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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!

Ornaments of Wonder…

The best of all gifts around any Christmas tree:  the presence of a happy family all wrapped up in each other.  ~Burton Hillis

Dear Kindred Spirits!

I have some lovely NOEL tea steeping in my Portmeiron Holly and Ivy teapot. Every cuppa just tastes so wonderful when poured from a beautiful teapot, doesn’t it?!  Would you like some?!

It’s romantic December, time to unwrap a trove of  Christmas treasures.  Decorations are just one of the ways to bring the beauty and wonder of  the Christmas season into our homes.  And, when it comes to the time-honoured tradition of trimming the tree, I permit myself to indulge – it is one of this season’s greatest pleasures.

Collecting beautiful Christmas ornaments and treasures is a year-round pursuit. In our travels over the years, my husband and I try and visit antiques malls and Christmas shoppes. I’m continuously on the hunt for beautiful ornaments to adorn the boughs of our magical Christmas tree. My tree ornaments are among the most personal things I own.  They remind me of travel holidays, tradition and past Christmases together. Sandwiched between layers upon layers of white tissue paper, they rest in special boxes. And, it seems, the unpacking and re-packing of the decorations has become an inherent ritual of this season of comfort and joy.

Many of us have special decorations and treasures, saved from one year to the next, and passed down through the years from one generation to the next.

I have a preference for trims of glitter and frost and sparkle. We have often found glamourous ornaments to add to our collection and bring meaning to our tree.
There are perhaps no ornaments today, though, that can rival those made in the first half of the 20th Century by talented German glassblowers.  All kinds of shapes (including animals and figurines) were produced in large quantities for export to North American markets.


DID YOU KNOW?! The ornaments were first sold by Woolworth’s around 1880?

Often entire German families were involved in preparing the special Christmas ornaments for sale. The father and oldest son often did the glassblowing. The mother and younger children would decorate and laquer each glass figure before adding the hangers. The mother would carefully pack the family’s week’s work – perhaps as many as a thousand or more glass figures – and deliver them to the wholesaler.

Because the ornaments were so fragile, few survive today. A rare treasure can sometimes be found at antiques markets or on e-bay and sell for $200 plus.

Queen Victoria and her beloved German Prince Albert introduced Christmas trees with the intricate ornaments to England in 1840. Glass ornaments, decorative beads, paper baskets with sugared almonds and hot air balloons adorned the trees.

Germany dominated glass ornament production until 1939. The Second World War caused the closure of glassblowing factories around the country.  By the time Europe finally recovered from the war, American manufacturers had already captured the domestic market with the production of cheaper ornaments with new technologies.

Post-war America demonstrated a preference for uniform, single-colour balls over the unique and more interesting, and often irregular hand-blown German-made ornaments.

In recent years, demand seems to be again growing for many of the molds and the old  techniques once used by German glassblowers as collectors long for historically accurate Christmas ornaments.

DID YOU KNOW?  Early Christmas trees were typically trimmed with real candles, wafers, gingerbread cookies, fruit, candy, as well as paper flowers and tinsels fashioned from tin and silver.

A glassblower in Lauscha decided to create a unique collection of small glass balls to hang on his family’s tree. And, within only a matter of years, glassblowers in Lauscha (a district long recognized for the quality of its glass) became a hub for making tree ornaments, and they were filling orders for glass balls by the thousands, and also for hollow glass ornaments either molded or free-blown into the shapes of pinecones, fruit, flowers, animals and birds.

I hope you enjoy the photos of some of the ornaments that hang from our  tree in our living room. It looks a little different this season.  In a previous post, photos showed the room painted a cozy shade of brown. It’s now a warm winter white…

I’ve decorated four trees this year (two full size and two about 4 1/2 feet high  in urns on tabletops).  The photos below are of the tree in our living room glammed up with pink, gold and silver themed ornaments…

Thanks for dropping in.  I know you’re all busy  as bees with your Christmas preparations.  I hope, though, you will manage to find a moment to come back later this week when I will be sharing some photos of the house tour and tea that we hosted yesterday.  Until then…

Merry wishes,

Linda

My idea of Christmas, whether old-fashioned or modern, is very simple: loving others. Come to think of it, why do we have to wait for Christmas to do that?”~ Bob Hope, American film actor and comedian.

The perfect Christmas tree? All Christmas trees are perfect!”
~ Charles N. Barnard, American author, travel writer

Even as an adult I find it difficult to sleep on Christmas Eve. Yuletide excitement is a potent caffeine, no matter your age. ~Carrie Latet

I love my pink-themed tree.  Hmmm…I just may leave it up until Valentine’s Day!

I am joining 504 Main for Tickled Pink and How Sweet the Sound for Pink Saturday! Brew yourself a cuppa cause you’re going to be browsing awhile…

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