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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.

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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It’s Christmas, naturally!

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. Photo: December 2013

Dear Friends,

As you are busying about with all your holiday preparations, I thought I would share a little inspiration with you…My husband and I recently returned from a long-awaited vacation to historic Williamsburg, Virginia, a restored 18th-century colonial capital of 300 plus acres.

It had been 25 years since we were last there, and the thing I remembered most about the place was the abundance of natural and imaginative decorations on doors and door crowns, windows and windowsills, lanterns, mantels and tabletops, just about everywhere throughout the town, all masterfully designed from fresh elements.

I was not disappointed on this trip.  Winter foliage finery at its very best still graces the historic town’s exhibition buildings, restaurants, shops, offices and private homes and have inspired people for centuries, especially at Christmastime.

Evergreens, a symbol of eternal life, were remarkably commonly used by the resourceful citizens of 18th century Williamsburg to decorate their homes at the bleakest time of year.

Today, the area draws admirers from around the world.  It takes days and days and days and the talents of an entire design crew, in addition to a legion of private homeowners, to make the magic happen at Colonial Williamsburg.

P1040985Truckloads of evergreens of every variety imaginable, cases upon cases of fruits and vegetables, nuts, berries, wheat, grapevines, twigs, seed pods, pinecones and dried flowers are used on everything from sprays and wreaths to garlands and centerpieces. Musical instruments, carved wooden ornaments, iron elements, balls of cotton, wool, flannel and felt are often incorporated in the designs – even leather shoes and soup tureens are used in their outstanding creations!  

P1050006Decorations go up in time to celebrate Thanksgiving and remain throughout the holidays until Old Christmas Day on January 6th.  A team of dedicated employees are responsible for freshening up any that might need it.  Where fruits are inserted on florist picks, it makes them easy to remove and replace with new.

Actors dressed in period costume and carollers stroll the pretty streets. The sound of fifes and drums, interesting outdoor markets, hot cider aplenty, the lighting of hundreds of candles in windows at dusk, fireworks and flaming cressets (fire baskets that are hand forged by community artisans are hung on tall posts, filled with kindling and lit) along streets and walkways all lend to the fascination of the annual “Grand Illumination” of the town held annually the first weekend in December.  It is just oh-so-pretty at night, like a beautiful dream…We LOVED it!

Every year since our first visit to Williamsburg 25 years ago, my husband and I have been making a door crown in the traditional Williamsburg style to hang over the front door of our own home. It is fashioned primarily from a fresh pineapple (the symbol of welcome), apples and cedar. A few pinecones or nuts are sometimes incorporated depending on what I happen to have on hand. Citrus fruits can be used, too, but I am partial to the gloss of the Red Delicious apples once Big Elf (a.k.a. husband) polishes them with a soft cloth until they’re gleaming. I make the ‘Pineapple Fan’; Big Elf hangs it. That’s the deal. But he always insists on polishing the apples first! It has become a Christmas tradition for us.  Our long-awaited return visit to Williamsburg was the icing on the cake, rekindling the spirit in which our tradition first began.

The photo below was taken in December 2011.  We’ve had a lot of snow in the past week, I’ve been down with the flu and we haven’t managed to hang the door crown yet, but this weekend it will go up at long last.  Hey, how did that dent in the door get there!

I’m excited to be sharing this archived post today on Oh The Places I’ve Been!

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I am dedicating this post to my dear friend Carolyn Aiken whose home is Prince Edward Island and who I know would love Williamsburg, too. With every snap of the camera, I thought of her. I gathered a small sampler of photos of the multitude of Williamsburg wreaths and swags to share with you.  I hope you enjoy them and that you’ll be inspired to personalize your own welcome wreath for the holidays.  Do you have a favourite?

Thank you for dropping by to visit at such a busy time.  I hope you are able to wrap up your To-Do list soon.

Wishing you a beautiful day,

Linda

NOTE:  If, after you’ve finished browsing the photos of Williamsburg below, you’d like to see some 2013 photos of our front door decorating, click here “Beautiful Christmas Green.  These photos were taken on The Duke of Gloucester Street., the town’s main road.
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