Sunday, December 18, 2011

More Christmas-ing

Just a quick post to share a bit more Christmas-ifying that took place around here. I didn't go all out this year, just didn't have the energy for all the wrapping and unwrapping of stuff, but I did want to dress up my china hutch once I got the Halloween stuff packed away. I went with a sort of natural, woodland theme this year, using a few of my Currier and Ives houses (love these because they're based on real (or real-looking) structures and fit with my love of architecture), some newly acquired owl ornaments, a straw ornament garland (piled up in a footed glass bowl) picked up from the Animal Lifeline thrift, and some flocked thrift store deer. I stuck in some white pine sprigs from a branch that was down in our community. Pictures were done at night, so not great, but I don't see finding the time to redo them.

For the center of my table I pulled out two silver ice buckets I'd thrifted over the summer. The plan was to fill them with oasis and then greenery, but I bought the wrong type of foam (dry foam, doesn't hold water) so just went with the jumbo pine cones I had on hand, some sprigs of white pine and Douglas fir and after I took the pictures I added some silver glittery reindeer from Dollar General. The purplish red candles were the ones I used at Halloween.

Let's Leave the Trees to the Professionals, Shall We?

I was pretty happy with how my Christmas tree turned out this year, until I visited Longwood Gardens that is and saw all of the gorgeous, professionally trimmed trees. Their theme was gingerbread this year and they managed to incorporate it into almost all of the more traditional trees and wreaths, and each area sort of had its own theme too. On entering the greenhouse, the smell of lilies was overpowering, but in a good way. The first "room" was done up in red and white, this year's big trend, but not really my favorite color scheme (I've always been a "non-traditional" gal when it comes to Christmas colors). All the trees are live and this one had huge hydrangea (I think) blooms in it and was surrounded by the fragrant lilies.

Next up was more red and white and silver in this huge trio of trees. 

They had balls made from red rose petals (not pictured) and some sort of silvery white leaves (see below) that we really liked.

The gingerbread room smelled divine and had a fun candy theme in addition to the gingerbread. There was a toy train and fat colored lights, along with traditional gingerbread men ornaments strung together in an unexpected garland.

These gingerbread cones flanked one of the lawn areas that had silvery trees done up in green and gingerbread ornies (you can see just a peek of one in the background). This would be a fun look to recreate on a small scale for a dessert buffet or kitchen table (all the cookies were shellacked and had warning labels not to eat them - sad that you even have to tell people that. They were up on pedestals and not nearly has huge as they look in the photo - maybe about 4 feet tall.

Probably my favorite tree was the one in the solarium area of the farmhouse - it was decked out in glam silver and plum but also included natural elements like pine cones and gingerbread cookies shaped like maple leaves. I think they got the contrast between natural and glamorous just right and I'll be hunting down some purple and plum ornies for my tree.

I also really liked this tree done up in white, silver, and light green. It was a white pine (I think) with long silky needles which isn't typical for a Christmas tree, but so pretty.

So these are just some highlights, hopefully you'll get some good ideas and not feel like your own tree is inadequate (I do still really love mine). If you want to see Longwood Gardens in the spring, click here

I'm linking this to Thrift Decor Chick's Tree Party, be sure to stop over and see all the lovely trees people have done.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Oh Christmas Tree, Oh Christmas Tree, How Lazy Can You Be?

Several years ago I swore I'd never put up another live Christmas tree. I got rid of my stand and everything (and I never get rid of stuff). The one I got was too big. It got stuck in my car. I bought it at a produce market where they don't cut the bottom off for you. I had a cheap-o saw. I think I made a few cuts in the trunk and gave up, figuring at least water would get in through the cuts. It fell over. Just as I hung the last ornament on it. I more or less threw the stuff back on after setting it back up and tying it to a hook on the wall. Here it is, it looked much better before it fell over:

I've had an ongoing debate with myself about getting a prelit fake-ola one. On the one hand, they seem so easy to set up and the lights are my least favorite part. On the other hand, the nice ones are expensive and what happens when the lights burn out? Also I don't want to store one and I really hate the idea of not supporting the tree farmers. So after a few years of no tree, I decided to go real again. I really was intending to just get a table topper, but they were $15 and the full sized ones started at $20 so I went with a smallish Douglas Fir for $20. It is nice and full, but the trunk is kind of thin, which made it easy to carry but somewhat of a pain to get it into the stand. I got a new stand for $5 at a thrift store - it is the kind that is supposed to swivel and tilt so you can straighten it and turn it to the best side once it is up, but it is hard to move and the tree ends up moving before the stand, so I'm glad I only paid $5 for it instead of the $35 price tag on the box.

I didn't feel like messing with a lot of my childhood ornaments - too much of a pain wrapping and unwrapping everything and it was Boy-Cat's first experience with a tree (unless he had one in his first home, he was 10 months or so when I got him in July, 2009) and I didn't know if he'd behave. My color scheme is green, blue, silver, white, and gold, and the ornaments are mostly unbreakable and/or not too precious from Dollar Tree (gold sparkly reindeer, cheap-o snowflakes), craft store (nicer snowflakes), WalMart (sparkly green, lighter blue, sparkly gold), thrift store (silver, darker blue), and Target (crystal icicles, star topper).

The skirt is a Christmas toile pattern I made a bunch of years back and stockings to match.

So everything was pretty easy up and will be easy down - everything but the crystal icicles can go in zip lock bags and into plastic totes - I think some of the darker blue and silver might be breakable, but easy enough to replace if I loose a few. It's a little bland with not much variety (lots and lots of plain balls) but low maintenance. I didn't bother with ribbon or garland which might have helped things out in the interest department but again, being lazy. And Boy-Cat has been very well behaved, other than wanting to drink the water, which I knew he would and thwarted by wrapping a towel around the base under the skirt.

 I'm also looking forward to moving it out onto the balcony after the season is over where it can spend the winter. I even have strand of outdoor lights I may put on it for outside.

I'm linking to Thrifty Decor Chick's Christmas Tree Party. Stop on over and take a look at all the gorgeousness.

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