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.



The summer we married, my husband was in graduate school, and I was employed as a teacher. We took a portion of our savings that summer and purchased a sailboat. We christened our Catalina 22, “Hyacinths For The Soul” after Saadi’s poem. Our "Hyacinths" provided years of pleasure.


  1. I was so sad when her publication was no longer available. I used to look forward to seeing it every month. Thanks for sharing all of these wonderful Christmas decor photos. I've enjoyed looking at them.


  2. I was always a big fan of Mary Englebright. This book looks wonderful. Thanks for sharing!

  3. Big fan here also..Missed her desktop calendar for the first time last year..and again this used to make me smile and ponder every day.You do her proud!

  4. I so miss the ME magazine...I loved to spend an afternoon reading it and being inspired. What a wonderful book you have here, I am going to have to look for it!


  5. She is by far my favorite artist and I have all her books. I love her color and pattern and style. And I am loving the decorated Longhorn. Awesome! Kit

  6. Oh, I just love anything Mary Englebright! I have so many of her books but I don't have this one! I was so sad when her magazine bellied up! I loved it.
    thanks for sharing and hope you had a blessed Christmas,
    Shelia ;)

  7. My mother just asked me yesterday if I knew what happened to Mary E's magazine. This was a wonderful post in her honor. I missed it.

  8. A wonderful post, so filled with Christmas cheer!
    You know, Sarah, we never had stockings growing up. I don't know why, and I never gave it a thought. My first stocking was made for me when I was in college. A huge felt one. I then made one for Mike, and then my son, and his wife and Lily. And then it stopped! They had their own, so mine sit in a box downstairs!
    So sweet you have one made by your aunt!

  9. Just a stroll through your christmas village~ from the warm coziness of my couch. :-)

  10. Sarah~ I'm SO glad you are sharing another ME book~ I have this one on my shelf and still enjoy thumbing thru the pages for inspiration! I LOVE your photo of your black & white beribboned tree reflected in your door...and I'm still chuckling over the Longhorn swagged with garland and studded with ornaments!

    Thanks for warming my heart with this special book! Sending you warm wishes for a Happy New Year :-)

  11. I love Mary Engelbreit's style, too, so it was fun to see all the wonderful images you posted. I have a few of her books and still keep my issues of her magazine.

  12. I enjoyed your post. It looks like a nice tabletop Christmas Book to add to my collection! Happy New Year, Joan

  13. Oh such fabulous eye candy and wonderful inspiration. Great book. Thanks so much for joining TTT. Hugs, Marty

  14. Love ME and all the Christmas cheer! Thanks for sharing. So many talented decorating friends you have too -- oh my! (of course that would include you as well)

  15. I look forward to taking this book down from the shelf every Christmas. It was a gift from The Great Dane in 1997 - what a treat it was, and continues to be.

  16. Unfortunately, I don't know about Ms. E.

    But, absolutely loving your modification of your decos. Everything's pretty.

    Hope you have a Peaceful NY to come.

    Greetings from chilly Stockholm,

  17. Hi Sarah, very pretty post. Those black checked acorns are my absolute favorite. I have a weakness for acorns! Have a happy new year! Linda

  18. Nice all the nutcrackers. Such a nice display of collections. Thanks stopping by my blog. I have visited yours before but have never left a comment. Best wishes for a happy and healthy new year!

  19. Mary E had such a wonderful line of fabric as well as so many other items. I so enjoyed seeing her Christmas Book through your eyes and beautiful decorations. Seeing your Stocking reminded me of the stockings we had as kids, Dads work socks! I guess we didn't really know too much about having a special stocking. I took care of that when I learned to crochet and made everyone in my family a stocking! I've made sure my Grands have special stockings, too. Christmas tradtions...very special! As is this wonderful post with all of your beautiful pictures and commentary!

    Thanks so much, Sarah for being such a special blogging friend. You are such an inspiration! I'm looking forward to 2011 in blogland, and hope we get a chance to meet! Happy New Year!

  20. May your New Year be filled with many Blessings and abundances of Joy for 2011. From my mountain to yours, Until next year
    Hugs and Smiles Gl♥ria

  21. Hi Sarah, you always have the most delightful posts with so much information too. I feel like I learn a little bit of something each time. Happy New Year and many blessings to you and your family.

  22. Hello Sarah,
    nNice book. I love the decorated Texas longhorn. :-)
    Greetings, Johanna

  23. Sarah, I have this book too, and I just love looking through it. You have some great inspiration pictures in this post. I saw Mr. & Mrs. Fox on your mantel, and they look very comfortable in your lovely home. I hope you had a fabulous Christmas, and I wish you a wonderful 2011. laurie

  24. Ooops! I forgot to tell you that that cherry and checked box you made is just tooooo cute! laurie

  25. I love Mary Engelbreit's stuff.

    Pretty Christmasy reds!!

  26. I really thought I would be done with Christmas ideas once the holiday was past, but I still love seeing everything and reading everything. What a charming post. I loved so many things I can't even begin to mention them. I will mention the garland with a collection on it or a table top tree with another collection on it, what great ways to showcase collections as they can get lost on a big tree! Have a wonderful New Year, dear.

  27. WOW!! I'm speechless...seriously, I don't know where to begin!

    You've captured the ME style & spirit so beautifully in your own home, Sarah. I'm amazed at all the little nooks & crannies that you've found to decorate. Just beautiful!

  28. I love your decorations. I miss the Mary Einglebreit magazine, it was one of my favorites. I hope you had a wonderful Christmas.

  29. This post is definitely full of Merriment! Just love all the beautiful detail - the decked out Long-Horn definitely made me smile! Hope you have a wonderful New Year! You've certainly blessed me!

  30. That's one of my favorite books, and i can't believe I never found the time to page through it this year! I sure miss ME's magazine. Thanks for sharing all of these beautiful images from the book. There's definitely something in there for every style of decorating!
    Happy REDnesday!

  31. What a beautiful post, Sarah...packed with some fabulous eye candy! I love your three trees in the bay window! Is that Molly's stocking at her house? I hope you and your sweet family had a wonderful Christmas! It has been so nice to continue our friendship this year. A very happy and healthy New Year to you and your family!...hugs...Debbie

  32. Oh, my! So many wonderful things to look at. I will search for that book for ideas for next year's holiday decorating.

    Thanks for visiting my cottage, entering my giveaway, and becoming a following friend. ;) Be sure to check back for the announcement of the winner.

    By the way, I just joined you as a follower.

    Blessings and Happy New Year!
    Liz @ the Brambleberry Cottage

  33. Oh Sarah, What a wonderful post... Everything is so inspiring and beautiful... I LOVE "Mary" and have many of her books, AND I do have this one too. I MUST NOW find it(AH, a treasure hunt in my attic!!!). I hope you are having a Wonderful Holiday Week. AND have a "Happy New Year"!
    Hugs, Donna

  34. On thing for sure Mary Engelbreit has a big impact on your life. I never saw so many beautiful things in one place. Amazing post.

  35. Mary Engelbreit books are a feast for the eye, Sarah. Her decorative tips are warm and delightfully homespun. You showed some of her best holiday ideas in this post!

    Hope 2011 brings health, happiness and many more blessings!

  36. I have this book too! :) I love it!!!!! Course anything Mary is wonderful! :) What a great review you did. I love the white on the wreath. That was pretty smart. I think I might have to order one of these for our house next year! :) They are really pretty. I'm glad you enjoyed it. :)
    Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!!!

  37. Oh, your post is just bursting with ideas!!! I so miss Mary Engelbreit's magazine. It was always filled with such inspiration. I have several of her books, but not the one you reviewed. I will keep my eyes open for it. I love your tree with black and white ribbon and that place setting with the black and white plate and ornament with the black and white ribbon is adorable! Clearly you've been one busy lady!!

    - The Tablescaper

  38. Oh I loved her magazine so much! I still use them for inspiration all the time! I need this book!Thank you for sharing it! Vanna

  39. Hi There~ Such inspiring photos! Love the three trees~ thank you for sharing at Feathered Nest Friday! Happy New Year!!

  40. good morning and a happy new year to you! what a darling book, i bet monique would love this too :) i adore your blk and whit tree.

    how fun to win FRESH greens, what a delight!

    so many great pics, love the nutcracker mantel and those cute snowmen! and the blk & wht roosters is wonderful.

    oh my love all you are sharing, so many precious ornaments! love love love the acorns~ and those cookies! santa is winking at me :)

    that cherry wrapping is over the top cute!

    of what a fun fun fun post, thank you so much for playing at fft for all year long, its always been a treat to see what you would share, you never disappoint and go all out with FUN!

  41. Sarah, I just had to come back and scroll through this post again - so full of wonderful images. I meant to ask you last time I saw it if that is a vintage book with the plaid cover and Santa on it. It's so pretty. thank you so much for linking to Favorite Things. Wishing you a wonderful 2011! laurie

  42. What great eye candy in your post! I also have the ME CHristmas book and just love it too. I'm truly inspried by your beautiful pic's!

  43. Thanks so much Sarah for sharing with us on ME Monday. We can never have to much ME in my book...Christmas or not! You've shared some wonderful ideas for decorating ala Mary!


  44. Beautiful, beautiful post!! I think Mary has taught us all that it is okay to decorate with whimsicality. Especially at Christmas time. Your pictures are wonderful, and the table settings drool worthy. I love how you incorporated the Mackenzie-Childs checks in the decor too. My hammered aluminum collection was featured in a 1997 article in ME Home Companion. They were a lovely staff to work with.


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