Sunday, November 27, 2016

A NEWPAPER ARTICLE AND MAYBE A GLIMPSE OF ME IN MY BATHROBE


Moi
In my bathrobe no less~


Hello, it's me...I know you guys know that time is going at warp speed.  Not having Internet/Wifi at the lake is really making it hard for me to keep up on all things I love and need to do.  With the holidays upon us I simply want a smooth ride.  So...many of you asked to read an article from the Northwest Indiana/Southwest Michigan newspaper I write for.  I'm sharing an article from last December.  In fact it's just half of the article and I'll share the rest another tIme soon.  

I am very straight forward about my blog...I share snippets of my life, a little bit of my loves which include cooking, gardening, reading and a myriad of so many other interests.  I never wanted to be  blog which had titles such as, "How to...".  For my newspaper I have a different approach and it suits what I want to share and in the way I want to share it.  Please note the difference and similarities.  I write for a huge community of people from all walks of life.  I strive to reach each and every person who reads this newspaper.  

So enjoy.  You may see photos you've seen before...sometimes bits and pieces from my blog.  It's all relative to me. Let me know how you feel in your comments. ;-D

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Ho Ho Ho, Neighbors!   By now I bet most of you are caught up in the hustle and bustle of the holiday season.  Christmas is my favorite holiday.  I love everything about it...making shopping lists, planning  menus, decorating and everything merry-making.  In the afternoon I have Christmas music playing whether it's on my iPad or TV music channels, and in the evenings I love Hallmark and TCM holiday movies.  I can't help it, I just get a little sappy at this time of year.  My hot mug of cocoa is half full.  :)

It's hard for so many of us to get through the commercialism of Christmas.  It seems to start earlier and earlier.  Our stores are filled with holiday items as soon as the Halloween merchandise is cleared off the shelves.  Our mailboxes are stuffed with catalogs and our email inboxes are full of ads, 'ideas' for gift giving and flash sales.  Every magazine is filled with an overabundance of articles on decorating and recipes and  features on people who live in homes we can't help but envy, decorated beyond what we have the time or budget to do.  I really do not spend a lot of thought or worry about any of these issues, I have learned how to make them work to my advantage. 

I really do love the excitement and anticipation of the holidays, just as I did when I was a little girl.  We are still sometimes overwhelmed with too much way too early.   But I make my lists and peruse those magazines, ripping out pages with ideas and decorating tips and recipes I may want to try.  Store and window displays always make me smile and sometimes you simply can't beat shopping early.  Some people are super good about shopping for gifts all year long, not so much me.  I love the holiday atmosphere; the music, the Salvation Army volunteers.  All of it makes me feel very warm and fuzzy inside.  So I suggest that rather than getting frustrated, grab hold of the reins and go for it.  Check off some boxes on your To Do list and enjoy some hot cocoa and sugar cookies while you're at it! 



I like to get organized to keep everything moving smoothly as I prepare for what I want to be THE best Christmas ever!  I think the little bit of time you invest in getting your ducks in a row saves you an enormous amount of time and energy later in the game.  I have a tendency to jump into gift shopping and then I have a menagerie of unsorted bags piled high in a spare room.  Nothing makes sense.  My Tip #1, put your presents in the appropriate gift box (that I hope you have already purchased ahead of time).  Make sure you enclose the gift receipt if you have one, or keep all of your receipts in a folder or envelope.   Then write the name of the recipient on the box and stack them away until you are ready to start the fun of wrapping gifts---and yes, I said fun!  

My Tip #2.  Get yourself a box or bin, it doesn't have to be fancy.  A little basket or plastic container, something large enough to hold all of your gift wrapping needs: a few rolls of Scotch tape, scissors, some felt tip markers in red and green, ribbon or jute twine, gift tags and bows.  You can keep this container in the area you like to wrap gifts (I do mine on my kitchen island).  When you are ready to call it a day, everything goes back into the bin and you can tuck it in a closet or under a bed, whatever works for you.   My Tip #3.  Keep your rolls of wrapping paper in a small hamper, tall basket or even a plastic bucket, anything that can hold several rolls upright to help you see what you have at a glance. I guess you can call this a tip of it's own but it's just so simple.  To keep those rolls of wrapping paper neat, secure and unwrinkled, take the cardboard roll from a used up roll of toilet paper or paper towels.  Cut a slit all the way through the roll lengthwise, like a little cuff.  When you are finished gift wrapping and still have more paper to use, slide this cuff over the middle.  It will keep the paper neat and ready for your next use.  No sticky tape to peel off which always tears away precious paper.  

Tip #4.  Wrapping paper can be expensive.  And wrapping packages takes time.  I love using gift bags when I can but forget the ones you see in the stores.  I go to a Dollar Store and buy up as many plain white gift bags as I can.  I a have few Christmas themed rubber stamps and three little pads of ink in red, green and brown.  I stamp my little brain out on these bags to hold smaller gifts.  Some inexpensive tissue also jazzes everything up and if you have one or more items in the bag, loosely enfold those in tissue, maybe even winding some twine or ribbon around--it makes the recipient feel like they are getting an abundance of love and thought.  And they are!  To keep my enthusiasm up I often wrap gifts and then at another time add cute tags, ribbon and bows.  The first part is about doing a neat job, the second about creativity.  By having a breather in-between, you will be much more inclined to put your personal touch on the package. 

One last thought on this subject and My Tip #5.  Use your wrapped presents as part of your holiday decor.  After all, by now you have carefully selected cute and festive paper and have lovingly added your sweet touch...it's not the time to hide things away (the exception being those for young kiddos, then you have to tuck them away from their prying little fingers!).  I actually have to do this with my daughters well into their 20's. lol!  So, have a pile of gifts on the hearth, some small packages on a cabinet or shelf or on a non-essential stool or chair in the kitchen or dining room.  They will be an added festive touch and brighten any room.



In my photos of holidays past, I'm sharing some little spaces I've decorated for Christmas.  I like to make little vignettes, or groupings that don't take up a lot of room but make a statement.  For a long time I simply took what I had: candles, figurines, and many a snowman, of which I have a big collection, and scattered them on every available surface.  When things are spread out in a room, or worse, throughout the house, you lose the visual impact.  My Tip #6.  Make little arrangements on anywhere you have the space.  I like something cute on my dining table, coffee table a corner of my kitchen countertop, even a window sill.  Whether you do this sparingly or go all out, mix things up; a sparkly candle with a basket of pinecones and potpourri, or a simple collection of angels nested on a bed of greenery.  It catches attention this way.  Grouping in odd numbers always look a bit more attractive as well, not sure why.   

I have to say something about themes.  My tree ornaments are a mish mash of treasures my husband and I found in the very early days of our marriage...nothing fancy.  Then we added handmade gifts that our four children made from their little handprints stamped on construction paper to small wreaths made of shredded wheat cereal and tons of glue!  We've added ornaments from places we have travelled to and of course, as our taste has changed, I've gone from homespun to blingy to nature  inspired.  Still, I enjoy hanging each and every ornament and the memories they bring back.  My personal favorites are the old and traditional glass ornaments that were passed on to me when I lost my parents.  Many are older than I am.  They are precious to me.  



I think it's very special when we can use nature to decorate our homes.  We love flowers from our garden in summer bouquets so why not take a walk around your garden and gather up pinecones, acorns, evergreen sprigs and branches.  Display them in a pretty dish or on a tray.  And that's My Tip #7.   I have a friend who gathers long sticks on her walks, spray paints them white to resemble birch and pokes them into her outdoor planters that also include evergreen and berries that have been given a little sprinkling of silver glitter.  

Inside the house I love using what I can find at the grocery store.  For My Tip #8: I might poke some cloves into oranges and limes to make a fragrant fruit bowl.  Throw in some cinnamon sticks for added natural fragrance.  Potpourri is very inexpensive and much better for your health than air sprays.  You can take the idea a little further by making an arrangement of seasonal fruits like apples, pears, pomegranates, and interesting squash.  Place them in a basket or  on a large platter with greenery as a little nest.  Add a candle or two and you have a lovely table centerpiece.  Use your imagination and perhaps what you have right outside your door.  And have fun while you save money!

I hope you enjoy this post---the first time I've ever done this.  Be back in real time in the next few days.

Jane xx





34 comments:

Stacey said...

I think your tips are spot on Jane!! Christmas is overwhelming these days. I was just looking at some beautiful Christmas tours on blogs and they were so gorgeous (but over the top) that I immediately felt inadequate. We have to make up our minds about what is important, make our lists, and make it special. The parts that come too soon or are overwhelming are meant to inspire us and we just need to take what we can. I love your wrapping ideas and the keep it simple ideas. :)

Deb from frugal little bungalow said...

This was fun to read, yes ! :)

laurie said...

I think this was the most prefect post!

Karen Ann said...

Love it!.. nice writing style, of course. :-)

Lisa @ Texas Decor said...

Love your tips, Jane! (and your pretty pic too!) My favorite tip is buying up white gift bags. I love that you can just change up the ribbon and tailor them to any holiday/occasion. Great article! xoxo

Linda said...

I was hanging on your every word! You are a talented writer and have the gift of making us feel as if we were chatting with you.
Your 'voice' comes shining through every sentence. I liked ALL your tips!
I was glad to see a post from you as I have been thinking about you recently. You inspired me with your rosemary infused olive oil and the rosemary salt you told me about a few years ago. I've been saving pretty bottles to use and plan to make these as gifts again this year. One year I made them and later went to an open house and I simply REEKED of rosemary! This year I will plan to stay home and not leave the house until I've showered and washed my hair!

Lisa said...

I loved the article Jane! So many great tips and ideas! I know exactly what you mean about internet service. Our in-between residence (where we lived in-between the rental and our permanent home) had the absolute worst connection ever. I finally just gave up. Thank God for Instagram!

Kathleen George said...

I'm thrilled for you! Good informative ideas for the holidays and economical too! My Christmas tree is like yours, full of treasured memories.
Kathleen in Az

Kim said...

Thanks for sharing, Jane! As a writer, I am always interested in people's styles and it was fun to read something that you wrote for the paper as opposed to the blog. Your warm and down to earth nature comes across in both! :)

Susie said...

Blondie, I loved your hints for decorating. I too add everything to our tree. One year I did a big Victorian tree and my heart was sad, because all the things my girls made me were not out to be seen. All our ornaments have meaning . Love your stamping of plain bags...you clever girl. My daughter stamps brown lunch bags for her class of 30 some kids. :):) You are young and pretty...so go with that robe girl. :):) Blessings, xoxo, Susie

Mereknits said...

You look very cozy in your bathrobe. Great article my friend.

Melanie said...

Great article and tips, Jane!

Vel Criste said...

You, my dear, are definitely a writer. Love the article, love the heart, love the YOU in it!

Doreen@foxdenrd said...

It was so nice to read this article Jane! I utilize a lot of your tips and I can attest to the fact that they WORK! I'm sure your readers got a lot out of it.

Ok, so you had a bathrobe on. Can you top my feety pajamas?

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the tips.
Marilyn

Primitive Stars said...

Evening Jane, your so cute, enjoy my visits with you. Looking very Christmasy, love the mantle, wonderful time of year!!!!!! Thanks for the tips, Hugs Francine.

Lynne said...

Bunches of helpful tips Jane . . . thank you!
Splitting the paper towel roll and sliding it onto the wrapping paper roll
to hold it from wrinkling and unraveling . . . EXCELLENT.

I loved hearing you talk about little vignettes . . . I do that and hadn't
realized so until I read what you had to say.

I think I decorate like I am telling a story . . . Things I bring out from my
Christmas boxes aren't just ornaments, lights, tinsel . . .
They are part of my life story and are placed in certain ways to
exemplify that story. I will think on that most especially as I take
pictures this year.

I enjoy reading you . . . and your gift of telling your own stories . . .
Thanks again for the tips . . .




Lynne said...

Bunches of helpful tips Jane . . . thank you!
Splitting the paper towel roll and sliding it onto the wrapping paper roll
to hold it from wrinkling and unraveling . . . EXCELLENT.

I loved hearing you talk about little vignettes . . . I do that and hadn't
realized so until I read what you had to say.

I think I decorate like I am telling a story . . . Things I bring out from my
Christmas boxes aren't just ornaments, lights, tinsel . . .
They are part of my life story and are placed in certain ways to
exemplify that story. I will think on that most especially as I take
pictures this year.

I enjoy reading you . . . and your gift of telling your own stories . . .
Thanks again for the tips . . .




Scribbler said...

What wonderful practical tips you have shared -- I can't wait to read the rest. I am just now getting started -- so I guess your tips came just in time. I am resolved not to go overboard this year. Ha!

Kathy Moreland said...

Great article! Love the tips!

Kathleen Grace said...

Very fun to read your newspaper article Jane! It is a different writing style than I have become accustomed to here on the blog, but very well put together and with great tips! Thank you for sharing it, I look forward to more ;) Sending hugs, hope your Thanksgiving was wonderful!

Kit said...

It amazes me how in "blog land" that we all think so similarly. We decorate the same, nest the same, and enjoy our lives the same. Must be why we are all friends! :) Kit

Linda said...

Great tips Jane...How do you write such long detailed posts? It is all I can do to explain a pic or detail a recipe! hahaha!
That pic of wee Elsie in your sidebar is really cute...don't you just love the littles?
Got my staircase done yesterday..poking thru boxes today...Chicken soup on the stove...
Lights go up on Sunday...tree next week...still warm and wet here...no snow!
Enjoy your day...
cheers1
Linda :o)

Judy at GoldCountryCottage said...

Jane, I can really read "you" throughout the article. Even if I didn't "know" you, I would
feel a kindred spirit coming through. How wonderful for your home-town readers to be able to get in touch with the Christmas spirit when, maybe, they might not have had any reason for it.
I took a peek at the comment from Linda, above, where she asks how you write such a detailed post, BECAUSE, you just can't help it!! LOL Your sweet, caring and loving personality just shines through in whatever you do. And, I have always tried to look like that in my bathrobe, but have never been able to achieve it!!Happy Holidays, xxo Judy

Carla from The River said...

Well done my friend.
I hope you will share all the articles. I loved it!
Carla

Vee said...

Excellent tips! I am going to use one right off myself! Celebrating Christmas is such a subjective thing. We each have our own ideas and that is what makes it so much fun!

Jacqueline said...

Oh, we are kindred spirits!
Hot Cocoa
Christmas music all day
Hallmark movies!!!
Even hubby looks forward to the movies!

bj said...

I loved this, Jane...we all must learn to slow down, enjoy the season and I have a cup of hot chocolate almost every night before bed....xoxo

Pinky at Designs by Pinky said...

Good morning Jane! Thanks so much for your sweet comments on my blog. I do one thing a little differently: I try to wrap gifts as I get them. I keep them in the sitting room area of our master so they are out of the way. Great tips and your vignettes are so pretty! I LOOOOVE decorating for Christmas. Am ALMOST done. This morning I did our master bath while texting my neighbor:):) I know, I am a little crazy:):) Merry Christmas to you!!!!!

Benita Roberts said...

I love the article Jane! The tips are great and thought it was all so perfectly timed! Hope you and your family had a fabulous Thanksgiving! Love the photo of you in your bathrobe! ;-) Love and hugs!!

~Lavender Dreamer~ said...

Wow! I really enjoyed this! You are a wonderful writer and have some great tips. I love the idea of the white bags...you could use them any time of year! Happy holidays sweet lady. Hugs, Diane

Beatrice Euphemie said...

Wonderful tips, Jane - I really love this post! Trying to stay organized is something I need to work on and you have given us some really great ideas. Love the white painted 'birch' twigs and bowls of fruit and spices. The stamped bags are so clever, too. I hope you had a lovely Thanksgiving. A very cute 'selfie' you have shared :) Sending hugs xo Karen

Amy at Ms. Toody Goo Shoes said...

Terrific tips, Jane! It was fun to read your column - a somewhat different writing style than your blog, but your true voice comes through in both places.

Mary@mydogsmygardenandmary said...

Oh Jane, what good tips for everyone. You are spot on with them. Loved your article, it's great. Looking forward to reading all of them.

Have a great week.
Hugs,
Mary