Monday, December 24, 2018

The Christmas Nursery

With all the young folks coming through for the holidays, the nursery got a little update. Since everyone is much older now, the decor is growing up a bit too. Fortunately just a few small changes can make a big difference.

First I switched out the pastel quilts and bedding for some quieter versions. The cabbage rose curtains were exchanged with white linen from Ikea. And almost all of the rose print pictures were taken down. I chose this single floral pillow case to compliment the bit of red that will accent the room just for the holidays.  

All that was left was to add a few Christmas elements like the twiggy wreath (inside one of my vintage picture frames) and a few pillows. Layering a few wooly blankets always cozies things up.

Most of the baby gowns are stowed away, but since I love them so much some of my favorites are still included. I like the softness that they add, and the interest they have without feeling cluttered.

Our young grandson is now nine years old and chose this bed for his own when he arrived with his sister. I designed it with him in mind. It's the first time for the flying geese patterned quilt in this room.

Empty picture frames are one of my favorite ways to make a quick change in a room, and I added a vintage dog picture inside this one with a bit of evergreen. A festive new woodsy pillow tops things off.

The floral wreath that used to hang here got a cheery substitute for a while.

Another dark frame with ice skates anchors the head of the bed. In fact Henry learned to skate over the last two days at the local skating rink! (This view of the former nursery look is on the side bar.)

The darker elements have changed the character of this space quite a bit.

A cheery vintage red striped coverlet dresses up one of the beds.

And Mr/Ms Teddy still keeps nursery watch. . . .

One of my most exciting recent finds was a stash of lovely antique doll clothes for my nursery friends, like this knitted vest with covered buttons. The knitted ivory wool sweater was probably made for the layette of a new baby.

Everybody knows the "nursery" is more for Nanny than anyone else! LOL! Merry Christmas to me!

Wool is not supposed to be washed in hot water or it shrinks, but when it does it makes for a lovely felted texture like this. I so admire the handwork involved in making these small treasures. And my bears will never grow bigger!

My nine year old granddaughter and I still enjoy playing with dolls so they still have a presence here. Easy to whisk away the basket when the bed is needed. This one Victorian rose painting remains. No one can ever outgrow that!

The dolls have their own furry friends that get wings at Christmas.

Pooh is a handmade flea market find with well worn flannel and a little eye trouble this year. He is a visitor favorite among the guests.

Another felted hand knit sweater gets a show for the season.

This flannel frock is not vintage, but also one of my dolly faves.

And Miss Helen models a new vintage velveteen hat and coat with fur trim that came in the new stash. Very festive for the holidays! Seems made just for her!

A family heirloom red lamp is tucked in just for the duration. The stillness here will not last once everyone arrives.

A lovely white gown is always welcome.

And an antique hand worked lace valance adorns the plain white curtains. 

All of the changes took very little time or effort do up, but make a big impact.

And finally, a picture change up in the main guest room makes all the difference for Christmas. All we did in here is add a bit of a festooning and a red plaid comforter into the mix. A small lighted tree across the room is reflected in the glass.

So we are all ready for one of the most special nights of all the year!

 Welcome all!

Merry Christmas!

 And a very Happy New Year to all of you!


Saturday, December 15, 2018

Have Yourself A Sentimental Christmas

It's about the time of the season that I get a little weary of all the decorating excitement. The saturation, I mean. Sort of past the honeymoon phase, if you will. But never completely! LOL!

It's a roller coaster ride isn't it? There is so much involved with it, and a big mixed bag like all that stuff carried on Santa's shoulder. A good metaphor for all of us I think. I mean so many carry the weight of Christmas in all its forms and meanings and obligations. And always so full of nostalgia.

Folks who love vintage are all about "a sentimental longing or wistful affection for the past" as the definition states. I know I am. Especially at Christmas. Like a good movie that makes you cry no matter how many times you see it, I'm going to be reaching for all the charm that gives me that special feeling.

I need a softer Christmas this year with less stuff and more people, and definitely more place for happy personal associations. Those of the past, and those present, like the traditional Dickens story. 

Getting there can be so easy! You just let go, the way you did the year you had a baby at Christmas, or the one you lost a loved one, or the year that you were sick. Christmas always welcomes you. Come as you are.

One of my easy Christmas comforts is found in revisiting my favorite stories. I have let go of some of my lesser favorites, but I once amassed a pretty large Christmas book collection. I am a word person, and also very visual, so books are a natural pleasure. My Mother has been long gone, but one of my strongest early memories of her was her reading voice as she made stories come alive from the page. It was so unlike the way she sounded otherwise, which must have fascinated me as a young child, and it will never leave me.

This wonderful volume is the story of how Clement Moore wrote The Night Before Christmas as told by his great-great-granddaughter.

Complete with a sample of his own hand. 

And still available in different editions, though some say this one, the original from 2001, is the best.

And speaking of Dickens, I have many versions of A Christmas Carol now, but this keepsake is the first one I got for Christmas when I was nine years old. It's quite small, about 5 by 8 inches, and shows no copyright date. Illustrated by Donald McKay.

I love gifting and selling vintage nostalgia too.

These adorable Scotties make me wonder what summer and winter looked like in the collection!

And I recently came across this very familiar framed print of The Angelus by Millet at some vintage market. Can it ever help but remind us of our humbler times? Or folks who now themselves are living very humble times?

As you may already know, linens also never fail to bring me joy and connect me to the beauty found in old handmade things from the past.

I wanted to think of a project for these lovely old child's stockings that some of us once wore as children. But that will wait yet another year.

These new vintage laces may find themselves a place at my table, or sent to the shop for someone else to find.

For truly, a vintage shop is the only place I ever hear shoppers reminisce so much about their mothers and fathers and grandmothers, and the lives they remember. So I rest my case about vintage things and sentimental longing.

May your memories fill you full of peace and Christmas joy.

Heartache and all.