Monday, December 17, 2018

The Merriment of Christmas Crackers

Christmas is closing in quickly, and this year I am taking a bit
of a different strategy. Less about gifts and more about the 
fun that Christmas can bring when you get together with your family and friends.
For our family, we have always had such fun with the simplest of 
things, the Christmas Cracker.  I am stacking lots of the festive
crackers in my silver punch bowl so party goers can help themselves!
Inside the cracker is a paper party hat in the shape
of a crown along with a toy or a joke.  The laughs start
as soon as the crowns are donned, and in our family, our
heads tend to run large, so many times we have a split crown 
that needs a little tape to keep it together.  
It is one of my favorite things we do at Christmas.
If you have never tried them, you can find them in many colors
and patterns at HomeGoods or Marshalls.  
With two parties at our home this week, I have to run out and buy
some more today.  And get a few stocking stuffers.
Hope your holiday season is bright and happy and 
you find yourself without the dreaded flu or cold.  Its 
been running around here and I am keeping my fingers crossed
we will all be healthy for Christmas.
Baby Reeve will be coming and I can imagine us having to 
give her little paper crown a tuck so it fits.
Happy Christmas to all!

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Friday, December 14, 2018

Hand painted French Bedroom set for the Dollhouse

 A pretty handpainted white French style bedroom set arrived after I searched 
high and low for something that had the style I was after~
it had to be French looking, it had to be pretty, and if it had 
 a touch of whimsy or fancy or gilded...then I am all in!  
 Lets go into the Master bedroom! 
Up the staircase and past the fancy 
Very Versailles mini-dollhouse in the hallway....
Starting to get a peek at the new bedroom set! 
Its white with green trim and painted flowers and pink toile bedding!
 A large mirrored armoire with door takes center stage as soon as you enter.
 The doors open to reveal a closet pole in the center, 
and shelves on the left and right
sides for pocketbooks and shoes, or folded sweaters.
This pretty bed is embellished with painted flowers and gilded touches.
It was a reasonable price I suspect because it had the most hideous bedspread
on it with equally ugly pillows that someone had glued to the headboard. The
seller cautioned that she was fearful to remove them for fear of damaging the bed.
I took the chance and they pulled off quite easily.  I took an iron and a paper towel
to remove more bits of glue, which worked quite well.  Next I made a toile bed
coverlet out of a green and pink toile placemat I had made many years ago, and laid 
it across the bed.  I added a bit of green pom pom trim after cutting off the poms
around the pink satin pillow it came with, and then glued two poms on the end of 
the pink lace bolster, also included in the set.  The ugly burgundy floral coverlet and
pillows will never been seen again, and the entire bed looked glorious once those simple
adjustments were made.  I almost couldn't believe my good fortune on getting
 this 3 piece bedroom set at such a great price! It pays to hunt and hunt.
 A sweet night table sits next to the bed with a pink French phone, 
a teeny Eiffel Tower statue, and a bottle of perfume. I still need to do the moldings
in this room, and many others, but the decorating part is sooo much fun, I cannot resist.
 The vibe of the house is coming together, as I slowly select the right pieces for it.  
That is what is so much fun about doing a dollhouse project.  One can create a world
with a certain style by being selective and picking marvelous things from vendors around
the world in line shops, or by making some things oneself.  I guess I am more in the modifying
of existing pieces to achieve the look I am after.  
French. Whimsical. Pretty. Fancy. Personal. 
That is my qualifier when looking for things for my dollhouse.
 Winter has come to the Mini Maison, and it snowed the other night.  
Luckily the rooftop terrace had been decorated for Christmas, 
with red ribbons on the green filled urns, as 
well as an iron gazebo put over the birdbath for a fancy touch.
Oh my, someone left the garden door open! All the cold air
will be swooshing through the Maison!  One new thing on
its way, is a French window for the big wall space to the right
of the doors.  It will peek into the potting room and I can't
way to start "construction" on the house to get it in place!
And of course Christmas decorating is in full swing too,
I hope you are enjoying your holiday season!


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Monday, December 3, 2018

A Feather Tree in a silver bowl and Ancestry pursuits



A Feather tree is one of the most charming Christmas decorations.  
It is considered one of the first artificial Christmas trees.  Made originally
in Germany from dyed goose feathers, it found its way to the USA, brought
over by German immigrants that settled in Pennsylvania and Texas.
Love this old feather tree with the tiny gate around it!
My feather tree is a vintage feather tree that Martha Stewart
 produced for her Kmart line.
I picked it up years after the fact on eBay.  
I would love to find an antique Feather Tree one day.

Speaking of immigrants, I have been tracking down my husbands side of his family roots.
Ever since we started binge watching the STARZ series, Outlander, which we LOVE,
we have become interested in finding out if hubs is indeed Scottish as well as Swedish.
The Outlander hero, Jamie Fraser, is from Scotland.
You will want to be Scottish if you watch this show, or you will want your 
partner to be, haha!! Jamie is the sweetest, bravest, sexiest Scot in all the land!
Mr. Maison Decor's father always told him he descended
from Scottish bloodlines, and his mother's lineage is pure Swedish.  
We decided to do the Ancestry DNA test as well as put together his family tree.
So far I am not finding any indication there is a Scottish connection.
 It remains to be seen, but I have enjoyed putting the pieces together to see where the family
lines are leading us on this discover of his roots. This family photo shows my husband (on the right)
next to his mother, and his older brother, both dressed up for Thanksgiving dinner. 
 Their uncle carves the turkey, and the table is set to the nines, complete with place cards.
The old documents are numerous and at ones finger tips when you join
one of these online search groups.  Much of it is free as well, until you head
across the country's borders, then there is a charge.  Above, William Chalmers is found on 
a record, and that is his great grandfather.  He always believed his great-grandfather 
shared the same name, Charles Herbert, that his grandfather and father, 
brother and nephew share, as the name has been passed down for generations. 
 So we are already learning things very quickly,
and we hope we find some Scottish roots on his dad's side!  
I know many of you have explored your family trees
and its quite interesting, isn't it? 
His mother's side is proving to be very pure Swedish, and
I guess you can tell by this old photo of (front to back) his mom,
his grandmother and uncle.  My pretty mother in law still lives
in that very same house, where my husband grew up, 
and its right next doors to our house. 
But now, back to Christmas....

The winner of the Lynch Creek Farm wreath giveaway is Penny Carlson!
Congrats Penny!!
 I know you will enjoy your beautiful Lynch Creek Farm wreath!

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Thursday, November 29, 2018

Swedish Country Christmas and a Lynch Creek Farm Wreath Giveaway




 I'm in love with my Lynch Creek Farm wreath and thrilled to be able to do another
wreath giveaway this year to one of my readers.  This year, the inspiration 
for my living room was a Swedish Country style Christmas.
 Lynch Creek Farm is a family run business located in Washington state. 
They make exceptional wreaths, all of them measuring out to a full 26" width
with a weight of 7 pounds (compared to the average Christmas wreath of 4 pounds).  
That gives you an idea you how full these wreaths from Lynch Creek are.
My husband unpacked my wreath and was very impressed with the quality,
 calling it "substantial and really nice"! 
I chose a country themed wreath, with a red plaid bow and a bird theme.  
In New England, two families of  red cardinals nest in our yard, 
and its always a delight to see them at my feeder.
After enjoying it inside for a bit, I will hang it outside on the 
door of my garden shed,  where my bird feeder sits in front of the shed,
where it will last longer, being in the cold weather.  Mist wreaths indoors,
to extend their life
 Last year, I chose a pair of Blended Bay wreaths for my French doors 
and they lasted well through the winter months.  

Piper loves posing for the camera, 
and this year with our new wreath is no exception.
The Swedes love using red and white, as well as blue and white.
The striped blue and white Danish couch seemed a perfect match to 
try the Swedish Country Christmas look!  Take a look at all the various
styles of Lynch Creek Wreaths and create a fresh holiday look for your home.

To enter the giveaway, head to Lynch Creek Farms (click here)
and pick out your favorite. Then just leave a comment on my blog
letting me know which wreath you would like to win. 
Thats it!
I will pick a winner Sunday, December 2, 2018.
Note: There is free shipping on all wreaths and no taxes, for those who
order directly from Lynch Creek Farms.  I sent wreaths as gifts last
year, and they have a bulk discount if you want more than one or two
wreaths to hang on the doors or windows of your home.


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Wednesday, November 21, 2018

A PunchBowl Centerpiece for Thanksgiving

 This Thanksgiving will bring one new family member to sit at the big table. 
 Its Reeve, my year and half  old granddaughter. 
This is her place setting ~ a smaller sized  dinner plate with roses and a mountain scene,
 along with some baby silverware.  I am so excited to have her join us
 and can imagine the years ahead with her, with her as my little helper one day.
 Setting the table for big dinner parties is always a lot of fun, and this year I grouped all
the fabric pumpkins in my big silver punch bowl from Brimfield for an easy centerpiece.  
A couple of years ago I made a bunch of purple velvet pumpkins, one from needlepoint and checkered fabric and even a toile pumpkin too.  Along the way I found some inexpensive velvet pumpkins from various stores and together they make a pretty centerpiece.  
When the turkey comes out, it is easily whisked away to another spot. 
 Little bouquets of fall flowers dot the table in the silver baby cups I collect. 
It couldn't be easier!
 And of course my table is littered with purple transfer ware, 
including a "new" old gravy bowl with a double spout that I found last year.
 I was lucky to find a bunch of silver-plate napkin rings at a thrift shop when I 
went to Connecticut for the Nora Murphy book party.  They hold the big French napkins
nicely.  Even Reeve will have her own gigantic napkin.
The big turkey platter is the star of the show on this day, of course!
These are quite rare, even more so in purple.  I got mine from the biggest 
trnasferware dealer in possibly the world, Nancy Roberts.
Her website is Nancy's Daily Dish, just in case you are looking...
it could make a nice Christmas gift to yourself, haha!
 If you have a punchbowl, think of the possibilities 
it has for any holiday or party centerpiece.  
Holding a plant such as an ivy topiary or a big poinsettia, 
it may be just the thing you need for your next holiday party.
Wishing you and yours a Happy Thanksgiving! 

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Sunday, November 18, 2018

Thanksgiving week brings a dollhouse for the dollhouse and more

Thanksgiving week is upon us, and I will be hosting dinner this year, which
is pretty much the norm.  I have yet to set the table, but when I do I will bring out my
"good" camera and take some photos.  This year baby Reeve will join us all, and I just bought her
a booster seat so she can actually sit at the table instead of in her high chair.  She will bring
much joy to the celebration as all her uncles and aunts gather round.
Switching over to my dollhouse obsession, I have made much progress and will
share just a few highlights until I can write a full on dollhouse post.
 A friend gifted me an iron "faux bois" table for my potting room and I 
think it is the perfect addition.  On top of it is a French enamelware pitcher I 
created from paper and paint after fiddling around trying to copy an antique 
pitcher I picked up at Nora Murphy's book launch party in Connecticut last week.
So much to tell you, and the Nora story will be coming right after Thanksgiving,
as I dragged my pal Matthew Mead along to the party and then we went to Nora's house!
What a treat that was!!
 But I digress....
So the potting room has some rose prints on gilded
wood plaques that decorate the walls and an exact copy of 
my painted tarp that hangs over the utility sink!  I still need to do some trim around the 
window as you can see....but its the tiny embellishments that recreate special
things in my life that are extra fun to make for the dollhouse.
One thing I have been fantasizing about is having a dollhouse for the dollhouse.
After much deliberation, I decided to buy one instead of making a simple one.
Mostly because, well, I couldn't resist this amazing 1/144 scale teeny dollhouse!
 Incredibly elaborate, I found it online at Miniland.ca
There are several different styles of these extra tiny houses, and the scale
is what is correct for a dollhouse to be in a 1/12 scale house. Its 1/12 of 1/12th!!
Mind boggling to me....but this teeny house can open up and it can be decorated too,
which means quite likely at some point this 1/144 house will have a dollhouse of its own.
Imagine....it is NUTS. I know.
 So the dollhouse hallways are narrow and yet they needed something to make them
interesting.  The dollhouse fits perfectly there on display for the dollhouse residents to 
admire.  I created the curtain fabric using a color printer and fabric, printing off a pattern of
an Aubusson rug, then cutting it in half and stitching it up into a pair of panels. A copper wall
sconce was added to illuminate the dark hallway, so we could admire the fancy tiny dollhouse.
 The doorways were embellished with some frescos to add some pretty details and make it more 
fancy and yet still whimsical.  
After adding some printed designs I found online that were romantic, pretty 
and French looking, I handpainted  borders to give it a finished look.
I don't imagine a perfectly historical house.  It's got to have the wow and the whimsy
 and the shabby and the French and all the things I love. 
 That is what is so fun about decorating a dollhouse. 
 Its not real, so you can have anything you WANT!! 
 The next hallway task was to paint the unfinished dollhouse.  It ended up
looking like this, which I call "Very Versailles".
The gilding wax applied on the trim really gave it the wow factor
and it looks beautiful put back in the dollhouse landing on the second floor.
Warning: This blog will be containing a lot more dollhouse updates,
between Thanksgiving and Christmas!  
Until then, wishing all my readers a Happy Thanksgiving!
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