitchen and service yard are also removed to create a larger space and easier maintenance.

I don't understand why the HDB did not install windows at the service yard. We have to include window installation as our service yard is prone to get drenched during raining days. We also added the installation of window grills for the whole house.

There is minimal carpentry for our house as I feel that the more cabinets you have, there is a higher tenancy to buy and keep more things. The carpentry in our house only consist of a half height shoe cabinet, kitchen cabinet and MBR wardrobe. We opt for a half height shoe cabinet as I do not have so many shoes and most of the time, the upper level of a full height cabinet is usually made redundant. We did not have a TV feature wall too as we prefer the white wall in the background. In the kitchen, we have a lower cabinet for the stove and sink and a lower and upper cabinet at the opposite. The rationale for not having both lower and upper cabinet on both sides is to prevent the kitchen from being seen as too cramped. I have requested the contractor to build a cement base at the sink area to minimise wood corrosion. We had quartz kitchen top as it is durable and has a range of colours to chose from. We have a simple 8 doors wardrobe instead of walk in wardrobe as I find that over time, clothes become very dusty. I have requested my contractor to split the upper and lower wardrobe into separate doors to minimise opening the upper wardrobe where I kept the winter clothes.

We did not engage our contractor to paint our house as the painting quotation I received from various contractors range from $1,100 to $1,400. We bought our own paints and engaged the Bangladesh painters. The Bangladesh painters are professional painters as they painted the interior and exterior of flats for HDB. We bought our paints and painting tools from Chye Seng Paints & Hardware Co (Add: Blk 452 Ang Mo Kio Ave 10 #01-1767 Singapore 560452). It's cheaper here as a tin of Vanilex 5000 cost $47 and a tin of Odouless cost ~$70. The boss from Chye Seng Paints advised us to buy Vanilex paints since we are not moving in immediately and the odour will fade away in few days time. In the end, we bought Vanilex 5000 Sail White for living and dining room and Vanilex 5000 Snow Flakes for bedrooms.

The renovation sequence is usually in this sequence: Dismantling -> Tiling -> Electrical work -> Painting -> Light installation -> Carpentry and there are a few milestones where owner presence are important: electrical wiring, aircon installation, gas piping installation, plumbing, carpentry installation. 

After selecting the contractor, we have to source for lighting, furniture and appliances. We decided to be more adventurous and bought lighting from Taobao. We spent about $450 on lighting (inclusive of shipping and GST charges) which is ~50% saving compared to buying locally. All the lighting are received in good condition except the walkway lamp casing which cracked. I have informed the seller and the seller agreed to send a replacement FOC. However I have to arrange my own shipment from China to Singapore which I have consolidated with my 2nd batch of Taobao purchase.

Lighting
Living room: 1.5米黑色导轨5W 暖白 铝黑壳5W 正白 铝黑壳
Dining area: æœ¨çº¹B款(送3W暖光LED) (we changed the light bulb as the original Taobao bulb is too dim)
Kitchen: 90cm*20cm 26W LED白光,银色
Household shelter, MBR bathroom, Common bathroom: æ–¹åž‹ 18W白光
Entrance, Service Yard, MBR entrance: æ–¹åž‹ 12W白光
Walkway: ç»¿è‰²C款(送3W暖光LED) 
Bedroom 2 & 3: å°å·-白-LED-白光-16W (without remote)
Lights purchased from Taobao

Another alternative is to buy from Malaysia. Below are Johor Bahru lighting shops visited by Singaporeans:

-Tampoi Lighting Centre Sdn Bhd
Add: No 2 Jalan Titiwangsa 3/1, Taman Tampoi Indah, 81200 Johor Bahru
Tel:607-2418999
- e Mart
Add: No 23 Jalan Bestari 12/2,Taman Nusa Bestari, 81300 Skudai, Johor Bahru
Tel:607-5569037
- Starworld Lighting
Add: 28 Jalan Titiwangsa 3/1, Taman Tampoi Indah, 81200 Johor Bahru
Tel:607-2358860

At first instance, I feel loss when surfing Taobao website but after I joined several Taobao Facebook page, read a lot and learn from there. I also save the links of those items which the renotalk forumer bought for reference. It's better to buy lights from Tmall which is more expensive but more reputable (Tmall is operating on B2C system (business-to-consumer) whereas Taobao is operating on a C2C system (consumer-to-consumer). I have inform the seller that the purchase are to be ship overseas hence they will usually take extra steps in the packaging. As I'm buying many big items, renotalk forumers recommend shipping agent Peeka or Amcon and I used Amcon for my shipment. The charge is RMB550 for 1st cbm (rounded to nearest 2 decimal places), S$35 shipping document, S$40 local delivery and 7% of the item value purchase. Amcon provided me their Guangzhou warehouse address which I have keyed in when checking out my items. They provide 14 days free storage from the day the 1st item is received. I have to provide Amcon the list of items which I have bought and I will ask for update on the items and the volume received at Guangzhou warehouse. After all the items have reached Guangzhou warehouse, I will ask Amcon to proceed to ship the items to Singapore which takes about 7-10 days. Then Amcon will call me to arrange delivery to my house. 

We visited furniture stores almost every weekend and below are the list of Scandinavian theme furniture stores which we have visited:

Affordable
- Star Living
Various location
- Comfort Furniture
Add: 110 Eunos Avenue 7
Tel:67474809
- Home's Harmony
Ad: 978 Toa Payoh North #01-01
Tel:67104568
- Nook & Cranny
Add: BLK 514 Chai Chee Lane #02-07
Tel:93831176
- Tan Boon Liat Building
- Prestige Affairs
Add: 9 Tagore Lane #03-08
Tel:65521333
- Born In Colours
Add: 1024 Yishun Industrial Park A #02-37
Tel:90093586 (by appointment)
- Castlery
Add: 2 Alexandra Road, #01-03A Delta House
Tel:67445333
- Ikea
Add: 317 Alexandra Road or 60 Tampines North Drive 2

Expensive
- Commune
Add: 9 Raffles Boulevard #02-52 Millenia Walk 
Tel:63383823
- Danish Design
Add: 100E Pasir Panjang Road #08-01
Tel:62708483
- Teak Avenue
Add: 9 Tagore Lane #02-05
Tel:62202667
- Grafunkt
Add: 9 Raffles Boulevard #02-34 Millenia Walk
Tel:63366046
- We Love Air
Add: 29 Tai Seng Avenue #01-02
Tel:62969272
- Lush Lush
Add: 134 Joo Seng Road Level 2
Tel:62879096
- OM Home
Add: 16 Tai Seng Street Level 8
Tel:62350777
- Scan Teak
Various location
- Pickle and Rail
Various location

After visiting so many furniture stores, we bought sofa, TV console, dining table and bench from Star Living. Our bed frame is purchased from Prestige Affairs and we also bought the glass cabinet and dining chairs from Ikea. I have read that there are many people who bought furniture from Taobao nowadays but we decide to buy locally as we prefer to see the physical sample before buying. We did purchased smaller items such as coffee table and bedside cabinet from Taobao. It's better to start from the big items follow by the smaller items e.g buy sofa follow by TV console and coffee table as the smaller items can be omitted if there is not enough space. 

We did not major haul our bathroom as we do not see the necessity in spending on the bathroom. We only change the basin in the MBR bathroom as we find the basin provided by HDB too small. We went to a sanitary shop in JB which was recommended by hubby friend and bought rain shower, 2 bidets and a kitchen mixer. These only cost us $230 which I don't think we can get such price for Johnson Suisse product in Singapore. Do note that if you travel out of Singapore for less than 48 hours, the GST relief is for goods valued up to $150 per person.

- The Best Sanitaryware Trading 
Add: No.37, Jalan Setia 12/3, Taman Setia Indah, 81100 Johor Bahru, Johor 
Tel:07-355 5020

Below are 2 sanitaryware shops frequent by Singaporeans. We bought our kitchen hob and hood from Universal Union as we find that Hoe Kee pricing is slightly more expensive. We decided to invest in a better hob and hood and have chosen the Fujioh brand.

- Universal Union
Add: 710 Geylang Road
Tel:67490007
- Hoe Kee
Add: 8 Genting Lane
Tel:67494521

We opt for gas heater instead of electric heater because the gas heater has inner storage tank and is able to support the rain shower system. We do not want to install the water tank in our toilet as we find it ugly. In addition, gas is also cheaper than electricity.

We purchased most of our appliances from our neighbour as he's working in LG. We got a good discount for our TV, fridge and washing machine. We purchased Mitsubishi Starmex System 3 from AJ Aircon where we enjoyed bulk BTO purchase price. The aircon specs research are done by hubby. We got our ceiling fan from JB e-mart which is half of the price in Singapore. We bought a Mayer 3.5L air fryer for the price of 2.2L during the SG50 promotion. We also bought discounted food blender, rice cooker, iron and hair dryer during the Philip warehouse sales. We decided to do without a built-in oven and microwave as our kitchen is relatively small and I seldom bake.

Below are list of appliances shops which offer competitive pricing and most accept cash or NETS, there is extra charges for payment by credit card. 

- Maximum Credit Co Pte Ltd
Add: BLK 121 Bukit Merah Lane 1 #01-02
Tel:62233575
- Aik Leong Enterprise
Add: BLK 121 Bukit Merah Lane 1 #01-16
Tel:62719365
- Hong Liang Electrical Enterprise
Add: BLK 121 Bukit Merah Lane 1 #01-70
Tel:62783331
- Goh Ah Bee
Add: Blk 210 Hougang St 21 #01-247
Tel:62288611

I choose curtains over blinds for easier maintenance. Instead of engaging those curtains makers who charge at least $700 for four rooms flat, I decided to DIY which only cost half of it. We bought curtain rods from Ikea and asked our contractor to install for us. For the curtains, I purchased them from Qoo10 and the quality is good.

Floor plan
Living room under day light
Living room with lights switch on
Close up view of living room
Walkway

DIRECTED : Antoine Delach
antoine.delach@gmail.com
http://www.antoinedelach.com

MUSIC : Bastien Prevosto
http://bastienprevosto.tumblr.com/

Cast: Antoine Delach. and Etude de Forme

Tags: HAPPY NEW YEAR 2014 snow flake r


          Expression is the Purpose        
As an infant, you are not entirely a clean slate to begin with. Every infant already contains, encoded within its DNA, a unique personality and karmic blueprint. No two infants are alike, even from the get go. Ask any new parent and they will testify to this. As a society, we tend to perceive infants from a very limited perspective. We see the infant as a brand new instance of life with no real history of its own. This is a fallacy. Encoded within the DNA of each child is the history of the entire Universe. This is not meant figuratively. It is literally true. 

From the primary elements, metals and minerals that were formed in the first explosion that created the Universe, to the primitive cells that represented the earliest life forms, to the animal and reptilian instincts for survival that propagated life, to the primitive man who first discovered fire, to the early agrarian peoples that formed the roots of civilizations, to the ancient plunderers and barbarian hordes that swept across continents, to the civilizations that created mathematics, art and culture, to the medieval kingdoms and their struggles for power, to the imperial powers and colonization, to the industrialization and explosion of the human intellect - all this history of chaos, bloodlust, power and enslavement, of cooperation, creativity, symbiosis and progression is encoded within a single microscopic strand of every infant's DNA. In other words, rather than being a clean slate without a history, an infant is the cumulative expression of the entire Universe seen from a single unique perspective. Every newborn contains the same primordial soup of elements, influences and events. Just like all snowflakes are essentially comprised of the very same elements, yet each flake is unique in the patterns in which it crystallizes, so too is every infant absolutely unique in the crystallization of its expression - its karmic blueprint.

The Purpose of Unique Expression

As human beings and as members of society, we all have some purpose to fulfill and this purpose is defined  according to the various functions and uses we serve. It is the purpose to survive, to provide for ourselves and our families, to contribute to society, to collaborate with one another, to compete against each other, to find our partners, to create families and propagate our bloodlines, to maintain order and harmony, to find and develop an art, skill or trade, to be law-abiding and moral members of society, to work for the benefit of society, to aspire to personal and professional success, to contribute to progress and innovation, just to mention a few. 

For most of us, this becomes the overarching purpose of our lives. We inherit our sense of who we are based on the values we derive from society. Even though, we pride ourselves on own individuality and believe that we are unique in our thoughts, opinions and actions, we are subconsciously programmed to perceive and value ourselves through the eyes of society. As a result, in searching for our own unique purpose we inadvertently end up searching for just another function or use that we might serve. 

As an adolescent or young adult, you may have asked yourself the question: what is the purpose of my life? And in an effort to answer this question, you may have found yourself thinking about what career will fulfill you, what kind of mate might fulfill you, what greater ambition or path of altruism might fulfill you, what cause or belief system might fulfill you, what philosophy or spiritual path might fulfill you, what amount of wealth, power and influence might fulfill you, what journey of exploration and adventure might fulfill you. The only answers you can come up with are those that arise from the perspective of function and use. The only solutions your mind can think of are just versions of the statements: "how can I enhance my own value, how can I be perceived by others and what use can I be to society." This is how the human brain has been conditioned to think, to value itself and others.         

Why is every snowflake unique? What is the purpose of this unique design? After all snow is snow and if snowflakes were identical to each other it would hardly make any difference. And yet, no two snowflakes are alike. This leads to another question: what is the individual snowflake's purpose? After all if it can be identified to be so unique it must have an equally unique purpose attached to it. And yet, the only apparent purpose of a snowflake is to be born, to descend to the ground and to eventually dissolve. This is a perspective that associates purpose with function or use. And from this perspective, since the individual snow flake seems to lack any unique function or use it cannot found to have a unique purpose that is separate from the purpose of snow in general. However, there is a deeper perspective that goes beyond the notions of function and use, which reveals an entirely different reality. And from this perspective:  The expression is the purpose.

The Influence of Outer Authority

The dictionary defines authority as: "the power to influence or command thought, opinion, or behavior". From a very young age we are encouraged to recognize and to obey authority. This authority comes in many forms as we evolve as individuals. In the beginning our own parents are the primary voices of authority in our lives. They lead us, inform us, influence and command us. They instill upon us their own sense of values, morals and beliefs. They project upon us their own perspectives of reality, of what is beneficial and what is harmful, of what is important and what is trivial, of what is worthy and of what is useless.

As we grow older, the range of authority figures increases to encompass our teachers, our friends, our peers, our superiors, our bosses, our law enforcers, our governments, our courts, our leaders and our state. Yet none of these figures of authority offers anything unique or original. They, just like us, have inherited all their value and ideals from the authority figures in their own lives, who in turn have inherited it from those in their lives and so on endlessly to the beginning of humanity. And while the values we live by evolve and transform from generation to generation, the process of how we derive our own sense of personal value stays the same. As a result, we become nothing more than derivatives of the times and circumstances in which we live. And though, there may be slight variations in how we express ourselves, it all fits in very nicely within the paradigm of function and use which is how society perceives the individual.

In the system in which we live, we are accustomed to attributing value to individuals based on their functions and contributions. As a result, someone like Einstein or Gandhi is perceived as being of greater value than your tax accountant or the postman, who in turn is of greater value than a homeless man or an unemployed bum. A beautiful model or talented celebrity is of greater value than a plain housewife or lowly insurance salesman, in turn of greater value than a prostitute or a drug addict. It always ties back to function and use. The greater the function and use the greater the value of the individual. And this is the approach we inadvertently take when attempting to discover our own unique purpose. We begin with the mistaken assumption that value is something you earn, rather than something that is inherent. The voice in our own heads is really the cumulative voice of all the authority figures in our lives, the voice of outer authority. We adopt this voice and make it our own, moving forwards with our lives believing that we are expressing our own unique purpose. Yet, as long as we continue to evaluate who we are based on what we do, we will not have begun to even scratch the surface.

Return to the case of the human infant, the newborn, once again. From the perspective of function and use, an infant is the most useless form of human on the planet. It literally is incapable of anything other than breathing, wailing and flailing its arms about. And yet it takes a very cynical perspective to look into the eyes of a newborn and to see anything less than a miracle of nature. One might argue that an infant represents a future potential for function and use within society, and this is where its value comes in. But this is a limited viewpoint. Look into the eyes of an infant and you will find yourself hypnotized by something only infants possess: The ability to be complete in their own uniqueness.

No infant has any concept of value or purpose. Yet it is expresses itself with utter uniqueness, effortlessly. The infant is not confused. When it is hungry it will let you know. Without regard of what anyone thinks about it, without a care of how it will be values by others, without concern about what purpose it must serve within society. When it is hungry it will let you know, when it is tired it will let you know, when it is happy it will let you know. Its expression is entirely unimpeded by any derived sense of value. And still, it displays an authority. The authority that demands to be fed, to be held to be recognized and attended to, to feel joy, to feel indignation, to feel love. What is this authority and where does it come from? What is the infant's purpose if it has no concept of function and use? 

The expression is the purpose. And the authority that ensures the expression is an Inner Authority.     

The Voice of Inner Authority

The voice of Inner Authority is a silent one. It is silent in the sense that it does not make itself heard through any mental activity. It does not express itself through the intellectual or emotional mind. It is only sensed as Intuition. As we progress from infancy, our intellectual and emotional minds begin to dominate. We are sponges, soaking up everything from the environment; from the basics of how to walk and chew to how we come to perceive and value ourselves. Everything is soaked in, filtered and distilled to form our sense of self identity. And the primary tool we use to perpetuate this self-identity is our intellectual and emotional mind. 

The mind expresses itself predominantly through thought and emotion. It perpetuates an incessant internal monologue (the voice in our heads) that is an amalgamation and derivative of the voices of Outer Authority. Early in our childhood, we are still tuned in somewhat to our deeper intuition, our unique expression, to the silent voice of Inner authority. This is why young kids still appear so unique, creative and unabashed in their expression of life. But slowly, over time the balance between the Inner Authority and Outer Authority begins to shift. More and more we find ourselves trapped in our own heads trying to sort right from wrong, trying to project future outcomes, trying to grasp for fulfilment. 

Does a three year old worry about creating a secure future? Or about being of value to others? Or about finding happiness? Or about expressing itself more uniquely? Some might say the two year old is too stupid or ignorant to grasp such concepts, but this again is a limited and cynical view. The two year old expresses itself constantly and effortlessly because it is still grounded in its own nature, in its own Inner Authority.

And yet, its "fall from grace" is an inevitable one, because that is the nature of the process. The voice of Inner Authority never enforces, never commands, never explains, never cajoles or convinces. This is unlike the voice in our heads, which is forever explaining, rationalizing, comparing, evaluating, defending or blaming. The voice in our heads is nothing more than a power struggle, a hunger game between competing voices of authority - the voices of our spiritual beliefs, religious doctrines, political parties, moral police, justice system, family values, parental influences - all in flux all competing to control and dominate who we believe ourselves to be, how we will survive and how we will be of use. 

Inner Authority does not control, it accepts. It does not command, it whispers. It does not condemn, it permits. It does not dominate, it acquiesces. Even as the balance shifts within our beings to an externally derived sense of self, it does nothing to obstruct the purpose. Because experience and expression is the purpose.   

Reconnecting with Inner Authority

As long as you continue to determine the value of individual existence based on function and use you will remain estranged from your own Inner Authority. Because Inner Authority does not place any value on these attributes. Rather the existence of Life itself is the only value there can ever be. That you exist in this moment (your being) rather than the functions you satisfy (your doing) is what is of primary value. From the perspective of Inner Authority all individuals that exist are of equal value by simple virtue of the fact that they exist. Their own existence is the only thing of value, everything else is contrived.

This is difficult for the intellectual-emotional mind to wrestle with because it is accustomed to differentiating between people and things based on their perceived value. After all if everything is of equal value how can there be anything unique about it? And so it is confronted with the same paradox of the snowflake and its purpose. As long as you turn to your own thought processes to provide you your sense of value you will inadvertently be misled, because your thought processes are not unique to you, they are derived from the voices of Outer authority.

Turn your attention inwards instead and catch a glimpse of the world that is inside. It is just as real, just as vital and just as ancient as the one outside. A single strand of your DNA contains the entire history of the Universe and still it is completely unique from any other. Contemplate this mystery. Meditate on yourself and try to delve deeper. Use your intuition to try and get a feel, a sense of your own unique reality, your own karmic blueprint. Your inner world needs and requires as much attention as does the outer. And in exploring this world you will fall prey to the same tendencies that you do in your outer reality. The voices of Outer Authority will influence you here as well. Your intellectual-emotional Mind will attempt to dominate this process too.

But you can and will revisit again and again to that place of Inner Authority, that waits patiently and unperturbed for your return. As you develop a deeper, more intuitive sense of yourself, one that does not rely on your thought processes and rationalizations to perpetuate it, you will begin to exhibit it more and more in your outer world as well. The balance begins to shift again and the pendulum begins its return journey.

As you grow in recognition of your own true nature and inherent self-worth, so will you perceive the same in others around you. It happens simultaneously in tandem. The one cannot happen without the other and if it does it is only another indication that you have been misled by your thought processes. Because the outer world and inner world are only reflections of each other. The voices of authority, of power, of aggression, of obedience, of morality and righteousness, of control and fear that you perceive in the world outside are none other than the thoughts and emotions fleeting through your Mind. And yet, in moments of great clarity, when the silent yet deeply grounded sense of your own Inner Authority becomes so very palpable, what you are simultaneously sensing is the beauty and infallibility of the spirit of Creation.

Your own unique existence is the only thing of value in this world. And to be here, exactly as you are in this moment, is the greatest purpose you can ever serve.
          Snow flake        
snow, winter, and snowflake image
          Alaskan Gumbo        

Sigh. It’s only September and it started snowing in Fairbanks five days ago. The first snowfall is always bittersweet: it’s tragic to say goodbye to such a seemingly short summer season. The season where my blood finds respite in the sun, warmth, and Vitamin D. Yet, it’s always exciting to see the first snow flakes... 

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The post Alaskan Gumbo appeared first on Sense of Taste.


          GO ON AN ADVENTURE        
Baby Elliot is growing fast! Can't wait to see him again in February. His mom took this beautiful picture of him enjoying the snow. I did use some modeling paste, Gelatos, mist and vellum, that I did cut in snow flake forms with my Silhouette Cameo.






          It's Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas        
Blessed is the season which engages the whole world in a conspiracy of love. ~ Hamilton Wright Mabie{1845-1916}

Hello dear friends! I have been absent from Blogland for a couple of weeks. It has been a difficult year with so many health issues plaguing me and one wonders how my hubby puts up with me but he does. 



My doctor has me on my fifth pill to try and regulate one of my health issues but this one isn't working either so far. I am pretty much a shut-in these days and can't wander too far from home. I hope in the new year I will be having some good results. In the meantime, I'm trying to take one day at a time and counting my blessings. I have much to be thankful for. We all do!

Snow flakes in the air
Carols everywhere
Olden times and ancient rhymes
Of love and dreams to share.

Sleigh bells in the air

Beauty everywhere
Yuletide by the fireside
And joyful memories there.

Christmas time is here

We'll be drawing near
Oh, that we could always see,
Such spirit through the year....~ From A Charlie Brown Christmas

I thought I would share just a little Christmas decorating I have done so far. I generally take the colour theme throughout the house but this year I did it a bit differently. 

Our big tree is in the family room this year instead of the living room. It holds most of my Memory ornaments. Red, gold and green are the colours I've used for this tree with gold and red ribbon.


The birdhouse with the light inside next to the tree was made for me by a lovely gentleman in our church. I keep it out all year round in the family room.




A wee Nativity that I have had for years.




In the living room we have a four foot tree which I have decorated in gold, pink and teal. It too holds lots of Memory ornaments.

Never worry about the size of your Christmas tree. In the eyes of children they are all thirty feet tall.  ~ Larry Wilde

A Christmas birdhouse with a tin roof and a beautiful glass knob for a perch. I have added a wee Christmas wreath over the opening.

A tea tray set up just as you enter the living room. I have used my red transferware teapot and some teacups and arranged a few cedar clippings around with dried roses. 


A bowl full of Christmas ornaments. 


Like many of you, I have brought out my Christmas teapots and teacups. I am using my cardinal ones today. 



This teapot was a Christmas gift a few years ago.



I have both my fruit cakes made and yesterday I quickly made some mince tarts. So today it's tarts for tea time.


This poinsettia ornament was made by a friend. Isn't it lovely? 



We are all so busy these days and one must take some time to relax and enjoy the season. A hot cup of tea with someone you love is just the thing. 

In spite of poor health these days, I am determined to rise above it and give thanks for this joyous holiday we are celebrating.

Lord, help me this Christmas to reflect the light of Your presence and goodness to others. - an except from Our Daily Bread. 

Thank you for visiting, dear friends. I wish you all much Joy this Christmas season! See you soon.


I am joining the following parties as well~

 Tuesday Cuppa Tea
 Friends Sharing Tea
 The Art of Home-Making Mondays
 Share Your Cup Thursday
 Home Sweet Home

Sharing from my heart ~ Sandi
          Tribulant Snow Storm        
Display falling snow flakes on the front of your WordPress website for a festive presentation.
          About OCD - The Most Vital Things You Need To Know        
One of the most important things that you should really consider about Obsessive Compulsive Disorder is that it is simply a habit. You can actually stop OCD in your life and what I will do in this article is teach you about OCD and what you should know about OCD and the use of medications when it comes to OCD. Medications only fool you into thinking that you are better when in reality, you are just masking the problem.

When we talk about OCD, we should consider the fact that you can have it and not even know about it until it get worse enough to actually bother you. Just like now when you are doing research to find out about OCD, that means that you have let your "quirks" get to the point where now it's a problem. Don't worry though, it is cureable simply because it is not a disease or disorder even that is what they call it. How else would you expect people that don't understand OCD to call it. When people know nothing about OCD how can they know that even though it seems like a disease or disorder, it really is a habit and nothing more!

I can understand that when an "expert" tells you about OCD, they will show your brain scans of where blood flow is going when a person has certain thoughts. But these tests are really irrelevant. As everyone's OCD is different. We are all like snow flakes, there are no two alike. Some poeple would be petrefied to touch a door knob, while you may suffer with walking on cracks and could care less about a door knob or touching one for that matter! If we scanned your brain, we would show that the the fear center in the brain of the person who has a problem touching door knobs would not show fear when exposed to someone else's fear of walking on cracks. Many people fear that if they hear other people's maladies that they will take on those fears, but it does not work that way. One thing you should know about OCD is that it lies to you.

You should know that when we are talking about OCD, you should understand that there is not anything physically wrong with your brain. Your brain is simply behaving the way that you have conditioned it to behave. This means that you can change the way that you behaves again if you simply understand that it can be changed. You must first believe that your brain can be changed. If you do not believe that your brain can be changed, how can you change it? You are setting up a mental block that will stop you from doing what you want, so clear that away as soon as possible so that you can get started on getting rid of your OCD for good.


One of the things that you should know about OCD is that you can change where your brain directs blood flow by simply changing the way that you look at things. It's all perception. Just like you can get scared watching a movie because yoru brain believes that there is a danger for a few short moments, when in reality, there is no danger. Just like when you are watching the movie and you remind yourself that it's just a movie that the fear is gone, so happens when we are talking about OCD. The fear will dissapate once you realize and learn how to condition your mind that the OCD is not actually a threat, that it's not actually real.

So we can see that now that I could care less where my shoes are pointed, I also have eliminated that fear from my life so now if you took a scan of my brain, when I take my shoes off, you would see that the fear centers of the brain are no longer activated! Guess what, I took no medication to get rid of my OCD! One thing that you should know about OCD is that it is easier to get rid of than you think, but it's very tedious. I know that is not what you want to hear. You can either continue to believe the lies of the drug companies that tell you about OCD and that thier drugs cure you. Think about this, if the drugs cured you, why do you have to keep taking the drugs for the rest of your life in ever increasing doses?

So when we look at these pills, the only way that I would consider them a cure is if you took it once just like antibiotics and then OCD was gone. Just like if you take a course of pencillin, then the cold or whatever you had is gone forever. Even then it can come back. Not so with the techniques that I have discovered and thousands of others have discovered that if you learn these skills, OCD can never come back because you know the truth and you have conditioned your brain to know that there is no real danger therefore there is no fear. I would love to teach these skills to you, they are secrets of the mind that will make you look at your world in a whole new way. Seriously.

Click here to get my OCD e-book for free: "About OCD"

Derek J. Soto is an expert in Obsessive Compulsive Disorder who had it himself and beat it and now teachs others how to do the same.
          Blackshot Hile Rapid Fire MPGH v2 – SNOW FLAKES indir        
Blackshot Hile Rapid Fire MPGH v2 – SNOW FLAKES indir Bu makro yalnızca Otomatik Tıklamadır veya Hızlı Ateş olarak bilinir Bu makro ana işlevi, tabancalarınızın ve tabancalarınızın çekimlerinde + kazanç sağlamaktır, tercihlerim var … DUALGLOCK18 ve DUALGLOCK21 … Ve kullanmak istediğim tüfeklerde AK47 MAT, Desert Tech MDR ve CG805Bren, AK47 Dragon, Ve Bıçak Dalışı !!! …
          Sweet Woodruff: May Wine        
<br />It is difficult to start from seed so buying a plant is the way to go.  It is a good spreader.  In spring the dainty, green leaves are topped with little flowers that look like snow flakes.
          Remy commented on 'Anomalies of French life: Chemical Christmas trees'        

Wow, this post made my day.
I was born and raised in Biarritz, which is located in the south western tip of France. We barely got any snow down there... Maybe a few snow flakes once every few years.
Then, to make matters worse, we moved to the Carribeans where snow was inexistant. We really didn't know what a snow covered christmas tree should have looked like, but every year my mother would buy a tree just like that picture.

I've been living in Iowa/Minnesota for the last 6 years, so I basically live in snow.
I now realize how ugly those trees where. Thank you for posting that picture, it brought back good memories...kind of.


          Hybrid ‘Snow Flake’ Lands on Festival Circuit        

The Spanish live-action/CG hybrid feature Copito de Nieve (Snow Flake the White Gorilla) is beginning to receive attention on the festival circuit before its official opening on December 23. The film is set to premiere at the International Festival of Gijon (FICXion) this week. The family movie is produced by Spanish outfit Filmax, which has […]

The post Hybrid ‘Snow Flake’ Lands on Festival Circuit appeared first on Animation Magazine.


          Sparkle Snowflakes Picture Cards (large)        
These dazzling Snow Flake Picture Cards shimmer and twinkle! Use as exclusive recognition awards, as part of your Christmas decorations or as a focal point on a festive noticeboard displays.
  • Each pack contains 24 precut durable accent cards
  • Approximately 13.5cm in size
£6.10

          Holiday Housewalk 2013        

Today is day 5 and also the last day of the tour, and if you haven’t had a chance pop on over to Susie Harris, stop #31, gorgeous eye candy and great inspiration.
Just click on her button below to take you there.

Susie Harris 31
 
 
 

Welcome to our home for the holidays.

This is my second time participating in the Holiday Housewalk, 
and I’m so excited to be back!
  


 Because of my new wall colors,  I decided to go with a more natural theme
with a little typography and a few deer thrown in.



The living room walls went from a butter cream color to a light taupe-ish grey.
This year I mixed things around but still used a lot of things I already had, I used neutrals and also my favorite turquoise blue.
I angled the sofa for a more interesting look and also added a faux fireplace.


 

The blue wall color in the dining room was replaced with a deep rich grey.
I used a tall skinny tree that’s placed in an urn that I painted grey, it’s easy to
decorate because it’s not too big and also doesn’t take up much room.
I used simple things to decorate it, including snow flakes made from kraft paper,
white hydrangeas flowers tucked between branches and of course pops of turquoise.






The stockings I made from burlap and grey chevron fabric,
I turned the chevron pattern on it’s side to give the cuff a geometric look.
I also added faux greenery and some of my handmade prints.



Glittered white deer and another book page deer.




For this corner of the room I wanted a big impact,
I made 11x14 individual letters that spelled JOY, placed them in frames I already had,
then connected them with jute ribbon by just stapling the ribbon to the back of the frames.




For the dining room, I made a simple burlap runner for the table.



For the buffet, I used magnolia leaves and pinecones
from the yard and also some glass ornaments for a little color.
I love the contrast of the natural greens and browns mixed with the turquoise.









More hand made deer prints, I created the plaid using 
a free online program called tartan maker.



I love my vintage brass deer bookends, too cute!



This is RUDY the reindeer, I made his body out of scrap wood,
mounted him on vintage wood shelves which
 I joined together and used branches for his antlers.



The sign holder is just a large wine jug with a vintage
funnel turned upside down and a little wire to hold the paper sign.




 
Our home was the last stop of the tour,
so if you missed any of homes or just want to start at the beginning 

See my 2011 Holiday Houswalk, HERE

Thanks so much for stopping by.
HAPPY HOLIDAYS






          Take Time to Daydream        

AAE GLASS   

Daydreaming is often thought of as wasting time or not being productive, especially in the work place.  New studies are showing that daydreaming is actually beneficial for your mind.  As the world becomes faster paced and more is demanded of us from teachers and bosses, it is becoming less likely that the average person is taking even just a few minutes for themselves to sort through thoughts and ideas or daydream about life or work goals.  It is when we daydream that we are able to relax our mind from the constant stimulation that we face everyday.  Whether it be family or work, there always seems to be a certain amount of stress we all feel and it adds up.  Daydreaming for a few minutes each day is a good way to relieve some of that stress and get your ducks in a row sort of speak.   You will feel more prepared to face the daily stresses in your life and ultimately become more productive.

 

If you are up north, lose yourself while watching the snow flakes fall from the sky.  Bring yourself back to your childhood when you used to make snow angels or build snow forts.  
If you are in the south, take a seat on a bench outside and let the warm breeze take your mind elsewhere. Feel the sand beneath your toes on a beach or smell the freshly cut grass on the golf course.

One thing is for certain, once you start daydreaming, there is no telling where your brain will take you and it really doesn't matter.  Simply daydreaming for a few minutes will relieve some stress and help you to see things clearer.

As glass artists, I'm sure you will be able to generate some creativity that you can translate into your glass art.  Be sure to take a few minutes each day to reflect on your accomplishments as well as your goals. Your body, mind and soul will thank you, as will your creativity.

Mark Veit

 


          Little Bitty Snow Flakes ..        

Now I know there are plenty of places that get FEET of snow. 


But here in our little area of Oklahoma Snow is a rare treat.


To get enough snow to even build a snowman is even more rare... almost never happens. 


But it still makes us so happy even when it melts before noon...


          " Wrapping all the Way "        




Gift wrapping to me


is such an expression of love


 during the holiday season






Red Ticking Ribbon from Target 






The perfect Farm Style touch







Snow flake parchment wrap

also available from Target







I made simple wood gift tags

from an old wood tent pole I had found

a few months ago







Finished them with

jute from the Dollar Store







Beautiful velvet ribbon is from Marshalls







One of the sweetest finds were

these vintage bottle brush trees





Since I am such a fan of the

natural look they were perfect





This is why Kate 

loves the Goodwill for simple treasures

like these





More beauty for our 

Farm Style Holiday





Wishing all of you

a Merry Christmas and a blessed

holiday season.


Much Love
XOXO


          Data Base Lokasi Hunting Seal Plus        




Ujung Dunia (Lv.55 ~ 82)
Monster NameLv.Drop Items
Steel Golem [Logam]51Royal Blade, Royal Blade.G, Flamberge, Mercury Mace, Raden Staff, Starlight Helmet, Golden Boots.G
Knight of Darkness [Gelap]55Divine Blade, Mars Mace, Raden Staff.G, Wing Shoes.G, Martial Arts Shoes
Aleph [Air]70Falchion.G, Club of Sanctity.G, Platinum Plunger.G, Nitra's Staff.G, Suit of Seduction (T).G
High Nixie [Air]71High Nixie's Scythe, Expert Clothes (T).G, Architect's Shoes
Snow Princess [Air]82Jovian Mace, Snow Flake, Eagle Helmet.G
Dataran Gunung Crude (Lv.13 ~ 42, Lv.85 ~ 93)
Monster NameLv.Drop Items
Afro Tree [Kayu]13GS of Steel, Gear Hammer, Mace.G, Worker's Clothes (T).G, Ragged Shoes, Black Ribbon
Giant Wawa Bunny16Rabbit's Cleaver, Rascal's Bludgeon, Wooden Shield.G, Shoes of Service, Maker's Shoes, Rabbit's Ears, Smart's Glasses
Windy23Great Iron Sword.G , Staff of Turbulance, Armor of Wind (T), Boots of Wind.G,Ragged Shoes.G, Puppet Shoes.G, Black Ribbon
Happy Bah Bah25Bah Bah's Stick, Vorpal Knife, Metal Alloy Helmet.G, Silk Hat, Bat's Wings, Suit of Acting (B).G
Gloomy Humbug32Invisible Sword.G, GS of Crazy Wind, Designer's Shoes.G, Metal Alloy (B).G
Head of Dullahan42Cytherean Mace, Staff of Awakening, Silver Armor, Alchemist's Clothes (T), Golden Boots, Inventor's Shoes, Alchemist's Clothes (B).G
Mini Bell [Air]85Kings Big Sword, Atmos Mace, Falcon Dagger.G
Smiley Tree [Kayu]91Helm of Daylight, Crown of Saint
Green Dude93Headband of Judgement, Sunflower's Shield
Tengah Sungai Mimir (Lv.13 ~ 35)
Monster NameLv.Drop Items
Afro Tree [Kayu]13GS of Steel, Gear Hammer, Mace.G, Worker's Clothes (T).G, Ragged Shoes, Black Ribbon
Happy Bah Bah25Bah Bah's Stick, Vorpal Knife, Metal Alloy Helmet.G, Silk Hat, Bat's Wings, Suit of Acting (B).G,
Gloomy Humbug32Invisible Sword.G, GS of Crazy Wind, Designer's Shoes.G, Metal Alloy (B).G
Crow [Sihir]34GS of Romance, Sage's Staff, Militia Uniform (T).G, Pirate's Eyepatch, Suit of Laughter (B).G
Traveling Cat in Boots [Sihir]39GS of Romance.G, Metronicker, Cat's Mace, Crown of Mercy, Silk Shoes.G, Cat's Claw (Tiger)
Forest Ogre [Kayu]47Royal Blade, Ogre's Pick, Pipe Wrench, Transparent Mace, Wanderer's Suit (T).G, Ogre's Safety Helmet, Inventor's Clothes (B)
Flora [Kayu]33GS of Rays.G, Curved Knife, Green Tunic (T).G, Angel Ring, Flora's Wings, Clothes of Blessing (B).G
Glora [Kayu]35Sage's Staff, Silver Shield, Suit of Laughter (T).G, Designer's Clothes(T).G, Elegant Tail, Fairy's Wings, Designer's Clothes (B).G
Hutan Silon (Lv.1 ~ 30)
Monster NameLv.Drop Items
Piya1-
Treasure Chest [Kayu]3Dumb Knuckle
Moo Moo6Moo Moo's Headset, Leather Boots, Suit Of Quickness (T), Madam's Feather,Worker's Hood, Trailer Canvas Armor(T)
Red Plumber [Api]11Red Plunger, Red Party Hat, One Thousand Clothes (T).G, Bad Guy Mask, Wooden Sword.G
Nixie [Air]22Nixie's Rake, Spellot.G, Armor of Wind(T), Suit of Disguise (T).G, Mage's Clothes (T),Warrior's Headband.G, Militia Handband, Designer's Suncap, Crystalline Staff,Laborer's Clothes (T).G, Clothes of Service (T), Shoes of Service.G, Green Shoes
Silky Joe the Boxer23Great Iron Sword, Bolt Hammer.G, Warrior's Clothes (T), Suit of Acting (T), Hat of Devotion.G, Maker's Shoes.G, Laborer Clothes (B).G
Joe the Kick Boxer26Sonic Blade, Ladle, Battle Mace, Invisible Shield, Blessed Hat.G, Militia Headband.G, Must win Headband, Box Clothing(B).G
Mage Piya [Sihir]14Mage piya's Staff, Black Ribbon
Cleric Piya14Iron Sceptre, Cleric Piya Sryinge, Hood of Disguise.G, Hat of Devotion, Trailer’s Leather Armor (B)
Knight Piya16Piya's Sword, Iron Shield, Steel Armor (T), Laborer's Gear Hat, Steel Boots.G
Warrior Piya24Warrior Piya's Sword, Piya's Sword, Suit of Acting (T), Blessed Boots, Militia Shoes,Lock Necklace, Armor of Wind(B),
Blue Plumber27Sonic Blade, Blue Plunger, Crystalline Dagger, Militia Uniform (T), Jewel Studded Crown, Green Shoes.G, Wings
[Skilled]Mage Piya [Sihir]28Vorpal Knife, Mithril Hammer, Green Tunic (T), Wanderer's Hat, Alcemist's Shoes,Moon Boots, Devil's Tail, Glasses
[Skilled]Cleric Piya29GS of Crazy Wind, Crystalline Dagger, Cleric Piya Sryinge.G, Suit of Laughter (T), Cleric Crown, Cleric Piya's Hat, Warrior Piya's Glove, Maker's Clothes (B).G
[Skilled]Knight Piya30Invisible Sword, Vorpal Knife.G, Metal Alloy Armor (T), Magnum Helm, Alloy Boots.G, Warrior Piya's Glove
Dinding Luar Lime (Lv.1 ~ 36)
Monster NameLv.Drop Items
Piya1-
Moo moo the Great10Moo Moo's Headset.G
Mage Piya [Sihir]14Mage piya's Staff, Black Ribbon
Cleric Piya14Iron Sceptre, Cleric Piya Sryinge, Hood of Disguise.G, Hat of Devotion, Trailer Leather's Armor (B)
Knight Piya16Piya's Sword, Iron Shield, Steel Armor (T), Laborer's Gear Hat, Steel Boots.G
Warrior Piya24Warrior Piya's Sword, Piya's Sword, Suit of Acting( T), Blessed Boots, Militia Shoes,Lock Necklace, Armor of Wind(B),
[Skilled] Mage Piya [Sihir]28Vorpal Knife, Mithril Hammer, Green Tunic (T), Wanderer's Hat, Alcemist's Shoes, Moon Boots, Devil’s Tail, Glasses
[Skilled] Cleric Piya29GS of Crazy Wind, Crystalline Dagger, Cleric Piya Sryinge.G, Suit of Laughter (T), Cleric Crown, Cleric Piya's Hat, Warrior Piya's Glove, Maker's Clothes (B).G
[Skilled] Knight Piya30Invisible Sword, Vorpal Knife.G, Metal Alloy Armor (T), Silver Helmet,  Alloy Boots.G, Warrior Piya's Glove
[Influential] Warrior Piya36Silver Sword, Warrior Piya's Sword, Warrior Piya's Sword.G, Wanderer's Hat.G, Power Cap.G, Silver Armor (B)
Hutan Herkaus (Lv.42 ~ 91)
Monster NameLv.Drop Items
Head of Dullahan42Cytherean Mace, Staff of Awakening, Silver Armor, Alchemist's Clothes (T), Golden Boots, Inventor's Shoes, Alchemist's Clothes(B).G
Body of Dullahan72Dullahan's Sword, Mana Suit (T).G, Dullahan's Helm
Kinbara [Tanah]73Evil Eye Sword, Eye Sore, Headband of Warlord.G
Succubus [Gelap]

7.50 USD

Once Upon A Time Inspired Elsa's Ice Castle Charm - Frozen Jewelry - Snow Castle - OUAT

~~~~

1" round Once Upon A Time inspired Elsa's Ice Castle charm set.

******************************************************************

This set includes both charms pictured. One snow flake and one ice castle charm made especially for fans of ABC's Once Upon A Time series and Disney's Frozen.

******************************************************************

These charms can be ordered in two variations. Both together as one on a single bail (as pictured), or separately as two individual charms. Choose from the drop-down Variations menu on the right.

******************************************************************

Charms fit all European style charm bracelets.

~~~~

Evil Queen - Captain Hook - Emma Swan - Storybrooke - snow castle


          Hol-ODD-day Hop!        
Hello Oddies, welcome to our Hol-ODD-Day Hop!

We Odd Girls have joined together for a fun event for EVERYONE - not just because you get to hop, but because you get to PARTICIPATE and share your own holiday creations. So glad you've joined us for our 3rd annual Hol-ODD-Day Hop!
hop
We mixed things up a bit to bring you a nice variety of holiday projects that we hope will inspire you. You can comment on all of the blogs, participate by linking your own below (to be eligible to win, be sure you link to us in your post), and comment throughout the event on other people's links as well! And there will be PRESENTS! The hop goes from now through Friday, December 12th, and we'll be announcing 3 winners next Wednesday, December 17th, so you have plenty of time to comment between now and then! Our Hol-ODD-Day Hop link party will close at midnight on Friday the 12th.

I have made a snow globe type ornament using ChrisMouse and the snowflake from the Yeti clear sets.  I have embossed the snow flakes and colored the image with copic markers.

Here's an idea of what it would look like hanging on the Christmas tree...
 
All of the Odd Girls have projects to share for the big event, so you can visit their blogs to see all the action happening. Here's the hop list for our awesome team:
Remember to comment along the way, and link up your holiday-themed projects using Some Odd Girl stamps (new or old)!

          Declan's First Party!        
 (I just had the realization, that this post was left as a draft since December! AH, well, here is Declan's first birthday party!)


 Declan Brett had his very first birthday party last weekend (in November)!!  It was so so much fun for our precious little guy. It was such a perfect day. 

We had his party a little early (he turns one on December 2), because of the craziness of the season.  We wanted to dedicate a whole weekend just to him, not to crowd up Thanksgiving weekend or anything.  So this worked perfectly.  We had him a Winter ONEderland party! :)

 
 Declan is 24 pounds, 31 inches long, and has 7 teeth!  The basket is the favors, it says, "Declan loves to cuddle!  Please take home a snuggly and keep them warm this winter." (Remember this basket of snugglies...it will return later!)

Papa showed Declan around the room while the rest of us set up like crazy!  We had the party at the clubhouse in our community, and there was a wonderful amount of space to spread out and for the kiddos to run around. 

Funny story about the party room.  I reserved the room in like, September.  I wanted to make sure that we had the room for our date, so I was nice and early.  We show up that day, and the security officer says, "So there is a yoga class going on in there..but they know you are coming,'s and the room is yours! Go on in!"

....Hm. That's funny. Surely they must be ending soon.  Yes, that's it, they are finishing up.  We reserved the room for 2 hours prior to the party starting for set-up, and then 2 hours after for clean-up. So we went in and quietly started setting up what we could without making noise, waiting for them to finish.  And, being a yogi myself, I quickly realized they were not nearing the end of their practice. I also realized that my party was never going to get set up if I waited for them to finish.  I also knew that yogis were supposed to find peace and balance no matter their surroundings, so off we went.  My food table needed to be set up right in front of where they were, so I set up.  I was as quiet as I could be, with my balloons and table clothes and three children under 4 years old. And the instructor kept telling everyone to "block out all the distractions" and literally never acknowledged me directly until after they rolled up their mats.  By the time they finished the room was pretty much set up, they said Namaste, I politely told her sorry-not-sorry because I reserved the room months ago and she must have ignored that paper, and we were on our way!

 The Birthday Boy got his own sign for him to grow with!

 The brunch table. :)

A peek at some of our snowy  snacks...

 Cheesy Frosty, which one of the girls cousins was calling, "The Olaf Cake", and she kept eating even though she didn't like cream cheese because she thought it was Olaf. Haha!

 Snowman Snacks, aka Puppy Chow, which Reagan posted up next to pretty quickly. :)

 New York bagels - YUM.
 Snowballs! (aka powdered munchkins, aka The Currency of Toddlers)

 Winter fruit salad and granola. 

 I used a snowflake that I made a few years ago to display his monthly pictures.  My cutie patootie!

 While we were setting up, this little angel passed out on Papa's shoulder!  AHH the cuteness of him!  The birthday parties are always so exhausting for the guest of honor. :)

 Mima manned the kitchen during set up, as usual!  This lady is my idol in the kitchen (and out)!

 Balloons are a toddler's best friend!

 The big sisters of the boy were so excited!


 Mama and Dada, so excited to celebrate our boy.

And the, this was still happening out in the lobby. :)  It's tiring being the star of the day!

Mimi and her mini me.  I swear the blue eyed blondie is my baby! ;)

Our birthday boy woke up!  He was ready to party!

Give the girls a craft, and they suddenly get very quiet! I love creative concentration.  They made foam snowmen, and decorated snow flakes.

Mini cupcakes for my mini man, and one big one in the middle!


I made snowmen and snowflake sugar cookies, and then put them on this tray and most of the snowmen's heads snapped off.  Ha. But they still tasted delish!


This face melts my heart!

All of these cute kiddies just stood there like angels, not touching a single dessert until after we sang!  I was impressed, I have to say. (They must have awesome parents!)
Singing to our boy!


"Why are they holding fire near my face? What is this custom? Am I doing it right?"

"WAIT I GET TO HAVE SUGAR? I HAVE BEEN WAITING MY WHOLE LIFE FOR THIS!"

The cake shove. :)

All of my love.


This is me explaining that Declan did not understand what the cupcakes was, and kept "latching on" to the top of the cupcake as if it were a breast, and sucking on the icing.  It was probably the best thing I had ever seen. My little baby.

One of my all time favorite pictures..his first Ritz cracker!

Reagan, my other little infant baby, fell asleep in the stroller with the basket of stuffed animals in her lap.  This girl loves her sleep, like her mama.

Celebrating this little angel boy was just the funnest, and we are so grateful to everyone who loves him and our family, for coming to celebrate with us.  Our little prince is one, and what a special day it was.
          Re: Kathy Tinkey        

In reply to Kathy Tinkey

Hi Pam,

Thank you so much for thinking of me and posting my latest "hurdle" on the web site. You have become such a good friend to me as have so many of the ladies. It is a real pleasure to get to know each of you and have interactions all the time. I can say this site has been a real blessing to me and I hope that I can be a blessing to others.

I get my first injection this week - in the stomach. Doesn't sound pleasant to me, but beats the alternatives. My gynegologist is to call me back this afternoon (he has been in surgery all day) and we will start the process of setting up my operation to remove my ovaries.

It is raining here now in Virginia. It had started out as nice big snow flakes, but has switched over to all rain. A good day to stay inside and relax.

Again, thank you for all your support and prayers. It means so much to me.

God Bless,
Kathy


          For Love        

Well, hello. I have not blogged for quite awhile but now that the holidays are somewhat behind us I have decided to check in again. I want to share something about the women in my family. We all seem to have a creative bent. My mother, Dorothy Jewell Bates Wareham had a talent for crochet. She never learned to use a pattern but that did not stop her. A mother with ten children she made sure each and everyone of her children owned an afghan made with her own hands. Her sister Verna Bates Sutterfield was an accomplished artist. Another sister, Vera Bates Epperson also had a talent. Aunt Vera made her girls wedding dresses. She was able to design these dresses herself.  Because of their wonderful examples I was able to explore my own options. I am the oldest of ten children and as soon as I was able I would go to the local dime store and choose a baby sacque or dress ready to embroider. Over the years I have dabbled in many crafts. Today I limit myself to embroidery, cross stitch and especially quilting.  My sister Kathy makes gorgeous wreaths. I will share one soon. My daughter, Kelly is continuing the tradition. She is a wonderful cook, she makes cheer bows for her daughter as well as the team, she has been the wardrobe mistress for several local productions, often making the costumes and she crochets.


The coaster above is designed to hold the cup below.



This is Fireside Coffee. Add three to four teaspoon sof mix to hot wate rand stir with a candy cane. Yumm.



 This darling pincushion was also made by my daughter. Lovely don't you think? She makes these to sell on her Etsy account which you can access by clicking on the pink cup cake on the left or the Etsy
emblem on the right.
 

Below is the snowflake pennants she also made for me. I love this as it added just the right touch to my holiday.
Above you see my almost finished snow flake cake. I found the original recipe in Southern Living magazine. My version is not as pretty I think but so good. A little time consuming but worth every moment. The snow flakes are made of fondant. They are painted with a small amount of vodka and then edible glitter finishes the look.

I wanted to write this post because I have a feeling that you might feel the way I do when someone sits down and sets out to make something just for me. It touches me in a way I will never forget. The work above is my daughters but I am one of the blessed when it comes to friends. and family.  I hang out with such talented women. You know what I bet you do too. Don't give up on me, I think I will become creative again soon. After all it snowed some today. That just might mean I will be stuck at home a little more with my quilt frame beckoning in the corner. I hope you will share your story of creativity with me and others who come to see if I am still around.  Warmly, Nadine
          Mental Meanderings on the First Day of 2009        
Whether you raucously celebrated the night away or quietly met the first seconds of 2009 with a hearty toast in the company of a small party of eight, six or one: HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Mine was more like the latter. Even the toast was with a nice Shiraz from Argentina rather than a bubbly and it worked just fine with a feast of a dish I simply know as Backalar .. . at least that is what it sounds like. It is a traditional dish of countries on the Adriatic Coast and my husband made it. He learned how to make it from his father. It was delish!

Today was a rather quiet day. No, no Polar Swim for me, did not even go to cheer on the foolhardy. The morning was magical as big snow flakes came swirling down. Dawn had not broken yet, so the white against the dark was nothing short of spectacular. I thought I would wait till the darkness faded and go for an early morning walk and take some photos of this first day of the year 2009. No sooner had I finished my coffee than the snow turned to rain, and then the rain stopped and it just turned out to be a grissly gray day. Better suited for reading by the fireside … or just thinking.

Of course, I got to thinking about what 2009 might hold for us? If only we could gaze into the crystal ball and see what’s in store … or do we really want to look into the future? What would we do differently if we knew? Or, if knowing, would we even put out the effort? Would we perhaps just say that we are powerless? Would it kill our innate will to survive, stifle our ambitions, or dispel our dreams? Perhaps. Thoughts to ponder on this first day of a brand new year.

In a few weeks our neighbors to the south will be swearing in a new president who ran a campaign on CHANGE. I think that is admirable but my fear is that those who voted for Mr. Obama will expect miracles of a man who has taken on an enormous responsibility for a great nation and give little thought to applying it to themselves. I think we should.

If there was just one thing I could wish for as change, it would be that we as human beings begin to take responsibility for ourselves. I think that much of what is wrong with the world today is this sense of entitlement that we somehow developed, particularly in what we term as the First World and specifically in North America.

When my parents and their parents were growing up, there were no financial safety nets. Life was tough. I think of my parents living in Japan during WWII and the post war years that followed. Those were very difficult times. They had to make their own way to survive. Dad lost his business during the war and it took all of my and my sibling’s growing up years for him to rebuild it. I think of my grandparents having to leave all behind in Russia when the communists took over. They too had to make their own way to survive. My grandfather had to start a new life for himself and his family in China, a country that was culturally strange and a language that was foreign to him.

Neither my parents nor grandparents looked for a handout. They never felt that anyone should look after them, that anyone owed them anything at all: not a living, not a job, not a business. They faced and picked up the gauntlet that was responsibility writ large and worked to put food on the table, to clothe and provide shelter. There were no countries for them to flee to as refugees, there were no governments giving them any money or helping them to integrate into a new society. There was just themselves.

We were taught early on that life did not come with rights or privileges. In both my grandparent’ and parent’s cases they had to take responsibility for their own life because if they did not take that responsibility they would not have had a life. I think that most of us, if we think of our parents and grandparents, will have had a background which if not similar, has at least the ring of familiarity. So when is it that we became a nation of marshmallow people? You know, soft, with no backbone?

There are some things that are beyond the scope of one individual to change: one individual cannot change the financial crisis; one individual cannot stop the many wars that are being fought today (46 at last count); nor can one individual solve the global warming crisis. But if every individual begins to live with a sense of responsibility rather than entitlement, great changes will be brought about. What if each would but choose to take responsibility for our own financial wellbeing? What if we decide to build bridges instead of walls in our own personal relationships? What if we choose to use products that are earth friendly? This we can do.

A butterfly in the Amazon Jungle moves its wings and sets off a ripple effect in the earth's atmosphere. The reverberations created and set in motion by that one small, seemingly insignificant act, are witnessed as storms and typhoons in Asia. Let us each be a butterfly.

2009 … a year to rebuild, to strengthen and to create change.
          Botrini's restaurant Athens (*)        
It has been a long time I wanted to visit Botrini's restaurant in Athens. My memories from his restaurant in Thessaloniki called ArtO2 were responsible for this desire. Many of you may know Ettore Botrini from his Gordon Ramsay alike TV show, less from the Botrini project show and even less from his restaurant in Corfu, the Etrusco, which is kind of misleading, because his awkward slash bad fame from television (if bad fame even exists) has nothing to do with the food served in his restaurants.

I had 2 or 3 meals in ArtO2 many many years ago and I still remember every single dish I had. It was that good for the standards of Thessaloniki or Greece or what I had tried till that time, while also great value for money, but time passed and the restaurant unfortunately closed. So my expectations for this restaurant which holds a Michelin star and is priced accordingly so, were high. 

The restaurant, located in Chalandri a few kilometers from the city centre, is a whole small city-house with tables indoors and outdoors. The decor in grey colours is minimal with an open kitchen. Tables have no tablecloths, chairs are comfortable and a small light is over each table, making photographing easier. It can sit up to 50 diners while in the kitchens work as much as 15 chefs in full capacity. I also counted 9 staff in the dining room. 

Photo from Lifo

There are three menus available for dinner (the restaurant is open only for dinner, see the timetable at the end of the post). The first and smallest is the menu Discovery, then there is the menu My roots and finally the more comprehensive one the Degustation. We opted for the latter. 

We started with bread, extra virgin olive oil and fler du sel. Bread was of two kinds, focaccia and semi brown with olives, both very good. Olive oil was from Peloponnese. 



The first amuse bouche ''Our own pizza, a trip from Naxos to Corfu 2015'', was a salty biscuit with cream cheese, full of Parmesan, black pepper and spices. Excellent to start the meal. 



A savoury macaron presented in a wooden case followed, with wild mushrooms, hazelnuts and 5 different spices, no clue which. Pretty power full taste, a bit chewy but flavor full.  



''Egg'' was an egg shaped porcelain with avocado puree, zucchini, egg and spearmint. Again very good. 



''Chef's surprise'' was a rice airy cracker with tzatziki, tomato and onions. With all spices and herbs it gave the impression that we were eating pita gyros. Interesting but I found the texture to be a bit unpleasant. 



Beetroot in its natural environment, 2012, a dish you could also taste in Etrusco was amazing. Beetroot, mustard, yogurt sorbet and goat cheese snow flakes. A skillfully made composition of temperatures and textures. 



''Fish and chips'' was a fried potato cannolo filled with saffron flavored cream and sea bass tartare. Again even though the saffron is overpowering the result was still amazing. 



''Illusion'' as you may guess from the title of the dish, the appearance did not much the reality. The main ingredient, the scallop was not really a scallop, but a cuttlefish puree seared to imitate the saint Jacques. It was paired with al dente cooked pearl tapioca, celeriac puree and granny smith apples for added crunchy texture. 



Now on to the main courses, ''As Carbonara, from the land and the sea'' a stunning dish. Instead of pasta we had slightly cooked calamari in strips with carbonara sauce, creme fraiche, pancetta, pickles and sea urchin (which I didn't taste). This was maybe the best dish of the entire menu, stunning. 



''Fresh fish memories, was catch of the day, a thick fillet of sea bass, on top of almira and cockles, with zucchini in many different textures, steamed, sliced, mashed, in ice cream and dehydrated dust form. The fish had great texture and flavor with gelatinous flesh and crispy skin. Once more this was great. 



The last main course was ''Deer Grand Veneur''. Medium cooked roe deer, with the famous red wine sauce, enoki ( I would guess) mushrooms, corn puree and foie gras cold flakes. The roe was perfectly cooked being juicy and tender, the foies gras added a metallic taste while the corn puree was a bit flat, helping the other ingredients to shine. 



The first dessert, more like a palate cleanser, ''The submarine of my childhood'' was mastiha spheres with rose water. Very refreshing.



''As a sweet Tzatziki'' was a dessert made for a competition several years ago and being successful enough it is still on the menu. Frozen yogurt, cucumber sorbet, cucumber juice, a white chocolate garlic shaped piece. Very refreshing too.



The last dessert ''Corek a la greca'' was the famous tsoureki in many forms. Dehydrated, mashed, in ice cream and in the middle a mousse with caramel taste and glazed. A very tasty and well executed dessert. 



We had a bottle of Italian white wine with our meal, while wine pairing was also available for each menu.

The service was attentive, comfortable, glasses refilled promptly, all dishes  were explained and came in a good pace. I really can't find anything we didn't like in this restaurant. It is highly recommented that you visit it. 

I would like to visit soon his flagship restaurant in Corfu.  

Open from 20:00 till 00:00 , Tuesday to Saturday. 

          Snapshots No. 7 - Due to Inclement Weather...        

Speaking from giddy experience, there's nothing more fantastic than a snow day except another completely unexpected snow day, announced just as your first one draws to a reluctant close. The phrase "due to inclement weather" is a beautiful thing indeed. I've been whiling away my sweet time reading a great book (Specialty Topics in Calamity Physics by Marisha Pessl, which, for those who might not know, is not in fact a discourse on colliding particles but a whirring fiction novel that sweeps one off his/her feet) and drinking Keurig's Single Cup Dark Chocolate Hot Cocoa. If you're familiar with Blue van Meer, I'm starting to think my writing has subconsciously picked up a "Bluish" tint to it. As in, I feel like I'm talking like the character whose murder-mysterious, electrifying world I've currently fallen into..

To book lovers the world over, pick up this read for your next escapade. It's crackling with intelligence (there are more esoteric literary, political, and academic references in this novel than snow flakes on my front lawn),  brimming with one-of-a-kind analogies ("If Servo were in a Pulitzer Prize-winning play, he'd be the Painfully Tragic character, the one who wore bronze suits and alligator shoes"), full of marvelous observations ("The fluorescent lights made a soured halo around his hair so he looked like a hand-painted Jesus one finds hanging on clammy walls of churches that smell of Gruyère." And also, "Shutting down disturbances…was the only reason Ms. Hambone ever emerged from her office, where she allegedly spent her day shopping www.QVC.com for Easter Limited-Quantity Collectibles and Goddess Glamour Jewelry."), and populated by extremely three-dimensional, larger than life characters that threaten to step off the page and invite you to a cup of coffee, or, depending on who you're dealing with here, invite you to go camping only to leave you stranded in the forest.

There I go again, talking like the narrator of whatever book I'm reading at the time. It's a pesky habit I have.
          Jus d'orange        
 This is what we've been up to since we arrived in Croissant country.
bringing in NYE in Paris with hottie Nina
 Traipsing through second hand book stores...Why didn't I buy this set of vintage OPUS mags?
 wish I was eating that crepe again.
Back at L'Hermitage... our home for the year...Look how much we're loving being all farmy!
and freaking out over snow flakes.
 Nouveau studio setup.
Day trips x

So that should bring us up to date...
A bientot... like... tomorrow...

          Dark Girlish Religion Mix - Christmas 2010        
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Dark Girlish Religion Mix - Christmas 2010
(download)

1. Christmas Wish - NRBQ
2. White Christmas - Darlene Love
3. Everyone's A Kid At Chirstmas Time - Stevie Wonder
4. Happy Holiday - Peggy Lee
5. Jungle Bells - The Four Seasons
6. I Could Be So Good to You - Don & the Goodtimes
7. Feliz Navidad (I Wanna Wish You A Merry Christmas) - Los Straitjackets
8. Snow Time - Neil Sedaka
9. Let's Stay Together - Jimmy Smith
10. This Christmas - Donny Hathaway
11. Christmas Eve - The Galaxies
12. Holiday Fortnight - The Specials
13. Rockin Around the Christmas Tree - The Jets
14. Christmas Time - The dB's
15. All I Want For Christmas is You - The Trekky Yuletide Orchestra
16. My Baby - Christmas Island
17. Keep Your Magic Out Of My House - Spectrals
18. Wishes - Ducktails
19. I Do Not Care For The Winter Sun - Beach House
20. Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Let It Snow - Herb Alpert & Tijuana Brass
21. Zabadak - Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick and Tich
22. Love You So - King Khan & BBQ
23. Christmas Time (Is Here Again) - The Beatles

 これまでのクリスマスミックスとできるだけかぶらないようにはしたんだけど、やっぱり少しかぶっているみたい…。友達のカフェやレコード屋には2枚組で送りつけていたうちの、1枚がこれ。もう一枚のは彼等の為のエクスクルーシヴなものということで。

 今年の後半はPhil Spector関連のものにどっぷりとはまってしまったので、その影響は結構でているのではないでしょうか。それでも新旧織り交ぜるのと、クリスマスに合いそうな曲を入れるということは意識してました。個人的に一番気に入っているのはJimmy SmithのAl Green "Let's Stay Together"カバー。いわずもがなのライブ盤Root Downから。実は数年ぶりに大枚をはたいてオリジナル盤を購入してしまったほどのお気に入り。このカバーは反則。Jimmy Smithのオルガンはもちろん、Arthur Adamsの不良ギターもたまらない。それにゆったりとうねるベース、手数は少ないながらも軽やかだけれどグルーヴィーで色気のあるドラム、心地良いパーカッションにカウベルと、全てが心地良い。もうこの曲だけずっと聴いててもいいくらい(笑)。
 いろんな種類の曲を入れようとしてちょっとまとまりに欠けるところはあるのだけれど、こいう雑食な感じが大好きなのでどうしようもないですね。みなさんのクリスマスパーティーのおともになれば幸いです。

あ、ちなみに、もう一枚のはこんな感じ。

1. Hot Club of Christ - Aztec Camera
2. Santa Bring My Baby Back - Elvis Presley
3. White Christmas - The Drifters
4. Little Saint Nick - Beach Boys
5. Snowflakes - The Honeys
6. Santa Baby - The French Impressionists
7. Sleighride - Lio
8. Christmas Holloways - The Holloways
9. Santa Claus Is Coming To Town - Ventures
10. A Poundland Christmas - Wild Billy Childish & The Musicians Of The British Empire
11. Marshmallow World - Darlene Love
12. Mountain Song - Gangway
13. Wonderful Christmas Time - Paul Mccartney
14. Father Christmas - The Kinks
15. Merry Christmas (I Don't Want To Fight) - Ramones
16. Let It Snow - Los Straitjackets
17. Nice On The Ice - Vic Godard & The Subway Sect
18. Amen - Impressions
19. White Christmas - John Edwards
20. Happy Christmas [feat. Toots & The Maytals] - Byron Lee & The Dragonaires
21. Fairy Tale of New York - The Pogues
22. Temptation Of The Angel - Always
23. Snowfall - The Avalanches
24. Snow Flakes - Severin Browne
25. Happy Xmas (War Is Over) - John & Yoko The Plastic Ono Band
26. Maybe This Year - The Wailers
          Î£ÎºÎ¿Ï…λαρίκια        






Σκουλαρίκια από αλπακά σφυρηλατημένα με lava stones









Σκουλαρίκια από fimo με χρυσή επικάλυψη




   




Σκουλαρίκια κρεμαστά από αλπακά σφυριλατημένα, περασμένα με χρώμα και υγρό γυαλί διακοσμημένα με lava stones









 Î£ÎºÎ¿Ï…λαρίκια κρεμαστά δάκρυ από αλπακά σφυρηλατημένα με lava stones










Σκουλαρίκια κρεμαστά από αλπακά και κρυσταλοποιημενο σφουγγάρι..










Σκουλαρίκια από καπάκια μπύρας Corona!










 Î£ÎºÎ¿Ï…λαρίκια κρεμαστά heineken με υγρό γυαλί διακοσμημένα με χάντρες









 Î£ÎºÎ¿Ï…λαρίκια κρεμαστά "Pop" από εφημερίδα










 Î£ÎºÎ¿Ï…λαρίκια κρεμαστά με πέρλα και lava stones










 Î£ÎºÎ¿Ï…λαρίκια κρεμαστά με χάντρες σε ροζ αποχρώσεις










 Î£ÎºÎ¿Ï…λαρίκια κρεμαστά από λάστιχο









Σκουλαρίκια strawberry (fimo)
   




Σκουλαρίκια daisy από τσόχα διακοσμημένα με χάντρες και κουμπί





  




Σκουλαρίκια από καπάκια αναψυκτικού με decoupage διακόσμηση (κοκάλινες χάντρες)






   




 ÎšÏÎµÎ¼Î±ÏƒÏ„ά σκουλαρίκια marshmallow από fimo με οργάτζα










Σκουλαρίκια lollipop




Σκουλαρίκια από ξύλινους καρπούς και χάντρες "In the Wood"








 Î£ÎºÎ¿Ï…λαρίκια από καπάκια μπύρας..






Σκουλαρίκια από καπάκια αναψυκτικού ζωγραφισμένα με σμάλτο διακοσμημένα με εικόνα και υγρό γυαλί




Σκουλαρίκια κερασάκια (από μαλλί) κατασκευασμένα με μεικτή τεχνική needle & wet felt




 ÎšÏÎ¯ÎºÎ¿Î¹ τυλιχτοί με καρό κορδελα διακοσμημένοι με κερασάκια


 
  


Σκουλαρίκια donuts (fimo)






Κρίκοι τυλιχτοί με καρό κορδελα διακοσμημένοι με κερασάκια



Κρίκοι τυλιχτοί (με μαλλί ή κλωστή) με ξύλινες χάντρες)







Σκουλαρίκια ladybug
 



Σκουλαρίκια fried eggs








Σκουλαρίκια κρεμαστά breakfast




  

Σκουλαρίκια κρεμαστά berore...after





 

 Î£ÎºÎ¿Ï…λαρίκια mouse and cheese





  



Κρίκοι τυλιχτοί με μαλλί διακοσμημένοι με ξύλινες χάντρες








Κρίκοι τυλιχτοί με μαλλί διακοσμημένοι με ξύλινες χάντρες




Σκουλαρίκια κρεμαστά Snow flakes με ξύλινες χάντρες σε πολλά και διαφορετικά χρώματα











          Magical Christmas Decorations for Your Home         

There’s no denying it – Christmas is magical. Whether we’re feasting on scrumptious treats, spending time with our loved ones or trying to catch a glimpse of Santa and his loyal reindeer on Christmas Eve, everything about this special time of year is a delight.  

One of our favourite parts of Christmas decorating at home. But with so many great Christmas decorations around, it’s sometimes hard to track down the best (and most magical) ones. To give you a head start, we’ve compiled a list of some of our favourites. Enjoy!

Scandinavian Christmas tree

scandinavian christmas trees

With Lapland, snowy scenes and native reindeers roaming happily, Scandinavia offers plenty of Christmas inspiration. These hand-carved Scandinavian Christmas trees look striking infront of a fireplace or as part of a festive display, injecting some Nordic charm into your home.

Antique glass stars

antique gold star

Perfect for soft, ambient lighting, these glass stars will help to give your candles an extra-special festive glow. Hang delicately from the ceiling to incorporate a truly iconic Christmas symbol into your décor. 

Feather tree decoration

feather tree decoration, grey

If you’re looking for traditional Christmas decorations for your home, you will love these beautiful feather tree decorations. Available in a range of neutral colours, they will add a wonderfully wintry addition to any tree.

Christmas car

christmas car

Christmas is all about nostalgia. This popular Christmas car decoration features a classic snowy tree atop an adorable vintage car. Perfect for dotting around your home in December to keep family and friends amused.

Sparkly Christmas tree

sparkly christmas trees

These sparkly white trees make fantastic table and mantelpiece decorations, with their snowy fir wood base adding an authentic festive feel.

White snow flake

White Snow Flake

What would Christmas be without snowflakes? These beautiful white snowflakes will help you turn your home into a winter wonderland effortlessly. With hanging thread included, let them cascade from the ceiling twinkling as they turn.

Star candle stand

Christmas Star Candle Stand

Candlelight is perfect for creating a cosy atmosphere over the Christmas period. This white porcelain candle stand with its simple decorative star is ideal for lovers of traditional Christmas decorations. 

Christmas pudding decoration

christmas pudding decoration

This tree decoration is adorable. The ceramic ornament has been lovingly hand painted with a scrumptious Christmas pudding design and finished with a bold red ribbon.

Coloured glass baubles

coloured glass baubles

These extra-special vintage glass baubles are all handmade from recycled glass. A fabric tie on each carefully crafted ornament adds to the traditional look and feel.

Pinecone trees

pinecone christmas trees

Want to make a statement with your decorations this Christmas? These traditional pinecone trees will have your guests in awe. Rustic and unashamedly festive, they look great when displayed in a group on the window sill or even by the fire – just don’t let them get too close!

Your perfect Christmas

Has this post given you a yearning for all things Christmas? At Grace and Glory Home, we stock even more magical Christmas decorations in our Christmas home and gifts collection. For more information on any of our products, don’t hesitate to get in touch.


          Photoshop Christmas Brush Collection        
These are a collection of Christmas brushes to decorate your Christmas designs. Great for websites, posters, publishing and invites. Use this set of brushes to quickly add Christmas effects to your design. These include Christmas themed brushes like Wreaths, Snow Flakes, Candy Cane, Christmas Ornaments, Christmas balls & baubles, Christmas Decorations, Christmas Lights & Christmas Trees.

Photoshop Christmas Brush Collections


          Giveaway: Dare Yourself In the Spirit of Dash & Lily's Book of Dares        
So these few days, I've been feeling a bit restless and have been idling around the household doing nothing-- so much that my mother's initial reaction has gone from annoyance to incredulity. 

But I've been brainstorming a lot about what to do on this blog for Christmas and beyond and I want to do something--

fun! 

silly! crazy! exciting! cute!

Because I'm bored out of my bones and this is what I do when I'm bored out of my bones (yes, I've watched The Hobbit 2, and Catching Fire, and Frozen and God-knows-what). 

Here comes the neat part.

I have been reading a wonderful book which has kept me in a warm, fuzzy, romantic holiday mood (think: snow flakes, pretty lights, fireplace, moleskin notebooks):


“I’ve left some clues for you.
If you want them, turn the page.
If you don’t, put the book back on the shelf, please.”

So begins the latest whirlwind romance from the bestselling authors of Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist. Lily has left a red notebook full of challenges on a favorite bookstore shelf, waiting for just the right guy to come along and accept its dares. But is Dash that right guy? Or are Dash and Lily only destined to trade dares, dreams, and desires in the notebook they pass back and forth at locations across New York? Could their in-person selves possibly connect as well as their notebook versions? Or will they be a comic mismatch of disastrous proportions?

Rachel Cohn and David Levithan have written a love story that will have readers perusing bookstore shelves, looking and longing for a love (and a red notebook) of their own.

I love the entire idea of this book and so far it has been the only thing occupying my brain cells (other than Math homework). 

So, I've decided to hold a giveaway, titled (it has a long title, bear with it):

Dare Yourself In the Spirit of Dash & Lily's Book of Dares


The giveaway will last from 23rd December 2013 (most exciting day before the day before Christmas!) till 15th January 2014. The winner will win a copy of Dash & Lily's Book of Dares, but more importantly, every single participant in the giveaway will be emailed a crazy, bookish, silly dare to complete in 2014 by me personally. 

So it's a mixture of the Christmas mood of doing nice crazy things and also a New Year Resolution-ish sort of fun giveaway!


  • [1 winner] Win a copy of Dash & Lily's Book of Dares

  • [Everyone] Receive by email a personal book-related dare from me to complete in 2014




I'm not sure if that's actually an attractive incentive or a detractive one, but if you are in the mood for some daring bookish feats-- enter away!

Before I go, one more thing: I loved Frozen and it made my holiday magical-- take a listen, I hope this song does the same for you!