November 29, 2014

A few Simple Ornaments


Are you up to your elbows in boxes and tubs of Christmas decorations, trying to figure out where to start? Sometimes you can
 create a Christmas display with just a few simple ornaments. Pull 
out a special plate, bowl, or tray and put like items on it. In my example I put some gold ornaments on mine. 
These ornaments are glass, and very delicate. I have put them on the tree in previous years, but this year I think I will leave them in this blue and white dish. I like the look. This little decorative dish needed a festive touch...and I think these ornaments work well. I am incorporating my blue and white into my Christmas decorating this year, and so far it seems to be working. 

These two ornaments are also glass...but they are on the tree because of the red and green color theme.

Yes...sometimes all your need are a few Christmas ornaments here and there around the house. Consider a bowl of ornaments in the kitchen if you want to add some Christmas to the busiest room of the house. 

Your designs do not have to be fancy...
They are your creative expression in your home.
Enjoy the process!

Thanks for visiting!
Until later,
Sheila

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November 27, 2014

Buffet Table Fun

Etiquette vs Practicality

I hope all of you have been able to have a nice Thanksgiving with those you love. Hubby and I were treated to a wonderful Thanksgiving meal prepared by our daughter and son-in-law, with assistance from our granddaughter. Our son was also able to be with us in Lexington. Daughter set a very pretty table, and even better she baked the "family pie." It is very similar to a "Derby Pie." Oh my, the calories! There is magic when sugar, butter, and chocolate mix and bake in an oven. Ok, now on to my buffet table settings.

I am a planner. I like to plan table settings and arrangements just for fun. I like to plan buffets because when I entertain I usually set up a buffet in the dining room. But did you know that there are some very specific ways to arrange a buffet table? That is if you follow proper etiquette. Silverware here, plates there, coffee or tea service arranged just so. I know that today few follow such rules...but I still think that it is important. My mother-in-law left an etiquette book in my soon-to-be husband's appartment. After we married I found the book, and made it my business to learn as much etiquette as possible. Again, folks kindof overlook rules and etiquette today...but none the less I drilled such things into my children as they grew up. I am happy to say that they are sensitive to the nuances of proper etiquette...from proper address, to proper table settings, to respect for one's elders. The old Emily Post book is still around here someplace in a moving box. 

I have read and studied (old) etiquette books that show the layout of a proper buffet table, depending on whether it is a casual or formal affair, etc. Well, my new dining room is too small for folks to leisurely walk around selecting items to eat. I have to modify the rules. Ha!  Due to the traffic pattern, a buffet in my dining room will need to be accessed from the ends and the one main side of the table. For me, that actually makes it easier to design a centerpiece display. I was trying out a few simple looks the other day and took photos as I was working. Maybe some of these will give you an idea or two as you prepare for holiday entertaining. I have learned that my own photos sometime help me to remember what I like and want to use.

Without further ado here are my centerpiece arrangements. All of them are "backed " up to the back side of the table. When doing this for company I would try to have fresh greenery and/or flowers. I think fresh is best when possible. By pushing the decorations to the back of the table...there is plenty of room for trays and plates of nibbles and sweets. I usually do not include beverage service on the dining table...leaving the coffee urn and tea or punch dispenser in the kitchen. 


This white platter is coming in so handy. I bought it just thinking it would be great for cheese and crackers. Glad that I did.



Always Believe!



I have two of these small Christmas trees in galvanized buckets. They come out every year at Christmastime. When the children were small we used to put tiny ornaments on them. Now, I just have curled gold fabric ribbon for a simple look.


You can see sand in the bottom of the candle holder. It catches the wax drips. If you are tired of dealing with wax drips on candle bases, try sand.


I think the platter needs greenery with red berries to complete this look. Keeping this picture in my file of table ideas will remind me of how to start and then I can finish the details when I have company.



I could not believe that this little platter held these three hurricanes perfectly. This opens up lots of possibilities. I could also just use these hurricanes as vases and have a grouping of fresh flowers.



I hope you have enjoyed looking at a few of my ideas. It is always good to have some ideas in your back pocket for when you entertain...and need to set up a pretty buffet table.

I hope you decide to subscribe to my posts. See the choices in the right sidebar. Madmimi email service.  Google Feedburner email service. Bloglovin email service... where you can subscribe to my blog and find others blogs that you might like also.

Please share how you "arrange" people and food for special occasions in your home. Are you showing your children and grandchildren the nuances of proper table etiquette for social situations? What types of things are you teaching them? I think it is important to pass these things down to younger generations.  So, to wind up this story...my daughter set a perfectly proper table with her Wedgewood china and her grandmother's silver. I am so proud of her, and my son. Mom's are like that. :-)

I am glad I read and studied Emily Post's book. I had home economics classes, as did all girls in my day, But I do not remember ever being taught all of the different table settings. Or maybe I was not paying attention. :-) 

As always, I very much appreciate your spending a few minutes of your day with me. 

Until the next time,
Sheila


You Might Like These Christmas Themed Posts Too…

Christmas in the Parlor
It's Looking Like Christmas
Making Your House Festive With Greenery/Christmas
A Kentucky Christmas Luncheon With Friends
A Christmas Bowl
My Sweet Potato Casserole
A Holiday Home Tour, Lexington
Welcome Guests With A Festive Door and Windows
A Few Simple Ornaments
Buffet Table Fun
Another Christmas Centerpiece...sort of.
An Easy Christmas Centerpiece
Using Blue & White Spode for Christmas
_________________________________

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November 24, 2014

Another Christmas Centerpiece...Sort Of.

New Christmas Centerpiece

Well, it is sort of new.
In a previous post I showed you a centerpiece...with a large glass hurricane filled with gold glass ornaments and a green satin ribbon.
I have already changed the look. I pulled out the gold ornaments and added my lime green ornaments and pine cones.

I apologize for the shadows and the lighting...the great room is dark unless I turn on a lamp or overheads.

My mother used to use this table as her desert table when we had Christmas at her house during the years. There is a leaf that comes up and makes a great buffet. I like the old table under the historic print.


You can see some of the filler in this shot. There is a glass cup built into the center of the gigantic hurricane. For safety, I only burn a candle in this when I am in the room. I also use a very tall candle...for safety, and for appearance.



I put the centerpiece on my great grandmother's cherry table. I added a few sprigs of silk holly to the vignette also. I have to keep anything with faux berries away from Designing Dog. He loves to get too close and he tries to nibble them off. He does not bother the Christmas tree or the ornaments. He just has a thing for plastic red berries.  So...I cannot not have anything down within his reach. It is sort of like child proofing a home for a toddler. 




I am keeping with my plan to purchase no new decorations / items...I have more than what I need in terms of Christmas decorating. I sure do not need to add more to my stash. I am trying to keep things simple this year. I think we are even going to use the small Christmas tree. Last year I was up on a ladder trying to decorate the 9 1/2 ft tree. I have reached the age where I think more about being climbing ladders, etc.

I switched out the greenery to see how this version would look.


I like this version and will most likely keep this one for the duration of the holiday season... Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years.


Here is the first version. Pretty. But I just wanted more green in the room. The walls are gold and you would think that the gold ornaments would be just right. But, I just felt the need for the green.


What do you all think?  
Do you like the green ornament version 
or the gold ornament version?

Thanks for stopping by.
Sheila

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Blue & White Spode for Christmas Decorating

Hello everyone. Have you started your Christmas decorating yet? Well I got started with a few more things today. I guess you could say that I am pacing myself...Can't do it all in a day!

I do not normally think of using any of my blue and white Spode for Christmas decorating. But, since I am using Spode in my dining room and small parlor as accents I wanted to see if I could use it in my Christmas decorating this year. So...here is what I came up with.

As you can see I just placed a hurricane in the middle of a dinner plate.I tried a red ribbon but it just did not work for me on this idea. Next I tried a wide white ribbon. It is fine, but maybe a little overpowering. I have an additional blue plate as well as a second hurricane and matching candle. So, I could use them at each end of the dining table. 
I took the ribbon off to think about it some more.
I switched the hurricane to a blue & white platter and added a second hurricane. This is part of my creative process...trying things one way then trying them another.
(Not a Spode platter. I found this one at Hobby) Lobby.)

I was happy that the two hurricanes fit onto this platter. Just to see how it would look I added a couple of the old retro ornaments and a pine cone. The red balls make me think of red berries. Yes, this works!  Fresh cuttings of boxwood or pine are so nice to use in holiday decorating. 
I think that I will keep this look and then add fresh cut greens as we get closer to Christmas.
Fresh cuttings of boxwood or pine are so nice to use in holiday decorating. 
This arrangement will fill the bill for Christmas decorating in the parlor. 

Time to get into the spirit of things!
...by planning your ideas ahead of time you will be ready to spring into action if you are holding off until "after" Thanksgiving. Please feel free to pin any of my blog photos. 

By the way you might like to visit me on Pinterest. I have a Christmas@MyKentuckyLiving board that has some Christmas decorating ideas too. 

Thanks for visiting today.
Sheila




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November 23, 2014

Simple Candle Arrangement

In design, sometimes less is more!

Here is a super simple centerpiece idea that you can put together in a jiffy. Using the theory that "less is more" can be liberating when you are scratching your head about how to dress and decorate tables in your house. The simplicity of form and function can be very pretty. 

Take candles...there are so many versions of candles out in the market. For a few years I purchased several tall red pillars every Christmas. Now, I am using simple white/ivory pillars. They are beautiful from Thanksgiving through New Years Eve.  Take a look at my simple white candle/hurricane/gold charger below. This could be dressed up with fall items at Thanksgiving, boxwood sprigs, Christmas ornament balls, and holly at Christmas, and something glitzy for New Years Eve. 
Plastic charger + hurricane with candle = centerpiece.

Candle Wax TIP. I usually put a few tablespoons of sand or epsom salts in the bottom of my hurricanes to catch wax drips. Makes clean up so much easier. I hate fighting with wax removal. 

This gold charger was a $2.00 item from Tuesday Morning.  Add a few pieces of holiday décor/filler and you have a simple but elegant centerpiece. I would also suggest sprigs of fresh greenery and a small red bow if you have those available.

I can also envision three or four of these arrangements down the center of a long table, with greenery and pine cones or Christmas ornaments/balls added around the centerpieces. I saw some hurricanes at Dollar General that would work for this same arrangement. Last year I saw plastic gold chargers similar to mine at Dollar General also. 

An elegant look does not have to cost a fortune! It can...but it does not have to. The plate below is a more expensive version. Maybe you have an antique  plate from a grandmother, or from an estate auction. If your style is more modern, think about using a white plate, white candle, and white or silver ornaments and greenery. If your style is more rustic look for something round and raw metal looking, or maybe a wood slab. Always think about safety when you use an exposed candle. I like to use hurricanes as they offer more protection and safety.
Here is another look that I showed you in a previous post. Same formula, 

plate + hurricane & candle= centerpiece. 

The choice of plate, hurricane, and decorative fluff is up to you depending on the season, the holiday, or the room.
And again, here is another version of the plate + candle concept that I use. The variety is endless! Works for any table! So, the next time you need to have some centerpieces, look at your plates, platters, and trays around the house. Add a hurricane, or just a candle, and a decoration or two. (battery candles are great when there are small children around the house.
Less can be more when it comes to holiday decorating. Simple can speak volumes! Just remember, it is all in the details. And you decide the details that work for your home and family.


The "Believe" ornament came from Dollar General this year. I think the "word" ornaments are fun to use. Though my children are full grown adults...I still tell them that they have to "believe" if they want Santa to make an appearance in our house. I feel certain that they still "believe" just so the man in the red suit will leave a few interesting items under the Christmas tree for them. 
This last hurricane/table arrangement grew beyond the "less is more" just a little. While I used the same formula as with other arrangements, I added more filler and stems. Inside the hurricane are small green ornaments, pinecones, and plastic glitter snowflakes. Because I set the whole arrangement onto a larger tray, I decided to add holly stems and create a layered look. I made this same arrangement last year except that I did not use the gold charger, or silver tray.

I am still in the midst of tubs, greenery, floral stems, pine cones, and ornaments right now trying to get ahead of the decorating frenzy that usually happens after Thanksgiving. 

Thank you so much for spending a few minutes of your day with me. 

Have a wonderful day!
Sheila


November 19, 2014

Christmas Plans & Projects

Christmas Season Plans & Projects
I know that we still have Thanksgiving on the calendar....but, I am already working on some Christmas décor projects. I do not mean to rush anyone but I am in the groove on making centerpieces and displays. 

There will not be any Thanksgiving dinner at my house....as we are gathering at our daughter and son-in-law's home. If you could see my house right now...it looks like a tornado went through it. Our son came home and helped his dad carry the wreaths and tubs o'stuff from the basement. The great room is full o'stuff and little green crinkles from the wreathes. What a mess! I just want you to know that there is a real life behind the scenes mess in my house right now. It is not picture perfect all of the time, though I wish it were!   :-)

The dining room table is serving as my work area...since it is the largest unused flat space in the house. The mess that I make while making the house pretty drives me nuts...but I will just have to deal with it. I have berries, silk holly stems, pine sprigs, ornaments, tubs, sacks,etc. I feel like I started a florist shop in my dining room. I have stuff all over the place. :-)

Every year I pack up my collection of this and that after Christmas and by the next year I have forgotten how I used it. (I will have blog pics to go by next year.) So, every holiday season I start over making table vignettes, flower arrangements, etc. I like the creative side of playing house. 

Here are a few of my projects...so far.



My side-kick, Mikey, is taking it easy while I work on projects. He is a loyal companion...and the biggest sweetheart. Such a gentle soul!
Things are coming together nicely. My plan is to have all of the creative work done so that I can do some baking and cooking later. I like to be able to relax and enjoy Christmas. That is my plan anyway. 
I would like to put this basket of holly on the floor, but my golden retriever Mikey likes to try to nibble the red berries off of the stems. I have to supervise him like a little kid so that he does not get anything in his mouth. He has done it a couple of times and gotten sick. Mikey is like a billy goat and will try to eat anything. He does not bother any other Christmas things though. Just those red berries.

I am going to digress a minute to tell you a funny story about Mikey and our Christmas tree. This happened when he was just a puppy. We lived on the farm, and I think it was Mikey's first, maybe second,Christmas. We worked with him and he house trained quickly. I was in the house and saw Mikey walking past the Christmas tree where he slowed down...and raised his leg. I let out some kind of loud sound that startled him. Fortunately I was quick on the uptake and called his name...I stopped him before any leaks happened and ushered him outside asap. (So thankful to have put all hardwood in our house when we built it.) I still remember Mikey and the Christmas tree, and chuckle when I think about it. 

The same sort of incident happened when the Christmas tree was stored in the basement. We left him in the basement when we went somewhere for a short time. Guess what? Yes, he used the tree in the basement for his fire hydrant. It was a tile floor so no big issue. But we really had to watch Mikey around Christmas trees for a while. Now he is a mature 11 1/2 years old and does not offer to water the Christmas tree. But I still kind of watch.
I put this basket together just using stems of holly and then adding a red ribbon.
I think that adding pretty ribbon to objects is one of the easiest ways to make something look festive. 
I hope that your plans are falling into place...and that you have time to let the magic of the season catch up with you. The man in the big red suit is working on his project deadlines ...so that the little ones in your life can experience some magic too. Seeing Christmas through the eyes of little ones is so much fun. 

Pace yourself. 

Enjoy some turkey first though.

And eat enough dessert to help carry you 
through the rush of projects.

So much more to come!

Have a great day!

Sheila