Wednesday, December 4, 2013

A little bit of Christmas.

Everybody's world is different. That is why we have black and white, plain and fancy and big and small. Time was when I was many, many years younger, that I did enjoy going all out to decorate for Christmas. I still think about it, every year, as this time rolls around. Being 65 , where that is not really old by today's standards, it does often make one stop and think."Do I really want to go to all the work? And somebody has to take all that down." Sometimes we do it for ourselves and other times we do it because we feel we have to. I get all excited every year around October. I tell my self that I am doing Christmas this year. I get out paper and pencil and start making plans, drawing sketches, jotting down ideals and the mind seems to run a wild. I somehow seem to come to my senses when I realize most of these ideals cost money. I am not cheap, have always been one who never worried about such details, as the cost of things. Some how, in these golden years, I have to worry about such. It seems that even simple ideals can end up costing more money that you can  spare.

Fresh cut greenery and winter berries fill all the garden urns.

Bundled fresh cut English Ivy  with bright red bows,hang from doors and sconces.
Don't get me wrong. this blog is not a pity party about my finances, but I am sure a lot of you out there have the same concerns over money and making it last these days. I always  think about having Christmas House tours at this time. That's a really good reason to spend time, energy and money decorating. I have tried this ideal in the past and it never seems to pay off. The weather here in Missouri can be quite harsh in December. One never knows if we will have snow or ice. Some how, it seems, that when I plan any event, the weather tries to put a damper on it. You know, I live in Clarksville,Mo. It is in the middle of the country and a good 70 miles from no where. My friends and neighbors are wonderful folks. They are very nice and always there when you need them.. Most of them are hard working class people and when they have time off from work, they need to do there shopping, decorating and other activities. They never seem to have a extra minute to take a house tour. The people that I might attract, from other parts of the world, never know if they can make it or not, because of the weather.

Piles of colorful fruit.

Bright shining silver.

Some of my battery operated candles, I sold out this year for safety.

   Being single, having no children, I do have my Sissy Dog, it is hard to think about going to all the trouble to decorate and do Christmas just for us two. I know some people said I should do I should do it just for me, but me, is tired and doesn't always want to work that hard. I do have a need to have some Christmas at my house. Just a little bit. I somehow in my older age seem to fall back on the simple things from my childhood memories. Fresh cut greenery, bright red ribbons, white snow, frosted windows and the smell of cookies straight out of the oven. I wonder if young people of today are even aware of such things. It sure is a different world we all live in today. Don't get me wrong, I'm all for that, but I long for the simple things from my childhood.
    I am having a bus tour this Saturday and a small dinner party for a group of 10 ladies next week. Of course I wanted the house to look a little like Christmas. And making the table pretty is always a big priority when having a dinner party.
   A few weeks back, when I first got into the Christmas mood, I made a little mini of , My Old Historic House. I dreamed of a gingerbread house like the ones at the white house. But a paper house is what I ended up with. I think it will be something I can put out for the rest of my life. I posted about this a few weeks back. Since then, because of your comments, I have added a Sissy dog to the yard. You were right, was not complete with out her. The plastic Santa in the door way is an ornament from my childhood. Who would believe I have held onto him all these years and it means a lot to me to get him out year after year,

The cut glass vases and pitches, sparkle like ice, winter berries represent winter, Christmas ornaments and votive candle complete the centerpiece.

A pair of sterling silver pheasants peak out among the crystal and winter berries

I thought the winter berry stems were the perfect thing to fill the vases.

Bundles of fresh cut ivy adorn a pair of Victorian sconces in the dining room.
Imagine all the votive candle will be lit for the dinner party.

A Santa from my childhood, sets in a kitchen chair.

   I went on a day trip to this lodge resort, where I work part time. They have lots of pine and cedar trees. Permission from the manger was granter, in case you are wondering.. I filled the back of the car with the smells of Christmas. I filled all the iron garden urns to where they were running over. Winter berries I found in a patch along the road made the urns even look more festive.
  I love bundling fresh cut English Ivy and tie them with bows and hang around instead of the wreath. So simple, yet so wonderful. The ivy holds up really well all season. I love candles  and again I posted about my candle invention this year. I sold myself out a little and opted for battery operated ones. Mainly  because they are safer.I do use a lot of votive  ( real) candle, however. This year for my dining room table I have opted to do something very different. Looking in the dish cupboard I noticed all the sparkling cut glass. It was a cold day and the sparkle of the glass reminded me of the ice crystals that  often form on the windows of the house. So I pulled it all out and made a gathering down the center of my my table. I always try and use my sterling silver pheasants some where on the dining table. They seemed to be right at home among the sparkling crystal. I added some simple colored glass ornaments
and to fill all the crystal vases and pitches I chose, simple winter berries, that I gathered along the side of the road. To me, the  vases looked like ice and the winter berries looked like winter. The birds were among them in the field and the ornaments added a little more sparkle and a little more Christmas. I used cut glass goblets, of various sizes, to hold the votive candles. I can just dream of how it will all sparkle when they are finally lit. I put a little water in each glass, this keeps the melted candle from sticking to the glass. adds to a much easier and faster clean up.

A long Time Christmas tradition, the dogs getting there winter hats and scarfs out.

Mr. Red Spots says, where's mine?

Fresh cut holly poked here and there.

  Of course it has become a tradition that my Staffordshire dogs in the kitchen all get dressed up for  Christmas and stay that way most of the winter.
   I hope you can get a little inspired by my simple Christmas decorations. It just goes to show, that one does not have to spend big amounts and works months to have a festive holiday. Please come by any time for a real tour. The lights are always on, the door is always open and Sissy will for sure. meet you with a jump and a kiss.

New this year, the Christmas  House.

Complete with a little Sissy Dog

The real Sissy Dog all snuggled in her basket, beside the kitchen fireplace.


Patti's Artful Design said...

Enjoyed your post, Richard:). I get most of my Christmas greens and pine cones from the forest, as we live near the pines as well as the sea. Love your Staffordshire pups in their Yule attire:) the beagle hounds too but have a true affection for our doxie hounds! Have a great holiday season and new year:)!

Pamela Gordon said...

Hi Richard. I love all the beautiful greens and winter berries you've collected for your urns and inside the house. There's nothing like fresh greens at Christmas. Everything looks beautiful. I hope you have a wonderful Christmas season. Blessings, Pamela

Maria said...

Love this post once again, every post I absolutely love. You have such talent for creactivity its so lovely and beautiful. A while back I too was looking at acquiring this old home, but like always nobody in my family would make a go of it, so the house was sold very cheaply and then an investor boughter it and now its for sale again at almost double the price. Here is the link surprizingly today it was in the local paper. Well I can't wait when I see your new posts my head spins and i got to read all.
Thank you for your talent and your wonderful stories. Stay warm and Sissy dog too. Maria

Maria said...

Love this post once again, every post I absolutely love. You have such talent for creactivity its so lovely and beautiful. A while back I too was looking at acquiring this old home, but like always nobody in my family would make a go of it, so the house was sold very cheaply and then an investor boughter it and now its for sale again at almost double the price. Here is the link surprizingly today it was in the local paper. Well I can't wait when I see your new posts my head spins and i got to read all.
Thank you for your talent and your wonderful stories. Stay warm and Sissy dog too. Maria

Lottie said...

Dear Richard, your blog posts are like letters from home. Thank you for sharing the beautiful pictures of your home decorated for Christmas! I love all the greenery!

An Historical Lady said...

Dearest Richard,
This is a lovely post and I know exactly what you mean. I am thinking of you and darling Sissy and wishing you a very happy Christmas from my little 18thc. 'cape' in New Hampshire---Decorated I might add with all things made, salvaged, cut, etc.!
Love and hugs to you~

An Historical Lady said...

Richard, I hope you will visit our own 6th annual 'New England Christmastide at the Old Brown Cape' gallery now up on our website!

Ann@A Sentimental Life said...

Richard, it looks like Christmas to me. So glad you found the Sissy dog for the dollhouse. I so understand what your saying. The last couple of years I have almost dreaded christmas because of finances. But just using what I have like you, silver and crystal makes a beautiful Christmas arrangements. Your table looks grand. You and Sissy enjoy!

Curtains in My Tree said...

Oh Richard
I love all your decorations and the dogs with their Christmas hats on always make me smile.
I love sissy out front of your new creation copy of your fabulous house.
I know the ladies will be smiling also to dine in your charming historical dinning room with the sterling silver pheasants up and down the table.
I love our childhood memories since we are same age i can remember my Grandparents cutting our tree down from back in the woods on our property. Our tree was our only decor. We didn't always have a big Christmas dinner either for the 6 of us.
I wish you had a partner, wife, child, someone to spend Christmas with you and Sissy.
I hope & wish my snowflakes would make it through the mail this year safely to my house that is my wish from you. hint hint
Thanks for sharing beautiful pictures of the mansion with us once again I never get tired of seeing it

merry Christmas to you & Sissy
from Me & Shirley (my cat)

Robin's Egg Bleu said...

Richard, your home is spectacular all year round! I like that you've simplified the holiday decor.

I've worked in historic house museums for quite a good length of time, and as a person who visits historic house museums over the holidays, I appreciate the overall beauty of the house...regardless of the holiday interpretation.

What you are doing is actually much more historically accurate and appropriate in terms of offering tours.

Not everyone in the early to mid 19th century had a Christmas tree. It wasn't terribly commonplace until a few decades later. Many folks simply decorated with available greenery.

When the Christmas tree fad hit hard in the states, (remember Queen Victoria first introduced it in England and it took a bit of time to become a standard practice) even in a big city like New York, only certain homes had the trees and the 'big' decorating and held open houses which their friends and neighbors attended to see the tree with wonderment. As late as 1873 this was more common than 'everyone' having a tree.

So relax, enjoy your historically accurate decor, welcome your visitors a'la open house style as in the day, share a cup of cider or nog and stories!

You're doing it up right, and trust me, anyone visiting will be so struck with the beauty you've already created they'll walk away dazzled!

bfish said...

I recently read through all of your posts from beginning to latest and am so inspired and entertained by all things "My Old Historic House". Your lovely home is enough of a draw to not need to be loaded up with every Christmas decoration under the sun.

We have a ton of ivy and you've encouraged me to get busy with some homemade decorations.

This was, like all of your posts, so down-to-earth. It looked like you were really winding down on the posting and you came back with a bang. Thanks so much! said...

I love fresh evergreens and red berries-so simple but sooo elegant. I am with you-the older I get the less I want to do.I am giving away a lot of Christmas decorations this year!

Anonymous said...

Your ivy bouquets on the windows and doors are lovely. Simple can often be the best and most effective approach.

As always, the hats on the spaniels make me smile. I finally have some spaniels of my own! After all these years, I've acquired a couple of "orphans." I'll have to wait longer to get a real pair, but now the next step is to put them together and see if they can get along. I have the red felt, but haven't found time yet to make their hats. Maybe next year.

Yes, and thank you for the tip on the battery candles. I know you feel like you've sold out, but safety is important when you're safeguarding your lovely home. I tried to be a snob about Chinese made candles from Dollar General, but I got some and they're great! The built-in timer is so useful. I bought more today and have put them in the house windows along the front. Another simple Christmas decoration, in the Colonial Williamsburg tradition.

Thanks for sharing your creative ideas. You are always inspiring to me.

Merry Christmas to you and Sissy!

Southern Lady said...

Perfection ... everywhere you look, Richard! You have a very special touch when it comes to decorating your lovely home ... any time of the year, but especially at Christmastime. I love that you use treasured keepsakes throughout the house, and the fresh greenery and berries are the icing on the cake.

My very best wishes to you and your sweet Sissy Dog for the best Christmas celebration ever!

Anonymous said...

Hi Richard- I came across your blog today and really am enjoying exploring it. You've a great sense of style, a gorgeous home and an eye for delightful accessories. Here in San Francisco, I' the rare bird amongst our friends who enjoy decorating for the holidays and surrounding myself with old world finery. You've quite a lovely collection. Warmest wishes from San Francisco, mister. - Josh