|[House Beautiful 1983]|
I wish I could have visited Thornhill Farm, home of my Christmas Mentor Dee Hardie and her husband Tom, but I feel that I know it intimately through Dee's old columns in House & Garden and House Beautiful, as well as her book Hollyhocks, Lambs and Other Passions.
I know that I fell more in love with Christmas because of Dee Hardie. Perhaps one reason Dee loved Christmas so much is that she and Tom were married on December 23, 1950--in Paris!
"It was in France that Tom and I celebrated our first Christmas together.
He met me at Orly Airport in a new fourteen-year-old Citroen convertible,
a low chariot of azure blue.
In the rakish speed-aire, the rumble seat,
was standing a Christmas tree,
and up front was a bunch of violets."
[from Hollyhocks, Lambs and Other Passions]
And they honeymooned in Marseilles on Christmas Day!
When R.H. and I bought this small 1920 farmhouse, I thought about Dee's Thornhill Farm, the old wood and fieldstone house that was abandoned and derelict when she and Tom bought it. For three years I'd been reading Dee's book and so I saw possibilities in our little house. Maybe not the possibility of becoming a Thornhill but a house that would be just as loved.
|Christmas 1992 here at Valley View|
In my previous post I showed Dee's living room with its Christmas tree. We don't have a tree in our living room, maybe because it's almost like a Christmas tree itself. And the centerpiece of our living room is an old Gothic country church cabinet that was hanging in our smokehouse when we bought the place. It was fairly derelict too.
R.H. repaired it, added new shelves, and hung it in the living room, even wiring it for lights.
It became like a dollhouse to me over the years, and I rearranged it constantly. I used to put my Snow Village houses in it for Christmas. On my blog in November of 2012 I wrote a post called Back When We Built Cities and Wore Christmas Sweaters (link here). It did seem that all of a sudden people were not building cities of Christmas villages, nor were they wearing Christmas sweaters, unless it was in an Ugly Christmas Sweater contest.
I miss both of those Christmas activities so much but was told by the younger set that they were dated. Instead I began breaking up the village and using a piece or two around the house. Truthfully, though, I hope they both come back in style. And dated or not, if you happen to revisit Across the Way during this December, you will see where I keep sneaking more of my houses out and scattering them around the house. I'm not exactly avant-garde around here anyway, with my primary colors. Now, if I can only remember where I put my Christmas sweaters!
I do put fewer things in the Gothic cabinet now. Three old Dept. 56 Christmas trees and old deer that seem to be grazing on the tiny crystal prisms and ruby glass beads hung on a tree that daughter Christy gave me go on the top shelf now. It is flanked by two Spode plates.
The other two shelves have blue crystal bowls that son Gurn and his wife have given me for birthdays. I put vintage ornaments in them at Christmas.
Many years ago I began buying the old worn speckled ornaments when I'd find them at yard sales.
Some of them are here because reds are not allowed on our main Christmas tree in the kitchen anymore.
There are two other gifts in this cabinet, two beautiful iittalia birds by Toikka, given to R.H. and me by my sister Deb and her husband Don.
They both sit in Blue Willow bowls in nests of blue holly.
My own nest is the old brown leather chair by this cabinet, the chair worn and scratched by a Welsh corgi named Tex and a dachshund named Penelope who are no longer with us. They used to sit, one on each arm, as I read or scribbled.
Now this is the chair where I blog or watch a chic flick while R.H. watches "Justified" in the family room.
And of course, I read.
Here is another old Christmas book that I read every December. It was written by Bess Streeter Aldrich and is called Journey Into Christmas. It is one of my most favorite Christmas books. Here is a link to some old copies for sale--link here.
|"Margaret Staley stood at her library window looking out at the familiar elms and the lace-vine arbor.|
Tonight the trees were snow-encrusted, the arbor a thing of crystal filigree under the Christmas stars."
The Tis the Season Blog Tour begins Monday! I hope you will visit all of us. I'll remind you on Monday and add the links to their blogs. Hope to see you there!
And please don't overlook the derelicts in life!