It is a gorgeous morning here. The sun is just coming up, throwing beautiful golden light onto the front porches of the houses across the street. I must say, Winter, that you haven't been too gloomy yet this year. I'll begin my wishing and hoping for snow — anytime in December would be good for me, FYI. Just sayin. Did you know that the Christmas season is five days shorter this year? I heard it on television the other day. I was kind of bummed about that. I like this season so much. Especially when it snows (alas, almost never).
We decorated the dining room last weekend. Our dining room is actually the living room, if you think that fireplaces are normally in living rooms. In our house, the "living" room (with the fireplace) was just too far from the kitchen — one of us was frequently watching TV in the living room, and the other was cooking in the kitchen. This resulted in lots of shouting back and forth during "together" time. "Can you bring me a Coke?!?" "Yes!!!" "What channel are you on!?!" "ABC Family!!!" "Okay!!!" "What are you listening to?!?" "The Avett Brothers!!!" The dining room was between the living room and the kitchen. So we switched the living and dining rooms a couple of years ago — it's one of those houses where the front door opens right into the middle of the living room, no entry hall or anything — and we like it a lot better. But I do kind of miss watching TV and sitting on the sofa near the fireplace.
I moved the table into the middle of the dining room so I could move the dresser in that was in front of the window to the wall, and then the Christmas tree could be in front of the window. (Here's how things usually look.) It's a very, very old tree. Silver tinsel. I'm not sure how much longer we'll be able to keep it. The branches are falling apart, the tree lists dangerously to the right, and the tinsel is shredding. We bought it from an antique store about six or seven years ago. It was expensive, but live trees are so expensive that I think it paid for itself in just a couple of years. Andy thinks we might get a real tree next year. This is Clover's first tree (we didn't put it up last year because she was too young to manage something so fragile, and covered with glass balls) but she's totally oblivious, so that's nice. No problem there.
I got these snow-cabin dishes at Goodwill a few week ago. I have always wanted Christmas dishes but I never found any that I really liked, and as I discussed with my sister, if you're gonna have Christmas dishes you gotta love the Christmas dishes. These are nothing fancy, but I liked them, and they reminded me of Polish pottery, which I love.
Naturally I have absolutely nowhere to put them. You can see my other thrifties just piled in the cabinet back there.
So I am just going to leave them on the table all winter, and bring them into the kitchen when it's time to actually serve something that will be eaten in the dining room, in front of the fireplace, which is a great way to eat breakfast. Or dinner. But breakfast is great. I'm making waffles for Andrea this morning, so I should probably light that fire. The tablecloth came from Goodwill, too, and have I or have I not just been so totally scoring at Goodwill lately? I know.
Here's my sideboard. I am going to make another one of Jennifer's poinsettia garlands for myself this year. I gave the one I made last year to my mother-in-law but now I want one for myself. I got some little tiny clothespins and I thought maybe I'd hang whatever Christmas cards we get from the ivy, because I never know what to do with the cards.
Now. This little collection is cool. These are these little tole-painted boards that I got from an estate sale this summer. This guy's mom made them and he was selling about fifteen of them for about a dollar each. Dude!!! Aggh. Too good. I adore them. Next is the wreath I made a few years ago — remember that? Inspired by this? Phew. That was quite a project, I have to say. And then our little collection of hand-carved Santas, all made by Andy's grandpa, Mark Thomas, who sends us one every year. I love these so much. Let's look at them closer.
So cute. I think each one is a kit that he orders, and then makes for everyone in the family. I just love these.
Then there is my snow-village mantle. I've photographed and written about this several times. One of my favorite blog posts, from 2005, is about it. This one from last year kind of made me cry. This one always does. But it wouldn't be Christmas unless I was crying about something.
I've gotten several emails this year asking me how I put this village together. I wish I had photographed it before I'd set it up (because, trust me, once it's up, it's not coming down until the new year). But basically I took a bunch of four-inch foam, like upholstery foam, blocks that I had (I know, who has these just sitting around? I do, because I used to make baby blocks out of them for Posie several years ago — but you could easily use boxes of different sizes, or books) and just stacked them up, tall ones in back, to look like hills. Then just plop some white Christmas lights all around the boxes — the icicle kind are good, because they have these long tendrils and you can have those reach into little corners and stuff. Then I just draped the whole thing with a couple yards of white linen, doubled so there wouldn't be too much show-through. Just bunch it up around stuff to look like snow drifts. And that's it. Easy.
I try to keep it simple.