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Zuzu's Blog

It's Time For The "Christmas-Mystery" Award ~

Category: Zuzu's Homefront Blog | Posted: Mon Dec 18, 2006 11:05 pm

I used to decorate much more elaborately for the holidays . . .
. . . when I was younger.

One year, I built a couple of deer out of chicken wire
and some grapevine freshly cut from our back lot.

Hubby built a plywood sleigh, that was big enough to hold
a small cedar tree, which we picked up from a brush pile
at the side of the road.
I "harnessed" the deer to the sleigh with ribbon.

And the following year I built and added
a life-sized figure of St. Nick and another deer, this one lying down.

(No, that's NOT hubby )

We eventually developed a little bit of a reputation,
and the traffic flow on our street picked up noticeably
in the week or so around Christmas.
I got such a kick out of watching the cars slow to a crawl,
or even stop. And, each night, through the front windows,
we could see the spark of flash bulbs, and occasionally,
the steady gleam of a cam-corder light.
I was just so flattered to think that people wanted
to come and see what I'd done,
and some even wanted to keep or maybe share it on film.

Every year I made a new and different display.

Gosh, I used to go all out, back then! Looking at these old photos,
I wonder where I got the time and energy??
Well, I was younger . . . did I already mention that part?

Anyway, it was because of one of those "productions" of mine,
that our annual award tradition was born.

One day, near Christmas, I came home to find
a pretty little poinsettia plant on my doorstep.
With it, there was a short and very sweet, but unsigned. note.
It said how much they enjoyed seeing our display,
and how seeing it had been a much-needed bright spot
in an otherwise difficult season.
It was a sort of a "Thank you" note.

It really touched my heart.
It made me feel so appreciated and humble all at the same time.
I was reminded how we can sometimes touch a life
in a positive way without ever realizing it,
just by being who we are, and doing what we do naturally.

I asked around for weeks afterward,
but I never worked out who it had been,
all of our neighbors denied any part in it.
Hubby called it "The Christmas-Mystery Award"

In the years since then, my outdoor holiday decorations
have become distinctly more subdued,
I can't seem to find the energy and time that I used to have,
but hubby and I have replaced that old tradition
with a new one.

We started giving out "Christmas-Mystery Awards" each year.
I just pick up a little something extra when I'm shopping,
an ornament, a small gift or maybe a seasonal plant.
Then, while we're riding around, enjoying everyone else's
lights and decorations, we choose one place,
and leave the little gift, along with a card, saying
"Thank you for making our Christmas brighter with your lovely display"

I've got everything ready, we'll go out one evening later this week.
It's a lot of fun . . . . . . so long as we don't get shot or arrested.

This blog entry has been viewed 837 times

Confessions of a Paneling Painter ~

Category: Zuzu's Homefront Blog | Posted: Sat Dec 09, 2006 8:43 pm

OOh , the evilest of all renovation evil deeds in some folks' eyes . . .

There is something that, for some people,
goes very badly against the grain (please excuse the pun)
where painting over wood is concerned.
"How could you possibly consider applying paint over real wood?!?"
The words "real wood" usually spoken in hushed and reverent tones.

In my opinion, the answer was simple. The room in question looked dated
and, despite having 3 large windows, it felt dark and dingy.

The (now "vintage") knotty pine, with it's obligatory coats of
shiny orange shellac, was apparently a popular construction
choice in this part of the world in the 60's,
which is when this addition to my home was built.

At least, it was certainly popular with the builder who built the addition.
He used it to cover all four walls and the ceiling
of the small (9'x13') bedroom which we are now in the process
of converting into a home office.

It took more than a few "trust me's",
and a handful of magazine photographs to sell the paint idea to hubby,
even though he conceded that he did not love the pine.

I think the moment that may have tipped the scale, was when I pointed out
that even if we didn't paint, we weren't off the hook work-wise,
we were still going to have to refresh the existing finish with something . . .
. . .
Good grief!! Not more shellac???

So, after applying a single coat of oil-based primer, we painted the walls
with a latex paint called "Patina", a soothing mossy-grey color,
and then did the trim and ceiling in a very soft (nearly white)
chiffon yellow named "Pale Sunshine".

The thing is, I think the space still has the "craftsman-ly" quality
of a paneled room, but it really does look and feel so much fresher.
As you can see, the room is still a work-in-progress,
but we both love the paint, trust me.

Now . . . if we can just come to terms on furniture . . .

Oh, by the way,
the same paneling also swaths a small adjoining hall and bath,
as well as my little kitchen . . .
here's a brush, I hope you wore your painting clothes.

Last edited: Sat Dec 09, 2006 9:37 pm

This blog entry has been viewed 20277 times

The Weather Outside Is Frightful ~

Category: Zuzu's Bloomin' Blog | Posted: Sun Dec 03, 2006 10:47 pm

The hard-hitting cold front that has swept across
the whole U.S. is now arriving at the east coast.
It's been the dreariest of days,
grey and blustery with a cold rain that just wouldn't quit.
In short, the sort of day that tempts me to open a vein.

Told ya I'm a weather wimp, and it's no lie.
I'm the poster child for SAD.

The glasshouse is my lifeline to summer.
So, naturally, that is my destination again today,
because while the weather outside truly is frightful . . .
. . . the color in there is delightful.

I stripped nearly all the leaves from this Brugmansia
before bringing it inside, but it's blooming it's heart out anyhow.

There are a few powderpuffs on the Calliandra

And, happily, 'tis the season for orchids.

Lots of Dendrobiums




I'm so glad you stopped by, hope you enjoyed the 2 cent tour.
Have you got time to come back to the house
for some gingersnaps and tea?

Last edited: Mon Dec 04, 2006 6:16 pm

This blog entry has been viewed 772 times

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