A Visit to Our Dickens Village

Got My Reservations 25 Days of Christmas 2013 Medium ButtonNine days until Christmas! I’m hustling and bustling now that I’ve got my wheels back after my surgery. What about you?

We started collecting Dickens Village houses and accessories many years ago. My mom had a village and my sister-in-law had a village. It was a perfect gift that went on giving year after year — until we all ran out of room. We got each other themed houses based on our jobs and hobbies. We were not slaves to Department 56, and supplemented our collections with resin figures rather than the porcelain ones that break. Over the years in different houses and different communities, it wasn’t Christmas until our Dickens Village went up. Continue reading!


13 Days of Christmas! My friend from high school posted on Facebook that working to prepare for Christmas isn’t really work, it’s love, and the concept resonated with me. I LOVE to get ready for Christmas!

Got My Reservations 25 Days of Christmas 2013 Medium Button

Do you have the ubiquitous giant mirror over your sideboard? I see large mirrors used over and over again in home decor, and they are usually over the sideboard, over the couch, or over the fireplace. We have one over the sideboard and one over the piano, and at Christmas time they need to be decorated.

I have not been happy with the lighting situation on my grapevine wreath that hangs in front of the mirror over my sideboard, and I haven’t been too thrilled with the decor I’ve slapped on over the years. I decided this year to be more intentional about creating a vignette with the mirror and wreath.

Where does one go to get inspiration? Why Google images, of course, and then on to Pinterest. At first I thought I’d do something traditional with the party at the bottom, like this.

Click into photo to see the Pinterest entry

Click into photo to see the Pinterest entry

Continue reading


Got My Reservations 25 Days of Christmas 2013 Medium Button20 Days til Christmas — but who’s counting? Well, that would be me and many of you, I’m guessing.

Sometimes the most surprising items give us the most inspiration when planning tablescapes, and that happened to me this year. While going through the last of my mother’s things, I ran across a scarf that she treasured and wore during the Christmas season. Its Victorian motifs were the springboards for today’s Over the River and Through the Wood tablescape.

GotMyReservations-Over the River and Through the Wood Scarf

Growing up, my family often sang in the car, and I remember rousing choruses of Over the River and Through the Wood during the Thanksgiving season. Of course, we always said woods — who knew that it was singular? First published in 1844, the actual title is The New-England Boy’s Song about Thanksgiving Day,  written by Lydia Maria Child and celebrates visiting her grandfather on Thanksgiving Day. Continue reading


24 Days of Christmas! What’s going on in the Empty Nest today as we count down to Christmas?

Got My Reservations 25 Days of Christmas 2013 Medium ButtonI’m making lists — but I’m taking it one better and making a Christmas binder.

I have some friends in my life who laugh at my list-making. I also have some friends who laugh at my penchant for putting important papers in sheet protectors and then collecting them in ring binders.

Laugh all you want, nay-sayers, because at Christmas time everyone needs to make a list and keep it safe.

I do this by creating a Christmas binder. I have thousands of sheet protectors left over from purging my school files, and although I gave away about one hundred binders to friends and to charity organizations, I still have a few left. Yeah, laugh all you want; I’ll be the one that’s organized and have all my Bed Bath and Beyond coupons with me when I go to the store.

Since we can’t have an undressed view binder, I needed to make a cover for my Christmas gem. First I went to a web site featuring Christmas backgrounds called freechristmaswallpapers.net — this was totally random, but had what I wanted. Exactly. I am having British Christmas, remember?


I saved the file to my computer, but it was the wrong size — it was landscape rather than portrait. I opened it in picmonkey.com (my go-to free photo editing site), and chose the resize button in the cropping menu. The resizing window shows you how many pixels your photo is, and in this case, I just reversed the sizes. It didn’t affect the photo perspective enough to worry about. Then I went to the text editor and added the title, as well as my name and phone number (in small print) in case I leave the binder somewhere.

Binder Cover 2

Now that I look at that telephone booth, I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t be able to fit into it, but who cares? At Christmas, it’s the thought that counts.

It’s only December 2, and already my binder holds the recipe for my Christmas Eve cocktail from Nan at Silver Magpies, and an inspiration for a beautiful floating centerpiece for my Christmas table. I’ve a got a section for those all-important receipts, and one for coupons. I’ve got the gift lists, of course, and my personal lists of to-dos for me and honey-dos for Music Man. All in one place and easy to find with the bright cover on the binder. It’s a win-win, and maybe you want to try it for yourself!

I hope that you will follow along on our journey as Music Man and I prepare for Christmas in the Empty Nest. We’re glad you decided to visit with us today!

Got my bags, got my reservations,
Spent each dime I could afford.
Like a child in wild anticipation,
I long to hear that, “All aboard!”

Music and lyrics by Bud Green, Les Brown and Ben Homer (1944)



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