F Simple and Serene Living: 2011 09 10
Thursday, December 15, 2011

recycled junk Christmas trees

A good old fashioned cheery Christmas song to sing along with on a rainy Thursday afternoon.

Being somewhat of a semi-invalid this past week has given me lots of time to surf the web and I found some really sweet Christmas trees that have been upcycled from "junk"  and odds and ends that you already have at home. I love the idea of making a unique tree and spending little or no money. 

old Christmas card trees

from rustic crafts

recycled magazine and junk mail trees

from recycle-eh

odds and ends of old sweaters felted and stacked to make a tree.

from hohum cards

toilet roll tree ( and you thought they just made good horns for the kids)

from happy chatter

This handyman's tree is interesting. Not sure I would want it in my house, but it did take ingenuity and in the interest of fair play I thought I should have one that was created by a man. (maybe this is why women do most of the decorating)

from joe-ks

the step ladder tree. I love this one.

from funky junk interiors

Hope you have a holly jolly kind of day!

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Friday, December 9, 2011

Silent Night Holy Night

I am finally starting to feel the Christmas spirit. The house is decorated and I will start to take some photos today to share with you next week. 

Silent Night is definitely one of my favorite Christmas carols, and this is one of the most beautiful renditions I have ever heard. So I hope you enjoy listening while you view some old fashioned nighttime Christmas images.




There is just something so peaceful about Christmas lights against a background of snow at night. So I guess I better start singing I'm Dreaming of a White Christmas next.

Linking this weekend with:



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Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Table Top Christmas Trees

I keep waiting for the sun to come out so I will have enough light to take some photos of my own Christmas decor. I know it is up there somewhere, hiding behind that massive cloud cover. Our temperatures have been relatively mild recently, but that is changing this week, with highs in the 30s. Time for some serious cozying up by the fireplace. 

What is your favorite winter drink? I love hot chocolate, but have vowed to give up chocolate as it makes me achy. SIGH!! So I am drinking hot green decaf tea. I know it's a much healthier choice, but sometimes you just want what you shouldn't have. 

So, since I can't reveal my Christmas decorating yet, and there is a massive amount, I will share some great table top tree ideas from other folks. Even if you feel like you don't have the space for a full size tree, a smaller tree on a table can be just as festive.

I love this tree and the gifts piled up in the large basket.


fabulous folksy vignette.


what do you think of these colors for a bedroom?


I think this is a great idea. If you live in an area with lots of pine trees, you could make this yourself. Very natural and could be kept for future years. 


a memory tree is a wonderful, inexpensive idea for a small space.  Collect some branches and hang old photos, cards, postcards, etc. for a tree that is uniquely yours.


oh so lovely for a Christmas wedding or other festive occasion.


a lovely elegant table top tree.


So whatever your style or budget a small tree sitting on a table can turn your everyday space into the perfect Christmas space.

Linking today with:

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Wednesday, November 30, 2011

a country Christmas

I have finally finished up all of my Christmas decorating and can't wait to share some pictures with you. However, it has been so dark and gloomy here, I haven't had enough light to get any good photos. Also, my knee has gone out again (insert BIG SIGH here) so I am trying to stay off of it to see if it will heal on its own. Yes, I am one of the millions of Americans with no health insurance. Premiums for a self employed woman of my age were way out of the realm of possibility. (another BIG SIGH)

So, I thought I would share some wonderful examples of country Christmas decor that others have done. 

a wonderful primitive fireplace

via notforgottenfarm

a white country living room

via couintryliving

overstuffed white furniture mixed with primitives

via countryliving

simple and rustic

via countryliving

I love the simple natural feel of these spaces. Very cozy and homey. 

Linking today with:

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Tuesday, November 29, 2011

crock pot clam chowder

Thanksgiving is over and I don't know about you, but I am pretty much over turkey for the immediate future. I did make some homemade turkey soup using what was left of the turkey carcass yesterday, but that has been put in the freezer to be taken out and eaten on a cold day in January. 

All of this cool rainy weather we are having is making me want some comfort food, but it is such a busy time of year, my thoughts are definitely turning to crock pot cooking. For some reason I have been craving clam chowder and I came across this recipe, which, if I can drag myself out into the pouring rain to get the ingredients I will make this afternoon.

Crockpot Clam Chowder

Clam chowder recipe with minced clams, bacon, onion, and potatoes and milk.

4 (6 1/2 oz.) cans minced clams with juice
1/2 lb. salt pork or bacon, diced
1 cup chopped onion
6 to 8 medium potatoes, peeled and cubed
3 c. water
3 1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
4 c. half and half cream or milk
3 to 4 tbsp. cornstarch
chopped fresh parsley, for garnish

Cut clams into bite-sized pieces if necessary. In skillet, saute salt pork or bacon and onion until golden brown; drain. Put into slow cooker with clams. Add all remaining ingredients, except milk, cornstarch, and parsley. Cover and cook on high 3 to 4 hours or until vegetables are tender. During the last hour of cooking, combine 1 cup of milk with the cornstarch. Add cornstarch mixture and the remaining milk and stir well; heat through.
Top each serving with a little chopped parsley and serve with crackers or crusty French bread.

A simply set table featuring a primitive table runner would be the perfect backdrop for a chowder dinner.


I hope you are dry and warm where you are. I am thinking I may have to inflate the life rafts if this goes on much longer.

Linking today with:

Celebrating Family

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Tuesday, November 15, 2011

cranberry celebration

Do you all have Kroger stores where you live? Here in the south they are a big grocery chain and every year during the holiday season they sell Cranberry Celebration Salad. It's really yum and I wondered if there was a recipe to make it at home (especially for those of you who can't just run down the street to get some). I found this on line here and thought I would share it in time for your Thanksgiving dinner menu planning.


Marilyn Hoskin’s Cranberry Celebration Salad

Marilyn, a Milford reader, developed this from an Ocean Spray recipe and by reading the ingredients on the Kroger salad. Try substituting cherry jello if you like.
15 oz crushed pineapple, drained – save juice
1/2 cup cranberry juice
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 pkg, 3 oz, raspberry jello
15 oz can whole cranberry sauce
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
Boil pineapple, cranberry and lemon juice together. Add jello. Remove from heat and stir in cranberries. Put in fridge till almost set. Add pineapple and nuts. Add a half cup of chopped celery if you like.

I've never eaten it on crackers, as shown in the photo, we use it as a substitute for cranberry sauce, but I bet it is good that way.

Don't forget those special touches for your table decor.


Linking up today with:

Celebrating Family

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Friday, November 11, 2011

1829 Farmhouse Bathroom Redo

Have you met Judi at The 1829 Farmhouse? She is sharing her love of thrifting while renovating and loving her 1829 farmhouse. I was quite enamored with her bathroom redo and she has kindly agreed to letting me share it with you today. Her renovation, which took a year, was well worth the effort and spoke to me, not only for its beauty, but because it was done on a budget and with many repurposed materials.

Here is the before. oh my!!

and here are some after photos.

wonderful old vintage tub she found on craigslist for $40. wow.

barn door using reclaimed wood from her home, with a transom light rescued from her basement.

wood paneling reclaimed from her master bedroom.

I love this vanity, which was created from wood pulled from the wall.

I think you will agree that it is wonderful and to see more be sure and stop by her blog.

All photos courtesy of The 1829 Farmhouse

 On this Veteran's day, this blog post is dedicated to all the veterans who have served our country, but especially to the memory of my late father, Reece Holloway who served, fought, and was a POW in WWII.

Linking up this weekend with:



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