TOILET PAPER & ONE UGLY MESS

It’s reality time around here today.  Well … yesterday, today and a few more days following.  If I am brave enough to post the pictures, this article will prove once and for all, that indeed, I don’t always have a spotless house!

Yes, this post involves one ugly mess AND toilet paper . . . but don’t worry, one has no relation to the other (at least not today).

Toilet Paper & One Big Mess

True, we’re barely at the brink of the Thanksgiving holidays, and still far away from Christmas or Hanukkah, but I have a great reason for considering them all, at this very moment.

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Our tribe is located far and wide, with many blended family members and obligated gatherings they must attend.  It makes holiday plans difficult for everyone to schedule.  And of course, our Midwest weather often compounds the problems.

The photo above is from a previous year.  Right now, our weather is great … but I put emphasis on the RIGHT NOW part!

We always tell the kids that our celebrations don’t have to be on the exact day or holiday weekend.   It has become a successful plan, as everyone is less harried and more relaxed when they don’t have to “eat and run”.

Toilet Paper & One Ugly Mess

For a change, this year instead of two distinct celebrations, our house is having one big shindig … on December 13th.  A date between the two major events, and as thus, there’ll be no specific turkey or menu item, just a giant potluck.  My attitude is sort of  “eat what’s here or fill up when you get home”.  I figure if everyone brings things they enjoy eating, it should be just fine.  Right?!  I say “bring on the baked goods”!

Toilet Paper & One Ugly Mess

But back to point.  My big mess is the holiday ornaments, trappings and wrappings strewn everywhere.  Hub’s dragged up the Christmas tubs from the crawl space, and got the tree down from the garage attic.  And here it all sits, not beautifully arranged as yet, but simply opened and stacked throughout the rooms.

My master plan began with an early evaluation of ALL of the pieces.  It’s part of my “get rid of it, clutter-free” campaign.  Facing facts, we don’t need even half of this conglomeration.  I won’t say exactly half will leave, but I’m really trying for that result.

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First, I sorted and threw out any broken or damaged pieces.  Next, I chose several items or groups of ornaments and listed them on Craigslist.  The idea being whatever doesn’t sell, will be donated to the little thrift store where I volunteer.  As this will happen before December 13th, they’ll still have plenty of time for Christmas sales.  And, actually, we make quite a bit on our “After Holidays” sales too.

Toilet Paper & One Ugly Mess

There were literally hundreds of unbreakable ornaments, all shapes, colors and sizes.I DID keep a few of each type, but the majority was divided evenly. Two sets of 150 ornaments each, with mixed colors and designs, will go to Craigslist or the store.

Toilet Paper & One Ugly Mess

Amongst the Christmas things, I found a few Fall and Thanksgiving items as well.

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Those also went on Craigslist.

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The tree is up and skirted, but stands naked by the fireplace at the moment.

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And yes, in the shot above, that is Gracie’s rear end in the upper right area.

My SANTA BEARS came out of hibernation.  They will all be STAYING.  Right now one of them is atop the piano.

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The new shelf unit Hubs made me this summer, previously held my vase collection.

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Now, it’s showing off my mini Christmas tree collection.

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You can see I’ve done a good editing job with this group.  Below are the items for Craigslist.

Toilet Paper & One Ugly Mess

That’s where we’re at today.  And this mess should prove to you doubters that my house isn’t always picture perfect.  But don’t count on many more examples of it, because I was REALLY HESITANT to feature these!

So, that’s the UGLY MESS … but you’re still wondering about the Toilet Paper, right?

Well, another Cher, my friend over at Craft Alternatives, sent this out last week, and I just had to share it.  C’mon, pretty, right?

The Craft Alternative Link

And YES, it is too “Toilet Paper” in there 🙂 Be sure not to miss the optional container ideas!  Thanks, Cher.

The Craft Alternative "Link"

We’ll talk again soon.  And remember, positive equals productive, and staying so, helps you feel happier, for all those special days coming up.

Later – Cheryl

Whatever Weather

Whether wet or dry, weather has been the Big Boss around here all week, a 50/50 toss-up between rain and shine.  Good things are we need the moisture, but haven’t suffered severe flooding like many areas.  Another positive is, the rain holds off a while in between storms, and gives enough dry out time to mow.

Mow . . . and mow . . . and mow again! I swear the grass grows two inches a day, at least!

And those dandelions, ugh.  They seem to multiply by the thousands!

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I love mowing on my rider . . .  but my back doesn’t like it so much.  Nice to have Hubs around now 24/7 to take an extra yard shift.

One of the damp days had just occasional sprinkles, which allowed me to clean out our little, front entry garden.  I forgot to take a B4, but below are Afters.

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For a few years now, I’ve been planting only perennials; hardy plants that will tolerate our cold winters and continue to thrive the next summer.

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As a natural course of things, over time, we’ve planted, and had to remove, various shrubs.  Unlike trees, shrubs have much shorter life-spans.

This corner below was emptied last summer, and we added a lilac.  This year, Hubs allowed a second stem to grow.   Lilacs can be fun to sculpt a bit as they grow. He’s going for a double trunk look here.  It’ll be fun to see if we like what develops . . . or not.

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A diablo ninebark had to go this year.  Hubs cut it way back earlier in the Spring.  We were waiting for help, to dig out the stump, but look at this.

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I like this spot of color and texture in the garden, so it’s staying . . . at least for this summer.

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Oldest daughter gave me a Mother’s Day gift card, which covered three bags of mulch for a quick cleanup and a few decorative annuals, for some instant interest and color.  (Thanks Breezer!)

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Farther out in the front yard, we have a particular variety of willow tree, not the standard weeper.  It tends to lean a bit rather than stand straight up.  We specifically picked it for that reason.  Hubs and I both love what we call “whonky” and found it perfect.  Drives our one perfectionist neighbor crazy, but no one else seems to mind  😉

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Willows are often easily started from trimmings, so this time when pruning, we saved a few cuts and popped em’ into some good dirt.  We’ve tracked their progress.

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Surprisingly, most of them survived and thrived.  They’ll be transplanted in a few weeks, out back in one of the low spots, where they’ll have a bit more moisture.  Another area to watch grow.

The beautiful spirea below is presently all by himself in the back yard.  We’ll be moving him to the front area before Fall.

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Nothing has been cleaned out in the little back garden yet, this year.

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It’s a little big jungle out there.

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But this week is peak bloom time for our big old crown wegelia.  The blooms are so full and beautiful. You would expect a wonderful fragrance too, but not so with this shrub.

Artzzle Weather FeatureThis size of bush can easily afford to gift a few branch cuttings.

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TIP:  Continue to keep fresh water up to the top of your vase, and these will open fully and be gorgeous for about a week.

FUN FINDS: Pictured here are some of my recent fun finds.

  1. Tall glass vase $3
  2. Decorative Scarf $0.75
  3. Three Tier (Pier One) display piece $2.50

They hold a few loose blossoms & leaves here, but the little sectioned holder is also great filled with candies when company comes.

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TIP:  Keep water levels up in small holders too.  Holding very little, they evaporate quickly.

That’s what we’ve been up to this week . . . Hubs and I.  What’s new with you?

Remember . . . stress less, start more!

Later – Cheryl

Magnolias in The Snow

The national weather reports were on this morning,
as I sat catching up on emails.
Minnesota is often featured in the worst winter weather areas.
Last week yes . . . but not today!

Things look heavenly in Minnesota compared to the snow hell out east.

Source NBCnew.com

Source  Don’t think I’ve ever seen anything like this.

Source  NBCnew.comSource  And what’s this poor pup gonna’ do?

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Gracie Mae DOES NOT favor winter!
She DOES have a cleared outdoor spot for her “jobs”,
but has given up her many daily walks,
content to remain inside, staying warm!

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Although, she does still get her exercise

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roaming the halls in search of every bit of sunshine!
She moves from room to room in the house,
as the sun repositions throughout the day.

BEFORE our snow arrived here, we had very up-and-down temperatures.

You may remember that we have a magnolia tree,
even though we live in Minnesota … some sort of hybrid.
During our first “pre-snow” cold snap, the tree lost all of its’ leaves.

But we then had an odd few days of very warm temps,
that totally confused our poor magnolia …
and she budded out again, as if it were Spring.

Now you know I love all sorts of branches and such,
especially pussy willows.
Well Mags’ buds look like giant pussy willows,
so naturally I had to cut a bunch and bring em’ in for decor!

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I filled one of my big ole’ crocks with water
and put them on top of the kitchen cabinets …
where they stayed for a week or two, all cute and fuzzy.

Making coffee last Sunday morning,
I happened to look up and was elated by what I saw!

Those little fuzzies were

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BLOOMING !?!

Hubs took one look,
and said they had to come down to the table!

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So the upper display was altered …
(think I’ll have to do some tweaking and raise that terra cotta piece up)

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 the table display was moved to the credenza

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and the crock of buds took center stage on the table.

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Each day they offer more wonderful surprises.

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Even the finale blooms are beautiful.

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But Mags wasn’t out of surprises yet!
Her flowers have also contributed that wonderful magnolia fragrance.
Love It!

Well … this IS Wednesday, so technically I didn’t miss a Whatever Wednesday.

Stay safe and warm as we gear up for the holidays, and remember
don’t stress too much about anything, just start something
and see where it goes!

Later – Cheryl