Ornamental Plaster Sculpting, Mural Painting, Faux Finishing, and Imaginative Interior Design.

Ornamental Plaster Sculpting, Mural Painting, Faux Finishing, and Imaginative Interior Design.
CLICK ON THE RABBIT ( yes, those are cabinets) TO SEE MY PORTFOLIO, AND LEARN MORE ABOUT MY SERVICES...theartofthehome.com

Friday, November 30, 2012

It's beginning to look a bit like Christmas...sort of.

I don't have many set in stone Christmas traditions, but since moving to this house, wherein I host early December gatherings, I've had to change my oldest one, which was "no tree until after the 15th".  This year is the earliest I've ever had a tree up, though I waited until the last possible moment to do what needed doing for bookazine photos.  Being a small publication, we don't have to work on Christmas in August, like I've heard most magazines do, but I did have to do it before Thanksgiving.  I'm both relieved and pleased to see that my tree is staying very fresh.  This is partly because I am actually remembering to water it, and partly because it was cut the day I got it, so it didn't lay around for a month or more out of water, like purchased trees often do. 

After years of lush trees layered with baroque ribbons and fancy ornaments, this simple spire of a spruce is a refreshing change.  The urn is the same one shown as a table base on the side of this blog.  I just tuck the top under the sofa, and insert a bucket of rocks and water to hold the tree.
My woodsman (I don't have a plumber, housekeeper, or hairdresser, but I do have a woodsman, oddly enough), Bernie Shapiro, brings our garden club branch tips for outdoor pots every year, and this year, he found me a Serbian spruce.  On delivery, he warned me it's a bit lanky, but he said it just seemed like the right tree for me, and assured me it would have plenty of space between the branches for ornaments to really show.  Um, yeah...I have to admit I was a little, uhhhh, dubious when I first unbundled it, but I decided it was a challenge I could enjoy.  It reminds me of the black spruce Christmas trees I had when I lived in Alaska.

Since I have room to do more than one tree, I decided to get my glitz fix in another room this year, and kept this one simple and wildish.  The barest spots are filled with dry hydrangeas.  I don't have the huge kind, just the little old fashioned ones, a few that I remembered to snip and dry while they were still green last summer, and the rest I harvested brown on decorating day.  I also tested some grasses, twigs, and other weeds, but vetoed them, in the end.  A few sticks of gold painted curly ting did make the cut.
Is it a dire insult to a spruce tree to decorate it with cones from a pine? I am possibly infringing on the rules of nature, but can I help it if they just look pretty?

 Next, I headed to the craft store to see if pheasant feathers were available and affordable, since I hadn't remembered to ask any of my hunting friends to save them for me.  On the way, I sidetracked to the local thrift, and hit the jackpot.  Someone had just that morning donated two big arrangements of feathers and pine cones, probably from the 70's, judging by the plaster (not resin) vases, and the style.  The vases will do nicely for some other project, and for $8, (about the price of purchasing two feathers at the craft store), I got 40 sort-of-like-pheasant feathers!!! (Yes, in my world, that's exciting enough for three exclamation points.)

Paper  love doves, glass balls filled with feathers and embellished with a few more, and animals made of cones, nuts and pods decorate my tree this year.
I laid these in on the branches, then hauled out my boxes of ornaments.  I could have added red balls, or copper ones, but I decided I was in the mood for mellow.  I had a couple dozen pine cones that were lightly sprayed gold, and strung a few years ago, and some clear glass balls filled and trimmed with small feathers, which seemed nearly enough to fill the tree.  I added a rabbit and squirrel I made last summer from pine cones, acorns, and seedpods, and finished with this year's paper Love Doves.  The pattern for these is included in the winter issue of 365 Being, which goes to press Monday, and will be arriving in mail boxes mid-December (subscribe at 365being.com).

The only other thing I might still add are some simple gingerbread shapes with white icing detail.  Bernie is planning to deliver a coordinating garland for my staircase, so maybe I'll tuck the cookies into that, instead.  Or I maybe I'll give those cookies as gifts.  Or maybe I'll just eat all the gingerbread, keep the decor wildish, and not confuse my friends by actually delivering something before Christmas.  Some traditions might be worth keeping!

I do hope whatever your traditions and resources, you make a joyful and bright holiday season for yourself and the ones you love!

Questions and comments can be left below, or emailed to dawnmariedelara@gmail.com.  I paint walls like the muted striped ones behind this tree, and my portfolio can be seen at theartofthehome.com.  I also blog at 365being.blogspot.com, at least once a week, if you feel like wandering around the Internet reading stuff, and if you want a beautiful quarterly bookazine to read, you better head over to 365being.com.  It's available PDF, but it's waaaayyyyy prettier in print.

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