Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Christmas Past

Every year, when thinking about the fast approaching Christmas season, I try to remember to keep it simple. Since I am such a tinkering soul, and fussing and arranging and propping are a huge part of my nature, this can truly be a challenge for me...

...and as I get older, it is my intent to just add a bit of stuff to what is already out there!
What I intend to do this year is just embellish with Nature's bounty, adding some fresh  greenery and a few flowers.
Paired with white tulips and some greens it worked perfectly with old silver last Christmas.

Last year, I found a beautiful garden rose, called Super Green, if you can believe it!  As you can see above, it is more deserving than that. I would rename it Petit Chou Vert...little green cabbage.

As well as decor, food is a large part of my thought process. Being Italian, it is and will always be
front and center for the holidays.
Here you can see, my sister Micki's beautifully wrapped Maria Bruno cookies.
They are an old family recipe from my Mom's.
Baking parchment is a beautiful alternative for wrapping cookies and other food gifts, and can be embellished with simple ribbons or hand made tags.
It has a pure and clean look to it.

They are wonderful hostess gifts, and are too delicious for words!

Shortbread stars, dipped in white chocolate and sprinkled with gold dragees waiting to be wrapped as gifts and savoured by a lucky recipient.

I have embraced so many wonderful and timeless recipes as well as my own traditional ones.

These are a favourite in our family.

Here, you can see ricotta cookies, which are iced with white chocolate and silver dragees. They are
my personal favourite, and just melt in your mouth!

Back to decor....I have found that my love of books works well into the scheme of things. Last year I found a beautifully illustrated, A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens, published by Blue Heron Books, and the exquisite illustrations by Robert Ingpen totally captivated me.
I randomly left it open during the season, here and there, and was able to enjoy it so much more.

I have started a collection of books which I hope someday to read to my grandchildren.  The collection is growing, even though neither of my sons are married. It still is fun to imagine!

I am hoping that again, just by adding some fragrant greens, and pulling out some favourite pieces,
the house will take on a festive look. Linens and silver always come into play, and even if the linens don't get ironed I still use them as is..a la shabby chic. I have found a trick, that by spritzing them with a fine mist and laying them out to dry, they look just as great.

Last years table setting on Christmas Eve.....I decided I would make angels for everyone's place setting. The cookie cutters were rather large and I had to lift them off the cookie sheet with two spatulas, a little tricky... but my decorating soul was satisfied by all the gold embellishing and fussing I did to make them shine!

A silver leaf stag on my fireplace mantel, purchased from Home Goods... I love any deer or stag motif, possibly because I have caught glimpses of them in our woods over the years.
They are regal, beautiful creatures.

My busy, twenty year old decor, which I always try to work with. I think it is more about making what we have, work and beautiful for our families. It is more satisfying and certainly more challenging!

I do succumb to adding a few enticing things every year, like these gorgeous mercury and glass bells
found in Fredricksburg, Texas. I hung them from some champagne coloured, organdy ribbon from
Midori, one of the best sources for ribbons and trims. All that was needed to dress up a fresh green wreath and hall mirror.

....more of Petite Chou Vert....wonder what the grower would think!!!

....but most of all, I try to focus on the true meaning of Christmas, when I get a little overwhelmed with it all. Yes the food is important and the flowers and the tree and the treats, but I hope to try to imagine how a little child views it all...the wonder and innocence and magic that it really is.

I shall try to remember.

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