Tuesday, January 5, 2010

The 5 Cent Happy Holiday Home Tour!

My photos of decorations never seem to turn out showing the magical beauty that you see when you are sitting here, soaking up the atmosphere.  Maybe it is the over all atmosphere, accented with seasonal fragrances and sounds.

But I'm taking the leap anyway, and showing you some of the main decorations.  Ok. .to be honest, I'm not showing more because the walls and trim look pretty awful in photos.  I'm going to start stripping the many layers on paint on the window trim this year, and that is going to take a lot of time. And I myself can't do anything about fixing the broken plaster, and I can't remove any more of the icky paneling than I have because it is holding the crumbling plaster, underneath!  Living in an old house is SO much fun! lol

So here are some highlights of how I decorate for the Yuletide Season.

The front room tree has always been decorated for my Hubs.  He didn't have much of a holiday celebration when he was growing up, and always loved the primary colored lights, and traditional ornaments.  This year, we replaced the lights with halogen ones, with colored caps, and was disappointed to find that while they are intense in color, they don't put out much light!  We tried bubble lights one year, but the cats were a little too interested in them, so it wound up being stressful for all of us. 

The ornaments are all glass figural pieces, in bright primary colors.  And the little metal icicles are a compromise. I'd love to put the old fashioned silver tinsel on it, but again, cats love it, and it can be very dangerous for their digestive tract.  So, we do the metal icicles.  I have red jingle bells hanging on various branches on the bottom of the tree, as an alert system for when one of our feline friends is nearby. We have a couple who love to chew on the branches, and I don't want them to bite into a wire. 

I have a little table top tree sitting underneath the staircase.  I'm slowly collecting Victorian Scrap ornaments for it.  I've got a couple of oldies, and I've been given some reproductions, and some that are reconstructed of usable parts from old ornaments.  This is an evolving tree, until I get enough of the original scrap, and glass birds, to cover it.

This is the spandrel between the front room and the dining room.  I found the actual fretwork on eBay, and it is the perfect size, and just what I was picturing!  The original span had pocket doors. You can still see the marks in the floor of the walls, but after searching around this area, doors were either too large, too expensive, or in such a sad condition, they couldn't be saved. So we went an alternative route with the decorative spandrel.  Eventually, a large rod is going right beneath it, with heavy drapes hung, with tiebacks .  In the winter, drapes were often used in Victorian homes to contain the heat from fireplaces and stoves.

When Victorian homes were built, they not only lacked indoor plumbing and electricity, but they also didn't include storage space like closets or cupboards. This was all provided by free standing units.  When we first moved in, we had boxes stacked on top of boxes, and no place to put them.  This area is also not overflowing with antique options either, although there are a couple of huge antique markets each month in the Summer.  That didn't help us in October, when we moved in!  So we went to an Amish furniture maker, and bought some pieces for the dining room.  We did find a large antique round oak dining table with a lion claw base, and I've been picking up chairs that catch my eye at antique shops and markets.  Some day I'd like to replace the newer pieces with antiques, but it isn't high up on my priority list right now.  And the furniture is very well made.

In the china cabinet, I've got a few of my teapots and other dishes with Holly Leaves on them.  I have always loved Holly, and again find pieces when I'm antique browsing.

I had to keep the decorations back, and sparse on both the buffet, and the Hoosier cabinet, because plates of cookies, treats, and munchies were out for people to nibble on.

The tree in the dining room has some antique ormanents on it, plus ones that are decorated with beads, sequins, fringe, etc. Many of them are fabric, while others are glass, or vintage plastic.

I've had this Rudolph Reindeer since I was 2 years old. Some friends of my parents gave him to me, and amazingly, he isn't an ornament! There isn't a loop on him, to hang him on the tree!  I've always put him over a branch, and he has graced every tree of the house that I was living in, ever since. 

This silver plastic reindeer was on a package from one of my Great Aunts. Given to me when I was 6 years old.  I treasure both of these ornaments.

I bought the beaded garland from a woman who crochets, and then ordered more from her, so that I would have enough for a tall tree!  I found many appropriate "old looking" ornaments in the drapery department of some department stores. .tie backs make wonderful old world looking ornies!  So do old pieces of vintage jewelry, that have broken backs so they can't be worn on clothing any longer.

I bought my own first nutcracker back in 1966. It was damaged, and I got it dirt cheap after the holidays, when it was greatly reduced.  I brought it home, and fixed it, and to this day, you can't tell that it was ever broken.  It did the same thing the next year, and the year after that.  Then, many manufacturers started making nutcrackers in all shapes and forms, and relatives thought that they would be an ideal gift for me.  My collection quickly grew!  I don't have enough surfaces to display them all, so I try and rotate them each year.  Others, that are definitely celebrating another season, I keep aside to use during that month.

Hmmm, I just realized that I didn't take any photos of my Jim Shore Santas, and now I've put them all away!  Well, I guess that will be a new photo next year then! :-)

Besides the village pieces out on the porch, I put up a short display of just three houses that are part of Dept 56's Christmas Lane series. They are all so heavily decorated, with flashing and blinking lights, it was impossible to get them all lighting at the same time for a photo. .my daughter dubbed this "Griswold Lane"!

Being a typical middle class Victorian home, the kitchen is at the back of the house, and in spending so much time there, I sometimes feel cut off from everything else, so I decided to take down my vintage spice containers, and put a bit of holiday color in their places. .here are my Yuletide cookie stamps, and vintage metal Christmas Card List boxes.

I also drape greenery garland over the tops of each window, along with bead garland, and multi glass bead garland. I then embellish each with sequined poinettia flowers, and small ornaments.

And I realized that I didn't get any photos of our outdoor lights either.  I use white lights over a lot of bushes and trees, and wrap holly garland around carriage lamps on the house and garage, festooned with deep red bows. There are also lighted wreaths on the gates. But on New Year's Eve day, when I heard the impending weather coming upon us, I dashed out and took everything down. And I'm so very glad that I did! We have over 30 inches of snow, and now there is a fine freezing mist in the air today. Flurries tonight and tomorrow, and then on Thursday, another storm is moving in. lol

So there you have it!  A brief peek into our home at holiday time! I hope that you enjoyed your quick tour!  Help yourself to fresh cookies and some hot apple cider!

Everyone stay safe, and keep warm!


  1. You have a lovely home (and dontcha know that people will pay a fortune to have their walls faux painted just like that shot of the crumbling plaster!) I think it looks charming. All of your pieces are so festive and really have a warm feeling. Thank you for the wonderful tour. Blessings...

  2. Your home is so beautiful and I thoroughly enjoyed the tour.

  3. Your decorations are phenomenal - so elegant, cozy, and inviting! I love your reindeer. I have some ornaments from my childhood, too, that I guard most carefully from year to year!

  4. Those are beautiful decorations. The Missus collects nutcrackers and she has 5. We seem to add one a year. I have 4 Jim Shaw pieces - an angel a snowman and a couple of snow women. It was a rather quick start to a new collection, as I got 4 of them on special after Christmas.

  5. Your pics are wonderful! They do capture the magick in your home.
    I love how you have utilized so many different areas and pieces of furniture in your decorating.
    Thank you so much for sharing!

    {p.s. the cookies were scrumptious!}

  6. Wow! Love all your decorations. The under-the-staircase tree is perfect! And Griswold lane is lovely - giggle!

    Stay warm - hope the storm isn't too bad for you!


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