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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Friday, December 28, 2018

Top 10 French Country Posts for 2018


A new year, a time to reflect on the past year and plan for the future. 
Here are ten of your favorite French Country posts from 2018.

To read more about each post, just click on the link and enjoy. 


Find out why I went dumpster diving for a little piece of history.


Craving something calming, simple and elegant?
Let there by white.


My Favorite Haunts
You never know what you might find at an estate or yard sale.


It All Started with a French Tablecloth
Ah, the colors of Provence.


A Spring Refresh in the Dining Room
It can never come too early for me.


Early summer blooms.


Scary News - Our Cabin Wrecked!
(not my favorite post)
Such an upsetting and scary incident.


I vote for cozy!


Snug and safe for the season.


Simple, natural elegance.


To all my Blogger Friends, Happy New Year!

***



Friday, December 21, 2018

Christmas Toys and Nostalgic Memories

When we were kids, Christmas was all about toys. 
Waking up in the morning and finding Santa had left us
 a glorious pile of brightly wrapped presents.


Then playing with them all day and showing anyone who visited all of our loot.


I wasn't that much into dolls or toys but I loved stuffed animals 
and could probably still tell you each one's name. 
I also remember getting my first camera -- it was a Polaroid! 
And each year, my sister and I always got matching PJs.


Of course, my favorite toy was Teddy, a little brown bear given to me by my Aunt Hilda 
on the day I was born. (second bear from left below) 
I also loved the mechanical bear that drank a Coca Cola or was it a Root Beer but he's long gone.

Ron had a special bear too named Geebee. (far left) We both still have our childhood bears
along with a couple of newcomers. 


Ron still loves to collect toys and other items from the 1950s when he was a kid. 


Christmas definitely meant toys!
Do you remember any of these from Ron's collection?


I guess some things never change no matter how old you are.
Ron says these things from an earlier era remind him of a happy time in his life. 


He's fashioned a room in our basement that is a museum of sorts.
Not only does he have a nice collection of toys but also a few collectibles from that era.
Remember green stamps?




For us, Christmas is a time of nostalgic memories. 
Most of all I remember
Dad trying to recite Twas A Night Before Christmas and getting it all messed up,
Mom singing Silent Night in her deep, clear voice,
and my big sister showing me how to place the icicles just so on the tree.

Oh, and devouring Mom's nut rolls (my sister makes them now --
the yummy tradition lives on!

Special memories, but really, when you're in first grade, it's all about the toys!

So from our family to yours, 
we wish you a very Merry Christmas 
and whatever electronic toy is in your letter to Santa!
Have fun!

***

Friday, December 14, 2018

My Love Story in the Governor's Mansion

It's always fun to tour old mansions but it's a real treat
when you get to visit the governor's residence.

Besides its fascinating history,
this mansion has a romantic story most people don't know about.
More about that later.

Completed in 1908, it was a family residence for a Denver pioneer named Walter Cheesman.
In 1923 Charles Boettcher purchased it and later donated the mansion 
to the state of Colorado to serve as the governor's residence. 

The late Georgian Revival mansion is grand and stately
and sits atop a hill facing the Rocky Mountains.


We lined up at the impressive entrance to take the free holiday tour. 


The mansion was decorated for the holidays with a period theme in each room.


I had hoped we would see where the families actually lived but the tour was limited
to the main floor where we got to see the state dining room and the great hall.

Two of my favorite details were the gorgeous ceilings


and the hand-turned wood staircase.


There was even a bar (gift shop) just inside the front door.
How convenient Gov!
We were told it had been the gentlemen's smoking room
and was now decorated in a 1940s style with a nod to Aspen's J-Bar. 


One of the rooms recognized famous women of early years in Colorado.
I especially liked the Christmas tree with photos of some of these courageous women.


I felt right at home wearing my 1920s hat and faux leopard jacket. 


The piano (far right) in this old-world room was signed by Liberace.


This breathtaking chandelier once hung in the White House in 1876
when President Grant celebrated America's centennial and the year
Colorado was admitted to the Union. 


So you're probably wondering about that romantic story I mentioned earlier.
Let me tell you what happened.

Twenty-eight years ago there was a special event at the governor's mansion.
A photographer was covering the event for his TV station
and a woman was there with a school group.
They said hello and 28 years later we're still together.
Meant to be. 


The governor's mansion will always be a special place to us.

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