Friday, December 31, 2010


Yes, New Year's Day is my favorite holiday. Let me explain!

I'm not a very celebratory person. All of the other major holidays actually fill me with dread. I know I'm weird; a psychologist could probably get to the bottom of it for me, but I don't need to know why. It probably has something to do with the fact that I was an only child with very little extended family. Yea, blame it on my parents!

Back to the lack of a celebration personality--- My entire adult life, I have been a wife, then a mother and grandmother; and have always felt the need to do my part to fulfill the expectations of others on holidays. There is all of the cooking (my least favorite thing to do) and the getting together with in-laws, out-laws, kids, etc. etc. I'm not the most social person and thoroughly enjoy being alone, so everything is a chore for me.
That brings us to New Year's Day. In our family, there are no expectations. We have no food traditions and no history of get-togethers. Just a day of whatever happens - NO EXPECTATIONS! My favorite kind of holiday!
I have compensated for my 72 years of not being a big occasion celebration person by trying to find joy in the little things of every single day. So my wish for you is that 2011 brings you some bit of joy and happiness every day of the year.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010


It is the end of 2010 already, and time to review our favorite projects for the year! Here are mine in no particular order.

We found this old commercial-type cupboard with sliding doors at an auction, and knew that with its dimensions it would be perfect to house our TV in the living room. This is not our primary TV watching area, so the sliding doors were a bonus. Unfortunately, this cupboard was a mess and had been in a barn for many years. It cleaned up well, and has become a favorite!

I love to find thrifted Ralph Lauren wool skirts, and transform them into pillows.

I've waited several years to be able to have this green vinyl chair recovered professionally.
I love the new red upholstery!

I also waited several years to trade out my old china cupboard for something I liked better. We found this one that needed refinishing. After Bob refinished it, I lined the inside with fabric.
I love the details!
The project that was probably the most fun was the building of the tree house in our backyard. I had nothing to do with it, but Wyatt and his Papa sure had fun.

He was one happy boy when it was done!
I finally found an alabaster lamp in my price range after looking for a long time. It needed a new shade, so I purchased a self-adhesive one and covered it with my favorite toile fabric that I had bought 10 years ago from a French vendor.
We refinished and recovered a $2 chair purchased at an auction.
I love a pretty paisley fabric.
And finally, I made some red wool pillows from bargain fabric and estate-sale velvet ribbon for the living room.
I'll be joining the following parties to wrap up 2010. Please check out these hostesses for a plethora of inspiration.

for Top Ten Projects of 2010
for the Boring to Better party

Wednesday, December 22, 2010


I realized that I haven't posted about our Christmas trees this year. Probably that is because our trees are so traditional that they have changed very little over the years.

This little tree below sits in our bedroom now. It began as a tree for my Dad's nursing home room 18 years ago. The ornaments are about 1" in size, mostly from Hallmark's miniature series. My Dad always enjoyed Christmas; but after a debilitating stroke, he was unable to speak. Every year when I would decorate his room, he would spend hours looking and enjoying this little touch of Christmas.

A wonky tree on our back porch to keep company with this wooden Santa that Bob made many years ago.

This tree holds hundreds of blown glass ornaments from our childhood trees, plus gifts from friends and those purchased on trips.

And finally, the family tree that is full of handmade ornaments; Hallmark series that include Santas, trains, and houses & buildings; plus 53 red balls. Every year that we have been married, we have added a red ball with the year painted on it. Our very first Christmas tree in 1958 contained one red ball and garlands made of popcorn. We still string popcorn and cherish all of the red balls. It's fun to remember those years when babies were born, when those babies graduated from high school and college, and the anniversaries we have celebrated. There are too many memories attached to change our way of decorating each year.

I'll be taking a little break from blogging until after Christmas sometime. I sincerely hope Christmas is full of joy and peace for everyone!

Sunday, December 19, 2010


I have become a 'blurbarian' as I have now 'blurbed'. I learned how to 'slurp' my blog, and have had contact with the 'blurberati'! Yes, I am now addicted to, which has a very easy, free software to download called Booksmart that allows you to create books. I was surprised at how inexpensive it was to have your book printed for gifts and for your own use. This is what I have been up to on Blurb. I found it hard to photograph the books for this post; the pictures in the books really are sharp and clear.

Last Christmas, I scrapbooked (the old-fashioned way with papers & adornments) pictures of my Mother-in-law's ancestors. This year, we wanted to gather together some of the pictures since her marriage in 1931. She is now 96 years old, and we thought she might enjoy a look back. Here is a sample of the Blurb book we created. Below are family pictures from her 90th birthday and 95th birthday. There are about 60 pictures total in this little book - the cost was under $20, as Blurb gave me a promotional code for free shipping.
Since my granddaughter was about 8 years old, we have scrapbooked (again the old fashioned way) a photo book for her to give her parents of the pictures that I have taken of the kids during the previous year. Since Caitlin is definitely of the computer generation, she was excited to give Blurb a try. She had so much fun choosing different backgrounds, colors, fonts, etc. for each page. Once again, the cost was under $20. I know I have spent way more than that in previous years for a binder, papers, and stickers.

The following book was the reason I checked out Blurb in the first place. This blog was started as a journal to record and photograph a variety of things for my descendants (if they are interested). So, I thought it would be a good idea to have a hard copy of my posts. This book ended up being 372 pages long with a little over two years of posts. I had it bound as a hardcover book, so it was more expensive at about $60.

Some examples of the pages:

It was very easy to 'slurp' my blog posts and all the pictures into Booksmart. It took some editing to transform it from a blog format to more of a book format, but I enjoyed the process. In the middle of the editing, we had to buy a new computer which caused a few problems during transfer of data. But, the blurbarati (the technical staff) were quick to respond to my email with lots of suggestions and ideas.

I can think of all kinds of books I now want to do. For instance, I'm thinking of a book of all the Christmas pictures from the last 52 years; or maybe a book with pictures of the houses we have lived in during our married life. Yes, I do have a lot of pictures.

By the way, did not compensate me for this post. I just enjoyed my experiences and wanted to share!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010


Even though glue, glitter, and I have never learned to play together very well; I usually attempt some sort of Christmas craft every year. It usually involves decoupage, as I do love papers and stickers. This year I decided to try some decoupaged ornaments to use as tags on packages. I purchased some thin wooden shapes at JoAnn's; decoupaged with some paper and stickers; then hot-glued some trim around the edges.

My favorite 'tuck in' gift usually is a paper-piecing project. I learned about paper-piecing several years ago when I worked as a quiltmaker. There are lots of patterns out there, but my favorites have always been from Irene Berry, a former editor and now contributor to Quilter's Newsletter magazine. Her patterns are usually 3" square, a perfect size to embellish kitchen towels or potholders. There can be as many as 20 or so pieces in each 3" square, so sometimes the patches are as small as a fingernail. They are easily sewn, however, by using the paper-piecing technique.

I made these two bird towels to 'tuck in' with home-made candy for a friend's Christmas.

Things are progressing well here at the Salmagundi household. The shopping is done and wrapped, the decorating is as done as it is going to get, and the house is clean. I've been making cookies to put in the freezer, and am starting to plan menus for next week. It is such a pleasure to prepare for the celebration of the birth of our Savior.
May your preparations be as joyful!!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Celebrating the Reason!

I'm joining in with Lynn at Happier Than a Pig in the Mud
for a special party where we are celebrating the reason for the season by showing our nativity sets.
This Mary, Joseph, and Baby Jesus ornament hangs on our big tree in the living room. It is made from corn husks, and was purchased in Santa Fe and given to us many years ago by my parents.

This is part of our Fontanini Nativity. We bought it several years ago because it was so beautiful, plus it was durable. We wanted a set with lots of animals for the grandchildren to arrange, rearrange, and enjoy. We always keep it on a low table for their easy access. Even though they are getting older, they still always move things around when they stop by.
And this special nativity is a Hummel from Germany. On our son's first Christmas 42 years ago, Bob bought Mary and Baby Jesus for my Christmas present. Over the years, he has added pieces along as availability and finances have allowed. The beauty and details are unbelievable as only a Hummel figurine can be. I always get this treasured keepsake out before any other Christmas decoration to set the tone for the special celebration of the birth of our Savior.

May the joy and reason for the season stay with you all year long!
I'll also be joining The Shabby Chic Cottage
for the Christmas Decor party on Dec. 15.

Friday, December 10, 2010


Just a bit of season decor hiding in the corners of our home!

And the very best: A Santa our 14-year old grandaughter made when she was in pre-school. I remember being so touched that she wanted me to have it instead of taking it home to her parents.
I'm joining in on the following linky parties to celebrate the decor of the season:
for Holiday Feathered Nest Friday
for a Holiday Decor Party on Dec. 15th
Linda at Coastal Charm
for a Christmas Open House on Dec. 16th
Please join these hostesses and the participants for the celebration.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010


Over the years I have collected a few vintage ornaments - some are from family and others were purchased. The ones that I didn't put on the tree this year ended up in the dining room plate rack.

I've enjoyed having the antique apothecary jars filled with some of these ornaments along with the vintage tree toppers on the top shelf.

I'm always on the lookout for the vintage ornaments with a cardboard hanger such as this blue one. These are from World War II when all metal was diverted to the war effort, even hangers for Christmas ornaments.Last year, I made the white bottle brush trees using Manuela's
(The Pleasures of Homemaking)
tutorial for bleaching & dyeing the trees. The only thing I did different was to remove the attached bases and replace them with wooden blocks that I decoupaged with red and white scrapbook papers.

The centerpiece on our dining room table, for now at least, is one of my favorite Jim Shore Santas sitting on a wreath and covered with a cloche.

I'm joining in the following parties:
Linda at Coastal Charm
is hosting a Christmas Open House on Dec. 9th
is having her annual Christmas Cloche Party on Dec. 10th
Join these gracious hostesses for the festivities!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010


It has begun! Christmas is exploding all over my house. Every year I think that I really should pare down and not completely fill the house with Christmas stuff. But, I just can't do it -- after 52 years of marriage and Christmas celebrations, there are just too many memories attached.

For instance, I have been having coffee every Wednesday morning with a group of women for 28 years straight. We started out as a quilting group, but rarely quilt anymore. We just eat and chat, now. But for about 10 years, we exchanged handcrafted Christmas presents -- mostly snowmen and Santas. We soon realized that we had to stop, as our homes were filling up fast. I still love all of my Santas and snowmen made by my friends over the years, and can't leave them packed away.
So, Christmas continues to explode every year!

I especially like them displayed with my collection of vintage bottle brush trees.

This is just a small portion of those that we have exchanged over the years.

There are some very talented women in our group.

I'm participating in the following Christmas parties this week. Be sure to stop by these wonderful blogs for a plethora of inspiration.
at A Very Merry Vintage Style on Dec. 1
at Southern Hospitality on Dec. 2
at French Country Cottage on Dec. 3
at Between Naps on the Porch on Dec. 6
at Centsational Girl on Dec. 7