Last evening…

…I cooked a very untraditional Christmas Eve meal.

Lamb shoulder chop, rubbed with mint, dried minced garlic, and Mrs. Dash's Lemon Pepper seasoning, accompanied by brown and wild rice, cooked with onion, Crimi mushrooms, dried minced garlic, Campari tomatoes, dried oregano, a good bit of Mrs. Dash's Lemon Pepper seasoning and Greek olive oil. Really super tasty and very nutritious!

Lamb shoulder chop, rubbed with mint, dried minced garlic, and Mrs. Dash’s Lemon Pepper seasoning, accompanied by brown and wild rice, cooked with onion, Crimini mushrooms, dried minced garlic, Campari tomatoes, dried oregano, a good bit of Mrs. Dash’s Lemon Pepper seasoning and Greek olive oil.
Really super tasty and very nutritious!

While I was watching the very untraditional Christmas film, “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” (wasn’t Audrey gorgeous?), a knock at the door was not from Santa, but my young neighbor, who presented me with this:

A very untraditional "Christmas Sweater" cookie!

A very untraditional “Christmas Sweater” cookie!

She and her Mom had been doing a lot in their kitchen (which adjoins my own), but I didn’t expect such a creative gift!

They are both very artistically-inclined…and I thank them for this wondrous little cookie, which is indeed delicious!

After reading until past midnight, I awoke at 8-ish, made a pot of fresh ground Italian Roast/Dutch Chocolate flavored coffee and took a look out my window.

Just a very light snow had fallen overnight, enough to brighten the ground...with ice still on the windows, because we're 'havin' a heat wave' of mid-20s degree F. weather today!

Just a very light snow had fallen overnight, enough to brighten the ground…with ice still on the windows, though we’re ‘havin’ a heat wave’ of mid-20 degrees F. weather today!

For those of you who’ve been running as late as I have, here’s one last E-card I just made.

Merry Christmas Potpourri

(I hope you can catch the aroma of pine and cinnamon in the potpourri?)

HAPPY CHRISTMAS TO ALL…MAY IT BE MERRY AND BRIGHT!!!

Macy’s Washington Street displays…

…bespeak the gift of entertaining, with mostly traditional themes.

Have a look!

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Macy's Vitrines-7

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But…these beautiful vitrines were not created by Macy’s display staff!

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It’s really nice to know that the students seem very interested in carrying on Christmas traditions…and my congratulations to all of them…it’s a marvelous display!

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Merry Christmas to all, and don’t forget to leave cookies for Santa, and some treats for the reindeer, too!

Just around the corner…

…is a yellow Magnolia tree, which I’ve photographed for the past six years.

Here it is last Spring, in all its glory:

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And this is how it looked this afternoon:

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The building on the right has a new tenant and, apparently, they decided to decorate…and it so cheers me to see!

(Tried to get a shot of their flower box, but could get a good enough angle, as the third floor is quite high.

It’s filled with greens and several large ball ornaments like these on the tree.)

MERRY CHRISTMAS to them, and all of you, too!

Mmm, mmm, YUM!

On Washington Street just west of Michigan Avenue, Toni’s La Patisserie windows are filled with Christmasy edibles!

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Okay, you can all stop drooling!

(I think I gained five pounds just taking these shots!)

More FREE E-cards!

After working on these for several hours, I figured it would be a good thing to post the entire batch!

Just click on any image, save it to your Pictures folder, then e-mail it …and (hopefully?) it will brighten someone’s Christmas season!

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If you so desire, you can also use these to print your own cards–and the copyright is suspended, temporarily, so no worries there!

My gift to you and yours!

I found this sweet display…

…in the window of a local convenience store, and thought it might make a great start to the season’s FREE E-cards for any of you to use.

Just click on an image, copy/save it to your Pictures folder…then send it to a friend!

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I shall be making more for the next two weeks or so, as time allows.

Last week and yesterday

LAST WEEK

For several days last week, my spare time was spent getting the Christmas decorations together.

This is just one of the results:

The red and green wreath from last year was ttoally revamped, using gold-leafed pears, small gol and deep green balls, and gold-tipped large pine cones. The old red and green lights were replaced with warm white LED lights, which use about 4.5 watts per 50-light string...I'm very happy I purchased them!

The red and green wreath from last year was totally revamped, using gold-leafed pears, small gold and deep green balls, and gold-tipped large pine cones.
The old red and green lights were replaced with warm white LED lights, which use about 4.5 watts per 50-light string…I’m very happy I purchased them!

Some close-ups:

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YESTERDAY

It had been quite foggy for several days, but yesterday’s was the thickest.

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Thrilled with being able to take the time to go out and photograph a few things, I walked over to Sherwin Beach to see the effect of fog at the shore.

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Just to the south is the veranda of 1205 W. Sherwin Avenue, a beautiful spot to look at the lake which had virtually disappeared.

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Finally, I headed back home, but not before photographing my own window.

The lights were wrapped around the wreath intentionally...and it's great that it can be seen quite well, even at mid-afternoon, so that all can share the beauty of the Christmas season!

The lights were wrapped around the wreath intentionally…and it’s great that it can be seen quite well, even at mid-afternoon, so that all can share the beauty of the Christmas season!

Some may be wondering…

…what a former Holiday Designer might use to decorate her own space…so I took a few shots.  As you approach my apartment door, you’ll find this spray, which is new this year:

I've incorporated a few of the 'faux' leaves I created.

I’ve incorporated a few of the ‘faux’ leaves I created.  Silver, ivory, and champagne-color, with three red jingle bells!

On the inside of the door, I’ve placed a copper and silver spray which I put together in 2007:

Those little things at center are not pine cones, but some sort of seed pod, which I gilded with copper leaf.

Those little things at center are not pine cones, but some sort of seed pod, which I gilded with copper leaf.

I really have no room for a tree, but I do have two large, 36″ wreaths, which I change every few years…next year, I’ll tear them apart, wash them down, and design something new and different!

This is the Blue and Silver, with some large silver leaf-gilded pears and silver balls (from the Dollar Store, no less!).

This is the Blue and Silver, with some large silver leaf-gilded pears and silver balls (from the Dollar Store, no less!).

And...here's the Red and Green on another wall.

And…here’s the Red and Green on another wall.

I have several glass vases filled with glass gemstones...this one also contains gilded glass rocks.  Iadded some miniature gold gilded fruit, and a few pine boughs I found after the Christmas Tree Lot people shut down.

I have several glass vases filled with glass gemstones…this one also contains gilded glass rocks. I added some miniature gold gilded fruit, large partially-gilded seed pods, and a few pine branches I found after the Christmas Tree Lot people shut down.

Here’s the other vase:

Glass gemstones, gilded river rock, and a pear ornament I gilded Christmas Day morning with blue variegated leaf...plus a few small pine branches.

Glass gemstones, gilded river rock, and a pear ornament I gilded Christmas Day morning with blue variegated leaf…plus a few small pine branches.

Here’s what the pear ornament really looks like, as I had to ‘play’ to get some color in the image above:

I bought about two and a half dozen of these six years ago at Renaissance Works for a dollar a piece...some silver/gilded and most gold/gilded!  I got tired of the 'commercial' gilding, and covered this one with blue variegated leaf.  The little leaf at the top has also been painted with a metallic pale, soft light green.

I bought about two and a half-dozen of these six years ago at Renaissance Works for a dollar a piece…some silver/gilded and most gold/gilded! I got tired of the ‘commercial’ gilding, and covered this one with blue variegated leaf. The little leaf at the top has also been painted with a metallic pale, soft light green.

I think I’ve had to make ‘Christmas’ every month of the year in the past…whether it was decorating hotels and restaurants, painting and designing store and mall displays, or designing television commercials (in March!)…it’s normal for me to celebrate with decorations all year ’round (and to be forever vacuuming up little pieces of glitter!)!

More of Christmas morning snow

The lovely snow kind of fizzled out after about an hour to an hour and a half, yet it was so very pretty while it lasted.

Large tree at the Shambhala building up the street

Large tree at the Shambhala building up the street

Snow-covered tools in the back of a pick-up truck

Snow-covered tools in the back of a pick-up truck

Three cars and a motor scooter in the parking lot below

Three cars and a covered motor scooter in the parking lot below

One of the trees below

One of the trees below

Pine trees where the Christmas Tree Lot used to be

Pine trees where the Christmas Tree Lot used to be

The snow was of the granular kind and began melting somewhat today as the temperature hovered just above the freezing point…which reminds me:  I know many consider little guys like this a pest (they are rodents, after all)…

Skippy

…but if you feed them, they might not be ‘dumpster-diving’ for cheesy popcorn!