Thursday, November 29, 2012

Back When We Built Cities and Wore Christmas Sweaters

For years I had all my Christmas decorating done by Thanksgiving Day except for fresh greenery and the Christmas tree. That didn't happen this year, instead I started blogging on November 1. At first I was just plain too busy, not enough hours in the day. Now there are boxes sitting everywhere but very little has been unpacked. Why? Because I have seen the beautiful Christmas decor being posted on blogs. Some so very ornate and amazing that if attempted in this farmhouse it would look like we were trying to make a silk purse out of a sow's ear.

Other blogs feature Christmas decor so simple and organic that it makes me yearn for a whitewashed cottage in Maine, breathtakingly serene, that one graceful branch of white pine in a faded green vintage jug that looks as if it would be so easy to put together and photograph but surprisingly must take oodles of talent.

My Christmas decorating in years past? Did you ever watch The Closer on television? Did you see when Fritz and Brenda went to Atlanta to visit her parents Willie Rae and Clay at Christmas? R.H. and I burst out laughing when they walked in the door. R.H. describes it as a typical Southern Granny Christmas house on steroids. It was Christmas Overload Cottage. I laughed but part of me thought it was pretty and some of it looked vaguely familiar. Our kids probably would have thought they were in my house.

I kind of miss the years when we women built Dept. 56 cities and completely changed our wardrobe in December. I was just beginning to amass enough embellished sweaters and sweatshirts of my own when it all went out of style. And what fun our youngest son and I had building a Snow Village in the Gothic church cabinet in our living room! When he left home to get married he carried his own set of North Pole houses that took over the craftsman built-in cabinet in their 1920 bungalow each December.

A couple of years ago we both started breaking up the cities and dispersing a favorite or two here and there, using them in what bloggers call vignettes. Before discovering blogs I wouldn't have known a vignette from duck soup. I'm a devoted copycat but let me tell you, a vignette is not as easy to style as you would think. My Christmas tam-o'-shanter is off to you talented women and men who do it so well.

I still have some work to do and some nerve to get up to reveal any of our Christmas decor but I will show you a picture from last year when I again took the china out of our china cabinet to get ready to put the Christmas china in it. Here is the way the china cabinet appears normally:


Here is the china cabinet last year fixed up for Christmas:


I had enough of that annual job last Christmas and cleared out the three cupboards that are in what was our old kitchen that once was the back porch of this farmhouse. Our son stripped off 20-year old contact paper and painted the cupboards a glossy white. The middle cabinet became the permanent home to our Christmas china, glasses, snowman mugs, and various other related items. Here is a picture of it now before I start moving some of the items out to decorate for Christmas:


I love opening up that cupboard every so often during the year just to get a glimpse of Christmas. I even break out into Jingle Bells sometimes. And when company is coming I turn on all the little battery candles thinking it will surprise them when I open the cupboard to show guests. Then  I always forget to show them and the batteries burn on until I discover them much later.

Now I've got to go check out some more blogs and study vignettes.


20 comments:

  1. Replies
    1. It's always a Merry Christmas with you next door, Gurn! Thank you for putting up our outside lights again this year!

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  2. Just WHEN did our beautiful Christmas sweaters become UGLY Christmas sweaters, I ask you? Working in a school there is much controversy on this particular issue. Many of the older members of the faculty proudly wear their glitzy ornate sweaters immediately upon our return from the Thanksgiving holiday. I am sure many are taken back when the younger teachers pronounce it UGLY CHRISTMAS SWEATER DAY each year! There is even a contest! I would, indeed, be one of them if it were not for my fashion savy daughter who is quick to tell me when I should NOT wear an article of clothing ever again.
    As for the villages...I have several but have not seen them in many a year because I am just too busy to put them out and even busier when it comes to packing them away. I do have a few beloved pieces that go on my hutch in a small vignette, if you will. When I put those out, I will surely post it for you to see. One day my grandchildren will probably be thrilled when they inherit vintage treasures they have never seen. Maybe, when they are older, I will draft them into service to put out ALL my Christmas decorations and collections. Oh, what a sight that would be! Peace and PARTY sweaters, De <><

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    1. What do you bet that our grandchildren will be as crazy for all our Dept. 56 houses someday when they discover them in the attic as we are now for the vintage Shiny Brites, etc. from the 50s? And I remember in the 80s and 90s when we even wore Christmas socks, Christmas earrings, Christmas purses....And Mom always wore a Christmas corsage on her coat to church in December. Wish I had those now. I'm loving seeing your Christmas decorations on Facebook!

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  3. AND...it has been a while since I have brought out my Christmas dishes as well! Seems working put many traditions to a halt. I may steal your idea for those if you don't mind.

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    1. Yes, do! Deb exchanges her dinner plates for the Christmas ones after Thanksgiving and uses them every day! Let's get some use out of ours!

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  4. Very pretty Christmas china cabinet.....I've never even thought of Christmassing up the china cabinet. I am really behind.

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    1. Oh, so behind am I! But it is fun. My kids will know Mom's really old when I just put a few poinsettias out instead of decorating. I remember the year that my mother decorated her Norfolk Island Pine houseplant instead of putting up a tree. I felt that she was giving up the Christmas season. Fortunately, my sisters Deb and Jenn began decorating for her and undecorating. Wasn't that nice!

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  5. Oh my goodness, this is my thought to a "T"... I LOVE looking at all the blogs and vignettes!!!! But my house is like Grandma's, too! (except my grandma's was all blue and white Christmas).

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    1. Blue and white was my father's favorite too. Those colors went all around the big picture window. And he always wrapped the front door up like a big Christmas present. Maybe we'll come back in style, Mary Ann.

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  6. Dewena, I love the way you write. it's so much fun to read your commentary. I think a LOT of bloggers feel like you. I go to other blogs and see the simplicity and the beauty of their Christmas decor, and then I'm ashamed to show all of my Christmas clutter. One thing about blogging that has amazed me is just how many different decorating styles there are out there. I always think everyone is just like me. I enjoy seeing all styles of decor, and I feel like I learn from all styles of decor. I just don't learn how to edit my "stuff"! I'm sure your Christmas decor will be fun to see and I'm sure I'd garner some ideas from seeing it. Visiting other blogs can be intimidating. I just have to remember that my decor (if you can call it that) is not for everyone, but we are happy living with it. Of course, I still have my Christmas village, and I put it out every year. Not so sure about this year, since I am keeping my 6 and 8 yr old granddaugthers while there mother is in the hospital. laurie

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    1. But Laurie, your decor doesn't need editing. Your style is fabulous and I get so many ideas from yours and from even the fanciest, most luxurious ones. Earlier today I visited Splendorosa where she talked about preferring placemats to tablecloths and it made me realize I sometimes have problems with tablecloths. So I think I pick up inspiration from the fabulous ones, and honey, yours is fabulous, and from the bloggers who do the simple organic style so well. And I couldn't resist putting out my gingerbread village today on that old antique cabinet in my kitchen nook. And I know the church "houses" in my collection are going to be put out somewhere just because I love them so much, and then there's the Hershey house with its accessories that one child gave me that has to go out, and I can't leave the Grand Ole Opry packed away...See my dilemma? "It just won't be Christmas without..." I bet your grandchildren will fuss if they don't see the Christmas village!

      I am having the fun of going back and discovering more and more of your lovely style on your blog. Please don't ever change! I should be so lucky to have the style with my stuff as you do with yours.

      Sometimes I think the trouble with me is that I like it all. I see a 50s modern room and fall in love with it, see a Tuscan villa and fall in love, a cabin in the Adirondacks and there I go again.

      Keep us posted on your daughter-in-law.
      Dewena





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  7. I can't wait for you to post your farmhouse Christmas decor. I know it will be beautiful! I stayed kinda simple this year. There has been years when I would put up numerous trees. Not anymore. I am just too old for all of that, and the older I get, the simpler I like things.

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  8. I know I'll enjoy seeing what you and Sophie do for Christmas, Teresa. Our house isn't large enough for multiple trees. I do have a special small bedroom tree, all vintage pink ornaments that is destined for our new granddaughter someday, and the main tree goes in the kitchen so that we can enjoy it more so it can't be very large. It really is exciting for me to visit blogs and see how everyone decorates and try to "borrow" a few ideas.

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  9. Hi Dewena. For some reason your comments are going to spam but I found you there today. You come up as a NoReply when I go to leave you a Thank you. Do you know how to fix that? Anyway, I am your newest follower now. xo Diana ps. I got my Christmas dishes out, too. Yours look like my own...Spode? xo Diana

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  10. Hi Diana, no, I have no idea how to fix that. So new at this. I do thank you for following me and yes, Spode Christmas Tree! I never get tired of them. Thank you for going to all the trouble to track me down. Betty, over at Southern Grace did tell me I could send these reply comments of mine to the person who commented here on gmail & I have been doing that lately.

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  11. Well I have gotten a good laugh this morning :) My grandmother used to do what she called "settings" which would be some sort of arrangement of flowers, greenery, driftwood, what-have-you. My mom did the same. Never heard of "Vignette" until I started blogging and visiting blog-land about six months ago.

    I love your cupboard / china etc pics ! And its nice just looking at one or two pics of a "vignette / setting" Sometimes people get a little crazy and post 10 pictures of the same thing, just from lisghtly different angles, and that gets old! :)

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    1. Hi, Debra! Glad you had a good laugh; we have to laugh at ourselves, don't we? I remember thinking when I was a teenager that Mama didn't really have any style. I was always begging her to let me change things, move things around. Now when I look back at photographs of our house, I think, "Well, that is pretty." Maybe I'm just now recognizing that she did have a very pretty style. One I see repeated when I look at the magazines from that era.

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  12. I really love your china cabinet. All the different decorating we do is always fun because we can see what others have and get new ideas! I am always eager to find something new to put up! I seemed to have more time or perhaps just more energy when the kids were younger! LOL! Always fun seeing you here.

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  13. Oh, yes, much more energy when the kids were younger, but much more patience now so it's a tradeoff! And I too have so much fun seeing what everyone is doing on the blogs at Christmas. Better than a magazine any day.

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