Friday, January 3, 2014

Christmas Past

Chris and Dale's Christmas Tree

I think I'm sad that the Christmas celebration is ending this year.  For several reasons it has been particularly sweet this year.   Tomorrow at our house I'll reluctantly start the take down.  This year Christmas was just particularly spiritual for me.  I tried to think of what made it different.  One thing is I tried staying out of the world as much as possible.  I did not go to the mall.  I only shopped a few times.

I spent my time doing things I truly enjoy like writing our Christmas Blog and doing a life history for Jim's side of the family of their great grandmother.   We studied, we prayed, we pondered the miracle of the birth of Christ.  We enjoyed a nice quiet dinner with my brother, Steve, and our cousins from Davis.  Sadly Emily was ill and could not come and my other brother, Gary, was in Hawaii with his family.  We went out to Scott's in Walnut Creek, so no one had to cook.  It was divine.  We found out we have a brand new cousin that is 68 years old and has been looking for his birth family for 35 years.  It was the year of the cousins...a really special time of increased love, connecting and reconnecting, with our cousins.

I watched nearly all of our Christmas movies which meant a lot of home evenings to enjoy the decorations.  Getting everything out and up took more energy than I really had but was worth it in the end.  I open the first box and then I get excited about it all every single year.  We originally had a lot of plans to go places and do things, but instead we stayed home more and we only attended the Christmas gatherings with family and friends.  We slowed it way down and that was key.   We had one small dinner party for a few good friends we hadn't seen in a while, and we paced ourselves.  We had a Christmas brunch and invited friends who had never been here before along with Patrick and Jim's mom and our two cute ward missionaries.  Both of them new missionaries and their first Christmas away from home.  We tried to make it special for them.  We gave them each a yellow and blue tie~different of course.  (My personal feeling is every good looking man needs a yellow print tie of some kind.)  One of them got a yellow and blue diagonally striped tie, the other blue and yellow tiny checks.  The cute thing is they both wore them last Sunday, so they looked just a little like fraternal twins.  The whole season was just really nice.

I think most of us feel the let down after Christmas...even though we are often done with the hustle and bustle and crazy pace of cramming all of our socializing into three or four weeks of the year. Still, there is something a little disheartening about removing the beautiful colors of Christmas from our homes.  I find that once you take away the red...things looks dreary until we adjust to it.

Several people have asked me to do a post on some of the decor in our house this year.  I usually do a post on it for our family's electronic Christmas Card but this year I didn't.  But we all like traditions and apparently this is one I should include even though I cannot imagine how to keep it interesting being in the same house with a lot of the same decor for many years.  But here goes.

A part of our tree this year

First, let's talk Christmas Trees.  I love them.  The one at the top of the post is going to be my inspiration for next year.  When our children were little we would go out and cut down a tree.  That was such a fun thing to do.  The smell of the fresh pine in the house is so lovely.  The optimum word there is "fresh." I started to not enjoy finding pine needles around the baseboards for months as though they sprouted from the carpet like sharp blades of grass.  Then there was the worry of fires and the fact that our cat found it to be a watering hole, that started steering us to try different things.

I loved it when we went through a phase of flocked tress.  Truth be told, I adored those beautiful snowy trees.  They were gorgeous like no others, and they didn't need to be put on a stand, and they didn't need watering and the flocking was a flame retardant and the cat left it alone.  Perfect.  Each year they got progressively more expensive until another alternative had to be sought.

We finally got an artificial tree.  I really fought it but relented.  They are convenient but just not quite the same.  We have had various ones including a couple of the pre-lit ones but ours died and for the last three years we did not have a tree due to traveling, etc.  So this year I bought one.  I bought a skinny one thinking it would give a feeling of more spaciousness which Jim wanted.  It's just OK, but leaves a lot to be desired.

So next year this one is going in another room and I am getting the kind I really want.  It may be fresh, even flocked and it will be a full tree.  I love a full tree, just can't do the tall skinny ones for the main tree in our house.  Our picture window is too big to sport a thin tree.  So the one above will be my guide and ours will be a little smaller but full.  The one place fatness is appreciated.

I had never taken a photo from this perspective before so thought I would try it.  This is from the library and Jim's office looking into the dining room.  I am still trying to get my colors right on the camera we have had for over a year.  I am not there yet but I am improving somewhat.  Jim taught me some tricks with the settings that helped me a lot just yesterday but too late for these photos.  Next year perfect tree, perfect photos is my goal.

This year I thought instead of just going room by room I would show you a few places and some of the new things I got this year.  I really do love Christmas and am starting to recycle a bunch of the things that I'll be passing along to someone in need.

 I always have a problem with the mantel.  This year I wanted to have some statement pieces that were larger and had some height.  I like a mantel with some variety in height, it can be a little more dramatic and not just a bunch of little stuff all in row.

Next year I am going back to a lighted garland on the mantel in addition to the accessories.  I try to not have to because they are so time consuming.  But it seems like it just needs the lights so I want to add that back into the mix again.  This post is becoming my notes for next year's decor!

The greenery here just needs some little 
white lights and it will be great!
The candle sticks are new this year.
I saw them and debated.

A better view of the wreath

The third time I returned to the shop the tall candle sticks were still there. I like to buy presents for others there, but this time I got these for us.  I figured it was meant to be.  The shop only carries one or two of most items.  So I gave another person the opportunity to buy them but they saved them for me!  I am glad they did.  They are perfect for the look I was going for with the varied heights.  The silver trees are mercury glass and glittered trees combined.  I think all of them have been given to us by friends who know I love mercury glass.  With one little glittery bird added right next to Santa I was done.

Well, that is until I went shopping with friends after Christmas.  We love to shop for vintage things that can only be found in our favorite place, A Room With A Past.  I have loved these vintage Victorian Christmas Stocking for years.  You usually see them at places like the Dickens Faire. They are made of a heavy tapestry, cut in a whimsical shape, quite large and simply fabulous.  They are decorative, not practical. I always like a little whimsey in a room, that way you can go fancy but it won't be stuffy.

It would cost a small fortune to fill one of these stockings and we don't do stockings for just the two of us anyway.  But they look great on the fireplace and would also be lovely as Christmas wall art. They are usually very pricey and the last time I saw them they were just a pipe dream.  But Room With a Past is my kind of place.  These were meant to be in our cottage.  Colors perfect, two....perfect, and half of a very reasonable price to begin with.  Still doing the happy dance over these for nine bucks each.  That is unbelievable!

They are just perfect with our colors, even the bricks. 
 Jim is so cute and gave me the big eye roll
 but is happy I love them so much!
His comment..."Aren't they a little big?"
I should have said...
"No bigger than your shop, Darling!"
I love this stage in life where we
 just want each other to be happy!

This big guy is a Santa we have had for at least 20 years! 

 I like him because he is large enough to just pair with a floral piece and the lamp with the red shade and the buffet is done.  Easy!  And he has such a jolly face!

China Cabinet

All set for a quiet dinner

This Santa is on top of our curio cabinet~he's new.
The picture behind him is a pen and ink 
sketch of the San Francisco skyline.

Dresser top with my partridge in a pear tree!

I didn't put a lighted table top tree in our bedroom this year but I should have.  I missed it being there.  No short cuts next year.  Next year should be very easy by comparison as I am really taking my time when putting things away this year and organizing them by rooms.  It is going to be so awesome to have more storage area of my very own soon.  I am going to organize it like I use to do the warehouse for our business.  Once it is perfectly organized it will cut my time in half to set up Christmas.  Woohoo!

I did put this fun sledding couple of kids in our room this year.  It is a glitter board from Moonlight and Roses but the glitter doesn't show up too much in the photo.  It reminds me of Holly and JD.

Just a little paper tree ornament,
It has the colors I like best in our room.

One shot of the Family Room
With the sun shining in brightly. 
I love it because it casts "diamonds"
all over the walls from the 
red cut glass container on the table.
Just a little magic for a lazy afternoon!

The Guest Room

The top of the Armoire with a picture 
of our kids with Santa many moons ago.
Clean linens and empty closet 
and armoire for our next guest~ our son, 
will be here in 12 days.

Kitchen Hearth

I found this sweet Angel last year
At Room With A Past
We kept her out all year and 
dubbed her our Guardian Angel.
The candle holder came from there too.

Speaking of Angels~My friend Maureen
M.A.D.E this for me this year!
I have thoroughly enjoyed this every 
single day and night since we got it.
I am going to keep it out all the time
 and just change it up for each season!
Keeper, thanks Reenie!

Thank You Room With A Past
For this fun big Santa.

And dare I say this...Room With A Past?
Love the shape and the colors and the size of it.  Kind of
small...just cottage size actually...$13.00-50% after Christmas!

Well, this could go on and on so I better just get busy putting it all away.  It is like moving without going anywhere.  Now if I had only taken pictures of the before so I knew where the regular accessories go.  Hmmm.  You know the feeling...we all do it.  Happy New Year to each of you!


Sister Susie Says said...

I know what you mean, I don't care to be out in the crowds in the shopping areas. I guess that's why I have started shopping on-line!

I love attending the different churches' presentations of the Nativity. One in particular is a church that has "stations" that small groups at a time go to, then move on to the next outside "real people" display.

Yes, I too like to watch the different Christmas shows on TV.

My favorite pictures are Santa on the Blue Jay then the stocking for "Bigfoot," ha!

Thank you for sharing a part of your Christmas.
Happy New Year to you and yours, Susan.

Barbara said...

Loved the tour, Bon. The stocking from RWAP looks great on the fireplace.

Happy New Year! See you soon.

The Hopkins said...

I just love your Christmas cottage - it makes me so happy. The new snowman is very cute! I just knew he belonged with you. Thanks for the fun! Hugs