Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Let's Dish ~ Christmas in July

Christmas in July

with the 

Cowgirl UP Group.

Just take a look at this list of talented ladies.  

These Texas girls are hosting this event all week.   

Each day is a new idea to get us ready for Christmas.  

 I reached into the archives @ 

HFTS and pulled out some Christmas table settings, 

some here at HFTS and others from friends' tables.

Hope they inspire.

A bowl of fresh fruit and magnolia leaves 

makes a stunning centerpiece.

A beautiful table set with Spode Christmas Tree,

a pattern that was first introduced in 1938.

No doubt it is one of the most recognized of any Christmas china.

Though the borders may differ on Spode's Christmas china, 

the central motif has remained true to the original 1938 design.

Vietri's Rosso Vecchio Dot charger is a perfect pairing,

especially when used with these cheerful winter bird placemats.

Hand painted napkins ringed with 

tiny sleigh bells add a festive touch.

Individual holiday treats to take 

home make each guest feel special.

This holiday table is set with Fitz and Floyd's 

St. Nicholas pattern which was introduced in 1987.

An old world Santa in his sleigh among 

a forest of mercury glass trees and candle holders 

decorates the center of this elegantly set table.

Shiny red glass ornaments hang 

from the brass chandelier above.

Individual small bouquets of red carnations 

studded with rhinestones are party favors for each guest.

Antique figural silver napkin rings from the 

hostess' collection hold Christmas plaid napkins.

Though we don't have Christmas themed china 

here at HFTS, we pull in other elements 

to make our holiday tables festive.   

Here we paired our wedding china, 

Richard Ginori's Palermo Brown, 

with MacKenzie-Childs' Courtly Check 

chargers atop beaded green placemats.

Party favors for this meal were green 

Christmas tree balls ringed with gold glitter garlands.

With place cards attached they also

directed each guest to their place at the table.

Red plaid swags rim these plates by Queen's China.  

To add more Christmas color, I used a stack of chargers:

Zrike chargers in forest green and 

white Ambiance Vintage Garden.

Christmas red tassels ring the linen napkins and 

echo the tassels on the swag borders of the plates.

Petite boxes of spiced pecans do double duty 

as both place cards and individual gifts for guests.

This hostess likes to end a dinner party 

with coffee and dessert in her living room.

Ole St. Nicholas in his sleigh . . .

Delivers sweet treats for all.

Who could resist these late night snacks 

served up on cheerful Mary Engelbreit pottery?

My tip for this week's 

Add whipped cream with bits of peppermint candy

to those holiday cups of hot chocolate.

To view my other Christmas in July post click here.

Party List

Christmas in July ~ Mary Engelbreit Style



Written by Charlotte Lyons  

Photography by Barbara Elliott Martin

Available here on Amazon.

Sharing this book review with 

Cowgirl Up

 A Texas Christmas in July 

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 that 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 was a welcomed joy the entire holiday season and on into the new year.

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 our mantel at Christmas and 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 Elliott 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, 

 our tree here 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 paper-maché 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 one Christmas.

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! 

I just have to share the big news.  The Cherry Chick was asked to create a Limited Edition Collection of Cherry Chick Jewelry for Mary Engelbreit's Shop.  Click here to see this charming collection.

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.  

What better Christmas in July gift could one ask for?

To view a review of some holiday tablescapes click here.

Party List