Several years back, John insisted we should put up our Christmas tree on Thanksgiving evening. Prior to that the tree never went up before December 15 and took a week to put together, string lights and decorate and it came down December 26 and that was the end of that. Now we put it up Thanksgiving evening and take it down by December 31. We've really stretched out the enjoyment of the tree in our home and I for one appreciate it a great deal.
All this year I've actually planned how I would like for the house to look in the holidays. I've been happy with my farmhouse look overall and more and more I'm pulling in vintage elements and rustic pieces. That's exactly the sort of things I've pinned to my Holiday in the Country and Holiday Table boards, too.
Thursday, Thanksgiving Day, I went out to the shed to fetch my Christmas bins. I gave a good look around while I was out there and suddenly I had this vision of what my Christmas decor would be this year. It has nothing to do with vintage. It has nothing to do with rustic. It doesn't have anything to do with the green/white/brown colors I'd thought I might use at first, nor the silver and white with emerald I'd been thinking I'd really like to try. And if we start with the back door where everyone comes in, you'll see the wreath I made on Thanksgiving Day. It hasn't got a thing to do with what's going on inside of the house either. Nope.
The look is still farmhouse, but not quite rustic. It's a little more polished farmhouse look than I've had. Want to see?
When I walked into the shed on Thursday, my eye was drawn to the collection of blue and white china I have, a considerably edited collection, since I decided to save only my best liked pieces and sold or donated the rest. I could just see the house done up in red, white, blue and evergreen. All my rustic ideas just bit the dust. Hard.
This was pretty...but it looked like a bit much somehow.
This is the final version. I like the 'less is more' look. I decided to use a shorter piece of garland here because the longer piece fit the buffet better.
I knew I wanted to do something with the small picture frames on the right hand side of the mantle wall. I had arrowheads there for the longest time and then this Fall I framed autumn leaves my guys brought me from New York state about 22 years ago. This time I framed pretty Christmas cards that I'd kept. They have a sort of vintage appeal to them, I think.
To be honest, I think I chose them because they made me think of Granny. Redbirds were her most favorite bird of them all and there is something especially cheerful in the winter months about redbirds.
Every single thing on the mantle was on hand. I bought nothing. I pulled the ribbon used on the candlesticks and the poinsettia bloom from a Pine swag I'd used on the back door for five years running. The blue and white metal serving bowl is nearly 33 years old. Granny and I both bought one at the grocery store many years ago.
When I started to decorate the tree, I was wondering just what I could set the tree on. I was thinking about this outdoors while I worked on the back door wreath. My eye lit upon the big blue flower pot I bought this past summer when I found it on clearance at Lowe's. I haven't planted anything in it because it has no drainage holes. It just happens to be the most lovely shade of blue which coordinates nicely with the blue and white pieces. It gives my little tree presence I think. I had to put a small stool in the bottom of the flower pot and then a big coffee table book on top of that so the tree had a stable base. The bottom branches just brush the top of the flower pot and my four feet tree now stands five feet tall.
I spent less than $10 on the ornaments used. I do have another package of blue ornaments and another of snowflakes so I spent a bit more than $10, something closer to $15, but I am counting only what I actually used.
This little shelf vignette has to be my favorite spot. I was dusting the area next to the mantel and thinking what I'd like to do here when I remembered the bottle brush trees I used last year. I was just going to set up a plain little tree, but as I searched for it I found the curly ribbon and the gold package on the floor. I put them in my pocket meaning to trash them but when I set up the little tree, I realized these two pieces would work here. The ribbon came off an old tree ornament I'd made and the present is off a vintage floral pick I'd bought at a yard sale long ago. It fell off, hence my reason for wanting to trash it. I think it's just right here, don't you?
My favorite plant which is a Maranatha or "Prayer plant", a lovely plate, a cobalt blue glass with the trimmings from my current bouquet suit this little spot I think..
The wall of bookcases in the living area were treated lightly this year. With the books and the bottles and lanterns they already look fussy enough. Just a few touches brought the right amount of holiday spirit on this side of the room I think.
I used my blue and white china tea pot in front of the old dough board and used two tall slim Santa and Mrs. Claus nutcrackers either side with deer figurines I'd picked up at thrift stores early this year. I had four of the silver luminaries I'd bought at end of summer at the dollar store and three larger nutcrackers that I arranged either side of the center bookcase with the few cards we've received this year. John's vintage Santa (he lights up but I need a new bulb for him) gets place of honor on the middle shelf of the center bookcase.
I love this little table in front of the bookcase and between two of my living room chairs. Earlier in the month I had some shorter Thanksgiving blooms left and I tucked them into the blue and white ginger jar...I liked the look so much I went out to buy flowers just especially to put here for the Christmas season. The white bowl is a floral bowl that I found at the thrift store two or three years ago. I used it to hold cards from loved ones in years past.
The top of this cabinet became home to all my Judaic pieces. Katie and Sam gave us the blue and white Spode Challah platter a few years ago for Chanukah. The red silk box holds a blue and white Korean tea-set that Kati gifted me one Christmas. I've since added the Chanukaniah and our tzadkah box and the sherbet cup we collect change in each week. The Shalom Y'all sign and the tzadkah box were both made by Katie for Chanukah a few years ago.
The largest of my nutcrackers were put here on the entry way dresser. I refurbished these guys a few years back and they still look pretty good, but they are missing little bits and pieces. Time to re-do them again! I put faux pine stems at their feet, tucked in one tin luminary at their feet. To the right you can just make out my tin Christmas tree and a polar bear figurine I found in October at a thrift store.
Milk glass goes well with blue and white china, I find. And it all looks lovely with a touch of red, I think. The tiny nutcrackers are the only three of this sort I have. They are place card holders. The apples in the bowl are not real. I guess one of the children over the years thought they might be. I found two with a perfect bite mark on them, lol. That makes them that much sweeter to keep, I think.
I've had the blue enamelware plates in my closet for a year perhaps. I bought a 12 piece set plus a matching set of flatware for something like $4...It was a clearance priced picnic set. I have a real fondness for the blue spatter enamelware and once went from dollar store to dollar store to complete an 8 piece place setting that we used for 30 years or more. I bought this set, meaning to set up a picnic basket but I never did start that project. So here is is at last. I used just the plates for this table setting. There are clear Brockaway glass salad plates atop the blue enamel plate. I put one of my great grandmother's sherbet glasses tot he left of the setting and used a cobalt wine glass from Brazil (Walmart purchase 20 years ago that cost $1.80 for four!) and the old peanut butter jar glasses I bought at an estate sale. I used the tea cups Katie and Matt gifted me this past Christmas.
The white tablecloth is a Battenburg that Mama recently gave me. She'd had it for years in her china cabinet and the napkins still had price tags attached! I don't ever recall seeing this cloth in my lifetime but I was happy to have it. It's made for an oval table which is something I seldom see in nice tablecloths any more as most I find are rectangular shapes. I cut some fabric from my stash into pinked edged squares to use for a bit of color and layered it with one of the white cotton napkins.
The two nutcrackers on the table I borrowed from the bookcase in the living area...
Here's a close up of the tea cup...See that sweet little bird on the side? It just suits me perfectly. It's one of these cups that I use on most Shabat mornings to have my lovely little coffee ritual.
Remember last year when I used snowflakes on my front door? Loved the look. LOATHED the way the heat of the sun made the glue dots melt and let go of the snowflakes. Loathed even more the way the glue dots continued to stick to the door despite using goo gone, nail polish remover and a credit card. I peeled off paint and still have sticky glue dots on the door. I wasn't about to repeat that as
much as I'd liked it.
The wreath above is my second attempt to make something for the front door. The first try was a disaster that fell apart after two hours of work.
In the end I pulled out the thirty year old wreath I bought at Sam's Club years ago. I LOVE how this turned out. I used all the snowflakes I purchased last year and a piece of ribbon saved from a long ago Christmas gift (oh the merits of a frugal soul that saves ribbon!) and one white flocked floral stem I purchased this year ($1.49 compared to the crystal encrusted one for $5.49 a stem) and I cut into pieces. Isn't it pretty? Makes me awfully glad the first project was a fail.
Well they you are. The Blue House all decorated for Christmas this year. My things are simple and not decorator worthy perhaps but I really like every item I used. I mostly used what I had. The total spent was for ornaments for the tree and the one floral pick. I suppose I could count in the cost of the bouquet at $4...which brings all my spending specifically for Christmas decor up to the $16 mark. I'm pretty pleased with that, too. I'd seriously thought I had 'nothing to decorate with' and here I've done two full rooms and both doors. Silly me. It's like the 'nothing to wear' mantra I sigh out when I've not taken the time to make up a fresh outfit from what I have in my closet. Just goes to show, doesn't it, that we often have more than we realize we've got.