Monday, November 20, 2017

The House at Christmas, 2017

In the bleak midwinter
Frosty wind made moan.
Earth stood hard as iron
Water like a stone.

Snow had fallen
Snow on snow
Snow on Snow
In the bleak midwinter
Long ago.

(Christina Rossetti)

When the snow fell, in early November, 
our place turned into Christmas, overnight.
Suddenly it seemed right and proper to clip boughs,
wrap gifts, and sprinkle fairy lights around the house.

We used pink this year, and tiny bits of red:
 vintage ornaments that we've collected for years, 
and glass birds, and plaid flannel we already had. 

The tree is narrow (I love how narrow it is), and it's standing in an old wood box from Antiques Downtown in Elk River, MN. 

Our favorite vintage ornament, capturing light, mirroring and refracting little bits of Christmas.

Our packages this year. We ordered the butcher paper from Amazon, the craft paper is a painter's roll from a home improvement store, the ribbon and bells are from Jo-Ann. Our youngest daughter does most of the wrapping and all of the lettering.

At dusk, the tree and mantel lights begin to glow, and I can hardly wait for dark to fall, when we'll sit here together, gazing. It sounds boring but it's probably my favorite part about Christmas.

And every morning, I flick on the tree lights and feel a quiet joy settle over me. 
Christmas lights are always the right amount of light, no matter the time of day.

I kept simplifying this cabinet top, till almost nothing was left. If your Christmas house is making you anxious, try taking things away before you add anything.
Quiet your space.
You'll find when you do this, your heart has more room, and you can breathe easily.

The mantel.
Here too, I kept taking things away, till all that was left were white pine branches, lights,
and one little bird.
Then we hung the linen stockings.
I made these six years ago, when I was pregnant with Malachi. The kids didn't know about the 
baby yet. I told them the fifth stocking (not shown here) was for the dog.

The stockings are made from old linen clothing, and trim from vintage pillowcases.

The dining room table.
Cedar branches, cranberries in canning jars, tea lights.
There are four of these candle jars, so we'll use them as an Advent Wreath.

A Target tree on the shelf,
a bit of eucalyptus on the island.
Green in the wintertime:

The tree is in a vintage pewter cup, with a bit of faded flannel tied around it.
My Grampa made the wood rooster.

Now for some random glimpses of Christmas around the house.
Here's the lettered piano panel in the tiny library.
(all lettering done by my daughter)

The library sofa, with our shabby silver tree in an ice bucket.
This sofa has been with us since we married, it's from my parents. We've had it recovered twice, but now it has a new linen sheet thrown over it. It looks tidy, but only because we rarely use it.

Our shiplap headboard, with linen twine strung above it, and a few vintage ornaments.
Malachi violently objected to this particular decoration.

Anna Kate's room is all decked out, thanks to her love of paper art.
Here's her new scroll.

Her shelves, with a new paper tree in a vintage clipboard.

What can I give him,
poor as I am?
If I were a shepherd, 
I would bring a lamb.
If I were a wise man,
I would do my part.
Yet what I can I give him,
give my heart.


I pray for you a Christmas full of warmth, rich in love, simple as a stable, with room for the treasure that your heart is longing to receive.