Wednesday, December 12, 2012

It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas!

I'm not big on Christmas.  I am a summer girl.  Usually, the thing I want most for Christmas is for it to be OVER. 

However, in the true spirit of both Scrooge and the Grinch (a stuffed version of which is wired to the front grill of my car for the month of December every year), I do have a tendency to come around -- usually on Christmas Eve. 

This year, I am still feeling the usual financial and gift-buying stresses and the general overall dread, but a few things have been different for the better!

I put up the Merry Christmas sign by the front door on NOVEMBER 28th!  That's right -- still in the month of November!  This even violates my rule that says:  "Absolutely No Christmas until December 1st (at the earliest)!" 

We got decorations out on the 8th and did most of the decorating.  I'm not sure what got into me.  Oh yeah!  Sara-Grace got on my back about it and marched me up to the attic!

Also on the 8th, Mark and I went on a mission to find a pine tree I could cut a few branches from.  This turned out to be fun and boded well for my living room.  I think the thing I enjoy most about Christmas is the little, simple, old-fashioned, FREE stuff that is what Christmas was about before commercialization -- using the bounty of the seasonal things that are around and are FREE!

I love how the pine branches add just a simple suggestion of the season to my grandparents' 1939 piano with my mother's huge ceramic pot full of branches on it:

Here is my fireplace as I've done it for the past few years:

And here is my fireplace this year (can you tell from the draped fabric that I'm in the process of making slipcovers for my grandmother's armchairs out of burlap and white mattelasse?).  I like this MUCH better!

During the rest of the year, I have a big oil painting that belonged to my grandparents over the mantle.  It is a wonderful sea scape that they bought in the 1980's from a well-known artist in Laguna Beach (where I later lived) and, by a second wonderful coincidence, depicts my very favorite beach: Nuestra Senora del Refugio Beach which is north of Santa Barbara. 

Every year, for Christmas, I have to take down the painting (which is almost 45" square complete with large gilded frame -- you know grandparents!) and store it somewhere (that is hopefully safe) so I can hang up the Twelve Days of Christmas plates and decorate for Christmas.  And sometimes I just get tired of the painting dictating the mantle during the rest of the year too!

This year, an idea evolved.   I wanted something that I could put IN FRONT OF the painting so that I wouldn't have to move it.  I moved the Twelve Days of Christmas plates and hung them over the window which I like a lot.

Here's an older picture of the plates so you can actually see them.  Aren't they pretty?  (BTW you can still get them from Williams Sonoma if you happen to like them as much as I do.):

 I took a 45" square of particle board that was loitering around as a reject from another project and covered it with white cotton duck/canvas that I had on hand.  Then I cut an 84 cent piece of thrift store burlap to size and hot-glued it on.  I hammered in a nail and hung my mother's pine cone wreath (that's been around for my whole life and is VERY "my mother") on it and propped the whole thing up in front of the painting.  I LOVE THIS! 

Now I am entertaining fantasies of how I can decorate this board for other holidays and for the rest of the year:  a flag for the 4th of July, a wreath with eggs on it for Easter, something with a heart for Valentine's Day, something creepy for Halloween, maybe a wreath with pheasant feathers for Thanksgiving?, and it could also hold letters that could spell out things like JOY or SUMMER or HAPPY.  I have a whole basket full of assorted letters I've gathered over the years when I find them for a dollar or less.  Hmmm...

So, for now, Christmas is kind of growing on me.  I will REALLY like it once I have my shopping done -- IF that's before Christmas Eve.

And here are a few more glimpses of Christmas from around the house:

The Invasion of the Santas in the TV room (with another of my grandparents' sea scape paintings).

The Invasion of the Nutcrackers.  Actually, this year there is another shelf of them up above. 
You'll recognize Mother's pine cone wreath in it's previous location! 
Torpedo is not at all sure she likes this particular variety of Christmas humiliation!
This is how I like Christmas best -- CONTAINED! 

Merry, Merry!


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