Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Celebrating Friends ~ Christmas 2010

The joy of Christmas for me is time spent with both family and friends. Our holidays are simple times of shared meals, laughter, and friendship.

Traditional red, green, and white were the colors of the evening.

Our Christmas Eve dinner was around a table simply set with a theme of evergreens and red tassels.

An antique ironstone tureen held fresh spruce branches accented with ornamental cabbage, white mums, and cuttings from the garden.

Christmas red tassels severed as napkin rings for monogramed white linens.

The tassels gave a nod to the festive border on the dinner plates in Queen's Rooster. The border of red gingham, swags, and tassels was the perfect compliment for the evergreen wide bands of the Zrike chargers. Larger white charges beneath were used in place of a linen cloth on the table.

Place cards were little decorative favor boxes filled with chocolates for each guest to take home for a late night snack.

The next evening's table of pine trees, pomegranates, and red birds continued the color theme for Christmas Day dinner for four of us at a friend's home.

A simple white bowl held bright red pomegranates, white twigs, and gorgeous tree ornaments.

A closer look at the ornaments shows red birds among a snowy scene.

Each place setting featured this little winter birdie on the red linen mats with green borders. The Vietri red chargers with white polka dots held traditional Spode Christmas Tree dinner plates.

Spode Christmas Tree, a favorite traditional Christmas pattern, was first introduced in 1938. Even after all these years and with all the other beautiful Christmas patterns available these days, I find this pattern totally charming with its simple pine tree decorated with ornaments.

Linen napkins with a peppermint candy design were held with rings of red jingle bells.

Petite boxes of Godiva chocolates were the sweet little favor to carry home.

Christmas 2010 is now but a memory ~

One of joyful memories of cherished friendships!


Sunday, December 26, 2010


I know we've moved on from Christmas and are now in the new year, but I didn't get this post ready in time to link to M. E. Monday last time. So I'm linking it to M. E. Monday this week. Hope you don't mind a bit more Christmas.

Written by Charlotte Lyons ~ Photography by Barbara Elliott Martin

Available here on Amazon.

Filled with gorgeous photos of both Mary Engelbreit's art work and her beautiful home decked for the Christmas season, this book has been a favorite since it was first published in 1995. All of the editions of the M. E. Home Companion series are part of my M. E. library, but I think this one is my favorite.

Each of the eight chapters features stunning photographs of the homes of Mary and some of her friends and ends with a do-it-yourself project complete with an addendum of project patterns.

Bringing in the Season ~ shares ideas for decorating with fresh greens both inside and out. A handmade kitchen wreath is the project. My fresh wreath above was a gift from Liz @ Rose Vignettes. I was the lucky one to win her Fresh Cut Friday giveaway, and this huge wreath of fresh greens arrived at my doorstep in early December.

I eventually changed out the red details for white and silver and hung it in the windows of our dining room. The fragrance of fresh greens has been a welcomed joy this holiday season.

Down the Chimney ~ focuses on the different ways to adorn one's mantel or "Santa's doorway". There are many beautiful examples photographed for the book, but I'm sharing those of several of my friends. There is inspiration to be found in all.

The elegance of candles and angels . . .

Nutcrackers . . .

Garland of Radko ornaments . . .

Frosty snowmen . . .

Magnolia leaves and Bing and Grondahl plates featuring Christmas Around the World . . .

Texas longhorn decked out in holiday greens.

Photo credit ~ Barbara Elliottt Martin,

The above mantel is one of my favorites from the book. It is featured on page 31 ~ a mantel honoring a collection of roosters among evergreens atop black and white checks.

Project directions for a handmade felt stocking is this chapter's bonus. The treasured felt stocking from my childhood was just such a handmade gift from a loving aunt.

O Christmas Trees ~ is an abundance of decorated trees ~ large and small ~ floor to ceiling ~ tabletop ~ traditional ~ themed ~ swags of popcorn ~ swags of silk ~ beautiful one and all.

With a nod to both Mary Engelbreit and MacKenzie-Childs, one of the trees at HFTS features

An abundance of hearts . . .

Whimsical animals . . .

Santa figures . . .

And of course black and white check silk ribbon.

Merriment ~ is all about beautiful holiday tablescapes . . .

Set with seasonal details.

Tabletop Trees ~ features those special little mini trees that can easily accent various rooms around the house. Many are theme trees ~ spaceships and robots, tiny chairs, things for the garden. The tabletop tree at HFTS happens to feature folk art ornaments and an abundance of roosters. Imagine that!

One of my friends has a small tree just for the silver ornaments she has collected through the years.

Another friend uses a small tree with twinkle lights to anchor a little snow village . . .

While this friend groups a collection of mini glass ornaments on a small tree that she places among a group of special Limoges Christmas boxes.

All Through the House ~ is full of photos of various vignettes of collections and holiday decor.

Vignettes atop dressers . . .

Bowls of Christmas balls . . .

Vanity vignettes with lighted accents . . .

There are snowmen . . .

Of all shapes and sizes . . .

And Santa collections are abundant on tabletops . . .

And elsewhere.

The chapter ends with directions 

for making your own papier-mâché Santa.

Traditions ~ offers a variety of traditions that the author, Mary, and others have shared with family through the years. One of my childhood Christmas traditions was making cutout cookies for the holidays.

My siblings and I would spend hours sitting around the kitchen table decorating each cookie with bright icings, silver balls, and sprinkles.

Some were so detailed 

they were almost too pretty to eat!

In the Wink of an Eye ~ the final chapter is about making what I call "heart and hand" gifts ~ those gifts that

are full of heart because
we make them with our own hands. The Cherry Chick and I exchanged "heart and hand" gifts earlier this month.

I created a box covered with fabric of cherries and checks and filled it with cherry themed gifts specifically for Vicki.

Vicki in turn created a box of Christmas charm 
~ Santa, hearts, and checks.

Inside were some Mary Engelbreit gifts and this beautiful pair of cherry earrings created by the Cherry Chick, herself!

If you like to see how others create holiday magic in their homes you'll want a copy of this delightful treasury of ideas and inspiration. Put it on your list. Santa just might leave you a copy under the tree next Christmas!

Click the links below to join each of these thoughtful hostess.