Wednesday, December 31, 2014

More Christmas Decoration

A few more pictures following yesterdays post of various shots around the house this year.

These wreaths came from IKEA.  I thought they were beautiful here on the kitchen windows.

Another shots with the morning sun shining through.

Another in the tree collection, this black and white pyramidial candle looked stunning on the mantel alongside the sparkling globe.

Very simple - three ornaments in a glass jar.  Couldn't be simpler to do and very pretty.

This was probably my least favorite of all the pictures.  This ornament tree just looks lost and uninspired.  I left it on this shelf and added another, smaller ornament tree in stainless steel.  Even with that, I was less than pleased.

The Christmas cactus was beautiful this year.  Tons of beautiful pink blooms.  Stunning.

And finally, the paperwhites.  They need to be watered regularly and in short order you will have the most beautiful blooms.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

A Few Pictures of Christmas

We take an extraordinary number of pictures for Welcome to Crest Avenue.  I usually write the story in my head as I am taking the pictures.  Some of the stories make it on the blog, some do not. Some of the pictures make it, some do not.  I am constantly going through pictures and archiving those which I feel are important and deleting those which are not.  We ended up with several pictures taken during our time spent decorating for Christmas.  Most of these pictures were very good, they just did not form into a story.  I thought I would share them with you today.

This picture actually got posted on Facebook.  We referred to it as a "Magic Bullet Cozy."  We got several responses.  A cute idea.

This shot is of one of several sizes of similar gift bags which came in a grouping which we found at CVS.  These were really cute.  I think we used all of them.  There was one large, two medium and four small bags.

This was our tree.

I loved this pretty gold star on top.  The fact that is lights up adds even more warmth to the tree.  You will notice the ornament hooks in a fanciful curl.  So much nicer than the standard hooks.  Details. You achieve perfection in the details.

Again here with the details.  The stockings match the tree skirt.  I loved the blackwatch plaid with the faux fur.  No real fur in this household.  We are adamantly opposed to ANY animal being raised solely for the purpose of being killed for their hide.  I cannot think of anything more gruesome.

A shot of the banister before Christmas decoration.

And a shot of the banister after Christmas decoration.

So, there you have a few pictures of how our house looked for the Christmas season.  I'll share a few more of these with you on tomorrow's post.

Monday, December 29, 2014

Baxter Got Gourmet Cookies for Christmas.

We couldn't very well have Christmas without getting something for little Baxter.  Since he already has more toys and sweaters and jackets and boots and dog gear than any other miniature wire-haired dachshund in the world, we opted for the gourmet cookie assortment for this years gift.

I found these at Petco just days before Christmas and I thought they would be perfect as his Christmas gift.  I will tell you that they were a big hit.  I do not know for certain, but I would venture that Petco has probably marked these down considerably on their after Christmas sale.  I'm sure your pooch would love them too!

It's Time to Start Preparing for New Year's Eve

It is almost here!!  It is hard to believe that Christmas 2014 is done and New Year's Eve is two days away.  But those are the facts.

We will have a small gathering on Wednesday evening which will be fun, fun, fun.  We picked up several of these mini bottles of club soda and diet tonic water for the evening.  There is more to come on our line-up.

Aqua Stone for Humidity

You may have seen the advertisements on tv for the Aqua Stone.  I was intrigued, so I thought it time to give this a try.  The concept could not be more simplistic.  Place a porous orb in a bowl of water and humidify the air.  That is pretty much how it works.  Check it out.

The "Elegant" Natural Room Humidifier.  I would have bought it just for that statement.  But there were other reasons why I wanted to give this a try.

Adding moisture to the air in the winter months is good for many things, not the least of which is the ability to cut down on static electricity.  Ouch!!!

Here is the base - a porcelain bowl in which you add water.

And the porous orb which sits in the porcelain base.

Here you see the underside of the orb.  Really an ingenious design.

The whole thing is kind of idiot proof.  There are no complicated instructions.  No fill line.  Just fill the bowl with water, but not too much so that it pours over the sides when you place the orb inside.

In with the orb and you are good to go.

I took this picture after it had been sitting in water for awhile.  I wanted to see if the picture would show the change in color after the water was fully absorbed, but it does not.  It is wet to the touch.  Or maybe not wet, but fully saturated.

Does the Aqua Stone work.  I believe it does.  It takes no electricity.  You do not have to worry about bacteria or fungi growing inside the tank like you would with a standard humidifier.  And it can be placed easily throughout the house.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Food and Toys for the Abandoned Animals

I make contributions in the form of food and other necessities to our local animal shelter from time to time throughout the year.  This past weekend I made just such a trip to the DC Animal Shelter.

Unfortunately, they do not just receive unwanted and homeless dogs, but they receive cats as well. So the first thing we picked up was this 36 can medley of 9 Lives Meaty Classics.

I spoke to Beau at the shelter before I started my shopping and he informed me that the shelter has a strict rule that the dogs only be fed Hill's Science Diet food.  A heads-up on this food - you cannot find it at Walmart or Target or any of the big chain grocery stores.  You must go to a pet store.  I know this because I tried all of the above before finally going to Petco.

I bought the biggest bag in stock at Petco, which was this 33 lb. bag.  There are many hungry mouths to be fed at the shelter.

The next item that all shelters can use is bath towels.  Now, they do not need to be PortHault (  But simple middle of the road towels that will stand up to everyday use.  These bath towels from Walmart were just perfect.  And in black.  Stains are camouflaged on black.

Next up, some play toys.  Actually, a friend ordered these large balls from and discovered when they arrived that she ordered the wrong size for her dogs.  When we contacted Chewy and explained the situation and told them we wanted to return these and reorder the same thing in small, they were so kind and suggested we take these to our local animal shelter and they shipped out the new balls for my friend in the small size.  THAT, my friends, is how you do business!!  We love Chewy and we want everyone to know what a wonderful thing they did.  Please use the link above to go to their website.

Finally, the car loaded, off we went to the shelter.

I was hoping that I was not going to open the door to the sound of wailing pets who had been abandoned.  And I did not.  The operation seems to be very well run.  Lots of young people with caring eyes who were very appreciative of everything I dropped off.

I love that they have painted in HUGE letters on the front of the building facing heavily trafficked New York Avenue, "Adopt here!"  A little further down "dc loves dc animals."

And on the opposite side of the building is this sign, facing traffic traveling east on New York Avenue, with their hours.

If you find yourself in a situation where you can help out at your local animal shelter, please consider doing so.  They would be happy if you walked in with a $5 donation or a can of food.  Anything, no matter how small, is appreciated.  Our furry friends look to us to care for them.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Peace | Joy | Love on a Box

I made these boxes for my colleagues.  They turned out so nice I wanted to share the project with you.

We began with a large container of Ferrero Rocher and some gold mirror gloss boxes.  The boxes were our standard two inch by two inch by two inch.

Before we got started with the embossing and assembling of the boxes, I made the inserts which would be placed inside each box.  I tried several different ideas.  But in the end, I went with this simple and elegant version.  No clip art.  No fanciful borders.  Simple and succinct.

The first thing to do was to decide which stamp to use and which color of embossing powder to use. We tried several different colors but in the end we used this snow white powder.  It is just a little translucent which adds a shimmer.

Then we placed a single Ferrero Rocher in each box atop crinkle cut in off white and sparkling gold. The gold crinkle cut matched nicely to the gold wrap on the candy.

Then we placed the insert with my simple message of "Merry" on top of each candy and then we closed the boxes.

Into a Christmas bag to be carried to the office and distributed to my dear friends and colleagues.

What a cute bag,  This came in an assortment of bags I bought at CVS early in the season.  The bags are very sturdy and perfect for this time of year.

Monday, December 22, 2014

Boxed Matches

Boxed matches are not something you see everywhere these days.  When I was growing up, most every household had boxes of matches stashed away in a drawer.  I still keep them.

A box of matches sitting amongst your Christmas decoration on the mantel is not very pretty.  But dressed up in their own bit of finery is OK.

A box of "diamond" brand matches with the strike plate on the side of the box.  Not a very pretty sight for your mantel.

But tucked away inside a cute little silver matte cover is perfectly acceptable.

The backside of the box with a multitude of shining stars.

The company who made this matchbox cover was clever enough to build in an opening for the strike plate so you do not have to remove the box of matches each time you want to light one.  I have no problem with this little box sitting on the mantel or anywhere in the house during the season. Little touches like this make all the difference in how you present your home to friends and family during the holiday season.  And these will not cost you an arm and a leg.  You can find matchbox labels on Etsy starting as low as $3.50.

Friday, December 19, 2014

A Festive Centerpiece

For the centerpiece on the dining room table this year, I decided to go simple and elegant.

There is not a lot of fuss here.  This is a large candle-holder base with a glass hurricane in which we placed a white pillar candle.  The spruce wreath around the base is actually two faux wreaths I picked up at IKEA.  If one wreath looks good, two wreaths look better.  We stacked them and it really is beautiful.  Faux greenery is so well made these days you can hardly tell the difference from the real stuff.  Of course, the only thing lacking here is the aroma from the real thing.  So I found something to fix that problem.

Scentsicles.  I bought one container of each scent.  So far, we have only used the "Wreath" scent and it is divine.  Now, I know all of this is terribly artificial and not in keeping with how we usually do things at WTCA.  But, these artificial wreaths were so realistically done that I just couldn't see the need to purchase real wreaths which would eventually start dropping needles and make a mess.  They would have needed to be taken off the table and misted several times per week which is time consuming and messy.  I just did not want to go through all of that.  I've done it in the past and I do not want to again.  To fill the room with the aroma of your choice, you simply remove one of the Scentsicles and hide it in amongst the greenery.  The sticks are green so they blend in perfectly. When Christmas is done, we will simply box up the wreaths and place the unused Scentsicles in the box along with the wreaths for use next year.  I got the Scentsicles from Michael's. 

And a Few More Christmas Trees

My Christmas tree collection has grown by leaps and bounds over the past several years.  I expect there will come a time when the entire house will be filled with Christmas trees during the season.

Here are a few more examples.

A mirrored "disco-ball" like tree and a smaller version in black stripes.

These mercury glass trees are very pretty also.

This is a paper tree that is sparkled in an ombre style.  I love all of them.  Let's see what we find this year at the after Christmas sales.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

A Little More Christmas Decor

I found these really cute penguin cone heads at an after-Christmas sale last year for some ridiculously low price.

I did not know at the time where I would use them, but I knew I would find a place.  They are currently residing on the dining room table.  This one with a fanciful fleur de lis ornament in gold leaf draped over the top of the cone.

And this one on the opposite side of the table, greeting us each time we walk through the dining room.  I love both.  We may not have the most expensive decorations, but we have the cutest.