Monday, December 18, 2017

Champagne and Christmas Lanterns

The weekend before Christmas I like to host a small luncheon for a couple
of special friends.  Making time for Christmas is the key to making sure I get to
stop and smell the roses during this hectic season.  We also do a gift swap and this year 
I was inspired by some Christmas Lanterns I saw on Pinterest.  
Each guest was asked to bring a lantern and any miniature items they may
have on hand for creating a vignette insdie the lantern.
 The end result was as charming as it was varied.  
My lantern had some hand dyed  bottle brush trees in purple,
and a tiny cardboard church, both brought to the lantern party
by someone who knows me well, my friend, Matthew Mead.
Matthew brought his camera to record some of the festivities 
and take some shots of my decorations.
Even Piper posed like a good girl for him.
White lace place mats brought home from Italy as a gift by
my son Colin were a treat to use for this wintery place setting, as were the vintage 
gold napkin holders I found with my husband while visiting the shops in Concord.
 A purple transferware bell was found at the wonderful Thoreauly Antiques shop
 in Concord center.  I always walk away with lots of goodies from that shop.  
 Matthew Mead made a delicious gingerbread cheesecake.
He is a wonder at so many things, baking and artful presentation included. 
 This cake was a scene stealer, and it was just perfect for a Christmas party.
We enjoyed French champagne while we dined and then began our crafting session
all around my dining room table after we finished eating.
A pretty pink ornament caught Matthew's eye...
 Some simple cut flowers from Costco were arranged by moi....
Silver balls and sparkly pine cones made it a little bit more special.
Now to the lanterns!
 Julia, my former Maison Decor shop manager, made this charming vignette out of
a lantern we used to sell at our store.  A reindeer in the snowy woods....with a red plaid bow
couldn't be more Christmassy!
 Matthew and his wife Jenny teamed up on their lantern, 
creating a snowy sparkly winter wonderland!
Our little holiday party was held for the second year in a row.
It has been determined to be an annual event. 
(I guess that makes it a success, and oh what fun!)
Make your own moments, big or small, and celebrate
this season without the stress and demands it can usually bring.
I know we all enjoyed ourselves, and each of us walked away
with a keepsake to remember this cold New England day with friends.

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Sunday, December 10, 2017

Snowy Sugarplum Teacup Tree

'Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse; The stockings were hung by the chimney with care, In hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there; The children were nestled all snug in their beds, While visions of sugar-plums danced in their heads....
 A sugarplum tree! 
A snowy sugarplum tree with tiny teacups!
 Come inside and let me share my vision and 
show off this magical and delightful snowy tree.
 Sugarplums and White Christmases go hand in hand of course. 
Don't you agree?
So when I got the chance to partner with the lovely 
Tree Classics, (The World's Best Artificial Christmas Tree Company)
I couldn't resist one of their snowy flocked trees and decided to put my 
own fairy tale spin on it, using my collection of pink and purple teacups.
Our french doors from the courtyard open into our dining room, and I thought it would
be wonderful to have a snow covered tree for a happy holiday greeting to our home.
Our dining room is decorated in neutral grey and white, and my collection of purple
transfer ware is hung on the walls and stacked in the cupboards.  So why not hang my teacups
on the tree, and then fluff it up even more with pink and purple ornaments.
This tree was a breeze to set up, and with the lights already wired on, all I had
to do was fluff out the branches a bit and start decorating.  There was very little white
flocking that came off the tree during the set up, and if you have ever tried to flock your
own tree, this is NOT like that at all.  No mess.  Just white wonderland goodness.
There is also a very clever foot pedal, so you just step on it 
with a tap and you can turn it on and off.  So convenient!
Our snowy  6.5' White Flocked Fir Deluxe Tree has the white lights.
When turned on, the tree gets a soft golden glow that plays up the pink tones.
Its just magical! 
A skein of lavender angora yarn made for a super skinny garland as was
some vintage looking purple metallic garland. 
More is more with a monochromatic tree scheme,
  so some white frosty garland was layered in for a sparkly accent.
Our dining room has touches of old European elegance, and so it made perfect
sense to add the Tree Classic Gold Sequin Skirt in a crumply rumply
 fashion around our sugar plum tree.  I opted for a smaller tree for 
the space, as you can see it is tucked into a corner.  It feels just right,
not to big, and not too small, at 6.5' in height.
Christmas Eve was a big deal in our family, with the five of us kids waiting to 
partake in a fancy dinner with mom and dad at the dining room table in our old English Tudor.
We all had to get dressed up and after dinner we presented our special "Kris Kringle" gifts
to one another.  My dad came up with the idea that on Thanksgiving we would pick names out of 
a hat for one another, and then get to work for the next month making something by hand.
Christmas Eve was the night you got to give your Kris Kringle to your recepient,
after dinner, and of course champagne was served~even to the children!
It was quite a special night, and often times my grandparents joined us around the table.
Our dining room had a grand fireplace and mahogany paneled walls, with stained glass windows and 
a big built in china cabinet for all of the dishes.  And there was even a bell ringer button on the floor under the table so you could call the servants in from the kitchen.  I told you it was a grand old house...but anyway I think now how perfect it would have been to have a second
tree in that room! Back in those days people didn't really do that kind of thing, second trees.
Unless you were a Rockefeller.  
Which we were not. 
So its a bit ironic to me that I get to have an extra tree in this home of ours now. 
It truly adds so much ambience, and I can't wait for Christmas Eve this year.
Christmas Eve is still the "big night" for us, yet we don't do the handmade gifts anymore.
 Old things have always had a special place in my heart.  Tales from 
days of yore, like the poem of "Twas the Night Before Christmas"
transport me back in time, and I love picturing it all in my mind.
My tabletop collections are often featuring old things used in unusual ways,
like putting antique French door knobs together with pink bottle brush trees.
Or a pink nantucket basket filled with roses and old shiny brites in 
pretty pastel colors.
 Flocked trees are so popular now as it brings to mind a snow covered
tree, a white Christmas and all the goodness that entails. 
Create the tree of your childhood dreams...
you will be glad you did!
I loved partnering with Tree Classics once again.
 I have had the pleasure of working with this wonderful company
 three years in a row, and created memorable and beautiful trees.

Sources for Tree Classics listed below:
I am joining some talented blogger buddies on this Snowy Sunday to share our White Trees.
Please visit them and see just how wonderful a white tree can be!

Complementing Your French Style With a White Christmas Tree -
Savvy Southern Style - Snowy Sundays
pink tree window and tree
White Christmas Tree in Breakfast Room

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Friday, December 8, 2017

A French Blue Christmas Tree

French Blue. 
French Blue, that pretty shade of medium blue that may have a touch of green....

Our living room tree this year is the slender Tree Classic Fir Kennedy Tree
 we had in our family room last year.  But we have had some changes in our space, 
like the addition of the portable baby crib I keep for granddaughter Reeve.
And an extra dog kennel in the family room for Piper. 
So no tree in the family room anymore, which is a bit sad.
I also couldn't shove the piano across the room and set up the big full tree in front of 
the window like we did last year, because there isn't enough room.
It was one of my most favorite trees ever. 
It had mostly pastel ornaments and it was simply breath taking.
It just looked wonderful and kind of grand next to the piano like that.
And when you drove up the street, you could see the tree out our front window,
sparkling away.  I love seeing trees in people's homes at night as I drive by.
This year I have added more lights outside, running with the tree lights we 
had strung for the wedding, and now there are even more.  Its so enchanting.
My favorite reading corner has its own little flocked tree on my french desk.
Its such an inviting spot.  You can create a little Christmas magic with a tiny
tree, if you aren't in the position to go all out with a big tree. This one was prestrung
with lights, and I bought it online from Hobby Lobby last year.
A tiny tree offers a big dose of cheer.
Bits of vintage looking trim with a bauble or two making
 anything cheery and fit for the holidays.
Decorating is more fun this year for some reason...
I think it has to do with a few things that include no longer having
to run off to open and work in my shop all day long.  And it might have
to do with being a grandmother to the most amazing and sweet baby ever.
I can't recall being more content.  Decorating is more fun when you are happy,
at  least I think so.  But maybe decorating can bring happiness, when
it comes to getting in the holiday spirit.
And this year I did a very special white snowy tree for little Reeve,
I call it my Snowy Sugar Plum Teacup Tree.
It is fun to name Christmas trees.  I haven't really before.
Looking forward to our first snow of the season tomorrow,
and tonight we will be setting up the big tree I used to have in this room
at my mother-in-law's house.  Whilst wearing our Christmas pajamas.
Tomorrow we can shovel all the snow.
Merry Christmas!

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Friday, December 1, 2017

Antique French Doorknobs and My Own Grey Gardens

Candy colored porcelain doorknobs from France.
Oh. My.
These beauties were spotted on an Instagram post by a woman who mostly sells
amazing antique garden furniture and ornaments.  She is also from 
Massachusetts, and I am constantly amazed at her incredible inventory.
I ooh and ahhh over the furniture, but when she posted these special hand painted
and gilded knobs, I knew I just had to have them!
Laurie of Plain and Elegant Antiques is someone to follow if you, like me, 
are into garden antiques.  I don't know where she finds the stuff. But I am glad she does.
Speaking of antiques, the famed Grey Gardens had an estate sale last weekend and
they sold off all of the furnishings, many of which were original to the time when 
Big and Little Edie Beale lived there.  You may recall when Matthew Mead and I 
took a side trip to visit the home and made a quick little video
 of our rainy day trip to the Hamptons. (Our video here)
Now that was one sale I would have LOVED to attend.
But since I am a bit busy these days with my grand daughter and the upcoming holidays,
I have had to settle for buying local furniture at yard sales that conjure up the Grey Gardens ambience,  I stumbled across the most amazing yard sale, by a woman who had some incredible stuff.
She was like a sister spirit to the Beales, in taste of furnishings before the years of decay set in.
A pair of wicker daybeds and a Bar Harbor style wicker sofa from this yard sale
were already in my husbands pick up truck.  I returned to her home later to pick up
more "stuff" as she inquired if I wanted to look at some more stuff in her cellar.
Heck yeah!! 
So what do French doorknobs have to do with old wicker lamps and couches?
Think summer....
and a tiny run down cottage on the shores of a New Hampshire lake.
Mr. Maison Decor and I stumbled upon a ramshackle cottage that just stole our hearts.
Its in terrible shape, but has quite a view.  And then I got this vision that the 
ramshackle cottage could be charming, even if rundown, 
if we just spruced it up with some white paint and wicker
and some floral bits here and there....
Our own little Grey Gardens.
With French doorknobs.  And perhaps a mouse or two...

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Monday, November 27, 2017

French Country Christmas Courtyard

 Welcome to our Christmas Courtyard!
 Decking the halls begins with the exterior, and for me, it is the wreath on the door that says "Merry Christmas" and "Welcome" to our home.  Happily I partnered with Lynch Creek Farm,  a family business located in the Pacific Northwest that sells elegant evergreens from their farm.  Living in the New England, I have decorated our home for many years with local evergreens from big box stores and small garden nurseries.  Lynch Creek Farm topped them all with their big bountiful and beautiful wreaths.  I couldn't be happier to pass the word along, as well as give my readers a chance to win their own wreath or centerpiece in a Lynch Creek Farm giveaway!
For my french doors in our courtyard I chose the 26" Blended Bay Wreaths with moss green bows. 
 The style of this wreath felt most like something you would find in the French countryside. 
Full and lush with bay leaves, cedar and balsam greens, and pinecones, adorned with a moss green burlap wired bow. They come with or without bows, with bows in either an apple or moss green color.
 Piper and I set the stage for a Christmas courtyard, starting with the old
cast iron urns, that we filled with cut lengths of birch, followed by balsam clippings
around the edges.  It is a simple treatment for outdoor containers and it will look
good all winter long.  The natural Blended Bay wreaths will go the distance too, 
as appropriate as they are for ringing in the holidays, they will look still look great 
during the long winter months when the snow begins to fly.
 A pretty winter dressing for the courtyard is just what I had in mind.
Understated elegance, and it all looks wonderful with the rustic nature of the space.
Of course Lynch Creek Farm has a huge variety of wreaths, with everything one
can imagine~velvet bows in rich holiday red and cranberry,  magnolia leaf wreaths,
themed wreaths for wine country and whimsical styles as well.  
The Blended Bay should be renamed the French Country Wreath if you want 
my opinion.....haha!
One tip for filling outdoor containers is to stuff them while the weather has yet to
get too cold, so that the potting soil will accept the branches and logs, and then when
it freezes it will keep them in place all winter long.  You can add berry twigs or ribbons
or keep it simple, like I did.  I do plan to add some twinkling white lights to each urn
for a bit of extra sparkle and magic to our entry. 
Piper is pretty pleased with how it all turned out.
She only ran off with one birch log while I was busy hanging the wreaths.
Caught in the act!  Oh well, she is still just a big puppy.
 It couldn't look nicer, and now I wish I had one more of these wreaths to
decorate my little garden shed.  When they first arrived, I took one up to the 
shed and tried it out....and it looked so darling. 
 Guess I could use one more...
Simply gorgeous.  
These wreaths will last for months when hung outdoors
in our cold climate.  They can also be hung indoors and will last for weeks
with a regular misting of water to keep the greens fresh.
Before we know it, Christmas will be here! 
Our guests will be entering our home 
through the courtyard to celebrate the season.  
 My wreaths from Lynch Creek Farm set the tone for what lies ahead...
a bountiful and beautiful holiday home.  

Now for the Lynch Creek Farm Giveaway!

All you have to do for a chance to win a centerpiece or wreath is to visit 
Lynch Creek Farm and come back and tell me what item you would love to win.
For more chances to win, leave a comment on each of my blogging friends posts
as well!  Also, make sure you leave your email address in the comments so we 
can contact the winners.  The giveaway is limited to residents of the Continental U.S.
and Canada. The deadline is midnight, Sunday, December 3, 2017.

See their beautiful homes via the links below~
Click and visit!   Good Luck and Happy Holidays!!

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