Saturday, February 2, 2013

Christmas in an English Country House

Christmas in an English Country House

Tonight I finished packing the last of my Christmas decorations away.  It is always a little bittersweet as I change my theme each year.  2012's theme was "Christmas in an English Country House".  This past Christmas I was digging through the attic and came across an old cardboard box containing some rosettes from my horse-show days.  Although some of the colors had faded, they were still in pretty good condition considering they are 30+ years old!  I was planning a natural woodland theme for the tree and decided to add the ribbons.  I found a great copper English hunting horn at the antique mall that was my tree topper along with sprays of peacock and pheasant feathers.  The peacock feathers were a nod  to George, the resident peacock at the barn where we boarded our horses.  It wasn't unusual to see pheasants, deer,and even the occasional fox  when you were out for a ride.  

19th century English Secretary with double desks

A garland of acorns I "borrowed" from my Fall decorations as well as shades of copper, bronze and gold lent an English-country feel.  So the nostalgia bug bit me and I thought about growing up in the country and took my cue from there.  I picked ornaments from my collection that represented the country a fox, horses, a pheasant, feathers, pinecones, a pair of wellies, a foxhound, an antique bridal rosette, and the horse show ribbons.  I had found some great crystal garland at a yard sale this past summer for some added shimmer.

The mantle featured a garland of natural greens, magnolia leaves, berries, pinecones,
antler shed and pea hen feathers.  A carved white goose, an old reproduction I
purchased from a flea market before I was married took center stage

Lots of natural greens both faux and real draped the tops of cabinets and spilled from baskets and tucked into shelves.  The spicy scent of clove-studded pomanders greeted you as you walked through the door.  

We rearranged furniture to accommodate the tree.  I "borrowed" my silk plaid curtains from my upstairs guest room and moved the red and gold plaid curtains to the dining
room.  I found a great faux leather ottoman at a thrift shop with built-in storage and the pair of end tables at a yard sale .  The large engraving  of a blacksmith came from the antique mall for my birthday last summer.  The room is back to its English country roots,  when I had been moving toward a decidedly French feel.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Welcome Spring

Today is the first day of spring! However it has felt like spring for weeks with temps in the upper 60's and even 70's.  Hung my new spring wreath on the door.  Robins are in abundance. The cats are ready to jump through the window after them! 

Trees have burst into bloom, all the spring bulbs are at their peak.   The garden shops & farmer’s markets are full of spring bulbs, pansies and I even saw petunias. The mountains wear a blush of green and pink.  

Bunnies and eggs are appearing everywhere-Easter is just weeks away.   I am busy working on my Easter decorations.   Here is just a little tease-I'll have more to come.  My theme this year is "Springtime In Paris".

Welcome Spring-she has made her debut!

Always find joy in your journey!
Happy Spring!


Monday, February 13, 2012


I had such a lovely drive on my way to work Saturday, I thought I'd share it with you.

       The antique mall has a lovely courtyard.  It was beautiful frosted winter-white.

Tigger-Feline in residence.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

A Winter White Wednesday

It snowed today-the world looked like a snow globe.  There has been very little of this fluffy, white confection this winter - so it is a treat!  I said to my husband, "Now I want it to be Christmas!"   I dashed outside and snapped a couple of pix then came inside for a hot chocolate.

 Finally it looks like Christmas.  It doesn't seem so long ago.  Want to take a peek?

Looking into the dining room.  Isn't the tree splendid?  It is decorated entirely in non-breakable ornaments.

              The corner cabinet is an 18th century English piece.  It holds a collection of transferware.

                            Cranberries add a splash of color to this basket weave candle holder.

             The English dresser in the family room holds more candle holders filled with cranberries.

  The fireplace mantle in the family room is topped with a swag and greens decorated with fruit pomanders.

                                                The dining room in jewel tones and copper.

The dining room center piece is an antique transferware bowl filled with bouquets of roses and faux greens.

 A huge, wooden dough bowl on the side board holds giant flocked pinecones, pomanders, greens and ornaments.

The Living room.  Swags of greens with white, twinkling lights adorn the top of the Dutch bombe china closet.
Crystal apothecary jars hold antique ornaments.  Ivory, silver beaded runners top each table.
And the piece de resistance - the tree!

Because of our newest family member, one little gray cat named Louis, all the ornaments on the tree are plastic.  We were almost afraid to put up a tree because of some of his past antics, but he behaved like a gentleman-much to our surprise.

Hope you enjoyed my little reminiscence.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Tablescape Thursday-A Holiday Table

Holiday Tablescape

The dining room is festooned with feathers & ice-dusted pine. Topping the table is a silk arrangement of feathers & poinsettias in an earthy terra cotta shade. It sits atop a faux block of ice-(a glass block window) atop a skirt of peacock feathers surrounded by faux berries, pine & orange pomanders studded with cloves & coppery glass ornaments. The tablecloth is a burnished bronze with gold accents-(a gift from my husband the previous Christmas). Three gold & embroidered runners cross the table. The centerpiece is flaked by a pair of English barley twist candlesticks & a pair of woven baskets with glass inserts filled with cranberries & two pillar candles.

The chargers are gilded melamine & the dinnerware Holly & Ivy by Portmeirion. These are my everyday dishes throughout the winter. I bought them all in bits & pieces on eBay throughout the years. The silver is my “company silver”. I call it that because it has to be washed by hand so I use it only for “special” occasions. The glassware is Bavarian etched crystal with deer, pheasants, grouse & ducks. They are lovely in the candle light & bring a bit of a “lodge” feel to the table. I bought them all at a yard sale this past summer for $1.00 each-(What a find). American Brilliant cut glass lends to the feel of sculpted ice. They all have some small imperfection but are beautiful none the less. Red plaid napkins complete each place setting. Sparkling votives twinkle in gold glass cups scattered around the table. The lighting is soft & intimate befitting a dinner of family & friends.

Portmeirion Holly & Ivy china.

Sideboard centerpiece lit with sparkling white lights.

The Pomanders are a tradition in my family. When I was young, my mother & I made them every holiday. The spicy fragrance always reminds me of Christmas. These pomanders are faux. I used real cloves to stud them but the oranges are from Michael’s & the Dollar Store. I made a pattern using mini cookie cutters traced onto paper for the hearts & stars. For the bands encircling the orange, rubber bands did the trick to keep the rows even. I used a permanent marker to place dots on the areas I wanted to insert the cloves. Using a tool to start holes-(It came in a mini screwdriver set of my husbands) I poked a hole just deep enough to insert the clove. The oranges feel like plastic on the outside but have an interior made of Styrofoam so they were fairly easy to work with. Faux lemons or limes would work just as nicely. Everyone thought they were real & but these pomanders will still be lovely next year.
Happy Tablescape Thursday to all. Be sure to Visit our hostess Between Naps on the Front Porch for more eye candy & fabulous ideas.