Sunday, December 25, 2011

Oh Christmas Tree!

Merry Christmas everyone! To celebrate the biggest holiday of the year, I'll finally show you my tree and all of the other goodies I've got hanging around the house!

It was hard to photograph the tree...since it's surrounding by a semi-circle of the windows, but I think this shot captures it fairly well. It's the first time Ben and I have had a real tree...cut down by us and everything! We chose a tall, thin, 9 foot tree and I chocked it full of ornaments. The branches are drooping quite a bit from the weight...but so far it's held up well! I think next year I'll opt for a wider tree so I can fit the rest of my ornaments on.

That funny looking snowman clown thing was one of my earliest crafting projects inspired by vintage holiday. It's made from toilet paper and is as hard as your head! The beautifull quilled snowflake was made by a French Candian customer as a super thoughtful wedding gift (thank you so much Christine!).

Presents! I was busy yesterday finishing up gifts for my family and wrapping them all pretty!

Can't wait 'til they're ripped open!

On the other side of the room I have my other tree. My awesomely amazing antique feather tree. I decorated it with tons of my oldest ornaments (most came with the tree when my mom bought it for me from Germany). On the mantel a crowd of tiny people, Santa's, snowmen, and reindeer line up all ready to watch the present opening from a bird's eye view!

These celluloid animals were made to go under the Christmas tree. So I have herds of farm and zoo animals and flocks of swans (and a fish!), pacing around under the tree.

The Santa tree base is cast iron and very heavy!

This funny little guy is an ornament I made for myself a few months back. It's a copy of an antique cotton ornament that I think was supposed to be a clown riding a sheep. He fits right in on the tree!


I forgot to hang the glass garland on the big tree before I added all the ornaments, so I hung as much of it as I could from the mantel. The tiny nails were barely long enough!

A new but very cute octopus ornament and an old tree that was another gift from a very generous customer (thanks Mary!) are good friends and are the only things adorning the awkward nook off to the side. The tree lights up if you put a battery inside. :)

I've collected all of these guys over the years and didn't realize how many I had until I lined them all up! They look splendid and very happy in a group!

My Grandmother's cabinet got a lite Christmas treatment with a strand of glass bead garland and some bottle brush wreaths. I stuck some white lights on top among the cloches and jars...they look lovely at night.

Our other cabinet was as good a spot as any to hang my giant bottle brush wreaths. The feather poinsettia's I found a few years ago at an estate sale. They were jammed in the corner of the floor of a cold, dark, musty basement (we were only allowed down if we had flashlights!). It was all moldy and damp and gross and they gave them to me for free (how couldn't they?). I doused them with vinegar and washed them in the sink with soap and water. I sprayed them with more vinegar from a squirt bottle and laid them outside to dry in the sun. They were clean and beautiful and smelled like sun! And they look less scraggily in real like than they do in the photo.

I paid a little too much for this pretty tin wreath on ebay, but it's so amazing and I just had to have it. It represents all the major holidays and several random reminded me of all the things I love to make! I hung it for the holidays on an interior door, but I think it will stay there year round.

I love decorating the dining room. It was always the room with the most decorations when we lived in Boston. This year the dining room table has sprouted a forest. It kind of reminds me of sidewalk grass, but with reindeer.

I tucked cardboard putz houses into the shelves in any spot I could.

Little lead people are hanging about too...sure, they're not to scale...but who cares?

Ice skaters, and people milling about and doing chores. It's takes all kinds to make a village!

This little sledder found himself in a forest of houseplants. And the seashell tree to the right was the first gift Ben ever gave me. It was fifty cents from a garage sale near our college and it was perfect!

Handmade ice skate stocking vs. vintage Santa stocking...

I've got a good sized collection of vintage Christmas glasses that I swap out for my regular glasses. These are just a few. I just love them!

The white shelves sort of make it look like there's snow on the ground in the tiny villages...

On the other side of the table forest lies....

...the land of the enchanted China Cabinet.

On top is the first feather tree I ever made (too wobbily to sell!). Red and white ornaments balance it out so it doesn't tip over! A collection of glass tree toppers nestled in a collection of vintage icicles. The glass trees in front are very nostalgic to me. The large one was my mom's when she was younger and she gave it to me as a kid. I lost all but two of the tiny glass ornaments that went with it. Later on I found a small version of the same tree and they look great together. If only I could find more ornaments for them....

Inside the cabinet lies Santa's German putz farmstead. The fences, stables, and bridge are made from twigs. Santa is plaster, felt, and cotton and the animals are plaster with metal feet. All very old and very cool!

The kitchen was reserved mostly for the cooking...but the windows got a subtle treatment with vintage reflector and glass bead wreaths and little cups with little ornaments inside.

The mantel in the kitchen holds my large putz village collection and giant bottle brush trees. Using glass cake pedestals allowed them to fit better. Oh...and the glorious, glittery reindeer my mom gave me a few years ago! He's cheaply made in China (his antlers keep breaking), but he's so glittery gorgeous!

And lastly, the glass front shelves in my hallway near the bathroom holds my paper mache boot collection and some old plastic reindeer. It's a dark corner, but the red boots catch your eye even in the dim light.

I hope you've enjoyed my little holiday tour! I hope you have a very Merry Christmas and many good tidings! :)

Thursday, December 22, 2011

From Pine Tree to Pine Wreath!

The other day I went into the forest near one of my dad's fields and snatched a bunch of bottom branches from some pine trees that looked like they could use a trim. Yesterday I transformed them into a wreath for the front door...

And some garland for the front hall fireplace and banister. Doesn't it look prettty! And Ben had a sniff fest when he got home from's smells so piney in the house!

Of course these results weren't achieved without some sacrifice: a roll of green floral wire, clean wire snippers (for cutting branches) and clean hands. This job quickly got very sticky!

By the time I was finished my hands were black! And pine sap doesn't like to part ways easily. I scrubbed my hands with a scouring pad and got most of it off with some effort.

And this pile of scrap sticks bled onto the floor. I think I need some goo be gone. But it was worth it! I love the real pine garlands and wreath and so does Ben! It makes our home extra Christmas-y!

And here's a little sneak peek of my tree...I snapped a bunch of photos tonight of my decor. Only half came out so I'll snap them again tomorrow. Hopefully I'll be able to capture almost everything so I can share it with you! Decorating for Christmas for the first time in our new house been tons of fun and I didn't realize how many ornaments and things I had stashed away for just this occasion...I couldn't even use them all! Not this year anyway... Stay tuned for the rest of the decorations...I'm quite proud! :)

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

New York Finds...

This past weekend Ben and I went to NYC to visit some friends and then I dragged them around all over the city to do some window shopping...and some shopping shopping. My first stop was at MJ Trimmings. They have floor to ceiling walls of fine ribbons and trims and it's truly a feast for the eyes. I spent maybe a little too much time in there...but came out with the perfect array of silky, chenille-y, lacey trims, perfect for the collection of wedding cake toppers I plan to make this spring. A little celluloid cow from the Hell's Kitchen Flea Market rode with the bag of trims the whole day for protection. She's still in one piece and doesn't seem to want to leave the comfort of fine trims!

The Hell's Kitchen Flea Market was outside in the winter requires thicker gloves than I had on...but the numb fingers were worth it. I found this tiny collection of bisque circus animals (and a lead pig) for a song to go with my other bisque circus characters...some of them I think are even from the same series that I already have...yay!

In the morning before breakfast we stopped at a little thrift store which wasn't far from where we were staying in Brooklyn with our friends Heather and Russ (who didn't complain at all whilst I drag them all over town). At the thrift store I found some fantastic old charms...two bucks for the lot! I think I might need a new charm bracelet to fit them all!

Some vintage plastic birdies from Hell's Kitchen. Some with broken legs...but I think I can help them out some how...

A cool old leathery box and Christmas trinkets from the thrift store.

Of course I stopped at Tinsel Trading to say Hi to Marcia and to pick up some "necessities".

Do think these are gross? I thought they were really cool and I'm glad they aren't freshly deceased. The petite antlers make a subtle statement I think.

A happy and successful day!