Sunday, December 20, 2009

It’s Beginning to Smell a lot like Christmas Around Here!

Ahhhh!  School ended yesterday afternoon after a long day of volunteering at Immaculate Conception’s Annual Soup and Cinnamon Rolls Christmas Luncheon.  It’s so much fun to see all the kids come in all dressed up in their Christmas clothes after Mass with their families, and spying Santa in the corner of the room with a look of true joy on their faces…well, most of them, anyway!   It just really puts you in the mood to get all of the Christmas duties completed so you can spend more time with your kids during the two weeks off with them. 

Yeah-that togetherness thing isn’t working out so well at our house today.  All the boys want to do is hang out and play with their stuff after a week of quizzes, tests and final exams and I don’t blame them.  So, I decided that because it was such a gray day outside, it was officially an “All day Jammie Day” at our house…and we’re sticking to it!  I have been playing carols on ITunes all day and have been baking our family’s  favorite holiday biscotti.  We lit our spruce candle in the den to make it smell like we have a real tree in the house and it does smell good around here!  I love the house to feel warm and homey for Christmas.

So, here’s Christmas as I see it around the house this year.  I like to change things up just a little every year and this year I chose to add more of my beloved black and white  paired with pear green at the front door with new ribbon that I got for 50% off at my good ‘ol Hobby Lobby.  I hung my garland around the door again this year and changed out the wreath with old red balls that I painted with zebra stripes.  


Our entry is different this year.  I wanted to make sure that it echoes what the Christmas season is all about…the birth of our Savior King.  I pulled out some gold silk and started pulling all my stuff together.  It’s either Godly or “gaudy,”  but I like it.  It looks pretty when all lit at night and the different shades of gold and silver look is HE!

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My carnation topiary above…and silver bottle brush trees belowDec20090156 Dec20090152Dec20090140

I keep a smaller tree in the foyer with ornaments the boys have made or given throughout the years and it sits in an urn.  I keep our children’s Christmas books in a painted terra cotta planter.   Ever by my side or under my feet is Aengus.Dec20090146

I changed the ribbon on the tree this year and added a tone on tone green stripped ribbon and a vibrant red orange sheer ribbon to coordinate with the new upholstery in the room.  To pull in the browns in the room, I fluffed up the top of the tree with pheasant feathers and shorter bright red feathers along with the gold branches from last year.  The boys all made fun of it…and now have to live with it!  The nativity scene is on the shelf behind the tree.


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Santas are all over the place-from the bench, to the hearth, to the mantel.   This year I brought in the lanterns and put two big ones in there.

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I miss “House of  Hatten” Christmas ornaments like the one above and especially the ones designed by Denise Calla.  They are earthy, traditional and whimsical all at the same time.  She retired a few years ago and many companies have tried to copy her work.  My biggest piece is the Santa below standing on the candlestick.


The boys love the Santa on the sleigh.



Why, hello little pup…haven’t seen you in a few seconds.   Here are the rest of the bottle brush trees that I bleached, dyed and decorated in colors harmonious to the room.   I love the look of antiqued glitter and found this glittered snowman several years ago.  The gold glass ornament hanging on the lamp I made by making hot glue dots on the ball and then painted them black.

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Here’s the other side of the room.

Dec20090126 Close ups…I love my unusual nativity scene here…I bought the set in Rome (Fontanini) and found the “stable” here in town.  Baby Jesus and the wise men are waiting in the wings…on the other side of the bookcase.Dec20090128

The magic of our tree are the wonderful felt and beaded ornaments John’s grandmother made many years ago.  Each one hand sewn, beaded and sequined with love.

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  And what to my wondering eyes should appear but those pesky plastic men and complete with landing gear!  I made a deal with Michael to keep the army men and Star Wars Lego stuff out of sight and he stuck to it!!!

Come see what’s baking in the kitchen…it’s Holiday Biscotti and I give this to friends every year.  It takes a while to prepare, but it’s worth it.  The glass cloche with the vintage glass balls is new to the kitchen.


This year I added poly deco mesh and ribbon to the top of the English cupboard to add some color


and I displayed all of my miniature nativity scenes on it.  Some of these are from my childhood, from my travels and from family and are wonderful treasures.  The largest in the middle was the first nativity set I bought when we got married a million years ago.

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And here are two more of my wonderful “House of Hatten” St. Nicholases.   I really love silver pieces and keep the kid’s baby cups here all year long.  You never know how I will use them to decorate but they always look to pretty.


Aren’t these girls wonderful?  My parents gave me the two Vintage Erzgebirge German ornaments for Christmas right after I graduated from college.  I had to work over Christmas my first year in New Orleans at the Hilton Hotel to check in the University of Nebraska football team on Christmas night to start practicing for the Sugar Bowl the next morning.  I had a tree and these two precious ornaments to make it all right!Dec20090062



Mom gave us the little snowmen with all of our names on them.  Too cute!


We hang our cards on the kitchen doorways so we can see them often.   I love my kitchen tree…I keep ornaments from my childhood on here and a few others.


I love these little vintage elves…my Mom used to display them frolicking on a holly bough on our mantel and they looked so cute.

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I have a nice collection of vintage glass balls  and prominently displayed them in my foyer last year.  I chose to use just a few this year and these I bought at an antiques store about twenty years ago.  Most of the rest of the vintage glass came from my parent’s collection.

Oh yes, the Advent wreath…in an urn, naturally!


The dining room sparkles this year with black, white, green gold and silver.  Nothing is new except for that bargain ribbon that you see everywhere…kind of went crazy with it, hated it,  and then just left it.



I took a paint pen to the candles so they could get in on the action with polka dots.

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I stitched up these pillow cases and then painted them with names for my friend Nicole to give as Christmas presents.  Very girly and inspired by “Eloise at the Plaza” book.


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