Monday, December 16, 2013

Joyeux oh well.

The picture above neatly illustrates how my attempts at Christmas decorating have been thwarted this year.  Where can the N have gone?  No doubt I will find it in January, at the back of the closet under the stairs, which is where the decorations live, but I cannot be arsed to go digging for it now.

Back before Thanksgiving, when there was still sunshine, and Christmas was a happy, distant dream, I went to the Covesville Store and bought most of their stock of vintage ornaments.  A promising start, but as you will see, things went downhill from there.

Then I looted Thomas Jefferson's grounds for pine cones.  I imagined my pine cones bleached to a creamy white, strung on a jute cord, punctuated with green wooden beads and a big green velvet bow, elegantly gracing the mantle.  What actually happened was that after the tedious washing and baking, I dumped them back into the shopping bags where they turned moldy.  The ones that I bleached did not get moldy, but they smelled overpoweringly awful.

The cemetery that I walk through on my way to work has several magnificent English hollies.  About a  month ago, they were bursting with red berries and I thought that when the time came, no one would mind, and no harm done if I snipped a few small sprigs for Christmas decorations.  This week, I paused to investigate one of the hollies and realized that all the berries are gone.

I also had grand plans to copy Victoria Elizabeth Barnes' Christmas front porch, and to achieve that I bought a cache of small disco balls and an $18 non-electric chandelier, on which I hot-glued some of the disco balls and then festooned with mini LED lights.  The rest of the disco balls, I hung from the porch ceiling with silver craft ribbon.

 I'm pleased with how the chandelier turned out, but I want the multiple disco balls to make reflected sparkles on the house, as they did on VEB's porch, and they aren't behaving.  I actually googled, "how to make a disco ball work" and so went out after dark and aimed the flashlight app from Jon's phone at my disco balls and BAM! Sparkles.  So clearly what I NEED is four or five invisible people to aim spotlights at my disco balls every evening.  We are SEVERELY hampered in any attempt to decorate the exterior of our house because we have no outdoor electrical outlets.

On the positive side, I found the most gorgeous gold ribbon at Les Fabriques, downtown, and bought the whole spool, which turned out to be not-quite enough to wrap around the front door garland, but I'm still pleased with the effect, although my house is totally the wrong color for Christmas.  Jon very kindly drilled tiny eye hooks into the porch ceiling for me.

There was also a stab at making Pinterest-inspired mini boxwood wreathes, which is too boring to recount here, but pictured below is how my version turned out.  Hot-gluing boxwood branches to an embroidery hoop becomes tiresome real fast.

NOT the Elf on a shelf elf.

At any rate, the tree is up, which is what matters, right? I followed Becky's instructions for a fantastically lighted tree, only our tree's branches were too dense to do it effectively.  Still, I did end up with a much more nicely lighted tree than we had last year.  I thought I might make a garland out of the vintage ornaments, but they ended up on the tree.

My newest ornament

This Santa has seen over 100 Christmases

And?  That day at the Covesville Store?  I bought these wooden blocks that spell NOEL, although I was totally unaware at that point that the N from my other Noel display was missing.

I bought this vintage Lightning moonshine jar at the Covesville Store.  I'm not entirely happy with my mantle display this year.  I especially hate the ball jars with candles on the left.  That was another unfortunate pinterest inspiration.

Porch at night.

This year, I feel like my biggest Christmas decorating achievement was yesterday when I finally cleared away the random pine cones, scraps of ribbon, hook-less ornaments, orphan bells and other things that had taken over the dining room table, and now there is only the lovely, giant poinsettia that my father and his wife sent us.
I lied.  There is still a box of Christmas crap on the chair.
This post was inspired by Jen on the Edge's annual Holiday-decorating blog sharing round-up. If anyone is interested, (and it's OK if you're not) here are my Christmas decorating posts from 2012 and 2011.  Bonus Christmas Guillotine


  1. Oh, you've made it sparkle and shine even with the FAILS...ugh. Those pinecones and berries. What a bummer. Your porch and table look glorious.

  2. got the lights on the tree so far....looks so sweet and simple am tempted to leave it like that!!

  3. These days, when I look at Pinterest, I assume that everything will fail, which is rather pessimistic, but at least keeps my expectations in check.

    Your house looks really nice, especially your tree.

  4. I love your shiny front porch! I hope that this Christmas, you can find the N that you seek.

  5. I have a separate post planned for all my Pinterest and Christmas delusion fails this year. I love what you've done, but let me just say that Christmas + disco ball chandelier = MAGIC!!

  6. I love your house -- or all the photos I've seen. The chandelier is spectacular!

  7. I adore you porch and envy the space you have! I volunteer to come next year to shine a light on the disco balls!

    I completely get the inspiration followed by lack of time and, what? Talent? to carry it off - the trying is what's important!

  8. Oh, I love your front porch! That was a brilliant idea, a chandelier and disco balls hung with ribbon.
    In all honesty, the only reason my house is decorated at all is thanks to my kids (and the teen's girlfriend). The only reason there is food in the pantry and dinner on the table is thanks to my husband. By the time I get home from work, I don't have energy to do anything but cruise facebook.

  9. You could rearrange the letters to form "Ole" and have it be an homage to Norwegians.

    1. Ha ha! Or, a Spanish exclamation of approval. Christmas! Ole!

  10. I love the chandelier - I never thought about decorating are an inspiration...which may become a pinspiration ;D