Friday, January 18, 2019

Romantic Winter Dream

When I think of a romantic winter dream, my thoughts always drift to the film, Doctor Zhivago,
when Julie Cristie (Lara) and Omar Sheriff (Yuri) are riding in a horse-drawn sleigh
across the frozen ground of Russia, wearing bushy fur hats and bundled up in heavy blankets.

Well, we can't quite relive that experience
but we can capture that romantic feeling in our winter homes.
A book of poetry, my favorite winter painting by Camille Pissarro, and a dried rose
transport me to that romantic drama and a simple farmhouse hidden away from the world. 


Won't you come inside for a cup of hot tea by the fire?


Throughout the movie, we hear the haunting strains of "Lara's Theme."


A soft palette, layering, and various textures create a cozy feeling in our little cottage.


Looking at icy crystals clinging to long branches intertwined with red berries 
seems as if we're looking out the window of the cottage at a barren snow-swept field. 


We'll lean some paintings of flowers
on the mantel making us yearn for spring.


Old mirrors catch the firelight from glowing candles in the room 
and a vintage French wine crate makes an inviting warm centerpiece. 


A basket of white birch branches keeps the fireplace roaring 
while a glass of wine warms our body and soul.
(I recently found a set of these unusual green stemmed glasses at an estate sale
in the original package that stated "Made in France.").


Can you hear the jingling of the sleigh bells outside in the cold
as the giant Belgian horses snort puffs of warm air and stomp the freezing ground?

Come closer to the fire. 
Oh, isn't it romantic?


Interesting Facts
Did you know that because the book was banned in the Soviet Union,
Doctor Zhivago was shot mostly in Spain?

Although critics originally thought the film was too long,
it went on to win five Academy Awards including Best Picture and Best Actor.

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Friday, January 11, 2019

Western Parade Struts through Downtown Denver

Cowboy hats, pointy-toe boots and leather chaps . . . oh, my.
The National Western Stock Show and parade are in town.

It's quite a sight to see a herd of long-horned cattle 
moving down a busy main street in downtown Denver.


The parade, a kick-off event to open the annual stock show, has been taking place since the 1960s while the stock show itself started in 1906 when Denver was a real cow town.


In the shadow of high-rise buildings, 
a real western cattle drive is underway to the squeals of preschoolers . . . 


and the clip clop of magnificent horses. 


I've wanted to see this parade for years and was determined to watch it this year. 
The longhorns started the parade 
followed by a high school marching band that brought nostalgic tears to my eyes. 

Floats, stage coaches, and horses of all sizes followed.


I am always drawn to the huge draft horses


and the cowboy gear, some of it softly worn leather


while other fancy accessories glint in the sun. 


As the parade winds down and the clean-up crew whisks away any trace of the parade,


the winter sun feels warm on my face.
Weren't we lucky to have a beautiful day as up to five inches of snow are predicted for tomorrow. 

Can I get a yee-haw???

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Friday, January 4, 2019

Transition your Decor from Christmas to Winter

I can't wait to decorate for Christmas.
And then when New Year's rolls around, I can't wait to put everything away
and start with a clean slate.
If that sounds like you too, here are some simple tips to help you
transition your decor from Christmas to Winter. 

Winter decor is all about natural materials such as antlers, 
pine cones, weathered woods, warm throws, berries and lots of white.


You don't need to start from scratch to give your home that cozy winter look.
All you need do is pack up the red bows, 
take down the holiday lights, and add a few wintry items.

Bottle brush trees and pine cones shift easily from Christmas to Winter. 


Let's start outside.

On your front door, you could take down the green and red Christmas wreath 
and substitute an all-white wreath like this one made of twigs.


Switch out the colorful ornaments and red ribbons in your front porch lanterns  
and insert plain white candles.
(Tip: Use battery-powered candles with a timer 
so you don't have to venture outside on cold nights).


Arrange some of your leftover tree branches in your garden urns 
and accessorize with a candle or a metal garden obelisk.


Moving inside.

The most notable Christmas decoration for most people is the Christmas tree.
Simply remove the lights and baubles and let the natural beauty of the tree
shine through. This works especially well if you have a tiny tree like we had.
I left the white bird and crystals on and moved the simple tree to my office.


Outdoor winter activities continue for months so why not use the sled, snowshoes, 
and ice skates that were featured for Christmas into the cold months ahead? 
Keep the look simple by removing any red bows or ribbons.


In the living room.

In my home, there's no better winter activity than curling up with a good book. 
Old books have wonderful covers and bindings that look welcoming all by themselves.

I had displayed all ironstone on this shelf but decided to gather
all of my old books together for impact and ambiance.
I admit I haven't read them but I'm drawn to their beautiful covers!


Weathered woods with an aged patina add warmth and texture to the living room.
 If you don't have a wooden coffee table, add a bowl of pine cones or antlers on your table.
Next to the fireplace, fill a large wooden crate or basket with firewood or aspen or birch logs.

Fluff up the chunky white or cream-colored throws on your sofa 
and change out the holiday throw pillows for plain linen ones.


In the dining room. 

On the dining table, substitute your colorful holiday centerpiece
with a plain long white tablecloth and a simple candle.


Raid your lovely white ironstone collection and create an unusual planter.
You might use a chamber pot holding a pretty plant or some wintry pine cones.


Try a wooden box or tray on your table filled with sparkling silver tea things.

Use a mirrored tray on your dining table and top it with a candelabra 
or a simple grouping of flickering white candles.

Of course, if you have anything dressed in chippy white paint, 
I'm betting you could find someplace to use it for a wintry farmhouse look.
I like this old window frame in my foyer and am leaving the foyer Christmas
decorations untouched as I love the French Country feel it exudes.


Last but not Least.

When transitioning Christmas to Winter, I removed toys, teddy bears and Christmas cards 
BUT
I just had to leave this little squirrel on display for winter.
I fell in love with his adorable sweet face, snazzy clothes and bushy tail.
I named him Willie. Can you guess what thrift store I found him in? 


Have fun transitioning from Christmas to Winter wherever you are!

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