Here it is - less than 48 hours away from our ever-growing annual Christmas/New Years Party, and here I sit, at the computer, posting to my blog! Well, I have to admit, I've been under the weather lately (tummy bug) so I'm resting and "gearing up" for the big event! But.....I thought I'd better get these photos out before I forget about them. Besides, before you know it, everything will be packed away and I'll be getting ready for Valentine's Day! So here you go!
A Snow Village in my kitchen garden window. As a little girl, I remember my paternal grandmother, Grandmother Hoffman, always had a snow village display under her aluminum Christmas tree! I was fascinated by it! There were cardboard houses and tiny trees, all spread out over a "field of snow" made up of white cotton batting liberally sprinkled with silver glitter! And throughout the scene, little porcelain ballerinas danced! You can imagine a young girl's view of such a magical scene, and here I've tried to recreate my own snow village! Thank you Grandma Hoffman!!
A first for this year - my new Kitchen Tree! It stands about 4 feet high and holds an assortment of my handmade cinnamon gingerbread men (made from applesauce, glue and cinnamon!), as well as various "kitchen type" ornaments I've collected over the years! Some of my favorites include the ones Hallmark puts out each year that I keep trying to ignore (but never do), as well as several replicas from items I had as a child. These include the small muffin tin on the bottom left, the tree and snowman cookie cutters on the bottom center, the little spoon on top right, and the angel cookie cutter "topper". I was so excited to find ones like I used in the 60's that I just had to have them! Other "new" favorites include 2 small boxes of chocolates (not shown in this photo) which I found this year at my favorite store, T. J.Maxx. They look so real it's amazing! And then there are the miniature utensils I found in a magazine several years ago. A pity I don't have the same excitement over cooking!! (Not one word from you, Mr. Fursdon!!) My original kitchen tree was about a foot tall and held all types of cookie cutters. It was located in my garden window (where the snow village is now). But......you guessed it! My collection quickly outgrew the little tree. So what was I to do? Before going to this larger tree, I decided to create the Kitchen Wreath below!
On this wreath, I was able to put many of my maternal grandmother, Gran's, kitchen gadgets, as well as some used by my mom! I also found several items in one of my favorite thrift shops. This includes a glass baby bottle used in the 1940's or 1950's. It's the kind that you have to pull a rubber nipple over the bottle opening. Playtex bottles were an unknown luxury!! Although it doesn't show up well in this photograph, it's located immediately above the metal pie server with the red handle on the left side of the wreath.
Here's my hand made American walnut corner cupboard! This monster is all one piece! We had to take the door hinges apart to get it into my kitchen! On top and inside are the blue and white china I love so much, with another view of the kitchen tree and wreath. It isn't a large area, but it's packed!!
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care, in hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there." I cross stitched the stockings on either end for Nigel and myself. And the three small middle stockings were knitted by Auntie Doreen, who lives in England. Super talented, as you can see, she originally stitched the red and white topped one for my girls. Then, when Isabel came along, she stitched the yellow topped one for her! The little Santa's are removable. To answer the obvious question - no, these aren't the "main stockings" that Santa fills. But I love them so much and I'm determined they have pride of place on the mantle.
Another village! This was the second one on the scene; Nigel gave it to me for my Christmas present in 2002! We found it in Home Depot and went NUTS!! We actually had about 5 other houses, but had to return them because we ran our of room! The display at the store was deceiving; when we got all the pieces we had picked out back home and put it where we thought it would fit, it looked terrible and only half of it! Nigel to the rescue though! He created this stair step display that has a hollow back where light cords fit under the buildings, and a blanket of "snow" attached that's made from cotton batting! He made the piece as large as he could to fit in this spot. It's the only place in the house where it can go! Even so, we still had to return several other pieces! It was a simple case of our eyes having stardust and being bigger than our house!
Another view! We found the trees over the years in hobby shops. I love the maple one (bottom right) and we also found a weeping willow in its winter dress. This was a nod to the two beautiful weeping willows that were in our front yard when we bought this house. Unfortunately, they were planted way too close to the house and their roots started attacking our plumbing system in their natural search for water! We tried everything, but eventually Nigel removed them. They were so beautiful and I dearly loved them.
This is the Nautical Tree! Not the greatest picture, because I'd just put it up and hadn't put it's skirt underneath! This year, I bought a real tree! But I have to admit, I've gotten very spoiled with my artificial ones because their branches are bendable and I can twist and turn them, and generally do anything I want without any problem. However, real ones don't do that! They break!!! However, their scent is HEAVENLY and every now and then, I succumb and get a fresh one! The origins of this tree go back to 1997, when Nigel was stationed in Korea for a year, while the girls and I stayed back home in Alabama. I was stir crazy and needed something to fill my spare time. Of course, this was long before my Christmas decorations took on such a huge portion of my life! As a matter of fact, this was the first time I'd ever put up another tree beside the traditional one. The kids loved it and so did I. I made it with a nautical theme because Nigel loves boating and swimming. I used a lot of real sea shells we'd collected on our trips to Florida. I hot glued jewelry findings on the tips of them, then hung them with wire hangers threaded through the findings. Since then, family and friends have given us nautical themed ornaments, and I've also found quite a few on my own! (Do ya think?!) For the shell garland - which I'm sorry to say does NOT show up well in this photo - I used shell leis found at Michael's that year. I carefully snipped the plastic line they were strung on, removed several small shells to give me room to work, then tied the smaller leis end to end. Okay, I admit I'm a little nuts. Okay, I'm a LOT nuts! But at least I have fun doing it!!
Well, that's it for this posting. I still have several rooms and trees to go, so maybe I can finish up in one or two more posts! But I think I'd better wait till after our Christmas party. Otherwise, Nigel just might murder me, tummy bug or no tummy bug!! So until later, I hope you're all having a lovely Christmas and holiday season. Please be safe and remember in your prayers all our military personnel, especially those who are away from home this season.
May God Bless, Jan