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:
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…
This weekend we are off to the Bath Artisan Market (22nd November) for the Christmas Gift Fair. It is a really lovely fair set in a very grand old Victorian railway station in one of the most beautiful cities in the world, and too often I end up doing a LOT of gift shopping there so I must behave this weekend. It is a covered area, so weather is not an issue and there is a very nice Brasseries for lunch as well as lots of local hot food stalls selling delicious morsels. There are beautiful handmade items for sale ranging from yummy foods to Art to Clothing to unique items that I cannot even catagorise, but all are made with love and skill.
We will be selling our paper wreaths which come into their own at this time of year, paper cut art, gifts and cards. And if I say so myself, my wreaths look pretty spectacular in a house in this beautiful city! There is live music too , and it is the first time that I have started to feel very ‘Christmassy’ this year…
So now, as we head into Autumn, my thoughts are turning to russet tones, cosying up the house and prepping for Halloween here. Although it is not a huge deal in the UK compared to the States, my daughters still love it and it is nice to see the tiny ones in our road trick or treating. Saying that, they never trick, they just get treated to many sweets and goodies and we all have to pretend to be terrified. I especially like the little girls as they always have pink wellies on under the ghoulish outfits – there ain’t nothing that will separate a four year old from PINK!
I have a stash of decorations that come out in the autumn; pumpkins made from raffia, witches, candle holders and the like. But they are bit childish now for my elegant girls, so my thoughts are turning onto finding new ideas to make decorations still relevant but also super-stylish. I always love carving real pumpkins with patterns, but they don’t last that long once they have been carved.
Turning to my bible that is Pinterest, I found some really nice ideas that are Halloween based, but a little more chic than my garish effects. I am aiming to make some sort of decorations that are both autumnal but can also be pepped up for the Halloween night. These ones are leaning towards black and white:
But is it very monochrome, and I think Autumn needs that orange in it, so these have a punch of colour going on…
So the plan is to get some pumpkins and gourds as a starter, plus some spray paint and start attacking. I am trying to find some instant flock velvet type spray, as that could look great (but not sure if it actually exists to date?).