This week my house featured in the December 2017 issue of 25 Beautiful Homes. The house was dressed to the nines with Christmas cheer, and styled beautifully by Sian Williams and photographed by Brent Darby. It’s the second time one of my houses has been featured in the magazine, so thank you 25 Beautiful Homes.
What is always odd about shoots for magazines is that they are done so far ahead in advance. This feature was shot months ago, and since then new bits have been added or tweaked, so the photographs always remind me how much evolves in the house. The houses always look so large due to the lenses used, and so CLEAN too! The latter is due to a whirlwind of cleaning in preparation, so the ‘owner’s photo’ is always a bit hideous as I look very tired!
Here are some of the proofs that were taken. The favourites are then picked out by the editors for the final piece:
And here is the final layout, my rather useless scanner has not shown how lovely they actually look so apologies about that…
Anyhow, job done. It’s time to move house again now I think so I can start all over again….
As Christmas draws to an end, it is all too easy to take decorations down, shove them into various bags and secrete them in attics, garages, under beds, and even in random places where space can be found, (I am guilty of the last one, for years my faux tree has been stored in an airing cupboard).
This is all very well until 11 months later, when you need to get things out and find them twisted, smashed, crumpled or just gone! Fairy lights are particularly good at getting lost in our house, sometimes not turning up for a couple of years by which time replacements have been bought and then there are strings of them lying around everywhere.
So this year I am have a New Year resolution; packing away Christmas efficiently.
I LOVE Christmas decorating! I had a photo shoot last month in the house for a Christmas decorating feature to go out next year in a magazine, and as it was not quite December it didn’t feel ‘christmassy,’ (although the photos I saw looked beautiful). Plus everything came down again at the end of the shoot. It was quite mind-blowing how fast the stylist and photographer worked. So it was like a Christmas-for-8-hours in a mind altering day!
But come the 1st December I get everything out of the attic and from stashes all over the house. Boxes of baubles, lights, garlands and more. This is just some of the stash I have, it has grown over the years and I can see lots of things my children liked when they were small like little gingerbread men garlands… actually I have FAR TOO MUCH STUFF!
This year my children are 18 and 15, and I decided that for the first time we would not be doing the usual fir tree which always stands in the Dining Room, but an alternative version instead on a tabletop. I asked the girls if this was all right, as they are the ones that the tree is usually aimed at with decorations collected over the years that they remember and coo over. This idea went down OK-ish! I found this really cute 3D wooden tree at Hobbycraft, and it was a snip at £10.
Given that dining room had a recent overhaul, we did not use a lot of the existing tree decorations and stuck to gold and silver ones with accents of oranges (literally) around the room:
Yes, I am really a bit sad, I freely admit it! I spent this afternoon messing about with the dining table, china, glasses, cutlery and so on, so as to plan upcoming Christmas entertaining in advance.
We have 3 lunches to do over the Christmas period, including the biggie on Christmas Day, and rather than go into a spin with table decorating on the actual mornings themselves, (when I am supposed to be concentrating on cooking), I thought it better to know what I would put on the table for each occasion in advance.
Lunch Number One
This table is styled with fresh whites and greens. There are lots of natural elements in those colour ways on the table. A large footed glass bowl of hydrangeas has raffia curled around the inside to hide the stems. Faceted tea light holders in clear glass bounce light around and don’t block eye levels. Two porcelain flower shaped tea light holders add more candle glow. The table has two linen runners on it, one natural laid in one direction and a pale lime green going in the opposite direction.
Carol service dates are set, the turkey is ordered and the house is now officially dripping in decorations and lights.
This year I have scaled down the excessive decorations that I normally get carried away with, especially adorning the stairs that wind up through the house, as it became quite tricky to find the handrail when it was overloaded with garlands and lights. I was always waiting for a heavy thud as a Bellini Cocktail overloaded guest either missed the handrail or electrocuted themselves. Plus the cats felt that it was a snaking tree of epic proportions to hand from with their claws. So no stair garland this year.
However, the tree is up and looking very pretty. The baubles are mercury glass, clear glass, beaded ones and the special sentimental ones that my daughter gives me every year.
The mantlepieces are also now done, the one below is in the same room as the main tree so the mecury glass theme continues…
Lucy over at LuxPad has compiled some rather beautiful wreath ideas for this Christmas from super stylish interiors bloggers, (including one of my paper wreaths so thank you Lucy!), have a look at the ideas here:
Yes, I know…. we have not even hit Halloween yet, but I am starting to make Christmas Decorations early. These trees can be made SO EASILY! They can use any type of paper, although I think vintage music scores or old books look best as they have a great sepia tone. All you need is paper, card, glue and scissors. I think they look great in groups as well.
Old Vintage paper
Small star (optional)
Take some card and twist it into a cone shape. Tape up the sides and trim it so it sits flat when upright. If the top has a small gap, take a bit of old paper and glue it over the top so there is no visible hole.
Cut the vintage paper into strips about 2″ wide lengthways. Then cut up into them 1/2 way so they have a layer of ‘smaller cut strips. I have fantastic shredding scissors that do this job, but normal scissors will work (but will take more time). I do them in bundles of 5 strips at a time to speed things up.
Once these are done, take a piece and bend up the cut pieces so they look like frills:
Now take the cone, and starting from the bottom, glue the paper around the cone. With each subsequent layer cover the top part of the below strip:
Keep on going! When you get to the top reverse another small bit of paper so the strips stick upwards. Then tease and tweak all the cut pieces upwards so it looks almost fluffy.
You can add a star if you want, I happened to have some little wooden ones around so I added them on with a hot glue gun, but you don’t need these. Here are the cones without stars:
And then with the stars added:
They look lovely and you can alter the scale. The ones I made were in a set of 3 with varying heights, and one had much older paper with a darker sepia colour. This is the size in terms of scale that I made in the below photograph, but you can make them any size and from any paper that you want. They would look lovely in zingy tones of tissue paper in the summer for example….