pondering christmas decorating…

So this turned out to be an un-Thanksgiving for me and I actually sent my people to my mother’s without me. I have had a 3 day mystery headache…NO I DO NOT HAVE COVID! (Already neurotically tested as we all still do these days.) But today, after 2 Advil, 2 Tylenol, and French Press coffee I am up for a little while with the headache doing a dull roar in the back of my head. I really love Thanksgiving, so I was bummed to pretty much sleep through it.

But headache or not, I am thinking about the Christmas decorations. I watched a Christmas movie last night that had way too much fake garland. It was everywhere. Enough to make you dizzy, and I love Christmas decorating.

But I have only one chunk of imitation Christmas garland. It goes outside on a bench. I do not use real garland any longer, inside or out. It gets dried out too fast. I also just don’t like imitation lit garland inside. Maybe in other people’s homes it works, but definitely not my own. It is just not my aesthetic. What I do use for garland, is a little more old-fashioned. Some say home spun. Wool felted garland. I happened on this quite by accident a few years ago. I just love the old fashioned look of it.

I also love giving wool felted and quilted ornaments as gifts. They are durable, festive, and kid friendly.

In addition to felt garland, I also like rag garland for Christmas. Bits of fabric and burlap. It’s fun! It’s also simple and evokes a happy Christmas simplicity.

Where have I sourced this garland, both wool felted and rag? Everywhere. Locally at different places over the years. And on Etsy, Ebay, Wayfair, and more. It’s gotten popular again and this year I have seen it on Food52’s website, Pottery Barn Kids, some on Amazon, but unless they say what country it’s made in, I don’t buy it. I try to stick to US made. I also like the UK made wool felted garlands, but they can be more expensive.

Why do I like these wool felted garlands? And the rag garlands? They are warm. They aren’t standoffish, untouchable Christmas decorations. They kind of draw you in. I also like the “flag” garlands. My friend’s mom and aunt used to make those. I like a pretty Christmas, not an untouchable ice queen Christmas. I like the nostalgia of Christmas, and love vintage ornaments, so these garlands accomplish that quite nicely.

As I said, I want to decorate each Christmas so that it is warm. I want you to remember a happy echo, not something just randomly and decorator inspired. I think you achieve that each Christmas by collecting what you love. My friend does this in part with all her Christmas putz houses and her very vintage Annalee Christmas decorations. She also shares a love of German kugels with me.

Now something else I love? Wool felted Christmas mice. I seem to have accumulated a bunch of them. Life’s Patina always has amazing ones for their Holiday Open House (which has sadly passed already) and the Smithfield Barn. As a matter of fact, the Smithfield Barn has them at Gas Works in Frazer, PA right now.

Wool felted mice are also all over eBay and Etsy. They are fun and have whimsey. I tuck them into my trees. I have also found them this year on Amazon. And a website called Craftspring which I have never tried, has some wonderful felted ornaments. Even Target has some squishy felted ornaments, although I am only finding a few worth buying. The German Christmas Shop USA has some terrific felted ornaments.

That’s it for me today. Just pondering Christmas.

santa season 

Decorating days are here. I like it to be festive and beautiful not Christmas psychotic. 
I have taken a long time to hunt my Christmas decorations and as a process it is a constant evolution. 

I find decorations I like, but if I find ones I like better I will swap things out. 

  Some people just do mass assemblages of layered and layered decorations with not much restraint (or taste) and well it ends up looking like an episode of Christmas Hoarders. If you take your time it makes it easier and you don’t have to put out all of the ornaments and decorations…rotate them!

Last year I did a lot of little decorated  trees with feather ornaments and such, but this year I decided to have more Santas and nutcrackers out  instead. (I did one small tree with vintage ornaments for our bedroom – a tabletop tree).

 

Ebay and Etsy are great resources for Christmas decorations and ornaments. So are Facebook yard sale groups, church rummage sales, and garage sales and my favorite…barn picking ūüéÖ

 Decorating for Christmas is easy and fun. Use Pinterest for ideas and inspiration and keep it simple to start.
Vintage holiday table linens and dishes also do not have to cost a fortune at all. 

But seriously where people screw up every year is they take the time to decorate… And then it’s paper plates and plastic cups! Just say no! Buy yourself a pair of festive dish gloves and towels and do the dishes! 

Happy Merry Festivus!

  

old linens and dishes… oh my!

DSC_0404Well now that I spent a full weekend running around junking, barn picking, and antiquing with friends I actually have to clean the stuff up!

The old large depression glass era bowls that I snapped up at the Smithfield Barn for $6 and $8 cleaned up in a jiffy and will get put away until I need them at Christmas.  DSC_0411

I have a thing about people who talk about setting a beautiful holiday table and then use plastic bowls, mismatched and plastic cutlery, and either paper or plastic plates. And yes, I get the lament that you have kids, it takes more time and so on and so forth.

Guess what? My mother and most of¬†my friends’¬†mothers used real silverware, linens, and dishes and so on for the holidays and we did not destroy the stuff. Yes it requires more effort, but it looks¬†so much better. And why go to the trouble of cooking up a storm of fabulous in your holiday kitchen to have it look like a¬†Wawa?

paper platesI have probably just insulted a whole slew of people, but I can’t help it.¬†¬†To me it¬†is like an insult to what comes out of the kitchen.¬† A woman I used to know used to do that.¬† She would half-set her table with aluminum foil pans just plunked on the table at Thanksgiving and never met a paper plate¬†¬†she did not love.¬† But her “good” dishes were brown crockery and they looked like mud so there is no accounting for taste.¬† Seriously though? Paper tablecloths are for picnics and kid birthday parties, and even then I prefer real table linens.

So now all my vintage Christmas linens are soaking in Woolite. I generally use that or liquid Ivory Snow now.¬† I used to have these soap flakes that came in a blue and white box but I can’t remember what they were called, nor do I see them in the grocery stores now.¬† I will carefully rinse them and hang them up to dry and then iron them.¬† I know a lot of people send their linens out to be laundered by the dry cleaner but with vintage linens that often leads to yellowing.

And let us get into the cost of things.  I am a bargain hunter.  I might love good old linens and dishes and so on but if I am at a Flea Market or garage sale or something similar I will walk away from things I know are overpriced for what they are and more importantly WHERE they are.  Whether it is an old tablecloth, a platter, or even vintage Christmas décor do not be afraid to ask for a best price or bundled price if you are buying a few things.

I have found everything I need for this Christmas as far as how I want my table to look, and the things I wish to decorate with.  It will be slightly retro Christmas, but there is something to be said about that simple and pretty look.

Of course now I will spend the next few weeks agonizing over menus.¬† Am thinking of doing a country p√Ęt√© since I scored that cool commercial loaf pan.¬† And of course lots of cookies!

Taking¬†the time to set your holiday tables with real dishes and linens pays off. Another thing – if you are having a crowd a buffet is fine if you don’t really have the space for sit down. I would rather my guests be comfortable than knocking elbows at the table because they are crammed in like

What are you all planning for the holidays? Do we want to do a cookie recipe exchange on this blog? As in send your favorite cookie recipe in via a comment and so on? Let me know!

ho ho ho…the hunt for vintage ornaments continues

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So the vintage ornament haul continues. Yesterday at AngelFest at St. Paul’s in Exton I scored a vintage tea towel and a professional grade loaf pan…and a Santa nutcracker !!!

Yes, you know about my vintage ornament disease, but if you know me, you know it extends to nutcrackers too! Not just any nutcracker, either. I tend to go for the more traditional nutcracker, leaving the golfing and fishing and nutcrackers like that for other people.

Yesterday, when I got to AngelFest the things the church was selling directly in their cute house on the church property was pretty picked over, but upstairs where they had ornaments and holiday decor, there was this Santa nutcracker with his $5.00 price tag…he was standing in between two nutcrackers priced at $40 or there abouts (and truthfully the other nutcrackers were priced too high). So I snapped him up! He was so cute I could not believe he was still there!

And yes, then yesterday on the way to a friend’s house in Elverson, we stopped at the Smithfield Barn. I had to pick up my vintage Christmas tablecloth…and go through more vintage ornaments!

Apparently some of my friends went out yesterday looking for vintage ornaments and didn’t see enough. LOL I was not the only one buying them on Friday, but ornaments like that do not last— you should see how they fly on eBay! When someone says they’re going to be selling vintage ornaments at a barn sale or a fleamarket, go early. And be prepared to dig through ornaments. (Carefully because if you break it you buy it.)

Anyway there were MORE ornaments out at the barn when I got there…so sigh…I bought a few more.

And no, I do not need a Christmas ornament intervention, there is a method to my madness. In addition to the Christmas tree of a traditional size, I have decided I am going to have small trees in multiple rooms.

So I have been scouring church sales, garage sales, flea markets and the Smithfield Barn for small table top and even smaller sized trees. Most of what I have acquired look like the traditional feather tree. If you can find real goose feather vintage feather trees they are incredibly expensive, so I decided to seek alternatives. And I have not paid much for these trees.

Putting little trees in multiple rooms, means that I will have to be very disciplined with my other decorating or it will look like Walmart burped in my house. And that is not the look I am going for. I have no desire to have people feel like they’re dizzy when I walk in my house at Christmas time. I just want people to feel the magic.

My parents always did the more traditional silver and gold dominated Christmas tree when I was growing up, but my taste sort of evolved in a different direction. I love the look of vintage ornaments, and I also love the look of nutcrackers and folk art Santas.

How do you dress up your home for the holidays? Tell me!

And also, before I forget, the Smithfield barn is open today. You can also often find vintage ornaments at Frazer Antiques and sometimes at Resellers Consignment too. Also worth noting is a store in Ardmore, PA on Lancaster Avenue that always has fabulous vintage reproduction ornaments and unusual new ones that are quite beautiful. The store is Past*Present*Future.

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