CHRISTMAS DECOR: Natural Sparkle

Done, at last

Bit by bit the Christmas decorations have been going up at my house.  In between working on client's homes and other seasonal projects - at long last I'm done..... or, mostly done.  I still plan to put a little holiday cheer into my son's room who will be home from college in a few days, and there's that little tree I wanted to decorate in the family room, and I need to come up with something for place settings for the family get-together.  Seems once I get started, I can't stop.. Someone help me!

I have to admit I rearranged furniture a little this year to make room for the tree and accommodate my holiday decorations. Sometimes the 'stuff' in our house gets in the way of our Christmas decorating, but most of it looks better with a little Christmas touch or two and that very 'stuff' can become part of a beautiful holiday focal point.

vintage trophy with holiday greens and berries

Speaking of rearranging a little - I had great plans for lighting the back yard and patio and setting up a little cozy seating area there until we found half of the lights weren't working anymore (please tell me how a light strand can go bad safely packed away in a box for a year?? )  By the time we discovered we didn't have enough of the same type strands, Target was completely sold out of lights.  After a frenzied search, we did finally find lights and put them up, but by then we just wanted to get it over with and forget anything creative!   It should have taken us a couple of hours - not a couple of days!

But the spirit of the season prevailed - and tired but cheery - we put the finishing touches on the decor.

victoria hamblin mcdaniel

Speaking of the spirit of the season, my friend Victoria - extremely talented in many ways, but more particularly in music - has some copies of her Christmas CD available which would make excellent gifts. 

Victoria wrote most of the music and lyrics and arranged and produced all the songs on her CD "It's All about the Baby".  It is beautiful and amazing and her website explains how it all came about and provides links to listen to most of the music on the CD.  Stop by http://www.vixchristmasmusic.blogspot.com/  to have a listen and order one for yourself, for a gift, or a stocking stuffer.  It ships same day. You will LOVE it.!

I guess I can delay no longer, so .... (drum roll) here are bits and pieces of The Barnett Family Christmas Decor for 2010. (Please bear in mind that I was t.i.r.e.d. by this point....)  Other than my small Santa collection and the ornaments, I went for a 'natural' Christmas at my house (that's natural with a little glitter and sparkle thrown in, of course) mixed with my favorite metal - silver.  Also bear in mind I took most of these at night and forgive my poor photography.  Enough excuses.

the purchased wreath on my front door had pinecones, red berries and assorted evergreens
but it was a little sparse
so I stuffed it with picks of frosty greens, pinecones and berries
and hung a silver santa key in the center
that's a proper welcome, now

that's Bailey, patiently waiting to greet you
being a very good girl
a much better photo - without the creepy white eyes

the walkway to the front door receives a pop of warm reds
welcoming friends and family
the bench pillows began life as placemats
so simple to make
simply undo one of the ends, stuff with polyester stuffing
and sew back up
another pop of color comes from the cyclamen, one of my favorite plants

the decoration at the front porch light
was created from a plain purchased pine swag
stuffed with picks of evergreens, pinecones and
berries, and a giant jingle bell

found this amazing pink poinsettia - which I'm told is a landscape poinsettia and can be planted in my garden

with our little heat wave in the past, we have weather in the upper 50's and a light rain
Christmas in Southern California

once inside, it's all about the tree
lots of lights 
amazing golden ribbon,
 hallmark ornaments
silver, glittered and shiny baubles
glass icicles and sparkling garland
elevated on an antique trunk

but the tree is real - and smells great

topped with crystal and glittered branches

other than the existing furnishings and some of the ornaments on the tree
the holiday decor in the formal living and dining rooms has no red. 
 I chose instead to use white, silver, gold, glass, crystal and greenery
a neutral and more formal palette
in these areas

it doesn't take a lot of talent to create holiday touches throughout your house.  here I embellished a lamp by adding picks of greenery, pinecones, fabulous ribbon and a silver ornament. 
silver santa key ornament from TPT Home, ribbon from Shinoda Design

I love to bring the feel of the garden indoors, even in the winter, with the use of garden items in my decorating
like this sculpture of a fairy which I decorated with a crystal tiara and a couple of ornaments
simple, yet its the details that make it all your own

we are a little nuts about antique clocks in the Barnett household.  These old clocks sit silently on an equally old  pine chest.  They sit silently because they are a pain to wind, and I can never seem to get them level.  But they look good,  accented with a natural looking green arrangement with glittered birds in a mercury glass container from TPT Home

I confess I have a love affair with silver.  It never looks cold to me.  I love the way it reflects light and looks amazing with nearly every color, but especially with greens - so it's perfect at Christmas.  I'm not a complete snob, though.  Don't mind mixing in a little bronze or gold.
But silver is my first choice, in just about everything (including jewelry).
I love the way Mercury Glass is silvered, yet aged, and that the light can show through.
  It looks especially beautiful in candlelight

In the interest of making room for the tree - I brought a bench in from the garden to serve as a coffee table, gave it a coat of dark briwax and buffed it out with a rotary polisher.  Sounds a lot more difficult than it was.  I filled an antique dough bowl with green orbs and silver pinecone ornaments and added mercury glass votives to decorate the top.  Love how the candlelight shines through the glass!

at Christmas time, nothing is sacred.  even the old WWI bond poster gets a little Christmas bling...

above the front door, merry mistletoe is lurking - a little 'kissing' ball hangs from the chandelier and more mistletoe decorates the iron grate above the door

a few days of weather in the mid 80's was all that was needed to produce these beautiful blooms
a gift from mother nature!  the boy in the photo, my son, is now at college
but this is my favorite photo of him in a quiet moment at about age 4

adding a few greens and some sparkle to ordinary objects
can make them extraordinary

so simply done with a pine pick, pinecones, a crystal branch and a silver star ornament

I found this beautiful stocking at an after Christmas sale a few years ago.
unfortunately, there was only one left.
but it is a beautiful decoration on its own, hanging from the staircase

the mirror on the landing is one of my favorite places to decorate.  it gets a frosty treatment of garland and pinecones hung with large silver glass ornaments.

I chose to put garland at the base of the steps instead of draped on the bannister
mostly because I recently had the bannister redone and didn't want to cover it up
I used plain pinecone green garland - and stuffed it with frosty and snowy picks
I quite like its natural look
in the dining room
I filled a garden urn with paperwhites and pine boughs.
a natural style spruce wreath hangs on the antique shutters.
more silver touches - heart shaped ornament, stars and mercury glass candlesticks

the tablescape was created using another garden object - a lantern filled with candles, pinecones and silver balls.  snowy greenery surrounds mercury glass hurricanes and glittered deer.

over the table, a glass and crystal ornament hangs from the chandelier

the mercury glass hurricanes were a purchase from Target a few years ago  and I found the runner and glittered deer at HomeGoods.

in the same room, on an old worm-eaten shelf, vintage and new cardboard houses sit amid blue and white plates
in an old shelf.  (I found the vintage cottages on ebay)

and another garden urn, a very old and rusty one (just the way I like them)
holds greenery, pears and pinecones

my favorite little green Santa sits atop a pedestal
and draped from the mirror is a Bethany Lowe felted garland (also a HomeGoods find)

a tip:  when placing a mirror in your home, make sure it has something beautiful to reflect

I love to add festive touches to ordinary things - like this glittery heart on the cupboard door 

or this sign on the old tins my husband loves to collect

in the family room and kitchen, things warm up a little with the addition of RED to the decorating scheme.  amaryllis and paperwhites (narcissus) adorn a cluster of old pottery

the fireplace is the focal point of the family room.  it gets special attention.  I create my own garland throughout the house -   I use a regular length of  plain cheap garland for the base and anchor it well (use 3M Command fasteners) then I stuff it with big luscious picks of pine and greenery in variety of shapes and sizes, building it up until I have the effect I want.  In the center I added berry and ice encrusted pinecone picks and a sprig of ivy.

Bailey's stocking is on the far right...

in addition to the garland, I added a large amaryllis arrangement to the coffee table, created in a large red wooden bowl.  I simply placed a berry and twig wreath around the top of the bowl and added the amaryllis and greens in the center

accented with silver balls, and icy and silver-glittered pinecones

in my kitchen, atop an 1850's walnut buffet, my santa collection resides amid antique copper and greenery.
believe it or not, all but 2 of these santas were HomeGoods or Ross finds.  don't ya just love finding a treasure for next to nothing?  Oh, and I made the 'family' sign, with  my niece Tammy's help (she does vinyl lettering from her little business Toadilly Homemade

vintage flocked santa boots - ebay, of course!

yet another antique clock - with a bit of green and berries on top!

And that concludes our tour!  I hope you enjoyed my holiday decorations, and all of the other homes I was priviledged to decorate this year.  Best wishes for a Merry Christmas.  See you in the New Year!


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