The State of State of Hospitality

Hey!

This past week, I’ve been taking inventory of the blog and making plans for this brand spanking new year.  While I was digging around and dusting off, I discovered a few things.  I’d like to share them with you and see if I’m on target to deliver you better blog posts for this year.

What did I discover was the #1 viewed post for the year?

 

Y’all LOVED My Favorite Things 2014.  In fact, 734 of you loved to read that post.  What?!  You missed it?  Catch it here.  The #2 favorite was My Favorite Things 2013 and other posts rounding out the top 10 included posts about house renovation, family events, and Catie’s cooking challenge. ( Thanks for supporting my baby! )

If I’m interpreting this data accurately, y’all would really like to know more about our family life and recommendations of favorite things or the sharing of products I like.  I’ll be writing more on these topics for this year.  To start off in the right direction, I found an awesome clothing company I can’t wait to share with y’all.  I’ll be posting about it soon.  You’ll thank me, I promise!

The time for posting about Christmas and decorations came and went.

christmas tree 2014 1I didn’t decorate much nor did I take many pictures.  Our tree was simple and inexpensive this Christmas.  The big flowers are made from brown paper bags, glitter, and paint.

reading and writing bannerI read 51 books this past year.  Overall, I had an average year as far as books I really enjoyed.  Most were only 3 stars.  I’m hoping for better adventures this year.

  • My favorite classic for 2014:  Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury.  A 5-star book for me about a fireman whose job was to start fires not put them out.  What did they burn? Books.  Books are subversive, books cause people to think, and books are trouble.  The fireman, on a whim, decides to save one and keep it.
  • My favorite reread for 2014: The Giver by Lois Lowry.  I’m ho-hum on the movie but I love the book and the issues for discussion that surface during reading.
  • My favorite memoir for 2014: Good Old Boy by Willie Morris.  He spins a tale about growing up in Yazoo City, MS which was my grandfather’s hometown.  Reading the book was like listening to my grandfather.
  • My favorite collection of stories for 2014: A Touch of Wonder by Arthur Gordon.  The memoir tales are beautifully told pieces of wisdom.
  • My favorite YA for 2014: The Queen of the Tearling by Erika Johansen.  This book is the first in a trilogy.  My credit card will be plunked down quickly for the second book.  This story is categorized under fantasy but the first book, I would not have placed in fantasy.  The story reminds me of Hunger Games meets Sleeping Beauty. Emma Watson has bought the rights and a movie is being developed. Woohoo!
  • My favorite sappy- feel good- predictable Christmas read for 2014: Christmas with Tucker by Greg Kincaid.  A coming of age story about a young boy overcoming tragedy and loving a dog named Tucker.  Yes, tears might be involved so have tissue.
  • My favorite non-fiction for 2014: Mudhouse Sabbath by Lauren Winner.  I loved her other book, girl meets God, and this one was equally good.  Ms. Winner compares and contrasts 11 Jewish practices with Christianity.  A great resource tool.

All of the above books were 4-5 stars for me.  I read others that were good and close to 4 stars but something was amiss in the telling.  I have no favorites in a fiction category for this past year that met the 4-5 star mark.

In writing news, all I can offer is it’s coming — slow, arduous, and procrastinating-ly. (Is that even a word?)  I hope, hope, hope to be finished with the draft by the end of the month.  When that happens, I will share a little more.

Thank you to each and every one of you that choose to share a little time out of your busy lives to read my posts.  You put a smile on my face and gladness in my heart and I hope I do the same for you.

Blessings,

Mimi

“Commit to the LORD, whatever you do, and your plans will succeed.” Proverbs 16:3 NIV Bible

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Christmas Tree 2013

Hey!

Curious what I decided to do with my ornaments I made “new” last week?  I used them to decorate a very special tree I planned this year.  If you’d like to see the post from last week about how to turn old ornaments into clear glass, look here.

This year, I decided to have a “blessing tree”.

christmas tree 2013 picEach ornament has a written blessing inside.  I added a little bit of salt to each ornament which is supposed to look a little like snow.  I’ve had everyone in the family write their blessings.

blessing ornament closeup picThis year, I went with an unconventional wrapping paper.  I thought the melon color was fun and I loved the pattern but what I really loved was the price tag: 89 cents a roll from Target.  The bows are made from left over tulle from my daughter’s wedding.  Now, if only, the cats will leave them alone …

presents pic I wanted this year to be focused more on things money can’t buy.  I think that’s why blessings came to mind.

closeup christmas tree 2013 pic The grand total for this year’s tree decorations and wrappings: Less than $20.  But, the blessing of the memories will be priceless.

Here’s the link to my tree from last year.

Are you almost ready for the holidays?

Blessings,

Mimi

“But blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD, whose confidence is in him.  He will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream.”  Jeremiah 17:7,8a  NIV Bible

Saving Money on Clear Ornaments

Hey!

Who doesn’t love saving money especially around the holidays?  I know I do.

I’ve got a great tip if you’re in need of clear ornaments for your tree or gift making.  I decided to decorate my tree a little different this year and I needed a lot of clear ornaments but I hated to buy them.  I found this box at a thrift store that was filled to the brim with old ornaments that had seen better days.  For only $3, I had all the ornaments I needed.  That’s what I call a bargain!

ornaments pic I removed the hanger part off of each ornament and then, I submerged the ball into hot sudsy water with a little bit of bleach.  The paint on the outside comes off quickly and leaves the mirrored ball interior.  If I had wanted silver or mirror ornaments, I would have stopped at this stage and taken them out but, I was after clear ones.

The silver is on the inside of the ornament and requires a bit more effort to remove.  To assist me in getting it off, I spooned a teaspoon or so of salt into the ornament.  Next, I  added a small amount of  sudsy water into the ball and then, I placed my finger over the top and shook the ornament like crazy.  You’ll be able to see the silver coming off.   Don’t bother with smelly paint thinner, paint remover or fingernail polish remover, I tried them and they don’t work quickly or nearly as good as plain old soap and water.ornaments in bubbles picRemoving takes a little effort but the result is worth it. Nice, clean glass ornaments for my tree and I spent less than $5.  clear ornaments picCurious what I’m doing with them?  I plan to share sometime next week.

Blessings,

Mimi

“…the Holy City, Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God. {It} shone with the glory of God, and its brilliance was like that of a very precious jewel, like a jasper, clear as crystal.”  Revelation 21:10,11 NIV Bible

Christmas at the Governor’s Mansion

Hey!

I took a field trip yesterday to our Governor’s Mansion to see it all decked out for Christmas.  And of course, I need to share!   I only had my cell phone so please excuse the poor quality of some of the pictures.

The Mississippi Governor’s Mansion is the second oldest continuously occupied governor’s residence in the United States with Virginia being the first.  The Mansion was built in 1841 for about $50,000.  The tour takes place in the original historic part of the Mansion which was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1975.

The Foyer

mansion foyer pic mansion foyer closeup pic

The Gold Parlor

mansion front room pic mansion front room detail pic mansion tabletop tree pic

State Dining Room mantel: I wish I had a picture of the table. The center was decorated with boats similar to the one on the mantel.

mansion front room mantel pic

Front Rose Parlor: This room was decorated to reflect our Gulf Coast.

mansion coast room mantel pic

mansion coast room mantel detail pic

mansion coast room fireplace picmansion coast room pic

mansion coast room tabletop pic

The Back Rose Parlor: This room was decorated to reflect the Delta.  Our state flower is the magnolia and you’ll see it sprinkled around the tree.  You’ll also see cotton bolls since cotton is grown in the Delta.

mansion delta room tree pic

mansion delta room tree details pic

mansion delta room mantel pic

mansion delta room mantel detail pic

mansion delta room fireplace pic

mansion delta room side table pic

The Pumpkin Bedroom is on the second floor and was decorated for children.

mansion kids room tree pic   mansion kids room fireplace pic

mansion kids room mantel pic

mansion kids room stocking pic

The Gold Bedroom on the second floor was decorated with a woodland animal motif.

mansion animal tree pic

mansion animal mantel pic

mansion animal room fireplace pic  mansion animal tabletop decor pic

The Green Bedroom on the second floor had a music theme.

mansion music room mantel pic mansion music tree pic

The Cream Bedroom on the second floor was decorated with a book theme.  President John F. Kennedy once slept in this room as did the novelist William Styron.

mansion book room mantel pic

mansion book tree pic

mansion book tree detail pic

The Second Floor Sitting Hall was decorated with trees and a Santa holding a teddy bear which is a nod to the origins of the teddy bear.  When President Teddy Roosevelt visited Mississippi to bear hunt in 1902, he refused to shoot an old bear and the story was depicted in a political cartoon.  A New York shop owner placed a couple of stuffed bears in his window and called them “Teddy’s bears”.  The name eventually stuck for the stuffed animals and forever connected teddy bears and President Teddy Roosevelt with Mississippi.mansion second floor landing santa pic mansion second floor landing pic

I really enjoyed the tour.  I hope you did too vicariously.  Did you catch some of the clever and easy ideas to copy like I did?  I’m hoping to share some of my decorations next week.

Don’t forget the Awesome Christmas Giveaway of goodies.  You have until Sunday night to enter.  Click here to get all of the details.

How’s your decorating going at your house?

Blessings,

Mimi

“The days are coming declares the LORD, when I will raise up to David a righteous Branch, a King who will reign wisely and do what is just and right in the land.”  Jeremiah 23:5 NIV Bible

The Christmas Tree 2012

The Tree 2012
Hey! 
I decorate my tree differently every year.   We’ve used an artificial tree for many years since my daughter had asthma as a baby and the smell seemed to send her into a coughing frenzy.  But last year, we actually used a real tree.  I really enjoyed the smell and the freshness of it but keeping it hydrated and the falling needles and the wonkiness was not so fun.  This year’s tree is brand new and I keep finding branches to unfurl and lights I want to tuck in differently but the tree is coming together.

I decided to use ornaments in white, gold, silver, gray, and blue.  I added some brass letters, some words, a few bells, some nutcrackers which I spray painted and a few others throw in.

For a tree skirt, I bought a faux sheepskin at Target this fall and I kinda like it under the tree.  I was going for a soft effect, not too flashy or busy.

Looking upwards…

My tree topper:  This angel was handmade and given to us as a wedding present and she has topped our tree every year — all 28 of them.

A special ornament from a trip…

I bought a handful of nutcrackers and spray painted them.  I found them at Michael’s for a $1!  I pulled the hair off, painted and then reglued the hair.  I think they turned out cute. 

I will probably add a few more ornaments but for now, O Tannenbaum is looking lovely.  

I’ve been busy wrapping packages the last few days.  I have sneaky prying eyes coming for Christmas soon so this elf had to get busy!  Don’t you think packages have a way of making a tree look fuller??

If you’d like to see more of my trees through the years, just click here to see the post I wrote last Christmas.
And for more Christmas trees to view, check out Thrift Decor Chick’s Christmas Tree Party here

Thanks for stopping by! 

Blessings,

Mimi

” My son, preserve sound judgment and discernment, do not let them out of your sight;
 they will be life for you, an ornament to grace your neck.”  
Proverbs 3:21,22  NIV Bible

O Christmas Trees

Hey!
We finally got our tree up and decorated this year after a slight change of plans.

I have been mentioning to Honey Do for several years that our 21 year old artificial tree was looking a bit tired and we needed a new one.

In fact, it shed more needles than a cut tree!

And as we were putting it up this year …. the tree gave a sigh and fell apart!

Honey Do, therefore, took a chainsaw and cut down a tree in our yard: a cedar.

If you’ve never had a cedar tree, then you’re not familiar with their quirks as Christmas trees.  Cedar trees tend to be wonky but smell wonderful.

Here’s a sampling of our Christmas trees through the years.
Red bows and popcorn balls in cellophane — (I decorated with non breakables when my children were small.  Less stress!)
 My mother, brother and I made these God’s eyes one afternoon when I was young with popsicle sticks and yarn.   
Crocheted snowflakes, pinecones and candy canes
This tree had garland made from packing peanuts, fishing line, and colored cellophane wrap.  What was I thinking ?!  I must’ve had A LOT of time on my hands that year to make that garland!!
Pretty tree with ornaments we’ve collected and the children made for us.
Last year’s tree, I decorated with brass house numbers and brass letters that I found at a thrift store for next to nothing.— love that!

And this year’s tree in all its wonky glory!!

Each day is bringing us just a little closer to Christmas!
Are you ready??

Blessings,

Mimi

“But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people.  Today in the town of David, a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord.”   Luke 2:10,11  The Holy Bible