Sunday, December 16, 2012

Rooftops Rimmed With Rubies

In a search for beauty during this week of personal and national heartbreak, I have picked up one after another of my old beloved Christmas books. Wise Marjorie Holmes always saw beauty in the ordinary things of life. In At Christmas the Heart Goes Home, she wrote of the beauty we find in the yards of even modest neighborhoods during the Christmas season:

"The brilliant colors of Christmas that begin to blaze at dusk."

"Whole neighborhoods, so ordinary, taken for granted, suddenly assume
a gay and profligate identity of light."

"Rooftops rimmed with rubies, doorways are diamond-decked."

"No sultan's palace could surpass their splendor that spills even on to 
the shrubs and hedges and trees in the yard; such
gaudy necklaces, such garlands of brilliance--
all clamoring 'Look at me!'"

"Were these ever simply familiar houses and yards?"

"Will they ever be again?"

"No matter--for now, right now, you live in Fairyland!"

Recently I showed our son Gurn pictures from two blogs of front porches dressed for Christmas and asked him if he could take it from there and see what could be done with my front porch. Our nice son first gave the old porch the scrubbing of its life and then combed the barn, smokehouse, and picnic shelter for old objects similar to those that Pat of On Crooked Creek (at and Holly of Down to Earth Style (at showed on their beautiful blogs. After Gurn finished by hanging the box of Christmas lights, he called for me to come outside to look at what he had done. I could not believe my eyes!

Don't you think he did a wonderful job, using mostly old, found objects?

And at dusk, when the lights are turned on, I think it becomes magical. My only contribution was carrying out a red and black Pendleton jacket, a black and white checked Ralph Lauren throw, and R.H.'s Polo scarf to drape over the rocking chairs, and a beautiful red and white Woolrich blanket to drape over the swing. (All but the black and white checked throw were Goodwill finds.)

I knew that Gurn was a genius at restoring old T-birds and tractors but I never guessed he could have such talent as a decorator! I go outside ever chance I get to admire the job he did. Katie, the Jack Russell seems to like posing there, and even big Brown Eyes, the dog who found us, walking up our driveway skin and bones a couple of years ago, seems to like visiting the Christmas porch too.

Instead of posing front and center like Katie, he goes over to modestly hide near the swing. Can you spot him?

I do love to drive through expensive neighborhoods at Christmas to see the gorgeous Christmas decorations, but I also got a warm fuzzy feeling when I used to pass a certain tiny house on the backroads to the grocery store where someone had taken the time to hang hundreds of tiny red yarn bows on the lower branches of the trees in the front yard. I always applauded their effort. I knew Christmas was near when I passed that little cottage. One year there were no more red bows and I miss them still.

"Even the poorest cottage welcomed the festive season with green decorations
of bay and holly."
From Christmas by Washington Irving (1819)

I wish I could take a peek into all the many houses decorated for Christmas, whether modest of magnificent. Here are a couple of window-looks into ours here at Valley View.

Before saying goodbye for today, R.H. and I want to thank everyone who left such sweet comments yesterday about our sweet little Penelope. Your compassion meant so much to us and we cried reading each one. I have tried to leave personal messages back to everyone by email. We send an extra hug to Nita at ModVintage Life for the beautiful personal message to us on FaceBook. She knows only too well what it is like to lose these sweet little weenies.

"You will forever be young and beautiful to your dog,
you will be wise, you will be marvelous,
you are the main reason for existence.
Whatever you do you are never wrong, or petty or dull.
There you are, you wonderful, heavenly being,
you fragment of divinity on earth!"

From the incomparable Connecticut writer Gladys Taber in Especially Spaniels


  1. Love,love,love the front porch! It reminds me of my first home, it had a porch exactly like that I also had a swing on that exact side too! I had two white rocking chairs ..Your son did a fabulous job!.. It actually brought back so many sweet memories! Maybe I'll email you a picture or do a post on it ..thank you for sharing!

  2. I love your front porch and you son did a smash up job on it. I love a porch-especially at Christmas. I don't know those two blogs you mentioned so I am going to visit them. Blessings to you- I know you are still dealing with grief- xo Diana

  3. How I love Gladys Tabor's writings... and your porch is so very, very beautiful... it reflects a beautiful family. Kudos to your son!

  4. Your son did a fabulous job-it's so warm and inviting. He made me think I could do more-please tell him it is so lovely.
    It's nice to have such a gift at this sad time-XO

  5. Your porch is beautiful and thank you for the mention. I think your dog is so dang cute, too.

  6. Your son did such a wonderful job on the porch! It looks so so warm and inviting!

  7. Beautiful photos and your porch looks wonderful!

  8. Your porch is delightful and so inviting. Also the photos are excellent.


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