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A Merry Christmas Tea!

Merry Christmas, Dear Friends!

May you enjoy the simple pleasures this season, experience too many joy-filled moments to count, and receive the true blessing of being surrounded by family, friends, love and laughter.

I promise this post will be short and sweet since we are in the midst of holiday celebrations and everyone must be so busy, but I thought you might enjoy a little confectionery treat.

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Today I am honouring my beloved mother-in-law, Ethel Ryan.  Ethel was a kindred spirit. We both loved the holidays.  I miss her every day and especially at Christmastime.  She loved tea and some of my fondest memories are of sharing tea together around her kitchen table in the quiet hours.

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I gave this sweet little figurine to Ethel one Christmas; she just adored sheep. Before she passed in November 2009, she wanted me to love it back into my own collection.  If you love Pinterest, and sheep, here’s a link to my board in her memory, “Beautiful Sheep for Ethel”:https://www.pinterest.com/lindam…/beautiful-sheep-for-ethel/

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In addition to sheep, Ethel loved Christmas trees and had a devout faith; hence the gingerbread selection!

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Since my last post, my husband and I created some new Christmas memories of our own.  We travelled together on a river cruise down the Danube, visiting European Christmas markets along the way in Hungary, Austria, Germany and Czech Republic.  It had been on my bucket list for decades and  was a dream come true.  I brought home traditional Christmas cookies from each region to share with you.  I hope you enjoy them.

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This is the collection of traditional Christmas sweets that made it all the way from Europe just a few weeks ago (cookie plate: gingerbread hearts, sheep and tree from Budapest, Hungary; Bishop gingerbread figure from Vienna, Austria; Springerle biscuits from Nuremberg, Germany; Mozart Chocolates from Salzberg (on the border between Austria and Germany).

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The little deer came from a Christmas market in front of Schonbrunn Palace, Vienna.

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The Mason’s Pink Vista teapot was a gift from my husband many Christmases ago.

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Fresh greenery adds a beautiful touch to any tea table. I like to elevate arrangements on fancy cake plates.

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The beautiful two-tiered celebration cherry cake from my sweet friend Pam Picco who lives here in Newfoundland!  She is an extraordinarily talented cake artist.  I just love what she created for me.

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The poinsettias are made from sugar!

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What a romantic Christmas cake!IMG_1724

This teeny deer seems to appear everywhere around our house!IMG_1762

My pink transferware collection is made up of pieces gathered from yard sales and vintage shops but they all seem to work together.IMG_1870

These gingerbread hearts, like all the confections on my tea table, are truly works of art! I really admire the talent of these bakers.IMG_1822

The picture inside this tiny frame is actually the cover of a pretty Christmas card that my husband received from someone he works with.  I trimmed the image a little and slipped it into a frame for the tea table…

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Springerele biscuits  are almost too pretty to eat, don’t you think!  We had a difficult time cutting that beautiful cake that Pam made but we finally managed to bring ourselves to do it…It was delicious and Ethel certainly would have approved!

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Thank you to The Charm of HomeRose Chintz Cottage and Rooted in Tyme for sharing my previous post “A Cuppa Cozy:  Cocoa-and-Cookie Station”.

Well, we have some visiting to do and still some presents to deliver! Thank you so much for coming by and leaving such thoughtful and kind comments.  It makes a difference.  Wishing you the sweetest holiday season,

Cheers,

Linda

 

I’m happy to be joining Pink Saturday, Saturday Show OffAmaze Me Monday, Creative Mondays, No Place Like HomeTweak It Tuesday and Inspire Me Tuesday, Wake Up WednesdayThe Scoop, Bernideen’s Tea Time Cottage and Garden Blog PartyWhat’s It Wednesday, Home and Garden Thursday, Share Your Cup Thursday, Shabbilicious Friday, Feathered Nest Friday, Simple and Sweet Friday and What To Do Weekends.

A Cuppa Cozy: Cocoa-and-Cookie Station

Hello Dear Friends!

I’ve been away but am back just in time to share the holiday season with you! Thanks for your emails and comments checking in on me. It has been a very busy year and I’ve already been immersed in holiday decorating, albeit for fundraising for breast cancer research, as you can see from this recent photo in a local newspaper! Some days, you just never know where you’ll end up. lol  I’ve really missed my friends in blog land. So, let’s get to it! The kettle’s already on and I hope you can stay for awhile…

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IMG_1414In nod to the season, simple gestures of sweet holiday homemaking are starting to emerge at our house.

When it’s cold outside, I like to warm my toes and insides with a casual and convenient cocoa-and-cookie station.  It’s easy to do and a lovely little way to bring some big-hearted hospitality to the holidays.  I thought I’d share some photos of my hot chocolate bar from last season…IMG_1244A kitchen island, countertop, sideboard/dresser, or a tabletop tucked into a corner are all perfect places for a hot chocolate bar.IMG_1251The  hot chocolate bar in our house is set out on an antique table with a marble top and white cast iron pedestal base – it came from a favourite downtown cafe that was located within a well-loved gift shop.  When the owner decided to close the doors, she called me and asked  if I would like one of her tables – I ended up with two! YAY!  IMG_1238I start by gathering all the Christmassy “essentials”.  A large oval basket, or sometimes a tray or even a wooden crate, is used to neatly house all the things for the bar:  homemade marshmallows, peppermint stir sticks, cinnamon sugar, cookies under a glass cloche, linen napkins, spoons, candles and special cups.IMG_1324Pretty cups and mugs always make a beautiful statement. This one’s a favourite. It came from a cute design shop, By Sharpe Design, in the heart of the city.IMG_1242The toy soldier cookies were made by my friend Maria at Petite Sweet.IMG_1274

IMG_1288The pretty homemade marshmallows came from Sugar Mama’s bakery just around the corner.IMG_1249And, of course, don’t forget delicious cocoa mix and a bottle of fresh milk….IMG_1320Candles and greens add to the warm, comforting ambience.
IMG_1318Little people and big people love festive Oreo cookies dipped in white chocolate with crushed candy cane sprinkles!

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IMG_1276The glass cloche helps to keep the freshness in, although cookies never last long anyway.IMG_1275“Son of a Nutcracker!” That looks cute!IMG_1236When I’m hosting a hot chocolate bar for an open house or a brunch, I like to have bowls of mini marshmallows, chocolate curls and whipped cream at the ready.  A bottle of Baileys or Frangelico is available for those who like a curious kick to their hot chocolate.IMG_1259A touch of black anywhere always boosts things up a notch, don’t you think!IMG_1260Cozy pillows, a mix of heirloom needlepoint and with a touch of sparkle, on the chairs bring even more warmth to the vignette.IMG_1261A cup of cocoa is like a giant hug!
IMG_1262Napkins sewn from red-and-white ticking and a cozy rug under foot = a warm heart!  I also like to top jars with holiday stickers that say, “Welcome. You’re special!” It’s a sweet touch.IMG_1285I do love this time of year, although the damp cold that we often get, being on an island in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, does get deep in the bones and I enjoy a hot cup of something to warm me up after a day out and about.

My goal this year is to bring it outside! On the porch or deck is a great spot to welcome family and friends home from outdoor activities, and you can add to the romantic holiday theme with a vintage sled, skates, buckets of apples, planters filled greens…you get the picture. If you have snow, build a for-real snowman nearby and gussie him up with mittens and a mug hanging from his twig arm! To further boost the spirits, pile up warm blankets on a bench and play Christmas music on the ghetto blaster!  Stay tuned…

Inspired.  Simple.  Beautiful.

Wishing you a warm and joyful holiday season,

Linda at Beautiful Ideas

IMG_1362Thank you to my Pink Days In Bloom garden fairy “Invincibelle” whose mom, Ann Marie, made this gorgeous cross-stitched heart for me last Christmas!IMG_1273PRAYERS FOR PEACE AND LOVE TO ALL

For those of you who live near, I hope you will join us for the next Pink Days In Bloom coming up…

0001kFJoining the party at:  Make It Pretty, Amaze Me Monday, Teatime Tuesday, Tweak It Tuesday, Inspire Me TuesdayHome Sweet Home, Feathered Nest Friday, Show and Tell, Simple and Sweet Fridays, WhatToDo Weekends, Share Your Cup Thursday, Creative Mondays, The Scoop, Wake Up Wednesday, Share Your Cup Thursday, A Return to Loveliness

Kitchen Leftovers That Sparkle!

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Dear Friends,

Because I promised, I am sharing the last of the photos of my holiday decor this past Christmas in our kitchen. I know, I know.  It’s February already! You’re probably saying, “Give me a break!” But I did promise to share them and a blogger friend reminded me of that, so here they are. And, I suppose it’s better late than never.  If you love Christmas like I do, and you do happen to find some little bits of inspiration here for your own decorating, well, you can file it away until Christmastime rolls around again.
I think my friend Madelief, author of a beautiful blog by the same name, will be surprised to know that the Christmas card she sent me all the way from Rotterdam in the Netherlands a few years ago, has had a place of honour on my tree every year since.  I just love the fairy image and romantic Dutch language, too.
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 It’s like hanging a miniature work of art on the tree!
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What do you think, Madelief? Dutch translation, please!
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The vibrant orange and amber hues of the tree are quite cheerful in this tiny corner of our kitchen room and Madelief’s precious card is a perfect complement.
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Honestly, I feel a bit sheepish about sharing these photos at this late date.  I hope they don’t keep you up all night with nightmares that  it’s Christmas again already! My last post, Be My Valentine, was a little shot of spring, but I’m afraid this post will bring you back to reality! If you are trying to escape winter, perhaps, then you might want to exit now. Lol  (I have to admit, though, I do love seeing again the reflection of our little kitchen tree in the mirror from this angle.)
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Here is the kitchen dresser when it was decked out with the most amazing gingerbread creations. If you want to see more photos of this amazing gingerbread house, you can check it out here at Gingerbread Dreams.  Do you like tin framed-mirrors?  I picked up this one at a lovely shop, Tin Roof Mercantile, in Nova Scotia a few years back. They were kind enough to ship it to me and it arrived safely. Thank goodness! It’s tremendously heavy.

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I just can’t get over these cute little footprints leading to the front door of the gingerbread house! Great job, Jindra! You are the gingerbread master!IMG_0725

All the gingerbread is edible but looked too pretty to eat. It did taste divine, though!IMG_0723

It made for such a sweet display.  The Portmeirion “The Holly and the Ivy” teapot was a gift from my husband years ago. The lush antique artistry is inspired by the 17th century English carol.IMG_0971

The little holiday tree sits in an urn on a table near the patio door and is trimmed with lovely baubles and sparkly twigs.  A mischievous elf peeps out from behind the tree!  Can you see him?IMG_0980

A winged creature up close… I love decorating with birds at Christmas.IMG_0979

 A little black always helps ground a room, even if it’s a Christmas ornament!

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A bountiful garland twines around a multi-tired shelf/wine rack in a corner of the room.IMG_0656

This luxe stocking came from a shop at Blomidon Inn’s House of Gifts in Nova Scotia. I’m always thinking Christmas, even on vacation! So, many holiday things seem to find their way into my suitcase or carry-on when I’m travelling.IMG_0653

“What is Christmas?  It is tenderness for the past, courage for the present, hope for the future. It is a fervent wish that every cup may overflow with blessings rich and eternal, and that every path may lead to peace.”  Ahnes M. PharoIMG_0631

More bird motifs…IMG_0695

A spray of glittered branches at the top of the tree gives it oomph and extra height!IMG_0694

Elf is happily decorating the tree!IMG_0689 Don’t you love this old-fashioned ornament with the wreath in the centre!  It reminds me of the ones that hung on my parents’ tree when I was a little girl.

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This cute Bethany Lowe snowman always puts a smile on my face.  I think I brought him back in my suitcase from Colonial Williamsburg, Virginia when hubby and I visited there in 2012 for the Grand Illumination in December that year.  You can see photos of the town of Williamsburg decorated in its holiday finery here at It’s Christmas Naturally.
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He is adorable, isn’t he!

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“Mr. Lady Killer” on the wall is my favourite thing in the kitchen!  My mom jokes that when she sees him, she craves an egg! Lol  Oh, well!IMG_1001

Pretty porcelain for a Christmas tea…IMG_0999

I enjoy the soft glow of lamplight from this corner of the room, especially late at night when the house is quiet, and I can sip leisurely on a glass of eggnog (non alcohol) before bed.  Thank goodness eggnog can’t be found on the store shelves here after Christmas! All those yummy calories!

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Eggnog cups…

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Festive fairy!

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Each of these amber glass jugs has a story.  You can see more of this collection at Christmas is Coming.

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Wintry window…More view of the kitchen window can be seen at Celebrating The Twelfth Day of Christmas.IMG_1049

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I gave my mom-in-law Ethel this sweet figurine many years ago. she adored sheep and I adored Ethel.  Hours before she passed away, she gave it back to me so I could love it in my own collection. IMG_1009

I have a ‘thing’ for fairies…IMG_0996

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A hot chocolate bar in a basket sits on a marble bistro table in a corner of the kitchen near the pantry cupboards.  It came from our favourite downtown cafe when it closed its doors years ago. We sat at this table many times over great meals and memories.IMG_1267

Homemade marshmallows, toy soldier sugar cookies, and Oreo cookies dipped in white chocolate and sprinkled with crushed candy cane – what more could you want?IMG_1266

Peppermint stir sticks and hot chocolate!IMG_1267

Sit Long, Talk Much…IMG_1265

Fantasy under glass…Does this little fellow come to life when everyone’s sleeping?IMG_0733

Mason’s Pink Vista transferware is yet another favourite pattern! I love collecting these vintage pieces.

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Vintage love…the black is pretty, too!IMG_1057

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The inscription on the teapot reads:  “A cup of tea for you, a cup of tea for me, to enjoy around the Christmas tree.” The needlepoint heart was a gift this year from one of my Pink Days In Bloom garden fairies. Thank you Ann Marie, mom of ‘Invincibelle’ (a.k.a Kierstyn). I treasure it! A true ‘work of heart’.IMG_1423

This is a musical Santa.  He revolves to Silent Night and has been part of our Christmas decor for over 25 years, when we brought him back from the Williamsburg Pottery, Richmond, Virginia. Apart from a little chip of Santa’s finger, it has certainly withstood the test of time.  He is a Christmas tradition at our home.IMG_1422

Romantic candle glow and snowflake sugar cookies…They were so good! Thank you, Maria! You are the sugar cookie queen!IMG_1418

A cuppa Christmas…IMG_1412

The toy soldier cookies AND snowflake cookies were made by my friend Maria. Aren’t they sweet!IMG_1324

Since I’ve gone this far with the Christmas pictures, I thought I’d go all the way and share this beautiful carol with you – Angels We Have Heard on High by The Piano Guys, Peter Hollens and David Archuleta.  The video is lovely also.  I love hearing a beautiful piece of music at any time of year. I hope you enjoy it, too. If you have a listen, maybe you’ll forgive me for all the Christmassy photos…

Whatever you’re doing and wherever you are, I hope you are cozy and warm, of good health and spirit. Thank you for all the lovely footprints you left behind on my recent posts.  Thank you so much to Jann at Have A Daily Cup of Mrs. Olson for featuring “Be My Valentine” at Share Your Cup Thursday!

“Let Every Day Be Christmas”
by Norman Wesley Brooks

Christmas is forever, not for just one day,
for loving, sharing, giving, are not to put away
like bells and lights and tinsel, in some box upon a shelf.
The good you do for others is good you do yourself.

Reflections of A Romantic Christmas

Dear Friends,

Happy New Year! Can you believe it’s 2015 already? Where did 2014 go! It seems the older I get, the faster it goes. Do you feel that, too? I hope you have time to stay and savour a cuppa with me and have a little tour. Many of you have already dismantled your Christmas décor and packed it away for another year.  At our house, though, the decorations will linger a little longer.  That’s probably no surprise to many of you who know how much I LOVE Christmas!

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The decorations went up hurriedly and very late at our place this year and, at this moment, it seems to be just a tremendous effort to take them all down. I think I have a little “after Christmas” fog setting in.  Like so many of you who enjoy your homes, particularly at Christmastime, I think the sparkle just seems to bring ours to life and makes it shine, making more cozy and inviting. The house itself seems to ‘smile’ and be happy. Magical! So, I want to enjoy just a little more…

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It makes me a little sad at the thought of not seeing all the festive trims again until next year. Although the year seems to pass so fast, I’m sure before we can blink an eye, it’ll be ‘that time’ again. Why don’t we just leave it up all year! Before I manage to get up the gumption for “the task” of putting it all away, I thought I would share some photos of a few sweet vignettes around the living room. I hope you don’t mind. I know it’s late.

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Meet ‘Queenie’. I have no clue about this carved wooden bust. I imagine it as having once been a prop in a Laura Secord candy shop. It’s probably not the case but can you see a resemblance at all? I dressed her up to the nines with a mask, some feathers, a piece of festive ribbon, a sparkly star and a sweet ornament studded with sequins . Her crown is actually a tree topper. It wouldn’t fit properly on her head at first, so I got out my handy wire cutters and snipped out the spiral piece that normally fits down over the top tree branch, and what do you know! Despite hubby’s warning that the entire crown would surely fall apart, it worked like a charm! Whoever this lady is, there is new life for her and she is having fun. I think she looks very mysterious which only adds to the question of her lineage.

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A little French inspiration is always welcome, n’est-ce pas!P1140119

This was ‘Queenie’ before her crowning glory and a little gold spray paint touch-up.P1140372

This Royal Doulton gal is called, “Happy Birthday 2010”. My husband gave her to me for my birthday that year.  She is a limited edition and was retired in December of that same year.

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“Girl reading” was found at a local antiques shop about 25 years ago.

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My husband did some research on her as I was preparing this post.  She is a chalkware figure probably cast in the 1930’s. The original was possibly created by Cristoforo Vicari, an Italian sculptor born in the 1800’s. It was after I had inserted the photo into this post that I saw her eyes for the first time!

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She is in great condition with only a few minor chips but that is what gives her such character.  I have loved her ever since I first saw her.  The statue is quite heavy.

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She has moved around the house quite a bit over the years. Another cuppa anyone?

C.S. Lewis — ‘You can never get a cup of tea large enough or a book long enough to suit me.’

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Venetian masks are not just for Mardi Gras! Authentic Venetian masks are perched in wreaths, swags and trees around our home during the festive season.

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Can you spot the Venetian mask nestled in the treetop?

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I found this sweet ‘sisters’ photo in an antique shop in Grand Rapids, Michigan a couple of years ago.

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I have no idea as to the identify of these bow-topped girls. I just really loved the picture! And, don’t they look lovely for the holidays?

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Love the iced boughs in the trees and on the mantel…Since I couldn’t find any of the sprays anywhere this year, I bought the only garland I could find, pulled it apart and used the stems in swags and on tables for a coordinated look in the room.

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A little touch of glam on the table at the base of the ‘sisters’ photo, which is perched on an easel and displayed slightly above the table. I like elements with varying heights for interest.IMG_1112

There’s no need to secret pretty glassware away in a cupboard. Bring it out and celebrate it! An iced wreath sits at the base of a glass urn.

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Old crystal glasses are re-purposed as votive holders. Why not!

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Since I don’t often get to use my crystal glasses, I think this is a perfect new purpose for them.

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The glass urn holds some special ornaments, a small Santa and epsom salts for a snowy effect.

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Isn’t he so sweet?

P1140636I like to use mirrors as trays for glasses and also as the base for my vignettes. It ‘doubles’ the effect.
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Prized ornaments can also be found nesting in special glasses. This trio of ornaments would be lost on the tree, so I like to keep them separate where I can enjoy them to the fullest.

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Miniature framed photos of my dad who is no longer with us peek out from the tree branches every year since his passing.

IMG_0758They are photos of my dad in his youth. I like the ones with the cars. I think they are really cool. Lol
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Strands of chandelier glass hug the tree at the top, middle and bottom. I have these pieces for years and yeas and find new ways to use them every Christmas. I’ve even used them to decorate a wedding cake table. You can see how at The Gift of a Wedding.

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Glass ornaments hand crafted in Poland were purchased with gift cards from the Bombay Company that I had been given for Christmas. I was able to use them for the after Christmas sales when the ornaments were marked way down. Thank you to all!

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This beauty was a new after Christmas purchase this year. I pulled it out of a box tucked behind a piece of furniture in the shop and was so glad to find it.IMG_0963

I am loving the silver-gold combination this year in our living room this year.

 

IMG_0939And, of course, one can never have too many pillows!  Pillows are a wonderful to add texture to a space and make it cozy.

IMG_0958 I like that I can look at our tree and know that many of the ornaments were thoughtfully gifted by my spouse, family, friends, neighbours and co-workers!IMG_0957

Almost every ornament tells a story.IMG_0956This pretty was also an after-Christmas sale purchase.
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This ornament was, too! Don’t you love the lace on this baby? You can see a post about The Littlest Angels that I used here.  I sent my friend Carolyn on Prince Edward Island a pair of these sweeties a few years ago, so we have a set alike as a gesture of friendship.

IMG_0953You must have at least one bird in the tree! It’s tradition. There’s a nest in there, too…somewhere deep within the branches.
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The ornaments are just piled on in thick layers this year as we didn’t have a large tree in this room. I like the glass ornaments that allow the tree lights to shine through and cast a warm glow.IMG_0587Santa peeps out from a bell cloche in front of the fireplace.
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Some silver reindeer, a wee child and small glittery trees, too, set the scene.IMG_0761

Chicadees in the trees…The frosted snowy white bulb in the garland draped at the back is a favourite. A gorgeous wintry nod to the season…IMG_0605

More Santas and some sparkly stars that are showing signs of wear. “Never let anyone dull your sparkle!” Whoever said that had real insight.

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LOVE these! The little radio is similar to my husband’s radio that had belonged to his dad.

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A few more…

IMG_0777I so admire the people who craft these gorgeous ornaments. To tour a factory in Poland or Austria or Germany where they are so expertly made would be a dream come true! Have you ever been to such a place?

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I found these bulbs with the ‘Three Kings’ at Michaels early in the season! I had given a box of them to my beloved mom-in-law many years ago and she cherished them. She has since passed and they have gone to someone else in the family who also treasures them, which makes me very happy, indeed. When I saw these on the store shelf this year, I wanted to have them on my own tree as a reminder of my Ethel and her faith.

IMG_0766My friend Joan hand painted this heart for me. It is precious. Did you know that I hang it on my tree every year, Joan, next to my dad’s photo?
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A new ornament this year! Love a peace dove in the tree…

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The iced boughs and glass prisms tucked into the tree here and there gives a wintry feel to the tree and is a lovely contrast with the natural pinecones.

IMG_1072Reflection of the Christmas tree lights in a large framed print that hangs over the sofa…

IMG_1075What to do when you can’t find a full-size tree? I couldn’t find a full-size tree that I liked this year (you can see last year’s tree at The Snow Tree) , so we went with two smaller trees in urns that we previously used in other rooms.  I do miss my Snow Tree and will continue my search for a full-size flocked tree for next Christmas.

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This is actually two smaller tabletop trees of the same size, both in footed urns, that were used previously in other rooms. Can you see the Venetian masks in the tops of each tree?

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The trees are in footed urns and placed at graduating heights in the room. (This window is awaiting new curtains.)

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One of the footed urns is set on atop a wooden crate off the floor for some added height.

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The second tree is placed on the top shelf of a glass and iron wine rack that I dragged inside from out our patio deck. It had been out there all summer and fall and I was planning on bringing it into the house for the winter anyway. I draped a garland over the top and down the side of the rack to the floor and then decorated it similarly to the two trees. Since I didn’t have a single big tree this year, I had plenty of ornaments to go around.IMG_0762

This vignette is at the base of the tree on top of the wine rack. I think my favourite thing this year was the silver and gold striped ribbons! I am a ribbon addict. Here are some close ups of the vignette at the base of the tree.

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IMG_0597Can you see the wine bottles still in the rack below the tree?

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I thought I would leave the bottles in the rack. Hmmm…maybe I’ll have a small glass!IMG_0813

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Some more favourites…IMG_0961
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IMG_1082 An angel sits at the base of the trees.

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The teeny angel came from a Christmas shop in Banff many years ago when visiting my husband’s sister for an early Christmas. I always bring home a Christmas ornament or figure from my travels. Do you do that, too?IMG_0796

Some views of the fireplace mantel in the Living Room
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Chandelier strands and crystal prisms, gilded honecombs and natural pinecones, glittery ferns and iced boughs, illuminated mercury glass, shimmery ribbon, cedar sprays and pearly capiz shells together create a romantic scene and cast beautiful patterns on the walls.IMG_0507

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Crystal candlesticks normally reserved for tablescapes hold prized ornaments.IMG_0497

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I hope you enjoyed the “after-Christmas tour”, late as it was. Some would say better late than never.

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You can catch a wee glimpse through the living room door to the kitchen and dining nook. If you would like to see it decked out before all traces of the holidays are gone, please come back and visit before too long, that is if you can stand it and haven’t had your fill already. Lol  I won’t delay posting too long as I know it’s a bit late after all.  We are still doing some after-Christmas entertaining and so I will be sharing it with some friends over the next week.

That’s it for the living room until next year. Thank you for indulging me and for coming by and spending your precious time.  I hope you are enjoying a fabulous winter so far.

Wishing you a beautiful day,

Linda

I am thrilled to be joining  Amaze Me MondayTeatime Tuesday, A Return to Loveliness and Friends Sharing Tea, The Scoop, Tuesdays With A Twist, Tuesdays At Our HomeWordless Wednesday, Wake Up Wednesday, What’s It Wednesday, WoW Us Wednesday, Wholehearted Wednesday, Home and Garden Thursday, Share Your Cup Thursday, The Homemaking PartyThursday’s Favourite Things, Home Sweet HomeShabbilicious Friday and Simple and Sweet Fridays, Feathered Nest Friday, Pink Saturday!

Celebrating the Twelfth Day of Christmas!

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 On the twelfth day of Christmas, my true love sent to me…

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I wish we could put up some of the Christmas spirit in jars and open a jar of it every month. ~Harlan Miller

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Dear Friends,

Happy New Year to you all! My wish for you is good health, peace, friendship, love and many joy-filled moments in the coming year.

IMG_1038It’s early Monday and it is a quiet, Christmas card kind of morning with the snow falling and twirling to the ground like teeny feathers from heaven. Peaceful.

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For those living on many parts of our island, it’s a snow day for the children as schools are closed, or at least for the morning. Not here, though.  This beautiful scene won’t last long as the temperature is expected to climb to an unseasonable 11 degrees Celsius with rain, so all this fluffy snow will soon be washed away.  (I love this Bethany Lowe figure. Isn’t it precious?)

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Although I miss my garden at this time of year, the view is still beautiful, even from the kitchen sink!

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Who says rabbits are just for Easter?

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I’ve just made the bed (I like to dress the beds for Christmas) and am about to brew a hot cuppa.

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The house is so warm and welcoming at this time of year, so I am still enjoying. You can never have too many cozy pillows!

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A collection of hand painted Santas still sit on the dresser in the master bedroom.

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I am still listening to holiday music and sipping tea by the glow of the tree lights. I am loving this quiet hour. Hubby has left for work already and I am on vacation today (back to work tomorrow).

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I thought I would use the day to dismantle some of the decorations but on, second thought, I think I will enjoy them for the rest of this week and instead read some favourite magazines, be inspired and take some photos, something I haven’t had a chance to do all season.

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Maybe I’ll call up an old friend and invite her for tea. Pink transferware is wonderful at any time of year but especially during the holidays.

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I really like the Christmassy colours of this pattern.

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I know that many of you share a love for it.

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This is a nook in our petite kitchen/dining room. I love the sparkle! The house seems to say, “I’m happy!” and I want to share that. I hope it’s not too late.

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Well, Old Christmas Day is tomorrow, so I won’t leave it too long before I post some more images. Where did 2014 go?!

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I think I’ll start in the living room…

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The reflection of the lights of the Christmas trees in a framed print gives a magical feel to the room. Here are a few sneak peeks…

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The top of a Christmas tree…
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At the base of the tree…
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Special ornaments and a vignette under glass…
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Many thanks to Kerryanne for featuring my last post, Gingerbread Dreams, on her fun blog party Shabbilicous Friday! It was very sweet of you!  By the way, you might be interested to know that I gave that gingerbread house away but Santa brought me my very own gingerbread house! YES!
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The buffet/dresser in a kitchen nook is home to a fabulous smelling gingerbread display! (I tipped a little too far to the right when I snapped this one! Lol) Can you see the teeny footprints leading up to the front door of the gingerbread house. My friend Jindra is just amazing! APPLAUSE!
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I can’t thank her enough.  I’ve always wanted one for my own and she has made me a very happy girl, indeed! I get so much pleasure from looking at her creation.
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Look at that front door with the chevron wood-like pattern and pretty little wreath! You have to just admire her skill at detail! LOVE!
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It just makes my heart and feet dance together at the sight!  I hope it makes you happy  to see it, too.  I will probably be looking at this in my kitchen for a long time yet. I am very reluctant to put it away for another year. There are no ‘rules’ when to take down your holiday decor and if it makes you happy, then why not leave it for awhile longer! Celebrate Christmas every day, if you want – at least in your heart, that’s what matters. I love the spirit of the season and don’t mind one bit if it lingers awhile more.
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Oh, here comes the rain already! I’m glad I got those photos from the kitchen window when I did! This is the only snowman here today, on the kitchen table…
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I hope you’ll visit again soon! Thank you all for the very lovely comments last time.  I am always so excited to see your kind notes in my mailbox.
Wishing you a beautiful start to a brand new week,
Linda 

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Merry, Merry Christmas!

For unto us, a child is born!

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“Christmas is the day that holds all time together.” – Alexander Smith

P1130314Dear Friends,

So, this is Christmas! I’m just popping in to say, “Merry Christmas! Merry, Merry Christmas!” I hope yours is peaceful, filled with many blessings and that you find yourself surrounded by the special people in your life as you share in this wondrous time. Wishing each and everyone, the old and the young, a beautiful Christmas wrapped in tons of love and may all your dreams for Christmas come true. Embrace this day…

Linda

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Categories: CHRISTMAS

Gingerbread Dreams

IMG_0156Dear Friends,
I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE  me some cedar at Christmastime alll through the house. Branches snipped from the garden and some brought home from the garden centres seem to appear here and there and everywhere throughout our home at this time of year.  Mostly what I use inside to deck the chandeliers over tables, on tables and sideboards – near wherever food is served – is from the nursery or florist, just because I want to be sure there are no little bugs dropping from the branches especially onto food tables.
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This is my favourite tree this year!  It’s fashioned from gingerbread stars in graduating sizes and sits on a wooden base.
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I also love the aromatic scent of sweet gingerbread mixed with the smell of fresh winter greens.   I thought today I would share some photos of a petite gingerbread house surrounded by bits of cedar clippings that was sitting on my sideboard (an old pine dresser repurposed) in the kitchen for a few days before I gave the house away as a gift.
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The teeny house was custom-built for me to spec and pinterest inspired. A lovely new friend, Jindra, who is from Czech Republic made it for me using the old-style European recipe for gingerbread made up molasses, honey and flour.  The house sits on a 7″ diameter gingerbread cookie!
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 It smells soooo goood and is entirely edible but will keep for years if looked after properly…
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 Isn’t it adorable how the door to the house opens?  And, the tree outside and the starburst on the tiled rooftop?  And the detail surrounding the windows!  There are so many things about this creation that I admire.

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Aren’t the cookies beautiful? The detail is just amazing on these tasty treats. I particularly love the gingerbread spheres.  They have tiny ribbons attached so you can hang them on the tree. Just precious!
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The stars are beautiful, too.
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And, the snowflakes!  There’s my little reindeer place marker.  He makes me smile! Lol
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 I used some rustic looking bird nests dusted with sparkly snow and some lace trimmed ornaments on the dresser. Somehow, they just looked ‘right’ to me alongside the gingerbread shapes.IMG_0200I nestled a teeny silver reindeer place marker inside each of the nests.
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 The ‘hot toddy’ mugs are waiting…Or, would you prefer some pretty pomegranate tea in nod to the season?
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 The ‘White Wheat’ ironstone pattern is a favourite.  I have had this jug for many years.  It has a timeless appeal.
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Darling doves are displayed on my mother’s cookie plate which belonged to her mother and is probably over a century old.
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When I last posted, I showed this dresser with a totally different look using amber glassware.  You can see it here. This is how it looked before fitted out with my vintage amber glassware…
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And, this is the after…
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 There is a beautiful decorative sparkle to the gingerbread when the light shines on it.
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Sweet message…
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 The “Holly and Ivy” Portmeirion teapot was a gift to me from my husband about 10 years ago. Ivory bottlebrush trees are also a weakness of mine. Lol
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 I often stack cake plates to add height and interest to a tablescape. Do you do this, too?  There are so many ways you can use them.
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Behind the ceramic tray, I hid a teeny photo of me sitting on Santa’s lap.  It was taken 2 years ago when hubby and I visited New York City for a week plus a day.  I spotted this wonderful Santa at The Plaza Hotel.  The last time before that I had my photo taken with Santa was 50 years earlier!  Lol  It was a special moment for me – even at my age, all these years later! Lol
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There is something very special about the inside of this gingerbread house.  Can you guess what it is?
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SURPRISE!  The house has its own teeny gingerbread tree with teeny gingerbread presents underneath it! The love is definitely in the details! Jindra has such an amazing talent! XO
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Hubby and I went to dinner recently hosted by our dear friends, Brendan and Marie, in their beautiful home.  It was a fabulous evening on all counts. We always look forward to our visits with them. I brought along the tiny gingerbread house as a hostess/Christmas gift. Our friends were thrilled.  I’m sure their grandchildren will be, too!  I was delighted to see the same look on my friend Marie’s face when I gave her the house. I surely must have had the same look on mine when Jindra first presented this sweet ‘work of heart’ to me!
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As soon as I arrived at my friend’s home, I asked for one of her many pedestal cake plates (she used to have a tea room) and went about arranging feathery bits of cedar around the perimeter of the plate and then sprinkling icing sugar over the stems to resemble newly fallen snow.  I used glass yogourt cups to hold battery-operated votives and then filled the glasses with salt, popped a few pinecones in place on the side of the plate and voila! A beautiful presentation.
IMG_0257 The gift tag was given to me a couple of years ago.  A thoughtful friend had an entire box of them custom made for me! The same friend who gave me this beautiful china and glassware you can see here at The Festive Table! There must have been a dozen or more tags in the box and so I use them for very special gifts.
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When I was sprinkling confectioners’ sugar over the cedar, some of the sugar fell on my friend’s Baby Grand piano. She really liked the look of it and so she decided to leave it just as it was…
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My friend served dinners and tea in this room for nearly 10 years up until last year.  When she closed the tea room to spend more time with her grandchildren, she converted the dining room to a cozy sitting room.
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I love the old gramaphone…Can you hear Christmas music?
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I love how this vignette turned out.  It reminds me of a beautiful Christmas card…
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Since I was a little girl, I’ve dreamed of having my very own gingerbread house. I just love this petite little house so much that I asked Santa to bring me one for Christmas.  Lol  We’ll see…
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I can’t wait to snap some photos of this year’s decorations on the outside of ‘the bungalow’.  I’ve plopped pineapples in most of my urns again this year.  The pineapple, after all, is the symbol of welcome so is especially appropriate during the holidays. I’m having fun with a few garden benches and birdbaths this year, too, setting up little cheerful vignettes. This is what our front door looked like last year.
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You can see more photos here at Beautiful Christmas Green.
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I’m hoping for a wee sifting of fresh snow so my photos will look Christmassy.  Last year this time, we were knee-deep in snow and had been for weeks. Although I am wanting a little snow for photos, I am more than happy that we are having such great weather.  Right now, though, it looks as though we will have a green Christmas this year, so the exterior photos can wait a few days.
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I’d like to thank Kathy at A Delightsome Life and Sherry at The Charm of Home for featuring my last post Christmas is Coming on their amazing blogs!
Thank you for stopping by, particularly at this time of year when we have so much to keep us busy with holiday preparations! I hope Santa’s good to you! Sweet wishes for a beautiful Christmas filled with peace, love, joy and a multitude of blessings…XO
Linda  

Christmas is coming!

IMG_0087Welcome, Friends!

You’re just in time for a cuppa tea!  I think you’ll agree that there is perhaps no other time of year as highly anticipated as the Christmas season. Like many of you,  I have begun making holiday plans and to get our home ready for Christmas.  I like to start early so I have plenty of time to enjoy the house in all its sparkle and glamour for as long as possible.  I think this is when the house looks its best.  I thought I would decorate first and clean after because I expect there will be glitter from one end of the house to the other by the time everything is finished!

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For a change, this year, I started in the kitchen with an old dresser repurposed as a sideboard.  (I normally start “Christmas at the End of the Hall” but change is good. A tin-framed mirror hangs above the dresser. I thought it would look nice with a generous pine and cedar wreath layered over it and then added a few glittery sprigs and delicate ornaments. The wreath looks very real.  What do you think?

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And, I began playing with a new camera that my husband bought for me! These images are of a few little nooks and crannies in our kitchen and are the very first photos I took using it.  I am really liking the way they turned out for a first try and I feel like a grown-up, finally! Lol  Now, I’ll have to look into that photography course that I’ve been wanting to do.  Maybe Santa will drop a gift certificate in my Christmas stocking…Hint.

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I’ve shared photos of my amber glassware before, but I thought you might enjoy seeing it again since these images are more detailed.  This pretty jug and juice glasses have been used to serve family and friends on many happy occasions throughout the years.  I remember finding it in an antiques barn by the side of the road when my husband and I were vacationing in beautiful Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario. That was when we were first married and so many years ago that I’ve lost count.  Where does the time go?

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I love the daisy pattern and swirls.  It looks rather ‘snowy’, don’t you think.

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The sweet miniature reindeer is actually a place card holder. You can see the little slit in his back that holds the card.

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The carnival glass jug is a special treasure and quite old. It belonged to my great-grandmother.

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My prized egg nog bowl, circa 1950’s, has served up many holiday drinks topped with peaks of delicious whipped cream! I can’t wait for egg nog!

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The pedestal crystal plate that the bowl sits on belonged to my father’s mother.

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Aren’t the eggnog cups cute?  They fit nicely in the palm of your hand and the eggnog tastes even yummier in such a pretty cup!

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Sometimes I find unexpected places for precious ornaments.  You never know where you’ll find one around here!

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I like to tuck in family photos amongst the Christmas decorations here and there throughout the house.

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This photo is of my mom when she was in her twenties.  My mother lives in a seniors’ residence now.  You’re welcome to have a peek at her room that I decorated for her here: “A Room With A View!”

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I like to mix gold and silver when decorating for the holidays to allow more possibilities, rather than using all of one or the other.  These glasses with the bubble pattern are used for champagne.

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I love mixing in natural pinecones in our holiday decor.

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A few special ornaments are displayed on the stacked cake plates in the centre of the kitchen table.

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All the greenery is artificial but the natural pinecones help it to look fresh! With the addition of the pinecones, sometimes its very hard to tell whether the greens are natural or not.

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I don’t use all of our ornaments for the trees.  Here are some ornaments atop the Lazy Susan.  Others can be found in bowls, peeping out of stockings, dresser drawers, hanging from mirrors, on cake plates, under cloches…just about anywhere you can think of that could use a little surprise of glamour!  These green sprigs are faux, too!

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I like using cookies in the same way – in places where you’d least expect to find them!  These sugar cookies in the shape of snowflakes are part of the centerpiece for the table.  My friend Maria made them for me last year and I froze them so I could re-use them this year. When they are fresh, they are delicious.  I save these, though, purely for decoration and are not to be eaten!

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Aren’t they adorable!

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I am in love with these little reindeer place card holders!

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Pedestal plates can be used for much more than pretty desserts!

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The caribou look more like “cow-a-boo!”

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This is one of my favourite things! Gingerbread under a cloche!

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Last year, I hung these same cookies from an evergreen garland over the kitchen sink. Can you see the ‘straw holes’ where the ribbons were slipped through.  Gingerbread keeps well.

IMG_0062 Angels are a must throughout the house.  Don’t you love the ethereal look?

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I nestled a sprig of faux greenery and a teeny bird in her between her hands.

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I hope you have fun dreaming of your Christmas plans…I’d love to hear about them!

SECOND ANNUAL “CHRISTMAS WREATHS FOR THE CURE!”

For those of you who live in our area, please remember to get your holiday wreaths from The Wreath Maker as part of a fundraiser for breast cancer research and community programs. The Wreath Maker’s creations make wonderful Christmas gifts for friends, neighbours and clients, too! Why not give a wreath earlier in the season so the recipient can enjoy the magic leading up to Christmas! When you order a fresh holiday wreath by ‘The Wreath Maker’ this Christmas season and (mention Pink Days In Bloom), a portion of your wreath purchase will be donated to the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation – Atlantic.

Wreaths come in various sizes listed below; all fit a standard size door. These wreaths are expertly constructed of fresh balsam fir, decorated with berries and pinecones, finished off with a weatherproof red bow!
Small – 14” ($25), Medium – 18” ($35), Large – 24” ($45) and Extra Large – 30” ($60)
I LOVE the look of an evergreen symbol of the season and circle of life on my front door or gate, especially during the holidays! I have been buying wreaths from The Wreath Maker for over 25 years. It is a beloved Christmas tradition for our family! Now, you can, too! AND, while you’re at it, create a future without breast cancer…Until next time!
Thanks for stopping by!
Wishing you a beautiful day,

Linda

Christmas Wreaths for the Cure!

 

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I am thrilled to be joining the party at Home Sweet Home, What to do Weekends, Feathered Nest Friday, Saturday Show Off,  Pink Saturday, Simple and Sweet FridayShow and Tell, Shabbilicious Friday and Christmas, Fridays Unfolded, Show Off Friday , Much A Do About MondayAmaze Me Monday, Creative Monday, Tuesdays At Our Home, Tea Time Tuesday, A Return to Loveliness, Show and Share, Inspire Me Tuesday, The Scoop, Teacup Tuesday, Friends Sharing Tea, Tweak it Tuesday, Wordless Wednesday, What We Accomplished Wednesday , Wake Up Wednesday, The Homemaking Party, WoW Us Wednesday, What’s It Wednesday, Home and Garden Thursday, Thursday Favourite ThingsShare Your Cup Thursday, Shabbilicious Christmas! YAY!

Something special in the air…

IMG_1078Happy Fall, Y’all!

The glowing, delicious days of autumn are here!  I just love this time of year when the air is fresh and invigorating, and the countryside is awash with vibrant reds and golds. Doesn’t it just put that extra zing in your step! And, of course, I love fall walks, crisp apples, apple crisps and EVERYTHING pumpkin!

In the garden, I swap out the ‘bloom boxes’ for ‘pumpkin pots’, filling urns and window boxes with gourds of all kinds and pumpkins big and small. It’s easy to do and is such an inviting look for fall. Hope is in the air everywhere!

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Thanks to the many supportive garden nurseries and friends, it was a fantastic Pink Days In Bloom season, with more to come… And, so, in the spirit of breast cancer awareness, I thought I would share some nice news with you today. The pages below are from a newsletter that I recently shared on Pink Days In Bloom’s facebook page.  You can click on any of the photos in this post to enlarge them. October may be Breast Cancer Awareness Month, but locally we’re streeetching it by a couple days to November 2nd!

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Bring a friend, or two, or three and make plans for lunch/brunch in the café and then head on up to the third floor Rocket Room to check out the fair.  I think you will be pleased with what the vendors have in store for you. Many of them have already begun working on one-of-a-kind items for this wonderful sale.0001YK0001vo

Did you know that each vendor at “The Little Christmas Fair” makes a $100 charitable donation in support of CBCF-Atlantic in lieu of their table space at the fair? (Some of the vendors don’t normally participate in fairs but they do this one because they have a real connection to the cause and they want to help.) Admission is charged on the door and then there are generally a few holiday-themed raffles. It’s a fun way to raise monies for breast cancer research and community programs.  And, of course, we depend on you and your family and friends to all come out in support and have a good time while together we are working toward a future without breast cancer!

I hope you will help spread the word so that we can make this year’s “The Little Christmas Fair” the best yet for our generous vendors who put their hearts and talents into supporting the cause, and for CBCF-Atlantic to help them continue to do their good work in creating a future without breast cancer.  Whenever you see something on the Pink Days In Bloom Facebook touting “The Little Christmas Fair”, it would be a really huge help if you would share it on your own page.  That will go a long way in helping to get the word out about the fair and bringing more people to the venue.

Of course, greeters and ticket sellers are needed again this year.  So, if you’d like to volunteer for a couple hours during the day of the fair (pretteee pleeease), let me know and I’ll put your sweet face on the schedule!  Doors open at 11:00 AM and close at 5:00 PM.  Volunteer shifts are generally 2-hour shifts with 3 persons working each shift. The shift times are 11AM – 1PM, 1PM – 3PM and 3PM –  5PM.  Email me at linda.pinkdaysinbloom@gmail and let me know which shift you’d prefer.  Even volunteers have a great time at the fair and many stay long after their shift is over to take it all in!  You’ll be contributing to something good! It’s a great feeling that will surely get you into the holiday spirit!
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WANT TO KNOW WHAT’S HAPPENING NEXT? DISCOVER PINK DAYS IN BLOOM ON FACEBOOK AND TWITTER.          Don’t miss a thing!  ‘Like’ Pink Days In Bloom on Facebook!  https://www.facebook.com/pages/Pink-Days-in-Bloom/382061855145657    Follow on Twitter https://twitter.com/LindaPDIB

Thank you for your support and for dropping in for a visit today!  Cheers to a beautiful fall season! If you happen to be in St. John’s on November 2nd, I hope you will check out “The Little Christmas Fair!” See you here again soon!

Wishing you a beautiful day,

Linda

 

THANK YOU to the many wonderful bloggers who are sharing on their blogs this month about breast cancer awareness!  I am blessed to be able to share with Tuesday Cuppa Tea, Tea Time TuesdayWhat We Accomplished WednesdayWow Us Wednesday, Cottage Style PartyWake Up WednesdayWhat’s It Wednesday, The Homemaking PartyShare Your Cup ThursdayHome and Garden Thursday, Thursday Favourite ThingsFeathered Nest FridayRomantic Home, What to do Weekends, Home Sweet Home, Saturday Show Off and Pink Saturday. Love your blogs!

 

Best Wishes for “The Sparkling Hour”!

“New Year’s most glorious light is sweet hope!” – Mehmet Murat ildan

Dear Friends,

Cheers to a fabulous sparkling hour!  May you have good health, peace, love, happiness, prosperity and hope in 2014.  Wishing you a beautiful New Year,

Hugs, Linda

P11302632013 Posts:

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https://beautifulideas.wordpress.com/2013/01/02/the-first-snow-of-a-new-year/

P1050678https://beautifulideas.wordpress.com/2013/01/31/a-walk-in-the-park/

IMG_3031https://beautifulideas.wordpress.com/2013/03/06/majestic-hatley-park/

IMG_7357https://beautifulideas.wordpress.com/2013/03/24/easter-blessings/

P1060588https://beautifulideas.wordpress.com/2013/04/01/romantic-easter/

P1110765https://beautifulideas.wordpress.com/2013/11/11/ive-missed-you/

P1100581https://beautifulideas.wordpress.com/2013/11/19/12325/ A Garden Award

P1130318https://beautifulideas.wordpress.com/2013/12/01/the-festive-table/

A freshly made "pineapple fan" above our door is an annual tradition inspired by Colonial Williamsburg, Virginia.  The crown will last for several weeks.

A freshly made “pineapple fan” above our door is an annual tradition inspired by Colonial Williamsburg, Virginia. The crown will last for several weeks.

https://beautifulideas.wordpress.com/2013/12/03/beautiful-christmas-green/

P1060644https://beautifulideas.wordpress.com/2013/12/13/christmas-at-the-end-of-the-hall/

IMG_5766https://beautifulideas.wordpress.com/2013/12/25/a-christmas-wish/

Many thanks again you for all your visits! I look forward to spending more time with you in the months ahead…XO

Categories: CHRISTMAS

A Christmas Wish

May peace and joy come to you…
From our family to yours,
Wishing you all a blessed and Merry Christmas!

 

IMG_5766Thank you for taking time to visit all year through and, too, for leaving your beautiful footprints to let me know that you were here! I love to visit you all and am grateful to be able to share what we love! Be safe and cozy! XO

Blessings,

Linda

Categories: CHRISTMAS

Christmas at the End of the Hall

Happy Holidays, Dear Friends!P1060749

Welcome!

The tea is just about ready to be poured. I’m excited that you here.  I have something special to share with you.

P1050976Firstly, many thanks to these lovely ladies for sharing my recent post “The Festive Table” at their wonderful blog parties:

– Deborah,  Green Willow Pond (What we Accomplished Wednesday)
– Deb, Lavender cottage (Cottage Style Party)
– Sherry, The Charm of Home (Home Sweet Home)
– Liz, Rose Vignettes (Fresh Cut Friday)
These are the ones that I know of, so if I missed anyone, my apologies.  I hope you will let me know if I have…
P1060713Additionally, thank you to Jeanne for re-blogging my post “Beautiful Christmas Green” on her own blog Nola Girl at Heart, as well as author Janice Wells for her huge shout-out in a local newspaper, The Telegram, last weekend. Janice published four large full-colour pics from  “Beautiful Christmas Green”  that covered nearly an entire page of the paper!  You can read her column titled, “Channeling My Christmas Martha” here.  Only one photo is shown in the on-line version of the article, whereas the print copy features four large full-colour photos from my blog.
P1060745I am thrilled that so many of you featured these latests posts!  I am truly honoured to have you visit and that you want to share “Beautiful Ideas” 🙂 So, thanks to all of you!

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Today I’m decorating the house some more, using faux greens (don’t they look like the real thing), along with some special ornaments that hold memories for my husband and me. I like to decorate all through the house at Christmastime, introducing little unexpected treasures around each corner…

I haven’t quite decided what to do yet with one particular space in our house; and at this rate, I should finish by Boxing Day! Lol This is usually where Christmas appears first in our home, oftentimes, even as early as the first of November, but this year I just can’t seem to decide on a holiday vignette at the end of the hall…The rest of the year, it’s a pretty uninteresting place but I like to bring it to life at Christmastime. Whatever I use here will help set the tone for the rest of the rooms off the hallway…

P1060699A new friend has come to join the legion of Santa’s in our home and, so, I thought he would sit here on the gateleg table. I was thrilled to discover him at Lord and Taylor on the final morning of our visit to New York City last November.  I had almost given up the hunt and had resigned myself that I would not find a ‘special man’ that called my name to bring home with me! Lol  I seem to gather a Santa or two every time I travel. And, so, our ‘Jolly ‘Gent’ collection has continued to grow over the years.

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I judiciously packaged him in bubble wrap and safely tucked him inside my carry-on luggage where he was quite content.  I toted him all the way from NYC to Washington, D.C. and on to Virginia Beach and Williamsburg, and finally back home to Newfoundland, Canada!  This Santa got around the world in a tote bag – and is no worse for it!  He is extremely breakable but I was bound and determined that he would arrive home safely.

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P1060643His tag reads:  “Uber 100 Jahre werden von unserer Familie nach alter Tradition von handgearbeitete Sammler-artikel aus Papier-mache hergestellt.”

English translation:  “For over 100 years, our family has been creating papier-mache collectibles. Traditionally handcrafted by the “Ino Schaller” family in Bavaria.”

(I have dreamed of a trip to the European Christmas markets for a very long time, since I was a young girl; maybe one day we’ll go and I’ll bring home a Santa from there in my totebag …Sigh.)

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After a full week in New York City, we travelled to Colonial Williamsburg, Virginia for the town’s Grand Illumination (you can read about it here). There are some amazing shops in the Town Square and, of course, I could not resist the temptation to pick up another Christmas tchotchke.

This figurine is by Bethany Lowe.  Just looking at it warms my heart and brings to life childhood memories of playing in the snow. Bethany was scheduled to be in the shop to sign her pieces but we missed her by a day or two, I think.

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P1050947“Reindeer Games”. is hand-painted resin and the little one’s reindeer jumpsuit is softly flocked.  The figure measures about 7/12 inches at the tallest point.  I can always spot Bethany’s designs.   They have that vintage appeal that I love.

Also on this same trip, I found an awesome Santa at Macy’s in Virginia Beach, when visiting my cousin there, but I’ll save him for another day as he is deserving of a separate post…

P1050945I’m not certain just yet how Christmas at the end of the hall will look this year.  I don’t have a plan and the look has changed a couple times already. Our cat, Monza, seems to have taken a liking to the table as his new perch lately, and Santa is quite delicate, so we’ll see…Part of the fun in designing vignettes is creating as you go along and seeing the surprise result at the end, don’t you think.  I hope you enjoy the photos!

Thank you for your visit and for leaving your sweet footprint in the snow!  We are expecting a severe winter storm here beginning tomorrow and being stuck indoors will give me more time to finish decking the hall!  Happy decorating!

Wishing you a beautiful day,

Linda

Joining with bells on:  Inspiration Monday, Metamorphosis Monday, Make It Pretty Monday, Tea Time Tuesday, A Return to Loveliness, Inspire Me Tuesday, The Scoop, Friends Sharing Tea, What We Accomplished Wednesday, WoW Us Wednesday, Sandi’s Home for the HolidaysCottage Style PartyTime Travel Thursday, The Homemaking Party, Home and Garden Thursday, Christmas Countdown-Thursday Favourites, Feathered Nest FridayBe Inspired, What To Do WeekendsShow and Tell Friday, Home Sweet Home, Frugal Friday, Shabbilicious Friday, Simple and Sweet Friday Pink Saturday, Seasonal Sunday, and Open House.

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Beautiful Christmas Green!

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Dear Friends,

Happy first day of a brand new week! Let’s get this week off to a festive, fun and inspiring start, shall we! It is already starting to look alot like Christmas at our home! Big Elf (a.k.a. husband) helped me yesterday on a record-breaking day for cold (-10.7 Celsius) to festively festoon our front door with fresh foliage! I know! That’s a mouthful!

Despite the bitter cold, we felt energized by the job! We spent the entire afternoon decking the outside of the house and the hours just flew by! I love this time of year, readying for the approaching holidays.

The tea’s ready! (hope you like Earl Grey). Clasp your hands around your cuppa to keep warm and let’s go outside to see the progress so far, shall we…

P1130720I started with our never-ending garden planters and window boxes last weekend, trying to cram in all the cedar and fir and ivy clippings I could gather before we got a solid frost to save me from having to run back and forth the house with a steaming kettle, like a mad woman, pouring hot water over the soil in attempts to soften it up just enough to stick in a few branches and fashion them into something that resembles a ‘design’. Luckily, I pretty much had them completed before the freezing weather came upon us.

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I just LOVE the welcoming planters that dot our front walkway and deck in nod to the season!  In fact, I’ve decided they please me as much as when they’re filled with summertime blooms!

Contents include a wonderful aromatic mix of cedar, pine, fir, magnolia and berried juniper purchased from garden centres and grocery stores, combined with homegrown clippings of boxwood, perennial ivy, euonymous, ornamental cabbage, seedpods, twigs and bare branches and, of course, pinecones large and small. Oh, and a few birdhouses and abandoned nests, obelisks, fresh pineapple and apples and even some garden statuary thrown in for good measure! The possibilities are, indeed, endless! I am limited merely by lack of time and shortened hours of daylight! Sigh.

P1130681Seasonal garden planters bring an incredible note of warmth and welcoming to an otherwise ordinary front entry, don’t you think!  

P1130744And, remember to put your garden accessories to work in the off season! Why not!  Birdbaths, birdhouses and birdcages, benches and wagons, vintage lanterns, snowshoes, skates, sleds and even horse hames (I’ve used them all through the years) help create joyful vignettes that will delight young and old alike.

IMG_0543I’m thrilled you took time out of your busy day to stop by and share.  Come back soon and I’ll share how I turned my garden obelisk into a Christmas tree!

Wishing you a beautiful day,

Linda

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“Bloom Boxes” on my upper deck look great year round planted with easy everlastings: mini cedar trees, mini boxwood and perennial English ivy (translation: no deadheading ever — "The Gin and Tonic Gardener "style- a reference to a Canadian best seller by Janice Wells). I simply push into the soil a few sprigs of pine, fir and cedar at Christmastime. Easy peasy!

“Bloom Boxes” on my upper deck look great year round planted with easy everlastings: mini cedar trees, mini boxwood and perennial English ivy (translation: no deadheading ever — “The Gin and Tonic Gardener “style- a reference to a Canadian best seller by Janice Wells). I simply push into the soil a few sprigs of pine, fir and cedar at Christmastime. Easy peasy!

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I’m thrilled to be joining the party at Inspiration Monday, Make It Pretty Monday, Metamorphosis Monday, Tea Time TuesdayThe ScoopWhat We Accomplished Wednesday  Wordless Wednesday, What’s It Wednesday, Cottage Style PartyFriends Sharing Tea, Home and Garden Thursday, Open House Thursday, Show and Tell FridayFeathered Nest Friday, Home Sweet Home, What To Do Weekends, The Homemaking Party, Christmas Extravaganza, Saturday Show Off Pink Saturday, Be Inspired and Seasonal Sunday.

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The Festive Table

P1130328Dear Friends,

How lovely it is that you are here just in time to share some time and tea together!  Have you started thinking about the gatherings you’ll host in the coming weeks? On my “To Do” list this year is to create a welcoming holiday table.

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More than any other time of year, I like to put in a little extra effort in pulling together a look for our table that says to guests, “You are special and we’re glad you’re here! This is a table in your honour.” 

P1130251I plan to use items collected from rooms throughout our home and give them a new, albeit temporary, purpose at the dining table; things that bring a touch of glitz, elevate the occasion and even add an element of sweet surprise! The fun is in using ‘found’ things I already have in unexpected ways and seeing my guests’ faces light up when they enter the room! I thought I would experiment first on a smaller scale, a practice run. I gathered some tree trimmings to see how they might look…

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This tablescape was fashioned using some gorgeous, very unexpected gifts from a dear and generous friend!  Popular local designer Eric White, also known as “Mr. Christmas”, gave his tenth and final legendary annual “White Before Christmas” at our local Arts and Culture Centre last fall. Every year for a decade, it was a much-anticipated sold-out event in the months leading up to Christmas with a long wait list every time. 

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During his grand finale event to benefit the library, Eric caught me quite by surprise and presented me with a sled load of spectacular gifts, among them this porcelain gold-rimmed dinnerware (enough for 6 place settings) and coordinating glassware, gold charger plates, table linens, together with ten tiny presents all beautifully boxed and wrapped in the most glorious papers and bows and tags imaginable!

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I remember I was feeling exhausted that evening. My husband had been in hospital all that week following heart surgery. I was working full days and heading to the hospital immediately after work.  He had just been released from the hospital hours only before the show. As Eric spoke my name, the words were not, at first, registering with me. My co-worker Joan who was sitting in the row behind me finally poked me in the shoulder and whispered at the back of my head, “He’s talking to you!” Lol  When I looked at Eric, he was looking directly at me and asking “Well, my dear, are you coming up?” Lol  
 
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 I immediately popped up in my seat, somewhat dazed! I had earlier settled myself into my chair and had kicked off my shoes. I quickly walked to the stage feeling very flat-footed, much shorter and unsure what was happening in that moment! Lol  To say the least, I was very humbled as it was obvious to me that Eric had put much thought into this menagerie of gifts with which he presented me. For instance, he had known for some time that I had been swooning over some holiday tags made by a friend of his. I must have mentioned those tags a dozen or more times! A stack of tags personalized with my name on them had been tucked into a perfect, prettily wrapped box! 
 
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 At the end of the night, with the help of Eric and his staff, my girlfriend’s car was loaded up with the treasures that he had gifted me, and they filled the trunk and back seat of her car to take to my home! I was speechless, dazed and amazed by the whole thing, my gratitude beyond words. 
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 I thought I would have a little fun seeing how my tabletop might be inspired this year and wanted to share it with you, as I know many of you are searching out ideas for your own holiday tables.  I love to elevate things in varying heights, for added interest.  Glittery tree ornaments gently placed represent a special take-away gift for each guest who will be seated at the table.
 
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An angel has come in from the garden to watch over my table…
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I love to drape garlands around my tables!  Don’t they really add a sumptuous feel to the occasion?  This is a faux cedar garland.  It is very soft and pliable, so easy to shape.  Of course, you can use the real thing when the time comes.  I am keeping my fresh garlands in the trunk of my car at the moment where they will keep cool.  My husband and I are going to be festooning our front doorway today and I think I might have a roping of greens left over to use in the kitchen, maybe to use at the table!P1130240Candlelight lends an intimate, glowing feel to the meal.   Tall candle tapers are certainly spectacular but I admit I am a little nervous of using them and cannot relax while they are lit. If you’re shy of real candles, the battery operated ones are lovely, too.

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P1130117“Eating is so intimate.  It’s very sensual.  When you invite someone to sit at your table and you want to cook for them, you’re inviting a person into your life.”  Maya Angelou

P1130314I  am dreaming of new ways to use old things, like this garden angel who has come in from outside.  She has been cleaned up to look her best for company! I like combining the new with the old, for a less contrived and more relaxed, romantic atmosphere.  I’m off to think about all the things I can find that can be converted with a holiday theme and relocated somewhere else in the house for a little “Christmas vacation”.  We can all certainly use a little change sometimes! I hope you enjoyed the photos and can feel the love at my table today! XO I am so glad you came by! I finally finished all my exterior planters, so I hope you will join me for another cuppa soon! Happy decorating!

Wishing you a beautiful day,

Linda

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If you would like to see a tea set that my friend Eric presented to me at a fundraising tea for breast cancer research, click on the link below and you’ll find a photo at the end of the post.

https://beautifulideas.wordpress.com/2013/01/31/a-walk-in-the-park/

I am happy to be joining Inspiration Monday, Make it Pretty MondayTeatime Tuesday, The ScoopFriends Sharing Tea, Cottage Style PartyA Return to LovelinessWhat’s It Wednesday, What We Accomplished WednesdayThe Homemaking Party, Tablescape Thursday, Open House Thursday , Home and Garden Thursday, Home Sweet Home, Time Travel ThursdayFresh-cut Friday, Let’s DishFeathered Nest FridayShow and Tell Friday, What To Do Weekends, Pink SaturdaySaturday Show Off, Be Inspired and Seasonal Sunday!

The First Snow of A New Year!

Happy 2013, Dear Friends!

The first snow of the New Year fell last night.  I always love the look of fresh snowflakes as they float through the clear air down to the ground and all around, and catch on every spray and limb and twig. Reminds me of the perfect, sparkly snow on Christmas cards… I wanted to fully appreciate the brand new snow of a brand new year, and headed to our patio with camera in hand to try and capture the moment.  I didn’t use a fancy shmancy camera with all the fandangles and flashes. And, inspite of not having a proper night flash, I do like how they turned out…Kind of magical. Spiritual. The stuff for snow angels…

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I love when the garden furniture is clothed in snow, how its lines are made more distinct. Intricate. I especially love seeing the snow pattern on the seat of  the iron bench, and that cast beneath it compliments of the porch light.  Hmmm…makes me hungry for waffles. SMILE.

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At first, I was being careful to tread carefully so as not to disturb the gentle carpet of soft white beneath my feet. But, alas, someone came behind who was more heavy-footed than me and seemingly turned on the vacuum! Lol

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Look closely and you’ll see a fresh pineapple nestled within the flower box above…

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‘Garden child’ looks so pretty on her ‘green’ cushion.  A sweet little fairy sits in the palms of her hands.  I wonder what they are  whispering to one another…Can children really understand the language of faeries?  You can, too, if you only believe…

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The silhouette of the rusty iron angel against the night sky is magical…

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“Kindness is like snow.  It beautifies everything it covers.” Anonymous

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Angel is kneeling inside a wreath of spruce, boxwood and holly beneath a flower box piled with cedar, magnolia and pine cones…

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I’m am always excited that you come by to visit and just want to let you know how much I appreciate your beautiful comments, both on the blog and in emails, and for letting me share with you my tiny corner of the world this past year. I hope this fresh new year is a special one for you and that all your dreams come true…

Warmly yours,

Linda

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I am partying at Vintage InspirationMop It Up Monday, Make the Scene MondayFeathered Nest FridayShow and Tell Friday, Fabulously Creative Friday, Saturday Show Off, Sundae Scoop and Overflowing with Creativity.

The Snow Tree

Hello Friends,

I am so glad that you’ve come to visit.  The teapot’s on and it won’t be but a minute brewing.  While we’re waiting for a cuppa, tell me, how did you enjoy your Christmas?

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Do you happen to have a favourite holiday decoration? For me, the Christmas tree is perhaps my most favourite thing of the holidays.  I can go without wreaths and garlands, sweets, presents, even turkey – but not without a tree!  I just love to sit and gaze (or maybe I should say, “glaze”)  at it, sometimes for hours, and soak up the beautiful light that it gives!  With a glass of bubbly by the fireside, it’s a slice of heaven on earth…  I hope that when I am too old and feeble to set up my own tree with a star on top that some kind Samaritan will do it for me, so I can still be surrounded by a little beauty during the Yuletide. It’s  just one of those things that makes my heart sing and keeps me going!

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I love our snowy tree, a romantic, glistening wintry wonderland.   Shiny ornaments and sheer, luxe twirling ribbons. Glass birds and feathered birds.  Crystal garlands and reflective prisms.  Glittery branches, sparkly twigs and ivies.  Velvety fantasy flowers and twinkling fairy lights. Teeny mirrors and miniature framed photos of my dad and my husband’s parents who are no longer with us…There’s alot of bling on our tree, out of necessity, you’ll soon see! Lol

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On a crisp, clear evening, my husband and I purchased our tree from a holiday window display in a downtown shop at the last-minute before closing on 23rd December 25 years ago.  It wasn’t on sale and it was an expensive tree, and still would be in today’s currency.  It was a major purchase for us back then.  We thought about it as an investment in our future together…Lol  I remember squealing with excitement on the drive home with our new treasure tucked into the trunk.  I could hardly stand to wait until we brought it inside and set it up in our tiny apartment.  We had only been married a few years, and our Christmas was full of anticipation that year as we were hosting family and friends for our first-ever holiday buffet.  The tree was the star! Someone even asked, “How do you keep the snow from melting off the tree!”  None of us had never seen anything like it before!  Lots of photos of young and old alike were taken in front of the tree that year, and there have been lots in the years since.  We  have continued the tradition of gathering friends and relatives at our home during the season; and although I’ve gotten somewhat lazy in recent years, I still manage to host an open house or a tea, just not necessarily on New Year’s Day.  And, people to this day, even though the tree is starting to show its age, still remark about  ‘The Snow Tree’ in our living room!

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In its heyday, this tree was a natural beauty, even more beautiful without a stick of bling,  just the fairy lights peeping out from underneath the snow-laden boughs.  A dreamy, welcoming sight on a winter’s eve…The tree’s flocking is nearly all worn off now. Every year there is a bigger pile of snow at its feet and mine! Some of its limbs are bent and broken, tied up with wire to keep them from flopping to the floor.  Nowadays, it drips in a frosting of shimmery trims, piled on thick and deep and sweet, a camouflage to keep from seeing through to its bare arms and spindly core.  And, every year we add more bling as the holes in the tree grow bigger and bigger…

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I have been hanging on to this old tree for many years, more than I care to admit, hesitant to let it go because it has been a large part of our Christmas tradition for such a long time. It is only a ‘thing’ after all, but things are what stir memories inside us and help us to remember places we’ve been, our experiences together, the people we love…  I look at our tree every day and see cherubs created by my friend Jean in her basement workshop, passionately painting into the wee hours of the morning; wooden hearts custom painted by my friend’s sister Joan, frosted roses plucked from my mother-in-law, Ethel’s, tree; and authentic Venetian masks brought from a European holiday with my childhood friend Gail (the ones she brought me from her Christmas in New Orleans one year are there, too); and bells and balls that are treasures gifted to me by co-workers and family through the years.  A Christmas tree can evoke a multitude of feelings and memories of  times past.  Is yours like that, too?

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On the practical side, I haven’t been able to find a single specimen to replace our tree that even comes close to its quality, or at least that suits me.  They just don’t make things like they used to, even flocked trees!  Sadly, when our tree comes down this year,  it will be final, a time to say ‘goodbye’ to ‘The Snow Tree’.  Sigh.  I will be forced to get a new tree next season.  I will view our parting as an opportunity for change and a chance to create a new and even more beautiful tradition.  Maybe I’ll try a real one.  I love all the images of natural Christmas trees on Pinterest, don’t you… I don’t know what form our tree will take next Yuletide, or where all the pinky ornaments will find a new home…Decidedly, I will look forward to a new tree.  One thing is for certain,  like so many of your own trees, there will be an angel and a star at the top to represent the host of angels and Bethlehem star over the nativity, yet it will be a tree that is one-of-a-kind rich with our own memories.

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Oh, my! Where has the time gone?  It’s dark outside already.  Time to turn on the tree lights inside.  I hope you are enjoying seeing all the details of the tree in the slideshow at the bottom of this post.  Thanks for keeping me company tonight!  I always love spending time with you, dear ones.

Wishing you all a beautiful New Year filled with beautiful new traditions and wonderful memories!

“Never worry about the size of your Christmas tree.  In the eyes of children, they are all 30-feet tall.”  Lary Wilde

Linda

Snow White!

Dear Friends,

I was just visiting my good friend Carolyn at Aiken Home and Garden on Prince Edward Island.  She was showing some of her lovely snow pictures from past winters (they have no snow for the time being) and sharing them at How Sweet The Sound‘s Pink Saturday where the theme this weekend is ‘Snow and Snowmen’.  So, I thought I’d join the party also!  Because we, too, have no snow at the moment, although it is on the way, here are some photos from winters past.

The first few photos are of Santas created by my talented friend Jean.  They are ceramic, poured from ‘slip’ into a mold, baked in a kiln and then cleaned and handpainted. Each year a different one sits on my kitchen windowsill.  I treasure each one of her magnificent creations! If you would like to know more about how Jean gives these jolly gents life, you can read about it in a previous post, The Santa Lady of Farm Road

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The Santa below is from a collection that my husband has gifted me over the years from Roman Inc’s ‘The Giftgiver’ series . It was purchased a long time ago and I don’t think the series is made any more.

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This is our garden shed under a blanket of freshly fallen snow.  To me, the garden is just as beautiful in winter when all its ‘bones’ are laid bare – you can experience the garden on a more intimate level and study its structure.  You can see more pics, if you like, in the post, “Escape to Narnia in a Winter’s Garden”.

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I am still very excited, and can hardly believe, that the exterior of our teeny bungalow in snowy winter dress is being featured this  very Christmas season in a stunning holiday idea book from Norway. It is called “Sanselig Jul” (translation:  Christmas For All The Senses) by the lovely and creative Franciska Munck Johansen.  Franciska’s book is filled with gorgeous Nordic images and bursting with seasonal inspiration.  You can read more at “The Gift of Christmas”.

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This is the only snowman at our home for now.  He resides on my cakestand on a shelf in a corner of our kitchen and brings warm wishes for the season.  🙂  Many thanks to you all for stopping by! I will look for your footprint in the snow… In the meantime, stay cozy.

Warmly yours,

Linda

I am joining, too, Treasure Hunt Thursday!

It’s Tibb’s Eve!

IMG_1446 IMG_1448Welcome Lovelies!  It’s Tibb’s Eve!

And, I am like a Whirling Dervish putting the finishing touches on my decorating (indoors AND out), still shopping, wrapping, delivering and baking!  Yes, I have ambitious plans, indeed.  Fingers, toes and eyes crossed that I will be able to check it all off my list before the light of dawn.  Am I dreaming?! I have never before been this late doing Christmas!  A dream vacay  to New York City during the first of the month, and having been down with flu for this entire week, has really put me behind in all things Christmas at our home this year.

As far as I know, Tibb’s Eve, the 23rd of December, originated on the south coast of Newfoundland some fifty plus moons ago.  In some island communities, it is also known as Tipp’s Eve, or Tipsy Eve.   So, now, I think you might know where this is going…Once upon a time, it was thought to be acceptable to have the first few festive ‘tipples’ (translation:  alcoholic drinks) before Christmas on Tibb’s Eve, a time reserved for visiting neighbours and friends, dropping off gifts and having a few swallies (translation:  ales) while making the rounds from house to house throughout the outport (translation:  village).

In keeping with tradition, I invite you to join me in a nook in my kitchen for a festive cuppa, perhaps a steaming spiced toddy to warm you.  Perfect for a damp, cold night like this.  It has been raining all day and much of our snow has disappeared, so it could very well be a green Christmas after all.  I, however, will stick to my holiday tea as I will need my total wits about me to complete all that is on my To-Do list tonight…

And, since this will be my last post before Christmas, I want to wish you all, dear friends, a joyous time filled to the brim with cozy memories and to thank you for visiting me.  (Oh, darn, I forgot to remove the price sticker from the bottom of that candle before I wrapped it) Sigh. It’s going to be a lonnng night….Lol

Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night!

Hugs, Linda

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A Christmas candle is a lovely thing;It makes no noise at all,But softly gives itself away.~Eva Logue

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Unless we make Christmas an occasion to share our blessings, all the snow in Alaska won’t make it ‘white’.
Bing Cosby

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May you have the gladness of Christmas which is hope;The spirit of Christmas which is peace;The heart of Christmas which is love.~Ada V. Hendricks

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