Thursday, December 30, 2010

WINTER VIEW...

Hello everyone!

Just a quick post...

The clouds cleared and the sun came out today, so I thought I would share with you Mother Nature's beauty. 

No work required here... :)


Behind all of those clouds, are the Sierra Nevada mountains.


This isn't the best picture of the view, but I like it, because the puffy cloud makes it look like there's smoke coming out of the chimney of the bird house.  As soon as I saw it, I immediately started imagining a little bird like Woodstock (Snoopy's sidekick) or Tweety Bird making house and sitting by the fire... hehe! ;-)


We have had soooo much rain here in California lately.  While it gives us these beautiful green fields and hills, it has been such a burden for so many people... my heart goes out to them. 


That dark green patch on the foothill in the distance is an orange grove.  If you're new to my blog, you may not know that we live on five acres of land.  About three acres of it is orange grove that surrounds our home and garden.  Most of the countryside in this area is filled with orange groves.  It smells heavenly when they're in bloom.  One of these days I'll share our grove with you, when we get the weeds under better control and have it looking all pretty.  I'll have to take some before and after pics. ;-)




 That's all foks!

Have a safe and happy New Year, my friends!!

'Til next time...

~ Jo :-)



Tuesday, December 28, 2010

FAREWELL CHRISTMAS.... HELLO NEW YEAR!

Hello everyone!  I hope you all had a very merry Christmas with your loved ones.
We had a wonderful one here at SGC.  Nothing too fancy...

Our youngest daughter kept us up rather late on Christmas Eve, having a hard time sleeping from excitement. :)  Then, she had us up at a bright and early 5 a.m. on Christmas Day.  Needless to say, we were all pretty tired all day.  We hung out in our p.j.'s for most of the day, opened presents, played games, enjoyed a wonderful feast of a dinner, yummy desserts, and we all went to bed rather early that night... same ol', same ol' for us. ;-)

I can't believe how quickly the month of December flew by, and really the whole year.  It's time to pack up the Christmas decorations and start getting creative for the new year.  The rosemary trees will be going outside tomorrow to be planted in the garden once the ground dries up a little bit.  I put together some collages of my Christmas decorations for 2010 as a sort of farewell to Christmas. 
I hope you enjoy them...














I'm linking today's post up to White Wednesday over at Faded Charm.  Thanks for hosting this fun link party every week, Kathleen!

I want to thank all of you for making my first year of blogging such a wonderful experience.  I have enjoyed getting to know all of you so very much over the past year.  What a joy  it has been finding soooo many like-minded people and sharing all of our ideas with each other.  I know I have chosen to keep my personal life (for the most part) out of my blog, but so many of you have shared your heartbreaks and joys with us, and it touches my heart to see the amount of support you've all shared with each other, as well as with me...

From the bottom of my heart... I thank you my blogger friends!!

From my home to yours...
...I wish you all a safe and happy New Year filled with lots of love, joy and good health!!

I can't wait to see what 2011 brings us!!

'Til next time...

~ Jo :-)



Wednesday, December 22, 2010

JUST A FEW DAYS LEFT...


 Hello friends!  There are just a few days left until Christmas.


Today, I'll be here...


...baking some yummy banana nut bread with my daughters (recipe here).


I just couldn't let the special day go by without wishing all of you one more time...



A VERY MERRY AND JOYOUS CHRISTMAS

and

A HAPPY NEW YEAR!!



See ya in 2011 my friends...

~ Jo :-)


Monday, December 13, 2010

OH CHRISTMAS TREE, OH CHRISTMAS TREE...


Hello everyone!  I hope you had a nice weekend!

The family and I went out Saturday to pick out our Christmas tree.  We had a great time... once the girls stopped bickering with each other and let themselves (and us) enjoy the day! ;-)  After picking out the tree, we stopped in at a Starbucks for a sweet treat, before we headed home to put up the tree. 

This was our first year to get a flocked tree.  I like the extra white it adds to the room, and my girls love it . :)   I'm not lovin' the tree being on top of the table though (being able to see the extension cord).  But, as I explained in my last post, we didn't have anywhere to put the table this year, so the tree had to go on top... gotta go with the flow. :)   We set up the tree and added lights on Saturday, and then we decorated it on Sunday while listening to Christmas music.  The music totally puts me into the spirit of decorating for the holiday. :) 


The tree topper wouldn't fit on top of the tree, so I tied it on with some twine.








I wanted to share the little redo I did to this table's vignette.  The little mercury glass votive holder was on the table we put the tree on, so I needed to find a new home for it.  I thought it looked nice here.  I also changed out the tag on the books for the silver stars to help tie it in with the other stars I used in my Christmas decor.






Other stars around the house.



Look how much my Paper Whites have grown in just one week!
I hope it stops growing soon and blooms, or I may have to change out
 the pitcher for a bigger one... hehe!







I didn't realize how much I had used stars throughout my decor until I was just about done with all of the holiday decorating.  We have a glittery one as our tree topper, too. :)

I hope you all had a joyous weekend filled with some holiday cheer.

In the upcoming weeks, we will be baking our traditional banana nut bread (find recipe here) and cookies, and I bought a gingerbread house kit to do with the girls while they are on winter break.  We also go out to look at Christmas lights every year.  There will be present wrapping and visiting with friends and family, too.  I'll be taking the next couple of weeks off from blogging to enjoy this time with my family.  I'll still come visit with all of you at your beautiful blogs with my morning cup of coffee though. ;-)

MERRY CHRISTMAS TO YOU ALL AND A HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!

'Til next time...

~ Jo :-)

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

CHRISTMAS AT SECRET GARDEN COTTAGE...

Hello friends!  I hope you all had a wonderful weekend!

I'm finding it hard to find the time to blog these days, so I'm going to fill this post with all of my
Christmas decorating ideas... except for the tree.  I know I said I was going to get our tree last
weekend, but a dear blogger friend (Sanne of Vintage by Sanne) brought it to my attention that it
seemed a bit early to get a tree.  She was right, of course.  We normally don't get our tree until two
weeks before Christmas, but I was going to get it a week early so I could share it with all of you.  I
realized that wasn't the brightest idea... our tree would have been toast by Christmas day... lol!  Thank
you, Sanne, for bringing me to my senses!! :)

I bought these white tags and vintage-looking stickers at Michael's.  I used the stickers to add
Christmas words to the Tags and used them throughout my home to add some Christmas charm.


Last month, I was the lucky winner of this beautiful fatigued canvas tote from the giveaway over
at the lovely blog The Adventures of Stig and Lolo.  Lolo wrapped the package so beautifully,
including the fall leaves... gorgeous!


Thank you so much for this beautiful gift, Lolo!  I just love it!!

All is not lost for those of you who would like to own one, too.  You can order this


I bought these cute mittens and ear muffs at Target.  The mittens had this ugly band of bright yellow
yarn on each cuff, so I simply cut it out and now they're perfect. :)






I wrapped a stack of burlap with some ribbon and added a tag with the word "LOVE" on it to show
my love of burlap.  I used a lot of burlap throughout my Christmas decor.
(Excuse my finger in the picture in the right top corner... )




I added a couple of mini-candy canes and sprigs of pine tree from my garden to my white pitchers
hanging from the hooks.  I also added some pine tree sprigs to the vintage bottle on my windowsill,
but I couldn't get a good picture of it due to the light coming in the window.


I was a little late planting my paper whites this year, so all I have are little shoots right now... oops!  I
bought the silver stars at Target last year.   They were 99 cents for three... super cheap... which I love!




I bought burlap bags at the feed store for $5 ea.  I cut them down to fit the rosemary buckets, tied
them with jute twine, and added some mercury glass ornaments for a little sparkle... just a little. :)


I placed some white chocolate covered pretzels in the shapes of stars to my little white dishes on our
hutch.  The Santa is an ornament I bought years ago.


I filled the vintage milk bottles with some Christmas M&M's and used them for candle holders.
















I bought a fresh Christmas wreath at our local grocery store for $15.  The scent of pine and cinnamon
(the pine cones on the coffee table) fills our living room.


If you look closely, you can see my reflection in the ornaments. :)


I had to change out the old garden gate for a real fire screen in order to use our fireplace.  Mr. SGC is a
firefighter and wouldn't allow me to keep the gate up while we have fires... something about it being
too much of a fire hazard or something.  ;-)


I bought the mercury glass votive holders and pine cones at Target... very inexpensive.


I filled the vintage mason jars on my fireplace with malt balls to add some subtle Christmas color
to my mantle.








We usually put our Christmas tree where this table is and put the table in our playroom/family room
(that's not finished yet) area, but that's where my mom and Paul are staying while their house is being
built, so we're going to put our tree on top of the table this year.




Well, that's it... I'm done with my Christmas decorating until we get our tree this weekend.  I'll do one
more post next week to share that with you before I take some time off for the holidays.

I'll be linking up to White Wednesday over at Kathleen's beautiful blog, Faded Charm.  Head on over
there for lots of beautiful inspiration in white.  Thanks for hosting, Kathleen!  I'm also linking up to
Kristin's link party over at her lovely blog, My Uncommon Slice of Suburbia.  Head on over to
Kristin's blog, too, for more wonderful inspiration!  Thanks for hosting Kristin!

I hope you are all having a wonderful holiday season so far.  I've so enjoyed visiting all of your blogs
and seeing all of the fabulous inspiration that is out there for the holiday.

Thanks so much for stopping by and taking the time to leave your sweet comments! 

'Til next time...

~ Jo :-)