decorating with dodi

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Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Deck the Halls

Welcome to my family room. This is the room where we spend most of our time and the room where most of the Christmas activity will happen. The tree is covered in over 1200 colored lights and there will be a fire even if our weather changes and we need the A/C that day. We push the couch back against the wall, move the coffee table and have the grandest of times!

Here are the side cabinets of the entertainment unit. I told you you be seeing the Santa pictures of years past! I know the sane people of the world just have one Santa frame and update the picture each year - but, where is the fun in that? I just can't bear to part with any so my Santa picture collection just grows larger every year. So many wonderful memories in each face!

Here we have more pictures and some more of the Santas that I have grouped this year.

I used to put most of the Santas on the mantle but last year I decided to try something new. I only put out this "mercury" Santa and the jars of my old family ornaments and I like it. I would love to do a sophisticated mantle some day but this is really the room for the kids and they love it like this.

So here is our tree. Even though we only have 8 foot high ceilings, we buy a 9-10 foot tree every year. We love a tree with lots of breadth and that is the only way we can get what we want. Then, we begin the trimming process. Some times it takes more than one try - witness the scratch marks on our ceiling! Then the fun begins. I don't have the patience of Martha - or of her helpers I guess - so I put up the lights by going in and out of the branches but I am not compulsive about it! I do like the depth that that system gives. Then, I hang the plain, glass balls back in the branches. Then it is time for all of our special ornaments and I finish off with lots of different icicle ornaments we have collected over the years. The tree is mostly my job. My husband has even less patience than I but he does the outside lighting so I'm O.K. with that. I just put on my favorite Christmas CDs, light a few candles and before I know it, I am done. This year our tree is very fresh and drinking lots of water but I have hung so much that the branches are pointing down a bit. I still love it and am already dreading having to say good-bye to it on Jan. 1!

I have so many favorite ornaments but I found a few up front to show you. This girl was made by Kristin when she was in middle school. I think she is salt dough and has had a few accidents over the years but I love her.

This was Becky's first attempt at counted cross stitch when she was about 8 years old. She went on to do some beautiful hand work but it is always fun to see where we started!
Every year I tried to make some kind of ornament to give to all the people in the girls' lives -teachers (classroom as well as P.E., art music, etc.), G.S. leaders, dance instructors, S.S. teachers - well, you get the idea. Any way, this particular year, I made these pasta ornaments. Imagine my surprise when I clicked on a blog the other day and saw that these little ladies have made a comeback this year. I guess if you live long enough everything old is new again!

This is one of our most meaningful ornaments! It is a Christopher Radko done to honor childrens' cancer research. Everyone in our family received one the year our granddaughter was diagnosed with liver cancer. We treasure it and her!!

We always tried to make a picture ornament in scouts every year. This one was simple and has been copied a few times since.

This ornament was one I had my S.S. class make one year. It was made from burned match sticks and a "Shrinky Dink" nativity. We loved doing those Shrinky Dinks. I remember having all of the neighbors - adults as well as kids - over one year to make dozens and dozens of ornaments because it was so much fun to watch them shrink!

These were probably the first ornaments my girls made by themselves because all you had to do was thread tri-beads on pipe cleaners and connect. Even though they were simple, they have stood the test of time.

This is a pink pig given to us by my brother and sister-in-law. They bought it at Richs in Atlanta to commemorate the Pink Pig on the roof of the downtown Richs every Christmas. We Christmas shopped up there every year and seeing Santa and then riding the Pig were a must. The trip took you around the roof of the store which has a HUGE Christmas tree in the center and you could see all of downtown Atlanta. Another of those wonderful memories that return every time we look at the tree.

These last 3 are handprint ornaments - something I always love doing because I love to look at those little hands.

And here is the skier that I mentioned yesterday. He looks so much like my little guy from so many years ago. Of course, there are many, many more and almost every one has a story to tell. I love it when my children and grandchildren are here and we look for all of our cherished memories snuggled away on that tree. The stories get told and retold and the little ones never seem to tire hearing about the good old days. These are my favorite parts of Christmas - the things that happen without a gift in sight. I can't wait! They'll all be here in 3 days!!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

The Tour Continues

It doesn't look like I will be getting a chance to really talk about my Christmas decorations this year as life continues to get in the way. I thought I would show you the pictures I have taken so far and hopefully tomorrow I will get some of my favorite room, the family room.

I love this old fashioned Santa. A friend made him for me many years ago and I liked him so much, I "borrowed" her idea and made him for everyone else on my list. He reminds me of the old Santas everyone used to decorate when I was a little girl - YES, I AM that old!


I love my nativity. Most of the figurines are from the first nativity my husband and I bought when we were first married - 45 years ago! I just starting using my mom's stable as she no longer has room to set hers up. My original -which I still have- was cardboard and I love it but I feel a connection to my mom's this year. I have contemplated buying a new, fancier set many times, but somehow the original speaks louder to me and has so much more meaning as I can vividly remember my husband and me choosing each figure carefully and buying only the few we could afford (they weren't expensive! It's just that we were in college and POOR!) and then adding to the set over the next few years. And every year since, it has held a special place in our home.

This year, the kitchen is pretty simple. Of course, my gourmet pig is dressed for the season.

This Santa candle is on a shelf above the sink. The arrangement next to it holds one of my oldest Christmas memories. It is a pinecone "skier" that I remember buying when I was a little girl. I bought it at Woolworth 5 & 10 and there is a 10 cent price stamped on the bottom. I always had a tree in my bedroom and I took such pride in buying new ornaments for it every year. The ironic thing is that when one of my girls was a junior G.S., their troop made ornaments as gifts that looked just like him. It still hangs on our tree in the family room.

It is hard to see, but the serving plate in the background was a gift I gave everyone the year the family took us skiing for our anniversary. I wanted something to commemorate the event, so I bought lots of plain plates and ceramic paint. Each member of the family was asked to come up with a Christmas icon that would be "theirs" and paint it on each plate over the week we were there. At first a couple of the guys balked a bit as they thought they weren't artistic enough. But, with a little prodding, everyone took to the task and I love our plates more than any generic souvenir we could have purchased! Plus, it's amazing that we managed to come up with that many Christmas icons! Even the kids participated and I love them more than any expensive china anything I may own!

The rest of the room is pretty much as usual. I like to decorate with serving pieces that I will be using during the season. That way I don't have to hunt for them when needed.

This candle is on the sill over the sink. The little Santa & bag are salt and pepper shakers that are quite old. My mom found them for me many years ago. I especially love them because my mom wasn't much into antiquing but she knew how I loved special Christmas treasures so she found these and completely surprised me with them. They are one of the first things I put out every year and remember the thought so much more than the cost - a good lesson for us all.

As you can see, things were kept pretty simple and basic this year. Lots of red and green and natural elements. I use white lights in the more formal rooms but tomorrow we will head to the family room and sun room where I use the colored lights because those are the rooms where you will most often find my grandchildren and I love the excitement that those lights seem to give. Stay tuned for more!

It's Beginning to Look Alot Like Christmas

Can't believe I've been away from blogland for so long. Guess life has a way of interrupting other things. I am finally feeling good about my decorating. I had planned to do some different vignettes this year, but just haven't had the time to plan and shop, so I am basically using all the things I've had and putting them out slightly differently this year.

Take these Santas for instance. I have a pretty large Santa collection and for years they pretty much dominated my decorating. Then, suddenly, I was over that but couldn't quite bring myself to get rid of them altogether so I am putting them in large groups in less obvious places rather than spacing them around everywhere. These Santas are sitting on top of an armoire in the livingroom.

As you first enter the house, you are greeted by the decorated hall tree with my Santa hat and my husband's Bah Humbug cap. He really loves Christmas but it wouldn't be a holiday if he didn't pretend to let a bit of his "Scrooge" shine through!

Since I didn't have much time to mull my decorations this year, this vignette just sort of happened. I bought the new olive jar at Pottery Barn and paired it with the red and green ones I already owned from Southern Living along with one of my lanterns and just added the sparkle tree that I found at The Shoppe in Micanopy. I added some fresh pine trimmed from our tree and poinsettias and I love the natural feel of it.

Because I was so rushed when it came to decorating, I decided to pretty much keep to a red and green theme - which truth be told is my favorite as I am pretty traditional - and just add my beloved glitter and mercury glass. I love the sparkle it gives and to me, sparkle and candles say Christmas! Notice the most current Santa pictures in their place of honor! Rest assured the past years will show up soon!

This is basically a collection of mercury glass and candles. I am going to add fresh greens around the bases - just haven't gotten there yet.

I love this deer candleabra on the coffee table. He makes quite a statement and looks beautiful when he is lit at night. I think I got him at Pier 1 one year after the holiday. Had to really talk myself into him as I have another large deer candleabra that I got at Pottery Barn but doesn't everyone need two?!

That's pretty much it for the livingroom. I will be back with more soon. Then I will also share some of the reasons I have been so busy of late - G.S. ceremonies, birthdays and the Nutcracker take priority since they involve time with my grandchildren - and isn't that what it's all about after all??

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Thanksgiving Tweaks

For some reason, the area above the mirror just didn't look right to me. Guess I am used to there always being a seasonal "something" hanging there. I downloaded this banner from At Second Street, printed it on orange, added a bit of glitter and seasonal embellishments and strung it on twine. I think it balances the wall off just right.

The following two pictures were also downloaded and framed with old frames I had around the house - so, a "free" project. I did have to spray paint the one frame. It was floral and very 1980s. I had a hammered bronze paint and just gave it a few light coats and, voila!

Our weather has been picture perfect this past week. I love the cozy feel of the autumnal colors and lights, the smell of the autumn candles and the flicker of our first fire this season. I did notice that the A/C came on once or twice, but that is a small price to pay for the warm, fuzzies that autumn has to hand out. Can't believe Thanksgiving is right around the corner. Stay tuned.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Pieces of the Past

A few more tidbits of what turns my autumn decorations into Thanksgiving. I bought this plaque at Stein Mart a few years ago. It looked kind of dull to me - it was just black & white - so I used a few of my art chalks to add a blush of color. Like it much more.

I squeeze turkeys in wherever possible. The orange turkey above was found in a Tea Room gift shop in Tampa. I like him because he is different and adds a bit of bling. It's hard to make out but he has glitter on his wings and crystals hanging from his beak, wings and stand.

This is a cross stitch I did many years ago. I always loved that hymn. I can even remember singing it in music class way back in elementary school - yes, it is that old!. When I saw the pattern, I knew I had to stitch it. It hangs on the side of the pie safe as you enter the kitchen.

Then, it wouldn't be Thanksgiving without my pilgrims. The candles above are very old, but still not the originals. I remember my mom - and just about everybody else's mom - having a set of these when I was very young. I have had these at least as long as I have been married. I think they may be the first Thanksgiving decoration I bought after we were married. Wish I had kept the box because they were probably about 25 cents each.

This set of pilgrims is from my ceramic-ing days. I still can't believe my eyes were good enough to paint their eyes not to mentions my hands steady enough to hold that small a paint brush!

I think everyone who lives within 10 miles of a Publix must have at least one of these pilgrims. I also have a spoon rest. They are kind of cutesy, but every time I think of getting rid of them, I remember the day I walked into an antique shop in Dade City and saw them for sale for a ridiculous amount of money! Think I'll hold on to them a little while longer - maybe they can fund our retirement! A proper pay back I think for being so lovingly cared for these many years.

That is about it for Thanksgiving. Every year I think I may just go straight from Halloween to Christmas, but as I look back over some of these things I have so many memories come flooding back. Most all of this has been around since my kids were young and I can remember them looking at them or helping me decorate with them. I guess that is why I like Thanksgiving. It is here only to remind us how blessed we really are and family plays such a huge part in that. I guess that is why I continue to decorate my house - it spurs those precious memories and reminds me why it is so important to press on to make new ones. Today's adventures may one day be remembered on a granddaughter or even great granddaughter's blog. Something to think about. Stay tuned.