If You’re Feeling Behind Right Now, Hope This Makes You Feel Better

If you’re feeling behind right now, know that you’re not alone. I feel a little like that guy on the old Ed Sullivan show (dating myself here) who is up on stage spinning 20 dinner plates at one time. I think that’s the way my brain works best, though. I’ll start a Christmas decorating project, get 2/3rds of the way in, starting feeling a bit bored and start another one.

Last night, determined to get the garland project completed, I got a book going on Audible and dived in, adding ornaments to the second 12-ft garland. Fifteen minutes in, the lights went out. Arggg. That’s the second time that’s happened in the last couple of weeks, you may remember me mentioning it a few weeks ago.

The weather was completely calm out, so have no idea what caused it, but when I looked out the window I noticed all the houses around me were in darkness, too. I logged on via my phone, reported the outage and got back to work on the garland via candlelight.

The little glow over on the wall is one of the little emergency lights I have plugged in all over the house that light up when the power goes out. I love those things! They are so reassuring I don’t ever worry about being left in the dark during a power outage, now. (You can read more about them here: Blackout Buddy.)

Making garland by candlelight


At the other end of the counter, I had one of the little lanterns going that I’ve shared here before on the blog. The power was out about an hour this time. I would really love to know what caused it. Probably wouldn’t understand it if someone explained it, but I’d still like to know.

At one time I looked out and a HUGE power truck was out in front of my home, with men working inside the big green box in the corner of my front yard. Have no idea what’s under there, but they were using a very, very, very long pole/tool to do something inside the box.

You know that expression, “I wouldn’t touch that with a 10-foot pole.” Well, the pole he was using was about that long. lol Wonder if that’s where the expression comes from.  I figured they were dealing with something very dangerous (high voltage) and maybe the long pole was a device that would keep them from getting electrocuted.

Making garland during power outage


I’m happy to say the garland is done and is officially up! I may add a few more ornaments to it here and there. I need to work on fluffing it a bit better, it looks kinda wonky in the photo. It was too cold outside to fluff a lot last night.

Decorating the porch for Christmas


I’m not thrilled with the wreath I currently have up. I normally hang a live wreath, much prefer those. I thought I’d try this wreath sent to me by Martha Stewart many years ago, but I’m not loving it with my ornament-covered garland. It’s just too much having them together. I’ll purchase a pretty live wreath in the next few days and will share a photo of the porch with the garland lit up real soon.

Oranment embellished garland around a front door


Where Did You Get That Lamp?

A few days ago when I posted this photo, several folks asked about the lamp in my kitchen and where I purchased it. I love, love, love having a lamp in the kitchen. I have it on a timer so it automatically comes on every evening around the time it begins getting dark outside. It’s so nice to come downstairs at night and walk into a glowing kitchen. If you’ve been reading BNOTP for very long, you know I’m a lamp fiend! If I can squeeze a lamp into a corner somewhere, I will!

To answer the question several folks had about where this lamp is from, I purchased it in HomeGoods a few years back after seeing one in Linda’s beautiful 3-season porch. (See that previous post here: Decorate the Porch in Tartan for Christmas.)

Pottery Barn Inspired Christmas Garland Tutorial


I looked online to see if someone has it available this year. I didn’t find the exact same lamp but I did find another that would be really cute to have out for the holidays. You’ll find this lamp available here: Lamp.

Deer Lamp with Tartan Shade


Another project I started mid-garland yesterday was getting the tree up. I found this tree last year when the lights on my old one gave up the ghost and were un-fixable after many futile hours of trying.

I made myself add the “cranberry” bead garland to it last night before going to bed. That’s the one part I never look forward to when decorating the tree. I’m so particular about how it looks, I think I put too much pressure on myself!

I stopped hanging garland when I got to the very top and found a stink bug perched on one of the limbs. I tried to knock him into a Tupperware container to take him outside, but I have no idea what happened to him because he wasn’t inside the container when I looked. Maybe he was already dead and is now somewhere down inside my tree. That’s a lovely thought.

This morning, with daylight to aid me, I finished hanging the last of the cranberry bead garland while keeping a wary eye out for stink bugs along the way. If you’re looking for a beautiful tree, this one is available again this year. I just discovered they are still selling it like mine with all white lights HERE, or you can get it with dual white and color lights here: Christmas Tree.

I have one little present under the tree so far…

Red Wood Beads on Christmas tree


…a sweet gift from my camel-riding buddy, Teresa. 🙂

Silly Camel, Giza Plateau


I’ll get the ornaments on it today, looking forward to that part! They are all currently on the sofa waiting to be hung. When I share the tree in a day or two, if you see a stink bug on a limb somewhere, just consider him one of the ornaments. Ha!

Ornaments in boxes


Carnage in the Upstairs Family Room

This is how my upstairs family room currently looks…packages are everywhere! Usually, you only see the presents once they are lovingly wrapped and under the tree. This is the chaos that goes on ahead of that! lol

There are more boxes on the window seat behind me in this room and the big sledding disks I shared HERE are propped again the armoire, waiting to be wrapped. I’ll spare you the full carnage that’s taking place in this room, this picture is enough craziness for now! 😉

I’m waiting on some tissue paper I ordered to use inside all the boxes. If you need white tissue paper, I found a good deal here with good reviews: White Tissue Paper for Gift Wrapping. Oh, I just noticed they have it in red and green, too. Wish I had ordered that! I think I’ll order it, as well.

Gift Wrapping needing to be done


Ring Doorbell Update

So, about that Ring doorbell post I promised you: Comcast cable is coming out tomorrow to check my high-speed internet. When they look at my modem/router in their system, the one they’ve provided me, they are seeing the signal drop in and out. That may explain the issue I’m having with the video sometimes working for the Ring doorbell, and sometimes not.

If whatever they do tomorrow doesn’t fix it, I have a WiFi signal extender arriving today that may take care of the issue. Apparently, there can be issues with how the Ring system works if your modem is more than 25 feet away from the doorbell. But since mine works part of the time, that may not be the issue.

I’ll share more about that when I share the install process in an upcoming post. So far, I’m glad I purchased the Ring doorbell and I think I’ll be able to get it working as it’s intended soon. Will let ya know more since I know so many of you have expressed interest in the Ring.

Ring Door Bell Installed


Okay, I’m off to decorate the tree and hunt for wayward stink bugs.

Psst: I’m working on a table for Tablescape Thursday, looking forward to sharing it on Thursday!

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  1. The garland look so full and beautiful. Great job!

  2. Love the garland Susan!…I remember your porch one year looking like the cover of the Pottery Barn catalog!….those Blackout Buddies certainly have come in handy…our power seems to go out way to often…so in the next house, we will have an whole house generator.

    • Thanks, Shirley! I should have had the lights around the column last year when we got all that insane snow. lol
      That’s an awesome idea about the whole-house generator!

  3. That really is a beautiful tree…listen, did you have any problems with lights not turning on….reading reviews…this tree appears to be perfect my the location I have…nite, nite, don’t let the stink bugs…well, you know…they don’t bite!! franki

    • I saw those reviews just now when I visited the site to get the link for the tree. I didn’t have any problems this year when I put mine up, each section of the tree lit right up as I put it together. I know that tree sold out last year so it was really popular. I’m hoping only a very few folks experienced issues and maybe those are the ones leaving the negative reviews. I would be very upset if mine had not lit up this year, but it worked great.

  4. Susan, your stink bug comments had me laughing so much. I can totally relate to your situation since I fought them constantly in my screened porch this summer. They are such a nuisance!!
    Your tree looks lovely already and I know the finished tree will be divine. I sincerely hope you have a wonderful Christmas!

    • Sandra D in Joliet says

      What was it with the stink bugs-I had an awful time with them too. To be honest they may have been squash bugs because I had to dig up and throw my zucchini in a garbage bag. After that I seen similar bugs on my sunflower leaves, hanging out in the shed, on the siding and inside the house! So I suspect those were stink bugs but they look so similar, maybe I had issues with both…..just a royal pain whatever.

    • I always get them every year on the screened porch, too. I keep the doors open to the porch so they find their way in occasionally. I store my tree in the garage covered with one of the huge tree bags. I guess he got on it when it was in the garage. He must have found a gap/hole in the bag. I just googled squash bug, and this one was definitely a stink bug. This one may have been deceased, not sure. I just don’t want him munching on any fabrics in my house.

  5. Joyce Howe says

    I’m right there with you! Decided since I was going to be gone I would just not decorate much this year. I really miss it, but can’t get it all done. I love your door garland. Deep breaths and it will all get done.

  6. Susan, Your garland looks great. You have so much patience.

    I had a stink bug in the house the other day for the first time that I remember.

    I ordered a red and black vintage truck after reading your post and bought some Christmas bottle trees to decorate my grandson’s packages as you featured. I think they will love them. So glad you shared that. It was too late to order the cute wrapping paper. We are exchanging gifts this weekend since our kids will be going to Germany for Christmas.
    Checking out the Blackout Buddy

    • It was so funny last year seeing the boys faces when they saw the packages. We had to hide them until Christmas morning because we knew they wouldn’t be able to leave them alone with the cars on top. 🙂 Hope your grandson loves them, Bonnie!

  7. Barbara haunton says

    Those boxes look familiar, and I do feel better. My plates are spinning too, and every year I find a few left over hiding in my closets.
    “How did I forget that!?”

    • lol Yup, I’ve been saving all my Amazon boxes and other boxes the last few weeks. Only need one or two more small boxes and I think I have it all covered.

  8. Oh that stinkin’ stink bug would haunt me forever! I hope you find the body at some point–soon. If you do, let us all know 😀 I don’t see any wonkiness in the garland…It just looks great!

    • lol Well, I can tell you he didn’t fall all the way down through the tree because he wasn’t on the floor when I put the tree skirt under the tree. I was just reading about them online and they feed on leaves/foliage. He must have been one very disappointed stink bug when he tried to eat those artificial tree needles.

  9. I feel so much better that you are not totally up to speed. I live in a small village and always put garland, lights and red bows on my picket fence. Not done yet and this year, for the first time, there is a Santa Claus parade passing by my home. Yikes, temp is dropping, and I must get moving. So love your posts and follow you and your travels. Somehow it all gets finished.

    • Oh my gosh, isn’t that the way it always goes. Mary, if I lived near you, I would come over and help you get that fence all ready. I bet it looks beautiful when it’s done! Yes, we will get it all done, then sit back and sip some hot cocoa and enjoy!

  10. When we lived in Woodstock, GA our electricity went out and the service men came out. It turned out the green box in the yard had become the home for a mound of fire ants and they were chewing the aluminum/copper wires.

    • Wow, that’s amazing they could do that! Unbelievable! I wanted so badly to walk out into the yard and ask what caused the outage but figured they didn’t need the distraction. They were moving with a purpose. They got the lights on quickly once I heard the truck lumbering down the street.

  11. Victoria Morgan says

    Thank you so much! I don’t feel so bad now. Those pictures make my heart glad. I’ve still got time. LOVE the tree in the den, even with one present. So simple. I defer to “Shakespeare in Love” ‘s Geoffrey Rush’s character. Asked “How”? How will it get done”, he replied “it’s a mystery”. And indeed it is, but it will. Merry Christmas and may you be blessed with what you give us each and every month. Thank you!

    • I keep trying to remind myself that it’s just December 4th. Yes, we will definitely get it all done. 🙂 Thanks, Victoria…appreciate that so much!

  12. Love your blog and get so many great ideas and tips. Started on my porch this week-end (live in upstate SC) and by the time I finished cleaning mildew and spider webs off everything, I gave up and stopped. Not Christmas — but do you have something you use on our southern mildew that really works. You always seem to know the best stuff to use so I’m hoping you can give me another of your great tips!

    • Thanks, Brenda! I use Spray and Forget on my front steps that mildew terribly with all the rain we get. Lately, I’m having a problem with my columns out front. I think that’s because it’s time they were repainted. The house is still fine, it’s just the columns. I had hoped to get them pressure washed this fall and repainted, but the painter I wanted to use was booked up with work when I got back from Egypt. So looks like that will be a spring job, now. I don’t think I would use spray and forget all over a porch, though. I think of it more as a treatment for problem areas. I also spray it on the lower section of the wood pieces on either side of my front door. For some reason that one area has always been prone to mildew…but now when I spray it. I wish we weren’t getting so much rain…wish I could send some of it to the areas of our country that really need it.

  13. I don’t have a spare bedroom, but my enclosed porch is doing a good job of impersonating your family room of boxes. Your tree is lovely, and the garland looks great.

    • I will feel much better when they are all wrapped and under the tree. I’m glad I have a room that I can throw everything in this time of year. I know you feel the same way about your porch! 🙂

  14. I will share this tip that you may already know. If you want a really thick and full garland, just buy two and take some of the greenery pieces and wrap them around each other. You will be then have two strips wrapped or wired together. I have done this to several different ones for my mantel. As I have a blue one and a bronze and then I did a red and white one. Makes all the difference in appearances.
    Just a thought.

    • Great tip, Robin. I’ve seen that done before and do like it. In the past, I’ve taken inexpensive faux garland and inserted greenery like magnolia leaves to beef it up, too.

  15. Your garland turned out Gorgeous, and I think a fresh wreath will be perfect. And, always just have to say—it gets worse before it gets better, lol. Same thing here—trying to find the garland and lights for the kitchen since that has to go up first…may just go buy new at this point! I may have chucked it all last year-but I’m not sure…LOL.

    • Exactly! That’s what I was telling myself a few days ago as I was getting everything out and couldn’t even walk in that room. It’s gradually improving. Sandi, I do the same thing…start looking for something, then can’t remember if I donated it or not. I’ve really weaned out so much of what I don’t use anymore. I may eventually move all my decorations to the basement where I would have more room to get better organized than inside the little crawl space where I store everything now. Would love to have it all in bins and labeled on shelves. Another project for another day! 🙂 Good luck with your decorating this year. Hope you find that garland and lights!

  16. Sandra D in Joliet says

    Have you always been like that? Starting numerous projects at once? Because I’m the same way now but I used to plow through and finish one thin g before starting another. As I got into my late 40’s or 50’s I changed. I swear I have Adult attention deficit now. It’s definitely not fun! Many times we hear a big pop and the lights go out (we can’t hear it in the winter with doors/windows shut) and we know it’s the generator way up on a pole. The electric company comes out and they use the long long pole to reset a button or something and voila…we got lights again. I know some places have their cables underground so not sure how far under it goes. I worked for the phone company and we were always sending our guys out to investigate outages and in the cold weather a lot of the outages were due to rodents, mice, squirrels, what have you chewing on the wires while making their nests. The most memorable outage was the guys arriving to see all these cables hanging down on a major street and all kinds of circus paraphernalia lying about. They checked area businesses and they were told a circus was in town and left that day. Apparently an elephant somehow tore down the cables while walking through. I sure they checked to see the circus name on permits so they could charge them for damages. I read an interesting story last winter and did I call to see if I’m covered under my extended auto warranty? No. Anyway, squirrels made a nest under the hood of this guy’s car and made a mess of the wires, chewing through them and such. They told him it wasn’t covered but he was told the plastics covering the wire is made of a soy based compound and that makes it tempting to the little critters. I was going to call and ask if this is true. If it is, not a good thing. Have you ever heard of such?

    • I have heard of animals chewing through stuff under the hood of cars. I think I had that happened to one of my cars years ago. Seems like they chewed through something that went to the windshield washer fluid and it wouldn’t work anymore. Amazing all the damage they can do!
      Can’t remember when I started jumping around like that. I’m not really that way on new projects that hold my attention, but when it’s something that’s monotonous and takes a long time, like wiring ornaments onto garland, I get bored and have to change to something else for a while. Then usually I’m ready to go back and finish up.

  17. Good grief, Susan … my office looks like that every day! 😀 Your porch is always so lovely and I think your garland is beautiful, not wonky at all. I’m not sure what a stink bug looks like (and not sure I want to know) but I’m sure it is less terrifying than the turkey-sized spiders that invade my home. Gotta love living in a rainforest! Wishing you a Christmas filled with peace and joy.

    • lol Mine can definitely get that way from time to time! I didn’t know what they were until I started seeing them on my porch and I think a BNOTP reader told me what they were called. They love screened porches!
      Yeah, I would have freaked out if that had been a giant spider! Yikes!
      Thanks, Nancy! Merry Christmas to you and your family!

  18. Love the garland! You do such a fabulous job decorating.
    I also enjoyed seeing Linda’s porch decorated with tartan for Christmas. I loved her tartan plaid Christmas ornaments. Do you have any idea where she purchased them?
    Have a wonderful holiday season and thanks for all your decorating inspiration!

    • I’m not sure, but I bet it was HomeGoods are Target. I always see a lot of tartan ornaments in Target each year…and I often buy ornaments there. I’ll see if I can email her and find out, Elaine.

  19. Donna zoltanski says

    Oh how I wish I had your energy! I always admire all the effort you put into making your House beautiful…..it should be on the cover of a magazine! Garland looks gorgeous! Chaos is a good thing, keeps us moving and is challenging! I love to see pretty wrapped presents tied with plaid ribbons under the tree. Get some rest….tomorrow is another day!

  20. Just when I was thinking you are Wonder Woman! Lol, thanks for sharing the messy part and the bug problem. What a relief to see you have chaos during the decorating process! Nice to know I’m not the only one. The garland on the porch is really beautiful and your trim on your tree is perfectly swagged. I love those night lights too. After one of your posts, I bought them for my house and for my granddaughter’s house. Thanks for working out the bugs with the doorbell. I have been considering getting one and it helps to get your feedback. Funny you said you switch projects before you finish one. I’m like the cat that is distracted by the laser light and jumps around chasing the light spot. I can start a chore and go to another room to put something away then see something there I need to work on completely forgetting the first. Going from one new job to another can go on and on with nothing finished until I’m too tired to care. At least it is just the first week of December and you’ll have everything perfect by next week.

  21. Jean Sprimont says

    Found your lamp on double discount for $14.00 ($13,99) after the season and have enjoyed it in my craft room.
    Do question your tissue paper recommendation….100 sheets for $9.99? This is the reverse of a bargain. Happy decorating.

    • Okay, just looked it up: White tissue at the Hallmark store online is $1.99 for 10 sheets, which would be $20 for 100 sheets. So that price is 50% off. I’m sure you can find tissue elsewhere for less, but not sure it would be the same quality.

  22. Looks just lovely! Merry Christmas

  23. Wow Susan, you have been busy! I always love reading your blogs each day. The garland came out beautiful (I noticed the woodwick candle burning during your black-out). I’m currently using my dining room as my staging area. My OCD is starting to get to me, so I will be trying to finish up in there shortly. Everyone has to have a place to store/stage/work during the holidays. I just keep telling myself it’s temporary. You made me laugh with the stink bug comments. You are too funny! Looking forward to seeing the finished tree, I know it will look beautiful!

  24. I wish you could see my home office right now: Things are stacked so high, there is an avalanche about to happen if I don’t start wrapping gifts! My 4 year old granddaughter is coming over today (hadn’t planned on it!), so I’ll have to cover everything with a huge blanket and hope for the best!! I know it will all get done, but I’ve been waking up at 5 a.m. with butterflies. If I just make lists, I feel slightly more in control, but I sure wish some of Santa’s helpers would show up!! Your new garland is spectacular and really mirrors the inspiration photo you shared. Bravo!! Have a wonderful Christmas season, Susan!!
    Rosie @ The Magic Hutch

  25. I’m sitting here with my lip puffed out. Last yr I loved your tree so much and tried to order but they were all gone and my name went on waiting list. Do this yr when I checked on it, they didn’t have the 7.5. Only 9. Kept going online checking and checking to finally find the one that the box said is just like yours. So sad when I put it up that it looked pitiful. Very skinny and just not full. Very uniformed with no lil branches sticking out like yours…I like a lil more natural unshaped tree. I went ahead and decorated but I’m just not happy with it all. To small for my room. I’m just wondering if it was the wrong tree put in box. So sad. And just too lazy to undecorate, return and find another
    Yours is just beautiful!’

  26. Oh….the whole house generator??? Best investment we’ve ever made! We have our real house, lakehouse and deer camp house all hooked up to one. The min electric goes out, it kicks on automatically and runs everything in house. 4000 sq ft, ac, freezers and every appliance in house. Our house is only one on this electric line (live way out in country away from everything) so we are always the last ones to get tended to by workers..since it’s only us.
    You should check into them. We’ve weathered hurricanes and ice storms where our electricity has been off for weeks at time and I never lose anything in freezers and go on about our daily lives!

  27. Susan, Ring requires access to your internet service- Luckily We have two “lines” on our internet so we could put our Ring on the second one, instead of giving Ring access to all our main internet transactions. You may want to check to see if you have a second “internet line” as part of your subscription. (I’m not exactly clear on where the second line could be). People who get smart refrigerators, etc. have no idea that all their internet info is being accessed if on the same line.

    • Kay, did you sign up for the plan where they save the videos? It’s $60 per year, I believe. The reason I ask is I haven’t signed up for that yet, though I’m thinking about it. It’s my understanding they can’t access the system right now since I haven’t signed up.
      The reason I was thinking that is because when I called Ring to troubleshoot the problems I was having with the signal dropping, the Ring customer service guy texted me a 5 digit code that I had to read out to him. He said the only way he could access the system to troubleshoot it was with that code. I got the impression had no idea what the code number were, maybe they were auto-generated by his system.
      At one point during the call when we had been working on the problem for a while, I asked if he could see me. I was standing on the porch and I was curious if he could see m through the camera. He said, No…they could only see video if I gave them permission. I didn’t ask how I would do that. Apparently, when I gave him the 5 digit code that I had received in a text, it only gave him access to the device to see read “device health” and other stuff like that.
      So, I’m not sure totally how all that works, but it sounded like they can’t access even the Ring unit without a code, I guess that’s to keep from being accused or sued for “stealing someone’s info/data/etc… over the system. I’ll have to ask them more about it if I decide to sign up for the plan where they save the videos each year. Right now they are all being saved on my phone, I think…but not sure. I’ll definitely ask about that. Thanks for that info!

    • Kay, actually the plan where they save the videos is $30 per year. I just signed up for it a few nights ago.

  28. Looks like my studio at the moment Mmmmmmmmmm I know it’s in here somewhere but we’re, I think there should be a gaget like when looking for your phone use someone else one to ring for yours ! When you want it no where can be found but when not wanted you fall over it ! Ha ha well good luck to sorting it out.

  29. Deena Salvatore says

    Susan, girlfriend, you are so darned funny! A stink bug on the limb of your Christmas tree and your comment “lovely”. I laughed out loud. We have all been there. This is why we love you. You are truly one of us. Merry tree decorating! Best, Deena

  30. Selma Kessler says

    Susan, it is so heartening to see that you deal with the same pandemonium we all do this time of year! I have to say that your home is lovely regardless of the chaos, though. I notice you even have beautiful storage boxes for your ornaments! And the garland you put together is perfect! I see why you want to change out your MS wreath on your door, HOWEVER, if you feel like parting with that wreath, please let me know! It is perfect with my Christmas color scheme. 🙂 I read your post about the camera covers, too, and your son needs to take back his eye rolls. He has a pretty savvy mom! Wishing you abundant joy this season!

  31. Susan, I like that you showed the ‘chaos’ as you called it, lol. These days, so much of life seems ‘staged.’ It presents a false front and I think, sometimes gives people a skewed view of the world and unrealistic expectations – which inevitably lead to unhappiness. There is nothing wrong with being real about life. And I love that one little package under the tree. 😀

  32. Elizabeth Speicher says

    Dear Susan,

    I wanted to let you know that once again one of your recommendations is a winner. I’m still loving the stainless steel cleaner and I’m over the moon with the eye-vacuum in my laundry room/litter box area – and today I have ordered the Home Depot Christmas tree. Was kicking myself for not purchasing it last year and your photos this year made me super miserable until I read further and discovered that it was again available. Just had to do a little budget fussing and I hit the Pay pal button this morning. Seriously these folks need to put you on the payroll.
    All your preparations look amazing and all your hard work always pays off beautifully. The hubbub of decorating is half the fun of the holidays – its the packing up that I dread. But honestly I love uncovering an ornament or decoration that I had half forgotten – like rediscovering an old friend- so many good memories.

    Thanks for the tree recommendation and Merry Christmas!

    Elizabeth Speicher

  33. Terri Santiago says

    Hi Susan
    Merry Christmas
    I was wondering how tall with shade is the lamp on your kitchen counter?
    I ordered the deer lamp from Pier One and the antlers arrived all broken.
    Now I see they are out of them.
    Oh darn.

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