Friday, December 30, 2011


As clocks tick away all over the world, and the last day of the
calendar year is almost upon us, I am reminded of what you have
all meant to me.  This was my first full year of blogging.  You have
inspired me and hopefully I have inspired you in some small way.
You have allowed me to come into your homes and I have done the same.
Many of you I have met personally which of course is the ultimate
experience in blogland.  I call you my friends and even your families
have touched my life.

Like the clock and its casings, we are all different.  We visit each other from
all walks of life and from all over the world. ( I was shocked to know that
some of my audience is in Africa. . . . . how did this happen?) 

Like the clock our personalities are also different, our psyche's however
the same.  We want to inspire, we want to learn and we love it when
our posts are enjoyed and somehow know we have made a difference,
if even in just some small way.

As the clock keeps ticking, so do our thoughts and our imaginations;
our styles and our treasures.  What will be our next post?  Will it be worthy?
Will it be enjoyed by you?  Will I have made a difference in the way
you entertain or set a table or painted a room. 

We won't always know whose lives we have touched and made better
for our having cared.  One thing for sure, I look forward to another
year of continued friendships and new ones as well.  Never in my wildest dreams
 would I have ever believed the wonder and joy this has brought
to my life.

May the New Year bring to you health, prosperity, peace and love.


Sunday, December 25, 2011

CHRISTMAS EVE. . . . . . .

Church Mass, a traditional  candlelit Christmas Eve dinner with close friends including our children
and now our childrens' children and the beatuiful light displays on our ride home on a
magical night of all nights.

The candlelight

Children grown

The oldest and the youngest grandchild

More precious grandchildren

Tracking Santa, an excited adult child and a very
serious grandchild, "Where is he now?"  The voice
on the other end of the line, "He is over the Atlantic
just coming toward the states from the Carribean Islands."

Serious discussions among lifetime friends

The festively set table

The quiet and beautiful ambiance of candlelight

The children's table

Their LIVE and perfect tree

More grandchildren

The speech and the realization that this is the 19th year
of our Christmas Eve tradition

We had just opened our poppers and donned our paper hats

The drive home and the lights

More lights. . . (this was quietly elegant) Loved it!

Arriving home

 Christmas had arrived last night, wrapped in swaddling clothes
and laying in a manger

I wish all of you who celebrate this season a VERY MERRY CHRISTMAS.

Thursday, December 22, 2011


This all happened without a plan. . . . . it goes like this. . .

As I was putting all of the tops on the plastic
storage bins, I looked down into one of them
and there it was. . . an egg with glitter!

I looked around as to where I might put this glittered egg . . .

Of course I said to myself. . . . .where else BUT with the glittered
bird that I had bought this season at Scentimental Garden in Geneva.

Couldl it be this little glittered bird was just a little bit happier
for what layed beneath her?

Don't you just love these serendipitous moments? 

More wrapping to do, must run. . . . .

Monday, December 19, 2011


A week or so ago, I had the opportunity to visit a shop in the village of Barrington, Illinois.
I had heard of this shop on many occasions in the last few months and just never took the
time to explore its offerings.  Over the years and after owning a shop, it takes a lot to get
me excited over a new store and its contents!  Well, long distance or not, this place is fabulous and VERY worth the trip!  The name of this shop is called STEEPLE CHASE.  Quite frankly, I was blown away . . . . . come take a look.

The first display that caught my eye . . .

The vignettes were eye catching and so well done.  This ole
grain scoop would have been perfect on a kitchen island.  I
loved this and could have taken it home.

Many collections had been reupholstered or repainted
and the blending of different eras so amazingly done.

Architectural elements supporting everything interesting, this
pair of French doors were beautiful, just the right amount
of pickling with original glass.

Old leather books, greens and a clock to remind us
we had already been there an hour (it seemed like we had just

Chandeliers that sparkled with crystals (I believe this one was
bronze and found its way here from France!)

Old vintage signs, primitives, painted furniture, tapestries,
a beloved doll from the early 1900's, mirrors, award ribbons
and lighting all just waiting for the right home accessory or collection.

The old leather books and many without the leather, were so textural
and called out to be taken home. . . . . . out of book shelves, there is
always an old leather chair!

Another corner packed full of goodness and blended with perfection!

A beautiful French armoire loaded with goodness.  The antlers in
the foreground in a vintage bowl with dishes.  Maybe there are those
of you that don't know how collectible antlers are.  Great for on top of
a collection of books on a shelf.

Old wire, a vintage store scale for that large kitchen that was
pretty fabulous on a primitive table keeping company with
every accessory you can imagine.


Last but not least was this old gaming instrument.  Karrin's husband
had replaced the top and bottom of the cage with new suede for that
extra special BOUNCE!  Perfection for any game enthusiast.

As we were getting ready to leave, I looked back and took this
last shot in order to share with you one last look!

If ever you want a treat for yourself or someone else or are in
need of the extraordinary, do not waste days getting here
like I did.  It was a pleasure to be introduced to
a venue worth visiting. 

You do it all so well Karrin and after the first of the year I
will be back.  Such a treat it was and I haven't stopped
thinking about it specialness!

P.S.  The prices are very fair and very affordable.  Karrin shops
for her shop weekly, because not much lasts very long at

The particulars are:

Steeple Chase Antiques
425 West Main Street
Barrington, Il. 60010

Proprietor: Karrin Olsson-DaBoll

Saturday, December 17, 2011


           It was a very full day and one I didn't know if I would get through . . .  On my 
           schedule was an initial consultation with a new client (two hours) followed by a trip into
           city to meet friends I met in England and then home to entertain; a cookie exchange.
           Over scheduling is the worse and I am guilty of it much too often.  It makes me crazy!
           But, the initial consultation went very well, Holiday Tea at the Drake was the best
           thing I could have done for myself . . . . such refinement and relaxation while sipping
           tea, eating scones smothered with clotted cream, lemon curd and jams.  What a way
           to multi task and enjoy friendships! (and to think I thought about having to cancel.!)

Left the city in time to make it home with time to spare!  Yikes!  'Lit' the candles in the urns, ran in the house,
threw off my coat and started my ripleys believe it
or not act!!!

A close up of the urns at night. . . OMG,  could it be
that I moved my camera again??????

While putting finishing touches on that less is more tree. . . .
I just didn't make it.  Made this nest and tried to set in
in the tree and it was way too big,  so. . . . .( this was all
done before hand!!)

So, I sprayed an old garland with my handy 24k gold paint
and gathered by wrapping my hand with garland to create
a nest.  I put some moss in the center and put in two faux eggs!

I then nestled it onto a tree branch and surrounded the nest
with birds; such a tizzy they were in as to  who
could have layed these eggs .  .  .  .

Loved using the extra large gold spheres that had to
be tucked deep into the tree  (24" in diam.)

My tree finally finished before I left this morning.

In the center of this photo, another extra large orb in
pure glass!  Lights just twinkle like crazy with this
deeply tucked ornament.

The cookie exchange so much fun and a little different
from those I have done in the past . . . . .you see, all of
the cookies brought this evening will be going downtown
to the Veterans Hospital on Sunday to be shared between
over a hundred men.  We will be caroling and bringing
joy to many who even most recently have returned
from Afganistan and Iraq.

I have never done this before in a hospital ward, but I
know it will be a rewarding part of the Christmas season.

After everyone left, I blew out all of the candles, sat down
with a glass of wine and felt I had completed a day that
covered all that I had started out to do.  No better
way to end a day with such COMFORT AND JOY.