Sunday, January 17, 2016

Mantel Decor and Weekend Progress

Paperwhites/Narcissus From the Garden (yes, I know, the white background is not ideal for white flowers)

We had a week of grey, overcast days (no rain, though), last week.  But the weekend has been sunny and bright.

The paperwhites narcissus flowers have started to bloom in the garden and I had daughter pick three stems to bring indoors.  They have a lovely perfume which permeates the air and makes the house smell wonderful.

After I took the picture, I realized that I really like the colors in the picture, too - white and green.  Something very soothing and restful in that color combination, I feel.  And so, I thought, I might use that color palette for my January decor (not that I have a particular color or decor for each month; I basically have the same blue and white with touches of pink decor throughout the year).  But, perhaps, this is the year of doing things differently.  Why not change the decor a little bit by season, if not by month?

I don't have a lot of green in my decor, and I am not likely to go out and buy anything, either.  But I am going to see what I can pull together for a mantel display for the rest of this month.  I came up with several possibilities.  Take a look - what do you think? 

This one?

Mantel Decor 1
The clock, although it doesn't really go with the color scheme, has to stay.  The mantel and the mirror are too big for the small grouping of green objects to be displayed by themselves.  Besides, the clock, like so many other things in my house, has a long history behind it, and there's a reason why it's displayed on the mantel with pride.

The china figurine of the Man in the Green Coat belonged to my mother.  She had bought him and a lady partner when she was in her late teens or early twenty's.  If she bought him when she was 20, he'd be 76, this year!  I don't remember ever seeing the lady, but I remember the man from my childhood home.  My mother, who disposed of the contents of two households before she packed whatever bits and pieces of her belongings that would fit into two suitcases and emigrated, had decided the Man in the Green Coat would accompany her on her travels abroad.  And so, even though my mother has been dead for almost 10 years (this February), I continue to keep and cherish the Man in the Green Coat.  His hand, holding the rose, broke off, once, and I glued it back.  He's usually displayed on a bookcase to the right of the mantel.

The glass vase with green stripes and pink roses was hand-painted by my half-sister and given (with fresh roses) as a Mother's Day gift to my mother (my half-sister's stepmother), one year.  And the other green object, a small jar candle with a butterfly perched on the top, was a Christmas gift from my supervisor at work, one year.  The cut glass candle is a one from a set of three I bought once and I just put a green candle in it to go with the decor.

 Or, this one?

Mantel Decor 2
The Man in the Green Coat, the jar candle, and a little glass bird that an aunt gave as a gift many years ago.

And, this one:

Mantel Decor 3
Which simply has it all!  LOL.

Daughter tried to improve upon what I had done, so far, and came up with this one:

Daughter's Mantel Decor
Which is very neat and regular, distributing the green items evenly, instead of clustering them as I was doing.  I was clustering the few green objects to create an impact, but she might be on to something, here.

Obviously, the one item that can give a lot of green to the mantel will be some leaves and branches from the garden!  However, we have to remember that I have a cat who thinks that anything green that Mummy brings in and sticks in a vase is OK for him to eat (he loves broccoli leaves, cauliflower leaves, spinach, bok choy, etc.)  I don't have a lot of cat friendly greens growing in my garden, so, all houseplants, most of which are very unfriendly to cats, etc., have to be kept out of his reach.

But, he seems to leave the curry leaves alone, so I was inspired to pick some from the garden, in the evening and try this one:

With Some Greenery

Currently, this last one is the decor in place.  I think I need to trim back the greenery I placed in the vase, as it seems to be a bit too much.  I considered a lemon or orange branch, with or without fruit, but apparently, the citrus oil in the leaves are poisonous to cats!  The stray cats in the garden don't ingest them, but Dancer won't know not to eat them. 
And, carrying the theme to the coffee table:

Coffee Table Decor
My mother's crochet, a traditional brass urn which symbolizes hospitality and plenty, the other two candle holders from the set of 3 (with green tea lights, in them), and a pile of green colored books on gardening.  I've other books, too, that have green covers, but I thought a few on gardening would be best.  What better time than now to plan the garden?

I guess I can always move stuff around a bit, between the mantel and the coffee table, too.  Nothing too tall and delicate that a cat can knock over and break on the coffee table (one of his favorite perches), but carrying out the white and green color scheme.  

Anyway, as a result, the mantel and coffee table, both got dusted and wiped; a few knick knacks got washed and rearranged and I was motivated to see if I have any green fabric in the stash to make a set of new cushion covers! (Yes, I've both a dark green velvet and some green cotton fabric; not quite up to sewing cushion covers, right now, but the fabric is there if and when I choose to do so.)  

I felt a bit better, yesterday, but still not as well as I would have liked.  I had an asthma attack in the night and woke up with a headache, this morning.  The inhaler took care of the asthma and a Tylenol took care of the headache.  And I've felt a lot better, today.

Other than arranging and rearranging my mantel, I did a load of laundry and a sinkful of dishes over the weekend, distributed the last of the Christmas/New Year gifts, chatted with one of my cousins and a friend, chatted with two of my neighbors, went for a walk around the block in the afternoon (hadn't done that during the week when I hadn't felt quite up to it), pottered around the garden for a bit, and called a friend to offer her a bag full of curry leaves I picked off the tree when I was picking a few for the vase, above. 

Daughter went grocery shopping again, for me yesterday (we seem to go through a lot of bananas and I had a craving for crusty bread!), put gas to the car, bought me a new cell phone (my old one, a flip phone I've had for about 7 years, if not more - we think daughter was in 1st year of high school when I got my flip phone -  finally died on me!), and went to see a movie with a friend of hers.  Today, she met with another friend of hers for lunch, and she's now gone over to a neighbor's house with their holiday gifts and to say goodbye to them before she leaves for Berkeley, tomorrow.

Yesterday and today, I am grateful for:

- Feeling better!
- Energy level of 6-7 (on a level from 0 to 10; have been on energy levels 4-5 the past week)
- Getting the living room mantel cleaned and decorated (and redecorated)
- Getting the living room coffee table polished and decorated
- A walk around the block in the sunshine
- Chats with neighbors
- Chats with family and friends
- Getting the laundry done
- Getting the dishes done
- A new cell phone (not a very expensive one, but a "smartphone" nevertheless, with camera, texting, internet access, etc.!  Just have to learn how to use it!  LOL!

How was your weekend?  Do you change out decor and colors by season?  Which mantel decor did you like best?


  1. Proud your feeling some better.[sorry about the asthma attack and headache]. The mantles all looked pretty.. But, I love the last one ,with the greenery.. so pretty..[And the greenery looks pretty, doesn't need cutting to me..]
    Hope you have a good week.. hugs.

    1. Thanks, Judy. Sometimes, an arrangement of different greenery from the garden can look just as pretty as a flower arrangement, I think. I want to try and do a different arrangement of leaves every week for the rest of January. :)

  2. I think you're just the one to ask this question: My daughter bought me a jar of Mike's Organic Curry Love brand Hot Red Thai Curry. I have no idea what to do with it. She asked me if I liked curry and when I told her I'd never eaten curry, she put it in the basket at the Boise Co-Op. It was kind of expensive and I know she's going to ask what I made. So, the question is: What do I do with it? When she was little, she learned to eat everything, and turn-about is fair play.

    1. I looked up their website and it seems like the jar of what you got is already a prepared sauce (as opposed to a jar of curry powder, which is what I'd use to make my own curry sauce). Their website also had some recipes, but, if I was new to curries, I wouldn't start out with emptying a jar of prepared hot red curry without knowing how much hot spiciness I can tolerate. My curries are spicy without being hot, but then, again, my definition of hot might be different than yours. So, since I don't know how hot you can tolerate, what I'd do is take some chicken pieces (maybe a boneless skinless chicken breast cut up into cubes or strips), add a couple of table spoons of the jarred curry sauce and toss to coat; then, saute in a bit of hot oil with some sliced onions. Add some (1/2 cup or so) of milk to make a gravy (coconut milk is more authentic - you can buy it in a can - but regular milk is OK, too) and taste to see how spicy/hot it is; adjust salt, add a little lemon juice, etc. If it is not too spicy and you like spicy, then, add more of the jar of sauce to the gravy. If it becomes too spicy at any point, add more milk. You can try using half the jar of sauce with chicken and refrigerate the rest to try with shrimp or beef on another day. Or, with any vegetable of your choice. Serve the curry with some rice and a side of vegetables (broccoli, or squash, or green beans, etc.) Let us know how you liked your first taste of curry.

  3. Your mantel is pretty, Bless ... And I like the one with the greenery best. Love natural elements! Congrats on your new phone! Once you're familiar with all the features you'll wonder how you ever managed without it. Enjoy!

    1. Thank you, Carolyn. I like the one with the greenery, myself. In fact, I am thinking of making a new arrangement of greenery for every week, this month (and maybe next, too). As for the new phone, I'm sure I'm going to enjoy its camera function - I already learned how to use the camera, send myself the picture and upload to my blog post (the picture of the mantel with the greenery). I can now take pictures without carrying around my laptop! :D

  4. So glad you're feeling better!! Your mantel and coffee table look very nice - I have some of those same books. Unfortunately I haven't had much time to garden in the last few years. Green is my favorite color and I use it a lot in various shades throughout the house. Yea for you on the smartphone! Mine certainly helps me keep organized. Actually, I don't know what I'd do without it as it contains my calendar with my appointments and DH's, my grocery list, to do list, etc. Enjoy learning to use it!

    1. Thank you, Greta. I'm a bit intimidated by technology, but I think I'll learn to use my phone little by little. I didn't get the expensive $500+ one as that seemed way too much! I went for the $60 version, which still has enough bells and whistles to keep me awed!

  5. I love the greenery. And yay for getting a smartphone. I have a cheaper one, but I love it and I use mine to take just about all my pictures.

    1. Jess, thank you. Yes, mine is a cheaper one, too - $60 version as opposed to the $500+ version! Which is fine with me. It has plenty of features for that price and I don't need state of the art. As I told daughter, I just want something to use if I need to make a phone call when I'm away from home. Anything else it can do is a bonus. But I think I will enjoy the camera feature more than anything else! :)

  6. I do enjoy seeing your photographs, and the mantel ideas are all interesting and attractive. My mantel has been the same for ages but DH threw a spanner in the works by putting his vintage model train engines on there, in front of the other stuff!! I wasn't sure what to do and left it all. At Christmas I removed the clock and put the creche there, and removed 2 other things from either side, then strung some battery-operated lights along it all, lighting the creche with one of them through the back window of it. Now that is all put away, the clock is back, and there is a copper mug at one end and copper beaker at the other, with the trains in between. Our 2 wooden vases and 2 chinese cork scenes are put away. DH also has 2 engines on the dresser in the dining room! What he wants to do one day is get a cabinet made for the trains. I have suggested that in the meantime he put them at the top of the wall units, using some wood to raise them about the edging. If I get the mantle back, I may just buy a couple of dark smoked glass vases that are in the consignment store, and forget about putting back the wooden ones. Always fun to try something new, isn't it?

    1. Bushlady, that's nice that DH is contributing to the decor with his collectibles. :) I second your idea to display the trains from the tops of the wall units, until a special cabinet is made. Maybe if you were to garland the trains on the mantel and dresser with hearts for St. Valentine's Day, etc., he might decide that on top of the wall units is a better place, too. :D It is fun to try something new. I tend to get into a rut and keep things looking the same a bit too much. This year, I want things to be a bit different.

    2. Yes, I tend to get in a rut, too, so your blog was inspiring, and DH has at least got me thinking about changes. I rather like your idea of the garland of hearts!


Thank you for visiting my blog and commenting. Your comments are much appreciated. Please comment in English. Thank you.