Showing posts with label decorating. Show all posts
Showing posts with label decorating. Show all posts

Tuesday, February 22, 2022

Spring Zephyrs Have Arrived

I love all the old words so much! Zephyrs and daffadowndillies, gillyflowers and galoshes, gauds and glebes a-gleaming in the spring sunshine! An old use of the word "gauds" is for the "Our Father" beads of the Rosary, which are traditionally bigger or flashier than the "Hail Mary" beads, but my Granny also used that word for her costume jewelry. And we used the word "pretties," too, for such things.

The palo verdes have put forth their leaves, perhaps unwisely, and their trunks are greening up so much they look painted. Our spring winds have begun, and bring in dust storms. It starts about noon, after a calm morning, and blows until six or seven, with gusts up to 60 mph.

Now, here's a new word for me, learned only about a decade ago: Haboob, meaning a huge dust storm that bears down on a place. We just always said, "dust storm," even though that's not really specific enough to describe a towering cloud of dust that pushes into a clear area, and turns day to night almost instantly. We did not have a haboob yet this year, just the usual dust storms.

I ran into Walmart today to get some salad for our dinner, and couldn't resist going down the Easter aisles, where I found two decorations I could not resist. I don't know why black and white so suddenly appealed to me, but now I have added them to the mantel. They were reasonable at $1.98 each for the big polka-dot egg and a three-pack of carrots. 

black and white easter decorations

The carrots were glued together, but easily broke apart. On the mantel, I also changed the usual berries in the old Mexican jug for navy blue berries. I think they will go all the way to autumn easily! Especially with many patriotic holidays before Hallowe'en. This is a sea-change for me, in terms of color. I look like death in navy blue, and always avoided it in any context. It makes my eyes look a dreadful split-pea green, like a llama's eyes right before it spits. But somehow the navy berries looked delightful!

Went to the thrift store to try to get some of the Chick Fil-A chicken they kindly donate on Saturdays, but all chicken was already gone. I did get a very large bag of their delightful biscuits, however! And I saw this cute basket for holding mail, all in tones of dusty pink, with a spray of millinery flowers on it. This is "Maiden Aunt Chic," I think. 

dusty pink old basket

I finished two more cross-stitch charts, and one is in the process of being made into yet another pinkeep. The other one is already a pinkeep. Yet I am forever looking for a pin. I finished these too late for Valentine's for this year, but maybe they will sell next year.

I rarely venture out at night, but I took this photo of our little downtown on the way back from visiting a church. It looks late, but it wasn't. Night had just fallen. I love cutting through the downtown whenever I'm out, day or night!

Rio Grande Theater in downtown Las Cruces, NM

Wishing you an early spring and fresh days as we head towards the Lenten season! 

Kind regards,

Holly, The Olde Dame

Monday, February 7, 2022

Busy Needle, Still Mind

Picking up needle and thread and creating a design lets me go into a special place in my mind. In some ways, I fight guilt, as many think of it as an indulgence or a useless art. But anything that allows your soul to rest and your mind to think of beautiful things cannot be a waste of time! Sometimes, every stitch is a prayer. Other times, I don't know where my mind goes. It just wafts away on billows of memories. I actually have the sensation of moving through time, in both directions!

ice on red berries winter xmas 2022
Nandina berries with ice during our cold snap

I love much about modern life, especially things like heartworm medicines for pets and the internet, but I miss that time is not given for handicrafts. I am glad that I have rescued pieces of lace and bits of quilts and other handmade goods from yesteryear. These things speak deeply to my heart. 

Here is a peek at my Valentine's Snowman. I'm sewing it into yet another "pinkeep" or "cabinet tuck" or "mini-pillow," whichever term you care to use. It will be finished by morning, because this is one of those doze-sew-read-doze kind of nights. 

Snowy Valentine Cross Stitch Snowman Chart

We had a bit of snow here, mainly in the mountains, but we in the foothills got some, too. I gathered some of it because it's very good for houseplants. "Poor Man's Fertilizer," the old-time farmers called it. The ivy in the bathroom enjoyed it very much and is putting out leaves from the boost it gave.

Organ Mountains, Las Cruces 2022

I drove up to the true beginning of the mountains and got a few snapshots. Gosh, haven't heard that term in awhile. "Snapshots."

I have the mantel decorated for mid-winter. It is quite plain, but in person there are touches of red that are very cheery, including the little wooden mushroom to the left. In the fireplace, a Holy Candle always burns. I took an entire bag of candles to Mass on Candlemas (Feb. 2nd) to be blessed.

Some of the nandina berries I plucked before the snow and ice came.

I should probably dig out more Valentine's decor. 

I hope you are all well and well-content during these wintry days. Even our Florida blog friends got a shocking blast of cold air!

I am very slow to go around to the blogs, and I apologize. I love to read them and to pray for my bloggie frens, but am still a bit down. 

Kind regards,

Holly, the Olde Dame

Wednesday, December 22, 2021

"Christmas" Lunch at La Posta Restaurant

I have been wanting to see inside the "famous" La Posta restaurant next door in the tiny village of Mesilla since they decorated for Christmas. They decorate in a big way for Christmas, and have many themed rooms inside the 1840s adobe building that once served as a stagecoach stop. So that was my Christmas present to myself!

The food was secondary to the setting! We were very lucky and were seated in a prime spot for seeing into some of the other areas, including a room with lava-rock walls. 

But first Santa welcomed us in. 

Santa at La Posta restaurant

And he whispered that we shouldn't be afraid of Pepe, the resident piranha, because he's just a little toothless viejo (old man) now!

Pepe, the resident piranha of La Posta restaurant

There was so much to see that I lagged a bit and was slowing down the staff. So I had to hurry and get seated. I was trying to get a good photo of a colorful Nativity scene.

Mexican wood cutout nativity scene las cruces

It's a very popular place, especially at Christmas, when many people bring their out-of-town friends for a meal. The food is not very spicy, so non-New Mexicans can enjoy it, too. 

The old vinyl tablecloths are so bright and pretty. Each table has a different cloth.

There was what I call a "títere tree" there ("TEE-tah-rah") -- a tree with many vintage "títeres" (puppets) on it, along with sombreros and woven garlands. Very bright and cheerful but I just noticed that Pancho Villa has a gun in his wee hand...

The food came very quickly. My husband ate better than I have seen him eat in several months! That was a blessing! My food was lousy, and I am glad, because it was all off-limits items for diabetics except for some vinegar slaw.

Mexican flag metal wall sconce Las Cruces

I was just on Cloud Nine the whole time. So many strange and pretty sights! I love decorations.

We must find happiness where we can. Sometimes we have to look a bit harder for it, too. But even in the midst of troubles or sadness, we can find some peace and joy. And most of all, we can have hope! What a gift God has given us, to put hope in the human heart!

I know most of my bloggie frens are having lovely times with family right now, and I am so glad for each of you! I do not mean to bring anyone down during happy holiday times. I think most are not even on the blogs right now, as they are active with their loved ones. Good!

But for those like me who may not have any loving family left, or who have seen friends dwindle away as the years have passed, or who have tribulations or health problems themselves or worse, their loved ones do, please know that I understand, am there with you, and am praying each day for happiness and peace in the world! And don't forget, whatever your religion or non-religion -- the angels and Saints are all around you! The veil is very thin during this time of year! Christmas magic is real, it is a glimpse from Heaven, in my opinion, and I hope it puts heart into you. There is always next year, too! 

Kind regards,

Holly, The Olde Dame

Wednesday, October 13, 2021

Huge Bur Oak Acorns and Will There Be Food Shortages?

I was very surprised to find some Bur (also called Burr) Oaks already dropping ripe acorns here. This is a month earlier than they would drop them when I was in West Texas. My eyes were as big as these acorns, to see them by the dozens on the ground! And more coming!
green huge bur burr oak acorns 2021

I bet squirrels could live the entire winter with just a few of these hidden!
bur burr oak acorns in a hand 2021

I did have a long post with some sad Depression stories about acorns, but I think I won't bring extra gloom into the post today! 
bur burr north american largest acorns oak

No, today I'll just enjoy these acorns. Champie sneakily took one for his very own, and is still guarding it a day later.

Ain't he an ugly little thang? But well-loved!

I had to go shopping today and get some supplies. My husband is very concerned that there will be shortages of food, and wanted me to stock up on some of his important items (like Little Debbie powdered donuts, ha ha). So I went to Walmart, and didn't see any shortages, except of some frozen dinners and also of bottled water (the small bottles, not the jugs). But I was so surprised to see ALL the Christmas stuff already up in the garden center area. It looks terrific! I have been hearing that all of the things are stuck offshore in the big container ships! But our Walmarts are full, at the mo'.
The Hallowe'en stuff is in the middle of the store, and it also looks great. I saw a lot of the "Farmhouse Style" autumn decor items and a lot of pretty wreaths and signs. They even have pretty lap throws, and the things for the kids are so cute.
cute halloween accessories 2021

Nothing is "sold out" yet. Is that good or bad, I wonder? Are people not buying, or is there enough to restock each day? 
I really enjoyed wandering around the aisles. On one of the Christmas aisles, there are interesting tableau encased in glass, and filled with water. If you press a button, swirls of glitter come up and the scene lights up! These are not shaped like snowglobes. I thought that if only they plugged in, they'd be a great addition to most homes. But they have batteries, and I don't buy things that only run on batteries, especially weird button batteries that are so expensive.
The Olde Dame is on the prowl for cute items!

I drove over to Albertson's Grocery to try to find the frozen dinners hubby likes, and they have begun putting out Christmas foods and decor, too! The Albertson's here are much smaller than the ones in Midland and the ones in Tucson. But I did notice that along with the rotisserie chickens, they now have roasted turkey breasts, too, ready to eat! 

They do have a really big deli and their food is very good. Expensive in a way, but good. Have you noticed? You used to be able to save a lot of money by "copycatting" deli and restaurant foods at home. Now, ingredients are so expensive that you don't save any money! I find that very strange! 

How can the Village Inn sell a big pecan pie for $14? The ingredients cost me $14, and that's not including the energy to bake it! I just don't understand this modern world.

Are the stores where you are already decorating for Christmas? And have you noticed how expensive just plain food is anymore? 


Kind regards,

Holly, The Olde Dame (and gettin' older)

Thursday, October 7, 2021

Dollar Tree Witch Redo and Crockpot Success!

I try to stay out of Dollar Tree unless absolutely necessary, because of my very bad habit of picking up things I don't need. But for some items, like cellulose sponges, I do have to run into the Dollar Tree. And Dollar Tree is the only place around here that has 2 and 2.5 gallon slider "Ziplocks," which I use to organize my cross stitch projects and to store dog kibble in the freezer. The special veterinary dog kibble is really spendy and I like it to be fresh for them.

Dollar Tree hanging witch

Of course, this last time I went I had to go and latch onto a hanging witch decoration. I like cute decorations, and this witch is almost too scary. The "BEFORE" is in the photo above.

halloween lights in a courtyard

Anyhoo, I got ready to paint up the little plain witchywoo after running errands today. My legs get very tired during the day, despite all the surgeries. And then I could NOT find my little paint pots! Oh gosh, WHERE are they? I did have some other paints, but not the little set that has all the usual colors. Boo! So I did what I could. I was just too tired to run back out to Wally World for the little paints and dangnabit I know I have them somewhere.

dollar tree witch hack

I am pretty happy with the witch! The strange flakes on the face are actually really big glitter. It looks good in person. The camera does not capture it very well. The bit of gray hair is from a fake bun I bought myself to try to make it look like I have some hair left on my poor head.

redo upcycle dollar tree witch

I put her up high on my courtyard iron fence, so that the very little kids won't see her very well. I don't even know what I'm talking about: With this COVID business, our governor may very well shut down Trick or Treat again this year and no kids whatsoever will be in danger of getting scared by my decorations. But I want to be ready. I might change the eye color to blue. The red might be too scary.

funny green witch with gray hair on fence

I finally got around to making a big crockpot full of "apple pie filling." I followed my own recipe, out of my head, and it really came out good! The "secret" ingredients were to put whole cloves in an emptied-out teabag and let it stew in there, and also to put two tablespoons of maple syrup in. Also, put brown sugar. If you don't like cloves, you would not like the stewed apples, though. They are heavy on the cloves and on ginger. I take the peels off my apples before I stew them up.

Lore: Keep breath fresh by putting a whole clove between teeth and cheek, like a chaw. DON'T SWALLOW IT. Yes, I most always have a clove chaw. What can I say, ladies? I run around barefoot in a muumuu with a chaw. I WAS born in Arkansas.

Additional clove lore: If you feel a cold coming on, get a teacup and fill with orange juice. Squeeze in 1/2 lemon and 1/2 lime. Put in a dollop of honey. Now float at least five whole cloves in it and a small piece of candied ginger. Heat it up, sip it all down. Then eat the piece of ginger, and put a clove for a chaw for a few minutes. Put Vicks under your nose. Then prop yourself up to sleep for at least the first three hours. This is my Granny's never-fail remedy and it works for us!

It's getting to be "cold season." Do you have any family remedies that work for you? I'd love to hear them!

Kind regards,

Holly, The Olde Dame

Monday, October 4, 2021

A Little Free Paper Craft and Some Pecan Lore

Since I'm in-between employment, I've been making a lot of digital tags for my Etsy shop. I decided to print out my new favorites and make some cute "Mason Jar" decorations. I drink out of canning jars of all shapes and sizes and use them for storing foods and small items. And they make such cute rustic vases!

MerryNeedle on Etsy - Mason Jar Digital Tags
It was wonderful to sit on the bed with the dogs and cut out my "scraps" while a sweet OLD Hallmark movie played! Oh yes, the movies are silly and syrupy, but I find them to be a nice background to crafting! Halloween, Thanksgiving, or Christmas, it doesn't matter. I like to link the entire end of the year together and enjoy all of it, zusammen! But the NEW Hallmarks are not to my taste at all! They seem kind of trashy!

I have a link to a special set of these silly little tags just for my bloggie readers! It's at the bottom of the post. The ones for bloggie frens are not in the Etsy shoppe, but are just for you to enjoy, if fussy-cutting and glueing is fun for you!  

I went "running" with my buddy, my dear hubby. I gathered some rare jujubes, which are tasty but are mostly a big seed. They are falling off like a rain of dried plums! I don't know if they are visible, but like most things in the desert, the branches have HUGE thorns.

Then it was time to go check if the pecan groves have begun to change leaf colors. It's still too early.
The pecans are still ripening, still in their husks. I gathered several fallen pecans still in the husk (they are no good for eating if they fall when unripe), because they are a surefire cure for ringworm! 
Sometimes I take in litters of kittens that need bottle-feeding, and many times, these poor things have ringworm. There are pharmaceuticals to combat ringworm, but I feel the green husk juice is more effective. It does stain the skin and fur, but the quickness of the cure is worth it. It eventually fades, usually before the kittens are ready for their "furever homes." I have the green pecans I picked up stored in the freezer for future use.
I have heard that green pecan leaves are also effective, but I haven't tried that. 

Did you know that it's LUCKY if a pecan "beans" you right on the noggin? It is!

There was a roadside shrine among the trees. These are common here, and are called descansos. They are protected by law when placed along a public highway or roadway, and many are very elaborate. They are placed at the sites of fatal accidents. I try to drive very carefully, and the descansos remind me of how important it is to continue to do so.

I'm just about to start a fun crafting project where I take a Dollar Tree hanging "witch" and hopefully elevate its appearance somewhat! I hope to pop in later this week with a "before" and "after" post. I like the Norwegian "kitchen witches" and hope this will bring those funny witches to mind. I do not like "scary" things, but I do love kitschy funny ones!

I hope you are all doing well this first full week of October, bloggie friends! Anything special planned this week?

Kind regards,

Holly, the Olde Dame
USE THE LINKS or they won't print correctly!

Link to the "Autumn" Jars:


Link to the "Winter" Jars:


Monday, September 20, 2021

Shine On, Harvest Moon!

The huge and lovely harvest moon, bathed in a rich golden hue, rose early tonight! I don't take photos of the moon anymore; they always come out like a dot or a little yellow pea when I try! But I hope the moonbeams found you, wherever you are! 

I redid a bit of my mantel, to showcase a fine fat gourd and its tiny "baby." The large gourd is a bottle or birdhouse type, and the little one nestling at its side is a "spinner" gourd. Can you believe the gourd was only $3?

A bit of candlelight, and the room felt very different, very cozy and fall-like!

I just adore candlelight. I am excited to have found a little candle -- and now I can't recall where, which is ridiculous since I go so few places -- that came with a cork lid. When it has finally sputtered out, I will have a sweet tiny container, perhaps for little safety pins or buttons or beads. The glass is a pretty amber color. My mother had many, many amber glass items, and I never liked them, until I turned 60. Then, I adored amber glass! 

I added a little stool I have and put a fake punkin atop it, and I think I'm finally happy with the mantel...but perhaps not. I think I have a fake mouse or two to add to it, somewhere!

I did buy a non-essential item besides the candle and gourd, too...a ristra! A long one that is very pretty. Ristras are green chiles (that turn red when fully ripe) that are strung together in a lovely swag, and sometimes into wreaths. But the swag is the most common. They are a beloved symbol of the turn of the year and of Christmas here. They smell very good when drying.

They hang from most houses, both inside and out, and also hang from the light posts in that little nearby village of Mesilla that snuggles up against the city of Las Cruces. I think it's precious that most manger scenes include a ristra here.

Mine is drying by the front door. If I manage to get another job, I will get one of the four-foot ones. But this one is about 3 feet and quite nice. Once it's drier, it will go inside. I use them in cooking but not enough chiles are plucked from it to make it look scanty. It stays pretty until the next year. Ristras are said to bring luck to a house.

We had a scare with one of the pets, the Chiweenie. He didn't want to eat, and that is a huge red flag, so we took him straight to the vet clinic and he had to stay there a few days, on an IV. The vet thinks maybe he had food poisoning or "just a sick tummy." But he's back home and I have him eating turkey and rice, and chicken and rice, and some little white bread and turkey sandwiches! He's not 100 percent yet...lighted a candle for him and all pets today after Mass...

The vet bill almost sent ME to the hospital! Dreadfully expensive. Insanely so, but what can someone do? These are strange times, changing and in scary ways, I think! Some changes I like, but the pace of change seems to be so fast, the older I get, and I think a lot of the changes are toxic! But there's still beauty...and I hope you have a BEAUTIFUL week! 

Tell me, have you finished your fall decorating? And did you see the harvest moon?

Kind regards,

The Olde Dame, Holly

Wednesday, September 15, 2021

dANGER Not Ahead!

I was walking around in Walmart, as I often do. That's how I find many interesting things. I wander around at my pace. And wandering through the Hallowe'en items, I saw this:

danger tape for halloween decoration at walmart

I had never realized that the word DANGER has ANGER in it, but that really resonated with me. Danger: Anger ahead! Righteous anger can be very useful, but at some point, it can become dangerous. Maybe it's a psychological protection or advantage to "nurse one's wrath" at times, especially if someone is trying to right a wrong for someone. 

But for me, the anger I have been feeling over the attempt to make me commit fraud at my former job is not serving me well, at all! I have not properly dealt with the confusion and fright I felt, or my fear at being without a job, and just lump it into "anger." As the college students say, I was "triggered!" I think it's easier to feel the anger than to feel the fear. 

The fear and fury has been just sticking me right into a molasses mindset! Stuck, scared! So, I'm working on that. I went to the cathedral yesterday and just sat two hours. Said the rosary several times, lighted candles, poured my troubles out to Jesus and Mary. Sometimes I am like a child who wants to be told she is right, and get a pat on the head and a lollipop! I felt that Mary did indeed give me that sweet pat and sent me out much stronger and calmer.

Going to the cathedral always gives me "ganas." Ganas is the Spanish word for "guts" or "gumption," for energy, for effort. If you tell someone "Ponle ganas!" it exhorts them to "get crackin'" and to take heart, to TRY! The very air in the church tells me íPonle ganas! (Pohn-lay Gah-nass!) Pick yourself up, try! (see the candle flames like dots above the holy candles, to the right of the photo above? One of them is the Bloggie Frens candle!)

I was energized after being in the silent, cool church. I put up some indoor Hallowe'en decorations! Not much, but it feels like enough for this year. Closer to Hallowe'en I will get a pumpkin. I got the vintage cutouts for something like 30 cents after the season at Hobby Lobby in years' past.

And there is nothing like NATURE to get one's head on right and put things into perspective! I went for a drive and took my husband along, as it cheers him, also. We went from the very bottom of the Mesilla Valley to the foothills of the nearby Organ Mountains. 

The big reservoir upstream from us is not releasing any more water into the Rio Grande this year. It will not run again until March or April of next year. Now there's just a ribbon of water in the center of the river. I walked around in the riverbed and was so surprised to see that freshwater mussels of some sort clearly live in the river!

In a few days, even the ribbon of water will be gone.

You can see the mountains on the horizon. We left the river and drove up to them. It only takes about 15 minutes to drive to the foothills. 

I can tell by the color of the brush that autumn is nigh. 

What do you do to lift your flagging spirits or to combat anger and fear? Do you seek out nature? I know some of you do, from reading your delightful blogs. Do you also like to go into darkened churches to recharge and seek guidance? Or are you more the cup-of-tea or bubble-bath type? I like all of those things! 

Kind regards,

The Olde Dame, Holly