Friday, December 12, 2014


"O Tannenbaum
O Tannenbaum
How lovely are your branches!
In beauty green will always grow
Through summer sun and winter snow
O Christmas tree
O Christmas tree
How lovely are your branches!"

Old German Christmas carol
English version - Author unknown

Another year has come and almost gone and it is Christmastime again.
  Is it just me, or does everyone feel that life goes by so quickly, 
each year slipping away faster than the one before,
 but the projects on the drawing board keep piling up and
 time seems to stand still where they are concerned?

A few changes are being worked on around the Cottage
 so the decorating is confined to only a couple of rooms this year,
 and if this sounds familiar,
 it's because you might remember reading my last year's Christmas post!
 It's beginning to sound like a broken record.

Hooray! The parlor has undergone the final chapter in her life and she is beautiful once more... we are very excited to dress her up for the holidays. 
 Our large faux tree that we have used for many years
 finally had seen it's last Christmas and
 I thought I might like to change it up
 and get a white tree this year.

Tami, age 7 months, 1961, her first Christmas,
Grandma and Grandpa's house.

We also have very fond memories of the Captain's parents' tree that the kids used to love so much.

I love to catalog shop and I always have a few to choose from. 
 In this particular instance 
there was a tree advertised as one that provoked the past
 and it looked white to me, 
so I ordered it.

When it arrived, we opened the box
 and I saw there was more silver than I had thought. 
 We put it together and it sat for a few weeks in the corner
 where we passed it a number of times every day. 
 Each time, I had more misgivings about how it would look
 and how it would fit in with our idea of Christmas.

We have always had what I would call traditional trees. 
 Whether large or small, faux or real, they almost always had the same theme. 
 They were green and well covered 
with colorful ornaments, strands of popcorn and glass beads...

This tree probably dates from about the late 1960's. The reason I think this--these drapes were in the house in Soquel when we first bought it and they didn't last very long!

This was taken around 1970. Look at those youngsters!
And that stylish afro!
Not to mention the absence of white hair!

Tami and Tim, right after they were first married, approximately
 mid 1980's.

The first Christmas in the Cottage after the parlor was renovated (the first time), about 1995.

Small tree in the sitting room, 2012.

2013 Kitchen tree.

After the kids were no longer at home, I covered the tree in tinsel. 
 I have always loved tinsel but the kids were not fond of it.
  I'm guessing it was because
 I made them put it on
one strand at a time 
like my mother taught me!

I started thinking about how to decorate the new tree and
 for some reason my silhouette collection came to mind. 
 I decided to hang some of the pictures from the branches and
 to make some black and white pinwheels to match. 
 The tree is a little larger than your typical table-top tree,
 but I wanted to keep it in line
 with the Victorian spirit.

I have lots of bright blue glass balls
 that always worked well with the parlor wallpaper
but they just seemed too bright for this tree,
 almost cold looking, 
so I decided on a softer, lighter blue, along with the black, white and silver.

The tree dictated how I would decorate the mantle. 
 It was just too much of a jarring change to go from white and silver 
to the plain green garland that I had on hand, 
so I sprayed a dusting of snow onto the greens and
 added snowflakes, some silver glitter 
and shiny silver baubles.

As all this was happening,
 the Captain said, 
"I don't think I'm going to like the decorations this year."
 As he is always so good about letting me take charge of the decorating and
 always liking it when it is done,
 my heart sank.  
Christmas has always been so special to both of us,
 and to not like a part of it was unthinkable.
  I said, as my fingers were crossed behind my back,
 "I think you might be surprised".
  "Well", he said, "if I am, 
it will be a Christmas miracle."

So on I went with the decorating:

Sweet little deer from HomeGoods

Quite a cleverly made little fellow.
  His body is like a pinecone 
and his antlers, which look so fragile,
 are made from rubber
 so they bend without breaking.

Dusted a little snow on a wreath I had 
and hung tiny white lights
 around mirror.

I have used this little tree for many years
 and last year I made a few snowballs 
covered in Epsom salts. 
The deer was on sale after Christmas at Target.
 I bought the lantern from HomeGoods a while back and
 embellished it with a large tin flower. 
The pretty silver tray was one handed down from my mother. 
 And all are sitting on a marble-topped washstand
 that belonged to my great-grandmother.

The parlor mantle.

Carolers and glass tree: HomeGoods, last year

Snowflakes: The Dollar Tree

Large silver ornaments: Hobby Lobby

So now the decorating was done and...

B E H O L D..


This little tree is not the easiest to decorate.
 The branches are quite stiff and fairly close together.
 However, I showed it without lights so you can see that I do have ornaments on it.
 With the lights turned on the shimmer and shine of the tree itself 
sort of overcomes the ornaments.
 The deer ornaments look greenish with lights off 
and pinkish with lights on.
 The Captain did get excited when he thought they would glow in the dark.
 But they don't,
 and they really are just white with sparkles.

It is different...

It is not what we are used to...

and it looks much prettier to the naked eye than the camera lens...

and it turned out so much better than we had hoped or expected...

It really is a gorgeous little tree.
  I wouldn't show it to you if I didn't think so..and 
here are a few more pictures to help you make up your minds.

So everyday we sit in here and enjoy our Christmas miracle...
drinking a hot toddy and...

...thinking about how close we came to sounding like Olde Scrooge.

 Something we never want to do
 at Christmas...


 with a mouse stirring in his pocket!

I'm already planning where I will put the little tree next year. 
 I have a special place in mind 
but don't expect to see it in the parlor!
 I'm just saying!


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  1. Oh Judy, it is very pretty and sparkles so good. I think you are used to a BIG tree and this one is different, but I do like it very much. Great job of decorating the parlor.
    Sitting there and looking at your pretty tree with a hot toddy sounds great. Have one for me.
    Have a wonderful weekend dear lady.

  2. My dear Judy, I think your Christmas tree is beautiful. Yes, it may be rather different than your other Christmas trees, but you have made this tree your own and it is truly breathtaking. Your parlor is such a warm, cozy place to sit and enjoy the quiet moments and may I just say you have decorated it perfectly :)

    Have a wonderful weekend! Hugs!

  3. Hi Judy,

    What beautiful Christmas touches in your lovely parlour! From the sparkly, snowy tree by the window (my favourite!), to the snowflake vignette and mirror, it is all so warm and cozy and sweet! Thanks so much for sharing all your wonderful family photos throughout the years, too.

    Merry Christmas!


  4. Magical! I love your new tree and the ornaments you chose for it. Your living room is gorgeous, the mantel, etc. are so pretty. I may sound like a fickle person as I seem to like most styles of Christmas decor and ooh and ah at everything but I guess I just love Christmas and when the style is in keeping with the home and decor then I love it all the more. Thanks for sharing your Christmases past as well. So fun to see. Blessings. Enjoy the weekend. Pam

  5. I scanned down quickly and then went back and looked at it all slowly. I love that tree. It is so unexpected but so bright and sparkly that I just love it. I love all the old Christmas past pictures, too, Judy. Everything is really pretty. I am loving the looks of tinsel again, too. We put it on strand by strand when I was young, too. lol xo Diana

  6. Judy, It all looks so Christmasy at your house. I love the blue room. My favorite vignette was the carolers and trees together. Blessings for a a fabulous holiday season. xoxo,Susie

  7. I just love this tree! I think it is amazing and fits in so well with the other colors in the room. I didn't do it this year but next year I am thinking about adding some white paint and artificial snow to my trees...a bit of white, or silver seems to make everything pop!

  8. It is rather pretty, Judy! Though change is hard, sometimes it can be really fun and challenging! You parlor is very nice all dressed up for Christmas this year! Enjoy :)

  9. Everything is so charming - love the little christmas tree, you really transformed it. I adore the French Doors too - and all the sparkles. What a perfect home to decorate for the holidays How very nice to have mantles to decorate.

  10. Everything looks o beautiful! Love all your photos. You have a beautiful Christmas house!!


  11. Oh Judy, everything is just "take my breath away" beautiful!! How can the Captain think that anything you work on is going to not look good?! He should know by now that you are a miracle worker, Christmas or not!
    But anyway, your tinsel story made me laugh because my mom always wanted my sister and I to put the tinsel on the tree ONE by ONE! Oh my goodness! As soon as she turned her back we were throwing it on, and she always knew it too! Like you wouldn't be able to tell right?! Well, I do not do the tinsel thing and will not when the kids are gone. :)
    Have a great week Judy and I'm going to look at this post over and over!

  12. Love your Christmas miracle! Everything is just gorgeous. I loved seeing all the pics from Christmases past. Your posts are always such a treat!

  13. moi qui adore le blanc , je suis sous la magie de l'arbre de Noël
    tu me demande comme je fais pour la poésie dans mes billets
    c'est souvent des auteurs Français clui sur la lune est de Verlaine
    en général je cherche sur google avec un théme précis
    et il me trouve plein de poésie , car je ne les connais pas tous
    à bientôt
    edith (iris)

  14. Congratulations! Everything, and I mean everything looks beautiful!!!
    You've done another wonderful job decorating for Christmas. The tree looks spectacular, and sparkly, and magical.
    How clever of you to add snow to branches, etc.. to pull the theme together.
    Loving those dollar tree snowflakes also. I bought some for Spencer's windows and he hasn't put them up yet... silly boy ***grin**.
    He should see yours and then he would know how pretty they can look.

    So happy for you that you were able to get the decorating done, and that it turned out so beautifully for you.
    Gosh.. I'm going to miss you being here to decorate for me, however.... **giggle**.
    Glad your hubby is letting you stay on as chief decorator.


  15. p.s. LOVE the pictures of Christmas' long ago.

  16. I love that silver tree Judy! It is just beautiful! Thanks for joining Home Sweet Home! Merry Christmas!

  17. Hi Judy, Love your new tree and the special touches you gave to it in your parlor. It really goes so well with the decor you used. Your home is simply gorgeous and everything just so inviting for the season. I enjoyed seeing the old pics and you and your hubby are such a gorgeous couple. Back in the 70's and now too. You are so talented at pulling it all together for a wonderland of Christmas. So many great ideas to inspire. Thank you for sharing and wishing you a special holiday.
    Merry Christmas.

  18. Judy, I so enjoyed your Christmas tour of past and present. Everything turned out so beautifully this year. This post was such a joy for me to slow down and enjoy so thank you for sharing!

  19. Loved seeing your parlor all decked out...the silver tree is very pretty.
    I laughed at your afro....I had one, too.
    My hair was dark once, too....
    My mom made my brother and I place icicles on our tree one at a time and when she walked out of the room, we stood back and threw them in a gob. hahhaa...thanks for all the memories, dear one.

  20. Hi Judy, I'm behind in my visits. Mr. Forest Manor is home on vacation, and we've been super busy. I think your tree turned out just beautiful; you're a real whiz at making things beautiful. And I love, love your gorgeous mantel decorations -- so pretty!! I enjoyed seeing your different trees throughout the years and the pictures of you and hubby when your were younger. Christmas is such a sweet time for reminiscing, isn't it?

    I've already pinned some of these pictures to my Christmas board; thanks for sharing with us, Judy. Have a wonderful weekend!


    Denise at Forest Manor

  21. Judy,
    Now I know I saw this post but I see I did not comment! I realize why..I usually look at a lot of posts at work when it is slow but I am blocked out of commenting on certain blogs so I always have the intention of commenting when I get home.... But you know how that goes, We get busy and forget....
    I LOVE your sweet parlor decorated for Christmas!! Just beautiful!
    And the tree is stunning!!



Your comments are so special to me...Judy