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ten favorite "winter" things

Winter?? you ask.  
Yes, "winter!" 
 While I realize some of you are enjoying the arrival of spring and others are already experiencing 90-degree temps (ouch!) we still have snow on the ground and it is, in fact, snowing as I write this post.  This is New England, after all!  Spring is still a good month and a half away.
While I call these my favorite "winter" things, many of these items are year-round favorites, and I dare say one of them has been life changing for me!
If I were Oprah, I'd give each of you a package of all my favorites;) , but since I'm not, I have linked to each product to make it easier for you to find and to find information about them.  I've done several "favorites" posts in the past and I will link those posts in the bottom of this page, if you are interested. 

Disclaimer from Amazon:   " I,  for the love of a house, am a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com. "
What this means is that I make a (very small, but very much appreciated ;) commission on anything - not just the products that I link to- that you buy after clicking on any of the links from this blog, or the Amazon links on my sidebar.  Thank you very much for supporting this blog.

Fyi- not all of the links go through Amazon.  Many take you to a company's website or are informational sources for you.
Other than the possible fee I would receive if you were to click on, and purchase, through my Amazon links I have not been paid by any of the companies that I am recommending.  They are simply favorites of mine and I wanted to share.

I love to share my home, my designs, my life, ideas, favorite products, etc. with you... all of my passions, which I suppose is one of the main reasons I blog, so I am really excited about this post!
Here are ten favorite winter things in no particular order...

Fresh flowers.  I keep fresh flowers in the house year-round, but in the middle of winter they become a necessity.   I buy simple flowers so am able to get them at the grocery store or Trader Joe's.  I have two floral departments of close-by grocery stores on my phone and I know the days they get their fresh arrivals!  I love this time of year as tulips are a favorite.  This gorgeous display was two bunches of $4.99 tulips!  And they last for a week.  I love how they "dance."

I've mentioned them before, but I can't do a "winter favorites" without talking about my BOGS boots!  These are the boots I wear on walks in the snow and cold.  They keep your feet and legs dry and toasty.   I love them so much I talked Dan into getting a pair.

These are Dan's- he chose the Muck boot.  He loves his boots too!

This next product has been life changing for me.  And, I do not say that lightly!!  Organic, unscented, alcohol-free witch hazel.  Witch hazel is a deciduous shrub that has many medicinal uses.  This is not the witch hazel from your adolescences- it does not contain alcohol and is not the 
"astringent" form of witch hazel.  
In the winter months I suffer, like many, from really dry skin.  I can start itching between the shower and getting to the lotion in the medicine cabinet.  I have a hard time wearing lotions to bed as, no matter the brand, they always make me feel a bit sticky.  If I use lotions I don't sleep well, weird I know  (but do continue reading for a new favorite- oh wait, that makes 11 favorite things now! Oh well ;)  So when I read a blog (unfortunately I can not find it now to link to) about the wonders of organic, alcohol-free witch hazel and that one of the medicinal uses is that is helps moisturize the skin by sealing in moisture I was happy....okay, desperate to try it!  From the first use I was amazed and delighted!  I lightly... very lightly, toweled off and then poured about a teaspoon in my palm and applied.  I repeated until I was completely covered.  Since I began using this product about four months ago I have not itched once.  Not once!  I now have the witch hazel in a small spray bottle that I keep in the shower and I spritz all over after lightly toweling off and then let it air dry.  I also spritz my face and recently started spritzing my feet (which were so dry I was embarrassed to even go get a pedicure:) and they immediately (okay, maybe it took two applications) looked and felt wonderful.  I kept staring at my feet for days because the skin looked like I had just gotten a pedicure.  Then top it with lotion before going to bed and your feet will look and feel amazing!  
My dermatologist recently gave me several samples of different lotions for some red (non-itching;) bumps I had on my arms and while I don't have eczema, per say, I must say I love this lotion and have already purchased a large bottle of it.  Seriously, my feet have never looked (or felt, i.e. no paintul cracks on heels) better and I can even wear it to bed without feeling sticky. Come on sandal season!
The Thayers brand of witch hazel products is made of non-distilled extract from the witch hazel shrub maintaining the highest levels of therapeutic tannins.
I have a very difficult time finding this alcohol-free "unscented" witch hazel locally, so I order this 2-pack from Amazon (though I'm not allowed to use my own links) and this is the best deal out there! 

It also comes scented in Rose Petal, Cucumber, Lavender.
For some additional information on the different uses of organic witch hazel HERE and HERE.

I light candles all year, but during the winter months they become essential for creating that warm and cozy feeling in the house.  My go-to candles (always "unscented") are Ikea tea lights, for the price and the fact that they burn all the wax in the tin, and Ikea votives.
Please ignore my hording tendencies, I get it from my mother :) - my Ikea is over an hour away and I don't make it there very often!  We also recycle the tins fyi)

For tapers these Trader Joe's candles are the best.  The are dripless (well, that's a bit of a stretch as I do find they can drip) and they self-extinguish (this they do every time) which is wonderful.  I can find them year-round in some stores, but others say they are seasonal.  So when I see them I stock up! 

With the house all buttoned up tight during the winter months there is nothing like the scent of fresh lemons (which is my absolute favorite smell!)  to brighten a room.  "Happy" in a spray can!  
Citrus Magic is a safe and natural, non-aerosol odor eliminating spray made from the natural oils of citrus peels.  (Interesting video on the Citrus Magic website- bottom left, HERE.)  
I buy it in the 3-pack as it is the best value HERE and then keep a can upstairs and down.  But, it can also be purchased as a single can HERE.
It also comes in Tropical Citrus Blend, Lime, Orange and Lemon-Raspberry if you prefer those scents.  In addition to the Lemon, I have the Orange and the Lemon-Raspberry, which are also wonderful.  I am able to find some of these fragrances at the grocery store, but the only place I can find the lemon is at Amazon.)

I hate taking things to the dry cleaner.  I found this product almost a year ago and I absolutely love it!  Eucalan Delicate Wash is non-toxic, biodegradable, free of optical brighteners, phosphates, synthetic fragrance and dye. (ingredients)  It is a no-rinse product. Here is a video.  You can use it to hand wash (or machine, depending) cashmere, wool, silks, etc.  A very small amount goes a long way.  It's a great eco-friendly alternative to dry cleaning.
I purchase the unscented HERE
I even use it to bathe Ella as it is made of lanolin.  I think her coat stays cleaner longer using this product and I love that it is unscented (a dog's sense of smell is 10,000 to 100,000 more intense than a humans (source) .  I feel very strongly against using perfume laden shampoos, unnecessary chemicals etc.on dogs.)

It is also available (click on the scent) in Eucalyptus, Lavender, Grapefruit and Jasmine- all scented using essential oils.

This one might seem really silly, but if you live in an area where it snows, and salt & sand is used to keep the snow off the road, OR if you live in a salt-air coastal environment you'll get it.
Stainless steel license plate screws.  When we first moved to New England I would notice almost all cars (including very high end cars) to have rust "tears" streaming from the metal screws on license plates.  I was shocked at how prevalent it was.  We purchased a new car after moving and the screws holding the license plate were indeed plated steel- i.e. they rust.  After discussing it with Dan  I suggested we might trade them out for stainless.  And that's what we did.  We simply went to a local TrueValue store and found stainless steel screws to use in their place.  Problem solved.  You're welcome!! :) 
I just love New Hampshire's state motto "Live Free or Die" on the licence plates.  
Please excuse the dirty car and license plate ;)

 Sweet Ella modeling the PawZ flexible booties. 
From the website: PawZ are the world's only disposable and reusable waterproof dog boot.  Made of natural rubber, they are 100% biodegradable.  Designed to go on easily and fit securely without zippers or straps.  They offer serious paw protection.  PawZ is the most natural-feeling boot your dog can wear because without padding your dog feels the ground, providing a needed sense of security.  Like a sock, PawZ moves with your dog, allowing full paw motion and maximum comfort.  And imagine never losing another expensive dog boot again.  They come 12 in a package and each boot can be worn many times.
These are amazing!  Think strong little balloons on the paws!  The red are the small size and the blue (they were sweet Amelia's) are medium.  They are easy to put on (if you have cooperative dogs I guess;)   Ella will react to the salt that is put on the road for snow removal (it burns as it melts in her paw) and by wearing the waterproof PawZ we were able to walk all winter long.  It also helped her to wear them even if there wasn't fresh salt on the road, but it was simply very cold.  The snow gets up in her paws and melts from the warmth of her body and then her feet get cold.  These totally eliminated that problem.  They are great for other uses too, not just the snow and cold.

Ugg Boots as house shoes!  (We do NOT wear these outdoors-  not that there is anything wrong with that; I just don't think that it is age-appropriate for us!)  These are Dan's.  Now, why are Dan's Ugg's on my 10 favorite winter things?!  Because they were the best purchase I made all last year!!!  I no longer have to listen to a certain someone constantly complaining about his feet being cold.  I bought a pair of the knock-off  (but real fur) Uggs from Costco when we first moved here and for years I extolled to Dan their virtues as winter house shoes!  Costco only sell the women's boots. Last year we were in Boston and walked by an Ugg store; I talked Dan into trying a pair on. He had been resistant as he didn't fully believe me (silly husband) and because they were expensive, especially when buying them as house shoes!  He loved them!  Sold!   He wanted me to make sure that I tell you they are the Ugg boots, not the Ugg slippers (which they also make) that warm the legs and ankles and really keep your bare feet warm.  I swear to you, he still thanks me at least 3 times a week for them!  He looooooves them!  They really can't be beat as house shoes if you live in a cold environment!  And, the best part.... no more whining!!:);)

I find in winter I take more tub baths.  And while I love a good epson salt bath (with a martini on the side please :) I also like to fill a vintage tea ball with dried lavender.
(Antique brass soap and sea sponge holder)

Would love to hear any winter favorites you have!

Thank you again for supporting the blog! xxoj.

To read other "favorite" lists...

To stay in touch between posts, follow me on Instagram HERE


An Elegant White Tea Time

                                 Today I am going with a white
                                              feminine and elegant theme for an afternoon
                        tea. .......so don a pretty dress.

Gloves, a sparkly purse and a hat.

                                                               Pearls,lace and roses.

                                                                 A white table is set  in our little
                                                                 Gardener's Cottage for tea.

Heart shaped sandwiches to go with
our tea.
                                                                   A pretty teacup.

                                                  Or maybe you would rather sit in the Martha's Garden
                                                  and enjoy all the white blooms of the Deutiza's.
                                                  p.s. right now this garden is all white as it is covered
                                                  in almost a meter of snow so no tea parties here for awhile!

                                                  Hope you enjoyed an elegant white tea today!

                                                                                          Thank you for visiting,



My Summer Porch & Romantic Country

 Hello everyone,

Hope your week is going well.

I just wanted to share my exciting news
with you today.
My summer porch is featured in the
Summer Romantic Country magazine.
Of course, I was super excited to find
out one of my photos even made the cover! 

                                                   The summer porch last summer.
                                           I love using wicker furniture,the old iron bed
                                           vintage linens and of course bouquets.
      Lilacs and pretty china.

                               There are also some photos of our Downton Abbey Tea
                                         from a couple of summers ago.It is on shelves now so
                                        you can check it out!
                                          I am lapping up some sunshine in the sunny south these
                                          days so I couldn't put a photo of the cover on yet as I
                                          am not at my computer.
                                             I have taken lots of new photos to share when I
                                           get back home.

                                                          Wishing you a lovely day!


Garden Mosaics

                                                        I am just popping in today to share some
                                                        garden mosaics from our garden in previous
                                                         summers...it will be quite awhile before our
                                                         garden looks like this.    
                                                                   Clematis and roses.
                                                               Ah! Sunny summer days.
                                                               Pink peonies and roses with Thalictrum on
                                                               top left.
                 I love statues in the garden.

                                                       The clematis Abundance on the left with the rose
                                                       Julia Child on the top right with a daylily below.
                                                                   Color in the garden.

                                                          Cottage charm.

                                                          We have had this lovely lady in our
                                                          garden in our garden for several years
                                                          now and she only gets better with age!
                                                          She came from J & S Concrete in Albany,
                                                          P.E.I for any interested local gardeners.

                                                                            Enjoy your day!



Red & White Transferware Display

               Hello everyone!

            In the course of doing some spring cleaning ,
I changed my display of china
on this thrift store shelf.

I don't know why but these little changes
make me happy.

Maybe, it is because my mother
always said a change was as good
as a rest.

My collection of red and white
transferware is still growing as
friends add a piece or two now
and then.

My little yard sale cupboard came in
handy to hold the overflow.



If you would like to see the rest of my collection
of red and white transferware on the other side
of the kitchen go here.

                                          Before you go enjoy a cup of tea!

                                                                Take care,

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