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In With the New: Thoughts and Hopes For the New Year And a Super-Easy Mardi Gras Centerpiece

Friday, January 6, 2023


It's January 6th, so Happy Epiphany, My Lovelies!  Today our Eastern Orthodox brothers and sisters in Christ celebrate Christmas.  Today also marks the beginning of the Mardi Gras Season.  

Do you like my blog's makeover?  I hope you do, and that it's easier for you to navigate and read.

I am enjoying the New Year so about you?  I'm looking forward to participating in new experiences (God willing), and getting involved in organizations that impact our nation for good, like DAR.  

Yesterday and today I put away all our Christmas decor with the exception of a few red things I like to leave out through Valentine's Day.   I did move our village tea set to the breakfast room, and although the little houses are decorated for Christmas, I think I'll leave them out for us to enjoy a little longer.  I like the rooftop lids because they keep my hot drinks warm.

I replaced the green candle with a red one after I took this photo.

Most of our poinsettias are sill looking great!  I don't have the heart to throw them out yet.

I'm beginning to decorate for Valentine's Day and Mardi Gras.  I have also put put a few snowy scenes and snowballs around the house, like this snowball garland:

I also like decorating with white flowers during winter.

I haven't put together a Mardi Gras tablescape yet, but I did make a super-easy Mardi Gras centerpiece.  I used primroses (my local nursery is full of them).  I chose yellow and purple because Mardi Gras colors are gold, purple, and green.

You can keep the primroses in their nursery pots and slip them into a container, like the little vine and moss market bag, above.  Or you can place them in plain terracotta pots with saucers and line a few down the middle of a table runner.

The colors are perfect for Mardi Gras.  

Because today is the first official day of the Mardi Gras season, King Cakes are back in stores and bakeries.  

I found the cutest book about finding happiness throughout the year: The Happiness Year by Tara Ward.   I like it because there are nature lessons in it and unique ideas for seasonal activities.

I'm starting with winter, of course, and it's the last chapter of the book.
If I try any of the activities from the book I'll share them here on the blog or on Instagram

Speaking of Instagram:  If you have an account, would you please follow me, and I'll follow you back!  My Instagram follow button is on the righthand footer at the bottom of my blog.

I enjoy learning new things, and recently I learned that there are two main types of colored pencils:  waxed based and oil based.  I had no idea!  I have always drawn with Prismacolor Colored Pencils, and I do like them.  They are very user friendly and blend beautifully.  However, since they are wax based, there is a wax "bloom" that leaves a waxy film over drawings.  This is especially noticeable when there are dark colors used on a drawing.

I have been playing around with oil based colored pencils, and I am loving them even though they took some getting used to.  Below is a drawing of a rose I drew using oil based colored pencils.

This rose was drawn on Strathmore Colored Pencil Paper with Lyra Rembrandt Polycolor oil-based pencils. 
The dark areas on the stems, leaves, and petals will remain dark without the wax bloom.
Mr. Bookish bought me a very large set of these pencils for Christmas, and I am so grateful for his generous gift.  He is very encouraging, and wants me to continue taking art classes and perhaps even taking a couple of workshops this year.

I'm very happy to report that art class is so much fun with everyone back in person.  I am currently working through a realism book entitled The Realism Challenge by Mark Crilley.  Mark has a popular YouTube channel featuring videos of how he recreates items through his drawings.

On the cover, the real items are on the left, and his drawings are on the right.

This is the first challenge in the book: a piece of paper.
The real paper is on the left, and Mark's drawing is on the right.  Mine is on the Strathmore colored pencil paper.

I drew this picture with Faber-Castell colored pencils.
I have a small set I like to take to class.

Do you have a word of the year?  Here is mine:

There are many things I want to explore in 2023.
Stay tuned!

If you do have a word of the year or maybe a New Year's resolution, please share in comments!

Until next time...

Ricki Jill


  1. Wow! Speaking of realism, that rose!! I hope you'll explore much more of your art talent this year because I am amazed by it. I love your mossy basket of Mardi Gras flowers, perfect. I like white flowers in winter also, and still have poinsettias also. The Happiness Year book looks very inviting, and looks as though it would make a great gift. Happy weekend.

  2. I love to draw with colored pencils too, so relaxing! Your drawings are fantastic, especially the piece of paper! So glad you are able to be out and about now, enjoying the things you love and exploring!

  3. You have such a talent with your artsy self. I love that rose. So beautiful and realism is spot on. Your centerpiece is so pretty. I love your new blog look too. Have a great weekend. xoxo Kris

  4. Hi, oh my goodness, that rose!!!! I am planning to have a word for 2023, my word for 2022 was SUNSHINE.
    I like the new look of the blog. :-)

  5. First of all. I love your little house tea set, Ricki Jill. Your poinsettia looks great; mine still looks good, too. I’m so impressed with your rose and your paper drawing. How exciting to EXPLORE this year. It’s hard for me to choose one word, but JOY keeps popping up in my head.
    P. S. The primroses are so cheery!

  6. I am always blown away by your art talent! I am planning to have a word for 2023, and I like your choice of EXPLORE.

  7. Oh my goodness that tea set is the cutest. I would leave it out all year long. I love your word for the year. I haven't chosen one, but now I think I may!


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I'm Ricki Jill. Welcome! I'm honored that you're reading my blog. I enjoy sharing my creative lifestyle @ The Bookish Dilettante. For more information about my blog, please read the Start Here page. Thank-you for stopping by, and I hope you'll consider following me via email.

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