Monday, December 31, 2012

Happy New Year !

I am still in Boston. Although we did not have a white Christmas, we do indeed have the snow for a white new years!

It is chilly out there! And it seems to me that the best way to celebrate is to stay home tonight, cozy & warm & eat up the last of the Christmas cookies!

I will think about making resolutions tomorrow.......

Happy New Year to each & everyone of you!

Decking the Halls Charleston Style

I tried to post this earlier in the season but something clearly went awry, so I am making another attempt even though the timing is not quite correct. Perhaps I just like looking at these sunny photos & I suppose it is never too late to send good wishes your way.

Before I left Charleston I did not have time to do any Christmas decorating. Maybe, that is why I especially enjoyed looking at all of the pretty trimmings that were there to be seen. Here are a few photos of just some of those lovely decorations. 

It does seem like there is a distinct Charlestonian flair when it comes to decking the halls. The abundant use of all of the lush local greenery is extremely appealing. 

Magnolia wreaths are very popular & so pretty with the coppery tone of the underside of the leaves.

The Wreath below is a real tribute to local flora &  fauna, showcasing cotton bolls, spanish moss & all manor of regional foliage. Although the magnolia blossoms are silk, the leaves, trigs, berries & even antlers are all natural.

Christmas time also presents a chance to embellish Charleston's beautiful iron work as in the ornate blue fence  below.

Two of my favorites were this silvery magnolia wreath & the tiny wreath made with the white berries of the local popcorn plant.

Wishing you all a very happy & festive New Year!

Monday, December 24, 2012

A Poem

Ah, world, what lessons you prepare for us,
even in the leafless winter,
even in the ashy city.
I am thinking now
of grief, and of getting past it;

I feel my boots
trying to leave the ground,
I feel my heart
pumping hard. I want

to think again of dangerous and noble things.
I want to be light and frolicsome.
I want to be improbably beautiful and afraid of nothing,
as though I had wings.

— Starlings in Winter by Mary Oliver

Friday, December 21, 2012

Baking Cookies

Of all the time honored holiday traditions for our family the baking of Christmas cookies is definitely a favorite.

December is also a special month for us because it is Gracie's birthday on the 18th & her mom's on the 24th. So we have a lot to celebrate! Our little Gracie turned 9 years old this year & still thinks that cookie baking & birthdays are somehow intertwined.

What a treat for me to have all three grandchildren for a day of baking cookies!

And now that they are all getting so much older they are really able to be real a part of the process.

There are so many jobs to do from mixing the dough... rolling & cutting out the cookies...... the best part of all the decorating!

We make two batches, one of sugar cookies & another of gingerbread. And for decorations we like to use sprinkles as well as icings......

There is always the annual sprinkle jar tower building contest which just seems to spontaneously happen every year.

And of course a lot of tasting going on.

Thursday, December 20, 2012


I had a post prepared on Friday but the tragic news in Newtown Ct. changed all that. Nothing quite seemed the same after learning of the tragedy. What had been appropriate one day no longer was. Sadness replaced frivolity. Heartache swelled for those who had suffered & lost so much. There was a prevailing sense of sorrow for us all.

We made the trip back up north to spend the holidays with our children & grandchildren, passing through Connecticut as we drove. All of the flags were flying at half mast as we passed. The cold grey weather seemed to reinforce the solomon mood to what had to have been one of the saddest Sundays that state had ever known.

I found comfort in these words by Robert Kennedy, whose family also knew such great sorrow.

Tragedy is a tool for the living to gain wisdom, not a guide by which to live.

Robert Kennedy

What can we really do but cherish those we love & strive for a better tomorrow.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

The House

Here are a few photos of the interior of the house, where we try to live comfortably while all manor of work is going on. The house is a duplex &
 we have already rented the downstairs apartment. We live in the second floor apartment. I like being up in the trees with the birds.

We have torn down walls to open up the living space between the kitchen & living rooms.

 It continues to be a work in progress.

The bath has an old claw foot tub which though romantic is not always so practical. I am afraid that the sunlight in the photos make the rooms seem to be in much better shape than is the reality.

 There are multiple fireplaces ( non working though), that also give the rooms an old fashion romantic feel.

I am looking forward to using the room below as my studio. Hopefully after the holidays I will commence to start painting in earnest. 

When the chaos of the work inside becomes too much, we can always go out on our porch & relax in the sun. So far the weather has been beautiful, although I realize that winter will have to come at some point.

Happy December to you all wherever you may be & whatever you may be doing!

Saturday, December 8, 2012

T'is the Season in Charleston

Even though the semi-tropical climate in Charleston belies the notion of a white Christmas, there is no shortage of festive decoration.

In spite of the palm trees & the ever present pastel colored bicycles, lamp posts are still traditionally adorned for the holiday season....

.... as is the free trolly ....

....& in many cases every window, door & balcony.

Here are just a few photos of some of the pretty decorations I saw today.

Hope you are having a wonderful weekend & perhaps getting into the holiday spirit!

Thursday, December 6, 2012

A Walk Around the Block

 Just taking a short walk around my new neighborhood is a delight. Many of the houses in this area were originally built at the turn of the century as duplexes and were advertised at the time as "having plumbing and beautiful iron gates".

Today the houses in this diverse & eclectic neighborhood are a real mixture of the well cared for & the beautifully deteriorating. 

Some have been lovingly restored while others have an air of mystery & neglect.

And some still have their beautiful iron gates.

Although I appreciate the beauty of the well maintained homes, with their attention to detail & historical accuracy, I have always been drawn to the patina of the old & worn .

Oh, the stories these houses could tell!

From the shabby to the chic this is definitely a very colorful neighborhood. And I mean that literally, with houses sporting many different shades of pastel hues.  

There are many styles of architecture that are unique to Charleston too, like the tiny freedman's cottage below.

Or the "Charleston single" which has a front door opening onto side porches. You get an idea of how closely the houses are built to one another in the next photo as well.

Well, I hope you have enjoyed this little walk around the block. I feel blessed to be living in such a unique & colorful neighborhood.