Simple Touches

Linda  064Walking up to my friend Pam’s front door, I could almost smell and taste Christmas. I know that inside it will be cheerful and that she will have added her special creative touches to every room.

Christmas decorFirst thing I notice is her mantel (remember I have mantel envy) which is a repeat of the garland treatment at the front door.  In an understated way, it gives the room a perfect holiday feel.

Christmas decorNext, my eye is drawn to a table top where there is a wonderful painted gourd surrounded by a bowl of clementines and a vase of dried hydrangeas.  Again, so simple, effectively demonstrating that less is more.

Linda  059As we move to the kitchen where Pam is preparing for company, a little Christmas tree surrounded by packages stops me.  Somehow its smallness   seems so right.

Christmas tableThere’s never a time when Pam’s table is lacking, and her guests tonight are in for a treat. She has cleverly arranged an assortment of elements to create a centerpiece that is a winter potpourri.

tablescapeEach setting combines seasonal green, red and white,

tablescapecolors that are repeated differently in the table runner.

Christmas tableWhat I like about being in this home is that from the front door to the kitchen, everything ties together in a style that is most warm and cozy.  Even the color on the walls seems to say Merry Christmas!

Don’t you admire people who, without a lot of fuss, can make everything seem just right?  What a wonderful skill that is and this gal has it in spades!

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Lazy Decor

When it comes to holidays, any holiday, I’m not much for decorating.  I don’t know whether I’m lazy and don’t want to drag things out and then have to put them away or if it’s just not as much fun as it used to be when kids were around to get excited.  In any case, my efforts are fairly minimal.

bellsThis time of year I do get out a few of my favorite things.  Cranberry bells ring in the season,

Christmas decorand favorite books always find their way off the shelf.  I still read them aloud if only to myself.

Christmas decorHere and there are little vignettes

Christmas decorand there has to be a Santa or two just to make it seem like Christmas.

Christmas decorNo matter how little decorating I do, a few  nativities come out of their boxes.  I have quite a collection representing a variety of styles.

Christmas decorMy new favorite is this one that I found in a little shop in Yarmouth last summer when we boated to Nova Scotia.

Christmas decorI would love to know the person who spent hours constructing this marvelous set and give her a great big hug.

Christmas decorEach detail strikes me as a work of love whether its the use of textures

Christmas decor.or bold colors.  Quite honestly, if nothing else were out for the Christmas season, this nativity would be enough.  In fact, it just may stay out long past the holidays!

Christmas decorAs I wander from room to room, it dawns on me that the good side of this minimal  approach to decorating is that every piece seems important. 

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The Scoop

Mantel Envy

Christmas decorFor days I’ve been seeing great ideas for decorating mantels for the holidays, and I confess to having serious mantel envy.

Christmas decorI mean, who wouldn’t like to go all out and do something fun like this?   Such is not easy at my house.

Christmas decorYou see, my mantel is little more than a ledge, and the wall above it soars to a height of more than 20 feet.  Architecturally, it is dramatic but when it comes to decorating, the mantel is a real challenge.

christmas decorAfter unsuccessfully trying several ideas, my best effort used gold mesh scrunched up and tied with ribbon.

Christmas decorSince there’re no ends for it to hang off of, the mesh is anchored with a variety of glass finials and sparkly gold trees.  

Christmas decorFather Christmas becomes part of the mix and stands guard beneath the chimney waiting patiently to alert us to the sound of tiny hoofbeats on the roof.

Christmas decorAs I look down from above, I wonder if the trees might look better if the tapestry were taken down, but, hey, that involves an extension ladder and I’m not going there!  Maybe the easier solution would be to have something laying flatter on the ledge. 

I need help, so tell me, what would you do with this challenging mantel?

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Meeting the Challenge

Linda  069Oh, you say, this looks likes a Thanksgiving table.  Yes, it is, but I very much like the wood mixed with candles and pumpkins and thought with a few changes it would convert nicely to a Christmas table.

Christmas tableFor wood, mine is a candle mold, narrow but adequate enough to hold candles mixed with a variety of greenery and fun baubles.  Best of all, the centerpiece is one created with things I have on hand as I promised not to spend any money this year for new accessories.  I’m out of space to store another thing!

Christmas tableThe Christmas season wouldn’t be the same without pulling out the Spode china given to me oh so many years ago by Mother.  

Christmas tableIt is a most traditional pattern, but fun things can be added to bring it into a modern day setting. The flatware which I use again and again this time of year does just that.

Christmas tableAs much as I like napkin folding, this time napkins are held in holly berry napkin rings.  If you don’t use such things now, it’s a missed opportunity!

Christmas tableWith the addition of a green bowl from who knows where but perfect for a taste of the roasted butternut squash soup that will begin the meal and a popper for a little surprise, the setting is complete.

Christmas tableI appreciate the table that inspired this one to meet Cuisine Kathleen’s annual challenge to recreate a holiday table from an admired image.  Do check out the other clever and creative folks who have taken it on.

i so appreciate your visit and the comments you leave behind

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Ideas Aplenty

Christmas decorIf you want to get lots of ideas for holiday decor, drive around your neighborhood or go on a home tour to see what others are doing.  That’s what I did this weekend, and it was a real eye opener.  Some people must spend weeks readying their homes while others are happy with simpler statements.

WreathsWreaths, suspended on doors and sconces, are common to holiday decor.  Each one of these is different in style but share the use of natural elements.

GarlandsGarlands abound inside and out, and whether simple or fancy, they make such a statement about the home.

ChandeliersIn some homes, chandeliers become more than a source of light during the season.  I have none so it is fascinating to me to see how they transform into works of art.

As much as I appreciate the elaborate decorations, I must confess to being more drawn to those understated creations that I can actually imagine doing myself.

Christmas decor

What could be simpler than an evergreen surrounded by a few sprayed pine cones

Christmas decoror a container filled with flocked ones?

Christmas decorTrees, adorned only with white lights, add such friendly welcome to a porch (yes, those are azaleas blooming in December)

Christmas decoras do red ribboned reindeer bearing a load of poinsettias.

Christmas decorNo ordinary mailbox is this but it becomes part of the season festooned with red and green and with its backdrop of richly colored cyclamen.

Christmas decorNo holiday decor would be complete without nutcrackers

Christmas decorand Santas and oh what a treat it is to see them presented in such fun ways.

I can tell you that after seeing all this, I felt a real need to go home and decorate, but then I got to thinking about having to put stuff away after the holidays and thought maybe not!  Well, maybe a little…..

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WPC: Gone But Not Forgotten

familyThis time of year I think of my family: Daddy, Mother, my brother.  Each one has passed away, Daddy and my brother too soon, Mother in old age after struggling with pneumonia and dementia.

familyThere is joy and sadness in remembering them, and how I wish I knew more of each one’s story.  Stories don’t always seem too important until it’s too late to capture them and the tellers are gone but not forgotten.

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Moving On!

No sooner do we get through Thanksgiving than we have to move right into the holidays with an entirely different decor.  I know some of you are already ahead of the game, but I just can’t get started with Christmas until we’ve polished off the turkey!

Christmas tree 1For our first holiday table, I decided to get a little crafty and wrap cones with diminishing lengths of fabric cut on the bias, sewn together and finished with decorative stitching.  All done they are funky little trees in not so traditional colors that are better suited to our Houston home.  On the table, they are going to nestle on open weave muslin mimicking the softness of fresh fallen snow, not something we are likely to have!

Christmas tablePlaying off the black in one of the fabrics,  I’m using chargers so dark green they appear almost black,

Christmas tablea nice contrast for white plates.

Christmastable2Now comes the fun part.  I found stems and salad plates at Pier One that are not only playful but have similar off tones of red and green.

Christmas tableCranberry napkins trimmed in gold are gathered into napkin rings that remind of presents and ornaments.  So far so good, and the setting is complete except for the flatware.  

Christmas table3Deciding on flatware was a bit of a challenge, but I couldn’t resist using this bought last year at Ross.  Yes, it is the more traditional red and green, but it blends and adds an unexpected touch that I always like on a table.

Christmas tree 2The combination of color and texture on the table is satisfactory, but something’s missing.  The center is kinda blah with nothing but the muslin beneath the trees, and I kept scratching my head wondering how to give it a little pop.  A forgotten bag of ornaments provided just the right answer.

Christmas tableAll done, the table, with a fanciful flair in keeping with its surroundings, is ready for the first dinner of the season. 

Modani tableIf it were possible to have the perfect table for every tablescape, this time I’d replace my glass topped one with the Philippe design from Modani, a very fun line of modern furniture.  The style is modern without being too sleek, and the deep black tone is a great background for the colors I have used. Too, the legs remind me of icicles hanging from eaves.  Hey, you have to have let your inner child run away when you are creating!

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