Tales of a Decorating Hoarder

I know I have a lot of craft and decorating materials.  After twenty-six years in retail and crafting decorative accessories, one does tend to accumulate.   The point was proven when I decided to set up the eight-foot former shop tree in our barn loft for Christmas.

Here it is draped in green and silver and I didn’t purchase a thing.  The ten-foot Frazier fir on the first floor wears our traditional decorations.  This one is draped in berries and glitter from our daughter’s wedding, silver garland I no longer use on the great room tree, extra silver balls, green celadon bows from a summer project, and white LED light strands my husband isn’t using outside.

Christmas in the loft!

Mossy Silver Green Tree

Mossy Silver Green Tree

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Waning Light

Late Afternoon Stillness

Late Afternoon Stillness

The shadows are creeping across the ground and it is only 4:15 PM.  By 5:00 it will be dark.  My husband laments the shorter days but they will begin to get longer just before Christmas.  Meanwhile, as Kathleen Kelly said in You’ve Got Mail, I’ll add more twinkle lights.

I have a retail crush on strands of tiny LED seed lights.  Because they are battery operated, I can light my autumn and Christmas displays on table tops and mantles without running cords everywhere.  These tiny lights add sparkle to gloomy days.  Last year I splurged on two strands on sale but they were still a bit pricey for my taste.  Imagine my delight when I found strands for only $7.99 at my local T. J. Maxx store.  I bought two and went back for another a week later.  Yes, I am addicted.

The Garden at Twilight

The Garden at Twilight

I love twilight in any season.  The last slanting rays of sun cast the landscape into bright angles and shadowy corners, wrapping up the day in a cozy cloak of night fall.  With twilight comes the security of drawing together as a family in indoor light.

If wishes could come true, I would drape the garden with tiny white lights all winter to add sparkle outside.  I make do with lighted garlands on the front porch and the back balcony at Christmas.  Our electric bill demands restraint when it comes to lighting up my world.  Inside my Verilux “HAPPY LIGHT,” a gift from our daughter Kelly, contributes a soft warm glow to my computer desk.  She bought one for both my husband and me.  These lights supply some of what is missing when outdoor sunlight is limited.  Although I do not have a seasonal disorder from lack of sunshine which can create sadness and moodiness in winter, the Happy Light makes me feel like I have just spent a day in the sun, without the burn!

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Harvesting the Hedgerows

Free Bounty

Free Bounty

Articles in UK magazines reference searching the country hedgerows for natural decorations, a charming idea.  We have our own hedges and plantings to harvest.  Pot wild cedar trees to play Christmas inside.  Virginia Creeper vine covering our Honeysuckle bushes on the pond dam are nicely pliable to wind into wreaths.  They will be used as bases for boxwood and evergreen wreaths.  The basket of crabapples from the chapel garden will be added to outdoor planters along with sprigs of holly, greens and twigs.  In the background are dark birch branches which add a nice woodsy feel to arrangements.  Don’t forget pine cones, wild moss and bird nests to tuck in.

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Farewell Bright Autumn

Autumn Everlastings

Autumn Everlastings

As the bright colors of fall turn from orange copper to brownish bronze, I am trying to capture as much autumn as I can.  This everlasting wreath is a combination of dried red peonies, rust celosia, sourdock, lady’s mantle, eucalyptus and tansy.  It will keep its autumn colors indefinitely when displayed indoors away from moisture.

The day is a bit dreary but I had to take a picture of the fallen leaves carpeting our front walk.  The autumn blaze maple gifted us with glorious red leaves.  I collected several to press between the pages of magazines.  Dried, they can be scattered around arrangements for the effect of fallen leaves on the harvest table.

Farewell bright fall.  Welcome crisp November with the promise of family gatherings.

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Adding Primitive Touches to Outbuildings

New Life for Old Hog House

New Life for Old Hog House

This board and batten hog house in the garden of our barn home is used as a garden shed and storage building.  My husband added the panes to the small window some year ago to add a little cottage charm.  To match the farm vibes of our property, I began hanging old tools on the shed such as the buck saw behind the shock.  When I removed a raised bed, the iron wagon wheel also found its way over to the shed.  After our September Sale, I had two sections of pallet picket fencing that looks very much at home across the front.  Add a seasonal shock of corn stalks, hay bale, pumpkin, calf feeding bucket, galvanized watering can and bushel basket and this charming shed is a great addition to our autumn farmstead decorating.

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Door County 2015

The weather was cool and blustery in Door County, Wisconsin–much as it was here in Central Illinois.  But it was Autumn on Lake Michigan.  The cool weather increased my appetite–or maybe it was the wonderful restaurants and regional treats!

Cedar Court Inn--our home-away-from-home in the Door.

Cedar Court Inn–our home-away-from-home in the Door.

Cedar Court is located in Fish Creek, one of the more active villages on the bay side of the peninsula.  We used the gas fireplace quite a bit on this trip.

Butch contemplating Lake Michigan from the red granite breakwater at the Egg Harbor Marina.

Butch contemplating Lake Michigan from the red granite breakwater at the Egg Harbor Marina.

The marina at Egg Harbor is my favorite.  Butch likes the activity and larger boats at Fish Creek.

Overlook at Ellison Bay

Shopping at Chelsea Antiques and The Blue Willow gift shops on Route 57 out of Sister Bay was a fun experience.  Beautiful things everywhere.  We found our Liberty pattern English Staffordshire china displayed in the antique shop but I came out with the Irish CD they were playing.

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It’s all about the Lake.  A great view of open water at the Ellison Bay County Park Overlook off Route 42.

When you order a small Junior Sundae at Wilson's in Ephraium, be prepared for a mountain of homemade ice cream covered in whipped cream!

When you order a small Junior Sundae at Wilson’s in Ephraim, be prepared for a mountain of homemade ice cream covered in whipped cream!

The waves were high on the lake side at Cave Point. Mesmerizing.

The waves were high on the lake side at Cave Point. Mesmerizing.

The waves were high enough for surfing.  On days such as this it is apparent how the lake carves the limestone cliffs into caves and grottoes.

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More shopping at another favorite–Pipka’s in Sister Bay–the artist’s shop and studio.  I bought vintage tinsel trim for a future project yet unknown and a small package of die-cut cherry scrap.  Pipka is a paper and media artist who is known for her collectable Santas.

Butch checked out the sale items at The Peninsula Golf Club’s pro shop.  We were delighted to find they built a six-hole course across from The Peninsula course that is very reasonable and can be played with a 7, chipper and putter.  Next time we are playing for sure.

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The White Gull Inn, our favorite place for breakfast and a fish boil.  It is a short walk from our room at Cedar Court.

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The warm and welcoming foyer of The White Gull.  After 8 a.m. on the weekends there is usually a wait for a table.

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We shopped two favorite farm markets on the way out of the Door.  I fell in love with one of those peach-colored pumpkins, bought a dozen cider apple donuts for the family at home and stocked up on Door County cherry pie filling.  It is great to have in the pantry for quick coffee cakes and cobblers too.  After the pumpkin has passed over into pumpkin land, I will harvest the seeds to grow my own next season.  Every woman should have her Cinderella pumpkin.

We are storing good memories of Door County away for another year.

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We are in a flurry of hurry as we prepare for Saturday’s SEPTEMBER SALE at Farm Grove, 18886 Springfield Road, Groveland, IL  61535.  10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Our family is having this sale to keep the creative juices flowing after 26 years in the collectible/retail business–and to make use of this beautiful country property.  How many can say they have a white rock parking lot in their front yard?  Well, when you convert your shop and restaurant into a barn home, that is what happens!

Here are the latest preview pics of our farmhouse, urban chic’ and collectible displays.  If it has a tag–it is FOR SALE.  Come visit and bring a friend.

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