Keeping It Simple

I like the holidays as much as anyone, but for the last several years I’ve enjoyed keeping the associated decor simple. From my still sizeable array of Christmas goodies, something different is brought out each year, and I delight in choosing what to feature. This time the focus is on nativities which are among my favorite things.

Our mantel is barely more than an architectural detail, but it proved to be just right for arranging a good part of the collection.

As each one went to its place, I took a moment to recall its story.

In the days when I participated in holiday shows I always had my eye open for a new nativity to add to a growing collection so many of them came from other vendors.

I particularly liked finding sets from another country that likely had been handmade.

This was the very first nativity I bought so it is years old. I laughed at the chewed wooden legs remembering our first dog. What a character he was and he left behind much evidence of his presence!

Flat surfaces are not abundant in our house, but there are enough to have a nativity on every one.

As each one came out of its box, I began to see a common thread.

Most are handmade and tend toward folk art.

The last to find a place is my favorite. I found these pieces a couple of years ago when we took a boat trip from Maine to Nova Scotia. I was blown away by their detail and the wonderful use of color. No matter where or how the set is displayed, it tells a wonderful story and I am so grateful to the hands that created it.

So there you have most of my holiday decorating and by keeping it simple, each and every one of these nativities invites a look.

I so appreciate your visit and the comments you leave behind

Festive Holiday Tables

It’s a fun time of year to visit stores to see what’s new for festive holiday tables.  Of course, that always makes me wish for new things which I’ve sworn off of, but that doesn’t mean the displays aren’t full of good ideas.  There were plenty in the lovely tables set at Crate & Barrel.

  Wood chargers are popular choices these days and work with a variety of looks.

Here they are combined  with other natural elements, real or not.  And take a look at the knitted table runner, a real eye catcher that made the table appear even more warm and cozy.  How I wish I were a competent knitter, but that not being the case I’ll be keeping an eye on the after Christmas sale!

Touches of whimsey are such fun.  How simple to add something like this cute little critter and make a table oh so playful.

Putting a little take away happy at each place is a great idea, no matter the time of year, for when friends are coming to dinner.  

There are so many different ways to create a festive table.  A little sparkle and shine dresses up any table whether it be by adding a glimmery napkin

or glistening tableware and sparkling accessories.

What every table had in common was multiple textures

and a centerpiece that allowed everyone to see and be seen.  As I studied each one and came away with some great ideas, it dawned on me that there are no rules for tablescaping. That’s what makes it such a wonderful opportunity to express one’s creative flair.

Have fun as you do your own festive table and don’t be shy about getting inspiration from other sources!

i so appreciate your visit and the comments you leave behind

Joining

Tablescape Thursday

Getting It On

I stubbornly wait until early December to begin decorating for the holidays.

ChandeliersNow I don’t have a chandelier to embellish

Christmas decoror a mantle to drape with greenery

IMG_1457or a bannister to festoon.

So, what is a girl to do?  First, I go to the closet and pull out the wreaths that I use year after year.  They suit the house, and as long as they hang together I see no reason to change them.   Looking at them, can you guess that the traditional reds and greens are not what you’ll find inside?  No, here the palette is slightly off but still reflective of the season.

Next is my favorite thing: creating a centerpiece for the dining room table.  I should tell you that these days I don’t buy much new but use favorite familiar pieces in different ways.  These metal holly leafed trees are a good place to start, and the cranberry table runner is a perfect background.  

What makes the runner special are the details at the ends.  I’m a sucker for tucks.

I was delighted to find the same color candles at Michael’s when I went there to pick up some gift boxes.  They are in brass candlesticks that were given us as a wedding present so many years ago. It took a little Brasso to get them gleaming again.  The ribbons were an afterthought, and not being able to decide which to use, I used them both.  How’s that for not being able to make up your mind?

I look for any opportunity to use bells from my extensive collection.  Most are clear glass and crystal with a few colored ones thrown in.  While the ones here are not the same color, they are close enough and I like their differing textures.

IMG_0081Well, this is the beginning.  Next I will choose a few more favorite things to sprinkle through the house.  I like the picking and choosing which makes everything seem new again.

i so appreciate your visit and the comments you leave behind

 

Fashion as Art

Often we limit our definition of art to paintings and sculpture, but it is so much more, and it is wonderful to be exposed to it in an unexpected way.

In a stunning exhibition of Oscar de la Renta’s designs at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, clothing is art influenced by nature, art history, diverse cultures and the women for whom de la Renta designed.

IMG_0014It was easy to see the influences in his work.  What he saw in Spain colored the way he saw clothes throughout his career.

IMG_0018He was drawn to the bright colors of Spanish art and the decorative elements of bullfighting attire.

IMG_0030When I spotted this coat, there was no question that the inspiration was Russian.  At one time I had a coat reminiscent of this design.  It was red with black embroidery and fur trimmed collar, cuffs and hem.  Oh, how I loved that coat and held on to it for years after it no longer fit!

IMG_0033Who knew that de la Renta was an avid gardener and that this interest would find way into many of his designs?

A quote read, “A garden is probably the most spiritual and pure of joys.  It’s a communion with nature and beauty in the most simple and fundamental form.”

IMG_0032Those words made it easy to appreciate his use of natural elements to create breathtaking designs.

IMG_0023As beautiful and romantic as de la Renta’s designs are, I could not imagine myself in most of them, that is until I got to these, reflecting an Eastern influence.  I am a gal who loves flowing, unstructured clothing that leaves me feeling free.  Any one of these would suit me, but I’m especially drawn to the white and the whimsey of the black.

IMG_0041I loved the attention to detail, the sensitivity to fabric, the use of embellishment in de la Renta’s work, but the real take away from this exhibit is how varied art is.  One just has to find his/her own way of expressing it.

i so appreciate your visit and the comments you leave behind

 

Who Am I?

question markSometimes you hear something that hits you right between the eyes.  Today it was a question asked by a spiritual teacher:  Who am I?

At first thought that didn’t seem like a difficult question to answer,  and immediately I began running off in my head all the things I know I am.

I am a wife, mother, grandmother, friend.  I am a weaver.  I am creative. I am a community volunteer.  I am curious which inspires me to ask questions, explore other cultures.  I am a blogger.  I am a reader. I am one who loves Maine, being on the water, eating lobster.  

As these images of myself darted across an invisible screen, I suddenly stopped because all those things tell something about me but I’m not sure they tell who I am.  Thus, the real question becomes who exists behind what I want people to see, who is the person hidden behind the descriptive words?

Wow, who am I is a much bigger question than it appears.  I suppose the answer will come as I dig beneath the layers.  I hope I like what is there.

How about you?  Do you know who you are?  If so, you are a lucky one; if not, I invite you to join me on a journey of discovery.

i so appreciate your visit and the comments you leave behind

Holding Thanksgiving Dear

Thanksgiving

I stopped by Pier One yesterday hoping to pick up some little something for the Thanksgiving table or for a treat for the kids.  To my amazement, there wasn’t a thing in the store relating to Thanksgiving.  It was totally about Christmas.

Now I like Christmas as much as anyone, but does it have to start so early?  Decorations are up all over and already Christmas music is playing on Sirius and a local radio station.  I remember a time when none of that happened until after today.  Does that mean I’m old or is this early welcome a fairly new phenomenon with Thanksgiving being an almost forgotten day wedged between Halloween and Christmas?

Whatever, I’m holding on to Thanksgiving.  I like it because it’s relatively stress free and a day that the hubby and I so enjoy.  Most years our family gathers at our house which is a gift as this is the only holiday we lay claim to.  For years everyone has chosen a special thing to bring which makes the preparation oh so easy for me.  We always stuff ourselves, but that doesn’t keep us from looking forward to leftovers the next day.

As important as turkey and all the trimmings are, what is really special about this day is what each of us has for which to be thankful.  Even when life isn’t perfect, there’s good in each day be it sunshine or rain, laughter or tears.  I try every day to be thankful, but today my heart is even more full because my small family is in one place.  That doesn’t happen very often.

In addition to the obvious gifts, I am also thankful for each of you, known and unknown, who take the time to read my words and from time to time offer an appreciative or encouraging comment.  Enjoy your day to the fullest and join me in holding Thanksgiving dear.

i so appreciate your visit and the comments you leave behind