1. Denise Hardy
    December 1, 2015 @ 10:29 am

    LOL -you do make laugh you brighten up my day – I think we would get on well you sound like me – lol – Apart from that your house and christmas trimmings look beautiful – no matter how much it costs – lol and you do a GRAND job 🙂 Keep your posts coming 🙂


  2. Celeste
    December 1, 2015 @ 10:31 am

    I’m glad to hear about Elvis, I was afraid to ask. I think, if you can, do not worry about what Elvis is costing. We could have spent a lot of money on our cat ( finally, we FINALLY can afford to spend a lot at the vet and it did not matter) but the vet and I were heartbroken to agree that money could not help. Enjoy this time, when money can. We miss him every damn day.

    Have you ever heard of wrapping just the box top? You use a heavy, good quality paper, and wrap the lid. Then you can make a bow, and attach it around the sides and tape the ribbon under the lid, if that is clear? Then you lift the lid and get your gift, and then instead of having some jumble of ugly white boxes under the tree, you have lovely wrapped gifts, you can also re-use them. My family has done it for years. Some presents this won’t work with, obviously but it works with quite a few.


  3. Dorothy
    December 1, 2015 @ 10:34 am

    Paul isn’t asking about Elvis’ costs? He IS a saint, and you may never, ever, under any circumstances divorce him. Unless it’s to send him to me! 😉 Seriously, here’s hoping Elvis is doing well! Peace and blessings…


  4. pigtown*design
    December 1, 2015 @ 10:37 am

    Just so you don’t feel so bad about over-decorating your house, here’s a friend of mine and her house! Her motto is “why do, when you can over-do!”.

    Click heret to see it in all its glory!


    • Victoria Georgianna
      December 1, 2015 @ 2:17 pm

      Oh my goodness! Those cupcakes! All those trees! I might have to swoon at the doorstep from that beautiful display of sugar! 🙂


      • pigtown*design
        December 1, 2015 @ 2:29 pm

        If you’re in Baltimore, i might be able to score you an invite to this year’s soiree! It always benefits the Maryland SPCA!


        • Patricia
          December 1, 2015 @ 10:39 pm

          Your friend has clearly won Christmas. The rest of us can just put the glitter down right now and concede. Yup, the cupcakes were just the opening wedge, followed by flowers and glitter everything.

          Even a zillion disco balls can’t compete.


  5. Pattie C
    December 1, 2015 @ 10:44 am

    Holy crap, those are the biggest pine cones I’ve ever seen, congratulations. You win.


  6. Beubook
    December 1, 2015 @ 10:48 am

    Hi so wow, yes…(why start a comment coherently when there are so many other options?) First I must comment on the pine cones. They are EXACTLY what I used 5 years ago for my sister’s very rustic and elegant wedding centerpieces. I LOVE them. The guests stole every last one from the reception. No lie. Secondly, I think we can all relate to the realities of budgeting. And I get why you still needed to get a few things for Christmas…this year I need a little Christmas, just like the song. I had a very rough November, you had a very rough year…a little sparkle and greenery can go a long way to mending the soul. Also, I’m flat-out copying your hand-tied branch idea. You saved me from what I sure would have been a disaster of making my own fresh garland out of some cuttings from the laurels. So thank you.


  7. Jayne Z
    December 1, 2015 @ 10:59 am

    Victoria — don’t worry for one minute how much you are spending for Elvis. She is no different than a child and we certainly wouldn’t say we will only spend this much on a child in order to provide the best quality of life possible. I had a little miniature schnauzer — Barklie — who developed oral cancer. My vet operated and removed the tumor and then she had many rounds of radiation. It was important during that time to make sure she had extra vitamins, especially C and she lived two more quality years — to the the age of 10 which is about the length of years for mini schauzers. It cost thousands of dollars between all the specialists and as a single person it had a pretty major impact on my finances, but I don’t regret one penny of it and neither will you. Elvis looks great and I bet you get several more years together.


  8. Melissa
    December 1, 2015 @ 11:01 am

    DISCO BALLS!!!!!! I love disco balls!! You have validated my obsession with them, especially when used for holiday decorating. I shall show my children this post and tell them to stop mocking me and my disco ball collection.


  9. Betsy
    December 1, 2015 @ 11:04 am

    Thanks for the mantle tip! I never thought of that simple fix to my mantle problem. I absolutely will do that project today. Okay, maybe I’ll get the wood today, and flash a big smile when my husband comes homes tonight.

    And, yes! Tis the season on Craigslist. I just got a gorgeous $3,000 chandelier-of-my-dreams for $300. Never mind that I have to tear out an ugly, useless built-in. I’m as excited as a kid on Christmas morning!

    Thanks again for the mantle tip!


  10. Kim
    December 1, 2015 @ 11:04 am


    I have just abandoned anything on my list today to find these giant pinecones. They must be mine.


    • Joann Miller
      December 1, 2015 @ 12:21 pm

      Had to comment on the Sugar Pine cone worship here. In the fall/winter (especially after a good wind) I can drive two miles from my house and fill up all the 30-gallon trash bags I want with the things – so the idea of buying them kills me. And yes, they are the size of a cat. As one post mentioned, the Coulter cones are also amazing (though a slightly different shape), but the Coulter trees grow at a slightly lower elevation than where I am, so it’s a bit longer drive, lol.

      I know you’ll be asking just where this pine cone shangri-la is – it is Big Bear Lake, 6.750′ elevation in the San Bernardino Mountains. In Southern California. Who’d have thought, right?

      A disclaimer – lest the Pine Cone Police jump on this – it is illegal to remove trees, vegetation or any of their by-products from National Forest land. And, inexplicably, all Sugar Pine trees grow on USFS land here. But…if a pine cone falls into my trash bag in the forest and there is no one there to see it – is it really stealing?

      Keep up the good work, Victoria.


      • Darling Lily
        December 1, 2015 @ 1:13 pm

        One of the few, and I mean VERY FEW, things I miss about living in SoCal was risking crippling fines and imprisonment to gather sugar pine cones off Federal land. (We had a cabin in Moonridge)

        The irony of being punished for taking dead flotsam from land that ostensibly belongs to all of us still burns!


  11. NevadaNy
    December 1, 2015 @ 11:22 am

    I think your winter greens and pine-cones look better than anything else. Really sets off your fancy treasures.
    Sticks from my yard, pine-cones from my pine trees, tiny white lights, winter scented jar candles and my Christmas Tree. (fake branches, but with a real wood tree trunk)
    That is all I need.
    But…it IS only December 1st…


  12. Sonia
    December 1, 2015 @ 11:29 am

    If you like sugar pinecones, look at coulter pine cones. They are the heaviest pine cone in the world. I hauled several of them back from California to Texas in my carryon.


  13. Linda
    December 1, 2015 @ 12:04 pm

    Just when I think you cannot come up with anything else clever to write……..you DO!
    Why did I doubt you?!


  14. lizykat
    December 1, 2015 @ 12:09 pm

    I just want to say how much I enjoy your posts. The part about Paul auditng your expenses, made me laugh right out loud….Yes, dear, be consistent, he won’t suspect a thing!! :} Enjoy the holidays!! Your house is just lovely!


  15. Diana
    December 1, 2015 @ 12:15 pm

    Holy cow! Those ARE giant pine cones! You really scored on those!!! Elvis looks great!!!!!

    Love all your decorations. Thanks for cheering me up this morning. It is rainy and gloomy where I live.


  16. Meredith
    December 1, 2015 @ 12:47 pm

    I, too, worry about budget with a cat cancer. It has already cost me half of my bathroom remodel funds. And while I am not happy about it, I would rather have him than a new bathroom.

    At least Elvis has her hair! The ‘roids are making Chile go bald (not the chemo – weird, right?). And he did not have a lot to start with. Poor guy is hating winter right now! But otherwise is responding well to treatment! He is mostly back to his kitten like ways!


  17. Susan
    December 1, 2015 @ 1:18 pm

    An amputation and chemo gave my golden two and half more wonderful years. Yes, she was a tripod….and five days after her surgery she knocked down the dog gate and made her way up a flight of stairs to resume her customary sleeping position next to my bed. It was all worth it to me and I am pretty certain it was worth it to her. My husband never asked or commented on the mammoth expense. He just loved her, too.


  18. Darling Lily
    December 1, 2015 @ 1:25 pm

    I stand as living testament to the fact the Smallish Fancy Things will ultimately get you in to more trouble over the long haul than GFTs. One loses track, especially when said SFTs are seasonal and are out of sight most of the year. You have been warned.

    I use sugar pine cones for my tree toppers! The size is perfect, but the longer shape also lends itself nicely to the overall effect. I attach them with some gorgeous red velvet ribbon and it’s truly stunning.

    With the addition of a bit of ribbon and such, the smaller ones make quite an elegant embellishment to a bottle of wine you might gift anyone with.

    It is totally worth a trip to Lake Tahoe ( or Big Bear in Southern CA) to get some!

    Paul knows how much your vet bills are, and is happy to spend it, no worries. He’s perfect like that.


  19. Amber
    December 1, 2015 @ 1:28 pm

    Christmas at your house is beautiful as always. Thanks for the tip on the giant pinecones, I have been wanting some of those but had literally no idea where to find them, or what they were called! Also, did you see these pillows at Pier 1 this year?


    They’re on my wishlist, and I totally think they stole the idea from you! Had to show you! LOL


    • judy
      December 1, 2015 @ 6:05 pm

      See the pillows at pottery barn–old fashioned painted? pictures of santa etc.. With all the decorations we have collected in 56 years I just have to say a loud NO! to any more but Oh! how I would love to buy those pillows. They are like the scenes from the Christmas Cards I still remember from childhood. A very Merry Christmas to all of you and a prosperous New Year.


  20. Lauren
    December 1, 2015 @ 1:44 pm

    You know what, Elizabeth, nothing, absolutely nothing you find on CL or in a store or anywhere will ever have even a snowball’s chance in the deepest part of hell to compare to spending time with Elvis. You will remember this holiday not for stuff but for the memories you will have of her with you and Paul.

    I lost my much beloved feline soulmate Persephone to cancer a lot of years ago and I treasure every one of those days between the diagnosis and her death. Christmas was in there, and she got lots of toys, but it was me she wanted to be with and she got her wish. Losing her in mid January almost killed me, but I had given her as much time and attention and love and laughter and fun as I could.

    You do that for Elvis too, okay, because that is what will make this holiday season memorable for you. [[[[[HUGS]]]]]


  21. Sue J.
    December 1, 2015 @ 1:54 pm

    Your giant fancy posts are so fabulous. Thank you.


  22. Noél Nicklas Emswiler
    December 1, 2015 @ 2:12 pm

    Like line items on the federal budget, emergency veterinary care is separate from Christmas decor or home improvement. Since you are Congress, you may – at your discretion – exceed these numbers when it is necessary…or even if you just want to do so. Feel no guilt, you are merely using governmental best practices.!

    I must take umbrage with your use of the JOY sign. Oh it’s beautiful and looks stunning on the table but I am tired of JOY. JOY gives me no JOY – she mocks me yearly during the holiday season and has tried to take over my turf for years. Since my maiden name is Natalie Noél Nicklas and I go by Noél, I find JOY quite annoying and a bit of an upstart. This is my turf and I am willing to share with PEACE and LOVE but not JOY. Therefore I strongly suggest you immediately go order a NOEL sign. Your table with be even more beautiful! 🙂

    Love your blog! I must read it covertly as I made the mistake of sharing it with my hubby. He thinks you are a bad influence on me and thus must be avoided. I simply do not understand why!


  23. (the clever one)
    December 1, 2015 @ 2:21 pm

    My brain cannot process the giantness of the pinecones; it looks like you shrunk Elvis. Which would actually be kind of awesome, because then you could stuff her in your pocket and take her everywhere. (it would also explain the look on her face just there)


  24. Victoria Seeber
    December 1, 2015 @ 2:54 pm

    I still want those Asian dolls. I will never give up on the Asian Dolls. I will look until my eyeballs fall out or turn into disco balls. I peruse every picture you post looking at for the Asian Dolls. I love the Asian Dolls.


  25. Yvonne Angus
    December 1, 2015 @ 3:32 pm

    Okay, let me begin by saying that I thought those were some pretty awesome urns for the price, and they looked pretty good with the greenery and pine cones. THEN, I saw the pine cone next to Elvis, (who is looking pretty good, herself) and I was like… WHOA! Those are some AMAZING urns at that price! Score! Even your SFTs are GFTs! I bow to your Craigslist prowess once again. Fantastic job!


  26. kmkat
    December 1, 2015 @ 4:08 pm

    My inlaws moved to Florida after they retired. On one of our holiday visits there I discovered giant pinecones — not quite as giant as yours, but certainly gianter than any I had ever observed in nature — on someone’s lawn. A nice big bag of them came home with me and has adorned various spots in our house ever since. Put ’em in a basket on the hearth in the summer. Mix ’em up with shiny red ornaments in a big glass bowl at Christmas.


  27. Di
    December 1, 2015 @ 4:58 pm

    I am so happy you found the spirit to bring the season into your home.
    Christmas Miracles from Santa Paws to dear Elvis.


  28. Suzanne B
    December 1, 2015 @ 5:02 pm

    Well you have validated my pinecone obsession that my husband thinks is batty. But now I need some disco balls for my porch……


  29. judy
    December 1, 2015 @ 6:14 pm

    I can absolutely guarantee that Paul is well aware of the cost of Elvis care and he accepts it because it is part of sharing his life with a treasure like you. You are a rare human being and finding you must have been like winning the Lottery!


  30. Devon
    December 1, 2015 @ 8:16 pm

    I love the way you have used greens and white ribbon to hang from your china cabinet, so classy and simple looking! And those urns……what a steal! I’ve said it before here, but your Craigslist puts my Craigslist to shame- I am always amazed and in disbelief at the beautiful things you find there…..GFT’s are not what we get here where i live 🙁 Elvis looks great, i have been thinking about her occasionally after reading about her illness and hope she is feeling okay……that’s a great photo of her next to the pine cone, she’s a beautiful kitty.
    Always look forward to your posts, i find them great for decorating ideas and very entertaining as I snicker and laugh my way through your writings. Hope to see more of your house with Christmas touches! disco balls……….who knew?!!


  31. nemo
    December 1, 2015 @ 10:38 pm

    I had a cat and miss him dearly. I can understand your devotion. I also watched a relative spend money like there was no tomorrow, for decades. She enjoyed buying and decorating even more than you. Also spent quite a bit on her pets over the years. She has alzheimers now, and a few thousand dollars left. Literally. It’s not funny when you reach that point. I hate to be a grinch, but I’m glad you have the sense to reign in your spending while you can still earn more for your future. This year’s decorations are beautiful and I hope you enjoy them. Our pets have shorter lifespans than we do; we are their caretakers for life. It is sad, but necessary, because if they outlived us, who would take care of them? But we can’t expect them to match our own lifespans.


  32. Linda
    December 1, 2015 @ 11:26 pm

    We have an older cat who is held together (figuratively) with superglue. We’ve spent lots of money over the years keeping her healthy and happy, and I wouldn’t change it for the world. Your previous post about Elvis is spot on – she is family 🙂


  33. Jan Ohlssen
    December 1, 2015 @ 11:54 pm

    If you are ever in Incline Village NV, let me know and I can tell you where to get sugar pine cones. I lived their for several decades and our home backed up to forest land, but there was a sugar pine tree on our land, plus the forest.
    Blessings to your family and love to Elvis for a wonderful holiday. Your home is beautiful!


  34. Kathleen Chafin
    December 2, 2015 @ 3:20 pm

    I love your posts as always, and love how you decorate and spend money on your pets as a priority!

    On the mantel tip, I can expand that tip a bit. I use a 2×4 cut to fit length of mantel. You can staple away on this. I use the larger board as I clamp the ends to the mantel with “C” clamps, which are hidden by the foliage. I add about 10-11 cup hooks to the side of the board. That way I can hang heavily stuffed Christmas stockings off that board sturdily. (We have a large family). and the cup hooks, side of board, “C” clamps are all hidden by the foliage. I have two fireplaces, and each year I get out the boards for the mantels for quick decorating.

    Thanks for all that you share with us!


  35. Sharon
    December 2, 2015 @ 3:57 pm


    I am sure that Paul knows the cost of the care for Elvis; wise man that he is, he declines to comment/inquire because of how important she is to both of you. He is a treasure.

    Glad to see Elvis. She looks spectacular next that pine cone. Hope she’s doing well. I must admit that it is the largest pine cone I have ever seen; I have been woefully ignorant of their existence. Now that I know…Love it! Love the urns. Your status as The Envy Of All is securely intact. It has made me appreciate disco balls!

    I always look forward to and enjoy your posts. I am having a bit of a challenging year, and your posts cheer me up and make me laugh. Thank you for that. Merry Christmas, Divine One.


  36. Laurie Stone
    December 2, 2015 @ 5:04 pm

    Will you come decorate my house? You definitely have the touch. Hope Elvis continues to do well. What a beautiful kitty.


  37. Janet Laton
    December 3, 2015 @ 2:40 pm

    So sorry to hear about your husband Elvin’s illness and in unnecessary spending on items “o’day crapola”. Might as well just pile the dollar bills in a stack with paid items I won’t be using anytime “soon enough”. I am enjoying your blogs! ~Merry Bows~


  38. Alexandria
    December 3, 2015 @ 6:02 pm

    Victoria, the bookcase on the left in the “JOY” picture…know anything about it? We inherited the EXACT same one from my great-grandparents’ farm in upstate New York and the family calls it the “lawyer bookcase” (despite the dearth of lawyers in the family?) and that’s all we know!


    • Susan
      December 9, 2015 @ 6:19 am

      It’s a ‘Barrister’ bookcase. They typically come apart with a base, any number of different height case pieces with clear glass fronts and a ‘crown’ on top. As you know, the pieces stack on top of one another. I have one from the 1920’s or 30’s. There were many popular manufacturers. Mine is from Globe-Wernicke (hope I spelled that right). They also come in a variety of woods but oak was the most common. I love mine and will get more when I return to the States. They are great for books and other display items as the cases are enclosed and protect your items from dust, etc.


  39. katie
    December 4, 2015 @ 12:39 pm

    Victoria, this is possibly really unhelpful, but:


    It’s giant, but is it fancy enough?


  40. Victoria
    December 20, 2015 @ 8:01 am

    Victoria, you make me laugh like no one else in the blogosphere. Actually, the word blogoshere makes me laugh. Your house looks fabulous. I wish you, Paul and Elvis a wonderful Christmas.


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