Masthead header

Bring in the Blue..More Decorating for the New Year

Talk of the House decorating for a new yearLast night we were riding home from enjoying dinner out, and I noticed something I thought was somewhat unusual.  It’s eight days into the month of January, right?  Well, our little town still has all of its Christmas lights up, and they were lit!  We rode around a few blocks downtown looking at some houses, and there were quite a few of them that still had their Christmas decorations on too.  I was pleasantly surprised!  It is almost like we don’t want the Christmas season to leave here.  (It was much too short this year anyway.) Yes, I know many of you are already getting out your things for Valentine’s Day, but I have mixed a touch of Christmas in with New Year’s for our January decorating.  I just didn’t get enough time to enjoy it during the rush of December. When does your town take down their Christmas lights?

You have already seen the dining room for New Year’s Eve, but I haven’t had a chance to show you the other vignettes around here.  You are about to see how much blue has replaced all the red.

family room with blue floral and neutrals

I made those blue floral pillows many many years ago from a Waverly fabric (I think.)  The family room cabinet got dressed up for New Years with Christmas balls in a jar.

cabinet vignette mixing Christmas in for New Years

For the mantel, a collection of clocks and watches works well…and yes, I put them in a jar. None of the watches work, and the clocks are inexpensive ones collected from Walmart, Target, and Steinmart.  There might be one old one from Pottery Barn in the mix.

Talk of the House mantle with clocks in jarsmantle with watches and clock in jarmantle with jar of clocks for New YearsThe kitchen has also had its red replaced by blue.  Hoppin John was the perfect New Year’s recipe for the chalkboard at the desk in there.

Talk of the House kitchen desk with  New Years recipe on chalkboardI brought in the blue cookbooks.

blue cookbooks for color and useAnd you can see that the black and white drapes are back in place of the red buffalo checked ones.

corner vignette in kitchen

kitchen  windowWith the cold weather we have every kind of hot beverage possible – hot tea by the sink…coffees and hot cocoa on the kitchen counter.

coffee and hot cocoaThe last of the blue accents is in the plate rack over the cereal jars.

plate rack over cereal jarsAnd the last of the New Year’s decorating that I want to share with you today is in the children’s bath (even though it is not blue.)

New Years chalkboard

Talk of the House New Years chalkboard in kids bath

Thanks for allowing me to extend my holiday decorating just a bit longer.:)In a week or two it will all be gone, and the red and hearts for the day of love will be making its entrance.  (I must confess that I have been checking out the chocolates that are already out in the stores!) So how many of you have already started decorating with things for Valentine’s Day??

Do tell!a signature

   
Cathy Norrie - January 8, 2014 - 11:26 pm

Hi Kelly,

OK – it’s official! I want to come and live in your house forever! I love what you are doing with your new year colours.

I just de-decorated the Christmas tree since we like to keep everything up until the Ukrainian (Julian calendar) Christmas is over (January 7). When they are gone I too miss the lovely ambience that is created with the lights and decorations of Christmas. Oh well, our fireplace will have to provide the light and warmth that I desire!

And regarding Valentine’s decorating… I really have never done that except when I was teaching. Maybe I will this year – inspired by you of course!

Take care
Cath

P.S. I think this is the first time I have been the first commenter. Yay for me!!
————————————————————–
Oh yes, yay for you being first, Cath! You are welcome to come on and live here as soon as we finish the room over the garage. :) (Although everyone around the house here seems to be saying that it will be “their” space.) A fireplace certainly does help to give a glow of warmth, but nothing really beats twinkle lights.
Kelly

Louvina - January 8, 2014 - 11:32 pm

I really needed this restful stress less post. Truly just relaxed and took it all in– there is just something peaceful about a touch of blue!! I too don’t want the spirit of Christmas to be put away– I’m still hanging onto snowflakes and winter greenery. Thank you for helping me tonight in ways you’ll never know. I pray for a restful night for all of us and please know you are a real blessing to me.
————————————————————-
Louvina, I am glad the post could give you a little bit of peace and de-stressing, but I am sad that you needed de-stressing. I hope and pray that all is well with you. You go right ahead and hang onto your snowflakes and greenery.:)
Take it easy. (That’s an order!)
Kelly

Lindy james - January 9, 2014 - 12:17 am

Kelly ,
Had never really thought of replacing my reds from Christmas with blue for the new year until I read your blog, but I love that idea. And displaying clocks and watches is a great way to welcome in a new beginning. Can’t begin to think about decorating for Valentines Day yet as my grandaughter’s 1st birthday celebration is the weekend of the nineteenth and with a Cheerios theme we’ll be decorating in yellow! Red and pink will make its appearance after that, take care, Lindy
————————————————————
As I sit here munching on my daily dose of Cheerios, I LOVE the idea for the birthday party! How cute!!! Happy yellow is always a good color. :) Thank you for your kind compliments on the décor. Have a great day!
Kelly

Rae Hilhorst - January 9, 2014 - 5:23 am

You are by far my favourite blogger, I love your style, many many thanks for sharing and caring. Happy New Year. xxx Rae
———————————————————–
Well many many thanks to you, Rae for such a high compliment! You are so very kind. Happy New Year to you. I hope 2014 will be full of blessings for you and your family – especially for your daughters.
Kelly

Katrina - January 9, 2014 - 5:29 am

The first two pictures of your house look like they came straight out of the newest Pottery Barn catalog! I really like the blue touches in your pretty house.
When my children were small we always turned our Christmas tree into a snow tree (lots of snow themed ornaments)after Christmas and kept it up through January. I started that tradition again this year with the tree we have on our porch. I really wanted to replace the artificial tree on the porch with the live tree we had in the living room for this project but when we started to trade out we realized the live tree was just too dry.I am thinking next year I will just get two “real” trees as I don’t think the porch tree will dry out that much.
Thankfully my small town still has all its pretty twinkle lights on all the trees that line the downtown. Most of the store windows are now decorated in a white snow theme.
Thanks for another pretty post!
—————————————————————–
Katrina, when we took down our porch tree it felt just as fresh as when we put it out there for the holidays. Keeping it out in the cold certainly kept it fresher than the one in the family room that endured the heat of the fireplace and the regular central heat and air system. So you should definitely get a fresh one for your porch next year.
Thank you for reading and leaving your thoughtfully sweet comments.
Kelly

Jane - January 9, 2014 - 7:02 am

I too cant seem to let go of Christmas this time, I cant remember when I have enjoyed it more. My husband and I and then our son drove up from Florida to join a friend and his family at his farm in Vienna Ga.I have all decorations put away except one little tree, I will enjoy her until…………….
————————————————————
With the lateness of Thanksgiving this year, I think many of us just didn’t get enough time to enjoy Christmas. How fun that you were able to celebrate the holidays at a farm. You go right ahead and keep out that little tree as long as you want!
Kelly

Donna - January 9, 2014 - 7:30 am

I felt Christmas was too short this year and just love the warmth of the Christmas lights. I have seen many homes with the Christmas lights still on and it seems more than usual this year. Maybe we all need the Christmas spirit a bit longer. I leave my snowflakes and snowmen out for the winter decorations, but the blue touches is a wonderful idea. Love the clocks!
Kelly when I see you have a new post I feel like I do when a new Pottery Barn catalogue has arrived. Your home is beautiful and you have such a nice way of decorating. I can just picture coming for a cup of coffee and taking it all in. Warm and inviting….it says a lot about your personality.
————————————————————-
We should lobby for a change that keeps Thanksgiving from arriving after some specific date…like Nov. 20 or so! I’ll start a petition. :) LOL That way we can enjoy Christmas for a longer period of time AND Thanksgiving will still have a chance to shine in November. I like the idea of keeping out snowflakes and snowmen. They can stay through February! And I am glad you liked all the blue. Thank you for such wonderful compliments about the home, Donna.
Kelly

Jill - January 9, 2014 - 7:50 am

Hi Kelly! Love the blue accents….very pretty. And all the clocks in the jars are so cute. I was rereading the old posts about your kitchen transformation the other day and noticed one of the jars on your kitchen counter even way back then. You’re such a trend setter! :D
Yesterday I “reworked” our living room with aqua and turquoise. I guess it’s a little Spring-y, but I was ready for a fresh change. I may bring a little red back for the “day of love.” (I love that you call it that.)
Our outdoor Christmas lights are still up. It’s been way too cold to take them down so we’ve been enjoying them a little longer. I’m always sad to turn them off, but I finally did last night. I didn’t want us to be “that house.” LOL!
————————————————————
I think we are now “that house.” LOL. There is a Christmas tree with lights on in the window above the porch that is STILL lit at night. The garlands are down, but they are in trash bags all over the front porch…not exactly a pretty sight to see. I guess the tree lights will go off once we get the bags moved up to the attic…or not. :) The cold weather probably has kept many people from taking down their holiday décor outside. And I imagine spring-y decorating (like in your living room) is appreciated by many people who are enduring the extreme temperatures this week.
Stay warm!
Kelly
!

Sally - January 9, 2014 - 8:14 am

Good morning Kelly! Everything looks great — and I love your jars of clock & watches! [*pin] Around here, Christmas decorations are gone. Only one non-Christmasy snowman and a little non-Christmas red remain until Valentines Day.
————————————————————
Sally, thank you for pinning the jar of clocks and watches! You are one of my best Pinterest pinners. :) Boo hoo that all your Christmas is gone, but I guess it is to be expected since we will be mid-January in a few days. Glad you liked the New Year’s decorating!
Kelly

Jayne - January 9, 2014 - 8:45 am

Christmas came down the day after here,but the tree is still on the front porch as are the boxes of decorations. It’s too cold to get out there and do anything with them. Sadly, I haven’t done any decorating for January yet. My twins birthday is tomorrow and they are coming home, so I’ll decorate for that today and tomorrow. Good thing I haven’t put the Christmas up yet. I have some felt hearts I can use for Valentines. Your house looks great. Will you come decorate mine? Lol
———————————————————–
Jayne, I am glad to know that I am not the only one with all the holiday things sitting on the front porch waiting on us to do something with them! The weather has been quite yucky, hasn’t it? Enjoy your twins’ birthday celebration! I am afraid I can’t come do yours for you today…got to put all that Christmas stuff up! :)
Enjoy your weekend.
Kelly

Talia - January 9, 2014 - 9:03 am

Seriously, when can I move in? Your house exudes such a welcoming and warm spirit. Love it and really enjoy seeing the touches of blue you’ve added. Very warm.

Your house is amazing! I get so excited when I see a post in my email in box!
————————————————————
Too funny Talia! I am happy that you like the house, but don’t get too attached to all the blue. You KNOW it will be replaced by red again for Valentine’s Day. :)
Kelly

Polly in KS - January 9, 2014 - 9:16 am

Drool, drool. I adore what you’ve done. Blue is so calming, especially after such a hectic holiday season. It seemed like from just before Thanksgiving to the start of January it was go, go, go. Whew! It’s nice to slow down, breathe, and take it all in. Many thanks for such a wonderful blog – in terms of decorating, knowledge/information and relaxation. It’s such a welcome relief.
Valentines? Already? Nope, not there yet.
———————————————————–
Polly you have expressed EXACTLY how I felt about this year’s holiday season, and although other years have been busy, none have seemed as hectic as this one was. Thank you for your compliments about the blog. I am glad that it is a peaceful spot for you. :)
Kelly

Kathy - January 9, 2014 - 9:19 am

I love the clocks in jars! I agree with Donna (above)…when I open email and see you have a new post, it IS like getting the new Pottery Barn catalog. I probably would have left Christmas decorations up a little longer but my college student son helps put everything up and then helps take it down…so I had to accept the help when I could get it. I went to lunch last Friday and when I got home he had taken all of the ornaments off the tree and brought Snow Village boxes out for me to pack everything away. My daughter is the town manager where we live and she says the town snowflake decorations are staying up a few more days. Since she hasn’t “undecorated” her apartment from Christmas, I would say we can enjoy the town decorations a little longer.
————————————————————
How wonderful to have all that help! (And it really is needed when you do a lot of holiday decorating.) My son took down and bagged all the outdoor garlands. That was a tremendous amount of help for me! And my husband always brings in and sets up the trees in stands. It’s the darn lights that are always the hardest and most time consuming things. I love that your town Christmas lights are still up. You all enjoy them as long as you can!
Kelly

KellyinPA - January 9, 2014 - 9:23 am

Driving home from church last night, we were commenting on how many Christmas lights we saw. I enjoy them, it’s a little sad when they are all put away. Husband undecorated both trees and put it all away (what a guy!) now I have to pack away the rest of the Christmas decor. Hopefully, today. Love the touches of blue and the clocks, Kelly. Your blog is definitely a bright spot in my day!:)
————————————————————
Wow…undecorated both trees! He’s a keeper!! I hate taking the lights off. I had my son undecorate the porch tree. He loves the cold weather, but he was lost when it came to how you take off the lights. He now has a new “skill.” :) (but I forgot to tell him to separate the twinkle lights from the non-twinkle ones.)Thank you for reading and leaving your kind comment here, Kelly.
Enjoy your weekend.
Kelly

DeeDee - January 9, 2014 - 10:52 am

I like to leave our Christmas decorations up until after the New Year (all that work needs to be shown off & enjoyed for a bit longer than a few days after the 25th!) and like Cathy, I too grew up celebrating a Ukrainian Christmas, our “2nd Christmas”!

The threading of blue accents throughout your home look awesome and your posts ARE better than getting a PB catalog in the mail! Not only did PB feature blue on the cover of their new catalog, but did you notice the cover of January’s Southern Living issue? Love the change from all the “Christmas red” that’s been around for weeks!
———————————————————–
I need to do a little research to learn more about the Ukrainian Christmas. It sounds like something I would like! I have read almost every Patricia Polacco book for children, and she writes quite a bit about her Ukrainian grandmother and her traditions, but I do not remember reading about a “lengthened” holiday. I must find out! Thank you for your kind words about the decorating here. I DID notice all the blue on the SL cover, and if you get Talbot’s catalogs, they too had blue in all their new winter clothing. I don’t ever recall this happening before! :) I guess great minds think alike. LOL
Kelly

Patty in Michigan - January 9, 2014 - 1:09 pm

Kelly, love the blue! The clocks in the jar are a real neat idea for decorating in the New Year! Creative and unexpected. I may keep my eye out for old vintage clocks now when I go thrifting. I am not decorating for Valentine’s Day yet, but gathering up some ideas. I enjoying the clean house right now since we took down all the Christmas decorations. I will be ready in a few weeks though I’m sure.
————————————————————
That’s a great idea to be on the lookout for the clocks as you are thrifting. I wish I had thought of it sooner to get my mom to look out for them when she was at yardsales. (She’s the queen!)
Kelly

Garden, Home and Party - January 9, 2014 - 3:25 pm

Kelly,
I’m usually one of the first people on our park to take my outdoor lights down, this year our lights are still up and lit, as is most of our neighbors. It makes me happy. Our lights will come down this weekend.

Love the blue touches and the plate rack with the white and blue and white plates.

Xo,
Karen
———————————————————-
That is interesting that so many people everywhere still have theirs up this late. I wonder if it is always like that, and I am just doing a better job noticing it this year…or was the season so short that many more people are keeping theirs up later this year. Good luck with taking it all down this weekend. I am glad my son took the outside garlands down for us this week since it is raining and raining and raining here today.
Here’s to a productive weekend!
Kelly

Debra - January 9, 2014 - 6:04 pm

I usually leave my Christmas decorations up until just after New Years Day. Well, with catching the flu, it has put me behind. Just getting my wind back now and am putting the décor away this week. I usually bring back out more of my white ironstone, mercury glass, moss accents and ceramic birds. I go with a more winter nature feel with the décor. I keep up some greenery with white Italian lights as well. The outside red ribbon décor will stay until the end of the month, as we are pretty snowed in, here in the Midwest. I can’t wait to see what your décor will be like for Valentines Kelly.

Debra
—————————————————————-
Oh no, Debra that is terrible!! The flu is awful, and it does take awhile to get your strength back. And then goodness having to face putting away Christmas. Not good. I hope the weekend is a good one for you. Your winter nature décor sounds very pretty. The mix of the ironstone with mercury glass and moss alone would be beautiful. Get good and well!
Kelly

Dawn - January 9, 2014 - 6:11 pm

Kelly,

I have started to gather Christmas items into the spare bedroom (tea towels, mugs, etc.) So that they can be packed away this weekend. We leave our decorations up until the baptism of Jesus which will be at Mass this weekend. We are Catholic and I teach at a private Catholic grade school so all of the decorations like my tree and nativity are all still up in my classroom there also. I will switch to St. Valentine’s day decorations this weekend in both places. The kids love to have decorations up always! I love your infusion of blue. It is so calming! My favorite spot in your home right now is by that blazing fireplace. I could just make a nice hot drink at your drink stations in the kitchen and curl up next to the fireplace and read. You make your home so very inviting! Thanks for sharing it with us.
————————————————————-
Your spare bedroom sounds like our study. Ours is still piled with gift wrap, boxes, and ribbon to be packed away. I love the Catholic church’s observation of the baptism of Jesus. It certainly gives more meaning to the holiday season. It’s kind of crazy that we end our season with the BIRTH of Jesus.(shaking my head here.) I love the fireplace too…that is “my” chair there with the ottoman. :) You are welcome to come, fix a drink, and sit anytime you would like, Dawn. :)
Kelly

Shirley@Housepitality Designs - January 9, 2014 - 10:43 pm

I love the addition of the blues…your vignettes are always stunning…your home is always so beautiful and cozy!
————————————————————
Thank you Shirley. I am happy that you like them, but I really need some of the beautiful pieces that you and Kim got in France! What a fabulous trip you had. :) (and wonderful pieces you had shipped back!)
Kelly

Wanda - January 10, 2014 - 12:58 pm

I love all the blue! You are so talented!

In the Catholic Church we leave all the decor up until the end of the Christmas season which is this weekend when we celebrate the Baptism of The Lord.
————————————————————
Thank you Wanda. Another Catholic reader who is still celebrating the holiday! I love it.
Enjoy your weekend!
Kelly

Cindy - January 10, 2014 - 10:21 pm

This is a somewhat random question but do you eat the cereal from your jars and if so does it stay fresh? I have the same jars but haven’t used them for cereal. I used them for my sons rehearsal dinner a couple of months ago. It was picnic style so I put potato salad and corn salad in them. Very cute and practical kept the bugs out. Also used one to put rolls in. Love your blog and your house.
————————————————————-
Oh yes, Cindy, we DO eat the cereal, and it does stay fresh. But we go through a lot of cereal! I can finish off my jar of Cheerios pretty quickly. :) (It’s on the grocery list for today, in fact!) I LOVE your idea of using the jars for salads and rolls…will probably steal that idea from you for a dinner later in the year. Thank you for reading!
Kelly

Jennifer from Chesapeake, VA - January 11, 2014 - 8:28 am

Of course I am in LOVE with your house as always……….!!!!! I have been sooo busy lately that I missed your Downton Abbey post….HOW IN THE WORLD DID THAT HAPPEN!!!!! I look forward to your posts this year! I have told you before and I will tell you again you are my favorite!!!! Thank you for entertaining me and guess what???? I am STILL enjoying that red quilt on my bed, it is a true MIRACLE!!!! Hugs to you!
————————————————————–
How DID you miss the Downton Abbey post?? Well I am glad that you did get to finally see it. Oh yes the love for that quilt is a miracle. :) You will especially love it for Valentine’s Day. Thank you for reading and always leaving such encouraging comments! Hugs back to you too!
Kelly

Lori - January 11, 2014 - 9:35 am

I’m a little slow packing the last of the Christmas away (I always hate to see it go), but today I’m finally pulling out my blue books and accents. All of the beautiful snow is melting due to the warmer temps (welcome) and rain (not welcome) so I need to do something to lift my dreary mood. :)
————————————————————
It is quite a dreary (and windy) day here too Lori. Yay to bringing out the blue! We will be putting away the last of the Christmas here, so maybe I can do some organizing in the attic since I bought some Christmas storage tubs at Walmart a week or so ago. Have fun decorating!
Kelly

Downton Abbey Downstairs

Downton Abbey mincemeat pies and teaI really wasn’t going to watch it.  Nope…wasn’t going to.  The horribly sad ending of  Downton Abbey season 3 was more than enough to make me say, “No more.”  But then…my daughter has been watching season 4 already (don’t ask me how…) and I asked her if the new season was worth watching now that you-know-who is gone.  She said, “Most definitely.”  So I had her pick up a package of Mincement Tarts for me at World Market last week, and I will be making a pot of tea in my old teapot to settle in and watch tonight’s American season premiere.  I have never tasted mincemeat but thought it would be something different to try.  What I really wanted were these:

shortbreadworldmarket.com

and this…

Downton Abbey teaworldmarket.com

But those items were sold out. I have heard that they will be back in stock in February if you are looking for them.

There have been soooooo many programs, books, magazine articles, and blog posts written about Highclere Castle that I have been on overload on it. And even beyond that, I think the characters and the part of the house I really like the best are the servants and their quarters.  Here is a cutaway of the layout of the sets to give you a refresher before tonight’s show.

cutaway of the layout of Downton Abbeyi.dailymail.co.uk

The upstairs is filmed in the castle, but the servants quarters are actually filmed in sets built for the show since that area of the castle has been changed from how it looked long ago.  I would not want a kitchen identical to the one in the series, but there are a number of elements of English kitchens that I do love.

Downton Abbey kitchendailymail.co.uk

Like all that copper!

filming Downton in the kitchenparade.com

And the gorgeous cabinets.

Downton Abbey being filmed in the kitchenthetimes.co.uk

Linda Merrill did a fun board to get the look of the Downton kitchen.  Click on the photo, and it will take you to her page where you can find the links for the products on her Pinterest board.

DA Get that look kitchen

chameleon-interiors.blogspot.com

She also did one on the servants quarters that you might enjoy. The bed and cabinet are beautiful, and that bed is the Coleman bed from Pottery Barn (now on sale) that I had planned to use in our sons’ room before we decided to build their beds.

Downton Abbey Servantschameleon-interiors.blogspot.com

The writers at Design*Sponge did a great post on Downton Abbey and featured it as part of their Living In series.  Here is their board.  Again if you click on it, you can find the sources for the products shown (including that wonderful yellow English mixing bowl.)

Living in Downton Abbey from Design Spongedesignsponge.com

And since everyone has jumped on the Downton Abbey marketing bandwagon, it was high time for the paint to come out.  Mylands (who has been around since 1884 and supplied the paint for every James Bond and Harry Potter film)  makes the paint that is used in the servants quarters of Downton.  It is available through their Colours of London collection. Mrs. Patmore’s kitchen is painted with their Amber Grey, and Mr. Carson’s pantry is Empire Grey.

Myland Paintscoloursoflondon.co.uk

I am not sure how well received they have been in the UK since not everyone wants their rooms to look like servants’ quarters.:)I understand that the kitchen does get a new..um..character??

mixer

source

I am looking forward to Maggie Smith’s zingers and kind Anna and Daisy.

Daisy in the kitchenmarieclaire.co.uk

Will you be watching, and if so, who is your favorite character? I’m off to brew my tea!:)

Looking forward to hearing from you.a signature

   
Katrina - January 5, 2014 - 8:32 pm

Will I be watching…..Oh my goodness…I had to wait until today to take down my Christmas decorations….I knew the excitement of Season 4 would help me not be sooo depressed as Christmas is my favorite time of the whole year!!! YES, YES…I will be watching…I just opened a new bottle of Pinot Grigio and am all settled in! Here’s to Season 4!!!
————————————————————
That was a good plan, Katrina. I will have to remember that for undecorating the tree for next year. I hope you enjoyed the season premiere. I thought it was a good show last night. Can’t wait to see what happens next week!
Kelly

Sally - January 5, 2014 - 8:46 pm

I’ll be watching tonight, Kelly — although my snacks will be all-American. I LOVE Maggie Smith. Just watched some reruns this afternoon, and re-heard her comment about the days when she had to parent her kids… 1 solid hour a day! BooHoo. Poor Maggie. Also, love it when she sits down in Matthew’s swivel chair — hysterical. Maggie is a constant. Now… if you want to talk about transformations… I love Mary. She has come a long way baby, and really mellowed, hasn’t she??? As far as the servants, I love Mr. Carson and Mrs. Hughes!!!
————————————————————-
Oh yes…LOVE Maggie Smith! She did have some zingers last night, didn’t she? But it really moved me when she told Mary that she loved her…very not like her to do that I thought. I thought Mrs. Hughes was really wonderful in the premiere too, didn’t you?
Kelly

Bonnie Bryant - January 5, 2014 - 8:59 pm

I’ll be watching! I often find that, at places like Biltmore House and some of the castles we saw in Great Britain, my favorite areas are indeed the servants’ quarters! Things there are simpler and much more to my taste.
—————————————————————
Mine too, Bonnie. Even Macon’s Hay House can be a bit over the top for my tastes. I hope you enjoyed the season opener last night.
Stay warm in this crazy cold weather (and think of me with my morning car duty in the morning..brr!)
Kelly

Brandi D. - January 5, 2014 - 8:59 pm

Oh yes, I’ll be watching! It’s just a few moments away now! My favorites were Sibyl and Matthew, so I nearly decided to stop watching this season. I have a dear friend who saw Season 4 already and said that I absolutely MUST keep watching. I’m sipping a London Fog Tea Latte while I watch.
————————————————————–
Brandi, I felt just like you did about not watching after the end of last season. I hope you liked last night’s show. I thought it was good, and I particularly liked Rose in the episode. Prior to it, I did not really like her at all. Hope you will be watching again next week.
Kelly

cindy hattersley - January 5, 2014 - 9:18 pm

Can’t wait…i would have chosen the shortbread cookies as well…I will just have to tough it out…
————————————————————-
Perhaps I can get or make shortbread for next week’s show. The mincemeat was actually very tasty! (I was surprised.)
Kelly

Garden, Home and Party - January 5, 2014 - 9:24 pm

Kelly,
Great post. I was given the tea at Christmas. I’ll have to try some tonight. I wouldn’t miss it. I read enough about Matthew Stevens wanting to move on that I was able to separate the series from reality so while I was sad he left the show, I understood.
Karen
————————————————————–
Hope your tea was good, Karen. I probably should have read about the actor so that I would not be quite as upset about the end of Season 3. The whole thing was just too tragic to me, but I am liking season 4 so far. It looks like it will be interesting to follow the different story lines again this year. I’ve not read any spoilers yet, so that is an improvement for me! LOL
Kelly

Laurel Stephens - January 5, 2014 - 9:27 pm

What fun! My daughter will be here in a few minutes to watch the first episode of season four with me. We both adore Maggie Smith! I’d also adore that huge mile-long island in the Downton kitchen. Enjoy your mincemeat and happy watching!
————————————————————–
Hope you and your daughter had a good time watching the first episode! Didn’t you love Maggie Smith in the show last night? The mincemeat was good while I watched DA and sipped my tea. :)
Kelly

Barbara (WA) - January 5, 2014 - 9:31 pm

I am still mad at the whole show (soap opera), actually, so I won’t be watching. I am presently all involved in Beatrix Potter, again, after receiving a new book about her at Christmas. I’ve zoomed down to Near Sawrey and Hill Top Farm on google maps, so fun! I would love to go there someday.

But for all of you watching DA, I hope you enjoy it along with your British snacks :)

BTW, today is our 40th Wedding Anniversary – how about that? My hubby is sick, however, so our celebration is delayed for now.
———————————————————–
I do know how you feel, Barbara, and if my daughter had not told me that it would be good, I too would probably not have watched. I never thought about checking out places in Europe on googlemaps. Duh! What a great idea. I will have to check that out. Happy belated anniversary to you and your husband! 40 years is an accomplishment for which to be proud. I am sorry your husband is sick. Hope is gets well quickly!
Kelly

Dawn - January 5, 2014 - 9:49 pm

Kelly,

I am not on the band wagon…yet. I haven’t watched any of the episodes. My Mother-in-law has all of the seasons on dvd which I might just have to borrow over Summer break. I always given her Barnes and Noble gift cards for Mother’s day and her birthday and I know she sometimes gets the next seasons dvds using those gift cards. If she buys books she always hands them down to me and then I pass them on to my Mom. The show looks interesting and there is plenty of buzz about it. I do love tea and drink it often. The best shortbread cookies I have ever had I made using a recipe from Martha Stewart years ago. Ina Garten also makes some wonderful shortbread cookies at Valentine’s day that she half dips in chocolate that are pretty good too. Perhaps I’ll bake some cookies tomorrow to take to work with me on Tuesday. We are off tomorrow due to snow and extreme cold. Stay warm!
————————————————————-
I hope you get her dvd’s and watch it. It is really good! Thanks for reminding me of Ina’s recipe, Dawn! I just might have to make them for next weekend. Lucky you being off from school. Our school system is the ONLY one open in the area tomorrow, and the windchill is supposed to be below zero in the morning. My morning car duty will be very interesting!
Kelly

Louvina - January 5, 2014 - 10:15 pm

I must be the ONLY one on the planet that didn’t watch DA!! All my friends love it as well as my daughter— I saw bits and pieces but need to watch it from the beginning– maybe a marathon viewing!! I love all the English countryside, teas and shortbread. I make homemade mincemeat pie — my husband’s favorite I just made this weekend. I even made mincemeat cookies the first time for Christmas. I have nothing to add to this post—but I do hope everyone enjoys it as we speak!! Saw Saving Mr. Banks today with my daughters— I highly recommend it! :)
————————————————————-
Louvina, I CANNOT believe you haven’t watched it. I would think you would love it. You do need to watch it from the beginning.

My mincemeat tarts were actually pretty good. We saw Saving Mr. Banks over Christmas, and while it was good (love Tom Hanks!) it was so very sad to me. I was expecting a comedy from the previews, and there was such a deeper and sadder tale to it than I was expecting. I think if I had known that going in, I would have liked it more.
Kelly

Pippa Griffin - January 5, 2014 - 10:16 pm

Kelly, Had done the exact thing you planned – so upset by the last season that I wasn’t going to watch again. But my friends told me to buck up because we all have to watch and then discuss it to the nth degree — who could resist that? The other big draw for me was reading about how fabulous the costumes are with the 20s fashion being simply outstanding.

My favorite character has to be Maggie Smith’s dowager countess! Those zingers of hers are simply priceless and her delivery could not be more perfect. She is such a treasure – in character or as herself!

Our treats for watching the show: Walker’s shortbread and hot cocoa. And some cozy blankets too as it’s darn cold outside!

Happy watching! Love all the sources you shared!!! Hugs,, Pippa
————————————————————
Oh yes, you HAD to watch! :) And the fashions are quite gorgeous. Such eye candy! Maggie Smith steals the show for sure, though. I had some Walker’s shortbread in the pantry, and if I don’t make my own next week, I will try them with tea for the second episode next week.
It is VERY cold here…wind chill close to zero in the morning. You all stay warm, too.
Kelly

Wanda - January 5, 2014 - 10:18 pm

I’m with your daughter! Watched it online weeks ago, but am watching again tonight!
———————————————————-
Good to get a second opinion on it, Wanda! Glad to know that it is good enough to watch all over again when we finish it the first time.
Kelly

anita - January 5, 2014 - 10:31 pm

Well my biscuits are done, courtesy of Martha Stewart’s recipe on Instagram! I will be heating the teapot soon and settling into my favorite chair. I have not been watching DA for long so I am not too familiar with the characters. Enjoy your treats!Mincemeats are my favorite.
———————————————————–
Yum, Anita! Biscuits and hot tea sound delicious! If you have not been watching the series for long, you might want to find a site that gives a synopsis of the old episodes to catch up (perhaps at pbs.org?) There are so many characters, it could be confusing. I did enjoy the mincemeat tarts, but hot biscuits sound MUCH better. 
Kelly

Polly in KS - January 5, 2014 - 10:54 pm

I’m a beginner quilter and at a local quilting shop their block of the month quilt this year is based on Downton Abbey (DA) fabrics. They have two quilts – one in a black/gray/red colorway and the other is more pastel in nature. I first heard about DA from you, but really know nothing about it. I might have to check into it based on this blog, your readers’ comments, the quilts at the quilting shop plus a friend who is an avid DA’er and was able to fill me in more about the program. You all must be onto something good, I’m thinking. Hmmmmmm….
————————————————————-
Quilts? Now that is getting creative with the show’s theme! You SHOULD check it out…great fun! My husband is not a big fan, but my daughter and I do love to watch it (and I only watch 1 or 2 other shows on a regular basis.) Hope you find it entertaining.
Kelly

yarlette - January 5, 2014 - 11:20 pm

Just finished watching Downtown Abby and thought it was very good. I was thinking that I wouldn’t watch this season as I was so sad that Matthew was no longer a part of the cast. But so glad I watched tonight. Look forward to the rest of the series.
————————————————————
I am right there with you, Yarlette…wasn’t going to watch but glad that I did. Quite a few plot lines that look to be interesting for the season.
Kelly

Rose L - January 5, 2014 - 11:36 pm

I could be happy as a pig in a mud puddle during August in that kitchen!! I love the wood stove, the big work table and more. I hope to build a much smaller but similar version of that table this coming summer for my own kitchen, but counter height (to save my back). I have yet to see even one episode of this show because we stream and because I refuse to pay for Netflix or HuluPlus (remember when TV was FREE!) Even so I don’t find the items in the design boards you posted all that different from the things my grandmother used in her farm kitchen and that which I still use in my own farm kitchen today. Sometimes the old ways are still the best ways!
————————————————————-
Rose, I agree with you that many of the old ways are still the best ways. Perhaps that is why the old things are still so attractive to us. The old cabinets and tables are just plain beautiful, and so are the old mixing bowls. We do not have cable television, so I watch it on pbs on Sunday nights….free. (And since it is on pbs, there are no commercial interruptions.) I need to find you a free source for the older seasons so that you will get hooked on it too. 
Kelly

Debra - January 5, 2014 - 11:38 pm

How could you not want to tune in? I had to tune in to see how it would develop. Oh Julian, you did not disappoint! So many twits already in just episode one of Season 4. Can’t wait until next Sunday. It was Panera scones that my daughter picked up for us and hot tea as well. We are Downton Addicted!

Debra
————————————————————-
Ohhh Panera scones…so yummy, Debra! You are right that the season opener did not disappoint. We will all be back for another serving of DA next Sunday. 
Kelly

Donnamae - January 6, 2014 - 12:36 am

I did watch it…thought it was really good…and I’m hooked all over again! Walkers makes great short bread cookies, and they are readily available if you are interested. Next week I’ll have to make some tea…what a great idea! ;)
————————————————————-
Donnamae, someone gave us Walker’s shortbread for Christmas, and I will have to try it next weekend. I think ours is a raspberry flavor perhaps. It is quite easy to get hooked on the show, isn’t it?
Kelly

Connie - January 6, 2014 - 2:18 am

I hate to admit it…but my daughters and I are addicted to Downton Abbey! I got seasons 1- 3 for Christmas. We enjoyed watching them again over the holidays, this time with the subtitles on. We were surprised at the diction we had missed.

The premiere of season 4 was good tonight, although we really missed Matthew. (We munched on blueberry scones while watching.)
Looking forward to next week…
————————————————————-
Connie, if you watched seasons 1-3 over the holidays, you have REALLY been watching a lot of Downton!! The subtitles would help my husband who has difficulty understanding the characters with their accents. Great idea!
Kelly

Anne Boykin - January 6, 2014 - 5:36 am

Hi Kelly, Can you believe I’ve never watched the show? I’m always reluctant, for some reason, to start watching a series. But I sure have been tempted … maybe I’ll start watching it now that everyone has seen it except me, lol. I hope you enjoy it with your mincemeat and tea!
————————————————————
Anne, I watch very little television, but this is one show I do enjoy. I hope you will find series one somewhere and begin enjoying it…along with munching on British goodies.
Kelly

Mary From Virginia - January 6, 2014 - 8:40 am

Oh yes, I watched! I saw a couple of friends on Facebook had attended Downtown Abbey parties yesterday! I would have loved to have been there.

Thanks for this fun post. I really enjoyed the references to the Pinterest boards and the PAINT. How fun is that?
————————————————————
A Downton party would have been great fun, Mary! I am glad you enjoyed the season opener and the post here (pinterest boards and paint included! )
Kelly

Arlene@Nanaland - January 6, 2014 - 9:01 am

My husband and I both are addicted to Downton!! Favorite character….I guess it would be Maggie Smith as the Dowager Countess, Violet. She keeps them all in line! Just as a good mother and grandmother should.:) Times are changing at Downton Abbey…hope they are good changes and not bad ones but I have my doubts.
————————————————————
Arlene, how wonderful that your husband enjoys, too! I loved the tender side of the Dowager Countess in Sunday night’s show. Yes, Downton is changing.
Kelly

Kathy - January 6, 2014 - 9:14 am

I feel like I might get boo-hissed but…I have not watched DA. I did try last night but I felt way too lost and gave up. However, I do love your blog.
———————————————————-
No boo-hiss from me. It would be very confusing to start watching Sunday night without knowing all the background – sort of like starting in the middle of long novel. I started near the end of the first season and had to go back to the start even then to make sure I understood each character’s history. You need to get your hands on the first 3 seasons (which are much shorter than American television seasons) and start with them. I am glad you enjoy the blog!
Kelly

KellyinPA - January 6, 2014 - 9:39 am

Hi Kelly! I was so looking forward to DA last night, what a wonderful change from all that football we’ve been watching lately:) We had gameday snacks but maybe next week I’ll make some shortbread to go with DA, what a great idea:) My husband and I both enjoy watching it, so fun! Thanks for the heads up on the products from World Market, will make a fun Christmas gift for a girlfriend next year, better write that down in my planner now. Enjoy your day!
————————————————————
Oh yes, Downton is most certainly a big change from football, Kelly! LOL (But I like football snacks anytime. ) You are lucky your husband enjoys the series too. Definitely add the World Market items to your planner, and get then early. They sell out rather quickly. I have a “Christmas next year” list started like you, too.
Kelly

Lisa - January 6, 2014 - 9:57 am

Hi Kelly,

I’m a total non-TV watcher, but when everyone kept telling me I HAD TO WATCH this show, I broke down. Oh my goodness, I’m TOTALLY HOOKED. Usually I prefer reading books, but this show is unbelievably good. I was so sad for days about Sybil and Matthew (my favorites), but I’m already enjoying this new season. I love them all, but Anna and Daisy are special ;). This was such a fun post. I’m saving it for later to read when I have more time and I can savor it!
—————————————————————
Lisa, I am with you on not watching much television. Downton is quite different from most anything on, isn’t it?! Anna and Daisy are just wonderfully sweet characters. I am really interested to see what they are going to do with Daisy this year. I am happy you enjoyed the post! (It was fun doing the research for it. )
Kelly

Cathy Norrie - January 6, 2014 - 10:48 am

Hi Kelly,

Oh yes… I am a HUGE Downton Abbey fan… and during our time sailing in New Zealand and on to S. Africa I have met others around the world who are just as mad about it as I.

At one anchorage in Great Barrier Island, New Zealand we invited the couple in the sailboat anchored next to us to come for dinner. We flew our boat banner in honour of their visit so our guests (British) showed up dressed in DA style. After rummaging through what we had onboard we too morphed into characters from the show (amazing what a long flowing scarf and a sunhat can do for a costume!). What fun we had that night! … And the accents were authentic!

My favourite character is Dowager Countess Violet played by Maggie Smith although there are many strong characters on the show.

I have always loved the servant quarters and kitchens of old manor houses and have salivated over many of the details of each kitchen I’ve seen. Lovely to dream about… never to be attained (neither our boat nor our wee 100 year old wooden house will accommodate such kitchens…).

Thanks for this post, Kelly. I watch DA online or on DVD wherever I am in the world!

Talk with you soon
Cath
————————————————————–
I forget about it having a “worldwide” appeal. That is so amazing! And how fun to share your love of the show with others from different countries. I bet your dinner party was so much fun! I am with you on being a Maggie Smith fan. If she ever leaves the show, it will certainly not be good.
I hope you stay warm snuggled up by the fireplace in your home. Loved the photo of your big dog at Christmas on your blog. :)
Kelly

Cheri - January 6, 2014 - 12:14 pm

Kelly, this has been by far the best post on Downton Abbey I have read, thanks for sharing the castle layout, so cool. I was definitely watching…couldn’t wait. Not sure who my favorite character is but my least favorite was O’Brien (but she did make things interesting) and we still have Barrow.
————————————————————–
Thank you Cheri! It was a fun post to do research on. (You can find sooooo much on Downton online.) I, too, was glad O’Brien left, and I liked how they fit it into the storyline. Sunday night’s episode certainly showed us that Barrow can do his trouble-making without her, can’t he?! I’m guessing the new nanny will take O’Brien’s place as someone we love to hate. It will be interesting to see!
Kelly

Sandy - January 6, 2014 - 1:51 pm

I watched the first episode of DA’s fourth season and was amazes at the number of times I laughed. Great scripts and the women’s coats were very attractive…loved the colors. I’m sure to have shortbreads with tea next Sunday.
———————————————————–
Maggie Smith’s zingers always make me laugh! I did not take note of the coats but will certainly make it a point to notice them next week. Thanks for pointing that out to me so that I will. :)
Kelly

Marianne in Mo. - January 6, 2014 - 6:38 pm

CANNOT BELIEVE I FORGOT IT WAS ON! So, I just set the DVR to record the repeat episode, and to get the rest of this season. Now I just have to hope hubby doesn’t bump me off the DVR!!! Somehow I knew there was something I wanted to watch last night, but I asked hubs if anything was on, and he said “not that you want to watch”!!! Guess he didn’t know I was into DA. Sunday tv around here gets kind of crazy, seems a lot of times, we run out of room on the DVR. Then nothing for most of the other days!
————————————————————–
Oh no! I am glad we didn’t give away any spoilers here. :) I hope your husband doesn’t bump you off too. Perhaps you can convert him to a DA fan? Write it on your calendar for next Sunday night so that you don’t forget again. :)
Kelly

Paula B. - January 6, 2014 - 7:28 pm

Oh, don’t tell me you were only a fair weather fan! The season opener did not disappoint, once again Dame Maggie got all the great lines. And, it was wonderful catching up with all the old, familiar faces. And, think of all the plot lines that can open up with heiress Mary, available once again. (More rivalries with Edith, perhaps.)The two hours certainly flew by, can’t wait for next week. I, too, held out from accessing the new season early or from trying to get some scoop from overseas cousins! It was worth the wait.
———————————————————–
Not a fair weather fan…I’d watch faithfully for 3 seasons. It just killed me that my favorite character would no longer be there..hard to imagine it being just as good without you-know-who. Anyway, I thought it was just as good! (Oh ye of little faith, right?) The two hours did fly by quickly! It will be interesting to see what they do with Rose. She can certainly get herself into some trouble, can’t she?!
Kelly

Susie in MO - January 6, 2014 - 8:55 pm

I just got on the DA bandwagon this year – for anyone who waited like me, you can kind of catch up on the PBS website, check google/bing for DA synopsis links – I feel fairly confident I know what’s going on and thoroughly enjoyed the first episode this season, while on our THIRD day off school!!! Yes – one day for snow, one for buses that couldn’t start, another for snow, and tomorrow for sub-zero temperatures. I’ve rewritten my 2nd semester lesson plans twice, and am ready to get away from the refrigerator (I blame my school district for the last 3 pounds I’ve gained…)
————————————————————-
Thanks for the info on catching up with the series, Susie. I hope those who need it will see your comment here. Third day off from school…VERY jealous! Every single county around us closed school today due to the extreme cold (wind chill of -1 this morning in Georgia) except for ours! Boy the comments from parents really blasted our superint. for his decision. AND I’ve been told that one of our buses broke down for 30 minutes with children on it and no heat, and we had classrooms in our school whose heater did not work. My morning duty of unloading cars was freezing but fun…had a parent offer to get me hot chocolate and another gave me a tube of moisturizer for my hands. (Wasn’t that sweet!) Would you believe it is supposed to be 70 here this weekend? Crazy!
Kelly

Jayne - January 7, 2014 - 11:34 am

Honestly, I have never even heard of the show until this post. After I read it, I saw a couple of friends mention it on Facebook. Now, I am curious and want to see what it is all about.
————————————————————-
Be warned…it is addictive! Thank goodness each season is short. :)
Kelly

Kathy - January 7, 2014 - 12:33 pm

Oh yes, yes, yes! I was looking forward to that program. Maggie Smith is a hoot, love her. I love everything Downton Abby. I’ll have to get some of that tea and cookies to go with my viewing. Even my husband likes Downton Abby. Will be looking forward all week for the next show. Thank you so much for sharing this.
———————————————————–
Another lucky person whose husband watches! The tea and cookies definitely add to the enjoyment of watching Downton Abbey, Kathy. (But then I am a MAJOR snacker. :) )
Kelly

elle - January 8, 2014 - 2:54 pm

I too was horrified by the end of season 3. However, in the interim I’ve read and watched many interviews with Julian Fellowes (creator, writer and director of DA) where he explained in great detail what happened. The guy who played Matthew refused to come back for any more seasons. They begged the actor to come back even for a few episodes or even 1 episode in season 4 so they wouldn’t have to kill him at the end of 3 (remember in England each season finale is played on Christmas so all of England had to watch his death on Christmas for Pete’s sake!) – but he refused. Julian did not want to “break them up” as they had a true love story and would not have divorced – so he had no choice but to kill the character. It’s 100% the fault of the actor (which is so ridiculous in my opinion. I’m sure we’ll never hear of him again. Arrogance.) – but I’m not holding it against the show. Loved the episode Sunday night – can’t wait for the next however-many Sundays. It requires tea each week for sure. Shortbread is super-easy to bake. Love, love love the show! Great blog post – I love that kitchen!
————————————————————–
Thank you for all the information, Elle. I had known that Dan Stevens wanted to leave the show, but I did not realize how unreasonable he had been about it. I can’t understand WHY he would want to leave when the show has such a wonderful following and he had such a fabulous role in it. Oh well, I thought Sunday night’s episode was great even without him. :) Looking forward to the coming episodes, too.
Kelly

Lorrie in Indiana - March 20, 2014 - 11:08 pm

I LOVE Downton Abbey! My husband and I just happened on it one Sunday night after church and was hooked for a season. My daughter bought us season 1&2 for our birthdays last year and season 3 for my birthday this year. I waited until I was recouping from surgery in February to do a DA marathon. I was very sad at the 3rd season ending but will continue watching when the next season is out on DVD. I love all the characters! Each add so much to the show with their individual personalities but my favorite thing about this show is how the servants are treated. They are almost part of the family and included in different occasions. For those of you who have not watched DA you really must, you are missing out on a real treat.
————————————————————–
Oooohhh a marathon! How fun! (Hope your surgery wasn’t serious.) Yes, season 3 was VERY sad. You will like the end of season 4 I think. That is a good point about how the servants are treated. I had not thought of that, and it does really add to the show. Thank you for reading and leaving your comment, Lorrie.
Kelly

2013 – A Year in Review

what will you accomplish

From the looks of things around blogland, I should have done this post two days ago, but we have been putting away all things Christmas around here – and there was a lot!  Regardless, it would be a shame to start a new year without looking back at where we were in the previous year (even if I am 2 days late.:() So with that in mind, let’s see what we talked about in 2013 at Talk of the House.

Talk of the House January 2013We began the year talking about Downton Abbey.  Then we looked at a number of rooms done by the always talented Phoebe Howard. (I think her work was the subject of 3 entire posts here!) After that, we talked about using black and white in spaces (both inside and out), and we ended the month with the start of a series on author Jan Karon’s homes.

Talk of the House February 2013

We started February making the delicious Orange Marmalade cake from the Mitford series.  Then I wrote my first post on  The Inn at Little Pond Farm - not even knowing that my husband would plan a trip there for us later in the year. (What a wonderful surprise!)  We looked at a lot of spaces decorated with red around Valentine’s Day (including recipes for a few Red Velvet cakes), and the month of February ended with a series of 6 posts on our trip to beautiful and charming Beaufort, South Carolina.

Talk of the House March 2013A first look at the construction of our room over the garage was given in March.  Then we looked at a number of rooms decorated with green (including our kitchen.) Later that month we toured Chattooga Club in the mountains of North Carolina and then some gorgeous beach houses in Seaside, Florida.

Talk of the House April 2013

In April, I was in a mood for all things Southern…from my imaginary Pinterest Southern dreamhouse for spring to the almost-famous Macaroon pie from an old restaurant that was once in Macon, Georgia, to the work of local talent James Farmer, and to a visit to Georgia’s Callaway Gardens.  We also did some decorating for spring around here as well.

Talk of the House May 2013

And then came May..with a big-time craving for a beach vacation.  A house on the Newport Harbor home tour gave us some great eye candy as we compared how it looked for the tour with its appearance in a magazine photo shoot.  I did manage to get our daughter’s room redecorated amid my beach craving, and then it was on to sharing part of our trip to California (the Napa part.)  That was followed by beach house after beach house…a California beach house, the Nights in Rodanthe beach house, an Outer Banks beach house, and finally two beach houses in Seaside, Florida. I ended the month with a personal post about three very challenging weeks in that month (and your heartfelt comments touched me deeply.)

Talk of the House June 2013

The house craving didn’t end in May…no sirree.  There was one more beach house to see in Seaside at the beginning of June.  Then some real fun began.  My back porch was featured at Kim’s fabulous Savvy Southern Style blog (and I got that porch organized, too!)  After that, I wrote a post on the handsome and talented Stephen Saint-Onge, who totally surprised me with a comment on the post and donated books for a giveaway, and I even got to do a little Q&A with him.  (Be still my heart!)  More beach houses finished out the month… this time from the charming community of Watersound on the Gulf in Florida.

Talk of the House July 2013

July was super duper busy.  We decorated the porch for the 4th of July and had a hamburger bar to celebrate the holiday. We took a vacation to Amelia Island, Florida.  Our sofa finally got reupholstered (despite all the rain to move it in.)  We talked about tomatoes in the heat of the summer – everything from recipes to china and even a tomato wedding. I shared with you a post on how I do my lettering.  Super kind Marty featured our home on her wonderful blog, A Stroll thru Life, and I shared a post about the gifted  Gil Schafer with you to round out the month. And then school started… and it was August.

Talk of the House August 2013

We started the month by talking about a pretty planned community in Alabama called The Waters, and I finally shared a tutorial with you on chalkboard lettering. Then there were seven posts on summer camp style..from homes to weddings to recipes for s’mores.  We celebrated my birthday that month, and I added the Our House page to the blog (which I need to update..soon!)  And I shared my new classroom with you as the final post of the month.

Talk of the House September 2013

Labor Day weekend brought a trip to Cashiers. North Carolina and a tour of their Designer Show House. It took three posts to show it all to you!  We stayed at the gorgeous Inn at Little Pond Farm, and Pinterest pinners went crazy with the rooms in the two posts on it.  I also gave you a tour of some places we saw in Valle Crucis and Blowing Rock.  Then we worked on updating the hardware on our bedroom furniture. One of my favorite movies, You’ve Got Mail was the subject of a post near the end of the month followed by a post on its real movie sites in NYC.

Talk of the House October 2013

Francie Hargrove, another local talent, was featured in a post in early October.  I redid the boys’ bedroom, and showed it to you in two posts.  We toured the Bedford Post Inn in the middle of the month.  Another of my favorite movies, On Golden Pond had a cottage I have always loved, so it made a perfect autumn post topic to share with you.  I also shared one of my favorite fall meals in October (and all its recipes), and we ended the month with decorating with pumpkins and mums around the house.

Talk of the House November

We had a fall lunch out on the porch in November featuring a couple of Ina Garten’s recipes.  Kathryn Greeley’s gorgeous rooms provided some eye candy for us during the month, and the holiday season began with decorating with green for Thanksgiving.  And then it was time to start the busy Christmas season with a recipe for my favorite hot Christmas punch.

Talk of the House December 2013And then it was officially December, and I bombarded you with all things Christmas…from decorating the kitchen and dining room, to making a Christmas raspberry ribbon salad, to going on a local Christmas tour, to decorating the family room with peppermint and making a peppermint ice cream pie.  If all of that wasn’t enough, I even shared Christmas decorations of our daughter’s room and our porch (and everywhere else in the house!) The month and the year ended with our home ready for New Year’s Eve.

So what were your favorites this year?  In 2012, it appeared that you liked kitchens and food.  This year, it appears you enjoy reading about houses. Based on the number of page views these were the top 5 posts of 2013:

#5 The Nights in Rodanthe House

The Nights in Rodanthe house Talk of the House

#4 – A Pinterest Dream House for Spring – Southern Style

A Pinterest Dream House for Spring Southern Style Talk of the House#3 – The Inn at Little Pond Farm – Part 2

inn at little pond farm talk of the house

#2 – The Inn at Little Pond Farm Part 1

The Inn at Little Pond Farm via Talk of the House

and the#1 readers’ favorite post from 2013 was Loving Mitford:  Jan Karon’s Homes.

Jan Karons home via Talk of the House

And that was 2013.  Doing this post has literally taken me all day (12 hours – no joke!), but it has been good to look back at everything. It has given me a better “whole picture” view of Talk of the House. (I wish I had done this at the end of 2012 as well.) I can see that we spend most of the year perusing the homes and decor of other people, but once late November rolls around, the posts I share from then until the end of the year are about our house.  I am sure that the cycle will continue because I have a couple of posts on some decorating here planned for January, and then it is off to look at the spaces designed by talented people. So I thank you for staying with me for wherever my interests take us…whether it is an inn, a town, a designer, a home tour, a dinner, or even our own house here. I appreciate all of you.

I also want to thank my top referring sites this year.

#1 – Pinterest – that would be all of you who pin my photos that send readers here. Thank you!

#2 – Southern Hospitality Blog – Thank you Rhoda!

#3 – Hooked on Houses – Thank you Julia!

#4 - Savvy Southern Style – Thank you Kim!

#5 – Vignette Design  – Thank you Delores!

I wish I could do as good a job with this blog as all of those ladies do with theirs.  Unfortunately, blogging is not my full time job,  but I have plans for improvement.:) My New Year’s resolutions are:  1.  Get the office organized so that it is more conducive to working in it. (It is quite a disaster right now.) 2.  Get back to replying to emails and comments.  (The last 2 months have killed me in that area.) 3.  Read other blogs and leave comments.  I feel so guilty about not having time for that right now.

And finally, to make up for my tardiness with this year in a review, I made the print at the top of the post for you.  If you would like to print it out, right click on the image, and save it to one of your photo files.  Then you should be able to print it out to whatever size you would like from there.  Perhaps you will find it a good thought to keep in mind as you begin a new year.

Happy New Year!

a signature

p.s.  My husband went to the doctor today, and he does not have the flu.  It is… pneumonia.  We are currently watching a movie – The Bucket List.:)

   
Shirley@Housepitality Designs - January 2, 2014 - 9:17 pm

Loved seeing your Year in Review as I so enjoyed each of the things you featured..I always look forward to your reviews on great getaways and designer features..and then there are the fabulous posts on your home projects!…Looking forward to 2014!
————————————————————-
Thank you Shirley. I am glad you enjoy the range of subjects! I guess I kind of have an attention deficit disorder when it comes to choosing topics. LOL
Kelly

Sharon @ Elizabeth & Co. - January 2, 2014 - 9:17 pm

Wow Kelly, I’ve been following along for a while now, but seeing your year end review makes me want to go back and read it all over again!
————————————————————
Sharon, I think that would take quite awhile! But thank you for following along with all the posts. :) I want to print them all out so that I have a paper copy in case I should crash my computer or something disastrous like that.
Kelly

Design Chic - January 2, 2014 - 9:18 pm

It’s been a busy year, Kelly. Thank you for all of the beautiful inspiration and wishing you all the best in 2014!!
———————————————————–
Oh my, yes it has! Thank you for reading the posts. All the best to you for the new year too!
Kelly

Vickie - January 2, 2014 - 9:19 pm

Kelly, I just want to take the time to “thank you” for all the hard work that you do on your blog. I know it takes a lot of time and effort for such wonderful post. As a follower from the beginning, I just want you to know that I really appreciate all the thoughtful, detailed post. Happy New Year!!
———————————————————–
Oh my goodness! You are welcome Vickie. I thank YOU for reading (and commenting! :) )Happy New Year to you, too.
Kelly

Dawn - January 2, 2014 - 9:26 pm

Kelly,

Thanks for the year in review. I love seeing all the things that inspire you, where you go, how you decorate and what you cook or bake. You have been a part of our family this year as well. I made the orange marmalade cake for my Mom’s birthday and the peppermint ice cream pie for Christmas dinner. I will also be putting Hershey kisses on my students desk so when they walk in Monday morning sleepy they will feel welcome and loved! Keep up the great “job” you do on the blog and keep us posted as usual! Happy and healthy New Year! I hope hubby gets well asap and everyone else stays healthy!
————————————————————
That is so funny that I have “been a part of your family” this year! I am happy to know that you use some of the ideas you read about on here. We are back to work TOMORROW. Ugh. (But the students do not come until Monday.) Still 3 more days would have helped tremendously.
Enjoy your holiday!
Kelly

Maureen - January 2, 2014 - 9:27 pm

Pneumonia…ack! Glad your husband saw a doctor. Not something to mess with. It threw me for a loop when I had double pneumonia a couple years ago. Hope he has a speedy and full recovery.
—————————————————————
Double pneumonia..you must have felt AWFUL (and coughed a lot!) Thank you for the get well wishes. Our oldest child had it many years ago, and I remember how long it took him to get over it and get his energy back. The flu might actually have been better.
Kelly

Louvina - January 2, 2014 - 9:31 pm

Whoa–what a whirl wind ride through the year!! I felt like I was in a Time Machine or a flying carpet looking down on all our adventures!! What a year– what a blog– and what a good friend in Blog Land! Thank you for the hard work, interesting topics and new learning experiences you have shared with us! I love to wander wherever your mind and heart leads! Thank you for all the trips you have taken us on— 2014?? — Wonder where we will wander this year? Take care of hubby and get some much needed rest, Kelly!!
————————————————————-
It was a whirl wind for me writing it too! Kind of like doing a scrap book for the entire year (without using scissors and glue!) Thank you for coming along on all the adventures Louvina, and thank you soooo very much for always leaving such encouraging comments. I wonder where we will go this year, too. When my husband was at the doctor today, he asked him if putting polyurethane on the new floors was considered “rest.” (And he was sincere in asking!) Of course they said that was not “rest.” :)
Kelly

Martha - January 2, 2014 - 9:39 pm

This was a fun trip through 2013. I really enjoyed seeing Kathryn Greeley’s work this year, but my favorite is seeing your home and the lovely, creative things you do .Your blog is great and I look forward to 2014 and more wonderful posts. Take care of your husband, two years ago my husband had pneumonia and it took him forever to get well.
————————————————————-
Weren’t Kathryn Greeley’s rooms gorgeous? And to think that they are in the mountains of North Carolina makes them even more beautiful to me. Thank you for the sweet comments on our home. I appreciate the compliments very much! Pneumonia is not a fun thing to deal with, and my husband is rarely sick. So he is not very good at “resting.”
Kelly

Katrina - January 2, 2014 - 9:50 pm

Whoa…how fun to read this recap of ALL the great places you have taken us,the yummy recipes you have shared (peppermint pie and sunshine punch are just a few of the keepers!!!),the seasonal decorating tips you have inspired us with and the rooms….ahhh….some of the prettiest rooms I have ever seen!!!! Kelly, I truly mean this when I say you have the BEST blog in blogland!!!!! Thank you so much for sharing with us!!! …and please do not feel bad about commenting on your comments….I already think you must never have time to sleep! Happy 2014!
————————————————————–
Oh Kathrina, thank you thank you!! Nope there is never time to sleep around here (unless you happen to be in the age bracket between 16 and 26!) Happy 2014 to you, too! I am crossing my fingers for snow here this year. :) (always my new year hope.)
Kelly

Barb - January 2, 2014 - 10:04 pm

What a year! I must confess that when I was looking at the pictures in your review, my favorites are still always your beautiful home. Thanks for an inspiring year!
————————————————————-
You are too kind, Barb! (But I am glad you like our home. :)) Thank you for following along with all the posts.
Happy New Year to you!
Kelly

Susan - January 2, 2014 - 10:26 pm

Kelly, thank you so much for all of the wonderful posts and all of the time that you have put into your blog. It has been a real joy to read and follow you! Blessings to you, and your family, in 2014~
————————————————————-
You are more than welcome, Susan. It is a joy to share all of this with such sweet readers like you! Blessings to you and yours for the new year, as well.
Kelly

Jayne - January 2, 2014 - 11:17 pm

I found your blog about half way through the year and just love it. I’m still a small blog myself, but I know what you mean about wanting to improve and veg better. There is so much to learn. Thanks for sharing your home with us. I love all the ideas I get from you. I have lots of DIY projects for the house for my blog this year. Hope you drop by for a visit. Sorry your hubby isn’t feeling well. Praying for his healing and for you as you head back to school soon.
———————————————————–
Thank you Jayne. I am so glad you found the blog and that you are able to take my ideas and make them work for you and your family. I hope to get around to reading more blogs this year. (I miss having the time to do that!) Thank you for your prayers for my husband. He is not a good patient! :) I go back to work tomorrow. Can you believe that?! Hope 2014 is your best year yet!
Kelly

Kathy - January 2, 2014 - 11:52 pm

Wow! Lots of fun posts!!! My favorite thing you blogged about this year was how to do your style of lettering. I have copied it over and over. I also loved seeing your house and how you decorate it for each season or holiday. I have gotten great ideas. My third favorite thing you posted about was all of the beach houses…especially those in Seaside and Watersound. (Some of my gfs and I actually drove through those areas while in Florida in the fall.) Try to get some rest this year!
————————————————————-
Kathy, I am so glad you liked the lettering posts and have been able to use them. Those posts took the most time of any I did last year. And ahhhh…the beach houses… there are sooo many beautiful ones out there. You were lucky to be able to visit some of those areas last fall.
Kelly

Lindy James - January 2, 2014 - 11:54 pm

What a great idea to review what you had blogged about each month! I so enjoyed reading them again especially the blog in May about the California beach house as we stayed three days in the cottages in Carpinteria and enjoyed it very much. Would never have known about them if you had not blogged about them, so many thanks. Hope your husband feels better soon and Happy New Year to you, Kelly, and your family, Lindy
————————————————————
Oh I am jealous, Lindy! How wonderful to get to stay at the cottages in Carpinteria! They looked so very cute. Maybe we will make a trip there one day.
Kelly

Michele - January 3, 2014 - 4:58 am

Wow! Thanks you so much for your review! As I stumbled over your blog just in November (and loving it!) I realized I still have a lot of posts to read from last year. And I’m really looking forward to that! And I am also looking forward to the new ones this year will bring!
Kelly, I wish you and your family a great New Year and all the best for 2014!!! And I hope your husband gets well soon!
————————————————————-

Thank you so much Michele! I’m glad you liked the year end review. It’s sort of a “Cliff Notes” version of this year’s blog posts. Happy reading!
Kelly

Patty in Michigan - January 3, 2014 - 8:40 am

Kelly, Happy New Year! Beautiful layout of your “year in review”. It was a great year of posts. I thank you for all the time you put into your blog. It’s always such a blessing to read. Praying your hubby is better soon and that you stay healthy. God Bless! Patty
———————————————————–

You are more than welcome, Patty. Although it took a long time to put the post together, it will actually help me in my forgetfulness when I start asking myself, “Have I already done a post on this?” LOL Thank you for the prayers for my husband. I don’t think he is resting like he is supposed to be doing, but men are never good patients when it comes to being sick.
Stay warm!
Kelly

Debra - January 3, 2014 - 9:45 am

Wow, that is a lot of posting Kelly. I have only been here since October and just love your shares. I’m so glad I stumbled upon your blog. Here’s hoping your husband has a speedy recovery. My son is still coughing but on his way to Colorado and now this momma has a cough too. He unfortunately did not get himself to the doctors, so I am a bit nervous. Kids! Ugh!

Debra
———————————————————–
It does look like a lot; doesn’t it Debra? But there are so many bloggers out there who post daily, and I just can’t fathom how in the world they are able to do that. I am glad you stumbled on Talk of the House too! I hope you and your son are both over your cough, and that he is enjoying his trip to Colorado. There seems to be quite a bit of the flu in our area.
Stay well!
Kelly

Cyndee Jones - January 3, 2014 - 9:52 am

Hi Kelly,

I absolutely love your Blog! Everything about it, from your layout and the stories and pictures you share. Keep up the good work.

Have a happy and healthy 2014!

Sincerely,
Cyndee Jones
————————————————————–

Thank you so much for your words of encouragement, Cyndee! I appreciate them.  I hope you have a happy and healthy year as well.
Kelly

Terri - January 3, 2014 - 9:52 am

WOW…. “Reviewing” your year in review reminds me why I LOVE YOUR BLOG SOOOO MUCH…. I soooo enjoy the house tours… especially your own house updates!!! Love the food posts ( made the Raspberry ribbon salad for the family Christmas Dinner meal… BIG BIG HIT!!)

Downton Abby always a fav…. lol!!! Excited to see what you are up to for 2014!!! Thank you for taking the time to be share!!! Happy New year!
————————————————————
Happy New Year to you too, Terri! So glad your family liked the raspberry ribbon salad. (It is almost a dessert to me! ) Thank you for taking the time read all the posts here this year.
Kelly

Jill - January 3, 2014 - 10:01 am

Phew! That post made me tired just reading it! Ha! You sure packed a lot into this year. Thanks for taking the time and care to make this such an enjoyable spot to visit. I enjoy all your posts, but my favorites are still always the ones about your own home and style.
Hope your husband feels better soon!
———————————————————–
I did get a lot in this year, but there were a number of posts that I had planned to do that I never found the time to get in. Hopefully I will be able to get them all in this year. My brain spins faster than I can type! Thank you for the compliments on our home.
Kelly

Kaye Ann - January 3, 2014 - 10:16 am

Love every picture and every post. Enjoyed every one of them. Hope you hubby gets better soon!!!
————————————————————
Oh you are so sweet, Kaye Ann. I am glad you have enjoyed the blog this year. Thank you for taking the time to read and comment. And thanks for the get well wishes for my husband.
Kelly

Liz - January 3, 2014 - 11:36 am

Just found your blog and spent the last two days reading it! You’ve inspired me to order a calligraphy kit and…who knows?…I just may start doing some blackboards for my new grandson!
———————————————————–
Well I am so glad you found the blog Liz! (And that it could provide some reading material for a couple of days. ) I love that you have ordered a calligraphy set. Practice practice practice says this teacher! It will be fun.
Kelly

Sandy - January 3, 2014 - 11:44 am

Enjoy everything you post on your blog, and wish you and your family a heathy, happy 2014. Keep hot tea with honey offered to your husband. Great recap of 2013. Your students are lucky to have you as their teacher even though I know some days you probably just shake your head. Retired after thirty-seven years,, elementary and middle school. Smile each morning as the school bus passes our house.
————————————————————-
Sandy I laughed out loud at your smiling when the school bus passes your house.  I am looking forward to a day when I can do the same. Thank you for reading the posts and leaving comments this year. My husband is not a hot tea drinker at all, but he is trying to drink a good bit of water since they recommend a large amount of liquids.
Best wishes for you for the new year!
Kelly

Cathy Norrie - January 3, 2014 - 1:08 pm

Hi Kelly,

Thanks so much for this year in review. Since I missed a good portion of it whilst we were sailing around the world (actually only from New Zealand to South Africa for this leg) I was not able to regularly check in to your blog. Now… here it is in one fell swoop!

Sure hope you had a lovely Christmas and New Year! We were really pleased to be able to make it home for Christmas (not to mention the snow, ice and very cold temps -30 C on many days)… also great to be back in our little old house with our Great Dane – and all snuggled close to each other around the fireplace.

Take care and I look forward to enjoying more of your postings this year (we don’t head out again until October).

Hugs
Cath
————————————————————–
Welcome back, Cath!! It is so good to hear from you again. I have missed you! I hope your Christmas back home was a good one (and I am glad you made it back home safely.) Enjoy that fireplace. We are having a major cold spell here in the next few days…with even a prediction of perhaps a little “white stuff” here. (Crossing my fingers!)
I look forward to your comments here in 2014. :)
Kelly

anita - January 5, 2014 - 11:52 am

Happy New Year Kelly from a really cold Canadian province, I mean -55 Fahrenheit. Can’t wait until Summer! Anyway, it was a pleasure reading your posts from last year as it is only in the last few months that I discovered your blog. You are seriously a great blogger that has been blessed with a talent in writing and humour and I enjoy reading each one. I will have to learn how to do calligraphy because your writing is so beautiful, makes me want to learn too! I finished doing my three chalkboards in the house. It is so fun to do and taps into some creativity. Look forward reading your next adventures in decorating, recipes, trips, etc.. Hope your husband gets back on his feet very soon.
————————————————————-
Whoa..that IS cold…and we are worried about a windchill here of 1 degree on Tuesday morning?! I suppose that would be warm to you. LOL Thank you for reading this year, and I hope you will enjoy the topics here in 2014. Way to go on your three chalkboards!
Kelly

Lori - January 5, 2014 - 12:30 pm

Great year end review. Oh some of those houses! :)
Looking forward to what you will be sharing with us in 2014.
Hope your husband is on the mend asap.
Oh and LOVED the New Year’s post. So pretty with the silvers and blues. Nice!!
————————————————————
I am glad you liked it Lori. :) I hope we can talk about many more pretty homes in 2014. Husband is taking some pretty strong meds that have some not so good side effects worrying him, but doing well other than that.
Stay warm!
Kelly

Chris Brown - February 3, 2014 - 3:17 pm

Just getting caught up with the earlier posts from this year….now that I’m retired I have a lot of time to do whatever I want, but somehow I am just doing a lot of nothing!!

I loved looking at your year in pictures post Very cool! It’s neat to see that your readers share a love of the same things even though we don’t know each other. Thanks for sharing all your talents and ideas with us!!

~*♥*♥*♥*~

Chris

[…] of the tent paper and moved her to the upper right corner. Then, making an overhead transparency of this quote from Talk of the House, I was able to trace the awesome lettering with a black marker in no time at […]

S u b s c r i b e   b y   E m a i l